Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Teacher Linky & Focus Walls

Summer is almost over for me, but I am oh so excited to begin a NEW school year with my little first graders!  I am linking up with Miss Kindergarten to tell you 10 things I have learned from teaching...I have only been teaching six years, but I feel like I have learned SO much since my first year.  Don't we all feel that way?!

1. Procedures:
*Always take LOTS of time at the beginning of the school year and after any break to teach procedures.  Your day will go so much smoother if you take time to thoroughly teach kids what they are expected to do.  Don't forget to MODEL what they are supposed to do.  Teaching procedures can be fun if you add a silly skit or song to teach it!

2. Be Prepared & Flexible:
*I added these two together because you can never be over prepared, but at the same time your lessons will change based on student needs or an unexpected interruption.  So be Flexible!  It's not the end of the world if you have to change your lesson.  Now back to being prepared...I drive forty minutes to school everyday, so I always have everything ready before I leave school every afternoon.  But a lot of teachers come in extra early to get their materials ready.  Either way, having everything ready before the kids enter your classroom will help you!

3. Parent Communication:
*Always, Always, Always communicate with your student's parents!  Whether you call, send notes, or email, parents love hearing from their child's teacher about how they are doing in school.  

4. Collaboration:
*Collaborate with your team teachers and other teachers in your school.  You cannot do everything by yourself AND you learn so much from your peers, just like kids do.  

5. Kids need a Schedule:
*Just like we need to know what we are doing for the day, our kids need to have a schedule and know what we expect them to do.  With that being said, they will still ask you what time is _____, or when is recess!  It never fails!

6. Learning Centers & Stations:
*I have found that learning centers/stations have really worked in my classroom.  This gives students an opportunity to review skills you have taught them during whole group instruction and allows you to work with small groups or individual students.  For them to be effective students need to know exactly what they are supposed to do and centers need to be well organized.    

7. Caffeine:
*Dr. Pepper gets me through the day!  It's an addiction!

8. Bathroom & Shoe Strings:
*If a kid has their shoes untied and they come out of the bathroom with wet shoe strings and asked you to tie them...good luck!  I learned my lesson!  

9. Reading Books on the Carpet:
*It never fails that if you are reading to your class and they are sitting on your big of your littles will touch your toes or want to play with your shoes!  But I love them anyway! 

10. Have Fun!  
*You can teach and have fun!  Sing songs (especially to the little ones) and give lots of praise! 

Now onto my new products!  I have a focus wall in my classroom and I love it!  It allows for the students to see what we are learning about and always includes our learning goals for the day.  Here are some focus wall sets that I have created.  They are focus wall headers (labels) to help you organize your focus wall board!
Click on the pictures below to view each set!

 Each set includes large and small signs. 

I will be back in another post to show you pictures of my Focus Wall and how they can be used in primary and intermediate classrooms! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday {Saturday Edition}

I am addicted to Pinterest!! There I said it!  I love finding new ideas for my classroom, home, and just life in general.  I am linking up with Cara for her Favorite Pins Friday!

Here are just a FEW of my favorite pins!

Pins for school:

This year we are implementing the Leader in Me program at my school!  So I have been pinning like crazy to find ideas! 

I want a "We are Bucket Fillers" display that combines both of these ideas for my 1st graders. 

Here are some 7 Habits resources that are Great! 

Pins for Home:
These are super CUTE!  I want these for my house in a bad way! 

Click the pictures to view these ETSY shops. 

For Myself:

 I love these!  

Quotes & Printables:
So True! I don't know what I would do without her!

 When I need food I turn into a different person! 

I love this!  I need to remind myself of this more often. 

I can't wait to see what your favorite pins are!  Have a great weekend! 

I would love for you to follow me on Pinterest!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I am linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for a little Throwback Thursday fun!  I love this linky! 

Here is one of my very first posts and it's all about my 5th grade classroom!  I am working SO hard on my 1st grade room now, but it is taking me forever!  I feel like I have too much stuff to fit into one room.  Does anyone else feel that way?? 



Welcome to our Room!

Welcome to my classroom! I'm so glad you decided to stop by!  This year my grade level decided to have a "sports theme" for our classrooms.  Although I LOVE polka dots! I found a way to keep it neutral for both boys and girls.  I hope you enjoy your tour!

I found this football idea on Pinterest this summer and I HAD to make it!  It was super easy!

Here are some large view pictures of my classroom.  It is nice and spacious!  We have lots of room to have desks AND be able to move around for literacy activities!

Our Daily 5 Board

I use the Daily 5 in my classroom everyday.  I have a 90 minute reading block, so I try to fit in two Daily 5 rotations a day.  I have three 5th grade classes and I teach reading, writing, and language arts, so instead of putting each student name on clip, I use numbers.  I bought the number cut outs from Math Mojo and the super cute Daily 5 signs came from The Teaching Reef and they are FREE!

I have three classes, so I keep the students' notebooks and journals in these crates.

 The students keep their reading books and other Daily 5 materials in these numbered baskets.

Here is our CAFE menu (I have added more strategy cards since then).  If you have not yet read The Daily 5 book or CAFE book, check it out HERE.

Author Study Board

Author Study Reading Area

I had a HUGE collection of Patricia Polacco books for my students to read during September.  I will be adding another author during fall break.  I wanted to start the "Author Study" area because I want kids to have an opportunity to read and compare books by the same author.  I will also be adding an "Author Study Menu" to the area for students to research different authors each month.  I am working on a HUGE Author Study Unit for grades 3rd-6th! It will be coming soon!

Books We Recommend

After students read their books (any teacher OR student selected book), they fill out a book recommendation form.  This is a book review in shorter form! I do not require my students to fill out a book recommendation for every book they read, but at least one per month. Sorry the picture was taken before school started, but I got the idea from

Reading Area

I need to Lexile my books and book bins.  If you would like to sort your classroom library books by Lexile, I have created labels.  Pick them up from my TPT store.  I have created several different colors.  

My Desk Area

I organize my copies by day and I pull everything I need for the day and place it in my "Today" bin.  I know silly right!? But it's the only way I can keep everything organized!

Small Group Area

Clear Learning Goals and Focus Wall

I love my Focus Wall!  It keeps the students (and myself) organized.  If you would like to purchase focus wall labels, you can find them here!

AR Star Board
 "Reading Gets My Vote" is a school-wide reading theme we are implementing to encourage reading and the election!

 Each student has a star with their name on it and the board is divided into 4 percentages
(25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%).  Students set a new AR goal each nine weeks and they can place their star onto the board when they meet each percentage of their goal.  They LOVE this!  I even ran out of Velcro around the middle of the nine weeks and a student offered to go to Wal-Mart and get me some because they wanted their star up sooo bad!
These are the AR "Must Do's" for our 4th and 5th graders each nine weeks. 
They know these, but I needed a visual!

Here are some other pictures of my classroom.  Enjoy!
 A SUPER cute banner from  One of my team teachers came up with our slogan (my school name starts with an "N" hence the NFL connection)!

 Each student decorated their own pennant the first week of school.

 Hallway student work displays.

 Author of the Week board (like student of the week).  This picture was taken before school started, but they fill out an information page about themselves and they also have to select a writing piece to display on the board.  Visit my TPT store to get your copy!

 Instead of boarder for my outside work wall, I used cheap football and baseball cards.  It took FOREVER, but my students liked them!

Goal Setting at the beginning of the year!

 A gift from one of my students.  It is ADORABLE!

Thanks for stopping by!