Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready, Print, GO! {Halloween Edition}

Now that I am finally getting settled into the school year with my 4/5 combo class, I finally have found the time to start thinking about all the fun times we have ahead of us!! All of a sudden, Halloween is right around the corner, and I am super-excited to incorporate some Halloween fun into our curriculum next month. To celebrate (while sticking to the standards, OF COURSE!), I put together a collection of math and literacy printables for my 4th and 5th grade kiddos.
Here are a few of my favorites...
 
The Halloween Roll-A-Story is an old favorite, in which my students roll dice to determine their story's character, setting, and conflict. I do a version of this each year, and it's always so much fun to see what my kiddos come up with!
Idioms are always fun to teach, and  I thought it would be even more fun to use some Halloween-themed figures of speech for the occasion!
I made two of each math page, one for my 4th graders, and one for 5th!

Head on over to my TpT store to view more of these Halloween-themed pages for 4th and 5th grade! I don't know about you, but I can't wait for fall weather (over 100 today in my neck of the woods) and Halloween to finally arrive!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger {Linky Party}

Before I get started, I have to thank Designs By Tenille for my beautiful new blog design. She just finished it yesterday and I am absolutely in love with it!!!

Back-to-School time is the perfect time to get to know all of your favorite teacher bloggers! What better way to meet so many wonderful teachers, than at a {linky} party. Stephanie at Falling Into First is having a Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky Party. So, I thought I would join in the fun and share a little bit about me!!


So, here it goes...

I am a 30-something {30s, when did that happen??!!} wife, mommy, and teacher in Southern California. I am married to the best man a girl could ask for. My husband is a 5th grade teacher, so we share the same schedule, and get to spend a lot of time together!! I love it!!! We have 2 beautiful little {well, one not so little} girlies. Our oldest is 11 and will be starting middle school next week!!! I am freaking out, just a little bit! Our youngest is 3, and we are currently trying to survive these crazy toddler years. We know sanity is just around the corner!


I am starting my 10th year of teaching. I have been in 4 grades and at 3 schools in the last 10 years. However, I am about to start my 5th consecutive year in 4th grade, in the same classroom, at the same school. {Although, it looks like a split is in the works for this year!! OMG!!!}

Stephanie put together a great Q & A Session for teachers to share a bit about themselves!! Have a little read, then join in the fun yourself!!


THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...

My morning cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer. In these final days of summer, I sneak downstairs before my kids wakeup and drink a cup, in the peace and quiet of my living room! One of the best parts of my day!!
Right now, here is a collection of my happy things...
Is it terrible, that most of my favs are possessions?! I guess "things" implies possessions!

IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?

Probably a designer of some sort, I love designing and creating things!

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.

Friendly, determined, and to be honest, I have also been called neurotic from time to time {although, I prefer to think of myself as ENTHUSIASTIC!}

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"

"I absolutely love it when my students start taking things out of their desks before I finish giving directions," said no teacher ever!! 

{This is my biggest pet peeve, and I tell my students this at the beginning of every year, in hopes to keep it from happening... it still does!}

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?

Jennifer Lawrence. She just seems like a kick!!!

Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?

The Girl Who Thought Too Much
{I can never seem to turn my brain off!!}

 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?

I would love to have the ability to clone myself. There are never enough hours in the day to do all the things I'd like to do and to do all the things that need to be done!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?

I have two faves! "It is what it is." and "You live, you learn." These are the words I hear come out of my mouth all the time, at home and at school.

Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Probably something by the Beatles... too many to choose just one!

 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?

I used to be a total Night Owl, but now I am neither. It's always too hard getting up and going early in the morning, but after a long day of teaching, with a three-year-old at home, I'm out at the end of the day!! 

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?

I am loving my Reading Portfolios right now!! I just put them together for the year and they look great and I know they are going to be such a hit with my book-loving kiddos!

Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!

I wasn't the best student in school. I was unmotivated and a bit of a troublemaker. It wasn't until 10th grade that I realized how much I loved to read, learn, and be successful! So glad I figured it out when I did!

Thanks for stopping by!! Head on over to Falling Into First, to join in on the sharing!! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Teacher Toolbox Anniversary & Makeover!! {Plus, Link Up Your Own!!}

3 years ago today, I shared a post about the Teacher Toolbox I created to use in my classroom. From there (thanks to Pinterest), Teacher Toolboxes took off and are now EVERYWHERE!!!!
{Terrible iPhone Pic!}

Over the past three years, it has been so wonderful to see so many teachers create and enjoy their own Teacher Toolboxes!! I have seen so many amazing variations on what started out as simple idea. I know that mine came in handy, as I ditched my teacher desk and needed a place to store all my very-much-needed teacher supplies!!

When I realized yesterday that it was the 3-Year Anniversary of the Teacher Toolbox, I thought the best way to celebrate would be to give my original toolbox a bit of a makeover. My classroom colors and style have changed in 3 years, so I thought I would bring the ol' toolbox up to date!
{Still taking terrible iPhone pics!!!}

For my latest toolbox I used a Herringbone background from Sonya Dehart Design, one of my favorite kg fonts, Strawberry Limeade, and an adorable border from Lovin Lit. I printed the labels on cardstock, cut, and taped them in, simply using invisible tape. To top it off, I used Washi Tape to add to the fun!! {My new Washi Tape Dispenser from Michael's sure came in handy!!}
If you would like a copy of the labels to make your very own Teacher Toolbox visit my TpT Store to grab this freebie!!
I can't wait to see 3 more years of Teacher Toolboxes creations!!!

Share your Teacher Toolbox on Instagram with the hashtag #3yearsofteachertoolboxes

Please share a link to your own Teacher Toolbox {New or Old!!!}

Friday, August 1, 2014

Blog Hop FUNDRAISER and GIVEAWAY!!

We teachers know all about journeys.  Many of us are getting ready to journey back to our classrooms to prepare for the new school year.  Each school year becomes a journey of sorts, with its own set of students, challenges, and rewards.

We teachers also know all about support.   Year after year, we give so much of ourselves to help our students learn, build confidence in their abilities, and empower them to become the future our world needs.  We also support our fellow teachers, our families, our communities.  In the midst of it all, it becomes easy to forget that, simply put, teachers touch lives.
 Every. Single. Day.

Graphics credit to Melonheadz;  Font credits to Hello Literacy, Miss Tiina, and DJ Inkers.  Thanks to Joey Udovich for designing!

While many of us are thinking of back-to-school, Jen Bengel and her family have been preparing for a journey of another kind.  They will soon be traveling to Uganda to adopt a child!  Check out Jen’s blog post HERE! (Prepare to be inspired!)

A number of fellow teacher-bloggers have joined forces to offer a measure of support to Jen and her family as they prepare for their special journey.  Each of us has chosen a resource from our store that, between now and August 31, a portion of each sale’s proceeds will be donated to Jen’s adoption fund!

This is the resource I have chosen:

Between now and August 31, I pledge to donate $1 of each sale of this resource to Jen’s adoption fund.

Hop around to the blogs featured below to see what my friends are pledging!
Apple Slices
Apples & ABC's
Beyond the Worksheet
Crafting Connections
Create Teach Share
Flapjack Education
Learning with Mrs. S
Miss V's Busy Bees
One Stop Teacher Shop
Tales of a Teacher
Teaching Trio
The Teacher Desk 6

We hope you will find this to be a win-win opportunity, where you can purchase some great resources for the upcoming school year, knowing that you are supporting a meaningful cause at the same time!

Note that Jen also has a fundraising bundle available at her store. Don’t miss checking this out, too! 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-To-School-Adoption-Fundraiser-Bundle50-Savings-Limited-Time-1331612
Finally, to make it worth your time to check out all the resources, we are also hosting a raffle giveaway!  The winner of the giveaway will score a great prize package, full of resources from our team – just in time for BTS!

From me, the giveaway winner will receive an item of your choice from my TpT Store!
Here is a small sample of items you may wish to choose from...
So, hop around, check out some fantastic resources, support a cause, touch a life!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reading Portfolios- Part 3: Reading Responses {+ freebie}

This week I finally finished "Reading Portfolios" for my students to use this year for their independent and in-class reading. I wanted students to have a place where they could record and track their independent reading habits, take notes on reading strategies and skills, and respond to their in-class and independent reading.
I previously shared the first two parts of these portfolios: Reading Logs & Stats and Reading Anchor Charts. {Click on the links if you missed these posts!}

Today I wanted to share the final two parts: In-Class Reading Responses and Independent Reading Responses.
This first section was designed for students to record their in-class reading responses, based on the text, class/group discussions, and their own thoughts. 


I have also included a handout called “Writing Reading Responses”, to help students write meaningful and thorough responses.


The next section includes reading response pages that students can use to respond to their independent reading books. Students can respond here for homework or in class after reading their own books. These response pages address specific reading strategies and skills. Students can choose where and how to respond, or you can assign specific skills. There is a place for students to record the date and book they are reading for each response.

Click here or on the pics above for freebies and samples of these response pages.

Lastly, I created and Grading Sheet that can be used monthly, quarterly, or at the end of each semester.
For more details on my Reading Portfolios, visit my TpT page. Check out the preview to read the Teacher's Guide and to see what else is included. 

For ONE MORE DAY my Reading Portfolio will be on sale for 15% off!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reading Portfolios - Part 2: Anchor Charts {+ freebie}

Yesterday I introduced my new Reading Portfolios that I am so excited to use this year. Click here if you missed this post on "Reading Logs & Stats" and to grab a "My Reading Milestones" freebie!!
Today I thought I would share a bit about my Reading Anchor Charts. This is the second section in my reading portfolios. 
(By the way, I created divider sheets, which I copied on colored cardstock, to separate the different sections.)
The "Reading Anchor Charts" section includes anchor charts for different reading strategies and skills. During reading mini-lessons students can use these pages to take notes. Then they will have them to refer back to when they are reading and completing their responses.

Here are a couple more samples...
{Click on either picture above to grab these freebies!}


In this product, I also provided examples of suggested notes for each of these pages to help guide mini-lessons. 

For more details on my Reading Portfolios, visit my TpT page. Check out the preview to read the Teacher's Guide and to see what else is included. Also, come back tomorrow for more information on Parts 3 & 4: Independent & In-Class Reading Responses.

For the next 3 days my Reading Portfolio will be on sale for 15% off!!!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reading Portfolios - Part 1: Reading Logs & Stats {+ freebie}

For a long time, I have been thinking about ways to further encourage my students' independent reading. I want them to take ownership and pride in their reading-- set goals, celebrate accomplishments, and most of all, enjoy reading!

In my dream world, my classroom would be a place where my students would simply read for the enjoyment of reading. However, in the real world, lessons need to be taught, tests need to be taken, and grades need to be given.

MY CHALLENGE: How can my students enjoy reading, while still being held accountable for what they read, understand, and learn.?

Portfolios are a place where individuals can showcase their learning, experience, and above all, things that they are proud of. So, over the past few months I have been creating a Reading Portfolio for my students to use to showcase their reading....
This Reading Portfolio is divided into 4 parts, and for the sake of not overwhelming (because there IS a lot), I wanted to share one part at a time. My favorite part of this Reading Portfolio are the Logs & Stats pages....
These logs and stats pages are a place where students can set goals, reflect on their reading habits, and track their progress. Here are a sample of some of those pages...
  • My Reading Goals is a place where students record their reading goals for the month, quarter, trimester, semester, or any other given period of time. Students can modify or create new goals throughout the year.
  • My Reading Stamina is chart to be completed at the beginning of the school year, as students build their reading stamina. This allows them to track their growth over the first weeks of school.

  • My Daily Reading Status is where students will track their own reading each day. It's a student version of "Status of the Class". While I will still do "Status of the Class" each day, I wanted my students to have a place to track their own reading.
  • My Completed Books Log is where students will keep track of books they complete.


  •  My Monthly AR Stats: At the end of each month, students should visit their AR account to record the number of books they read, points earned, average levels and scores, and number of words read. This page can be completed, comparing month to month, or students can also keep a cumulative record.
  • My Reading MilestonesThis is a place where students can record and celebrate the different reading milestones that they hit for the number of books read and AR points earned! CLICK HERE FOR THIS FREEBIE!

  • My Reading Wish List is where students keep a list of books they would like to read throughout the year.
  • My Top Ten:  where students can rank their top 10 favorite books. This version can be used with post-its throughout the year, that can be moved as their rankings change
For more details on my Reading Portfolios, visit my TpT page. Check out the preview to read the Teacher's Guide and to see what else is included. Also, come back tomorrow for more information on Part 2: Reading Anchor Charts!

For the next 4 days my Reading Portfolio will be on sale for 15% off!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back-to-School....Already?!

About a week out of school, and I am already thinking about next year!!! What.Is.Wrong.With.Me??? Normally, I give myself a few weeks before I allow the next school year to sneak into my summer vacation. However, I have a new challenge ahead of me next year, and need all the time I can get. I have taught 4th grade for the last 4 years, and was finally getting into a groove. Then, at the end of this year, I was hit with the news that I will be teaching a 4th/5th split next year. While, I am always up for something new and excited about the change,  I know that I am going to face challenges along the way. The first one recently hit me, when I realized that I will be looping several students, and that they have already been exposed to my collection of back-to-school activities. Realizing that I was going to have to reinvent the wheel, after 4 years of the same thing, I decided to create a whole new set of back-to-school activities....
This product is available on Teachers Pay Teachers and includes a variety of get-to-know-you activities, and other items to help start the school year. Here is a preview of some of my favorites....
For more info. and a more extensive preview, visit my TpT Page!!

Happy Back-to-School Planning!!!