Happy Friday!  It's been a while since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share my 5 random pictures from the week.


1.  Last weekend, it was finally nice out!  By nice, I mean 45 degrees.  After the winter we've had, it felt great!  My husband and I went on an all day date.  We started with a walk on the beach, then a stop at our favorite pizza place and finished it off with ice cream cones.  I'm milking the end of this pregnancy for all that it's worth!  It may also be our last real date as a family of 2.  Baby Girl should be here any day!


2. Yikes!  I was going through my store the other day and was appalled to realize that the first product I uploaded did not follow clipart rules.  Oh my!  I worked hard to update my Reading Area Chart this week.  You can learn more about it here or pick it up for free in my store here!


 3. I was using my laptop on the couch the other night and someone decided to be a helper.  He was sleeping and taking up more room on the couch than I was - yes, all 10 lbs of him.


4. I read Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner this week and am planning on using some of her tips in my classroom next year.  I decided to create my own notebook in preparation for teaching with it next year.  To learn more about my thoughts on the book, check out this post.  I highly recommend it!

5.  I created a to-do list for myself this week because I realized that I'm slipping in the blogging/TpT world.  Time to get back to work!  So far, it's working - I've blogged three times this week!

In other news, there's a huge Spring Cleaning Sale going on!!  My store is 15% off this weekend (no coupon code needed!)


Check out all these other stores that are participating in the sale:

This week's Throwback Thursday comes with an updated freebie!  I am going to share with you how I ran Reader's Workshop in my second grade classroom.


During independent reading time, the students rotate through book nooks.  Each student has a classroom number.  One of our classroom jobs is to move the numbers on the chart below.  The students can land on book on tape, book on cd, ipod, book online, special chair (beanbag, pillow, etc), or free choice.  Free choice means they can choose a spot in the room to read.  That is there reading spot for the day.  The kids love it!  The chart means no fighting over a spot and everyone gets a chance!



Here is some of our listening center.  There is a cd player, 2 (old) tape players and an iPod for the students to use during Reader's Workshop.  Each book/cd is in its own plastic bag so they are easy for students to grab.  I used Scholastic bonus points to purchase many of these!  The headphone are in their own basket because students can choose to listen to their own book or they can partner up with a friend and share a tape player.

The books on tape are on a bookshelf next to the listening center.  Each basket has a different book in it.  This allows the students to grab one bucket at a time and then return it before listening to a new book.


Now for your freebie!  I updated my Reading Area Chart for you to download from my store!  You can create your own book nooks for your classroom.



Enjoy the end of your week!
A Christmas tradition in my family (yes, Christmas, stay with me here) is to visit Barnes and Noble during vacation and spend the day there reading and purchasing books.  One of the books that I picked up was Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner.  My sister mentioned that she owned it already.  That's the best part of having a family full of teachers - we share materials!  

Anyways, she finally delivered it to me last week.  Notebook Know-How is an inspiring, easy read for any writing teacher.  It reminded me of The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, but for writing instead of reading.  

In her book, Buckner includes how to set-up and utilize a writer's notebook with you students.  She shares tips on how to make it work in your classroom.  Buckner starts with recommending that you allow students to personalize their notebook as a way of making it truly their own.  Here's a picture of mine!


She then provides explains how her students' notebooks are set-up.  She keeps it simple.  Starting in the front, the students write daily entries (both at home and in school).  Most of these entries are free-writes, allowing students to express themselves.  

Working from the back, the students keep track of the strategies that they learn during mini-lessons.  This is where they take notes, place anchor charts and practice the strategies that she teaches in class.

In the book, Buckner includes lots of writing strategies for fluency, expanding topics, genres, and editing.  She also shares examples of her mini-lessons and student work to help explain the importance of these strategies.

I found this book to be extremely helpful, especially for the older grades (she's a fourth grade teacher).  It has definitely inspired me to start creating Writer's Notebooks with my students next year.   I highly recommend picking up this book and I know that I will be looking into her other titles as well!

P.S. ~ I was not contacted to promote this book or author.  I simply picked up Notebook Know-How after a recommendation from a friend and chose to share my own thoughts on it's content.
Happy Monday!  I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics today.  I haven't done a Monday Made-It since summer!  This is unheard of.

Since I'm out of the classroom, today's Monday Made-It is not school related.  I did work on something at home that desperately needed to be taken care of.  I may be a little embarrassed to show it to you!  Let me start by saying that I hate to cook.  Hate it.  I am also a super picky eater.  I would eat cereal for dinner every night if my husband let me.  He doesn't.  Luckily, he's a good cook.

We have many cookbooks in our house but don't use any of them.  Instead we like to search online for good recipes.  After making it, if we like it, the recipe goes in our personal recipe binder!  Good system, right?  Yeah, check it out...

Painful, I know!  I have been wanting to fix this for months now, but just never seemed to have time.  Today I finally decided to tackle it.  I browsed Pinterest for ideas, but ended up creating one that worked just for us.  I started with a new binder (since the other was broken).  I designed a cover and divider pages with tabs.  Each recipe will go in the binder in a sheet protector.  My husband isn't the neatest chef, so I need to protect those pages!

And here's the final product...


This last pages is my favorite...
There is a pocket behind this page for take-out menus!  We don't have a spot in our house for take-out menus, so I thought this would be perfect!  All I need to do now is organize the recipes (the not-so-fun part).

Have a great week!
Looking back on some of my older products makes me cringe sometimes all the time.  Today I updated my Studying the States product.  I received an awesome suggestion from one of my buyers so I ended up doing a complete overhaul.

The product is completely in black and white, making it easier to print.  It also comes in two different size booklets, allowing you to save paper if you want.  I took advantage of the black and white copies and colored them in myself!


Inside the booklets, there is a page for each state.  At the top is the state name as well as an outline of the state shape.  On each page, your students can record important information (abbreviation, capital, nickname, flower and bird) about the state.  On the full page booklet, there is also a space for students to record fun facts.  


Each booklet also includes a map of the United States.  Students can color in the states as they learn about them or they can use it to label the states and capitals.
I have used this project two different ways in my classroom.

One year, we used it as part of our Flat Stanley project.  We read the story and each student created their own Flat Stanley.  They were then mailed to family/friends across the country, with requests of information about their state.  Each time we received a Flat Stanley back, we would record the information in our booklets.

The next year, we participated in a postcard exchange.  Our class sent out 49 postcards - one to each state.  As we received postcards back from each state, we recorded our information in our booklets.  My students loved getting mail!

Studying the States could also be used as an individual or group research project.  Another idea is to have the class work together to create one booklet and keep it in the class library.  So many ideas!

*Note: If you have already purchased this product, all you need to do is go here to re-download it!
It's Thursday!!  The week is so close to being over and I know some of you are headed into your Spring Break this weekend.  You can make it!

This week's Throwback Thursday is all about how I got rid of my teacher's desk.   You read that right, no desk for me!  


I've been reading a lot of New Year's resolutions that include "getting rid of my teacher's desk."  But I'm noticing that it comes with a lot of hesitation.  I've been there!  Last January, I got rid of my teacher's desk for good.  It was definitely a nerve-wracking process for me, but I am so glad that I did it.   I thought I would share how I organize and arrange my "stuff" without a desk.  Yes, it can be done!

This is what my desk area looks like now:


And, yes, my table is always that clear.  I use it to work with my students so I don't want it cluttered with stuff.  


I use the drawers to store important information and anything that I need at my fingertips.
Tape, post-its (I use sooo many of those), book order forms, stickers/labels and teacher materials (aka chocolate).  I love these drawers because nothing gets lost in them.  The deep drawers on my desk used to swallow things whole and I wouldn't see them for years!


I keep all my office supplies in this handy tool box that I'm sure you have all seen and made.  This is probably one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  Seriously.  It makes an OCD girl's heart smile.  


Any papers or books for the upcoming week go in these bins.  I got them in the dollar section at Target (wayy cheaper than Lakeshore's set)!  I have to say that I don't use these a ton (notice how they are empty?), but it keeps things from piling up on my desk.  And my co-teacher can always find the papers she needs!

Lastly, my pretty awesome dad gave me about 20 of these stacking trays:


They are awesome!  They fit perfectly on the shelves behind my desk and I can easily separate my paperwork and student work.  On the top shelf, I have file folders for each committee that I am on (PBIS, RTI, etc).  The second shelf has file folders from professional development and data meetings (math, writing, reading, etc).  I often have to grab these and run to a meeting during the day so I keep them handy.  Then I have shelves of student work that I am saving.  Again, this keeps me from piling work on my desk.

So I say, if you are thinking about getting rid of your desk, go for it!

**Update**  
These photos are from my second grade classroom from last year.  When I moved to fifth grade this year, I decided to bring back my desk.  It didn't last long!  I got rid of my desk quickly and my set-up is similar this year.  

I am currently out of the classroom due to an early maternity leave so, unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my classroom this year.  I will share them with you when I head back into my room!
Avery labels can be used to organize reading conference notes.  Perfect for guided reading groups or  meeting with students individually.

Are you ready for another HUGE collection of amazingly bright ideas??  Welcome to the second official Bright Ideas Blog Hop!


Today I want to share with you how I take notes when I meet with my students during Reader's Workshop.  I used to carry around a large binder (think 3 inches wide), but it was too bulky!  I felt that it got in the way of my conference.  And, if I was meeting with a group of students, I was constantly flipping the pages back and forth.

Insert my bright idea:

I use Avery labels on a clipboard!  So easy to carry around.  I can get Avery labels from a local shop for only $1.00/box - amazing!  When I was teaching second grade, I used to print  fill-in-the blanks sections on each label.  This made it easy to fill it in as I conference with my students.


Now that I am in fifth grade, I print just the students names on the label and lines to write on (I need lines!).  Having the student names on the labels make it easy to see at a quick glance which students I have met with that week and which ones I still need to conference with.


After I finish my conferences for the day, I place them in the student's folder.  This way I have all their information together in one place.  I can easily pull it out during conferences to share information with their parents.  The labels could also be place on individual pages in a binder.

I hope you found this helpful!  Using Avery labels is definitely one of my favorite classroom tricks.  Now, hop on over to Kinder Kapers to learn another bright idea for Reader's Workshop!


Looking for EVEN more bright ideas??  Check out any of the blogs below!



Back to Top