Wednesday, August 10, 2016

     <<<<< Open House >>>>>
Seeing that I haven't posted, oh, in like 2 years, I thought tonight would be a good night to post since I am free from grad school for the first time starting the school year and actually have time to breathe. **Sigh of relief** Tonight was my school's Open House. There is A LOT of prep that goes into this single night-- flip books full of information, goodie bags for your students, wish list items, parent presentation etc. 

To welcome the second graders, I created a quick and easy "bulletin board" welcome board that says "Welcome to the Team." It is Olympics inspired. :) I still need to add four Gold Medals with the names of the second grade teachers and it will be what I consider complete. It is simple and does the trick. 

Let's begin with the classroom reveal. I have 23 friends this year, 16 of them being BOYS. Oh yes, it is going to be a fun year ;). 

I prefer the "U" shape because it allows me to walk around and monitor students quickly. I am also trying flexible seating this year beginning with heightened desks. Every student will begin with a desk at regular or raised height. After a couple of weeks, I will introduce lowered desks. You can see that I have crate seating around my lowered table for group work right now. Eventually, I will lower 4-6 desks. I will also introduce yoga ball seating after my class adjusts and knows the rules of crate seating. I purchased the pillows in the white bench from 5 and Below for $5. A lot of the kids raved about them tonight.  My chair was purchased from Wayfair and my mother sewed an additional cushion with pockets for me to store dry erase markers and my read aloud book I read at the end of the day to my kids. Don't judge my bookshelf, I took this the night before Open House. I promise the classy white board was removed before the parents came and the shelf was filled with beginning of the year books. 

My school is big into AR in the second grade. To motivate students, my grade level team brainstormed this AR board where each student is represented by a jersey with their class number on it. As they take quizzes and earn points they are able to make their way around the bases. Each base earns them a different "prize." At the end of the year awards ceremony, students who have 25 points get a trophy with a bronze medal. 50 points earns them a trophy and silver medal, and 75+ points earns them a gold medal and trophy. Anyone who reaches 100 points gets the "grand prize" a.k.a. Pokemon cards paired with a book or prizes that can be purchased with scholastic points. :)

My library has transformed since my first year of teaching. I started with NOTHING. ZILCH. NADA. So I began at Goodwill. Then I branched out to Craigslist looking for teacher yard sales. I got lucky and found a teacher who was retiring and I purchased half of her library that was available. It didn't look like much but it was something. Craigslist, Scholastic, and library bag sales have been my main source of where I got my books. The tubs themselves are an investment. I started cheap with the dollar store bins, but they were too small to hold most of my books. So I advanced to bigger dollar store tubs and they seemed too flimsy. I purchased the white bins from Walmart and they hold ALOT of books and are very sturdy. The white bins are dedicated to my AR collection while the pink and green bins from Meijers serve as my genre bins. That lovely rotating wire bookshelf in the corner is my newest addition which was found on Craigslist as well. :) 

This is my lowered table for crate seating. The cushions were purchased from Walmart for $1.50 a piece. STEAL! They will eventually be tied on with ribbon but I haven't had time to sew them on yet. This is my wish list table for Open House. The sign says "Thanks for Pitching in!" 

This is my student desk display. As a grade level we purchase Parent Communicator folders and in the front I have this sheet with all the passwords needed for the year. I also tell how parents can contact me. It works GREAT for families who are divorced and always have their child's go to information all on the front of the folder. On the back I include my calendar with important dates for the month. It is easy to see what is coming up for the month and how their child has behaved that day if they don't have access to Class Dojo. The flip book came from Learning in Wonderland. :) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how I can just fold and staple. Simple and quick!

This is a game changer! I LOVE this checklist booklet from Ladybug's Teacher Files. This woman is pure genius and I love her color coded organization. **heart eyes emoji** Go, don't think another second. Purchase this product now. You will thank me later. :) 

Have a great week! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Front Row- Differentiated Math Instruction

It has been a LONG time since I last posted. Grad school has been my life outside of the classroom and I am glad I have some time to myself again. This year marked my third year of teaching and my second year teaching second grade. It has been a BLAST collaborating with my grade level this year to create an awesome phonics block with Words Their Way and creating online assessments with Google Forms for quicker and easier grading. However, the biggest find this year came to me through research for grad school. If you haven't heard of Front Row, your life will change forever as of......NOW. This website will be the best thing you stumbled upon to help improve your math block. Let me tell you how it works.

1. Go to
2. Sign up for a FREE, yes FREE Teacher Account.
3. Add students to your roster.
4. Have students log into the program with your class code using the student sign in tab. (They type in their first and last name then the class code.)
5. You tell your students which domain you would like them to begin with to take a diagnostic pretest to determine where they should begin instruction. Easy as pie.
6. Sit and watch the luscious data come in on your teacher dashboard. (Grade Level equivalency, areas they mastered with high, medium and low difficulty, standards with high strength and standards with weakness, small groups, and comparative data within a domain.  

I'm telling you right now, this website will be your best friend for small groups. The data you receive will AUTOMATICALLY create small groups based on their mastery of the Common Core Standards. Not only does it group, it tells how many questions were answered and the accuracy in which they were answered.

The website is adaptive which helps stretch those high students that you feel guilty for not meeting with more often and gives your middle and low kids practice and tutorials with videos to help answer questions when they are answered incorrectly. This website is simply.....AMAZING. Now go explore this awesome website. You can thank me later ;) Oh.... and its works on both ChromeBooks and iPads using the FREE Front Row App!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writing Process Clip Chart (Pencil) FREEBIE

Hi!! It has been a BUSY 2 weeks!! School is about to start and I am having Open House tomorrow night! Pics to come! :) I did want to share my little creation for this year's writing workshop to help my kiddies stay on task and to track their progress with writing. I hope you like it and are able to use it within your classroom! Just click the pencil and it will direct you to my TPT store! Thank you!! :)

Here is a little sneak peak of my classroom! :) 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Book Bin Labels :)

I just finished making these ADORABLE book bin labels!!! :) I wanted to create some labels that go with my classroom color scheme ......SO what better way than to make them! The day I was introduced to Pinterest was the day my teaching career changed forever. The plethora of ideas from amazing teachers is endless. I kept asking myself, "How in the world did they make that?!!?" I was baffled because I had no idea how to make anything that pretty and awesome! So I took a stab at it today using Power Point ;) You can find my colorful polka dot book bin labels here at my TPT store. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Classroom Pics and Student Planner

It has been a longggggg week! I finished up a graduate class and lived in my classroom all day today. Decorating my classroom is a stress reliever.... or at least to me anyway! :)

I wanted to show you the latest on how my classroom is shaping up and what I created for my students using the CAFE menu freebie I have in my earlier post.

First, here is a picture of my CAFE board with my Math Menu and Writing Goals on each side. It's sagging in the middle because this is actually a peg board not a bulletin board. :( The humidity in my classroom works against my decorations...

Next, is a picture of my classroom rules, jobs, and agenda. This is actually apart of my whiteboard, which I covered with a plastic table cloth from Walmart added a border and made it into a "bulletin board." I just got the self adhesive pockets for my classroom job labels, which I was SUPER excited about! I hated my classroom job list last year and felt like I needed more to keep the kids busy this year. :) 
I have a line leader, caboose, calendar captain, electrician, paper passer, librarian, lunch carrier, recess helper, table captain, station manager, pencil patrol, supply manager, folder monitor, messenger, chair monitor, clean up crew and last but not least... backpack patrol! I needed that one more last year than this year considering I had cubbies. This year I have lockers, but you never know how well the kids will get that backpack into that beloved small space. :) 

This next photo is actually apart of my whiteboard as well. I just used decorative tape from Target to create the same layout in Cara Carroll's Calendar Companion packet. This is the number of the day sheet and I will have my Calendar Captain fill it out in front of the class while the class completes their own in their math notebook. 

These are random pictures of what is on the walls of my classroom... colors, numbers (touch math- something new I'm trying this year), money and shapes.  

Touch math posters can be found here
Color posters were found at Walmart last year

The alphabet letters came from the Phonics Dance Curriculum by Ginny Dowd who I LOVE!! Teaching phonics is engaging and full of singing and dancing with her program. I would recommend it to anyone. 

Money posters can be found here
Money poem can be found here
Shape posters can be found here

This is the project that took me a while to make today at school. This is hopefully the most useful student planner EVER! :) I purchased That's So Second Grade's editable Student Planner Pack from TPT and Cupcake for the Teacher's Behavior calendars as well, added my own CAFE menu and reading log, added half of a file folder to make a back and Voila! A student planner was born! 

I took my personal laminator from home with me to school today because it provides a more sturdy cover than the one in the workroom. Then, I added a binding comb. 

This is my behavior chart I use in my classroom that is located directly on the back of the front cover. It opens to the behavior calendars.

Sweet As Can Be
Super-Duper Sweet
Smilin' Day
Ready to Learn
Think About It
Teacher's Choice
Parent Contact

After the behavior calendars there is a section for nightly reading. This is where I placed my CAFE Menu and Reading Log Goals Sheet. I made about 10 copies of the reading log for the year for each planner. 


My last section in the planner is for weekly homework. Every Friday, my students receive a packet of math homework to complete by the following Friday. Parents must initial the space provided to signify that "yes, my child completed this homework" and can write comments to me about the assignment whether their child had difficulty completing the activities or not. 

I provide my homework policy on the front of the section to make my expectations clear to both the student and parent. 

I also add important dates at the bottom to help remind parents of what is coming up in the month. 


I hope you have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by! :) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Math Center Organization

I recently purchased math bin labels from That's So Second Grade to help my organization of this year's centers. The problem I have with my classroom is that there isn't much wall space considering I have three 8 foot book shelves all being used for books which leaves me with very little wall space to work with. I don't know about you, but I literally dream about my classroom when decorating it... it is pathetic, I must admit. I didn't know where I was going to put bins if I purchased them so in my dream I remembered about another awesome purchase from Craigslist! This shelf that had pull down drawers that I remembered using for myself last year near my teacher desk to hold thank you cards, birthday rewards and other misc. items. I woke up in the middle of the night just to count how many math labels I had and it was fate. I had 9 pull down drawers and there were 9 labels!! YEA!!!! :) So the next morning, I drove to school and immediately moved the lovely white shelf which was extremely heavy but very worth every little bit of sweat to get it in the corner near my manipulatives! 

TA DA!!! I LOVE it! :) 

 Here is a blurry close up of the labels. (Sorry.... my camera phone...) Each label has a topic with common core standards listed below it. 

Here is a sneak peak inside of the drawer to get a clue as to what I put in each drawer. 

I laminate all center activities and place them in a laminated manila pocket folder. I glue on the name of the game before laminating making the games look all pretty! :) 

My next project will be finding an area for Word Work and LA activities! 

Have a great week! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reading and Writing Menu Freebie!

Hi all!! I have been trying to find a way to organize myself and my students this year with a student planner from That's So Second Grade. This girl is genius! When stumbling across this post, I had the "WOW! That would have made my life easier last year!" moment. I purchased her student planner pack along with "Cupcake For Teacher" monthly behavior charts to add to the planner with my specific behavior chart. I was thinking about how I can keep my students accountable for their learning even when they are reading at home so I thought I would include a CAFE menu with a Daily reading log with a column for the goal they are working on each time I conference with the student. I will add this to the student planner and when I conference with the student they can write their goal we discussed that day in the blank to work on that goal when they read at home until we establish a new reading goal.

I am also including a writing menu that correlates to the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop model. I will not include this in the student planner but will place this in their writing folder in class to refer to during individual conferences. This is a tweaked version from's version of a writing menu from pinterest. I added stretch word to hear all sounds, and conjunctions to my version of the menu.

Preview of Reading Goals


CAFE Reading Menu, Reading Log, and Writing Menu  - TPT store

Reading Menu, Reading Log, and Writing Menu - GoogleDocs

I hope you are able to use these in your classroom and find them helpful! :) Enjoy the rest of your day!!!