Congratulations to the following winners in my Interactive Student Notebooks Reading Lesson on Story Elements!



These lucky winners have received an email from me (hopefully) informing them of the recent win and the link to my product.  Keep checking back, because my next ISN activity is in the works!


Until the next time,


Spark Student Motivation {September 14th}

I hope everyone has had an amazing week! I sure have! It’s a beautiful Saturday and while I’m spending my morning getting my hair fried, dyed, and laid to the side :-), I thought I’d link up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Linky Party!


I’ve previously shared what a Vistaprint fan I am. And I firmly believe that building relationships with students and their family is just as important as teaching the content. So in this post I’m showing the blending of the two.

Once a week I send home postcards to parents of my awesome students! The postcard just lets parents know that I see the hard work their children put in on a daily basis and I appreciate their support!


You should see how excited the kids are the day after their parents get a card. They work even harder! And my kids already work HARD!

How many of you are Vistaprint fans? What neat ways do you use their products in your classroom?

And don’t forget to head over to Joanne’s link up and discover some other awesome ideas!

Until the next time,


Thursday Throwdown {September 5th}

I don’t know how you super bloggers do it!  I’m in awe of your “get it togetherness”, posting once or twice a week – shoot just posting DURING the week!  I can barely get a post done on the weekend!

But, it’s Thursday Throwdown – I have to link up!  I absolutely love Erin’s linky party that focuses on ways that lessons can be interactive for their students!




Today, I’m sharing Socrative.

Socrative 3


Socrative is another type of student response system.  With Socrative you can engage your students using laptops, smartphones, and tablets.  The great thing about Socrative is that you don’t have to use the same type of device.  So if you’re in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) setting, you aren’t limited.




When you sign up, each teacher is assigned a “room”.  All the teachers on my hall came up with a uniform system.  Each of us start with the number 500 and end with our room number.  Easy for the children (and us!) to remember!

As a teacher you can create your questions ahead of time to get documented feedback, or you can just verbally ask a question for impromptu feedback. Here’s an example of what I see and what the students see.



photo (4)


After they finish the assignment, it can be immediately downloaded or you can receive an email. Either way, it’s already graded! Yay!  If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my policy…..worker smarter not harder! 🙂

You should definitely give Socrative a try.  If you do, stop back by and tell me if you think it’s a winner like I do!

Until the next time,



Currently September!

It’s Currently time! Farley at Oh Boy, 4th Grade‘s linky party is the greatest way to kick off a new month.



The fam and I had a great time at the beach this weekend so I’m appreciative that we have today off.  I literally almost fell off the piano bench at church because I was so tired….lol.

2013-08-31 15.30.29


The kids are doing some AWESOME things with the iPads!  Of course, you never know what will happen until you get them, so we’ve got like iPads with 25 Spongebob pics…, but we’re getting there.  But it’s only Week 2 and they know how to get documents off Edmodo, work on them, and upload them back to Edmodo….so I’m very happy!

I haven’t done that much with iMovie in the past, but I decided to create a movie trailer for my parents on Open House night, and it was AWESOME!  Check it out here:


Farley’s right!  As teachers we are so used to taking care of others and neglecting ourselves.  I started back running this summer, but since then……NOTHING!  My goal is to walk/jog 30 miles this month.  And I’m eliminating soda from my diet….specifically Coke Zero.  And in order to get those 30 miles in, I need to leave school by 4 at least twice a week.  Wish me luck!

Until the next time,


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,