Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writing Workshop

Hello all you writer's workshop fans!!

I start off each year with mini lessons. 
We begin by brainstorming for writing ideas. 
Here are a few of the charts I whipped up this year so far. 

 I also do, think of a thing, emotion, etc. We practice each strategy for a few days and I grade them. I have them pick their favorite person brainstorm and I tell them ahead of time what I will be looking for. I expect them to follow the same format as I have demonstrated. 

They get- 
1pt for the person's name
4pts. for each seed idea
3pts for the beginning - middle - end sketches
2 pts. for the small amount of writing they get started with

This 10 pt scale makes for a very easy writing grade and it shows me who is on task and collecting actual writing ideas for when we really get down and dirty with our writer's workshop. 

When we get started with choosing stories to take to the finish they should have a whole slew of ideas to pick from.

After the brainstorming I jump into the Writer's Diner!! More info. to come on that awesome program!

Don't mind my terrible drawing inabilities!! I try!

What other brainstorming ideas do you use??

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Do You Think!?!?!

I don't remember where I first saw this banner. Someone was having a contest and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it!! 

It turned out adorable!! 
I get tons of compliments at work. 
I love it! 

All that hard work I put into my room to make it warm and cozy really paid off. All the positive feedback is sooo very kind and wonderful! If you love this banner go on over to Meadow Brooks and see all the sassy stuff she has!

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Have To Check This Out!!

I often put together slide shows of my classroom/students to post for my classroom blog. In the past I have used the site It worked fine and I always got lots of compliments from co-workers, friends, and parents. Well Slide is no more!! Ugh! I was on the hunt for a new slideshow site and found one I really like!! 

I made this super cute slide show with this site and the best part is it's free!! Now keep in mind as you pick your photos effects that a little red p in the side corner signifies that it is part of the premium package and does cost. The cost to upgrade is pretty minimal and I know I eventually will. I hope you like it!!
Sunday, September 25, 2011

Isn't This Cute?!

Yes!! I found it on Pinterest! You know I love that site! I have officially organized all the charts I pin to their own little spot.

I sooo love Pinterest! I swear it has made a huge difference in my teaching. I feel like I have a storage space for virtual lessons. If you take a second and pop on over to my Pinterest you will see what I mean. I would never remember where I found all these cute ideas or even what they were. Pinterest does that for me. I just check under the headings and Pinterest remembers that I have a sassy cute long o poem to go with my long o lessons that I'm doing and ta daaaaa my long o has some spark!

So I hope I've motivated you to take a look and jump on board!! Head on over and check out what else I've pinned! Make sure you follow along here and there because I'm always adding more!!

Follow Me on Pinterest

I grabbed up these cute little diddies from the Techy Teacher and the Inspired Apple. Take a minute and check them out. They both teach 1st grade and have tons of wonderful things to share.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tickled Pink!! Thanks Girls!!

I'm tickled pink 
that two rockin bloggers thought I deserved 
the Versatile Blogger award!! 

I tell you what!! Compliments and kind words during these very busy times work like gas in my tank!! I really appreciate the boost girls!! I've been so very busy that I haven't had time to post! This year is going AWESOME!! I attribute the awesome year to having met so many wonderful resourceful people here in blog land!! 

Thanks Kimberly!!

Thanks Ms. Payton!!

Now per the rules I must tell you 7 things about little ol' me and then nominate some versatile bloggers that I so couldn't live without!!

1. I have a serious hankering for DC!! I LOVE it!! My hubby hates that I drink pop so he wake up each morning and makes me fresh green tea for the drive to work. But alas, I keep a stash in the fridge at work. hehe! Love you hunny!!

2. I love Modern Family and In the Middle! These shows crack me up!! I dvr them and watch them at random times cuz I'm too tired/busy to watch them when they are actually on. 

3. I get yucky headaches with the whole aura thing. I see stars and my vision gets all crazy! YUCK! I had one this week during our big testing and I managed to stay upright.

4. I'm a total soccer mom!! I love watching my kids play sports and I'm soooo the mom on the sidelines snapping pics and yelling!! (Yelling kind helpful things)

5. My co-workers are awesome! I have a wonderful group of sassy ladies ( and a couple gents) that I work with that make going to work each day feel like a party!! I've got your back girls! hehe - Basket ball Jones talk :)

6. I work out and run every night! HA!! Oh yeah, no I don't. I so should though!! I do play on an adult co-ed volleyball league on Tuesdays! It is about all the exercise I get unless you count working full time and keeping up with three kids 7 and under!

7. I LOVE comments!! I swear it makes my day that someone reads and values what I write!! Thanks so much to all of you that follow along!!

Now it's my turn to pass out some awards!! How fun is that!!!


3rd Grade's a Hoot

Ashleigh's Education Journey

Create Teach Share

Okay!! There you have it!! Wow!! That was one loooonnngg post!! I realize that a few of these ladies have already received this honor but hey I love them so much I think they deserve it twice!!  Trust me there were a few more I wanted to put on but I figure enough is enough.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Organizing All Those Student Passwords

Anyone overloaded with usernames and passwords?? We are going to the computer lab regularly and with the programs I use come some serious usernames and passwords. I make my students tags to take along to the computer lab with them. All the programs that I use are listed with each students specific log on info. This has been a wonderful help!! I color coded the separate sites and everything!! Yep, I LOVE my sharpies!!!  :)
I pass these fish (locker tags) out just before we walk out for computer lab. On these tags you can find their computer log on, AR/STAR log on, Sumdog log on, and Xtramath log on. Each day when we go in they are required to take any AR tests first followed by their Xtra math quiz. If there is time left over when they have finished these two musts they may play on Sumdog. So far this is working wonderfully! The kids LOVE Xtra math and Sumdog!! If you haven't seen these sites then you MUST!! They are both free and great!

The kids can log on at home to play on Sumdog and/or take their Xtra math quiz at home on the weekends. So the Animal tags are for them to keep in their STAR binders. They keep them in their binders where parents will be able to find them.

I really recommend these sassy tags. They are easily spotted in hallways and the kids get more attached to them than index cards.
I've been super excited about starting this school year with these programs. I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it's going!!

How do you keep your many log ons organized??
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pinterest Explosion!

I don't know about all of you but I'm loving Pinterest!! I love how I can organize all the cool lessons I'm finding out there. Now, every time I spot a cool anchor chart or poster idea I just click and bam, it's all organized and saved for later. 
One of the first projects I pinned on pinterest is this gorgeous garland. 

I thought it was adorable and would look perfect running across my classroom. Well, it does!! I did it and it turned out beautiful!! I'm so glad I took the plunge! I will admit it took some time. I grabbed a strand of white Christmas lights out of the basement and draped them along the wall during a little family gathering. I had bought a bunch of fabric remnants at Walmart and I cut them into strips. I just visited and chatted while I walked along and tied the strips to the strand of lights. I would like to make it fuller but it will do just fine for now. My kids love it!! They all remind me to turn it on in the morning and all my co-workers have their eye on it. I really like the glow and ambiance that it gives the room.

It really does look way better than these photos. It was hard to take a picture of the lights down, window open, and garland lit up. 

Feel free to jump on over and check out all the cool ideas I've pinned over on Pinterest! I'm really trying to organize everything. I used to just stick all the pins under classroom ideas. I'm making a solid effort now to place pins in specific areas to make them easier to access. A lot of the ideas (especially the charts) I've already done before but I like the new ideas as far as wording or pictures.  

Hop on over and check it out!!
Follow Me on Pinterest

If you would like an invite to start up your own 
Pinterest fun just leave a comment below!
Heck leave a comment either way and let me know 
what you might have liked today!!
Friday, September 9, 2011

Wow! Where did the week go??

Hey to everyone out there in blogland!!! I hope all is well with everyone!
I have been one busy momma!! This has been a wonderful first week back. My kids are adorable and the week really did fly by. I feel bad that I haven't been posting or even reading my favorite blogs. I'm feeling out of the loop.  :)  I have yet to even post pics of my room! Ugh - Such is life. Life in the fast lane!!! 

Lesson Idea!
We are a school that practices HET and we model the lifelong guidelines and lifeskills. 
One of the guidelines is No Put Downs - 
1. Have the kids each take a piece of paper and draw a happy face on it. Don't let them take too much time or put too much effort in the picture because the picture gets messed up and we don't want them to get attached to it.

2. Talk about put downs and how they make us feel and how they interrupt the flow and feel of our classroom team. 

3. Instruct the kids to listen as you read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. As you read they should listen for put downs. Every time they hear Chrysanthemum being put down or her bucket getting dipped into they should tear a piece of their smiley face off. 

4. By the time the story is over there isn't anything left but a pile of scraps. The kids are very surprised by all the negative put downs and how quickly their smiley faces dissolve.

5. I talk about put downs and how easy it was to tear the papers up but how difficult it would be to try to put them back together. We discuss how Chrysanthemum felt and how put downs make us feel. 

Just a little lesson to throw in if you have some spare time!! I hope you like it. It takes about 15 min. and the kids really like the story. I already referred back to the story today when two of my girls were picking at each other. It really seemed to help. 

I got this little lesson from a friend I teach with. Thanks Rachel Iott!! You are such a bucket filler to share your wonderful ideas!! :)

As a follow up/ get to know you activity do this little name project. 
I found this on Pinterest and it looks cute. We are doing it next week.
They write their name all sassy and then connect things they love.
Monday, September 5, 2011

Great/Free Math Help For The New Year!

Hey out there!! I hope you are all having a wonderful Labor day!! In Michigan Labor day is the signal for teachers and students that summer vacation is over. We all start back to work tomorrow. Of course we had in-service and such last week but tomorrow marks the real deal. I'm super excited and I can't wait to make this the best year ever!!

For the many of you that have been hanging with me you may remember me posting about a website called I started using it at the end of last school year. I really saw a huge improvement in my students fact recall in the short time I used it. It is free and easy to set up. I highly recommend using it on a daily basis.

I usually make my students bookmarks out of cute locker tags. On those tags I put -

1. Computer sign in and password
2. AR sign in and password
3. ZPD for book selection
3. Xtra math sign in and password

This year I'm going to add one more thing. I plan to put labels in the inside of their STAR folders with all this information so parents can see and use the information. That seems obvious but prior to this year the info. was only on the book marks. The labels will look something like this:

I found a wayyy cool new site called Sumdog. It is a math resource that I think will come in very handy. It allows students to practice math facts in a game format while keeping track of fact knowledge for the teacher. I plan to start it up next week.

I got this lovely idea from Janis over at Caffeinated Teacher. She has the label examples on her class website with her DOT folder explanation. I have to say her classroom website is AWESOME!! Take a look!

I hope your year is going fabulous!! 

Leave me a comment and 
let me know what you think!! 
I would love to hear from anyone that has experience with these programs!
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Oh Me! Oh My! Sweet Potato Pie!!

Thanks so much Janis over at 
Caffeinated Conclusions!! 
Janis jumped over here and hit me 
with my very first ever blog award!! 
I'm on her top 10 list!! 
Thanks Janis for making my day!!

I promise to log on tomorrow and award my top 10. Tonight we have a wee bit of a storm raging and I have three little lovies to get to bed. Dad is off protecting the public from downed live wires and I'm exhausted from a very fun but verrryyy hot family picnic!

Thanks again Janis for my lovely award!
I will display it with pride!! 
Isn't it purty!!

Top 10 TBA
Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Will Make It Up To You!!

Please excuse my absence! I've been working hard for the $$$$!! hehe! Money, funny huh? I found a super cool site today! It is a Daily 5 / Cafe gold mine!! So, get over there and see what I'm talking about!! Make sure you scroll down. I don't want you to click and think, "oh, I'm not interested in this." Scroll down to the bottom and start clicking on the "related files"!! Wow, cool!! Leave me a message and let me know what you liked the best! I have to say the Power point is pretty AWESOME!!!!

I miss posting!! I have tons of awesome things to blog about as soon as I get my feet back on the ground!!

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