Friday, January 23, 2015

Worth Sharing

One of the very best things about the teacher blog world is all of the shared resources. Before the blog world we were limited to our school or district. I love that about blogs and Teachers Pay Teachers.

I have been using a resource recently that is worth sharing and it is FREE!!! Its the Bazillions youtube channel. 

These are extremely well made and engaging educational videos. My students love them.

They have a website too, where you can buy all their stuff if you decide you love them too.

We watched this video today. 

They even have several subject areas. Check it out! I hope you find this a helpful resource and feel that its worth sharing!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My New Favorites!

I am sitting here with some welcomed time on my hands! There is not a Broncos game on today (sad face) My girls went straight down for their naps ( happy face) Sunday school must have worn them out! Plus my hubby is out hitting golf balls before his big golf trip this weekend. ( infer your own face here) So it is just me! I wanted to share some of the things school related, mom related and just for fun related that I have fallen in love with lately!


I love checking out what Jane has to offer every single day! I have bought so many fun things on this site! My Christmas shopping was done between Jane and Amazon. Everything I gave from Jane received an OMG where did you find this? OMG how did you do this? Its a great site and so SO reasonable!

2. ipsy

I love mail and I love makeup! Fun make up to try in the mail....... what could be better? For $10 you get a very cute make up bag filled with five "deluxe"samples of new products to try. The items are usually full size or a HUGE sample and I am loving it! You really get your moneys worth and you can earn more free items when you share and review. ( Kinda like I am doing now!) You just pay month to month so you are not locked in! Here is my latest glam bag

This may seem random but it is too good not to share with you! I like hummus and I am still on my eat healthy new year resolution. It is LOCAL and ORGANIC!!! I am not a person that is all about local and organic but I like when I find stuff that is. Anyways back to the hummus it is life changing good! I feel that I have had a ton of hummus and nothing has ever been this good. I like the Thai Coconut Curry and Sriracha the best but they are all good! I haven't tried the kale and I am not sure that I will! 

 I met these two Colorado moms at a Baby Expo. They came up with a sweet face wipe. It may sound weird but it works. My girls love using them and they are reasonable. You can find them at Walgreens and try them for yourself. I love this product and like to share it with other moms. 

5. Sharpie Paint Pens

I love love love the possibilities for teaching, crafting and writing that the sharpie paint pens have. I love them! I use them to make cute Pinteresty projects and write on my student desks. 

6. IXL

I know that I have mentioned IXL before. I love this program. It is a paid web based program that allows you to track your students individual learning. I have used IXL in my classroom for two school years and I feel that I am getting better and better at how to make it most effective. Last year I just went down the list with the students. They enjoyed it and learned from it.

 Now I really target the strands that I assign to reinforce what we are learning in class. This can be done in class or at home. I  have the students track their learning on chart so they can see that they have mastered all of the skills and have a goal to work toward. I like that it also shows you which strands go with which standards. I make sure to cover those strands in my class.  I also like pulling the reports and seeing who really gets the skill and who still needs practice.  The topics are covered more than one way so students gain a full understanding of a topic. 

IXL has really helped me in my classroom. I think that the students have really benefited from using this program. I think that the immediate feedback, reports and standards make IXL a necessary tool for every classroom. 
They also contacted me for a teacher discussion. I was impressed that they wanted to know how I use this product and how they could make it better.

Okay I could probably go on and on about all of my favorite things but I hope you find at least one of these helpful and it becomes one of your favorites as well. I may just have to do another giveaway another day with some of these in it. Stay tuned for that! But for now make sure you enter my latest giveaway! It ends Thursday.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I wanted to do a giveaway because I have hit over 300 TPT followers and over 200 Facebook followers! I love getting fun free stuff in the mail so thats the kind of giveaway I am doing!

This giveaway is:

Bic Mechanical Pencils ( the extra tough kind because we are teachers!)
Bright colored post its (because I couldn't teach without post its)
Scented candle 
Hair elastics
Chapstick (Burts Bees Mangosteen because its my favorite)
An owl nail clipper
A pack of nail files
A set of Jamberry
All stuffed inside a cute mug 

a Rafflecopter giveaway All of this to say thank you for following and supporting me! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Learning With Legos

I have been busy busy busy this week and it just flew by! I am trying to get a giveaway together and I haven't had a chance to pick up the stuff I want in the giveaway. I PROMISE I will soon and you all will be the first to know!

What I have been working on is getting funds for things at our school. I have been a grant writing fool this year! My newest project is this Go Fund Me Link! Please check it out and share it! SHARE IT SHARE IT SHARE IT. You could donate too! That would be really REALLY nice!

If you haven't heard Lego Education is a REALLY cool site that uses Legos to learn! Here is the link! Check it out there is something for everyone! I cant't wait to get these in the hands of my students!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

It has been a long time since I have been able to sit down and blog! I hope you had a wonderful break! My Hubby and I were able to get away for a few days without our sweet girls.

Plus it was really nice to be on the beach while Colorado had snow! 

I wanted to share with you one of my successes this school year. 

Meeting the needs of each student is an important part of being an effective teacher. It is also a difficult part! Finding time to fit in one on one time is tricky and something that I have really been working on this school year. It easily fits with my balanced literacy lessons, since I mainly teach literacy. The model does loan itself to working with math.

Balanced literacy needs one on one teacher to student conferencing. But how do you find time? How do you get to each kiddo? To make it easier on yourself make a goal to meet with every student individually at least every two weeks. This was a big step for me. I wanted to do conferences but it seemed so over whelming. Having ten days to get through all of my kiddos seemed do able!

Heres how I manage it; every day during reading group and independent work time I set aside time to conference with one of my groups. I know that during their reading group time I will meet with each kiddo individually. The rest of the class is working through literacy workstations and I am meeting with about 4 kiddos each day. (Lucky for me I only have 16 kiddos this year!) I use a light and a teacher assistant.

If the light is on the students can't talk to me ( you can read more about that here.) They have to ask the teacher's assistant for help then the teacher assistant is the only one who can ask me a question. I do this for my small group time and each day a new student is the teacher assistant. This really works for me. One of my colleagues uses capes instead of the hat and its so cute!

So what do I do in the conference time? Well it depends on the kid! I usually discuss their text or writing prompt and do a running record.  I love working with each kid individually and I think they enjoy the one on one attention. This data is so helpful for the parents at conferences or at an RTI meeting. I aim to meet with each student for 5 minutes but sometimes it takes a little longer.

I hope you find these ideas useful and that they help you build a balanced literacy model in your classroom.

I plan on starting a giveaway this week! Check back soon!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Season!

It's so hard to believe that it is the holiday season! I had the past week off and I decorated my classroom for Christmas. I brought my girls and they were not very helpful!

Other than that I stayed away from any school related stuff and enjoyed my family. I also SHOPPED!!! Online and in stores, you name it, I bought it! Which means I am done buying Christmas presents and every day will feel like Christmas with all of my packages arriving.  

That brings me to another thing! The TPT CYBER SALE!!!!  My store is on sale!!! 

I would recommend checking out my latest product. It is perfect for the wintery months ahead! Its my Snowman Biography Book Report. Students are asked to complete a book report and make a snowman that looks like the character that they read about. 

Now I am off to wrap some of the things I bought. I want to get in the holiday spirit but I can't decorate our house too much because we are putting in new floors!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Technology to Improve Reading

I am a book worm! I love love LOVE to curl up with a good book. I really try to instill that in my students. But sometimes they are a little reluctant. It may be because they aren't super readers. If they stick with me they will be!!!!! Here are a couple of ways I am using technology to improve reading in my classroom.

I have recently started fluency drills with a group of my kiddos. Their reading skills were improving but their fluency wasn't. I am trusting that their parents are helping them improve and practice at home too. Sometimes it is easier to provide the kiddos with everything that they need to be successful! So I have started voice recording the fluency passage and emailing it to them to practice with. Here is what I do:

I use the voice memo app:

This app is a freebie on the iPhone. It allows you to play with the recording a bit. Then you can send it as a text message or an email. 

My students use their headphones and read along with the passage. 

The next way I am using technology is by creating book reviews. I am using the app iMovie. 

To have students create book reviews of their favorite books in my classroom library. (They also practice summarizing skills with this project.) Once they create an iMovie they turn the link into a QR code and we place that in the back of the book. The students enjoy watching the reviews! 

What ways do you use technology to improve reading in your classroom? I am always looking for new ways and I will share them when I come up with them!