Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to School Shopping

As back to school is quickly approaching, it is time to prioritize what we need to buy.  I have been searching for the best prices and deciding what I will truly need this year.

Book Bins (set of 5) Each set was under $5.00
I plan on using these as student book bins for Daily 5.
All of the games shown above are by Scholastic.  
Alphabet and Number Puzzle
Color/Shape Bingo
Can you tell I love notebooks?  The pretty designs and organization sold me.  Each notebook on top was $1.97.  The notebooks on the bottom were a bit pricier… around $4.97 I believe.
All notebooks have lined paper.  I plan to use these for ideas and notes (staff or team meetings).

*I also bought a class set of crayons.  Each 24 pack was 50 cents.
I bought colored pencils as well.

Small Pocket Chart
Large Blank Books (set of 8)
Scentos Bubbles
Days of the Week Dry Erase Board.  I bought one for school and home.
Color Book

I plan to use the bubbles, crayon stick ons, and color book for my color unit.
Each bin was $3.00.  I plan on using them for parent notes and where students turn in their work.

My first Amazon shipment.  I have 2 professional books to read before school starts and some teacher supplies.  I actually like the Mr. Sketch Stix better than the regular markers.  I also ordered Paper Mate Liquid Flair.

*I also have another shipment coming that contains black pocket charts and back to school read alouds.*

I hope you are getting excited for back to school.  What other back to school items have you purchased?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Revving Up Writing

Today I am linking up with my Reading Crew to share strategies for revving up writing.  I compiled various anchor charts to assist with writers in Kindergarten-Second Grade.

Many times I would hear students say they don't know what to write about.  This year I had students create their own heart map at the beginning of the school year.  First off, it served as a resource when students needed to start a new writing piece.  I also used it as a way to get to know my students and their interests.  Students kept their heart map in their writing folder the entire year.
If you know who made this, let me know so I can give credit

I have seen this chart mostly in Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms, but it could be adapted for other grades.  This serves as feedback for students as well as helping students set writing goals.
          Source: Pinterest (image only)             Source: Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

I used this anchor chart in Kindergarten.  This anchor chart serves as a model for student illustrations.
Source: Zeek's Zoo

I used this anchor chart in 2nd grade.  The stoplight is a great visual for students.  

I will do another post soon with anchor charts specifically for narrative, informational, and opinion writing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My #EdCampLDR Experience

Last week I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina for a short vacation and to attend Ed Camp Leadership.  It was my first Ed Camp experience.  Thanks @Fetters4Tweets @allisunrae and @Tchr_RachelM for the invite.  I loved meeting some of my PLN in real life.

Why go to Ed Camp?
  • FREE
  • Network and get to know other teachers 
  • When you arrive to Ed Camp there is a space to submit ideas for sessions.  Everyone has a voice.
  • You decide which sessions to attend based on your interests and needs
  • Sessions are collaborative, not 1 person holds all the knowledge
Ed Camp models what we should be doing in our classrooms.  Our students should have a voice and choice in their learning.  
I am passionate about being a connected educator.  
If you do not have a Twitter account, create an account before you go to EdCamp.  
We used the hashtag #EdCampLDR to tweet our new learning throughout the day.
The North Carolina State Superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson, was our opening speaker.  It was an honor to have her attend.
The best part about Ed Camp is the open schedule.  

All of our sessions for the day.  Did I mention I loved Personalized PD?  It is a great feeling to pick your session based on your needs and interests.  You won't be bored!  It is interactive and a lot of collaboration takes place.

New Apps/Website To Try
Voxer is a walkie talkie app where you can communicate with individuals or groups
Periscope is a video streaming app.  This has been increasingly popular with teacher bloggers.
S'More is a website where you can share resources.
Zite is an app that allows you to read articles based on your interests.  

If you have been to Ed Camp before, what do you enjoy most?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Together We Are Better {Making Improvements}

I am linking up with Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Angie from Lucky Little Learners for their monthly #2getherwearebetter link up.
Although I am job hunting right now, here are a few things I want to improve on this school year:

Source: A Cupcake for the Teacher

I like the idea of having specific read alouds set aside so you can pull them as needed.  Instead of organizing by month I would organize by comprehension skill or subject.
This year I spent way too much time trying to find books for my lessons.  My new organizational system should be a time saver.

                                               Source: Sunny and Bright in First Grade

Learning objectives should be posted clearly in student friendly language.  One district that I worked for required objectives to be posted as part of the walkthrough criteria in addition to students being able to orally describe what they learned.  So, I want to make sure that I create an area that is accessible to students.


In the classroom I want a defined area for displaying student work.  The clothespins work great because each student has an assigned spot and work can be changed out easily.  Plus, students, families, and staff can recognize specific students and compliment them on their work.  

I was reading through Kelli's blog post and she summed up my intentions this past school year. perfectly  I made an effort to spend more time reinforcing what students are doing correctly.  
Example: "I like the way _______ is ________"  
A colleague recommended the book Teaching with Love and Logic.  This book closely aligned with my classroom management philosophy.  As I read this book it made me reflect on the language I use with students.  Classroom management is always an area to work on and I am glad I found what works for me.  I will continue to reflect and improve in this area.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cincy Mystery Meet Up

Last weekend I attended the Cincy Mystery Meet Up.  It was my first time meeting other teacher bloggers and it was so much fun!  I loved finally seeing the person behind the blog.  
All of us.  I am on the bottom left.

I won this book. I love the idea of reading clues to introduce a new book.  I plan on using this idea for future lessons.

Each blogger had 1 person they had to buy a gift for.  Amanda really hit it out of the park with my gifts!  

The bag, colorful Sharpies, and chalk marker.

That chalk marker will be put to good use.  I love quotes!

Again, love quotes.  This is perfect.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!  I definitely plan on attending more teacher blogger meet ups in the future.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Teaching with Intention Book Study Chapter 5

I am linking up with From Kindergarten with Love for chapter 5 of the Teaching with Intention book study.  Chapter 5 was about teaching for understanding and engagement. 

 Debbie Miller begins the chapter by saying "learning is maximized when the lessons I design are purposeful, interactive, and engaging, with real world application" (65).  She summed up my philosophy very nicely!  I want my students to be excited about learning and extend our learning beyond the 4 walls of the classroom.  Blended learning has enhanced my lessons even more.  It is an area I will continue to grow in.  

The beginning of the chapter goes into detail about schema theory- connecting prior learning to our new learning.  Debbie Miller talks about our mental filing cabinet in her book, Reading with Meaning.  When I hear the word schema, I think back to Deanna Jump's anchor charts.  
In the picture below, she used this chart to introduce her shark unit.  Her chart labels are schema, new learning, and misconceptions.  I implemented those categories in my mini lessons this year and I absolutely love the impact it had.   Students were able to refer to our chart throughout the unit and see how our new learning compared to the beginning of our unit.
Credit: Deanna Jump

When analyzing lessons, observe these aspects:
(the points below were taken from page 68)
  • How does this lesson fit with what children and I are already doing? How will I take the learning further?
  • Will it engage students?  How are the teachers and students positioned for teaching and learning?  Is thinking valued and made visible?  Is there student input?  Is independence on the radar?
  • What happens after the lesson?  Will students be given time for practice and feedback from me?  How else will they be supported?  How will I know they understand?
  • What might some of the implications be for learning in the days and weeks to come?
What are your take aways from chapter 5?  Do you use schema charts?