Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's Your Opinion!?!?

This was such a fantastically, lucky, perfect teaching moment! You know when you start a week and you have everything ready to go... BUT.... Then you forgot that you have three things that are happening that makes your whole week go completely backwards. Well, that happened to me this week and it turned out PERFECT! 

My school has scarecrows that our sweet moms make. They are displayed in the front of the school for everyone to see and we will keep these for two weeks. After the two weeks, the local zoo picks them up and displays them for the month of October in honor of Boo at the Zoo. Luckily, kindergarten plans our zoo field trip in October so we can see our class scarecrow at the zoo!!

Well, my class had to contribute to the scarecrow. Make our own little footprint. So we made "windows". Each kiddo got to draw their superhero body in the window and we glued a picture of their head. THEY ARE PRECIOUS!

That was interruption #1.

Interruption #2 was when my sweet teacher next door got incredibly ill and had to go home. We used her Plan B and split her sweeties. Y'all, having three extra babies who have no clue what is going on in your room can really throw you off. So we made a spontaneous lesson that turned out fabulous!!! {more to come on that}

Interruption #3..... Spontaneous fire drill....

So I have no clue how I came about this but I decided to throw in opinions. Day 1, I read pat of the book My Perfect Pet. We stopped and discussed opinions a lot! We compared opinions and facts. After reading about half way I had my sweeties turn and talk about an opinion they have. It did not have to be about pets. I had each sweetie use the sentence starter "I like...". This really helped my ELs. 

My county uses Lucy Caulkins/Talking Drawing Writing/Core of Writing/ Masting Mechanics/Of Primary Importance as our references to writers workshop. I do not give prompts. I give a TON of choice during this time. 

It was really important to me to have my students choose what opinion they decided to write about. That my writers who are at a mastering level can take it a little bit further and my novice writers would be able to be successful with guidance and support. 

After discussing their opinion with a partner I had 4-5 students share. I modeled how to write their opinions and had the students share the pen. Finally.... They began to write and oh boy did they write!

Here are a couple examples of what they came up with during day 1.

Day 2: We finished reading The Perfect Pet we took a little trip outside to view all the beautiful scarecrows! My sweeties were so excited to take a look at all the wonderful creations. Here is a picture if our sweet guy.

Other classes:

When we were finished, we headed back inside and of course there was non stop chatter about which one was "their" favorite. So, I decided to turn it into an opinion piece. I love what they came up with! 

What are your thoughts on opinion writing? 

Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: Organized Chaos

Happy Hump Day! I am back. Exhausted and most likely a little bit hysterical, but I am gathering what little energy that I have to share some small tips on how I stay organized. Today is...

The first is my teaching bible. The items that I carry at all times. As soon as I get into my classroom I always complete the following... exact order.... I've got it down to a science y'all:

1. Turn on lamps
2. Turn on laptop by my small group table and set my things down
3. Turn on teacher computer, student computers, and smart board
4. Pull out my teacher planner {Check it out here}, note journal, and clear folder that holds files
5. Look over materials and pull out my drawer {double check I have EVERYTHiNG}
6. Make note of any Anchor charts and prepare
7. Grab a cup of coffee
8. Anxiously wait until kiddos arrive!

My files contain curriculum maps, files for planning, to do items, reading material, and anything else that I find important. 

I use this cart to hold my weekly materials. I like this because I can pull out the drawer and place it on my table. It helps keep me focused and on track. 

I am smitten over this Ikea find. I love that I have these quick and easily accessible. I also keep my theme unit binder next to me. 

The paper holders will be for reading small groups. I will place any reading materials, games, or tasks for each group here. 

These paper holders have my assessments. I keep a folder for each student. It contains their assessment card and any assessments that need to be given. The top holds math, middle is reading, and the bottom has green progress folders that are sent home on Friday. 

I got these binders at target and started working on them at the end of last year. Each binder holds something different. I have my sub binder, small group plans, curriculum maps and standards, PST/ELL/SPEECH, anecdotal notes binder, and a student and parent information binder. So far I LOVE this!

Behind my table I have this little caddy. It holds my letter cards, pointers, behavior cards to be sent home, and blank note pages for when I need to quickly send a note home to parents. 

I was a little reluctant to share this.... but ... here it goes... in my back room each teacher has a little space to store things. My classroom is in a pod with 5 teachers {including myself}. I started this last year and need to clean out and make 'prettier' labels. Each container stands for a month. This will hold special manipulatives, decorations, or any other teacher material that I use specifically for that month. This is another thing that I absolutely LOVE! I pull this out at the beginning of every month and place it in my room. I can easily access anything I need with searching for it. 

Behind my big book stand I have a caddy with some materials to use when making anchor charts or modeling how to complete an assignment. 

Finally, under my smart board I have my dry erase boards and my number talks materials. The composition book holds my dialogue from each number talk. 

I hope this has given you some ideas for this year! If you have any questions let me know. I will be happy-as-all-get-out to help!

Thanks for stopping by and don't miss out on Day 4 of Teacher Week!

Click on the picture to HOP on over to blog Hoppin' and check out some amazing women.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: My Home Away From Home

Welcome back to my home classroom! It is DAY 2 of Teacher Week!

I have always LOVED decorating my classroom. This was the number one thing on my mind when I was in school to be a teacher.... What would my classroom theme be? What bins would I use? Where can I place my cute classroom library?

I would draw out pictures and try out different placements. I even remember driving my little cherubs nuts when they would come in and see that I had changed something... YET AGAIN!

I constantly am on the lookout for changing and improvising to help suit my needs and more importantly my little ones' needs. 

I shared a little about my new room in this post, but seeing how most like to see the REAL life pictures, I decided to take some snapshots of what my room looked like today after chaos, crafting, and learning. 

Here is what you would walk into...

Today was our day to have our floors cleaned... thank goodness... we just finished a paper tearing craft and my floors were ghastly! 

Here is my small group area... I know... nasty...

I LOVE my Wheel of Choice! I don't have a discipline chart or incentive chart. I really try to build good citizens that are able to make the RIGHT decision. We talk A LOT about our problems and ways we can fix them. 

Here is my Math Wall. Can you find the ducklings we just finished? 

Here is our class mascot... Steve. He helps remind us of the word of the week or other special events happening in the school. He's a Superhero!!!

This is my writing workshop area. The little caddies have special illustrating materials. Anchor charts that have been taken down are printed and placed in the binder for reference. 

Classroom library.

Whole Group Area

Be sure to check back tomorrow for tips on how I attempt stay organized!

Monday, August 18, 2014

WHO Monday!

Hello, hello sweet friends! I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' on Teacher Week. 

I am a teacher, wife, mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, and friend to many around me. I am what you might call crazy. I have a tendency to over analyze and stress over every detail. Although... I have gotten a MILLION times better than a year ago. 

I have two beautiful boys that I love to pieces. 

I have a younger sister and brother. My sister is a sophomore at Auburn University... WAR EAGLE!!! my brother is a senior.... phew.... time flies.

I work with an amazing group of women!

I love spending time with my munchkins and husband. I enjoying learning and crafting. 

Some of my likes: J Crew, Candles, Flowers, Jewelry, Coffee {Folgers}, Key Lime Pie, Office Supplies.... to the extreme, Anthropologie, Target, Current obsession... Healthy Choice Fudge Bars.... currently eating ;)

Some of my dislikes: I'm a meat picker {I have a tendency to pick at my food}, Seafood, Exercising, Not being able to stay awake ALL THE TIME... so much wasted time...huhhh

Thanks for stopping by! Check out Blog Hoppin'!

Monday, July 28, 2014


My library area has always been one of the most tedious areas in my classroom to prepare. I have battled constantly with how to set up the area, what categories to use, and the usefulness to my kiddos. Now that I have been blessed with a new, BIGGER, beautiful classroom, my options have grown ten times. 

The shelving is limited so my oh so sweet Mister went and bought me these lovely shelves from Ikea. I decided to only get two and see if that would suit the area. Here is a view from the center. I like that these shelves can be accessed from either side. You can find these here

The center stand holds all of the books for the unit that we are learning. I let my sweeties get to these books in the morning and afternoon. On one side I have a basket of pillows for some comfy reading time. The other basket holds some random stuffed animals. In order to encourage my sweeties to independent read, I introduced a silent reading buddy. My kiddos can grab a stuffed animal to read to during independent reading. They absolutely ate this up!

In order to accommodate all of my books, I decided to separate my library. I have the above area as my fiction section and the picture below contains my leveled books and my nonfiction area. 

In my class my kiddos have to pick three level books that are JUST RIGHT for reading and two 'LIBRARY' books. They have the opportunity to switch out their book bags every week. 

The next picture is a closeup of my library labels. I used the labels from Schoolgirlstyle. I use a number along with the theme for each basket.

When setting up my baskets I tried to think of what was most important for my classroom. I am a strong believer in author studies, so I have a few of those that we tend to hit hard throughout the year. I also use different themes that are important during the school year.

I also created a quick and easy way to label all of my books. This year I plan on having a 'librarian' that will put away books in their appropriate places. I made this fun colorful label that has my name and a box for the number basket is corresponds with. I put out a number if these labels and as I am labeling my books I simply write the number in the box. This keeps me from wasting any labels.

The label is meant to wrap around the spine of the book. The number is shown in the front cover if the book and my name is on the back cover of the book. 

My black baskets are from Walmart. They have held up well over the past two years... minus one sweet basket that played the role of a chair to one cutie. You can find these baskets here. The top black baskets are from target. I use these at the beginning of the year. Each table will get some books and fun flashcard a to look through as other students are finishing a task. 

I have also placed a small couch on one side of the shelves. The other side holds two bean bags and more pillows.

Hope you have enjoyed taking a peek at my library. I would LOVE to hear what you think! Leave a comment below.

Happy reading y'all!!!