Quick, Easy Recipes for Busy, Busy Teachers Link-Up

It’s that time of year and the hustle, bustle of the season has officially kicked in.  When we finally do make it home at night we are tired and the last thing we want to do is prepare a meal.  This linky party is the answer to that problem.

We are looking for quick, easy recipes with little prep time.


1.  Use the graphic above and link back to this post. (Using the recipe card graphic provided is optional.)

2.  Add your post below. Please make sure your link goes directly to a specific post about this linky party, not a main page.

If you have pictures of your food, be sure to share that in your post too!

Slide30(Optional recipe card to use in your post)

Here’s my example:

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Link up with your recipe.  Be kind and follow the rules!! 😉

Click the InLinkz icon below to view the link ups and to add your own!

Teaching with a Twist

Elf on a Shelf in the Classroom

Hi ya’ll! Amanda here, from Daisy Designs, ready to talk about Elf on a Shelf in the classroom!


Do you use Elf on a Shelf at home? I know it is a HUGE trend right now and, honestly, I wish I could have had one when I was growing up! It is SUCH a neat idea and I love it when my kinders get excited to tell me all about their home elf and then see their excited faces when we talk about our school elf!

First of all, Elf on a Shelf, the complete kit with book and elf is like $40. Goodness. I was reluctant. I knew I wanted one but I was NOT about to spend $40 on an elf. I do not have kids at home, so this would not be something used the whole month everyday. It would only be used at school for the 15 days we have school… which to me… I don’t know… $40 is a lot of money! Then it hit me… These kids don’t know the difference between the “name-brand” elf and the dollar store elf. I mean, to them, they are all magic elves. So, thank you Dollar Tree! I snagged a cheap stuffed elf (I think mine is totally cuter and way less creepy anyway…), and borrowed a book from a friend who has the elf at home. WIN!


Meet Alex the Elf. Well, that is his name this year. I feel like that is totally the most boring name for an elf, but that’s what the class voted on! I voted for Peanut, but no one listens to me… He is a little clumsy. Since I went with the dollar store elf instead of the name brand elf, he is a little top heavy. I will say, it is not as easy to keep him standing, or sitting, or pretty much anything. But I would say it was totally worth save $39.

So how can you use this baby in the classroom? I swear to you, I’ve had him for 4 days, and behavior is DEFINITELY different in my classroom. We have been using our elf for writing activities, graphing activities, and he brings them treats, which I will get to later.

How to Use an Elf in the Classroom:

Change his handwriting.
I’m using a curly-q style hand writing because the kids will DEFINITELY tell that it is my handwriting otherwise. I was scouring Pinterest for elf ideas and was surprised at how many wrote in the regular hand writing! My kids would not be fooled.


Don’t FORGET. You can’t forget to move him! Like you have room for another thing to remember to do everyday up there in your busy brain… but seriously… if you’re going to do it, you have to keep up with it.

You are going to give your kids treats this time of the year anyway, so make some of them from the elf! Mine brought them stickers the other day (which I forgot to snap a picture of). He was covered in Santa stickers and the kids LOVED earning them on their behavior sticker charts.

Picture2In this picture, Alex brought us Rudolph band-aids from the North Pole. You’d think he brought cash money the way the kids were acting about these band-aids. And since there are only 10 in a box, (well, 9, since Alex fell on the way up to hanging by his tag) they didn’t fake injuries to get them. They are saving them for “real” emergencies.

And don’t forget… elves have tiny elf ears. It hurts them if the class gets too loud. (Quietest day ever).

Also in this picture is something I took the time to do: held my kids accountable. Remember, it isn’t “you” talking… It’s the elf. If you have specific kids who need reminders (like the Sariyah on this list), they’ll remember it more coming from a stuffed elf. Seriously.

I haven’t had any students TOUCH the elf yet… but poor Alex fell today (clumsy guy). I had to think quick on my feet. My kids were panicking (and a few were laughing… they’ll get a note from Alex tomorrow…). I mean, I can’t touch him and pick him up to put him back. So he stayed there. In the middle of the floor. Fortunately I had a peppermint life-saver, which of course save lives and are elf vitamins. When he wakes up from his nap, he can take his vitamin and feel strong again tomorrow. My kindergarten logic worked and my class was totally okay with it. They were also pretty funny tip toeing around him so not to wake him up.

Picture3Life-savers save lives, people.


I have some plans for the upcoming week to do with clumsy Alex. Here they are!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_1 Alex will give the kids Christmas pencils!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_2 Alex will ride our toy train and bring Polar Express!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_3 Alex will be taking a nap in the tissue box.

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_4 Alex will bring marshmallows for hot chocolate!

misstiina_csh_zerotonine_5 Alex will bring his favorite Christmas movie!

I hope these ideas help you with your Elf on a Shelf planning for your classroom. It has certainly made a difference in their behavior the past several days. Too bad he has to leave after Christmas, am I right?!

Amanda Daisy Designs

Favorite Winter Read Alouds in the Middle School Classroom

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I start each of my middle school ELA classes with a read aloud.  I’ve found that it’s become an essential part of the culture of the classroom.  While I read to students, they complete short vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension activities.  Reading to students sets a calming tone at the start of the class period and fosters an environment where reading is celebrated.

In the winter months, I like to infuse some seasonal read alouds into class.  Here are some of my favorites…



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(Click here for printable copies of each poem.)


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Yes, middle schoolers love picture books, too.

There are many benefits to reading aloud to students including motivating students to read on their own, increasing their accessibility to texts, encouraging higher-level thinking, enhancing their background knowledge and improving their own reading fluency.  However, my favorite reason for reading aloud to students is that it creates a community of readers…and that always warms my heart on a cold winter day!

Brain Waves Instruction

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P.S.  I’ve put together all 3 poems into a printable resource. Click here and print for seasonal read aloud fun!

Manic Monday with Jenny K.

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Manic Mondays–ain’t that the truth! (sorry english teachers I had to). There are some things about Monday that just never change. First and foremost, you need a large cup of joe. Make-up is optional and usually doesn’t make the cut and, last but not least, it comes again every week (darn it). Of course, if we had a three day weekend we’d be calling “Monday” terrible Tuesdays! So we just have to face it–real life happens each week whether we like it or not.

The Bangles pretty accurately captured the Manic Monday feeling…

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.43.20 PMSooo… I don’t know about you, but having something fun and easy to do to ease back into the week is awesome. Attach FREE to “fun and easy” and it might actually start to feel like a  Friday!( I know, I’m talking foolishness for a Monday).

By now you might already know that the Holiday TPT eBooks are out. These eBooks are a THANK YOU to all the teachers who support other teachers on their Teachers Pay Teachers journey. The amazing Rachel Lynette dreamed these up and now it’s a holiday tradition going on 4 years.holiday ebook featured image.001

My gift (did you see the group blog post on Friday?) is a paid product I changed to a forever freebie and involves shaving cream! You can get the product HERE or you can find it in the eBook for grades 3-5 along with resources from 49 other teachers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.43.20 PMMy free product is my all-time favoriate “magic trick” that uses shaving cream to create marbelized paper. And then, I show you how to create Christmas ornaments with the beautiful marbelized paper. If you don’t have time to make the ornaments, you can use the same technique to make snowglobes for January to celebrate winter. (Did I really just say celebrate winter? –I need to go to bed!) You can find that lesson HERE (it’s also free).

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This post is a link up to Classroom Freebies for their “Manic Monday” blog posts.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thanks for reading and for making art with your kids!

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Jenny K. Signature



This post is written by Jenny K. If you enjoyed this post join Jenny K. on BloglovinFacebook, and/or Pinterest.

Orbits and moon phases

Do you teach your kiddos about orbits and the phases of the moon? There a lot of misconceptions concerning the two, and I have found that young learners understand these concepts best with good hands-on activities.

1. Orbits – students tend to confuse the vocabulary: revolution, rotate, and orbit. Good vocabulary activities along with this hands-on activity will help young students build a foundation:orbits2. Moon Phases – Lots of people have the misconception that the moon’s phases are created by Earth’s shadow. I use the following activity to teach this concept. You can easily implement this in your class with the following items: flashlight (LED works best), 2″ (or so) bouncy ball, paper plate, and a lump of clay or play-doh. In this model, I purposely do not include a sphere to represent Earth. I want the kids to realize the the paper plate represents Earth, and that there is no shadow being cast by the paper plate. As the students set up this activity I guide them with questions in order to make sure that they understand that the flashlight represents the sun, the paper plate represents Earth, and the ball represents the moon.

moon phaseAs we complete the activity, we also complete a moon phases worksheet. Depending on your students’ abilities you can step them through  these activities according to their needs. Some students may need just the basics, and some may be ready to name the phases of the moon. You know your kids…do what you know works for them!

Click on the image below for the complete set of solar system activities in my TpT store.

Slide1-001Have a great week!


Gingerbread Man Activities

I love teaching using the Gingerbread Man! My kids in 2nd and 3rd have loved doing all these fun activities.

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One of the activities that I have done with my students is a Gingerbread Ornament made with cinnamon. This is so easy and make the whole room smell like cinnamon. The ingredients are cinnamon, applesauce, and glue. That’s it!

gingerbread ornamenthttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/259097784788194919/

These are not mine but click on the picture to take you to the link of how to make them.

Another fun activity that I did with my 2nd graders several years ago involved water, milk, and a gingerbread man cookie. This easy science experiment has kids really thinking why the Gingerbread Man can’t cross the river himself. We came up with reasons why he can’t get wet before doing the experiment. Then I stuck a gingerbread cookie in a glass of water and a glass of milk to see what would happen. Of course the cookies dissolved. This lead to a great discussion of why the cookie dissolves.

dissolving cookiehttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/259097784788194873/

Click on the picture to see what a kindergarten class did with this Gingerbread Man.

I also love to have the students write their own version of the Gingerbread Man. I have them do a rough draft and then when they are ready the students write the final copy on Gingerbread Man  lined paper. They loved making these little books of their original stories.  You can download this free activity by clicking on the picture.


 I hope you enjoy these activities!


2014 Holiday eBooks

holiday ebook featured image.001As a thank you gift for the holidays, Rachel Lynette and others collected, organized and compiled teacher tips and resources from sellers all over Teachers Pay Teachers.  These books are full of FREE resources to say “Thank You” to all of the teachers out there that support other teacher-authors on Teachers Pay Teachers. The books are a holiday gift to all of you from all of us!

Some of the authors here on The Teaching 2 Step were lucky enough to be featured in these books. We’d like to  give you a peek at those free products and make sure you have all the links you need to find these amazing eBooks! We are sure you’ll find a ton of great FREE resources in this book . If you find some new favorite stores, make sure and follow them to keep up with their TpT journey!

Art with Jenny K. made one of her paid products FREE just for this book! She says, “It’s one of my all time favorite “magic tricks” that I’ve used in the classroom, at birthday parties, and even with my niece. I wanted to share it with teachers to say thank you for all the support I’ve recieved for my store.  Using shaving cream, I  teach you how to make marbeliezed paper and then create original Christmas ornaments with the paper.” Click on the image below to see this product featured in the grades 3-5 eBook.

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Literary Sherri is giving teachers the gift of 12 holiday writing prompts that commemorate winter holidays around the world, including  Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Christmas, Boxing Day,
Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Omisoka, and New Year’s Eve. “These writing task cards are unique because they provide a bit of background information about each holiday, so they can be a teaching tool as well as a writing tool! Pique your students curiosity about traditions around the globe and give them the gift of a broader worldview by using these writing prompts to introduce them to the beauty and diversity of cultures around the world!” Click on the image below to add this free product to your December repertoire of resources!

2014 Winter eBook_Literary Sherri

Brain Waves Instruction featured her newest freebie.  It’s an end-of-the-year reflection and infographic.  “I’m totally nuts about infographics, so I thought I’d share the love with students and other teachers.  This freebie includes reflection questions about the calendar year for students and then an infographic template that students can present the events of their year on.  This is such a fun activity to do on the day before the holiday break or even the day they return to school.”  You can check out this freebie by clicking on the image below.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed looking through the books to read all the great tips and see the creativity of the teachers while they share their gifts with you!

Here is a list of all the eBooks. Please consider sharing them with your teacher friends and on your different social media sites — there is something here for everyone!

Grades PreK-K

Grades 1-2

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-12 ELA, Humanities, and Social Studies

Grades 6-12 Math and Science

Be sure you check out Rachel’s tips and gift! It’s so gracious of her to spend her time putting together these eBooks for teachers. And a huge shout-out (with a truckload of thanks!) to  Addie Williams, Rockin’ Teacher Materials, Mrs. Miner’s Monkey Business, and Julie Faulkner for compiling their books, as well!

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Technology Thursday: How to Create a Facebook App

Technology Thursday Link upHello friends, this week we are linking up with The Teaching Trio for Technology Thursday.  It is a weekly link up for all things relating to technology. You will find great tips, fun apps, and websites to try for your students.

This week The Teaching 2 Step will show you one way to create a Facebook page app using Tabsite.com.

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Using Tabsite.com you can create three free Apps. If you want to create more, you can upgrade you plan.  If you have created an app using Tabsite.com leave your link below, I’d love to check it out. Now head back to The Teaching Trio and read more great technology tips.
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Technology Thursday: How to Create a Facebook App is a post written by Celeste DiDonato. If you enjoyed this post join The Education Highway on Bloglovin, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Unwrap the Gift of Reading

Hey ya’ll! Amanda from Daisy Designs here with a GREAT idea for your classroom or home!


This week I began what I call, “Unwrap the Gift of Reading.” I selected enough Christmas picture books to read every single day which we began on Monday (December 1) and gift wrapped them. They are placed under our classroom Christmas tree and everyday we unwrap a new one to read. The students get SO excited to see what we unwrap next. My class of kinders this year is overall pretty attentive during read-alouds, but I will tell you, the past 3 days have been glorious! They are paying attention, they are excited, and they are definitely enjoying the gift of reading.

Here’s a picture list of the holiday books I selected to put under the tree! Some were easy ones I already had on my shelf and others were ones I found at the public library. Comment below with other Christmas/holiday book ideas! There are so many amazing books out there!


Another excitement factor for this holiday treat, is our Daily Holiday Book Journal! Everyday, we log the date we read the book, the title of the book, and a drawing of our favorite part in the story. It is fun, engaging, and doesn’t eat up a ton of time in the day. I am a fan of ongoing projects. I love to say to my kinders, “Okay, get out your Holiday Book Journals and log the book of the day!”

Right now, in my store, Unwrap the Gift of Reading Holiday Book Journals are FREE!

Unwrap Cover

Click the above image to get your download! Included are enough pages for the entire month of the December. We are obviously not in school that many days, so I only printed 15 days worth.

Don’t forget to comment below with books you might use with your class or your family this year for the holiday season! Can’t wait to discover new holiday books.

Happy holidays!

Amanda Daisy Designs

Super Cyber Savings at TpT!

Have you heard?!? Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a Super Cyber Saving Sale on Monday and Tuesday, December 1-2! Use the code TPTCYBER to save up to 28% off your total purchase!

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Give yourself the gift of great resources at these TpT shops:


Find some fabulous Middle School ELA resources at Literary Sherri
Art with Jenny K Round Logo AWJK signatureJenny is dedicated to making art integration easy for classroom teachers. My goal is to set teachers up for success without needing an art background. As one teacher recently said, “Thanks for making me look so cool to my students!” click HERE to visit my store during the big sale.


Amanda over at Daisy Designs has her entire store 20% off Monday and Tuesday! There are new bundles ready for download and a lot of great ideas for your Pre-K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade classroom. Click HERE or the image above to check out the sale at Daisy Designs.

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Karen from Smarticle Particles will have her store discounted 20% as well! Don’t forget to use the promo code TPTCYBER for an additional discount. Click on the image above to visit my store!

The Education Highway TPT Super Cyber Sale December 1-2Celeste from The Education Highway will have 20% off everything in her store. Great time to stock up on resources for the upcoming holidays.

Resources for the daily dance between teachers and students!