Saturday Snapshots {August 31st}

Saturday Snapshots

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  I’m linking up with Miss Nelson for her Saturday Snapshots linky party.

We’ve really gotten into using the iPads this week!  We spent this week discussing Literacy and how it’s important in everyday life.  I uploaded documents to Edmodo and my amazing kiddos uploaded that document, opened it into Pages, edited it, reloaded it!  Whoop!  Proud Teacher over here!


Labor Day is Monday.  We decided to spent the last days of summer at the beach.  My cousin from Maryland, her husband, and baby boy came down to visit too.  We had an amazing time!

Is it obvious how much DD loves the beach?




Here’s my mama chillin’!


And my little cutie pie baby cousin and his sweet mama!



While we enjoyed the beach, the men slept in.  We then all went out to “brunch” and had an amazing time!  Good food and great conversation! 11 people at a table and I only get a pic of my little brother’s “meal”. Ha!


Until the next time,


Five for Friday – Saturday Edition with a Freebie!



I wouldn’t be my normal procrastinating self if I actually posted Five for Friday on Friday! 🙂 This week I’m highlighting the first week of school!


I worked from 11 AM to 9:30 PM in my classroom on Saturday, but I was very proud of the final product.  Check it out here.



We started back to school this week and it was amazing!  We have an awesome group of students who seem to have caught on pretty quick!  I also think that because this is our team’s second year of working together – we’re able to be very consistent across the board.  It makes for a much smoother day.

6th Grade Team 2 (2013)


The iPads cometh….the iPads cometh!  The kids were unbelievably excited to get those iPads in their hands!  Because our schedule the first week of school is abbreviated in the morning so that we have a lot of time with our AA/Homeroom classes, it worked out perfectly that we’d spend those days having the students participate in an iPad Bootcamp that was created by Jennifer Gingerich.  Check out her wikispaces here for some amazing resources.



After talking with a teacher friend from another school, she shared with me that at her school, the entire school did the same flipchart on the first day of school to make sure that students understood all school rules and procedures.   She shared with me her template, I modified it, and it was a great hit!



Remind 101

We decided to use Remind101 as an entire team this year.  All sixth grade teachers have a shared account that we’ll use to send information to our students and parents.  Students signed up on Friday and took the information home to parents.  On Tuesday, when we have our Open House we’ll get our other parents to join.

SSG5It only took me until Friday to actually teach a real lesson….ha!  But I really do take a while on classroom procedures because I think they are so important!  My school district follows the EDI (Explicit Direct Instruction) Model and one of the key components is to teach the objective.  I read the objective, we discuss the skill (and what that means) and we discuss the concept.  I used one of my favorite Flocabulary videos (but really…can you have a favorite?) to introduce the various “skills” that they will see as 6th graders. I created a foldable along to go with the lesson and it was a BIG hit!   Because it went so well, I spent last night preparing the lesson for my TPT Store.  It is free for the next 24 hours, so check it out and let me know what you think?


So you see, I DID have an amazing week!  How was yours?

Until the next time,


Teacher Week ’13 – Taming the Wild


It’s day 4 of Teacher Week ’13! Hosted by Blog Hoppin’, today’s topic focuses on Classroom Management.



Being the daughter, neice, and cousin of teachers, I was able to see first hand what excellent classroom management looked like. I was also blessed with an awesome partner teacher my first three years of school and was able to see on  a daily basis what good classroom management looked like.

I’ve have done quite a few different things for my management plans, starting with Harry Wong (whom I {puffy} heart love) to my current management plan – Class Dojo and Jefferson’s Bucks (which I {puffy} heart love)! 🙂

I’ve talked about Class Dojo before. Since I’ve already posted about Class Dojo, I’m going to link up with First Grade Parade for her Throwback Thursday as well!



Originally posted February 13, 2013
I use Class Dojo as a part of my classroom behavior management system. What is Class Dojo you might ask? ClassDojo is an online program that allows you to provide immediate feedback for student behavior (positive and negative). It enables you to easily award and record points, achievements and rewards for behavior and performance in class in real-time, with just one click of your computer, smartphone, or mobile device.


ClassDojo provides instant visual and audible notifications for your students, in addition to allowing you to keep the feedback over a period of time. It also allows you to decide what behaviors you find important and award points that way. And it’s so easy to set up. You can copy and paste your class roster from almost any document – even a PDF!

Since my laptop is continuously hooked to my projector and Promethean board, students can constantly see their progress. And even if the screen is on something else they can hear the ding or dong that comes from points being awarded!

My ClassDojo points are connected to my Jefferson’s Bucks. Having a certain amount of Jefferson’s Bucks allows them entry into “The Jefferson’s Jam!” Every week, students’ individual points turn into money. But, I also added a component that ensures the class works together. At the end of the week, the class percentage allows them to be able to multiply their points for more money. 80-89% class percentage? They can multiply their points by 2. 90-99% class percentage? They can multiply their points by 3. 100% class percentage (which has happened once). They can multiply their points by 4.

We had our second quarter Jefferson’s Jam on Friday and the kids had a blast! Students can order subs or pizza, as well as bring in other treats for the party. It has a zero cost for me – all I have to do is set the date, determine the participants, and order and pick up the food!

Check out our party video here:

We spent a great deal of time outside, and as I looked around I was shocked at the amount of litter out there! So I created an impromptu community service project. We did a trash clean up right on the spot! I made it a competition though, because who wants to pick up trash at a party? Students were put into teams and the team that collected the most trash would get a prize. Needless to say after 3 minutes, the playground yard was immaculate, and every attendee is officially $100 richer in Jefferson’s Bucks! They all did such an awesome job, I couldn’t decide!



I’ve already uploaded my students into Class Dojo for this upcoming week and I am ready to go!  Haven’t tried Class Dojo yet *gasp*?  Head over there and give it a try!

Until the next time,



Teacher Week ’13 – Organizing for Instruction


It’s Day 3 of Teacher Week!! Hosted by Blog Hoppin’, today’s topic is Organizing for Instruction.


I’m going to talk about my plan for student data organization. In the past I’ve had 2 to 3 crates in the back of my classroom where each child has a folder that I keep assessments, testing data, signed documents, etc. Well, no more! This year I plan to use Evernote as my digital portfolios.


Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.

Evernote also allows you to sync across platforms: computers, tablets, and smart phones. There are so many different ways you can put data in Evernote; you can even email it into a specific notebook!

I’ve had Evernote on my devices for about three years, although I hadn’t done much with it. A few notes here and there. I felt like there had to be more than this and then BOOM! I realized there was. Last year I attended an Evernote workshop where fellow educators introduced me to “stacks”.

Think about those crates previously in the back of my room….. The “stacks” are the crates. The “notebooks” are those Manila folders. The “notes” are all those pieces of paper we stuff in those folders. Get it?

Here’s a pic of a portion on my Evernote setup. See where I have 103 notebooks in the stack? Each child has their own notebook.


Each notebook uses the same format: Class Period – Last Name, First Name. That way the folders are grouped alphabetically by the period.



What are some ways you’re planning on organizing your instruction? Head over to Blog Hoppin’ and link up! I can’t wait to see your awesome ideas!

Until the next time,


Teacher Week ’13 – Meet The Teacher

I can’t believe that it’s already Teacher Week hosted by Blog Hoppin’!  They’ll have a different topic everyday this week, so make sure you head on over to link up!



Today is my last official day of vacation, which I’m spending two hours of it in a training! Couldn’t even sleep in today! 🙁 Dropped DD off to daycare and headed to a chiropractor appointment.  Gonna spend the time in between on today’s Teacher Week Topic:  Meet the Teacher!


1.  I’ve been an educator for 17 years!  I started out teaching 6th grade in NC, then jumped to 8th grade 3 years later.  I spent five years as a facilitator and then back to 6th grade – in SC!  This is my fourth year back as a 6th grade teacher and I absolutely love it!  I work for an awesome school, principal, and have the most amazing team!

6th Grade Team

My Team….My Girls!

2.  I absolutely love middle school!  I’ve always taught sixth grade where they were a part of the middle school concept and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Although I love all my kids….I {heart} love the boys!  The badder the better!

Me and the my boys!

Me and my boys!


3.  I’m definitely a techie geek!  I love all things technology. Phone, iPod touch, iPad, and a Computer are constantly in my reach.  I need to “unplug” myself every now and then, but I just can’t seem to do it!  Just ask my kiddos!

4.  I have a wonderful husband and the most amazing daughter on the face of this planet.  When DD was born, hubby immediately took the night shift!  He is an awesome father, too!  DD was diagnosed with autism when she was three.  Thanks to her school district, she has received the best services and is now heading into 2nd grade in a resource placement!  She amazes me everyday with what she can do!

Hubby, Me, and DD at Sweet Frog!

Hubby, Me, and DD at Sweet Frog!


5.  My entire family is pretty amazing!  They are so supportive of us!  I don’t know what I would do without any of them.  I’ve been teaching for 17 years and my parents still come and support me and my students.  They even came to our PASS Pep Rally because I told them how hard the kids had worked.  And before you ask….YES! I’m spoiled rotten! 🙂

2012-06-16 23.21.49

Me, Dad, Mom, Bro


6.  I have FOUR best friends!  Three of us have known each other pretty much all our lives and I meet the fourth one in G/T when I was in the fifth grade.  We have been the 2-Hype Posse since 1990!  I love these girls to death!

Our last wedding! :-)

Our last wedding! 🙂


7.  I’m a sorority girl! Although I love all my sisters I have a special place in my heart for those 12 girls that went through the fire with me! We meet once a year for a sister’s weekend and have the best time!


8.  I used to be a part of a girl group when I was in college.  We even performed at the Apollo Theatre in New York.  That was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had in my life.  Disappointed that we didn’t win, we went to Atlantic City for a little excitement!  And boy did we ever!

ENCORE….circa 1994

9.  I love to shop, but as I’ve gotten older (and have to wrestle with a 7 year old), I much prefer internet shopping.  I get so excited when Mr. UPS stops by my house….don’t you?

10.  I’m the ultimate procrastinator!  But I’m going to stop that…..tomorrow…ha!

Well, that’s it!  If you have the time, please head over to Blog Hoppin’ link up and let me find out all about you!

Until the next time,




Throwback Thursday – The Global Read Aloud {August 8th}


It’s Throwback Thursday with First Grade Parade! As I begin to plan for a new school year, the Global Read Aloud is at the top of my to-do list. So, in support, today’s Throwback Thursday will be from last years post about why I’m joining the Global Read Aloud.

Originally posted July 22, 2012

I love to read. As a child, I was fussed at frequently because I was reading when I should be doing something else. In high school I jumped at the chance to take AP English but didn’t even contemplate taking AP Calculus. Before texting and driving – I was reading and driving….yes, I admit it! Then I found out about audiobooks and gave Cracker Barrell a great deal of my business until my local library caught up. Because of my love of reading, I find it unfathomable that there are children in this world who don’t like to read.

Last year, my class participated in a book read with classes out of Mississippi and North Carolina. They loved it! They enjoyed the idea of using Edmodo to respond to other students’ posts in another state. Add to that a Skype experience and I had to beg them not to read ahead – but they did it anyway!

So why the Global Read Aloud? Instead of just two other classes, we will be reading this book with approximately 100 other classes – all over the world! Multiple opportunities to Skype and use Edmodo (which the children love) as well as get the students excited about READING!

This year, the Global Read Aloud will be reading Charlotte’s Web (for younger children) and The One and Only Ivan (for older students). Excited – heck yeah I am! I devoured The One and Only Ivan in a day with tears streaming down my eyes as I finished (and yes, before you ask I’m a HUGE crybaby) and am still wondering how I’m going to get through it since there isn’t an audiobook available yet.

Have I piqued your interest yet? I hope I have. If so check out the Global Read Aloud Blog and Wiki. Also, you can follow information on twitter by using the hastag #glread12.

Hope to see you soon!

2013 GRA Information:

Twitter hash tag: #glread13

Eric Carle Author Study – ideal for primary grades
Marty McGuire by Kate Messner – ideal for 1st through 3rd
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – ideal for 4th and up (can go as high as you want)
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach – Middle School and High School although I will be reading it with my 5th graders

Starts September 30th and finishes November 8th, 2013

Until the next time,


Tried It Tuesday {August 6th}

I’m linking up with Fouth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday.


I implemented Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN) last year with my students. My Social Studies partner does them as well. Although glue, colored pencils, and scissors are a part of their supply list, we frequently had students who did not have them. We both had backups, but never enough and we’d lose class time waiting for the supplies to be passed around. 🙁 We also had a small problem with those supplies going missing…..*gasp*!

This year we plan to have a class set of supplies, but how will we keep up with them. In blog perusing, I got this awesome idea from Erin over at I’m Lovin’ Lit! She wraps duck tape around her supplies. LOVE IT! Read more about Erin’s ISN posts here.

When I started looking for duct tape I saw that they had a Spider-Man version. If they had a Spider-Man version, they definitely should have a Wonder Woman version, right? WRONG! How can they NOT have Wonder Woman??? But, I got over it and voila!


Scissors on deck! 🙂

Until the next time,


The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 {A Must Read Mentor Text}



I’m linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky Party.  I decided that I just had to share with you my most favoristist (and yes, I know that’s not a real word) book in the world, The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963.  I have been reading this book with students for 10 years!  Lately, I’ve been unable to do the entire novel for a few reasons – but I use it as a mentor text to teach Author’s Craft; in particular, Flashback.

Barnes and Noble Summary:

A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up.

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

If you’ve never read The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963 (gasp), you’ve missed out on a treat!  Christopher Paul Curtis does an excellent job of drawing you in with the antics of Byron and Kenny!  Believe when I say I am crying with laughter by the time we get to the middle of chapter one – EVERY SINGLE TIME!  This book is a great example of historical fiction because it highlights the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham where four little girls were killed.

There are wonderful examples of flashback in the first few chapters which is all I read with the students now.  But, because I have a class set of them in my classroom, many of the students grab the book to finish it on their own. Jackpot!!

But it only gets better!  I just found out that they are finally turning this awesome book into a movie!  Can you see me dancing?  Can you? Whoop!  Check out the movie trailer here.

As a celebration, my Flashback flipchart using The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963 will be free for 24 hours!  Get it while it’s hot!  Click here to get it from my TpT store.

photo (3)


Click on any of the images to link up!

Until the next time,



Saturday Snapshots! {Linky Party – August 3rd}

Yes, I know I’m late…..but I’m just finding out about “Run! Miss Nelson’s Got The Camera!” Snapshot Saturday!  And I looooooove to take snapshots! 🙂

Just ask a former student:

Saturday Snapshots


I was lucky enough to spend a small portion of my vacation in Montreal, Canada for a sorority conference.  Although I was there for a conference, we were able to enjoy our stay there.

We were on a tiny plane...whew!

We were on a tiny plane…whew!

My mother and I traveled together and met my aunt from California there.  We had a very peaceful plane trip, but I was surprised that both planes were so small!  Like three seats per row small!

A few of my chapter members!

A few of my chapter members!

I was a presenter at the conference and it went over very well!  I got awesome reviews!! 🙂  Here’s a pic of me with a few of my chapter members!

Olympic Stadium

What a view!

We were able to break away from the grind of sorority business to explore Montreal.  We took the 2-hour double decker bus tour.  If you look in the far distance, you’ll see the Olympic stadium! Canadian Sweet Frog!

Yeh… Canadian Sweet Frog!

Montreal has a HUGE underground mall.  Surprisingly, most of the shops are the same as here.  I also found a yogurt shop similar to my Sweet Frog….Yeh!

All White Affair

All White Affair

Here’s a pic of Auntie, me and Mama!  My Mama has been in our sorority for 50 years…..that makes her Golden!

Like I said, although we were there for work, we had an amazing time!  Next time we’ll make sure to visit Quebec City – I’ve heard that it’s awesome.

Until the next time,





Back to School Goals

Tick tock…tock tock…tick tock…..Can you hear it! It’s the back to school clock ticking away! I’m not sure if I’d had much of a “break” with teaching the graduate course, presenting at two conferences, attending two professional development sessions, and planning our 6th Grade Transition Academy.  Plus, we have two days of registration next week so before I know it – it will be August 19th and my brand new kiddos will be walking through that door.

Seeing how school is coming I thought it would be a great time for me to link up with I {heart} Recess for her Back to School Linky!


Personal:  Sometimes I feel that as a teacher, my daughter gets less of me than my students do.  By the time we get home we barely have enough time to review homework, bath, and bed.  I’m making it a goal for us to read together every night!  And my poor hubby barely gets home cooked meals on the weekend!  A few years ago I was a crock-pot pro!  What happened?  Well, I’ve spent this summer pinning, planning, and trying out different crock-pot recipes and I plan to put them to good use during the week.

Organization:  How many of you recognize this scenario?  Crates with students names on each folder.  Folders slightly full, but a stack of papers laid on top!  Yep, that’s my student portfolio system.  Well, it was.  This year, I plan to use Evernote as my electronic portfolio system.  Once assignments are graded, I plan to take a picture of the item into the student’s notebook.  I’ve already created my notebooks so I’m ready to go!

Planning:  I have two faults that don’t go well together – spontaneity and procrastination!  I can have a lesson planned, but change my mind in the shower that morning….or five minutes before the kids walk in…:-/  Quite a few times last year I found myself out at school on Saturday and/or Sunday making copies to get ready for the next week.  And I guess that’s much better than speed walking down the hallway and the students are coming – but I want to be BETTER!  My goal is that I have my two week lesson (handouts, electronic files, etc.) ready ahead of time.  That way I can spend my planning period handling much other needed responsibilities.

Professional:  Last year I did a pretty good job of implementing reading workshop with my elective class.  I want to improve upon that this year as well as implement a writing workshop with them as well.  The workshop method was very beneficial for those students who needed an extra push.

Students:  To techy phrase Paul Revere…”The iPads are coming…..the iPads are coming!”  It is my goal that these iPads become tools to make them more inquisitive, more excited, more knowledgeable!  I want to start these kiddos on a digital journey that prepares them for the real world.

Motto: I think this one speaks for itself.  You cannot complain about your situation if you’re not willing to pitch in and make it better.  I could go on and on (rant on and on….) about this, but I’m just gonna let it sink in……:-)

Until the next time,