After attending a PD workshop last week on balanced literacy, I was inspired! I was particularly motivated by a session about conferring with readers (and writers). It was based on this book, which - by the way - is easy to read and fabulous! 

After attending the session, I realized I needed to get organized and make a binder to hold all of my materials and records for my student conferences. I had to make my conferring binder match my planner binder, OBVIOUSLY. 

Binder covers are by A Modern Teacher!

The first thing I have inside is the "Matching Books and Readers" document by TCRWP. Since I've seen Lucy Calkins speak in a workshop before, every time I read this document, I hear it in her voice. It explains in depth what students are expected to be able to do at each guided reading level (Fountas and Pinnell).

Next I have numbered divers for each student.

For each student, I have a strategy checklist that I created. It is essentially a simplified version of the very long "Matching Books to Readers" document. Who has time to read through all of that during a quick student conference - or ever?? 

You can grab the checklist here; It is 50% off for the rest of the week. 

Next a have a simple log to keep track of conferences. The goal is to reach each student at least once a week through individual or group conferences. 

You can grab the conference log here for free! 

Last, I have a Sharpie and some sticky notes in the front pocket. A teacher should leave a "strategy card" with the student to help the child keep in mind what he or she was taught in the conference. You can read more about strategy cards here

What else does my conferring binder need??

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

I'm linking up with the fabulous Mrs. Jump for my FIRST Book Talk Tuesday! 

If you know me at all, you know my favorite children's book is The Giving Tree. I'm in love. I have a hardback copy that I displayed on a shelf in my classroom last year as one of my favorites. However, that copy is going on the shelf this year for the kids to love on as it is being replaced with this 50th anniversary METALLIC special edition, thanks to one of my besties!!!

Yes, I know all teachers have heard of The Giving Tree, but I feel like it is my personal duty to advocate for the use of The Giving Tree in the classroom. 

I have used The Giving Tree to teach...
thinking aloud / tracking thinking.
making predictions.
finding patterns.
understanding characters.

You could also use The Giving Tree to teach...
character development.
bibliotherapy (kindness, selflessness).
creative writing.

trees, life cycles, plants, etc.

time, measurement, simple addition & subtraction

timelines, chronological order, goods and services

The teaching opportunities are truly endless, not to mention all of the cute crafts you can make to go along with what you taught!

I'll leave you with this:


How do you like to use The Giving Tree

I've finally given in to the fact that it's almost time to go back to school, so I've been hard at work on my (never-ending) teacher to-do list.

Tonight I decided to update my reading superstar sign! When I started implementing my reading superstar reward system, I whipped up a sign real quick, stuck it in a sheet protector, and taped it to the board. Somehow, I never got around to making a real / decent / even semi-attractive sign.



Pssst! This little starfish is my first EVER original clip art! 

A little about Reading Superstar:

According to the balanced literacy model, students are supposed to spend 45 minutes of our literacy block reading independently. FORTY FIVE MINUTES. 7-year olds! (During these 45 minutes, I am pulling small groups and individuals.) Although my students had great stamina by the end of the year, they still needed a little extra motivation to stay on task while reading independently. 

I'm pretty sure I invented Reading Superstar in the middle of independent reading on one of "those" days. During independent reading time, I look for students setting a good example. To be the Reading Superstar, a student must be reading, writing in his or her reading response journal, and have no interaction with other students. If I notice some students are getting off-task, all I have to do is say "I'm looking for my new Superstar..." 

The Superstar gets his or her name written on the sign and has dibs on the special chair until the next Superstar is chosen (the next day). I had a secret checklist taped behind the Superstar sign that I would refer to to try and make sure I got everyone! 

SO simple, yet so effective. 

You can grab my Reading Superstar sign for FREE here!

Alright, on to the next item on my to-do list. XOXO

This can't be the last Friday of July. Nope. Not accepting it.

I decided to make my own Five for Friday numbers because I seem to link up with Kacey EVERY week (and love it) and I don't have anything better to do I'm procrastinating.

I took the GRE on Tuesday and am DONE! It wasn't my best testing performance ever, but I did well enough that I won't need to take it a second time. 

I'll quickly rehash it for those who wanted me to let you know how it went.


(Well, that's how I felt about it although I haven't gotten my writing scores back yet.)

Quantitative Reasoning (aka MATH in 2nd grade terms):

Verbal Reasoning (convoluted lexicon aka TRICKY WORDS):

I've spent plenty of time this week getting school stuff together! In other words, I've used LOTS of paper, ink, and laminating pouches. Oops! 

I am OBSESSED with this flip book.The fact that I used $10+ of Astrobrights and 2 whole ink cartridges on them does not even make me love them less because they are AMAZING and I am sure my parents are going to appreciate them as much as I want them to. 

You can get this EDITABLE flip book here. Thanks Lindsey!! 

These are double-sided reference cards that students will keep in their writing folders. I got the Stretch a Sentence from Cassie and the Portable Word Wall from Amelia

I have finished putting all of my bunting together for my bulletin boards, teacher desk, door, and so on. It may be a little much. Or not.  You can get it here

Snail mail rules. 

I sent my first SLANT box a few days ago to miss Cassie from Mrs. Thomas's Class! Eeek I hope she loves it. I've already signed up for SLANT next month because I love the theme. You can read more and sign up here.

I also received some exciting snail mail this week... 
I got a surprise box from Cassie at Funky in Fourth as part of her giveaway that I won! It is AMAZING! Isn't she awesome?!?

My first giveaway was a HUGE success! 
Thank you so much to everyone who donated and participated. Scroll on down to my giveaway post (or click here if you're lazy) to see who donated and who won. 

Have a perfect weekend. 
I know I will because my man is coming to visit!!!!! :) 

I'm linking up with Tara for Monday Made It for the FIRST time!
(I've been pretty lazy this summer.)

Last week, I made some hall passes for my classroom.
I didn't have any last year and somehow got away with it all year. (Oops.)

And then I laminated them in my brand new laminator which I am completely in love with!

Later, I'll punch some holes and put them on lanyards. 

Also last week, I designed some blue and green chevron bunting for my bulletin boards!

I printed them on my new printer and laminated them using my new laminator...

I am SO technologically advanced now. 

Then - not gonna lie - I let this stack sit in a corner for a few days.

Today, being MONDAY, inspired me to make today stop-being-lazy-and-do-some-work-Monday so I could finally post a Made It Monday!

I sat on my couch forever watching trashy reality TV and cutting until my hands hurt!

I LOVE the final product! 


I can't wait to see what you made this week!

*    *    *

While you are here, make sure you click HERE to enter my giveaway if you haven't already. 
Ends Thursday! 

Here's a little insight as to what has been going on with me this July:

First of all, I'M HAVING A GIVEAWAY! I've reached some milestones and I'd love to celebrate with you. To enter, click HERE. It ends Thursday!

I went to Nashville for the first time...

I scored some brownie points with the family on the Fourth...


I can't stop laminating because all of the sudden I can't stop creating! My summer brain has recovered and the creative juices have been flowing. Here are just a few of my recent creations:


I am also beginning to wrap my mind around the fact that I only have a few weeks of summer left. 
That makes me feel like

Can't wait to see your smorgasbords!