Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 Follower Giveaway!!!

Yay! I have 50 followers! I have been watching the numbers go up daily!

For everyone's support, I have decided to host a giveaway! One lucky person will get to pick any 2 items from my TpT store! Let other's know about this giveaway!

Here are my items...

Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book

 Word Wall Cards: 2nd 100

Yummy in my Tummy: Addition and Subtraction to 12

Word Wall Cards: 1st 100 HFW

Thematic Take-Home Bags: All Year Bags

"Going Fishing" Monthly Journal Prompts

September Calendar Cards

October Calendar Cards

"Doing the Word Wall"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A To Do Linky Party

To help myself get organized for my last week before school starts, I'm linking up in the To-Do List Linky party at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies.

I start summer school next week. We have summer school the first two weeks before school actually begins to help get the students who struggle a little more in school mode. It is by no means going to get them back on target, especially when we only meet in the mornings.

Anywho, here's my to-do list for the next 3 weeks...

1. Finish my calendar board.

2. Finish my Welcome door display.

3. Set-up my anchor chart wall.

4. Plan for the first 2 or 3 weeks with the first grade team.

5. Print off and make my Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book.

6. Print and make student writing growth books.

7. Create math centers for the first couple of weeks.

8. Spray paint my garage sale find!!!

9. Create some anchor charts.

10. and much, much more...I just can't think of them all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Daily 5 & CAFE: Where to Begin

Some of my colleagues and I met at school today to discuss Daily 5 and CAFE. No one at our school has implemented the management system before and several of us are going to try this coming year.

We met in my room so that everyone could see how I had set up my Daily 5 and CAFE boards. Even though I have been at the school for 2 years, this is going to be my first year as a permanent resident!!! Yay! I love that I got to share all the research and items I had found and made with everyone!

I thought since it went well at school today and I hopefully helped everyone understand it better, that I should do a post about it for other newbie Daily 5 and CAFE users.

Here it is....

First, I shared my set up of the Daily 5 board. I posted earlier that I purchased the headers from Kylie at Down Under Teacher.

Up at the top I have the choice Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Word Work. Down below I have Listen to Reading, Read with Teacher, and Work on Writing. The Read with Teacher choice is not an original choice in the Daily 5 book by the"The Sisters". However, down below you will see why I think it is important to include that choice.

This is a close up of how I'm going to have the rotation work in my classroom. I only have enough time for three rotations. Each little will have a clip with their name on it for each chain. Sorry I haven't done that yet. I will post a picture later that shows exactly what I mean.

When my littles walk into the classroom each morning, one of their morning procedures will be to make their Daily 5 choices. However, one choice will possibly be chosen for them. If I plan on meeting with a guided reading group or a strategy group, their clip will already by on the Read with Teacher. So that little will really only have two other choices to make.

I am also going to require that each little picks Read to Self once per day. So really some littles might have just one choice to make for that day.

Here is my CAFE board...

I haven't had a chance to put up the goal papers for the post-it notes yet, but they will be up. This board is behind my reading table so that it can be referred to during guided and strategy groups.

Here is a close up (Sorry for the glare.) ...

Ok, now here is the best part and what my colleagues all wanted copies of. I have spent hours and hours and hours thinking and planning, thinking again and planning again on how to begin the Daily 5 and CAFE process. I'm not going to lie, I have shed some tears trying to figure this out. At one point I felt like giving up, but I didn't and I am soooooooooo glad that I didn't!

First, using the Daily 5 and CAFE book, I planned out a possible schedule as to what it would look like in my classroom. I wanted to still use guided reading groups because it is part of the reading program in my district so I had to think of a way to use guided reading and strategy groups.

Everyday of the week I will give three mini lesson each day. But the instruction I give to my small groups will look different daily.

On Mondays and Fridays, I plan on having strategy groups and student conferences.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday, I plan on have guided reading groups.

Some of my littles might get small group instruction more days than others because I might have a little in a guided reading group and a strategy group. Remember, strategy groups are to used to provide instruction to littles that need extra coaching on a specific goal and strategy. During a strategy group, each little will be reading their own "just right" book. Whereas, my guided reading groups every little will be reading the same book and at their "just right" or instructional level. Whew, hopefully that makes sense. :/

Click here to get a copy of my general Daily 5 and CAFE schedule.

The next item that I created and shared today was my Where to Begin Mini Lessons. For me, the hardest part was trying to figure out how I was going to start the process in my classroom. (This is where I shed the tears :(.) I have created a general plan of my first series of mini lessons. Once I get into the classroom I may find that this is not going to work. But it is a STARTING PLACE, and I love having something in front of me to look at and know that I always have a back up.

Click here for the Where to Begin Mini Lessons.

I'd like to give a shout-out to Jessica Meacham for sharing her frontloading mini lessons. They have greatly helped me develop my own plans.

I would love for you to follow me and leave me a comment if you use anything that I created. I love knowing that I have helped others!

These items are unofficial adaptations of the Daily 5 and CAFE Strategies management system by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser. This freebie is not endorsed by the 2 Sisters. Visit for official resources.

P.S.--- I'd like to host a linky party and I have no idea how to. If someone would like to help, it would be greatly appreciated. Email me at Thanks!

Newbie Blog Hop

I have decided to link up in the newbie blog hop. Check out these other blogs by the newbies!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Teacher Must Haves and Classroom Overhaul Day 2

I've linked up with Life Is Sweet...In Kindergarten's Teacher Must Haves Linky Party.

1. My first must have is Mod Podge!!! I could not live without this stuff. I have gone through almost a whole bottle this summer making things. Here are some of the things that I made with Mod Podge's help. :)

These are wooden cubes I bought at Hobby Lobby. I painted them with purple acrylic paint and then Mod Podged the time numbers onto the wood. The Mod Podge worked as a glue and as a sealer! That's why it is amazing!

I had these boring old plastic drawers and I wanted to make them purdy so I bought some scrapbook paper and Mod Podged the paper to the inside of the drawers! They look so much better. :)

2. My second must have are my Mr. Sketch Markers. I absolutely love them. When I was student teaching some of the teachers bought me a pack as a good-bye gift. I could not live without them now! They are the only markers I use for making my anchor charts.

Oh, I also use them as incentives with my littles. They love that they smell. Sometimes when I'm working one-on-one with a little and they are really struggling to stay focused, I let them smell a marker after they complete a task. It works every time!!!

3.  My third must have is my teacher tool box. Even though I just made it and I really haven't gotten to use it, I know that I can't live without it. I love being organized and I have always said that I would love to be a personal organizer if teaching didn't work out. This tool box is the ultimate way to be organized.

Sorry that the picture looks a little rough.

4. This is a must have that I don't know how teachers have gotten away without using for years. The Elmo is a teacher's best friend. I love that you don't have to make transparencies and that you can just slap your paper or book underneath the camera. I also like that you can take a picture or freeze the work. Every teacher needs one of these!

5. My final teacher must have is my teacher bag. I love using Vera Bradley bags because the prints are gorgeous. I just bought this bag this summer. One of my littles got me a gift card to a boutique in my area and they have all kinds of Vera Bradley bags. I walked into the store knowing that was going to be my purchase and they had a new print that matched my color scheme this year! I was over the moon when I saw this bag!!!

Ok, so I spent allllllll day working in my classroom today! I had to force myself to leave.

My daily 5 board is finished!! Thanks to Kylie from Down Under Teacher for the Daily 5 packet. The colors and the polka dots match my classroom decor. I have the regular 5 choices that "The Sisters" wrote about in their book, but I also have a Read with Teacher choice. The charts hanging below are my rotation cards.

The calendar side isn't finished yet. So far, I have the calendar, days of the week, a hundreds chart, and a days in school counter.

This picture is what is to the right of the Calendar and Daily 5 board. I put up the alphabet line and the word wall alphabet letters.

The table is going to eventually be my listening center. You can't really see it but the CD player and headphones are to the left of the paper organizer.

The blank spaces on the wall, in the corner, is going to be where I hang all the anchor charts that we make together in class. So, it will be plain Jane until school starts.

Here is a close up of the leveled library. I used Erica Bohrer's Leveled Library and Word Wall packets to create my classroom library.

The books on the bottom shelf are in author baskets. I have Mercer Mayer, Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, and Jan Brett baskets.

I plan on going back tomorrow to finish my CAFE board because we are having a Daily 5 and CAFE book study in my room on Thursday. What is the most important thing to keep in mind when implementing Daily 5 and CAFE into your classroom? I'd like to hear what you have to say so that I can share with my colleagues.

P.S. I also plan on creating my birthday board and helpers board tomorrow. So come back to check it out!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It Number ?...I lost track

I know that I already posted but I forget about my Monday Made it. I have seen these all over pinterest and other blogs and I loved them.

I purchased silly straws at the Dollar Tree. I believe that they came is a pack of six. I don't remember where I downloaded the balloons from. So if they are from you let me know and I will add a link to your blog! :)

I know that they are pretty to look at but I plan on keeping them in the cabinet and only bringing it out for a birthday. I know, I'm no fun. But I have very limited counter space in my room.

Classroom Overhaul Day 1

This is what I have been waiting my whole life for.....setting up my OWN classroom!

As I walked into the school the lights were off (creepy), the floors were freshly waxed, and the carpets had just been shampooed. It was amazing!

I'd like to share with you the process of setting up my room. So here it goes...

The theme for my room is going to be polka dots with a little bit of owl decor. I am going to focus on three different colors. Mainly everything will be bright blue and bright green with a little bit of bright purple.

This is what the room looked like when I first walked in. Everything in the room was piled on the tile. The stuff under the garbage bags is everything that I used last year.

The cart is filled with just the beginning of what I have to bring in from home. Today I brought my plastic drawers, my art bin, organizers, and bulletin board supplies (my favorite)!

My lovely Mr. helped me set up the tables. I'm the only one in first and second grade that has tables. At first, I wasn't to thrilled but I got use to the idea and now I'm loving them! There are so many possibilities with tables.

I also put up the velcro Word Wall which is amazing! Everyone in our school has one! I'm just a little bummed it doesn't match my color scheme. I'm super picky about the way things look.

By the windows you will see my teacher/reading group corner. I plan on putting my CAFE menu up on the whiteboard, so that it is ready to use during strategy and guided reading groups.

In the 6 hours that I was in the room, I also started my Calendar and Daily 5 bulletin board. Eeeek (no pun intended) I'm so excited.

The blue side is for Calendar and the purple side is for Daily 5.

I'm going back Tuesday and Wednesday to set up some more. 

Tomorrow, I plan on working on my Whooo's Helping, CAFE, Daily 5, and the Writing Board.

 I can't believe I start summer school in two weeks and then school in three(?) weeks. This summer went way too fast!

Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions or if there is something that you can't live without in your classroom that I might need. I'd love to hear what everyone else is working on!

Surprise!!! To celebrate my excitement for beginning the process of setting up my room everything in my TpT store is Buy 1, Get 1 Free (Monday - Wednesday only)! Just purchase an item and email me with an item of equal or lesser value that you would like for free and I will email a copy to you. Happy Shopping!

Yours in Teaching,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Made it Monday and a Wedding!

I know, I know. I have not posted anything in over a week, but I have a pretty darn good excuse! My baby sister got married on Saturday, so I was extremely busy helping her get ready for her big day. The weather wasn't so nice in the morning hours but as soon as we got dressed and made our way to the venue the sun popped out! It was amazing.

My sister looked absolutely beautiful and so did everyone in the wedding party!

Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs. Patton!

The Wedding Party!

Here is my speech I gave to my sister and her new husband. It was very well received by the guests and everyone was teary eyed, even my Dad. He had to leave the reception and get himself together in the car. Awwwww.

It's a little small but hopefully you can read it.

Ok, back to school business. I have some Made it Mondays that I have worked on. Here they are...

These are eyeball reading trackers for my littles. Instead of using the boring old finger, use these pointers to track reading for young readers.
 To make these, I bought pre-dyed jumbo craft sticks, wiggly eyes, and a tin can. This was seriously the easiest project I have completed all summer. Just hot glue the wiggly eyes to the craft sticks and BAM your done!

This next project is reading around the room pointers. This was also very simple and inexpensive. (I would say cheap, but my dear mother has taught me that it's more lady like to say inexpensive. haha)
To make these, I bought wooden rods and wooden character pieces at Hobby Lobby. The sticks came in a pack and the character pieces were $.67 a piece! What a steal!!

 I wish I could take the credit for these, but I believe the idea came from One Extra Degree. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book

I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped today. Thanks to Lifetime Movie Network, I ended up watching 2 movies today. Yikes!! But I can honestly say that today was the first time I laid around and watched t.v. this summer plus I didn't get out of bed until 10:30. Ooops!

Anywho, last night while the Mr. watched the race (Yes, I know embarrassing. He is a NASCAR fan and I am...NOT!!) I worked on my Grammar and Punctuation Rule Book. I am sooooo happy with the way it turned out!

I designated 15 minutes, one day a week, to focus on grammar and punctuation rules. Yea, I know what your thinking...only 15 minutes, one day a week, to teach grammar. Don't worry I'm not crazy. My littles will still be exposed to grammar and punctuation throughout the day at centers, reading groups, writing workshop. This is just an extra supplement.

That 15 minutes will be used souly for the rule books that I created. I plan on introducing or reviewing a rule, modeling how to write a sentence using the rule, and then my littles will write a sentence of their own and illustrate it.

I did something very similar when I was student teaching 3 years ago (omg, it seems like just yesterday) and I saw great results from it.

Here is what an example page looks like. There are 25 rules total. This is great practice for first graders and can be used as a review for second graders. In the packet, I also included cover pages so that a complete book can be made.

Your littles will be exposed to basic sentence structure, nouns, plural nouns, proper nouns, verbs, contractions, compound words, pronouns, capitalization, punctuation, and MORE!!!

Get it here at my TpT store!!!

I also finished the second 100 HFWs Word Wall Cards in the Bright Stripes.

Get your set here at my TpT store!!!

Yours in Teaching,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reading at Home for Firsties!

The other day I made a July and August checklist hoping to be a little more organized in completing my projects, instead of jumping around from one unfinished project to the next. I'm just so excited that I want to do everything at once! Ahhhhh!

The last couple of days I have been working on getting ready for the first 6 weeks. The first thing I made was a Home Reading Log. I wanted to really keep track of what type of reading my little ones are going to be doing at home. So, I included a spot for the parents to mark which ways they read together and a spot to mark how well their little ones did at the retelling. Hopefully this will work!

I am hopeful that the parents will be honest when marking how well their little one did on the retelling. I made three ways that the parents can evaluate their child.

They can mark:
E - Excellent Retelling
S - Satisfactory Retelling
D - Had Difficulty Retelling

There are 20 spots on the reading log to fill in. Once a student fills up a whole page they will get to place a sticker on an incentive pad that I will have displayed somewhere in the classroom. Once I can get in there to set up I will post pictures!!! Hopefully they finish waxing the floors soon. Eeek!

I also created a parent letter to introduce the home reading log. I tried to explain the different ways they can read together to stress that young readers become confident as readers and fluent by also listening to good readers read. They don't just have to read themselves.

You can get a copy of my Home Reading Log and Parent Letter here as a freebie!

Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment if you take my freebie! I always get excited knowing that other teachers are using my items!

Yours in Teaching,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Made it Monday and a Sale!

Happy 4th of July Celebrations! I am super excited to enjoy a cookout with some friends tonight! I need to get out of this house before I go crazy!

I am linked up in the Made it Monday Linky Party at 4th Grade Frolics and I am offering a sale on ALL my TpT products today and tomorrow ONLY! Everything in my store is 15% off for the holiday!

As for my Made it Monday item, I made a door hanger (I actually made it last year, but I couldn't resist sharing it because it's just so darling!).

I bought a piece of wood, wire, the cute flower, and ribbon from Hobby Lobby. All for less than $5.00!!

I painted the wood with blue acrylic paint and added the green spots. I had to put several coats of paint to hide the wood. And because I'm so impatient I used a hair dryer to dry the paint! It's a great trick to dry paint quickly if you can't wait to see your finished product like me!

As for my name, I found a font I liked and I eyeballed it with a paint pen. I was very happy at how well my name turned out since I wrote it by hand!

To finish the piece, I hot glued the flower to the front and the wire to the back and added a cute polka dot ribbon, and TA DA it's FINISHED!

Be sure to check out my latest items in my Tpt store. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G is 15% off!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Linked Up in my first Linky Party...Fabulous Friday Finds

I know two posts in one day. I'm CRAZY....BORED!!

I'm going to attempt to link up in my first linky party. I found Fun in Room 4B's Fabulous Friday Finds Linky Party and I had just gone to the store the other day and found some Fabulous Finds!!

So here are my finds...

The first find was thanks to my Old Lady. She texted me a picture of this fun light. She wrote no questions on her's, but I wrote teaching. This is an old trick, but I don't have anything like it so I thought I would snatch it up at the...wait for it (How I Met Your Mother quote hehe).... DOLLAR TREE!!! The best cheapie store ever!

Here are some of my other finds...
Tubs that large enough to hold clip boards and papers from Wal-Mart. I will be using them for my guided math time.
Crazy straws for classroom birthdays.
Mini Tote bags for I don't know what...yet. :)
Mini frogs for game pieces.
small colored craft sticks (first time I've ever saw small ones).
oh, and just a random ole' ice cube tray!!!

And more good news, I just talked to the Mr. and we are going to the BIG CITY (Columbus, Ohio) tomorrow and we get to stop at the teacher store!!! I'm def. not going to be able to sleep tonight!

Yummy in My Tummy Cupcake Addition/Subtraction Facts to 12

The Mr. started a new job last week and I have had TONS of alone time. It was nice at first but now I am beginning to get super bored! The good that has come of this alone time is that I have all the time in the world to make items for school next year. YAY!

My ultimate goal this summer was to get organized to try my first year of Daily 5. Last year, I did something very similar so I think the transition will be easy for me. Plus, I am Oober (spelling? :) ) excited to not have to grade a million papers each day!

June is was designated to finding inspiration and making a couple items.

This month, July, is designated to lesson planning. My goal is to be 1-2 months ahead of schedule all year. So for July, I am going to focus on September and October. I have millions of ideas flowing through my noggin'. I should probably start using my Teacher Idea Notepads to write down my ideas before I forget them!

So this morning's project was Yummy in My Tummy Cupcake Math! As I was looking through my math scope and sequence, I realized that I didn't have any center activities for Addition/Subtraction facts to 12, ordering numbers, and ordinal numbers for the beginning of the year. So I made this packet to use. I figured I would use these delicious cupcakes because I could go back to them anytime throughout the year if any of my littles struggle with basic math facts.

For this 38 page math center packet, I made addition/subtraction facts to 12, ordering numbers, and ordinal numbers to 12. I also have included student fill in sheets so that I can monitor my little's work. Ok, so maybe I will still have to do some grading. There is no way getting around that one! :)

You can get your copy at my TpT store here!

Later today, I would like to work on some more projects. Wish me luck and come back in a couple days or tonight to check them out! Depending on how long it takes me to finish them.

Yours in Teaching,