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8/31/2015

Five Fun Facts!

Who's up for a few fun facts about yours truly?!


I just had a baby! 
Is this old news yet? Because she's a pretty big deal. Charlie Grace was born a week ago today at 8 pounds, 12.5 ounces. She brings this crew to a party of four!


I'm an ELL teacher, turned stay at home mom. 
I don't enjoy most homemaker responsiblities. I can meal plan like woah, but cooking sucks. I hate cleaning but do it out obligation. I miss the lesson planning and cutie prep that goes along with teaching so I LOVE creating products for Teachers Pay Teachers and for Tot School (my newest adventure) with my own kiddo. And I LOVE LOVE being home with my two favorite littles!


I'm an introvert
For real. Like to the extreme. I'm zero percent shy and looove talking, but being around people gives me anxiety and is incredibly exhausting. Generally only other people who share this juxtaposed personality understand where I'm coming from. It takes actual emotional preparation for me to be around people. Don't spring a last minute girls night out on me. That's not my idea of fun.

My husband is my best friend & favorite person.
He's the best husband ever. Sorry to all the other hubs out there. We've been together for 6.5 years. Our first date was skydiving! We had the most perfect wedding on a farm in East Tennessee (4 years ago). We've got Beckett (21 months) and Charlie Grace (1 week) and live a pretty charmed life. 



I have a passion for girls realizing their worth
I have a history of self esteem issues, especially regarding dating relationships and body image, but God has really blessed me with opportunities to learn and grow in those areas. My heart aches for girls who have yet to realize they are fearfully & wonderfully made and women of worth. (Ps. 139:14 & Prov. 3:15). Don't get me started. I'll preach. Then cry.


And that's me! Thank's Blog Hoppin for hosting! Have fun learning about some fabulous teachers this week, and check back throughout the week for fun new posts!

8/30/2015

Using Post Its to guide the Peer Revision Process

Welcome to our final week of our Building Back to School Linky! Today, we're rounding off our Tools with some Tools, Tips, & Resources for Writing! :) I'm keeping it simple today with a super quick and easy tip that I really loved implementing in the classroom!




My last year teaching ELL, we implemented writer's workshop. I loved it SO MUCH. At the end of each workshop, we had a fabulous share time. During conferences, we invited individual students to share their writing, and if they agreed, they got to sit in this adorable chair and share their current draft.



Afterward, we designated a small amount of time for providing positive feedback, and a small amount of time for asking meaningful questions intended to guide the author's revisions. During this time, we wrote down the questions that the students asked on a post it note! The note stuck directly to their draft, so that when the author went to revise their work, they had specific guidance for improving their piece! We taught each step of these processes in individual mini-lessons. And of course, this process meets common core standard W.5.



What do you think? Is this something that you could use in your classroom? What processes do you use to help your students through revisions?

This week, in celebration of our Writing Tools theme, ALL of my writing centers, non-fiction writing packs, writing paper packs, and MORE are on sale! You can check out the goodies in my store here or by clicking the individual links below!



I'm also giving away my FALL writing center this week! This set is jam packed with tools you can use for a fabulous fall unit, or to supplement whatever units you already have in place! For your chance to win this and other goodies, just enter the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



8/26/2015

Wordless Wednesday: Losing Sleep

Spent naptime today taking sweet photos of 4 day old Charlie Grace instead of catching up on much needed sleep.


What's on your list of items that you gladly lose sleep over?



8/25/2015

Tot School Tuesday: THINGS THAT GO

Alrighty mommy friends!!! Last week I made the decision to finally dive into some sort of Tot School Structure for Beckett. Today, I've got September's plan built and ready for take off!


First, however, let me clarify that this is just as much a trial and error thing for me as it will be for any other mommy reading this. Of course, my background is in education so I have a pretty good concept of planning & teaching but I've never done THIS before, so bear with me as I figure out what works for us!

My main goal is just to be intentional about spending time with little man, working on basic skills he needs. More specifically, I would like to:

- expand his vocabulary
- finish learning the alphabet names & sounds
- learn to count & identify numbers to 10
- provide new experiences
-prepare him for writing through fine motor activities

A few notes on my monthly plans:

1. They are not a detailed lesson plan intended to walk you through a lesson. They are a list of ideas to incorporate into a schedule and routine that works for you. We plan to work three mornings a week (he's in Parents Day Out the other two) and will choose activities based on our time & mood! I'm not sure if I will do ANY scheduling or planning yet, but I threw this diddy into the download just incase that's how you roll. ;)


2. I do not plan on listing ALL of my activities for learning the alphabet. There are a few alphabet activities in the plan, but we will also continue using the same activities we've been doing, and will incorporate them in our daily Tot School Time. You can check out our favorite activities here. They are working well for us. At this point, Beckett (21 months) can identify most of his letters and a couple sounds.

3. I plan to incorporate counting throughout. There will not be a lot of specific counting lessons. We will count the things we see & use during fine motor activities. We will assume “counting mats” is on every plan. [You can grab my free counting mats here].

And that's it!! So now for September!!!! (I'm really excited, ya'll).

This month's theme is "Things that Go." I chose it because Beckett is really into cars & trucks right now, so I thought it would easily hold his attention. Also, we already have a trip planned to the fire department at the beginning of October, so it just worked for us!

Here's a look at our list of activities for the month. You can download this printout here. 

I chose 8 fine motor activities to prepare. I don't have a specific goal for how many we complete. If the same activity entertains him every day for the entire month, so be it! I hope to do at least one adventure per week, but that may be a lofty goal with a newborn! We'll see! I just gathered all of my materials for the month, and we'll keep the box handy for every morning together. 



I went on a scavengar hunt through my house to look for any books that have a transportation theme. I was kind of dissapointed at how many I found! I was hoping to have an excuse to add a few books to our collection. Apparently there's no need. :) Here's the collection of books that will be in our book box this month:




Looking to bulk up your collection? Here are some of our favorite books from this stack.


I also plan to have a set of toys or manipulatives on hand each month. We had a good collection of cars already, but I wanted to make sure I had a variety of "things that go," so I hit up the Dollar Tree. This was very likely unecessary (don't tell my husband), but I had to pick up a couple of supplies for the fine motor activities anyway, so I just grabbed them while I was there! :)


I also made my first set of vocabulary cards, alphabet cards, & coloring sheets for this adventure! You can download these sets for FREE for until September 22 (after that it will be $1).


And now for rest of the goodies! Here is a list of links that will be helpful to to as you work through these activities. Note that some of the activities are my own ideas and will be coming to the blog in the next couple weeks!



I would LOVE to hear what you think! Make sure to comment below or connect with me through Facebook or Instagram and let me know how it's going for you!! To keep up with these posts, follow me on Blog Lovin'.

Have a blog? Please feel free to link up below so we can share our ideas! :)



8/24/2015

Building Reading: Making the Most of Your Non-Fiction Passages

Welcome back to our Building Back to School Linky Series! If you’ve missed any of the previous weeks, you can catch up with them here:



This week, I’m linking up with some fabulous bloggers to bring you some Tools for READING!



This year, in response to the still new Common Core Initiative & in an effort to meet teacher needs for convenient & CCSS aligned materials, I’ve put a huge focus on planning and creating informational text practice.


I know that, particularly in primary classrooms, informational text is often still on the back burner. It can be overwhelming! Where do you start? What does a lesson look like? What are our goals?

Below is a list of simple, no-prep ideas to assist you as you guide your students OF ANY AGE through your next informational text!


Before you read:
  • Preview the Questions. Discuss with your students what they already know. Read the questions, predict answers and discuss why or how they came to these predictions. If you’re using my primary texts or any other half page spreads, it’s easy to fold the page in half backward & focus on the question side.
  • Circle or highlight key words for identifying information. Clarify what the questions are asking and what type of information you are looking for.

This page is from my September Informational Text Pack
  • Consider voting on predictions. You might ask a student to share his prediction and why, then use a show of hands to count how many students agree with his thought process or conclusion. Allow another student to make a contradictory opinion and explain his reasoning.
  • Make a KWL for the topic. You can do this as a whole group or in small groups. Discuss what the students already know and what they hope to discover during their reading.

Passage from Abe Lincoln Comprehension & GO pack; KWL from KWL pack.
  • Have students {individually or in pairs} indiscreetly mark their predictions. Using your questions in this manner is similar to an anticipation guide and helps engage your students in the reading.


While you read:
  • Highlight important key words identified. Encourage your students to pay attention for words that remind them of a question or indicate important information.
  • Make a game of identifying the key words circled before they read. Possibly explain to the students that if they see one of these key words, they should stand as fast as they can!

This page is from my September Informational Text Pack
  • Stop every couple of sentences and summarize or clarify what you’re reading. Ask the students what they’ve learned so far or if they’ve discovered any important information. For very low students, you may even ask the previewed comprehension questions verbatim. Using the exact same language repeatedly will trigger their memory & help make connections.


After you read:
  • Re-read the questions. Then go back through the passage and highlight/underline specific evidence to support their answers.

Pages from Abe Lincoln Reading Comprehension & Graphic Organizer Pack
  • Discuss what was predicted vs. learned. Celebrate correctly predicted answers as well as information learned! We should make a big deal out of attaining new knowledge!
  • Make a list of follow up questions or comments; note things the students wonder now that they have some information.
  • Complete your KWL if you started one.


Easy as that! I hope you found a new idea or two for attacking informational texts in your room!


And now for our weekly deal & giveaway! WOO!



I JUST put the finishing touches on my September Primary Informational Text Pack. This pack has 6 informational texts on: Labor Day, Football, Johnny Appleseed, Rosh Hashanah, Apples, & The Constitution! To win this pack and some other fun goodies from some generous TPT bloggers, simply enter the Rafflecopter below!



Don’t want to wait for the giveaway? That’s fine too! This week, in my store, ALL of my reading comprehension, informational text, & literacy packs are on sale! Most of these are on the list to receive a face lift (or recently have) so don’t miss out on the deal! And make sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and BlogLovin’ so you know when packs have been updated!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
8/21/2015

Spotlight Saturday: Labor Day Writing Center!

It's Saturday! That means hopefully most of you teacher friends are enjoying some much needed downtime. Like yesterday's post, I'm writing this early, hoping that I'll spend Saturday snuggling a new baby. We'll see. [Update: As of Friday night at midnight, still no baby.]

Anyway, I've been hard at work preparing all of my favorite materials for this school year. One of my many goals is to update and add to all of my writing centers! Last week, I finished putting together my Labor Day Writing Center so today I get to share it for Spotlight Saturday with Kindergarten Dragons! 


This pack has all of the goodies you'll need for your Labor Day writing center, plus some materials you'll be able to use in other Labor Day lessons as well!



The I Can Statement posters are great for posting at your centers, displaying at the front of your classroom during lessons or units, or adding to your student work display boards. They're a great way to remind your students of exactly what their goals are for this lesson or activity.

In Anderson's Opinion, firefighters have the most important job. :)

Choose the vocabulary cards that best suit your class, or make your own with the blank cards! These are great for displaying in pocket charts, on word walls, or in writing centers. Use them in games & reference them during reading lessons to really reinforce the new vocabulary.


Henley apparently thinks flashcards are the bees knees. :)

Along with the vocabulary cards, I've also provided a list of adjectives to help students add more pizazz to their writing. :) Laminate it and display it in a writing center or add a copy to each student's writing folder!



Graphic organizers are great for pre-writing, of course. I would also recommend using them for your Labor Day and Community Helper reading passages. 



This pack includes 24 writing prompts. The prompts vary in difficulty and genre. Each card is labeled with the appropriate writing standard.


Adeline plans to head the lake for the weekend! Lucky girl.

After writing, students can work independently, in pairs, or with a teacher to edit their work! These are provided in both full color and black line. Full color posters are great for displaying at writing centers or laminating to use repeatedly during your writing mini-lessons or conferences!





You can check out this writing center in my store by clicking here!

I'd love to hear what you think! Do you use writing centers in your classroom? What's your favorite writing center tool? Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, & BlogLovin' to stay in touch!

Special thanks to Kindergarten Dragons for hosting this weekly linky. :)


Five for Friday: August 21



Yay! It's Friday!! Actually, it's Wednesday. I'm writing this a couple days early because HOPEFULLY I'm holding a fresh new baby. We'll see. Doc says she's happy in there. Darn my awesome uterus. ;) Regardless, I didn't want to miss out on the fun! Thanks DoodleBugs for Hosting!


Well, I tend to spontaneously jump into things. Randomly, I have an idea and next thing you know I'm spending my week chasing it. This week, that idea was Tot SchoolI decided on Monday that I am going to do Tot School and spent all day Monday & Tuesday making plans, running errands, and assembling materials. September's theme is "Things That Go" and I'm SUPER EXCITED ABOUT IT!




I had everything organized and pretty, but my son found the box and has already started to dig in. Hopefully he continues to enjoy it! 


I'll be posting updates on our adventures on Tuesdays [Get it? Tot School Tuesday? Cute, right? ;)]



I'm obsessed with Stitch Fix and I haven't even started my monthly fix yet!! Have you heard of this awesomeness? They get all of your info from you, including your style preferences, then they assign you A PERSONAL SYLIST.


I'm DYING! Your stylist takes into consideration your preferences, budget, needs, etc. And then sends you a box of five goodies every month. You get to keep (and then pay for) whatever you love, and then send back whatever you don't.



Since I'm currently GINORMOUS, I'm waiting a little bit to start getting my fixes, but I AM SO EXCITED!! If you're interested, you should use my referral code!!! PRETTY PLEASE. ;) And let me know how your fixes turn out! I plan to share mine once I finally get to hop on the bandwagon.



Do you ever just come accross a complete stranger who totally inspires you? This week (and before that, too) one of those people for me is Caleigh Haber. 


Caleigh is fighting Cystic Fibrosis & End Stage Lung disease (I'm not sure if I'm using that term right. Maybe CF = ESLD?). Anyway, she has a Facebook page called Fight2Breathe. She is ALWAYS just so positive and encouraging and it's really uplifting to see her battle this with such an amazing outlook on life.
Most of her posts include inspirational quotes about life and strength and happiness. She is ALWAYS smiling, even though she's been waiting for new lungs for over a year.
I totally encourage you to check her out. She's on Instagram too.


I got to pack for Charlie this week. How many outfits does a little girl need for 2 days in the hospital? Do you think 8 is enough?


I still have some shopping to do before she arrives. I can't wait til she's bigger and walking so that the clothes cuteness can really kick in. 


I follow these mini models Ever and Eva on Instagram. GAH. The CUTENESS! It is not helping witih my desire to doll up little missy.


I mean, really though. Where do I sign up?


I posted a fun (and practical) new freebie in my store this week! They're questioning cards for your classroom.

I wanted to create a practical tool to support my blog post from Monday's Building Back to School Linky on Language Tools


The freebie pack includes 7 questioning cards and ideas for over 50 thought provoking questions to get you started with conversations in your classroom! :) You can check them out in my store by clicking here!


And that's five! I hope you had an awesome week and have an even better weekend!