I have a winner! Jennifer Q's name was chose! Thank you to the others who participated!
Thank you for letting me know on Instagram that my blog wouldn't let you leave a comment- the same thing happened to my husband when he tried to leave me a comment. Congratulations and I hope he brings your students much joy this holiday season! 

Today I was unpacking my Christmas decorations and found an elf, Christopher Pop-in-kins, in one of the storage boxes. I forgot I bought one for my classroom last year to use this year. A few months ago I saw an ad for a free Elf on the Shelf in Instructor Magazine, so I applied for it, and was one of the lucky ones who received a free Elf on the Shelf and birthday outfit. I immediately thought that I need to pay it forward and give away the elf I bought! If you could use an elf this year for your classroom or home, and you like Christopher shown below, follow my blog and leave a comment with your email. A few people have already commented in the previous post. I will have my daughter pick a name out of a hat tomorrow morning so I can get this little guy in the mail tomorrow!
Here's a picture of the elf and book:
Here is a picture of Christopher next to Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf. I love them both so much, I have one of each at home!
My girls are 11 and 14, and still hope Christopher and Buddy visit us this year. They usually make their appearance at our house on December 1st! These are the memories your children and students will carry with them.
I am so excited for the upcoming Teacher's Pay Teacher's Sale coming Monday and Tuesday December 2nd and 3rd! My little store is here. Be sure to check it out- I have a few fun freebies and more on the way!

I have had a few things on my Wish List for awhile now! Here are my favorites:

I love anything One Extra Degree's Amanda makes! This file will be great for CC Nonfiction Reading. 
Next, I have been eyeing this Christmas ELA Centers pack from Where the Wild Things Learn. This is the kind of file I enjoy making, and I believe students learn best from hands-on practice rather than worksheets and practice book pages. I love that this one is done for me!

Lovin' Lit's Huge Seller's Toolkit Bundles 1 and 2 have been a lifesaver for me since I began making my own teacher resources for my classroom. This Bundle #3 looks amazing as well! I love the chalkboard files!
I for sure need the following font packs- you can't ever have enough fonts! First up is Hello Fonts by Jen Jones. This will be a bargain on sale!
I already have Cara's Font Fun Volume 3, but Volume 1 and Volume 2 look fun as well!

What things are on your Wish List? I would love to hear! Don't forget to check out out the sale and leave feedback to earn free TPT points! 

I'm joining Amelia at Where the Wild Things Learn to share my Wish List!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 
I am not artistic in the least. I do enjoy scrapbooking and creating cute things with products other people make, but I cannot create art with a pencil and paper. After my daughter had an art class over the summer and I saw what she created, I vowed that I would teach an actual art lesson once a week. I began reading a book I had on my shelf called Drawing with Children here . A former co-worker who previously retired left me his entire art binder filled with the Monart described in the book. That was a start! We learned that artwork consists of a series of lines, dots, circles, and curves. I really felt like I was learning along with the students. A few weeks into the school year, a new student came to my class. And as luck would have it, her mother was an art teacher! She agreed to come to my class and teach art once a week. So far she has guided us through  directed drawings of Gary the Snail, an owl, a caricature of her daughter, and a turkey with the class. My students are so fortunate to have an actual artist teaching them! And of course I am creating and taking notes right along with them.
Here are a few pictures:
The picture below was from a lesson a co-worker gave me. I have always been amazed at the beautiful chalk portraits she always creates with her students, so she shared the instructions with me. I couldn't believe I could actually create a masterpiece myself! They hang proudly along my window. I love them! I pinned an art lesson here that reminds me of these portraits, except with mine you gently rub on art chalk then blend it with tissue paper and spray with hairspray. 
What is your approach to teaching art? Do you build in an art lesson a week into your plans, or do you try to fit it in during core subjects? I would love to find some new ideas!
A few days ago I posted about how thankful I am for my parent volunteers. Because of them, my students get so much extra support in my classroom. I have a few ideas for small gifts of thanks for them.

My first share is a Thanks a "Latte" card. I adhered a coffee gift card to these cards. 

For those who don't drink coffee, I am giving Hazelnut Latte Hand Soap. I picked these up at Bath and Body Works, and I believe they are still on sale. 
If you are interested in either of these freebies, you can find them here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I have been fortunate for so many years to have a wonderful group of parent volunteers who come to my classroom daily to help my students. I have one parent volunteer who comes every day and has been with me since her daughter was in third grade, and now she is in seventh grade! There must be a reason why I had her daughter the first year my district ended class size reduction. I went from 20 students to 32! I had a class and a half! I was used to being able to work with my struggling students one on one, but with thirty-two third graders, I was unsure how to do that. For years I taught fifth and seventh grades with that many students, but after two years in third grade, and being able to see how much my students grew with more one on one teacher time, I didn't know how I would be able to service the students the same way I was used to. I vowed my students would not pay the price for the budget crisis. I am also lucky to have a retired colleague return to my class once a week to help administer fluency tests. It definitely takes a village, especially since I've seen the students struggle more and more each year due to higher class sizes.

I have trained my parent volunteers to work with the students on fluency, basic facts, comprehension, and sometimes reviewing mistakes on tests and quizzes, one on one. My students have benefited so much from the help of my parent volunteers. I have at least one parent, on most days two, who call the students back one at a time and work with them. The binders and clipboards are always ready for the parents to jump right in and work with the students with minimal explanation after I first show them what to do. Here are some pictures of how I set things up.

Basic Facts Practice- each student has a sheet for multiplication and division, and the volunteers quiz them on their facts until they know them. Known facts are highlighted, and unknown facts are continually practiced.
This binder has the weekly one minute fluency we are working on. Students who do not pass their fluency assessments are called back one at a time to practice fluency. I got the freebie fluency practice poems from One Extra Degree here- scroll down. I can't remember where I got the mini posters (if you know, please let me know!) but I found the freebie Tracking My Fluency Growth sheets from Jen Jones of Hello Literacy here
I currently have my parent volunteers work with students who need extra practice with comprehension. These nonfiction one page animal reading passages by Kayla Parker are perfect. I have the students read the passage out loud, and they answer the questions, being sure to underline where they found the answer. I have these in page protectors to cut down on copies and the students use dry erase markers to mark their answers. You can find them here if you are interested. 
For my students who need extra support, I have my parent volunteers practice with phonics readers and high frequency word lists. You can find a similar word list here- I actually like this one better! It is broken down and has more than the first 300 words. The students practice their phonics readers at school and at home. A second grade teacher gave me hers when she retired- they are part of our district's Houghton Mifflin adoption.
Do you have other ideas for parent volunteers to support student learning? I would love to hear your ideas!

Hello! Since I didn't have my blog up and running until a few days ago, I wanted to share a few things with you!

We were Owled a few days before Halloween! I found this adorable felt owl bag outside our classroom door filled with candy and a note telling us to pass it on- along the lines of getting "booed". I have one student who doesn't celebrate Halloween, and of course I love owls, so this idea just popped into my head.The kids loved it!

On Halloween Day, we spent part of the day doing language arts centers. I used some of Amanda's of One Extra Degree's Too Cute to Spook Halloween Centers and some of my own creations. (One of which is a common/proper and singular/plural freebie in my TPT store if you like!) The students practiced common/proper and singular/plural nouns, contractions, spelling and vocab review, and fact and opinion practice. Each group had a buckets or felt bags to sort their cards- they love and appreciate the little touches so much! The kiddos were having so much fun, I don't think they realized they were they actually working! 

Here is Learning Resources's Magic Hat and One Extra Degree's cards for vocab practice. The kiddos grab a card out of the magic hat and give the synonym, antonym, and  definition.  

We began an author study of Chris Van Allsburg. I remember seeing this idea on someone's blog, but I don't remember whose it was! If you know, please tell me so I can give them credit! If you don't know the book version of these posters, read here. I learned my lesson from last year and pulled out a few of the scarier posters (like the one you see here on the cover. Some of my kiddos had nightmares after this lesson!) Then I had them displayed around the room, divided the kiddos into groups, and gave them a clipboard and paper and asked them to infer what was going on in each poster. You could also turn down the lights and give them flashlights, but I didn't want to scare anyone. They were hooked!

I gave them a homework pass and class money for Halloween. These passes were a freebie in my TPT store. I accidentally deleted them and my We've Been Owled pack from my TPT store, but if anyone would like them for next year, I would be more than happy to email them to you!

I hope you found some useful ideas that you can Pin and use next year!

Welcome to my first ever blog post!

First of all, I would like to give a huge thank you to the talented Christi Fultz at Designs by Christi for creating my blog. I appreciate her patience with me as I asked a million questions and had numerous silly requests throughout the entire process. Thank you so much Christi! I just love my blog. You are amazing!

Two years ago I found my first teacher blog, Create Teach Share through a scrapbooking blog I followed. After that, I stumbled upon One Extra Degree and 4th Grade Frolics I never knew teacher blogs existed! I knew teachers blogged about their classrooms or had students blog about their learning, but I never knew so many ideas, freebies, and so much teaching inspiration was out there. A whole new world opened up to me, and I felt like I had finally found my people! I found teachers whose hobby was teaching, the way it should be.

And now I begin this blogging journey at the perfect time. My district is in a transition year to the Common Core State Standards. It's a year of experimenting and teaching in a more student centered, meaningful way. I have been given permission to deviate from the teacher manuals and teach more creatively, the way I did eighteen years ago when I first started on my teaching career. I hope to offer ideas and inspiration along the way!

Back to Top