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Thursday, September 26, 2013

In this Classroom We...

Setting up all of our your rules and expectations is by far one of the most important things we do every year.

I have spent too much time this week at the principal's office. I have lost sleep. I have reflected. I have vented with friends (thank YOU!) and I have come up with plan A, B, and plan C.
I have yet to find out it where I fell short this year, but creating something that allowed me to review my expectations (for every single one of my students) has made me feel better.

We practice the right way. We practice the wrong way. We wrote what it means to them. We drew what it would looks like.
I put them up (bunting style) so we can review when necessary. I will probably decorate my door with them once everyone has master them.
You must check the drawing on the right hand side. I laughed so hard!

46 posters with star background. Find them HERE.

46 posters with chevron background. Find them HERE.

46 posters with polka dots background. Find them HERE.

Wish me luck. I have one day left before my vacation starts and I would like to stay away from the bosses' office :) 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lesson Planning on Line Giveaway!

I spent my Saturday night creating plans for my last week. This girl is tracking out this Friday and I am more than ready for Friday to get here.

Lesson planning has been going better for me since I joined Planbookedu. My grade level jumped at the opportunity and we got a great deal because five of us joined, and because we are part of one the biggest school systems in NC :)  Double Score!

Two of you can win a membership for a year! 

The Calendar view is what you see when you first open you account.  I have two plan books: One for my entire day, and one for my guided reading groups.  

My day looks like this. I color coded every part of my day and created a different cell for each. Easy to see, easy to use, easy to name it!

This is what my weekly lesson plans look like. You can change the view to see your plans daily, or weekly. I like this view much better :)

One of the best features (IMO) is that you can search for any CC standards (by grade level) and add them to your plans. We are required to add standards this year, so this made me a happy, happy teacher.

Another feature I love, is the ability to attach a document. It has saved me time already. Instead of getting to work on Monday and search for my flash drive, the documents is already waiting for me, ready to get printed.
And lastly... How about the days when you do not get to do what was planned? Planbookedu allows you to bump your lessons! Woot, woot! You can also copy your lesson from day to day (and just make some minor adjustments, and print it. 

I asked my administration about observations. I was told to print them and not to worry about writing anything!  

I am honestly very satisfied with this product!  So, if you do not have a planner, and would like to try something new...come and enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 21, 2013

5 for Friday - a day late.

It is almost Sunday and I suddenly realized I missed my Friday post!  So, here it is.

I sent three friends  my Words to Smile About. Thanks for your great feedback!

I created one more! The Black and White style can be printed using color card stock- major ink saver!

Polka dots, chevron, chalkboard and black and while style for you to choose. Find then HERE

A week from today I will be on my way to the other side of the country. I am in need of a new camera bag. Which one do you like? I can't decide. 

Three kinds of community posters: rural, urban and suburban. The kids enjoyed making posters to finish our communities unit.

I love quotes. They inspire me, they make me smile. This week I saved four from four of my IG friends.

And lastly, five pictures of our addition strategies. The kids are ready to move on :) I think our first grade teachers already did a fantastic job and I am changing the pace for next week.

Come and link up HERE[fiveforfriday2%255B6%255D.jpg]

Monday, September 16, 2013

Good Bye Boring Words. Time to Smile :)

You know THE words, right? Sad, mad, nice... Second grade writers can do better than that! Your students can too :)

My students writing can only get better by addressing some boring words. I had done the 'dead words' around Halloween time, but I could not look at the tombstones year round.  I wanted something I could keep up for a little bit longer.
I began thinking about my vocabulary bulletin board, and this is what happened after getting help from a few friends.

Synonyms are a must when it comes to making your writing come alive. 

My student teacher helped me put them up for you to see.  I wanted to show you more than one word at a time :)

Don't have a bulletin board?  How about using a binder to house your synonym posters? 

In there, you will find...

I did not create 1, but 3!
Chalkboard lovers?  Find it HERE

Polka Dot Lovers?  Find it HERE.

Chevron Lovers?  Find it HERE.

Would you super love to win one? Which one is your favorite? 

Pin your favorite. Don't forget your e-mail and your pin link. I will e-mail it to a few friends :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Writing Process Pencils (freebie for you).

There are many times, when whatever you created for one class, does not work the next. My husband wonders why I continue to work as hard as I do, even though I have never changed grade levels. The truth is, I like to do new things and when things do not go well, plan B is not an option.

My writer's workshop is not going smoothly. I have observed them closely. I have stopped my teaching to see where I fell them. Sure enough, it happened again. I went over the steps of the writing process waaaayyy too fast. They continue to ask me the same questions.over.and.over. I blamed them for a bit, but then I reflected and admitted that it is all my fault for getting to the teaching part before training was over (HUGE mistake).

So, this past week, we stopped our writing time and went over every step. I then decided to create something new.
 A quick tool my students can use to follow the writing ,and for me to know what they are working on.

My blue chart from last year (new pictures of the kids) was not as successful :( 
I printed the front cover using white card stock. I used regular white paper for the middle pages, and color card stock for the back cover. We hole punched them and added a little ring.

We went over each step of the writing process. I wanted them to have a future model, just in case they forget what it looks like.

Now, they put it close to their writing making sure they do what they need, before asking for a conference.
Not only that, but when I walk around I do not have to ask them what they are working on, I can just look at their pencil. 
Their pencil is placed in their writer's workshop folder. 

Is it working? This past week it did :) Everything sounded and looked the way it was supposed to.

Are they playing with it? No. I am hoping they don't.

Do I still have kids who do not understand the process? Well, yes. But only 2 :)

Would you like a free copy?  I hope you do :)  Find it HERE.   Let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Birthdays in Our Classroom (My First Monday Made It!- on a Sunday)

Last week I finished my first set of birthday cups. Since I had another 'crazy' week, I just sat down to download my pictures and show you my small birthday project.
I cannot take credit for such a clever idea since I totally copied borrowed  Lisa's idea. I hope she does not take me to court :)

I just noticed they need a bit more whipped cream and those cherries may be a bit big... but I am sure the kiddos will not mind at all. Right?

So, here's how I did it...
I gathered all my supplies:
- 24 Starbucks cups (free- courtesy of my room mom)
- 24 clear bags  (free- courtesy of my mother-in-law)
- Candy $1.00 per bag)
- Scrapbooks paper (2 sheets for $1.00)
- Paper clips and ribbon ($1.50)
- Stickers ($1.00)
- Shredded paper ($1.00 per bag)
- Homework Passes (free...keep reading they can be free for you too!).
- Red tissue paper and red curling ribbon (free- I had it since Christmas)

- I taped the lollipops a little bit so the 'cherry' could look as round as possible.
- I added a bit of ribbon to create 'bookmarks' using big paper clips.
- I cut the scrapbook paper in strips (4 per sheet) to cover the cups.
- I used my punches to make a label.
- My little helper helped me put all the 'gifts' inside the cup, added some shredded paper. Go ahead and add
   a lot more paper than my helper did. It looks better :)
- We taped the scrapbook paper around the cup, and added a name tag.
- We bagged them to avoid loosing any contents once the kids take them home.  I am sure they will hope
   them as soon as they get on the bus!
Last, but not least, we added a tiny homework pass.  No one deserves to do homework on their birthday.

If you'd like a copy of the mini homework passes, e-mail me ( I will be happy to send them to you!

According to my class roster, most of my kiddos already had a birthday in July right before we started school. In honor of their birthday we will celebrate their half birthday so they can their own birthday cup :)

I really do hope the kiddos love them.

My first ever Monday Made It!
Come and check out all the creative projects HERE

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My First!

You read it right. She is my first. My first student teacher is here! I am beyond excited.

Two weeks ago I had the chance to visit her college, meet some of her wonderful professors, and listen to what is expected of my as her mentor teacher. Ms. M is wonderful. She was born to be a teacher.

While driving to her campus, memories of my student teaching experience began to come back to me. Back in the day, I was asked to pick three schools. I happened to be lucky enough to get my top choice.
I remember the nerves of the first day, meeting my mentor teachers and then the kids! I was placed in a first grade classroom for the first half of my placement. My teacher made me feel at home from day one. She let me create my own things and show her how much I wanted to be like her :)
My second placement was in a third grade classroom. It was honestly a bit more challenging, my cursive handwriting was not the greatest :) But my mentor teacher was top notch.
Both of my mentor teachers guided me and helped me with everything. I observed throughout the school. I attended all the meetings. I tried to be the modeled student teacher. I wanted nothing more, than to say thank you for allowing me to be in their classrooms.
I am still in touch with both of my mentor teachers. I love them and respect them...many years later.

This time is my time to pay it forward, so I began thinking about...

And this is how I tried to make her feel at home...

I made her a cute binder, wrote her a welcome note, got some goodies for her, and decorated her desk. Everyone in my building has two desks. I have always hated having an extra piece of furniture, but I am not allowed to get rid of it. It finally has a purpose!

She also received some desk supplies and other goodies are coming her way :)

Knowing that my babies will be taken care of is the best part of this progress. Now I just need to make sure I do my best to guide her through the process of my regular day to day adventures. I am also hoping to be the friend she turns to ten years from now.

Any advice? I want to make sure Ms. M. has an amazing experience with us. What is on your must list for student teachers?

Her binder turned out super cute. I included everything I thought could be helpful. I ended up creating this...
Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

I'd love send two of you a copy of my binder. Leave me a comment with any suggestions/advice.  How can I be the best mentor teacher?  :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

NC has been a bit hot and humid. Today we had some scary thunderstorms but it has been a calm summer.
Everybody I know went to the beach this weekend. Hubby went to work, so we stayed home, being lazy. I think I took a shower around 6:00 pm ;)
Don't tell anyone. I have yet to make my bed, wash dishes, and do anything related to something called chores. I am on strike. For 24 hours.

I am ready for fall. NC is gorgeous in the fall! The leaves, the trees, the breeze... Fall is my favorite season for sure. I do not like pumpkins (except for decorating), but I love jumping in a nice pile of leaves :)

Currently this girl is...
Listening: Who cannot love Law and Order? I am so addicted and cannot wait for the new season . 

Loving: I have finally finished decorating a desk (somebody special is visiting our classroom ), put together some birthday goodies, completed a cute binder, and prettified my caddies. I feel accomplished!
Thinking: Have you seen these on-line lesson plans? I have read about it from a variety of sources, my A.P., bloggy friends and coworkers. I finally decided to go for it!
My awesome grade level agreed to sign up for one as well. After a group discount (5 of us), our yearly subscription was only $14.00.  I am sincerely loving it!

Wanting: This is not an easy decision, and I need to have an answer by Tuesday!
Here is what happened: After I graduated, I decided that I could not be a beginning teacher and go back to school. Years later, motherhood brought me two kiddos.  Then, life got busy.
I am a nerd at heart. I do not read for pleasure. I read teacher books, resources books, the latest research; and anything related to my job (teacher blogs). A year ago or so, I decided to share about my classroom with you (which I am having a super hard time keeping up with), and now I want to go back to school???!!!!
Not sure I am ready for the extra work load. Not sure I can afford to go back into debt.  Not sure I can do it all. 
The one thing I am sure of, is that we will be moving to another state (not any time soon), and the only way I can get a job is by obtaining a masters degree. I miss the snow. Hubby needs mountains (out west kind of mountains). We shall see.

Any advice? If you just finished a program and are a full time teacher and mom, how did you do it all? I am afraid. VERY afraid.

Needing: Organization. Need to say more? I think you understand my needs :)

Love Yourself Spot: This month I need to get together with my friends (the ones who know me well and understand me). They make my heart happy.
I am hoping to get a massage and spend a day at the spa (thanks to my hubby). Me time makes my heart happy.
I must make more time to spend with my family. No computer. No electronics. No school work. They are growing up and I am missing out. Doing fun things with my kids make my heart happy.

Come and join the craziest party HERE.

Farley also has an IG Sunday linky going on. It is so hard to pick just 4 pictures each week!

#sundayssharewfarley #teachersfollowteachers  

I hope your 4 day week is a phenomenal one!