Monday, November 10, 2014

Product Review: Mentoring Minds- Critical Thinking for Life: Flip Charts and Strategy Wheels

Greetings Friends!

Today I am going to be doing a product review of a company called Mentoring Minds. They create some pretty amazing products to help teachers better engage their students. I was sent two samples to look over and review. (They are the ONLY compensation for this post. You can request a SCHOOL sample HERE and click on 'Request School Sample' at the bottom on the page.)

As I looked over their website, I was impressed with the research that has gone into each of their resources. These people know what they are talking about. In fact, they have an entire page dedicated to their results. (Click HERE to visit).

The first product I looked at was their Critical Thinking High-Order Thinking Strategies Guide. My first impression of this resource is that it VERY user-friendly. There is a "How to Use" section, which goes over what "Hows" and "Whys". From the Guide, it states that: "The Critical Thinking Strategies Guide is a resource that offers a multitude of questioning stems, strategies, and activities to promote critical and creative thinking". And this flip chart does NOT disappoint. It is 33 pages, packed with charts, question stems, and suggested activities.

I was pretty skeptical of its practicality when I first opened it. I kept thinking, as a teacher, where would I keep this so that I used it. It isn't cheap (they are bout $13.00 each). But, as I have spent time looking through it and being engaged as a teacher in ways I increase my students' thinking, I realized that I would keep it in my computer bag/on my desk- where ever I was doing my lesson planning for the next day.

It has stems for all the subject areas (math, writing, science, reading, social studies). It also have TONS of ideas for Differentiation and Assessment. This is one sample that I won't be donating to the FREE pile in the teacher's lounge. So, this is one that I think you could invest in and not be disappointed! Click HERE to see the ordering page. And, again, I get NOTHING if you order, so this isn't a sales pitch.

The second resource I was sent was the D.O.K. Wheel (Depth of Knowledge for those like me who are not up on their acronyms). I will be honest here. I am not a fan of  Wheel resources from ANY company. They are big and clunky. This ones isn't much better is that regard.

However, I will say that it is packed to the hilt with information. It seems like the Cliff's Notes of the flip books they sell. I honestly wouldn't pay for this resource- not because it isn't well done and extremely useful, but simply because I don't like the format of the wheel.

However, at about 2/3 the cost of the flip book AND the ease of having the information at your fingertips without flipping a gazillion pages, many will enjoy this little gem. I should throw in here that my wheel was double-sided and has the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy as well. I don't know if the purchased versions have both or not as mine is a sample. Okay, just checked on-line and they come double-sided! It is nice to have all 6 levels in an easy to read format. That is a true bonus and a plus for this Wheel! You can learn more about their wheel products HERE.

This company carries many other resources that look amazing, engaging, and designed around the principals of critical thinking. Be sure to check out their entire line of resources HERE or by click on their name below:

If you have any questions about these resources, let me know. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fantastic day! WAHOO!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Share the Wealth 'Give Thanks for Freebies" Linky Party!

Fall Greetings My Friends!
Time has flown by- next Friday my school year 1/3 over already!
WHAT?!?!? I hope your year is going well!

My dad posted this picture on Facebook:

It made me laugh. This is SO very true. It made me really want to host a Thanksgiving/Fall themed FREEBIE LINKY party! So, here we are, enjoying some great FREE resources. WAHOO!

However, I wanted to share a couple Holiday resources that you may want on your planning radar now!
One is my ever popular Christmas Dodecahedron Project:

This project has your kiddos reading, writing, using their math skills, not to mention art and direction following practice! You will want to start EARLY in the month so they can be enjoyed before sending them home as a holiday decoration/gift for each student's family.

If that look like TOO much- you can try the Mini-Dodecahedron Ornament Project:

There are still the 12 sides, but the projects are much shorter. a perfect project for the busy teacher.
AND, if your school doesn't celebrate the holidays, you can use this holiday-"less" Traditions Around the World Dodecahedron Project:

This projects has students working in small groups to compare and contrast traditions for various cultures around the world. If you just can't wait for December to get started on a dodecahedron project, check out my wildly popular Thanksgiving Edition!

If you aren't into Dodecahedrons (and even if you are), check out these engaging Mystery Picture activities based on words (lower grades) or parts of speech (upper grades):


Don't forget to add all these great holiday learning opportunities to your wishlist!

So, now that I have tempted you with all these hands-on holiday activities, let's get started with the Thanksgiving/Fall Themed FREEBIE Linky! Enjoy these amazing resources from teacher-authors, and be sure to leave feedback on any that you find useful/use in your classroom. WAHOO!
Have a great weekend-
Mr. Hughes

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Christmas Has Come Early This Year With This Deal!

Math Teachers of TpT CD Bundle Vol. 2 is here!

That’s right, there’s a second volume – quantities even more limited than the first!

Eleven great Math Teachers of TpT have teamed up once again to bring you Volume 2 of math resources for 3rd through 9th grades at a deep discount. 

Grab over $125 worth of product for only $25 plus shipping! That’s 80% off! What’s the catch? Quantities are even more limited this time, and the sale ends on Sunday!  Buy a copy for yourself and three of your closest teacher friends, they’ll make great gifts for the holidays!


Click HERE (or on the picture below) to check it out

Don't miss out- click on over today! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FALL-Tastic Ideas and Resources To Boost Your Week!

Thanks to Whimsy Workshop for the AWESOME clipart!

Greetings Friends-

It has been a while. I feel that I spend most of my time running from one event to another and accomplish Zilch. Zip. Nada.

But, I AM excited to put together a linky of great, FALL-TASTIC activities! Some are FREE, some might require payment, but ALL of them are SURE to get your kiddos motivated to LEARN and ENJOY this beautiful FALL season!

Also,m Don't forget to check out the Created by MrHughes Facebook Page where you might enjoy a great FLASH FREEBIE, find a useful tip or two, and almost always find a laugh for your day. Click HERE to check it out!

And now! On with the FALL-Tastic Line-Up!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and don't forget to drop by again soon. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Calling All Math Teachers: Deal of the Century For You!

Hello My Friends!

     This summer, ten teachers from Teachers Pay Teachers joined together to compile an EXCLUSIVE bundle of math resources for 3rd through 9th Grade Math. The value of all these resources is over $125, and you can grab it for only $2580% off! There is a very limited quantity – once we’re sold out, they’re gone forever! Grab your copy at

     Find out more about the participating teachers and their products at and hop along this link party.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pirate Week 2014 Begins

I am SO excited for tomorrow (Monday!) Several amazing things are going to happen this coming week:
1) It is International Speak Like a Pirate Day (which I turn into a week long event). Click HERE and HERE to read about my past pirate weeks. They are so much fun and the kids LOVE IT!

2) Our 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes are starting what we call Homework Wars! It was an idea that I thought up and our team tweaked to make it work for us. I will tell you more about it later this week after we get it started.

3) I will be returning to Green River to enjoy Melon Days with my parents and friend there. WAHOO!

I would love to hear what YOU are excited about this week. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Making Space for Student Information and Reminders!

Greetings Friends!
     School is underway and I am nearly finished with my second week. That is why I have been MIA for a while. I hope to get back to sharing a little more regularly. I wanted to let you know, in case you missed it, that I posted over on the Primary Chalkboard about how I created a space this year to post my students assignments and reminders. Check it out my clicking HERE!

Thanks! You are all rock stars.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Primary Chalkboard's Back to School Tips and HUGE Giveaway!


Howdy Friends!

This post has me SUPER EXCITED (with a dash of nervous and giddy)!
I have teamed up with my NEW blogging friends at the Primary Chalkboard, and we wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.
I'm talking, B.I.G.- BIG!!!!
We decided to throw you a party. (Need a hint?)
It is a YouTube Partaaaaay! Each of the amazing Chalkboard members are here sharing lots of tips -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!

So...Would anyone like a:

$100 Amazon Gift Card
$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card
A fabulous Michael Kors bag?

I thought so.
Then you need to head over to the Primary Chalkboard blog to enter!
You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching each Chalkboard member's video and entering a SECRET WORD from each video into the Rafflecopter
(but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

IMPORTANT NEWSFLASH: We will be linking up 5 new videos every day this week...
so you can come back, watch, and enter every day! WAHOO!

So, here is an easy recap:

SO. Let's get this party started!


I am going to be sharing a management tip regarding collecting assignments. Super easy, & hopefully super useful!

NOW, don't forget to head over to the Primary Chalkboard to enter our giveaway!
Remember to stop by the Primary Chalkboard Blog EVERY DAY this week for more tips and MORE secret words for EXTRA entries in the giveaway! WAHOOO!

You can ENTER my secret word in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Back to School Series- Part 4 {An Exciting Reveal AND the HUGE TPT Back to School Sale!}

Greetings Friends-
I hope your weekend has been AMAZING! If you haven't clicked through my Linky from yesterday, you NEED to! LOTS of great FREE resources to help you with your Back-to-School preparations! (It's Post #3- Click HERE but do that AFTER you read this post.)

I am part of some amazing groups- to say the least. Danille Knight, from Study All Knight thought up and created this amazing yearbook page! I LOVE IT! Scary to share my senior portrait with the world, but there it is! I hope you will check out each of these amazing teacher-authors!

Blast off To the Super Secondary Yearbook Past! 
– TpT Back to School Site Wide Sale 
- Up to 28% off the entire site 
–August 4th and 5th, 2014 
 – Promo Code at Check out- BTS14

And I have some super Exciting NEWS! I was invited to be a member of the Primary Chalkboard collaborative group!

    WOW! What an exciting and adventurous group they are. I have come to really love and appreciate each of them. And, the group is now represented by K-6 bloggers so there will be something for everyone! (Blog Makeover coming soon for the group!)

Check out our blog here:
Follow our Facebook page here:

I am so excited to have a new place to collaborate, share, and learn. I hope you will join me over there. Soon... LIKE NOW! WAHOO!
 This is my Infographic! It is AWESOME!

SHHHHHH!!!!!!  This next part is TOP SECRET!!!!!!
I am going to let you in on a little secret. In the next week or so, the Primary Chalkboard is going to host the most amazing Back to School Event EVER! It is going to be Epic with a Neon Sign (a saying my 6th graders used to say to me...ha ha. I think that means it is going to be super-duper!). With hundreds of dollars in prizes being given away, you are going to want to make sure you are following the group so you can be among the first to get all the details! Let's just say that you are going to be BLOWN AWAY! WWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by, my friends-

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Back to School Series- Part 3 {Share the Wealth Saturday- August 2, 2014}

WAHOO! It is nice to be back on a more regular blogging routine! I am enjoying this Back to School Blog Series and I am enjoying sharing so many fun tips, laughs, ideas, and FREE resources with you. If you are just joining the series, you may want to start HERE, and read Post/Part #1. But you can do that later!

Today's post is all about RESOURCES! Woot! Woot! As a teacher with 6 kids and an amazing wife, I don't want to spend every second working on "school" plans. I want to enjoy time with my family, or reading a book, or working in my yard, or going for a walk, or... (well, you get the idea)!

Back to school is especially stressful for us teachers. We are trying to prepare our rooms so they are inviting and a place where students feel comfortable and ready to learn, we are preparing to share with parents our expectations and plans for the year, and we are trying to get our curriculum ducks all in a row! THAT IS A LOT OF "STUFF"!

I am hoping to take a little stress out of that by hosting one of my well utilized SHARE THE WEALTH SATURDAY Linky Parties! WAHOO! Below you will find TWO different Linkys. The first one, and most useful for you right now, is the FREEBIE LINKY! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in that linky is free! (If you find a priced item, email me right away and I will delete. Sometimes a contributor adds their resource to the wrong linky section. Total accident, but it happens. :)) I am confident that you are going to find some amazing Back to School resources that will knock your socks off! SCORE!

Part TWO of the linky is all about amazing Teacher-Authors sharing their #1 most wishlisted resource in their Teachers Pay Teachers Shop. With the HUGE Back to School Sale on Monday and Tuesday (August 4th and 5th), you are going to want to FILL YOUR CART! These amazing resources will be anywhere from 10% to 28% off the regular price meaning you will get some great bang for your buck! (Remember to use code BTS14 to get your additional 10% discount on the site!)

So what are you waiting for? Get to clicking, downloading, saving, cart-filling, and most of all, TIME SAVING!

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=  BACK TO SCHOOL FREEBIES =+=+=+=+=+=+=+=

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+= Most Wish-Listed Resources =+=+=+=+=+=+=+=

Have a great Saturday friends-
I will be back soon with more Back to School Posts!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School Series- Part 2 {Planning the First Three+ Days}

     The classroom is setup, the room is clean, tidy, and organized. The first bell of the first day of school is only minutes away. Remember that feeling? (Those new teachers, just wait, it is an amazing feeling!). And then you realize that you haven't planned a good ice breaker activity. (Now to finish like a beginning writer in 6th grade) and then you woke up! The End!

Okay...okay... That was a bit dramatic, but I wanted to drive home the point that you need to have a great plan in place for the first three days! Why three? I can't tell you that exactly, other than that is what I have found gets me into my groove. Also, because those three days are not a typical schedule in my classroom. I am able to, over those three days, slowly and methodically channel my students into a schedule that they hit the ground running with on the 4th day. Magic? Nope. Experience? Yup! This will be my 14th year of teaching. I think, THINK, that I am starting to get a grip on it.

Let me kind of show you my first three days. Nothing set in stone, and each year I tweak it a little to match the incoming class. (This year will be different because it is the first time in 9 years that I won't know my students at all- I just moved schools).

DAY 1-
*Students come to class and have an activity that has them scour the room. It's like a scavenger hunt. They have to look at the rules, the lunch calendar, find where the pencil sharpener is, etc.
*Once the bell rings, I have the students take their seats. I introduce myself and talk about what they can expect, what I expect, and the awesome activities we are going to do (like make pyramids, cell models, dance festival, and more- I REALLY build this part up!).
*Next we have the "You are big kind now and you stink, so shower and wear deodorant." Yup, I say it just about like that. They giggle and get embarrassed, but it is an important part of our first day!

Then we go outside and do a team building activity. I do about 4 outdoor team building activities on the first day. The students are used to being outside and in unstructured time. I keep that in mind as I plan out these first few days.

Once we come in, I do a math game or a science game...some academic topic, but in game form. This gives me a chance to find out about what they can and can't do.

The day continues in this fashion. Learning and team building activities mixed with a review of the rules (which I choose, and the students DO NOT help make), and we practice our attention signal, we practice lining up, walking down the hall, AND, fire drill line-up. I time them to see how fast they can do it correctly. If they run, shove, push, or goof off, I add time to their score. I keep track for the whole year and challenge them to get better with each drill!

Phew.... Okay, so that is the basic day.
But, I always, let me repeat, ALWAYS have about 5 extra activities planned. Maybe it won't take the 30 minutes I scheduled to explain how to use my library on the first day, and now I have 15 minutes. ROOKIE MISTAKE ALERT! DO NOT JUST LET THEM HAVE FREE TIME THE FIRST MONTH OF SCHOOL! NO NO NO!

This is where you pull out your extra activities. I have a couple fun free ones in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop you can check out, like my Meet Your Classmates. A fun and interactive activity. Click HERE to check it out.

Day 2-
I do several of the same TYPES of activities. I only go outside 2-3 times. This is where I try to wean them. I stick in a regular lesson (say a writing lesson- but disguise it as a cooperative writing activity about what they WISH their summer had been like). We really hit the rules and procedures again on day 2. I want them to know and know that I know, they know them. I also send home a simple homework assignment, like tell your parent 3 things you learned today.

Day 3-
This day is 90% a regular schedule day. I usually do one outside team building game, and then we review rules between lesson and activities that are geared towards a regular routine.

SO... as you can see, I keep my students super busy and focused during those first few days. I mix in summer type outdoor games, with team building and academic activities, that get them excited to be back.

On Day 4, I do a quick rule review, and then we are off and running in a regular schedule with full length lessons and (more on this later) accompanying homework.

So, there you have it! Mr. Hughes' First Three Days of School Secrets Revealed!

Enjoy and let me know a couple of favorite activities that YOU do on the first few days back!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back to School Series- Part 1 {DEJUNK IT}

Okay Friends-
     Summer is on its way out (and I am nearly sobbing as I type that), and back to school is closer than we want it to be (in fact, many of my friends are already back in the classroom WITH STUDENTS! WOW!)

     I am hoping to head over to my classroom later today and really dig in and get things figured out. I moved schools this year, so I have a lot to get ready.

     This is my old room packed up!

This is my new room:

     It looks much better now (still has a LONG, LONG, LONG ways to go in the next three weeks), but it was scary for a while. I didn't think I would fit as it is smaller than my old room (seems to be a moving theme for our family. Our new house is 500 sq. ft. smaller as well!). But fit I did and I think it turned out really well.

SO, on to the Back to School Tip!

TIP #1)
     One thing I learned from moving classrooms is that it is okay to dejunk!
I know, I know! I had the I "might need it some day" thoughts the whole time, but I haven't used it in 9 years, so I think it is okay to Let it Go! (Did you just starting singing in your head, I know I did, dang you Disney's Frozen!)
     I threw away a LOT of "stuff" that I can't believe I was hoarding in my filing cabinets and cupboards. Seriously, people, LET IT GO!
     Go through your cupboards and closets. See if you can fill at least TWO trash cans with "stuff" you don't need anymore (that, or put it on a table in the hall with a FREE sign on it! It feels so good to get it out. Plus, it makes room/space you might need for new curriculum for the coming year. That said, you can see that I still had plenty to move. 13 years of teaching in boxes is a sight to see.
     One of the hardest things I did was to go through all my professional teaching books, magazines, activity guides, etc. and let most of them go as well. I donated a HUGE pile to the school's professional development library. That way, if I needed something again, it was there to copy, but I didn't have to store it. I had so many books, I didn't even remember that I had, it was nice to get them out.

Okay, enough of the dejunk lecture. I just couldn't believe how refreshing it was to do it! (and I have been a hoarder in the past, so I know how hard it can be!).

Okay, no more waiting, get going and let operation DEJUNK begin!
I will be back soon with Tip #2 for Back to School!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

After This Move... I Will Be Right Back!

Howdy Dear Friends!
Just wanted to give you a quick update and let you know that I will be "back" soon. We are moving this week and it has been quite the adventure thus far. We have the new flooring and will be having the new furniture delivered tomorrow. Then the moving REALLY begins and we will move the rest of our stuff. I appreciate your kindness and patience as I have been slow to answer emails and requests.

Just know I haven't forgotten, I am just a little crazy-busy right now. I shall be back soon! WAHOO!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Welcome SDE Reading, Writing, Math & More Conference Participants!

Welcome to An Educator's Life, Home of Created by MrHughes!
I hope that your conference is turning out to be a fantastic experience. I was able to take a peek at the speakers/presenters and you are all in for some amazing ideas/sessions!

I hope while you are here you will take a minute and look around! I love to share great teaching ideas, especially on my Pinterest boards.
Like this one:

You can find the pin HERE.

What ever you hope you get out of the this conference, I wish you all the best. OH, and don't forget to swing by my Teacher's Pay Teachers store and check out some fun and engaging activities that will get your students engaged in hands-on learning! WAHOO!

For example:

This activity has students work in groups to complete mini-assignments designed to help them get to know each other. They then work together as a team to turn their mini-assignments into a dodecahedron (12-sided geometric figure). My students LOVE this activity! Be sure to stop by HERE and check it out. (AND, my entire store is 10% off until June 27th- SCORE!)

Have a fantastic conference experience!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I am pleased to welcome you to my newly remodeled blog, which is home to Created by MrHughes!
Danielle Westvang from Crayon Box Learning just made me a very happy teacher-author-blogger!
I hope to have a giveaway later this summer to celebrate (just got our house sold, trying to close on our new one AND get moved before school starts! PHEW!!)
Oh, and my wife did my caricature pictures and will be offering those from our Hughes Doodles Store in the near future- SO, if you want to see yourself cartoonified, we can help!

So, check back soon for more information and fun!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Beginner Pinterest- You KNOW You Want To Join Me in Vegas! (TpT Conference Blog Hop)

July 11th is going to be one amazing day in Las Vegas. Not only will I get to meet so many wonderful people that have become family over the past several years, I have the privilege of being a presenter at the FIRST EVER TpT Seller's Conference. WAHOO!

My session is going to be about the basics of Pinterest and how I have used it to help grow my Teachers Pay Teachers Store (with a few surprises and treats as well...). I KNOW who ever joins me for this session is going to have a blast- AND- learn.

Don't be afraid signup for my session if you already use Pineterest. I have a few tips and tricks to share that I think will help grow your followers AND your income.

You can signup for the conference HERE. Don't miss out this amazing event with the chance to network galore!

As part of my presentation, I have put together a handout that you can use to take notes on. Check it out HERE- it is a FREEBIE in my store. You even get to do an Order Up! activity to get you started! WAHOO!

I can't wait to meet you and work with you! YOU ROCK!


Now, on to the next stop! Check out this post by Kelley Dolling, owner of Teacher Idea Factory! She is presenting in Vegas as well. Pop on over and check out what you will have the opportunity to learn from her! Click HERE to keep the TpT Conference Hop going!

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