Saturday, June 28, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study {Chapter 7}

Whoa! This week kind of got away from me! But the good news is I stuck to my schedule AND my PD for this summer is done! Now I can really focus on my TPT store and blogging with all of you wonderful teachers! :)

Before I dive into my thoughts on chapter 7 of the Daily 5: Second Edition here are a few side notes:

- This "summer" weather is really bumming me out. Gotta love Oregon.
- I am still patiently waiting for my first Erin Condren planner to arrive! 
- I can't wait to get into my new classroom and start setting up/decorating. Is that weird!?

I was really excited for this chapter because it focuses on when/how to launch the option of choice within the Daily 5. This is probably the scariest part of Daily 5 because we as teachers are no longer "in control". The funny thing is that we are actually more in control during Daily 5 choices because we have given students the tools they need to be independent. Students are actively engaged in meaningful reading/writing choices during this time, that the room is actually very controlled. It's my favorite thing about the Daily 5 structure! 

The key components of choice as outlined by the sisters:
- Knowing the expectations                            
- Possessing the skills needed to meet the expectations  
- Being trusted to carry out the choices
 - Taking responsibility to carry out choices 

I thought this was perfectly outlined! It really solidified the concept for me and served as a great reminder. Choice is only successful if  all 4 of those components are in place. 

My biggest challenges with the Daily 5 choices:
- Preventing boredom within the choices (especially word work). The sisters' mention keeping the same choices year round and not introducing new ones. But I find that students burn out of the same word work choices day in and day out. 

I liked reading some of the word work ideas/materials that the sisters use. What kinds of materials do you use? How do you prevent boredom?

- Student accountability to make the "right" choice. By right choice I mean, making sure they are making different choices each time that focus on the skills and strategies they need to work on.    

The most important thing to remember about the Daily 5, which I am guilty of forgetting, is that it is completely flexible! Each group of students is different and we need to keep that in mind when progressing through the initial launching process. 

I actually have a question about checking in! Do you have students check-in before they make their choice or after? I struggle with this piece because I feel like it takes SO much time! If you have to ask each student their choice/strategy before they get started that can take 10 minutes easy! And then if stamina is comparable to their age, they've lost all their stamina before you even make it to a guided reading group! I haven't figured out the best balance for this yet. I want students to be checking in and making meaningful choices but I also want as much time as possible with my guided reading groups! Any tips!?

I am excited to read your thoughts on chapter 7! I am also super super excited to read about this new Math Daily 3 business. I sense a big change in my math set up coming!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sweeping Declaration: My Summer Schedule

Hello lovelies! 

I don't know about you guys, but I need a schedule! Don't get me wrong, I love my summer breaks, but I don't like not having at least a general plan for how my days are going to go. I thrive on to-do lists, schedules and structure! 

With that in mind, I sat down and scheduled out my summer break! Is it weird that I am actually really excited about this!? I even have everything color coordinated in my planner. And no, I don't mean planning everything out for everyday. It's more like a structure for my daily responsibilities. 

I thought I would share it with all of you so that maybe I'll be better at sticking to it! So here it goes!

Eat breakfast - I am horrible, and I mean horrible at eating breakfast. Part of the reason is that my body is just not ready to eat first thing in the morning. In fact, if I try, I get really sick. But my goal is to take the time in the morning to make sure I eat at least a little something. This morning I had 2 hard boiled eggs and watermelon! That did the trick!

Orders - Many of you already know that I also work part time for my husband. He owns 2 businesses Stickerslug (decal stickers) and Pumabot (graphic tees). I help him everyday to fulfill the orders, it has been difficult to maintain during the school year so this summer we will be hiring his first real employee! 

Running - I mentioned before that I am trying to rehab my knee so that I can do the Color Run in September! My goal is to go running every day like I used to! I am also doing my 30 Day Fitness Challenges: 30 day arm challenge and 30 day ab & squat challenge!

Blog/TPT - I want to set aside some time every day to work on my blog and create items for my TPT store. Since I am new to this whole blogging/TPT world I have very little in my store right now. I have a lot of products made, but unlisted. A lot of products that are "in progress". And a lot of products all up in my brain! So I want to capitalize on the time off to bulk up my TPT store!

Here's a little sneak peek at something I have been working on! It is a classroom decor pack and also my first MEGA bundle! I may have bitten off more than I can chew…. It may actually kill me.

Make dinner - I get so lazy about making dinner during the school year. When I am really on top of my game, I do a lot of freezer cooking which helps a ton during the hustle and bustle of the school year.  Although this year was so chaotic, I was the worst. So now that I have time, I am getting back in the kitchen. Tonight, I am making chicken piccata with spaghetti squash instead of noodles! I'm so excited :)

{here} is the recipe I am using!

In keeping with my new schedule, let's do a little check in! 

Blog/TPT - currently

So far so good! I even had lunch with my momma today, went grocery shopping and did laundry! This girl is on fiiiiiire. (I amuse myself)

 Now if I can just convince my husband to go see 22 Jump Street tonight ;)

I gotta ask. Are any of you as crazy as I am with schedules? Or am I some freak of nature?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study {Chapters 5 and Kind of 6}

Woo! 2 blog posts in one day? Who am I!? I just had so much to get caught up on and share! If you read the previous post, you can see why I am behind on my reading! But today is my "catch up day" and I am loving every minute of it. 

Reading Daily 5: Second Edition, drinking my water (up to 16oz which as you know is pretty good for me!), blogging and watching a Will and Grace marathon! Ahh summer, I love you. 

The more and more I read the second edition, the more and more excited I get for the new school year! Is that weird!? I am looking forward to all the changes I am going to make to my literacy block and I can't wait!

Before I jump right in to my thoughts on Chapter 5 and 6, I have a question for you! Do you use CAFE with your Daily 5 structure? Does it make it easier? What do you like about it? I am not super familiar with CAFE but the more I read this book, the more I want to explore it. 

Chapter 5 really dives into why it is important to give specific and focused instruction when launching Daily 5. I myself am guilty of rushing this step. I find myself doing minimal practice sessions and then rushing to independence before my kids are ready. I definitely place to much emphasis on their prior knowledge from kindergarten and forget that each year is a fresh start. Summer brain is a real thing, but I don't need to tell you that! 

"The tone for the entire year is established during the early weeks of school." (pg. 67)

3 ways to read a book

- Read the pictures
- Read the words
- Retell the story

When I teach this I usually do each one as a separate mini-lesson. I like the idea of combining the first 2 as a time saver, but I worry about the length of that mini-lesson! I would love to see how they squeeze that lesson into 6-7 minutes! 

Foundation Lessons

I absolutely love how the sister's teach their foundation lessons! Esepically the I-PICK Good-Fit Books lesson with the shoes! That is my favorite lesson to teach! It is fun and really gets the concept across! I really appreciated the Appendix I that had all the lesson plans for these lessons! That wild definitely come in handy as I start to plan for the first few weeks of school. I'm not quite that ready for next year yet!

Read to Self Foundation Lessons
- 3 ways to read a book
- I PICKGood-Fit books 
- Choose a successful spot 

Work on Writing Foundation Lessons
- Underline words you don't know how to spell and move on
- Set up a notebook
- Choose what to write about

Read to Someone Foundation Lessons
- Check for understanding


- Voice level
- How partners read
- How to get started
- Coaching or time?
- How to choose a partner

Listen to Reading Foundation Lessons
- Set up technology
- Listen and follow along
- Manage fair and equitable use with a limited number of devices

Word Work Foundation Lessons
- Set up and clean up materials
- Choose materials to use
- Choose a successful spot
** Do you let students choose their spot for word work? I just don't have the space for the so they have to stay at desks… Am I the worst? haha **

In all honesty, I kind of skimmed over Chapter 6. I'm not quite ready to get that in depth about the focused lessons, but I am excited to go back and read it throughly later!

I really liked the idea of the word collectors wall! In my class we use personal dictionaries that we add these tricky/robust words to throughout the year, but I like the idea of having it in a common place as well. I will definitely be using that. My new placement doesn't order personal dictionaries. I suppose I'll have to make my own this year! Just one more thing to add to TPT!

I can't wait to read all your thoughts on these 2 chapters and to see all the amazing resources you're posting! I have to be honest, looking at all the resources you guys have created makes me feel like I am slacking! It is intimidating!

I definitely still have a LOT to learn about this whole blogging/TPT business! You all inspire me so much! I hope one day I can live up!

Nursing Party, Car Shopping, PYP Training and Lip Sync Battles OH MY!

Boy oh boy was this week crazy! I am so happy to finally have some time to blog (and breathe)! I have so much to share, hence that ridiculously long title!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my best friends graduation from nursing school! I have known this girl since we were 12 and I am so proud of everything she has accomplished! Many of you may have seen the photos all over Instagram from the party I helped throw for her, well spoiler alert, you're going to see more! 

I had so much fun planning this party! I swear, if I wasn't a teacher I would probably be a party planner. I love it! It's such a great opportunity to get my craft on! 

The first thing that I made was a 3-piece canvas set. I wanted something that was simple, fit the theme and that she could keep even after the party was over! I had my husband cut me some vinyl stickers for the letters, since no one wants to see my man-writing. The rest was easy! Being married to a decal sticker owner has it's perks ;)

I used one of the canvas' for the guest book! I had a variety of fun bandaids and colored pens (my grading pens). Guests placed a bandaid on the canvas and wrote words of encouragement next to it! I didn't take a picture of the final product, but I am asking her to take one and send it to me! 

The hit of the party was these bad boys! I found these syringes on eBay and made Jell-O shots out of them. I used the red to look like blood (obviously haha) and then made some with alcohol and some without. I labeled them +/- as if they were blood types. Get it!? I amuse myself sometimes…

Here's the recipe I used:


3 ounces Strawberry Banana Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup Whipped Cream Vodka
1/2 cup cold water


1. Pour Jell-O in bowl 

2. Add boiling water, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

3. Stir in chilled liquor and water mix

4. Fill syringes

5. Refrigerate until the liquid sets

6. Serve!

These little cups are filled with Mike and Ikes and Jelly Bellys!

I used marshmallows for the "cotton balls".

 All in all, I was super happy with how it all turned out! You can get the labels {here}!

Now for the not so fun part of my week…This week was largely dedicated to car shopping. I can't tell you how much research and time was wasted during this process. We had so many bad experiences!

The first place we went to (and wasted 3 hours of our life at) we had your stereotypical "sleazy" car salesman. They were the worst! We went in to see a specific car from their online inventory and when we got there, they said that car didn't really exist. It was a "phantom car" and that the car was actually $6000 more. They also kept manipulating the numbers and trying to manipulate us. So we stormed out of place #1. 

The next place we went to was just down right rude and unprofessional. We told them exactly what we wanted from the first moment. The exact car, the exact price, the monthly payments, everything. Like I said, we did a lot of research! We got to the financing phase and they tried to trick us by going over what we wanted to pay. So we left place #2. When we left, the salesman literally chased us out to the car and proceeded to yell at us for "wasting his time". He yelled at us until we were out of the parking lot. 

And finally, after being burned so many times (those 2 places were just the worst of the worst) we decided no more going in to places until we had to. We called around and found the place we wanted with the car we wanted. I did all the BS over the phone and just went in to sign papers. It was a wonderful experience, minus the fact that it took 4 hours… and that is JUST for paperwork. I almost died. 

But it is finally done! We have a new 2014 Ford Focus in candy blue metallic. It looks plain blue in the photo, but it's more of a turquoise in daylight! It's the first brand new car either of us have bought! 

 I love it! But mostly I am just glad this process is over!

I also had PYP training this week. Do any of you do PYP? I really don't understand why PYP is necessary. It just seems like more paperwork and hassle. So I would love any thoughts/input/tips you have on this. I spent 6 1/2 hours this week planning with my team and I still feel lost! And my brain hurts.

Lastly, this weekend was my parents 16th wedding anniversary! So they could have some time to celebrate, my husband and I had my 2 younger sisters and younger cousin over for a sleep over. We had so much fun! We ordered pizza, watched Space Jam and then decided to have a lip sync battle! 

If you have never seen the Jimmy Fallon lip sync battle videos, you totally should. They are hilarious! And ours definitely didn't disappoint. Each person picked 2 songs to lip sync/perform and no one knows your song ahead of time. The best part was that people got really into it and picked songs that you totally wouldn't expect. 

I chose Lonely Island - I'm on a Boat
My husband chose Michael Jackson - Billy Jean
My sister (15yrs) chose Eminem - Kill You
My other sister (12yrs) chose a song about video games that I didn't know

and the winner, my 15 yr old cousin chose some screamo song that took everyone by surprise! 

I would post videos, but I don't have them yet, and also they may have ben a tad inappropriate. Oops!  :) 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ten Things I Want to do This Summer!

Well, it's the first week of summer and so far it hasn't seemed much like summer! Not only has it been cold and raining (Yay Oregon!) but I had PD all, and I mean all, day on Monday. Today was spent car shopping, grocery shopping and helping my husband with orders. 

I should clarify, my husband owns 2 businesses so I work for him part time year round. I help him with all the orders. I won't bore you with the details, but it is super super tedious work. I am happy to help, but it just means I don't really get time off for the summer. 

This is how I get all of the decals that I use in my classroom. People keep asking me about that, I will post about it soon I promise! 
( is currently down for maintenance but he also has a store front on Amazon (click above), eBay and Etsy).

This is where he takes his designs and turns them into t-shirts! This one is brand new so there are still some kinks to work out! 

{Click the images above to go check him out!} 

Anyways, tomorrow I have another PD, Thursday a Dr. appointment and Friday I have to go to court to *hopefully* get my ticket waived from the accident.  I swear someday this summer I will actually just relax and do fun things! 

In the spirit of that I thought it was about time to link up with Deanna over at Mrs. Jump's Class for my Top Ten Things I Want to Do This Summer!

1. I plan to spend as much time as humanly possible outside soaking up the sun. Laying by the pool, going to the beach, berry picking, hiking. I don't care as long as it's outside! That is, if the sun ever decides to grace me with it's presence. 

2. I have been DYING to go to Tree-to-Tree. It is an outdoor, aerial obstacle course through the trees! They have bridges, tight ropes, balance beams and zip lines. Now if only I could get my husband on board! 

3. My husband and I are hoping to plan a trip to NY to visit one of our close friends who recently moved there to do some trading. I've always wanted to go and now we have the perfect excuse! I also really want to go visit Carlo's Bakery and see Buddy ;)

4. I would love to finally get pregnant this summer. *Fingers crossed*

5. I am so not on the "good tv" bandwagon. I only just recently watched Game of Thrones. Now that that is over (until April 2015…I'm already having withdrawal) my husband and I are going to binge watch Breaking Bad. He has seen the first 2 seasons but I haven't seen any of it. Maybe that will hold me over until GoT comes back. Maybe. 

6. I hope to finally finish our backyard! We got the hose fixed so now we just have to start over with the grass planting. Urg. But hopefully it will turn out like this. 

(I am posting this photo because a photo of my real backyard would just be embarrassing for everyone).

7. I plan to eat a whole lot of crepes. A few summers ago a couple of girl friends and I took a trip to Vegas and eating crepes kind of became a thing. Now that fresh berries are in season it is the perfect time to indulge again! 

8. Which brings me to the next one: Take a girls weekend. This year has been a whirlwind for all of us with a lot of ups and downs. We thought a girls trip was in order. Although we can't go to Vegas this year (which is a bummer because the TPT conference is there) we are thinking possibly San Fransisco!

And I guess I'll throw in a few educational ones.

9. I need to fill out my TPT store now that I finally have the time to get my already created products up and also create some new ones! I am pretty excited! I have a billion things "in progress" that I can't wait to get up and share! 

10. And lastly, I need to revamp my classroom library. I always plan to and then give up because I can't figure out what categories to separate into! So if you have any tips/ideas I would greatly appreciate it! I think an IKEA trip is in order to get some tubs (and other classroom organization pieces) first! I am not going to post a photo of the current state of my library because, well, embarrassing again. 

I also plan to get back into my freezer cooking and start running outside to rehab my knee for the Color Run in September. And spend a lot of time with family! 

What about you? Have you already linked up your summer plans!? I would love to hear what all of your fun (non-educational) plans are for the summer! :)