August 29, 2016

Teaching About The Presidential Election

Have you decided if you are teaching your students/ kids about the Presidential Election? It is a tricky subject and many times we- as teachers/adults- like to keep this tricky subjects away from kids.... 

However, I can tell you the first encounter I had with Presidential Elections was in 2nd grade. I remember our teacher allowing us to do a class mock election. We privately voted, she counted our votes, and showed us a bar graph on the chalkboard. I remember who I clearly voted for! I remember he became a very LOVED United States President the next day! I remember cheering for him at night when they announced the winner! I was involved all because of what my teacher did for me in that lesson. So.... isn't that our purpose as teachers? Aren't we suppose to engrave memories, encourage life long learning and love for history? Well, I know she did her job with that lesson because all my friends and I in 2nd grade spoke of it for a few weeks. We understood the election process and we knew who our new President of the United States was.
As teacher, I always take advantage of this special time in teaching my students about Government. I do it by integrating many subjects from Writing, Reading, Social Studies, and Math. The kids LOVE our Election Unit. It truly becomes a favorite unit for all my students. Some of the things we do...
⚫Writing Prompts on Being President... and more.
⚫Class Mock Election 
⚫Researching Past Presidents - finding fun facts, presenting to the class. I would assign each kid a President to research.
⚫Researching the electoral process.
⚫Predicting Winners in race.
⚫Read newpaper articles
⚫Read fun Presidential/ Voting Picture Books.
Some of my favorite books I read to my students daily throughout this unit are...
I LOVE our class picture book read aloud time, usually following we do some writing to reflect on book. Look below because I wanted to share with you some writing prompts I use with my students during the Presidential Election. 

This year my favorite activity I am having my kids I work with create is this Election Day/ Presidential Pennant. I LOVE displaying their work and this is such a unique interactive activity! I know my kids will love completing these and seeing them displayed throughout the election! You can grab yours on sale through the election: CLICK HERE!
I also have students create their Presidential Research projects during this time. These packets includes all U.S. Presidents and ANY FUTURE Presidents will be added. Your students will LOVE seeing these displayed as they learn all about the U.S. Presidents. I decide between using the Pennants, or Brochures. If you would like to see these: CLICK HERE!


 This is a freebie I want to offer to my subscribers to my newsletter! It is an exclusive freebie for YOU until election day! If you are a current subscriber just contact me in the next week [by: Sept.5, 2016] and I will give you your code to grab yours!

New Subscribers to grab yours CLICK HERE!

August 7, 2016

5 Back to School TIPS and Activities


Hi Friends!
So is it me, or did summer just fly by? I know many are headed back or already in the classroom mode... so I didn't want to take up too much of your time. I wanted to share some of my 5 BEST Back to School TIPS and Activities to get you started for Back to School. As you know there is NO TIRED like Back to School TIRED... am I right? With decorating, labeling, getting DATA Folders ready... the list continues! Well, with my team we would plan out the first 2-3 days together and really wanted to hit the ground running with the best Classroom Management and focus activities to get to know our students! So I will quickly help YOU out!

Tip#1: Think/WRITE OUT your room set up and decor. I usually find out my classroom area and draw it out setting it up how I want it to look. Now your Class Decor is probably already picked out [if not you can grab some easy print and go decor off TPT, I try to personalize mine every year], and laminated [do this so you can reuse again!]. Clean your room [cabinets, desk, your personal areas- because it will not be thoroughly cleaned until next summer]- I am kind of OCD about this!

Tip #2: Be prepared, with LABELING everything. Regardless if you are super cute and have everything PINTEREST perfect or just labeled by hand have it labeled! This includes: marker, crayon tubs, notebooks, desks [student desk tags], tables, books, carts, turn in folders. Have it all set up before Meet the Teacher Night and First Day of School. This way you are NOT scrambling the 1st day of school trying to organize! I truly felt prepared the 1st day by doing this ahead of time!

Tip #3: Plan out your entire first day by the hour! You cannot wing the first day at all! You need to have a plan! My first day kind of goes like this.... [BTW- my experience is upper elementary, so you will modify with the younger kiddos].

1- Kids enter [I greet each at door and show them to the direction of their seats]
2. School Announcements, kids trickle in the door thoughout first 30 minutes.
3.I have a packet of ALL ABOUT ME Activities or Back to School Activities that help them get started as I am collecting supplies, forms, and greeting kids.
4. Usually within the first 30 minutes I pull all kids down to meeting area. I introduce myself using my anchor chart that I prepare beforehand. This helps me stay focused by lets my kids see a visual and hear me speak. I also provide pictures so they can see my family, vacation pictures, and etc.
5. Next we get in a circle and do a quick ice breaker activity. This helps my students see faces, names, etc, This will last 30 minutes.
6. We go through LUNCH NUMBERS, and CLASSROOM/ SCHOOL RULES. [this takes the longest and we will revisit everyday the first week]. This is when I introduce BRAG TAGS, and other positive reinforcements we will use in our classroom.
7. Typically we have LARGE GROUP time now. So this gives me a break to get more organized and paperwork in order.
8. Kids return and we do another FUN ACTIVITY. This year I am LOVING the ALL ABOUT ME COLOR PENNANT [see image below] These are perfect to display the first week or so on our bulletin boards.
9. We practice more procedures and then head to lunch/recess. During this time my team and I have a plan that we talk to ALL THE STUDENTS about. This way we have consistent expectations throughout the grade level! It is important to have this as a team.
10. We come back in to the classroom and I usually read a 1st day of School Book [1st Day Jitters, or any other fun back to school book is perfect]. This lets kids relax.
11. By now the day is almost over, so we go over dismissal and practice this. Before practicing, I have received notification of how each kid is going home. Our big priority is making sure all our students arrive home safely!
So planning your day hour by hour will truly help you out!
Tip #4: This one is simple! Wear comfortable clothes and SHOES! Yes, you want to look cute and picture perfect, but be comfortable! Our schools are great in CFISD because we are allowed to wear jeans and the school shirts. It is easy because then students know who to recognize in case of an emergency, etc. Especially our littlest friends who are lost the first few days!

Tips #5: Stay after the 1st day, plan to! Organize the rest of your stuff. Put things away. Be prepared for Day #2 which many times we get rolling with classroom lessons, etc. Have all your students contact information ready. I usually chat with my coworkers a bit to see how the day went. I try to hang up anything that is completed and ready for my bulletin board. I leave my room tidy so that I can enter in the morning and take care of anything that needs immediate attention, trust me...there is something that'll pop up!


Hopefully this list of Tips and Activities will help you out a bit. Best of luck to YOU all this school year!

Thank you to Kate Hadfield for the gorgeous images! 

July 13, 2016

Emoji Classroom • Emoji's Everywhere...


 Are you as excited as I am to start the new school year off with the BEST classroom decor ever? Well, I know if you are into the trends you know KIDS are loving these EMOJI'S as much as we are! They are the cutest thing to come around and think about how cute they would look to incorporate into all your Back to School stuff- you could be the #cool teacher with the EMOJI Classroom! I have been working nonstop the last few months and wanted to share all my lastest products plus and EXCLUSIVE FREEBIE to my followers! Yay, you will get this limited time freebie through clicking here: EMOJI FREEBIE I try to hook up my followers every month or so with a great freebie, hope you love it! All these items are discounted for the next week! Woohoo! Grab them now!!!


So here is a run down of my newest and latest EMOJI theme products! 



And an exclusive LIMITED TIME EMOJI FREEBIE to my followers... Click here! Download before 8/1/2016

June 7, 2016

Success In Writer's Workshop

Have you been wondering how to be successful in Writer's Workshop? Or what should YOU as a teacher be doing to help your writers be successful and grow as writers? Today I am starting a Mini Series of Posts to Help YOU get started and feel successful in Writer's Workshop. Teaching writing to elementary students is one of my favorite subjects. Through my years of working with students in grades 2-5 in Gifted and Talented, SPED, ESL, and being a Dyslexia Specialist I have gathered and created tools that have helped me become a better writing teacher...and today I want to share some tips with you!
Before you even teach writing you need to create a plan for what your ultimate goal is. Are you wanting your students to learn how to write: Narrative, Expository, Opinion Writing, etc... You also need to prepare all your materials prior to starting Writer's Workshop. I am going to walk you through a few of the things I do and then we will review.

Students will set up writing notebook [my Writing Interactive Notebook has exactly what I use]
I want my students to be able to create a bank of ideas in their writing notebook. [we use our heart map and other organizers to create this]
Students need to understand the different writing genres [narrative, expository, creative writing...]
I want my students to be able to write strong introduction paragraphs, and focus on a SMALL MOMENT Idea! I will get to that soon in this series. 
Set up Writer's Workshop Anchor Charts [I create mine ahead of time and allow students to help me complete them as we meet in our large groups and mini groups]
Set up my Writers Notebook to have an example to show students as we begin. [I set up cover, title pages, heart map, and a few organizers]. I MODEL in my notebook as we work on different elements of the writing workshop---- I will get to this...
Gather Mentor Texts to use to demonstrate different elements example: Introductions: Owl Moon by: Jane Yolan is one of my favorites. Also, Brave Margaret by: Robert De San Souci
In the perfect ideal world I would have 2 hours a day to teach writing, however realistically I was given 55 minutes each day for writing. So this is how my time went. Of course you would modify your schedule and time to meet your time frame and students needs.
Time Frame:
5 minutes: Read paragraph- a few pages from Mentor Text(s) to introduce skill focus.
15-20 minutes: MODEL, discuss, and MODEL what you are wanting students to learn in large group setting
2-3 minutes: questions and review to dismiss to groups to begin practicing skill.
30 minutes: students begin working on concept, teacher monitoring pulling groups needing extra support. At the beginning students will need lots of support of how to manage their writing. Teacher needs to be constantly monitoring in order to assist students. I usually carry my monitoring notebook to jot notes on where students are needing more support. This monitoring helps me in grouping students later on for guided writing groups.
Of course, this is a model I follow in starting Writing Instruction that has worked for me! It may not work for you and your students. My goal is to give you tips you may be able to use and modify to work for your students. 
⚫I always begin my Writing Instruction/ Writer's Workshop with reading a mentor text that I feel is strong in the area we are focusing on. I have created many mentor lessons that help me create this. I share them with you to use. My favorites are picture books that are quick and easy to pop open and use. However, I have used many novels to demonstrate strong writing skills to my students. This should be purposeful and short. You should be able to demonstrate the objective beforehand and then afterwords you have a TURN and TALK to monitor whether they understand. Teacher monitors discussions.
⚫Teacher then begins modeling what she is looking for students to learn. I typically use anchor charts to model. So today we will focus on choosing small moment idea and sketching out. I give students the prompt we are focusing on. I model how I would JOT LIST and choose my idea to focus on through my choices. When modeling I show them how to timeline ideas on my anchor chart. I also circle the most important idea- Main Idea or HEART of story. This is what helps the students understand what their story will focus around. 


⚫Students then return to seat and begin jot listing several ideas they could use to write on the prompt given. After they choose one, they begin time lining their ideas on the timeline and circling their Main Idea of their timeline. I create this template for students to use in their writing notebooks. It is part of my Writing Interactive Notebook that I use throughout the year with my students.
⚫I am constantly monitoring and discussing with students what they are jot listing and timelining, helping students needing that extra support.
⚫Next, I bring students down and demonstrate how to sketch out their planning before we are to move onto the introductions and drafts of our story. Sketching, is where students will visually draw out their scenes to their story using their timelines. This is important because it allows students to think through their Small Moment Story and the details they want to include in their writing. After I create this on the anchor chart I will allow students to go back to their seats to create their sketches for their First Scene or their Introduction to their story.
⚫While students work on their Scene 1 sketch I will monitor and assist students.

At this point we are usually out of writing instruction time. I bring students down to turn and talk about something they noticed, learned, or were confused about in today's lesson. Tomorrow, we will TALK OUT our scene and begin our next scenes. I will also get to Drafting our First Paragraph which is our Hook/ Strong Leads. So stay tuned to Part 2 of Success in Writer's Workshop!


Here is a preview of my complete Interactive Writing Notebook.

May 17, 2016

Tips for Summer Planning for Teachers

Are you looking for ways to have a successful summer planning as a teacher? Well we are almost there... this is the time where we become anxious and excited for our summer months to recharge and relax. I start seeing the summer countdowns in classrooms and all across social media. I love the idea that the excitement of summer is in the air. You might be fibbing if you say you are not a tiny bit excited!

Many of us are not even close to prepping or thinking about next school year. We are just trying to survive the last few weeks of school. I do not know if it is challenging for you, but I know for me the last few weeks get tough with coming up with creative new lessons and behavior management techniques. However, the feeling of summer just makes my smile a little brighter!
Over the years I have used a simple system that helps me wrap up the end of the school year successfully and also helping me get a head start for the next school year. Now I hope you are NOT wondering, "why in the world would I want to think about next year?" Why not? Are you the type of person that is able to whip it all together right before "Meet the Teacher?" I am not, I wish I was! Well, if you are like me... you have been obsessing already what your classroom theme will be next year, what professional books you want to read over the summer, what courses you want to take for PD hours! Right? Well, hopefully I can help you with some of those things.
Some Popular Classroom Decor DREAM ideas: Nautical Theme {everything beachy- wouldn't it be fabulous to see this fun decor all year long?}, Superhero {young kids are really pumped up with these theme, it just makes for a fun super year}, Sports {this is one my school had, and it is fun to create teams and other fun events with this theme}, Rockstar Theme {who doesn't want to be a rock star all year?}, of course there are the upper themes that are so cute {chevron, polka dots, bright colors, chalkboard traditional}

Professional Books I want to read: The Passionate Teacher and The Passionate Learner by Robert Fried,  The Reading Strategies Book by: Jennifer Serravallo, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by: M. Colleen Cruz

April 12, 2016

Test Prep • STAAR Test

"The Only Real Failure in Life is the Failure to NOT Try"

Test Prep • STAAR Testing Season is here, and many of us are prepping with last minute tips to help our students be successful and show off their hardwork! There is so many different thoughts behind the standards and the effectiveness of the state mandated tests- This post is NOT about that at all! As an educator in Texas for the past 11 years I know the stresses that testing brings to our students. Working with students in grades 3-5 and having 2 young boys at the age of test taking in Texas... I try to make it fun and motivate them to do their best! I have always tried to be the teacher that creates memorable lessons that hopefully inspire and spark that learning! 

Today, I wanted to share with you some tips that I use with my students to help get them prepped and motivated to do their BEST on those state tests! I am certain you have done all the leg work and taught them all the wonderful stuff they need to learn to be ready for the next grade. I often tell my new teacher friends that this test is just a day where our students get to show off all the great stuff you have taught them this year! So as a teacher you should NOT stress! Your kids will truly do their best, as long as they believe in themselves and you believe in them!
Here are some tips to help you as a teacher get your students prepped for taking those big tests!

  •  Have an Inspiring and Motivating Attitude: your students feed off you, so stay positive! Pump them up! Tell them you are PROUD of them and show them! Lots of high fives, hugs, and special treats [look below for a freebie to help you].
  • Make a Game Plan: You have already taught your heart out now you need a game plan for the test. Train them on what you expect for the test. It is ok to talk about the test and tell students what to expect. Do practice tests and talk to them about your expectations. Teach them test taking strategies. I typically teach reading and use these Test Taking Strategies: Reading Strategies
  • Give them tips for how to prepare the night before: [play outside, relax, eat healthy dinner, go to bed early, say prayers and read something fun, don't think about test].
  • Morning Tips for Teacher: Arrive early to get prepared, wear comfortable shoes [in case you have to walk around monitoring the whole day, bring water, bring sweater, a fitbit-if you want to count your steps-lol, a lunch, and anything extra you use to testing days.
  • Morning Tips for Students: Wake up a little earlier, wear comfortable clothing, eat healthy breakfast, stay positive, and try to stay calm!
  • When Students Arrive: Greet your students as they arrive, give them a positive feeling as they walk in! Encourage them and smile!!! They are nervous, but if they see that you are calm and happy that will relax them!
  • During Test: If you are allowed to monitor and walk around, smile and show they kids you are happy and proud of them just by smiling! They can feel the happiness and will feel great!
I hope some of these tips will encourage your kids to feel confident on that testing day!

 I have always tried to prepare activities to help my kids be successful and have fun prepping. Here are some of my favorites!

  • My newest Test Prep is this lapbook that motivates students for ANY reading tests. I have my students think about strategies, goals, and other important things before taking their test. This is such an EASY prep activity that is perfect to do a few days before the big test giving kids a break from testing stress!

Here is a link to all my 

I created this TEST PREP Motivators that will be FREE for a limited time! Click here if you would like to grab yours! TEST PREP MOTIVATORS 
If you download I would LOVE LOVE your kindness in leaving feedback! 

TEST PREP MOTIVATION TAGS Includes:
⚫Tags with 8 to a page perfect for special candy, or treat
⚫Tags for Ziploc treat, just attach to outside of the special treat!
⚫Included Colored with Colorful background and without colorful background.


Good luck to all you wonderful teachers! 

Thanks to Kate Hadfield Designs for the clipart images!

April 2, 2016

Tips for a Successful End of The School Year

Are you looking for Successful End of the School Year Tips? Well, friends I've been thinking about the best tips to help you have a great end of the school year! It is amazing to me how quickly the school year is flying by. As we get closer to the end we start to realize all the things we want to hurry and teach our sweet kiddos. I usually get sad this time of the year because these kids have become part of my life. I know we have those days that are unbearable, but at the end of the day- we step back and realize how much we love these kids! I try to remember the quote above, "Be the teacher that kids don't want to leave at the end of the school year!" I am the silly teacher that cries with my kiddos! Parents always say how much they love this, because they know I LOVE their kids!

How to End Your School Year is always a question many new teachers and experienced teachers have! I remember my first year I was NOT prepared at all and there was NO TPT back then! So I had to run off copies of some OLD looking memory book and it was just yuck! I am sure you know exactly what I mean, right? I wanted to share some tips with you and some resources that I use to help me get through the end of the year successfully!
So are you interested in some quick tips to make your end of school year smooth and easy? Here are some I use and would LOVE to share with you! Below you will see some activities and resources I use as well!
Set weekly and daily goals for you and your class! Due to the end of the year quickly approaching try your best to set goals to help you accomplish your tasks! 
Teach and DO NOT PACK UP, YET! Do not start taking down stuff and packing until it is totally necessary! Kids see you taking down stuff and they assume school is out! Then you WONDER... why is my class crazy? You can start organizing and putting stuff that has been sitting out since November, but seriously, DO NOT PACK UP! It looks boring and you WILL have some negative behavior! Who is with me??
Think Outside the BOX yes!!! Yes, you need to approach teaching in a SMART manner! Your kids and you are both ready for SUMMER! Now is the time to start doing those FUN projects you have wanted to tackle all year! Check out all my Research Pennants! Or check out my sweet friend's Brooke Brown's Stem Activities! You need to get creative to get those kiddos excited to learn and focus these last few weeks!
I'm interested in always knowing what teachers do to make the last weeks with their students memorable and meaningful. I love creating resources so I can have several options to use. Sometimes I have my students create memory books (always a kid favorite). This helps me reflect as a teacher and the kids reflect on their year. Then I started having my students create brochures for kids entering the grade the next year. My KIDS love these because they get to be experts and help out the new class I'll have. It's fun reading these!
⚫My favorite is the END OF YEAR BROCHURE with tips for my students coming into my class the next year! Oh wow, these are so fun to read! The kids get a big kick out of these!! I love passing them out to my new kids the following year and watching them get excited about all the things we will learn! So this one is a win, win activity!
⚫Of course the Memory Book and End of Year LAP BOOK is a fun way for the kids to reflect on their school year! This is an easy to use packet, print front to back to save paper!
⚫My End of Year Flip Booklet and EMOJI Pennants is new and I know what a big hit these are for displaying and parents LOVE these! These are fun and kids LOVE seeing them displayed!
Of course I love passing out AWARDS to my students. I try to buy or create awards that matches the school theme for the year! This year my fun addition to my awards was the EMOJI awards! For some reason these kiddos are obsessed with using emoji's! So I know they'll love these! It fun because I try to think of each kid and personalize their award for them. I recently uploaded these to my store: with the EDITABLE option because I know it's important for teachers to be able to customize for their kiddos as well! Link to Awards: Shop Awards

I'd love to hear from you, what are special things you do at the End of The School Year? What is your best secret, or tip! Thank you to Kate Hadefield Designs for the Beautiful Clipart in the images!

Exclusive Freebie for NEW members to my newsletter!


Many blessings to you all and Happy End of the School Year!