November 2, 2015

November Currently

Happy Monday and the beginning of November! I say this all the time about how quickly time seems to fly, but’s November already. In celebration of the harvest, everything Thanksgiving, and the approaching holiday season, I’m linking up with Farley and her Currently linkup and sharing what’s going on with me on this brisk November morning!

Listening // My husband just recently discovered Lisa Ling’s new CNN docu-series and currently watching an episode about motorcycle gangs. Not quite the best thing to listen to first thing in the morning, but I suppose neither is my Real Housewives to him ;)

Loving // With a show of hands, how many of us are excited that Starbucks has officially rolled out their red holiday cups?! I know, many people I know (and many more across the internet) believe that the holiday/Christmas season doesn’t/shouldn’t officially start until AFTER Thanksgiving, but consider me one of the few who gets excited nonetheless. 

Thinking // It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to visit Virginia to see my family since moving to California with my husband and I am so excited to get the opportunity to visit during Thanksgiving. We are trying to visit both my family and his family in Texas this holiday season before our baby is born in the spring. It’ll be a lot, both financially and in stress, to travel while pregnant and with a dog, but it’ll be worth it!

Wanting // This is the first week that we’ve had temperatures below 80 degrees and I am welcoming it with open arms! It’s only about 70 degrees outside, so not quite scarf and sweater weather, but I’ll take it! Celebrating fall has been an interesting thing, especially since it’s been unseasonably hot here in CA. More cold weather!

Needing // How many of you have seen and fell absolutely in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper?! I mean, seriously. I love their work and wish I lived in Waco just to have them makeover a house for me. They seem like an awesome couple and I love the example they set as Christians, spouses, and parents. Love them!

Yummy // I’ve been craving Thanksgiving Dinner, like the whole spread, for a few weeks now. This also adds to just how excited I am to visit my family since my dad goes all out for dinner and hosting our family. My heart skips a beat every time we walk into Trader Joe’s and I see the stuffing, gravy, turkey broth, etc. lining the walls. Just a few more weeks!

October 11, 2015

Baby Daniel On The Way!

A lot of you probably have noticed that the blog has been very quiet over these last few months (or maybe not). It’s for a good reason, I promise! If you follow me over at my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired, you probably already know this news. But for those who don’’s the reason behind my absence from this space...

A photo posted by Kelly Daniel (@kjdaniel1) on

My husband and I are excited to be expecting a baby boy in March 2016! Since getting pregnant in early March of this year and unfortunately suffering a miscarriage, we were on the path for parenthood ever since. Our experience with miscarriage only brought my husband and I closer and made us realize that we were ready to embark on this next exciting chapter in our marriage and lives together. We are so excited and are truly appreciative to all the prayers and well-wishers from our family and friends.

July 8, 2015

The First Week: Full Lesson Plans to Get Your Classroom Up and Running

Amazon affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.

The beginning of the year is both exciting and exhausting all at the same time. I always describe the beginning of the school year to my non-teaching friends like this:

Imagine being given 24+ puppies that you will proceed to pour all of your time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into. Training, said puppies, and molding them to be the very best little puppies they can be. Learning skills that will not only enlighten them, but instill in them the framework to be good dogs when they grow up. Then turn around and receive 24+ new puppies the following year and start all over again. 

That’s kind of like the first few months of the school year when trying to establish rules and routines in the classroom.

Today I am excited to share some of the beginning of the year activities and resources I use to introduce my classroom to my new kiddos. I incorporate a lot of fun read alouds, activities, and engagement to model to my students the expectations I have for the year. I’m always surprised as to how quickly my kids pick it up!

Launching Routines & Rules

This has everything you need for the first week of school and getting your rules and routines established. Of course, it takes longer than a week to practice and revisit your rules, but this resource allows you to introduce your students to the framework of your expectations through reading and discussion using some of my favorite books.

After a main lesson and read aloud, students are to discuss and fill out each page of their workbook that highlights the rule being introduced. This is an example of rule #1 which is to make good choices. Good choices come in all forms and it’s fun to see how students come up with different ways in which good choices can be made!

Rule #1: Making Good Choices

This is such a silly story of when Good Ideas turn Bad! Engage students further by handing them the GOOD CHOICE, POOR CHOICE paddles and throughout your reading have students participate by deciding whether or not the character made a good or poor choice and how that incorporates to how they should treat each other in the classroom.

Rule #2: Be Respectful to Others

I love this story and have been reading it for years to my students - kindergarten through second grade. It's a silly story that allows students to understand the Golden Rule and the importance of treating yourself and others with respect. I also love it's available on Vooks if you're looking for an animated version of this read aloud!

Hang your rule posters in a prominent place in your classroom or have students use the coloring pages to create posters themselves!

Rule #3: Always Try Your Best

Trying ones best can be difficult for some and for others it simply comes naturally. Each child is coming into the classroom with different sets of skills and experiences that affect their mindsets. This could easily be the year that one kid goes from a fixed to a growth mindset and fostering this kind of thinking is oh, so important! The Mighty Street Sweeper is a cute story that shares the message that you don't have to be this big, powerful truck to do something important. That each of us have talents, interests, and skills that make us unique yet just as valuable. 

Rule #4: Keep Your Space Organized

Read Aloud: Franklin is Messy

Discuss with students how organization leads to preparedness and a readiness to learn. This skill is often overlooked and this packet helps students realize that keeping a clean workspace is important and is expected. After all most report cards include this skill each quarter/semester. Why not teach them about it?

We join Franklin in this story who learns a valuable lesson in tidiness. He is good at so many things, but one: he's messy, which causes him to lose things. This is the perfect story to share with students at the beginning of the year because they can instantly relate to losing something. It lends itself to a wonderful discussion of how we can be ready for school and learning by respecting materials in the classroom - including their desks and shared work spaces.

The Classroom Contract

I love developing the rules together through a classroom contract that every student gets a copy of. After reading, discuss the main four rules and have students draw a picture and write their understanding of that rule in their student workbook also provided in this packet. Once finished students may keep them somewhere visible in the room or take home. Also, laminate and hang the classroom rule posters somewhere in the classroom where students can be reminded of the rules they created together as a classroom community.

Interested in a BUNDLE of all of my favorite, and most popular, behavior management tools?

NEW! Hopes and Dreams Pennant!

Something new that hit the shop in 2020 are these Bitmoji Pennants for student hopes and dreams. I love beginning the year with a discussion on what students hope to accomplish that year. It's a conversation that lends itself to goal setting and reminders throughout the year of what efforts students to make in order for their hopes and dreams to come true.

Head on over to check it out for yourself! I can't wait to add this to my lesson tool belt once we get back to the classroom next year!

How do you begin the school year and establishing those classroom rules and routines?

July 7, 2015

Thinking About Behavior Management

Establishing a good behavior management plan is vital to a successful year regardless of how long you’ve been teaching. It’s taken me a few years to figure out what works best for me and I'm always having to keep in mind that this plan may change from year to year based on the kiddos I receive. 

One aspect to my plan that never changes and works with almost every child is a Think Sheet. A think sheet is a simple form that students fill out that describe, in their words, what happened and explain how they’ll change their behavior next time. It gives them responsibility over their words or actions, forces them to be accountable for their behavior, and cuts down on time taken away from teachers during the day. Also, it’s a super easy way to keep parents in the loop as to what’s happened at school and how it was handled.

Because how many times have parents asked their child about ‘what happened’ and they’re response every time is: ‘I don’t know.' No longer with these Think Sheets!

One of my most popular product since the beginning of this blog has been my Behavior Management: Think Sheets. I was inspired a number of years ago when I was teaching at a before and after school program out of my church who used a similar method. This think sheet process works for many reasons:
  1. gives the child time to calm down and reflect on their behavior
  2. the teacher facilitates the discussion and help bring the child to understanding why their behavior was wrong
  3. places responsibility and accountability back on the child by having them think and write out exactly what happened and caused the behavior
  4. note is signed by the teacher, student, AND parent....then returned to school to be kept on file by the teacher

These forms have been extremely helpful in my classroom and I’ve found that parents love them too! It’s the perfect tool for students to talk about their feelings and subsequent actions because it’s written by them and checked by the teacher before going home. Parents are able to see how the child reflects on their behavior and notice if they understand what they did was wrong or not, a common problem with just a talking-to. It’s amazing to see the difference when students actually understand and can communicate what they did and how to improve next time. Most importantly, students learn that mistakes are made but that one can learn from them and always be given a second, third, fourth....chance.

This bundle differs from my previous Think Sheet because it includes forms that are appropriate for K-6th grade! It’s perfect for those teachers switching grades or for differentiation within your own classroom. We all know children mature at different ages and grades and their Think Sheets should reflect this, even with discipline. 

June 26, 2015

Five For Friday Linkup 6.26

It’s Friday and finally I am linking up for the first time in forever with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly linkup! This week was the home stretch for our preschool summer experience and today marks the very last day of camp! It’s been such a great time working with my fellow teachers and assistants, meeting the newest kiddos to come into preschool next year, and get to do some pretty fun stuff each week.

ONE //

This week has been our American week and we’re celebrating with all things America! We did this fun little flag craft, made an Uncle Sam hat, and yesterday we decorated boxes for today’s parade!

TWO //
Yesterday was my little man’s birthday and he turned one years old. You can read my letter to him here. I can’t believe how fast a year went but I’m so blessed to have such a loving dog in my life.

And of course he had a birthday bone ;)


I am hosting a giveaway for my Pledge of Allegiance packet for those beginning of the year objectives in Social Studies. I’ve always loved this activity because it really introduces those important vocabulary words and finally gives meaning to what students recite everyday. You can find this giveaway and download in my original post here.


The summertime can be a very transitional time for some teachers; I know it was for me last September when we moved. Some might be changing schools, moving states or even counties, or taking time off from the classroom entirely. This is also an important time to skim over your teaching portfolio and add to it with any new experience or PD you’ve gained. Here is my original post that outlines how to set up an easy to use teaching portfolio that prepares you for those job interviews you might find yourself in. Having a portfolio will automatically set you apart from the rest!


If you’re a Daily 5ver like me then this is will help you with those resources you need to set it up and be prepared on the first day of school. See my original post to find the download here!

June 22, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge: Dream Big

It’s so funny how there are so many ways to discover new blogs and be inspired by teachers all over this country. Today was such a moment when I discovered Emily over at Third in Hollywood! She, along with a few other fabulous teacher bloggers, have created a fun weekly linkup that aims to challenge you as a TpT seller, grow your small TpT store business, and discover and support new blogs and bloggers. This linkup is called the TPT Seller Challenge and I’m happy to be joining in even though I missed the first week!

Curious like I was about this challenge? Here’s some details...

This week marks the beginning of week 2 and the prompt is DARE TO DREAM. I love this because as a seller, TpT has provided me with a convenient and easy way to earn some pocket money and provide for my family. 

So, what are my dreams that TpT could help me turn into a reality? Here are just a few that come to mind:

Support fellow teachers with helpful resources // This one is the whole purpose of my TpT business and reason I began selling my own resources. When you’re a first year teacher you have no idea what to do and for those 180 school days you’re just surviving. This can also be said for veteran teachers who are changing grades or moving and starting fresh in a new school. I love having TpT as a resource for myself because there are so many great ideas out there on how to tackle those objectives, regardless of what state you live in!

The ever lasting travel fund // Isn’t this the truth! One thing my husband and I absolutely love to do is travel. It’s so easy during the school year to get caught up with life and years have a way of just flying by. So, my TpT store is helping me save a couple hundred dollars a month to go towards something I love to do with my husband. Eventually this travel fund will evolve into a baby fund :)

A stay at home mommy // I’ve seen this one pop up on a few dream boards in this linkup and I’m right there with ya! Something that’s very important to me is being a stay at home mommy once Philip and I begin having kids. I want to be the one to raise my children and be there for those important moments. I can always teach but missing out on special occasions or moments is something I can’t get back. TpT is allowing me to save (see above) and put away for the next chapter in my family. 

Prove to myself that I can start something new and be successful // This one is huge for me! I would never have thought that I would have started a blog and be successful with it. The same can be said for my TpT store too. I don’t have a business degree and I certainly don’t find business interesting, however, there’s something to be said about venturing into the unknown and be blessed by the success I have seen from these two projects. Am I able to live off my TpT earnings? Nope! But, I am proud of the milestones I’ve hit and the growth I continue to see everyday!

Thanks so much for stopping by and don’t forget to join in! A huge thanks to Emily and all of the other hosts of this wonderful linkup!

Monday Made It: Back to School Organization

I’s summer and I’m sure the last thing any teacher wants to do is begin thinking about the upcoming year. However, the saying is true: the early bird gets the worm. Getting organized is always a goal for me as I enter each new school year. Thinking of new ways to manage reading groups, organizing homework, my grading book, and all of those forms at the beginning of the year is just the tip of the organizing iceberg.

Today I am linking up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics and sharing a few resources that have helped me stay on top of all of those pesky, but necessary, beginning of the year organizational tasks!

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!

Since creating this packet, I’ve used it every year and it has saved me SO much time in the area of preparing information for parents. There's so much that goes home or things needed from parents and these forms were super easy for parents to fill out as I gave my presentation at Back to School Night, which for my school district back in Virginia was a few days before the first day of school.

I simply printed all of my materials and in order to keep it looking professional and neat, I decided to create Welcome Parent folders in which I put all of my classroom forms AND forms from the school in one convenient place. This way if families or students don’t attend back to school night, all of their important information is in one place and it made it easy for the parents who did attend to hold all the important stuff we send home.

Classroom Library Labels V2!

Labeling the classroom library is one of my most hated tasks ever when heading back into the classroom. My first year teaching I remember getting into the classroom and having NO CLUE as to how to even begin organizing the books that were left to me. I know that depending on your grade level there are different ways to label and group them, but that was the only thing I knew going in.

Then I thought, oh Pinterest will help me...wrong! I was so overwhelmed by the billions of different ways people label and organize their books even though they were all useful. So, I just decided to go with what worked for me and the reading material I had to work with. In doing so I have only just added to the billionth-and-one way to label your classroom library with these fun classroom library labels.

These labels have been updated to include even more genres, topics, and authors to compete any library in any grade. I am also happy to announce that this download also includes labels for organizing by Lexile, DRA, F&P, and AR! Seeing as teachers use various ways to organize their libraries I was happy to introduce these to the bunch! See all the different labels included here.

How have you tackled labeling your library in the classroom? What tips make it easy for fellow teachers heading back to the classroom?

VistaPrint for the classroom!

VistaPrint is my BFF during the summer because I am able to create resources that add a specific touch to my room and class each year. Here are a few of my favorite things to make that help keep my classroom organized.

#1 Return Labels: I used return labels to create ‘This Book Belongs To’ stickers for the backs of my classroom library books or read alouds. This helps me differentiate between books I’ve purchased and those provided by the school or school library throughout the year. It’s funny to see this photo with my maiden name on it!

#2 Car Magnet: Saw this original idea from Pinterest (couldn't find original owner so if you recognize it please message me!) and thought it was genius to use magnets for all kinds of things. For me, I am using it as a No Name poster for all those pesky papers with no owner. It helped make the kids accountable by putting no name work where they could see it. I had them check the board before leaving each day to make sure they wrote their names.

Another tip I use to reduce no name papers is getting my kids in the habit of highlighting their names before turning in their work. I keep a bowl of highlighters right near the turn-in bin and it’s amazing to see that little step helped cut down the number of no-named work being turn in.

#3 Business Cards/ Loyalty Cards: 
This fantastic idea of birthday reward cards came from Emily over at I Love My Classroom and using loyalty cards to incentivize doing homework/tests/behavior, etc. came from Tiffany at The Learning Effect. These cards were so wonderful to add to my classroom because the kids got so excited when they filled up their reward cards. It was also a great incentive for students to try their best on the two areas I’ve found difficulty with and that was with our Word Study words and behavior. 

What do you like best about VistaPrint in the classroom?

April 1, 2015

New Sponsor and Autism Awareness Bundle!

Everyone please welcome my first sponsored post for Sliding Into Second Grade!! Meet Melanie from Teacher’s Lounge. She offers wonderful teaching resources that aim towards specific demographics that you may find in your classroom.

Today I wanted to share out her Autism Awareness Bundle in which you can find at her TpT store. Melanie was able to put this amazing bundle together by collaborating with a few TpT sellers and will donate 100% of all the proceeds to benefit AUTISM SPEAKS. Isn’t that amazing?!

My cousin’s daughter was diagnosed with Autism and I know thousands of other children and adults benefit from the hard work of Autism Speaks. So, please consider supporting the cause.

See what you can get with this bundle pack:

Be sure to follow Melanie here:

Interested in having your blog or product advertised here? Find more information on how to sponsor with me here!

February 4, 2015

Parent/Teacher Conferences: Round 2

It’s that time of year again when many teachers are gearing up for their second round of parent/teacher conferences. I remember it being a bit of a stressful time because there were mid-year assessments that need to be completed, report cards gearing up to be sent out at the end of the quarter, and scheduling and preparing for these conferences.

Here are some tips (and even a download) to help you get prepared for these meetings!

1. Be organized. Organization is key to having a successful and meaningful discussion with parents about their child. Have a way to keep track of your scheduling of conferences, stay connected with parents by sending reminder slips, and of course have documentation ready.

Tip: After your conference always send a ‘thank you’ email. Parents love the connection and the thoughtfulness that goes into taking that moment to thank them for their time in meeting with you about their child.

2. Keep it short and sweet. Discussion about their child’s academics and behavior can quickly become diluted with everyday conversation or be directed elsewhere. Be respectful of your time and the time of the parents coming to school by keeping the conversation on point. I like to keep my conferences between 15-20 minutes each.

3. Have other specialists sit in on your conference. If you’re dealing with a difficult parent or are meeting to discuss a child that meets with other teachers throughout their day, suggest to have them sit in on the meeting. This way communication is open between the school and parents and everyone is clued in to what is being talked about.

Tip: I’ve had my assistant principal sit in on a meeting before with two divorced parents that tended to not get along so well with each other. This helped keep the discussion moving and gave me peace of mind that I wasn’t going to get stuck in an awkward situation.

Here’s a download that has helped me in the past in getting organized and prepared to meet with parents. I hope you find it just as helpful!

Keep organized by having all of your child’s info right there in one place. Being prepared with scores and notes about behaviors or benchmarks is super helpful when relaying that info to parents. This download includes forms for 1-4 quarters **and now trimesters!

This is super helpful in keeping track of all of those conferences! Mark the date, to whom you met with, and the nature of the meeting. This keeps a nice paper trail of when you met and can be used with your administration.

My favorite way to keep in touch with parents are these reminder forms. Send these home a week out from beginning conferences and your sure to stay organized and keep parents on track.

Enter my giveaway to receive this amazing resource for free below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 9, 2015

Five for Friday {Jan 9th}

This marks the first week since I’ve returned to school and by Tuesday I was already exhausted, haha! Here’s my five randoms from this week!

#1: Revamped my Ancient China resource packet!

I was so happy to get this done! Last year I had made this student workbook and my kids loved it! Not to mention it was a snap to get prepared and the best part is that it cuts down on papers lost and becomes a nice review packet once completed. Be sure to read my post (here) that gives you a little more detail about this download :)

#2: Trivia is back for 2015!

One of our favorite date nights is the weekly trivia hosted at a local brewery down the street from our house. We’ve been going since we moved in September and this past Wednesday we got 3rd place! We earned the pint glasses you see here...but this is the third time we’ve won the glasses so at this point we just give them away to our friends :)

#3: My Pinterest WIN

I was so happy to have completed this project and very satisfied with the results. For years I’d wanted to paint this in my living room and I got it done! 

#4 Missing 'Snow Days

As we get back into the swing of things at school here on the west coast, I can’t help but be jealous of all my friends who got snow days and delays due to the cold back in VA. Oh the days of snow are gone for me but as much as I love having those days off I can’t help but love the 75 degree weather and sunshine here in CA. It’s also weird for me to say that and know it’s January. 

#stilladapting #whereswinter #howdoyouteachsnowtokidsinca

#5 New Years Craftivity & Think Sheet BUNDLE!

Another download I was excited about finishing was my NYE Craftivity packet! See my post here to check it out and see how you can get your kids back into writing with this fun craft. It’s also fun to talk about resolutions and how we can set goals for ourselves.

And the other download I was able to blog about was my Think Sheet Bundle pack! See my original post here and get yourself a copy that now includes think sheets for grades K-6!


I will be having a storewide sale on my entire TpT store this weekend! 
Kick off 2015 with 20% off each of my products!

Be sure to visit my shop here!

Happy Friday everyone and I hope you have a great weekend!

January 4, 2015

Slim Down Saturdays {2015 edition}

One of my favorite linkups from last year was Gina’s Slim Down Saturdays from Teaching With a Touch of Pixie Dust. This time last year I was beginning my journey through Weight Watchers and training for a half-marathon all in preparations for my wedding that summer. See my original posts here. 2015 is a bit different seeing as though I have no major life event to prepare for, however, overall health and fitness is my goal. 

So here’s my first checkin for Slim Down Saturdays!

Ultimate goal: Although I don’t have a specific weight loss goal in terms of pounds, I do have a goal of getting down to a size 10 in jeans. With my athletic and curvy body type I know I’ll never get below a double digit so a reasonable goal for me is a size 10 and I’ll be proud of that.

Gain/loss this week: I have none to speak of this week because I’m just starting ;)

Total since starting: N/A

Positives from the week: One of the biggest struggles I have in regards to sticking with a diet or fitness plan is the food/drink choices when we eat out or socialize with friends. It’s the true test! So, one of my positives from this week (and if you count my entire holiday break) I’ve been good about making healthy food choices. For example, this morning we went to Cajun Kitchen Cafe and instead of going with the full on breakfast platter I opted for my veggie egg-white omelet with a side of fruit. Look at me ;)

Something to do better: A goal I have for myself going into this next week is cutting back on sugars. From coffee to sweet treats I’d like to cut back and intake more water. The holidays have been fun with all the cookies but it’s time to get back into the groove of healthy eating and treating myself every once in a while.

Goal for next week: Gym. Gym. Gym...that’s the goal as I head back to work. I tell myself 3x a week to give me some wiggle room because I know after a long day the last thing I want to do is go run or lift weights. I just need to get back into my routine.

One word, song, or quote: This quote came from my husband this morning when we woke up and gave me a hug. He always calls me beautiful and that’s one of the best qualities about him. But, when he acknowledged the work I’ve been putting into the gym lately by muttering those simple made my day and has given me the motivation I needed to keep up the good work :)

Be sure to link up too and share your 2015 health goals!! I love reading about everyones progress and it’s become a fun little community to share our ups and downs. Thanks Gina for hosting this wonderful linkup again! See you next week!