Saturday, August 5, 2017

Weekly Update

Wow, it's been a crazy, but amazing, first week back at school. I'm sharing a few snaps today of what I've been up to...

Since I'm only teaching ELA this year, I have two groups of kiddos each day. My teaching partner and I color code everything to make it easier on ourselves and the kids. My homeroom is blue and his is green. By using the two colors, the kids know where they should turn things in, keep their supplies,  know which journals are theirs, etc...

Speaking of organization... I've been busying labeling all.the.things. You can find my travel themed editable labels and toolbox labels on TPT.

I made these treat tags to attach to a baggie of gum for Sneak-a-Peek. You can find these for free here.

If this was your first week back too, I hope you had a fabulous week! If you're starting back soon, enjoy the last bit of summer!

Friday, July 14, 2017


Happy Friday! I'm here to do a little Insta recap of my summer. Here we go...

I'm changing my theme up next year from nautical to travel. I've been loving the new color scheme with the aquas and turquoise! This print above was part of a pack of paper I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I can't wait to show you what I plan on using it for!

To go along with my new theme, I created these letters that I'll be using to make headings around my classroom. You can find these on TPT here.

Why the new theme? Well... next year I'll be moving on up from second to fifth! I'm so excited for this new adventure! I'll only be teaching ELA and can't wait to focus on all things reading/writing!

This is my teaching mantra next year! You can find this sign in my Literary Signpost product on TPT here. I'll be sure to show the finished product once I get back into my classroom to start decorating! 

Since we're talking all things travel and reading, my hubby and I got a chance to skip town for a bit and visit Boston. I absolutely fell in LOVE with the city! This picture was taken at the Public Gardens. Can you name the book? Click here to see if you're right!

Pictured above is my book stack from our trip to the beach. I plan on reviewing these books soon! I have two more to finish. You can click on the links below to find these books.

In an attempt to stock up my classroom library with fifth grade appropriate texts, I picked these up at Target on sale for $4 a piece. You can also find them on Amazon for about the same price. Just click the titles below!

Just for fun... this was a little summer gift I gave to my little man's teacher. You can find this tag in my May Gift Tags product on TPT.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Guided Reading Lesson Planning

Today I wanted to share how I organized my lesson plans and student observations in my Guided Reading binder last school year. 

First off, I used a 1-inch binder with tabbed dividers to keep everything organized and in one place. My dividers were numbered 1-24. These numbers represented the number of kiddos in my class (At the beginning of the year each student is assigned a number). 

At the front of the binder, I placed my lesson plans for each group in a clear plastic protector. I used sticky notes to write my plans on and attached those to the plastic protector to cover up each of the boxes shown above. For my plans, I wrote the title of the book, a quick description of the book, important vocabulary that I wanted to introduce to my kids, the skills I wanted to focus on, and guiding questions that I wanted to make sure to ask my kids as they read. At the top, I wrote in the date and group name using a dry erase marker.

The page pictured above was placed on the back side of my lesson plans. Here I wrote student observations on sticky notes and placed them in each box. I also used this page to record student observations for different subject areas as well. That's why there is a box to write the subject. After meeting that week with my group, I would move the sticky notes to another page (same page, different copy) behind the student's number. That way I could keep records of what we worked on each week. 

A few things I wanted to point out... 1. I spread out these lessons over the course of a week. On average, I would meet with each group twice a week. That's why there are so many skills listed. 2. The vocabulary are words that are essential for kids to know in order to understand the text. I would do a quick introduction to each word on day one when I first introduced the book. As I checked in on students throughout the week, we would revisit the words as needed. 

This is the student observations page that I copied on the back of the lesson plan. As you can see, I wrote the student number at the top so I would know what notes belonged to which student. I typically had 4-6 kids in a group. 

This is a second copy of the same page from above, but I have placed this copy behind each student's tabbed divider. Here are two weeks of observations on this particular student. 

I hope this helps you keep your Guided Reading Binder a little more organized next year! If you have any questions, leave them below. As a thank you for reading, you can grab a copy of these pages on TPT for free here

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Toddler Play

Goodness it's been awhile since I've blogged! I've been enjoying my summer and I hope you have too! This summer has been all about spending as much time with my little family as possible and traveling. One trip we took over the 4th was to the beach. A little vitamin sea was definitely needed! As you probably know, traveling with a toddler can be a bit of a challenge!! For me, organizing things needed for a trip is a must! I wanted to find something that I could tote a few toys around in and that would be easy to travel with. 

I found this Sterilite Stack and Carry box on Amazon and had to try it out! It worked out great and was the perfect size to hold what I wanted to put in it. Actually, I could have stored A LOT more! 

My thoughts for the top of the box was to create a sensory bin. I wanted it to be ocean themed, of course, since we were heading to the beach! I bought these wooden Hape ocean animals and I just loved the size of them and my little one loved naming the ocean animals! I also picked up the Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set by Learning Resources to use in my sensory bin. The set comes with four different tools. We just used the tweezers and the large scoop for this sensory bin. To be completely honest...I used the crinkled blue paper pictured above to hide the blocks in and it didn't really work out the way I had intended it to once my two year old started to play with it. It ended up EVERYWHERE!!! He doesn't quite get the concept of just taking out the blocks and leaving the filler in the bin. Sigh! He sure did have fun though! Next time I will just use balled up tissue paper. 

In the bottom bin I put in a set of Hape Under the Sea blocks. I loved all of the different shapes that came in this set. My two year old really only played with the cubes though. If you look closely you can catch a glimpse of some of those little blue crinkled paper bits! Ha! 

Now that summer is coming to an end for me, only a week and a half left, I'll be back to blogging more regularly! Until then friends, enjoy your Wednesday! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Weekly Update

Happy Saturday friends! Just popping in to share a few snaps from my week on Insta! 

This week's science focus was on the life cycle of a chicken! We learned all about oviparous animals, what the inside of an egg looks like, a chicken's life cycle, and even had our very own chicks hatch! You can grab this flip book in my life cycle of a chicken TPT product. 

We've also been celebrating a different student everyday! We draw a name out of a bag (the names are written on the back of the little pieces of paper pictured above) every morning and that student gets to be our line leader, our Go Noodle picker, a pencil, and a sweet note written to them from their classmates! It's the perfect way to end the school year! You can grab the "Let's Celebrate!" tags and a template for students to write their notes on for free here.

Friday was our Friendship Day. We made friendship mix (pictured above) and signed yearbooks. We also completed an end of the year memory book. You can grab my Friendship Day packet on TPT.

Last, but not least, my kiddos wrote the sweetest Mother's Day books for their moms this week! You can grab the template for our A-Z book here

I want to wish all the sweet mommas out there a very Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy your special day!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my little man's school. I've had so much fun giving little tokens of appreciation to his wonderful teachers! I wanted to share a few of the gifts I have given them so far this week.

For sweet treats day, I filled this cute pineapple bag that I picked up at the Target dollar spot with their favorite candy. I attached this tag from Michelle Griffo (Apples and ABC's) to it. You can find the adorable tag for free in her store!

For pamper your teacher day, I filled these sprinkle popcorn boxes, also from Target, with shower gel in their favorite scent and added a loofah to the top to make the gift look like cotton candy.

Tomorrow we are bringing flowers for his teachers. I will wrap these flowers up in the morning and attach the tag pictured above to the stem. 

You can find these tags in my May Gift Tags product. How do you celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Do you have theme days too?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Weekly Update

Happy Saturday! I wanted to share two freebies with you that I used these past couple of weeks during math.

This activity was used as a review for partitioning rectangles into squares. I gave each kiddo a different, even numbered, amount of seeds to plant in their rectangle "garden". They had to decide how to arrange the seeds and divide their garden into same sized squares. Then, they wrote a repeated addition number sentence to match. If you'd like this you can download it here.

We used this the week before Easter as a review of plane shapes. Students were asked to create a bunny using a combination of shapes and count how many of each shape they used in their drawing. If you don't want to have your students create a shape bunny, I also made a shape animal handout similar to the one above. You can find both of those here.

Hope you can use these in your classroom! Have a great weekend! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Little Red Riding Hood: A Fairy Tale Study

I'm so excited to share that I have completely updated one of my first TPT products!

In this fairy tale study, you will find lesson plan ideas for a 2 week Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale unit. Not only did we compare and contrast different versions of Little Red Riding Hood, but we also dove into story structure, story elements, character traits, point of view, and opinion writing!

To kick off our unit, we discussed what we knew about fairy tales and I had the kids guess what fairy tale we would be studying based on this prop.

One of my favorite activities was this character case file!

Students had to provide character traits and text evidence to prove who the real villain from the Little Red Riding Hood story was. We read Red Riding Hood by James Marshall and Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten by Trisha Speed Shaskan. In Red Riding Hood, we identified that The Wolf was the "bad guy", but in the other story, The Wolf didn't actually seem so bad; it was really Red Riding Hood who was the rotten one. My kiddos then used this evidence to write a letter to a classmate who had a different opinion to prove that their character was really the villain in the fairy tale.

We also made a craft to go along with our opinion writing.

I was also able to model how to write about the sequence of events in a story after we read Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst. 

You can find this unit, and other fairy tale units, here in my TPT shop!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Life Cycles

Spring is in full swing and that means so is our life cycle unit! Life cycles is my favorite science unit of the year! We have so much to cover, so I rely on engaging text, fun crafts, and BrainPop Jr. to help my kiddos make connections to the content!

Let's start with insects...

I begin insect week by making a KWL chart, watching BrainPop Jr. on insects, and reading Fly Guy Presents: Insects. Throughout the week, I like to read books by National Geographic Kids on different insects. The insects I focus on are butterflies, ants, and bees. I like the book about the butterfly migration because it helps explain another aspect of the Monarch butterfly life cycle. The book A Butterfly is Patient is also a great book to use when teaching about the butterfly life cycle. I plan on reading that book tomorrow since our caterpillars have all just formed their chrysalises. 

The book Puppy to Dog is a great book for teaching about the life cycle of a mammal. It is two books in one. If you start from the back of the book, you can read from kitten to cat. My Book of Life Cycles has many different life cycles included. My kids like this book because of the variety of animals mentioned. They love to compare different animal life cycles!

A life cycle unit isn't complete without a week long plant investigation! I like to read A Seed is Sleepy, A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds, From Seed to Plant, and National Geographic Kids Seed to Plant

I also like to keep materials consistent each week, so my students know what to expect. This helps them stay organized. For each life cycle, we complete a flip book to help us describe each stage in the life cycle. I also keep a life cycle poster hanging on our science wall for students to refer back to. You can find National Geographic Kids Frogs! here.

With our plant unit, in addition to learning about the life cycle, we also plant lima bean seeds and observe their growth. 

You can find my life cycle units in my TPT store. The unit pictured above is a freebie! If you download the life cycle of a dog, it will give you a good look at what the other units include!