Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to School Bash: Week 3

Hey friends!! I'm back again for week 3 of the Back to School Bash linky party! This week we are talking about the first week of school! Being that my first day was last week, I'm SO excited to share with you some new activities that I tried this year that were a HUGE hit! 

As I reflected on last year's beginning of the year activities, I decided that this year, I really wanted to focus on teamwork and working together. On the first day, I gave my students a puzzle. There were four different puzzles and four different groups. They had to work together to complete as much of the puzzle as they could. They had to discuss a strategy as to how they wanted to work on the puzzle and they had to agree on it. 

 I was incredibly happy to hear such wonderful strategies being discussed at each group. I could hear some groups strategizing to pick out certain color pieces and then designating their team members to work on that color, other groups decided to separate the border pieces from the inside pieces, a different group designated one person to put together the bigger pieces that they put together and try to connect them. I was so excited to hear such wonderful teamwork from my new group of kiddos. We were definitely on the right path. After the puzzles were finished, I had each group share what their strategy was. I plan on re-doing this activity but giving each group a different puzzle to see if they use the same strategy or a different strategy. 

Another first week activity that I did that also worked on teamwork was an idea that I found from Tammy over at Housing in a Forest. I gave each of my groups aluminum foil, pipe cleaners and yarn. The only directions I gave them was that they were to work together in a group to come up with something creative. Once again, I was blown away at some of the projects that my students made. I absolutely LOVED hearing their conversation and how well they were working together. 
Here are some pictures of the fun we had! 

Here are some of the completed projects:
This group made a robot. 
This group made a flower garden. Inside the foil, they put green colored pipe cleaners to represent the grass. While they were presenting, they "watered" the garden with blue cut up pipe cleaners. It was super creative!  
This group made a rocket with a little alien on top! I thought this was so COOL! 
This group made a volcano!
Well, there you have it! As you can see, my first week was all about teamwork and building a classroom community. I'm so glad to have done those activities! Our classroom is already starting to feel like a family! 

I'd love to hear about some of your first week activities! Be sure to join us and link up and enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $50.00 TpT Gift Certificate!!!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Back to School Bash: Week 2

Hey friends! I'm back for Week 2 of the Back to School Bash linky party that I'm co-hosting with some wonderful new friends! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win some FABULOUS prizes!

This week, we are discussing Meet the Teacher Ideas. Last year was my first year having to prepare for meet the teacher because the year before was my first year teaching and I started in November. Our school's meet the teacher is just an hour and is held the day before the first day of school. Our open house is usually about a month later and that's the biggie at our school. 

During meet the teacher, parents and students are constantly coming and going. We don't necessarily have a set schedule. I like to greet all of the parents and students at the door and I have a little table set up with some cookies and a few important first day documents. I like to talk to the parents and find out how their child is going home, if they are buying lunch or bringing lunch, etc. I also have on my table my classroom supply list and some cute business cards that have my name, e-mail address, the school's phone number, and our classroom website on it. I've found that providing my parents with my business cards has really helped open a line of constant communication. 

The hour that we have for meet and greet sure does fly by! What are some of your meet the teacher ideas?!

We'd love for you to link up and share your ideas on how you set up your classroom and organization! 

  • Save the images above and use them on your post to link back to our party!
  • Enter your link below and encourage your friends to do the same!
  • Be a friendly blogger--> visit other blogs in the Linky party and leave thoughtful commentary to the 2 blogs ahead of you and at least 1 behind you!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to School Bash: Week 1

Hey ya'll! I'm so exciting to be a part of this awesome Back to School Bash linky party with Lindsay Kidd from The Owl Teach! For the next four weeks, we will be blogging about going back to school! Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter the Rafflecopter. There are tons of really great prizes!

So week 1 is all about classroom set-up and organization! Well, I don't know about you, but at the end of each year, I put all of the things I will need to help me set up when we return in one storage container. I have found that setting up has been so much easier knowing that I have all of the necessities in one place. I'm at a year round school, so I've already been at school working away trying to get my classroom set up. Our students return August 5th and our first official day back is today! Ahhhhh! Where did the summer go?!

At the end of last year, I also tried to prep and laminate all of the new bulletin boards I knew I wanted to have. Boy has that been a life saver this week! Not having to print, cut, laminate, and repeat has been a HUGE time saver! Call me crazy, but I also drew a diagram of my classroom and mapped out where I wanted each bulletin board, what paper and border I was going to use, and what was going to go on each bulletin board. This was also a tremendous time saver. I'm quite OCD about the way my room looks and being organized has really helped me this year. 

Looking back at last year's set-up process, I can't believe how much faster setting up my room was this year. Last year I had nothing printed or laminated, I had no idea what I wanted on my bulletin boards, and no idea where all the furniture was going to go. I was so overwhelmed the first day we returned to school that I just shut down and was unmotivated to get started. This year was completely different folks. Being organized motivated me to bring my vision and all that planning I did to life! I'm just about done setting up my classroom and I can not wait to show ya'll pictures of my room!

We'd love for you to link up and share your ideas on how you set up your classroom and organization! 
  • Save the images above and use them on your post to link back to our party!
  • Enter your link below and encourage your friends to do the same!
  • Be a friendly blogger--> visit other blogs in the Linky party and leave thoughtful commentary to the 2 blogs ahead of you and at least 1 behind you!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

Hey friends!

It's week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge and this week our challenge was to share what dreams we hope TpT would be able to provide. 

For this challenge I am dreaming BIG! I have big aspirations and I am confident that hard work can help me reach some of my goals and dreams! Let's get to it! 

My Dreams: 

Travel: My hubby and I went on a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon and it was the first one we had ever been on. Neither of us have even been on a cruise. It's safe to say that we fell in LOVE with cruising! Not having to worry about anything is so relaxing! Sometimes coming back from a vacation makes you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation! You know what I'm talking about! I would love to be able to go on another cruise with my husband and not have to worry about the expense of it. If you've never been on a cruise before, I highly recommend it! 

Inspire others: Inspiring others with my resources is something that I can only dream of doing. I started this TpT journey in hopes to inspire teachers and students. My goal is to create engaging, meaningful lesson for my students and hope that they enjoy learning as much as I do! If I can help a fellow teacher accomplish that with my resources, I would be one happy gal! 

Build a pool: My husband and I just bought a house in March and we have been renovating, renovating, and renovating since we moved in! One of the things we loved about our new house was the HUGE backyard and the fact that we could park our boat in the yard while still having a ton of yard space. Being that we live in Florida and it's hot 90% of the year, having a pool is just a no brainer! However, pools are super expensive, so this may be a dream that will take a while to save up for, but we are up for the challenge! 

Starting a family: Starting a family is one of my biggest aspirations and dreams. I feel that I was born to be a mother. I can't wait to have a house full of children laughing and screaming. This dream is one I hope to fulfill in the very near future. 

Helping others: I have such a strong belief in helping others. It's so extremely valuable and important to me. I always try and give as much as I can because no matter how difficult things may be for me at certain times, there is always someone out there that may not be doing as well and deserves just as much help. We need to help others to build strong communities and friendships. 

There you have it! These are my goals. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little more about my aspirations in life and what I hope TpT can help me accomplish. 

What are some of your dreams?? Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness

Hey guys!

It's been so long since my last post! I've been so extremely busy with moving, renovating my new home, and ending the school year that blogging kind of got put on the back burner. 

To motivate me to get back into creating and blogging again, I joined Thriving in HollywoodSparkling in Second GradeTeach, Create, Motivate, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista in an awesome month long TpT challenge to motivate sellers like myself! I am so thankful to these four wonderful ladies for all of their hard work in putting this together! It's exactly what I needed! 

So let's get down to the details of week one's challenge.

My makeover product is my "I'm Done…Now What? Editable Early Finisher Cards. These were such a lifesaver for me. As a new teacher, I was still trying to figure everything out and I just figured having a visual display of what my students can do if they finished something early would be super helpful for them and for me. 

Here is a before and after picture of my makeover product! 

As you can see in the before picture, I didn't even have a cover! Eek! So bland and SO boring! I'm in LOVE with my new cover! Not only did I change the cover, but I also added additional early finisher options and made the product editable after multiple requests. 

I personally put magnets on the back of the cards and I only put the ones that students are allowed to choose from on the board. I figured the board is the perfect place for them because all of my students face the front board. I can't wait to introduce this to my new students in the fall!  Last year, my students' favorite early finisher activity was playing Boggle! You can find these adorable editable early finisher cards here. I also have two fun options for an interactive Boggle board. Click here and here to see the two options!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to join in on the challenge and link up if your decide to participate!! I look forward to sharing with you week 2's challenge next week! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Currently January 2015

Hey guys!

Today, I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her fabulous Currently January linky party! I have been dying to join this linky and now that my blog is up and running, I couldn't resist checking my first 2015 goal off of my list!

Listening - As I blog, my hubby is playing Hockey on his PS4. Although sometimes it drives me nuts, it's a stress reliever for him, so I'm okay with it. =)

Loving- The week leading to break and the first week of break I was extremely sick with a HORRIBLE cough. So I'm just so relieved that I was able to at least enjoy my second week of break cough free!

Thinking - Being that I was sick the first week of break and in bed for the entire week, I feel as though I have somewhat been robbed of my break and I'd love another week! Ha ha ha.

Wanting - The Bubbly Blonde Teacher had this fantastic idea and asked on Instagram "What are you Netflixing?" Being that I was sick, this was JUST what I needed. I needed some suggestions because I ran out of shows to watch! I came across Ideas By Jivey's post about her watching The Blacklist and I was intrigued! It's safe to say that I watched 24 episodes in one week! I highly recommend you check outThe Blacklist. Thank you for the recommendation!

Needing - Well....even though I've been off, the pile is still growing. I really need to do some laundry! I hate doing laundry!

Yes - Leading up to my wedding, I was on a diet that I consider more of a lifestyle change. I've veered off the path somewhat. I plan on getting back to this lifestyle change starting Monday!
Maybe - I have been eyeballing Tieks for a few months now! I almost thought of telling my husband to buy me a pair as a Christmas present, but I just can't quite justify paying $175+ dollars for a pair of flats. I've heard they are so incredibly comfortable. What are your thoughts?
I Wish - My husband is convinced that if I had a nice home office that I wouldn't have to stay after school as late as I do. I think he may be right. I wish to have a home office in the near future so that I can do some of my school work at home.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Approach to Math Centers and More...

As many of you know, "time" is a precious resource in our classrooms. We always want more time in the school day to make our lessons more engaging, more complex, and more meaningful. I don't know about you, but one of my goals is to make the most of the time that I do have with my students.

Here is a little bit of background about where I teach. I teach at a Title I school in Broward county. This year, my school is an "extended day" school due to not having shown enough gains last year. There are many other schools that became an "extended day" school. This program has proven to be successful in previous years in different pilot schools. In a nut shell, an hour has been added to the school day. So, we work from 7:45-3:15 (kids leave at 3:00.) That extra hour is designated to teaching Reading. Now, this is on top of already having a literacy block. For our particular school, this extended reading block is done during the last hour of the day. It's structured as a 10-20-30 method. We work on fluency for 10 minutes using 6 Minute Solutions, then a read-a-loud for 20 minutes, and the last 30 minutes is for my intervention group.

Due to the circumstances of our school, our district has provided us a lot of extra support in order to help our school grow. This has led me to this post...I was introduced to Lauren from our math district department a few months ago through my school's math coach. I was told she was coming to offer us some guidance/help/suggestions, etc. I was beyond THRILLED! I immediately felt connected to Lauren and felt like I could really rely on her for help and support. After all, I'm still a new teacher and I'm always open to ideas and suggestions. Lauren had also taught 4th grade before taking a position from our district so she is very knowledgeable about our curriculum.

Let me start off by sharing that I have been implementing math centers this year, but I was still not 100% happy with the way it was being implemented. I would teach a lesson for about 10-15 minutes, and then we would break into centers. I had 4 centers going. They were: On Your Own, Teacher, Computers, and Task Cards or a hands-on activity.

The struggle that I had was that 20 minutes per center was not long enough for my students to complete the given assignment because I had 6 or 7 students at each center and my students would talk more than they would work. I had a lot of incomplete work being turned in and it just became too complicated and I was getting discouraged.

After meeting with Lauren a few times, she shared with me her method for implementing math centers. Now, I know this might seem intimidating or time consuming, but I can't even begin to tell you how easy it was to implement (especially since we have already been doing centers.)

First thing I needed to do was make a display for my students with the rotations.
This is my rotation board. I plan on making it a little cuter. At the time that I made this, I was more worried about functionality. I'm thinking some Washi tape instead of black lines may do the trick while still making this easy for my students to read. =)
My green group is my low group, my red and blue group are my mid to mid-high group, and my purple group is my high group. I have 23 students. I have 3 groups with 6 students, and 1 group with 5. Each rotation is approximately 20-25 minutes.

The idea behind this particular system is that I now teach the math lesson in small group. I no longer teach math whole group. I know..shocker, right! Keep reading..I promise I have very good results!

Teacher- Students come to me and I teach them the math lesson in small group.
On Your Own- The students work from their math book. ( I will explain a very important detail towards the very end.)
Workshop - These are my "centers." The workshop is the center and they only visit ONE center per day.
Computers - My students work on a program through BEEP and they do what's called "Animated Math Models." These models corresponds to the lesson that I am teaching.

I'm now going to share with you what is done at each center. I should first mention that because I do Daily 5 centers, I call my math centers "Workshops."

This is my Workshop rotation board. The entire board is laminated and I used a fastener to attach the blue circle. I use an Expo marker to write on the entire thing. I will be posting another blog post with directions on how to make this workshop board. Stay tuned! =)
Every morning when I come in, I rotate the wheel. This helps my students and myself know which workshop they go to. I actually used Velcro to attach the laminated flash cards because when you turn the wheel, inevitably, the names will be upside down. You'll also notice that I started with my blue group because based on my rotation board, they are the first group to go to a workshop every morning, then purple, then green, then red. So, you can see that when the blue group is at a workshop, workshop number 2 is the only workshop that has 2 students there. All the other workshops only have 1 student. The beauty of this system is that even with 23 students in my class, I only have 1 or 2 students at each workshop. You know what that means, less distractions during workshops = students completing their work=happy teacher!

I have four workshops in place. Workshop number 2 and 4 are the workshops that I tend to change the most. Every workshop station has directions, a "Turn-In Folder," and any materials my students may need. I collect Turn-In Folders from each workshop every Friday and my students get graded on their work. I make it very clear to them that they will only be at each workshop once a week, so if they play around, they may not finish, which will cause them to get a poor grade. So far, I have not had any problems with students not completing an assignment. 

Here is a run down of what is done at each workshop:

Side Note: Please keep in mind that many of my math workshops double as my Daily 5 center locations so you may see multiple directions in some of the pictures.

Workshop #1: Fluency

This workshop is dedicated to fact fluency. My students practice fluency through different fun activities. It's also extremely important that you include an extension activity. For this workshop, the extension is practicing fluency with flash cards. They LOVE playing with flash cards.

Here are some picture of my fluency workshop:

I put crayons in the little blue garbage pail as most of the fluency activities that I give my students require some coloring. Gotta make it fun!

I typically put the worksheets in the purple bin and students know to turn in their completed activity into this folder.
Workshop #2: Task Cards

This workshop is dedicated to reviewing past skills or current skills that I feel my students need extra practice with. My students absolutely LOVE task cards so this center has been dedicated to task cards, dice games, etc.

Here are some picture of my task cards workshop:

I forgot to put the task cards in the bin before break, but I put the task cards in a baggie with directions. I make my own task cards which you can find here. All of my task cards include directions, so for this workshop, I do not have to type up any additional directions.

I typed up a quick label for each Turn In Folder.

Recording sheets for the task cards.
Workshop #3: MegaMath

For this workshop, my students grab a laptop and sit at their desk and use another program through BEEP called MegaMath. It's wonderful and my students seem to really enjoy going on it.

Workshop #4: Review/Interactive Journal

This workshop is dedicated to our interactive journal or some type of hands-on activity. The interactive journal tends to take more than 20 minutes so this workshop typically stays the same for 2 weeks. So that means that the students would visit this workshop twice in two weeks time.

Here are some picture of my Review/Interactive Journal workshop:

As you can see, I provide students with a sample of my interactive notebook and I include the directions and all materials in the bin.
Earlier, I mentioned that I wanted to share with you some important information for when your students are at "On Your Own."

If you look at the chart, you'll notice that my purple group starts with going to "On Your Own." Now, when they are doing work on their own, they are working on math problems in their book independently. So you may have thought to yourself, "How are they supposed to do the math problems if you have not taught the lesson yet?"

There is some strategy behind this. Because the purple group sees me last, they do not actually get to do the math problems in their book for that day's lesson. They actually do it the next day. Remember, my purple group is my high group. Therefore, they can usually retain the information I taught them the day before and complete the math book problems the next day without any problems. They are technically one day behind when it comes to "On Your Own" book work. This has not been a problem for them as of yet. Fingers crossed. =)

Let me break it down for you with a scenario.

Let's say Monday I taught multiplication through partial product and on Tuesday I taught multiplication through regrouping. On Tuesday, my purple group will be doing the book work for multiplication through partial product, NOT through regrouping even though I taught regrouping on Tuesday. This again is because they are one day behind on their book work because they are the last group to see me.

I spent an entire week modeling how to rotate. It was extremely important that I spend the time making sure they know where to go and when to go there. It has proven EXTREMELY beneficial. I no longer have students asking me where they need to go, what workshop they should be at, what they have to do at each workshop, etc. It's a beautiful sight!

NOW, for the results! I started this new model at the same time that I started a new chapter on fractions. I was terrified of the results. I was terrified that this would not have worked...Well, let me tell you a little secret, my class as a whole did better than they ever had on a math test. I have never had as many passing grades as I did with this chapter. And let's face it, fractions can be VERY challenging for our students.

I really want to thank Lauren for introducing me to this amazing system of math centers. Without her assistance and experience I would still be trying to figure out a better way of implementing my math centers.

If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below or e-mail me at

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Thank you so much for stopping by!