Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Funness and Linkys!


I made my journal jars for students today!  Well, I labeled and copied at least.  These cute little jars contain summer writing prompts.  Add a little journal and fun pencil and they make a great gift for kids and it will keep them writing over the summer.  Pick up a kit on my TPT site!



We also made our watermelons!


They look so cute lining the hallways!


Click on the image to check the packet out in my TPT store.


Linky Parties!

I am linking up with Miss Lifesaver for her End of Year Reflections Linky!  She asked three questions related to our year.

Question 1: What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year?

Well, it’s not really new for me, but after 5 years in first grade, I moved to third grade.  That meant a new grade, a new team, and a new building.  It has been a huge adjustment to return to third grade after 10 years.  The new building feels like a totally different district.  I do have to say, there is a different tone/feel to every building.  This year, I have found that I can be pretty efficient and leave around 4:00 or 4:30 daily.

Question 2:  What was the biggest personal challenge you faced this year?

I went back to school! Holy moly batman!  Am I crazy?!? Totally, but I really love it.  I am plugging away one class at a time and hope to finish with my doctorate in Teaching and Curriculum in 2017.  It seems like a long time away, but I am happy about that because I am enjoying the process.  It has been a challenge to balance work and school, make those payments (I went to a state school, so private school tuition is a total shocker!!!), and adjust to the crazy amount of technology in colleges.  On the other hand, I have learned so much and it has forced myself to prioritize.  I am now one of those teachers who quite frequently leave before 5:00 and can still provide unique learning experiences in my classroom – I’m still working on it, but it is getting easier to say “I t will have to wait until tomorrow.”

Question 3:  How do you think you've grown from your experience?

Well, in terms of teaching a new grade level, I became reacquainted with the intermediate testing. I felt out of the loop because ten years ago I was so involved in the testing process.  The last few years, when I would be on scoring teams, I realized things have changed so much in terms of expectations, but I was not up to date because I taught the little guys.  I have also adjusted to a new team and become more independent as a teacher. I have continued practices that I felt worked well even though they were not common across my  team i.e. centers and guided reading.

In terms of college, I have learned so much about technology and research.  It has truly expanded my thinking and I am now, after many years of being part of the system, finding my philosophy again.  It has also helped me to make time in my life for thing is want to do.  Not that I am finished with a 3 class course, I have a month and a half before I am on to a ne class. I find myself leaving early, as if I need to make it to class. I have developed new habits – working a bit more efficiently and learning to prioritize.  Going back to school is by far the best thing I have done for myself in years!


Lady Bug Teacher Files and Fun in Room 4B are hosting an Optimum

Organization Linky Party so we can link up with our favorite organizational ideas.

  • What worked well for you this year?

The first would be my business board. It is the hub of my daily operations!  This is a photo from the very beginning of the year.  I have everything on this board that I need to make the day run smoothly.  I keep track of transportation changes and notes on the white board, clip notes for other places underneath, and have all the daily schedule stuff for everyone to see. I also put up a lunch menu and hang out lunch order slips.  It makes it easy to tell a sub where to find everything needed to organize the day.                                          


Next, since I am returning to a more primary grade, I am revamping my “Just Right Library”.  This is a leveled library for students to choose books from. I had students choose 5 just right books and 2 library books for their book boxes.  This worked really well.  I labeled the leveled books with the groups that were allowed to pick from that basket and they ”shopped" every Monday as part of the read to self. I will add a picture of my pretty new version soon!


Oh, how I love my D5 board! This board is how I organize my center groups.

I have a set schedule fro D5.  During this time, I usually have multiple support teachers pushing into the classroom or pulling individuals or small groups.  It just gets crazy if I can’t keep track of everyone, where they are, and what they are doing.  I know some will disagree with me on this.

With in my D5 choices, I have choices.  For example, there are 4-6 choices for listening activities, 3 choices for word work, at least 2 choices for writing.  I’ll share more on that later.  This is my center board. At this point in the year, I had five rotations because I had five reading groups.  Each group was a color and the timer was set for 15-20 minutes.  We would pause for a mini-lesson after 2 or 3 centers, depending on our schedule.

Finally, this is a terrible picture of my behavior system, but my cell phone does not take great photos and I don’t have my camera with me today.  I used my old card and clip system this year and think I will continue it.  I was using the clip chart that has been all over blog world.  It just wasn’t working for me.


It uses a pocket chart with several pockets per row.  I think is was for attendance.  We have a system widely used through my building call  ”Shoot for a Rainbow.”  Some use the clip style system.  I use cards in the order of a rainbow on a ring.  The last card is a rainbow.  The kids switch their cards as a reward.  The cards do not go back to red every day.  The kids keep flipping until they get to the rainbow at the end. when that can claim a reward. The system also has a clip that is moved for reminders.  Green is good to go, yellow is a reminder, orange is a warning and five minutes off recess, red is a call home and 10 minutes off recess. Works like a charm…usually!

  • What systems will you be using again next year?

I plan on using all of these systems next year.  They are tried and true systems for me and even when I have tried to change them and make things better or easier, I always find that my original was the best.  I guess that’s the sign to stick with what works! I just want to pep them up with some color and make them pretty for my new room!

What are your best organization tips?  I can’t wait to get some more ideas!


  1. I love your business board! What a smart idea! Thank you for linking up :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  2. Thanks so much for linking up! I love that this year has taught you to prioritize. I always say that teaching is a profession in which the work is never done. We always feel like we should be doing MORE for our students, and at some point, you have to just remind yourself that you have a life outside of work (or at least I do). I've learned to work smarter, not harder, and set strict times for myself to leave the building every day. Kudos to you!