Back to School with LEARN365

Have you heard the news?? Oriental Trading Company now has a education specific brand called Learn365 that has even more educational/classroom/fun products.

I have used Oriental Trading Company for all kinds of odds and ends in my classroom over the years, and now they have even more odds and ends and teacher goodies. Woohoo!!

I was excited when they asked me to choose a few products to try out for back to school. What could be better than that? Please note this post contains sponsored links.

This back to school season, I am all about organization and student engagement! So, as I perused the Oriental Trading and Learn 365 websites I was looking for items that would #setthestagetoengage and help make my teacher life easier. More organization in my classroom, means more time to focus on my kids, my teaching, and our classroom learning community. 

First, I wanted to get organized!

I ordered these great clear tall storage baskets. These baskets are great for community supplies in upper elementary because they are not too big and hold all the essentials for my 5th graders: post-its, highlighters, glue, and erasers.

I love that the baskets are clear, so they take up less visual space in my classroom. You can stock them with anything using cups and organizers to help, or you can just throw everything into the bin and let a rip. We don't always keep our community supplies out, so I like to just throw in what we need when we need it. Then I simply stack these beauties on a shelf and they are ready to go.

For more storage/organization, I ordered these large storage jars and y'all they are BIG.  Maybe even a little too big for my immediate need. But, aren't they pretty?? I wanted them to work in my room so badly, but.... I moved them around for days trying to find just the right spot and I agonized about what to put in them, but in my ELA 5th grade classroom, I simply couldn't find a clear efficient purpose. If only I still taught math, and could store math manipulatives in these.

Luckily, my school librarian had a great idea of how to use them with her Bluebonnet Books program and now I'm really excited because these three jars will be used by all of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade! Purpose found and it is going to be perfect!

Oh magnets, how I love you! Y'all this is one if my favorite things from Oriental Trading EVER!! 

These adhesive back magnets and adhesive magnet dots have a million uses in the classroom and you simply can never have too many! It is a back to school must-have, especially for the price. I always have these on hand, because you just never know when you need to turn something into a magnet.

My first back to school project with these magnets was creating a new check-in/lunch count system. I made circle numbers for all my students, laminated, and put the rectangle magnets on the back of each number to make sure they would hold. So easy and so efficient. And thanks to these adhesive magnets I didn't have to use hot glue. It took me no time at all to stick magnets on the back and call it a day.

Once I had a few practical items, I started looking for FUN ways to increase engagement in my classroom. 

I ordered Neon Color Gangster Hats for reading! I just knew these would be perfect to use with Hope King's Get Your Neon Read On Activity.

I had quite a bit of fun trying on all the hats...especially with the Snapchat filter.

And those clear tall storage baskets are going to be perfect to hold my Get Your Neon Read On supplies. They are so versatile.

I also plan on kicking off the year with a Book Tasting, so ordered a set of paper chef hats. I only ordered hats for teachers to wear during the book tasting. The kiddos ( i.e. the customers) will get something else, but I love the how tall and silly they are. It's going to add just the right amount of fun to our book tasting experience.

Finally, I can never order anything from OTC without getting a few rolls of stickers. The emoji stickers are adorable and the incentive foil roll was too good to pass up.

Thanks to a combination of items from Oriental Trading Company and Learn365 I am ready to head back to school a more organized and more engaging teacher! Click here to check out all Learn 365 has to offer for back to school!!

Disclaimer: Oriental Trading Company provided these products free of charge in exchange for an honest review of their products. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Back to School!


Fiction Friday : Chapter 6

Hello book fans! Welcome back to another Fiction Friday.

This week I am sharing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a few more books off the 2017-2018 Texas Bluebonnet List.

Lola Levine: Drama Queen
written by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominquez

Lola Levine is a firecracker! At seven, nothing scares Lola, not even gooey worms. But when her class decides to do a play, Lola suffers from unexpected stage fright during the auditions and ends up playing Squirrel #2 (a non speaking part). Lola is shocked and so disappointed, but with a little help and encouragement from a very special family member, Lola finds her courage again and helps save the play from total disaster.

Lola Levine is a super cute series and is perfect for fans of Clementine, Piper Reed, or Gooney Bird. Looking forward to checking out the other books in the series. Enjoyed it.

Book Information:
  • Realistic Fiction
  • 96 pages
  • Grades K-3
Little Cat's Luck
written by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell

Told through verse, this sweet animal adventure is about an indoor calico cat named Patches.  Patches lives a quiet life until one day she finds herself pulled to the great outdoors by a golden autumn leaf floating outside her window. She ventures out, but before she knows it she is lost and in search of a very safe and very special place.  Desperate for the perfect spot, Patches ventures into the doghouse of the meanest dog in the neighborhood. While there, life takes an unexpected turn and with the help of her new neighborhood friends Patches finds her way home, makes many new friends, and changes the life of one lonely dog along the way.

Little Cat's Luck was absolutely adorable. Adorable! The lyrical verse was the perfect way to tell this sweet story of friendship, kindness, and understanding. "How much gentler our world would be if we only knew how to listen to one another." - Little Cat's Luck

Happy to add this little gem to my animal books collection. Perfect for all cat lovers.

Book Information:
  • Animal Stories, Poetry
  • 240 pages
  • Grades 2-5

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an intricately woven story of love, magic, sorrow and hope. Each year in the Protecorate, a baby is sacrificed to an evil witch to keep the town safe. And each year, a good-natured witch named Xan saves the baby, carries him or her across the forest, and delivers the child to a deserving loving family. Then one year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, the most magical of substances. The baby, Luna, becomes so full of magic that magic literally seeps out. Xan, wanting to protect and love Luna, keeps her to raise her has her granddaughter.

Meanwhile on the other side of the forest, the story of the Protectorate is unfolding with a myriad of  likeable and very unlikable characters.  The truth behind the "stories" is buried deep in the past and covered in sorrow and despair. After all sorrow is a dangerous thing, memories are easily forgotten, and hope is very hard to come by in the Protecorate. As the story weaves the lives of these characters together, hope begins to replace sorrow, love overpowers all, and the true identify of the evil witch is revealed.

This book has one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen. The writing is eloquent and descriptive and it won the Newbery Medal! I wanted to love this book. I wanted to put this in my top 5 middle grade fantasy reads of all time. But, I couldn't.

For me, the first 200 pages were a struggle to get through. It felt very repetitive and slow to progress. It took my almost two full months to get through those 200 pages because nothing pulled me back. But THEN, somewhere around that 200th page, I became completely engrossed in the story and I cruised through the last half of the book in a day and a half. Everything started to come together, the pace picked up, and the characters became much more interesting.

In the end, I liked it. I appreciated it. I'm sure if I reread it, I would see the true extent of this detailed and very complicated tale, however, I probably won't be picking it up a second time. I'm very curious to see what my 5th graders think of this novel next year. I've heard so many people that LOVE it, so I know it is all about matching the right reader with the right book. It always is. So, we will see. Will more 5th graders love it? Abandon it? Or stick with it long enough to like it and appreciate it?

Book Information:
  • Fantasy
  • 400 pages
  • Grades 5+
That's it for this week. More book thoughts coming your way soon. What have you been reading lately? Connect with me here or on Instagram @classroomhoopla to share book recommendations.
Want to join the fun?? 
Please link up and share one or two or three books you've read.
Link Up "Rules" are very simple.
- You can link up ANYTIME during the week, not just Friday.
-  You can include picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, etc.
- Children's and Young Adult Literature are all fair game
- Please link up with a picture of one of the books you are sharing
- Please don't forget to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to Classroom Hoopla 
Happy Reading!

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