It’s Looking a Lot Like Back to School! | TPT SALE





It’s that time of year to save so much on any Back to School purchases from your favorite shops on Teachers Pay Teachers! This year you can my shop participating in this awesome 2-day sale where you can save up to a whopping 25% on everything by using the code BTS2017!


Here are my most popular products! 

Back to School Parent Packet!

 I have updated this download to include forms that are not only perfect for second grade, but are all geared towards any grade level! Having changed grade levels a bit it occurred to me that this resource should be beneficial no mater what grade I may teach, so with that experience I made sure to include a little something for everyone.

I tend to give out quite a bit of information at Back To School Night because I am able to be right there to explain to the parents exactly the important info I need for my class as well as those important documents the school gives us to hand out. 

This updated packet has welcome letters, student information forms, permission slips for various activities, and extensive parent volunteer forms. I have also included optional parent surveys so I can get the skinny on the little details about my new kiddos that way on the first day of school I have an idea about each one of my little people. Then, I also have included a student survey that I love giving as morning work on the first day of school for the kids to fill out about themselves. 

Parents can give us teachers good insight into their child, but anytime I can get feedback from the students themselves it has proven to be well worth it! Plus my kids love to share about themselves so it’s a win, win!

Think Sheets | Behavior/Classroom Management

These Think Sheets have been a huge life saver for me both in managing student behavior and my time when communicating behavior to parents. This bundle includes various versions of the Think Sheet differentiated for K-6th grade. You can also find the Think Sheet as a single file, in the Behavior Management Bundle, or this K-6 bundle. So many options!

I get so many compliments from teachers who use this sheet in their classrooms and say how much of a time saver it is and really helps keep their students accountable for their behavior. I have had extreme success using these and I hope that you can also use this easy tool!

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Download at TpT.

Work on Writing Center Prompts

I had so much fun creating and using these prompts for my writing centers during my Daily 5 reading routine. Simple, yet fun and engaging, these prompts are easy to prepare and your kiddos are sure to enjoy them! 

When I added these prompts to my writing center each week, it was exciting to see my kids so eager to write and share their work! I would rotate the prompts so that the kids don’t have the same options each week and each rotation.

But you can easily prep and use these prompts in any way that fits the needs of your classroom! Use them for early finishers or as extra practice. Each prompt is designed to get your kids engaged and ready to write!

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Download at TpT.

Pledge of Allegiance Mini-Lesson

Being a history-nerd myself, I have always loved this activity at the beginning of the year with my kids. It’s funny how often they recite the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and yet have very little understanding of the purpose of why we sing it, but also the meaning behind the words. 

This activity helps break down the vocabulary and give meaning to reciting the Pledge every morning. It’s also perfect activity to begin those citizenship standards at the beginning of the year!

Just simply prep the workbooks and use as a group or independent practice. Teach to each line of the Pledge and have your students follow along in their workbooks. Each page is made up of a phrase from the Pledge and a little activity to help connect the meaning with the vocabulary - as well as an extra way to practice their handwriting!


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Download at TpT.

Guided Reading Prep

Guided Reading is such a huge part of our schedule AND stressed so much in every school district. Everyone, from administrations to the parents, want each student to be well prepared and gain new skills that will help them better comprehend the stories that they read. 

With this, a teacher needs to be well prepped and one way that I personally do that at the beginning of each year is print and organize these reading resources and place them into my reading binder.

Because this helped me so much year after year, why not share it with all of you?! My Guided Reading: Made Simple resource is targeted to provide you with tools for your binder as well as communications to your student’s parents. The more your parents know about how they can foster reading at home, the more practice your kiddos have all year long.



You can read more about what’s included in this download and I use it in my classroom in my post here.

And read about Launching Guided Reading on the blog as well!

My hope is that you find plenty of resources you can use in your classroom this year and take advantage of this awesome sale both on August 1st and 2nd! I can’t believe how much us teachers can save just on these two days alone...so have fun shopping and happy Back to School!

An Organized Classroom

This week I’m focusing all on getting organized for the upcoming year. One piece of unsolicited advice that I would offer anyone - teacher or not - it is to be well organized. The more time you spend early on getting your personal or workspace in order the easier the days will be. This is especially important for teachers at the beginning of the school year when setting up their classrooms.

Imagine your classroom floorplan. Where will things go? How will traffic flow? How will students find their materials? What examples are you setting for your class?

Ask yourself these questions, invest time in finding a system that works, and stick to it throughout the year. Here are a few resources of mine that I use every single year when setting up my classroom and have been so helpful all year long!

One // Classroom Jobs


Classroom jobs are vital for any smooth-running classroom. It helps students learn responsibility and flat out helps you stay focused on bigger matters by having the kiddos help out with the smaller tasks around the classroom. In this download there is also blank cards to which you can edit and create your own jobs!

Line Leader: The obvious and most coveted of all jobs ;)
Caboose: Another obvious but necessary job
Teacher Helper: Need help passing out/collecting papers or materials? The teacher helper is there for you!
Substitute: Is a helper absent? Get a substitute to fill in for any jobs whose kiddo isn’t in school that day.
Scrap Collector: By the end of the day it’s always interesting to find all those little scraps that happen to fall on the floor. Get your scrap collector to recycle those papers!
Safety Monitor: Do you have a safety bag you have to take with you everywhere? Your safety monitor is responsible for remembering that bag during specials, lunch, and drills.
Lunch Counter: Do you have to report a lunch count to the cafeteria each day? If so, this job requires students to take a tally of each lunch choice and report it to the cafeteria.
Lunch Monitor: This helper keeps an eye on behavior during lunchtime and reports to the teacher about what happened. Our school’s lunchroom had a point system for behavior and this job correlates to that system. 
Attendance Runner: After taking attendance each morning this student runs it to the office.
Pencil Sharpener: At the end of the day this person sharpens all the pencils and throws out old ones.
Librarians: Our school had a cart that we would deliver to the library of all returning books that week. The librarians would be responsible for delivering the cart as well as making sure our classroom library was organized.
Messenger: Need to run something to another classroom or ask another teacher something? Send the messenger!
Calendar Helper: This student helps out with calendar math every morning and is responsible for preparing the calendar for the following day.
Door Holder: The obvious second most coveted job
Clip Chart Monitor: If you incorporate a clip chart in your room this helper is to put all the clips back to green at the end of the day
Trash Collector: Last but not least, this helper keeps the classroom tidy and takes the trashcans out at the end of the day for the custodians

I just recently added a few new jobs to this download so head on over to TpT to check them out for yourself!

Two // Common Core Aligned Objective Cards

This is my continuing work in progress and a resource many teachers have loved having in their rooms! I have been working on CCS aligned objective cards that are easily displayed in the classroom and represent the objectives being taught in reading, writing, and mathematics. Almost every school district requires teachers to display, somewhere in the classroom, the focus of each lesson and these cards make it super easy and quick to get those standards up there.


Three // Daily 5 Resource Pack

Launching the Daily 5 in any classroom can be overwhelming at first, but the first step is getting prepared and organized. Before the kiddos arrive on the first day it’s important to have your centers established and prepared based on what you’re introducing in each lesson. This download has all the resources you need to get your reading block running and off the ground. Let’s take a peek as to what’s included.

Colorful reading center cards grab your attention and clearly identify each center!


Corresponding posters that you can display around your classroom so students know where each center is located.


These helpful posters are perfect when launching your Daily 5 routines and expectations. They easily accompany your beginning of the year lessons and give wonderful visuals and reminders for students throughout the year.


Everyone knows that anchor charts when beginning the Daily 5 routines are a vital part of each lesson. These posters are perfect for printing or even display and write on them using your smart board!


Last but not least, have students begin charting their stamina as you build up your independent reading time each day! Stamina charts come with both a chart for the whole class or individual student charts!

Four // Labels, labels, labels!

Labeling your classroom effectively is crucial for your students to be more independent and free up your time to do more important things. The better your kiddos know your classroom the better it will function overall. Here are a few of my favorite labels for the classroom.

Schedule Cards

Schedule Cards on TpT

These schedule cards are a MUST because it helps students see what their days are going to be like. I’ve added a bunch of cards that practically cover almost all holidays, subjects, occasions, and fun things that could happen in any classroom. I love using these guys year after year!

Library Labels

Library Labels on TpT

I have just recently added these cards to my shop, which offer a number of different ways to organize your classroom library. There is by genre, Lexile, AR, DRA, and F&P. Whichever you choose, make sure your students learn to keep the library space organized too!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find these resources to be as helpful as they have been for me!

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Monday Motivation - Daily Schedules


It’s been a hot second since I’ve been able to get back on here. I feel as though my life is filled to the brim with other responsibilities...first, of course, is raising my toddler of which is going through a fun phase of independence mixed with stubbornness. Isn’t that cute? Actually, no...no it’s not. Then there’s maintaining content for my lifestyle blog and going through the throes of my first few months opening my Etsy shop. Talk about spinning plates here...

But nonetheless I am excited to get back into blogging here with my fellow teacher friends!

Today I am linking up with Teacher by the Beach who is hosting an awesome weekly linkup where we share and give advice/tips & tricks/or resources about all kinds of things in order to prepare our brains for the upcoming school year! I wish I had this online teaching community back when I first started teaching - so many great things!

Anyways, today’s topic is DAILY SCHEDULES.

Using a daily schedule in my classroom has always been a staple and an imperative part of my instruction. From my time in kindergarten to when I was in second grade, having a schedule and making it a part of my daily routine with my kiddos was really important to me - and for a number of reasons.

Daily Routines.

Each and every morning during our Morning Meeting/Calendar Math time, I would go over the schedule with my kids and let them know about what they would expect throughout the day. This was especially helpful for a few of my students who preferred to know when we were doing what and what we were going to learn in each subject. It also helped me stay on top of my own timing/scheduling of my lessons each day.

Keeping It Simple.

I have always kept my schedule cards fairly simple. Just the subject or activity in a bold print and some cute clipart to go with it. I always printed, laminated, and displayed them on my whiteboard closest to where we would gather for circle time. Over the years my cards have changed in the sense of color or clipart but their essence has stayed the same. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Multi-use & Intentional.

In my last year before moving to California I began incorporating my CCS Objective Cards next to the subject for that day, per the suggestion of a colleague. This allowed me to free up a bulletin board (our district at the time wanted our objectives posted at all times) and integrate our objectives in a more meaningful way.

For example, if I were to be teaching about Famous Americans during our Social Studies block, I would have the specific objective card placed right next to Social Studies schedule card on our board. This also doubled as a way to check in with my kiddos before and after the lesson gave me an opportunity to quickly check-in on whether or not they both understood and met the objective for that lesson.



Our Class Schedule

Now onto the beef of this post. My daily class schedule.

This example schedule was based on my last year teaching in second grade prior to my move to California. At my school at the beginning of the year, and on a first-come-first-served basis, teachers gather by grade level to pick the times of their specials and coordinate recess and lunch. To accommodate everyone’s schedules, teachers had a good bit of control when they had what subject throughout the day. 

This is an example of the first day of school in my classroom!

7:30am - 8am | Students begin to file in at 7:30am, which means they will unpack and get their materials ready for the day at their seats. I always have a welcome message on the board that has the date and instructions for their Morning Work and a few options of what they could do if they finish before the school’s announcements. I use a PowerPoint slide for this because it’s relatively the same every day and makes prepping it each morning a breeze.

One thing I would love to incorporate into my instruction once I head back into the classroom is Reagan’s Rise & Shine binders! It’ll take some prep time up front, but I love how she’s able to give her students authentic and meaningful practice work to do in the morning!


7:50 - 8am | The school hosts their own school-wide announcements and it lasts about 5-10 minutes. This is also a signal to students to finish up their work and to be ready for the day by the time it ends. This is also a time for them to use the bathroom so that there aren’t any interruptions.

8:00am - 8:15am | Morning Meeting/ Calendar Work
This is an important part of our day each morning (and I outlined a bit of this above). Our class gathers each morning to go over the schedule cards and what to expect and do a little Calendar Math. At the beginning of the year I usually begin with Ice Breakers or introduce our All About Me Bags.

8:15am - 8:45am | Shared Reading
Shared Reading is another name for just that, a teacher-guided mini-lesson on a specific reading skill. This skill will also be practiced during the guided reading block of the day and in my kiddo’s centers.

At the start of the year I begin this time with establishing our classroom rules and to do that I use my First Week lesson plans.

I incorporate fun read-alouds throughout the week that focuses on a specific rule each day. By the end of the week we’ve discussed and practiced what each of the rules are and students create a Classroom Contract to which they sign. It’s always been a fun way to get the kids involved in establishing that classroom culture together.

8:45am - 10:00am | Reading Workshop/ Guided Reading
As anyone knows, it takes weeks to get your guided reading centers up and running effectively and in a way that gets the ball rolling. Practically everyone at this point uses the Daily 5 approach and so do I.

Building stamina and setting goals typically is how we start. Each day we practice the behaviors of each center and spend time extending our reading time so that by the time we’re officially ready to begin reading groups my kids have had an opportunity to read for 15-20 minutes. All of this is a lot of work - conditioning these little guys - but it is so worth it’s weight in gold for the rest of the year.




*Depending on the day we may have a specialist come in.

10:30 - 11:00am | Writing Workshop
There are a number of fun activities I love to do during this block at the beginning of the year that are inspired by Lucy Calkins. Here are a couple of examples that I have done throughout the week:

A fun writing activity to do during these initial first days in school is a Time Capsule. This is a chance for the class to learn a little more about each other and practice some initial handwriting and writing skills. Using a template, students write a little about themselves and record various things about themselves. Then, at the end of the year they complete a similar project and have a chance to see how much they’ve grown and learned over the course of second grade. It also makes for a fun keepsake for parents!

OR

It’s so important that our students see themselves as authors. So, one of the fun first things we do is discuss our interests and what we could use to inspire our stories. This gives my students a chance tor reflect on the things they most enjoy, decorate their writing notebooks with these things, and use it in times of ‘writers block’. I love decorating mine, sharing it with them, and using it throughout the year, modeling that we are all authors!

11:00-11:15 | Recess
11:15am - 11:25am | Bathroom Break
11:25am - 11:55am | Lunch

12:00pm - 12:35pm | Math
In my previous district the first objective we teach is all about graphs. One way my team and I did that for the first day of school is graph the different ways each child goes home (i.e. bus riders, daycare, walking, carpool, etc.). This is an easy way to connect our kiddos to their thinking and sets up a skill they’ll be working on throughout the year.

12:45pm - 1:15 pm | P.E.

1:15pm - 1:30pm | Continued Math Lesson
Sometimes our lessons are cut short because of specials, so I use this remaining time to conclude the math lesson with share time and lead into the next lesson. This time could also be used for Math Facts or quick assessments.

1:30pm - 2:20pm | Social Studies/ Science
My favorite block! Typically Social Studies begins our year and I love teaching my students about citizenship. This subject is the basis of everything we do in the classroom when setting up rules and routines, so it makes the most sense to start here.

One fun lesson I also love to introduce to my kids is the Pledge of Allegiance mini-unit. You can read more about this amazing lesson here!



2:20pm - 2:35pm | Pack-Up/Dismissal

That concludes my day! I can’t wait to see how other teacher’s plan their days - so be sure to link up!

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Stating Your Objectives

These CC aligned objective cards for language arts and math are the perfect addition to any classroom! Quickly change out your objectives each day with these pre-printed objective cards. See how I use them in my classroom on the blog!


Download Kinder | Download First | Download Second

In most classrooms it’s required that teachers post the daily objectives they plan to teach that day and place them somewhere visible in the room. This is so admin or other visitors can walk into your room and know what exactly you’re teaching and the standard to which you’re teaching to. These days there are a lot of creative ways to display your objectives and today I am sharing with you the pre-made Common Core aligned objective cards that I’ve used in my own classroom - but now I’m beginning to add these cards in K-6th grade formats!

Quickly check that to-do list!

In the past I have used these objective cards right next to my daily schedule by laminating and placing a magnet on the backs so they stick right to our board, but these objective cards can be used on a bulletin board or even a pocket chart! It’s completely up to you. I personally don’t like wasting precious board space so incorporating it onto my whiteboard next to our schedule made the most sense for my classroom.

Plus, having the objectives already printed off allowed me to quickly swap them out when preparing for the next day and I know they’ll be useful in other classrooms as well! It’s so helpful to find products that don’t take a lot of prep, help in the long run, and allow me to move on to the more important tasks!

Editable!

These cards also include blank cards for reading, writing, and math clip art so that you can write in your own objectives if there are any that differ from the CCS. They feature bold color coded trim so you and your students can differentiate between subjects and include both the CCS written in the top left corner and clearly stated objectives, which are outlined on the CCS website.

These CC aligned objective cards for language arts and math are the perfect addition to any classroom! Quickly change out your objectives each day with these pre-printed objective cards. See how I use them in my classroom on the blog!

Kid-friendly vocabulary.

Each set of cards takes the wording and breaks it down in a more child-friendly way. Why post objectives that have these big words and educational vocabulary that no one but a teacher or principal would know? I love that I can explain to my kiddos during each lesson the objective and check-in with them throughout the lesson to determine whether or not they’re understanding and getting it. Doing this also helps me figure out what I could do better with each lesson and modify it to make it better next time.

I hope these objective cards are a helpful tool for your instruction!

How do you display your standards in the classroom? Share a link to a post or comment below!

Year in Review: Puzzle Breakers | FREEBIE!


As the year winds down in May or June, it’s especially important to keep our students engaged and one way to do this is with puzzles! This fun activity has kids become puzzle breakers to decode the question using the numerical key. Each number relates to a specific letter and once completed a question asking students to reflect on their year is revealed! This makes for a fun morning work activity (there’s 5 puzzles included!) or handouts that can be completed after students finish early. 

Be sure to grab this activity for FREE over at my TpT shop!


How do you like to keep your kiddos engaged up until the last day of school?


How To Be Successful In School | End of the Year Prompts!

How to be Successful in ____ Grade!

I am so excited about this writing prompt resource for the end of the year. After testing has finished and the school days begin winding down, I’ve found it so important to keep our little learners engaged and practicing the very skills we worked hard to teach them.

These prompts ask students to reflect and share their year in the form of a ‘How To’ piece of writing. They are writing for the students who are coming up in their grade the next school year and sharing their advice on what made them successful and how these new students can be too. The final product can be hung in the halls the following year to greet the new class or be made into a bound book for the classroom library. They can even be sent home with your kiddos!

Here’s what’s included!

 Kinders Who Write!

When I taught Kindergarten my first year teaching writing, as well as reading, was a major objective. At times it really seemed like a challenging goal - to get these little people writing - but by the end of the year I was amazed at the level of work my little kinders were putting out!

The end of the year is no different than the first day. It’s important to keep our little ones writing and practicing those skills and even into the summer months. This download is differentiated for these little kindergarteners with simple, but easy to follow, prompts and guided lined paper both for brainstorming and publishing. I even made the introductory sentence traceable for these little guys using common sight words they would have learned throughout the year! Easy peasy!

Engaging Primary Writers

Our kiddos in first- sixth grade are given prompts that require a bit more detail to their answers. This is so that when they go to begin their first drafts they have some meat to include in their paragraphs. For example, they are asked various questions like reflecting on a meaningful memory from the year or their favorite topic that was studied. 

Each brainstorming page comes with boy and girl templates as well as the option for 2nd-6th grade to use guided lines or regular lines for their publishing paper. I like providing choices for my young writers and I’ve seen that many can determine for themselves when to use the guide lined paper or not.

I hope you all have fun with this activity and find that it helps keep your kids engaged and writing up until the last day of school! Be sure to also check out my other End of the Year resources here on the blog and over at my shop!

End of the Year Awards | 2017


It’s already May, which means this is when many teachers are beginning to plan and prep their end of the year festivities - including their student awards. The end of the year is an exciting time, for both teachers and students alike. It’s a time where the school year starts to wind down, testing is either close to finishing or just getting started, and students begin their month of review material. In the middle of all of this are the coveted student awards.

Every school does something a little different, but for my old school we always had our grade level awards held inside our classrooms and invited our student’s families to be a part of this special day. Although prepping these awards (and the subsequent class party afterwards) can be tiresome, it’s nonetheless exciting to recognize each of my kiddos and the hard work they’ve put into the school year. It’s also a great time to gather parents and have them acknowledge their child’s hard work as well.

You’re Invited!

For any party one needs good invitations! This download comes complete with editable invitation templates that are easily copied and sent off with your students in advance. It’s a simple invite that outlines the ceremony date, time, and location. You can also hand sign it yourself before copying! This allows parents to easily tack onto their fridges and keep an easy reminder at home or to share with family members.

Close to every award under the sun!

There are a lot of reasons for a child to be recognized on awards day - and it goes beyond just ‘class clown’ or ‘best dressed.’ I’m sure those are acceptable things to acknowledge, Lord knows we have those students in our classrooms, but I think it’s really important for our kiddos to know they have contributed to the class and themselves in meaningful ways - not just because they’re funny.

In my awards resource you will find a variety of superlatives that can relate to your students. From the ‘Lover of Learning’ to that child with an ‘Inquisitive Mind,’ you’ll be able to easily find the right award for each little learner.

Also, most of the awards are complete with a boy and girl template! I wanted to make sure that each award is customized for the needs of most classrooms. However, you may use these printables in any way you want - boy, girl, or both!

These awards also come in a .zip format which includes a PDF for those wanting to just print and write in their own names - or if you’d like to edit them, to include your own fonts by using a text box over the PowerPoint version. 

Either way, these awards are virtually the easiest thing for you to prep!

 Preparation hasn’t been easier!

We all know that with the end of the year comes a lot of busy work to keep our kids’ minds engaged all the way up to the last day. This also means teachers are looking for resources that take minimal effort in preparing - I mean, we’re just as ready for the summer as our students!

So this resource couldn’t be more easily prepped! 

That’s it!

With the prep work out of the way for your class awards you can spend your cherished time on other more important things! So hopefully this resource will make your days easier!

Teacher Appreciation Sale 2017


It’s that time of year where all teachers should be appreciated for their hard work and dedication (although it shouldn’t take one week out of the year to recognize them) to these little humans in their care. That also means it’s time for Teachers Pay Teachers to recognize this special week and for the next two days my shop, along with all of the other fabulously talent teacher-authors, will be on sale! You can get my entire store up to 28% off May 9th-10th only! What an awesome deal!

Here are a few of my favorite products that are on sale!


Prepping reading centers are easy peasy with this Daily 5 resource! 

Guided Reading Made Easy - Part 1 & 2
One of my most popular reading downloads are these guided reading packs! They provide teachers with easy to use templates and printables for organizing and keeping track of your lessons and student progress. Much of this is adapted from Jan Richardson’s text and can be used regardless of your reading curriculum or state standards.

Matter is always a fun unit with this complete resource - a workbook for the kids that take them step-by-step and incorporates discovery. This download also uses information from videos such as Brain Pop and Scholastic’s Study Jams, which I’ve always used to introduce new topics. 

Another hit in my classroom has always been when I get the chance to bring candy into a lesson. This bundle gives you all kinds of fun ways to use candy and treats to teach or reinforce the skills related to fractions!

At the beginning of each year, and amongst the first math units to be taught, we start with counting in doubles and this resource blends the story Two of Everything with counting skills!

THE most popular products ever uploaded into my shop are my Think Sheets! Such a simple concept, yet the most helpful in getting conversation going from in the classroom and taking accountability at home. These little sheets have helped my students recognize their behavior and explain what they need to do, or be mindful of, next time meanwhile giving them the tools to discuss the incident with their parents at home.

I can’t believe the new school year will be upon us in a matter of months and why not begin thinking about all the paperwork and organizational tools to help you? One of the easiest things to prep for back to school is this complete parent pack! This download has everything you’ll need in getting information from your parents about your new kiddos as well as important information you want to convey to them!

Every year I always need a good set of schedule cards and this download includes practically every subject cards you’ll need! See them all over at my shop!

Be sure to stop on by sometime today or tomorrow to receive your 28% my entire shop - you’ve got about 30 hours to do so! Happy teacher appreciation, my friends!!

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30 Before 30 | A Bucket List


[Originally posted at my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired]

Happy Birthday to me! Guys, I am officially within the last year of my twenties and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. There’s a strong part of me that looks back and is quite proud of the woman I’ve become, knowing there’s always improvements to be made. Then there’s another part of me that still finds the big 3-0 to be a little scary. I suppose it’s the uncertainty of what turning thirty will bring. However, it’s coming regardless of how prepared I am for it and something I do that helps me keep focused are making little goals to achieve before my next birthday.

 A couple of years ago I wrote something called 28 Before 28, which was a list of 28 goals that I would like to have accomplished before turning 29. Unfortunately I could only cross off a few things and found, upon closer inspection, that my goals were a touch too broad. I also got pregnant that year so the whole hot air balloon ride thing and traveling didn’t really happen. I knew I had to reevaluate the goals I originally set and adapt them to be more realistic and manageable - especially now with a one year old in tow.

So, in celebration of turning 29 today I thought to take a look back on my old list and be more specific with my new goals as I head towards thirty. This time I reflected on where my life is in this moment and where I would like to be next year. A lot of my goals have a lot to do with travel (we just updated my passport and got Greyson his first one!), creating memorable experiences, and a sprinkle of a few personal little goals in between.

Here are my 30 goals before turning 30!


  1. Live more minimally by ridding of material things once a month for a year.
  2. Take Greyson to an aquarium.
  3. Create more photo books of our travels and milestones.
  4. Travel somewhere outside of the U.S.
  5. Visit/discover Northern California.
  6. Visit/discover San Diego.
  7. Volunteer at least once a month at church.
  8. Join a small group at church.
  9. Create and run a successful linkup on the blog.
  10. Keep up with vegan meals during the week.
  11. Finish the Harry Potter series before the 1st day of Summer (June 21st)
  12. Invest in and use an editorial calendar for both blogs!
  13. Take more photos of Greyson and us as a family.
  14. Print and display photos of us and our travels in our home.
  15. Send more happy mail or letters to friends and family.
  16. Take a picture every day for a whole year.
  17. Have a 'movie on the lawn' night once this summer.
  18. Enjoy sip & paint nights often.
  19. Actively put into savings.
  20. Learn to trust my intuition & God when He speaks to me.
  21. Keep weekends as sacred time - unplug and enjoy.
  22. Participate in a local 5k.
  23. Visit/hike The Channel Islands.
  24. Purchase bikes and go riding at least once a week.
  25. Begin a personal journal this year.
  26. Get my nails done and #treatyoself this year.
  27. Watch Casablanca from beginning to end.
  28. Spend less on toys for Greyson and more on family experiences.
  29. Do something spontaneous!
  30. Live each day with meaning and purpose.
After drafting up this list I’m actually pretty excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish. I know I want to do a lot this year and gain more experience in this life I have. I am grateful that I get to spend it with my wonderfully amazing husband and beautiful baby boy, which makes checking off these things that much more enjoyable. So, thank you for being on this wild ride with me and fingers crossed I can get to all 30!


Grab 20% off my entire TpT shop this week only!

If you could create a bucket list for yourself (whether it be for a birthday or just overall in life) what would be in your top 5? Share with me in the comments!

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Sweet Treat Fractions!


It’s that time of year again where fractions begin to make their debut in classrooms and today I am so excited to share with you how I’ve taught this unit to my kiddos. Fractions can always be tricky for some kids because it’s the concept that a whole object can be divided into parts and how we label those parts. I’ve found that introducing money (a dollar is divided into quarters, etc.) or time (half past, quarter past, etc.) makes fractions easier to grasp because students have that schema from earlier lessons in the year.

It goes without saying that I LOVE to incorporate stories and reading skills into other subjects and math is no different. There are all kinds of fun read alouds out there that touch on fractions! These are just a few of my all-time favorites!

Study Jams by Scholastic is another great resource to add to any lesson. They provide wonderful visuals and they’re completely free! Scholastic provides a ton of videos for multiple math and science topics, which helps make teaching these tougher concepts a breeze.

Introduction (via)

After reading one of your favorite books on fractions, I recommend Eating Fractions since it goes with the “sweet treat” theme. After reading and discussing with students what a numerator and denominator represents, discuss how to write a fraction and use examples from the book to reinforce these ideas.

Using jellybeans, pour 20 onto a desk in front of the class so everyone can see. Invite a student to come up and count each jellybean - this will be the denominator. Encourage your class, or student, to explain back to you that this number represents the “whole", or the total number of jellybeans. Repeat this step with each same-color jellybeans on the table and practice writing the various fractions that are found. Students can watch or you can incorporate class whiteboards!

**Afterwards, add up each of the numerators to demonstrate that it will equal 20, which is your denominator or “whole”. I always share with my kids that adding the numerators is a great way to check their work before handing it in!

At this point you can play the Study Jams video on fractions or head straight into the craftivity!

Independent Practice:

Gumball Machine Fractions

I love doing this activity with my kids and they love it too! It’s so easy to throw together and helps kids understand how they can create fractions.

I Scream For Ice Cream!

Another fun activity to do with the kids is fraction sundaes! It’s another popular way to have kids demonstrate their understanding of fractions by choosing their flavors and writing out the fractions. The key to this activity (and the gumballs) is to limit the number of flavors your students can pick. 

The first time I did this activity I kept it open-ended to see where it would take them, but reeling it in helped my kids focus on just a few flavors at a time and focus on writing their fractions correctly. Those higher achieving students can always complete a second sundae in their math notebooks when they finish.

Cookie Fractions

The Doorbell Rang is a fun story about diving cookies so that all the kids can have an equal amount. This story is a great introduction to this activity where students have their cookie to divide and represent the fractions they create. I’ve made templates for halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, eighths, and tenths as well as a blank one. Students represent fractions both in numerical form as well as tracing the word form too.

Marshmallow Fractions 

I tried this activity a few years ago and I absolutely love how engaged my kids were throughout the entire thing! It was so easy to prep - you just need pink and white marshmallows (or use mini to large) and place them in the baggies that will represent different fractions. I prepped these ahead of time and even created a little cheat sheet that had the fractions I created recorded so it made checking their work even easier.

Fractions can be so much fun and I’m excited to share these activities that have been proven to keep kids engaged the entire unit! What fun activities do you plan for your kids for teaching fractions?
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