Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently December 15

Hiya, blog world friends!  I love Farley's currently! It seems to be pretty much the only time I blog lately!

Listening to Christmas carols! Am I alone in this? Not until after Thanksgiving and I stop December 26th!
Loving that my long term in 4th grade is over! I am definitely a primary girl at heart! I thought maybe it was just being departmentalized in my last school but no K-2 is my happy place!
Thinking I wish my Ava girl was feeling better! We ran all kinds of errands Monday and she was a super trooper but she got sick that night and is still sick! We have a doctor appointment later today.
Wanting my hip to get better. I managed to dislocate it and the chiropractor is working miracles with it and I am in much less pain than I was but I'm not cleared for Zumba yet (gee I wonder why). 
Needing a nap! Ava was up most of the night puking, good thing I'm not subbing!
Fake tree cause I'm allergic to pine tree sap!

That's all for now friends! Stay strong, December is a short teaching month but it sure doesn't feel like it!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Currently November 15

So I am in the middle of a rough long term position and between that and my computer crisis I feel like I have neglected my poor blog! I will be done with the long term after Thanksgiving and have big plans for then! Please stay tuned and have a wonderful November!!!

Listening to the Royals in the World Series!!!!!!
Loving that tomorrow is my birthday!!!
Thinking I hope this game ends in regular innings I need SLEEP!
Wanting a fun way to celebrate my birthday. There are a lot of my friends who have birthdays around now too so we have been celebrating like once a week! I want to do something just not sure what.
Needing again SLEEP haha! PT conferences, time change and Royals baseball got me TIRED!
Yummy - My favorite Thanksgiving food is Mashed Potatoes and WHITE gravy or country gravy. I use Pioneer Woman's recipe which my mother-in-law informed me is from a really old "country cook book". They are pinned on my pinterest board under Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Currently October '15

Welcome to October the busiest month there is for some reason!!

Listening to the boys making Dub Smash videos -they are pretty funny
Loving my new Plum Paper Planner!!!!
Thinking wow! October is always such a busy month! Time to gear up!
Wanting a salted caramel mocha - pretty much always!
Needing my computer to be fixed ugh! My lap top AND desk top crashed at the end of August and I still don't have them back or even my files off of them! I had all my current TPT products saved on a jump drive but not in progress ones - those were my next to back up, or my clipart or papers and such!
Boo-tiful - my precious daughter is boo-tiful. I love all my children I really do but she is something special I tell ya! They baby and it's like she's my reward for 2 boys. She has so much personality and cute wrapped up in her little 3 1/2 year old self!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Currently September '15

I am so ready for a new month! August was rough!

Listening to my princess sing along with You Tube videos. She gets 30-45 minutes on You Tube while I blog! Then we play or do something together!
Loving time with just Ava while the boys are at school. She is my last baby and is growing up way to fast! I am so glad I made the decision to sub last year and this so I can have all these precious moments with her! Feeling a lil sentimental apparently. I think I'm still in denial about having a 5th and 2nd grader!
Thinking that when I get all of this computer mess straightened out I need to be better about backing things up!!!
Wanting a new lap top. We were able to replace my desk top that died quickly thanks to my amazing neighbor that was generous enough to give us her desk top at a great price!
Needing to suck it up and dig through and start working on TPT stuff again. When my computers crashed it was at the end of a very bad week and was like the icing on a nasty cake! Since then I have had no creating mojo whatsoever!
3 Goals 1) Back up often!!!!! 2) Increase TPT sales. 3) Be more focused and efficient!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Computer Crash of the century and other random craziness!

Have you ever thought well things can't get any worse than this.....and then they do? That is me the last two weeks. Not once but multiple times! Anything that can go wrong HAS! We are all ok but my computers are not :( My laptop crashed and so that motivated me to back up my desk top (where most of my files are) and in the middle of backing it up it died! This came on the tail end of bad news, major appliances breaking down, rare fungal outbreak on the kids, and vandalism to one of our cars. Needless to say I felt like giving up and throwing in the proverbial towel. But amazing friends and words of encouragement and a savings account built up thanks to TPT and an amazing faith in God and that he will see us though has kept me going. We are all ok and will be ok just letting you know not to expect much from my blog for a while. :(

Monday, August 24, 2015

Managing Groups and Partners

Hiya! As we start a new school year I am sure one of the things on your mind is "How will I effectively group my students for group and partner work?"

When I taught Kindergarten I would often group students focusing on keeping the talkers separate or kids who were rowdy, kids who didn't get along, or get along TOO well. I didn't focus on ability so much unless a student needed help then I would pair one of the highest, best behaved, to assist them.

and it usually worked!

Then about 6 years ago I was moved to 4th grade Science (we were departmentalized). I was terrified! I had no idea ho to teach 4th graders! But, that summer I went to a week long Kagan Cooperative Learning Professional Development Training. It changed my life!!! Seriously! One of the most career changing PDs ever! And one of my biggest takeaways from the week was how to group students. Kagan suggests grouping students into HIGH. HIGH MEDIUM, LOW MEDIUM, and LOW Groups for academic purposes.
And then the kicker...
pair High with High Medium or Low Medium but never Low.
And Low with Low Medium or High Medium but never High.
Dr. Kagan explains that when you group HIGH and LOW together for academic activities it can lead to frustration on the part of both parties!

So since then I have grouped my students and labeled my tables
3 - LOW
so that they aren't aware of level! Many things out there that you will find using Kagan has letters too - that just confuses me lol!

They are seated like this:
These Colored numbers were on there desks. I also mixed up the colors and numbers so I could call on colors or numbers and get a variety. I used them for getting materials for their tables, lining up, who started etc. They worked great! 

To introduce all of this group and partner work I used a power point on my smartboard. It outlined all of the procedures for working in groups and partners including all the different types of partners, and what to do if you didn't have a partner!
Classroom Management Procedures for Group and Partner Work-

 and the first week of school we practiced Face Partner and Shoulder partner every day, several times a day! This ensures that they understand and know without a doubt who their partner is and what to do if they don't have a partner. Get the power point HERE.

Classroom Management Working with PARTNERS Poster

 If you purchase the power point you can print off the partners slide and use it as a poster in your room as a reminder or pull up the page when you are working in partners which is what I did every time we did partner work. It's also a good way to review after any break! You can purchase the single poster HERE.

When working in groups whether tables, random groups or another variety of grouping I would always display the GROUPS pages which you can also print out! Or buy separately.
Classroom Management Working with GROUPS Poster

To purchase from my store click HERE

I hope this helps you manage Groups and Partners in your classroom! Comments or questions please feel free to leave it in the comments! I love feedback!

*this post is not sponsored nor endorsed by Kagan in any way*

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trade Book Tuesday: Questioning

Hiya!!!! I am so super, duper excited to be sharing a GREAT book with you today!

This month for Ask and Answer Questions I am using the book The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg. I am pretty much a HUGE Chris Van Allsburg fan and love most everything he writes!

But the Stranger? AMAZING book!

If you haven't read it you NEED to - like right now! Because I am not going to give it away! But the story is about a peculiar "stranger" that comes to stay with a family on a farm. He doesn't speak and has some very odd things about him. Then one day he remembers who he is and has to leave the farm. This book takes place in late Autumn so you have plenty of time to read it this fall!
I can totally see using this book for upper grades with questioning and inferring but it will work for younger grades too with support. In fact it is a Touch tone text for the district I work in for Second Grade.
To start off I would have the students ask questions before reading this book based just on the cover, while reading and then after you are done reading. They can write these on sticky notes and then you can make a class chart from them or use this sheet from my The Stranger Reader Response Set.

Another strategy I use with this book is using questions to deepen understanding!
After reading the book through once go back through the book and choose a passage and or picture that is vague and have the students write questions about it that they can discuss to deepen meaning. There is also a sheet for that in the pack!

There are several other skills included in the pack including Story Recall, Characterization, Inferring with text evidence as well as Vocabulary Cards.
Put in your cart for tomorrow during the TPT BONUS sale when it will be 28% off!
Just click on the picture below to go to the pack listing in my store!

And because you all are so awesome I also created a freebie for the skill of Questioning!

It includes a Questions poster.

Fun Question Dice Activity - perfect for centers or small groups! Students read a story then roll the dice and answer the question that matches the number they roll.

And a printable where students can practice asking and OR answering questions!

Click on any of the pictures above to go to my store and download it NOW! Just please leave me some feedback if you do!

Friday, August 14, 2015

5 for Friday August 14, 2015

Hiya! I haven't linked up with 5 for Friday since the beginning of July!!! Thinking my summer got a little cray cray! But it's been fun! I'm going to share 5 things from since I last did a 5 for Friday - so pretty much a recap of the last 5 weeks!! lol

July 17-18 We took a family trip to Kansas City. We stayed at Great Wolf Lodge and went to our second Sporting Kansas City game.

The kids all got ears, Kaden's were birthday ears. Blake was mad about something.

We did some shopping at the Legends outlets - side story Blake managed to gash his big toe so if you need to know where the first aid place is I can tell you.

The kids LOVED the water park!

The sporting KC game was great and they WON!

July 21-24 I was in Vegas with one of my former co-workers and besties! 
Me by the Statue of Liberty made out of chocolate. 

We saw a One Direction concert and the lead singer came up the stairs right by us!

We had a super fun night out on the town one night and I spent LOTS of time laying by the pool, and shopping! Of course shopping! I can't wait to go back next year for the TPT confrence!

July 30 - Aug 3 I was in Branson with my momma for a girls trip!

I have wanted to go with my mom to Branson (her favorite place) on a girls trip since my dad died and this year it worked out!

My mom's favorite thing to do is to sit by the lake particularly at Dewey short right by the top side of the dam. Sadly due to all the rain and flooding we couldn't set on the benches right by the lake but got some good sit time at the new observatory.

We ate at a new restaurant called Pasghettis. It was good and great atmosphere! Definitely going back there on another trip!

We also shopped (a LOT). Went on a wine tour at Stone Hill Winery, and spent time in Springfield (where I went to college).

It was a great trip!

Last week I was super focused on the TPT sale and then Saturday we had a family reunion!

There are TONS of new products in my store! Go check it out!

This week Lindsay from Primary Polka Dots and I announced our Trade Book Tuesday Linky party that starts this coming Tuesday! The book skill is Ask and Answer Questions. We would love it if you would join up with us this month and every month on the Third Tuesday of the month!

Whew! And I'm all caught up just in time for school to start Monday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just say NO to nonsense words!

If you love nonsense words this is NOT the blog post for you, just walk away now and agree to disagree. Feel free to email me you thoughts on their worth, because as far as I am concerned teachers should not bother using nonsense words and if you have to test with them for MClass or whatever your district uses - don't stress! I'm here to give you my thoughts on why you should quit using nonsense words in any classroom!
My last two years in Kindergarten my district started Rti and we had to test our Kindergartners on a variety if different skills including nonsense words.
I quickly came to strongly dislike nonsense words!
My best students scored the lowest on this assessment and by the end of the year most students scores were going down on it! To me this shows that it is a poor indicator of reading ability.
The discussion of nonsense words came up again this summer when a Kindergarten teacher asked me if I had any products with nonsense words. The short answer was NO!
She asked why and I explained my dislike for them. She was totally sold and said I should write an article for a teaching magazine on them! Well now that my graduate paper is figured out I decided I would start with a blog post!
My reason for not using nonsense words is simple - in the grand scheme of reading we want kids to ultimately get MEANING from text! Nonsense words have no meaning!

We teach students yes even as young as Kindergarten that we read books to learn things, to try to learn lessons, or to enjoy stories! Nonsense words lead to none of this!
So I say - use REAL words!!!! Phonetic or not but use real words!
Please understand this is not a post against phonics - I happen to LOVE phonics actually (and I wasn't a phonetic reader!) and think that phonics instruction should extend beyond 2nd grade!!!
I think phonics instruction should be explicit and intentional but it should use REAL words!!!
You can have your students practice segmenting and blending using real words! There are plenty of them out there I promise! AND if it's a real word but not familiar to a child - look it up! Give it meaning! It will make your reading instruction so much more authentic!
I know on that test the are to say each sound for segmenting (which actually helps in writing and spelling ability but that's another blog post entirely), and they can say each sound or the whole word for blending. Some will argue that if you don't use nonsense words you don't know if they are blending it or they know it from memory. I say GOOD that's what we want them to do - remember words! But I address that below if you are really worried about it!
BUT what if I HAVE to teach nonsense words.
If you HAVE to teach them because of a TEST - ask yourself how much do I care what that test says about my student? 
I (hope) you know you student well enough to know whether they are making progress or not! You can assess them on segmenting and blending using REAL words! 
Save a set just for testing if it's an issue of them having "seen" it before.
If you HAVE to use nonsense words because your administrator says so here are some strategies:

1. Give them meaning by allowing them to make up definitions for them! Think dinglehopper ala' Little Mermaid

You could have students do this individually or as a group! What a great center activity! What a great way to encourage creativity!!!!!
2. Make a list of rhyming words using them! This is how nonsense words are most often used in literature! Writers get away with it because they GIVE IT MEANING (are you sensing a theme here?).
Think Dr. Suess
In fact when I taught Kindergarten and HAD to use nonsense words I called them Suess words. 
Dr. Seuss and JK Rowling made a living by making up words but giving them meaning and purpose! 
If you are in need of some resources for blending and segmenting words I would love it if you would check out my 
Turtle Talk for blending
and Robot Talk for segmenting

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Assess Me - Week 1

Hiya! Today I am linking up with the Tattooed Teacher for a super fun linky!


1. um yeah all the time!
2. Nope faith in GOD instead of superstition!
3. um no ew!
4. Surprisingly not!
5. Not at the moment but all 3 of the kids are on some sort of electronic device!
6. Nope and I only had bottom ones that didn't come in till I was like 30!!!
7. um,
8. No <insert sad face> but I hope to take the kids in two years with TPT!
9. Yes! have since 4th grade and I wear them almost all the time!
10. Yes have my whole life!

Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Watermark Photos on your Phone

Hiya! I wanted to share real quick with you how I watermark my photos quickly on my phone.

First of all you need the Rhonna Designs App. It is a 1.99 but it is TOTALLY worth it!
It is available for iphone, ipad, Android and Windows devices and Windows desktop 8.1 and higher!
This tutorial is using an iphone 6.

Open the app! This is what it looks like on my phone! Yes I have a LOT of photography apps! It's the Krafty part of me! ;)

Choose the icon that looks like a filmstrip to go to your camera roll.

From there click on camera roll, or dropbox which ever has your photo. I am using my #widn from Instagram the other day.

Next you will crop your photo. Remember to choose square if you are posting to Instagram.

Then to add your watermark click the T in the top left corner, It will bring up your fonts list. I chose Italics basic which is an add on but you can choose any. A font box will appear on the screen that says DOUBLE TAP TO EDIT. Do so and it will bring up a keyboard.

Type what you want your watermark to say. The copy write symbol was in my emojis! It defaults to white which is what we want for our watermark. You can change the font simply by clicking on any of the fonts at the bottom of the screen. You can also resize using the dot in the bottom right corner. Position it where you would like, I almost always use the bottom left hand corner.

Next we are going to make it lighter.While you have the text open click on the 3 lines in the top right hand corner. It will bring up the above menu. We are going to choose TRANSPARENCY.

You will slide the dot to the left to make the text more transparent and less obtrusive to your picture. Click done when you are happy with the way it looks.

Then click the 3 lines in the top right again and choose SHARE to save your picture.

I usually click SAVE IMAGE which saves the picture to your camera roll, but as you can see there are other options as well.

And viola you have a watermarked photo to share on social media and protect your brand!!!

Did you find this helpful? Questions still leave me a comment or email me!