This week, I was complemented on a lesson that I did during my reading block.  The students had read the story Ronald Morgan Goes to Bat from our Scott Foresman Reading Street series, and the poem Spaceball.  I put a Venn diagram on the whiteboard and students drew one on a blank sheet of paper.  Together we compared Ronald Morgan Goes to Bat to Spaceballs.  The students really got into this lesson and someone from the board office happened to walk in while we were doing this.  They went and bragged about my lesson to the P. 

If you would like to join this linky party, hop on over to Clutter-Free Classroom. 

Clutter-Free Classroom

I have added a new product to my Teachers Pay Teachers account.  I have been working on a contractions station for my second graders to use during guided reading.  The packet contains a matching game, a game board, word cards, a word sort, a weeksheet on contractions, and bonus items, such as, a bookmark, certificate, and blank word cards.  This packet has a frog theme and contains 13 pages.  Check it out here.

Here is a small peek.

I finally decided to try out Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have uploaded a free lesson on fact families.  You can access it here.  I have also uploaded a packet to teach place value.  This packet is 14 pages.  It contains 3 lessons, 3 stations/centers, 12 task cards, and all the printables that are needed to complete the lesson.  The packet even has base ten blocks that can be printed for classrooms that may not have access to these.  You can check out my place value packet here.

Here is sampling of what my place value packet looks like.

Here is a sample of what my fact families lesson looks like.

Yesterday, I decided to look for some math lessons to use with a small group of students during our guided math time.  I remembered finding a great lesson once on Thinkfinity, so I decided to search there for some lesson ideas.  I came across this lesson that uses macaroni to help students understand fact families.  I really think this lesson will help some of my students.  The lesson is only one lesson in a unit titled, Macaroni Math.  I may use more of the lessons during with some of my students this week.  Go check out the site.  You might find something you like.
This is the link for the lesson I am going to use:
This is the link for the Thinkfinity website:


I love all of the word work ideas on One Extra Degree's blog. She has tons of ideas listed here.
One Extra Degree: Word Work Center etc.: Whew! It's been a crazy-hectic day! I spent a ton of time in the classroom labeling books, laminating, setting up centers, and completing ...

I found sight word ideas on the Growing Kinders blog. I really like how she put sight word chants on Popsicle sticks. I am going to try some of these chants with my word wall this week. Check it out.
Growing Kinders: Sight Words {and} Chants: Every week, I introduce the kids to two new sight words. I have a sign on the outside of my door that looks like this: Sorry – it’s not...

I have decided to teach my students how to clean and organize their desk.  I hate watching a student did through their desk because they can't find something and I really don't like to wait on someone to dig through their desk to get out a book.  So I came up with this solution.  I had the idea in my mind for a while, so I did a Google search and found a desk diagram.  Of course, I redesigned the original poster idea to fit my class needs. 
Diagram of a Clean Desk

I have been thinking about this since summer so I decided to search (again) for ideas on how to run my math stations during guided math.  I came across this site today and I thought I should share it.  Maybe it will help someone else out there who is trying to put together independent games and activities for math.
The site has ideas for k-5 so this site will appeal to more than just second grade.  Another site that I really like is
Check them out.

So I heard about and I decided to try it out.  They have a free 30 day trial.  The cost after the 30 day trial is only $9.95 for the year.  I love how it color codes my schedule and I can let others view my plans with a link.

Ok, so I haven't been on here for a while because I have been unpacking and setting up my classroom.  The first day of school was last week.  Today, I decided I needed new labels for the baskets in my classroom.  If the clipart belongs to you, let me know and I will give you credit.  This is what I have made so far.  I plan to print them out on cardstock and laminate.

Basket Labels

Summer is almost over.  I have one more week before I officially return to work.  I went to work on my classroom two days this week.  I wanted to go back, but they are waxing the halls.  Since I have moved to a different school, I have tons of things to unpack and organize.  I have been looking at classroom pictures on ProTeacher for hours now.  I am so jealous of some of the really great classrooms out there.  I have found several ideas that I am definitely going to use.  One teacher had a homework hang out.  For this area, she had several of those pocket charts for folders.  What I take from her photo is that the students insert their homework sheet only in their pocket.  Every pocket had a number and the homework could then easily be checked off on a check sheet.  It's a lot faster way to check homework off than what I have been doing.  Some days I get so busy that I forget to even check the homework folders.  This is an area that I need to improve on. 

So here is the link to Ms. Noble's wonderful classroom:

OK, so I am sitting here reading other teacher blogs, and I am beginning to wonder if I am the only one who hasn't really began to plan for the upcoming school year.  For some reason, this is the first summer that I haven't even thought about planning or creating anything.  I did buy a few more things at the Dollar Tree.  See...

I think the owl on the banner is really cute.  I might hang this beside my classroom door.  I am going to use the stars to label my cabinets so I can easily find what I need.  The blue cone has "superstar" printed across it.  I plan on looking for a student who is displaying good behavior.  I will let them keep it on their desk for a while before selecting someone new.  I hope the scented markers smell good.  I haven't tried them out yet, but I think it will be something the students like.  I took a closer picture of the note cards.  I plan to use these to write thank you notes.

Other than purchasing a few items, I have not done much this summer.  I did read some great book (check out my earlier posts).  This summer has been flying by quickly, and I start back in about three weeks.  I am definitely going to miss my lazy days.

My husband and I decided to become puppy parents.  We took my son to the animal shelter today to pick out a family dog.  When we got there they had a lot of puppies.  Well, we have been looking on and we found some really cute puppies.  We drove an hour to my grandparents' hometown to see these puppies.  We saw two puppies in the same cage.  We talked about it for a few minutes and we decided to adopt both of them.  We decided that every dog needs a friend to keep them company while the rest of the family is at work and school.  I wouldn't want them to be lonely.  We pick them up tomorrow.  We are really excited, so we had to go to Petsmart.  We bought the puppies matching bowls, and puppy beds.  We bought food and treats for them too.  The fun part was picking out their new toys.  I will have to post a picture after we get them home.

Create, Teach, Share is hosting a Post-It Link Party. I use Post-Its everyday in my classroom. They are great to take write reminders for students. I will write students a note if I am missing an assignment from them. I will stick this to their desktop so they can see what they need to complete and turn-in ASAP. I have also used Post-Its as exit slips. The students answer a question and stick it to the door on the way out of the room. This is great for lining up to go to lunch.
Head on over and check out the Post-It Party blog. Create●Teach●Share: It's a Post-It Party {and Giveaway}: "Giveaway ends Sunday, July 31st. A winner will be announced on the 1st of August"

Create Teach Share

Little Miss Kindergarten posted on her blog that she found hand pointers at The Dollar Tree. These are the types of pointers that can be used on Smartboards. Check out her blog.

Little Miss Kindergarten - Lessons from the Little Red Schoolhouse!: I Really Can't Contain Myself!: "Well, this day started off like a charm... Up early, one appointment and right around the corner a little store called Dollar Tree. I had to..."

I learned today that Smilebox is giving away free memberships to teachers.  I think these are limited so hurry and get your free account.  Go to

You can make slide shows, calendars, scrapbook pages, certificates and more using Smilebox.

Today, I came across a discussion post about teacher discounts.  Someone posted a link to a blog that contained a list of retailers who offer discounts for teachers.  I never realized there were a lot of places that provided discounts just for being a teacher.  Here is the link to that blog:

I have three items that I really want from Lakeshore.  I even created a wish list and sent an email about it to my dear, sweet hubby.  In the hopes that he won't make me feel guilty about wanting to spend $120.  I guess if he does make me feel guilty, I can always solicit the family for donations.  I know they just all love and want to donate to my classroom.  It seems that I want more for my classroom than I want for myself.  Does anyone else feel this way?  I mean I don't have desires for materialistic things for myself.  I want things to make my life a little easier at work or to help my students. 

I am very thankful that my husband has dealt with a messy garage full of my teaching files.  I switched grades last year.  I went from kindergarten to fourth grade.  It is a major jump in grade levels, but I did it for several reasons.  The change helped me gain new perspectives on my teaching for one.  I will start in the fall as a second grade teacher.  I am super excited about this change as I have realized I am a primary teacher.  The fourth grades found it humorous when I would call recess, playtime.  And if I really wanted to get their attention, I would sing a kindergarten song.  I had half my class in kindergarten so it did make my transition easier.  Oh yeah, there is nothing like see a line of fourth graders walking down the hallway "hips and lips" because the teacher thought they needed to work on being quieter in the hall. :)

OK, so I am moving to a new school and I will be teaching second grade.  I am lucky because the students at my old school are going as well.  Our school closed.  I did get to pick out all the furniture I wanted before I left and I gained 4 boxes of library books.  Now I need to purchase baskets to organize my classroom library.  I think a lot of my basket were destroyed in the move.  I have been seeing how other teachers are organizing their room and I am so impressed.  I hope I can get it together and organized soon after I move into my house first.

I noticed everyone seemed to be shopping at the dollar section at Target, so today I went to see if I could find some of those items.  I ended up buying two tin pails to put pencils in.  I needed on for sharpened and one for pencils that need sharpened.  I also bought a pack of star student certificates, two different packs of award bookmarks, two packs of star student stickers, two packs of birthday stickers, and four packs of Dr. Seuss erasers.  I plan to give the erasers to the students on the first day of school, and I plan on giving my son's kindergarten teacher some of the stickers to use in her class.  I am not sure exactly who his teacher will be yet.  I just moved and I need to enroll him in school.  I decided not to take him to school with me because I want him to know kids in his neighborhood.  Here is a picture of what I bought.

Target Purchase

Here is a site that I found a few months ago that I found to be useful.  This site has language arts PowerPoint presentations that can be downloaded and used.  You can modify them to fit your needs.  The site also has activities for students.

Since I am moving to a new house and I moved to a new school (everything is still in boxes there), I have been thinking about organization.  This year when I unpack my classroom, I want to get everything organized.  Let me say that I have a lot of stuff.  I am not even sure what I have.  I packed up my things at the end of the school year, but I also packed up things for another teacher since I am changing grades.  In addition, someone else packed up their second grade materials for me to be moved to the new school.

So I received a phone call a few weeks ago, it seems that I had too many things going into my classroom.  I took my husband along to sort things out.  Needless to say, I had things moved to my room that did not belong to me.  I also had things in my room that were supposed to be removed.  My wonderful husband helped me move all the things that weren't mine into the hallway.  Then he helped me move the furniture into the areas I wanted them.  I didn't unpack anything.  I just shifted the stuff around to make room for my desk and table that still needed to be moved to the new school.

Anyway, I started checking out some other teacher's sites on how they organize their classrooms.  I am so grateful that their are teachers out there that are willing to share this information along with photos.  I plan on taking pictures as I begin to sort out the boxes at school.  I will definately post them on here to show you.  Here are the sites of some wonderfully, organized teachers: (I tried to use her banner, but it wouldn't work.  This site belongs to Karen A. McDavid.) (This site belongs to Mandy Gregory.  She has great organization ideas.  I like how she organizes her classroom library.) (This site belongs to J. Meacham.  She has a section on organization with lots of photos.  I also love the photos of how her classroom is set up.  So make sure you take the tour.  She has several years of classroom arrangements and organizations.  I really like her white shelves and the color cordinating book baskets.)

I finally closed on my house today.  I started the process in March, and I really thought I would be moved in already.  I just had to share this with the world. I learned from the neighbors that the house has stayed in the same family for the past 64 years and the lady who originally owed the house lived to be 100 so I take that as a good sign that it is a happy home.

Many of us spend some of our summers looking for new ideas for the new school year.  It seems like one of the most exciting days is the first day of school.  Every year I like to do different activities on the first day.  One year I used this poem and I helped students add their handprints.  I have found it much easier to use the large stamp pads and it doesn't make a big mess like paint tends to do.  I am not sure where this poem came from, so if it is yours, let me know.

First Day Hand Poem

I decided to go through more old files and I came across a blank bingo board that I made.  I had made this bingo board for kindergarten so it did not have as many boxes as a traditional bingo board.  Since I am teaching second grade, I thought I would update it a bit.  I like to write high-frequency words, spelling, and vocabulary words on blank bingo boards.  Sometimes I have the students fill out their own.  It is a fun way for students to practice word recognition, and it can even be used in a center.


Since I posted the reading log, I thought I would post the listening log I found as well.

Listening Log

I was going through some old files and I found this reading log that I created.  I created the log to have handwriting lines so the students could practice their handwriting at the same time.  I am going to have to remember to use this.  Enjoy!

Reading Log

Here is a form that I give out at the beginning of the year to collect information from parents.  It allows me to see who can volunteer and what they are willing to do.  I usually include this in my class handbook.

Volunteer Info.

I am sitting here thinking of how I am going to organize materials for my guided reading groups.  In the past, I put all the materials and directions into a large envelop.  On the outside of the envelop, I always wrote the reading unit and story at the top.  Next, I would list the days of the week underlined.  Below each day, I would write activities that I planned on using.  I also wrote the names of all the leveled readers that I would need for the week.  Fridays were review days.  Anything that I did not get to do for the week I could do on Friday.  I also used this day to reread stories previously read.  Inside the folder, I included all the word cards, directions, games, etc.  Since I did this for every week, I made multiple copies of repeated material so everything could stay in the envelop and I would have my materials in one spot.  At the beginning of the week, I just pulled out the folder and returned the materials when I was finished.

I did not keep leveled readers in the envelops.  I usually pulled these out and kept them inside a basket.  I used the books for repeated readings for a few weeks before returning them to their spot.  Inside my basket, I also kept highlighter tape, various pointers, phonics phones, retelling cards, and any other larger nonreproducible item.

I am thinking about modifying things a little this year since I have been reading Debbie Diller's book Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All.  Her book has made me think more about what I am going to focus on during guided reading.

I will post a picture of one of my folders along with the contents so look for this to come soon.

I am trying something out.  I needed to post this clip to create my badge.  You can link up to my blog by grabbing the code on the side.

I thought I would try a few different things to see if I can post materials that I have made and used in my classroom.  If all goes well, you should see a copy of a blank journal page that I used daily with my kindergarten students.


I have been reading lots of books this summer, and one of the books I am reading is Positive Discipline in the Classroom by Jane Nelson, Lynn Lott, and Stephen Glenn.  I started reading this book because I sometimes feel like the stoplight and the card changes are very negative.  Sometimes the card changes just do not work.  So I am reading this book and thinking about what I am going to do differently next year.  I really like how the book focuses on help children find solutions to their problems instead of dishing out a punishment.  Students help each other find solutions through class meetings.  As I was reading, I realized that my class had class meetings, but they were not scheduled and we did not follow a format.  When my class had an issue that they wanted to discuss, I allowed them to openly discuss it.  It allowed everyone to express how they feel and sometimes we did come up with solutions to our problems.

As I am thinking about class meetings, I am torn between having class meetings first thing in the morning as an opening or to do them at the end of the day so we can discuss issues on the day they occur.  I haven't really researched what other teachers are doing, but I am definitely going to do this.  I did get the book Positive Discipline: A Teacher's A-Z Guide by Jane Nelsen, Linda Escobar, Kate Ortolana, Roslyn Duffy, and Deborah Owen-Sohocki.  I flipped through the book and it has common classroom issues with possible solutions for each issue, such as hitting, tattling, etc.  This book will be helpful as I am transitioning to helping students find solutions to their problems.

Recently, I have been really hooked on discussion boards.  My favorite discussion forums are: and

Everyone seems to have so many nice ideas to share.  I am excited to try some of them out in my classroom this year.  One idea that I have been reading about lately is brain bubbles.  To make brain bubbles, you need some challenging questions or problems for the students to work out.  You write the challenge on a small slip of paper.  This paper is then placed into one of those plastic bubbles that you see in toy vending machines.  The students select a bubble and work out the solution. 

I have been doing a lot of reading this summer and I have discovered a few books that I have really enjoyed reading.

My summer reading list:

The Cafe by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser
The Daily Five by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser
Making the Most of Small-Groups: Differentiation for All by Debbie Diller
Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller
Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall

I can't wait to try some of the ideas in these books.  By the way, I wish someone would have told me about Debbie Diller's Spaces and Places.  I could have really used the organizing tips years ago.