Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throw Back Thursday

I am linking up with Cara Carroll again this Thursday for Throw Back Thursday. I am pulling out a fun post on Alitteration and Acrostic Poems. Enjoy! This post is from April 2013. Not a very far throwback, but still a throw back!


In writing lately we've been working hard on taking a piece of writing through the writing process so I thought it would be fun to take a break from the boring hard stuff and have a little fun this week!

After perusing instagram and my favorite blogs this weekend I decided to do alliterations and acrostic poems. I took the idea from Lindsay over at For The Love of First Grade and ran with it! Turns out she got the idea from Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade. This is exactly why I love the blogging world! We all can use each others ideas! LOVE IT!

So we are going to spend a few days on both of these topics. We started today with alliterations and just focused on small sentences with 2 words, 1 noun and 1 verb. We used the students names for our nouns. They loved it! Well some of did. Some need some warming up to the idea! Tomorrow we will try doing sentences with 3 words, 1 noun, is, and 1 adjective.

After doing this activity whole group I sent the students off for independent writing time with this sheet for them to record their alliteration. Grab a copy of it below! The document I'm using for acrostic poems on Thursday and Friday is on there too. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

textbooks with a GREAT cause

So this post is a little different than my normal posts, but I know that some of my followers are still in college getting their degree to be a teacher and I know that some of my teacher followers are in grad school and I hope that you can use this!

I recently just found this website and I so wish that they had this website around when I was in school! For me, getting textbooks for the semester included going to the school bookstore, searching for the books, and then waiting in line to buy them. And within the search I was always hoping I'd find a used book so I didn't have to buy it new. Books are crazy expensive!

And you want to know what else? Teacher can use this too! I searched the book "The Daily 5" and it came up! Along with lots of great resources that you can rent and use in the classroom! Even workbook resources you can make copies from.

So here is the process. Type in the title you want to find.

 If they have your book it'll show up AND a bunch of other resources you may like.

You add the book to your cart and you choose how long you want to rent the book for. This is my favorite part because you don't have to buy the book! Just rent it and return it! And it's perfect for that Maymester class where you only need the books for 3 weeks.

Then go to check out and you'll receive your book within 7-14 days with FREE shipping! You of course can choose to expedite your books.

To return the book all you have to do is put the book in the bubble envelope with a prepaid USPS label attached to the outside that you received when you got your books and drop it off at any USPS drop box or post office. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Another website they have is where you can rent your books out to students! This can be done by anyone! So if you books on your shelf from college that you STILL haven't gotten rid of, get on it! You can make 2x-4x more money compared to what you'd make through the buy back options at the end of the semester.

The best part of this company is that they are partnering with an amazing organization with an amazing cause, Operation Smile.  
They are an awesome organization that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children whose families could not otherwise afford it. The long term improvement in quality of life for the children that receive these surgeries is almost incomprehensible.

Go check it out! You won't be sorry! Such a great way to get books you need for whatever reason!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday {writer's workshop}

I am linking up with Cara Carroll and participating in her "Throwback Thursday". Now my throwback isn't a very far throw. Just back to April. But it's a good post that I thought would be good to share as we start thinking about next year and how we want to structure our teaching. So read up on how I do writer's workshop in my classroom!


As I scrolled through my blog reel today I came across Rachelle Smith's blog "What the Teacher Wants". Everyone knows her! She's amazing. I absolutely love her. Her Holidays Around the World is one of my favorite units. Ok, back to the point of this post. She wrote about her writing conferences and I thought, "ya know, I'm going to write about my writer's workshop too!" It's one of my favorite times of the day!

My district has taken on the workshop model for all of our main subjects; reading, writing, and math. The workshop model is divided into 3 parts: mini lesson, independent learning, and sharing. So my writer's workshop is just that. 15 mini lesson, 30 minutes of independent writing, and 5 minutes of sharing. The 5 minutes of sharing normally is tacked onto the last 5 minutes of the 30 minutes of writing. Sometimes there's just not enough time in the day!

Our mini lessons are pulled from my districts scope and sequence and we also pull alot from Lucy Calkins. If you don't know who she is, google her! Her books are amazing. They are completely scripted for you and the kids seem to love those lessons.

After the mini lesson, I dismiss the students back to their desk for independent writing time. It is completely silent during this time. You may ask, "how do you keep them silent the whole time?" My answer is PRACTICE! We had to start with smaller chunks of writing time and more sharing time. It took till probably Christmas before they were ready to go the full 25-30 minutes. I had to introduce what they can write, where to get their supplies, etc. I will save all of that for another blog post.

I meet with 5 students daily at my round table. They know their day and immediately get their supplies and come to my table. I rotate between students helping them with their stories. I use the following recording sheet to keep track of my students progress. For the column "writing process" I just put what part of the writing process are they in. Of course they are at the conference point, but since they meet me at random times in their stories, I always like to document what part of the writing process they are at. Just print, copy back to back, put into a binder, and voila! You have a writer's workshop conference binder! Click the picture to download.

For sharing time, I use three questions that the writer says after they share their story to get the students listening involved. This way the "chatter" will stay down because everyone is involved; the reader and listeners. The idea comes for Lucy Calkins.

The questions are:
1. What do you remember about my story?
2. Do you have any questions about my story?
3. Do my story remind you of anything?

These questions open up so much dialogue! The one who is sharing also knows to ask "could you write a story about that?" after the "do you have any connections to my story?" That way the asker now has an idea for a new story. It's some powerful stuff!

Here are the posters in PDF form. They are from the amazing Amy Lemons. Click here to check out her blog post on her writer's workshop.

I hope you enjoyed how writer's workshop works in my room. How do you do writing in your classroom?
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Calendar and Problem Solving

This is my favorite time of the day! Calendar and problem solving is also my students favorite time of the day! It's just perfect! ;)

I just finished my calendar time unit that will help you implement calendar in your classroom along with the resources to make a calendar and problem solving binder for your students. It even includes all the parts for display! It's a great unit if I say so myself :)

Every morning I prepare our calendar area so that when the students come into the classroom they can immediately get started on their calendar binder. Now of course at the beginning of the year the students do not do calendar independently and their morning work will consist of a word search or fun activity. Once I've introduced every part of calendar and number of the day, then my students morning work becomes their calendar binder.

Here is a picture of my calendar area. Does yours look similar? Every part of our calendar we address during "number of the day".
Students work on their "number of the day" sheet and also fill out their how many days in school, tally sheet, calendar and weather graph. Take a peek at what they look like. I know that everyone's "number of the day" sheet may look different, but this has been the best way for me and my kids. I have changed it year after year, but this has been my favorite.

Along with the calendar is a monthly word wall and area for students to draw a picture of what that month makes them think of! Who doesn't love to draw?! :)

After announcements, the students know to move to the carpet with their binder and we go over it together. This allows students who are done to share and for those students who aren't done, they can continue filling it out as we do it together.

You may think writing the days of the week and the date day after day is redundant, and it totally is! BUT they will know how to spell the days of the week and the months of the year by the end of the school year! You also may want to pull your hair out because it'll take some of your kids FOREVER to fill out their number of the day, but you have to keep the end in sight because they will shock you! By the end of the year they will be masters at this! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

Once we go over "number of the day" we flip over the page and our "problem of the day" is waiting for us! I read the problem and let the students think. No one is allowed to come ask questions. They need time to think! It's so important. Once they solve it, they come and show me the answer. If it's correct, they go and stand anywhere in the classroom silently. If the answer isn't correct, I tell them to go try again.

After most of the students have gotten the answer and are standing around the room, I will turn on music and the students will begin walking around the room and mixing up! When the music stops, they pair up with the person closest to them and they each share their answer and HOW they got their answer. Then they put their calendar binder away and come sit at the carpet silently.

The students who were not standing when the music began are sitting with me. When the music goes off, those students meet with me and we go over the problem together. This is a great opportunity to do a quick one minute mini lesson on the problem. Once we have gone over the problem, they put up their binder and come to the carpet as well.

Then as a whole class, I have the students share the different ways they solved the problem. They are always so shocked that they have come up with the same answers but have solved them differently. Amazing how that happens!!!

Everything you need to implement a calendar area and calendar/problem solving calendar is in this packet! I have even included 152 problems for you to use throughout the year. All you have to do is print, cut, paste, and copy into weekly sets for your students binders! I hope that you can use it in your classroom.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Blog Lovin'

I know I know! Two posts in 1 day is such a blogging faux pas BUT it's a MUST! I promise. I am so sad to see Google Reader go away, but it's time to accept it and move onto Blog Lovin'.

Did you know that you have to RE-FOLLOW everyone on Blog Lovin' though?! So all of the hundreds of blogs I follow on Google Reader, I have to refollow on Blog Lovin'. Annoying, but it's time.

So to not miss out on any of my wonderful and hilarious blog posts (I know you love reading them), click the link below and follow me on Blog Lovin'.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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Five for Friday {summer edition}

This is my first week of summer so most of my Five for Friday have to do with summer. If you are still in school, I'm sorry! Scroll to the bottom for my last five for Friday post. It has to do with school :)
#1 Here is my sweet Stella enjoying our first day of summer! She's excited to have her momma home!

#2 My students gave me a gift card to Anthropologie (my downfall) and I had some fun shopping through the online store. I called their customer service number, ordered this amazing dress, and it came in today. All of this happened without me even having to leave my couch!! So excited!

#3 And here is why being able to buy this dress from the couch was such a great thing! I have had a bad back since high school. I will randomly tweak my back due to intense working out or lifting things that are too heavy. And last weekend I was packing up my classroom and BAM! threw my back out again. Since it's summer, I finally went in for an MRI on Tuesday and it turns out that I have bulging disks on my L4 and L5 vertebrae. Yep. I'm 27 and I have the back of an 90 year old who will be doing physical therapy twice a week until further notice. I'm finally starting to feel better but my back is still crazy tender!
white arrow shows a good disk, the red arrow shows a bulging disk
at least my day was better than this guy! Poor thing broke his arm!
 #4 So after leaving the doctor it was time to treat myself to some pamper time and I got my nails did! Loved how they turned out!

#5 I promised there was alittle bit of school in this post and here it is! My chevron decor packet!! I have been working on it all week since I've been couch ridden and I am so stinkin' excited how it turned out! It includes a number line, days of the week, months of the year, calendar numbers, color posters, number posters, schedule posters, shape posters, table numbers, student numbers, and alphabet posters.

Each set will be posted on Teachers Pay Teachers this weekend! *Fingers crossed!*

And I would LOVE to give this WHOLE decor packet away! Here's how you enter. Make sure to leave your email address so I know how to send it to!

EDIT-- Samantha J you won my packet! Please email me at so I can send you the packet! If I do not hear from you by Tuesday, I will pick a new winner!

1. Leave a comment for following my blog
2. Leave a comment for following my TpT store
3. Leave a comment for following my facebook page
4. Leave a comment for pinning my chevron packet (pinning this blog post is fine) with the pin link

Giveaway ends on Sunday at 7pm (CST) Good luck!
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Monday, June 10, 2013

ok, but next time, I'M SERIOUS!

Have you ever heard yourself saying those EXACT words? I know I have! I am a guest blogger over at Teaching 4 Real. Pamela is on vacation (JEALOUS!) and I agreed to keep her readers busy with my ramblings. I thought, "why not keep my reader's busy with my ramblings too?!" HA! Just kidding! I don't ramble too much, do I? Don't answer that. Moving onto the topic of this post.
We hear it all the time. Be consistent. Be consistent in your teaching. Be consistent in your classroom management. Be consistent in your discipline. But it’s easier said than done right? Of course it is!

This is my 5th year of teaching and I still struggle with this, but I hope that this post gives you a little insight into how I have grown over the years and made my classroom a more consistent learning environment.

It is important to start on day 1 with consistency and expectations. This is the first day your students will see you and you have to show them what you expect. I’ve heard the rule, “You have to be mean till Christmas. Then the kids will know what they can and cannot get away with.” I completely agree with this! Maybe not the mean part, but the principle that you have to stand strong in what you expect. Both in academics and behavior. Your students will thrive off of your expectations! I promise!

How do you promote consistency? Here are some ideas.

1.       Start a behavior system on day 1 and stick to it. I use a clip chart. You can use any behavior system. You must make sure to clearly lay out what deserves a consequence and what deserves praise. I use the terms “peacemaker” and “peacebreaker”. We brainstorm what a peacemaker and peacbreaker is the first week of school and put it on an anchor chart that hangs RIGHT by our clip chart. After the brainstorming is done I introduce the clip chart. (See my Teachers Pay Teachers store to look over the clip chart I use in my classroom). We talk about how if you do any of the peacemaker actions, you will get to clip up. And if you do any of the peacebreaker actions you will have to clip down. No arguments. And if you do argue, you clip down again! This one was a hard one for my firsties. They would argue with me about EVERYTHING! I have helped most of them stop doing that this year. Thank goodness!

2.       When a student breaks a rule, there is a consequence. NO MATTER WHAT! I understand that there are extenuating circumstances and you have to use your judgment, but I’ve learned from experience, if you let them get away with it once, they will try again and again and again to get away with it!

3.       Also, make sure that even if one of your sweet ones breaks a rule, you have to give the same consequence you would to your trouble student as you would your sweet student. I find myself sometimes thinking “oh, they won’t do it again”. Again, I say, consistency!

4.       Keep a schedule! This helps with academic consistency! We are in our last 2 days of school, but we are still doing our calendar and problem solving till the LAST day! And guess what? My students expected nothing less. We do it EVERY morning and they know this is what we do. This also removes the chance for behavior because they know the schedule and know what’s coming next in the day. This way they won’t sit there and think “well I don’t know what we’re doing, so I’m going to goof off!”

5.       Set expectations EARLY! At my school we do the workshop model for reading, writing, and math. In writing my students can write for 30 minutes STRAIGHT! Yes, I know, I’m very proud of them! Of course, we didn’t start there, but the 1st day I introduced writer’s workshop to my students, they were told that eventually we would reach 30 minutes of independent writing time. And we did reach that! We wrote EVERY day this year at the SAME time, upping our writing time every day. They knew we wrote during that time. And if we didn’t (very rarely happened), they would ask “why aren’t we writing?!” They really do thrive off schedules!

I hope that through this post you learned a little bit about consistency and you can try it in your classroom. I promise you won’t regret it. Have a good week!

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Currently June

It's June!

Yes. You heard me.

It's JUNE!!

Can you believe it?!

Me either.

So you know what that means, it's time for Currently with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th grade. YAY! My favorite time of the month.

1. listening- I love me some Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler on repeat! Law and Order: SVU marathon on USA made my day! I still don't know how the two of them NEVER hooked up through the whole series. I mean, come on!

2. loving- Through the past year I have made some amazing friendships with some amazing ladies and I wouldn't be where I am today without them! Their support, encouragement, and listening ear have been such a blessing!

3. thinking- I have 5 days left of school. HOLLA!!

4. wanting- I am doing the Advocare 24 day challenge and I am stinkin' HUNGRY! But hey, I'm getting bikini ready, right?. This quote comes to mind right now.

5. needing- My husband and I are going through some hard times right now trying to start a family. Who knew it could be this hard? Any ways, we have an appointment next Friday that will give us some answers as to when we can start trying to have a baby with help from the doctor, of course. Praying for good results! Humor is what's been getting me through one of the hardest things I've ever been through. Enjoy this bit of humor with me. I hope I do not make anyone uncomfortable with these. We are all women so I hope that my humor is taken the right way :)

6. 3 vacay essentials- book, iPhone, and magazine

My favorite thing to read on vacation is romance novels! They are so much fun to read. Sometimes cheesey, but my guilty pleasure!

Next comes my iPhone. Obviously for facebook, instagram, pinterest, and maybe alittle Sally's Spa. One of my favorite games! And of course for music to listen to while pool side!

And lastly, I love reading magazines. Mostly the gossip columns so I can catch up on what's going on in the world ;)

Well that's it! Now, it's your turn. Go link up :)
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