Beginning CAFE….or rather…CRAFT

Getting the idea from Kristen at Ladybug’s Teacher Files, I decided to go with the CRAFT idea using the two sister’s CAFE model. Craft is just so relevant to middle school students and I loved her CRAFT board layout. After two trips to Hobby Lobby (I left my first order of bulletin board fabric in my god-daughter’s car) and much walking back and forth for laminating and cutting, my CRAFT board is finally up!

CRAFT Board….Thanks Kristen! 🙂

On yesterday, my students were allowed to pick books that they thought they would like to read. Today, we reviewed how to find “Good Fit Books” using the I PICK method. We also discussed using the 5 finger method to determine whether books were too hard, too easy, or just right. I had students use the books that they had chosen on yesterday to practice. They did a fabulous job!


Now that they have books that they would like to read, tomorrow begins the real test…..Read To Self!

Wish me luck!




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Monday Made It #11 and My Green Wall!

Two weeks in a row! I am so proud of myself. I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics  for Week Eleven of Monday Made It! I have seen this idea around pinterest (My PD guide), and thought it was adorable.


These babies will be hanging from my ceiling by tomorrow! 🙂

In other news, my green wall is almost done!

I am constantly in awe of the cohesiveness of my school. Our 8th grade Math teacher took pity on me and helped me out. When I showed him my quart or paint he looked at me in disbelief. He didn’t realize that I only intended to paint a portion of the wall. It will be finished by tomorrow and I am as happy as a kid in a candy store!

Getting Down to Business


It’s starting….14 days before the kiddies come, and I better get busy! For the past two years I have had two classrooms, but haven’t done much with room #2. During the Transition camp tour it was called the party room, because the only thing  I’ve done in it is had my “Jefferson’s Jams”. This year I have plans….BIG PLANS I SAY! I’m turning that room into a true Literacy Lounge. My classroom library will be over there, in addition to small group set-ups.


Yesterday I unpacked boxes and boxes of books and still have more! Today I will have help. Hopefully I will leave feeling some sense of accomplishment AND my sanity!

Wish me luck! 🙂

My Very First “Monday Made It”!

As I’ve been perusing other blogs, I see all the creative things teachers are making….and I am so jealous! Unfortunately the best drawing I can do includes stick figures and asking me to create something with my hands…ummm, just doesn’t turn out the way I see it in my head. So I figured “Monday Made It” (which is sponsored by Fourth Grade Frolics)just wasn’t for me…until…..

Eureka! I’m a tech geek and I make plenty of things using various technology devices so why can’t I use those for my Monday Made Its? So here is a video I created to introduce myself to my students using Animoto.

And now that I’ve found my niche’ there will be more to come….:-)


Hi! My name is Carla….and I’m An Addict!

It’s official…I am a Vistaprint addict!  I have been using this website for the past two years but only minimally.  My first purchase were postcards to I send home to parents in the mail about how well their child was doing in class.

Positive Contact Postcards


At our school, we are required to make 5 positive contacts monthly – and Vistaprint made it a breeze!

This year, our sixth grade team of teachers decided to create AA (Advisor/Advisee/Homeroom) teams focusing on our college mascots.  We definitely want to make sure our students know that our goal is for them tograduatefrom college.  So we made banners that focused on our team mascots.

Team Banner

After that, I just lost it!  I have created magnets for parents, positive contact business cards, and rubber stamps – and I’m not finished yet!  The best thing about all of these items is that the majority of them are free!  That’s right, I said it, FREE!  I did pay $5 for the banner and you have to pay shipping for the items.  But let me break it down for you.  In my last order I paid $20 for the banner, 250 business cards, 25 post-it notes, 25 magnets, and a small rubber stamp!!!

Agenda Stamp



Contact Magnet

Positive Contact Card

Drop on over to Vistaprint…you’ll be glad you did!

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Thanks to Hodges Herald and Being Elementary in Middle School for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

Guidelines for the award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you (and follow their blog)
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog
7. Let other bloggers know they’ve been nominated
Seven Random Facts About Me:
  1. Before I found audiobooks, I used to read and drive.
  2. I collect children….I have six adult god-children.
  3. I performed at the Apollo Theatre with my college girl group
  4. My favorite book is Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.  I used to practice the chest exercises daily….now I wish I hadn’t.
  5. I spent 1 year in Italy when my dad was in the military (I don’t remember it because I was 2…)
  6. I knocked out my four front teeth by falling down the steps in my cousins’ college dorm – it’s the same college that I went to.
  7. I am addicted to Smurf’s Village.
And here are the nominees:

No Boyz Allowed Book Review

No Boyz Allowed by Ni-Ni Simone

This book is written from the point of view of Gem, a teenage girl who has been in the foster system due to her crack-addicted mother’s inability to take care of her and her little brother.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Summary:

True story: I’m Gem, G-E-M, like a precious jewel, and my life has been nothing like my name. I’ve been on my own since I was nine and now I’m sixteen. But so what. I’m good, and so is my little brother. So why the state won’t let us do our own thing is beyond me. Instead, we’ve been forced to live with a foster family who wants to love us, but I’m not beat—I’m just trying to do me.

To make matters worse, I’ve been checking for this guy, Ny’eem. But my new clique has an unbreakable rule—no boyz allowed to come between our friendship—which is forcing me to keep my relationship with Ny’eem a secret. Though not for long. . .because in high school secrets are always exposed, scandals always rewrite the rules, and friendships are never what they seem. . . .


My middle school girls love Ni-Ni Simone!  I found her books last year and grabbed all that I could find.  I now have none left…..I was robbed!  These books are pretty realistic (well except for the fact that a sixteen year old wears True Religion jeans and 4 inch heels), and the drama is waaaaay familiar to my girls.  Ni-Ni’s characters are so vivid and full of life, I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entire novel.  I love the McKnight family (Toi, Seven, and Man-Man) and I gain pleasure in being able to reminisce about high school loves and life.

My favorite quote:  Right after the main character breaks up with her boyfriend because she found out he was cheating on her (supposedly)….

“Ny’eem softly turned my face toward his and said, “Keep it gutter with me in my face. Now say it since you loved me yesterday and hate me today. Look me in my eyes and tell me that.” ….and in case you were wondering, yes, I know it is so ghetto, but I have always had a penchant for bad boys (since I didn’t marry one – I love teaching them 🙂 )

The only thing I didn’t quite like was the fact that the book insinuates you should always trust your guy over your kinda sorta maybe friends….and that boys never lie…

All in all, Ni-Ni Simone is still my all time favorite young adult urban author.  I know you’ll love her!  My girls (and some guys)  definitely do! 🙂