Teachers Be Shoppin'

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A linky party about shopping???  I'm in!  I haven't really gotten into back to school shopping just yet.  I am trying to put it off as long as I can.  ;)  I will miss sitting in my pjs in the morning drinking my coffee while watching the Today show so much!  I have, of course, been thinking about shopping.  {As always!}

I need some more shelving in my classroom to house the tubs I use for centers.  I am eyeing something like this from Ikea.  Of course, we don't have an Ikea here in Middle Tennessee {Sadsville!}, so I'm going to have to improvise.  I could order it, but I thought it was a little high for what it is plus shipping.  It doesn't even have to have that vertical piece down the middle.  If you have any ideas of where I could get something similar, let me know!

I REALLY want these frames from Lakeshore!  I just need to figure out where I could put them.  My classroom is really small.  I just think they are super cute for displaying student work!

I have started buying theses storage carts for each of my student tables.  I could only fit two in my cart yesterday, so I'll go back this week and get more.  

I want to do something like this:

The carts will house their student data binders, writing folders, interactive notebooks, and extra table supplies.  I hope it helps us save time gathering materials during our day.

And I can't shop and not think about myself!  ;)  My sister and I had a Stella and Dot party a few weeks ago.  {Our friend is a stylist for them, so if you ever need anything, let me know and I can give you her link.}  Now I am trying to pick out what I want.  This is what I have it narrowed down to so far.

If you're shopping, too, be sure to link up with Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten.  Or you may just want to see what everyone is buying!  Happy shopping!

Text Detectives ONLY!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I am constantly telling my students, "Read like a detective!!!"  Every week, we take our anchor text and dig deep for about 3 days.  I use whatever that week's anchor text is and create a theme for the week.  If it's about kites, everything we doing in reading is kite related.  All things ELA tie back to that theme.  Our reading series always has a paired text that we use, as well.  But I also rely a lot on Read Works.  There are tons of passages related to all kinds of themes.  I also love that you can search by lexile level, grade level, text type, and comprehension strategy.  

I was trying to think of a way to keep my favorite selections organized and within easy reach when teaching a particular skill.  Last year, I just went to the sight and printed what I needed, which worked okay.  I did print some and stick them in my weekly reading series file folders. So, I decided to go ahead and start printing off appropriate 2nd grade passages that targeted those essential literature and informational text standards.  

I also had to make my students some detective swag.  ;)  They have to have magnifying glasses to dig into the text!  These are printed and laminated on card stock.  I may look into buying some, too, that will last for years to come.

Give a child a name badge, and they will feel super important!  These fit in those standard name badge holders.  I got some from Oriental Trading last year and they held up really well.

{HERE} is the link for the free hat template!

Since I am teaching my students to read like detectives, I have organized case files for each literature and informational text standard.  The one above is for main idea.  I have a main idea graphic organizer that will be used all year, short reading passages with questions, a mini graphic organizer for Brown Bag Book Club, and any small books that I feel are easy for students to find main idea.  I make enough of the case files envelopes for each group.  When we work in groups during whole group reading, I usually have them work by table (I call each table a text detectives book club when doing this).  I have 4 tables most years, so I printed 4 case files per standard.  

On Monday, I introduce the skill, we may read a short passage together, and then we work on the skill within that passage whole group.  I like to make our anchor charts at this time.  We do read the anchor text, but the focus is more on vocabulary.  

On Tuesday, we dig a little deeper into the anchor text.  We work on that strategy together while reading.  If it's a new skill, we do a lot together.  If it's one that we have covered before, I start letting them work more in groups.  I give each table the case file filled with the graphic organizers, and they work together to find main idea and supporting details, for example, together with my support.  They use the graphic organizer to record their text evidence.  

We usually finish this up on Wednesday and I also give them a new passage from Read Works that they use to practice that skill again if time permits. If note, we will use one of those passages on Friday.

On Thursday, we are doing the same thing but with the paired text in our reading series.  If I am not crazy about the paired text, I will sometimes find short books that relate to the theme and stick those in the case file envelope.  Each group gets a different book.  

On Friday, we like to have Brown Bag Book Club.  If you haven't check that out, head over to First Grade Parade to see how it works.  It's one of the best teaching ideas I have found!  You just have to print half-sheet sized graphic organizers to put on the brown bags.  I either have them do it over the anchor text or over a cold read depending on the week.  If you do a test over the anchor text, it's a great review before the test.  

I keep the case files organized in baskets so I can just go pull from those baskets.  One is for literary text and the other is for informational text.  I know I will need to add more baskets as I make them for each of my essential standards.  

The case files and all other elements you see here are from my Text Detectives ONLY!  Book Club pack.  I currently just have it for second grade, but I am finishing up the first grade pack and then will work on the third grade version.  My little detectives get so excited when they see the detective swag and the case files come out.  (I have been doing case file activities for years, but I just haven't had them organized to fit common core as well.)  Play it up like it's a mystery that needs to be solved, and they are in!

Who's excited about Vegas next week?!!!  I cannot wait to meet some of my favorite bloggers!!!  I am ready to start packing now!  I hope to see y'all there!

Books You Must Have!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I am so excited about my new blog design!  I just know it will motivate me to get to blogging again!  Thanks to Kerri at The Cutest Blog on the Block for her amazing work! 

 My apologies for the long blogging vacation.  I have truly missed it and missed y'all!  

Mid-summer I get to thinking about what books I would like to add to my classroom library.  I love using fun books that first week of school to teach procedure and proper classroom culture.  Here are a few of my favorites to use in reading those first couple of weeks.

This book is so fun to read if you like to change voices!  I love to use it to teach how to increase stamina and that becoming a great reader takes lots of practice.  We also discuss how all readers are at different levels and learn at different paces.  It's important to be respectful of others no matter what level they are on.  :)

The kids think this one is so funny.  Second graders have teeny tiny attention spans, as you know!  So, I use this one to teach them how to ignore distractions when reading.  Because we all know they exist!!! ;)

My second graders always fall in love with Library Mouse each year.  They can't get enough of this sweet series by Daniel Kirk.  This is one of my faves to introduce writer's workshop at the beginning of the year.

I have many more back to school books that I absolutely love that I will be sharing over the next couple of weeks. I am working on a pack with some fun craftivities and activities to get you through that first week of school with super fun literature.  

I hope you all have a fabulous 4th of July holiday!  I need to get in the kitchen to start on my favorite summer pie ever!  It's by Paula Deen, so that should explain the yumminess!!! Check it out {click the pic} if you need an easy dessert for tomorrow's events!

3 Million Teachers Strong!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thanks to Primary Possibilities for the graphic!  Head on over to link up or shop some amazing stores!  Happy shopping!

Happy New Year

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hi friends!  I am back from my blogging break.  I have really missed it!  I am sitting at home enjoying my snow day today and just wanted to catch you up on our visual plans and some fabulous resources from TPT we have been using.


These are last week's lesson plans, but only the ELA portion.  We really loved using Amy Lemons's Main Idea pack!

By the way, Pig's Egg is a great book to use with quotation marks.  There are lots of them in it and we made some cute little paper plate farm animals to go with some quotes from the story.

We wrote our New Year's resolutions last week, too, and made these cute little faces.  {I know you are loving the mustache and wild eyeliner and lipstick!!!  What in the world?!}

Here is one of the craftivities from the main idea pack.  I must say, they all got the main idea question on our comprehension test at the end of the week!

And totally not school related, I'll leave y'all with my New Year's decorations from home since I didn't take may pictures last week at school.  We have all of our family over for New Year's Eve.  So here it is a little late!  

One more thing!  I promise!  If you own my Author's Purpose or Main Idea units, please make sure you download the newest and updated version!  Have a great week!

Halloween Week Visual Plans

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just dropping in quickly to share my visual plans.  I only write the ELA plans for our grade level, and Rayann writes the math plans.  I don't have her math plans to share, but I'll post them as soon as I get them.  I've been asked what my students do during small groups.  They are either pulled by another teacher for a small group or they do the daily 5 rotation.  I don't put that stuff in my plans, so that's why you don't see it below.

With Halloween this week, we decided to take a break from the basal to do all things BATS!  I love Halloween!  I can't wait to do Abby's Candy Corn Bandit on Thursday.  It was a huge hit last year.  We will also be having witches' brew and putrid punch that afternoon.

We use What the Teacher Wants' recipe for the witches' brew.  She has a super cute freebie for it!  Check it out by clicking on the pic below.

You can get the punch recipe by clicking {HERE}.

And to see the original ideas of the anchor charts in my plans, just visit by Pinterest board Fall Activities.  You will also find some bat videos and songs I'll be using this week.  I will drop back in later and share the math plans along with some comprehension strategy ideas.  Happy Sunday!

Student Data Binders, Addition Fluency, and the Emerald City

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hello, sweet friends!  We are on fall break this week, so I am curled up on the couch with my coffee doing one of my favorite things-blogging!  I have missed it the last few weeks.  I wanted to share some things with you I have been working on this year.  I have always kept some form of a data notebook with all of my students' various data.  We have a sixth grade teacher at our school who went to individual student portfolios last year and she had great results from it.  So, I decided to do something similar with my students this year.  

My focus was more on students tracking their own data.  It makes them accountable for their learning and gives them a great visual for where they are and where they want to go.  I must say, this has been a great tool for my second graders.  This is the first year they get grades on their report card so it's hard for them to understand how they work.  This tool has made it all make sense for them and most importantly, it's made them care about their learning.  They get pretty competitive!  

I keep them all on one shelf in my classroom, and I just have students grab them when they need them. It also gives me easy access to them if I need to add something to them.  My biggest concern before starting these was the time factor.  I didn't think I had time to conquer such a task.  I have been very surprised at what little time it requires from me.  It took some time in the beginning to format everything but now it's super easy.

We track various data in our classroom.  I pulled out the most important foundational skills as well as everything that will be tested at the end of the year.  That's our main focus!  We track our reading levels.  We also set goals for where we want to be at the end of the year.  I give them my goal for them and they can make up their own goal if they'd like.  It's so important to have these conversations with them.

We track spelling and phonics tests.  We take a pretest each week at the beginning of the week and then compare our posttest at the end of the week.  Word study is a prominent section on SAT10 so I really like to focus on that.  

We also focus on reading comprehension skills.  I give them a cold read pre-test and then we graph our results.  Next, I tell them what we are learning during the weekly unit.  They have to write down a short "I can" statement below.  At the end of the week, we graph our posttest. 

We track addition and subtraction fluency.  I will explain how that works later in the post.

And finally, we track math data.  The one below is an Engage New York module we tried.  I use enVision, as well, as Saxon for math.  I also pull lots of supplemental stuff from TPT.  So, this section can look differently depending on what I am using.


Student Data Notebooks have to be formatted to your own classroom needs.  This one fits my needs, but yours could look totally different.  I do not have these printables to share yet.  I am working on a product for TPT with what I use if you think it matches your classroom in any way.  We do take SAT10 at the end of the year, so a lot is geared towards that test.  The thing I regret is not yet adding a section for SAT10 and having conferences with them at the beginning of the year about last year's test results.  I am going to work on a student friendly way to address this and maybe conference with them after Christmas.

I have used many different things over the years to practice addition fluency.  I think though I may have found my favorite!  I found this video a teacher made on YouTube for practicing multiplication fluency.  I loved it and we thought there had to be a way to incorporate addition and subtraction into it.

Students start with adding 0 and then can move up to 10.  The first addend is the one they're working on and then I project the second addend.  After they have it written, they hold their markers in the air.

They have one minute to complete them.  

If they did not finish or they know they missed some, they immediately erase, put it away, and read to self.  I then go around checking everyone else's smart pals.  If they mastered that set of facts, they graph their results in their data notebooks.  This whole process takes about 5 minutes each day.  They also work on fluency in their busy baskets during math rotations.

I will throw in a mix of all the facts every now and then to make sure they are retaining it.  

When all the students have mastered through then ten facts, they will all earn a reward.

If you own my problem and solution pack, I have updated it, so be sure to re-download it on TPT.

And for those of you who use my Journeys packets, Jellies and Click, Clack, Moo are both up.  I hope to finish two more this week.


One more thing!  This post was super long!  At our school, we have a Harvest Festival as a school fundraiser.  They boy and girl in each room who bring in the most money get to be the prince and princess of each class and serve in the royal court the night of our Harvest Festival.  Another teacher and I headed up the decorating committee, so we chose a Wizard of Oz theme this year.  We had such a great team that brought our vision to life!  I just had to share some pics from that night!

I hope you all have a great rest of the week!  Enjoy this fall weather!