Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Sale!!!!!

Hi Friends!!

To celebrate the New Year I'm having a sale...what better way to start the New Year in your classroom but with new activities!?!

Click the picture to head on over to my store!

Thank you for spending 2012 with me!  Can't wait to rock out 2013!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Almost New Year!!! {Linky} *Freebie*

Bah Humbug...that's how I feel about making Resolutions.  Last year I chose OLW {One Little Word} and quite honestly...that didn't sorta worked out for me.  My OLW was "Strength" and I definitely mustered up strength in different moments where I might otherwise not have...and I did replay my word over and over in my mind to gather more strength when I needed it...but the year went on, and I forgot to remind myself to be strong...not that I fell apart or anything, but I didn't quite use my OLW the way I intended to.  I'm still going to pick a new word for this year; but I'm also going to work on a more specifically worded resolution too...

Thanks to Jen, over at The Teacher's Cauldron, for giving me a nudge in this direction...

I'm pretty cliche' when it comes to making resolutions..but I have to be honest with you all. {I really want to be clever here and make a resolution that's never been that makes you go A-HA...that's so cool, wow that Crisscross Applesauce girl is sooooo clever}As much as I hate that this seems to be my resolution every bleepity, bleep, bleep year I have been left with no other choice.  I've fallen off the wagon AGAIN!!!!!!! 

I was a runner for a couple of wasn't something I LOVED.  It never really became a natural part of who I was and what I just *needed* to do to feel right with the world.  {Do I wish I could look at it that way!} but I did feel really good AFTER I got a good run in and the races were a great motivator and so much fun!!!! {Okay...sorta fun}

That's my friend Barb on the left...she's going to start a blog soon!
So my personal resolution is to run more okay just RUN{and eat better, and lose some weight in the process}...

My blogging resolution?

I want to share more of my day-to-day classroom ideas with you.  Sometimes I think I get caught up in sharing only those ideas that I consider more earth-shattering or ones that I think might make you say "WOW, that's the coolest ever".  In waiting for that big idea I can sometimes go weeks days without blogging.  I want to get over that and blog about even the "small" things because I think you can relate to something as simple as "how often do you switch your desks around in your classroom" just as much as you can to a post about schema.

I leave you with this simple freebie...

Click the picture to pick yours up in Google Docs...

Happy New Year to you!!!!!!  If you'd like to share your resolutions or your OLW I'm not above copying all ears...I *think* I might have my OLW picked out...but could be easily swayed if you share a better one!!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thinking Caps ~ Sight Word Edition

Hey There!

I sure hope you are enjoying your vacation and that you're steering clear of teacher-stuff at least some over your break and you better declare at least one or two of those days PJ Days!!!

I wanted to share a game with you that I've played in my classroom for a couple of years now and just decided to turn it into something you might want to use in your classroom.  We call it "Thinking Caps". 

Sight word practice is a real important part of our week - I try to provide new and different ways to work on those high frequency words...

Click the preview to head over to my TpT store!

Of course I'm not following my own advice of steering clear from teacher-y stuff  - but I had to finish this up so that I could tell you about it!!! 

First you'll need to print out the word cards {The first 75 Fountas & Pinnell sight words}...I suggest laminating them too...

I printed mine in b & w but you could print them in color if you wanted..
Have your kiddos choose the Thinking Cap logo they would like to use to decorate their headband {sentence strip}...

You can also print the Thinking Cap lightbulbs out in b & w and have your kiddos color them in
Cut a half circle to create a flap where the sight words go {teacher job}...

Since I notoriously have "peekers" I've instituted the "no peeking" they have to cover their eyes when their partner puts the word card in their friend's Thinking Cap...

And let the fun begin...

Your kiddos start asking questions about their word.  There are question stems provided in the pack some of them are "Do I have {#} letters?"  "Do I have {#} syllables?", etc.  There's also a recording sheet so your students can write their words down once they are guessed.

I'm going to use my Thinking Cap right now and guess that your students will love them too!
Enjoy the rest of your vacation! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Bloggy Best and Brightest Linky

I'm loving this linky that Christina over at Bunting, Books & Bainbridge is hosting...

I love looking back at a year and thinking about the wonderful accomplishments and even the bumps and bruises and what I learned from them.  This has been one GREAT year!!!!!

By far, without a doubt I'm so proud of my store over at TpT!!!!  I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I had what it took to tackle this endeavor and I'm so very glad that I did.  Of course I have to thank all of YOU for stopping by and shopping...each sale makes me smile and I never take even one for granted!!!!

I'd have to say my most favorite product that I've created {Which also took me the LONGEST to make...remember, I hem and haw a ton!} for TpT is...

I think I like it so much because it has helped me a ton this year in my guided reading groups.  I have a folder that I filled with the prompts...I made several copies of each prompt ... I have responses to literature at my fingertips and they make my kiddos think.  Easy peasy!

If somebody asks me what my favorite color, my favorite food, my favorite restaurant or any other favorite - I have the hardest time choosing just one.  To share a favorite post with you is way too hard.  I'd have to think over that for I decided to just check my stats and go with a few of my most viewed ones.

My Friendly Letter Post...

You can pick up this freebie....Just click the picture!

And my Spell It, Smell It {Which happens to be a classroom favorite word work activity}...

Another freebie for ya - click on the picture!

What I cherish most about blogging this past year are the number of friendships I have made...a great community of thinkers, supporters and friends! With the bum wrap that teachers can sometimes get it was nice to meet people who uplift and make me want to be an even better educator.  Thanks friends!!!!!

A little confession....I'm not the world's biggest pinner.  I just can't wrap my brain around it really...I pin stuff, but I don't get the followers business and all that jazz.  Anyway, I'm working on it and started a K-2 Bloggers Board  {Thanks pinning guru Lori for the idea} I filled it with great blogs that I love to go check it out if you're looking to add more blogs to your addiction!  I have to add Third Grade Doodles to the mix...I almost added her to my K-2 board but couldn't do it because it would mess up my attempt at organization...HA! She's an awesome blogger who will really get you thinking!!!

Well, there you have it....lots of bright spots on this here take a look in that mirror...

Do you see who that is?  It's YOU...I thank YOU for making 2012 such a great year for this little 'ol blog!!!!

Merry, Merry! Happy, Happy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 in '12 Linky

This is one of my favorites...

Remember, I'm this is RIGHT up my alley...

Hadar & Kristin are hosting!

12. Favorite movie{s} you watched:
Good gravy, I loved this movie {the books were so addictive}!

Loved watching this with my of my favorites this year! Ha - just noticed I have the Spanish version here...we watched it in English. ;)
11. Favorite TV series:
I just started watching this on NetFlix...holy interesting.  I can't put down my iPad...
10. Favorite restaurant:
I always leave there mouth is watering just thinking about it!
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
This was quite a moment for me - to actually find the STRENGTH to do this.  I can't believe I did - and I thank all of you for your continued support with this endeavor!  It has made me a BETTER teacher!
8. Favorite gift you got:
Well, this is for my upcoming birthday - but the delivery was on the front porch in a box that said "Hammock".  I have wanted one for years and I know I am going to LOVE relaxing in it this summer!  Ahhhhhh...
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
This is just funny, right!?!
6. Favorite blog post:

Toodles to Reading Logs
This post really got people thinking - I love when that happens.  It still has me thinking - as I am doing reading logs this year. I know, I know - I said I was going to say "toodles" to them...I just couldn't do it.  But it's still on my mind and I just might do it in January.  Stay posted!

5. Best accomplishment:
This was my first product on TpT.  I was shaking in my shoes when I posted it and then it became one of my best sellers!  Woo hoo!!!!!!! {And thank all of you who have ever purchased something from my store}
4. Favorite picture:

I don't think I need to explain this one...isn't it gorgeous!?!
3. Favorite memory:
See above #4

2. Goal for 2013:
My Goal:  To think outside the box...
1. One Little Word:

My OLW Last Year:
Strength - I blogged about it HERE and HERE.
It's going to take me FOREVER to think of a new one. 
I had many moments where strength was needed and I thank God for the strength He gives me each day. 

 Go check out the linky party and read your favorite bloggers favorites for 2012! Link up if you can and if you can't - tell me about your year! {Because I'm nosey!}

P.S. I looked up the spelling of nosy/nosey because I'd type it and it wouldn't look right - then I'd change it and it still didn't look right. I  guess it's one of those words where either spelling is acceptable.  Who knew!?


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pay It Forward Winner

Happy Saturday,

I wanted to annouce the winner last night but time and ears got in the way.  Well, actually - just one ear. My ear.  I've got an ear infection...those things are no fun!

First, I want to say that I really wish I could give to each charity that was mentioned.  I've looked up each one - many were new to me.  Again, what a reminder that life is precious and that there is a lot of good being done in the world.  I'm so happy to be a small part of it.  If any of my readers are looking for a charity to donate to - please check the comments in this post.

To be able to give to this foundation is an honor. 

Please go visit this amazing families tribute to hero and fallen firefighter, Stephen Siller.  I hope they know that while they have lost a beloved family member - they serve as an inspiration of strength and bravery to those who are touched by their story.  Thank you!
Many Blessings!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Second Annual Pay It Forward Giveaway!!!!!

Hi All!

Just about a year ago I was celebrating 250 followers with a different kind of giveaway - a giveaway where YOU'RE actually the one giving away, so to speak.  You can read about it {here}.

Around this time of year you can't help but count your blessings.  You look back at the year, and although some days, weeks or maybe months might not have been can look back on it and find hope and happiness. 

There are so many charitable organizations out there who are trying to give more people in our world those same feelings of happiness and hope that can so easily be taken for granted.  That's why I'm happy to tell you about my....

Clipart: Middle Grades Maven
Fonts & Digital Paper: Mrs. Stanford's Class

I'd like to give $50 dollars to a charitable organization of your choice - in your name! 
To enter...please just leave your name, which charity you'd like for your donation to go to and your email address.  I will use the Random Number Generator to choose a winner next Friday evening - at 8:00 EST.
Happy Holidays!!!!

Now go enter...and tell all your friends to enter too!!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Learning Goals - Common Core - Freebie

Hey You Guys!!!!

Anybody busy out there?  Assessments, report cards and holidays...oh my!  If it weren't for this...

My newest vice...

I'd have lost my cool by now!!!  I'm not really a tea drinker...but this stuff is cozy, yummy and calms me right down.  Give it a might make that twitch go away!

We're undertaking the daunting task of adopting the Common Core.  It's going okay but I do find myself feeling like a first year teacher all over again.  How many times have I thought "Geez, I've been at this for 13 years and I STILL feel like a new teacher"?! 

I love keeping up with current & best practice - but every now and then, I'd like to stick with something for more than a couple of years.  I do like the depth that The Core provides...I just can't wait for it to become second nature.

I've had focus walls in the past where I posted what we were currently working on - but they were in my own words and weren't necessarily directly connected to any one standard.  With the new CCSS I am attempting to display the standards that our class is currently working on.  Making the kids explicitly aware is pretty cool too.  My hope is that if you were to pull one of my kiddos aside - they'd be able to tell you in "kid-language" what standards we are focusing on in each curricular area. 

Have you seen Mrs. Wheeler's "I Can" statements?  Head on over to her store and check them out...

Click the picture to head over to her store!

Print, laminate and display...

Click above to pick yours up for free!
Post your Learning Goals header somewhere in your room and the CCSS you're currently working on directly underneath.  Nice and small to conserve space {Just be sure to put them at your kiddos eye level so they can easily see them} which is super important if your classroom is as itty bitty as mine!

Happy Learning!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cyber Monday {Plus Tuesday} Sale ~ Fill Up Those Carts!!!!

Guess what?  You can camp out on your couch in preparation for the big cyber Monday {plus Tuesday} sale on TpT.  No need for tents or porta potties {ewwww} can wait for it in the comfort of your own home!!!!
I just finished up my winter literacy pack. It has simple printables that your kiddos will love.  Most of them are print and go...very little prep! {Do I hear an "oh yeah"?!}

Click the Preview to Visit my Store!

So sit back, relax, and click away!!

Happy shopping!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012


And it's FREE! {although you can upgrade if you fork out some dough} Just click on the "start prezi" button on mine above and then push the next arrow to see each frame.  I'm going to use it just like Barb except she'll put hers on her groovy Promethean and I'll display mine on my Mimio.  It's a great way to show what CCSS you'll be working on {or what your day will look like} that day.  You can also convert it to a PDF and print it out.  There are lots of background/styles you can choose from.

 It's so easy to work with - pretty much like a Powerpoint. You can add frames, take them away, change the fonts, colors, styles...pretty much anything you need you can do.  If you click {here} you can find more info on how you might use Prezi. 
I bet you can find lots of different ways to use it in your classroom.  Whether it be to organize your day or plan a story...I'd love to hear what you come up with!
Have fun!!!!
My blog pal, Sara, over at Smiling in Second is having a Winner's Choice Giveaway to celebrate 1,000 followers!  Go enter - you could win 32 TpT products and a $10 gift card to any store!!!!!
Are you craving some delicious Thanksgiving food?  My husband makes the world's best stuffing.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.  We're hosting Turkey Day this year...which my husband seems to think is easier than traveling...thing is, he ENJOYS his end of the bargain.  He loves to cook.  Me, on the other hand, I have to clean the very neglected house. I know, having a husband who cooks, I'm probably not gaining any votes of sympathy...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magic Word *Freebie*

We're pulling out all the shots right now because we are in desperate need of a break.  Hanging from the tips of our cute little fingers.  Hanging on by a thread of a turkey hat on hat day. 

Not enough thought was put into wearing this hat today.  Who knew it would rile 'em up the way it did...
So, in order to maintain some semblance of calm I've instituted the Magic Word {dun, dun, dun}
I don't know why it works, I don't know how it works, all I know is it's working and so I'll go with it.  It actually happend on a whim {Duly noted that I have blogged about four other "whimful" moments in my classroom - what can I say, I'm quick on my feet!} on Halloween when "Pumpkin" became our Magic Word.  Too loud? "Pumpkin" and things quieted right down.  Walking down the hall - all a fright? "Pumpkin" - that line straightened right up.
The next day the kids asked what our new Magic Word would be.  Hmmm....were they on to something?  How about "Candy"?  And so it was and so it worked.  Since then it's evolved a bit to me choosing a student each day to come up with our new Magic Word.  So far we've had: Snoogies {?!?}, Dog, Hotdog, Alakazam and Lima Bean {Which, technically, is two but we made an exception}.
We have ours prominently displayed on our front white board and if you're trying to keep your darlings under control for the next few days before Thanksgiving or if you're ever just having one of those days you can grab yours...
Click the picture to pick yours up for free!

I write the Magic Word on a sticky note and put it right on the laminated Magic Word page.  There ya have it...
Oh - one more thing...a teacher-friend/colleague of mine has just started a new blog.  This gal knows her stuff and will make you smile.  Go check her out and don't forget to follow!!!!

Is that not the cutest name?!?
I hope you have a magical weekend!! Is your mouth just watering thinking about that yummy Thanksgiving food?  I can't wait to dig my fork into my hubby's delicious stuffing!!!!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guided Reading Groups *Reading Response Prompts For Two Lucky Followers*

I thought I'd talk a little about guided reading groups.  I use Daily 5 to manage what the other kiddos are doing when I'm meeting with guided reading groups.  I think working in those small groups where I can really see what's going on with each student and providing valuable teaching points is my most favorite time of the school day.

I try to have four reading groups...years that I have five are so tricky to manage.  I am lucky to have a literacy paraprofessional that comes in during Daily 5 for about 30 minutes and an ELL para that comes in to help as well. 

I use the Fountas & Pinnell Continuum to help plan for each group...

It provides comprehension strategies, word study and other skills that are based on each guided reading level - and what can be expected developmentally for kids working at each particular level.  Another book I was just introduced to that I can't wait to get is Guided Reading - Next Steps...

I think this one might be another "go to" resource for planning guided reading group instruction. It has really great lesson plan templates/ideas that help break down how a lesson should flow for each leveled reading group. 

One question I get asked often by both parents and other teachers is whether or not I introduce a new book each and every day.  I don't - I believe so strongly in the power of familiar re-reads that I introduce a new book every other day within the guided reading group setting.  My kids are encountering new texts other places {their independent reading books, the classroom library, public library, Raz-Kids, etc.} that they have plenty of opportunities to practice those decoding skills often.  What is often lacking is experiences with familiar re-reads where they can practice fluency, expression as well as comprehension {digging deeper}.

I don't know about you - but there's such a sense of urgency on my part to move, move, move - get things done - do this, do that....sometimes I forget to breathe.  This bums me right out because sometimes I forget to enjoy the pleasure of teaching and kids learning.  I can't imagine trying to introduce a new book, work on decoding strategies, respond to the literature in a deep and meaningful way each and every day, for sometimes FIVE guided reading groups.  I've already got "the twitch" goin' on...I don't need to add to it by feeling pressure to get a new book into my students' hands each and every guided reading group and it's just not necessary to do so.

I sort of look at my guided reading groups as having this framework:

Day 1: New Book
*Introduce new book: picture walk, vocab development, predictions {all that great pre-reading "stuff"} I spend a lot of time pre-reading.
*New read: At the table I have one child sit facing "out" the next child facing "in", "out" all the way around the table.  I do this so they can all read at their own pace and I'm able to confer with those who are facing "in".  We alternate each day with who faces in/out.  I'm really able to see what strategies are being used - I can also do a quick running record on portions of text to get a vibe for how the kids are doing.
*Quick discussion of book/retell/noticings/etc.
*Take this book home to re-read

Day 2: Familiar Re-Read
*Students get started with their re-reads just as soon as they sit down {alternating seating: in/out/in...except if you sat out yesterday, today you sit in} If students are in lengthier books - they may only read a portion of the book.
*I also set several "old" books on the table for them to re-read from the past week/weeks.  We spend about five minutes on this {of course we go through fewer books as the levels increase}.
*I spend the rest of the group {about 15 minutes} either on word study, comprehension strategies, decoding strategies, response to literature, whatever is needed and often a combination of ...
*Take same book home to re-read {sometimes I assign additional homework to go along with the book the second time they bring it home}

Day 3: New Book {if we aren't in a chapter book}

This works so well for me - and I really do notice a difference in my students fluency/comprehension and I feel less frantic!

As the year goes on; this tends to evolve.  My higher readers spend less time with me and more time partner reading, independently responding to literature, book clubs, etc.

I created some response to reading prompts that I like to use once the texts become a little meatier.  Here's a preview and you can head over to my store to purchase them if you'd like!!!!!  If you leave a little lovin' I'll randomly choose 2 followers from the comments to send the pack to for free!  {Be sure to leave your email!} I'll choose a winner tonight - say, 8:00 EST!

Thanks for all the lovin' and the great comments!  The winners are....{I didn't count my responses in the number or additional comments for forgotten emails}

Congrats ~ Miss Foote!!

Congrats ~ Liz!!

29 fiction prompts & 20 nonfiction prompts 

Happy Reading!!!!!
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