March 30, 2016

Getting Organized for BTS

Swaddle Blanket: HowjoyfulShop via Etsy
also featured at Scoutmob
Onesie: Baby Gap

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter and hopefully many of you are on a much needed Spring Break. I’ve been enjoying the stay-at-home life with my Greyson, who will be 3 weeks old tomorrow! I can’t believe how time flies - definitely enjoying every moment because in a blink he’ll be off to kindergarten before I know it!

Onto the goodies...

Every year I find myself wanting to spring clean not only my own home, but my TpT store as well. So, if you haven’t noticed already I’ve been doing a bit of sprucing up of my favorite products all in preparation for BTS, which is just a few months from now. Also, I wanted to get these newly updated products ready for download before TpT hosts their annual Back To School Sale (which is highly anticipated every year)!

Today I have for you a peek into my most recent update, which is of my daily schedule cards. Every classroom needs to display their daily schedule and these cards are colorful, vibrant, and use lovely clip art from Melonheadz Illustrating! This upcoming year I want to streamline everything and am going with a more simple, but colorful approach. 

After some research and feedback, I’ve created schedule cards that should accommodate most classrooms, but if there is a card that isn’t included in your download I’d be happy to make one for you. Just email me with what you’d need and I’ll be happy to get it to you!

This download includes the following schedule cards:
+ arrival
+ morning work
+ morning meeting
+ calendar time
+ reading workshop
+ reading centers
+ ar reading
+ ar quiz time
+ free reading
+ daily 5 centers
+ science
+ social studies
+ writing workshop
+ outdoor recess
+ indoor recess
+ lunch
+ snack time
+ math
+ math fact quiz
+ school assembly
+ special
+ special guest
+ p.e.
+ music
+ art
+ guidance
+ health
+ field trip
+ word study
+ poetry
+ computer lab
+ library
+ class buddies
+ testing
+ class testing
+ class assessments
** Testing Poster for hanging outside your classroom door!
+ 2 hour delay
+ late start
+ mystery reader
+ read aloud
+ handwriting
+ spanish
+ spelling pretest
+ spelling test
+ pack up & dismiss
+ clean up
+ dismissal
+ carpool
+ early dismissal
+ star student share

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!

March 8, 2016

How To Writing: Introducing Informative Writing & Catching A Leprechaun!

With March in full swing and St. Patrick’s Day just next week I thought it would be fun to share out one of my favorite thematic writing units: How To writing! This type of informative writing allows students to become experts in a topic and hone in on specific writing skills such as adding details, writing for an audience, and continuing to practice the writing process.

How To writing is a very specific skill in that students learn to write step-by-step directions on how to do something. I always have fun with this unit because it allows for the teacher to demonstrate how authors should add detail where the writer assumes the reader knows what they’re thinking!

One example of this is my introductory lesson on How To. The topic I chose to demonstrate to the class is: How To Blow A Bubble. It’s a skill that all students should know and I can easily model my thinking for. I begin with a poster sized copy of my planning paper (included in download) where I think about the steps to blowing a bubble:

First, I put a piece of bubble gum into my mouth.
Then, I chew really hard for a while.
Next, I use my tongue to flatten the gum in my mouth.
After that, I chew some more to make it flexible.
Last, I blow a bubble.

Obviously you’ve noticed that my steps are very basic and include little detail. This is done on purpose as I will continue to model throughout the unit how to make my writing more engaging. However, this is typically the starting place that many of your kiddos will themselves be at in their writing. As we move through the unit and I introduce the next steps in their writing, I continue to use my blowing a bubble example to model for my kids how it evolves over time and eventually into a more cohesive and understandable piece of writing.

After I discuss this example I introduce to the class that the writing topic we’ll be practicing together is Catching A Leprechaun! Every year a pesky and mischievous leprechaun visits our school and plays tricks in our classroom. Students are instructed to develop and create a leprechaun trap in attempts to catch this little guy!

One thing that I’ve changed about this activity is no longer creating the traps during the school day. I found that having the parents involved with the creation of the leprechaun traps really helped students get creative and spend quality time with their families. This also frees up a lot of in-classroom time for students to begin working on the writing piece of this activity.

Send home the provided parent letter, which outlines the intention of the project and gives explicit directions on how to create the traps. Make sure it’s explained that this is their CHILD’S project and not theirs ;) I love seeing the traps come to school and how over the top some of them can be!

Now that the traps are made and the planning sheets that were sent home to be completed are returned to school, all students should be ready to begin their first drafts or finishing sketching their steps. It’s important that students have an opportunity to sketch how they built their traps because their illustrations will help them remember key details when they’re writing the directions.

Now that students have worked hard on their illustrations and writing out their directions, they are able to move on to edit and revise. This simple checklist allows students to ensure they’re looking for any mistakes and know how to fix them. Editing and revising is always an ongoing skill in my classroom and these checklists make it so much easier on my kiddos.

Once students have completed the writing process for this piece of writing they are finally able to publish their work! In this download there is a blank cover page and corresponding coloring page that students will color, cut, and attach to their covers. I recommend stapling their book along the top so when you display them their books flip up to read.

In their publishing, students not only want to use their best handwriting, but this is the time where they can spend a little more attention to their illustrations and color them in.

March 7, 2016

BTS: Writing Process Poster Set!

Writers Workshop has always been a subject where I really see students struggle and I am always looking for ways to engage my kiddos and reveal to them the creativity that is hiding inside. Every year I am always excited to launch my workshop and one way I do that is by teaching my kids about the process in which writers go through in order to publish great work. 

In kindergarten and 1st grade, typically students learn to form sentences using proper spelling and making sure their work begins with a capital and ends with punctuation. By second grade students are expected by the end of the year to write paragraphs. What a leap!

This writing process poster set doubles as a teaching resource when launching your writers workshop, but it becomes a clip chart and usable part of your writing block! Here’s how!

 As I introduce each step to my class they have an opportunity to practice the skills that go along with it.

This step teaches students that they must plan out their ideas using graphic organizers. This gives teachers an opportunity to expose students to various organizers depending on the writing they’re wanting to create.

First Draft
The first draft is the starting point in a student’s writing where they are putting multiple sentences together to form paragraphs. They learn to write and get their ideas down on paper and worry about fixing any mistakes later in the writing process.

Self Editing
Editing ones work is an important skill that students will learn and will help them become productive partners in the peer editing step that comes next. Editing requires students to look for those spelling, capitalization, and punctuation mistakes in their work. This is also a time where teachers have the opportunity to show students the resources they can use to enhance their writing such as children’s dictionaries, classroom word walls, etc.

Peer Editing
Now students are able to help each other by reading over their peer’s work and help them fix any mistakes they find in their writing. It allows them to share their work and openly discuss their ideas.

Like editing, revising can be tricky for students since it requires them to add details to their writing for it to become more engaging and concise to their readers. Often times it’s hard for students to think about how others understand their writing since they’re so in their own minds about their stories. However, this is always a fun step to teach them and one where I see the most growth once the light bulb goes off.

Teacher Conference {this step can be inserted anywhere in the writing process}
This is an extremely important step because it allows you to touch base with each child and see what they’re working on. It also allows you to work with them to set writing goals and share a skill for them to practice independently. Keep a writing conference binder where you can easily access your notes or keep copies of student work.

Possibly the most exciting step for any child in the writing process- publishing! Not only does a child take pride in writing their final drafts, but with all the work they put into this piece they’re probably ready to be done with it and move on. Publishing has students write their final drafts in their best handwriting and it’s always fun to have special publishing paper at their disposal.

A Celebration!
This step isn’t necessary to teach, but I think it’s important for students to celebrate their work and have an opportunity to share their published work with their peers or even parents if you’re able to have a quarterly get-together. Seeing themselves as student-authors is an important step in building their confidence as writers and to prove that although everyone has different writing abilities, everyone has work they should be proud of!

I love using these posters as a clip chart of sorts in my classroom since they make a wonderful resource display, but also makes it a useable part of our classroom. I find that students really enjoy moving their clip through the process and gives them ownership over their progress.

It’s also great for me to glance over and see who has been stuck on one step for a while or those who seem to steamroll through their writing. I am able to conference, or touch base, with those kiddos and see what goals they need to establish in order to get the most out of their writing.

March 6, 2016

BTS: Classroom Job Cards

An easy way to implement classroom management and instill citizenship all year-round is through classroom jobs! It’s fascinating to see just how interested my students get when assigning (or choosing) their jobs for the week/month. Giving students an opportunity to help around the classroom and be responsible for something generates confidence within themselves, but also gives them purpose amongst their peers.


I’ve really enjoyed using these cards in the past and it made assigning the jobs every week very easy when using with clothespins. This download continues to include these original job cards as well as the new additions such as job descriptions for parents, newly updated formats, and bright clip art and fonts!

In my classroom I have always used clothespins to help with organization and easily swap student jobs every week. I placed our job cards on our classroom bathroom door since it is a visible spot and it allowed me to maximize the wall space I had in my room!

How do you display your class jobs?

This download now includes a new look AND new jobs! 

March 5, 2016

BTS: Year-Round Classroom Calendar Cards

 Amazon affiliate links used within this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

I know, I’s not even the end of the current school year and already I have my eyes set on next year. However, one helpful piece of advice I could ever pass on to any teacher is to begin reflecting and thinking about the ways in which you would like to prepare yourself and get organized for the year ahead. For many years I’ve always changed and adapted my approach to classroom management and organization and this year is no different.

There are a lot of ways in which I get organized for back to school and for me I always begin with one of the most important subjects: morning meeting and calendar time. During this brief gathering in the mornings I get together with my class and we review and discuss key calendar and math concepts all within a 15-20 minute period. Morning meeting has proven to be when my kids are most engaged and because the routine of doing it every day allows them to be prepared to think and share as a whole group.

In years past I have always opted for the store-bought calendar set and although they got me through the school year, I found myself not having the necessary holiday or school specific card - and besides, when I left my school district when we moved to CA I couldn’t take my calendar set with me since it was purchased with PTO funds.

So, I decided to do what any other teacher-author would do and that’s to create my own calendar set and OF COURSE share it with all of you! This download includes a lot of what you would otherwise have to purchase separately.

So, what’s included in this download?

- monthly cards (Sept-Jun)
- date cards in bright colors and clip art for each month!
- year cards (2016-2020)
- days of the week cards
- ‘today is’ ‘tomorrow will be’ and ‘yesterday was’ cards in both black and white!
- special event, holiday, seasonal, and school-specific cards for the entire year!

+ labor day
+ first day of school (for both August and September start dates)
+ last day of school
+ back to school night
+ open house
+ daylight savings time (x2)
+ fall break
+ winter break
+ spring break
+ summer break
+ halloween
+ red ribbon week
+ thanksgiving
+ christmas
+ hanukkah
+ earth day
+ new years day
+ Washington’s birthday
+ lincoln’s birthday
+ presidents day
+ columbus day
+ MLK day
+ valentine’s day
+ easter sunday
+ cinco de mayo
+ dr. seuss’ birthday
+ st. patrick’s day
+ mother’s day
+ father’s day
+ student birthday cards
+ 1st of the season cards
+ picture day
+ field day
+ field trip

Year-Round Calendar Cards!

I immediately fell in love with these bold colors and who doesn’t enjoy the clip art from the lovely Melonheadz Illustrating or KPM Doodles?! I’ve made sure to include the majority of the special occasions, holidays, and seasonal cards that occur in the classroom, but if I’ve missed something or you would like a card added to this collection, feel free to email me at:!

Monthly Calendar Sets

Each month is complete with brightly colored date cards, which feature clip art that’s associated with that month! Some holidays are printed right on the date (For example, Christmas is always on the 25th of December) otherwise you can opt to use the separate holiday cards in its place for those holidays or school occasions that fall on a different date or day each year.

Days of the Week & Year
Practicing days of the week is an important skill in Kinder-1st grade and these cards pop with color and will for sure stand out in your classroom and calendar area. I have both black (pictured below) and white for your convenience and this download includes years from 2016 all the way to 2020!

To incorporate this Year-Round Classroom Calendar Cards set in your classroom has never been easier! Just print and laminate on cardstock yourself then use velcro dots or double-sided tape to display on any calendar or even use with a pocket chart!

**Teacher Tip: I personally love my at-home laminator because the laminating sheets are so durable that I have yet to replace my Writing Process Poster Set and my kiddos use that every day!

I am continuing to create and share more resources for morning meeting and calendar time, so be sure to follow me here on the blog as well as on Facebook and my Teachers Pay Teachers shop!