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Sunday, August 6, 2017

FIVE Back to School Tips

Hey Guys!
With back to school at the forefront of my mind I thought I would share some things I have learned over the years. Now don't get me wrong. I am NOT a veteran teacher by any means. I am going into my fifth year, but with a staff of mostly new teachers, I am leaned upon {happily} quite a bit!

1. Think about your procedures, a lot.
No one ever told me this in college, and I student taught with an amazing teacher, but in third grade. I never thought that I would have to teach my students how to get a pencil, or how to wash their hands. Here are some basic procedures you will want to think about, and then model, and practice with your students:
-bathroom breaks outside of class bathroom breaks
-how to turn things in
-how to get a new pencil
-using the drinking fountain
-class restroom break procedures
-walking to the carpet/meeting space
-behavior at meeting space
-how to line up
-lunch count
-passing things out
-attention grabbers
-how to throw tissues away
Obviously this is not an all inclusive list, but it is a good place to start. Once you know what you want to do, practice, practice, and practice again. And if it doesn't work how you thought it would, it's ok! Change it and try again.

2. Plan more read alouds than you thought you would need. They are seriously a life saver, and give your kids, and you, a well deserved break. Did they get through something really quickly? Great, read a book. Did they doze off during your lesson? Great, read a book. Do they seem bored out of their minds? Great, read a book. Do you have ten extra minutes? Great, read a book. Read alouds give the kids so many opportunities to practice procedures as well. Walking to the meeting space, practicing sitting on the carpet {NOT touching anyone!}, walking back to their seats, responding to questions, raising their hands, and stamina to sit for that amount of time. Plus, read alouds usually have great lessons in them. Here are some great back to school read alouds:
-Wemberly Worried
-First Day Jitters
-The Night Before First Grade
-If You Take a Mouse to School
-No David
-Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon
-Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
-How Full is Your Bucket?
Once again, this is not an all inclusive list, but a great place to start!

3. Now, by no means am I a big craft person. Cutting, gluing, pasting, scraps, it's just not my jam. And not to mention, copies. Ugh. BUT, during the first weeks of school, craftivities are invaluable. Students are practicing following directions, cutting, gluing, pasting, where to throw scraps {not on the floor}, making connections with stories, and the list goes on. There are a TON of great resources on TpT for craftivities, just search for the book you want to connect it with! Some of my favorite craftivities for back to school are No David, and Wemberly Worried.

4. Have some teacher treats around. I don't know about you, but a piece of chocolate at 1:30 can really give me some motivation to get through the day. Those first weeks are tough! You are trying to establish a routine with not only your students, but as a professional and a spouse/parent/furparent/whateverelsetheworldneedsyoutobe. I have been off for 10 weeks and have basically no routine, it is tough for me to get back into it, and I am an adult. Imagine how our students are feeling. Many late nights, movies, video games, bon fires, etc. The list goes on on why summer is a blast, but we all have got to get back into a routine. So if a piece of chocolate, or an iced coffee gets me through the afternoon, then so be it. Just be sure you have something that you love and look forward to. That way even if you want to cry on the inside you will have a smile on the outside.

5. Seriously. Go home. Leave your computer at school. Don't take anything. You cannot pour from an empty cup. I have been there. I know what it feels like to drown. But! I made myself drown. Nothing has to be perfect, or just so. They are children. They do not care. They are worried about other things, like pulling the large booger out of their nose, or what they are going to play at recess. They won't know if the anchor chart isn't from Pinterest or if the graphic organizer is perfectly centered. Or if your classroom looks like the one from that teacher who has been teaching from umpteen years. They do not care. They care that you are kind, warm hearted, and cheery in the morning. You know how you are when you are stressed and don't sleep enough. Make the list, make a goal to cross a couple off of it in the morning, or before you leave. Then, go home, pour the glass of wine (or tea, or water, or whatever), watch some Netflix, and go to bed. Come back in the morning well rested and ready to take on the day. 

And that's it folks. Those are my five tips that I have learned over the past fews years, and will strive to achieve this year! What are your tips??

**All clipart was purchased and created by Melonheadz and Educlips

Thursday, June 1, 2017


I know. Once again. Long time. Whoops! As teachers know, we're busy... and that's totally ok! My goal this summer is to spend more time in this space! Because of my long time absence, I want to start things off with a new *pretty* product that I am super excited about! I am trying to be more creative and think outside the box. While I do not think that my "specialty" is print and go like the Moffatt Girls, or curriculum like Amy Lemons & Hope King, I do think I could totally get into this kind of thing. You never know until you try right? But seriously folks. These are so pretty. They pretty much blew my mind.


And can we talk about Amy Grosbeck's new fonts? How amazeballs. It's like she knows what fonts I want before I know I want them.

I am going to use these for not only my calendar, but also as a station for ordering the days of the week  and the months of the year at the beginning of the year, and in my writing station! I am going to use the small column ones to label my file folders, and organize my tubs and containers of supplies.

There are over 140 pages of months, days, and numbers! There are black and white, ones with decorated backgrounds, and all that jazz! These month and day cards are just stinkin' pretty.

So folks, don't miss out! Enter the giveaway below, or if you just can't wait check these P-R-E-T-T-Y cards out on TpT!

Giveaway closes on June 11!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Literacy in Math

Hey Folks!
So I have been seriously into math and reframing my pedagogy surrounding my math instruction.  I am participating in the revision of Ohio Department of Education's Model Curriculum. I have to say, I am working with some amazing people. Like not kidding. Amazing educators who have worked tirelessly to restructure teacher's thinking, and GET OUT OF THE WAY. My biggest takeaway has been to get out of the kid's way, and let them work. Let them explore and learn and ask questions and work cooperatively and talk to each other {and you!}.  And I have been working on doing this in my classroom. Let me just say... It's HARD! I have had to put down the Expo marker and let my students go. I have had to restructure my instructional framework, and put our tools at kid level. And boy... Have I watched them soar!

Over the past couple weeks I have been trying to incorporate more literature focused math mini lessons that required my students to solve a problem, use a series of skills, or solve multi-step problems. One of the literature pieces we used was a poem from Shel Silverstein called Band-Aids.

As you can see, this is a super fun poem that you could obviously use to teach lots of literacy elements, but for our purposes, we used it for math!

Here's what we did:

  • Day One 
    • Read the poem and discussed the literacy elements
    • Acted it out
  • Day Two
    • Read the poem {repeat, choral, boys and girls, etc}
    • Underlined the number words and discussed the meaning of the number word
      • Actually, the students suggested we do this! We talked about how number words mean the same thing as the numeric representation as well as the quantity the number words represent.
    • Discussed how we could figure out the quantity of Band-Aids
      • The students decided to number the lines
      • Divide the poem 
        • Each pair of students ended up getting two lines, and had to figure out the quantity within each line
      • Students used LOTS of strategies to figure out how many bandaids were in each pair of lines
      • Students presented how they found their quantities to the class
  • Day Three
    • Students worked in pairs or teams to figure out how to add all of the numbers together!
    • Students shared their strategies

We had stuff everywhere! But it was fun, and engaging, and challenging, and cooperative, and all things good. I know I have a long way to go, but dang, I have got to be on the right road at least!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Long Vowel Sorts


Guys. I have been so. stinkin. busy. But only in the best way. For serious. I have been a workin' woman. No but for real. I have been clicking and dragging until my fingers are sore! I just FINALLY finished these awesome long vowel sort activities that are going to benefit my firsties so. much. Long vowels are HARD ya'll! Specially long U. There's UE, EW, UI, U-E, and the list goes on and on and on and on. But! That's why we're here! Cause I'm a problem solver!

I know that long vowels and vowel teams are quickly approaching in our curriculum and I wanted to be sure that my students have a go-to practice, hands on, activity. I usually have these task cards set up by a pocket chart, but sometimes my students like to lay them all out on the floor and sort them. There is also a recording sheet to have for accountability and to use as a progress monitoring tool. 

I have these set up in task car boxes, and my students get to choose which word sort they practice. I also use them as a quick formative assessment, and as an intervention tool! 

I hope your students have as much fun with these sorts as my students did!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Walking in a Rainy Wonderland

I know. I know. I stink at this during the school year. I just really struggle with this. So right now I am home sick with some sort of awful stomach bug, but I think I am on the tail end of it and am getting over it. Of course I had to miss the first day back with my babies, but I would rather keep whatever this is to myself. Over the past few months I have been working on a Calendar Math Journal and am finally putting the finishing touches on it! That's what I enjoy the least- the cover page and the instructions! But I know that for this particular product it HAS to have printing directions, and that they will make life so much easier for teachers!  When that is finished I PROMISE I will post about them!