December 15, 2013

Gettin' into the holiday spirit!

I wanted to link up with Fabulous in First with this little linky because it's so much fun to see how everyone celebrates the holidays!

Hot Chocolate or Eggnog?
I am a lover of both- especially since the fiance just made some from scratch last night! Yuuuummmy! So I suppose right now I'd have to say eggnog!

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
This year since we are planning (and paying) for our wedding our Christmas budget has been light. So, instead of gifts we are just saving more and putting it towards our wedding fund. So technically no presents this year under the tree.

Colored lights or white?
The boy likes the look of colored lights, however, I have always liked the cute and clean look of white lights on a Christmas tree! Maybe next year :)

When do you decorate?
I start getting into the Christmas spirit even before Thanksgiving but apparently I'm not allowed to start decorating until after Thanksgiving day. I personally think it's a dumb rule but I get to go all out the rest of the month :)

Real or fake tree?
Our first Christmas together we did real since I have a co-worker whose parents have their own tree farm! It was beautiful but with us traveling to Texas for the holidays we never really got to enjoy our tree. So, this year we made the decision to go fake.

What tops your tree?
Since we are beginning our family decoration collection we don't have much. I am still on the lookout for an angel (like what I had as a kid) or a star, but for now we have a D (for Daniel - last name initial) ornament that tops our tree.

Favorite Christmas memories or traditions?
Again, the fun thing about beginning a new life with someone is that you get to start your own family traditions and even blend the traditions from both our families. Something I've always loved doing was baking cookies from scratch. His family does the same thing by baking sugar cookies and as a family decorating them- I look forward to that every year!

Last year Philip and I baked cake pops and decorated them as elves. Needless to say we got pretty into it!

Do you remember your favorite gift as a child?
Barbies and all things Barbie! My grandmother would get me absolutely anything and's something that I hope my future daughter will enjoy as much as I did growing up. 

And I cannot forget how much I loved my Ginger Spice Barbie doll. Again, one of the best presents ever as a kid!

Do you prefer giving or receiving?
I am always the one that enjoys giving gifts more than receiving since I love the looks on my loved ones faces when they open them. I always try to put a lot of thought into the gifts I give and the feeling of making someone feel loved and appreciated is priceless.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
Rudolf is always a fun and classic Christmas song that will always remind me of when I was younger and singing songs while decorating the tree with my mom and sisters. It's hard to pick just one but if I do it'll always be Rudolf!

Candy Canes. Yuck or yum?
I like candy canes but I do like how they come in all different kinds of flavors and not just peppermint. So technically I can say yum but only if they're the Starburst flavors (not real Christmas-y, I know).

Favorite Christmas movie?
Christmas Vacation all the way. The holidays are a time that everyone spends with family and every visit brings on some kind of stress in one way or another, haha. I come from a dysfunctional family and this movie does a great job at poking fun at it. It's just a fun movie that makes you laugh and remember that although you may want to kill your family sometimes, you'd never want to trade them in for anything.

Do you shop online or at stores?
I am a HUGE fan of online shopping, however I do like the instant satisfaction feeling of walking out of a store with the bags. It's just so much easier these days to order gifts online and have them shipped to your house. No crowds- no problem!

Photo Cards, Letter or Store-bought cards?
I am in charge of the Christmas cards and I love making and sending the photo cards. It really makes the message personal to family and friends and it's nice to see photos of everyone throughout the year, especially those that I don't get to see too often.

December 14, 2013

Remembering Sandy Hook

Thank you to Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness for her beautiful button. Today is a day that I believe all teachers and anyone in education will remember as one of true tragedy but also an example of the unyielding love teachers have for their 'kids'. Not a day goes by that I don't think about what happened and what I would do if ever put in a situation like that- and I think many of us would do the exact same: protect your students no matter what.

Today is a day of remembrance but also one for reflection. I look back on the past year and I think about the ways I could be better. I don't need New Years to set goals for myself but this time of year is always a good reminder to always self-improve; no matter if it is personally or professionally. Amanda put it best: "we honor their memory with our service." Today and always, think about the random acts of kindness you can share with others. You never know the impact it could have on a life.

December 10, 2013

Snow Days and Matter!

Yay! Snow Day! This is our second day off from school this week and I couldn't be happier :) I've taken advantage of these days and was able to catch up on some grading, lesson plans, and new centers for reading and a packet on matter. It feels good to be productive and having no school to relax is even better!

The first product I've been working on is to enhance my matter unit (which we were supposed to start this week). I love student packets because it puts all the information and learning into one, easy to use, packet. My kids have been good about not losing them, which is even better. I just prefer to keep everything together.

This packet includes pages for each topic of learning throughout the matter unit outlined by Va state standards. We begin with discussing what matter is and the three states it is found in. In my packet I've included notes that align with BrainPopJr and Scholastic's Study Jams. The kids have always loved those videos and they provide easy to follow information. There's even a fun matter song found on Study Jams that my kids last year seriously sang for the rest of the year!

This packet also includes:
-Why Does Matter, Matter? [3 states of matter]
-Properties of solids, liquids, and gasses
-Matter Picture Sort
-Measuring Matter [mass/volume]
-Changing States [investigating heat]
-Changing States graphic organizer
-Matter Molecules
-Physical vs. Chemical Changes

Experiment: Physical/Chemical Change Investigation
-Sugar Cube

-Solid, Liquid, Gas Poems

The best part about study packets is that teachers can choose what to include and what to omit. Feel free to add nonfiction articles or other items to your packet to make it more interactive and focused on a particular skill. I love seeing the different ways teachers incorporate content into reading or writing activities.

I'll be posting my other activities soon!


August 25, 2013

Monday Made It | Treat Labels + Class Jobs

*Edited and updated June 2018

Open House Blow Pops

At my previous school we hosted Back to School Night for parents and invited students to Open House before school started. It gives the families a chance to meet the teacher, learn about the curriculum and year ahead, and allow students a chance to see their desk and become familiar with the classroom and find their seats before the first day of school.

One way that I love to connect with my new students is giving them a little treat on their way out, thanking them for coming. It's just a fun little touch and so easy to prep! Simply print and cut out these treat labels and tape them to your favorite brand of lollipops. I place each one on my student's desks and for years they've always been a hit!

Pick up these labels for only $1!

Class Jobs

I love having a designated area in the classroom where I display the classroom jobs. I change them up every week but know of teachers who change the class jobs every day or even assign them months at a time. Another fun thing I've seen teacher friends do is accept 'applications' for certain jobs! Whichever way you organize your jobs, these job cards will be sure to help students know what their responsibilities are.

This resource did get a update a couple of years ago, but I did make sure to include both the old version (see below) and the new circular job cards! I've also added a number of new jobs to help cover all the needs of any classroom.

Job descriptions are now available in this download and are great for including in your parent info packets at the beginning of the year. It also gives kids a chance to read and see what jobs are available in the classroom. Use as many or as little as you need!

I hope you enjoy these new resources now available in the shop!

August 15, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Taming the Wild!

I'm back and linking up (finally!) with Blog Hoppin' once again for Thursday's topic: Taming the Wild! These past couple days have been so busy since I was able to get into my room on Wednesday....I was bummed I couldn't snap any cute photos of my room since it's not in that stage yet...but I am super close! However, I have enjoyed peeking inside the rooms of everyone else!

Anyways, today I wanted to share with you the few things I do in my room and a couple new things I'm looking forward to trying out (photos coming later!).

#1 Clip Chart
I swear by this thing. I first started using the clip chart last year and wasn't quite sure how it was going to go. Then, out of nowhere...everyone was using it so it must have been worth it! But over the course of the year it was amazing to see how well this system worked with the kids (I mean, I've never seen children care so much about a clip before). At this point I'm sure everyone knows how it works but for those who don't, it's essentially a behavior management system that incorporates moving of student's clips up and down depending on certain behaviors. If you don't have one, I definitely recommend trying it this year!

To keep my kids accountable and an easy way to track behavior, especially for those parents who want a daily update about their kid, I made a 'Clip Slip' that goes home each day. As a part of their dismissal routine, my kids have to color in where they ended the day on and I check it before they get their things. Parents have to initial each night so I know they saw it. Worked perfectly last year :)

#2 Money Management
Another good tool for behavior management: money. This one was a little difficult for me to keep track of, personally, so I'm looking into how I can be more organized with it. How it works: students earn coins and dollars based on work/effort performance, positive behavior, etc. Money can also be taken away as a consequence for poor behavior, missing homework routinely, etc. The money earned throughout the month can be used in purchasing "rewards" at the class store. I typically have a parent volunteer run the store so I can be busy doing other things around the room.

One thing I am trying new this year is relying less on store items bought/donated by parents. The year started off great but then parents didn't want to donate as cool of toys the rest of the year (I can't really blame them). So, this year I am going to use rewards in the classroom as prize items they can purchase.

#3 Compliment!
The letters of compliment are spelled out on the board and each time the class gets a compliment from other teachers, positive behavior as a class at specials, etc. a letter is flipped over. The class votes on what reward they're working towards (adds the extra incentive) and when all the letters spell compliment they get their class reward. Works very well...

...aaaaand possibly in place of compliment this year I am considering on another idea I found from Pinterest. This incorporates the same concept as compliment but instead of spelling out the word, rewards are already printed and laminated and each time a compliment is earned, a student can color in the tile of a letter from whichever reward they want. The first reward completely spelled out is what the students earned.

...but I'm also trying something new this year. I saw a pin over the summer in which the teacher uses NOISE to control the voice level. NOISE is spelled on the board and each time the voice level gets too loud a letter is taken away. If all the letters are taken, then students have to work silently for the rest of the period, day, etc.

August 11, 2013

Teacher Week '13: Let's Talk About Me!

This week I will be linking up with the ladies over at Blog Hoppin' for their newest linky party, Teacher Week '13! Each day of the week will have a different theme and teacher bloggers get to share their ideas through the linky. I think this is so much fun and all you have to do is link up your page with the fun button above over at Blog Hoppin'

Today's theme is Let's Talk About Me: Meet the Teacher! 10 little things about me...

1. I am a native to Northern Virginia and have lived here my whole life. It's been great but I'm definitely ready to change things up a bit and try living in a new a new state...preferably where the weather is about 75 degrees all year round ;)

2. Last year I moved in with my boyfriend in DC and now we are preparing to move to Alexandria, Va. We have lots of friends in the area so it'll be nice to hop over the river and finally be neighbors with them!

3. I am the youngest of five siblings and my mom for a while was a stay-at-home mom who babysat the children of the neighborhood. Growing up I've always loved being around kids and in high school I started my childhood studies courses and eventually went to college for my teaching degree. In 2011 I finally graduated with my masters!

4. I am going into my third year teaching and second year teaching 2nd grade. My first year I taught kindergarten and that was a great experience. However, when I moved up I really found my niche and absolutely adore everything about 2nd grade!

5. I have the most amazing boyfriend ever! I met Old Town! He's a captain in the Air Force and it's funny because growing up I always thought military boys were trouble. I'm OK with breaking my rule a little bit because he's the best thing to ever happen to me!

6. I LOVE to travel and so does Philip, which is another thing that makes us work so well. We are always looking for opportunities to visit some place new and have new adventures. This summer he whisked me away to Turks & Caicos right after school was, three days after my last day in the classroom! It was amazing! I've always wanted to see a beach with white sand and crystal blue water and he brought me there!

7. I love to watch practically anything that airs on Bravo. One of my biggest guilty pleasures is the Real Housewives series...I can't get enough of it. And of course Philip puts up with it without any rolling of the eyes (another reason he's amazing, haha)!

8. My boyfriend has turned me into a foodie. He's a lover of all things food and drink and it was fun to meet someone who appreciated the different approaches to different food (but I'm not sure my waistline did!). My mind has been blown from all the various restaurants he's taken me to here in's amazing what some chefs do and I can definitely understand how cooking truly is an art form. Nowadays, I watch Top Chef and Master Chef a little talented groups of people!

9. I'm a little obsessed with Apple products...especially my iPad. I was a bit resistant to the idea of a tablet since I already had a laptop and didn't quite understand how I could use it. Also, it took me a while to get on board with the Nook app since I've always loved the feeling of holding an actual book and turning the pages. But, eventually I went a little outside my comfort zone and tried it and it's been amazing ever since. I love that my whole library is at my fingertips and I use my iPad more than my laptop for most things!

10. I'm really looking forward to moving and getting a puppy! We haven't gotten one yet so I'm not sure if I can put this as my #10 but both Philip and I are lovers of dogs and are really excited for when we can get one. He loves Dachshunds and I love small dogs so we already have in mind this is the kind of puppy we want. Our plan is to get him/her in the summertime when I'm off of work so I can spend time with them and help with training (yaaaaaay....not). They're so adorable! :)

Well, I know that's me in a nutshell but I hope some of you have learned a little bit more about me! I can't wait to read all the other posts and get to know everyone else! Be sure to link up!

July 29, 2013

Monday Made It | Box Top Container + FREEBIE

Happy Monday everyone!

I can't believe I only have a few more weeks until I head back to my classroom to start preparing for the new school year. Today I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics (she's seriously amazing) to bring you this week's Monday Made It!

I saw a cute pin from a few weeks ago where they made an adorable Box Top collection bin. At my school we participate in the Box Top program where students collect as many tops as they can and our classroom submits our total Box Tops and we receive a special certificate each month if we're the top earning class.

I found out last year that my little 2nd graders are very competitive and find these little guys EVERYWHERE and are very excited to turn them in. So, I needed to find a bigger bin to have them put their little box tops in. 

As I was cleaning the house while the boyfriend was at work, I used up a container of Clorox wipes and the inner teacher in me had a bright idea. I realized that I could use this guy for my box tops! I immediately got to work and made a cute label for it, which I give to you all as my freebie! 

Download HERE

To make: 
1. Print out Box Top label provided (or make your own)
2. Laminate (found that the Modge Podge made the colors bleed into each other)
3. Cut and tape ends to container

July 28, 2013

10 Things I've Learned From Teaching Linky

You all have probably seen that one of the things I love to participate in here in this world of teacher blogging is linking up with other teachers to share ideas, lessons, funnies, etc. Well, today I wanted to link up with Miss Kindergarten and share 10 things I've learned from teaching. It's always great to read all the funny responses especially as a new(er) teacher!

#1 Slow down and take time to get to know EACH of your kids...especially those 'behavior' students. I've learned it really makes a difference when you take the time to talk with your kids and show them you care...they'll be much more willing to participate or change their behavior once they realize that it's a safe place in your classroom.

#2 You will NEVER, EVER have too many school supplies such as glue sticks and pencils in your classroom. EVER.

#3 (Actually like this one from Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera so I'll use it too...) Being quiet or whispering really does get kids' attention a lot faster than yelling

#4 Your living room, office, dining room, and any other shared space in your home will slowly be converted into a second classroom. You'll find yourself bringing projects home to cut out and assemble, resource books, etc. My boyfriend is learning this very quickly...

#5 Always be prepared. It's best to prepare your classroom for the next day the night before. Those extra 15 minutes saves you a lot of time in the morning and you won't feel rushed.

#6 Use your volunteers! If you haven't already, use parent volunteers for as much as you can during the year. I love having a copy mom to make all those darn copies for the week and a mom to give word study tests. Allows me to get so much other work done!

#7 Don't just make your room look 'cute'...let EVERYTHING have a purpose. Yeah those chevron posters look fancy and compliment your theme very well, but don't waste space in your room with things that wont be used.

#8 No matter what grade you teach, get the kids up and moving! We all know that lecture lessons are boooorrrrinnng and they are. Don't be that teacher....invite your kids up to interact with the lesson you're teaching. Your goal is to deliver instruction that will have an impact and give them experiences that they'll remember forever.

#9 Always greet your kids in the morning with eye contact and a smile and expect them to do the same. Modeling proper manners is very important, especially if you want them to learn to be courteous to each other. Also, give each student a hug or high five at the end of the really means a lot to them ;)

#10 Love your job. You may not love it 100% every single day, but keep the passion for what you do every day...your kids can tell if you're not happy. The moment you don't love teaching it's maybe time to find something else. I've learned that this is a special profession in which I'm excited to wake up and get to do what I do!

Be sure to link up and share your 10 things!

July 15, 2013

Monday Made It Linky: Writing Process Poster Set

Back here with a little download and linky with the fabulous Fourth Grade Frolics!

 Last year I used a great tool during writers workshop which was the great writing process poster from over at Second Grade Shenanigans. This little guy was a great addition to the classroom and became very useful (students were so eager to move their clips!). Unfortunately, the laminate started coming off and therefore I needed new, I created my own this time around!

Teacher Tip: One trick that I found to be extremely useful last year was to hot glue dixie cups to the back of my posters, which brings them up off the wall. It's perfect for any display where students will be using clips...and with these posters they'll be moving them very frequently :)

June 30, 2013

Why Students Should Read Each Night

As I was navigating through Pinterest today I came across a great visual to possibly hand out at the beginning of the year to parents. This little sheet is very handy for parents (and students) to see and understand the importance behind 20+ minutes of daily reading at home. The High-Tech Teacher revamped this handout and you can visit her blog here to get it :)

This handout was created by The High-Tech Teacher

June 10, 2013

Evolving Behavior Management

So, our county just had their last teacher workday and I am officially on summer break!

I have neglected the blog for some time but as it was my first year in second grade I found myself becoming overwhelmed with all the happenings! Teachers should always try to set goals for themselves and it just so happens that mine, once again, has been to be better about blogging and sharing the exciting things going on in my classroom. I enjoy hopping over to various teacher blogs and it's exciting to see all the different ways teachers have come up with teaching the curriculum. These same blogs have inspired me in so many ways and I am happy to begin sharing my experiences yet again. :)

So, as I finish up this year, and begin thinking about next year, I am already revamping some of the odds and ends that go into organizing myself for the beginning of the year. I've been busy looking through old papers and files and reflecting on the systems I had in place and how I could improve them going into next year.

Clip Slips and the Clip Chart System

One thing that I knew I wanted to improve was my behavior management system.

I currently use the Clip Chart system and I have seen that this little chart really does work! My kiddos are all about moving their clips up and even some who have gotten into the "Clip Hall of Fame". It was just exciting for me to see how invested these guys got into just some clothespins!

Think Sheets

Think Sheets are pretty great because I can use them as a means to distract the kiddo from derailing the rest of the class. In previous years I've had students resume whatever activities I had planned, then I'd pull the student(s) to have a little conversation about their behavior. After talking with them about what happened, I have them complete a little Think Sheet, which is mainly used as a tool for them to communicate their behavior at home.

Of course there are those few kiddos who tended to move down the chart then up again and I wanted to find a way to connect home to school a little more. I wanted my students to be supported at home in regards to their behavior and the strategies they could come up with to 'do better next time'. I have just found that when the expectation is the same at home as it is in school, student's behavior does a 180.

So, with that said, this year I am going to implement this Think Sheet whenever students land themselves on Parent Contact, which is the lowest level on the chart. Luckily not too many of my students have been here but those that may next year, I want a quick way for students to take accountability but also relay the message to mom and dad effectively.

If you're interested in more than just this one template, I've created a bundle of Think Sheets that are differentiated for a variety of grade levels! You can read all about those here!

Back to School: Ultimate Bundle!

As we begin to plan to head back to school in the fall, I created this bundle full of new products! Grab all of these behavior management tools as well as a few other goodies to ensure you launch your year on the right foot!

This bundle includes:
  • Literacy Center Rotation Cards: Get your ELA block organized and ready!
  • Guided Reading Bundle: Everything you need from posters to lesson plan templates!
  • Behavior Management Bundle: A comprehensive bundle of resources including an entire first weeks worth of lesson plans for launching rules/procedures, clip slips, think sheets, and awesome behavior notes!