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This School Year Will Be The Best

Books Teachers Love – September Books For Your Classroom

I’ve rewritten the beginning of this post about five times now due to extreme sleep deprivation. I know you feel my pain when I say…I had my first back to school dream last night…followed by me waking up to create labels for my math center drawers…at 3:30 a.m. No logic behind that because school doesn’t start for another two weeks. #TeacherProblems Luckily, the rest of this post was a breeze to write because I had already created a fun FREEBIE for this month’s Books Bloggers Love Blog Hop. For those of you who are joining for the first time this month, WELCOME! Your brain is about to overflow with amazing read aloud ideas from some of my favorite bloggers. Your Amazon wish list will likely overflow with new books. You may even (fingers crossed) win a few new books for your own classroom library. My read aloud this month is all about

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Do Unto Others read aloud lesson

Books Teachers Love – August Books For Your Classroom

Welcome to the premiere post for what is sure to be your new favorite teacher blogger link up…Books Bloggers Love. Each month, 12 teacher bloggers will be linking up to share our favorite books for that month/time of year and giving you a peek at a few ideas for incorporating each book into your lesson plans. You are going to love this link-up because every month, you will have a chance to win 4 of the 12 books featured. Be sure to follow so you won’t miss this monthly opportunity to stock up on some fabulous literature ideas to fill your classroom library with tried and true texts. Many students and teachers head back to school during the month of August after those warm months of summer freedom. When you walk through the door on that first day, your heart is filled with excitement but students and teachers alike can’t

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Smiling faces at the 2015 TPT Premium Sellers Conference

Viva Las Vegas! 2015 TPT Conference Linky

At this year’s second annual Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers Premium Sellers Conference, over 1,000 TPT teacher authors gathered in Vegas to learn and connect. Every session and meet up I attended was flooded with smiling faces and warm welcomes from like-minded teacher authors. Every ah-ha moment was delivered by successful, top earners who shared every detail of their best practices and secrets to success. Our unique TPT author community has the mentality that the more we work together, encourage one another, and share…the more we will grow together. The powerful result of this cooperative mentality is growth for classroom teachers, and more importantly, growth for the students they teach. The founder and leadership team at TPT have an enormous and endlessly growing heart for educators and students. Year after year, TPT becomes a stronger force with the most empowering impact on education that modern teachers have ever seen. Regardless, our mission

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Write To Explain Task Card Recording Sheet

Your New Favorite Math Routine – Write To Explain

I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger on Rachel’s Lynette’s endlessly resourceful education blog, Minds In Bloom. Hop over to my guest post to get a closer look at my favorite math routine Write To Explain. You can also grab my latest FREEBIE to help you launch this rigorous math routine in your own classroom. Thank you, Rachel, for this amazing opportunity. Many teachers think of you as a role model not only because of your TPT rock star status, but also for your willingness to share valuable resources for teachers of all grade levels. Enjoy!

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Rethinking open house interactive KWL chart

Rethinking Open House

A few of the learning principles that help us revolutionize learning in our district are to nurture a growth mindset, empower students and value the learning process just as much as the outcome. After last year’s Open House, several teachers came to realize the district’s traditional end-of-school-year Open House didn’t portray these principles as strongly as it could have. This school year, we were asked to rethink the traditional Open House so our vision and learning principles were shared with the school community in a powerful way. Name Change For starters, every school in our district changed the name of this event from Open House to Celebration of Learning. Doesn’t that name just roll off the tongue and bring visions of happy teachers and students frolicking through the halls? But seriously…so much better than the visions of hours spent hovering over children’s shoulders willing them to finish their writing piece

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Reduce Tattling with The Lanetern

The Lantern – A Tool To Reduce Tattling In Your Classroom

One of our challenges as teachers is to help students learn the difference between tattling and reporting. Often, students who tattle simply need an outlet to be heard. Rather than spending time after recess sorting through playground woes, have students record their concerns on a piece of paper and place it in The Lantern. This management tool invites students to write or draw about their concern rather than sharing with you verbally. Students are able to reflect on their feelings and carefully think about the details of a situation rather than spew their story all over your fresh-from-recess-Zen-aura when their emotions are running high. Your students will be able to get it all out on paper, tuck it into The Lantern for safekeeping and make an effort to leave their worries behind when they walk to their seat. Tips For Making The Lantern A Success Here are a few tips

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Organize math task cards in recipe/index card files

Five For Friday: Core Inspiration

This week, I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday post. ONE: Back To School After Winter Break Regardless of how many years I teach, it always shocks me how tired I am after we’ve had a school break.  The students always come back so energized and all 25 of them have at least ten stories to tell the one and only teacher. By Wednesday, they are still energizer bunnies and I am crashing hard. I definitely spent a few moments at recess each day scrolling through pics on my phone reminiscing about my days off. TGIF! One thing I did manage to accomplish this week to help me keep my sanity are these two new organization systems…one for reading and one for math. TWO: Task Card Organization For every math unit, I use Write To Explain Task Cards like a crazy person. I love the deep

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Students create a frequency table to show the number of hearts they have.

Data Analysis Math Investigation – Conversation Hearts and Data Smarts

Teaching data = bliss. Most kids are thrilled when you ask them to look at an organized visual and answer questions about it. I remember thinking as a kid…”This is math?! I’m on board!” There’s just something about reading a graph that revitalizes your love for math. It’s a breath of fresh air when you get in that routine of solving word problems or algorithms. Although my second graders are exposed to light doses of data throughout the year (especially during our Measure-Thon), I always plan my data unit for February. Why? Because Valentine’s Day is the perfect focal point for a data analysis unit. My favorite math investigation for practicing data analysis is called Conversation Hearts and Data Smarts. This unit allows the kids to completely immerse themselves in heart-themed data collection the entire week of Valentine’s Day. Here’s a peek at my class in action during this year’s unit. Day 1: Data Smarts: What

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Second grader cars on a roll

Five For Friday – Penguins, Physics, 100th Day, Math In Motion, and Whole30

I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday Linky! ONE: 100th DAY OF SCHOOL Tuesday was our 100th day of school and the first time I have ever “celebrated” this day – yet another adjustment to becoming a primary teacher. I used these adorable 100th day printables to give the students a few writing options with the theme of 100.  They loved the choices and we now have a compilation of sentimental/hilarious/reflective/optimistic pieces. I also stumbled upon this art project on Pinterest and decided it would be the perfect compliment to their writing pieces. All I had to do was die-cut a few 1’s and 0’s and let their imaginations run wild. TWO: PENGUIN PAINTING We are in the middle of our inquiry-driven unit about penguins and each of my students is officially in love with the species they have adopted for their research. My second graders applied science, math and art skills as

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Measure-Thon – Bringing Second Grade Measurement Lessons To Life

This week, we celebrated our knowledge about measuring length in our First Annual Measure-Thon! This multi-day math simulation was the highlight of my second graders’ school week. I was so amped when they made giddy little back-and-forth hand movements each morning when they saw “Measure-Thon” written on the schedule. I am a huge fan of making math as interactive as possible and simulations are the perfect way to bring math to life. It has taken me a while to get my feet on the ground in second grade so this is the first simulation we have done all year! Here’s the run-down on Measure-Thon. DAY 1 When my second graders walked in from recess, they were greeted by a sign reading: “Mathletes, today, you will be competing in four measuring events that will test your physical strength and your mental power. As you compete today, remember to be honest and accurate,

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Bring Reading To Life With Take-A-Stand Discussions

Education Week’s article Differentiation Doesn’t Work by  James R. Delisle is floating around teacher social media outlets like crazy right now. It was also presented at our professional development session today as an introduction to a day filled with taking differentiation from theory to practice. The end viewpoint, that we should begin a tracking approach to education rather than differentiate within each classroom, is rather extreme but the article touches on some valid points. Although I think the article itself is a great read, what I’m really here to tell you about is what our principal did to spark serious discussion around this bold piece of writing. Since he didn’t tell us what this discussion approach is called, I’m going to call it a Take-A Stand Discussion! First, he had us read the article. Then, he displayed a few key ideas written in the article, including these: “Differentiation is a failure, a farce, and

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Read To Someone Woes? You Need The Daily 5 Patrol.

This year, the second routine I introduced to my class when we were learning our routines for Daily 5 was Read to Someone. In hindsight, I should have introduced this as the last of the five routines so my students had several weeks of reading in an I-can-hear-a-caterpillar-sneeze environment. When my second graders were completing their training, I could hear the low hum of partners reading aloud side-by-side and loved eavesdropping from across the room as they asked and answered questions about their reading. That hum has now transformed into a buzz and I find myself eavesdropping on conversations about their newest Lego set or plans for upcoming slumber parties. It…makes…me…crazy! No matter how many Read To Someone modeling sessions we have, my group of social butterflies just can’t resist the urge to buddy up and chat during this Daily 5 choice. I’ve had quite the time making a decision about the best solution…

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Smiling faces at the 2015 TPT Premium Sellers Conference

Viva Las Vegas! 2015 TPT Conference Linky

At this year’s second annual Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers Premium Sellers Conference, over 1,000 TPT teacher authors gathered in Vegas to learn and connect. Every session and meet up I attended was flooded with smiling faces and warm welcomes from like-minded teacher authors. Every ah-ha moment was delivered by successful, top

Read More »
Write To Explain Task Card Recording Sheet

Your New Favorite Math Routine – Write To Explain

I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger on Rachel’s Lynette’s endlessly resourceful education blog, Minds In Bloom. Hop over to my guest post to get a closer look at my favorite math routine Write To Explain. You can also grab my latest FREEBIE to help you launch this rigorous math

Read More »
Rethinking open house interactive KWL chart

Rethinking Open House

A few of the learning principles that help us revolutionize learning in our district are to nurture a growth mindset, empower students and value the learning process just as much as the outcome. After last year’s Open House, several teachers came to realize the district’s traditional end-of-school-year Open House didn’t

Read More »
Reduce Tattling with The Lanetern

The Lantern – A Tool To Reduce Tattling In Your Classroom

One of our challenges as teachers is to help students learn the difference between tattling and reporting. Often, students who tattle simply need an outlet to be heard. Rather than spending time after recess sorting through playground woes, have students record their concerns on a piece of paper and place

Read More »
Organize math task cards in recipe/index card files

Five For Friday: Core Inspiration

This week, I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday post. ONE: Back To School After Winter Break Regardless of how many years I teach, it always shocks me how tired I am after we’ve had a school break.  The students always come back so energized and

Read More »

Bring Reading To Life With Take-A-Stand Discussions

Education Week’s article Differentiation Doesn’t Work by  James R. Delisle is floating around teacher social media outlets like crazy right now. It was also presented at our professional development session today as an introduction to a day filled with taking differentiation from theory to practice. The end viewpoint, that we should begin a tracking

Read More »

Read To Someone Woes? You Need The Daily 5 Patrol.

This year, the second routine I introduced to my class when we were learning our routines for Daily 5 was Read to Someone. In hindsight, I should have introduced this as the last of the five routines so my students had several weeks of reading in an I-can-hear-a-caterpillar-sneeze environment. When my

Read More »