July 29, 2017

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!

July 10, 2017

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!


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!


July 5, 2017

Stating Your Objectives

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!


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.

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!