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Welcome guys! I am so excited to share my new blog design. I have to thank Lindsey from Thriving in 3rd and LPaullDesigns. It is so my personality and I am in love.

Back in January, I was laying my bed suppose to be going to sleep because I had church the next day and I say this post about custom blog designs on Instagram. I thought I'll just check it and see what it would cost to dream.

As I was checking it out, the price caught my eye. Oh my! I had enough in my pay pal to pay the deposit and I just knew that I would be able to cover the rest when it was time to install the final product. I jumped out of bed at midnight and made my deposit. I sat in the dark at my kitchen table and the dream was beginning to happen. I didn't tell anyone but inside I was just squealing like I do at a New Kids on the Block Concert when Donnie Wahlberg takes off his shirt. So if you know me, I was SUPER excited. Lindsey contacted me about a few things  I wanted and about colors. She was off and running.

We have kept in contact a lot this week and yesterday the final product was installed. I could not be any happier with what it looks like. I hope that you love too! If you are looking for a blog design, Lindsey is the lady for you! Just click on her blogs at the top and check out her amazing body of work.

Lindsey you have made this teacher's dream come true! I can not thank you enough for what you have done for me!

Don't forget to grab a button! Share it with your friends.

Wednesday Writing Tip

Welcome back everyone! I hope that you are finding this series helpful and are finding ways to make teaching writing more pleasant. I know when I was switched to teaching writing only for my cluster, I was in a panic. Writing me! No WAY! I was determined to be the best at it just to make a point. The point being
1. I could teach anything that was given to me.
2. I was determine to make it an exciting subject for kids. 

A few weeks ago, I went to a training about Best Practices in writing. It was nice to stop and reflect on what was happening in my own classroom. About a year and a half ago, my school decided to change our writing series. We were using Writing Fundamentals. 

The thing about this series is that after you complete the lesson in the unit binder you are suppose to have a specific type of writing piece. With our students, they were only getting a pile of graphic organizers. They didn't enjoy writing and it was completely miserable to teach it. I started just reading the common core and tried to understand what the standards were asking and being making a plan. 

After months of trying and and retrying, our district curriculum person came and said she wanted us to look at a new series that our school was going to think about using. Being a Writer was that series. 

It was some funny to be sitting in a training and it discuss ways to use Best Practices in Writing and they used our new series. Let me just say I am not saying go out and buy this because it may not work for you and you may not be the type to use a series. I don't always like using a manual either. I will say that this series did change my students view of writing. They went from hating writing to loving the fact that they were writers. 

Now here is the steps that I take to help my students keep that love going. 

1. Goals/Standards
I started to share my goals/standards with my students in a new way. I make it look as though it is a rubric. It goes along with the new PGES systems that schools are using across the country. For example: a 3 on the standard board is for the current grade level.  A 4 is for the grade above. 
I display this on the Interwrite board before I start the lesson.

Example of a 2nd grade standard display.

2. Mentor Texts
The biggest thing to mentor texts is that it is meaningful. We know this but sometimes we still go a fluff book and it doesnt help us to get our lessons or purpose across. I will say the series we use has a lot of great books. I have also been using Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller's book to help me build my library. That book as a wealth of books. 

3. Working with a Partner
At the beginning of each unit, I have students draw a number. They will then use that number and find a new partner to work with until the unit is over. I make sure that they are sitting next to each other so that they can share. It is very important that they get the opportunity to work with a peer to brainstorm their ideas or to read what they have written. 

4. Model, Model, Model
I can't emphasize this enough. It is very important that they understand the process of writing. I have a notebook that I write in for a couple of minutes before I work with a students. I want my students to not only help in creating a class work but see me as a writer. Modeling is the a big key!

5. Writing Time
During the writing time, I have told the students that we have to work quietly so that everyone has a chance to think about what they want to say on paper. I try to build their stamina by telling them that we will graph for every minute they go past the previous day. Kinders I want to write for 10 minutes. 1st grade, I want them to write 20-30 minutes. 2nd grade, I want them to write from 30-45 minutes. Now this all depends on your schedule and what time you have. The key is that you set your expectations for how you want the writing time to look and stick to it. 

6. Reflection/Sharing
The last component is reflecting on their work. During this time I have the students take about 1-2 minutes and reread what they have written and double check that what they are thinking is coming across. Then it leads us to the sharing. I pick 3 students to come and share their writing for the day. We discuss and review what good listeners do as well as what a presenter does. This is a nice time for students to hear each other and to share. I sometimes have my kids share only to their partner. You just need to consider the sharing if you are not already doing it. 

I really hope that this has helped you think a little bit about your writing time. If this is a hard time to teach for you, maybe this will help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Wednesday Writing Tip Week 4

Hey everyone! I'm sorry that I am writing so late! It has been a long week but I am back with this weeks Wednesday Writing Tip. 

Today I wanted to share some of the Best Practices of Writing that I have learned and use in my own classroom. I hope that you will find them helpful. 

1. Positive Environment
We hear positive all the time. We all strive to make our rooms as positive as possible. There are ways that we can help to keep that positive environment. The first is making our rooms inviting. Well, I am just gonna say, with all the pictures I saw on Instagram, ladies and gents

Class Community is a great part of the positive environment. In my classroom, the children have a partner that they sit next to everyday. They will stay teamed up until the end of a unit. During this time, the students will think, pair, share and share out to me. They will get times to share their writing with their class. I change their groups about 4-5 times a school year. It helps those quiet ones to feel they have a voice. Think about how you are building community during the writing time. 
Another big one is ROUTINES/EXPECTATIONS. This is huge. Whatever your routine is, keep it that way as long as you can. I know there will be times that something will have to be tweaked but keep as close to what you teach them as possible. 
The last one is HUGE and is not always done. I even forget myself. It is the Teacher as a Writer. It is super important that we take time to write when we give our students time to write. I try to share as much of my work with them. It makes students feel like they can do it because I am doing it. It really is fascinated by their teacher writing. 

Now next week, I am going to talk about organizing your classroom. I am not discussing your physical room but I will  talk about organizing your lessons. I just cant wait to share. 

I hope this is a great start to you building some great writing rooms. For stopping by today, I am making my Daily Fix it Up bundle FREE until Saturday afternoon. This is an $18.00 product for FREE! Please follow my store and leave feedback. 

Click HERE to get your FREEBIE

Monday Wrap Up

Hey everyone! I'm so sorry for missing last Wednesday's Writing Tip! It was my 40th birthday and I got sick at the end of the night! SERIOUSLY!!! Anyway, I decided instead of trying to "make it up" on Thursday, I would just wait until this week for my post. With that being said, Let's get to Monday Wrap Up!

This has been an adventure of a day! I started my day with 2nd grade. We looked at our new goal board. (Why I didnt take a picture, I dont know!) My school is now requiring us to make pre and post test for what we are teaching. So I am graphing the combo test that has all the language standards for the quarter. The kids today really saw that they need to buckle down and make those reds (intensive) move up to blue or green. The 3 blues are going for the green. We then opened up some letters about from our Valentine Exchange that Laura at Pawsitively set up. We had the best time reading the letters we have received so far. Next we worked on using commas correctly, I am having to go back and pick up that 1st grade standard. I told the kiddos that we have to understand it before we can really master the 2nd grade standard. The FINALLY got the date correct. Now we are working on using it in a list or series. If I can get them to apply it into their writing then, they will be geniuses. (Even I tell they are everyday!)

Next, came my 1st grade rotation. This class is the toughest because of the boys and their behaviors. I really earn my paycheck with this class. They just finished their informational writing pieces and they did okay. They understand the features of nonfiction and how to write about what they know. They are still working on writing objects in a series. Today, I gave them 3 sentences and they had to tell me what words were the same and then turn it into a sentence with a series. OMG! Today (bless their sweet hearts) was not a good day for them. We have worked on it for about a week. After about a 4 examples, they were slowly remembering. Tomorrow I will be giving them 3 objects and see if they can write a sentence using a series. Then we are going to explore some books and look for it in writing. 

Then, my sweet kindergarten class came in. They were ready to play Minute to Win it with Handwriting. They love playing that game. It is from DeeDee Wills Hand writing product. Next we read about foods and made a list of foods we want to learn about tomorrow. We are going to compare grapes and raisins. This will be super fun. 

I also gave a sounds test to my sweet kinders. I  have a sweet heart who completely forgot letters and sounds. So I will be working closely with her. 

As you can see my day has been packed with fun and learning! I will only get to be at school tomorrow for a half day because my dear friend lost her mom this weekend and I will be at the funeral. :( 

All that as side, I am just so thankful for all you guys and your support. I hope that I will be able to make it to the SDE and TPT conference. I really want to meet everyone in person and make life long friends. 

Product Swap

This week I teamed up with some great bloggers to swap our products. I was teamed up with Tiffany from One Fab Teacher. I was given her Got Kindness? A Bucket Filler Game. 

This is how I got started with the game in my classroom. Come see our fun!

I started out with the book above. I had read this book at the beginning of the year. I felt it would be great to help with learning the game and to remind them that they all have buckets to be filled. 

After I read the the book we discussed what we do in our classroom that dips from each other buckets. Then we talked about what could we do to make sure that we dont dip anymore and on drop. 

The kids did a great job. It was great to see their eyes light up when they realized that they  are really taking from each other a lot lately. 

I taught them how to play the game. I made 4 copies. I had one for each table. Then I let them go play. 

As you can tell, they were very involved in playing this game. My 1st grade group (which needs this lesson more) really played hard. We actually played longer than I intended too. It was nice to hear the students say that they were filling buckets because they were reading words and helping each other during the game. This will be a game that I use when I see that they are not filling buckets. 

This product swap was great to reinforce the art of being kind. I truly hope that you will go and purchase this from Tiffany of One Fab Teacher. It is a great price with a great reward in your classroom. 

It's Monday Wrap Up Time

Hey everyone! I hope you have had a great weekend. My weekend has been eventful. We headed to Nashville to a funeral home because my husband's best friend's mother died and then my son threw up in the car on the way home. Then he was sick off and on all night. Then today was sick again. Thank goodness for a wonderful sitter who helps me with my babies when I have to go to school. 

Anyway, let's get to my Monday Wrap Up!

Today was a very long day but a great day! My students worked on their Valentine Hearts for our Valentine Exchange we are doing. At Pawsitvely Teaching, she had a call for volunteers for teachers that wanted to be apart of an exchange. We had a great time getting our hearts together. I have addressed envelopes and my dear husband will mail them out tomorrow morning for me. 

The kids had such a great time because they were using my scrapbook paper and punches. I love when they get excited for these types of things. I push and push standards and testing that it was nice to just do something fun. FOR FUN!!!! You know what I mean?

Working on stuffing envelopes

Now all 3 of my writing classes are working on informational writing. It has been fun to teach and see the progression of the stations. My kinders are really picking it up. We started with a group writing about polar bears. This week they are writing about penguins. I am reading the text but they are having to write the information and place it in the appropriate order. They make my heart smile. 

Here is my kinders really working hard on their information about penguins. Today was what do Penguins eat. As you can see they were ready to write. I am so excited to see what happens next. 

As you can see this Monday has been an adventure. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.