Friday, June 29, 2012


But seriously ya'll... it is HOT! I think 108 in Nashville today. Not leaving the house- that's for sure! I am not complaining though. I LOVE summer weather. I would much rather be roasting than cold. A couple of ya'll had commented the other day about the Robot Cleaning Song that I referenced on my D5 post and I found it.
There is a music video for it! It is pretty darn cute and gives the students about 2 minutes of listening enjoyment while cleaning up.

I have to give a shout out to my girl Alisha at Blissful Days in 2nd Grade for introducing me to this fun song. My kids will love this :) Also, I am linking up:

In other news, I went to visit my classroom yesterday...I didn't actually do any work- just some mustache laminating! That was fine with me but I am going to need to get a move on... maybe after the 4th! For now, I am going to get back to work on my action research paper and some other goodies for school. Have a great weekend.

p.s. My sale on TPT and TN ends tonight:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

D5 Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is all about getting ready for implementing the Daily 5. Here are some key components:
Find a place to get together
I am sure most of us have carpets (at least in K and 1) that we gather at periodically throughout the day. I seem to usually have quite a few kids that are high energy and I find that moving around during the day is helpful to keep their attention. So, sometimes we gather at the carpet for a lesson or 2 or even part of a lesson. The sisters recommend that all grade levels (not just the younger ones) have some kind of gathering place. I think carpet time is essential to great discussion where everyone feels they are being heard and feel safe to talk. 
How to find those "Just-Right" Books
Click the picture for the source. 
I think this visual just about sums it up :) I found this on pinterest but I know many of you already have something similar in your classrooms. Last year I had all sorts of books in our classroom library. I am sorting through the books this year to make sure there aren't any that don't need to be there. I had all my chapter books out last year and only a few of my kiddos could actually read them. This year I am going through them and just leaving out the ones that most kids will get to by the end of the year. I also went through and labeled all the books by with AR quiz numbers and grade level. My kids take the STAR reading test at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year so they know the level they should be looking for when picking a book. 

Book bins
I am still unsure of how I am going to incorporate book bins this year. I am thinking of putting chair pockets on the back of chairs and using those as our bins. But, then it will be hard for my kids to take their bin with them to their special reading spot. I have a bunch of those magazine file folder organizers from Target so I may be using those. Besides where to put the books, my main concern is actually having enough books for my kiddos. I can't necessarily use my leveled readers for guided reading b/c there aren't enough. I have a bunch of old leveled readers from the previous reading series but they do not have levels indicated on the books (that I can find). They are old McGraw Hill leveled readers. I might need to do some research to figure out the level on those.... Please inbox me if you have these and can help me out with a reading level on them! 
Anchor Charts
Making anchor charts displaying expectations is essential for Daily 5 to work. The Sisters call these I-charts for independence. Each component of the D5 should include a chart displaying student and teacher roles and other essential info. I love the picture from Read to Self in the book (I think pg. 37 but I am reading on my Nook and can't figure out how the pages align.)
Stamina... again!
This will be a change for me this year. We are going to practice the components for a short amount of time until we build the stamina to make it happen. This is one thing that I feel will make the difference in center time last year and this year. 
In addition to stamina practice makes perfect- or as another blogger said the other day PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! I love that! and it is so true. If we practice incorrectly we are learning the wrong way. So, if there are students that are not practicing correctly, take a break from practicing. If you have to stop a practice in the middle go back to the meeting place and practice modeling how to do it correctly. It is very important that the correct way to practice D5 is ingrained in their little heads. 
Signals and Check In
Another procedure that must be practiced is when time is up. Many teachers use chimes or a bell to signal time is up. I was talking with my friend Alisha (from Blissful Days in 2nd Grade) and she uses a Robot song that gives the kids a countdown to when time is up. Use what works best for you, just make sure the students know what it means. 
Check in to make sure the students can reflect on their practice that day. How do they think they did? It doesn't have to be extravagent. Using thumbs up, down, and in the middle can give you a clear indication of how they feel about what they did. 
Correct/Incorrect Model
Lastly the Sisters recommend correctly and incorrectly modeling expectations. They suggest picking a student who seems to be a trouble maker and giving them the opportunity to incorrectly model and then correctly model. Then the whole class knows that that student knows the expectations. I like that idea. This modeling may have to happend multiple times with multiple students so they all get it. 

So those are my thoughts for the day. My thoughts are based somewhat on what I have read but please note for more information you must read this book and the other posts regarding this book to make your own opinion. Please link up with us on the blog hop and check the following blogs for a freebie today:

Thinking Out Loud

I will be hosting Chapter 4 next week, so check back for a Freebie for me about the first component- Read to Self! 

P.S. Here are some framing questions to think about for next week's post:
  • In reflecting on your students' work with these strategies, what can you celebrate at this point in the year? (Since it is the summer, reflect on last year!)
  • How might you help your students continue to build stamina within these areas?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Made It with a Freebie and a Sale!

I am linking up again with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. I have been super busy this week making things to share. I am redecorating my little girl's room to give her a BIG girl bed! I bought a vintage inspired iron bed from a sweet lady on Craigslist. I am in the process of making her a "tutu bedskirt". That should be interesting... hopefully my next Monday Made It.
I got to work on the easier projects this weekend. They involved more shopping than making but they turned out adorable! First, I made a silhouette of Addison for her wall:
Yes, I know...adorable! I mean her little nose... so cute! It was super easy. I bought that plaque from Joann's and just happen to have some hot pink spraypaint laying around to paint it. Then I took a profile picture of her and got it printed as a 5x7 from Walgreens. Cut out the profile. Paint one side of the photo (I chose the white side so the picture is actually in reverse from the original photo.) Last but not least: modge podge. I think I put 3 or 4 layers on it. I am in love with it! Think I might make some bigger ones of her and her brother to hang elsewhere in the house. (I am also thinking this would be a cute craftivity for the first week of school- will keep you posted!)

So, I used this silhouette to finish on this little collage for above her new big girl bed! 
This is not actually above the bed yet. But I think it will be in a similar layout to this. This was super easy to make. All you need is embroidery looms (got mine from Hobby Lobby) and some cute fabric (also from Hobby Lobby). I even have some fabric leftover to make another craft- not ready to reveal yet. It was hard deciding what other photo I should put on the other plaque. I went with Addison in her dress up clothes and a crown. After all, she is my little princess! 

One more craft I made, well actually finished. I started over Christmas for my parents and found it upstairs with my craft stuff because I never finished...
This cute doorhanger! I made one with a D for my door- I love it! So I made one for my parents. Takes a lot of hot glue, just to warn you ;)

Ok, I did actually make one thing for my classroom too. Remember the mustache duct tape I found. I wasn't going to let it just sit there...

I used it to make a little set of phonics phones. May make more... haven't decided yet, right now I am thinking that's enough for guided reading. Here is a little freebie for you...

Click the picture for a printable version. Into the mustache theme too? Click here to see my classroom decorating packet :)
I keep seeing the Keep Calm signs and thought what the heck... So here is my version :)

In addition to my craftiness, my sis and I went to the Flea Market this weekend. Nashville holds a big one once a month at the Fairgrounds. I love going to it! Even if you don't buy anything it is amazing to see the antiques. My sis bought Addison some super cute vintage sundresses. She did a little fashion show when we got home...
That middle one was just too cute not to share! Love this little girl! 
Oh and one more thing... 
Have a great week! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday...Love-day! Linky

I am linking up with Smitten with First for Thursday, Love-day! 
I am sure you can guess what tops the list today...

1. Mustaches-- I mean I don't want one but my classroom decor packet just turned out so cute! I can't wait to get into my classroom and figure out how I am going to complete my decorating!
I have some more ideas up my sleeve, it is just taking the time to implement them! You'll have to wait and see :)

2. Just got an e-mail from Staples Rewards... I have $15 worth of rewards to spend :) I already sent a copy center order in! My rewards will almost cover the whole thing! 

3. The cute fabric I just bought at Joann's for party of my Addie Mae's new "big girl" room! I will post the finished product... hopefully soon!

4. I am loving this pin and am totally doing it for open house this year: 

5. I am loving (I think) the fact that I am going teacher-desk FREE next year. I never sit there anyway and it will free up some space ;) I am finding all sorts of organization pins that are going to totally help me out with my "desk free" plan:


Those are just a few of my loves today. Go link up now:

Smitten with First

A little bit of this, that, and one more thing

I am having commitment issues! If you checked out my blog this week (on Monday Made It) you know I am doing a hot air balloon theme in my classroom this year. I haven't done too much to prepare this theme except make a 110 page packet and those hot air balloons (that took almost 3 days to complete!). Then, I found something. 
I headed to Walmart to pick up some colorful duct tape the other day (I am working on making some phonics phones for my guided reading) and found this:
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you... That is mustache duct tape! OMG! I got a little too excited over this... and I had no one to share my excitement with (my little one that was with me wasn't too impressed!). This duck tape gave me some inspiration, for this...

The whole time I was making this I was trying to convince myself there is a way to mix hot air balloons and mustaches... LOL- I don't think there is! Now I want mustaches too...Which theme to choose? HELP!! If you have an opinion, please leave it! The hot air balloons I made the other day are super cute, but I can always hang those in Addison's room (which I happen to be currently redecorating...)! Oh the options...

In other news, I am super excited about something I got in the mail a couple days ago... a pencil sharpener! I know, its the little things that make us teachers excited (the duck tape, the pencil sharpener, etc.) You might have heard other teachers talk about this little friend:

Classroom Friendly Supplies sent me this awesome sharpener and I am so excited to use it this school year. My usual pencil sharpening procedures include NO TOUCH THE PENCIL SHARPENER (except me!)!! I have done all the pencil sharpening in the past. The kids have a tendency to either break the sharpener or get frustrated because the pencil won't sharpen correctly. You end up going through tons of pencils and sharpeners and we are all unhappy! 
This sharpener is going to solve my problem because: it always sharpens pencils! You have to follow certain steps when actually using the sharpener, but since I will be starting with this baby at the beginning of the year I can just throw that in with all the other procedures! I am super excited. If you want one these click here, it's only $24.99 with free shipping and you'll never need another sharpener ;)!

Last but not least (in fact, probably the most important!):

Chapters 1 and 2 have the overview of the Daily 5, but Chapter 2 provides notions about the classroom that have to be in place in order for the Daily 5 to work. Much of this is (hopefully) what is already happening in your classroom- building a classroom community, providing a trusting and safe environment, etc. Last week I talked about stamina and building stamina (another one of those components). One more component that jumps out at me- staying away!! 

When center time is occurring in your room, are you all up in your student's business? I mean between reading groups checking out the center groups, making sure they are on task, yadda-yadda-yadda! We all do it, we want to make sure they are doing what they are suppose to be doing. When teaching and modeling how to complete the Daily 5, one main component (especially during Read to Self) is to stay away! Don't bother the kids while they read... STAY out of their bubble! During silent reading time it might seem unusual to not walk around and make sure everyone is on task, but if you build stamina correctly and model correctly you shouldn't have to be doing this. They will just do what they are suppose to do! Wouldn't that be nice?!

Those are my free words of wisdom for the day... hehe... If you read the book you will learn much more :) Check out the blog hop below to read a little bit more about this chapter- my companions have done a much better job than I this week! 

P.S. I am also guest blogging over at Teachery Tidbit today... Check it out for a freebie!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Made It Fun

It is here! I have been waiting ALL weekend for this fun bloggy day! You think I am joking but I am soooo excited to share with you this absolutely fabulous craftivity that I made this weekend!

So, last week I found this pin....
I mean wow! How cute are those balloons! As soon as I saw this picture I couldn't stop thinking about how darn cute these things are. They kind of led me to the inspiration of my classroom decor for next year... HOT AIR BALLOONS! So, you guessed it... I turned this pin into my pinspiration of hot air balloons! Watch and see how I turned that to this:

You will need a few other things but we will get to those in a moment.
Here is what you do:

  1. Put paper towels or newspaper down in the area you are working... this is messy!
  2. Make a Tupperware container or a bowl of liquid starch. The pin said glue and water mixture but this seemed easier. You can buy this bottle of Sta-Flo for $3 at Walmart. 
  3. Blow up balloons. I only did 4. It would be fun to do some big and small. Mine aren't all the same but they are similarly sized. 
  4. Dip thread in liquid starch and start wrapping around the balloon. When you think you have wrapped enough, wrap a little more...looks can be deceiving! When I finished wrapping, I used a paint brush to put a little bit more starch on the whole thing. 
  5. Hang to dry. (They will drip so hang somewhere that it won't matter or lay newspaper underneath). I waited over 24 hours.

6. Pop balloons and scrape off any extra dried starch. I hung mine outside; b/c of the weather the balloons shrunk by themselves, all I had to do was pull out of string.

They didn't all turn out perfect. I think the balloon in my pink one started deflating before the starch was completely dry b/c there are some lumpy parts on one side. The others look awesome though!

At this point you can stop if all you want are the balloons. If you want hot air balloons, keep going...

7. Now you need a few more supplies.
Brown paper to make origami box
Some kind of string or twine
Hole punch
Orange ribbon
8. Click here to go to some awesome origami instructions to make the paper basket. You have to scroll down b/c there are instructions for a top to the box too (you just want the bottom). I found some adorable scrapbook paper on sale at Michael's that I used for this (it looked like a burlap sack). 
9. After making the box, hole punch one hole on each side of the box near the top. String with short pieces of twine or string. 
10. This was the time consuming part. You have to find the perfect places to tie the string to the balloon so it doesn't look so lopsided. 
11. Add a small orange bow to the bottom of the balloon (you know, the fire!)

You have completed an adorable hot air balloon! 

This poor balloon looks deflated! It will work though :)

Now you can see my hot air balloon pinspirations! In addition to this craft, I created a whole classroom decor set for hot air balloons. It includes almost everything you could possibly need to the get the year off started right! 
Click the picture to see all that is included in my TPT store!
I am already heading to Joann's and Hobby Lobby for cloud fabric for some new curtains! I would love to hear your thoughts about something fun I can add to my room with this theme...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 and a Peek at something New!

It is beginning today!!The Daily 5 Book Study! I am linking up with Mel D from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations to discuss Chapter 1. Chapter 1 is basically an introduction to the Daily 5 and includes a comparision between the old way to do centers and now the new way... the Daily 5 way!

How do you do centers now?

I am not too upset with the centers I do right now. I had a big group last year (23 kids!) and I didn't want center time to be too chaotic so I came up with 8 centers with 3 kids at a center. We did centers Monday - Thursday and Friday was an Art day instead of centers (my school doesn't have Art...I know, it's crazy!). Each day the kids did 2 rotations of center time. I found it worked best to do 1 round of centers first thing after announcements. I pulled my lowest groups during this time to catch them before they could get distracted with something else. Then the kids did another round of centers after they finished their seatwork (after whole group lessons). During the 2nd round of centers I pulled more groups- the middle and high. Sounds like it worked... right? I mean it did work. It was just ALOT OF WORK (for me)! I had to rotate centers weekly and all that mess. Friday afternoons I would spend up to 2 hours in my classroom after school (isn't that the day your suppose to go home as soon as the kids are dismissed?!). 
My current literacy block doesn't feel so bad because of one thing... my kids were independent. I rarely had interruptions during my guided reading groups. It might have just been that particular group but they did a good job doing for themselves. 
I think they were like this because at the beginning of the year I model. I mean I really MODEL! Every day we spend time modeling how to do each center, expectations, rules, etc. This is the first year that I explicitely modeled everything (I mean everything!) and I saw the benefits...there is no going back!!!

What will I change?

1. Building stamina.
2. Anchor charts.
3. Writer's Workshop
4. 8 to 5

For sure I am going to go into this idea of building stamina. Independent reading is hard for firsties. Even when you explain expectations it is hard for them to sit still for a long period of time. So, we need to teach them how to be still and focused for the purpose of independent reading. I like the idea of building stamina by just practicing THE RIGHT WAY for a short time each day until they can read as long as we like. 

We didn't build anchor charts for expectations last year but we will be this year. That way we will always have something to refer back to when problems do arise- plus it will promote our practice everyday! 

In the past I have had a "Writing Center" but it is not always the most productive center. This year I want to build a writing center that truly promotes writing and free expression. I am still brainstorming for this and I haven't actually gotten to that chapter yet... Will keep you posted! 

Eight centers is no longer needed with the Daily 5! I only need 5: 
1. Read to Self
2. Read to Others
3. Spelling/Word Work
4. Work on Writing
5. Listen to Reading
I know for sure I will have a must do though... So my Daily 5 may not be in 30 min segments. Haven't decided yet...

These are my thoughts so far. If you visit Mel's blog (where I am linking up) you can find some freebie posters for the Daily 5 that are super cute :) Other bloggers are linking up too so you never know if you'll find something else!!!

In other news, I have finally selected my theme for my classroom next year! I am so excited, I stayed up all night working on it and I have a little freebie to share before the big reveal! 
My theme will be:
Click the image for a delightful freebie! 

Been working on a classroom decor packet for the past couple of days but probably won't be revealed for a few more days. The freebie is just a snippet of what you will get :)
Found this quote today while working:

This poster is included in the freebie above!!

Don't forget to come back each week for more on the Daily 5-- especially for my freebie in Chapter 4!! Now, time to go soak up the rays at the pool :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Made It!

I am sure you have seen this pin on pinterest:
When I saw this I immediately pictured it on my classroom door this year! It is too awesome! So I followed the pin and found the original blog it came from: The Inspired Classroom. She has some awesome ideas on here and this is my fave! I am so excited to hang it up.

The author of that blog has made a google doc for this but it was just isn't my style. I love all the cool fonts out there so I made my own version with some different fonts. I am going to print on cardstock and take with me to Michael's to find some cute scrapbook paper for the border. 


Here are the steps to complete this project at home for your classroom: 

1. Click here to download my version of these phrases. 
2. Print on cardstock. 
3. Cut on black borders. 
4. Cut scrapbook paper to fit around the words as a border. (I am using black around the plain words and a coordinating color around the colorful words!)
5. Laminate. 
6. Hang and enjoy! 

I hope my kiddos are as inspired as I am when I see these signs!