Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday

It's time again for Book Talk Tuesday!

Just today, I attended a workshop for "diving deep" into the Kansas College & Career Readiness Standards…that's Common Core to the rest of you:)
The Sunflower State LOVES to rename things!

I have to introduce you to these awesome kid-lit books recommended today by the presenters.
In the Read-Aloud session, the presenter talked about using fiction & nonfiction books hand-in-hand.

This idea is not necessarily new to me (or even you, I'm sure) but it was nice to hear an "expert" talk about it and give the go-ahead for this kind of practice!
Here are a couple of pairings she recommended:

Obviously, these would work well for many reading & writing standards, but these could also cover Social Studies and Science standards, and maybe even math if you got really creative:)

Use the nonfiction texts to front load information that your students will need to comprehend the fiction companion, or use the fiction text as a "hook" for delving deep into the nonfiction book.

What made me HUGELY enthused was hearing every.single.presenter talk about the importance of interconnectedness among the content areas.
Ideally, it would be lovely to get away from the "science block", "math block", "writer's workshop"…and move into a seamlessly flowing classroom day filled with all content areas pertaining/connecting to a theme.

Many of you do this already, probably.

I have liked the structure of designated times for each content…but I'm looking forward to mapping the curriculum more like the presenters described.
Is it sad I'm actually looking forward to planning??!

There were also 2 professional texts recommended that I wanted to share:
These were highly recommended by 2 of the presentations I attended today.
LOVE that these presenters encouraged mentor texts for writing (something we are all doing in our classrooms, right?) and using  picture books to introduce science explorations.

Can't wait to go back tomorrow and be inspired even more!
I also can't wait to see all of YOUR suggestions for reading through Mrs. Jump's linky.
If you haven't linked up already, go now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Letter to Me...

I am linking up today with the wonderful crew at 

Their Summer Bloggin' Series is just too much fun!
 I, personally, have LOVED the "Free Font Fridays":)

The theme for week 3's "Monday Meet-Up" was to write a letter to present-day-self from your past first-day-of-blogging self.
This took me quite awhile to finalize.
However, I'm very happy with the final draft:) 
Take a look:
I don't know about you, my old eyes couldn't read the image above:)
The gist of it is "me" telling myself it's great I got out there with my little blog, and there are definitely some things initially that I did right…but I've got a long way to go!
In my own words, "…you let the early success go to your head and now you're just playing it safe. Yes, you need to make time for your family, friends, and school-related stuff…but you need to make blogging & creating a bigger priority!"
I encourage myself to come up with a plan and SCHEDULE my blogging/creating time intentionally!

I also give props to some uber-talented "blog-Stars".
In case you're interested, here is the link to Amanda Madden's blog, Teaching Maddeness, where she showcased me as a new blogger. 
Waaay back then, my blog had a different look and name:)
That is the first blog-star reference made in my letter.
It was the first time I felt kinda "big"!

This pic is what I'm talking about: see how she takes time to plan out her products?
Click on the pic to go the post!
I'm sure this is just normal practice for most of you, but I rarely take the time to plan things out this way for my blog or TpT.
I definitely need to work on this!
Here is a product that would really help me in this department:

Leave a comment w/ a link if you know of any other fab blog/product planners!
The one pictured above is by Ashley Schroeder @Schroeder's Shenanigans.
Her stuff is AH-mazing!
Her TpT product organizer (for purchased/free digital files) has completely changed my life!
In fact, all of these ladies I've mentioned have INCREDIBLE ideas and positively PRAISE-WORTHY products!
If their blogs aren't on your list, you should go visit them right now!

Teaching Maddeness
Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

That is all for today, folks.

 I'm spending the rest of the day in my classroom, arranging furniture and the like:) yay for me.
I'll be spending all day Tues&Wed at a Common Core workshop so I can be a little more prepared for my presentation -gulp- this fall on curriculum mapping.
On Thursday, I'm off to Tulsa to see Wicked….FINALLY!!!
Have a super weekend, friends!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

I always feel bad that we are never in school late enough to celebrate Father's Day…
…dads, uncles, grandpas, male role models everywhere deserve to be acknowledged on their day!

Here's a little homage to all the "dads" out there, no matter your roles:

And especially MY DAD!

I love you, Daddy:)

Give a hug, a kiss, a high-five, pat on the back or special acknowledgment of your choosing to all those men who step up to the plate.
Of course, not to forget the Heavenly Father.
Thank you, Father, for all the "dads" in my life and others' lives!

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Picture Book Linky & FREEBIE!

I am linking up today with the uber-talented Deanna Jump.

I think her Book Talk Tuesday Linky is pure genius!
I have a big heart for kid-lit, so I can't imagine I will ever blog about any other kind of books:)
Maybe a professional book every now and then, but when I go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon online, I never get out of the children's books section….
…anyone else with this problem???

File this away for October, but here is THE BEST (IMHO) Halloween book EVER:

My former mother-in-law and original inspiration for teaching introduced me to this amazing story. When she read it, she took two days. It lends itself to making predictions, and that's exactly what she did!
Of course, for the past 3 years I've taught, I totally stole her idea...and it has been a HUGE success with my kiddos!
They made very creative predictions for who they thought the Pumpkin Smasher was:)
I also l-o-v-e the black & white-with-some-color-accents illustrations:)

I have 2 copies: one that I purchased for $50 (yikes!) from Amazon when the book was out of print, and one that my mother-in-law used to read her students during her 39-year career as an educator.

LUCKY FOR YOU PEOPLE, this book has been reissued due to its huge popularity & demand!
You can now get it (in paperback) from Amazon…for about $13!
Click the image above to go there & get your own copy!
I promise, you'll love it:)

Mrs. Jump is giving away a copy of a cute book & her "3 Little Pigs" unit if you leave a comment on her blog!!!
This is the book I commented about today, so I decided to go ahead and blog about it, too:)

If you use this book during the Halloween season…or even if you don't…you can download this little literacy game to go with it.

This game can be used in small groups or at word work stations to practice consonant blends that start with 'S'.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1st means….

….it's time for Farley's Currently!

Let's just get right to it, shall we?
I just love Netflix!
My oldest son convinced me to get it so he could watch shows, but I think I use it way more than my kiddos:)
I have been able to get caught up on shows I forgot about, like Grey's:)
And while I'm typing/folding laundry/watching, my boys are playing together…and not fighting!
There are probably very few days left where that happens.
Does anyone else have this problem?
Surely my kids are not the only ones at each other's throats all summer long!

Tomorrow, we leave for a week in Branson, MO.
I'm really looking forward to putting school out of my mind for a week and just having a good time with my kiddos and family:)
But as much as I love going on vacay, I really hate packing for it! Ughh!

What I really would love to do is NOTHING.
I'm talking about full-on veg-mode.
Binge-watch Netflix, Pinterest, Blogging, taking long, luxurious baths…with or without a glass of wine:)
….just nothing. For a week.
A girl can dream;)

However, a really need to start organizing my classroom from the ground up.
My principal asked me to work on a system for this year….I think she appreciates most of what I do as a teacher, but she sees:)
I need to have a better system for EVERYTHING!
I will be pinning-blogging for sure, but not for fun things:)
It will be for organizational ideas.
PLEASE LEAVE ANY TIPS/ADVICE/PINS that you find helpful below! & Thanks!!

After our trip to MO, we will also be spending a couple of days in OK.
My oldest son, cousin, and I will see "Wicked" there (cannot wait!!!!), and we have plans to go to the aquarium.
In July, we have one more trip to Branson planned with extended family, and there will be lots of fun Little League baseball games through out the next month:) love that!

I start training to be a mentor teacher for both my new colleague (bittersweet) and future interns.
I also plan to attend webinars and classes for all things Common Core so that I can prepare a spot-on presentation in August for primary teachers in my district.
That's right, people.
In less than 70 days, I will be speaking to a group of my peers & colleagues about Common Core Curriculum mapping for the primary grades.
Anyone have some go-to resources for this???

Thanks for any and all suggestions about organizing & curriculum mapping, and don't forget to link up for yourself!