The HappyEdugator

The HappyEdugator
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Click Here to Link to My TPT Store

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Which do you prefer? Amazon or TPT?

Hello Everyone!

I just added a cute little Thanksgiving crossword puzzle with a word bank to my store. You can pick it up for half price for 48 hours. It's just a little something fun the kids can do when they are getting restless for Thanksgiving Break. It is a mix of trivia about Thanksgiving past and present. Enjoy!

Now, the moment you have been waiting for has arrived! We are giving away a $400 gift card to either Amazon or TPT, your choice! Wouldn't that be a great help for your holiday or your classroom?

We are thankful for teachers along with so much in our lives! A group of thankful teacher-authors have come together to help one lucky school employee or homeschool parent will win a $400 Teachers Pay Teachers or Amazon gift card. 

👉 Raffle Ends at 12:00 AM Central Time, Sunday, November 24th  (11/24/19).  The lucky winner will be announced by 11/26/19.

👉 You must be an educator to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level or position within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.

👉 Email The Fun Factory if you have questions:

Here is the link for you to enter:

Good luck!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Thanksgiving is almost here...I can't believe it!

Hello everyone,
I am so shocked to realize that Thanksgiving is already upon us, and Christmas is just around the corner. How time flies!
I thought I would share with you these cute ideas if you need a spark for your creativity.

Thanksgiving Minions - 

My kiddos made cute little Minions to decorate our door. Our theme was " A Minion Reasons to Give Thanks!" 

After we decorated our door with Minions and tissue paper ears of corn, we had another fun activity. We made turkey puppets!

These were super simple to do. We made them in one afternoon. I made wattles out of red construction paper, feet out of orange construction paper, beaks out of yellow construction paper. Eyes and feathers were cut out of white copy paper. The pupils of the eyes were made black markers. The back was half of a paper plate. The kids had to color the feathers and their turkey backs, which gave me time to help them one on one assemble the pieces with glue. We let them dry overnight, and then they were ready. We learned a Thanksgiving song (available in my TPT store HERE). Take a look at the product preview video and you can see the kiddos singing the song and waving their turkeys. (Parents gave permission to post their performance on TPT.)

We also made the cutest placemats and wrote what we were thankful for on them, colored them, and then I laminated them. I got the placemat templates from Fun Reading and Writing Resources on TPT.  Here is the link: Thanksgiving Placemats They came out great, but I forgot to take pictures. :(

If you stop by my TPT store, you will find some Thanksgiving Freebies. Every Friday in November, an amazing group of teachers and I are posting some great Friday Freebies.
     Each Friday in the month of November, we would like you to know how grateful we are for teachers. Just so you know how much you are appreciated, stop by each Friday to grab a FREEBIE from my store and check this link to grab many more!
Mine are forever freebies, and I am posting them in a Friday Freebie custom category in my store as well, so they are easy to find quickly.

This group is in the process of organizing a great giveaway, so I will post about it here in a few days! You won't be disappointed.

Don't forget to follow my Facebook page . I post much more regularly on my page. I just can't get to it all! Between Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, I just can't keep up with blogging as I would like to. I am sure you can relate!

Please follow me on TPT, and you will get notified whenever I update products or post new ones, have sales, or offer freebies. I am in the process of trying to update everything, which is keeping me crazy busy. I am also trying to add to my catalog, so please check it out. Click here to follow me. Thanks!

Best wishes for success always,

Saturday, August 31, 2019

LABOR DAY SALE, Dollar Deals and a great Giveaway!

September 1st,  2nd, and 3rd:  SUNDAY, MONDAY,  and TUESDAY

In honor of Labor Day a group of teacher authors have come together to bring you $1.00 deals! I will have two different deals each day. Here are my deals for September 1st:

Click HERE to see all deals!

My TPT store will also be on sale on Labor Day, September 2nd. 20 % off all my other resources, including already discounted bundles. 

I'm really excited to share with you that you can have the opportunity to win a $225 TPT gift card in our giveaway! This group of amazing teacher-authors have come together to help one lucky teacher win a $225 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card. Wouldn’t this be great to help with your school year needs??!!  

Enter the raffle below or at

👉 Raffle Ends at 12:00 AM Central Time, Tuesday, September 3rd (9/3/19).  The lucky winner will be announced by 9/5/19.

👉 You must be an educator to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with  Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to  Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
👉 Email me if you have questions:

Good Luck!

If you are looking for some new resources, check out my
Independent Reading Summary

Don't forget to follow my store HERE to get notified for new product releases, updates, freebies, and sales!

Here is a free digital seating chart that may help you manage your classroom this year.

All my best for a great year! 


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Back to School Tips for Teachers

Yes, I know. It is the end of July, and you're enjoying your summer. At least, I hope you are. I have had an amazing summer, so I haven't been writing. I've been out there enjoying life and spending time with family and friends.
If you have been following me on Instagram (happyedugator), I have posted pictures there about some of my adventures. I especially enjoyed the TPT conference in Austin, Texas this year. I loved getting together with old friends and new, learning new things that can help me make better materials for teachers which will ultimately help children all over the world. Here is a picture of me with TPT Amy, our Director of Seller Happiness:

However, this post is not about summer... it's about going back to school. Now some of  you just got out of school, and you may be thinking, "What!? I don't want to hear that!" However, some counties in our state are actually starting school on August 1, and I actually heard a few people say they were starting this week with students!! Many teachers are going back next week for preplanning and Open House! It seems so early, but that is a consequence of getting out of school in mid May, I guess.

So my post today is about getting ready for a new school year, and I have some tips for you. These are things that have made my life easier as a middle school Language Arts teacher and also as a 1st grade teacher, but they can be used across grade levels. 

1. Get some pre-sharpened pencils. These are great to have on hand. I used to buy them just for testing, but now that tests are taken on the computer, I found they work well for having around for daily classroom use, too. 

There is always that kid that doesn't have something to write with.  You can make little flags out of patterned duct tape which will identify which ones are yours.  

Speaking of pencils in the classroom, here is something that worked for me in Language Arts. I took the pencil sharpener off the wall. Nope, no pencil sharpener in my room. In middle school ELA, you can use pen. Just draw a line through your errors!  Other alternatives... students bring mechanical pencils, extra lead, and personal pencil sharpeners with a container for shavings.  I saved my sanity with this plan. Kids did not have to get up and use the pencil sharpener, and I never had to worry about emptying it out and dirty pencil shavings falling on the floor when they missed the trash. Yes, my custodians liked it, too. If you want to do this in math, just skip the pen, and require mechanical pencils. You can also buy little containers of lead at the dollar store for emergencies...I spent $2 on two, and they lasted me the whole year!

2. Get a large, highly visible timer. You can find all different types and styles on Amazon, but a timer is a necessity for smooth transitions from one activity to the next, especially if you are working in a long block of time. Here is mine, which is about 8 inches in diameter:

You can also use a PowerPoint timer to show on your Smart-board or whiteboard. Here is a link to one you can pick up for just $3:

PowerPoint Timer - Time Remaining PowerPoint for Classroom

3. Invest in some stamps. No, not postage stamps. Get a set of stamps and an ink pad, and save yourself writing notes to students about their work.  Need a homework pass? Stamp out a few! Editing checklist? Stamp it on their paper! Late work? Stamp it! Rough draft? Stamp it! Parent signature? Stamp it! Here is my collection that I loved using: 
You can find lots more online. There is a little investment, but really worth having, And ink pads can be purchased at the dollar store!

4. Get a pretty notepad. Sometimes it is necessary to write a quick note to another teacher, a parent, principal, or lead teacher. A pretty notepad will make you look so much more professional, and will bring a little beauty and joy into your day. If you can, get a personalized one. Then your name is already on is mine that I purchased at a school fundraiser:
Another great one to have, is a pad with carbonless duplicate pages to send a note home. Then you have documented proof you sent a note home with a child when a parent says they never received anything. I used these from

5. Use wall space wisely.  Get a small whiteboard to put on the wall beside your door. It's a great place to put your daily agenda and kids will get used to looking there as soon as they come in the room. I told them to never ask me, "What are we doing today?" until they read the agenda. So much nicer than answering that questions 50 times a day! Also, it leaves space on your whiteboard for instructional information. Even better, find one that is magnetic. You can hang magnetic hooks on it for passes, markers, etc.

6. Buy some cheap magnetic letters. Yes, even middle school kids like those little plastic refrigerator magnets, but they are great for teachers. Use as headers - spell out AGENDA, ESSENTIAL QUESTION, EQ, STANDARDS, etc. What is nice is they are so easy to change out. 

7. Use duct tape! It comes in many different patterns and will go with many different themes. Put some on the floor to mark where desks should go, decorate old cans for pencil holders, use to make little booklets by taping paper together  and securing with staples, color code groups, etc. 
There are lots of uses for duct tape. 

8. Make folders for each student. In middle school, I kept a three drawer plastic bin behind my desk for each class. I gave students manila folders the first week of school to write their name on and decorate to make their own, and stored them in the bin. Every week, I had assigned a student helper to pass out the folders at the beginning of class and collect them at the end.  Students put their work in the folders. A great benefit to this...if they forgot to put their name on their work, it was in a folder with their name on it! I just never had students access the bins unless they were assigned as student helpers that week. That way there was no possibility of cheating off someone else's work, telling me they turned it, etc. If it wasn't in their folder, it wasn't turned in. Period. Here is a full week of GOT folder activities from my TPT store - Click HERE to get them for FREE 

9. Have routines in place from the first day of school. Harry Wong is right about this. Establish routines. I was a pre-K teacher before I taught middle school, and routines are important for all children to feel comfortable and secure, and having routines in place helps keep them on track. Not everything has to be the same everyday, but basic classroom tasks should become routine. Especially have a routine for what to do upon entering the room.  I always have a folder passer, a paper passer, and a warm-up activity or bell-ringer ready up on the board. Students know that once they cross the threshold, they are to come in, sit down, and get started. I use a catchy name for my folders...I call them GOT folders...Get On Task. them what you will. If you are a middle school Language Arts teacher, here is a great bundle of Bellringers that addresses all of the standards and will welcome your students into the room: Bell-Ringers Bundle Full Year Common Core ELA

Bell Ringers Bundle - Full Year - Common Core ELA

10. Have a calendar on your desk. Every year at this time of year, I would search out stores for a nice desktop calendar that I could write on. I know I could use my computer for scheduling and such, but I liked the old-fashioned way of having it in writing right where I could see it. However, I thought of a way I could save money on this...I made a blank desktop calendar on my computer and printed it out on card stock and laminated it, Then I could fill in the month, dates, and schedule events with a dry erase marker...or better yet, a wet erase. I liked using wet erase markers so things wouldn't get wiped off accidentally being on my busy desk. Then I just used wet wipes to wipe off what I wanted to.  
You can also buy a lot of cute planners out there, even at dollar stores, which will help keep you organized. For tech savvy teachers, use the calendar on your phone, keep notes in a notetaking app, and set alarms for everything. 

As I always try to do in every blog post, I give you a freebie for reading! So I am sharing my blank desktop planner calendar with you. Just click the link here and enjoy!

Free Teacher Desk Planner - Back to School Calendar

Wishing you success always!

Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Catching Up After Being on the Injured List - What We Did This Year So Far

Hello everyone, It has been a very long time since I have been able to write anything. I'm sorry if you missed me. On the fourth day of school this year, on 9-11 to be exact, I took a tumble in the classroom and injured my shoulder!

The school year started out great, and I was so excited to be in First Grade in a Christian School. It was going to be a change from a public middle school, and even stranger being all the way across the country in Washington state instead of Georgia. Whew! I was very happy to begin a new journey.

Then disaster...
I was passing out take-home folders at the end of the day and tripped on a book. When I fell, I tried to avoid falling on a sweet little girl, and crashed with my arm outstretched like super woman.
                                               Me, with beautiful flowers from my school.

HOWEVER, I am not super woman, and all the force of the fall went into my shoulder. It resulted in several injuries, and I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. I thought I had dislocated my shoulder, and they would just pop it back in, but unfortunately, a broken humerus is not humorous. I actually broke the ball of the humerus in the joint, tore cartilage, muscle, and tendons, and impacted the AC joint. It has been a long recovery. After 6 weeks out of the classroom in a sling as the arm healed, I went back to work, and had to stop again due to pain. My doctor tried everything, but I ended up having surgery on February 9th to remove bone from my shoulder to relieve pressure in the joint. I just went back to teaching this week, although I am still going to physical therapy and will be for a while.

Although I was out a while, when I got back, I was greeted by the sweetest little get well cards. The class I have is just as sweet as can be!

One of the first activities we did when I got back in October was a trip to the pumpkin farm. Then we had a fun Fall Festival and I dressed up as a farmer. It was so good to be out of the sling!

My kiddos made cute little Minions to decorate our door. Our theme was " A Minion Reasons to Give Thanks!" 

I was still dealing with a lot of pain, but I wasn't letting it stop me at school. We made these great turkey puppets for Thanksgiving and had a delicious Thanksgiving celebration. 

 Christmas was just around the corner. We made Christmas decorations for the classroom, like this door decoration make with tissue paper, contact paper and green masking tape.

At this point, the pain was too much for me to bear. I had to leave the week before Christmas, but I was able to attend the Christmas concert.

I was also able to come back for the classroom Christmas party, and I got this beautiful ornament from the class with all their names on the back:

I rested over the holiday, and when I got back, I had lots of artwork like this one to greet me. My kids missed me, and I had missed them. 

It was January, the pain was not going away, even with lots of physical therapy and the doctor finally got approval to do surgery from the insurance company. A couple of fun things we did before my surgery is we learned all about penguins with my Penguins PowerPoint and made cute little penguins.

We also did a skit of Daniel in the Lions' Den (which I wrote and is available in my TPT store), and we performed it at all school chapel. It was a great success!

We also had fun making my mini books for Groundhog Day:

The weekend before I went into surgery, I got my Nashville conference T-shirt from Teacherspayteachers. I was so excited, and hopeful that I would be healed and out of pain by summer!

After surgery my family and the school again showered me with flowers, prayers, and get well wishes. 

I hated that I had to miss the 100th day of school and Valentines Day, but my kids had fun doing their projects. Here is one with 100 Legos!

So this week, I came back to school, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. We made shamrocks and learned about St. Patrick, and then I freshened up my bulletin board for spring!

So now I have brought you up to date on Mrs. Hayes's Happenings! It has been a rough year, but the surgery was successful in that the pain I was having has gone away! I am still having other issues, but I am slowly healing and hope to be fully recovered soon.

So, I hope to get back to blogging now that I can type without pain, and share with you the wonderful things we are doing in First Grade! Right now, I am very excited because I am watching them graduate from learning to read to reading for enjoyment. My kiddos love reading and are starting to read chapter books! The other day when it was time for recess, one of my kids actually groaned, and said, "Recess? Aw, but I'm reading!"  


We are working on telling time on analog clocks right now, and having lots of fun with my new telling time interactive PowerPoints. I use them with Judy clocks, and the kids love it. 

So glad to be my store for a new freebie coming out this week!

Best wishes for success always,