Back to School Teacher Week Linky - WHEN and a FREEBIE!

Well, I am late again  but I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for the super fun Back to School Teacher Week Linky! Today's theme is when. It scared me! Everyone has these cute, organized little plan book jpegs to post - not me! I had my boring old plan book in power point with nothing cute on it ( I like simple, no clip art or distracting borders - plus I print my plans out to leave on my desk so I don't want to use  a lot of colored or black ink). 

Here is what I did last year:

I printed them out and put them in protective sleeves with a ring to keep them together. I decided NOT to put them in my teacher binder because I don't bring that home every night, and didn't want to be forced to bring it home because my plans were in it. I really liked doing it this way. I would keep the next few weeks pages also printed out and on the ring but the older ones would go in my binder for reference in case I needed it.

I have NO idea what my schedule will be like this year except I did find out I have my specials all at 9:00am this year. Yay for consistency! Our district is changing they way we provide services to special education students so there will be a lot of staff members coming in and out of our rooms all day and the same paras will be covering IEPs in several different rooms, so I don't know for example, if we can even have reading all at the same time. We have to find a way though, because we also do RTI and that is when some of our students get their Tier 2 and Tier 3 support. The special education teacher also has some students who get pulled out during the reading block. I always feel bad when the speech staff and other folks come to me and say "OK, I need to schedule Timmy. When can he see me?" and can only give them a few options. It may be worse this year. What kind of changes are you dealing with that may affect your schedule this year?

I also wish we had more Science and Social Studies time. Because we have 1 hr 45 min of LA and 60 min of math every day (or the math can be 300 minutes spread out into different amounts of minutes each day), then 2 recesses (YAY), lunch, specials (another Yahoo!)... it leaves very little time. I heard of a school nearby that hired a science teacher just to teach science - science would be in the specials block, so that way Science would definitely get taught no matter what. Interesting idea! 

And if you are looking at this and wondering what This is my Week is, it is awesome! Go learn more about it here in the free TPT grades K-2 Back to School ebook (I'm on the last page) or here to my TPT store. You can get the download from either! Here is what it looks like. Clicking on it takes you to TPT for it. It is FREE by the way!

Back to School Teacher Week Linky - WHAT I like to teach and a FREEBIE

Hey all! I am back for What Friday - linking up with blog hoppin' for the Back to School Teacher Week Linky. Today is all about WHAT I love to teach and what I love about my job!

Ok, so those of you who know me know I LOVE to read and obviously I love teaching reading. I went back to school in 2012 just to get my reading specialist degree. I unfortunately have not found a job in it yet, but it has really enhanced my classroom teaching. 

I was setting up my room yesterday and unpacking books and said to my mom, "I keep getting slowed down because I want to read all of these books!" Here are some of my all time favorites (just a few of them!).  For my blog post on 16 Super Back to School Books, click here. What are yours?


My school introducted RTI about 5 years ago. Does your school have RTI? At first it was a little challeneging but now I love having my groups and having my friends get their tier 2 and tier 3 support. I do feel like it makes a huge difference to get that targeted instruction! I have a lot of fun working in small groups with my kiddos and I have accumulated a lot of materials over the last few years!

I love teaching Amelia Bedelia! She always cracks me up. Check out my blog post about reading her books to my class here. I love the fun activities we can do. Here is someone showing what she was supposed to do and what she did instead.

And another funny one. Love the labels!

This was a favorite- from when she "Called the roll"!

And I just remembered I have an Amelia Bedelia freebie! It wasn't the freebie I was thinking of (that one is below, keep scrolling!!!!) but click on the image below to grab it. It is just basically a slightly different version of the paper above. Easy but fun and they are learning!

This year I am getting on the Interactive Notebook bandwagon! I really want to work on writing so I put together my own Interactive Notebook. Here are a few examples of the cover, and what you can find inside. Clicking on any image brings you to see it at TPT. I am really excited about trying these out this year. I like the simple design of my pages - I find that with all the fun fonts, cute clip art,  and zig zaggy curlicue borders that my kiddos get distracted. That is why I went simple. Personally I LOVE some of the other notebooks out there but it is just not for my kiddos. I also wanted to include all the skills and building blocks to improving writing so I have everything in there from parts of speech, subjects and predicates, up to working on types of writing (informational, narrative, etc.)

 FREEBIE time.. if you want to try part of it, click on the image below and you will get a little free sample of a few of the pages from the writing section.

I also just put together a spelling interactive notebook. How awesome would it be to have all the kiddos' spelling work in one notebook! I am going to post about it soon but here's the cover and you can hop over to see it at TPT if you want!

Freebie Fridays


Teaching ELL Students in the Classroom - SEI

Adventures in Literacy Land

Today's Post is over at Adventures in Literacy Land! The topic teaching ELL Students in the classroom (SEI in Massachusetts) and some tips and resources for teaching vocabulary and writing with them. Graphic organizers, word wheels, are more! Click here to check it out or on any of the images!

Blasting Off to a Great Year Blog Hop

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be able to join up with some wonderful teacher bloggers for a Back to School Hop! Be sure to hop around to all of our posts because some have freebies, some have giveaways and more, and some might have both! YAY!
So my favorite back to school book is Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I teach second grade and always read it on the very first day of school. Why is it a first day of school book? I feel like it explores themes of getting along with others, making friends, self-esteem, and of course pride in your name. If you don't know the story, Chrysanthemum loves her name until she starts school and her shorter-named classmates make fun of her. That is, until the beautiful, talented music teacher inspires them to change their ways.

If you want to know more about the book click on the image to see it at Amazon.

I read the book aloud and we stop every so often to discuss. Questions like, "How do you think Chrysanthemum feels? and "Why do you think her classmates are teasing her about her name?" are good for sparking discussion. We discuss that we want to be treated kindly by our own classmates and we don't want to be made to feel like she did.

After the story I actually use the book to make both a connection with math and a getting-to-know you activity. We discuss how many letters were in Chrysanthemum's name (someone always remember -13) and then I ask, "Do you know how many letters are in your name?". I hand out sticky notes and each child writes the number of letters in their name on the sticky. They come up and add their sticky to a class graph so we can see how many students have names with 3 letters in it, how many have names with 4 letters and so on. Then I can ask some fun math questions too: "What number of letters in a name has the most students?" and so on. I wish I had a pic from last year. I will be sure to take one this time around. 

I don't have a Chrysanthemum freebie but there are many free and paid resources around. Here are two to get you started.

Ok this is not academic, but I came across this while looking for Chrysanthemum resources for this post. Check out her tattoo!! WILD! 

And now  I have a freebie for you! Here is a page I call This is My Week. I use it at the end of each day with the class. They write one or more sentences about something(s) that happened today. Most students also LOVE to read their sentences aloud, Then they bring them home at the end of the week and it is a nice way to communicate with parents about what is going on at school. Click on the image to snag it from TPT.

Now, please head over to Curious Firsties to see her Back to School post and if she has a freebie and/or a giveaway for you! Click on the spaceship to do so! Thanks! Have a great beginning of the school year!

Why Wednesday: Organization

I am a day late again but I am here to link up with Blog Hoppin' for their Back to School Teacher Linky. Today's theme is organization!

Eesh! I LOVE being organized and one of my favorite stores in the whole world is The Container Store! HEAVEN. Plus I am a Virgo (we are stereotypically well organized) But do I actually have time to be super organized? No! Especially during the school year. I need all the help I can get. This summer I brought home about 12 boxes of stuff to organize into binders and envelopes for language arts centers and math (Like A Teeny Tiny Teacher did earlier in the summer). Did I do it yet? NO. School is in 2 weeks!  

So basically I have my own activities for language arts either in these types of binders or envelopes. Activities that I run off go in the binders but reading centers hopefully each get an envelope. My favorite place to buy the binders is Wal-Mart and the envelopes are at Target for about a dollar a pop. 

 Here is an example of a center already in an envelope and labeled nicely. My goal is to get more envelopes with clear labels and maybe even labeled with what box they are in - or I could assign each box a number and put the number on the envelope to make it easy peasy to return the items to the right box.

Here are a couple examples but from Amazon. The prices of both are actually very similar. The folders are about $1.10 each and the binders are just about the same prices as at Wal-Mart, if not cheaper. Click on either image to get more info at Amazon.

What I want to do this summer is get these envelopes in these plastic boxes in a more organized way. And efficient. For example, the Christmas centers take up more than one box so that is not working out too well. I haven't quite decided how to do it. Should I separate the centers that are holiday-themed or keep them in with the other activity and sort by topic (for example have a box of short vowel centers). I may just have to survey what I have first. If you have a suggestion, let me know! 

Here's a full box with some nice and some jacked-up labels. Need to fix! 

My other major organization strategy last year was making this tool kit (Here is my post about it from last year). I bought the tool box from Home Depot and spray painted it white. Then I got the labels from Kristen Doyle on TPT here. Clearly I need to make some labels for a couple of drawers for this year. 

What is your favorite organization strategy or tool? Comment and let me know!