Thursday, March 5, 2015

Are you ready?

Mark your calendars! There is a blog hop on the way! And trust me, you won't want to miss it!

That's all I've got. Today was snow day #8 for us, and I'm beyond ready for warmth and pretty green grass. Not that sleeping in wasn't nice...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Currently March

It's March! For once (and wouldn't you know it's the time that I actually was ready for February), the month really did fly by. Maybe it's because I didn't manage to work a single full week between being sick at the beginning of the month and then snow the past two weeks. Wait. I lie. I did work a full week that very first week. I think.

Listening: Recently I've worked way less than I've been at home, so it's a strange feeling to even be at work. Although Mondays are a little nicer after a 4 day weekend, especially one that followed an entire week off from school. Anyway, breaks are still nice. And mine is just about over...

Loving: March is always a favorite because it's when I can finally hope for spring weather. And I'm especially ready for it now because my clothes are getting uncomfortable and I can't wait to wear dresses. This belly is starting to get HUGE!

Thinking: We put our house on the market about a month ago, but we haven't had any bites yet. I would love to be moved into our new house before this baby gets here, but we'll be cutting it close at this point. In other words, I'd love for someone to put a contract on our house THIS MONTH so we can get through closing before the end of May. Prayers!

Wanting: Before Christmas, I was so good about planning for a month at a time (and then just moving things around and making copies at the end of each week for the next). I haven't gotten back in that groove yet, and these snow days aren't helping. Last week, I didn't get around to making my plans for this week, so I had to hurry and put them together this morning. Now I'm already working on next week's, but I'd like to plan all the way up to April 3 by the end of this week. Then I'll just have a few weeks left after break and before testing begins. Are we really that close to the end?!

Needing: Last week, my boss handed me a copy of Strategies that Work to look over and help our teachers make sure their instruction is appropriate and as good as it can be. I brought it home knowing we'd be out a few days for snow, but I didn't even pick it up. Other than moving it out of the way. I need to work on that this week...

Spring Break Plans: I'd love to actually go somewhere, but any trip past an hour starts to get a little painful at this point (I'm 6 months along and will be 7 by break). We may make it down to the beach one day, but that will be the extent of "travel". Instead, maybe I can start thinking about putting Caffrey's room together. We have a theme in mind, but that's as far as we've gotten. As for cleaning and relaxing, I try to do those every day. It's so hard to keep the house clean enough for a showing, especially when we aren't getting any showings right now. Come on, warm weather!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teachers are HEROES!

After a solid week off from school for snow and really cold temps that wouldn't let it melt, we finally went back yesterday for a normal week (that is, if the snow doesn't really come Thursday). It took a lot of work to actually get out of bed and get ready, but I'm glad to be back into some kind of routine!

With the upcoming TpT sale, we want to help you find "heroic" products that have helped others in their classrooms. I recently received some wonderful feedback on my Brain Teaser Puzzles. These puzzles are geared toward upper elementary/middle school students. They are great as independent, fun practice for drawing conclusions and critical thinking.

Click on the image above or {here} to go to the products. This is just one example of the puzzles. I used to love them as a child and hope your students do, too!

Now head to Diane's blog for more superhero products and information on how to link up. Happy shopping!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Creating Readers at a Very Young Age

We were out all this past week because of Presidents' Day and then a lot (for us) of snow! I wanted to share something this week, but I just couldn't come up with anything to write about. Maybe that's because in the past two weeks, I've only taught for two days? That could be part of the reason.

Anyway, today I'm sharing about my experience with pre-readers as a mom over at Adventures in Literacy Land, so be sure to head over there and check it out!

Adventures in Literacy Land

Hopefully now that we're all healthy, the weather will also let us have a full and useful week of school. I need to get back into this "working 5 days a week" habit soon. Of course, now my doctor's appointments are becoming more frequent for this baby. I'm almost in the third trimester. Eek!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Talk Thursday: Olive, My Love

I'm blogging!! It's been a crazy week of Keagan and I both home sick with the stomach bug since Saturday night, but we're finally both on the mend and I am back at school to finish out the week.

I love joining Andrea's link-up whenever I can, and I have a great Valentine's Day find if you're still looking for something cute to use tomorrow.

I had the book Olive, the Other Reindeer already, but I hadn't heard of this book until I was looking through Jivey's Better than Basal pack and saw the title. I immediately went online to check it out from our library and am so glad I did. It's a precious book! Olive gets a little confused with the difference between her name and "all of". In the Christmas, book, she thinks she can be one of the reindeer. This one is similar, but there is a little twist at the end.

I used the book to review plot. We used a graphic organizer from Erin's graphic organizer pack below (which is amazing, by the way), and the students were able to fill it in on their own as I read the book to them.

Reading Literature Graphic Organizers for Common Core 4-8

One other great thing about this book is that it's so easy that I'm taking it home tonight to read to my son. But it has a complex enough story line that the students were challenged to think about what they had to put in each section of the graphic organizer. Plus they will understand a little more of the humor as older children. I'm so glad I found this book. Valentine's Day is not one of my favorite holidays, but this story made it a little more fun! What's your favorite book for Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently February

Wow! Usually February is my least favorite months, but I'm kind of excited to see it here. January has felt long, and there are some exciting changes coming. Each month brings us closer and closer!

Listening: I LOVE this show, but we can never seem to get it working with our satellite. Oh well, I can watch it with our Roku and catch up within the week. :-)

Loving: We've been going to Remnant for a little over 1 1/2 years, and it's been a great decision! The pastors are not afraid to speak the truth, and the church is growing all the time. If you live in the Richmond area and are looking for somewhere to go, please come check us out! It's so nice to have a community that I know will hold me accountable and challenge me to grow.

Thinking: We are putting our house on the market and trying to expand a little. With Caffrey on the way soon, we would like to have an extra bedroom. Prayers that the house sells quickly because I would love to move before this one gets here!

Wanting: I'm so jealous of Northern VA and all of their snow. We've had one ice day, but there hasn't been a good snow here in quite a few years (even with the 11 days we were out last year). At one point, they were saying tomorrow could be 12-16 inches, but now it looks like it will only be rain. How depressing...

Needing: Self explanatory. There's always laundry to be done...

Pageant Title: Funny story, I actually WAS in a few pageants in High School and even won "Miss Congeniality" one year. That used to be my favorite movie. And besides, pageants are supposed to be fun, right? I mean, if you can win some money too, then so be it. But how often do you get to put on a fancy dress and get all dolled up for everyone to stare at you? Okay, that was a little terrifying. Good thing the lights almost blind you to the people seated!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Wonders Blog Hop

Welcome to my humble little blog! One year ago today, a group of teacher-bloggers launched the website Adventures in Literacy Land to share tips and tools for effective literacy instruction. I am so excited that I have been able to be a part of this amazing group of ladies!
In honor of reaching our first full year of blogging together we are hosting a Winter Wonders Blog Hop and Birthday Celebration. Join us, if you will, to read a short post by each author, download a free literacy resource, and enter a raffle for a chance to win a Barnes and Nobles gift certificate at the very end!

As an upper grades reading teacher, one of my students' biggest struggles is finding the main idea and supporting details. There are SO many ways to review this skill, so I just wanted to highlight a few of my favorites.
  • Have students fill out main idea and details graphic organizers for writing. I like teach this for basic 5 paragraph essays anyway, and then you can expand it to where they come up with three details to support each original detail. They get to practice the skill on their own and also learn a great way to organize their writing.
  • Create short "headings" for paragraphs. This is one of my test-taking strategies, but I think it's very beneficial for the students. I emphasize SHORT headings and even explain to my students that it doesn't always have to be a complete sentence. I just want them to understand what key words are important in each section.
  • Highlight key words that appear frequently and/or use tally marks for most common words/ideas. This really helps students visualize what the author continues to discuss, and it can also help with multiple choice questions to narrow it down to the best option.
  • Let students come up with the main idea or detail when given the opposite. I begin the year giving them the main idea because it's easier to create details about a topic. But about halfway through the year, I switch it up. Then it's great practice for students to focus on key words and ideas to come up with a main idea that really matches all of the details. They really struggle with this one, but it's so important.
  • Give students main idea and details to sort into the correct pairs. This is actually the freebie that I prepared for you! I use this a lot in my independent centers, but I like to make sure that each set is similar enough that it's a bit of a challenge to the students. Some of the cards require students to really pay attention and decide what fits best.
Click on the graphic below, but be sure to download soon because it will only be free for 24 hours! Sorry, the time has now expired on the freebie, but you can still purchase it for $2 in my shop!

Snowmen Main Idea and Supporting Details

Hope you enjoy my freebie and the rest of your journey through our blog hop!