Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More Link Party

Today I'm linking up with Amy

over at Step Into Second Grade for her tell me more link party.

So here are some fun facts about me!  Don't forget to head over and link up!!

1.  I am obsessed with competitive cheer just talk to me for 5 minutes and I will tell you all about it. I cheered for 5 years and I am currently in my 7th year of coaching!
(My teams are know for their jumps...funny thing is jumps were what I was the worst at as a cheerleader.  Ignore the dropped leg in the back it drives me nuts in this picture lol.)

2.  I am only the 2nd person to go to and graduate from college and the first to earn a master's degree in my family.  My Grandparents are proud of my two degrees since my Grandpa only went to 3rd grade and my Grandmother only up to 8th.

3.  I met my husband my senior year of college at a friends birthday party....he didn't call me for a week after me giving him my number!!!  I gave him a second chance after he claimed he "had a busy week" I knew on my first date he was special because my face hurt the next day from laughing and smiling so much.  We still make each other laugh everyday.  

(this picture describes us perfectly)

4.  During high school and college I was a groundskeeper in the summer at a senior retirement home.  I planted flowers and took care of everything outside.  I was even nominated for Groundskeeper of the Year for a state wide competition.  As my husband says it was legit he had to wear a tie and stuff.  Funny thing is I hate being outside and I have sever outdoor allergies.

5.  I own a very vicious pitt-bull who likes to bully me into cuddling.  I get VERY angry when people talk about BSL or and breed specific laws.  The dogs were bread to be people pleasers.  It's not their fault people want them to fight, they just want to make people happy.

(does that dog my husband is holding look vicious to you?)

6.  I love to read. I read everything I can get my hands on. I know random facts about stuff I don't even like because if its words I MUST READ THEM.   I reread books all the time.  My husband was VERY happy when I finally bough my Kindle because that meant he didn't have to haul 5 books on every vacation we went on.  

7.  I have never wanted to do anything but teach...well besides be an artist when I was in Kindergarten.  Did I mention I really can't draw.

8.  Back to the Future Part 2 is my favorite move of all time.  I always wanted a hover board growing up.  My husband and I get into disagreements about the effects of the space time continuum in the movie.

9.  I am still friend with all my best friend from high school!!  However, we have NEVER gotten a picture of all of us together.

(see even at my wedding I couldn't find one of all of us....and someone is still missing even with me putting up 2 pictures)

10.  I love fall.  It is the time of year when I have the least amount of allergies.  I met my husband in the fall.  I got married in the fall.  I was born in the fall.  We bought our new house in the fall.  Everything awesome happens in the fall.

11.  (I'm adding this because it was brought up on a walk with the husband after I first posted this) 
I have a curse on me!!!  or Rather I curse Detroit Tigers players by wearing their shirts.  See EVERY player who's shirt I've ever worn from the Tigers has been traded or hurt like literally right after I get their shirt.  My husband wont let me get a new Tiger's shirt with a players name on it because they will get hurt.  
Verlander and Avila on the mound discussing how happy they are to still be healthy Tigers because I didn't get their shirts
So actually Justin Verlander has me to thank for his MVP award.  I could have gotten his shirt but I didn't.  Don't worry Avila I wont be getting your's either so you are safe too.

Well thats all I can think of for now......  hope you found it interesting :)  Don't forget to link up with Amy!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

ABC Books

Before I get into my post about ABC books I have to tell you about the new book store I found.  It opened up in the old Borders Express by the movies (another teacher friend and I may have caught an afternoon showing of Magic Mike ummmm I mean a really mentally stimulating documentary).  
Its called
It had the Magic Tree House series, used, for less than $2.00.  I also found a copy of the Time Travelers Wife, which I have been looking for forever.  Finally they have a buy 3 get one free used book special. I got 5 books for less than $20.00.  I can't wait to go back with my book list I have for school.  SCORE!!

Now onto ABC books.  As I mentioned in my last post I got inspired to do these because of the M is for Mitten book that is part of our social studies curriculum.  Also, another teacher friend of mine has kids do it for science and social studies concepts.  I even used it later in the year as a book report option.

First of all for big projects I like to make a Powerpoint.  This way I have all the information that the kids need on hand and I can just project it on my smart board.  
We studied poetry patterns before we did this project.  The pictures below are the slides that we went over before we did the project.
These slides along with an additional one that lists each letter of the alphabet and who is doing that letter cycle through every time we work on the project.  Kids need a lot of help finding something to go with their letter so this frees me up form answering A LOT of questions about directions.

(this is the  copy the kids got when they were working)

(Layout Template)  

Each student gets their own letter.  Since I had 28 students this year though there are two letters that have 2 pages in the book.   Once the kids complete their pages I put each one into a plastic page protector and put it in a binder.  This then goes into the classroom library where it becomes the most popular book.  Kids love showing them off to parents at open house and conferences.

Front cover
 Here are some of my favorite pages that the kids did.
G is for Garden Gate

H is for Hawk

L is for Lightning 

M is for Mountain (this picture is out of focus and I don't know why but I love the illustrations.  This child typed his because of his accommodations in his IEP)

P is for puddle (this one cracks me up why?  His mom informed me they don't even have carpet in their house)

Some other ways other teachers and I have utilized this project:
  • Social Studies Units
  • Science Units
  • Book Reports
  • Seasons and Holidays
  • All about me
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar topics
  • Favorite books
  • Respect and Responsibility
The best part is once these are created the kids LOVE to read them.  It really makes the students aware that their work needs to be their VERY best because if not they will constantly be asked what their's says.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Must Have Picture Books Link Party!

I love a good picture book.  Thats why I had, had, had to join the Link party that  Lindsey over at 

The Teacher Wife
Teacher Wife Started

The Teacher Wife
Check out her post to see everyone else's picks.  For now here are mine!

1.  Buzzy The Bumbleebee

Did you know aerodynamically bees weren't made to fly?  Neither did Buzzy until he reads it in a book and then can't fly anymore.  I actually found this book at a cheerleading conference.  Its great to read to students (and cheerleaders) who don't think they can succeed.  I read it every year durning the first week of school before we do our goal setting.

2 and 3.  Scholastic "Tale Book"

So I cheated these are 3 boxed sets of book.  I don't currently own the Grammar Tales but I have borrowed them from a teacher friend and I plan on buying them.  They are great read aloud for the concepts you are teaching.  We often to activities centered around the books and they come with a teacher's guide that has small versions of the books.  I give those to my struggling friends and have the to word hunts in them.  I don't know how I would teach without these.

4.  Jumanji

This book seriously saved my life so many times when I was a sub.  I used to keep it in my car.  Kids love it, you can do tons of writing/reading response to it, and it's kind of long, with great pictures.

5.  M is for Mitten
1 Guess for what state I'm from!!  I love this book because its a great intro into our 3rd grade Social Studies unit and its also a great book to use for writing projects.  We used the format of this book to make our own alphabet books for each season and book reports.  Come back later this week.....lets say Friday, since I don't have cheerleading practice.  To see how we made our own version for spring!

Well I promised someone we would take a nap together before I left him for kickboxing and it seems he got started without me....

I love summer!!

Don't forget to link up!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Student Data Organization/Motivation

I am so unmotivated to do any school work this summer.  I know myself. I know that if I don't start doing something soon then I am going to wait until August and it's never going to get done.

On my summer to do list is recreating the student data sheets that I use to track my students reading data.  Our school is VERY data driven.  They give us data tracking sheets but frankly I don't like them and I got permission to make my own, as long as they had all the same information on them.

Having detailed data is important because in our school because we team teach.  My partner and I each have a full class of our own which is either 2nd or 3rd grade.  This coming school year he will have 3rd and I will have 2nd.  Our 2nd graders will loop with us and most of our 3rd graders we had last year.  I teach writing to my homeroom along with all the reading to both sides.  Last year I also taught social studies but I'm trying to convince my partner to let me teach science this year my partner and I are still trying to decide who is going to do science or social studies for next year.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with 60 kids.  Also, I don't get to conference with the parents of my teaching partners homeroom and he needs to be able to tell the parents where their kids are at.  Sound confusing?

So I created my reading bible.  I have one for my 2nd graders and one for 3rd.

This is the 2nd grade one, nice and thick, this picture is at the end of the year.  Each student has their own section.

Each Quarter they get a new sheet.  The weak areas are determined by the questions they get wrong on their reading comprehension tests, EdVision, and DRA2 assessments.

I'm thinking about making one data sheet with all their test scores on it and one Week area and target skill sheet for the whole year.  This way all the information is on one sheet and maybe my binder will be a little bit thinner.  I will post these when I get them done.  If you have input PLEASE GIVE IT!!!!

(**side note: my partner says he loves these sheet because he knows exactly what to say to the parents at conferences and if they have questions everything is right there)

Behind each data sheet is the students individual testing data sheets for each quarter so if parents don't understand or I forget why I listed something as a weak area I can tell them easily.  This is also very helpful in making R.T.I suggestions and reading focus groups.
Words Their Way Inventory (this helps me make my spelling groups)

EdVision and Grade Level Data

DOLCH Words Inventory
(each student gets a personal sight word list to work on at Word Work and it is also sent home for studying based off of this list)

What do you do to keep track of data in your room?  I'm open to helpful suggestions before I make my new data sheets!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Did you miss me?  This is where I was!

Its been a crazy couple of weeks.  My husband and I finally took our Honeymoon redo and it was amazing.  See, it rained everyday of our Honeymoon the first time, we kept hearing it never rains in Aruba, well after a redo visit we actaully kind of believe it becasue it was awesome.  We got to lay on the beach all day, my husband FINALLY got to snorkel (our snorkeling got canceled last time because of all the rain!), get tans, eat AMAZING food,  spend some much needed quality time together, and I got to see my old teaching partner while we were there.  She lives there! Lucky girl!  

Then I had a crazy girls weekend in Chicago with some of my old high school buddies.  I won't get into any details, because we made a pact, but lets just say we may or may not have seen the sun come up Sunday, someone's purse accidentally ended up in a cat's food bowl, and it was one of those weekends that took two days to recover from.  

I also after a lot of trial and error made my first blog button!!!!  Here it is.  Feel free to add it to your page.  It's not exactly how I want it but after so many mistakes I am glad to just have one!! YAY!!

While I was gone  I was given the One Lovely Blog given to me by two of my newest followers!!

Patti from One Class One Sound   and    Linda from Around the Kampfire

Ms. Fultz's corner

Thank you Ladies!!!  Now it's my turn to pass it on.  Here are the rules:

Once you receive the award, you must follow 3 rules:

1.  Follow the person that gave you the award
2.  Link back to the person that gave you the award
3.  Pass it on to 15 new bloggers

Here are the lovely blogs I am passing the award to.
Click on their buttons or names to visit their blogs!

P.S.  This was really hard, and I couldn't actually give it to 15 because a lot of my favorite blogs had already gotten the award!  

Calling Plays in 2nd Grade

Teaching Third

Ms. Tobias' Teachings