June 15, 2015

A GIVEAWAY from some AMAZING Teacher Authors!!

Whew!! Alright y'all, I have to admit, the end of the school year plus closing on a new house and moving hit me hard! As a result, I have completely neglected my blog. BUT, I am super excited that I get to jump back into the blogging world with an awesome GIVEAWAY for you!!

I am so excited to bring you a fabulous giveaway from some of your favorite teacher bloggers. We are giving away TWO prizes! A $260 Target Gift Card and a TPT bundle valued at almost $100! Please see the rafflecopter below for how to enter. Best of luck!

Teach. Inspire. Change.


Our TPT Bundle includes the following items (all valued at almost $100!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 2, 2015

Educents Launch and Giveaway!!!

We've got great news!!! Educents is opening a marketplace, which means now you can purchase items from seller stores any day!! That is in addition to the great deals they already offer! There are over 500 stores in the marketplace for you to save some money!!
Some great bloggers and I are joining together on this blog hop to introduce ourselves and show you the great products we have in our stores!!

I'm currently a second grade teacher, working in Florida! (In my previous life I taught middle school science. And it was awesome.) I started my blog and Educents store because I LOVE sharing resources and learning from others! I hope that you find something to inspire you as well. If you are interested, you can check out my Educents store front by clicking....HERE or on the button below -->

Customer Tips:
Be the first to know about my new discounts, freebies and product launches!
Look for the gray heart next to my store logo and click it to become a follower. Voila! You will now receive updates about this store.

I wanted to share my FREEBIE with you! I use this in my own class during individual student reading conferences. It's also a WONDERFUL tool to use during parent conferences or RTI meetings.

Enter below to win!! Good luck!!

March 18, 2015

31 Crazy Ways Your Life Changes When You Move From Teaching Middle School to Elementary

As some of you may know, I taught middle school (science!!) for 7 years, and this year I moved down to second grade.
<Insert 'holy cow' gasp here>
For many many years I often looked upon the lower elementary world as one that was filled with teachers who had clearly lost their minds. I mean, who would EVER want to deal with all of THAT?!  
"No thank you. I'll stick with my hormone-riddled teenagers, thanks."

I don't know where to begin explaining the culture shock that hit on day one - with temper tantrums, pee-pee accidents, and their general all-over-the-placeness. However, now that I'm a good 2/3 of the way through (surviving) my first year in second grade, I can honestly say that I love it!

Does that mean it's always perfectly smooth and my class is full of angels?
But, I AM learning to find the humor in their craziness, and I know that I've become a more compassionate person as a result of my time with these precious kiddos. 

Without further adieu, here are 31 ways your life changes when you move from middle school to elementary:

1. Top of the list has to be the ever impending threat of getting covered in drool.

2. Your voice changes from your normal speaking voice, to some unrecognizable cartoon version of yourself. Think: teacher voice on helium.

3. No one gets your sarcastic comments or jokes. No one. Ever. #crickets

4. Holidays. They were once celebrated by simply drawing a shamrock, a heart, a Christmas tree, a jack-o-lantern, or other holiday insignia on the whiteboard, usually under the date. That's it. Not anymore my friends. NOW, you are expected to throw a full blown party, with treats, decorations, games, goodie bags, parents, the whole nine yards. PLUS, it appears the norm is to ensure that all their work for the week prior to said holiday incorporates holiday appropriate clip art, you know, to make it festive.
Middle School


5. You get called Mom or Momma about 582 times a day.

6. Band-aids have magical healing powers. Able to stop crying at a moment's notice.  
(Especially where there is no real boo-boo.)

7. Which brings me to my next point. There's the crying. So. Much. Crying. All. The. Time. But don't worry, you will quickly become immune to the sound, and tears will have no effect on your emotions. Give it three days.

8. You feel like a famous pop star as you circulate through your classroom. All your students randomly want to hug you or hold your hand in the middle of teaching a lesson - just because you walked by. If you walk by their desk they WILL reach out and try to grab you, much like the way teenage girls would reach out to grab one of the Jonas Brothers.

9. Temper tantrums. (Don't underestimate their power to ruin your beautifully planned lesson.)

10. EVERYTHING becomes a chew toy. You will need to keep all your fancy Flair pens in an undisclosed location.

11. You somehow find yourself knowing all the words to every song from Frozen. (...and you can't decide if you hate yourself for it, or if you secretly love it.)

12. You will be able to turn any lesson into an impromptu song. Often, based on your favorite Frozen tune.

13. Anchor charts for dayzzzz. Not to mention the unspoken pressure to make them 'cute'. Simply jotting down a few ideas on chart paper will not do.
Middle School

14. You find yourself saying things you never imagined would come out of your mouth. 
"Please stop licking your shoe." 
"We don't eat playground mulch." 
"2nd graders don't eat their math test."
"Class, we are going to ignore <child's name> rolling himself up like a burrito in our carpet."
"Just step over that puddle of pee."

15. You can tie shoes and teach at the same time.

16. You become an expert at braiding hair.

17. You know WAY more about the lives of your kids' parents than you ever. wanted. to. know. You will have to pretend that you DON'T know when they come in for a conference. You may want to practice looking people in the eye without giggling, just in case.

18. Pee. Having puddles of urine appear on the floor is "normal". God save us all on the day it's something worse...

19. You may receive chocolate from your student who has clearly been holding it in their warm, sweaty palm for the last 20 minutes. All you can do is accept it, smile, and then lovingly tell them you'll save it for later.

20. Three words: zero social intelligence.

21. Tattling.  

22. Your kids will believe ANYTHING you say! The moon really is made of cheese? Sure! Cows can walk on water? Absolutely! Touching your Elf on the Shelf will take his magic away? Of course!

23. Walking in the hall is a lot like herding cats.

24. You can no longer count the number of times you've watched a kid eat their own boogers on one hand...

25. When you're not looking, pencils fall into some unknown black hole and are never to be seen again.

26. You can count on someone wanting to tell you the longest story ever at exactly the worst possible moment of the day.

27. You swear you must be in your first year of teaching all over again. None of the tricks you used with your middle schoolers has any effect on seven-year-olds. And they can smell fear.

28. When you accidentally make eye contact with a student who should be working quietly, they suddenly think of a question and throw their hand in the air like it's the most important question they've ever had. Then, when you get there, they have to stall while they think of a question to ask you. You're convinced they just like getting you to walk across the room to see how many times you'll do it in one day.

29. Your students will misspell words and write cuss words instead, and you have to pretend like it's not funny so they don't see you laughing at them. Harder than it looks folks.

30. Stuffed animals are the COOLEST! Students will do ANYTHING to hold one. They will ask you a thousand times if they can bring their own from home. And the one time you let your kids bring them in, absolutely NO learning gets done that day. Lesson learned.

31. Last but not least, your kids will think that you are the greatest person alive. They will shower you with love every single day and totally make all the other stuff well worth the trouble. 

I love my crazy little kiddos. :-) 

March 13, 2015

Better Late Than Never Blog Reveal and Giveaway!

Somehow it's been almost a MONTH since I rolled out my brand new blog (designed by the amazing Alexis at Laugh Eat Learn who is amazing and you should totally ask her to design...ANYTHING) and I haven't hosted a giveaway yet to celebrate!!

How did this happen?!?

(Answer: LIFE.)

Anyhoo. I'd like to set things right, and since it's better late than never, here are two awesome prizes you can enter to WIN!

To celebrate, both Alexis and I are giving away a great prize to two lucky winners!! 
Enter below to win!

I'm giving away a 
$25 TpT Gift Card!

and Alexis is giving away
$50 to use towards a custom blog design! 

 Good luck! And thanks for visiting my little space on the interwebs! :-)

March 1, 2015

March Currently

So first, how in the world did it get to be March already!?! 
That means spring break is right around the corner, then spring testing, and then summer! It's crazy to think about how fast this part of the year always seems to flyyyyyy right by.

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade to share what's currently going on in my life.


Listening: I've had HGTV on all weekend long! We are currently looking for our first house so I'm officially becoming addicted to watching all these house renovation shows! My favorite is Fixer Upper. (Which always reminds me of the song in Frozen...but we won't go there.) 
What are your favorite shows?

Loving: We are just getting into arrays right now in math, and it is so much fun! It's been a much needed break from the addition and subtraction we've been doing for what seems like months now. (Snooze fest....ZzzzzzZzzz)
My kids are catching on super quick too, which just makes it even more enjoyable :-)

Thinking: I have a few very challenging kiddos in my class this year. They've been challenging for their teachers the last few years, so I knew what I was in for, at least. Lately I haven't been getting enough sleep, I've been dealing with some health issues, and adding the stress of finding a house that we can move my in-laws into, all on top of the every day grind of teaching tiny little humans....
...and I've got myself some stress. 
Due to all the stress I haven't shown a much patience with my kiddos as normal, and it shows. I need to step back and take a few deep breaths.

Wanting: Well, I think I covered this already...but I really want to find a move-in-ready home, for the most part. I love the idea of renovating, but it also just seems like a TON of added stress. If the house gods can make that work for me I'll even do a fancy house dance....

Needing: SLEEP! I love my pillow. We need more quality time together. He's making googly eyes at me right now, in fact...

Spring Break plans: Oh yeah, we're gonna get our party on!! (not).
Buying a house. It's like we're adults or something. :-)
But I still want to find a way to unplug for a couple of days. We'll have to work on that.

I hope you have an amazing week!! Happy Sunday!

February 26, 2015

Getting Students to LOVE Reading (with 2 FREEBIES)

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little very nervous to write this post. I'm no where near an expert on teaching reading and I've never been formally trained in how to teach kids to read. Frankly, this is my first year teaching reading as a true content area. I taught middle school science for 7 years, and just moved down to second grade this year. I always had a strong literacy focus in my classroom, but science still took the lead. Now I'm teaching kids who are just learning to read.
Enter panic attack here.
Dramatic? Prolly.
But I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who's felt that way... (Can I get an amen?)

I was inspired to write this post BECAUSE I'm not an expert and I hope that by sharing some of what I've found to work in my own (not always perfect and "learning is messy" style) classroom, I can help you find a way to encourage your own students to fall in love with reading! 

 Like most of you, this year I was faced with the challenge of getting students who are all over the spectrum as far as reading ability. I have a few kids who are on or above grade level, a few who are on or just below grade level, then a sizable chunk who came in well below grade level. As a newbie in second grade this has been daunting, to say the least. I know that in order for my students to grow as much as they need, and to continue to become lifelong learners, they HAVE to LOVE reading.

I have tried several things in my class to try and foster the love and joy I want to see when my kids read. 

Some have worked! (insert happy dance)
Some have totally bombed. (womp womp)

Here are a few that have been impactful for my kids:

1) READ! It can't get more simple. If we want our kids to read, we have to model that for them. I keep the book I'm currently reading in my classroom and pull it out when my kids are reading independently so they can see me reading too! They LOVE finding out about my book and are always curious about how many pages it has :-) 

2) Share Your Reading. Not only do our kids need to SEE us reading, but they need to HEAR our love of reading! They need to know how excited we are to read a new book and hear what we learn from it feel like learning something new from reading is the single GREATEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO THEM IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. This is where we, the teachers, turn it "on" and perform. We talk up our newest book like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, we speak with enthusiasm about the characters or the information it contains, and we tell them WHY we love it so much! We know that what we love, our kids end up loving. This is also true of reading. The more we share our own love of reading, the more they will love it.

3) Reading Buddies! I ever-so-strategically paired my students up into reading buddies this year. (The buddies are carefully chosen based on reading level and personality.) Reading Buddies work together in several different parts of our day. First, in our close reading lessons, students pair up to read together. This usually happens on the second day with a text, after the initial read. Reading Buddies alternate reading aloud to each other, then they work together to answer text dependent questions about what they read. This has been marvelous! My students who struggle with reading and/or comprehension now have a friend to support them and their confidence has shot through the roof!
Reading Buddies also pair up at the end of the day to read their own independent reading books aloud to each other. Even my most reluctant readers love this time so much that they beg me for it more often! #winning

4) Student Read-Aloud Time. Something that is quickly becoming one of our favorite times of the day is during our snack and read-aloud. Each day I choose one student who gets to read the book of their choice to the class while they eat their snack. They weren't too sure about this at first, but now it's something they look forward to!! They LOVE showing off for their friends and they LOVE listening to each other read. This teacher is happy :-)

5) Turn Reading into a FUN Challenge!  Make reading fun by investing your kids in a class challenge. In our class, we took on the challenge of reading 100 books!!! When I first introduced this challenge my kids thought I was crazy. They couldn't imagine we'd ever read that many books. Now, we are working on our second "100 Books Challenge"! The best part? THEY get to write the title of their book on the chart when they finish it! And it hangs in the hallway...so that's a BIG deal. 
You might ask how do I keep track of the books and make sure they are actually reading them?? Don't worry...I have an answer for that! Book reports! When a student finishes a book, they have to complete a one page book report about what they read (hello easy comprehension check!) I have two different reports: one for fiction and one for nonfiction. (Click on the picture to download for FREE!)

Disclaimer: They aren't fancy...just effective!


That's all! I tried to limit myself to just trying a few things this year, so I wouldn't overwhelm myself..or my students! I'm sure I'll try some of these again next year, and add a few more. For now, this is doing wonders for our class!!

I hope that these ideas help to spark that joy for reading in your students like it has for mine! I'd love to hear YOUR ideas!!

February 20, 2015

Five for Friday!

I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the infamous Five for Friday! (For the FIRST time! Woo!!)


I think the first things I have to mention is obviously my BRAND NEW BLOG! (Isn’t it cute??) Designed by the lovely Alexis at Laugh EatLearn. I’m a new blogger and I’m excited to start this adventure!


I just bought this book: Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites: 20Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain! I’ve been struggling lately with how boring our curriculum is. (NOT a statement about my colleagues who plan other subjects for our team! They are wonderful! Our curriculum is just so BLAH.) I have been looking for ways to spice up the activities (worksheets) we always use to make them more engaging for my students. It hasn’t gotten here yet, but I’m excited to read and find some inspiration!
I started pairing my students up as Reading Buddies this week. They get to share their favorite book with their partner, and then they switch and the other partner gets to share their favorite book. They absolutely LOVE it! They were SO excited to read out loud with their buddy, that even my most reluctant reader was itching for his turn! (Score!!!)

With the idea of switching up our learning activities, I also started letting students use a clipboard and sit anywhere around the room to complete their work. You would think I gave them candy or a new puppy...they were thrilled to get to move around and lounge while they worked. It was the quietest my classroom has been in a long time! Guess this will be a new staple for us!(Please ignore the rest of the messy room...)

Last, my principal was sweet enough to cater in lunch for us today! We had kind of a crazy week with unexpected things last minute, fire alarms, lots of subs in the building, etc etc. So, she bought us lunch! YUM!

Now I’m off to get firewood  so we don’t freeze tonight!