Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Learning and Classroom Whoas

Hi Everyone,

     What a week, already!  Hump - Day! I just wanted to write about a wonderful training class that I attended on yesterday, Effective Strategies to Teach Literacy.  It was eye-opening, affirming, and fun!  Our instructor was Dr. Rozlyn Linder.  What I really liked about the class.....was the affirmation of what I currently do in the classroom, so I don't feel like I have to make drastic changes.  If you don't have this book in your library (personal or school), please pick up a copy of Chart Sense.  I've already started adding post it notes to mark those standards and strategies that I know I'll need for our first unit.  
           I don't know about you, but Common Core feels a bit overwhelming. If I can really plan each unit with the end in mind, knowing which anchor charts to use, and have some strategy tips, I think it may be okay.
     Well, enough about the class....  I have a lot to do in my classroom and I still haven't even thought of a theme!  That is, until I had an aha moment today.  I'm planning it out now and will hopefully have pictures soon!  
     Enjoy the last few days of summer!

Happy Teaching,


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Timing of Things... Getting Organized Once and for All

What a year!  I had so many high hopes for getting my blog together.  I did quite a lot in my classroom, but getting it together enough to blog about it was difficult at best.  So, instead of beating myself up fretting over it, I decided to begin again. I'm a big believer in try, try again.   I've been working hard this summer, as I know all of you have.  I've been reading some really GREAT blogs, tweaking ideas, and getting ready for my 2nd year in 3rd grade.  I thought I'd  tell you about two (of the many great blogs) that I've read over the summer.  Leslie over at Kindergarten Works has great blog info on binder organization.  I've always made my own, but her blog made me think about how I was putting it together.  I went through my binder from last year and noticed how many pages I really didn't use.  It was cute when I was downloading freebies or buying pages that I "thought" would be good, but they didn't work in my classroom.  Anyone have that happen?   I knew I had to find out how to only use the pages that I needed.  Leslie, you rock!  Thank you for sharing. I love how you plan units for your kinders.  I read and re-read your posts and came up with a unit plan form that would work with my 3rd grade needs.   Here's how I use to plan units: pages of standards, our state's frameworks, calendar, and lots of sites open on the computer.  It literally took days to plan a couple of lessons.  After reading Leslie's blog and Beth Newingham's blogs Beth Newingham Scholastic, I knew I could make this year easier and better.  So, after creating a Unit Planning Guide for both Reading and Math, I tried them out.  Yeah!  It really works.  I've completed three math units, lesson plans, pulled pre and post assessments, created miniature anchor charts, pulled graphic organizers, created foldables, pulled and created centers, texts, and manipulative materials.  I'm now working on my second Reading Unit and it feels fantastic to have these already done. I feel so ready.  
This is how I used the guide to plan unit 1 in reading.  You can get a copy here You can also review the math planning guide here.

I still have more planning to do, but I feel really ready.   If you're looking for great content and ideas, I recommend Leslie's and Beth's blogs.  

I'll talk to you about my new revamped Reading Workshop in my next blog!

Happy Teaching, Everyone!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome Back to a New School Year

I can't believe that tomorrow is the day!  It's the first day back for teachers. I'm not ready!  I literally sat around my classroom today wondering how it's all going to get done.  Our school was painted over the summer, so we couldn't get in early to make everything pretty and functional for our upcoming school year.

If that wasn't enough, and it never is.....I'm moving to 3rd grade and........wait for it, wait for it.....I'm flipping my classroom.  Boy, overwhelmed and excited are two words that I plan on using A LOT this year!

I'm sure I'll need to reach out to those of you who have already flipped your classrooms for moral support and lots of tutorials to help make this a great transition for my students.  This is going to be a short post.... I'll begin with the beginning.......

My classroom as of today....... Is it crazy that I haven't even thought of a theme? We'll see the final result for Sneak-a-Peek......


Happy Teaching!
Come back to see the end result......

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hi Everyone,
It has been a long school year.  I tried to post, never happened; I tried to get more of my TPT creations in my store, never happened.  So, what happened?  Common Core and a new grade level.  Don't get me wrong.....I loved teaching 2nd grade.  I learned so much.  I took careful notes, made products for my classroom (that I hope you will find useful or inspire you to create your own), identified areas that I could improve like data collection (what do you do with the all the data you've collected, what's useful), worked and re-worked center rotations, created task centers, learned how to use the Promethean Board for more than just an anchor chart, got parents really involved, tweaked my behavior chart, and got my students involved in their learning using interactive notebooks.

After taking a much needed break when school was over, I took part of my vacation to reflect on my year and start to make some decisions about what I want my next year to look like.  I am in the process of creating my 3rd grade map.  Wait!  Did I mention that I'm LOOPING with my students to 3rd grade?  Well, I am!  And, I can't wait!

For those of you who have looped, will loop, or want to know more about looping.....I'll be dedicating most of my future blogs to this subject.  What have I done so far this summer?

I have my kids on kidblog (  We started using kidblog, as a center, in our classroom.  Students learned to create new posts, answer their classmates' and my posts, respond to book club questions, work in different author groups and discuss topics (I provided).  Now, we are using it over the summer to keep up with each other.  I'm also posting challenges and encouraging them to respond to each other.

I also created student accounts on  This is a great site that allows students to track their reading, online, total individual reading goal minutes, as well as, classroom goal reading minutes.   There is even a place for parent notification so that they can validate student reading.

In our classroom, we used Scootpad ( in a center and I piloted it to try homework assignments.  We'll be using this feature more :-)  .  Because this site is so user friendly, I set up two accounts. One for the classroom work, and one for the summer work that I wanted students to work on. It gives WONDERFUL data!  The data is common core aligned, you can view it by student, concept, standard, can print graphs, differentiate by grade levels (concepts or standards), and print individual student information for conferences and as a back up for data notebooks!  It is a HUGE help and I love it!

Well, that's enough for my newest post.  I would love to hear from you.  If you have looped in the past or will loop, please let me know what you love about the process.  If you use the above sites, I would love to hear how you use them in your classroom, if not, check them out!  You'll love them.

Happy Teaching Everyone,


P.S.  I haven't added my new items yet, but check back soon for my beginning of the year packet, some freebies, and center ideas/products.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Been Too Long

Hi Everyone,

I didn't realize that it has been so long since I last penned a post!  I've been waaaaay busy, just as you all have been, I'm sure.  I joined a great give-a-way and wanted to share it with you.  I'm also revamping this site to include more help for teachers, especially new teachers.  Common Core, I think, will be great.  It will connect us on an academic and love-of-teaching level.  It's a large learning curve and while I'm gathering great ideas to use, I want to put them together for teachers so that you, my fellow educators, can maximize your day.  Click on the link and drop by to enter her wonderful 100th follower celebration!  I'll be unveiling my new content soon!  Keep reading and Happy teaching!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

WOW! Common really is here

Hi Fellow Teacher Bloggers,

It really is here!  Common Core has come in with a bang!  I'm feeling overwhelmed, but suprisingly I am not feeling like I can't do it.  I think this is going to work out well in the end.  I don't know about you all, but I feel like I'm back in school again.  The mountain of paperwork is tremendous, but the good part is that we actually get to practice what we've been reading about.  My kids (school kids) are responding really well.  We have a tight schedule and all of our subjects are interrelated.  I find that the biggest problem over the last couple of weeks is quite frankly, the paperwork.  So, if someone out there has a list of hints to tame the paper tiger that has taken over both desks, please seek me out and guide me through your system.  :-) 

Now, aside from the paper tiger, I love the room!  It's coming together quite nicely.  It is the Hollywood Theme from The Clutter-Free Classroom (  My kids are really enjoying being the stars.  The red carpet was a hit and my reading groups (Studio Names) are excited to hear their group names being called.  I feel really good when I look around my room and know that I've created a warm, inviting place for my students to learn.  We have "Jay-Z" and "Beyonce" (with $1 store microphones) lead the class in learning their math facts.  We  have a couple of cozy areas to take their shoes off and enjoy reading a book.  We're observing plants grow (lima beans) and journaling and illustrating.  I have to say it again!  I LOVE THIS JOB!   Happy Teaching and welcome to the fray for those of you who are just starting back to school!

check out my blog: www.teacherspayteachers/Store/The-Teachers-Workspace

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We're Off and Running

Hi Fellow Bloggers,

If you're as overwhelmed, exhausted, and exhilarated as I am after this last week, throw your hands in the air!  Boy, I didn't realize that it had been so long since I blogged.  The first week went by in a blur.  I'm still getting to know my little cute friends!  They are wonderful!  I'm furiously making centers, so I'll have more to create for my store soon!  I promise.  Ok, my birthday is fast approaching!  I've set a goal to have at least 100 followers (secretly, I want 200), by then.  It's August 29th.  So, be on the lookout next week for a a special creation that I'm making to say thank you for following me.  I think I promised some pics of my classroom.....well, I'm still setting it up!  But, I will get those online as soon as I can.  I'd love some feedback, especially from those of you who are the perfect organizers.  You know who you use every nook and cranny to the fullest possible potential and you make it practical and beautiful.  I could use that energy and insight.Well, gotta go get the kids ready for bed, grade papers and start reading for the Reading Bowl!  Yeah!  I LOVE TEACHING!