August 27, 2012

Back to School Giveaway!

The kiddos start school a week from Thursday, which, in my opinion is the perfect reason to have a giveaway!!

Here's what I have to offer...

A $25 gift card to (it's my favorite place to shop, next to Gap :)

Next is a Planning for Literacy Instruction Pack

There are 5 books in this pack (all from Scholastic)!

Lastly is a Lesson Activity Pack

 There are 3 books in this pack!

There are 3 prizes, which means 3 winners!!
All you need to do is enter using my little friend, Rafflecopter! The giveaway ends September 5th at midnight. I'll announce the winners on my first day of school, September 6th!
Good Luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 26, 2012

Conferencing Freebies

I don't know about you...but I love conferencing with kids! I love having conversations about books, math problems, and their newest writing pieces. I gain so much insight into the child, just by sitting and listening!

Conferencing is a powerful assessment tool, but, at times, it can be very hard to manage.Writing the same teaching point 6 times in a row or wondering who didn't I conference with yet this week--can turn this tool into a major hassle.

Throughout the years, my conferencing style, plans, and organization have changed as I grew into my conferring craft. Here I'm going to share with you some conferencing forms and tricks that have worked for me and my students!

Here are some individual conferencing sheets:
This one is generic for literacy and I used it a lot when I first started conferencing. There's a built in cheat sheet just in case I forgot the format of a conference (this conference sheet is very Teachers' College!)

I used these sheets last year with my fifth graders! In the Guided Reading one, GR stands for Guided Reading, SL is Strategy Lesson, and RR is running record. On these sheets, I gave my students goals and strategies to work on as they read, wrote, or practiced their math. 

        **Since my students are older, I have them write in the next steps (which is where they wrote the teaching point, which had a strategy attached to it). It saved me lots of time and it taught them to take ownership of their learning!
        **If you have your groups preplanned, you can also type the next step onto labels and simply stick them onto the sheet at the end of the conference. 

Planning for Groups

This helped me keep track of my groups in reading. 
GG-is goal group; SL-is strategy lesson; GR-is guided reading

My reading block is long enough to allow me to meet with 2 groups. After I teach the lesson, the kiddos try-out the teaching point while I have my first group conference. I usually coach students on the day's teaching point during this conference or conduct running records. After ten minutes, the students go into their stations and I have another group. This group is longer and it's either in a guided reading book or a classroom read aloud book (strategy lesson).

Another group planner for reading, writing, and math with a link to the standards.

How do I keep track of all these conferences?

I use this...

I write the student names down the side and the week of date at the bottom. When I meet with a student, I put a check next to their name. At a glance, I can see who still needs a conference by the end of the week in reading, writing, and math!

I created this at the end of the year because I noticed that some of my higher kids only had a few conferences. This form really helped me to see where all my conferences were going (that in itself was very interesting to see!!)

I put all the conferencing forms from this post together in a freebie for you!! Click HERE for the forms!!

How do you keep track of your conferences? I'd love to hear about it :)

August 19, 2012

5 Things I Miss About Summer Linky

Nancy at Joy of Kindergarten is hosting an awesome linky party--5 Things I miss about summer!!

Although I still have 15 days before I officially report back to work, there are many things I'm going to miss about summer.

1. A cleaner house--I find myself cleaning...a lot! I finally got my office in order after it being a catch all for all my school stuff for over a year!! I was bad. I'm typing this while sitting at my desk :o) It's a beautiful thing!!

2. Folded laundry--and put away! I've been keeping the laundry pile down and the clean piles are folded and put away shortly after they are taken out of the dryer. I love being able to find my favorite more searching through baskets :)

3. Staying up late--I get so much done in the wee hours! It's so quiet :o) I love it!

4. Quality time with the babies--my almost two year olds are growing so fast and are at an age where they can be super adorable.  I love hearing them me, to each other, or to any toy that vaguely resembles a phone--it's too cute!!

5. No papers to grade! I am dreading all the papers, especially since I have 26 kiddos so far on register. The comments are the worst! I know they are valuable and necessary, but they are so time consuming. I am not looking forward to that!

What are you going to miss this summer?

August 10, 2012

I finally did it....and a FLASH GIVEAWAY

I opened my own TpT store! I've been thinking about it for awhile and I'm not sure what really made me take the plunge, but I did!! Maybe the summer brought my creativity back haha!

I think part of it is my process to unpack the common core standards and what it means to my teaching and the kiddos. In doing so, I find myself creating things that meet the needs of the kids and the whole moving grade thing is making me start all over! (It's always good to shake things up right?!?!)

In my common core quest, I've decided to start with math! My grade wrote their own curriculum map for the standards that fall under Numbers and Operations in Base Ten (focusing on place value). We are left with finding materials and/or creating our own to meet the standards and our map.

My plan is to create homework, quizzes, my version of math boxes for independent work, exit slips, and station/center work for each of the fourth grade math standards.

So far, I have a lot done on paper because it seems that when my toddlers see me at the computer they think it's time to get into something. So most of my typing is done late at night! (The only reason I can write this now is because I'm feeding them goldfish crackers... very.... slowly!! haha)

I did manage to get a center activity take a look:

In honor of opening my store, I'm giving away 5 copies of this game! All you need to do is be a follower of my blog and follow my TpT store! The winners will be announced on Monday, August 13th!

Good Luck!

Congratulations to the winners! Please email me at so I can send you the file!

Thank you to all who participated and be on the lookout for another giveaway in the near future!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


August 8, 2012

Did you know...

that you can create a cute class website using Google? I know what you're thinking...there aren't a lot of templates or fonts to choose from and the parameters are very limiting. A few years ago, those concerns were true because I did, in fact, attempt to create a website on Google. It bombed terribly and I didn't look back...until now!!

This summer I took a 3 day technology based workshop through our Teacher's Center and I discovered a whole new world! The best part is--you can choose from a premade template (which is great for tech savvy people) or you can create your site from scratch only including the pages you really want (this way is better for novices).

I created mine using a classroom's a pic of the front page
You can even embed a form from Google (I linked mine to the Poll Button on my homepage):

 Or you can have a link:

There are a ton of fonts to choose and anything you do in Google can be linked to your site, like your calendar, docs, and other websites! People can even subscribe to certain posts--like my homework page! Families can subscribe and be notified of the new homework assignments when I upload them to the site!! How cool is that?!!? ( inner nerd got out :p)

In no way shape or form am I affiliated with Google...I just love the new things I can do with it and I wanted to share!

If you want to take a closer look at my site, you can go HERE. It is still a work in progress and there is a lot I need to add, especially under Acknowledgements. 

I would love to hear what you think! Are you ready to build a class site?

August 3, 2012

August Currently

I can't believe that it is already August! Luckily I still have a little over a month before the students step foot in our building (my summer vacation only started on June 28th!!) I'm sure the time will fly and before I know'll be September! Yikes!!

Anywho, Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade is hosting her monthly linky party!

My B2S Must Haves:
I'm super excited about my class website (I'll post more about that tomorrow!) and I can't wait to share it :o)

The Flair pens are newly designed and write so much smoother than before! I was super excited to find this out!!

The timer...well, everything in my room is to the minute since, well, it has to be (you know those pesky time protocols!) I found this really cute owl on Pinterest and had to have it!
I can't wait for it to come in the mail!!

Happy Friday :o)