Monday, June 30

Meet Me & Monday Made It

Busy Monday in blogland!

Today I'm participating in The Teaching Tribune's Monday Meet Up and 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made It.


1. My husband and I, taken a little over a year ago, on a mission trip.
2. My teammates and I on field (play) day in May.
3. My sweet friend Trish who just stopped by for a 4-day visit last weekend.
4. Our sweet friends Brandi and Scott whose company we love.


This summer was my first summer to teach at our district's Summer Academy. It's more like a day camp. In June, kids can sign up to come from 8-12 Monday through Thursday. They can eat breakfast and lunch free. They rotate through 4 hour-long classes. This summer I taught a class on upcycling. We took recyclables and made them into something fun or useful.

While I enjoyed the Summer Academy experience, I will not do the upcycling class again. It required too much prep and clean up, so I had to arrive before everyone else and often left much later than everyone else. I'm thinking readers theaters next year. Students choose a popular book and write a script. Make props. Present our play. OR... engineering (STEM) projects. It's going to be tough choosing which one to do because, right now, I'm excited about both!

For my Monday Made It, I wanted to share some of the projects we did throughout my Summer Academy experience in June. If you're interested in how-to, click on the picture. These particular pictures are all mine, but I've linked them all to the sites where I found them.


The ninjas and pipe cleaner friends were {by far} my favorite project!
I was so excited when I got mine to stand on their own.





lava lamps and gumball mazes made from straws and cereal boxes

Sorry for the picture overload...
Thanks for stopping by, blog friends!
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Sunday, June 29

Unpacking ELA Standards & How-To Tutorial

* updated *

Ok, my friends.

I took this grad level class and made this graphic organizer to help me with one of the assignments. I wanted to share the graphic organizer because I thought it could be helpful to other teachers too.

I especially wanted to make it editable for teachers to type in their information before printing, so I researched and read and tried and think I might finally have been successful... so...

Yay! I'm so proud. Let me share how I made it editable. I've been wanting to figure this out forever and am pleased that it is NOT a difficult process...

Start off by creating your document and saving as a PDF.

Hope this helps, friends...
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Tuesday, June 24

Meet Me

Hey, friends.

Just dropping in to wish you a wonderful week and to participate in The Teaching Tribune's Monday Meet Me. (I think I might actually get to link up this time. Yay!)

I'm disappointed that some of my formatting went wacky when I saved it as a picture, but oh well. You can still read what I shared. 

Maybe there's still time for you to participate and link up too!

Have a GREAT Tuesday,
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Saturday, June 21

Summer Curriculum Prep

I wanted to share with you something my teammates and I are working on this summer.

First, on our to-do list is to rethink our reading resources. The resource that our district has purchased for us is Harcourt's Storytown. The last two years, we have thought that we don't like the idea of each week moving to a new set of stories and sometimes a new set of skills. It goes too fast and doesn't allow for kids to properly learn how to digest what they're reading and make meaning of it. This next school year we want to try something new. We want to decide on one story to work through for two weeks before we move on to a different focus story.

In order to make this decision, we wanted to see which stories have the most meat to them. We found googled and searched and found this site that ended up being a HUGE time saver. Someone in Utah had already gone through with a fine-toothed comb and listed which standards were covered in the teacher's manual. Like I said, HUGE time saver. Bless those teachers!
Our next step was to take the information from the Second Grade Storytown Common Core Correlation document from that site and sort of flip the document. Instead of listing each standards and the page numbers, we listed each story week in one column and the standards covered that week in the second column.

Finally, we took the information from this document and made a matrix of each Storytown week and the standards covered, so we could see if there are any gaps that we will need to fill with other resources. Sure enough, we found some.

The end goals for this process is... 
1. decide which story to focus on every two weeks.
2. help us map out which indicators we are teaching each nine weeks. 

We used to have end-of-nine-week quick assessments that we would give at the end of the quarter that we would use as our evidence for filling in our performance card. I liked having evidence. Now that we've moved to Common Core, we don't have those assessments anymore. So, we're working towards those quick checks. It's driving me nuts to not truly have that evidence.

I'll update in the future as work through this process in coming weeks, but I'm really proud of what we've accomplished so far together. I think these bits of information are wonderful!

Happy Saturday!
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Thursday, June 19

Wednesday Websites

Last Friday, a teacher friend and I attended the annual teacher's conference sponsored by a university and the state department of education. This was my first time attending, but my teacher friend had been there several years. I really enjoyed my time at this free, all-day conference where lunch was provided, and plan to go back next year.

One of the afternoon break-out sessions I chose to attend was about different free technologies you can use in the classroom, so I thought I would share them with you and how I plan to use them in my classroom next year.

Edmodo can provide on online format for students to take polls, take a quiz, or comment on a question you have posted. I can see myself using this for taking polls to analyze the data received: which has the most or least, etc. I would also like to use Edmodo as a way for students to respond in the listening center or to our weekly focus story. One thing that I'm wondering about Edmodo is if there's a way so that the students can not see their classmates' responses right away or until after they have responded themselves. I can foresee some students just copying something another student has said.

Thinglink is an interesting way to organize a bunch of resources about a single topic. I am very excited about using this resource the first week of school. As my teacher friend and I were playing with our new technology resources this afternoon, we decided it would be very cool to use Thinglink to record classroom and school-wide expectations. We can take pictures of the way things should look and add our links (facts, audio commentary from Vocaroo, videos we've created). Once they are all created, we could use it as a reference tool throughout the year when students are in need of reteaching/reminding of expectations. Super excited to put this plan in action!

Symbaloo will be a great time-saver. It's a helpful resource in keeping all your websites and bookmarks in the same place. You can create different webmixes to group your bookmarks. For example, today I created a Summer Academy webmix where I am collecting all our project how-to websites. I also planning on creating a separate Math and Reading webmix to collect all those online resources.

The final online resource I wanted to share with you is Children's Engineering. This website has pre-made lessons and projects to promote the technology and engineering part of STEM (or STEAM) education. For example, if you click on the 'Ready to Use Activities' link on the left, there's a Mother's Day card engineering project I'm excited about. I'm also excited about the planting a rainbow project because it would fit right in with our second grade plants standard in the New Generation Science Standards.

Thanks for hanging with me. 
I hope you can find use with some of these resources!
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Monday, June 9

Meet ME Monday

Oh, friends! This is going to be a summer of learnin' for this teacher. I'm taking 2 grad classes: Foundations of Curriculum Development and Teaching and Learning Models. It's already getting interesting up in here. I'll definitely be sharing some of my new knowledge at some point.

Anyway, I'm taking a moment to participate in a fun party, since I've been absent from my blog for too long! (By the way, how did I miss out on week 1? Where was I? Sheesh!)

I teach because I love the moments of real learning and understanding. True story. I also love the community that we build throughout the year.

I have a lot to do this summer. Summer school. 2 grad classes. A vacation with my mama. Prep for next year with my teammates. Participating in our school's summer reading program on Mondays.

I watch Pretty Little Liars on Tuesdays this summer! Woot woot! Anyone else excited about this?

I listen to Pandora. I love Pandora. It's one of the greatest things, and I've gotten so used to the silly little commercials that sometimes I just tune them out.

I read for learning more than enjoyment these days. I probably average one enjoyment read a year. The rest is all for learning. I guess my statement is wrong. I enjoy learning. So, really, I always read for enjoyment. What I should have said is I read informational text more than literature. Hmm... It used to be the other way around.

I do like to sleep in. I am not a morning person. In my perfect world, nothing outside my house would begin until 9 A.M. Because summer school is Monday-Thursday, I haven't truly gotten into my usual summer sleep-in schedule. That's ok, though. I'll get it back in July!

Have a grrrr-eat week!  
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Thursday, June 5

One Down, Several to Go

I have a small pile of books I borrowed from colleagues over the past year. 
Summer's here. Time to start reading!
I finished this one over the past weekend. 

Here are a few of the nuggets I marked as I read: 

Explicit instruction generally involves teachers providing students with clear explanations and multiple demonstrations of specific and inconspicuous strategies for the targeted mathematics content. (pg 12)

...evidence-based approaches by teachers is imperative for the success...

The success of RTI relies upon the effectiveness of the decision-making process by the RTI team

The importance of carefully aligning Tiers 1 and 2 to supplement each other is well documented. (pg 13)

...students who complete kindergarten with weak knowledge of mathematics tend to experience consistent difficulties with mathematics. (pg 18) 

By the middle of first grade, students' ability to quickly and automatically retrieve arithmetic facts becomes critical for success in mathematics... (pg 20)

...two key elements should form the foundation of an effective Tier 1 core program:
1. A focus on covering critical math content
2. The incorporation of research-based instructional design principles. (pg 51)

...a weak core program can undermine the effectiveness of a multitiered service-delivery model. (pg 53)

...Tier 2 small-group the active agent that reduces math difficulty status for at-risk students. (pg 101) not support the use of peer-assisted instruction with students with LD...[as it] may fall short of the level of explicitness and scaffolding necessary to effectively help students... (pg 121)

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Sunday, June 1

SLANT Box Revealed!

I participated in another month of Jameson's SLANT boxes.

The theme this month was monograms. Unfortunately for Casey, I'm not a very creative monogram person, so I had to rely on help from Michaels and Target. I sure hope she enjoys her box when it arrives early this next week! If you aren't familiar with Casey, you should check out her blog or find her on Instagram. She's a pretty neat lady!


This week I received my box from Mandee. She was so thoughtful with all of the items she put in my box.

I told her about how our school is going to have a school-wide theme, for the first time. Since we're panthers, we're going to have a jungle/safari theme. I love that Mandee incorporated that into my box and began my jungle collection. She sent me animal print pens and decorated 2 animal print boxes with monsters.

Even though there will be a school-wide jungle theme, I still plan on keeping my monsters because I've worked so hard on monster-ifying my room over the last 3 years and I really like it. Along with adding vines and leaves to my green and blue classroom, I think I'm just going to make some little safari hats to put on some of my monsters around the room. 

I loved all the monster stuff Mandee sent me! Sticky notes, monster match game for rainy days, character building signs, bulletin board characters. I especially liked seeing the stickers. A colleague told me about those, but I didn't find any at the Dollar Tree stores nearby. Finally, it's hard to see, there's a monster toy standing in front of the "Be Buddies" sign. 

Mandee did a great job. Thank you SO MUCH, Mandee for your thoughtfulness! I loved the box!

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