Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to School Bundle

Check out this Back to School Bundle!

Buy the bundle at ½ the price of the individual items!


Hop over to this giveaway hosted by Kinder Loves
to win my bundle!!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Exciting News! 
Hop over to Kinder Loves
and enter to win! 
Each week from now
until the end of August
there will be a new giveaway!! 
This week you can win
a bundle from me! 
Click on the picture to
get in on the fun!

Good luck this week and
I'll keep you posted throughout
the summer regarding the other

Saturday, July 20, 2013

11 random facts about me:

1.      My favorite thing to drink is milk.

2.      I like the smell of rain.

3.      My motto is “It takes a village.” I find this true in all aspects in life.

4.      I craved dairy with baby #1, orange flavored anything with #2 and chocolate with #3.

5.      I’d live in sweat pants if I could.

6.      My last dentist appointment left my jaw sore for days. Ouch!

7.      I love to eat ice cream straight from the carton.

8.      Ahhh, I LOVE a cool breeze. Feeling one now, finally the heat broke!

9.      I get motion sickness easily.

10.   I like to ride a bike, but haven’t in years.

11.   I will turn 40 this year (yikes).

Here are some bloggers I nominated for the Liebster Award. 
Check them out!
Kindergarten Faith
Teaching Through Turbulence

My 11 questions for these fab bloggers are:

1.      If you could have dinner with anyone in the world (living or not) who would it be?

2.      What is your favorite teaching moment?

3.      What is do you think the biggest challenge is in teaching?

4.      If you won a classroom makeover, what would you want to do?

5.      What is something your blog readers may not know about you?

6.      What advice would you give a new blogger?

7.      What is your “guilty pleasure?”

8.      What was your first car?

9.      Do you live in the area where you grew up?

10.   Do you have a colleague who has inspired you or you connect with?

11.   What is your favorite thing to do on summer break (besides prep for next year)?

Thanks again bloggers for my nomination!



Friday, July 19, 2013

Liebster Award

Thank you to the two bloggers who nominated me for a Liebster Award! This award is for bloggers on the "newer" side and just a fun way to get to know the person behind the typing.  One of the rules for accepting this nomination is to answer questions given to you by the nominating blogger.  Here are their questions and my responses:

Ann-Marie from Mrs. Parisi’s Kindergarten Class asked:

Describe your current teaching role and what things you enjoy about that age.
What’s not to love about 5 year olds?  Kindergarten is a load of fun! You never know what they are going to say!  The best plans can take a turn at any minute. There are teachable moments just lurking...

Why did you pick teaching as a career?
I sort of stumbled into teaching.  I was coaching and it was pointed out to me that I should consider teaching. I hadn’t given it a thought before. …but am glad I was turned on to it!

How did you get interested in blogging?
I have always been interested in creating. I had the opportunity to learn about working with a wiki from a colleague and that lead to more… and more…

What do you think your best skill or personality trait that you bring to teaching?
I have high expectations. I expect independence. I love the magic of convincing students that they are capable of anything. Because of course they are and I love when they believe it.

What interests do you have outside of teaching?
My girls, I love watching them and marvel at how they develop, grow and change.

What is more important teaching skills or teaching how to learn?  Why?
Hands down, teaching “how to learn.” I model “thinking aloud” all the time. I tell them why they are learning new information.  I give them language and “big, fancy teacher words” for what they are doing.  If you know the how and why, the “what” falls into place… the “what” has meaning.

Have you read any good books lately?  If so, would you recommend any?
I am struggling to find that perfect summer read.  Right now I’m reading a biography about Marie Antoinette.  I really love historical fiction, but, reading a biography has a different feel & voice.  It has taken a bit to get into.

What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?  Where do you like to vacation?
I like “stay-cations” best.  I love just being home relaxing (although with a toddler, that hasn’t happened lately)! I love to have time to read without the pressures of “something has to be done” looming over me.

If you could own any vehicle what would it be any why?
…ummm, I think a VW bug, just because ...and it should be a convertible…

Do you have a favorite sport (team?)?  To play?  To watch?
In my house it is the Yankees or you can move out. ~This are my husband’s rule. He is already brainwashing the kids.

What kinds of foods do you like to eat?  
I like anything with melted cheese, Mexican is a favorite.

Shelly from The Perks of Teaching Primary asked:

Who or what inspired you to teach?
Although the idea to teach came much later, I had an amazing high school Social Studies teacher.  He always had a creative twist to assignments and a larger than life personality.

What is your favorite subject to teach?  Why?
I always am drawn to teaching reading.  However,  more and more I have fallen for Mathematical thinking. I love to explore and challenge students to solve problems in different ways.  When engaging in “Math Talk” I feel like I can see into a child’s mind.

If you weren't in the field of education, what would you be doing?
I’d be a stay at home mommy.  I even think I’d home school my children.

Where would you travel to, if money were no option?
I would like to see the 7 wonders of the world.  But if I had all that money, I build a house in a beautifully treed area and just stay home in the quiet.

How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
Hard to know. I have a lot of interrupted sleep lately. Either my mind is racing or the baby is stirring.

What is your favorite television show?
My daughters would tell you “Bravo” is my favorite “show.” I have a guilty addiction to all things Bravo, but have to sneak in my favorite shows because they are not kid-friendly most of the time.

Who is your favorite author?
Philippa Gregory.  I love historical fiction.  Once I read “The Other Boleyn Girl” I read all of her books on the Tutors and more.

What is your favorite season?  Why?
Fall. I love the crisp air. I love the smell. I love not wearing a jacket, but not sweating.  I love the colors.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Neither right now.  I am not too personable in the am, but with little kids at home I am dog tired at night.  I’m in survival mode.

What is the best dish/meal that you make?
Probably, good ‘ol fashion meatloaf and mashed potatoes. …the best “food group” next to cheese.

Why did you start blogging?
I’m not exactly sure, but now I like having something that is just “me.” No boundaries, no District or State Ed. Department. 

What have you learned from blogging?
Blogging just reinforces my “It takes a village” motto.  I love the social networking aspect and the collaboration best.  That has been an unexpected perk of this journey.

Fun so far?  I’ll be back to share my nominations for the Liebster Award, my questions for them and to share 11 random facts about me!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Writing Center Organization ~ List Writing

I love opening the year with list writing.  During morning message (or anytime during the day) I model writing lists.  Sometimes it is to hold an idea, reminder for later... sometimes it is something I can write about in Writer’s Workshop.  I have found that emergent writer’s love list writing too!

Last year I created some list paper and picture card prompts.  I found that I had a few reluctant writers, but with a little nudging or prompting they would partake in list writing.  Of course, the best lists are created by the kids with ideas generated all by themselves… but a little framework around the tasked really helped them take off!

To keep interest I introduce one new list per month.  Students quickly move to writing their own themed-lists each month.  Some even liked to draw their own picture prompts for others to use!

Think of all the skills they are strengthening when list writing!  ~recording sounds they hear, applying phonics skills they know, generating ideas, categorizing, language… the list is endless!~

I have decided that this year I will make List-Writing a feature in the Writing center.  Since my writing center is housed in an area labeled “Wild about Writing,” of course, I themed my file folder storage using some fun animal print.

I bought these cheap hanging file storage units.  Then I labeled each folder using cute clipart...and voilĂ !   Here is the latest addition to my Writing/Literacy stations! 
You can get the monthly labels HERE!
I printed them on 1” x 2 5/8” labels.

Find more List Writing HERE:

Now if I could only get into my classroom… and really set up!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Classroom Library Organization

How do you organize your
classroom library?

I have struggled with this over the years and have had used many methods.  Here’s what I am currently doing and it has been the best system for me so far!

After deciding on how many baskets would fit onto my shelves (and a massive book sort) I grouped books by theme, concept, or sometimes even series. I have a different section in my library area for leveled books for students to choose from when they need a “just right” book to read independently.  This is for my general fiction and nonfiction collection.
Here are the organizational tricks for keeping the library in order:

1. Each Basket has a label with a word or two that describes it contents.

2. Each label also has a number.

3. The basket labels in each row are mounted on a piece of colored paper.

On the back of each book (see below) there is a sticker with the name and number of the basket written in the color matching the paper the label was mounted on.  This way the students can return the book using word, number, and color clues.

A class lesson at the beginning of the year on how to choose and return books to baskets is all it takes for my Kindergarteners to maintain this space.  They learn how the “codes” on the back of the book work quickly. 
Some mornings I will have a pile of books at each table that need to be returned or hand a few books to a student to return during transitions. This way students get a lot of practice using the system early on in the year.
Another quick tip:  Each student has a clothespin with their name on it.  They simply clip it to the basket when they are using a book and remove their clothespin when they return it. 
I also like to assign students a basket to be in charge of.  Just give them a little responsibility and they will police themselves! There are so many ways to find a book's proper basket with this system.

The students especially love making sure all of our books are in perfect condition.  I have a basket for books that need a little repair. 

It is next to impossible for the library to get too mixed up! It is even easy for parent volunteers to quickly reorganize if needed.
This system is simple to create and maintain. Adding color and numbers to the system you already have is a quick and easy way to build in even more organization to your current system with our starting from scratch.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


After finishing school and a week-long training, it is finally

Summer Vacation!

What have I been doing?


I have to admit I’m not a “master pinner”

…but I have begun a daily pinning ritual.

Check out what I’ve pinned:


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