Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Summer Project

Today was my first official day of summer!  My last post planning was yesterday, so today I slept in, went to the gym, made a trip to Hobby Lobby, and then watched all my favorite shows while I worked on my first summer project! 

Picture a cute ribbon at the top to hang it with:) This is made with a long piece of wood, wooden numbers, and paint!

This is going to be my behavior system for next year! Several of the 2nd grade teachers at my school use this system, so I thought I would give it a try.  All the kids will have a clothes pin with their name or number on it. This clothes pins will be clipped to the board in the picture.  Each student will begin the day on a "3".  If they receive a warning for behavior they will move to a 2, and then another correction they would go to a 1.  They can earn their way back to a 3 by behaving better throughout the day.  The students can move to a 4 by going above and beyond with their bheavior choices in some way.  I would be pretty picky with allowing students move to a 4. Also, I think the students would have to have been on a 3 all day before moving to a 4.   I want them to know that I expect SUPER behavior in order to move to a 4.  At the end of the day, I will just write what number each student ended the day on in the students' agendas. This seems like a pretty simple system to me, so hopefully it will work out!  You know how things always change once the year gets started though:) 

I hope you are enjoying your day:) 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Top Teachers' Memorial Day SALEabration!

Who doesn't love a good Memorial Day Sale?!?  Everything in my store will be 20% off Sunday and Monday!  Here are some others that are linking up!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reflections Part 2

School's out for summer!!!!!  Today was our last day of school!  I am sooo excited:)  I will miss my sweet kids, but  I am definitely ready for summer!  I have had a very difficult week.  As you know last Friday, I was sick and missed work. Then, Monday, I was STILL sick.  So I stayed home again and went to the doctor.  They said that it was just viral and would have to run its course.  So, I went back to school Tuesday, but still felt sick. I also noticed on Tuesday that my eye was a little red. Yesterday I woke up with full blown pink eye, so I missed work again yesterday! There is so much to do at the end of the year, that I was very worried about missing so much.  But, it will all get done....I just keep telling myself that. a few days ago I shared some things that I thought I did well this year.  Today I will share my goals for next year.  This could be a long one people....

1.  I have never been a plan ahead type person.   I always get done what I need to get done.  However, I can't help but thinking that I put way more stress on myself because I am always trying to do things last minute.  This is true even at work.  I'm not going to lie....I am often getting my materials ready for the day at 6:45 before my students come in at 7:10.  There.  I have said it.  I feel better!  I am also going to do a bit of justifying though.  On weeks when I have planned the whole week ahead of time, I end up not using all of what I had planned due to lack of  time or the students didn't get something, so I have to adjust and reteach. that I have justified my procrastination.....I will stop making excuses.  My goal next year is to have my plans and materials ready for the following week before I leave on Fridays.   This will be tough for me, but I really do think that it will make my life easier. 

2.  I do not feel confident as a writing teacher. I model, model, model.  Then, give them time to write.  However, I seem to be lost when it comes to conferencing with them about their writing.  I can read their papers and know what needs to be changed, but I don't know how to make them see it!  So often I will say, "read me what you wrote".  They read.  "Does that make sense?"  Then, they give me this look like, "I know I should say no, so I'm going to shake my head no, but it does make sense to me." So, my goal next year is to find a teacher who is really strong at teching writing, and ask if I can observe them conferencing with their students.  I definitely need some guidance.  Do you have any suggestions for me? Or good books to read on teaching writing?

3.  I WANT TO STAY ORGANIZED!!!!!  I am not an organized person.  At home or at school.  Now, I have to say....I always know where things are, but I'm sure to other people I look like a total mess.  I start off every year with such an organized, clean room, and then by September the end of the first week it is a mess. And, because I am not a good cleaner, I am not good at forcing the kids to be. So, my goal next year is to tidy up a bit each day before I leave, or to do a better job of getting the kids to clean and organize. 

4.  I have never been totally satisfied with what my kids do while I teach guided reading.  My first and second year, I did centers.  I just wasn't happy with this.  1. It was a lot of work for me. 2. I felt like kids need to be reading during reading time.  Even though we ask them to read at home for 20 minutes a night, they don't all have parents that enforce that.  So, they need to be doing it during the school day.  That's my opinion anyway. 3. I also felt like the centers weren't effective unless I was monitoring to ensure the students were on task. Last year my kids were very difficult.  They did seat work while I taught guided reading.  Otherwise, I got no teaching accomplished. I definitely didn't like that, but I had no other choice.  This year, my kids loved to read.  So, most of the time, they got their book box, found a spot to sit, and they read.  I started off the year by having them keep a reading response journal. I realized quickly that I wouldn't keep up with checking it very often.  I have heard so much about The Daily 5.  I want to read that book this summer, and see if I can get some ideas to modify and enhance what I did this year. What do your kids do while you teach guided reading?

Those are some of my goals for next year!  Hopefully putting them on here for everyone to read will keep me accountable!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I remember when I was in college, one of the things that we had to do during student teaching was write a reflection at the end of each day, and then one at the end of the week.  I  remember thinking to myself, "What a waste of time!  This is soooo not what real teachers do!" Boy was I wrong.  It is now something I instinctively do moment by moment throughout my day.  I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about!  At the end of each year, I like to sit down and list the things that I did well, and the things that I want to change.  I like to make myself a "glow and grow" list, if you will!'s post is my "glow" list. These are the things that I feel like I did well this year.  They are the things that I want to make sure I keep doing next year.  (before you think, "boy, she's full of herself"....My "grow" list is tomorrow, and I'm sure it is longer than this one!) So here we go....

1. I did a great job of keeping up with our social studies and science curriculum this year. It can be so easy to push those subjects aside when we just need a little more time to teach something else. But, this year one of the goals that I set for myself was to fully cover all of the standards for science and social studies and not just touch on them.  Two things helped me accomplish this. First of all, it helped that the ESOL teacher pushed in during this segment each day.  She was prepared for her part of the lesson each day.  So, no matter how busy my day had been, or how much I needed to fit in something besides science and social studies, I couldn't! She was counting on doing what we had planned.  Second, I tried to integrate science and social studies into reading as much as possible.  I did my best to find guided reading books that would further teach some of the material. I would also do some of my read alouds during my mini lesson in reading on one of our science or social studies topics..  My students this year loved science and social studies.  We were able to do a lot of fun things!    I definitely want to keep this up next year!

2. As I have said before, I had a wonderful class this year.  They worked together so well.  That has not always been the case.  In fact, before this year, I had three (yes, three) VERY difficult classes in a row. My first year of teaching, my kids were good, but it was my first year. I was just figuring things out myself.  Then, my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years of teaching.....well....I'm just going to be honest people......I went home many days in tears! They were tough!   So, I had not always been able to do a ton of group work. The kids just couldn't handle it. No matter how much I tried, it just didn't work.  I was spending more time trying to teach them how to work together than I was actually teaching!  But this year, I made up for lost time!  My kids worked together ALL. THE. TIME. this year.  I think that this is so important to learning.  Kids need to talk about their learning. They need to be able to articulate what they do or don't  understand.  They need to talk about their mistakes, and use problem solving skills to help each other figure out how to fix those mistakes!  And, its great for the higher kids to explain how or why they know what they know to other kids. This year, my students worked together during math centers each day, they would sometimes read with a partner while I taught guided reading, and we did TONS of partner/group work during science and social studies time.  I had so much fun watching them work together this year and I hope to continue that next year. It wasn't quiet in my room very often this year, but they were learning and talking about their learning through group and partner work, and I loved it!   

3. Grading....oh, grading!  Where do I start??? I have never been good at keeping up with grading.  In the past I have had HUGE stacks of paper everywhere.  Then, I would feel bad if I didn't grade every one of them...crazy, right?!? In my district, we use a standards based grading system (3-meets the standard, 2-progressing toward meeting the standard, 1-does not meet). It is not an averaging system. The students' report card grades are based on their mastery of each standard at the end of the quarter only.  I realized, most of the work I give my kids is either for practice or for me to quickly glance at in order to restructure groups for the following week and to decide what each group needs.  So, why am I spending so much time grading those never ending stacks of paper?!? I got smart this year. I had two paper trays stacked on top of each other for the students to turn in work.  If I knew that I was going to grade a paper (usually for the purpose of grouping kids for the following week) I would tell them to put it in the "top" basket when they were finished.  If I knew that the assignment was just for practice, I told them to put it in the bottom basket when finished.  This way, at the end of the day, I would quickly go through the bottom basket, glance over the papers and just put a check on them. I would send them home the next day, and be done with it.  The ones on the top I would take home and actually grade! These were the ones that helped me plan further instruction. There weren't many of them, so it wasn't a daunting task.  This made it much less time consuming! I did pretty good with this.  I rarely had huge stacks of paper waiting on me!  Hopefully I can keep up with that next year!

Well there you have it.  Those were the goals that I set for myself this year. I have to remind myself sometimes that I am only human.....I can only do so much, and everything won't always work perfectly!  I am my own worst critic, so it is good for me to remind myself of the things that I did well! 

Tomorrow....the 1,000,000 things that I can improve for next  year. Haha!  Then, on Thursday, I will share pictures of some of my favorite things I did with my kids this year! 

So, what are some things that you liked about your classroom/teaching this year?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

We have some winners.....

Hello guys!  I hope everyone has had a great weekend!  Mine was good, but I am still trying to shake whatever was wrong with me last Thursday and Friday.  I am still not feeling 100% and it is so annoying!!!  Hopefully tomorrow will be better! If not, I may have to break down and go to the doctor:( Anyway,  thank you to all who entered my contest and for the sweet comments!  They make my day each time I read them:)

I will be emailing you this product tonight ladies:) 

I also wanted to say THANK YOU for all the support that you all have given me in my blogging journey.  I am now at 53 followers!!!!! How exciting is that?!? Thank you, thank you, thank you!! 

This is the last week of school!  I am always a little excited and a little sad for the end of the school year!  Mostly excited, but I will miss my kids.  I was blessed with a wonderful group of students this year.  They made teaching so fun!  I always use the end of the year as a time to reflect. To think about the things that I did well, and the things that I could improve on. Things that I want to change, and things that I want to do again.  So I thought that throughout this week I would blog about some of those things.  Be looking for posts about those topics throughout this week. I will also post some pictures of some of my favorite activities that I did with my kids this year!  I would love your feedback and suggestions this week also:) 

And last but not least......I will be having a "its-the-last-week-of-school-and-I-now-have-53-followers-so-I-want-to-have-a-sale sale" at my Tpt store.  Everything in my store will be 20% off Mondday through Friday!  Check it out!!!  I don't always want to blog about my TpT store.  I know that it is annoying when people do that, and I promise to not be one of those bloggers!  However, I did want to do something to thank my followers (and celebrate the last week of school!!) I hope you are able to get some discounted things to use for next year! 

Well, that's all for now!  Have a great week!!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Hey guys!  Wow!  I have been one sick girl the past couple of days!  I didn't go to school today. I just rested, drank lots of oj and water, and took some medicine. I am feeling a bit better....not 100%, but better! I did, however, manage to get my new product posted to my TpT page!  As I have said before it is a fall themed unit on even and odd numbers.  Hey, its never too early to start planning for next year, righ?!? It is aligned with the 2nd grade common core math  standards.  It includes two sorting activities, a game, several worksheets, a scarecrow glyph, and a graphing activity to complete based on the glyph.   Here is the glyph:

I think he turned out pretty cute:)

Here is the preview image for some other things included in this unit:

I can't wait to use this product with my 2nd grade kiddos next year!! I am going to give away this product to TWO lucky winners!  Just leave a comment to enter.  I will select a winner on Sunday, May 20!  Have a great weekend:) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is it just me....

Or is every day getting a little bit longer?!? What a busy week!  I don't know about you guys, but I am stressed out!  I have been working on a huge end of the year "to do" list at school this week.  It seems never ending: organize student portfolios for next year's teacher, collect some final assessments for report cards, complete report cards, give benchmark tests, grade benchmark tests, record benchmark tests on data sheet....yada, yada, yada...the list goes on and on.  I'm sure everyone is feeling this way!  I just keep reminding myself that in 6 days I will be able to relax, read, create, and sleep all I want!! So, I saw a blogger having a "summer bucket list Linky Party".  The blog was A Cupcake for the Teacher.  Now, because I'm a new blogger, I don't know how to join these linky party things yet. I'm sure that it is super easy. I just need to get someone to show me how. (In case I haven't mentioned it...I am a bit technologically challenged.....Just ask my friend Mandy....I'm always having to ask her questions about this blogging thing, and I'm sure I drive her CRAZY! ) Anway, I thought that this was such a cute idea to put together a summer bucket list. And, because I have been so stressed this week, it will give me some things to look forward to!   Now, I'm not a member of this linky party, but I thought I would share some of the things on my summer bucket list.  ( I hope it is not bad blogging manners to post this if I'm not part of the linky party!  Let me know if it is!)

1.   I saw these on pinterest, and I thought they were AdOrAblE! I think I would use them to display math and/or guided reading groups. Or, each pan could be a stage of the writing process, and I could visually see which stage each child was one....Hmmmm....

                                                         Dandelions and Dragonflies

Pinned Image

2. I want to find or build an easel for my classroom.  I just don't want to pay a million dollars for one. If anyone has any ideas about where I could get one please let me know!

3. Read The Daily 5

4. I want to make a class set of these writing offices. These are made for Kindergarten, so I would add some 2nd grade strategies.  I'm not sure where these are from. If they are yours, let me know, and I will give you credit:)  How helpful would these be?!?

Pinned Image

and last but not least.....
5. Create lots of fun things for my second graders and TpT store!!  I have so many ideas swirling around in my mind!

Sorry for the super long post!  I hope everyone is having an awesome week!!! 

P.S. My new product (Raking Up Odds and Evens) is FINISHED!  I am just having someone edit it.  I will be posting it by Friday and having a giveaway!!! So, keep looking out for that:)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Changes, Changes....

Hey guys!  I hope everyone has had a great weekend, and I hope that the moms out there have been shown lots of love on Mother's Day!  My sweet husband even bought me flowers today. As you may know, we don't have kids yet. So,when I asked why he said, "because you are the mom of my future children"!  I do love him so:) I've been hanging on to some news that I am very excited about:)  I will be moving to 2nd grade next year!!!  This is something that I have been wanting for several years now!!  I am sooo excited for the change.  I love my 3rd graders, but it is all I have ever taught, so I am excited to have some experience in another grade level! Also, where I teach, 3rd grade is PACKED with testing.  We take ITBS, CoGAT, writing test, and CRCT.  I am thrilled to experience a year without all of that:)  Basically all I can think about now is creating some fun things for 2nd graders!!! So,  I have taken the common core math standards, and planned a unit and/or game pack for most of them!!!! My first one should be completed in a couple of days. I have been working on it like crazy this weekend.  It is called "Raking Up Even and Odds"  It is fall themed because I thought this would be something to teach toward the beginning of the year. It will contain  3 lessons on odd and even numbers, several games, worksheets, and a scarecrow glyph:) When it is complete, I will be giving it away to 2 lucky winners!   Be looking for details on that later this week:) 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Freebie!!!

I hope everyone has had a great week, and I hope that you all felt appreciated this week! My kids and their parents were so sweet to me for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I received several flowers, lots of cards, and some candy!  We had Field Day today.  My kids were so good, and they had such a great time, but I have to tell you....I am TIRED!!! I plan on getting lots of rest this weekend:)

Now, on to the Friday Freebie....correction.....FREEBIES! That's right there are two of them:) 

First of all-I'm sorry there are not pictures!  I left school, and totally forgot to take pictures of this stuff.  But, I wanted to get my freebies up today, so I will edit this post and add pictures next week. back to the freebies!! Last weekend, I took a trip to one of my favorite places....... the Target Dollar Spot ! I found some cute little sand buckets, and I thought that I could definitely use them in a center somehow. I just needed something to go in them.   Then, I found some little toy rubber frogs that were several different colors. I instantly thought of  graphing the different colored frogs.  I also remembered the sea shell clipart that I used in my graphing unit, and I thought I could use those in the sand bucket for a division center!  So here is what I came up with!

 Here is the page I made for graphing the frogs. I included some frog clipart in case you don't have the toy ones that I found at Target.  You will just have to color the frogs to match the colors in the activity. The students scoop out some frogs from the bucket and make a tally chart and bar graph based on what they scoop out of the bucket. You can download this page for FREE by clicking here

I also made this division page.  In this activity the students scoop out some shells from the bucket and complete the division page based on the number of shells they scooped out.  You can click here to download this item for FREE! 

Well, I think that's it for now.  I hope this post makes sense without pictures!  Check back to see those next week!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend:)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day Craft

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  So, because Mother's Day is Sunday, I am going to let my kids do a craft on Thursday.  We have field day Friday (please say a prayer for me....I will need it) so we won't be able to do it that day. I had almost forgotten all about mother's day, and didn't have any great ideas, but I found this via pinterest on the blog I thought they were super cute!

However, becaues my kids are a bit older, I think I am going to have them write a poem of some sort or a letter to put on the inside. My friend from work came up with the idea of making this into a coupon book!  How cute would that be?!?  I will let you kow how it goes:) 

I hope you have a great week!  Stay tuned for a FREEBIE later this week:) 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New Blog Design, New Product!

Hey guys! I have been hard at work today updating my blog design!  I discovered Dreamlike Magic and I am in L-O-V-E! I had to stop myself from spending too much money! So....since I have a new blog design, I decided to create a new product to go with the theme! 

This is a supplemental sentences game pack!  It includes a sorting activity where the students sort complete and incomplete sentences, and an activity page to complete as an assessment. Then, there is a punctuation board game.  The students read a sentence, decide what punctuation it needs, and move around the board!  It is titled "Wise Sentences Game Pack". 

TpT is having a huge sale starting TOMORROW!!!!  So, this product and all of my others will be on SALE!  Click here to link to my store! 

Here are some things that I will be purchasing:

                                                                 Mandy's Pirate Unit
End of the Year Pirate Unit

This Dictionary Skills Activity From Third Grade Bookworm

Sara's Fraction in Action Pack

Well, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday!  Happy Cinco De Mayo:)  And Happy Shopping Tomorrow!

Friday, May 4, 2012

And the other winner is......

Sorry guys I totally forgot to pick two winners earlier. Please forgive me...I'm new at this;) The other winner is Kathleen at Slide Show!   Kathleen, please send me your email, and I will send you your graphing activity pack:)  Thanks again everyone for entering! I will be creating and posting some more new stuff soon:)

And the winner is......

Jackie at Third Grades a Charm!  Congratsulations Jackie! Send me your email address, and I will send you your Graphing Pack!!!!

Thank you to all of you who entered and followed my blog!!!  Have a GREAT Friday:) 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

1 Day Until the GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thank you so much to everyone that has followed my blog and commented!  I get so excited when I have a new comment to read!  Bloggers are so kind and welcoming!!!! Also, Thank you to for giving me a shout out!
You still have 1 day to enter the giveaway:)  I will be choosing the winner on tomorrow May 4, so make sure to enter by the end of today!