Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Student-Led Conferences (and we have a WINNER!!!)

First of all, I know you're all excited to see who our winner is!  Nobody can see it, but you all have "invisible numbers"...I have to copy your comments, paste them into Word, and THEN I can see the numbers!  :P  Something to do with the new "nesting" of comments...

Ok, moving on!  Drumroll.......the winner is....

Which means our winner is Ms. Chrissy B!!!!!  Congratulations!!!!

If you'd still like to snag a copy, head on over to my TpT store! :)

Now on to Student-Led Conferences...

We had them tonight and will have them again on Thursday.  Here's how I run them in my room.

We send home time request slips about a month in advance.  Being student-led, I schedule 3-4 students at the same time.  I circulate around the room as they go through their list of things to do.  They show their parents everything!  I am there to answer questions, address concerns, and just mingle with the families.  It's very laid back for me and very informative for the parents!

I post a schedule outside my door so that the parents can see a reminder of when their time slot happens to be.  They can also see if there are others scheduled before or after them...it helps them keep to the time limit a little bit better.

When they come in, everything is ready.  We practice during  the school day so that they know what to do when they come in.  Data binders, books, and conference sheets are on their desk waiting.

On our Promethean Board, I displayed a PowerPoint image to show what the agenda is for the evening.  The students can reference it to make sure they complete all the tasks that they are supposed to do with their parents.

The first thing up is a conference sheet.  I fill out things to show their current grades and what their successes and struggles are in certain areas of reading and writing.  They go through this with their parents and identify what they need to work on.

Next, the students share their data binders with their parents.  They have a class mission statement and a personal mission statement that they go over with their parents.  The students also have graphs with baseline data from the beginning of the year.  We track  extended response (writing), sight words read in 1 minute, and fluency.  They love looking at their growth (or think really hard about why they might NOT be making any growth...I love hearing them come up with solutions with their parents)!

Next, they read a portion of a book to their parents.  I use the leveled readers that come with Reading Street.  I choose one that they've already read so that they're familiar with it.  They read just a couple pages so their parents can hear them read.  Sadly, some parents never listen to their child read and I feel like it's SO important.

Then they show their Study Island graphs to their parents.  Our school participates in the Study Island program on the computers to prepare them for testing.  If the kids (any of them in the whole building) get all blue ribbons, they are rewarded with a skating party at our local skate place at the end of the year.  I graph how many blue ribbons they have and then the parents get to see how far along their child is coming with completing it.

Finally, I have them do their "Hunks and Chunks" for their parents!  Ohmygoodness y'all (sorry...Southern excitement coming out here!), the parents LOVE THIS!  It's SO entertaining!  If you're unfamiliar with The Phonics Dance, you HAVE to check it out!  I went to the workshop this past summer and it has CHANGED the way I teach phonics!  It's such a fabulous and fun way that really sticks with my students.  It will be SO worth your time and money!  Guaranteed!  The parents get a kick out of the little chants and motions that go with each hunk and chunk.

So there ya have it!  In a nutshell.  Our Student-Led Conferences.  :)  Ok, I'm tired and out...it's been a LOOOOONG DAY!!!! :)

(Now I get to come back to school in 10 hours to present my blog and TpT store at our staff meeting!  Ay, ay, ay...my stomach is in knots, but I'm PUMPED!  :P)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Markers and Paper and Book Rings, Oh My!

This is one of the most exciting parts of the year for me...supply orders for next year! I don't know what it is, but there's something so refreshing about filling out an order form of new things to add to my desk drawers or box of lesson materials. I'm sitting in bed flipping through the catalog for next year and I'm in HEAVEN!

Hopefully you teach in a district that is fortunate enough to allow you to order supplies each year. The school I student-taught at in Mississippi gave each or their teachers $300 each year for supplies!!! Man...must be nice. :P We get $100...and as you all probably know, it can add up quick! It's all about figuring out what's top priority to order and finding the best deals. I know I have my "favorites" that I look forward to getting each year. My very favorite item is MARKERS! Last year I ordered some Mr. Sketch scented markers (they take me back to my childhood!). This year I need to order more flip chart markers. I think it's the variety of bright colors that just makes me happy. :)

Do tell...are you able to order supplies through your district every year? How much do you get to spend? What are your favorite items to order? Is there anything new and exciting that you're planning on getting for next year? I can't wait to hear about your orders! :)

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down to enter my Mardi Gras Madness giveaway! The drawing happens tomorrow night after I get home from parent-teacher conferences! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm really bad at this...

Ok people, PLEASE don't think I'm crazy...I'm in the midst of trying to upload a new background and header and I have to go to a basketball game.  I will get back to this later, I promise!  But until then...I apologize for everything being so disoriented.  :P

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mardi Gras Lesson and Giveaway!

I just finished my Mardi Gras unit and I have to admit...I'm pretty excited about it!!!!!  It's 24 glorious pages of games, group projects, and writing activities!  And the cool part...the kids get to create their OWN nonfiction book all about Mardi Gras!  I'm definitely pumped.  You can snag it at my TPT store, or.....

I'm doing my first giveaway!  Here's how to enter:  Simply recommend my blog or TPT store to someone else, become a follower, and leave a comment below!  Be sure to leave your e-mail address in case you're the winner!  I will randomly pick a winner on TUESDAY NIGHT!  Woohoo!

And I'm trying to figure out how to number comments...if someone can help a sista out, I'd appreciate it. ;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Changin' It Up

I'm sure I'm not the only one...please tell me I'm not. :P

There gets to be a point in the year where I reassess and need some change in my classroom seating arrangement. It always happens around tis time of year. I don't know if it's because we are at the halfway point or if it's because it's winter and we're stuffed inside all day, every day. So I just totally moved all my desks. The group thing was just old. And if you wanna know the truth, after a couple hours, I moved them AGAIN! :P. Still not completely sold, but I do love all the space I just gained (now what to do with that new-found space is a different story...

So this is my arrangement...for now. ;)

Ok, so now I don't know how to load pics from my iPad...ahhh...

Stay tuned! A Mardi Gras Madness unit will be available on my TPT store later this week! Woohoo! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reading Street Packets!

Ok, I'm official!  I now have my Teachers Pay Teachers store up and running!  I have uploaded a FREEBIE just for you!  Right now a lot of my materials will be geared towards 2nd grade Reading Street. I know I only have a couple stories up right now, but I'm in the midst of creating more - so don't you worry!  ;)  I should be uploading 1-2 stories a week until they're all up!  Here's a lovely preview of "A Weed Is a Flower"! :)

And by all means, if there's ANYTHING at all that you'd like to see added, PLEASE let me know!  I'm more than open to suggestions and would love to add things that you all need.  Just leave a comment or e-mail me and I will get right on it!  :)

So head on over to my TPT shop and pick it up!  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012


Ok blog world!

I'm getting ready to open a Teachers Pay Teachers store (you have NO idea how excited I am! :D). I've noticed that other bloggers who have a TPT store post these cute previews of the lessons. It has all the documents in one image so bloggers/buyers know what is in it. Either I'm really dumb or I just haven't learned the trick yet. Can anyone help me out and explain how to do it? :) Thanks in advance...


Monday, January 2, 2012

Math Stuff and Printables!

New Year's Resolution #1: BLOG MORE!  Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.  The past 2 months have been CRAZY hectic!  Football games, preparing my cheerleaders for basketball, basketball games, Christmas, appointments...but I'm honestly going to blog more.  I have so much to share!  Ok, enough rambling...

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of teaching math.  I get mega frustrated!  I think it goes back to my days in math when I was little.  I went from being advanced in the primary grades to suddenly falling behind and hitting a wall once I got into 5th grade.  So I'm constantly trying to find fun and relevant things to help my struggling math kiddos.  We ability group for math in 2nd grade.  We give a pre-assessment at the beginning of the year and then divide the kids.  I have the 2nd lowest group.  It's more self-paced that way and makes it easier to teach!  I'm a huge fan.

So here are some pics of how I organize my math materials.  Since my kids come from all different homerooms, I have buckets with labels on them that they get when they first come in.  My desk groups are color-coded, so the buckets have color tags on them.  Each student keeps their Daily Math packet and Daily Number book in the bin.  It lessens the chance of them forgetting materials or losing them!  Under the table I have drawers of manipulatives, homework sheets, activities, and games.  Each unit has a drawer.  It makes it so easy to find things!

A word about the playing cards...we use Everyday Math.  We have sets of playing cards that came with the program, but they all look the same!  And there are many games where you only use numbers 0-10.  I've tried EVERYTHING to keep the cards organized, including labeling them with numbers, putting them in numbered boxes, etc.  They always seem to get mixed up AND it takes the students forever to sort through and take out 11-20.  I decided to create my own playing cards!  I just made 0-10.  If they ever need the higher numbers, we'll just dig out the original cards.  Then I copied them onto different color cardstock and laminated them!  Now the kids have the cards they need (they're a little big, too, which makes it nice for these youngsters) and it will be SO easy to sort them if they ever get mixed up!  They just look for the color cards they had and put them back together!


Our Daily Number journals are inspired by several fellow bloggers.  I have found these on multiple sites, so I created my own to fit our needs.  I typed up the sheets, printed and copied, then bound them together!  The book will last the student the entire year.


Ok, I'm sitting here at the school with a screaming baby (I got to tote him along today), so I'm gonna check out and leave!  :P  Enjoy!