Well, I certainly have a case of the Mondays.

I'm curled up on the couch with my Macbook, Netflix, and a steaming cup of hot tea to hopefully cure the sickness that I feel coming on. The recipe for Magic Tea, as I call it, has been in my family for at least 4 generations. Russian Tea, as my grandmother calls it, was renamed Spice Tea by my mom. When I moved out and started making it for myself, I renamed it Magic Tea because it seems to magically fix me when I'm sick - seriously. 

One of my littles got me sick, I suppose... grrr.

Anyhow, I'm linking up with Amanda on this gorgeous Monday!

Must-Read Monday Linky

My kiddos and I are finishing up Sideways Stories from the Wayside School right now and they are still LOVING it. Although I am sure they would love to read the next Wayside book next, I already have our next read-aloud chosen. 

Lulu Walks the Dogs

All of my teammates have been RAVING about Lulu Walks the Dogs by Judith Viorst. The Scholastic representative recommended it to us at the book fair, and many of my coworkers bought it. Apparently, the kids (and teachers) are hanging on and loving every word.

I can't wait to read it! Have you read Lulu yet?

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on casual Friday... HOORAY!
(It's also college wear day at school; roll tide y'all.)


Well, my week started at Teachers College in NYC with my coworkers and the one and only Lucy Calkins. See this post for my weekend recap and to find out which movie the conference was most like.

Were any of you there? What did you think of the conference?


...is for how many weeks I have left until spring break! TWO!!! It's so close that I can almost, ALMOST feel the sand between my toes and taste the fried shrimp, Twizzlers, and piña coladas.

I'm so envious of those of you who are already on spring break. I think I can... I think I can...


Second grade is working on a reading unit on fairy tales, folktales, and fables.  We are all enjoying the fun stories and activities! Just LOOK at this little foldable! They've got it, I think!


We have been doing math rotations daily due to end-of-year math testing coming up next week. In my group yesterday, we reviewed geometry. We drew and labeled 3D shapes.  One of my students said, 
"This is so much FUN! It feels like we are just drawing but actually we are learning.

It's the little things like that that make it all worth it, isn't it?


Earlier this week we tried a part-comprehension (morals) and part-bibliotherapy lesson using Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna (yes - THAT Madonna). What a cute book that teaches a great lesson! We talked about gossip, rumors, and hurting feelings. Then we talked about how powerful our words are and how we should use our words for good, not evil. Last, we did a simple activity that really taught the kids what rumors are and how they spread.  

I didn't realize that Madonna had it in her. I'm impressed!

Aww, thanks Ryan!!

Have a good weekend!! We deserve it!

As you know, I spent the weekend in NYC with some colleagues (including my boss) to attend the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project's Saturday Reunion.  In other words, it's a free all-day workshop on Saturday full of sessions led by Columbia University's most renown education professors and the RWP's most fabulous leaders. 

That being said...

Have you ever seen 500 Days of Summer? It's my absolute favorite movie. You know that expectations versus reality scene where Tom's expectations are so high on one half of the screen, and the other half of the screen shows how different and unfortunate his reality is?

That's exactly how our Saturday Reunion experience felt.

EXPECTATIONS: fabulous speakers, incredible and insightful teaching of curriculum and ideas, resources and handouts, and myself to be bursting with new knowledge to share back in NC

REALITY: overcrowding (a.k.a. F-R-E-E), being forced into sessions not applicable to my job, information we already knew, and disappointing speakers

Regardless, I can't complain about the weekend as a whole. I think the Reading and Writing Project is pretty incredible, so I'm glad I was able to attend their conference. Also, I did learn a LOT! I learned a ton about my coworkers and the inner-workings of my school, and I learned a little about the Reading and Writing Project - ha! Overall, I'm thankful.

Good news - I saw Lucy Calkins AND the Naked Cowboy!!

Until next time, New York...

When I was student teaching, I actually had to write an economics unit for my kindergarteners. I have also taught an entire economics unit to my second graders this year. The following books are my favorite read-alouds for teaching wants / needs, goods / services, and saving / spending. 


Those Shoes is about a boy who really wants the shoes that all of the cool kids at his school have. It is a great way to introduce needs and wants.  I am actually using this book with my students on Wednesday this week. There's a read-aloud video of it on YouTube. Love it!


I like to use If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to practice identifying goods and services. We make a T-chart and categorize all of the things that the mouse asks for as either a good or a service.


Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday is my all-time favorite book to open discussion about saving and spending. It is hilarious to read about Alexander trying to keep up with his money!

Below you will find my complete list of books I've used to deepen my students' understanding of economics. Buy them on Amazon by clicking here

·      A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
·      Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
·      Arthur’s TV Trouble by Marc Brown
·      Berenestein Bears and Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstein
·      Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
·      How Much Is that Doggy in the Window? by Iza Trapani
·      If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by aura Numberoff
·      Just Shopping with Mom by Mercer Mayer
·      Max’s Dragon Shirt by Rosemary Wells
·      The Bag I’m Taking to Grandma’s by Shirley Neitze
·      The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
·      Those Shoes by Maribet Boelts

·      What’s in the Piggy Bank? by Janet Craig

*  *  *


Ah, St. Patrick's Day. Talk about being riled up. I tried to incorporate leprechauns and rainbows and gold and happiness into all of our daily routines, but we didn't do anything extraordinarily crazy. We have lost so much time due to snow days and we began end-of-year testing this week. Right now, we can let no time go wasted!

Rainbow words for Monday's word work

Student: "Why didn't any leprechauns visit our room or mess it up or anything?"
Me: "They're too short to get up the stairs."
Student: "Couldn't they have taken the elevator?!"

We did take some fun pictures for the yearbook, though.


We finished our readers theater presentations this week. The kids loved it and have been begging for more! This week we talked about being directors and narrators. We also began talking about heroes, villains, and sidekicks. Next week we are doing morals. So excited about this fun unit! 


Last weekend I sold my first product on TPT, and a few more products have been purchased since! I am SO excited! I have officially made $0.90 - HA! 

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Started from the bottom now we here....


Yesterday I had to prepare for my first full-day sub EVER! I am so OCD that I'm a little embarrassed about just how detailed my 5 pages of plans and instructions are... poor lady doesn't know what she is in for! I basically played good cop and bad cop all in one today as I told my students that they are to behave OR ELSE and then proceeded to leave a sweet note on the whiteboard saying I missed them.  

TODAY I am headed to NEW YORK CITY with some coworkers (all of my bosses) to attend The Reading and Writing Project's (by Lucy Calkins) 86th Saturday Reunion. I am SO hoping to meet the naked cowboy Lucy Calkins.  Follow me on Instagram (@mycarolinaclass) to join me on my NYC and Teachers College journey! In all honesty, I am super excited about the Saturday workshop... even more excited than I am about buying knockoff bags in Chinatown. 

Have a great weekend! See you on Instagram!

Guess what day it is.
... Hump Day (Whoot Whoot!)

That means it's also Workshop Wednesday!

Ideas by Jivey

"Today's Workshop Wednesday is all about collaboration and bragging on others. Link up a blog post that shares someone else's idea or product that you've found, used, and loved!" - Jivey

First let me say that the reason I began blogging was to share idea and build relationships with other passionate teachers around the world. I use ideas from other teachers that I found on a blog or on Pinterest ALL THE TIME. Without collaboration with my coworkers on online peers, I would not be the teacher that I am today.

That being said...

I just introduced fractions last week and we have been practicing simply identifying fractions all week long. I found some wonderful fraction ideas on a recent blogpost from Mrs. Lemons at Step into Second Grade while I was blog-hopping (vegging out on the couch) just the other day.

I have already used Mrs. Lemons's "In and Out" game during math centers this week. The kiddos love it because it is a game, but I love it because it is a great informal assessment.

I plan on having my kids make fraction pizzas with their sub on Friday! I'm sure it will be a MESS, but it will keep them busy for a while.

Tomorrow is my Friday, since we are headed to NYC on Friday morning!! I'm so nervous but SO excited! 

I know I'm a day late, but I couldn't pass up on one of my favorite linky parties just because it is a Tuesday!

Must-Read Monday Linky

My favorite books to read for read-alouds are Junie B. books. I know; They're classic and maybe a little overdone, but I love them! My kids think they are hilarious, I think they are hilarious, and many of the books coincide with holidays. It's a win-win-WIN!


Right now, I am reading aloud Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. The Wayside School books were a favorite of mine when I was a kid, so I wanted to share that love with my students. We just started yesterday and are already 3 stories in because the kids kept begging for more. I had to stop multiple times because I couldn't stop laughing ("Grow UP," I tell myself). It is PERFECT for a read-aloud for creative, curious kiddos.


Next up on my read-aloud queue list (which grows every day) is A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. It was HIGHLY recommended to us by the Scholastic representative at our book fair last week. Naturally, I had to buy it because I am dying to know what happens to share with my students. It is recommended for 4th - 6th grade students so of course I have to read it first to see if it will be appropriate for my high-level 2nd graders. I think there may be a little side story about a romance... Oh well. If that's the case, I'll just keep it for myself!


I'll be reading A Snicker of Magic on my plane trips to and from NYC this weekend and will let you know what I think.

What are your favorite chapter books for read-alouds? Maybe I can squeeze them in before the end of the year!!

Thank you to Katie from Teaching Voracious Learners for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! You definitely brought a smile to my face and I am flattered!

I just posted 11 facts about me last week on my Liebster post... so I'm going to skip that step!

Here are my questions from Katie:
1. If it was your birthday and you could do ANYTHING you want, what would it be?
Go somewhere I've never been... one of the wonders of the world, maybe.
2. What’s your #1 favorite book? 
Such a hard question... The Giving Tree is my favorite children's book. ONE of my favorite adult books is Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. 
3. If you could play any sport, what could it be?
For some strange reason, I've always wanted to play field hockey or soccer.
4. Could you not watch TV for one month?
Definitely - as long as it's not football season. 
5. Who is your biggest role model in life?
My mom... I respect her beyond measure.
6. What are your nicknames? 
Everyone in college called me by my first initial and last name. I loved it because I had always wanted a nickname, and that one happened on accident! 
7. What did you want to do with your life when you were 7? 
I wanted to be a teacher. 
8. If you could have ANY superpower, what would it be?
Ability to teleport.
9. If you had to wear pants or a dress for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
A dress - pants are too binding to wear 24/7.
10. Why do you think there are SO many women teacher bloggers but not a lot of men?
The same reason that there are SO many more female teachers than male teachers in elementary schools. Plus - women are better at multitasking!! ;)
11. What or who made you want to teach or work with children?
I don't even know - It's just what I've always wanted. 
* * *
My nominations:
(I don't have 11, but I do have 5 very good ones, in no particular order!)
Christy at Crayons and Whimsy

I love all of your blogs! Thank you for spreading sunshine!

My 11 questions for you:
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
What is your absolute favorite book (that I should read next)?
Why did you start blogging?
What is your favorite part about blogging?
What advice do you have for new bloggers?
Do you hate packing your lunch as much as I do?
What is your favorite part about working with kids?
What is your favorite weekend activity?
Which social media site is your favorite?
What is one thing about you that people are surprised by?
If you could go back in time, would you?


Thank God it's casual Friday... Happy Five for Friday!


I have THREE additional teachers in my room now for our "Academic Intervention and Enrichment" time. (I'm SO LUCKY!!) I host "Reading Boot Camp" in my room for all the low, low 2nd grade babies. They have a BLAST because all we do is play games! Because I have so many teachers in my room to run groups, the STUFF was just taking over. I had to take control!



I invested in some more bins, and my turn-in table can breathe again!


We are working on Readers' Theater this week in reading. I cannot WAIT to see the performances! The kiddos have been working hard perfecting their voices and facial expressions - two very important parts to successful storytelling. 

I'll let you know how it goes!


Our class won a school-wide behavior competition, so we earned an in-school field trip! Bricks 4 Kidz came and took over my room for 2 hours. It was awesome!! The students got to build working catapults out of Legos, then shot projectiles at makeshift "castles." We all had a blast.


We also filled up our compliment jar recently, so we had a popcorn and Magic School Bus party. I thought popcorn was a fun / cheap / easy idea... until I spent my entire planning period popping popcorn!! Oh well... the kids loved it. 


This week, my team had planning in the morning instead of our usual afternoon time. We decided to make an event out of it and bring breakfast foods! It was fun and we actually got everything accomplished that we needed to get accomplished (which NEVER happens). I am SO lucky and forever grateful to have such an amazing team. I cannot believe we only have one quarter left!!!

6 -- *BONUS*

Juan Pablo, thanks for keeping me laughing all week. 

* * * *

Enjoy your weekend! My mom is visiting for the night, then I'm off to meet my man in a town halfway between our two cities. Can't wait!! 

Through the trial and error that comes with the first year of teaching, I have discovered one of my new best friends in the classroom: MUSIC.

Music! Through college courses, chats with veteran teachers, PD seminars, and blogs, I have gathered many ways to use music in the classroom and have tried them all. Music works so well with my current class. Here's how I use music on a daily basis:

1 - Phonics and Math Concepts

I use YouTube videos to help teach my kids new spelling patterns as well as mathematical concepts. There are videos out there for EVERYTHING! The videos usually have catchy songs that students sing all day long - helloooo memorization!

For phonics, my favorites are BreakThruChris and TheElectricCompany.

Right now, we are learning about "Bossy R." I crack up every time we watch!

HaveFunTeaching and HarryKindergartenMusic both have tons of awesome math videos. "Coins in My Hand" by Harry is a favorite in my classroom. Again - watching the kids do it is rather humorous. Many of Harry's videos have been pulled as he is working on copyrighting his music, but they will return!!

2 - Setting the Mood for Writing

I have lots of chatty kiddos in my class, and they have a hard time being absolutely silent. I have found that when I play music for them during writing, it helps them focus longer without getting distracted or being tempted to chat with a neighbor. I use Pandora to stream music. Sometimes I play Hans Zimmer radio; other times I play Hip Hop (Instrumental) Radio. Honestly, it depends on the writing topic.

3 - Volume Control

This one is my FAVORITE. During math workshop, which is loosely structured, along with other similar activities during which my students are allowed to talk, they tend to get louder, and louder and LOUDER until the noise level is out of control and I can't hear myself think.

Now that I have learned my lesson after many headaches and some necessary yelling, my kids have FINALLY learned to be in control of their own voice. I use Pandora, again, to play Kidz Bop radio during math workshop and other unstructured activities. Before we start, I tell my students, "I am going to play music. Remember, if you can't hear the music, then you are too loud."

My students have gotten really good at managing the volumes of their voices by making sure they can hear the music. They like the songs that come on the radio, so they usually want to stay quiet enough to hear and be able to sing along. If, however, they do get too loud, all I have to say is, "Oh no, I can't hear the music..."  It works like a charm.

4 - Time Management

"I am going to play a song. By the end of the song, you must have your crayons, glue, and scissors in your cubby. Your paper needs to be on the front table, your desk must be cleared off, and you need to be sitting silently in your seat. Go!" Press play.

It's a fun and efficient way to get cleaned up quickly.

5 - Indoor Recess

I hate - no - LOATHE indoor recess. The kids can't run around, I have to manage behavior and noise level, and none of us get any fresh air or a change of scenery.

However, I have found a way to make indoor recess a little more bearable and much more entertaining. Three words: JUST DANCE KIDS. There are entire playlists on YouTube filled with tons of videos from the Just Dance Kids video games. Do yourself a favor and make sure all videos are from Just Dance KIDS before playing a playlist; Videos from the adult version can have inappropriate language in them.

Just Dance Kids gets the kids moving, singing, and laughing. AND I can pull the "If I can't hear the music, you are too loud" card! Try it - it's a blast.

When I'm in a really good mood and the kids are persuasive enough, I'll sometimes do the "Whip Your Hair" dance with them... and then my neck is sore for the next three days. Worth it!

How do you use music in the classroom?

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your life easier!