Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week 13' - Part 1

You guessed it!  It's Teacher Week 13' and I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to participate in this exciting party! 

Today's theme is.... we go!

1.)  I'm going to be entering my 8th year of teaching and I can't believe that I've already invested 8 years into a profession that I love!
(A picture from my first year back in 2006)

2. ALF...the initials of my name and a totally awesome 1980's character!

3. My favorite "teacher" pens... 
I'm pretty sure that I'll cry if they top making these.

4. My favorite "teacher" markers...
❤ making anchor charts because of these!

5. I love technology and just might get a Mac as my next computer.
6.  I love turtles!  Both kinds..

7.  Nicholas and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary and our first year as homeowners!

8.  My backyard would be filled with palm trees, if I didn't live in Illinois!

9.  I've been blogging for a little over a year now and I often wonder why I didn't turn to blogging earlier.  It's definitely changed me as a teacher and has allowed for me to connect with some awesome teachers!

10.  I'm stoked beyond belief because I'm heading to Michigan this weekend to go surfing in Lake Michigan!  AHHHHHHH!!!!  I can't wait!  Bring on the "baby" waves!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back to School Goodies

OH MY!  Look what arrived earlier this week!  I feel like a little kid at Christmas time, but this time it's with school supplies instead of games!

I have to send a huge shout out THANK YOU to Allison at Live, Love, Learn in Fourth Grade.  I'm so excited for the school year to start so that I can use my: double pocketed binder (perfect for my lesson plans), the massive post-it note pad (ideal for guided reading thoughts), labels, labels and more labels for my organized classroom and so many other goodies.  Thanks so much for starting my year out on the right foot, Allison! 

Ps...Thank you to Covered in Glitter and Glue & Adventures of Ms. Smith for organizing this event! 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shared Reading Lessons

I can always tell when August rolls in because I feel like I never have time to blog anymore.  The time that I once used in the morning to blog is now filled with me racing off to school to setup my classroom.  This week was no different, however it was very productive.  One of my biggest accomplishments was getting started on planning some Shared Reading Lesson.  You see, my teammates (Wiley & Barrett) are what I call the "Shared Reading Queens."  For the past few years, they've been teaching a Shared Reading class to teachers within our district and I can honestly say that attending their class has made a HUGE difference in my classroom.  The lessons that they offer are broken down into 5 days with a pre-reading activity, during reading discussion questions/activities and post-reading writing ideas.  They've recently started a Teacher's Pay Teacher's account and are now sharing their lessons with all of you.  I would highly recommend that you take a look at their store and give their freebie lessons a try.

Here are some of the lesson that they have available...



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week 5: Tune into Technology

I'm back for a fifth installment of Tune into Technology hosted by iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core.

Organizing Key Areas of Technology
Laptop/Doc Camera/iPads- My district has slowly been trying to increase technology within our classrooms.  WAHOO!  To store these devices, the district purchased the black cart featured below.  The bottom of the cart has a great open space for locking up technology, but it's not ideal for keeping it organized. 


This would be perfect for the bottom of the black cart so that every iPad would have a proper place to be stored.

Headphones- At first, I had students keeping headphones in Ziploc bags with their student number on them.  By the end of the year, the numbers had faded and the headphone bin had exploded.
Enter Pinterest!

This was a huge success this year and everyone was able to find their headphones even on the last day of school!

Managing Technology
Designated Time- Ideally, my students spend most of their time using technology during literacy stations.  Therefore, I've designated that certain stations will use an iPad to complete their task.  Just by doing this alone, I've eliminated the race for an iPad.  

Colored Cases- Each iPad in my room has a different colored case.  This is a great way for students to keep track of what iPad they were working on.  The only time that this is a problem is when we've had to lend our iPads out.  The district purchased the same colored cases for each teacher.  Therefore, I solved that problem by taking a picture of the nameplate above my classroom door to help ensure that our iPads make a safe return.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ketchup Wednesday

You know it's Wednesday when you're trying to "ketchup" on everything in preparation for the upcoming weekend.  Therefore, I thought I'd do a little ketchup on my blog.

First off, don't forget to take a look at my very first linky party about school supplies that you can't live without.  This lovely party is featured here!

Second, did you enter the iPad Giveaway?  If not, you still have time!  Teacher Created Resources is holding the iPad Giveaway until September so you still have plenty of time to get your entries in!  Don't forget that you can not only win an iPad for yourself, but also for a friend!  You can access that entry here!

Speaking of sure to check out my blog post tomorrow on how to organize your technology when I link up with iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core for Tune into Technology.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

School Supply Linky Party

July is nearly over which means that "Back to School Madness" mode has officially kicked in.  Therefore, I've decided to host my very first linky party on school supplies that you just can't live without.  

Go ahead!  Link up and finish the statement.."I can't start the year without..." and finish with whatever school supply item(s) will help make your classroom and year a success!

Top 5 School Supplies
"I can't start the year without..."

Teacher/Lesson Plan Binder
Nothing helps me to stay on track during the year then having an organized teacher binder that includes my lesson plans, curriculum pacing guides, IEP information and much more!

Mr. Sketch Markers
Who doesn't love the smell of blueberries when creating an anchor chart???

Mechanical Pencils - 0.7 Lead
Every teacher needs an awesome pencil to record notes, write out lesson plans and even add another item to the to-list.  Anyone else prefer 0.7 lead over 0.5?

Papermate Flair Pens
This has to be every teachers love!

Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener
This was a new addition to my classroom this year and it was the best decision that I have ever made!  My classroom is now so peaceful and quiet that I can't believe I didn't get rid of that annoying electrical one earlier.


10 Little Things I Learned from Teaching

Happy Tuesday!  I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten for her 10 Things I've Learned from Teaching Linky Party.

1.  I'm not a mom, but I've been called one multiple times during the school year.  

2.  Having eyes on the back of your head is only a trick for teachers!

3.  The copy machine is going to break down when you REALLY need it so be prepared!  Likewise, the laminator is going to start running out of film leaving you with a rocking new sticker that says "film is running out."  AWESOME!

4.  When you think you're ahead of the game, you're not!  I constantly feel like no matter what I cross off my to-do list something will be added on and that's okay because there is ALWAYS tomorrow!

5. During the day, I feel like I'm rocking 15 different jobs and I LOVE IT!  Nurse, air traffic control, teacher, scientist...etc.

6. I think everyone has said it, but it's important.  The custodians and the secretaries are your best friends so treat them kindly.

7. Clean up your mess in the microwave!  You're mom does not live the teachers lounge and will not be there to clean up your mess.  Gotta love when you get those all staff emails. 

8. Take time to be silly and laugh.  It's those random moments during the day when I can't help but just kick back and laugh.  I wouldn't trade those moments at all!

9. A smile has so many different meanings, but the most important one is thank you (even though it's often not said).

10. I love my job!  I never dread Sunday nights knowing that Monday morning is rolling around because I love what I do.

What's on your top 10???


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Holy Heat!

Holy heat!  It's been a hot one these past two days and I don't think that today is going to get any better. Which is why it's a perfect day to relax in the pool!  Before, I head out though, I wanted to scream and shout because I've been nominated for the Liebster Award from Lovely Nina at Lovely Little Learners.

The Liebster Award is an honorary award given to blogs with less than 200 followers by other people in the blogging community.  If you are nominated, then you tell a little bit about yourself, and then you nominate other new bloggers who you enjoy. It's a little like a chain letter.

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Here are my nominees of some awesome bloggers:
Jennifer @ The Curious Apple
Sarah @ MissKinBK

Here are the questions from Lovely Nina for me:
1. How long have you been blogging? I've been blogging for a little over a year now! :)
2. What is one thing you did this summer that you enjoyed? How about one thing that I'm planning to do this summer which is taking a paddle board lesson!
3. What is one teacherpayteacher product that you sell that you love? Readbox Book Recommendations (JUST POSTED)
4. Where were you born/where do you now live?  I was born in Hoffman Estates and I currently live in McHenry.
5. What is one of your pet peeves? When people are fake!  Don't act!  Just be yourself!
6. What is your favorite meal? Mostacholi
7. What is your favorite movie? Don't laugh...I love The Polar Express.
8. Why did you want to become a teacher? I wanted to become a teacher because I knew that it my heart it was something that I would love doing.  Also, I never dread a Monday morning rolling around because I'm doing what I love.
9. What is your favorite teacher item? Mr. Sketch markers
10. What are your hobbies? DIY, Blogging, Technology, Cake & Cupcake Decorating
11. What is one thing you will be doing different/changing for the new school year?  This year I am going to incorporate more technology and get back to the fun aspects of teaching.

1. The initials of my name spell ALF.
2. My favorite color is purple.
3. I would love to go to Greece at some point in my life.
4. I feel like (or maybe I know) I have an un-diagnosed case of OCD.
5. I love lists and crossing things off.
6. I love to decorate cupcakes and cakes.
7. I hate doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom.
8. I feel like I can't cook unless I have a recipe.
9. I just moved into a new house a year ago and we're throwing a one year party in August!
10. I turned country in college and don't plan on changing.
11. Have you figured out that I love turtles?

Now, here are my questions for my nominees:
1. What is something that you wish you had more time for?
2. What is your favorite meal to make?
3. If you had a ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
4. What is your favorite teacher item in your classroom?
5. What is your favorite book to read to your class?
6. What is your favorite product on Teachers Pay Teachers?
7. Where did you go to college and what was your best memory?
8. What do you plan to change for this school year?
9. What is something that you're really excited about?
10. What did you watch on TV last night?


Friday, July 12, 2013

iPad Giveaway-TCR

I was reading my Bloglovin entries yesterday when I stumbled across a post about Teacher Created Resource holding a

Back to School iPad Giveaway!!! 

For the life of me, I can't recall whose blog that I found it on, but I thought that I would share because who doesn't love a giveaway and the chance to win some technology!

Click Here... to enter the giveaway and you just might WIN an iPad for yourself and a friend!

Good luck,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Week 3: Tune into Technology

It's Thursday and it's time for Round 3 of Tune into Technology with iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core.

iPad...oh iPad, what did I ever do before you?  Its officially been a year since I was first introduce to an iPad.  I know...can you believe it?  Last year, our district decide to offer us a teacher iPad to practice on over the summer.  In the fall, they added three more iPads to our classroom and I instantly fell in love.  I can't even understand how I was "tech-savy" before.

Here's some of my favorite apps that I use in the classroom regularly...

Background: Yellow and Blue Scribble

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Reader's Workshop Notebook

Happy Wednesday!  I'm teaming up with Ideas by Jivey to share with you an idea for a workshop within my classroom.

This week, I'd like to talk about our Reader's Workshop Notebook which is known as a Literacy Notebook in my classroom.  This notebook is the heart and soul of our hard work during our literacy block.  We use the notebook to record Shared Reading lessons, Reader's Responses and Station work.  As part of our supply list, it is asked that students purchase a five-subject 5 Star Notebook.
I know what you're thinking..."How can you ask students to purchase such an expensive notebook?" Well, my team has found that this is the only notebook that can with stand our literacy love and last the entire year.

Since the notebook has five sections, I have found success with having:

  • Shared Reading (1 section)- Students use this section to record their thinking from strategy driven lessons.  For example, students may record on this inference chart that we used when we read the book, Something Beautiful.                                                                                                                                       
Frame: Purple Chalk Frame-It's a Wicked Good Life
  • Reader's Response (2 sections)- In this section, students write weekly responses on our read aloud book.  These responses include a current summary and the use of two read strategies that demonstrate their thinking.  Below is a graphic organizer (which can be downloaded from my TPT store) that I often use with students.
  • Station Section (2 sections)- The final section is used for when students are at stations and I'm meeting with guided reading groups.  The students are responsible for recording their work to show a quality use of their time when they're not meeting with me.
I hope that this provides a helpful idea on how you can organize your own notebooks.  Feel free to link up and share your ideas!