Friday, June 29, 2012


THANK YOU to everyone who has become new followers of my blog.   I look forward to conversations with you!  I've tried to email you personally, but blogger isn't working with me right now...

Totally Awesome!!

I just received my first blog award EVER!!!  Thank you so much to Teaching Little Miracles!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this!  The fun part is that I get to give this award to other bloggers!!  Woohoo!

The purpose of this award is to highlight new bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

 I will keep my blog stalking reading up and reveal those winners soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Daily Five - Chapter 3

Hello Friends!  I am really enjoying the chance to read about everyone's ideas about Daily Five! Be sure to check out their amazing ideas here.  Jana from Thinking Out Loud is hosting this week's chapter.

I've always found that a gathering place is important.  The students understand that when we are there focused learning and discussions are going to happen.  We do our daily greeting, read aloud, classroom meetings and lessons from all subjects there.  I find that having kids move throughout the day to come to the gathering place helps them get a movement break and keep their focus.  Because our rooms only get cleaned once a week, I've had to move from a carpeted area to carpet squares. You can get carpet samples for free or at a low price at most carpet places.  They stay stacked until kids are ready to use them.  That way no one is walking on them and getting them dirty!

The sisters' lesson on good fit books is excellent!  I've used it and it really helps give the students a concrete understanding about what good fit means.  Two books that go well with this lesson are Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Shoes for Me by Sue Fliess.  Some students seem to continually have a difficult time with choosing good fit books.  I have to do lots of one on one lessons with those students. Next year I want to have the kids model for the other students how they chose a good fit book.  I haven't done this before and I think it will be really helpful.

I have a funny story to share with you about good fit books.  A parent told me that I must really have taught them about good fit books.  She had been reading Thirty Shades of Grey on her Nook while her son was reading next to her.  He asked what she was reading and tried to look at it.  She explained that it was an adult book and not for him to look at.  He said, "Oh, it's not a good fit book for me." He understood the concept of I PICK and good fit books perfectly:)

I love using anchor charts with my students!  Last year I posted the charts on a large bulletin board after we made them.  Then I took pictures of the students involved in all the areas of Daily Five.  I posted their pictures next to the anchor chart that fit.  These served as visual reminders of what the Daily Five looked like in action.

I use chimes as a signal for the students. They are pleasant sounding and when the kids hear them they know to stop and listen.  It's such a nice alternative to me raising my voice to get their attention.

I could go on and on about this chapter!  It has so many significant ideas and procedures that help the Daily Five run successfully in the classroom.  I'll leave you with a quote that really hit me as I reread the book: "Richard Allington stated that the most current research indicates than an independent-level or good-fit book for children is one they can read with 99% accuracy."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Framing it up

I'm loving all the cool frame projects that I've found on Pinterest!  I have three to show you today.  Here are the inspiration photos I started with:

dry erase marker on dollar store frames.

Pinterest-source unknown

Keep Calm and Teach On
And here is what I made!  I was inspired by the many cute banners out there for the third project!

Edit: I've had people ask about where I got this frame!  Hobby Lobby with a coupon:)

It's so awesome to have time in the summer to craft:)  I'm linking up with 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daily Five Book Study, Chapter Two

I love a good book study!!  Thanks for everyone's thoughts on Chapter One.  While I was reading Chapter Two I thought about these guiding questions from Mel at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.  I love the quote from Thoreau at the beginning of the chapter, "It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants.  The question is: What are we busy about?"  I want my students to be busy with meaningful activities and not "busy work."  I have found that the Daily Five does just that.  Even when I need time to work alone with a student outside of Daily Five time, I can pick a Daily Five and ask the students to do it for 10-15 minutes.  The kids know exactly what to do and are engaged much more meaningfully than by me throwing a worksheet at them!
1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?
Creating a sense of community and trust are two aspects that I work on all year.  We start as a class brainstorming our Hopes and Dreams (The Responsive Classroom) for the new school year and use them as touch points to guide us through the year.  We are respectful and caring of others in the classroom.  From this foundation we work toward choice, stamina and a sense of urgency.  I would like to strengthen my use of a sense of urgency in my class next year.  
The support I need is administrators and reading specialists who understand my goal and are supportive in how I want to achieve it.  I am lucky to have that right now.  I also need the support of coworkers and online groups like this to grow, learn and change.
2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter? 
Using the beginning of the year to build a strong foundation that we all can rely on throughout the year.  Giving kids the respect and responsibility to make choices about their learning. 3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?
I believe that a strong sense of community is the foundation for all other classroom learning.  Respect, trust and caring are essential if a child is to feel safe enough to learn, experiment and grow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Loving Pinterest!

I am having so much fun with my Pinterest projects this summer!  My first project's inspiration came from Garnet Hill's polka dot trashcans.  Mine is definitely not as fab as theirs, but it was a DIY that I'm proud of.  We had an old can that had been used to hold dog food. I hosed it out and let it dry.  Then I went and got spray paint!  I've only used it once before and never on metal.  I spread out my old sheet and got to work.  I found that it was easy.  I'm so pleased that I'll be doing more spray paint projects this summer.  My garbage can redo is below.  The color is a pale, lime green.  The picture definitely doesn't do justice to the color!!  What am I going to use it for?  Perhaps storage.  Perhaps for a trashcan instead of the ugly plastic one in my room now.  Can you think of any ideas?

I'll be back with more completed projects this summer.  I'm doing a whole classroom decor redo for next year, so I'll be busy! I'd love to see any projects that you make, too!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daily Five Book Study, Chapter One

I was so excited to see that a Daily Five Book Study group was started by Mel at Seusstastic Classroom Inspiration and Nicole at Teaching With Style!  Every Wednesday (starting last Wednesday) we will discuss the Daily Five.  I've been using Daily Five for a year and a half and I'm really loving it!  The students are engaged in meaningful activities and once the students learn the structure they really are independent.  Mel and Nicole provided us with some questions to answer after reading Chapter One.  Here's what I'm thinking. I can't wait to read everyone else's ideas.
1. On pages 4-6 the author's present 2 different pictures for their classrooms.  In thinking about and reflecting on you own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block?  Does it look more like the 1st or 2nd scenario, or is it somewhere in between?  How will you change it?

At this time, my literacy block looks more like the 2nd scenario. My classroom keeps evolving over time and as I am more comfortable with the Daily Five, so are the students.  Next year I plan to do more extended and repeated instruction on the Daily Five.  I particularly need to focus on Read to Someone.  It's so easy for the kids to get off track.

2.  The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers?

The Daily Five is making a big difference with my students.  I used to create centers, but I believe that the Daily Five is better in so many ways....the routine is the same every time, no work to grade, less interruptions in small groups and the learning is more meaningful.

3.  What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?

I'm doing it now and love it!  I'm always looking to refine my practice and learn new things, though.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Creative Change!!

Change is good, right?!?  Although I will still be making cards, I am changing the focus for my blog.  Recently I've been inspired by so many teaching blogs and Pinterest posts that I have decided to share my creativity and enthusiasm for teaching.  I want to join in the conversations of others whose passion is teaching.

Thanks to those of you who have followed me and supported me on my card making journey.