Let’s Get Acquainted – My Classroom

It’s that time again…..Latoya’s Let’s Get Acquainted linky party is going on right now!



This week’s theme is: My Classroom

The top three areas of my classroom are:

1.  My Promethean Board

This is where all the magic happens.  When my projector bulb blows….which happens about once a year, my screams can be heard all the way to our district office….15 miles away! 🙂

2.  My laptop cart


This year, my students have done some awesome things with these computers….and they will again as soon as testing is over!


3.  My storage space

I’m really proud of my Teacher Toolbox.  It was a frequent visitor on my pinterest page and I finally got up the gumption to do one myself!  I tend to just lay tings down, so this baby helps me to become better organized.  I wish you guys could have seen the before pic of that cabinet.  It took me a few hours, but I got it cleaned up.  It doesn’t quite look like this now (the pic is from the beginning of the year), but it stills look pretty good.  I started using those book bags back in September.  Each student has a ziploc bag with their lexile information on it.  They keep their Independent Reading books in that bag nad place that bag in the red Target bag.  Nice and Neat!

What are the three things that you treasure most in your classroom?  Head on over to Flying Into First Grade to link up!

Until the next time,




Spark Student Motivation: Student Passes

I’ve been out of town all weekend at my sorority conference (and I had a blast!), but I can’t NOT link up to Joanne’s linky party.

With middle school students it is ALL about extrinsic motivation.  So often, I hear teachers say, “I shouldn’t HAVE to reward them to learn”….blah, blah, blah.  I laugh and say, “You wouldn’t work without pay would you?”

As an incentive to do well on assessments, I provide students with various passes (Homework, Bonus Points, and Missed Assignment).

5 Bonus Points Pass

Students can earn these passes by making A’s or B’s on assessments or meeting their MAP goals.  I also hand them out when only a few students remember a particular situation, skill, or concept that is a review.

These passes are FREE in my Teacher’s Notebook Store.  Click on the link here to find them.

Until the next time!


Let’s Get Acquainted Linky! (April 14th)


Latoya at Flying Into First Grade hosts this incredibly fun linky party! This week’s theme is the Skittles game!


Red – Butter pecan! It was grandmother and mother’s favorite….so of course it’s mine!

Orange – Becoming a member of my sorority. My mother was there to pin me, and that ceremony is one of the most beautiful ceremonies in the world.

Yellow – LA Lakers! I was born a Lakers fan! And although I am not really a Kobe fan, I couldn’t resist this pic……


Green – Chick-fil-a….hands down! A #1….no salt fries…and a Coke Zero….um, um, good!


Purple – Hmmmmm. When I was two I fell down a flight of stairs at my undergrad alma mater (my entire family went there). I knocked out my four front teeth, dislocated my jaw bone, and cracked a bone in the lower middle. Almost all my elementary school pics have a closed lip smile! The teeth didn’t grow back until 5th grade and they grew in crooked. Hello, braces!

Until the next time!


Spark Student Motivation Saturday (April 13th)

I just love linking up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky party!


I am a Vistaprint fanatic!  They create first-class marketing products at a very reasonable cost.  Sometimes you can get products for free and only have to worry about paying for shipping and handling.  Through Vistaprint, I have created parent contact postcards (for positive and negative behavior), business cards, a class banner, magnets, and the product I’m highlighting today, “Whooooo Did A Great Job” student reward cards.

Positive Contact Card


I like these cards, because they can be given out for anything! Came in and immediately got started on bellwork? Get a card!  Ranked #1 on our device activity? Get a card!  Awesome participator today? Get a card!  Students return their cards and I put them in a box for a weekly drawing where they can earn various types of passes (HW, Bonus Points, Missed Assignment).  We’re required to make 5 positive parent contacts a month and with this card it is, as my DD says, easy-peasy!

And, like I said earlier, these cards were so inexpensive!  I got 250 of them free and only had to pay shipping and handling.  I ended up going back and ordering a second set, so I think I paid around $14.00 for 500 of them…..that’s it!

Do you have a creative activity that you use to spark your students’ interests?  I’m sure you do, so head over to Joanne’s to share your wonderful strategies!


Until the next time!


Gregor the Overlander: A Book Review

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

 This book is written from the viewpoint of Gregor, an 11 year old boy who lives in New York City.  His father mysteriously disappeared two years ago and as he is watching his two year old sister, Boots, they fall through an air vent that takes them to Underland – a world where humans and various animals live as  almost equals.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

BN Summary:

In the first novel of the New York Times bestselling series by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, young Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building and hurtles into the dark Underland. This strange world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.


Oh my goodness!  I could just KICK myself.  My librarian recommended this book to me two years ago and I’ve finally read it!  My family traveled to Maryland this weekend, and I was scouting around for a book to read on the trip.  I definitely hit the jackpot with this one!

I love, love, love The Hunger Games series and this book by Suzanne Collins does not disappoint!  I read the book in one day, in a car, where I usually get carsick if I read for a long period of time!  Today I asked if any of my students had read it – and not a one had!  I couldn’t believe it!  This year I definitely have some voracious readers and this book has been a sleeper!

This book has all of the elements of a fantabulously awesome book – suspense, intrigue, and a good bit of humor.  My favorite line:  Right after Gregor has confirmed the fact that he is “THE OVERLAND WARRIOR”….maybe?

“I am the warrior.  I am he who calls.”  

The bat was still for a moment, then nodded. “It is he.”  She spoke with such certainty that for a second Gregor succeeded in thinking of himself as a warrior.  A bold, brave, powerful warrior that the Underlanders would tell stories about for centuries.  He could almost see himself leading a squadron of bats into battle, stunning the rats, saving the Underland from – 

“Ge-go, I pee!”  announced Boots.

And there he stood, a boy in a goofy hard hat with a beat-up flashlight and a bunch of batteries he hadn’t even tested to see if they still had juice.

The mighty warrior excused himself and change a diaper.

Now, that I have fallen desperately in love with this book, I will be hunting down the second one right after this post…posts! 🙂  And I will hound every single child until they’ve read it too!

Until next time!

Let’s Get Acquainted Linky (April 7th)

Latoya from Flying Into First’s Let’s Get Acquainted Linky is still going strong!



This week’s theme is:  Stranded!

“If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you take?”

1. I would have to take hubby and dear daughter….I couldn’t be anywhere for a long period of time without them!  A weekend….probably….but longer than that I’m sick…..

2.  iDevices…..I can’t go anywhere without my iPad, but I would need my iPhone to tether so that I could have internet access.

3.  A BIIIIIIIIIGGGGGG umbrella connected to a nice comfortable chair, lol.  I don’t mind being active and out in the sun, but when it’s time to rest – I want to be comfortable!


What would be your three items?

Wanna link up?  Click on the linky pic and it will take you right over to Latonya’s site. Don’t forget to click on the link before and after yours and leave a nice comment!


Happy linking!


Spark Student Motivation Saturday

Happy Sunday, folks! Today is my last day of Spring Break and I’m spending it on the road heading home from Maryland. Traffic……Uggghhhh.

But, I found a linky that I thought would be very helpful and it would help me pass the time as I ride along. Joanne over at Head Over Heels is hosting the Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky party. And yes, I know it’s Sunday, but better late than never, right?


I use Class Dojo as my classroom management tool. The points that students earn from Class Dojo are switched into money (which I call Jefferson’s Bucks). At the end of the quarter I have my Jefferson’s Jam. Students that have earned enough money get to order subs or pizza, play games, and dance to music. This system costs me ZERO dollars. The kids bring in treats for the party and the money for the food!

If you’re interested, click on the link here to read more about Class Dojo and my last Jefferson’s Jam!

Until the next time!


Reading Olympians – An Awesome Resource!


Get Ready for Bloggy Olympics!!!


Join The 3AM Teacher, the Reading Olympians, and over 80 SUPREME education bloggers as we take you through a tour of the Reading Olympians Root Study Program!!

I was so fortunate to hook up with teachers all over the nation to participate in the Reading Olympians project hosted by The 3AM Teacher and Krista Miller and Julie Kiss, The Reading Olympians! I must say that this is an awesome resource and I can’t wait to use it from Day 1 next year.

I have worked on Greek/Latin roots with my students, but very sporadically. I used them mostly during my bellwork lessons, with little connections during the regular classroom day. The Reading Olympians provide a constant connection with these roots and in a no hassle way! In our current standards we have a set number of roots/stems that we are required to teach in each grade. But what if they’ve missed them from the previous year….*shrugging*

Since we were on Spring Break last week, I was able to complete one unit with my students. We have our state standardized test in 4 weeks, and since I only have 60 minutes with my core classes, I decided to use this resource with my elective class. They jumped right into it!

This week was very teacher directed – on Monday, I showed them examples from the packet and they worked in groups to create their own. I actually uploaded the unit into a flipchart for us to use together. Tuesday – Wednesday, I had them work together to complete their graphic organizers, I shared my examples, and they shared theirs. They used the dictionary and thesaurus correctly and their hard work paid off! Our of 14 students, 5 didn’t score 80% or better the first time! Out of those 5, only 1 needs to do another re-test.

I gave them the following criteria on the scoring rubric for their graphic organizers:

1. Complete all four squares in the organizer

2. Make sure you have three words in your word box.

3. Be able to explain your words.

4. Add color to your graphic organizers.

Three of the five stayed after school with me that day, created their flashcards and quizzed each other until they were comfortable retaking the test. One students (who is really low) went from 20% to 80% just after spending thirty more minutes with a partner quizzing each other using the flashcards.

I also created a quizlet flashcard set for the Nike Unit…find it here….Nike Unit Quizlet set. I will continue to create those for students to practice with. I’m using my bulletin board to highlight our Reading Olympians program this year. Teaching so many students (110), I don’t think I will be able to do the necklaces, but I’m looking into figuring out a technology interactive way to do it. It will be one of my summer tasks. Since each child will have an iPad next year, I may buy one necklace and then create it as an Edmodo badge to assign to students. Eureka!

I want to work on creating an additional test for those students who have to retake the test. My sixth graders are verrrry slick (well, they think they are!) and I don’t want to hassle of trying to figure out if they are trying to cheat.

My top concern is time. Last week, it took pretty much 30 minutes to work on the program. I am interested in seeing how the time decreases as we continue to work. I can’t afford 30 minutes a day in my 60 minute class period. If you have an ideas for a departmentalized classroom, please leave me a comment or drop me an email. Also, make sure you follow my blog and the other blogs in this series to be in the running for some amazing prizes!

Discover the program IN ACTION in more K-6th grade classrooms as you Pass the Torch!! Get ideas, discover the progression of the program, and enter the Raffle for a chance to win ONE of the three prizes listed below!!

First Place Winner : Gold Medal

Prizes: Complete Reading Olympians Program

$50.00 Amazon Gift Card

50% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!

Second Place Winner: Silver Medal

Prizes: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

40% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!

Third Place Winner: Bronze Medal

Prizes: 30% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher’s Etsy store!


Thanks for stopping by! Next stop, Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason, a 5th grade teacher who has put her own awesome spin on the Reading Olympians project! Click on the torch at the bottom of this post to visit her page!

Pass the Torch!!!

Click the image below to visit the next blog


Grade 1 & 2

Grade 3 & 4

Grade 5 & 6

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until the next time!


Be There or Be Square…Freebies Galore!

Teaching Blog Addict is turning two years old! Hooray! TBA is hosting an ultimate freebie celebration filled with freebies for different grade levels, and you’re invited to grab as many freebies as you’d like!

Get your printer ready, make sure your ink cartridges are full, and that you have plenty of space on your hard drive to download all of these awesome freebies! I’m posting quite a few for middle school teachers that are very helpful to me.

Click on the picture link below to find the freebie resources.

There are already a huge amount of freebies on the site so who knows what awesomeness will be there on the 5th? Hope to “see” you there!

Until the next time!

Hanging Out My Shingle!


I promised myself that I would work on opening my TN and TpT stores this week…..and it

is done!  Although it only has a few items, it’s a start! My goal is to tweak things and

continue to add a few things on a regular basis.  If you have some time, click on my widgets

and take a look around.  More to be added soon!