Whether you are looking to #treatyoself, add items to your wish list, or shop for the amazing teacher in your life, this is the list for you!

Here are 5 items I truly CANNOT imagine my classroom without:


This is one of those items that I didn't know what I was missing until I had this in my life. I use this ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously, at least once a day. I use it to pre-cut interactive notebook pages and cut out lamination (all the task cards)... It is truly a major #timesaver.

Mine is a hand-me-down gift from a retired teacher, but it's by Swingline. You can find a similar Swingline paper cutter HERE. It's 15", self-sharpening, and has a safety lock... win, win, win!


Yes, this is a thing. It actually exists. It works great, and it's so handy. It's so much more convenient than your regular glue gun that you'll actually use this one more often!

Surebonder doesn't make my model anymore - It's 5 years old and still going strong - but you can find a newer version HERE.


Okay, this may be a *little* less exciting than the other gadgets, but I truly LOVE these books. I use The Reading Strategies Book DAILY. I don't use the writing one as much, but I aspire to! It's great for writing conferences.

Honestly, I try not to spend a ton of personal money on my classroom, so these books were on my Christmas list last year, and Santa delivered. I am oh so thankful, because they are a literacy gamechanger!!

Click to check out The Reading Strategies Book and The Writing Strategies Book

4. A CAMELBAK. Or maybe 5. 

Recently, a student asked me if I have a different color water bottle for each day of the week, and I totally said yes. I literally have 7 of these in my house. I've been a Camelbak user for about 10 years now (!!!) and if that doesn't prove my love for them, I don't know what does.

For our health, it's important to stay hydrated. For some reason, the Camelback straw helps me drink water faster than I would out of a normal water bottle or cup. Don't ask why, because I don't know, but my first Camelbak truly turned me into a fish and taught me how to love drinking water!

Here's why I love Camelbaks in the classroom:
- The insulated bottles don't sweat. Put it on your papers, on your planner, whatever.
- They don't spill. I held my water bottle upside down the other day to amaze my students. (I was looking for the capacity label on the bottle, and they all gasped, not yet knowing how magical the Camelbak is.) That means you can throw it in your teacher tote at the end of the day and not worry about spillage. Whoohoo!
- Save the environment, duh!

You can find the style I like here. Add a monogram sticker for more fun!


For teachers, comfy (but stylish) shoes are a MUST-HAVE. We're on our feet all day long, which can get painful!

I have 3 pairs of these Dr. Scholl's Madisons that I plan to wear all winter long.

For warmer months, I love sandals by Vionic

What are your 5 things? Any must-haves I'm missing, besides a big stash of Advil and candy? Let me know in a comment below!

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing an item from Amazon using these links,  I will receive a small commission on your purchase, although your price stays the same! I use that commission to keep my blog up and running. Thank you!**

I receive a lot of questions about how I run my literacy block. At my school, our schedule is blocked out, but I have freedom to arrange my own blocks (if that makes sense). So my literacy block is 9:40 - 11:15, and this is what I've decided to do with it:

We start right away with our minilesson. Students are fresh from recess and eat their snacks while I read and model strategies.

From there, students move into their Daily 5 rotations. (Our school using CAFE & Daily 5, but I don't have time to rotate students through 5 stations daily, so I make sure some aspects of Daily 5 are integrated throughout the day!)

I keep this as simple as possible. I occasionally change it up, but rarely!

I have a chart in my room so students know exactly what their options are for each rotation.

During this time, I pull small groups. You may notice I do not include myself as a rotation. I do this in order to provide flexibility for myself. Sometimes, I don't need to work with all students in one group, depending on the skill I'm teaching. Sometimes I pull students from multiple groups. I probably end up doing strategy groups more often than guided reading groups, so it just makes sense to me to leave myself out of the rotations. (I use The Reading Strategies Book (affiliate) to hold my strategy groups... more on this later!) I try to pull students when they are working on buddy reading, since I know they'll be buddy reading at my table with me!

After our rotations, we take a quick brain break (thanks GoNoodle) before transitioning into writing. I do a quick (10 minutes or less) grammar lesson at the beginning of our writing time. It's definitely hard to find time to fit it all in!

Writing looks a little bit different every day due to lack of time. On a typical day, I teach a minilesson and then students have the opportunity to try it with a partner or on their own.

Any further questions about how I run my literacy block? Leave a comment below, and I'll get back to you!

I am SO thankful for you, so I thought I'd share a freebie with you that I hope will be useful in your classroom!

My text features products are some of my absolute favorites.

I originally created them my own classroom. I needed a way to assess my students’ understanding of text features other than by observation, and I wanted the assessment to tie in curriculum and relevant content. Thus, this product line was born. The kids have fun using different colors to identify the different text features, and it provides great work samples for me. I first made them about science and social studies topics, then biographies, then holidays!

I'd love for you to download the Thanksgiving text features passage for FREE! 

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