Classroom Pictures Posted

Today was school day 15, gotta love the year round schedule! I finally posted pictures of my classroom, click on Meet Ashley at the top of the page. The beginning of the year is so exhausting, now off to bed. 

Math Toolbox

I just finished organizing my new student math toolboxes and I'm so excited to share them with you!

One of my goals this summer was to organize my math resources. I also wanted to find a way to save on copying paper for math.  I know that many of you are in the same position of having your copying numbers being cut or limited, especially color copies. 

After looking on pinterest I found some toolboxes which inspired me to create my own.  The best part was that I already had the resources in my classroom to create the toolboxes.  I just needed to make some changes in how I was going to store and utilize the tools with my class.

I decided to take all of the tools I was already using and copy things smaller. When printing I would print two slides to a page.   Next I would flip the paper and print a different slide on the back so everything was double sided.  I also decided to laminate everything so I can use the tools again in future years. (SAVING PAPER & TIME)  All of the of the resources were copied on colored cardstock. 

Here are pictures of what I included in each toolbox:

-The toolboxes are standard size pencil boxes which can be purchased anywhere.  I wait for them to go on sale for $.50 each.


-20 two-color counters (The small containers I put them in are from Dollar Tree.  You will find them in the arts and craft section.  They are sold in packs of 6.  Be careful there are also smaller containers sold in 8 packs which are too small.)

-mathlink cubes (2 colors - 10 of each color)

-dry erase marker and erase pad (I purchase facial pads from the Dollar Tree which work great for erasing.  They come 3 in a pack and will last all year.)

-number chart 1-100 on side one and 101-200 on side two

 -days of the week and months of the year on side one and seasons on side two

 -number words on side one and odd/even numbers on side two

-count by 5's on side one and count by 10's on side two

-number line 0-10 on side one and number line 0-20 on side two

-2D shapes on side one and 3D shapes on side two

-1, 10 & 100 on side one and place value chart on side two

-circle number bond on side one and whole, part, part number bond on side two

You can find the covers for the math toolboxes in my TpT store.  They include 3 different cover choices with and without numbers on them.  I originally created the cover to fit on the Iris storage boxes shown below so they fit perfectly on them.  However, after deciding what resources and tools I wanted to include they were too small to hold everything.

If you like the math tools I created for my class you can find them in my interactive calendar unit in my TpT store. 

My class will use the toolboxes for whole group and small group guided math lessons.  They can even use them when working independently at math centers.  I look forward to sharing more ideas with you once school begins!

Target Peg Board Kits

I am so excited about the peg board kits I found at Target's dollar section this week.  I'm going to use them for my writing and word work centers. 

Here is a picture of how I will display my task cards on them.  I plan to write a blog post later all about how I use them!!

HP Printers and the HP Instant Ink Program

For the past few weeks I have been researching printers.  I currently have an HP printer which has been great but it is about 5 years old, it is very slow, and does not qualify for the HP Instant Ink Program which I really want to sign up for.  After researching online, reading reviews from a variety of stores and asking many other teachers online I narrowed it down to the HP 5741 and the HP 8710.  After driving myself crazy I finally decided to buy the......

I am so excited to share that today I purchased a new HP OfficeJet 8710 printer.  It was on sale at Best Buy for $104.99 and included 3 months free for the HP Instant Ink if you sign up for the program during your printer set up.


It was very easy to set up.  It only took me about 15 minutes.  I have already printed a few things for fun and they look great.  I also tried a few photos which look amazing.  The picture below doesn't do it justice.

The two printers I finally narrowed down to were very similar and both had excellent reviews.  The HP 5741 is much smaller than the HP 8710.  I finally decided on the HP 8710 because of the speed and amount you can print.  The only difference I saw in the reviews was scanning.  Buyers said that they felt the HP 8710 scanning was clearer.

If you are going to sign up for the HP Instant Ink Program you can get a an extra month free with the refer a friend program.  Just go to to sign up and we will each receive a free month.  Or you can add the code fwppz into the promo code box at the end of your purchase to receive a free month. Now some of you still may be asking: 

What is the HP Instant Ink Program?

HP Instant Ink is an ink cartridge replacement service. To participate, enroll your HP Instant Ink eligible printer in an Instant Ink plan. The plan charges a fee based on the number of pages you print each month. The printer sends ink level information to HP, and when the printer runs low on ink, replacement ink cartridges are shipped to you. You do not need to purchase replacement ink cartridges from retail stores when you are enrolled in HP Instant Ink.

How do I enroll?

To enroll in HP Instant Ink, you need an eligible printer, an Internet connection, an email address, and a credit or debit card.

How much are the monthly fees?

HP Instant Ink offers multiple plans to choose from with monthly fees to fit any budget. Go to HP Instant Ink Ink to see which plans are available. Your monthly fee pays for ink, shipping, and recycling. The billing cycle begins on the day you insert your first HP Instant Ink cartridges in your enrolled printer. Your credit or debit card is billed 30 days after you insert your first HP Instant Ink cartridges. For example, if you insert HP Instant Ink cartridges on February 5, the billing cycle begins on February 5 and ends on March 4. The first credit or debit card charge is applied on March 5. The billing date cannot be changed, and the monthly fee is charged on the same day each month while you are enrolled.

You can pick a monthly plan that works for you and then start printing.  I personally picked the high plan of 300 pages for $9.99 a month because of the amount of printing I do for my classroom and with my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  The great thing is that the pages roll over if you don’t use them.  You can also change your plan from month to month since there are months which we all tend to print more!

Stock up on cardstock!

Michaels is having a one day sale on their cardstock, $2 per pack plus your teacher discount. Time to stock up on pretty colors!

MCLASS Sight Word Book

MCLASS Sight Word Books have just been posted! The sight word books are set up to coincide with the MCLASS word lists. In the MCLASS assessment book there are three pages for each list, I have used the same words and put them in a different order. For list A I labeled the pages A1, A2, and A3, same for list B and list C. (You can choose to print all the lists or just one.) I use the sight word books weekly during small group reading to assess sight words. I prefer to put a small check mark next to each word when the student has mastered it. When a student has mastered all the words on the page I write the date at the bottom. Then I allow the student to put a sticker on the front cover, covering up the list he/she has mastered. The student will continue to review the mastered pages every time he/she is assessed. Go check it out!

New Binding Machine

Just purchased my very own binding machine and I am oh so excited to use it! No more searching around to locate my school's binding machine. Imagine a binding machine where the combs don't constantly pop out of the holes. Here's what I got, GBC ProClick 50 - Binding Machine. I purchased it from Office Depot, it was $54 in store plus I used a 20% off coupon :-) You simply slide the moon shaped button (on top) to punch the holes. It can punch up to six pages at a time. The spines already come open in the box so all you have to do is add your punched pages to the binding spines. Then you can manually click the spines closed or use the little black tool that comes with the spines. The black spines come in different sizes, I purchased the 5/16" (can hold 45 pages) and the 1/2" (can hold 85 pages).

The Phone Calls and Emails

After Ashley arrived in North Carolina we were on the phone talking, texting and emailing everyday, sometimes several times a day. At first it was help with interviews but it quickly turned to help with setting up her new classroom.  Over the next year it was to share stories and ideas with each other. 

After hanging up one night I came up with the idea of starting a blog together. A few years ago I had my own teaching blog. I must be honest that I wasn't very good at posting very often.  I had so much going on between my own teaching career and my family that I did not put in the time I should have.  Earlier this spring I had already decided that I was really going to make it a regular part of my new school year for 2016.  I had been mapping out some ideas for myself and things I knew I wanted to share.  With Ashley teaching in North Carolina I knew that TOGETHER we could use our blog to share with everyone else as well.

Sisters to the CORE is going to share the similarities and differences of:

Toni                                              Ashley
veteran teacher (19 years)           3rd year teacher
New Jersey                                  North Carolina
First Grade                                   Kindergarten
10 month school                          12 month school

We hope that you will join us for a new and exciting school year!!!

A New Start

Before Ashley even moved she worked very hard to research schools and fill out applications for positions in her new home state. She was very fortunate to get phone calls right away and even had a video interview before she left NJ.  We knew from the phones calls and dates of other interviews that it was going to work out for her.  I am pleased to share that after only two weeks in North Carolina Ashley was hired as a full time Kindergarten teacher.  This was exactly what she wanted. Ashley is now in her third year of teaching kindergarten and she absolutely loves it!!

We're Moving

In May of 2014 Ashley and her fiancĂ© stopped by to visit one day.  I knew from the minute they sat down that something was up but I never expected what came next.  Ashley announced that they were moving to North Carolina.  If you haven't already guessed I was not thrilled at the news.  Ashley had moved a few hours away from our family the year before and I didn't like that but I did still see her.  Now she was moving from New Jersey to North Carolina and I knew it was  going to be much harder to see each other.

Ashley's fiancĂ© had a great job opportunity and the job market for teaching is terrible here so they knew the move would be great for both of them.  Even though I knew it too I was still very sad.

My Little Sister

I thought it would be nice to share a little history about us and why we decided to start this blog together.
When I was 17 years old, a freshman in college, my mother gave birth to my youngest sister Ashley.  From the moment Ashley was born we have always had a very special connection and it has only grown over the years...even with a 17 year age difference. She was always my shadow and I loved every minute of it!!  I have always been  not only Ashley's older sister but a second mother as well.  I was thrilled when Ashley announced that she wanted to be a teacher.  We even went to the same college.
Next I will share why we are in two different states.


Welcome to Our Blog!

Hello and Welcome!  My name is Toni and I am thrilled to introduce my new blog...oops I mean our new blog.  My sister Ashley and I will both be sharing on the blog TOGETHER and we are so excited to get started:)  We hope you will join us on our new venture!