Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook

I haven't blogged in a while, but had to write and state that my heart and prayers go out to those at Sandy Hook Elementary. As I heard of this news, I looked out at my 2nd grade class, and it took everything within me to hold back the tears. These are babies. I am praying for peace for these families, teachers and children.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently November!

Oh my goodness...I cannot believe it is already November. I did a TERRIBLE job posting in October. I looked back, and only two posts ago did I complete the October Currently!! October was crazy, though so I don't feel as guilty.

October and November are my favorite months. This November is even more exciting as Election Day is coming up. No matter your opinions, I always love when this time comes around as it makes me appreciative towards the different opinions, views, and rights of others. I also think it is SO important to introduce my 2nd graders to this voting process. Many of them come from very low SES homes and do not quite understand the structure of the world outside of their "bubble." This is a WONDERFUL time to introduce them to their rights as Americans. If you know of any good units dealing with Election Day, let me know. I'm still in the process of looking! :)

Now on to November Currently from the one and only Farley.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Crazy Life with Some Boo Time!

This month has seriously been CRAZY! My husband and I are currently looking for our very first home to buy together! :) We've been married about a year and a half now, and are definitely ready for our own home vs. renting!

The home buying process is a busy, hectic, nerve-wracking, and frustrating process [as I'm sure many of you know]. We've tried to just be patient...knowing we'll find the right place eventually. However..waiting is not a word that works well with my personality. I'm ready for it now! SO...thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated during this time! cards go out in the next few days. Our district is starting standard based report cards where the students basically get a P (proficient) or a N (needs more time/not proficient) based upon each standard. I am realizing this is hard for teachers. I have to have SO much documentation to back up why a student received a P or a N. Grades don't reflect what they know is definitely solely revolving around formative assessments, etc. It is a love.hate relationship.

Lastly, I have joined in on the network of Boo-ing going on! Amanda at Inspired in Second boo'd me, and I'm finally back to blogging to join in this fun linky.


1. If you've been boo-ed, copy and past the above pic and the "rules into your post. (check)
2. Give a shout out to the blogger who boo-ed you and link back to their site. (check)
3. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (maybe yours or someone else's) or freebies that you love.
4. Share the boo love with 5 bloggers - make sure you check this link to make sure you don't repeat the "boo"
5. Link up [here] so that others can find you and read about your October ideas! While you are there check out the other great blogs!

I'm excited about...

1. I am so excited to be doing the pumpkin book reports from Second Grade Shenanigans. We tweaked it a bit to fit in with Common Core. My students chose a tall tale, fairy tale or fable to read and create the report on. We are then creating our character pumpkin based upon these tall tales, fairy tales and fable characters. Tomorrow we are spending some time creating our pumpkins so we'll see how it goes!

2. This doesn't necessarily relate to activities, etc. for the students or October, but I found a wonderful Common Core resource site! On this site you are able to watch demonstration videos of actual lessons relating to Common Core. You can also download lessons, ideas, formative assessments, etc. for each standard [no matter the grade level]. I explored around the site, and loved it. Go check it out. All you have to do is sign up and it is free! - I'm all about finding resources I can use with Common Core!

I do feel bad because I have joined in on this linky party so late that most of my good blogging friends have already been boo-ed! OH guys get the point! :) It is a fun linky, and I love getting to share ideas and resources!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Currently October

Like I've read so many people state...can you believe it is already October? This year is flying by!

My new favorite monthly tradition is linking up with Farley for her Currently's! They are so much fun to create, and even more fun to read through the different responses!

Listening: I have become obsessed with this new show...Revenge. It was placed on Netflix, and Season 2 has just started on TV. It is definitely a guilty pleasure!

Loving: Whew! I don't know about you, but I am LOVING the weather we have here in Arkansas! It is around 57, and feels amazing! I could have it stay just like this and be completely fine! :) Needless to say, I'm breaking out some leggings and boots in the next few days!

Thinking: Always, always, always...Sunday nights are spent thinking of all the things I need to do this week. My principal is coming to observe me on Wednesday so of course it has to be spot on! :)

Wanting: Don't you just wish we could have a day off every now and then as a "Make It" day. I just have so many things I want to make and create for my class, but where is the time?

Needing: Nothing else needs to be said about this, but that I hate cleaning my house and something needs to happen for it to be clean!

Favorite [Halloween] Book: I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

It is definitely a YA book as the beginning can be somewhat intense. The content is also something that I feel would need to be read in middle/high school, but I love it! Great Halloween read for young adults/adults! AND...It won the Newbery Medal!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fractured Fairy Tales

One of my favorite things to teach in second grade truly has been fractured fairy tales. My students love comparing/contrasting the traditional fairy tale to the fractured fairy tale. We've had a lot of fun reading and analyzing these text to identify some of the similarities and differences as it relates to the characters, setting, problem and solution.

In writing, I wanted my students to write a fairy tale, but instead of just writing a plain 'ol "boring" fairy tale, we decided to change things up in a fun way!

Thus came about my new writing mini-unit on fractured fairy tale writing!

My students have LOVED this so far, and we are continuing to work through it! Basically, my students get to draw (out of a hat) a strip of paper that has a traditional fairy tale character (Cinderella, etc.) and a setting; however, the setting is not a traditional setting. You might see Sleeping Beauty at the pool or Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs in Hollywood. We had a blast laughing at all the different possibilities.

The students are given the characters and setting; however, they must create their own problem and solution. They also knew to include at least 3 elements of fairy tales that we have been learning (magic, good vs. evil characters, special words, etc.)

Needless to say, this has been a hit, and my students' stories are already taking off. I know they'll need some fine-tuning as we take them through the writing process, but anything to get my students motivated about writing works for me!

Come check out this unit on mine (and my great friend Little Miss Whimsical's) TN store! In it includes the character and setting choices for students, a brainstorming graphic organizer, published writing paper, and a rubric for grading. I want to add in some sort of cute craftivity with the students creating/drawing/coloring their character to hold up their story, but I'm not sure how to do that! I'll play around with it and see!

*BTW - I am trying to upload it to TPT, but for some reason it is taking FOREVER! I can't figure out what to do! It isn't THAT large of a file...*

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Organizational Tip [Math Library]

One of my favorite parts of my classroom is the math area. My kids love it as well.

On those bookshelves are levelized math games. These games coordinate with what we are learning, and as I stated, are levelized based upon their math groups.

These are where I place the students' names for their groups. As I stated, I levelize my groups based upon the students' knowledge of the concept we are teaching. The color of the ribbon holding up the tray matches the buckets in the math games' library so the students are playing games that are appropriate for their level.

I found the idea from Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files. Each bucket color is levelized according to ability level...AND each bucket is labeled according to the concepts as well as bucket number. The games in each bucket will have a tag that is colored the same as the bucket AND has the same number. Needless to say...the kids will HAVE to keep it organized! :)

This has really helped my math small groups work efficiently. The students are playing games that are on their level. They have a variety of choices, and they are learning! :) I also love how organized it is!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giveaway Winner and A Behavior Plan

Woo Hoo! We have a winner for the AMAZING Laminator Giveaway from MyBinding.Com....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats!! I will be emailing you tonight with more information!!! :)

I have one student in my class (as many of you do) that has been causing me trouble. I love this sweet girl, but she has no support or structure at home nor does she really care how her behavior is at school.

We use the clip-chart system in our class, and my students get to choose certificates as their rewards each time they reach "Outstanding." She LOVES getting these certificates, but it is SO hard for her to even get on outstanding. It seems every time I turn around, she is bothering someone else.

Enter my new behavior plan. I searched for a specific plan online that I could tweak for my little girl. I found one that Angela uses over at Cornerstone for Teachers. I love how the plan centers on specific goals that my girl has to meet, and if she continues it over time that day, she is allowed to get a reward. We even sat down to make the rewards together. She is totally sold. I'm starting it tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes!!

We'll start off with self-reflecting on her behavior every 30 minutes. Slowly we will build over time to make it 1 hour, 2 hour, once in the morning and afternoon, etc. It will gradually build over time.

You can download this customizable behavior plan here.

Do you have a specific behavior plan set out for students who might not be motivated towards your whole class plan?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Season for Chapters

All second grade teachers out there who have implemented Common Core know the first unit has been focusing on studying the four seasons through use of poetry, informational text and other forms of text. 

Honestly, it has been so hard to find informational articles relating to the four seasons that are age appropriate. Common Core wants the students to be able to read and understand informational text through use of text features, finding the main idea, etc. How can they independently do this without some form of age appropriate text?

Thus comes this packet that I created. Although this packet doesn't have some super cute craftivity about the seasons, it does go in detail regarding main idea and key details. The students will read four different articles relating to the 4 different seasons. In each article, the students will be responsible for finding the main idea and key details. Don't get me wrong, I love cute activities, but Common Core really requires the students to read and understand informational texts. In order for them to master this skill, they must be given practice.

Lastly, the students will participate in a performance task as a summative assessment of our seasons study. This performance task comes in the form of a research based project where the students will create a brochure of a particular season. This could be an at home project or in school. The students will list characteristics of the season, find pictures of the season, and describe seasonal activities. The students must also record where they found their resources. What a great start to learning about must record your resources! The information can't just come from your head!

You can download this packet from here!! I'm excited as this is one of my first somewhat "big" packets [it's only 15 pages, but I've never done this before.] Haha I'm excited about it though. My kids have LOVED learning of the seasons, and they are in the process of completing their research project/brochure. I'll have pictures of that soon! 

Hope this is somewhat helpful to you as you are either implementing Common Core OR teaching the seasons! NOW...I am off to work on grad school stuff..woo hoo...why can't I be more motivated for working on grad school like I am for blogging or creating other classroom materials???

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm Done! Now What? {free download}

One problem with blog hopping is that I see ideas all over the place which inspire me, and then I totally forget where I found that idea in the first place.

I found a very cute sign on one blog that they used for students who finished early, and always say that awful phrase, "I'm done - now what??"

I used to have the "I'm Done" jar that had popsicle sticks that students could choose for something to do. Wasn't my favorite...although it did work well.

Last night I decided to make an "I'm done - Now what?" packet that matched my room colors (black with bright colors). My hope is that this will diminish the constant raising of hands and calling out "What do we do now?" (even though I have already told them quite a few times what they could do when they are Bless their little tiny 2nd grade just sometimes drives me nuts when they do not listen.

This will allow me to display their options on the wall or board, and they can always refer back to it without having to interrupt me.

Clipart is by ClipArt by Carrie, Maree TrueLove, and KPM Doodles.

You can download this for free by clicking the picture above. 

Don't forget to enter to win a free laminator! Scroll down below for your chance to win or click this link! Good Luck!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm Obsessed..

Ok..but really..this personal laminator is so addicting! I keep trying to find things to laminate! :) Honestly, though, it really is durable so I can't help but love it. Here are a few more pictures of this laminator that you could win!

The materials in these pictures are from my Word Study stations. These are games my students play while I meet with my Word Study small groups. The class rotates through these games. All the words reflect back to the pattern we are studying so the students are getting practice reading and writing words that follow our vowel patterns we are learning that week.

I have LOVED my Word Study units so far this year (as have the students). They are learning more about identifying patterns vs. simply memorizing words for a Friday test.

You can check out these Word Study stations at mine and Little Miss Whimsical's TPT or TN store. They include:

-Word Study Go Fish
-Word Study Monopoly
-Word Study Scattergories

Also, if you have not entered to win this amazing personal laminator, you should! You could win a laminator exactly like the one you saw in the pictures above for FREE! Check it out by scrolling down OR by clicking this link!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

I stumbled upon this linky party over at Rowdy in First Grade, and am SO glad that I did. As she said in her post, I feel that at the beginning of the year we all get so bogged down with the many things piled onto our plates. It becomes hard to focus on the positives. I love that she is using this linky to intentionally cause us to focus on the positives of school and home life instead of the negatives!!

My Something Good from School: 
My kids have been doing an excellent job on their behavior these last few weeks. I have quite a few pleasers that I can play up on, but my principals have both commented multiple times about how well behaved my class is! Talk about an uplifter...especially since I am at a new school. One thing my kids have really loved is having our "compliment" parties. Every time we get a compliment in the hallway, we add a letter to spell the word "compliment." When we spell out the word, we get a party. They've already had 2 compliment parties, and it is only the 4th week! That is at least 20 compliments in the hallways for good choices! :) Having a well-behaved class makes my job a little easier!

My Something Good from Home:
Man, school has been so busy that I have to really think of something good from home. Geez...that's pathetic. It is good that I have an amazing husband who understands how demanding my job can be this time of year. I guess my something good would be that my husband and I have recently started back coaching a 4th grade girls' soccer team. This is our 3rd season to do this, and I have a majority of the same girls! It has been so much fun to build relationships with these girls that aren't necessarily teacher/student relationships. We joke around and just have fun with them. Honestly, after playing teacher all day, I like going out and spending time with these girls. Not that I don't have fun with my class at is just a more relaxed fun with these girls. It can be demanding since we practice twice a week and have games Saturday mornings, but it gets me out exercising and takes my mind off of stressful things. I love it!

Well...that was my something good from school and home! Go check out her linky...I'd love to hear about the positives in your life!

Don't forget about the awesome giveaway going on! You could win a free, personal laminator! If you haven't already entered into the giveaway, follow the link and enter (or scroll down to view it below)! Believe me, these laminators are amazing! You will love it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Laminator Giveaway!!

After a long time waiting, I finally came home from school today to see a large box from MyBinding sitting on my kitchen table! I was SO excited! I opened it up to see this!

I have read SO many blogs talking about how much they LOVE their personal laminators so I could not WAIT to get mine!

My husband was a little hesitant however. He kept asking, "Are you sure it will be good quality?" and so on and so forth. So of course...we had to try it out!

I was nervous at first that it would be hard to use, but it is SO user friendly! It took me maybe 5 seconds to figure out how to work it!

You place your materials in between the lamination pouch, and send it on through the machine. It doesn't take long to laminate either!

We pulled it out, and I was so happy to find that it is SO durable! I had someone ask me what was so special about having your own personal laminating machine when you might have a free one at school...

Honestly, my school laminator does not produce the best lamination! I had classroom library labels, and the lamination peeled off of all of them! I KNOW it will not peel off of this. This is definitely high quality lamination!

So now...the finished product! :) I've seen so many cute welcome signs that I had to make my own! I have a small bulletin board on the outside of my classroom for my newsletter, calendar, etc. It will go above that! 

AND FINALLY...what you are all waiting for! :) MyBinding has been so gracious to provide a 2nd laminator, exactly like this one, for you to win! All you have to do is enter below to win! We'll have the giveaway for 2 weeks then everything you see will be shipped to the winner for free (Hey! Teachers love free...whatever it is!!) Good Luck!

Spread the word!!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 10, 2012

CAFE in the Classroom

Last year I implemented the Daily 5, and I must say, it was the best thing that I could have done! I loved it! I am still in the process of introducing all the Dailies to my new group this year, but so far it is going great!

Because Daily 5 was SUCH a huge success in my class, I began looking into the CAFE Literacy Model written by the same authors of the Daily 5. I am LOVING it so far! I wanted to walk through what CAFE looks like in my classroom, and hope to gain some advice and insight from my fellow bloggers on how it looks in their classrooms.

1. One of the key visuals you see as soon as you enter into a classroom that has implemented CAFE is the large CAFE menu board. I've seen SO many cute examples of this board. Here is mine.

 I love having it right by my carpet area because we refer to these strategies ALL the time during our mini-lessons.

2. The next (probably most important) item needed in CAFE is the CAFE Assessment Binder. I'm sure there are many CUTE designs out there for the binder, but here is mine.

In the binder, I have many different sections. One section is focused on Launching CAFE. In this section, I have listed out the different strategies that need to be taught in a specific order. These correlate with my Common Core mini-lessons. I also included my notes I wrote while reading through the book. These notes discuss how to conference, hold strategy groups, etc.

The next section includes all the Ready Reference Forms. I simply downloaded these from the cd included in the back of the book. These are incredible! They state what the strategy is, the "secret to success," and how "The Sisters" teach the strategy. These are just simple cheat sheets that are so helpful!

 Next, I include my calendar. This calendar is what I use to write down when I am meeting with each student for conferencing or strategy groups. The book definitely recommends to stick to your plan! The students need consistency so it is important to stick with these meeting times!

The last part of my assessment binder includes individual tabs for each student. In these tabs, I have a copy of the CAFE Literacy Menu so we can refer back to the different strategies. There is a Reading Conference Form that I use when I meet with the students for their conferencing, and a Writing Conference Form.

3. Lastly, each child has their own personal CAFE folder. They use this folder to keep any records relating to their personal goals, strategy groups, etc. One of the important things that I have each child keep in this folder is their own personal conference form. I created these forms so the students have a place to write down their particular goal that we decide to focus on during our individual conference time. If they do not write it down, they definitely will not remember it.

This folder is also a place where I have my students keep any type of records showing their progress towards their goal. For example, one of my students is working on the strategy "Asking Questions" to monitor her comprehension. She keeps her sticky note tracking sheet in this folder. It helps having everything together so they understand the connection between it all.

You can download the individual student recording sheet here. I haven't seen many other student recording sheets so if you have one, I'd love to see it! I just feel it is so important that the students write down their goals to take ownership in their learning.

I'd LOVE to hear how CAFE is going in your classroom. I know there were many book studies over the CAFE book this summer so I'm assuming there are quite a few classrooms in the same position as I am...slowly trying to get all of this right! :)

Let me know how CAFE works in your classroom!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Before I started blogging, I always saw SO many bloggers do these "currentlys." I LOVED them, and now that I've joined the blogging world recently, I wanted to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently!

I was so upset - I missed the UPS guy with my new laminator!! He should be bringing it back on Monday SO...all my dear blogging friends, I'll hope to have a big giveaway next week sometime where you could possibly win a new laminator! WooHoo! Stay tuned in and thanks for being patient! It is coming! :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Heads Up for a MAJOR Giveaway!!

I still feel like I am having to adjust to school time! Being in Arkansas, we are just starting to feel the force of Isaac (tropical storm or whatever it is now). Needless to say...all the down pouring rain made the day feel MUCH longer!

What do you have your students do during inside recess?

I used to have board games that the students could play, but when I moved schools, I left those there. Today, my students just did whatever. I just had to leave my room (since the paraprofessionals were on duty) because it was driving me nuts! I need to get a file or some materials and have them on hand in case we have inside recess. I'd love to hear your ideas!

More importantly...I'm excited to say that I am teaming up with My Binding to give away a free, personal.....LAMINATOR! woo hoo!

I'm getting mine in this next week, and will be updating some pictures as well as the guidelines for the giveaway! This is the same company that has provided multiple products for giveaways over at Smiling in Second Grade.

SO...needless to say, keep checking my blog for more information regarding this giveaway! I can't wait to use my laminator! EVERYONE has been raving about how much they love their laminators. You could be one of those as well if you win this giveaway!

As I stated, I should be posting this giveaway within the next week or so! Keep posted and spread the word!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday

Today is the last day of the Teacher's Week linky party over at Blog Hoppin'. Today might be my favorite, and I completely forgot about it until now...and the day is almost over; however, I love freebies and wanted to participate! Anything free is worth my time, even if it is just to look at for ideas!

First up is a quick and simple game to review place value. In 2nd grade, we are working on mastering the different forms of numbers. This matching game reinforces the variety of forms - standard, word and expanded - the same number can have.

We focus a lot on character building within my class. Part of our character/career education is allowing the students to have different class jobs and paying them for their jobs. I've seen a TON of class job signs around that are VERY cute, so here is mine to add to the mix! :) The "Hello Name" clipart is by Maree Truelove.

I hope you have enjoyed Freebie Friday. I know I am exhausted from our first week back to school! This weekend will be full of SLEEPING for me! :) 

If you download any of these freebies, I would love for you to follow my blog! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday

WHEW! I am worn out! Day 2 in my class actually went by very smoothly! I was so impressed with my sweet 2nd grade babies, and how quickly they picked up our routines and procedures. Without planning, I have now become a cheerleader in my classroom. Everything has hand motions, gestures, and some form of movement. It has to be done though because otherwise their attention is out the window!

ANYWAYS, I am linking up Blog Hoppin' for their Technology Tip Tuesday for Teacher's Week! I've loved all the tips I've read so far!

Last year I implemented Daily 5 within my classroom. One of the "Dailies" is Work on Writing. We had multiple resources within our classroom the students could choose from for Work on Writing. These included Topic Journals that the entire class worked on, Free Write, then Blogging.

KidBlog is a free, completely protected blogging site for students. I love this because it gives my students a chance to work on their typing skills while doing something "fun" such as blogging.

The number one question we all ask when we see websites like this is "Is it protected?" KidBlog is completely teacher protected. Everything my students post, I have to approve. Whether it is a comment a post or anything, I, as the teacher/administrator, will be sent an email that provides a direct link to where I can approve or disapprove what was posted. Even better, NO-ONE can view my class' posts or comments or site without a password given by me, the teacher. Even parents cannot view their child's posts without a password directly from me.

Our school provides a parent/school handbook where the parents sign off on internet access. I also send home an additional note describing KidBlog so the parents understand that it is completely protected. I have never had any problems from parents worried about their child posting things online because honestly it is completely hidden to the outside world.

It is very easy to set your class up, and once again - the best thing about it - it is completely teacher protected. I have to approve everything!

My kids were so motivated to blog/write. Honestly, I did not assign specific writing assignments for the kids to complete because I wanted them to simply enjoy writing through this technology resource!

I hope this is helpful within your classroom! If you have any questions on how to set it up, let me know! I'm excited about implementing it within my class this year during our Daily 5 Work on Writing time! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School Jitters

I'm excited to link up with Jessica at A Turn to Learn for her Back to School Jitters Linky Party.

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Last year was my first year to teach, and I have to say I am still nervous about those first few days (as I'm sure I will continue to be each and every year.) I always feel that I'm going to forget something, and they always state how important those first 4-6 weeks are as you establish the routines and procedures. I  think I'd prefer to skip to week 5 or 6 and hit the ground running! Haha but the beginning of school is very fun getting to know all the new babies.

I'm moving down to 2nd grade from 3rd grade so I completely forget how small these babies are! We had Open House last night, and I was in amazement at how little they were! I was used to my almost 4th graders at the end of last year! I'm thinking the beginning of the year will be the biggest adjustment for me! I've already prepared myself for their writing to be significantly less then what I'm used to...and that is ok! I'm ready! haha :)

I must say, though, I couldn't help but fall in love with my sweet, new 2nd graders that I met at Open House. They would come into my room, and as soon as they saw me, run to give me a hug! Those hugs reminded me why I do what I do!

Here are all my back to school emotions! The Good, The Bad, and the...EXCITED! :)

I can't believe school starts on Monday! Like I said above, no matter the hardships that I'm faced, my goal this year is to always remember that I'm doing what I love and I'm meant to be here! Have a great first week for those of you starting back soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Library Checkout System

One of the things I struggled with last year was my classroom library checkout system. I didn't feel that I implemented a system that worked. I wanted my kids to spend more time reading and less time book shopping, but it seemed that I had a lot of kids that finished their books quickly because they read all the time OR other kids who only read picture books so of course they finished quicker then those reading chapter books. I mean how do you control that? I also didn't want to look up and see 10 kids in the library at one time because we all know that leads to temptations to talk!

I think I found a cure to this Library Checkout problem! I have to give credit where it is due. One of my colleagues gave me her checkout system sheet so I tweaked it for my own class! I am excited about it!

Basically, I will add in each child's name to the boxes (under student tab), and the kids will have 2 days a week to checkout 3-4 books from our classroom library. As you can see, the days stagger so you will only have around 8-9 (if that) in the library at a time. I will let my kids checkout books during our first 15 minutes of the day on their checkout day. I color coordinated because...let's be 2nd graders will not remember what day they are supposed to checkout (at least at first); however, if I say the "purple and blue groups" are checking out today, that will help them remember!

Here is this form for you to edit for your class! The fonts I used might not be installed on your computer, and I can't figure out how to save it in compatibility mode (or whatever it is where everything stays the same and you just type stuff in)!

The last question I received is how to have your kids remember exactly what color they are so you don't have to constantly read names until they remember their day. My solution - I created these bookmarks for the kids to have that have their color AND the 2 days of the week they can check out. Between my schedule and these bookmarks, my goal is that my kids will get used to this routine AND it'll help my management of my class library!

Because I am still trying to gain followers, you can grab these bookmarks for free HERE. :)

I'd love to hear what you use to manage the checkout system for your classroom library!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Linking Up and a FREEBIE!

I'm SO excited to have my awesome new layout from Diana at Custom Blog Designs!

I also am excited to link up with Lindsay over at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher for her linky party over Reading and Writing Workshop. Last year was my first year teaching, and I absolutely LOVED reading and writing workshop! I'm excited about this linky party to gain even more ideas to make our workshop times even more effective.

A lot of people have already mentioned some of their essential items for workshops - book baskets, bookmarks, etc. When I started thinking about must have materials for my workshop time, I couldn't help but immediately think about Daily 5.

Daily 5 has been exploding in the last year or two, and I've noticed a TON of people talking about it in the blog world. I implemented it last year about half-way through the year, and it was a complete LIFESAVER! I could never go back! Although I still keep my workshop routines and schedules, I add Daily 5 in as the structural system to allow me to better meet the needs of my reading groups!

The next MUST HAVE material is a somewhat new idea for my classroom. I tried last year to really focus on explicitly implementing Word Study within my Literacy Block. This was in the form of word study lessons and/or vocabulary. I had a word study notebook last year for my kids that was just NOT organized. I hated it! They would flip 5 pages to write their next assignment. Just bad. Lindsey at The Teacher Wife inspired my NEW Word Study Notebook idea.

Last year in 3rd grade, and the same in 2nd this year, I really wanted to focus on the STUDY of words, and strategies to use that will improve reading and writing. We DSA test our kids at the beginning of the year, and use Word Journeys as a guide for our instruction. In 2nd Grade, I will start my kids at Feature F - Long Vowel Patterns.

We do 2 week units for Word Study. I find that the one week units are usually rushed, and the kids just memorize the words for Friday's test. With this program, my focus will be on patterns, generalizations and the study of words instead of rushing for Friday's test. This notebook covers the first 10 weeks of instruction - Long A/Short A through Long U/Short U.

Because I am a new blogger and am so excited about this linky party AND my new layout, I am giving this 32 page Word Study packet as a freebie!!! YAY! :) Click here to download the file into Google Docs!

Let me know what you think about it, and how you might use it in your classroom!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

and so it begins...

After almost a year of blog stalking, I have finally decided to start my own blog! I must say, I was very hesitant at first. I more thing on my plate, right? One of my former team members, Jillian, over at Little Miss Whimsical , started her fabulous blog earlier this summer, and I must admit, I was more hesitant. Because we are sharing our TPT and TN stores, I didn't know how it would work out having my own blog. BUT...I had all these ideas and wanted to personally connect with so many other bloggers that..needless to say, I started my own blog! Because Jillian and I basically make and create the same sort of things, we decided to share our TN and TPT stores so some of the things you might see here on my blog will also be able to be viewed on hers as well. I'm VERY new to this whole blogging thing so BEAR with me as I'm sure it'll take me a while to get adjusted to everything!! :)

I am excited, though, because my room is ALMOST ready! YAY! I have been inspired by SO many bloggers out there that I'm sure everything in my room has been "stolen" from some website or blog! Here are a few pictures of my [mostly] completed class library and reading areas! My math section is still a work in progress as I was inspired by Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files, and how she organized her levelized math games. Needless to say, I'm in need of colored ink and lamination to get all those math games ready, BUT I'm very excited about having a levelized math games section for my kids. I'll post more on that when I am closer to completing it!

Sorry if these pictures are dark..I have the OLD iPhone 3G so my camera is definitely not the best! Ha! ;)

I'm very excited about implementing CAFE this year. I've LOVED Daily 5, and cannot wait to see my kids grow as they learn the variety of strategies that CAFE introduces.

Our classroom library! We've continued the theme of black with bright colors so many of Kristen's library labels over at Ladybug's are at use within my library! Check them out on her website, they are SO cute!

Jillian at Little Miss Whimsical helped me paint this bookshelf from a not so cute BRIGHT red to black! I love it!

One other cozy reading area underneath our Daily 5 board. The empty black space is where I place all of our I-charts needed for implementing Daily 5. Those will go up as we introduce them!

Jillian made these SUPER cute book luggage tags to be placed on the kids' book baskets. You can check them out at our TN store! Within these book baskets the kids will keep their guided reading/literature discussion books and 5 of our class library books. My goal is to diminish the constant "book shopping" I see within classrooms. I want them reading not shopping! :)

Whew! That was a long 1st blog post! :) I'm very excited to have this blog to communicate, share, and learn from all of you! Can't wait to see all the amazing posts of rooms and first days of school!

How are your rooms coming along?