Sunday, July 26, 2015

Giveaway time!

Hi everyone!

I'm going to keep it pretty short, sweet, and simple today!

I am super thrilled to have partnered up with Educents to give one lucky winner $50 in Edubucks! How awesome! With Educents' great deals, you can snag some super awesome greatness with that prize! 
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Raffles to the Rescue!

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!!! 

I am so happy to be joining this month's Bright Ideas Link Up!

So for my post today, I'm going to tell you all about how I use BOOK RAFFLES in my 2nd-grade classroom and how it RESCUED me from a huge stress factor! 

I posted a couple of snapshots of my book raffle set ups on IG a while way, way back. There was lots of excitement and interaction on those posts which lead me to write this blog post.

In order to explain this in an organized manner, I'm going to address the questions that were asked of me when I posted on IG in the hopes that I will explain it clearly enough that YOU can implement Book Raffles in YOUR classroom on Day 1 this upcoming school year! Yay!


Answer: In a nutshell, book raffles are a way of motivating students to work hard and get excited about reading! Students earn tickets for various things and then get to try and win a book that they want. I pick random winners to keep those books and then it starts over again. 

Now to expand upon that with more detail.... 


Answer: There are truly many different ways you could set up book raffles in your room. I will tell you how I do it, and then feel free to adapt to fit your classroom needs! 

I set the raffles up in 2 different ways this past year to see which I liked better:
As you can see, I tried cups and I tried with baskets. I found that the cups worked better for my set up personally and by displaying the books on the board, they were able to be seen easier. The baskets worked well too so definitely give that a try if you don't have any cups handy for ticket collecting!

Here's the process for implementing raffles into your classroom:
I raffled 4 books every 6 weeks. For drawings near a holiday, I added a few extra books as a bonus! I displayed the books using the tray of my whiteboard and next to each book was a cup where they placed their tickets. I drew an arrow from the book to the corresponding cup so they knew exactly where to put their tickets for that specific book. I wrote the drawing date and how may winners there would be right above where the books were displayed so they knew their deadline for those particular books. I also had frequent discussions with my kiddos about how to be strategic about using your raffle tickets. For example, if you like all of the books up for raffle and you see that one cup has very few tickets in it, you'll have a better chance of winning that one if you put your raffle tickets in there. On the other hand, if there's only one book you like, work hard to earn lots of tickets and put all of your tickets in the cup for that one book to raise your chances! 

I allowed my students to earn tickets for a variety of things although I mostly centered it around AR. You may ask WHY I centered it around AR and that's because my students were not motivated. They did not want to read books more than once. They did not want to take quizzes and when they did take quizzes, they were BOMBING them. It goes on and on and something had to change. For them. And for me. That's why I started book raffles in the first place and WOWZA, it worked! It became such a success that I added more ways for students to earn tickets that focused on the behavior side of classroom management. 

Tickets are earned as follows:
- 1 ticket for every 100 on an AR quiz.
- 6 tickets for meeting your AR goal. 
- 3 Bonus tickets if you met your AR goal EARLY
- 1 ticket for every student anytime we receive a class compliment in the hallway or at specials.

Those are the main ways. I would also randomly find other reasons to give tickets. For example, give a ticket to the fastest table to get quiet or a ticket for someone doing something extra nice...you get the picture. My students became more motivated to read AND comprehend their reading. They became more EXCITED about reading and more interested in the different series out there in the world to read! They also became more focused and harder working because they just never knew when I was going to randomly give out more raffle tickets!  

I know this is probably the top question because we ALL know that, as teachers, we spend way too much of our own money on classroom items. 

The way I got all the books needed for my book raffles this year was through Scholastic Bonus Points. Every school year, the Scholastic Book Club program does a special bonus points offer such as "On a class order of $100+, you'll receive 3,000 bonus points" or something to that effect. The first one of the school year is always the best offer and the perfect time to capitalize on your classroom (and personal) orders. I really try and rally the parents to place orders during this first month to get my total class purchase as high as I can. I will then factor in any book purchases I know that I will need to make for my classroom that year and combine it. This allows me to have a fairly high order and then I can claim all of those extra bonus points. If you are strategic in using those bonus points, you can easily get enough books for book raffles for the entire year. I got enough last year to last me through this year's book raffles! 

If you don't use Scholastic book Clubs or you don't want to, I would try seeking book donations, a project on DonorsChoose, yard sales, Dollar store books, etc. 

Where there's a will, there's a way! :)


I stated this above, but in case you missed it, I raffled books every 6 weeks. This allows them time to work on their AR goal and make those 100s on their quizzes AND earn their tickets for meeting their 6 week AR goal. But as I said before, that's what worked for me! Adapt as you see fit! 


I wanted to make sure that the book raffles were fair. If a student had already won a book, I didn't want them winning another and another while some students hadn't won any yet. At the same time, I didn't want those who had already won to be discouraged either so I had to come up with a solution. 

After the very first round of book raffle winners, I added a PRIZE CUP next to the books that were being raffled off and wrote the list of prizes up for grabs (pencils, stickers, sharpeners, etc.) I made it a rule that once a student had won a book, they would then start putting their tickets in the Prize Cup for a chance to win a prize. When I picked book winners, I would also pick about 3 or 4 names from the prize cup. 

I made it a rule that once every student had won a book, we would start over fresh and THEN it would be OK for someone to win a second book. 

This was a personal choice because I wanted every child to feel the excitement of winning a book they had wanted so badly. You may want to do it differently! 



Kudos to you and THANK YOU for checking out my post about book raffles today! I truly hope you will give this a try in your classroom this school year. As the image I made above says, book raffles motivate students to read. It feeds their interests, and it gives them CHOICES which they don't always get. If there are any questions you have that I didn't answer, please leave a comment or email me!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, TpT or check out one of my other bright idea posts!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!







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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mentoring Minds

Hi everyone!
     I’m excited to post today because there’s a company that I really want to share with you all!

     The company is called Mentoring Minds and they are pretty great because they focus on fostering a skill that every teacher wants their students to be great at… CRITICAL THINKING!

     We all know that critical thinking and making kids “dig below the surface” is a very difficult, sometimes daunting task. There are ways to make it more exciting and fun for the students (and you!) though.

     Mentoring Minds has a plethora of products to choose from in all subjects areas including reading, math, writing, science, and social studies. Later on in the post, I’ll highlight some of my favorite resources that I think you should check out!

     Now, I’m sure you’re thinking about how there’s tons of websites out there that offer great products for teachers but there is something that sets Mentoring Minds apart in my honest opinion. What I really love about them is the fact that they have an entire section of their website dedicated to RESEARCH. They truly took the time to put together the research BEHIND their products. I really appreciate that because:
         A.      It helps me to understand the company’s thinking when creating the product.
         B.      It helps me to choose the correct products for my students and my classroom because I know the product’s intentions and that there is actual research to back up its validity. 
         C.      It saves ME time because I don’t have to go searching and trying to find out the information for myself. (Cause let’s face it, ain’t no teacher got time for that!)

      I’m just highly impressed with this part of the website because it’s one I haven’t seen on other educational product websites. It’s also very easy to navigate. You hit the OUR RESEARCH tab, then choose the products you’re wanting to know more about, and there is a thorough, detailed explanation of the research behind it. Can’t beat that!

     Now, you’re probably wondering what the products are like. Well, as a Texas Teacher, I really like the STAAR related products. They are aligned to the TEKS I teach and the products include every piece of information possible to help me plan and implement. Want to see for yourself? You’re in luck! The website lets you download a Student Sample AND a Teacher Sample so you know exactly what you’re getting before you purchase. Click here to head straight to the Total Motivation Reading product and look under the pictures to download the samples!

They also have some great MATH products that you can check out here!

Some other favorites (Click on the pics to head straight to them):




     These are a very small sample of the products that I love from Mentoring Minds! I truly hope you decide to look around the site for a bit and see what all they have to offer!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Xoxo

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Surprise Announcement!

Have you heard the news!?  Educents is opening their MARKETPLACE!  What does that mean?  That means that besides the already AMAZING deals they offer on a daily basis, you can now purchase items from sellers stores, also on a daily basis!  WHAT!?  That’s right!  Over 500 sellers have already created stores in the Educents Marketplace, so you are sure to find some money-saving deals any time you need them!
To LAUNCH the whole thing, several of the sellers are joining in to bring you a sneak peek at a FREE product offered for their new sale, as well as hosting a giveaway for $50 worth of Educents Credits.  You can buy a LOT of educational materials with that kind of money!  And, there are several groups of bloggers who are joining the LAUNCH, which means multiple ways to enter. Doesn't get much better than that, right?!?

As you check out the marketplace, you'll also find some FREEBIES highlighted in the new storefronts! 
You can snag a PREVIEW SAMPLE of my Non-Fiction Edition Prove It! Resource! The preview sample gives you a whole passage and comprehension questions so you can try it out with your class, kids at home, whoever you want for FREE so you know if the product is right for you and your learners!





You'll also find an I Have, Who Has? Freebie in my store as well, with more to come! :)

Make sure you enter below for your chance to WIN a $50 credit!
Educents Marketplace $50 in Edubucks Giveaway #7 - Second Grade Stores




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Sunday, February 15, 2015

House of Gav Jewelry Giveaway!

Hi everyone!

One of my best friends from high school recently opened her own Etsy shop where she is selling handmade jewelry! Her pieces are so beautiful and elegant and she has been kind enough to let me host a giveaway for 2 pairs of earrings and a ring!


Ashley has also been kind enough to offer an exclusive 20% off code for my fabulous followers!

Click here to head to Ashley's Etsy shop and be sure to use code houseofgav20 at checkout!
I hope you will check out her shop, enter to win, and spread the word!



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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas Blog Hop

Welcome to the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" blog hop!  Over 40 Texas teacher bloggers have joined together to share what we love about our state as well as ideas and freebies that we love.  You will also have the opportunity to enter to win TpT products and/or TpT gift certificates by entering using the rafflecopters included in each post.  Down at the bottom, you will see all of the blogs participating in the hop.  Just click and you will be taken to their posts.  We hope you love what you find.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi y'all! My name is Daina and I'm a 2nd grade teacher in Fort Worth, TX! I was born in Dallas, TX! I grew up living in the country (on about 190 acres) and now live about 7 minutes from downtown Fort Worth. I am definitely a city girl for the most part but hold on to some of my country loves (like cowboy boots and horseback riding!) I'm so happy you are here! I apologize in advance for my overuse of photos. I'm a bit #addicted. 
The better question is what DON'T I love about my city/town! It would definitely be a much shorter list haha! I LOVE living in Fort Worth! And not just in Fort Worth, but in TEXAS! I am 110% Texan through and through. I think my number one reason for loving Fort Worth is that it has a sense of values and that little town feel even though it's a BIG city. I also love the never ending array of activities and places that you can explore. There's always something new to discover. And why do I love Texas so much? Simple. Because we have more state pride than any other state! :) 

Here's some pictures to show what I love about my city/state!
Sundance Square in Downtown Fort Worth (& more importantly, my AMAZING friends that I LOVE AND happen to teach with!)

The State Fair of Texas!!!!!

The multitude of shopping malls and holiday decor, Six Flags, Fort Worth Japanese Gardens!

Chinese Lantern Festival, AT&T Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys, and Sundance Square at Christmas!

That good ol' Texas pride. Cross/Flag hanging in my house and my favorite pair of cowboy boots!

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo!

I recently did a Text Features lesson and I was SO HAPPY with how it went!!! I have never seen the kids so engaged and anxious to get their hands on books! It was an AMAZING feeling. 
Here's the jist of how it went...followed by some pics.
1. Created Anchor Chart and covered all parts with sticky notes to add some mystery. 
2. Discussed WHY we need to use text features. Projected an ebook on the screen about Amazing Water Frogs and pointed out the text features I was focusing on as we went through the book. I revealed them on the anchor chart as we went. 
3. I then sent students to work in groups where I had placed a book bin full of nonfiction animal books on their AR level so it was differentiated. 
4. Students were given a little mini-reference sheet, sticky notes, and the books. They had to look through the books and do a "text feature scavenger hunt" by finding and labeling those text features. 
5. They then had to follow up by filling out a reflection type sheet where they told me what text features they found, what they think they will learn about in the book, and what they are still wondering about.

The following day we extended the lesson by making "text feature booklets" where I gave them lots of Scholastic News articles and they had to glue examples for each text feature to the correct page of their book. They did FABULOUS and begged me to do it again. To me, that = SUCCESS.
I originally found this anchor chart on Pinterest but can't seem to find it again. If this is your original anchor chart, please let me know so I can credit you! :)

Extension Activity!

In connection with what I shared above, nonfiction activities and resources are my favorite. It's my all-time favorite topic to teach about and the kids know it! My favorite freebie that I have is my Prove It! Non-Fiction Edition FREEBIE Sample! You can use the freebie as a stand-alone activity in your classroom and the whole purpose is to practice supporting answers using text evidence in a very systematic, memorable way! If you enjoy the freebie sample, make sure you enter the giveaway below where I am giving away my whole BUNDLE of Prove It! Resources!
You can click on the pic to download the freebie! Enjoy!

Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!




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