August 20, 2014

Back to School Banner Freebie

It's finally here...the last bend of summer vacation. I'm sad to see this summer end, but to get me into the spirit of things, I made you a little gift :)

I love gifts! Don't you?

I'm trying interactive notebooks from the beginning of the year and since my time is limited with each group, I need to optimize it.

Enter the Goal Setting Banner :)

To get this freebie, you can click HERE to get it from my TpT store or HERE to get it from my TN shop.

What activities are you planning to help your students practice routines?

August 18, 2014

Raffle Rewards

     I really hate self promotion, but I have to tell you that I am over the moon about this new product! I really am so excited to introduce these in my room!

     As you know, I'm teaching in a departmentalized ELA room next year and to be honest, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I sincerely love all the comments and emails about what it's like in a departmentalized setting and I appreciate all the advice.

     But there are still some things I'm unsure classroom management and parent communication for 60+ students. For years, I've used a classroom economy and have LOVED it...and the kids LOVE it too. However, there is no way I can manage that with so many students.


There are certificates and raffle tickets in one! I made 14 different types of certificates:
*Orderly Organizer
*Nifty Notebook
*Reading Achievement
*Math Achievement
*Science Achievement
*Social Studies Achievement
*Outstanding Behavior
*Excellent Effort
*Compassionate Comrade
*Proud Participant
*Super Scorer
*Incredible Improvement
*Wondrous Writer
*Awesome Attendance
     I tried to use as much alliteration as I could :)
They come in color and in black & white. 
Also included in the pack is a checklist to help keep track of who gets what certificate. What is NOT included are the prizes once you pick the raffle tickets.

For the next 24 hours this pack is on sale for half off if you are interested in getting it!

You can visit my TpT shop or my TN shop to pick it up :)

I'd love to hear what you think about this or if you have another idea for an award you'd like to see in  the pack :)

August 5, 2014

A Sale Reminder

I'm sure you all have heard about the big SALE at Teachers Pay Teachers! Enjoy 20% off in my shop :)

300 × 250 

Here are some of my favorites :)

July 18, 2014

Anyone Interested?

I recently received this book in the mail
I read the introduction and fell in love! The author shares how he used his dad's forward thinking about solving problems and the concerns of his colleagues to help him change how he graded and assessed in his classroom. He briefly discusses his process and its effect on his students. 

I would love to host a book study for this book! If you are interested in hosting a chapter or two, please click HERE to fill out the survey :)

July 16, 2014

Departmentalizing Advice Needed :)

     Currently, my assignment for next year is to teach 4th grade English Language Arts (reading, writing, and word study). I'm still an ICT room, meaning my homeroom will have me (as the general education teacher) and my co-teacher (as the special ed. teacher). After an allotted time, my co-teacher will go with our homeroom class to the math teacher and I'll get another set of kids from the math teacher. (I'm not sure the make-up of the other class--it's either ELLs {english language learners}or the general ed.)

I'm not sure how I feel about this...I honestly go back and forth about the pros and cons.

I enjoy teaching reading and writing and the actual preparation of the lessons (materials,charts, plan book) seems streamlined. Reflections of the lessons can be immediately adapted for the next group and I can become an expert in one field instead of trying to become an expert in everything.

On the other hand, as one of the ELA teachers, there is substantially more work to be done than the math teachers. From a planning perspective, we are writing our first unit (reading, writing, and word study) from scratch using a mentor text. Once we're done teaching that first unit, we're getting a new program {Core Knowledge}. Unpacking that is going to be interesting! And grading is a whole other story!

I'm curious about how departmentalizing looks in other schools--
     **What does your schedule look like? Do you use a rotation schedule?
     **How do you fit it all in (especially since there really isn't any carry over time)?
     **How do you manage all the grading?
     **What does your homework look like? Do you give daily or weekly homework? How do you check it?
     **How do you fit in stations or center time?

 I really appreciate any advice :) Thanks in advance!

June 4, 2014

Book Study...Chapter 4


I'm linking up with Beth at Thinking of Teaching to talk about Reading Responses. 

Here's a quick low-down on the chapter...
       Reading Responses can add an element of accountability, especially after guided reading. The students can respond to the guided reading text. 

       The biggest challenge is assessing during independent reading. We are able to observe students' reading behaviors, but accessing and assessing student thinking is not easily seen. There are many reading response tasks that students can use to show us their thinking.

      Lisa has found that using different tools, prompts, and response modes are the most effective in showing student thinking. By varying these modes of responses, the students stay engaged and by allowing student choice, the students are given a variety of ways to share their thinking.

     The goal is to have students practice a new strategy that was taught, consolidate their learning, and apply the skills on their own. This is the gradual release of responsibility. (During my second year of teaching, my literacy coach was teaching the staff about the gradual release of responsibility during reader's workshop, which was also the around the time when I first learned about balanced literacy. The whole staff was learning about balanced literacy--we were slowly getting rid of the basals and adding authentic literature into our classrooms. My coach described the gradual release of responsibility as teaching the children to ride a bike--at first while you are teaching, you are holding onto the bike as they get used to pedaling. As you move into the active engagement, you are coaching them as they become more confident on the bike, but you are still holding the seat. During independent work, the students are trying their new skills on their own--they are actually riding the bike themselves!)

    Before students can independently work on these tasks, Lisa recommends modeling the reading response task using a few simple steps--share the task with the students and read aloud the text. Think aloud as you're reading keeping the task in mind. On chart paper or under the document camera, fill out the task template (in the book, on pages 61-68, there are task cards for word skills, visualizing, determining importance, questioning, connecting, inferences, synthesizing, and HOT. There are four per page!)

     Lisa suggests having a pocket where each pocket is labeled with a skill. Students are able to select the tasks that they need additional practice with or skills to help them meet their goals. (Hello Highly Effective according to the Danielson Rubric! Sorry...I couldn't resist :)
**the idea that students don't have to respond to everything they read--the key is flexibility 

**allowing students choice within the tasks, as well as with the selection of the tasks

**I want to try a variety of mediums for responding. I love the idea of a reading response notebook--there is just something about words on a page that I can't get over. Lisa mentioned incorporating a response journal in a digital format, which made me think about how I can incorporate Google Docs or a classroom blog.

**I love the idea of students selecting the tasks and incorporating the response after guided reading. It's a great way to continue their learning and an easy way for me to keep track of their responses since I already know the text they read in guided reading.

**Once the students create their responses, I'm going to grade them using my state's testing rubric. Using the results of the rubric and my observations, I can analyze the trends in the class and pull strategy groups to help further their response writing. This can be one of my two groups.

You can check out Chapter 3 Reading Around the Literacy Block with Kelly from An Apple for the Teacher

Check out Chapter 5 Writing Around the Literacy Block with Melissa from Dilly Dabbles on June 9th.

April 1, 2014


I know...I's been forever since I last blogged!

 I have a good excuse though...
my sweet little boy was born on February 14th at 9:22 pm! 

Since then I've been on maternity leaving juggling twin 3 year olds and a newborn. Needless to say, life has been busy!

I'm hoping to get myself on some sort of schedule and start blogging more frequently...until then, here's my currently for April! (baby steps haha!)

January 3, 2014

Snow Day Fun Freebie

I have to tell you...I am loving that today is a snow day! Just the fact that I didn't have to travel in the blizzard like conditions this morning made me so happy! Sleeping in was a nice perk too :)

On a side co-teacher and I have been navigating through two new curriculums...EngageNY for math and ReadyGen for reading. I don't mind EngageNY so much...the lessons are long and difficult, but doable with a lot of scaffolded support. I won't even talk about ReadyGen in this post...that will be for another day!

One thing about EngageNY is that it is very verbose...especially the word problems that they have the students practice. It is tough to get the students to see that there's more than one part to each problem...for some reason they just stop reading!

Teaching this program is very dry...the structure is bland, it's not differentiated, and there's nothing to keep the kids engaged...well...unless I do cartwheels and stand on my head! ;) haha

To add a little...(dare I say it...FUN!)... I created this project for my class...
There are 5 multi-step word problems focusing on place value, rounding numbers in thousands period (to the nearest thousand and ten thousand), and adding multi-digit whole numbers.

These are the low problems:


 There are also pages with lines for the students to explain their thinking in words.

I've uploaded this pack as a FREEBIE in my TpT Store and my Teachers Notebook Store!

I hope you enjoy!


December 31, 2013

Happy New Year and a sale :)

I can't believe 2013 is already ending...

          to celebrate I'm throwing a sale at Teachers pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook!

Everything is 20% from today December 31st through January 2nd.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014 :)

December 24, 2013

Blogging Hiatus...

I honestly can't believe that my last post was from summer vacation! Here we are quickly approaching the holiday season...I promise I have a very good reason for not blogging as often as I would like...


hubby and I are expecting #3 :) It is a very exciting time in our house...getting ready for another little boy (due in February), potty training two 3 year-olds, and preparing for Christmas! Busy, busy, busy!

And to make this time of year even more exciting...
Wow! Over 500 followers :) I am so humbled by each and every one of you and as a thank you for sticking with me and this lil ole blog...I'm going to have a giveaway! (Expect to see it once the holidays are over :)

I do need a little bit of one of the prizes I want to offer a gift card...let me know out of my three favorites which one is most appealing to you...
        **Erin Condren
        **Teacher Pay Teachers

Leave me a comment letting me know which gift card you'd like the best :)

Merry Christmas from my family to yours :)