Sunday, October 26, 2014

Surviving Parent-Teacher Conferences

We all know that hustle and bustle when a grading period is ending, report cards are due, and parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner. Well I have survived all of this madness these last couple of week.

Our first quarter ended October 10th, Report card grade and comments were due the next week, and we had our Parent-teacher conferences this last week! So yes, I have been busy busy juggling this, and of course still moving on with our second grade curriculum.

After finishing up conferences, it got me to thinking with my experiences with them so far, and I thought it would be fun to write about:

Most conferences are pretty routine, parents know the drill, they come in and talk and are pretty much very agreeable and appreciative. But of course, we all have those conferences that have us feeling some sort of way when they're done. Either we are relieved that they're over or confused on what even happened, we know it won't be the first, or last time that we experience it. So I have picked my Top 4 Parent-Teacher experiences to write about that I am sure many of you could relate to!

It is sad to say, we do have those parents who simply come in because they know it is the responsible thing to do. However, they really just want it to be over with. Whether it is just nodding as you talk, some occasional "oks" to get you along, or the parents who literally have nothing to say at all. These of course can sometimes be uncomfortable, but just appreciate them making the effort to be there, and do your best to relay the message you are there to do!


Do you ever have those students that you just haven't quite figured out yet. The ones who are unique and definitely make each day interesting. Well it is one of my favorites when I meet these student's parents... and I have that "ah haa" moment... these are what I call the ah-ha parents. The parents that once you meet them, it makes perfect sense why their child is the way they are! I am not saying this is a bad thing! But sometimes as a teacher, it is nice to know that you are losing it, but this child just comes from a family that has led to who he or she is!


These are one of my favorites, and can definitely be one of the most difficult conferences to get through. To try to address parents with serious concerns and ideas to improve their child's education, and they don't seem to understand the concern or the suggestions because they feel they're child is a genius, the cream or the crop, the brightest crayon in the box. You of course don't want to totally ruin these parent's idea of their child, however, you do want to make a point that there are some aspects that need to be addressed, and what more we can do to help the child.


However these parents.... these are the parents that we need more of. This year's conferences reminded me how important these parents are and how it's nice to experience them. This year I had a mother sit down, and when I began with my usual, "How is everything on your end, is there any questions and concerns before we get started...." is when she laid it all out. She expressed how grateful she was for the work myself and my co-teacher have done this year. She explained how last year and at the very beginning of this year, her son did NOT like school, he never wanted to come, and he just didn't want anything to do with it. Someway, somehow, we were able to change this child's opinion to the point that he is very excited to come to school, he is excited about everything he is learning, he shows enjoyment for reading now, and looks forward to getting his homework done. But the kind words this mother used to express how thankful she was, and how appreciative she is for all we do. She relates that she knows her son can be difficult, how he can be very stubborn, but she can't thank us enough for still getting through to him and helping change his view on school.

  These are the conferences that remind me why I am doing what I do. I can only hope that all of you out there have a chance to experience these parents to remind us of the power we really have over these children. To remind us that these parents do understand what we are dealing with because these are their children at home and they know them best!

But finally P/T conferences are done! Don't have to worry about them again until March!

Now just getting ready for a chaotic Red Ribbon week leading up to a Halloween celebration on Friday!

Hope you are all hanging in there! Have a fantastic week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Teach, Craft,.. and be SCARY!

WELCOME to the Halloween Bash Blog Hopper! I am so excited to be a part of it!

I have lots of offer in this blog post as well as a bunch of other bloggers do! Also, check out the giveaways too!!

Need something fun and hands on that fit in with the halloween theme? Well here is a fun creativity for students! They get to create their OWN monster and then write about them. It is so much fun to see these students use their imagination as they create their monster. What a perfect time to create monsters then around halloween!

You can find this product in my store HERE! But you can also enter the 2-5 giveaway below for a chance to win this along with many other amazing products! Make sure you enter and enter often!

Have you figured out what you are going to be for halloween yet? Do you dress up at school with your students? I always find it so much fun to do, at least at the primary ages. The kids get so excited to see the teacher in on the fun with them. My second grade team likes to try to do themed costumes! Last year we had to dress up and actually present in front of the school, so we dressed up as the wizard of oz, and of course I was Dorothy! It was a lot of fun!
Our team has changed a lot this year, and we don't have to present, so we decided to do something else! At the beginning of the year the students made super heroes for the hallway for SUPER IN SECOND! So I thought, why not be super heroes?!? The best part is.... super heroes in TUTUS! You have all seen the fun tutus on pinterest right? Well we bought our super hero shirts with the capes, went and bought tulle to match, are in the process of making super cute tutus, all we need is to get the leggings and BAM, second grade super hero teachers!
I am going to be Wonder Woman! I have already made my tutu, nice and fluffy and BIG! I am really excited to see what the kids think of it. I will definitely be back to post pictures once I get it all put together!

Now in honor of this great blog hop! I am offering a fun Halloween FREEBIE!!! Check out my TPT store HERE for this download!

If you like what you see there, make sure you rate it, pin it, and spread the word!

Now to continue the FUN!! Enter this awesome giveaway below!!!

Now go and check out some other amazing bloggers! They have some great things to offer!

More giveaways!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Illinois Reading Conference!

So, I have been VERY fortunate and my district sent me to the Illinois Reading Conference (IRC)!

It was a pretty awesome experience! To see so many big names in the world of literacy for teachers.. all in one spot, it was a blast!

I was able to compare Timothy Shanahan and Richard Allington on their views of reading in the classroom with student learning, as well as complex texts! It's interesting to see their points of view, as well as compare it to my setting and what we are doing at our school. Shanahan is completely against teaching children at their instructional level, that all students need to be taught at grade level and must be challenged. Allington things that students should receive instruction at their grade level by a very well trained teacher! Wouldn't I love to see these two in a room together and watch them go at it!

I was also able to see Linda Dorn and her views on Text complexity as well as Vocabulary!
Maria Walthers great such great advice and motivation for transforming literacy instruction for the common core! The examples and ideas she brought to the table were wonderful!

These were just a few among MANY!

However, I would have to say that one of my favorites was watching and meeting the author and illustrator Steven Kellogg! His presentation was AMAZING! To sit and watch him work through his story telling thoughts, plus illustrating it right before our eyes, it was magical and inspirational. The passion you could tell he had was great too! He really enjoys what he does. He even read student letters that were written to him, HILARIOUS! This really wrapped up the whole conference and made my week!

So in honor of him! I am sharing my Jimmy's Boa activity pack too!!!!

Come back soon because I have some wonderful events coming up! (cough cough, BLOG HOP! yay)

Come back and check this event out!!! See you soon!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Love me some Giveaways!

I have just recently started to get involved with giveaways and participating with other TPT stores! Honestly, I love this idea and I think it is so much fun! It is such a great way to spread the word and really network with others.

Today I am celebrating with Countless Smart Cookies for her Birthday celebration!

She has so many wonderful TPT sellers taking part! You should definitely check it our and enter!

I am of course part of the first and second grade bundle. It is winner's choice from my store PLUS a bunch of other TPT author's have contributed items as well!

Here is the Raffle Copter to enter!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looking for other grades as well?! Here are more bundle giveaways!!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

So many great offers here and I wish you all the best of luck!!!
Only a couple more days to go, so enter now!

I shall be returning soon with some more posts!! I am preparing to head down to Springfield Illinois for the Illinois Reading Conference! I'm excited to see what all it has to offer, and I will definitely fill you all in on the details!!

Ta ta for now! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Working on Wednesday!

I am linking up with Middle School Math Moments to share what we are working on, on this Wednesday!

What am I NOT working on is the question! Currently in my personal life, I am trying to get things ready for my sister-in-laws baby shower on Sunday! My new little nephew will be here in early November, so this weekend we are celebrating with the shower. So trying to get the favors all set and finalize what I am doing for appetizers!

I am also procrastinating on writing my 6-8 page paper for my grad class! I just have no motivation to write this paper. I feel that we are currently doing a lot go repeating ourself in our current coursework, and I feel like this action plan I have to write, I have already written a variation of it twice, in my other classes! So hopefully at some point today I can get that started!

Finally, I am working on finishing up my smart board for our new ELA unit! We just started our new ELA unit with a them of WILD, WILD, WEST!

I think this unit is going to be a lot of fun, and is definitely different from anything I have done before.  Being able to incorporate informational articles, poems, and fictional stories, all with one main theme. I'm really excited that my district has started to implement this, and I am even more excited that I am on the committee that gets to write them! It is amazing how with the right timeline and methods and questioning, what you can guide and teach your students to do. I love to watch them light up as they make the connections as we move through the unit. Hopefully I can get the next couple weeks done in the smart board because next week, I am off to the IRC! (Illinois Reading Conference)

Happy middle of the week! Have a wonderful 2 more days of teaching!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Scoop!

Happy Sunday!

Today I am linking up with The Teaching Trio with this great Sunday Scoop!

Here is my Sunday Scoop! Enjoy:

3 Things I need to do:

1. We just started to implement Jolly Phonics in the second grade. It is completely new to us, and we have been given some professional development on it. However, as any teacher knows, it can be overwhelming sometimes to organize and start to teach something brand new in your classroom! The only bonus is that our students have been receiving this program since kindergarten. So I am just trying to organize my lesson plans that we created as a team, and am trying to create a visual smart board to help when teaching! Happy to say I am half way done, just need to finish up some loose ends!

2. This year, I am teaming up with one of the other second grade teachers and we are creating a second grade news cast!  Our students will be in charge of the filming and creating, and we will work with them to put together a final news cast to share with the rest of the school. The students will have the opportunity to interview other students or teachers in the school and come up with their own news segments within their media teams! We finally voted on the name of our news station! Now I just need to create a couple different logos to have the students vote on so we can keep this moving forward! I can't wait to see how cute these turn out to be!

3. I am currently in a cohort for my masters in Teacher Leadership! (This is the first step toward my type 75.) My current class has been put online, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to keep it organized! Every week we have a couple discussion questions due, as well as responses to other students. But then of course this coming week, I also have a paper due, and I am not really sure on what. So it is probably a good idea to organize what I need to get done this week for my class, to make sure it all gets done!

2 Things I hope to do:

1. GET ON TPT! I like to check out the forums and network with other TPT-ers! These last couple of weeks at school has been so busy with new curriculum, coaching basketball, going on a field trip, and just trying to get things done! So I really hope today I can sit down and see what other TPT-ers are doing and do some networking! It is so much fun and I wish I could do it more.

2. RELAX! Yesterday I was up and going all day running errands and getting things done. I got to spend some much needed time with my nieces too! However, it is always nice to have some down time to relax before starting another busy work week!

1 thing I am happy to do:

Write this Blog post! Like I said earlier, this school year has just been so busy so far this year. I always feel that once I get ahead, I find another way that I am falling behind! I have not been able to update this blog nearly as much as I would like. So I am very happy to make time to get this done and link up with other great bloggers!

I do hope I start to find more time to blog! I have some great activities planned for my classroom that I really want to share with all of you! So fingers crossed I start to get things done so I can share more with you all!

Check out all of the other great bloggers linking up with this! Have a great beginning of a new week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

RedditGift Goodies!

So today I want to share the program I was very fortunate to participate in! RedditGift is a website that holds many many gift exchanges throughout the year. It is really a fun way to share some cheer and get a surprise in return! In the beginning of August, they held a teacher event! Any teacher that wanted to join could share their story and hope to be matched with a donor!

I work for a fantastic district! However, we are not given an "allowance' or spending limit each year. Sometimes, things add up! So I gave it a try and entered the Reddits for the teacher gift exchange! Then, BAM, I was given a match, and then a found a box of goodies on my door step one day!

I really think it is a great event, and urge anyone willing to help teachers out to take a look, or any teachers looking for some help to take a look! Here is a picture of the goodies!

I urge you to check it out! Click here to Check It Out!

I also just want to give a huge thank you shout out to the person who made the donation! They were very generous and I can't express how grateful and appreciative I am! The little and simple things are what count the most!

Here is to another great week! Have fun everyone!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Already?

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday weekend! So sad that it is considered the last official weekend of summer... even though here in Chicago the 80+ degree weather is telling us otherwise. But now it seems everyone is back in school and back to routine!

With that being said, as every school year begins, come an open house of some sort! So I am sharing with you today the All about me puzzle that I created for Open House! My open house was Thursday August 28th, and let me tell you, it was one heck of a day! I had about 70% of my class show up which isn't too bad! It is always fun to meet the parents and actually get to talk to them face to face rather then through notes or those sometimes stressful conferences. Plus it's a great way to get parents in to see where their children are spending most of the day and meet the person their spending most of the time with!

So of course you always have student work up, an all about me for the students of some sort. I know that in second grade, the students love to do ones where the parents have to guess which one is theres. they always find it so funny when they're parents try to figure it out. There are plenty of these out there, but I wanted something a little different so I am up with this all about me puzzle!

The students write on the puzzle pieces different facts that make them unique! We then take a picture and put it behind the puzzle pieces. The parent then have to "put the pieces together" meaning try to figure out which puzzle pieces add up to their student. The enjoyed it. My whole second grade team actually used this activity and it went really well. Here are some pictures from my teacher example!

You can get this in my store here!

All in all, as the year progresses and I get to know my students more and more, I am really excited for what this year has in store! I am lucky to have such a great group of kids!

Hope this sparks some ideas for your open house!

Enjoy the Short week! Be Back Soon!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Classroom Part 2!

Gosh, I didn't mean for so much time to fall between posts! But again, we teachers know what the beginning of the school year is like!

I started week 3 today! (I know where did time go!) I would say that I am off to a good start though! Figuring out the students and what will and will not work. Starting at the beginning of the year, I often forget how taskful it can be reteaching them simple routines and getting them back into the swing of things! PLUS they're still little first graders at first until we break them in! But all in all, it is going well! I feel I am finally getting "ahead" (not that it stays for long!) but I definitely am back into a routine and plan to blog at least once a week! I feel I have so many fun things to share!

Speaking of sharing, Let me show you some more of my classroom! PLUS some freebies are hidden inside of these pictures! So keeeeeeep reading!

Let's start with my lockers and the above boards! Yes... these lockers are actually IN my classroom. But it is fun to add some decoration on them and use them to display things! Above I have my "I Can Write...." board which is a visual reminder of things students can write when they are stuck! In the middle I have my reading genre board! Then my Daily 5 board of the anchor charts!

Here is my writing board! This  is where I house my work on writing for daily 5! As well as my things for my writing workshop!

On the right are my 6 trait pencils! These are a hot seller in my store! There are two different versions... this chalk version as well as a polka dot version. You can get them here!

On the left are my Writing Aids.. to help students get started on their writing. Then of course the usual pencils, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors. On the right side at the bottom, I have my old mail boxes that I use to put writing paper in! Students can choose what they want to write during their free write time!

Then we have my guided reading board! My guided reading table sits right in front this board!

I like to make this board very interactive using post-it notes! The top posters are ones that I have bought from TPT! They are so cute! I got them from A Year of Many Firsts! Check them out if you like them!

The informational text 3-2-1! 3 interesting facts, 2 questions, and 1 opinion! Helps get the students writing about informational text!

Then here are some more freebies!

While the students are reading, I ask them to write a question about what they are reading, or to answer a certain story element on a post-it, then I stick it to the board! I use a different color for each group so I know who has done what! Great to get interactive and get the students talking and writing!

The beginning of the school year is definitely exhausting! Plus so many changes in curriculum and new things added! Then of course trying to manage your schedule and student pull-outs for services! This is what my life has consisted of! By like I said, I am finally falling into a sound routine and will be writing again very soon!

Please enjoy the freebies! Hope it inspires or sparks something new! Come back soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Classroom Part 1!

SO, Tuesday was the FIRST day of school for the students! As usual, I was a bit nervous. I mean, all these little eyes staring at you, waiting on you, all that fun stuff. However, once they came in and all was settled, of course my nerves settled as well. The first day was fun packer and exhausting. I can definitely say that I slept like a baby last night, and there is definitely NO tired, like the beginning of the year tired when you are trying to get back into the routines and demands of the school year!!

I did wanna share a part of my classroom with you today! Maybe inspire some people who need some idea! So here we go!

 Here is just an overall pick of my room from the door!

Calendar, Jobs, and Schedule Board!

This is the first board to the left when you walk into my room. On the main board is my calendar in the middle! I made the flowery pom pons out of tissue! Then of course classroom jobs and the schedule! on top are the classroom rules and expectations!

Student Work Board!

This is the board I will use to display student work, I bought a white with gray polka dot fabrics to cover the bulletin board, then doubled by border, The banner is actually from target's party section! I used clothes pin and glued tacks to the back to easily hang student work!

Word Work and iPads!

The board to my left is my word work board. I made my bunting banner by hand by simply printing triangles onto colored paper, cutting and laminating! On the right is my iPad rule board. The iPad rules can be found in my store here for FREEEE! Go check them out! Remember to leave some feedback!


Here is my math board! Pretty average, nothing crazy! You can find my double digit addition and subtraction posters HERE in my store for FREE! Go check them out! You can also find my place value posters for FREE right HERE in my store! 

So that was a little peak inside my room! I promise I will be back for more!

See you soon!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


It really has been way to long since my last post! I cannot apologize enough for my absence. However, I am sure you all understand how crazy life gets! Especially for teachers during the summer when not only are you trying to enjoy your time off, but you are trying to get things ready for the upcoming year!

So what have I been up to do you ask? Well where to start is the question!

Of course like I said before, I taught the Extended School Year summer school program! It was definitely an amazing experience and I enjoyed! I had a great group of students ages 5-7! Plus 2 wonderful aides! It was something I would definitely do again!

After summer school ended, I went on our annual camping trips with my dad, sisters, and niece! This trip was especially great because for the first time in a while, me and my 3 sisters were all able to be there! It was such a wonderful weekend with them, and I am really happy that we were able to do it! The collage below shows a lil snip pick of it!!

So after that fun weekend, I got sick... great I know. The week after was my only week this summer of "down time" because summer school was over and I had no official obligation, however, I was sick! PLUS I was getting ready for my first vacation in a very very long time! So my only week of down time was spent trying to feel better, cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, packing, and trying to get last minute stuff done for my classroom because I returned to my classroom right after vacation.

So this is where my BIG THANK YOU comes into place!

I cannot thank all of my supporters from TPT enough. I really enjoying making things and selling, it really is a hobby of mine. I love being able to help other teachers out and help create the classroom they really want. Plus, it is like I am helping out so many more students than those who enter my classroom with the products I create for others. So why am I so thankful, because with all the earnings I have earned from all of my WONDERFUL and AMAZING supporters, I was able to send myself on my first vacation in a VERY long time, thanks to all of YOU! As a young teacher I am still establishing myself, learning to save and plan for my future, plus I use a lot of my own pocket money for my classroom because teaching is really my passion and I want my students to have the best. Thanks to all those you have checked my products out and purchased from my store, it is because of YOU guys that I was able to take an amazing vacation!  I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 7 whole days. It was the best way to end my summer! So relaxing and rejuvenating. So as I sound like a broken record, Thank you thank you thank you all my TPT supporters! Not only do you help me supply my classroom with extra goodies, you gave me the getaway I needed to end the summer.

Here are some pictures! They cannot even capture the fun I had!

So as you can see, I have been one busy bee! I got back from vacation on Saturday August 2nd, then I was back in my classroom trying to get ready! Setting it all up and getting it ready for the kiddos coming in on August 12th!  Pictures of the new and improved classroom will be coming soon!

I promise I am back on track and will be posting much more often! It gets easier once I am on an actual routine and schedule to post and be on top of this! So come back and check out classroom tips and ideas, plus new products and wonderful updates!!

If you teach ins grade and need a product to get your started, check out my new and improved WELCOME BACK TO SECOND GRADE packet! Great to have the students engaged while you take care of all that house cleaning those first couple of days!

Again thank you thank you and please come back soon!