Long Time, No Post! What I've been up to lately.

It has been a whirlwind start to the school year!!  The days are just running into each other and my weekends are way too busy!  Here's what I've been up to lately...
Meet our class!  I saw this idea on Pinterest.  The first day of school I had students draw a self portrait.  I bought a frame for our portraits at IKEA and covered the background in wrapping paper.  Next I glued our portraits in place and this is what I ended up with.

One of the first week of school activities that I did with my class to build community was working puzzles.  I put students in groups of four and gave them a few minutes to discuss strategies for completing the puzzle.  Their goal was to be the first team to complete the puzzle.  The catch was they weren't allowed to talk.   It was the quietest 15 minutes I've ever had teaching!  My students loved it!  This idea isn't my own, I can't remember if I read about it on a blog or on Pinterest.  If you're reading this and it was your idea... THANKS!

Have I told you I love my new teaching position??  I teach a 3rd/4th grade multi-age high ability class.  There are three of these classes at my building and my team is wonderful.  The building also houses 5th through 8th grade high ability classes.  It's such a laid back but stimulating environment!  All of my students are so eager to learn and question everything.  I love all the personalities in my class!  I have a few students that are constantly taking apart or building something.  Here is what one of them did with their pencil top erasers during a social studies lesson.  I'm sure this is not what his mom had in mind when she purchased the erasers!

My weekends have been busy with my daughters' activities.  Payton's soccer team recently won a soccer tournament.  My entire Labor Day weekend will be spent watching soccer.

Avery had her first half time performance with the band and her dance team.  Here she is pre-game with a good friend.

TpT Sale Back to School Best & Most

I'm so excited for the Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale!  I have so many items on my wishlist that I'll be purchasing tomorrow.  Christina Bainbridge at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge is having a "Best & Most" linky to get everyone excited for the sale!  Here is my yearbook page of the "Best & Most" from my store...

Teacher's Pet: My pet is my Fluency Workstation Voice Jar:  I love this one most because my students love it!  They have so much fun reading in silly voices which helps with fluency and expression!

Most Likely to Help Your Students Succeed: My Writing Prompts for the Four Types of Writing for Upper Grades is a great way to help students succeed by making sure they write expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative pieces during workstation time.  It includes anchor charts for each type of writing, along with Common Core Standards for 3-5 grades.  I also have Writing Prompts for the Four Types of Writing for Primary Grades as well.
Best Couple: Need help with reading comprehension?  This cute couple will help!  My Book Talk Jar and Book Detective Jar are both activities for students to use during workstations after reading a book alone or with a buddy.

Don't forget to head to Teachers Pay Teachers tomorrow for lots of products for back to school!

My Digs

What a fun week!  Today I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to show you my classroom digs.  Unfortunately when I was taking pictures of my class I go side tracked!  I go home and realized that I only took two pictures.  So I guess I should have titled this blog Half of My Digs!
Here is my classroom library. I still need to add the genre posters and a few things on the wall (once I find something that will actually stick and stay on the walls).
I have a wall of windows in my room.  The quote above the window came with the room.  I love it!!
Well, that's it.  Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of the rest of the room sometime soon!

Let's Talk About Me

Today was the first day of school and I am exhausted!!  It was a great day, probably the best first day E.V.E.R.!!  I'm so ready for bed but wanted to join the Meet the Teacher fun before I go!  Here are 10 fun things about me...

1. I am a closet Elvis lover!  I grew up listening to Elvis music and movies.  Probably my all time favorite Elvis song is Suspicious Minds.  I was able to go visit Graceland for the first time last summer.  It was amazing!  Here is a picture of Elvis and me.

2. Running a marathon was on my bucket list.  I began training in 2010, ran my first marathon in 2011, ran my second marathon in 2012, and haven't been running since.  How crazy is that!

3.  I live in the house where my husband grew up. We purchased it from his parents five years ago.  It's a beautiful house and has lots of personality but takes way too much time to clean!

4. I have the best girlfriends!  Here is a picture of our last girls weekend in Tennessee.  None of them are teachers, so they don't quite get the whole "don't plan on seeing or talking to me during the month of August" thing.  However, they are very patient and know that when September rolls around I'm back to my normal self again!

5. Today my oldest daughter started high school!!  It doesn't seem possible.  My youngest daughter is now a 7th grader in the same school where I teach.  Here is their first day of school picture.
Sorry about the quality of the photo... my husband took it on his cell phone.

6.  This is my 20th year teaching.  Crazy considering I'm only 29.  It seems like yesterday when I was one of the young teachers and 20 years of teaching didn't even seem feasible!

7.  My husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary next year.  Here is a picture of him with our daughters.  I would show a picture of us together but unfortunately I'm always the one taking the pictures...

8. I love to change my hair color.  My oldest daughter is a blonde and my youngest is a brunette.  I try to give their hair colors equal time on my head.  Right now I'm a blonde.

9. My sister and I are 15 months apart.  She's a teacher too.  We fought like crazy growing up (sorry mom!) but now she's my best friend!  We recently celebrated my mom's 70th birthday (sorry mom!).  This is a picture of us at Wine and Canvas.

10. My 25th high school reunion is next month.  Crazy considering I'm only 29!  I'm looking forward to seeing classmates that I haven't seen in years.

If you're still with me, THANKS!!  Hope this helps you learn a little more about the person behind the blog.

Tomorrow is the big day so it's Monday Made It on Sunday!

I can't believe tomorrow is the first day of school!  My classroom is ready, plans are ready, and I think I'm ready!  I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics a day early for her weekly Monday Made It.  Each year I like to have a B2S gift for my students when they come to school.  This year I'm giving each student a water bottle.  My new classroom is down the hall from the nearest fountain so I thought this would keep down the number of drink breaks each day.  Luckily I found the water bottles on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  They were only 60 cents each!!  I used my Silhouette Cameo to put their names on the bottles.  I love the colors!  Gotta go and catch some zzzzz because it's going so be a long day tomorrow!

Vocabulary Jar for Workstations, Early Finishers or Whole Group

 I've been working on some jar activities for my new grade level.  This year I will have a 3rd/4th multi-age classroom.  I decided to make a vocabulary jar.  All of my students are above grade level readers.  Often times they can read any word in front of them but have no idea what that word means.  The words that I used are from the National Reading Vocabulary list.  There are 378 words in the download.  I also included a worksheet for students to use for each new word.  Words could also be added instead to vocabulary notebooks.  Here is a preview of my Vocab Jar...

You can find it in my TpT store.  It's on sale for a short time!

Too Much Glue

Every time I choose a read aloud I know I have to get the most bang for my buck.  Gone are the days of reading books to students for pleasure.  The books have to align to this standard or that!   I know most of you probably have your go-to list for certain topics and skills.  I'm always on the look out for a new book to help me teach writing.  I was asked recently to review Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre. Instantly I knew I had found a new book to add to my go-to list!
There are so many writing traits that can be taught through this book.  The story is about a little boy who uses too much glue in his art class, even after his teacher has warned the class.  Everyone tries to help Matty out of his sticky situation!  Matty learns his lesson in the end... or does he?
When I read this book to my students, I will focus on Lefebvre's use of word choice and voice.
Above are several pages from the book that show good examples of these two traits.  Big and bold words are used throughout the story.  As new solutions are used to help Matty out of his sticky situation, come back lines are used over and over again with a new first line added each time.  Lefebvre also uses "dot, dot, dot" (as my students like to say) to build suspense in the story.  Students will love this book!  Not only will they learn something by listening to it, they will enjoy the story and illustrations as well!

Currently August

Oh, the dreaded August Currently.  I knew this month would come, I was just hoping it would be later than sooner!

1.  Listening... It's funny how this time of year I start hearing all these voices in my head.  The voice is actually mine (thank goodness) coming up with ideas, making a mental to do list, pondering how my classroom should look, the list goes on and on!  I've had a hard time hearing anything else lately (just ask my family)!

2.  Loving... I went to Ikea for the second time in my life on Wednesday.  I couldn't stand it any more!  I've seen so many cute items that others found there, that I just had to check it out for myself.  I don't know why I don't go more often!  The Ikea in West Chester, OH is only a little over an hour from my house!  Here are a few of my finds...
I can't wait until my classroom is ready and I can post my before and after pictures!!

3.  Thinking... Even though going back to school means less free time, sleep, and sanity; I actually can wait to get started. I think this is going to be a great year!  I'm at a new school with a new grade level and I love the teachers I'm teaming with this year!  It's a good thing!!

4.  Wanting... No matter how prepared I am for school, I always want just one more week of summer!!  We've had a very busy few weeks watching my oldest daughter dance.  Avery is on the high school dance team (they dance with the marching band).  Friday was the big state band competition at the state fair.  She did a wonderful job for her first year.  Our high school band placed 3rd in the state.  Here is a picture of her dancing at the competition.

5.  Needing... I am one of those teachers that can't even think about planning until my classroom is finished.  I'll give you a sneak peak of where I started (don't worry, it looks much better now)!

B2s must haves...  I've been teaching so long that my back to school must haves are more for my own personal enjoyment!!  Here are the three items I bought for my self this year!!
1st- Tieks shoes!  I don't have these shoes yet but I'm hoping to get a pair soon.
2nd- Every morning when I get to school I make a chai tea latte.  I just bought this insulated cup from Starbucks for my morning liquid heaven.  
3rd- I take my lunch to school each day, so I look forward to getting a new lunchbox every school year.  This year I bought this cutie from BYO.  I also bought the earth friendly reusable snack and sandwich bags to go with it.

Head on over to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and fill us in on your August Currently!