March 21, 2017

Classroom Book Tasting

I was inspired by Hope, Mary, and many others to finally host a classroom BOOK TASTING! 

On Friday afternoons, I usually coteach a STEAM lesson with a coworker. However, during Read Across America week earlier this month, we decided to do a book tasting instead of STEAM. 

I collected a wide variety of books to appeal to students with varied interests. I tried to stay away from series that many of them are already familiar with. 

We set the scene with some cheap tablecloths, battery-powered candles, dim lighting, and Italian music. 

Most of my materials, including the placemats and bookmarks, came from Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching

I ended up making my own menu to make it really simple for my second graders. You can download it for free here

Wanting to buy some decor for your book tasting? I spent less than $20 on {reusable} materials for the entire event! Here's what I grabbed from Amazon:


Have you tried a book tasting yet? Let me know how it goes!

February 26, 2017

Just a Note...

Changes are coming! 

I'm planning to start grad school this summer. I'm not sure if I'm ready to be a student while I'm a full-time teacher, but I'm up for the challenge!

The application process was lengthy and required a few recommendations. I know that my administrators are OH SO BUSY, so I almost felt guilty for asking them to write recommendations for me. 

A handwritten note goes a long way... and chocolate doesn't hurt either! 

I printed these cards on Astrobright cardstock, wrote a heartfelt note inside, and ta-da! I hope they feel appreciated!

Download the free printable here.

February 23, 2017

Plane Shapes Song & Activities

My students want me to be a full-time songwriter now. This one was a much bigger hit than the last! 

Click here to download a PDF of the lyrics.

Click here for the music I use (on YouTube). 

Click here to see the Instagram video.

We've been practicing our 2D shape skills with these task cards, which include shape identification, angles, and symmetry. 

We also made these fun plane shape robots:

After a week full of learning about 2D shapes, students got to wear a bracelet to help them show what they know. The bracelet has a QR code on it that says "Scan for a surprise!" The QR code leads to this Flocabulary video (via SafeShare). They loved it! 


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February 11, 2017

Resources We LOVE (& a Giveaway)

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

I'm excited to be teaming up with a great group of teacher bloggers to give away our favorite resources to some amazing readers. Plus, you can enter to win a $100 gift card to our favorite place... TARGET!

As I was trying to decide what I wanted to give away, I looked around my classroom to find a few of my favorite things. I decided on something that is just for you, teacher, because you deserve to treat yourself sometimes!

My cordless glue gun is one of those items that just makes my teacher life a little happier. How liberating it is to walk around with a hot glue gun, without having to worry about a cord - ha!

I'm giving away one SureBonder cordless hot glue gun, one pack of regular hot glue sticks, and one pack of metallic silver hot glue sticks. (affliliate links) 
I've never used colored or metallic hot glue sticks, but it sounds like fun, right?!

Enter to win right here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, who doesn't love Target?

Below is where you can enter for a $100 Target gift card. You must complete all parts of this Rafflecopter to be entered for the Target gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's it! 

Click on the image below for more resources we love and more giveaways!

February 9, 2017

Look Inside My Tutoring Binder

I reorganized my office last week. While doing so, I found my tutoring bag from last year. 
(This is a judgement-free zone, right?!) 

I spent a lot of time and effort preparing for tutoring, so I thought I would share my binder with you to make your tutoring life a little easier.

My binder is divided into four sections: writing, fluency activities, fluency passages, and comprehension. Under each picture, you will find links to products, most of which are FREE!

 Keep in mind that we also worked on homework and any specific skills that the child needed each week, but the binder was full of resources and back-up activities to help fill time. 

About Me cover page by Lyndsey Kearney

Writing Checklist by JD's Rockin' Readers

Handwriting Poster by Steve Hungerford

Stretch a Sentence by Cassie Thomas

Backs of laminated cardstock pages double as dry-erase boards. 

Portable Word Wall by Where the Wild Things Learn

nametag by Primary Graffiti 

(These are Amazon affiliate links.)

Georgia's standards for all subjects


Roll and Write a Story by Where the Wild Things Learn

blank writing paper 

Boggle Word Builders by Krista Walden ... We LOVED these!


Roll and Read by 180 Days of Reading 

other favorites (not pictured) by The Moffat Girls

One Breath Boxes (not pictured) by Donna Coleman


Reading A-Z (subscription required)

lots of fluency passages on Teacher Pay Teachers (not pictured)


Dice Games by Melissa Mazur

We usually used spinners similar to these (affiliate link).

Roll a Long Vowel Team by Barnard Island

Magic E Read, Write, Draw by Callie's Creations

Lastly, stock your bag with high-interest books, highlighters, small treats like candy or mini erasers.

Whew! Did I forget anything? Did you grab any of the linked freebies? 
Let me know if a comment below! 

January 31, 2017

Regrouping Song

Inspired by Bethany, from Teaching and So Fourth, and Hope King, I decided to write a song for my students to get them pumped up about one of the hardest second grade math standards: REGROUPING!

Click here to download the lyrics.

Click here for the music I use (on YouTube). 


November 22, 2016

8 Reasons Why I Love My Erin Condren Teacher Planner

I mean, just look at how beautiful that thing is. It reminds me of school and lesson planning and grading and organizing data, yet I STILL think it's gorgeous. 

This is my first year using an Erin Condren planner. I contemplated it for a few years, and I am so glad I finally took the plunge. When our teacher planners came in, some teacher friends and I had a planner party during which we stuck all of our stickers and filled in our schedules, dates, etc. It was SO colorful and so much fun! 

Now that I've been using my first Erin Condren teacher planner for four months, I am prepared to share with you 8 reasons why I love my teacher planner.


Honestly, I used to Google "Veterans Day 2016" and the like all the time... How nice it is to have all of this information in one place at the front of my planner. 

It even includes other dates that teachers might want to know, like Friendship Day and Johnny Appleseed's birthday. Fun!


I've never used the birthday section of any personal planner, but it completely makes sense to have my students' birthdays written in my teacher planner! It's easy reference for student passwords (based on birthdays) and to remind me when to get out the birthday treats for my students. 


Each month has a set of blank pages for notes. I love using them during PD or staff meetings so that all of my notes are kept in chronological order (and safely in the same place) all year long. 


The pages are THICK, meaning that Flair pens don't bleed through if you use them! (I usually use ball-point pens because they are faster with my half-cursive sloppy handwriting, but I have tried Flair pens a few times.)

I use small sticky notes to replace plans. As you know, things change and we have to be flexible! Instead of using whiteout (ain't nobody got time for that) I just write my new plans on a little sticky note and stick it on top. It's perfectly sized!

I use skinny washi tape, thanks to a colleague's recommendation, to break apart my planning pages to show at a quick glance when my students go to lunch/recess. We have specials first thing in the morning, or else I would use washi tape to show that too!

I also use washi tape to block off the last column, which I use for notes or after school activities. 


I use these checklist pages ALL THE TIME. Again, it's something I used to do separately, but it's so nice to have it all in one place! So far, I have used the checklist pages for beginning of year forms (pictured above), permission slips, and homework.  I recently realized I could use a page to start keeping track of my reading and writing conferences with students. The opportunities are endless!


I'll admit, I don't use the stickers that often. I use them when we have something out of the ordinary going on so that it's extra obvious in my lesson plans (so I don't forget)! 

Your planner will come with preprinted stickers that say things like "staff meeting," "library," "conference," and "field trip." It will also come with two whole pages of blank stickers for you to use as you wish! 


I have two pockets in the back of my teacher planner that I use to store loose papers that other people give me, like speech RTI data or other things that I need to keep up with. 

I ordered a few extra plastic sleeves for the back, and I'm so glad I did! In the plastic sleeves, I store papers that I refer to all the time, like students' ID numbers, my classroom schedule, and my reading groups.

Again, it is SO NICE to have everything in ONE PLACE, nice and organized! 

Want to save $10 on your first order? 

Please use my referral link. It's really that easy!

So what do you think? Are you going to give Erin Condren a try? Have any questions?

Let me know in a comment below!

*** This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Erin Condren. ***