Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Favorites

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Thanksgiving activities!
Some are free and some are paid but I love them all the same!
Make sure you read the whole post because the freebies are scattered throughout!
Here are some Thanksgiving-themed activities I loved hanging around my school:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small Group Data Form Freebie

Small groups are an essential piece of every elementary classroom’s reading block.
  My first year teaching, small groups were not part of the instructional model.  We taught whole group and then worked with individuals who struggled with that day’s lesson.  I was brand-new to teaching.  My students learned.  I saw growth.  Their fluency improved.  But did I truly know my students?  No.  Did I personalize their learning? No.
My next year teaching, small groups emerged and my life changed.  My students’ lives changed.  I knew my students better then ever.  I was able to personalize their learning.  They made the biggest gains in all aspects of their reading abilities. 
The Institute of Education Sciences determined that small group instruction is a highly effective differentiating strategy that has a significant impact on student achievement.
To help my teachers this year, I have created a few different options for small group data forms.  In the past, some teachers didn’t keep data- but this year it is a school wide requirement.  It’s not that those teachers couldn’t accurately describe in great detail each students’ successes, struggles, growth, etc.  But it was documented.  The day-to-day documentation helps in conferences, class groupings, and the most in proving the need to develop a 504 or IEP for a student who would benefit from specific support services. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tips for Not Letting Report Cards Get You Down

report card blog image 2
It is that time of year that is typically the most stressful for teachers---
1st quarter report cards, conferences, American Education Week,
and maybe even observations? 
Report cards don’t need to stress you out and give you a constant headache! 
A focus of my school this year is to make sure we utilize report cards to accurately document:
1. how the student is performing in the classroom
2. behavior/social concerns effecting performance
3. level of support currently being provided for student success
4. teacher’s plan for assisting in student growth next term

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Technology Ideas (Part 1)

Even though my new position is not strictly technology, technology is still a HUGE part of my job.  My county is currently piloting one-to-one devices at 10 elementary schools.  My school is not one of the piloting schools, but students in first through third grades will begin using one-to-one devices next year.  The other grade levels the following year. 
Staff members received the devices at the end of last year to begin learning and familiarizing themselves.  This year I wanted to make sure the devices didn’t sit in their bags unused, so I have and will continue to look for suggestions for them to begin utilizing with just one device in the classroom! 
We were provided with HP Revolve Elitebooks.  They are dual-purpose, acting as a laptop and a tablet.  We like to call them laplets! (Since we do not like to call them devices… just sounds funny!)
So without farther ado---
Let’s get this blog series started!
tech idea blog post 1

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Building Super Stamina

Last year many teachers at my school began using the Daily 5 framework.  After seeing the many successes from last year, all teachers are joining in on the action this year!  
(This is where I am jumping for joy.. but you can’t see me!)
Based off of the reading resources the county provides us (Reading Wonders) and the curriculum they have written utilizing those resources, I truly believe Daily 5 is the best way for teachers to layout their reading block. 
Last year…
I saw the MOST growth in reading abilities and skills.
I witnessed students FALLING IN LOVE with books.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I was unable to get a student who was reading’s attention until a student literally tapped them on the shoulder. 
In my new position as STAT/resource teacher, I have began searching for meaningful resources to use for all aspects of Daily 5. 
My teachers have just began Daily 5 so their focus is on what my post is on today…

Monday, August 4, 2014

Animal Wax Museum Recap & Freebie

Here is my first look-back from my classroom this spring! 
Every year in second grade we complete Animal Research Projects.  Ever since I created my Animal Wax Museum Pack this is a breeze for my coworkers and I!
Our students researched, created dioramas, and made their costumes at home with their parents.  In school they wrote their final copies, created their posters, buttons, and animal crossing signs.
Let’s take a look!

wax final blog

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Life Update {Where I’ve Been, What I’m Doing, & Where I’m Going}

life updates

As I began writing this post I was in shock to see the date of my last post….

March 4th…. WOWZERS!

Where does the time go??

In March, I had just began two new projects (still in the works now) and came to the conclusion that I was spending way too much of my life blogging, creating, promoting, etc.

It literally was


I actually would feel guilty anytime I wasn’t working. 

I love sharing my ideas- things that I found to work and not work in the classroom. 

I love sharing my students’ successes. 

I love sharing my creations.

And I love that I am able to not only be a part of the learning in my classroom but also hundreds of classrooms around the world.

But I realized I needed to live my life too. 

We only have one and we need to make it a great one!

So this spring and summer I’ve done just that.  I have taken a break from creating and blogging to spend time with my family and friends.  I have taken three wonderful vacations--- Jamaica, Bethany Beach, & Costa Rica!

jamaica final

bethany beach final

costa rica final

I say wonderful time minus fracturing my nose in two places while surfing in Costa Rica!


I have read more books in the past month then I have probably read in

the past 5 years!

I was able to have my first bloggy meet-up with Jen from Teacher by the Beach.  She is such a sweetheart by the way!


While doing all of this, I have realized that I missed this part of my life too. 

Everything in moderation, right?

So in order to help myself get back on track and keep a balance--

I’ve made a tentative schedule so that I don’t give too much time to any one thing.

With all that I have shared so far, I also wanted to tell you all about my new position at my school.  I will be a .5 3rd grade math pullout teacher and a .5 STAT teacher.  In my county, a STAT teacher provides job-embedded professional development, instructional coaching, and any other support to help make teachers and students successful.  I am so excited about this new experience!

So, in the coming weeks expect to see me catching up by sharing some experiences from the past few months of school as well as some new products in the works Smile 

Keep an eye out!