Tell all Tuesday: Summer Flashback

Guess what time it is?!

I have loved doing this link up with my friend Jayme at Teach, Talk, Inspire.  It has been such a fun way to get to know all of you wonderful bloggers.  This week we are rewinding the clock and showing off some summertime memories.  So dig through your old photo albums and upload a summer flashback. We can't wait to see the sweet summertime memories.

Oh, don't mind me, just another busy day splish splashing in my Smurf pool...

Followed up with some sun bathing.  I tell you, these summer days just get harder and harder. I'm so glad I have my fashionable shades and Cabbage Patch swimsuit as I splash through these summer days! ;)

Perhaps this is where my love of water came from.  Throughout my childhood you could always find me splashing around a pool.  I was a fish!  In middle school I joined the summer swim team and spent many summers swimming laps in the early morning.  Give me a pool and a good book and I am set for the day!  

Here's how to join in on the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner above and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.  
This week is: Summer Flashback!
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.  

We can't wait to see your summertime adventures.  


3-2-1 Teacher Bio: Weekend Warriors

I am happy to have stumbled upon the Weekend Warrior link up and I am excited to join the party.  Thank you to the fabulous bloggers who organize this monthly link up.  

I have been loving these summer days because it gives me the chance to blog more and connect with fellow bloggers.  The topic for this month is all about getting to know each other better.  I am excited to share some facts about myself.  Here we go...

1.  I love Kindergarten.  I feel so lucky to be in this grade level.  My first year of teaching I taught 3rd grade and it was fun, but after I got transferred into Kindergarten I knew my heart was at this grade level.  I love the age of the kiddos, I love their enthusiasm for learning, and I love watching them grow throughout the year.  The progress they make from August until June is astonishing and I love watching it.  Now don't get me wrong, those first 25 days of teaching are tough with these kiddos.  There are a lot of days where the whole room is crying, (myself included), but I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

2.  School supplies make me happy.  I would rather not see them in June, but when August rolls around I love walking up and down the aisles of Target or Office Max and looking at all the new supplies.  It feels like Christmas.  I tend to overbuy in color pens and markers.  I have jars all around my classroom and at home.  I cannot get enough and just when I think I have enough I buy some more, what can I say, I like having options! :)

3.  I feel fortunate to do a job that I love.  I always tell my students that my door is always open for them.  I love when old students come to visit.  The best is when we have Open House and older siblings that are now out of the building come down to see me.  It is fun to stay connected and watch as they move throughout the grades.  I will forever be their cheerleaders and they will always be in my heart.  

1.  For anyone that follows me on Instagram you will notice that I take quite a few pics of either my coffee mug or ice cream. (at this moment I think the hashtag #cantstopwontstop would be appropriate ;))  I can't get enough.  I do not feel normal until I have my first cup of coffee.  Is it bad that one of the first thoughts that pops into my head after I wake up is that I get to make a cup of coffee?! Now, onto my other favorite obsession: ice cream!  I feel as though if there was an ice cream queen title I could be a close runner up.  My favorite flavor changes often and I am a happy camper as long as there is chocolate involved.  I have even dragged the Hubby on the dark side and he will encourage ice cream runs after dinner. 

2.  My jewelry of choice are bracelets and watches.  After my first year of teaching I rewarded myself with a Michael Kors watch and I have never looked back.  Arm candy is a must in my book!  I have always had my eye on the Alex and Ani bracelets and I was thrilled when my kiddos gave me two for my end of the year gift.  I can see how the collection quickly grows, they are addicting!  

1.  One of the items on my bucket list is to move into a house.  We currently live in a townhouse and as much as I love this house, it would be wonderful to have a little more space.  Not to mention a backyard.  We have two dogs, Mario and Joey, and we want a fenced in backyard for them to be able to run and play.  Hopefully someday soon this dream will become a reality! :)

I appreciate you taking the time to read through my Weekend Warrior: Summertime Edition.  I am happy I had the chance to link up with these wonderful bloggers.  Be sure to check out Primarily Speaking to read more great posts and get to know the blogging community a little bit better. 

Happy Sunday!


The Book Whisperer: Chapter 3

I apologize for being late to the party, but I finally had the chance to finish Chapter 3.  

Donalyn brought up a lot of great points as she began this chapter.  Bottom line: teachers should no longer think, "How can we make time for independent reading?", but rather "How can we not?!"

Students need the time to read in order to become life long readers.  Not only do they need a chance to read, but they also need to see US read.  Model, model, and then model some more

As the chapter continues, Donalyn suggests ways to maximize independent reading time during all times of the day.  

1. Classroom Interruptions

We all have them.  The phone rings, the office buzzes, or another teacher walks in. Rather than stress about what your students are doing during this time teach them the expectations early of taking out their book and reading. This is absolutely brilliant?!  Instead of having the chance of students misbehaving during these interruptions teach the expectation of using their time wisely.  

2. Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

Donalyn suggests instead of wasting time with "fillers" get right down to work and use that time to allow students to read.  I have to admit I am guilty of this.  The students walk in and morning work is waiting for them at their table.  The morning work relates to the concepts we are doing, whether it be alphabet practice, math, or science activities.  I think I will continue to do this, however I DO want to try having them independently read after they are done.  I'm envisioning when they check their morning work with me, they can go to the book shelf and choose a book of their choice, find a comfy spot and read.  This would also help minimize the noise and students would get some extra minutes of reading time.  

3. When Students are Done
This connects with the paragraph above.  After students are done with their work, instead of having them do busy work, allow them the time to read, write, and think!  I will say that my students did get into this habit towards the end of the year.  This year my class liked loved writing workshop. During this time they were the most engaged.  You would find kiddos scattered all around the room, with clipboards, markers, stencils, and colored pencils writing away.  As I stated above I want to continue to embrace this and also incorporate reading into this time.  It's such a simple idea, but one that I think gets overlooked.  I think teachers (me included) are afraid of that down time.  Everyone doesn't finish their work at exactly the same time, and it's the never ending question, "What do I do now?!" that can get eliminated from the classroom when you teach your students to use their time wisely and read and write when they are done with an activity.  

4. Picture Day
I must admit I gave myself a pat on the back when I got to this heading because I do bring books and have students read as we are waiting for our pictures to be taken.  In kindergarten, I have found through experience, if you do not give them something to do they start to misbehave and wander.  And once one wanders they all start and by the time the last one has taken their picture it is like herding cats attempting to get them all to line up.  It just causes unnecessary stress.  This problem is easily solved once books are passed out, all is right with the world and my kindergarten friends are in a straight line reading away!  

5. Library Time
I felt validated as I read this section as well because my kids LOVE going to the library and hardly misbehave.  They are excited to be able to check out books and read in the library.  It is important to set the expectation from the start and follow through.  I use this time to help my librarian find books for my kiddos and show my love of reading through book recommendations.  

The second part of this chapter was all about creating a place for reading.  In my classroom I have lots of different areas set up, we have a rug area where we gather for classroom discussions, kitchen, tables, and a writing workshop area.  Once I teach my students the expectations during reading time I allow them to choose where they would like to sit during this time.  It is always fun for me to look around at my class and watch as my kiddos find a comfy "just right" spot for them and enjoy books.  

I liked how Donalyn stressed it is not so much about the furniture that creates a place for reading, but the expectations you give to your students as they read.  

Thank you for taking the time to read through my blog post about Chapter 3.  Be sure to check out Brogan's Bits and Literacy and Lattes for their post about Chapter 3. 

Next week I look forward to hosting Chapter 4 Reading Freedom.  

Happy Reading!


Five for Friday

I'm closing in on my second week of sweet summer time and I'm excited to recap the week with Doodle Bugs Teaching 

Last weekend was a fun filled family weekend.  We celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday.  During the party my parents and aunts and uncles surprised her with the little "old" people.  She loved it!  My Grandma is such a special lady, she always has a smile on her face.  I'm glad we were able to celebrate her and have a great time together.  

My Friend Jayme and I from Teach, Talk, Inspire started a Tell all Tuesday summer link up a few weeks ago.  Every Tuesday we focus on a different topic.  I have really enjoyed collaborating with Jayme and have loved to read through everyone's post each week.  It has been a great way to get the know this wonderful blogging community a little bit better.  This week we did a Teacher Bucket List.  It was fun to read everyone's bucket list.  Thanks to everyone who shared.  If you didn't have the chance to link up it is not too late, it is open until Sunday.  Click {here} to check out the Tell all Tuesday post.  

On Tuesday we got a fun surprise when Teacher Pay Teachers shared our blog post on their FB page!  If you think I was screaming with delight and jumping up and down you are right!  We were honored to be mentioned and so appreciate it.  

For those of you who follow my blog I mentioned last week that I am taking some grad classes this summer.  All of the classes focus on integrating technology into the classroom.  

This week for my assessment class I had to find an online technology tool to turn a paper pencil test into an online assessment.  I also had to research an assistive technology device to help all learners be successful taking the assessment. 

The assessment tool I used was called Learning Pod and I really enjoyed experimenting with it.  I hope to use it more during the school year.  

It is a FREE website that allows you to create assessment questions as well as browse thousands of already made test questions that are tied to state standards. 

The Assistive Technology tool I found that I also want to try in my classroom is called Speak it! 

Speak it is a Google Chrome extension and enables you to have the text read to you.  Once Speak it is installed you simply highlight the text and then right click to activate Speak it.  Once you click the play button the text is read to you.  I think this would be a useful tool to have in the classroom. 

I finished the book Still Alice.  I enjoyed it.  It definitely had its sad moments, but it was well written. It was interesting to see the perspective of Alzheimer's disease through the lenses of the person who has it.  I will have to rent the movie.  It always intrigues me to read the book first and then watch the movie and compare the two. The next book on my list is Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.  I have read several of her books and I enjoy her style of writing.  After just a few pages I was hooked!  

Just me and my bud relaxing and getting some sunshine!

The other day I was inspired to create a new product for my store and went for it.  I love when I have moments like that.  I just posted this packet to my store and it is all about the alphabet.  There are three pages for each letter. A page to identify and color the picture that starts with the letter, a page to practice handwriting, and a page to cut and glue the picture that starts with the letter.  I am excited to use this packet with my kindergarten kiddos.  My plan is to use it for morning work or maybe to give additional practice for anyone that needs it.  

Well, that wraps up another week.  Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read through it.  

I am super excited for this Saturday because some sweet new friends of mine Marie from Once Upon a Classroom and Kirstin from Hip Hooray in K have organized a Chicago Blogger meet up!  I can't wait to meet these talented ladies and get to know them better!  

Happy Friday and Weekend!


Summer Share and Prepare

I'm excited to be linking up with Marie from Once Upon a Classroom  for her fun new summer linky party called Summer Share and Prepare.  

Summertime is the perfect time to start to think about next year.  As a teacher our minds are always on and thinking about what to do next.  This is the perfect linky to find new ideas and products to use with your students!

 The product I am going to share is my CVC Literacy Activity Pack.  

My kiddos loved this pack and requested to use it often during literacy centers. 

Inside this pack there are hands on activities to practice CVC words. The following activities are included:  

A CVC picture word match

Identify the beginning sound. 

 I laminated the pages for durability and let my students use a dry erase marker to write.  

Identify the ending sound

Identify and circle the middle sound of each word. 

Unscramble the words and create a sentence. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read about my summer share and prepare.  My CVC activity pack will be on SALE for $1 through the weekend! You can click on the cover picture to take you directly to my store.  

 Be sure to stop by Marie's blog to check out other incredible ideas and products.  

Happy Reading!


Tell all Tuesday: Teacher Bucket List

Summer is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and enjoy some time to reflect on the previous school year.  It also gives teachers time to daydream and think to the future.  In honor of summer and the time time off we're giving ourselves from our teacher reality we want to know your dreams for your teaching career.  For this Tell All Tuesday we'd love for you to share your "Teacher Bucket List."  What hopes and dreams do you have for your teaching career?  Do you want to go back to school to become a reading specialist?  One day become principal of your school?  Or something else in the realm of teaching?  Dream big and don't hold back!  Share your Teacher Bucket List with us today!

Here's how to join in on the fun:
1. Grab the picture and banner above and use it to link back to this post on your blog.
2. Save the Teacher Bucket list picture to your computer.  Using a tool of your choice (I used Power Point) write your Teacher bucket list and upload it to your blog post.  
2. Write a post about the topic of the week.  
This week is: Teacher Bucket List
3. Add your link below.
4. Advertise your post using any social media of your choice.  

Technology Tools in the classroom- I have really enjoyed learning about technology from fellow bloggers as well as from my grad classes. A goal of mine is to get more devices for my classroom. I thought about using my old iPhones.  I also want to see what grants are available.  I want to write a grant for iPads.   There are many apps and tools I could use with my kindergarten kiddos if I had the devices.  Have you written a grant or found a way to get devices into your classroom?  If so please share, I would love to read your ideas.

Become a Reading Specialist- My heart is in kindergarten, and at the moment I could not think of any where else I would like to be.  Down the road, when I am ready for a change I want to become a reading specialist.  My passion is reading and writing and I would love to have the opportunity to try this role.  After a few years in kindergarten I went back for my master's in reading instruction.  I feel as though it has helped me target the needs of my young learners.  It always amazes me to watch them grow throughout the year as they learn to read and navigate through books.  Reading and writing is my favorite time of day!

I need this mug from Abby and Grace shop. 

Grow my TpT Store- But really, a dream of mine is to grow my TpT store. My hope is that my store continues to gain more followers and people are able to use the products I make to help their students.  I feel like I am in my happy place when I have the chance to sit down and create. I'm excited to see where this adventure takes me!  

Teach a College Class- I would love to teach future educators.  I think there needs to be a few classes entitled, "What they don't teach you in college, behind the scenes of a classroom." Ok, jokes aside, it would be rewarding to serve as a mentor for future teachers.  When I was in college I learned the most from the professors who were still teaching.  I always felt as though they had realistic expectations and could relate to us.  Over the past four years I have been a part of the kindergarten curriculum committee for ELA.  I have enjoyed having the opportunity to  lead institute days and professional development helping other teachers. A dream of mine is to continue on this path and see where it takes me.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my Teacher Bucket List.  

I hope you feel inspired to grab the pictures above and join in on the fun. I can't wait to read your list! 


TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

I am linking up with the lovely ladies who organized the TpT Seller Challenge for Week 2.  This week is called Dare to Dream.  It is a chance to stop and reflect about goals and dreams you have for yourself and your business.

As I sat down to write this blog post these are the goals that quickly came to mind...

Create: I started my TpT store in February of this year.    I have always loved to create activities for my classroom and thought, why not try it?!  From the moment I uploaded my first product I was hooked.  It is such a rewarding experience to be able to create an idea and then watch my students use it.  When I see others buy my products and use it in their classroom it is even better.  To know I helped a teacher teach an activity is so rewarding!  I never want my TpT store to be a chore for me.  I create when I am inspired and consider it a fun hobby.  Having a TpT store helps me stay current and my ideas fresh. 

Travel: My husband and I love to travel.  Whatever I make from my store is a bonus for us and helps us pay bills as well as pay off some student loans.  My hope is that eventually my store will help us to have more income and be able to do fun things like travel the world.  It has always been a dream of ours to travel to Italy and Greece.  

Inspire: This whole experience has been surreal to me and the only regret I have is that I didn't start earlier.  This adventure has allowed me to connect with some amazing educators from all over the world. It amazes me how supportive and encouraging this community is.  I have learned so many valuable tips and tricks to use in my classroom and I can only hope that I do the same for others.  This truly has been an inspiring ride and I can't wait to see where it takes me.  

I appreciate you taking the time to read through my dreams.  I think it is important to dream big and keep your eye on the prize.  Anything is possible when you set your mind to it.  

A big thank you again to these four lovely ladies who organized this whole event.  I am excited I stumbled across this challenge and have enjoyed reading and watching others participate as well.  Be sure to check out their blogs to join in the fun and read other blogger's dreams.


Five for Friday

I am one week into summer break and I am excited to recap with Doodle Bug's Teaching Five for Friday Linky!

Image result for ezy watermark

Through the powers of Instagram I found this helpful tip from Megan on her blog I Teach. What's Your Superpower? She posted a picture about watermarking pictures.  She had learned about an app from Molly from Lucky to Be in First called EZY Watermark.  It's FREE which is always a bonus and allows you to watermark your pictures.  It's a win, win!  Thank you ladies for this awesome tip!  Be sure to check out their blogs for other helpful tips and ideas.

This summer is pretty busy for me.  I am teaching summer school four days a week and taking four grad classes online.  There is a slight chance I have lost my mind.  I have been been taking classes for the past six years and wanted to be done.  I decided to sign up for my last four this summer and power through.  On August 10th I will cross the finish line and FINALLY be done with grad classes FOREVER. (unless I decide to go for my doctorate ;))  I can't wait!  It will be exciting to have some free time to do what I want to do: blog, create, read for fun, etc.  

One of the kindergarten kiddos I am working with this summer has a lot of challenges.  Despite this, the student always walks in with the biggest smile and ready to work and learn. While we were working on a goal the student said this to me.  Bless this student's heart.  

I. Love. My. Job! 

You certainly can little one, You certainly can!  Especially with that attitude!

When it rains it pours.  I requested a bunch of books on my summer wish list from my library.  A bunch came in this week.  I can't wait to dive into them all.  I started to read Still Alice and I have not been able to put it down.  It captured my attention from the moment I started reading.  I can't wait to see how it ends... Has anyone else read it?!  Yay or Nay?!

This upcoming weekend is a jam packed weekend of fun with family.  We are celebrating my Grandma's 90th birthday with a big birthday bash.  My Grandma is a special lady.  She has crafted her own special language like "eye cream for ice cream" and "Celina Dijon for "Celion Dion" and a laugh that is contagious.  I am excited to celebrate her!  We have family coming in from Tennessee so it will be a fun filled weekend of making memories I will cherish forever!

The picture above is from our wedding.  My Grandma brought SouthPaw as her date! ;)

I am also excited to spend time with this special man.  My Dad is my rock, my biggest supporter, and the man I will always look up to.  I admire his dedication, his hard work, and his ambition to start a business from scratch and turn it into a successful company.  He taught me if I want something to work like heck to get it and never look back and never stop dreaming.  I love spending time with him.  I am excited to celebrate him this weekend. 

Well, that wraps up my week!  Thank you for taking the time to read through my Five for Friday.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

P.S. just one more reason why I love summer! :)