August 25, 2018

Sorry For the Inconvenience

Hi there! I wanted to pop on over and say, I'm sorry.

Last week when I was doing some summer cleaning around the blog here, I somehow made a disastrous mistake. I accidentally deleted from the photo archive! I have no idea how I did that, perhaps I clicked too quickly before reading the words...

...this action will permanently delete...

But, I clicked and every single photo from the day I launched this site back in 2012 to now is gone forever. Off into the deep space that is the realm of deleted photos. Now, I hope to do some digging around Pinterest and see if I can locate most of my photos, but I just ask that you all be patient with me as I get the blog back up and running.

So, I apologize for the inconvenience.

I know Pinterest links will be broken.

And I know it will be frustrating.

But, just know that I am working hard to rectify my mistake and believe me, from now on I will read each line of text before taking action!

August 8, 2018

Celebrating a New Season

I don't know about you, but whenever I'm at the grocer and waiting at the checkout line and I happen to catch a glimpse of Joanna Gaines and see the newest Magnolia Journal is available, I do a little happy dance inside my mind. I find her magazine to be so rewarding to read because she has a magazine full of substance, encouragement, some #reallife moments, and even a few recipes. Now, I know I'll never be able to successfully make pasta from scratch (like the recipes found in this issue) or really anything from scratch, but she encourages me to try.

Joanna Gaines really is my spirit animal.

But more than that, in this issue she pens an article that so many of us moms - especially me right now - can relate to called Made for This. She discusses being capable through every season and even through the ones that are unexpected - such as her pregnancy. Last year we all had a collective WTF moment when Chip and Joanna announced they would be ending their show, Fixer Upper just after 5 seasons. Although within those five years they've managed to build an empire, they became super relatable when they openly acknowledged they needed to slow down and rest the areas in their lives that were important. It was a reminder to us all that you can have all the success in the world, but each of us requires some R&R eventually.

She writes, "...Chip and I made a choice to take time off...because it seemed best for us in that season - even though we knew it would stretch us to stay still. Only a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant." She goes on to write and encourage us by saying that since she's had her baby she's been gifted to see life through a new lens. "Every season looks different, and each one is no less significant than the last one." And she concludes that we all have what it takes to navigate those different seasons in our lives and cherishing the gifts we receive through them.

So, as the seasons literally change, I find it exciting to celebrate where we've been and look forward to the new adventures that will fill the new seasons we're in in life.

And with that being said, there's a lot of what Joanna shared in her issue this month that reflects just why autumn is my favorite season. Yes, I love our summer break - a chance to rest the areas in my life that need the care. But, there's something about the weather slightly starting to shift, the fall fashions slowly starting to creep into my favorite boutiques and stores, and the decorations that I can begin filling my home with. It's these little things that bring my home and myself joy and today I am excited to share that my handlettered decor pumpkins are back!

Decorating for a new season

Last year I began a little lettering Etsy shop and although I've put a pin in pursuing it full time, now that I'm back to teaching, I still enjoy creating pretty things for my home and sharing them with others. 

One of the MOST popular items in my shop last year were these decor pumpkins that I would handletter! Each one is a cream color, which is great for lettering family names with either gold or black ink. It's such a cute way to brighten your doorstep or any room you display it in. There are three sizes to choose from and I am super quick about shipping them off! Feel free to check my shop out for yourself and pick up a pumpkin for you or a friend!

small 6.3" | medium 8.6" | large 13"

And when you spend $60 or more at my shop this month you'll get FREE SHIPPING!

And to sip your favorite pumpkin spiced coffee, be sure to check out the ceramic mugs I have available too!

So, let's celebrate #pumpkins and this new season together!


August 2, 2018

How I'm Saving My Sanity & Never Repeating Directions Again

Answering constant questions about what students need to work on and how are finally coming to an end with these visual picture direction cards!

One of the biggest peeves I think is safe to say of all teachers, are the countless questions about directions that were given 2 seconds ago. There have been a number of students who I've had that constantly forget or simply weren't paying attention. I couldn't tell you how frustrating it is to spend time modeling and sharing directions only to have that same student ask, "so what do I do?"

But, there's another group of students that I have to be mindful of and these are ELL students and kiddos with processing or learning disorders. I remember a student in my class last year where it seemed like she checked out when it came time for directions and would often be staring out into space - completely missing what was being said. It's so easy to get frustrated with her - and I did from time to time - but knowing she struggled with processing almost made it impossible for her to truly pay attention.

Repeating directions can become tiresome, but one way I plan to get ahead of this issue, and provide a resource for my other students, is to use picture direction cards!
Answering constant questions about what students need to work on and how are finally coming to an end with these visual picture direction cards!

Common questions answered

When giving directions I always state and restate them before sending my students off to complete an assignment. However, there are times where students delay in getting started and now with these cards I can make them accountable by having the expectations displayed on the board.

End to bothersome interruptions!

These common questions include:
  • What can I use?
  • Where can I sit?
  • Who can I work with?
  • How loud can I talk?
  • Where does this go?
  • What can I do when I'm done?

Now, these picture cards include answers to each one of those questions and all I have to do is point to the board whenever a student asks. Also, by teaching them to reference the cards at the beginning of the year I am setting up a means to which students can rely on finding the answers to their questions on their own and in a way that doesn't disrupt others.

Daily routines: morning, afternoon, and dismissal

In the morning I often have a few students who are slow to get their materials prepared for the day. My hope is that by using these routine cards the expectation is clearly set and those students who need constant gentle reminders have them available.
Answering constant questions about what students need to work on and how are finally coming to an end with these visual picture direction cards!

Prepping the picture cards

I printed mine and I love that they're the perfect size - making them easily seen throughout the day. Obviously, I can scale them down when I go to print if I wanted them smaller, but I really enjoy how they've turned out. You'll also notice that I used *Astrobrights paper as the backing to give these cards some pop of color. I want them to stand out!

Once I receive my Amazon order of *laminating sheets (100 pack for only $11!) I am getting to work on finishing them up. I plan to laminate and use *magnet dots to make them easily replaceable throughout the school day on our white board. 

*affiliate links
Answering constant questions about what students need to work on and how are finally coming to an end with these visual picture direction cards!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see the final result!

So, praise the day where you no longer need to constantly answer those dreaded student questions. I know I will. These cards are a great resource for everyday learning and for pretty much any classroom - especially Pre-K or Kinder whose kiddos are just learning to read!

Don't find a specific card you need? Just connect with me and I'd be happy to work with you on making one perfect for your classroom's needs!

Answering constant questions about what students need to work on and how are finally coming to an end with these visual picture direction cards!

August 1, 2018

Number Sense with Eureka Math

Module 3 is finally finished and I am so excited to share it with all of you! Even though this process of going through each lesson is very time consuming, I'm happy to have the chance to look it over before teaching it in the coming year. For the last few weeks I've dug in and this module is all about number sense, using base tens, and place value to count and solve various word problems.

Again, this module ties into a unit that incorporates interactive notebooks where students can safely keep their work. I love using these notebooks because it cuts down on paper waste and students can easily flip back to previous lessons as an aide or reference.

Let's take a peek at what module 3 looks like for second grade!

Interactive Notebook Templates

This resource ties in with the same formatting as Module 1 and 2 for second grade. You can easily print these as stand alone worksheet pages or inserts for an interactive notebook. 

Application Problems & Problem Sets

The main inspiration behind me adapting this curriculum has been due to the lengthy and busy-work driven application problems and problem sets. The provided worksheets by Eureka Math aren't conducive to work in real classrooms because there are a million problem set questions and the lessons require a lot of whole group teaching.

I've found that students can quickly lose their focus during these lessons because every time the set up is the same. Personal white boards, the teacher standing at the front of the class, and problem sets that seemingly go on forever!

So, I decided to skim through each lesson and include problems that keeps kids focused on the skill and that will easily lead into other activities such as centers. 

Application Problems:
These single questions review key skills students have been working on from the previous lessons. It's like a little brain boost that prepares students for the thinking they'll be doing in the current lesson.

I've included scaffolding for these problems with visuals and other aides that focus student's attention to building various math skills. On the same sheet as the application problems are either reflections or an intro to the skill that they will be learning during the whole group teaching portion of the lesson. Having this section is great because it's a quick snapshot for the kids and aligns with the vocabulary or focus that's provided in Eureka's lesson plan.

Problem Sets:
Problem sets are the individual or partner work time during the lesson. After the whole group lesson or activity students complete their practice problems and come back for a whole group debrief. This is where I've really cut down on what Eureka provides in terms of their approach to independent practice.

Use in conjunction with centers or guided math groups!
My intent is that these focused practice problems will lead into a greater activity or center work. It can also be used during guided math where the teacher can meet with students who need a little extra help. I love the idea of these practice problems being transitional for students to continue practicing the skill, but in the form of games!


I've made sure to include sides A and B of the sprints for each lesson. The answer keys can be found online or in the Teacher Handbook provided by Eureka. I didn't change the problems, but just made them cuter! :)

Sprints are typically done at the beginning of a lesson before the whole group instruction, based on the format from Eureka. I personally love using them permitting student need or just as a check-in on their fluency.


It wouldn't be a math unit if there weren't formal assessments! This module has a mid-module and end of module assessment where students are tested on their understanding of the skills taught this unit. I also included a teacher answer key because I added a few problems to the end of module test since the original didn't cover everything the kids worked on (such as bundling and unbundling and using strategies such as the empty number line).