Monday, July 25, 2011

Writing Details

I have been working on writing materials to help my students, especially as we transition to the Common Core Standards this year, and decided to share what I am developing as my next blog post.  In the meantime while I was procrastinating getting things done around the house blog hopping this morning I came across this on Teaching Blog Addict:
Awesome Writing Tips Workshop

What great timing! So even though I am not finished yet, I will add what I have as it continues to develop. I have some home projects I need to finish, so I cannot sit down and complete this all at one time. Here is a picture of the cover of the writing notebook that will be at the writing center in our classroom. I designed the notebook using graphic designs by Lettering Delights. Click on the picture below for a better view.

The inside of the notebook will contain tools and visual aids for students to help them along the writing continuum, more specifically, helping them with the who, what, where, why, and when details. I will post more later as I am having some washing machine breakdown issues right now that I need to deal with. Stay tuned..............

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Classroom Set up and Dollar Tree Find

I took pictures of my classroom with all of the furniture in the middle and was going to post before and after pictures. Unfortunately, when I got home I realized the picture did not actually take. I do have one of the beginning stage of set up and am including that here. I did not get very far though as the air conditioning is not turned on yet (it will be Monday, YEAH!) and after an hour and a half working in the room, it was a little more than warm! I am thankful to have my key this early though. I will add more pictures as the room unfolds......
Sorry it is a little blurry as it was taken from my iphone. I am setting up the desks in clusters and am lowering the legs on a few desks to put one in the center of each cluster to contain the students' book boxes. I saw the idea on another blog and would love to give the person credit, only I have been blog hopping and cannot remember who it was. If this fabulous idea is yours, please let me know and many, many thanks for the brilliant idea. This will certainly help to give the students more desk working space and to keep the desks clutter free.

Now.................. on to the Dollar Tree find............................

I found some cute little containers at The Dollar Tree and am going to use them for my guided math work stations and at my writing station.

Again, sorry for the blurriness, but I am sure you will get the idea and that is what really counts. These are rubber insects from the party favor section at Dollar Tree. I am going to put the insects in the containers at the writing station. Students will have access to non-fiction books about insects and can write insect facts to combine science and writing. This will help to build their background knowledge and to make connections when reading. Also, they can take a "specimen" jar and write a creative story about the critter.

Some of the critters on the loose!

 These are great little containes to hold dice for math stations. Hopefully this will prevent them from ending up in the lost pieces basket!

Anybody else have any great ideas for these nifty little containers?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ladybug Teacher Files

Kristin at Ladybug's Teacher Files is advertising a HUGE giveaway to celebrate her 1,000 followers!
 Here are the prizes:
1. First name drawn (Grand Prize): A Mix and Match Template from Ladybug Teaching Resources, INCLUDING any offered extras. What is a Mix and Match Template? It is a new type of template that offers a great deal of choice and customization. Read (actually, watch) all about it here: Mix and Match Templates

2. Next 3 names drawn: Your choice of a Premade Template, INCLUDING any offered extras. You can see all Premade Templates here (there are two new ones!): Premade Templates

That's 4 winners, 4 different prizes!

Click below to head over to her fabulous store and check out the cuteness!

 Ladybug Teaching Resources Ladybug Teaching Resources

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I went to Staples today and purchased some fabulous deals. Thought I would take a moment to share in case anyone else is interested.

I paid $4.00 for these highlighters, but with an "Easy" Staples rebate, they will be free.

 This container of 50 retractable pens was 1/2 off with a coupon I printed at the Staples web site.

Who doesn't love Sharpies???? These were also 1/2 off with a coupon printed from the Staples site.

The young man that was ringing up my purchases informed me of a promotion that Staples is offering at the moment. If you purchase a "Back to School Savings Pass" you can get 15% off  school supplies between 7/3/11  and 9/17/11. There are some exclusions, but if you buy school supplies for your classroom and/or your own children, this card can easily not only pay for itself, but save you money as well.

I am sure there will be more deals soon as they are starting to set up their back to school displays.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sunny Days

Head on over to Sunny Days in Second Grade  at
to check out a great blog and a fantabulous giveaway! To celebrate 200 followers she is giving away A $15 Amazon gift card AND 5 free items from her TpT store to one winner!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Online Book Study: The Book Whisperer - Chapter One

Beth at Thinking of Teaching is hosting chapter one of a book discussion of a fabulous read, The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I am highlighting this book as I read through  DEVOUR it. I decided to use four colors to highlight with. Here is my color coding scheme – Yellow = quotes/profound thoughts/ideas; Blue = books to explore further; Orange = ideas to try in my class; Pink = things to add to my website (i.e. links, etc.).

Discussion Ideas:

How did you feel as you started reading?
--I felt as if I had gone back in time and that I was a child again. Like Donalyn, my Mom also worried because she thought I spent too much time indoors reading. I experienced flashbacks to when my children were younger and some of the great times we spent together during family readaloud time. Donalyn pens, “I am a reader, a flashlight-under-the-covers, carries-a-book-everywhere-I-go, don’t look – at-my-Amazon-bill reader.” Can I get a witness??????
What were your first thoughts, connections, insights?
--As teachers, we can get caught up in planning reading activities and how they will be perfectly implemented. The reality though is that my students need for me to introduce them to good books and then turn them loose to get lost between the pages.
Were you like me and finally felt as though you had found someone who was speaking your language?
--Yes, Yes, and Yes again!
Which part jumped out at you and made you say "aha!!, I knew it"?
--The part that discusses that as long as we have a passion for books and model for students what it means to “live as a reader” that is what teaching reading is all about.

I created a Wordle after reading the first chapter. Click on the picture for a bigger view.

Thanks, Beth for hosting this!

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sequel to Previous Post

I just got back from a trip to a different Target store and found some more items to go with my previous lemonade post. Here are pics of the latest finds:
lemonade tablecloth

lemonade banner

list size notepad, pencils, sticky notes

The tablecloth and banner will add a festive touch to the lemonade stand in the classroom. I am thinking about using the sticky notes for students to take notes on when readng some of the books listed above to help with comprehension skills.

Lemon - Aid

So, what is a girl to do when she goes to Target and finds these cute items in the dollar bin? Blog about them, of course!

If you click on the photos you will be able to get a better view of my lemony purchases. I am thinking about using them for a math center to set up a lemonade stand. Students can use the box as a cash box for practicing money skills and they could use the clipboards to take orders, etc. I would love to make some things to share that other teachers could print here to use in either a math and/or literacy setting. Being new to the blogging world, I am trying to discern what graphics can be used legally. I have purchased some in the past for personal use and am trying to research what I can and can not do with them as far as sharing materials goes. If you can offer any advice in this area, I would truly welcome it! 

Here are a few titles centered upon lemonade that can be used for literature and math activities. Unfortunately, the ones I have are in my classroom and we had to turn our keys in until later this summer.

You can watch a video clip of the author, Jacqueline Davies, sharing how the book The Lemonade War came about. She was not planning on writing a sequel until she talked to children about the book.  Click on The icon below for the cover to The Lemonade Crime to watch the short video for more details.

That's all for this blog post. Gotta go...a tall glass of lemonade is calling my name......

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back to School Bulletin Board

Kristen at
shared a cute project she did for Flag Day using Wordle. That inspired me to use Wordle to create my first bulletin board of the year. I am going to have my students create a self-portrait and then have the parents send me a list of 10 words to describe their child. I will take the lists and type them into Wordle and print them to put under their portraits. We will reveal the portraits to the parents at Open House. I have attached the parent letter I created in case anyone else wants to use it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Reading and Bookmarks

Bought some neat magnetic page holders at Wal-Mart for all of the books I am reading this summer.
They come six to a package.
Also purchased these uclips to hold key places when reading professional books.

There are 50 in the package.

Happy Reading!

Great Blog Site for Second Grade

I was just at a great blog site for second grade. Check it out! Thanks Mrs. Lemons for sharing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Organization

Like many other teachers, I am spending time this summer to organize my thoughts and my resources, and spend time upon reflecting what worked well in the classroom, and oh yeah, what did not! I want to record more anecdotal notes next year for assessment purposes. So, my first order of business this week is to organize and create tools for this very purpose. I have seen clipboards before for assessing students, and most recently noticed one in Debbie Diller's book Math Work Stations. I am love, love, loving her book!! Here are pictures of the clipboards with 5 X 8 cards I made for each student for reading and for math. I decided to go with the biggest size cards I could fit on the clipboard so that I will not have to change them out as often. Anything to save time! I made a cover to put over the notes so that anyone else in the classroom will not be able to see any confidential information. Also, I decided to number them as well for two reasons. 1) We do not get our class lists until a few days before school starts and I wanted to have the cards "good to go." 2) If a card is left flipped up for a moment and someone else (volunteer, etc.) sees it, it will not identify a student by name.

Reading Assessment

Math Assessment

Super Cute File Box

New Kid on the Block

Hi! I am the new kid on the block in the teacher blogging world! I know I will learn from other teacher bloggers and want to share what I am doing as well. I am learning about blogging as I venture into this tech savvy world. So, putting one foot in front of the other, I am taking my first step......................................