Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Scoop

Happy to be linking up with the Teaching Trio
for The Sunday Scoop!!

This week we leave for VACATION!!!!

I am excited and can't wait to see what Joey thinks of the beach.  I hope I get everything done!!!

Have:  My house and car are a MESS!!! A deep clean is necessary but that might have to wait until AFTER vacay:)  I finally have a new desk and can't wait to get rid of my current "office" area!!  My body is screaming for something that is ergonomically correct!!!

Hope:  Over the summer, I attempt to catch up with friends, I miss during the school year!  Hopefully this week, I will get to do just that and get Joey to another playground!  Preferably a playground that isn't MUDDY and flooded! Life in Illinois has been a little say the least!!!

Happy: I am over the moon thrilled to take Joey on our first vacation!!  Growing up we went somewhere every summer and I love the memories I have from those trips!!! Time to start making some memories with my little one!!

What's your scoop????
Go link up

GoNoodle Linky!

Can summer get any better?  Yes it can, because Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten and GoNoodle are hosting a LINKY!!!  
My firsties LOVE GoNoodle!!!

This summer they have something AMAZING going on, so the kiddos can stay active!!!!

Camp GoNoodle!

If this is your first time hearing of GoNoodle --
 Camp GoNoodle is a great introduction that you can do with your whole family! 

Simply Click the logo above to join for FREE!
Trust me, your kids will GO CRAZY for Camp GoNoodle!

I am excited to link up with Holly and  GoNoodle for a fun linky!!!

Go link up!!!

Chicago Area Blogger Meet Up

What an awesome day yesterday!!!  I had the chance to run up to Chicago with some of my teaching buddies and meet up with the awesome teachers in the picture above!  It was a fun day of getting to know each other, grabbing new ideas, learning new things, and making new friends!  The food was amazing and the weather AWESOME!!!!  A huge thanks to Diana at My Day in K, Marie at Once Upon A Classroom and Kirstin at HipHoorayinK for hosting a great gathering!!  I can't wait til the next time!!

Of course since you had four teachers in the car, we had to head to IKEA & The Container Store!! (We also went to Target, yes we have two down here but not ones with teacher stuff in the Dollar Spot:)  And what trip up north would be complete without a little Portillos!!!

Love making connections with teachers all over!!!  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Calling all Readers!! Book Study Announcement

Huge shout out to my friend Sarah at Mrs. B's First Grade for the 
awesome announcement image above!!!

I am over the moon thrilled to announce a blogging book study for The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo!  I will be joining up with 12 amazing bloggers to discuss reading strategies with the hope that we can help you (and us as well) start the school year off on the right foot!  The book study will begin on Monday, August 3rd over that the Literacy Loving Gals blog!

Serravallo's book has 13 goals!  Twice a week until all of the great goals have been covered, bloggers will be discussing highlights, sharing freebies and offering challenges to complete, based on the book's strategies. We hope you will purchase a copy or grab one at the library and follow along with us!!!

If you want to check out the book a little and hear from Jennifer Serravallo, click on the link below. 

Stay tuned to my blog and Instagram for more info!!!  What are you waiting for, go grab the book!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thinking Thursday: My Classroom

Is it funny that I haven't shared pictures of my classroom on my Classroom blog?  Ironic??  Odd? Or just a simple oversight?  Let's go with the latter.

I am currently in my 5th classroom (in the same building) and will be starting my ninth year of teaching in August!  This classroom is by far my favorite, it is HUGE!!!  I must say I am a lucky lady to have all the space and storage,that I do have!

So here is the ultimate question?  How do I use my space so I can maximize it?
That my dear friends, is the question I ask you!!!

This is what my room looked like when I left June 1st!!!

A few details about my room:
*six circle tables for the kids
* one (bigger) circle table for small group
*a kidney shaped table( I use as my table/small group)
*2 large bulletin boards (one used as a word wall, one used for calendar and a focus board)
*1 medium sized bulletin board on side wall
*5 tall skinny bulletin boards on the closets
*3 large doors for my storage closet
*1 mounted Smart board/projector
*1 large floor rug
*1 set of mailboxes
*3 random sized book shelves
*1 IKEA easel
*1 rectangular table for my 4 class computers
*1 bathroom door
*1 sink area
*2 cabinets in the sink area
*1 trapezoid table with my desktop computer (connected to Smart board)
*library area in the middle of the room

The things I did not like:
*my table (that was meant to work with students, and was constantly cluttered with my work, photocopies, laptop, lunch bag, etc...) 
*my class computers on the rectangular table
*my kidney table being away from my desktop computer
*my students sitting on the rug for Smart board time
*my word wall not in an area that it was used effectively
*location of the library area (and its organization but that is a WHOLE other post)
*bulletin boards that were wasted and not used effectively

This is what I have and what I do NOT like!!  
Now I need ideas!!!  

Please help a first grade teacher out!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge Dare to Dream

I was so excited when I saw that some awesome teachers were hosting a TPT Seller Challenge. I opened my store awhile back and always had high hopes for it.  As is the norm for me, I kinda let other things distract me from doing what I need to do for me.  So this challenge was just the motivation I needed to get back into the game.  Week one was Makeover Madness!  How great would it be to look back at one of my first projects and "update it"?!?!?  It would be fabulous, except for last year my laptop crashed (dead, no signs of life, school computer, and our district quit fixing anything Apple) and on that dead laptop was the very few products I had created.  I know I know I should have backed things up...BUT I didn't!  Lesson learned!!!  So needless to say that I couldn't take part in Week One....but if at first you don't succeed TRY, TRY AGAIN!!!  Which brings me to Week Two...

My TPT Store:  I will be the first to admit that I constantly compare myself to others.  I mean who doesn't want to be the best they can be?  Well I have decided that I have to quit comparing and just start doing!  I need to have my own goals and work towards achieving them.  My TPT store is NEVER going to make me a millionaire. but it could bring me a few dollars and the joy that others are using my products!!!

Teaching:  As I start my ninth year of teaching, I am beginning to realize that one of my areas of interest is in teaching other teachers (in training).  I have been a part of the Mentoring Program in our district, both as a mentee and a mentor.  I love it!  I love being there to see new teachers get excited about learning and help them understand the odds and ends of our great profession.  I am lucky to be in an area, where there are two great universities and an awesome community college.  I am going to work on seeing if I can find a way to teach a class and hopefully work with some of the blossoming teachers of tomorrow. 

Joey:  Since Joey came home, my life is all JOEY!!  And I couldn't be happier.  However, with Joey comes a responsibility I have never experienced.  Maybe this is the reason, I am taking my goals and dreams seriously and starting to focus on me.  Well from Day one of our journey together, one thing has been consistent (other then our LOVE of each other) and that is my girl loves herself some Mickey Mouse!!!!  And not just the big guy, ALL of his friends, we are even planning to ring in her 3rd year & first EVER birthday party Minnie style!!!  I think taking her to Disney would be amazing!  I mean it is a magical place but seeing her there would be the best!  So before she enters Kindergarten, I hope WILL take her there!!!! (maybe even with money saved from my TPT earnings)

There you have my "Dare to Dream", what I love most about this challenge is I am finally stepping out of my box and not daring to do anything...but rather ACTUALLY doing it!  Time to step up and be the ME I want to be!!!

A huge thank you to


Dare to Dream, link up with one of these ladies and share!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tell all Tuesday: My Bucket List!!!

"List" is like one of my favorite words, so the opportunity to create a BUCKET list and share it with my fellow teachers...puts the icing on my cake!!!

So happy to be linking up with Diana at My Day in K and Jayme at Teach Talk Inspire for 

This week we are sharing our Teacher Bucket List!!!

This was harder then I thought!  I tend to curb my "dreams" so to speak so they are achievable.  That is silly I have realized.  I have done a lot in my life and can work to achieve my real goals.  So here is what I am dreaming of...

Build my TPT store!  A year ago, I started my blog and really thought I would step out there.  I would create and meet tons of teachers via the social media world.  Well that didn't happen, only person to blame is myself.  Now is my time!  I am taking this goal and sprinting with it...not just running!!!

Teaching Education courses at the college level! I love working with new teachers/teachers in training and think teaching Education classes would be amazing!  Too many times, people put the profession of teaching down and I want to build up our future educators with real life experiences and ideas that spark creativity and learning!

Visit the Ron Clark Academy!  I mean who doesn't!  The amazingness of that place shines through the pictures of everyone who visits.  I want to be slide certified and I want to learn from the best!!!

That's just a glimpse into my bucket list!  What's on yours???

Link up with Diana and Jayme and let us know!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Scoop

Where did this week go?  I looked back at my "scoop" from last week and my success rate wasn't too high.  I am going to cut myself a break, since it is summer!!!  Let's hope the monsoon season we have been in, moves on!  This girl wants some SUN!!!

Here's my scoop:

What's yours?  Link up with the Teaching Trio and let us know!!!

Plan with Me...Sundays!!!

I am so excited to be a part of the Plan with Me Sundays linky!!! Robyn from Kreative in Kindergarten & Meghan from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris had such an awesome idea to do a linky about planners!  I mean what teacher doesn't LOVE a planner!

 I mean I love  a lot of things but my planner definitely places in the top 10.  I have a few friends who joke with me that I have an addiction to planners, I mean I think they may be right...but is that wrong???  Seriously I bet if you walk over to my file cabinet right now, you might find at least 3 or 4 planners.  One for each of the last 3 or 4 years, you ask?  NO probably all from the last year...maybe the last two years!  The thing is I love planners, I love writing in them, I love making them cute, but then life happens and I get sloppy and the planner isn't cute anymore.  Or it is Summer and I LOVE bright colors, so I grab a new planner...but then January rolls around and I think I want a new crisp planner for the new year.  It is a vicious cycle!! But I am pretty sure that is all about to change! 
 Why?  Because now I have an

It is a little slice of heaven!!!I may or may not get very nervous when my two year old attempts to touch it.  Yes, I am beginning to realize my friends might be right and I truly might have a problem!

Organization, you ask?  This is how I am doing it!!!  This plan will end the vicious cycle of multiple planners per year!

The first thing I have to have is a GOOD pen.  I am obsessive about my handwriting and oddly enough these inexpensive pens are what work best for me.  And they fit nicely in the pouch at the back of my planner.

As you can see, I use 4 of the colors for my planner.  Yes, they match my I am a little OCD about things matching!
Green: Joey (cause green is my favorite color & well Joey is my favorite person!)
Blue: School events
Pink: Appts, Part-time job, Birthdays
Purple: Blogging/TPT 

I like my monthly at a glance pages to be pretty clean, so I like to use a notebook for making lists, jotting down ideas, sketching out projects, and/or room arrangements.  I am also on a quest to stay on a budget, so of course when Michael's had this cute notebook, I added it to my collection!  What I love about both of these are they are thin and easily fit into the pocket of my planner, so everything can stay together.

My newest obsession is the Jumbo Weekly Planner from Creative Clips Paper!  These planners help me be more detailed about my plans for the week, while still following my pen color coding.  I like to fold it and clip it into my planner for the appropriate month.

So there you have it my friends, how I like to keep myself organized.  It is definitely a work in progress, but I think I might just have found the best options for me!!  How do you organize your planner?  Let me know!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Five for Friday

I am so excited to link up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  Summer is here and life if full of crazy fun, but what else would you expect with a teacher and a two year old!!!  Here are five randoms from our RAIN filled week!

There is something exciting going on in the TPT/Teacher world and it is called the 

I took this as an opportunity to reignite my passion to start creating and most importantly connect with amazing teachers from EVERYWHERE!!!  I struggled in the past with comparing myself to others and have realized, WHY?  Who am I trying to impress, no one is the answer!  I am just interested in being the best ME, I can be!  So I tool a leap of faith and am excited to see where it takes me.  The trouble so far has been that my laptop crashed last summer and it had the few products I had created on it.  But I am searching for a zip drive that might have a few on there too!  If you haven't looked into this challenge, it is amazing!!!  Thanks to Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Sparkling in Second, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista for this fun opportunity!!

Before Joey arrived, I was feverishly trying to ready our house to have it perfect for her.  Looking back that was quite silly as the only home she knew was her creche and she shared her room with 14 other toddlers.  One area I thought would be perfect for an office was our little basement area.  I got the perfect desk at IKEA, I organized got her a chair and thought we would be ready for tons of creating fun.  WRONG!  I decided that in the winter it was too cold down there (Yes, Mom you were right!) and it just wasn't fun to hang out down there.  So I caved and had my best friend/computer guy move my desktop upstairs.  So this is my reality...

Yes, I am sitting on Joey's chair with my computer on a sofa table, with a printer, my planner, and my notebooks on the floor.  I have tea cups and play jewelry surrounding me.  Remember when I said I was trying for a perfect house...well who knew this would be our perfect!  But don't worry, I foresee a trip to IKEA in our near future and will upgrade to a real desk and ergonomically correct chair. 

What weird pictures right?  Well the little cutie with pink heart sunglasses isn't weird, but they are random pictures but I promise they have a purpose!  They represent what Joey and I are doing this summer, the 100 Miles of Summer!  It is a challenge to myself to walk 100 miles before the first day of school!  Teachers report on August 13th.  I have 87.7 miles to go and 8 weeks to accomplish it!  If this monsoon season we are currently in ever ends, it should be NO problem.  Wish me luck!

 Last year one of the things that I struggled with as a teacher was READING, well actually ELA to be exact.  Our district provides us with a pacing guide, but not a basal text.  We had a plan but as is life, it wasn't as detailed as was needed.  This year that is going to change. Together with my new team we are creating a curriculum map detailing our ideas.  We are creating the list of books we need and will have everything ready to go!  Thanks to Amanda at Teaching Maddenness for creating the awesome template we used.  It feels great that it is not even the end of June and we have this almost complete!!!

Life with Joey is amazing!  Each day we experience something new together.  It feels like we have always been together, but then its hard to believe we have been home 3 months.  She has grown in size and personality.  44 days from now, I will have a 3 year old in my house!  Well this week we hit a milestone.  We turned the crib into a toddler bed.  She was unsure at first but I think she is going to like it.  Let's hope!!

That was my week, I hope your week was fun, relaxing, and productive!!!  

Go link up...

Thinking Thursday...a look back at our year

I have decided to not only use my blog as a way to network with other teachers, but also as a tool to reflect on what works and what doesn't in good Ol' Room 105!

So here is a glimpse into our year!

We started out as a class of 25.  A few more then what one would like to have effective hands on teaching but nowhere near as bad as the stories I hear of people having 30 plus in their room.  We were the inclusion class and had five students that were taking an extra year in 1st to fine tune their skills.  We also had one student who was diabetic, so we all became familiar with that early on in the year.  We had a Special Ed teacher that pushed in every day for an hour and a half of ELA instruction and 3 days a week for an hour of Math instruction.  We also had a Special Ed assistant who pushed in for 2 days for an hour of Math instruction and 45 minutes of ELA instruction 5 days a week.

At the end of September, it was announced that we would be adding a 4th First Grade classroom and closing a Second Grade classroom.  One of my teaching buddies took this opportunity to come down and teach 1st!  Any time you have to split a class and start a new one it is tough. The kids that moved embraced it and we started October as team of 4 First Grades!

Another change this year was I switched to tables!  I do not like desks, particularly in the younger grades.  We don't have basal texts and they just don't know how to organize a desk.  I loved tables, they didn't move around (as much as desks), it really helped to do more group activities, and it provided a cleaner look for the room.  The negative was how we organized our supplies!  We had team tubs at each team.  A team tub included a pencil cup, a team folder, their individual take home folder, and a pencil bag/box.  The tubs we used were cute, but not effective.  I went ahead and used some PTO money I had to purchase three drawer tubs for next year, one for each table!  I hope this is more effective!  I will let you know!

ELA instruction:  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh  my district does not have a curriculum for ELA, what we do have is a pacing guide.  The pacing guide covers Reading Comprehension, Writing, Grammar, Fluency, and Word Study.  We tried to incorporate some themed reading to meet the pacing guide and introduced our firsties to Pete the Cat, the If you give a ...series, Splat the Cat, and Amelia Bedelia.  We also threw in some Frog and Toad and Dr. Seuss.  The problem we ran into was not having actual books the kids could read and hold in their hands.  ELA was something I didn't feel very strongly about at the end of the year and therefore will be a PRIME focus for 2015-2016.

Math instruction: this year our district recommended using Engage NY as a resource to accomplish teaching the Common Core standards!  We jumped in with both feet but as the year went on, it was apparent that my kiddos needed a different resource.  I am not about to argue Common Core standards with anyone, as I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion, what I will argue is that as a teacher, I know my kiddos and I knew they needed something else.  I am all for higher order thinking, but I am a strong believer that if you don't build a strong foundation in the lower will be hard to achieve that higher order thinking as they get older.  I was able to utilize My Math through a trial, with their company.  I really liked how it was laid out and I really feel like the light bulbs were starting to shine in our room.  It was a great resource as we conquered Common Core Math!

Small Group Reading: our ELA block was from 2:15-3:30 each day, and for the last 30 minutes I had both the Special Ed teacher and assistant.  We decided to break the kids up into smaller groups and each work with a group, each day, for the whole 30 minutes.  That left 3 other groups working independently.  Some groups were seen every day and others 2 -3 times a week.  I loved how this worked.  One thing I would actually change and it is on my to do list for next year, is the organization of this time.  I felt very unorganized and felt time was wasted gathering supplies for the first 5-7 minutes.  

Writing:  Please tell me that I am not the only one who struggles with teaching finding time to teach writing!  I hope that our newly created ELA map will allow us to effectively teach writing!  Once again, timing is key.  We must build the foundation for writing, before we can expect actual "writers".

Classroom Management:  One word Class DoJo ! If you do not know what this is, click on the link!!!  My kids really responded to Dojo's.  As the year went on, I included them in creating our positive and negative dojo's!  That was interesting.  About 95% of the time, when it was time to get busy...I would hear the question, can you leave the Dojo's up?  They loved seeing how they were doing and how close they were to their next reward!

Overall this year was a winner in my book!  The final 18 students I ended with will always have a special place in my heart.  It was a crazy year and a year I will always remember, as it was the year I became a MOM!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Snapshot

It's Tell all Tuesday time!!  This week it is on one of my favorite topics...SUMMER!  Diana at My Day in K and Jayme at Teach, Talk, Inspire are thinking summer and want us to share one of our favorite summer memories!  It was a hard job to pick just one, but I think I picked a good one!!

Last July, I had the opportunity to head to Vegas for the 

This conference was so much more then just a professional development opportunity.  It was a chance to hang out with two of my best buddies from my school, meet a new friend (who grew up where we are from), and meet some of the most amazing teachers, including some of the teachers I admire most!

The conference was AWESOME!  Who gets excited to get up early, get ready, and head over to our first session before 8 am, when we didn't get to our hotel til after midnight .... we do!  From the moment we walked into the Venetian we were excited!!  We loved our sessions and the chance to debrief when we got out of them.  The exhibit hall was fun to browse through (more then once) and purchase, all our must haves!  The Crystal Springs Bookstore gave us a chance to grab resources that had been explained in our sessions.

I would have to say one of the biggest highlights was the Teacher/Blogger Meet-Up, put on by some of the most amazing teachers I have ever met and who are also so down to earth!  This was a party where we got an amazing bag of goodies, got to network and meet tons of teachers, and have the opportunity to win AMAZING prizes.

The experience is one I will treasure forever!  I look forward to seeing everyone post pictures and stories from this year's conference.  I will be sitting this one out, as Joey & I will be making some of our own memories!  Here's hoping Vegas will be ready for me next year!!!!

Just a few of the highlights!!!

Me with Hope from Elementary Shenanigans

Me & Sara from at Life in the Fast Lane

Sara, Lesley, and Me!

Amy from Step into Second Grade (Amy was the first blogger I ever followed and for that year, I am pretty sure my students thought Mrs. Lemons was their other teacher.)

Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class and Me!!!

My teaching buddies/travel companions Sara and Kim!