Monday, December 30, 2013

christmas break!

I don't know what schedule your school system is on but we've been out for one week and have another left. I haven't done anything work-related yet and plan on using one day to tackle that...and then spend the rest being just a little lazy :) So relax and enjoy your time off! photo blogsignature3.png

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"i can" display

The Target dollar section gets me almost every time :) I picked these placemats up today and thought they would be PERFECT for displaying objectives/I can statements! There are two paper placemats in each pack. I used a giant pocket chart with sentence strips last year but these would take up a lot less wall space (and don't we always run out of wall space?). I can laminate these and use a dry erase marker to write on them. Plus they're polka dots and anything polka dots or chevron or mustache or chalkboard is right up my alley :) photo blogsignature3.png

Saturday, October 26, 2013

talking chips

In a meeting last year, we were introduced to the idea of "talking chips" - giving each kiddo in a small group x amount of chips. They would put one in the center whenever they wanted to say something and when they had used all of their chips, they were done talking. The idea is to keep those who like to talk a whoooole lot from talking quite so much and giving others a turn. 

I think I may try this in some of my small groups just to help with my kiddos who are eager to share their answer and don't always wait for the person talking to finish :)  photo blogsignature3.png

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"the day the crayons quit"

I happened across this book in the library today and oh my, it's super cute! I love when books can be adapted to different grade levels. I think younger kiddos would appreciate the humor but the point of view is great for older kids. I can just see them writing their own letter to Duncan as a crayon! And my two favorites from the story would be Beige Crayon (I laughed aloud at him asking "...let's be honest - when was the last time you saw a kid excited about coloring wheat?") and Blue Crayon - he's stubby from overuse and too short to see over the box :) There are so many directions you can go with this: letter writing, point of view, persuasive writing (why one color is better than another), and even adjectives. I found an activity last year where kiddos were given a non-traditional color and had to write a sentence using color adjectives to describe their picture. 

In keeping with this theme, I found these at Walmart. I bought some last year but these were new additions to the family! I had them out for decoration in my classroom and how great would these be to go along with the story?!  I also have some plush ones that I think came from my local Dollar Tree.   photo blogsignature3.png

Thursday, October 3, 2013

fluency freebie

I needed a way to keep track of my kiddos fluency progress. I wanted to be able to see how they improved each day (and let them know as well). So I made a quick table in Word and there you go. At the top I write the week and the title of the passage.  Nothing super fancy but just what I needed (I will say I used a cuter font but for some reason, it changed when I uploaded the file)!

You can click here to download it!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

accountable talk

I went to an in-service today with the focus being on accountable talk. I wasn't familiar with this until today...but am now a fan! I love the idea of kiddos having conversations with each other about a given subject and being able to respectfully agree or disagree with each other, providing evidence to support their stance. I've found some great freebies to help with introducing accountable talk into your classroom. I'm excited about trying this with the small groups I work with. What I like about it is that it forces kids to listen to each other and have a real back and forth conversation instead of kids talking at each other. Are you using accountable talk? How does it look in your classroom?

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

kid president

I watched this video for the first time in the spring and this kid stole my heart! I've lost count of how many times I've watched it since - sometimes to laugh and sometimes when I need to be inspired. This kid is pretty awesome :)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

what kids say

I'm constantly amazed by what kids will come up with - and now that I'm working with older kids, they're able to come up with even more "wow" moments. Here are three from the other day (yes, all in one day!):

1. Kiddo told me his parents made him watch a "Nazi war" documentary for punishment. 
2. Kiddo asked if I wanted him to get the answers to the math problems they were working on because "ladies don't need to do math."
3. And a girl asked me this one: "Do you have any kids or are we like your kids?" 

These "big kids" - as I referred to them last year when talking to my first grade kiddos - have won me over :) photo blogsignature3.png

Thursday, September 12, 2013

partner up!

I came across this Partner Up for Fun Partnering System from Simply Kinder over the summer and knew it was something I'd want to use! This goes beyond peanut butter and jelly partners (which I think is still cute) and has things like eggs and bacon, scissors and glue, cats and dogs - it's a forty page pdf full of different combinations. I'm excited to be able to use this with two small groups I work with. I'll change out the cards maybe once a week and pick a different kind of partners but I think even fifth graders will think it's fun :) Click here to find it on Teachers Pay Teachers!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I'm being stretched this year. I taught first grade last year but to avoid the long story, I'm a teaching assistant at another school, working with fifth grade. God completely worked the whole thing out and I'm excited about this current season in my teaching career. After talking with a fellow teaching assistant, I'm thinking about beginning the process of earning my Ed.S. degree. The change has been good and even though I was a little hesitant to work with the "big kids," they're really sweet and I'm reminded of part of my student teaching when I worked with fifth grade and loved it! I've had to make the mental leap of interacting with ten-year-olds versus six-year-olds but it's been a fun transition. This is great practice in one of the most important parts of teaching: be flexible!

I'm sharing this because this is where I'm coming from right now; my perspective is that of a secondary person in the classroom instead of the primary one. I'm looking forward to being able to observe and just watch. I've already been amazed at how the grade level teachers I'm working with do what they do. They love their kids and this profession. One told a student, "You're not trying and you know I don't allow that." They push their kids to give high-quality work and challenge their thinking. I'm excited at becoming a better educator through this process. I know I'm supposed to teach - I can't imagine doing anything else. So I'm going to learn all I can right now and enjoy where I'm at.   photo blogsignature3.png

Thursday, September 5, 2013

tree maps freebie

Have you heard of tree maps? I found some really cute "are can have" charts I used with my first grade kiddos last year and there's a really great board on Pinterest full of ideas. I made one last week to use with some fifth graders I'm working with. We read a leveled reader on sea snakes and I made this chart to help them record their information. It's the first self-made freebie I'm putting on here! You can click here to grab it!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

rory's story cubes

Have you heard of these? They're called Rory's Story Cubes. I read about them on another blog and then went on a hunt to find them...but to no avail. And then, I was in Kroger and whaddya know, there they were! This was $8 and would be great in a center or as a time-filler. I plan on buying a few more sets and also some of the other versions, "Voyages" and "Actions." There's also a MAX edition - a large version of the original. You can find out more from the website. Has anyone used Rory's Story Cubes before? photo blogsignature3.png

Saturday, August 31, 2013

diy: duck tape clipboard

Duck Tape has come out with a whole bunch of really fun designs - it's not only gray tape anymore. I was at Walmart the other day and bought a roll of mustache Duck Tape. I bought a clipboard from Target (Walmart was sold out! It was only about 50 cents more at Target though) and then wrapped the board with the tape. I started right below the clip at the top and wrapped it completely around, letting it overlap just a bit where the ends met. And that's it! It was super easy and I'm really excited at how it turned out! Duck Tape also has a polka dot pattern that I have my eye on next :)  photo blogsignature3.png

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

power of fruit snacks

Fruit snacks are a powerful food. Seriously :) Last year I would give a small treat to my kiddos who were on blue for the day (we used a color-coded behavior system). Sometimes it was fruit snacks, or a pencil or a sticker - they never knew what it would be. But fruit snacks seemed to be the favorite. And so throughout the day I would remind them of what the treat would be, knowing some needed the constant reminder of what they were trying to earn. It's amazing what a fruit snack can do ! photo blogsignature3.png

Friday, August 16, 2013

poster freebies

I am all about free stuff! So I get pretty excited when I find posters or worksheets or lesson idea freebies. Which brings me to these great poster freebies! 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

to go cups :)

There's a really great restaurant called Newk's and one of the things I like is that they have these great cups! These aren't they're to-go cups; these are what they give you even when you eat there. The first time I went, I think I spent about five minutes being excited about the cup :) So then I got to thinking. I'm using some chalkboard labels in my classroom and how great would these work with that theme? They're about eight inches tall - great for storing markers, rulers, pointers or pencils. I'm learning a big part of setting up a classroom and planning activities  is all about taking inspiration from just about anything - even unofficial "to-go" cups! photo blogsignature3.png

Friday, August 9, 2013

center games

I was at Marshall's earlier this week and found these great activities! The best part? They were $5 bucks each! I thought these would be great to put in a center and they're differentiated so there's something for everyone! 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

what i'm reading

I want to always strive to grow as a professional and here are two books that I heard about through another blog. I finished The First Six Weeks of School this weekend - it's a great back-to-school read. It talks about the importance of using those first six weeks to practice routines and set your expectations for your classroom. You basically practice EVERYTHING (just like you model EVERYTHING) so your kiddos know exactly what to do. The authors say it's a bit tedious to spend so much time on this but that it pays off. As a first year teacher last year, I didn't go into great detail with this but now I know better :) The other book, The Morning Meeting Book I'm going to start next. It's hinted at in the other book but it's the process of taking time in the mornings to go over the daily morning message and just give your kiddos a "run down" of the day. At the beginning of the year, it's a time to practice greetings and showing students how to interact with each other. I'm excited to read it and be able to incorporate this into my classroom! You can click on both titles to find them on Amazon. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

back to school read alouds

I was at Target the other day and they have display with back to school books! There was more than just these titles but these are the ones I picked up. First Day Jitters is one of my favorites! It's super cute and I love the "twist" of it being the teacher who's nervous (spoiler alert). I think I might have read this to my kiddos last year since it was my first day of school too :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Target never ceases to amaze me with their school supplies :) I always go to the dollar section first and picked up all these goodies...for $1 each! The crayons are sticker books - I thought that would be a great way to introduce those color words (bad thing is green, red, yellow and blue were the only colors they had). I bought a copy of Peter Pan and Pinocchio (for those read aloud moments) and some great flash cards! I grabbed one set of each: addition, subtraction, abc's, sight words, animals, jobs and a phonics set. They also had some division ones and ones about the United States. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

common core

Here are two great Common Core ebooks...that are free! I've only quickly looked through them but they have some helpful tips with implementing Common Core AND they have links to some freebies (they're also available for upper grades)!

Click here for ELA and here for Math.

Monday, July 29, 2013

i've been shopping...

I think every teacher gets excited about school supples :) I've been doing some shopping here and there and this is what I've picked up last week. Those lamps? I'm very excited about those! I found them at Ikea and decided I needed two :) They also had grey and maybe white but I liked the orange and green. They're metal and were $10 bucks a piece. I bought some cute metal buckets at Walmart - great for putting pens or markers in. Target has Dr. Seuss pencils and erasers in their dollar section - I'm going to save these for his birthday in March. I bought some puzzles for those rainy days; on clearance at Walgreens. Walmart surprised me with the center games I found - one is bubblegum math and the other is sandwich pieces that deal with blends. I wrapped up my shopping with an apple-shaped name badge (dollar section at Target - it's the first place I go every time!) and a mustache pencil box from Walmart. I'm going to have several different themes this year, mustache being one of them :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013


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