Peek at my Week with my Visual Plans!

Hi everyone!!! How's all the school years starting or getting ready to start?? Believe it or not, we are in our 5th WEEK of school already!!!! It's crazy!! This balanced schedule sure changes things! :) However, I will be so excited to enjoy a 2 week break in October so it's all worth it! I haven't had time to blog in a while so I thought I'd link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to share my lesson plans with you! My common core lesson plan template is my best seller in my TPT store so I thought this would be a perfect way to give some more ideas for how to use the plans! When I created this template, I tried to include every part needed with our new evaluation system including the common core standards for Language Arts and Math so that I could simply circle or highlight the standards right there.

First off, I am the queen of changing up things and/or making adjustments for my needs as the years go by and within the years. (indecisiveness runs in the family! hah) So...I've already reorganized a few parts of my plans and actually started adding some visuals to my plans after seeing Mrs. Wills! I absolutely LOVE IT!!! I really do think I may look at my plans again when I start the new school year next year! I'm just such a visual person so glancing and seeing pictures showing what I used will be so much more helpful than just words typed on a paper. So's a few pictures of what my lesson plans look like for this week!! We're doing nonfiction sequencing with how-to writings (made AMAZING English Muffin pizzas today), reading and adding sequencing words to recipes and directions to games in the classroom, and taking a look at life cycles in science to connect them all together. We're also revisiting text features and main topic.

I absolutely LOVE this Betty Crocker Kids Cook Cookbook!!!! I always try to expose my students to as many forms of literature as I can so getting some recipes in the classroom has been a great addition!!! 
We are just starting our intervention pull-outs so that is why that area is blank right now. :)
 Almost ready to go in the oven! 
So I was having a hard time writing with the Sharpie so it looks like I'm a "Mrs." when in fact I'm very much a "Ms." haha A friend pointed that out to me. :) These pizzas were DELICIOUS!!! We will be creating a flow chart using pictures I took today of the kids going step by step. They will also add descriptions for each step using sequencing words. Finally, they will write their how-to essays using their flow charts as their guide. :) They loved making these!!

So there's a look at each subject of a lesson plan from a few days! :) Some of the visuals are from amazing bloggers so make sure to check them out too!

Hope King's Mathlete Champions and Camp Out...Number Style
Hello Two Peas in a Pod Phonological Awareness Curriculum
Primary Punch's Life Cycles
Ginger Snaps Text Features Poster Pack
My very own Reading Skills Posters/Organizers/Reference Sheets/Tests/Matching Game and Long Vowel sort coming soon to TPT :)

Make sure to swing on back to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten by clicking the button below to check out some more visual plans with her Peek at my Week linky!! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

TPT Back to School SALE!!! Buy 3, Get 1 FREE!

Click the button above to go to my TPT store. :) Thanks to Krista Wallden for her super cute button!

In less than 4 hours, one of the GREATEST sales of all time will begin!!! The TPT Back to School SALE!!!! If you're anything like me, you have TONS (I mean hundreds :) of wishlisted items that you've been wanting to purchase!! Well, tomorrow and Monday are the days to do it! 

Tomorrow and Monday my ENTIRE TPT store will be on sale for 20% off! BUT WAIT...there's more!! Enter the TPT code BTS13 at checkout and receive 8% more off for a total of 28% off!!!! I'm so excited!! 

On top of the sale, I am also running a BUY 3, GET 1 FREE incentive!! My Community Themed Classroom Decor Bundle is excluded from the free product; however, if you purchase the Bundle, you will receive 3 items FREE since there are 11 parts to that bundle! 

To get your FREE products, simply email me at with your TPT username and the products you would like FREE! I will send them shortly after I receive your email! :)

I have updated several parts of my Community Themed Classroom Decor Bundle along with the separate parts and added a few new products to the store like an Objectives Board Set-Up and Short Vowel (CVC Pattern): Reading, Writing, Matching, Sorting Set.

Don't forget to check out The Genre's Court, my new Genre Posters with Matching Book Bin Labels as well as my updated Reading Skills Posters and Much More! Lastly, I have a PreTest/PostTest Reading Skills Test to see where your students are at with homophones, homonyms, synonyms, antonyms, summarizing, understanding reading skills, making connections, etc. It's a great assessment to keep for a look at their growth from the beginning through the end! It can be broken into the parts as well! 

Thanks so so much for all of your support and love over this past year and on!!! It has been such an amazing year, and I am so grateful for all of you!! Last year, I was just learning about TPT...but now, I'm buying and selling which is awesome!! I get to meet and share with amazing educators from around the world!!! Pretty cool! :) Hope to see you there tomorrow! You know I'll be going through my wish list!!

P.S. I am extending my sale one more day through August 20th!! 

My Classroom Digs!!!

I am soooo excited that you stopped by to see my Classroom Digs with Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week '13!!! I had so much fun with Meet the Teacher last night, that I couldn't wait to blog on my classroom! This year I changed rooms for the first time in 9 years at my school! After the initial feelings :), I actually was very excited! It gave me a clean slate to work with and change things up a bit!!
The past few years I have done the Hollywood theme which was always a fun time especially since I keep my guitar in my classroom and sing all the time! However, this year I wanted something fresh and new and more able to use for lessons and learning. ENTER...My Community Theme!!!! I am completely in love with my theme this year!! I thought and thought about a theme and was trying to incorporate Indiana and Indianapolis since my students have a hard time remembering where they live! However, it was really hard to find the clipart and/or ideas as to how to make that a complete "working" theme. So one day in June, the light bulb finally turned on and my community theme was born! haha I know tons of people have probably done a community theme, but I really wanted this theme to engulf them when they walked in the room. Everything I created has a purpose and a use which I love!! Already, we have had great conversations about community, community places, people at those places, the importance, etc. So I hope you can get a good feel for my classroom environment through these pictures and video!! I was so excited to do a video tour so I hope you enjoy it too!  So the video tour will be coming at a later date! haha We had some SD card space issues that I just didn't have time to fix today; however, I will be putting one up soon! :) So I hope you enjoy the picture tour! 

 Since our theme is community, I wanted the bulletin board to resemble one. So we are working on creating flowers for each student with their pictures in the middle, and facts about them on the petals, stems, and leaves. :) Our Open House is this coming Tuesday so it's crunch time, even though I can't even seem to get through all of my lesson plans yet alone a craft! hah We can do it!
 This is our Info Center! I still need to make a sign for it, but I loved Tangled Up in Teaching's "How We Go Home" set so I had to buy it! Then I created the "Are you looking for us?" class locator set to help others in the building to know where we are if they need a student or me. I used the best velcro EVER with the arrow!! It's Poster Velcro that is reusable! It is AMAZING!!! It comes in squares for the wall and circles for the materials, but they are flatter and easier to work with! I found them at Walmart on clearance!
 Look from the door! It's hard to get a good look with the design of the room! :)
 These are their "Parking Spots!" Since it's a community theme, I made cubby numbers using cars in a parking lot type idea. I absolutely love them!! It does remind me a bit of The Truman Show haha, but it just fits so well with the room. Above their cubbies is where they keep their bags of extra school supplies so we can have some control over them. :) You know how they seem to eat supplies! Inside their cubbies are their privacy tri-folds with their mailboxes. On Pinterest, I found the idea of using ice cube bins for mailboxes and individual book bins so I was off on the hunt!! Of course, every Walmart around me only had maybe 6 at the most and sometimes none when I went. So it was a collaborative effort with my mom (my parents live 2 1/2 hours away) and me driving all over to find these! Now, I just have to finish the labels for each! I LOVE them!! They fit perfectly, and we use them to store their Center Recording Sheets as well as mail and books/library books. It's nice to be able to make areas multipurpose. I also have their jobs velcroed (sp?) to the top of their cubbies to save space and as a daily reminder!! :) My Community Jobs are all real life professions which I love. I like to make things relevant to everyday life especially since it's common for kids to play like they are adults (at least I always did hah). On the job cards, they see the title of the job with a person in that job position, the job requirements, and when they are needed to do their jobs.

 Word Wall Headers with Community Theme!! We use a combination of Phonics Dance, Sitton Spelling, and pattern words.
 Birthday Balloons (freebie) with Pixie Sticks and monthly birthday picture frame with photo the students with birthdays that month.
Here is a look at my Calendar area! One of my favorite sets I created for my theme!! I correlated the seasons to go along with the months included in that season as well as with the number cards for the calendar!
My Class To-Do List with ordinal numbers...I love the size with the ordinal numbers so it's easy for my kids to use as a reference!
 My Rotations Board for reading and math- I do 3 rotations for math just like Beth Newingham's model (got the idea from her website). I also do 3 rotations for reading where I have a small group, my EL teacher comes in for reading and does 1 group, and 1 group is on their own and follows the rotation board during their independent time. It's awesome because it's so easy to move around kids and visually see the groups. It also makes their independent time more efficient when you can break them into pairs within the group. This way you can match up kids who will work well with each other which inevitably eliminates many of the problems that could arise.

 My Classroom Library!
 Another look at the reading area
 This is my small group area for reading! 
 Since most students end up destroying peeling off their name tags, I decided instead of trying to change something that won't change, why not make them write-on name tags! So I created Editable Write-On Desk Name Tags where they can actually use dry erase markers to work on handwriting, spelling their last names hah, and any skills I'd like them to practice. So I had favorite activities, numbers that equal 10, and words that rhyme with cat. Simple skills to start off the year and catch their interest. They actually have begged me to let them write on their name tags! These come in handy when they finish early, or I may have to attend to a situation. So these have helped a lot!
 Lakeshore Learning is my best friend or worst enemy (spend wayyyy too much money there)!! I changed to these group caddies last year and love them!! They are so much easier to handle and take up less space.
 This is the math area/smartboard rotation area and any other time area! hah I meet with my math small groups here which is perfect! I have all of my math materials right there! I found the Flower Clock Labels from Primary Divas and LOVE them!! I can actually reach the clock in my new room so these are perfect for teaching with and as a resource!
 My Objectives Board (I've added the subject cards to my Community Classroom Decor Set as well as the separate Community Class Posters pack.)
 Spelling Patterns Wall
 A Look at the Back of the Room

 Another look at the classroom library (I won the minion at the Indiana State Fair with a basketball shot!! :) I display a few books that go well with the reading skill we're working on that week. I hang my Reading Skills Posters up on the window as I teach them. I also post my Genres Posters on the windows as well to be in close proximity with the classroom library. My Genres Posters go right with the book bin labels. They are identical expect that the descriptions aren't on the labels. They are also color coded for the major genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The genres within the major ones each have a label but are all red. The book bins from Lakeshore Learning are color coded to match the genres as well! 
 These are my Exit Posters which I love!!!! They "park" their car under the road sign for their understanding based on the 1-4 number system. They have another set of these signs in the math area to do the same after my small group.
 Another Look at my Genre Posters
 More of my reading area with the bench as well as the magnetic file holders where I store some of my centers for when they are not in a book club. They are so nice for organizational purposes and space saver reasons! Of course, there's my desk as well! :)
 Behind my desk, I have the Phonics Dance and the ABC magnetic letters center. The Phonics Dance has chants for different word chunks along with ABC chants, monster words, and tons more. 
 A Look at my Community ABC Posters!! I'm in love with these!! This is also a writing center where the kids can make up stories using the different scenes, label the pictures, etc. I will even personalize 3 of the letters with zoos or aquariums in your area. Mine, of course, have the Indianapolis Zoo! Like I said, I like to relate as many things in the classroom to their daily lives to make it more relevant!
 This is my Writer's Workshop supply area! I bought the wooden letter holder at a garage sale for $3 this summer so I will be using this for letters to be "mailed" to other students in the class as well as for our Pen Pals that Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory organized!! 
 Finally, these are an example of our classroom community posters! I created scenes for each area of the room to reflect a community! :) (post office, bank, hospital, and library)
 WOW!!! Now, you know what I mean when people call me a "talker!" haha Thank you so much for joining me to see my Classroom Digs!! I get so many great ideas from all of you wonderfully, amazing educators so I hope I was able to spread too! :)

Meet the Teacher Monday!! 10 Fun Things About Me!

I am so excited to be a part of my first Teacher Week '13!!! Since I just joined the blogging world this past year (really got into this spring), I have had many firsts and exciting milestones!!! I don't know how I didn't know about this amazingly awesome teacher community before!!! Was I living under a rock?!? Who knows! hah So here are 10 fun things about me!! I really should be sleeping right now, but I had to join in so there may not be very many pictures! :)

1. I absolutely LOVE to sing and play my guitar for people anyone who will listen including my dog! Although, I'm not sure if she's listening! hah Anyway, I tried out for American Idol the year Carrie Underwood won after my Asst. Principal at the time came to my room and said, "Are you going? I'll get you a good sub?" That was all I needed to hear!!! I was performing for the office one day, and I didn't know he put the intercom system on so other teachers were coming to the office wondering if it was the radio!! hah I must say I was completely thrilled they thought this; however, I obviously didn't become the American Idol so I guess I need to stick to performing locally! I did just go to the NKOTB Package Tour which any concert always brings that performing bug out of me! So what do I do? Perform for and with my students!! I have a guitar in my room at all times! :)
I'm the 2nd from the right. :)

2. To go along with singing, I've sang at 8 or 9 weddings now! I just love it! I think it's fulfilling that dream of being a professional singer! It's so fun even if my hands shake and sweat, and I can't eat for hours before! hah :) 

3. I LOVE to travel!!! It all started when I went to NYC for NYE in 2001! After that, I worked at Sandy Hill Camp in North East, MD for 2 summers as a Sports/Ropes Counselor which was absolutely amazing!! I met soooo many good friends, and I actually got to hangout with one as she was at IU getting her doctorate! 
At a Pacer's game in the nose bleed section entertaining each other! hah

I've been to Costa Rica, Spain, and England by myself! Since I'm single, I've always said that I'm not going to sit around waiting for my Prince Charming to knock on my door to LIVE! So since no one else could or wanted to go with, I went by myself! I stayed with a family in Costa Rica to practice my Spanish and did the same in Spain! I did get to visit a sorority sister in London while I was in Spain which was AMAZING!!!! 

4. I taught 6th/7th grade Spanish my first year of teaching while coaching basketball and volleyball to get my foot in the door. I love Spanish so it was a no brainer to take the job; however, I quickly transferred (with the help of my amazing asst. principal at the time) to my 2nd grade spot at my school now which is in the same district. 

5. Just this summer was my 10 year college reunion!! I cannot believe I've been teaching that long already! I didn't get to go back to DePauw University for it, but WOW how time flies! 
I did make it back in the spring to visit an old college roommate and HAD to get Marv's!!!! If you don't know, you are MISSING OUT!!! Garlic Chicken Cheeseburgers (GCCB) and Garlic Cheeseburgers (GCB) equal UNBELIEVABLE!!! They ship them now! :)

6. I love the number 10 for several reasons including my bday!!! However, this past year meant even more for being my 10th year!! I was chosen as my school's Teacher of the Year, I got to teach in China for 2 weeks the summer leading up to last year, I won a grant for 3 iPad minis for my classroom, ran my 6th 1/2 marathon making a PR of 1:58 (under 2 was my goal), and I started on TPT and my blogging journey!! There were so many other things that happened that were amazing, and I just feel so blessed to be a part of this profession!! It's funny how people always say, "Things will fall into place." Well, that's EXACTLY what happened to me, and it gives me chills!! Everything fell into place like a puzzle!! I even won big at the Indiana State Fair! :) (of course it was on a basketball shot!)

7. I met President Jimmy Carter while I was in a little cafe where Pablo Picasso frequented in Barcelona with my roommate! It was crazy because all of a sudden all of these good-looking professional looking guys walked by and the waiter said in Spanish, "¡Es el ex-presidente de los Estado Unidos, Jimmy Carter!" I was sooooo excited so I told my waiter I was an American visiting here, and he went on to tell one of the secret service guys. One of the guys came over and said that I could ask him for a picture so what did I do..."President Carter, I'm from the United States...Can I get a picture? I'm a teacher!" hahah So here are the pictures! (not my best picture but who cares when I got to meet a former President!!)
 Look at the nice secret service guys in the background!! :)

8. I'm 1/2 Croatian with my mom being 100% which I absolutely love!! How many people nowadays can say they are 1/2 of something?!? I just love culture so my grandparents started me on my love for languages when they would teach me some Croatian! I can still recite the Hail Mary and several other phrases!! I knew it always tickled my grandma and grandpa when I would say something or ask them a word so of course I loved learning it! 

9. I am completely OCD when it comes to creating materials, locking my doors, checking that everything is unplugged, etc.!! One time, I was walking out of my bedroom, and my bag moved my blanket a little. I even said aloud to myself, "Just walk away!" What did I do? I went and fixed it! I'm one of those people that have a hard time moving on from something until I figure it out! This can be both a blessing and a curse! I'm a complete perfectionist! 

10. Finally, I've been told I'm a little bit of a Jack of All Trades. hah I absolutely love sports, working out, and running. I'll be running the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon with my sister (who's also my roommate and a 6th grade teacher) in November!!
Santa Hustle: She had a PR for a 5K. and I had a PR for the 1/2 marathon!! I'm on the right again. :) My sister always gets asked if she's the older one....she's 4 years younger than me! Who got carded on her 21st! hah

My parents with my dog on the left, my grandma's dog in the middle, and my parents dog on the right! Can you believe they all looked at the camera at the same time?!?

 I love doing destination races (I ran the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon in 2010). It makes me feel like I have an excuse to go! I also played basketball, volleyball, softball, played piano, was in a singing and dancing group in 3rd grade. We are all competitive in my family which makes playing board games difficult! I don't usually make it through a whole game of Monopoly before throwing in the towel!  I am totally into techie things and gadgets hence my addiction with Apple!! I worked for Apple part-time for about a year and a half till this past October when I just couldn't fit it in anymore. I've done a little video taping and photography for a friend's wedding which I still need to finish editing!! I can wiggle my ears without moving them, and my toes are known to be called another set of fingers! hahah Don't think those fit into the Jack of All Trades, but I love to dabble in a bit of everything!! :)
The Color Run with some of my awesome friends!!! 

So I need to stop or I'll just keep going!! haha Thanks for stopping by and getting to know me!! :)