Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Movin' on Up!

Here we go again!  Time to move classrooms.  This will be my 8th room but it's the first time I have had two handy helpers tagging along for fun. My little Jillian is in the drivers seat pictured above, wiggling her little way through the packed hallways like she's boss.  I will say that moving down the hall is much, much easier than moving to a whole new building.  In fact it went so smoothly and so quickly that I was done with most of the hard work before I remembered to take any pictures for before and after shots.  This is my room about two weeks ago...
When I move classrooms the very first thing I do is arrange student desks the way I want them to be, that way I can see how everything will fit.  I have always been a HUGE fan of the U-Shape.  I find that it cuts down on behavior problems, it helps with traffic flow in the classroom, it makes it much easier for me to spot the day dreamers and trouble makers and it helps build team morale because we are all facing each other at an equal level.  I am excited to know that we have a small group coming our way this year.  We expect 16-18 kids per class.  YAY!

My classroom library looks pretty good already, don't you think?  The thing is that these are all still organized for K-1 and I should probably change the labels to match the blue and green scheme.  The chapter books haven't been organized at all, simply taken out of a box and distributed in the blue and green bins (which came from the dollar store last summer).  I plan on using these book labels from The Sweet Life of Third Grade:

This is just a sample, she has 44 labels to choose from! You can get them for FREE by visiting her Classroom Library Show Off Linky Party. I also have to go through and label them for Accelerated Reader, this is the part I dread the most.  I anticipate it taking an entire day of work.  Do you have any tips for making these tasks go faster?  How do you organize your chapter books?

These two got a little sleepy on me and insisted on taking a nap timeout to roll around on the floor and giggle for 20 minutes!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Calling All NORTH CAROLINA teachers (who blog)!


Alright blogging friends, I know you are out there! If you are a blogger in North Carolina make your next post an advertisement for this blog hop.  We want to make a network of all the NC teaching bloggers around the state.  Copy the image above, be sure to stick it at the top of your next post and link it back to this blog hop so we can find everyone.  If your NOT a North Carolina blogger but would love to help us out, please share this blog hop on your blog as well. Make sure you include your location in the comments section of this post! Let's start planning a blog party/meet-up for summer 2014!  

I just added a page (link at the top of my blog) showcasing all blogs published by North Carolina teachers.  I will post the location of each blogger if and when you want to share:)  Of course I do understand that some of us blogging junkies prefer to be anonymous!:)

This is a blog hop and has been linked up to the Teaching Blog Addict's Ultimate Linky Party!

get the InLinkz code

Social Media What What?

My son is currently obsessed with the movie, Hotel Transylvania. There is a scene in the movie where Dracula is talking to his teenage daughter about Hawaii and her reaction to it is to say "Ha-what-what?" I think it's hilarious and have sense started adding what-what to the end of anything I'm confused about. Yes. I can be a bit dorkish or should I say dor-what-what? *laughing and slapping my knee* I put a link to the clip from the movie at the end of the post just in case you want to laugh with me.

So you see those cute little colored circles at the top of my left side bar? The ones that invite you to follow me? Well, I have wanted those for a long time but never had a clue how to get them (I do realize that I now have two buttons for bloglovin' but I don't want to get rid of the obvious one that says "follow me on bloglovin" until more people become familiar with it's icon). When I sat down last night I didn't even know how to google the directions because I had no idea what they are called. I tried "facebook button", "follow me badges", and many other unsuccessful names. Finally I figured out that they are called social media icons. Social Medi-What-What?

Once I figured out what they are called it was just a matter of finding some I liked, downloading the images, and linking them to my blog.  Of course I went about it the hard way at first.  I started out by downloading the images on flicker to get an image URL.  I got url's without much difficulty but then couldn't make them load or link on my page the right way.  After several unsuccessful hours of trying last night, I got frustrated and gave up!  Let me just insert here that I am not a techy dumby! I do pretty good with all tech-related things on a typical basis but for some reason this very simple task turned out to be quite daunting for me.  So in the event that there are other bloggers out there feeling my pain I wanted to share what was finally my saving grace.  Check out this super simple and easy to follow tutorial.  Thank you Youtube!

And if you are curious about the movie clip...

Friday, July 19, 2013



I read this article a few days ago related to parenthood. The article talks about all the great things we find on pinterest and how it can sometimes add stress because we try so hard to do all the things we pin, so some might become pin-stressed.  Do I love pinterest?  YES!  Does it stress me out?  No! I realize from the moment I start pinning that most of the things I pin are projects I will never actually complete, places I will never visit, books I will never have time to read, and houses I will never be able to afford. However, pinning things to my school related boards is my favorite thing to do because almost all of those pins are things I might actually bring to fruition.  Here are some of the latest pins that I hope to use in my new third grade classroom!

Word Wall Inspired:

I know I am going to have to let a lot of my favorite classroom things go as I transition from K-2 to 3rd grade but I think asking me to give up my word wall is asking a bit too much, LOL!  I have NEVER had a room without a word wall, I refer to the word wall(s) constantly and just know that I will feel completely lost without one...especially during writing conferences.  So I have been searching and googling "third grade word walls" and found two awesome linky parties devoted entirely to word walls: 


These two linky parties helped me find a great way to use word walls in a third grade classroom.  Thanks to Doris over at Third Grade Thinkers I now feel inspired and excited about using one or more word wall(s) in my classroom: 

add words by subject- this is a social studies word wall

My FAVORITE IDEA: the NO EXCUSE WORDS- these are the words our 3rd graders have no excuse to spell wrong! 

Reading Workshop:
I love this idea of using velcro strips with individual name strips.  I have a folder VERY similar to this already set up in my classroom but I have always used an erasable marker to move kids names around.  This is so much easier and cleaner! 

Classroom Library:

I will definitely need to spend some time in my classroom library over the next few weeks.  I was super excited to find a HUGE box packed with chapter books (I have been hanging on to it for years), I even put them in the reading center already but they have not been categorized or leveled.  So I went searching for different ideas on how to organize a 3rd grade classroom library and found another linky party!....

She even includes her book basket labels...Woot! Woot!

...hosted by:

     My Photo

Bright Ideas:
And of course I have been stumbling upon all kinds of great classroom management and organization ideas.  Check out some of these great ideas from 

25 Clever Classroom Tips For Elementary School Teachers

Have a reading fair instead of a science fair.
Have a reading fair instead of a science fair!

25 Clever Classroom Tips For Elementary School Teachers

GENIUS!!!!  Better and cheaper than tennis balls
No more tennis balls!  Pieces of felt and some rubber bands instead:)

25 Clever Classroom Tips For Elementary School Teachers
Make quick and easy reminder bracelets with strips of construction paper and tape.  I am going to keep strips already cut and put in a drawer right by the door so it will be close by on our way out.  I envision myself making a few of these bad boys while walking to the bus at the end of the day!  

Hope you found these ideas to be as great and as inspiring as I did!

New Blog Reader

I think I might be late on this news flash but I just discovered Google Reader was discontinued this week, Oops!  So I am switching to Blog Lovin' to help keep up with all my favorite blogs.  If you haven't switched yet, you can be late with me!  LOL

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I've Been Promoted to Third Grade!

(I just ordered this t-shirt and plan on making it my own motto for the coming year, I'm going to surround myself with these words, it's a good reminder to focus on the REAL reason we do this, which is because we love to TEACH...wish "they" would let us do more of it!)

Wow.  I think I am safe in saying that I failed at my first attempt of blogging while teaching.  As you can see, my last blog post was way back in October!  I can't even begin to describe the roller coaster of a year I just had.  Teaching kindergarten for the first time in 10 years with 3 other "new to kindergarten" teachers, in the same year we adopted common core was more than just a challenge.  We work in a title one/equity plus school which means we also had a lot of other unnecessary stuff trainings and meetings to attend so I will say that this was (hands down) the toughest year of my teaching career thus far.  I love blogging and REALLY love following all the other amazing blogs out there in blog world so let's hope I can do a better job moving forward:)

After 3 or 4 weeks out of school, I have had time to rest, relax, and completely clear my mind of all things related to school.  I have enjoyed every single minute spent with my two kids.  Jackson just turned five a month ago and Jillian is two.  They are both wide open and full of sweetness and mischief   I still have five full weeks left of my summer break and will spend some of that time setting up my new room, blogging, and pinning, but most of those five weeks will be spent doing more of what summer vacation is really supposed to be about!

Okay, so back to the purpose of this blog.  I am moving to Third Grade.  Yay!   I loved kindergarten, truly!  But, if you'll remember my goal is to eventually get a position outside of the classroom so before I do that I really need more experience in the "upper-grades."  We had a third grade position open for next year, so I approached the principal and asked if he would consider giving it to me and he did!  I taught third grade during my second and third year of teaching and LOVED it but hated the testing.  Well, now (10 years later) I have learned that testing in kindergarten is just as bad or (dare I say it) maybe even worse!  Do you know that when I added it up, we gave more than 400 individual assessments in the fourth quarter alone?  That means 400+ times that I had to pull one student out at a time for some sort of assessment.  It was beyond ridiculous.  I could really get on my soapbox about the crazy amount of testing going on in K-2 and about the complete disregard for what is developmentally appropriate for students but because I would like to keep my job, I will save that tyrant for places and people outside of the social networking world!  LOL

My goal for the remainder of this summer is to share some of the great things that happened in my kindergarten classroom this past year as well as all the new ideas I have (or find) for third grade.  Oh...and get my new classroom set up!  I will share pictures along the way. I missed all my blogging buddies and I am glad to be joining you all again!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

YAY...I've been Boo'd...TWICE!!

Earlier this week I walked up to my classroom door to find a cute little pumpkin stuffed with chocolate and other candy.  Notice I tend to focus on the chocolate.  I am such a chocolate freak!  I was super excited and then I read the note.  The candy was meant to be shared with my class.  Say what????  You give me a large bucket of chocolate, get all my hopes up, and then tell me I have to give it away?  To a bunch of 5 year olds who can not possibly understand the significance of such a gift?  I seriously thought about hiding all of it and just passing the bucket on without letting my kids know we were ever boo'd.  Yes, I know this makes me a horrible person but we all have our weaknesses right?;)

You will be proud to know that I overcame my initial reaction and did indeed share my bucket of chocolate.  Did I mention it was the good stuff?  Like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat bars, and Hershey's?  I did, of course keep a handful for myself and stashed it behind my desk...safe from the kids.  Little did I know I needed to also hide it from my colleagues, who kept sneaking behind my desk and taking from my stash.  It's a good thing I like them so much!  LOL

So that was my first "Boo-ing" of the week and then I got Boo'd on my blog.  Not chocolate this time but something as equally exciting.  I got to choose an item from Rebecca Stone's (Landing in K) TPT store.  Rebecca is a fellow Kindergarten teacher right here in the lovely city of Winston Salem, NC!  We haven't had the chance to meet in person but I can see from her blog and all the FABULOUS items (lots of which focus on Common Core) that she must be an amazing K teacher!  Check out the item I got to pick for free...my treat for being boo'd:

If you aren't a follower of Rebecca's...go join now!  She has some great stuff going on and a terrific TPT store...

Landing in K

So, there are a few rules to follow if you are Boo'd and they are:

1) Choose a fellow blogger that has more followers, another that has about the same number of followers, and someone that has less followers.
2) Blog about each of them and include this cute linky party icon in your blog.
 3) Lastly, leave them love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat." (If you have a store)

OKAY!  So here are the fellow bloggers I would like to share with you:

A blogger with MORE followers:

Heather's heart 
Heather is -hands down- one of my favorite bloggers!  She has some of the BEST original ideas and an awesome teaching philosophy.  I am clearly not the only one who feels this way seeing that she has over 2,500 followers!!!  She's awesome...seriously:)
A blogger with about the SAME number of followers:
Krazy about Kindy 
Another Heather...equally as awesome!  So she doesn't get to post too frequently but how could she?  She is a mother of four littles, a full time kindergarten teacher, and is working on her Master's!  I have never met her but she is CLEARLY super-woman!  LOL  When she does post, she is always super funny and witty and has some GREAT things to share.  Go check her out!
A blogger with LESS followers:
 Landing in K

And I am sure I'm not supposed to do this but I can't think of a better blogger (with less followers) to link to than the one who boo'd me in the first place.  I honestly don't understand WHY she has less followers, she is clearly way more creative...check out her TPT store!!!  

I can't really follow rule number 3 because I only have one item in my TPT store and it's Free...LOL but I hope these bloggers know how much I love them!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you all a great time.  My two cuties will be walking around as Mr. Potato Head and a Cupcake...can't wait to see how much CHOCOLATE "they" get!  LOL