Back to School Mentor Texts {Linky Party}

Look at us! Here it is not even July yet, and we’re in planning mode! I’m joining up with Collaboration Cuties and their Mentor Text linky party!



On Friday I linked up with First Grade and Fabulous for her Picture Books Linky Party.  I highlighted the following books their that I use on the First Days of School:  Big Plans, First Day Jitters, and The Teacher From the Black Lagoon.  Click here to read that post and find out more info on these awesome books!




Don’t forget!  My “Bloglovin’ Giveaway” ends tonight!  Click on the picture below to join in if you haven’t yet!  That $10 Amazon gift card just might have your name on it! 🙂


Until the next time,


July Goals {Linky Party}

I’m linking up with I {heart} Recess for her July goals linky party.  I can’t believe that July is here.  It only seems a few days ago that I was saying goodbye to my beloved kiddos!


Personal:  I really need to get rid of some of my clothes, as well as DD’s clothes and toys.  She has things popping out of everywhere!

Family:  My baby loves the beach!  She loves making little sand castles, drawing her name in the sand, and jumping the surf.  I am determined to take her there this summer.  We only live an hour and a half away, but the traffic is horrible! Ugghhhh.  I much prefer to go in the fall and winter – but the beach is no fun then.

Health:  My team and I have joined Planet Fitness together.  It’s so much more fun when we go together, but right now everyone’s out of town.  🙁 My goal is to to go to the gym regularly and mix up the cardio and strength.

School: I am a little jittery because Common Core is coming and I don’t feel comfortable.  I have signed up for a workshop on July 15 & 16, and I hope that I feel a little more confident after I leave.

Blog/Tpt:  During the summer I am a much better blogger, but I really want to get my TpT store up and running.  I’ve put up a few things, but I have so many more that just need a bit of tweaking and “jazzing” up.

Outside the Box:  My poor hubby hardly ever gets a home cooked meal during the school year….. 🙁 Last week I came upon a pork chop crockpot recipe.  I tried it the next day and it turned out GREAT!  Hubby complimented me over and over again.  So that’s a keeper and I want to add a few more specialties.

Well, those are my goals….I would love to hear about yours!  And then make sure you head over the I {heart} Recess and link up!

Until the next time,


It’s Currently Time!

I can’t believe that July is on the horizon….seriously snipping at our heels…..and Farley has decided to put up her July Currently a weeee bit earlier!  I couldn’t believe it when I refreshed my Bloglovn’ page and saw those Currently’s pop up!  And for Farley’s awesome linky party…if you snooze…you lose!  Here is my Currently!


I have so many things that I need to do!  I’m presenting at the UTC (Upstate Technology Conference) July 9th and I know what I’m doing, but I don’t KNOW what I’m doing… know what I mean?  My presentation is titled “Integrating Technology in the ELA Classroom” so of course I have so many things to share – but I only have an hour….

I’m also presenting at my sorority’s Leadership Conference.  My presentation is titled “Exercises for Everyone” and I know what I’m doing, but I don’t KNOW what I’m doing….you know what I mean? (I’m sure you can see where this is going)

So anyway, I probably should be doing a whole bunch of things besides blog stalking, facebooking, and instagramming….but….*shrugging* I’ve been a procrastinator for 37 years, why stop now?

I started back running a few weeks ago.  Using the C25K (Couch to 5K) program is a great way to start…..I should know – it’s the same program I used four years ago!  Oh, I could kick myself right now!  Anyway, I really want to go for a run, but hubby is at work so it’s just me and DD.

As for the tips….

Teaching Tip – Always do what’s in the best interest of the children and you’ll never go wrong.

Bloggin Tip – Showcase the hard work that you and your kiddos put in!  Your ideas, lessons, tips, and hints, will go a long way into inspiring someone else….trust me….

Head on over to Farley’s and link up to this month’s Currently.  And don’t forget the rule of three…visit and comment on the 2 blogs before you and the 1 after.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new.  I always do.





Until the next time,





Picture Books for the First Week of School {Linky Party}

I’m sure I’ve talked about my love for reading. As a student in school, I always got into trouble for reading in class when I should have been doing something else. In high school I would make all of my friends go with me to the library so they could grab enough paperback romance novels to satisfy me for at least a week. As a college student, I would spend traveling time back and forth to school reading….(sometimes even if I was driving….shhhhh). Then came the joy of audiobooks…. 🙂 As a reading teacher, I hope that I have instilled a love of reading in the students I touch year to year. I distinctly remember one of my hard core, all boy boys falling in love with Harry Potter!

Despite the fact that I teach big time middle schoolers, I still love using picture books to teach various skills. That’s why I’m joining up with First Grade and Fabulous for her Picture Books Linky Party. This week’s theme is: Picture Books for The First Days of School.


During the first days of school I use these picture books as an introduction to rules, procedures, and me!

1. First Day Jitters


This book is hilarious and has a surprise ending that the kids don’t see coming! A few years ago, I recorded my nephew reading the book and embedded it and the pictures from the book into a flip chart. I always brag to my students that he was in the fifth grade when he narrated it! 🙂 Students then write about what they’re nervous about this upcoming school year.

2. The Teacher from the Black Lagoon


I use this book to teach procedures and do’s/don’ts. We look at things the children did that upset the monster Mrs. Green to help create our rules for the year.

3. Big Plans


BN synopsis: “I’ve got big plans, BIG PLANS I say!” A little boy sits in the corner of a classroom, plotting his future. He’s got plans…and have you heard? They’re BIG. With the help of a mynah bird and lucky stinky hat, he’ll find a quarter…boss around some muckety-mucks…become the mayor–or even the president! And while he’s at it…fly to the moon!

After I read this book to the class, I have them create their “Big Plans” for the school year.

These are just a few of my favorites. What are your favorites? Link up with First Grade and Fabulous to find others and share yours!

Until the next time,


Five For Friday {June 28}

It’s Friday….let’s celebrate with Doodlebugs for Teaching and her Five for Friday linky party!



Although it’s summer I still have to do something or else I’d go absolutely crazy!  But I have to be honest, my week started out pretty mild…..

1.  Monday……



2.  Tuesday…..



3.  Wednesday…..



Our district hosted an ELA Common Core Work Session.  We have had some common core training, but I was still focused on SC standards….and now common core is among us!  The expectations were that we plan units of study for the year.  Here’s me…..

deer in headlights



4.  Thursday….


Common Core Work Session Day Two………We pulled quite a few things for the unit, but definitely nowhere we need to be.  After realizing where we were after two days of working, I probably looked like this……


5.  Friday…..

WhiteHouse Down

It’s the hub’s birthday and we had date day.  DD went to summer camp and we went to see White House Down.  I don’t know what the reviews will say, but a movie with those two sexy men in it get 2 thumbs up for me! 😉

Since Doodlebugs is going on vacay, I will have to find something else to do on Fridays.  I don’t know what it is……but I’ll come up with something! 🙂

Don’t forget!  My Bloglovin’ giveaway ends July 1st.  Make sure you enter!

Until the next time,





Tune Into Technology – Integrating Technoloy Into Reading

Tech geek….yep that’s me. I make no bones about. I am a bonafide certified tech geek! So when I realized that iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core were hosting a weekly Tune Into Technology linky party…*gasp* I just HAD to join in!


I use technology in so many different ways! With us going to a 1:1 deployment, my brain is buzzing with new ideas, since the students will have immediate access to those devices. When we had the class set of netbooks it would be a hassle to get them out, make sure they’re charged, put them up mid-day to charge them so that we can use the rest of the day. But despite that, we were able to do miraculous things!

Web 2.0 Tools That We’ve Used


  • Kidblog – Our class blogging tool.  Students also used kidblog to save their writing drafts before having to submit them to me or post them to other sites.


  • Edmodo – Our social networking hub.  Students are able to take assessments on Edmodo (that I don’t have to grade! :-)), respond to polls, post questions, and writing assignments.  I absolutely <3 it!




  • Xtranormal – Xtranormal instantly turns your words into a 3D animated movie. You can choose your characters and the motions/emotions that you’d like them to exhibit.



  • Animoto – Take pictures, videos, and music and create a beautiful movie!  Students have created book trailers, videos about them, videos that focus on the particular theme from a novel or story.

Wordle Tagxedo

  • Wordle and Taxedo – word clouds.  Students have created word clouds about themselves, characters, novels, themes, etc.  With Taxedo, the word clouds can actually take the shape you want.



  • and today’s highlight…..Voki – talking avatars.

Students created Voki’s for a variety of reasons.  They used them to introduce themselves, created a character description, and in the example provided below, show understanding of a particular skill or concept.  Check out these examples below:



Make sure you head over to iTeach 1:1 or Learning to the Core to link up!

And don’t forget that my Bloglovin’ giveaway will be running until July 1st.  Click here to link up!

Until the next time,



A Bloglovin’ Giveaway Linky Party


By this time, I’m sure that most people realize the Google Reader is going away. I’ve said it….all my bloggy buddies have said it….it’s going…..going….and on July 1 it will be gone!

Collaboration Cuties is hosting a Bloglovin’ giveaway linky party and the blogosphere is giving out a ton of gifts! Well, I’m jumping on the bandwagon as well.

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! And who couldn’t use an Amazon gift card?



Just a few reminders…..

1. If you haven’t already, you can create your Bloglovin’ account here

2. If you would like to import your Google Reader blogs, click here

3.  Make sure you leave me your bloglovin’ user name as well as your email address so that I can award the prize!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until the next time,


I’m Lovin’ Bloglovin {Linky Party}

I blog through Edublogs and I have always been jealous of my “Blogger” bloggy friends because of the Google Reader widget.  But if you haven’t heard (I’m totally sure you have), Google Reader is going away and if you want to save your favorite bloggers you better do it now!

The wonderful site that has taken it’s place is Bloglovin’!  And I’m lovin’ some Bloglovin’! He He!  It will allow you to import all of your Google Reader blogs..totally easy peasy….I’ve already joined so if you haven’t clicked on that cute little Bloglovin’ widget on the right you may do so right now!  If you are already one of my Bloglovin’ followers thanks a heap!

To follow me you can click right here! 🙂
Follow on Bloglovin

Tori’s Teacher Tips is having a Bloglovin’ Blog Hop!  How cool is that?


bloglovin' blog hop

If you click on the image above, Tori will give you a tutorial on how to create your Bloglovin’ account and you might find a new exciting blog to follow!  Tori is also giving out a prize a day to her bloglovin’ followers.  So if you have the time, head on over right now and check her out!

Until the next time,



Must Have Monday – GradeCam……my new bestie!

I’m linking up with Teaching With a Touch of Twang for her Must Have Monday linky party. This will definitely be the first of many because I have many many “must haves”! 🙂


How many of you are living this life?  Students just finished a quiz/test.  You’re ready to scan the them, but have no idea where the scantron machine is or you don’t even need the scantron machine, because you only had 80 scantrons left and you have 110 students? Are you ready to pull your hair out?  I was! Until I found GradeCam!



GradeCam works similarly to the Scantron machine, except that instead of using an expensive machine, you can scan assignments in my classroom using a camera. We don’t have to purchase forms; we can print forms on plain paper from the app. It also gives you immediate feedback with an item analysis. Here is a video that highlights what GradeCam can do.

If you’re interested, click here to find out more information.

Until the next time,


Spark Student Motivation Saturdays {June 22nd}

Happy Saturday, friends! I am so excited about today’s schedule….sleep in, blog peruse, “boot camp” exercising with friends and family, and linking up with Joanne and her Spark Student Motivation Saturdays linky party! 🙂


I’m going to use the dreaded word “standardized testing” today. Despite my frustration with using that one method to judge my teaching ability and what students have learned, I know that it is not going away.

I spent 10 years in North Carolina and was spoiled by immediate testing feedback. We would test Tuesday – Thursday and receive scores back on Friday. Students were held accountable because if they were unsuccessful on the test, they spent the remaining weeks of school reviewing with the dreaded possibility of summer school on the horizon.

In South Carolina, school is long over before testing data is received. Although many of our students work hard on the test, it really has not merit with them because they’re already in the next grade before they even find out their results. EVERYTHING is hanging over our heads (teachers) and NOTHING is hanging over our students’ heads.

Last year, our 6th grade team created a PASS Prize Card to encourage our students to try their best on the test and use those strategies that we’d worked on all year.


Last year, the cards worked….”ok”…. This year they worked fabulously! One of the reasons that they worked so well is that this year 6th graders actually had to take the Writing test in February before the Reading test in May. Students who received all initials on their card spent a Friday morning celebrating their hard work. They were treated to ice cream sundaes and each room had a different activity – dancing, Wii games, board games, and movies. Those students who were unable to go to the Writing Incentive Party made doggone sure they went to the May PASS Incentive Party.

And their hard work paid off. My students went from 68% mastery to 72% mastery this year. 32% of those students scored on the Exemplary level. Whoop!

Well, off to get ready to get my butt kicked in boot camp….I’ll tell you all about it later….

Until the next time,