Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year... for classroom behavior?!

I want to share an oldie but goodie with you today and I'm linking up with my friends at i Teach Second.  One that I just absolutely love.  We do "bucket filling" at our school, but to do this, you don't NEED to be using it to be successful!

So, the biggest challenge going back after Turkey break--is the impending excitement of December.  I mean, what kid DOESN'T get excited about December, no matter what holiday they celebrate?  There's excitement all around, and in little bodies it's just harder to contain than in our bigger, adult bodies.  ;)

This is a quick, easy idea to get students thinking about others.  I created a little pack for filling STOCKINGS.  The pre-made recording sheet makes it simple for even the littlest-little to complete.  One extra step that I do is that I type up a class list of names for each student.  They circle their own name, so we know who's list it is when I find it on the floor it gets misplaced.

I realize that I do not have an example of the writing the kids did.  {I was out on maternity leave last year and didn't snap pics, obviously... and I'm unable to locate any from 2 years ago.  BUT-this pack is free, so feel free to download and decide for yourself if you think it's something you'd like!}  Click {HERE} or on the picture below to download your freebie!

Make sure to check out all my other friends' great ideas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I can't believe it's December already.  I also can't believe that I'm linking up with this month's currently from Oh Boy, 4th Grade!

I'm currently listening to the dishwasher working... and it's not me or the hubs.  I'm excited because I just got all new dishes (a black friday "steal" for me!)  We are now a family of 5.. and had 8 settings that were starting to chip, crack and break.  With only 8 plates... that meant doing dishes almost every day!  

Loving-that it's December.  While it's crazy, chaotic and just plain tiring sometimes... it's my favorite month.  It's full of excitement and wonder.  It's full of family and fun and LOTS of traditions.

Thinking--there's NO way I'm getting everything done.  THREE kids.  What was I thinking?!  ha!  So much to wrap and do... plus there's that thing called SCHOOL!?  And we go to the bitter end of December 23... and that's even a full day.  I know it'll be here in a blink though.

Wanting-a maid.  Who wouldn't?!  My littles just aren't keeping up and would never make a good maid.  For that fact-neither would I.  I have a mentality that they are only little once and I'd rather not miss out on family fun because I was cleaning the house....  though.  A clean house is a happy one!  Or, maybe we could say a relatively clean house?!  {How clean is it ever going to be with 3 boys and a husband???}

Needing-SLEEP!  My littlest is not sleeping... Now, I always blame everything on teething.  But, I think it's true this time.  Tonight I saw what looked to be an outline of a molar ready to come through!  Poor thing has had fevers off an on... and just crying in his sleep, if he's not crying awake.  Add in that thing called school and I'm just beat..

Tree---REAL!  I used to always have a fake one... then we found a tradition about 4-5 years ago.  There's a local tree farm near us that takes you out to their trees on a horse drawn wagon...  We always go on Black Friday after lunch with my parents.  This year the weather was beautiful.  Here's a few pics from our day:

We FINALLY found the perfect tree after walking around FOREVER! 

Chopping it down!  My biggest Little actually cut most of it down, after daddy and grandpa helping him get started.

Getting ready to decorate... the littlest little was a bit drool-y... he also had a fever that night, but was in good spirits.  He loved throwing the ornaments like they were balls...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rock Your Conferences!

Hi all!  Fall is such a busy time of year getting to know your littles, getting into a routine (both school and home) and lots of time spent planning and preparing for what feels like a never-ending to do lists.

How many of you cringe at the thought of parent conferences?  Years ago, my hand would be up.  I was always SO nervous to meet with parents and discuss their children.  I never knew what to talk about.  You don't have a class on that in college!  Mix that with all those comments others tell non-mommy teachers about how their teaching will change once you have kids of your own.  I NEVER believed that...  bam.  10 years later-oh my word.  They were right.

I have a few tips to have a successful parent conference-no matter how many hours you will be putting in...  (I put in over 14 hours in 1 1/2 days....  well, not even a half.  My first day is about 13-13.5 hours... and I will have about 2 hours the following morning)

Tip 1:
Don't just stick with "scores" or data.  Trust me.  Eyes will glaze over.  As a teacher, if my children's teachers went over data, I'd be fine.  My husband on the other hand---no clue.  In fact, stay clear of acronyms too!  Parents just want to know how their child is doing.  Are they on target?  How can they help at home to get them to the target.  Chances are, 99.9% of parents know how their child is doing.... telling them how poorly their child is doing doesn't help the home front.  This also includes going over standards...  With all the negative press around standards (especially that Common Core one! ;) ), you don't want to find yourself in a heated conversation over those!  

{Numbers are important---but shouldn't be a central focus of your conference.  Try having student goals and teacher goals to talk about too!}

Tip 2:
Make sure you have enough positives to tell parents!  This comes from a mama who has "difficult" children at home.  Honestly speaking, most nights/days I feel like I'm a failure of a parent.  I know my kids are good at school, with no discipline problems... but at home, they are quite opposite, as most kids are.  Sitting in a conference with my children's teachers and hearing about things they are doing well, such as being a good friend, or helping out in the classroom... makes my heart melt and reassures me that maybe I am doing a good job at being that thing called a "mom."  ;)  The last thing I want to hear is how my child talks a lot, which I totally know he does.  He's cursed, like his mama, being a verbal learner... We need to talk to process things!  Did you know there was such a thing?!  I didn't learn about it till I was in grad school.... and finally all of my life fell into place.

Tip 3:
Include parents in the conversation!  Ask THEM questions.  Don't always send things home beforehand.  I like to interview them.  I have a few questions I ask, which also keeps the conversation going and in the right direction.

Tip 4:
Know something personal about each student.  Looking for this not only gets you to know your students better, but it also lets parents know you care.  I know when I sit in conferences, I want to know that the teacher is looking out for the best in my child.  I want to know a name or 2 of kids he plays with.  I want to know that he is OK in the social realm of things!  Now, knowing every little detail about each student is quite an impossible task.... so I usually ask the students a little bit about school and friends beforehand too.

Tip 5:
Be organized.  Spend a little time putting together information.  I put all of the above together on a recording sheet that I allow parents to keep after the conference.

 take the parents interview and take important notes on a special recording sheet that I created as well.  Click on the picture to check it out in my store!  I have included a "semi" editable file for you to type in student names and notes.  I hope it can help you rock your conferences like it has mine (and quite a few of my coworkers--who are excited about conferences because they could use the forms!) and has your parents leaving your room feeling a sense of pride of their child, no matter where they are in abilities and behavior.

 If you like my organizational tools, please check it out {HERE}!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Win an iPad!! {and a few other goodies!!}

Hi friends!  I'm so excited to tell you that I've been asked to blog over at iTeach Second!  You'll see me there a few times a month sharing some great stuff along with my other Second Grade buddies!

But, I have to tell you about this awesome give-a-way the girls are having!  You can win an iPad!  You can use it in the classroom with your kids, or use it for personal use.  It's a giveaway you can't miss!  {And, WHOOOOO wouldn't love that iPad cover?!  it's to DIE for!!!!  Right up my alley!!!}

To enter, you just need to pop over to iTeach Second and enter.  Super simple.  BUT-it ends SOON!!!!  So GO GO GO!

Don't forget to follow us over there!  I'm super excited to join this great team of teachers!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Questions~asking and answering

I'm so excited to share this with you today.  It's something I started back during the school year that I've finally got ready to share with the world!

When I first went back to school after my maternity leave, I had my big clinical review 2 weeks after I started.  My students were struggling with answering questions in complete sentences---not to mention just answering the question correctly!  So this packet was born.

I mean, what kid is a master of answering questions anyway?
"What was the story about?"
"I went to Disney World last summer!!!"  sigh......

I whipped up these posters that helped the kiddos realize what we were looking for in the answer.  If we ask a "who" question, there better be a person or character in the answer.  If we ask a "why" question, then the word BECAUSE better be in their answer!

They helped dramatically!  I was so proud of their work.  When we would answer questions from stories/passages, I would have them highlight the question word before answering.  They were instructed to look at the poster to make sure they answered correctly.  If a paper came in without highlighting---it went right back out.  Another thing we did is I found passages that I could print out for my students, so that they could write right on their paper.  The needed to highlight WHERE they found their answer, or if it wasn't directly stated, WHAT they used to support their answer.  {Now, we do our Language Arts curriculum a little different... we don't have a big box company curriculum but rather we have "themes" that we need to find things on our own---or create them.  So much of what I found were already made in books that my coworkers had, because it was my first year in second grade----and being back half a year made things a bit stressful!  This year I plan on creating more passages of my own, which will most likely be added to this pack!}

{I had these up on my board for a few weeks while we got used to searching and answering questions better}

I've added to this pack to have more activities and I imagine it will end up growing more as I teach the entire year.  There are matching cards where students are matching an answer to what question word they believe was used to get that answer.  I plan on using that in small groups-but as a whole group activity.  (We will work in small groups to find the matches, and then discuss whole group what the matches were and what questions could have been asked)
{This is just part of the page for memory}

There are around the room activities, which, if you have been following me, it's something I LOVE to do with my littles.  Getting up and working with clipboards around the room just have a magical effect on engagement!

The first activity has a question asked at the top of the card with 2 possible answers below.  They need to walk around and read the question and decide if A or B is correct as the answer.  They will also write what question word is used in the question on their recording sheet.

 {These are on half sheets-to give you an idea of how big they are; copyright info is only on the pictures for my blog-not on your download}

The second activity has a photograph and a question below.  Students will look at the picture and read the question.  They will need to write a complete sentence to answer the question as best as they can.

{Copyright info on this picture is not there on your download}

The third activity has a photograph as well (same ones are used), but an ANSWER is under the photograph.  Students will have to work in REVERSE to figure out what QUESTION was asked and write that on their recording sheet!

{Copyright info on this picture is not there on your download}

I plan on using these during the beginning/first half of second grade to work on our question/answer skills, along with having students use text to find answers as well.

This is how my mini bulletin board ended up afterwards:

If this is something that you could use, you can check it out in my store!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Periscope for Teachers! #periscopeteachers

Well, if you haven't heard by now, you are probably having a wonderful summer, disconnected from the world.  I've jumped into the periscope world and am finding it really addicting.  I've even started to broadcast to some of you!

What it is:  It's a broadcasting social media app.  You can broadcast ideas and things to anyone in the world!  OR... if you aren't quite as adventurous... you can just comment and give love (AKA hearts) by tapping the screen while listening to a fellow teacher (or anyone).  It's a WONDERFUL way for teachers to connect around the world.  To collaborate and share ideas!  The best thing is that you DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A BLOG to participate!  I am in love with it, and am quite the introvert, until I'm comfortable around people... I had this app 1 day before I broadcasted out to the world!  I was even talking to about 100 people for one of them.  (not to mention the many people who watch replays!)  OH.MY.WORD!!!!!!

The downside to it is that the broadcasts only stay up for 24 hours for replays....  so you have to watch fast!  (there are ways to record, but I'm not going into details here... google it and you will find the easy ways) ;)

Come find me here:

{user name is @rulintheroost;  you can view this periscope for another 15 hours or so}

Now, I even worked with a few other teachers Third Grade from the Edge and Cooking Up Success and we started a Periscope Teacher Challenge, to get teachers to jump on board and get their feet wet with periscope.  If you haven't done one yet, I'm not challenging YOU to do it!  You can save the following image to your instagram account, if you have one---and then tag 3 teacher friends to do the same after you!  I never created a hashtag before, and now there are over 80 posts, 2 days into it!  (and many other who took the challenge but didn't post it on IG)

Since that took off, I didn't want it to end there.  Now we are going to have a monthly #periscopeteacherchallenge that we will also tag the phrase #teachertiptuesdayS and also tag it to our instagrams so that we know when to watch.  (don't forget to add that S at the end so we have these together!  Doesn't have to be a capital letter though)

Here are the detail for the rest of July.  You are challenged to periscope 2-3 tips about "rebooting" in the summer and getting ready for the next school year.  {I know there are only 2 tuesdays left in July, so it will be a quick on}  On any Tuesday (or any day really), periscope your tips.  Post the image on your IG account, if you have one, and just keep it brief to what you were talking about.  Make the people come watch you!  But, having the image will also help others remember what you talked about once your broadcast is gone.....

I thought about making it weekly, but let's face it... once school starts, I don't think it will be something you will want to be doing every day or even every week!  And by posting them Tuesdays, we'll know when to look for ideas!

 I hope that you'll be up for the challenge!  This is such a unique way for educators to come together for the better of our kids!  Here are some hashtags to look for:  #periscopeteachers #periscope4teachers #periscopechallenge #periscopeteacherchallenge

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rockin' Around the Clock... Teaching Time with Riddles?!

This past week the #tptsellerchallenge was to upload a masterpiece.  Thankfully, with my crazy, chaotic house this summer, this was something I had started already this past year, but hasn't been officially ready for TPT.  {A LOT of work goes into just getting it ready to share with you... since your brains aren't quite like mine to understand it!}  I want to thank the lovely Shana over at Mrs. Groom's Room for being my editor!

I am so excited to share this with you today.  I hate teaching time.  There.  I said it.  So, what I hate most about time---correcting it!  It takes me so much longer to correct time worksheets and practice than others because you have to pay close attention to details.  I started a few activities for other skills (that aren't uploaded yet, but will!) that made my life so much easier and students were so much more engaged and forced to practice!

I present you with Rockin' Around the Clock.

I created worksheets/recording sheets for students to practice telling time for each skill of hour/half hour, quarter hours and five minute intervals.  ( That sounds exciting doesn't it!?  :P  Here's the best part.  It's pretty much a self correcting practice!  Each activity has a riddle (about time, of course!).  Students write or draw hands on clock on their recording sheet.  Then they will get up and walk around the room to find the answers!  BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!  Each answer has a corresponding letter.  Students will write the letter they see at the place on their worksheet that has that time (or clock).  After they find all of their answers, they write the letters to make words at the bottom of their worksheet.  I quickly check it (basically looking at their letters at the bottom, since I'm also walking around making sure no one is just writing answers or copying---which I NEVER had.  We talked about how it's all a secret!).  Students then put it in their folders or cubbies FLIPPED over so no one can see their answers.  {This packet has SEVEN activities/riddles for kids to have fun completing!!!!!!}

Students will walk around the room to find these cards.  Their recording sheet will require them to draw the hands to match their digital time first---these cards will be what they search for to find the letter needed.  {and there are some that have students finding the digital time, but this one matches the picture I was able to take}

I cannot put in words how excited the kids were each day to do these activities.  They were really bummed when the unit was over.  I wish I could show you pictures of their cute faces doing the activities, but I'm not allowed.  You will have to take my word on it---I PROMISE you this packet will be a life saver and so much fun.

Keep an eye out for more activities like this.  I have some already started for other math skills and plan on adding more for the first half of the year, since I missed the first half last year!

-the rest of this packet has memory match game for each skill (hour/half hour;  quarter hours; and five minute intervals) and 2 extra practice worksheets for each skill, that you could use for homework, practice or even assessments.

Click {HERE} to see it in my TPT store!  If you'd like to win a copy here, leave me a comment telling me what you like to spend your TIME on during the summer!  I'll choose a winner by Sunday!  

Check out my FB page and Instagram for more chances to win it!

Do you want to try it before you buy it?!  Click here for one activity to try before you buy!  This riddle/activity practices students drawing of hands to match the phrases "quarter of/till; quarter after/past"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dare to Dream #tptsellerchallenge Week 2

TPT has been such a blessing to me already.  I started out putting my things up just so I could buy cute clip art to make things for my classroom.  While, that is still always my goal (to cover the cost of things I buy for the product), I now have additional goals since that one is usually reached pretty quickly.

1.  Family.  Without TPT, I'm pretty sure we could be a 4 person house.  TPT gives us extra money each month to help cover an additional kiddo in daycare....  1 more year of paying for 2 in daycare (my middle is going to K next year, but it's only half day around here... and half daycare care costs just about the same as a full day!).  We choose to send our kids to a daycare center for our own beliefs.  The center we use is just FABULOUS!  My middle child gets Spanish classes and also Physical education.  They are incredible with the arts (both art and music).  Because of TPT, I'm able to continue that.  While that is currently happening, it's still a goal that I have to reach.  We also like to give our kids life experiences as well and like to travel to different places.  We've been to Disney World countless times already (and we're heading there this summer as well), since I've started with TPT (a goal to pay for the trip), but I'd also like to start saving some money to go to places much further away than 2 hours on a plane....  Hawaii, Europe, Caribbean...  This will only happen with the littlest little gets a little bigger.  ha!

2.  School.  I want to be able to provide things in my classroom that isn't covered by my tiny budget (which I know isn't tiny compared to many, many places).   In addition to money----my goal is to continue to stay positive and focused on the students because of TPT.  When I get feedback that others use my things and how their admins love it too....  There's nothing that can top that feeling.  Things aren't as great in education these days and to get that kind of feedback just brings such a smile and happiness to my life.  Being able to help others be the best teacher they can brings such joy.  I can't wait to get back on the TPTing this year now that I've had 1/2 a year in my new grade!  I have quite a few things started that I'm excited about.  I just need to find some time to finish them---which is hard with so many littles running around this summer....  especially the BOY kind!  ha!

3.  Beach House.  Oh, how I would love to have my own place at the beach.  Now, while I'd just about die if I could ever afford those ones RIGHT on the beach....  I'd settle with any that is within 10 minutes of driving to the beach.  We love Delaware beaches, and head there every summer.  I've been going there since I've been a baby.  We used to have a family reunion camping trip every year there.  It was the best time of my life.  I do not feel completely relaxed till I can be there in the summer.  But, to be able to not worry about where to stay, when to go or if we have enough funds....  To pick up and go one weekend (that we don't have sports!) just because... and eat that bad yummy food!!!

I'm so thankful for TPT and the opportunities that it has brought me.  Thanks for sticking with me and reading!  XOXO

Friday, June 19, 2015

Common Core Checklists

Well, hello!  It's been quite some time since I've had a second to post.  Life is quite different with 3 boys!

This is the earliest summer break I've had in quite a few years.  I just finished my first week off.  Summer vacation hasn't really hit me yet.

This post is going to be about a few products that I've redone.  If you are like me, I need to have things printed out for me to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to do.  Sure, we have curriculum that we follow but we don't have programs.  I LOVE that.  I love that I can be more creative and selective in my teaching, but it's also quite draining. (reason 1056 of why I haven't had enough time to blog)  Even we did have a program to follow, there were still times that we needed to differentiate. I needed those standards printed out to make sure that I was covering them, and I didn't need them all jumbled up from the state (or country).  I've joined up with many fabulous new and old bloggers/TPTers for the #tptsellerchallenge.  This week was #makeovermadness and we were challenged to revise an old pack.  I decided to tackle these first.  Keep reading..

So, a few years ago when we jumped ship to the Common Core standards (well, not completely--cause my state had to rename and renumber them.... however they are essentially the same.  They eliminated a few standards but for the most part-the CCSS are the same as my state... it might be the same for others).  At the time we grouped kids homogeneously---even in first grade!  I had the high kids, so I knew I couldn't just follow our regular curriculum.  That's when I decided to make the checklists that I have out now.  Only.... they looked like this:

Click {HERE} to read all about it when I first uploaded them and to see what they looked like.

That was back when I first started making and creating on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I bought the clip art, but used freebies for everything else.  And, well... let's face it.  When you see my revisions with items that I've paid for (fonts, borders...) you notice quite the difference!  I am in LOVE with the new revisions, to the point where I may come back to using these next year.  (I've been using my owl ones instead...   but, these are more colorful)  Click on the pictures to see them in my TPT store.



Now, for GRADES 1-2, not only do they include the printable, but if you have PowerPoint, you can document electronically.  (other grades will be coming soon, I just need to find more time!) Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have a way for you to edit and add your own.... but, I may soon!  Make sure you are following me to find out if that happens! :)

****I'm still working on getting the K-6 bundle updated.  It will be done by the end of the weekend {fingers crossed}

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