Monday, August 3, 2015

More Back-to-School Fun!!

I am loving all the wonderful Back to School blog posts offering tips, tricks, freebies, and OF COURSE....


Here's another one you don't want to miss!! I am joining the teachers of iTeach Fourth for an amazing giveaway!!

Visit iTeach Fourth for a chance to win a brand new iPad Air 2, an adorable owl-themed case, stylus pen, and a $15 iTunes giftcard!!!

Click HERE to learn more about this fantastic giveaway!!!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Back to School in a Flash: Curriculum Must Haves {Plus, a GIVEAWAY!!}

Once again, I am celebrating BACK-TO-SCHOOL by linking up with Fancy Free in 4thRamona Recommends, and Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher for their "Back to School in a Flash" series. Be sure to visit one of their blogs to learn more.

This week we are sharing CURRICULUM "MUST-HAVES"....

I am sharing a favorite product that I created, a favorite from another amazing teacher, and a favorite product from my back-to-school TpT wish list....

The first product I am sharing is one of my own! I created "Exploring Non-Fiction" to use with Scholastic News in my own classroom. Scholastic News was such a great source of informational text for my students, and I wanted tools that would allow them to dig deeper into the articles they were reading. Pages from this resource were used weekly in my class last year, and will continue to be used for years to come!!

Next, these "Informational Text Structure Cards", from Teaching With a Mountain View, were a life-saver for me this year!! While they were great for teaching text structure, I ended up using them for so much more!! They served as a great source for teaching all about informational texts!!

Finally, I am very excited about Hello Literacy's "Short Informational Text Articles for Close Reading". They seem very engaging and appealing to students, they cover a variety of close reading skills, and I think they will be great to use for small-group instruction!!

I would love to hear more about your "CURRICULUM MUST-HAVES". Be sure to visit the rest of the blogs below to find more great resources, and then don't forget to share some of your own!!! While you're here, don't forget enter the giveaway below!! There are lots of great prizes to be had for Back-to-School!!!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to School Tips, Freebies, and a HUGE Giveaway

I'm teaming up with the wonderful teachers at Upper Elementary Snapshots to share some fabulous Back-to-School tips and tricks for the upcoming school year!! We are sharing tips, freebies, and having a week of giveaways, all to get you ready for BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

MY TIP: Always have plenty of "get-to-know-you" activities on hand to fill those first days. I like to find activities that are fun, engaging, somewhat academic, and which allow my students and me to share and learn about each other.

For years I have seen so many of these wonderful "Math About Me" and "Figure Me Out" posters on Pinterest.....
{Click the pics to see the original pins!!}

I love these activities because they integrate a little math, they can be differentiated for a range of grade levels, they are fun for students, and they look amazing!!

I also love the idea of teachers creating their own, not only to model, but to share a bit about themselves!!

Today I am sharing a freebie I created to use this school year with my own students.
{Click on the pic to download!!}

This printable should be used with 2"x 2" post-its. Students start by drawing a picture of themselves in the middle. Then, they add their numbers in each box. Finally, they write expressions on post-its that equal the numbers in each box. I would suggest that students us a variety of operations, and encourage to challenge themselves.

These are great for students to share with each other. Plus, they will look amazing on a bulletin board for Back-to-School Night!! I hope you will be able to enjoy this freebie with your own class!!

Now head on over to rest of the blogs below to find more wonderful tips and freebies!!

Then enter our Back-to-School Giveaway Below!! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more freebies and giveaways throughout the week!!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Back to School in a Flash: Teacher Faves!!

I love this time of year!! Ever since I was a kid, I have always been so excited about going back to school!! Now that I'm a teacher, I am still just as anxious to get back into the swing of things each year!! To start celebrating Back to School, I am linking up with Fancy Free in 4th, Ramona Recommends, and Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher for a series of Back-to-School linkys. Visit one of their blogs to learn more about "Back to School in a Flash".

This week is all about sharing "Teacher Faves".

Here are some of my favorite things....

My 31 bag is the perfect teacher bag!! It fits everything I need to tote to and from school each day. I use it to carry my computer, file folders of work to complete and grade, and my teacher planner. Plus, there are tons of pockets to hold my keys, phones, and all of those wonderful teacher supplies!!

Last year I finally splurged and got myself an Erin Condren teacher planner, and I absolutely loved it. I love the design and having just one place to keep everything organized!! This year I am job-sharing with a friend, and fellow colleague, so we are sharing one!!

I love color!! Some of my favorite supplies include astrobrights paper, flair pens, and post-its, of course!!  I love these "foxy" sticky notes that I found this year at Target!! Can't wait to find a fun use for them!!!

At recess time, I need a snack that fills me up until lunch, gives me energy to get through my day, and something that's not too heavy on the sugar!! My favorites are macadamia nuts and coconut chips!! Yum and super healthy!!!

Last, but not least.... Every teacher needs a pair {or two, or three!!} of cute and comfy shoes!! So important, since we spend so much time on our feet!! My Tieks were my best friends this past year!! My blacks are a bit worn, as I wore them practically every day last year!! I think I may need to treat myself to one more new pair for the upcoming school year!!

Now it's your turn!!! Use the image below to add your own back-to-school pics of your favorite things!!! Don't forget to link up below and check out other teacher favs!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summertime Revamp #3: Teacher To-Do List {FREEBIE}

I have been having a lot of fun this summer REVAMPING several of the tools and resources that I use in my classroom.  So many of my printables are ones that I have been using for years!!! My style has changed so much and is constantly evolving. I thought this summer was a great time to give some of my favorites a much need makeover. New year, new look!!!

This week I gave my Teacher To-Do List a new look....
I always have a weekly checklist on a clipboard on my desk, reminding about things that need to be done, emails that need returning, and things that need to be copied and prepped!! 

I am loving the new look, especially the cute arrow graphics that I purchased from a shop on Etsy!!

Click here to download this freebie!!

If you missed my two previous freebies, you can download them by clicking on each of the pics!!

Weekly Reading Homework

Weekly Progress Report

Check back soon for more fun freebies!!! Happy 4th of July!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently JULY 2015!!

My first currently of summer.... If I could sum it up in one sentence.... I CURRENTLY LOVE SUMMER!! Thrilled to have the time to blog again and to join Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her July Currently linky!! So, here it goes....

LISTENING- I am currently LISTENING to the sweet sound of SILENCE. It's early and I am the only one awake. With a teacher for a husband and 2 kids, summertime means a full house with all of us together, all day, every day. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it. But, some quiet time early in the morning or at the end of a long day is just what this mommy needs!! These are the times I get stuff done!!!

LOVING- I am currently LOVING my summer self!! I suddenly find myself relaxed, carefree, and living in the moment so much more. Of course, I am still a planner, but I am enjoying the time I have with my family and for myself.

THINKING- I am currently thinking of our upcoming cruise. It's just a quick 4-night cruise, but I am excited to get away from everything and enjoy some fun and relaxation with my hubby, kids, and parents. I do have to say that I am pretty bummed that our family vacation conflicts with TpT in Vegas!! I really need to hold out next year before planning anything!!

WANTING- I am currently wanting more time to shop before our cruise. Everyone needs a few more things and time is running out!!

NEEDING- I am currently needing a healthier lifestyle. Time to stop making excuses and commit already. I am constantly postponing. After this trip or that.... The hubby and I are committing to a second round of Whole 30 right after our cruise. No seriously!!

ALL STAR- I am currently an ALL STAR at planning and organizing. My goal this summer was to find the perfect balance between spending time with my family and being productive. I am loving the new planner I created to help me stay on track!!

Well, that's all for now!! Until next month....

How's summer treating you?!?!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece {TpT Seller Challenge}

The TpT Seller Challenge has been exactly what I have needed this summer. These challenges have pushed me to reimagine old products, set new goals, connect with new people, and to finally finish products I've been working on for much too long!!!

This latest challenge, "Make Your Masterpiece" gave me the push I needed to finally make progress with my Step-By-Step Informative Writing Tasks...
I am very excited about these writing tasks!! Since the transition to common core standards, I have been looking for tools and resources to integrate INFORMATIVE WRITING, in ways that are engaging and meaningful for students. These two writing tasks are the first of what will be a growing collection!!

These tasks all follow the same format, making it easy for students to become familiar with the process. Each writing task includes the following....

Step-By-Step Assignment Sheet- Students use this sheet to take them through the assignment, referring to it as they go, and checking off each step as it’s completed.
Note-Taking Pages for Gathering Information- Students use these pages to take notes as they research their topic and subtopics.
 Rough Draft Pages- These pages provide directions for writing each paragraph.
 Revise & Edit Checklist- The checklist can be found on the last rough draft page, and gives students ideas for revising and editing their essays.
 List of Transitional Words & Phrases- This list provides students with transitional words and phrases to use in their essays.
 Final Draft & Brochure Pages- Students can publish their final drafts in a variety of ways. They can use stationary, type and add pictures, or use the final draft or brochure pages provided. {If using the brochure pagesfold a piece of construction paper (9x12) into three equal parts. Students can then glue their cut-out pages onto the brochure}
 Scoring Sheet- A scoring sheet is provided for grades 3, 4, and 5. Each are based on the common core standards.

I can't wait to use these writing tasks with my 4th graders this year!!! I am also excited to explore more topics and create more tasks to add to the collection!!!

Head on over to my TpT store to check out these two new writing tasks!! They are on sale for the rest of the week!!

If you haven't joined the TpT Seller Challenge, then you should definitely check out one of the following blogs for more info: Third in HollywoodTeach Create MotivateSparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista.

I can't wait to see what everyone has created!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summertime Revamp #2: Weekly Progress Reports {FREEBIE}

Throughout this summer I am "revamping" some of my favorite classroom tools and resources, and thought I would share them along the way. My first revamp was my Weekly Reading Homework. CLICK HERE if you missed that post!!
This weekend I worked on revamping my Weekly Progress Reports, another simple, but very important resource. This is a very valuable tool in my classroom, as it's used to communicate with parents, and to share their children's work habits and behaviors for the week.

At the end of each week I complete the form, recording the "week of" and students' names, and by checking off each student's work habits and behavior. I also add important notes about what work was missing, why behavior "needs improvement", or even if I am proud of something from that week. The whole process only takes me about 10 minutes.

I then staple the progress report to students' graded tests and important assignments from the week. I send them home in their weekly progress folders every Monday. Parents are asked to review the report and tests with their children, and then sign and return it by Wednesday. Their signatures show me that they saw their children's progress for the week. 

This is such an important part of my routine for so many reasons.....
  • First, it allows me to look back and reflect on students' work habits and behavior from throughout the week. 
  • The progress report informs parents of their children's behaviors. Parents are constantly up to date, and there are no surprises come report card time!! 
  • The weekly reports also reinforce positive behavior, and encourage growth for inappropriate behaviors and work habits. 
I have been using this system for 10 years, and while some might think it creates more work, the benefits are definitely worth it!!

I would love to hear more about what you do to communicate with students and parents in your classroom.....

Check back soon for more REVAMPED classroom resources and tools!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summertime Revamp #1: Weekly Reading Homework {freebie}

Summertime for teachers is sacred!! It can be very frustrating when someone who is not a teacher, gives me a hard time about having the summer off!!! After all, teachers have an extremely tough job, that while VERY rewarding, can also be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Besides, don't most of us actually work during our summer anyway?!?! I know I do. In fact, summertime is a great time to renew, reflect, and REVAMP!!!

Every summer, for the last 10 years, I have used my time to rethink and revamp some of the practices and tools that I use in my classroom. And this summer is no different. I love creating my own resources for my classroom, and I am constantly reimagining and redesigning them.

This summer I plan to REVAMP several of the printables and tools that I use in my classroom, and to SHARE them as freebies for anyone else who might need something new!!
My first "revamp" of the summer is my Weekly Reading Homework. My reading homework is very simple. My students need to read for at least 30 minutes each night and write a response for that night's reading. Their responses are based on the different comprehension strategies that we cover in class. Here is the printable I created for the upcoming school year....
This printable is meant to be copied back-to-back, that way reading homework only involves one piece of paper per week!! I also revamped the reference sheet that students keep in their homework folders or reading portfolios. It provides students {and their parents} a brief reminder of the different strategies we practice in class, as well as sentence frames for writing their responses!!

I am very excited to use this new and improved homework sheet in my class this year!!  Please check back soon for more newly "revamped" resources and tools!!