QR Code Book Recommendations UPDATED FREEBIE

I was observed yesterday. I hate being observed. It's not that I do bad. I'm just a perfectionist at times.... and nothing ever goes exactly according to plan, so I just get a wee bit anxious.
 {Here's a spoiler... things did not go according to plan!}

Lucky for me, during this second observation my supervisor wanted to see me during a co-teaching session... double lucky for me, this veteran teacher is AMAZING!

Our school uses Accelerated Reader, and with today being the close of the 3rd nine weeks, a new 9 weeks begins as a final chance for students to meet a new reading goal. My teaching partner and I put our heads together for away to stir things up...book summaries/recommendations via QR codes.


It was suppose to work where students would fill out a graphic organizer with notes and then type them into a QR code maker. Unfortunately, when doing this on an iPad, the resolution couldn't be formatted to work. Thank goodness I wanted to try and show my teaching partner how the scanner worked this morning. Unfortunately, that discovery sent my morning tail spinning out of control. In the end, our iPad guru's got our project set up through Educreations {an app I already enjoy} and we overcame, were flexible, and the lesson went well even considering the lack luster internet service we were getting throughout the morning, change up in all morning plans, and making the first few hours seem like an eternity on an already long day {our long night of conferences was yesterday, all the way till 8 p.m.}

Back to the lesson itself:

First we introduced this quick project. Think movie trailers for books. I showed my QR code book report example. Which had the cover picture from the book I chose and a voice-over describing the book and why it should be read.

Then we lead the students step by step in setting up an Educreations account. Gathering an image of the book they wanted, and students were off. {I was so glad that they were actually engaged and not still on the post-blizzard crazy alternate lifeforms that they were Tuesday when we returned to school. Whew!}

The students then  filled out a quick organizer to help them get their ideas in order. Then, step by step instructions were included on a PDF  {those directions were Plan A. We gave our much better Plan B instructions verbally and with reminders on the board of how to use this app.} The students record their voices, telling their summary/recommendation using Educreations. Then they grabbed the link from their video, put it into qrstuff.com, and viola a book report on a 1 inch square was made.

We are now ready for them to print their QR codes, book covers, and make a poster to hang in the hall to give other students book recommendations. Overall the students worked well, and mostly independent due to the explicit instructions. I hope that the book recommendations catch on and that maybe our library staff can run with it.

Click the picture to open the graphic organizer, and get teacher/student notes on how to complete the project for free! :)


Blog Celebrations & Giveaways!

Two posts in one day... I know it's a no-no, but there are too many fun celebrations going on, I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to post!

I'm contributing to a several of wonderful bloggers who have made the 100 follower mark!

The first up is Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn. She is teaching 4th grade for the first time after two years in 6th grade. She really has a heart for upper grades. She's hosting a giveaway, and I'm so happy to be part of the team that is making up her give way.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The prizes are coming from some other great bloggers too... so check them out and try for one of these awesome prizes!!

Jessica, a
5th grade teacher, from Joy in the Journey just hit the 100 follower point tonight. Be on the lookout for a give away coming from her soon!

Joanne, from Head Over Heels For Teaching has reached 100 followers too. 12 bloggers have joined in...lots of prizes to be one so be sure to join in!

I'm so excited for these ladies!!!

A big give away with another sports tie comes from Diane at Fifth in the Middle {who has an AWESOME link up for blogs by state, that you should check out if you haven't already!} This giveaway is tied to March Madness with prizes for the various rounds in the tournament! So much much fun!!  The list of potential prizes keeps growing by the day so check it out! :)

What a fun time to be a blogger! Best of luck to you all!


Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothing

We have started to cover or review various reading skills during rotations the last couple of weeks. Yesterday we began to review inferences. With short weeks that stretch I decided to spice things up a bit.
First we talked about what it means to inference. Why good readers use this skill. How to use this skill. We practiced using the skill with a few short scenarios. Then for the fun part. Putting our inferencing skills to use.

We listened to the story Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing {I would have read it, but I couldn't find a copy anywhere close, good ol' Youtube to the rescue!} I covered my screen as the student's huddled around the table to hear the story. After the first animal was described as well as the reason why they shouldn't wear clothing, we discussed the scenario as a group. I then reminded the student's to use their visualization skills as well as inferencing skills as they listened to the rest of the book. 

Then the creative part. We became the illustrators for the book. I wrote the lines of text on index cards and the student's took clues from the text along with their own schema to create the pictures. After the pictures are complete we are going to compare them to the illustrators and see if our inferences were similar.

Even though they are 5th graders the kiddos are loving the chance to do something different, add a splash of color, and their  animals will make a fun statement in the hallway for parents to see during our rescheduled parent teachers conferences.  

I had the first line of the book on a piece of construction paper, then the rest of the lines of the book as they were written, my student's illustrations, and the actual illustrations were posted as well. 

This one cracks me up. The student is also into drawing those cars with spy equipment now, so his hen was being spied on too.

I think in the future, this could be a fun activity for my students to do when they write the book themselves. What animal would they like to choose? Why shouldn't that animal wear clothing? It could become a fun classroom book. 

Sunday FUN Day, Flash Sale and Give Away!

Some days are just good. Today was one of those days for me.

I started off the morning by getting some free fonts from Marcia at Learning in Bliss.  By being one of the first to comment on her post. I have a slight major obsession with fonts so I'm always on the look out for something new.

Then as the day wore on, I decided to finally be productive with lesson planning and graduate class work. I haven't been in school since Wednesday due to snow. Well, I just happened to keep blogger up in the background and caught a post just in time to win a product from Kristin at Haute Off the Printer. I chose this adorable cursive alphabet printable. I cannot wait to put it up in my room! If you need a copy for your room too, you can purchase one here!

Later Jivey had a wonderful freebie, that you can get too through tonight only (click on the picture to go to the download)! A 4th grade math reference. Love! My kiddos need all the review materials they can get, and this reference is simple and easy to read.

Exciting things with the blog are coming soon. A new design is in the works with Megan. I seriously cannot wait to work with a fellow blogger who has a Kansas connection. I cannot wait till my blog is beautified!

Finally, my place value centers are finally done! These bad boys are the reason I had to crunch this afternoon on classwork and planning, but they are worth it. My pullout math class continues to struggle with concepts if they aren't constantly reviewed. So I'm adding some place value centers to the rotation. These 6 centers are aligned to the 4th grade Common Core, as this is the level where my students are working at. This is not a full unit or lesson plans, but rather a set of centers to review concepts.

Since today has been so great, and I got official word of ANOTHER snow day tomorrow as I'm typing this... I'm going to give away a copy of these centers to the first person who comments with their email address! Or if you'd like to purchase them, you can find them at Teachers Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers I will be having a flash sale today and tomorrow in both stores for 20%.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


RTI: App with Checking Out!

Another MTSS/RTI update for you all... with an app I was introduced to within the last week: Phonics Genius!

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 10.34.19 AM
This is a FREE app with tons of words grouped by their phonics sounds (over 5,000 words is what iTunes has listed.) The app has three ways to practice words. Currently, I have students read the word aloud, then click to hear the word read, to see if they are reading/pronouncing the word correctly. It's good for a couple of my RTI kiddos who also have speech difficulties.

I haven't used it a whole lot yet (since I really haven't known about it all that long) but there are features I do like. Besides the vast amount of words used, I like how I can add my own cards to the mix (there are always a few tricky words that my students struggle with consistently) and that I can add new lists to group flashcards the way I want for those target areas we are working on.

I'm looking forward to using and learning more about this app, hopefully it can be helpful for some of you as well!

Hall Pass/ Snow Day!!

We were suppose to have parent teacher conferences tonight, but there is a snow storm a brewin' (though not as fast as predicted) so the next two days we are off without conferences or inservices!! {Going to sleep tonight with no alarms in the mornings, an amazing thought!} Even though conferences are pushed to next week, I'm looking forward to this mini break. Besides, we live in Kansas. We have four wheel drive vehicles. We know how to enjoy a lot of snow.  :)

While I'm all cozy on the couch this evening {delaying productivity until the morning} I stumbled upon this fun linky from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits and I had to link up! It's all about taking a little break from the classroom...which fits into my current place of mind perfectly!

A fun acronym of questions.. what a fun theme!
 P- Product: The product I'm enjoy the most right now are my "Going on a Camp Out" centers {check them out at TPT or TN}. Several of my students are very into Cub Scouts and one just transitioned into Boy Scouts, many of the girls are in Girl Scouts as well {as you can tell from my few boxes hoarding of thin mints and caramel delights}. These centers review several concepts we've been working on and covering: addition/subtraction with and without borrowing and regrouping, comparing decimals, 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication, rounding, and analyzing basic multiplication products.

A-Area: My student's favorite area {and a few students from down the hall} enjoy reading in my room. Since I'm a resource teacher, there aren't all the student desks so my room is very open. I have a love for children's literature so it makes my heart happy to be able to share my books and have students want to stop by just to read.

Poor picture....but over a 1,000 books in my room... and I love it!
S-Signal: I vary the signals used in my room. A combination of theme songs {ba-da-da-da-da... I'm lovin' it...thank you McDonald} and chants. One that worked really well, was to say "Hey fourth grade!" They would reply, "Hey, what?" Repeat. They would have the time of the chant to stop and give me their full attention. It's usually spirited, a little sing-songy, and the kids respond to it well.

S-Sanity: Most days I'm sane, but then there are those days. If days are going rough (all of the core classes are taught in the morning) by noon, I will eat my lunch in my room, with the lights off, just listening to the church bells across the road, or Pandora. I look forward to plan time everyday. Our principal is great...and has made sure we have a long plan time during elements... and hour a day! With the ability to work with our grade level team during that hour. This hour reprieve is great to get paper work, grading, and IEPs done. My teaching partner also helps keep me sane. She's a veteran teacher with a fun personality and a listening ear. She gives me advice, laughs, and gentle reminders that "this too shall pass."

So that is my "Hall Pass." Please join in with the linky, I'll need something to read up on {besides my grad school class work} over my long weekend!

Happy Wednesday/Snow Day!!

Show & Tell: Read Alouds!

Hello. My name is Christy, and I have an addiction to children's literature.

One of my professors told me that in order to have a good classroom library a teacher needed to have at least 1,000 books in it. So that there is a wide variety of topics, genres, and ability levels.

My husband called this professor an enabler.

So when I saw this linky I knew I had to join in!

This year was the first that I have read this book and it is such a cute Christmas read! The Herdman's (that family, the one that everyone knows about) turns the Christmas pagent upside down.  A quick read, full of laughs, fun, and the spirit of Christmas. 

 I first read this book in college and enjoyed it greatly. The reading level is above where my students are at, but as a read aloud, with a few discussions along the way, they are really enjoying it. Milo, a bored 10 year old goes on the adventure of his life. Through places such as the Dulldrums, where the Lethargens reside {plays on words and fun with language, makes this fun to discuss}. A book worth checking out if you've never read it.

Bradley Chalkers is the oldest kid in 5th grade. He tells lies, picks on girls, nobody likes him. That is until the new school counselor arrives, but can the most hated boy in school ever believe in himself? 

All three are great reads, although I could go on, and on, about children's literature. What are your favorite read alouds? Be sure to link up with Sunny Days and share your favorites! 


RTI Update

We've been hard at it. Working in our reading skills to "close the gaps."

Just to recap. We started with Aimsweb testing. Sorted kids into groups. The kiddos with the highest need were give the QPS (Quick Phonics Screener) to identify specific needs, and now we are into the heart of it. Teaching. Progress monitoring. Trying to find materials that work and keep students engaged.

I work with two groups of students. One group is working on short vowels the other on long vowels. These are relatively "low" on the trajectory of increasingly difficult phonics skills.  These are heterogeneous groups for our MTSS/RTI groups. It doesn't matter what the child is labeled, if they even are, all that matters is that they need a particular skill and these groups are in place to try and get them the skills they need.

The biggest problem that I have come against is finding materials that are both age and skill appropriate. There are many great resources for lower elementary with these two skills. However, my fifth graders, feel that words such as "cat" "hat" "beg" are babyish, and really not engaging. I would have to agree. I'm constantly on the search for materials that work for this group of students.  Until I find the perfect mix of materials or program that really seems to click.

There are parts of West Virgina Reading First, that I really like. It is very explicit and systematic...thorough too. But I tweaked it. I didn't spend an entire week on one short/long vowel sound. That was way too boring, not only for the students but for myself as well. So I modified. We covered a sound or two a day with days to review several sounds at a time. That helped.
Click to see the lesson and activity books. A free resource from LINCS.
Then, I changed things up a bit more. The last couple of weeks, I have pulled almost exclusively from LINCS (Literacy Information and Communication System) adult reading program. What I like about this program is that a a single lesson focuses not only on a vowel, but syllabication, reading more age appropriate text, as well as other skill work. I still use West Virgina as a bit of inspiration incorporating activity ideas, just not the full program.

So, as I cut and paste and put things together, I try and supplement as I can. An quick activity I whipped up to start a lesson was a simple word sort. In my long vowel group, I wanted my students to understand the basic VCe pattern as well as knowing that not all VCe words are long, and some words are just flat out rule breakers. We had covered long vowels and variations for a couple of weeks, so this worked as a good warmup/informal assessment.

To get a free copy for yourself click here to go to TPT or here to go to TN.


Lunch Lady Lovin' {Freebie}

Remember last week when I had a post about why I love my school? Well, days like today make me love it even more.

We have some very sweet lunchroom ladies, who cleaned up and saved cans for all of the students to make their Valentine's day "boxes". Seriously, some very sweet ladies. But these ladies who come in early, cook up meals, and serve with a smile aren't always the most appreciated by the student body.

Enter one of my paras.

She whipped up this freebie in just a matter of minutes. She has a God-given talent when it comes to all things artistic. Eight simple designs that the kids took time to color today. Tomorrow, amidst all of the candy and fun, our student's are going to leave quite the surprise for our rockin' lunch crew.

Click HERE to download!

I know it's last minute, but maybe your students can take five minutes tomorrow morning, and color up a Valentine real quick for people in an often overlooked profession.

{And if anyone knows how a person can learn to make their own clipart, email me please...my para is interested in doing this, so we are in the investigation mode currently. Any help would be appreciated!}

Valentine's Freebie for RTI

Quick post tonight.

My grad class load is stealing away my time and so I took a few minutes tonight to make a review game for my short and long vowel MTSS/RTI groups tomorrow and Thursday to warm up.

My kiddos are doing much better with their vowels, but nonsense words are still tripping them up. This game is a mix of both long and short vowel nonsense words. If students can read the card they can keep it, but watch out! A broken heart means that you loose all of your cards.

Click the picture to download this freebie!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happiness is Finding Your Stuff on Pinterest & Freebie

I'll be the first to admit that I'm ever so slightly addicted to Pinterest. {Maybe more than slightly} So accidentally finding one of my posts pinned on Pinterest by someone I don't even know. Kind of cool! Especially to someone who enjoys that site as much as I do. I've found so many great ideas and have been inspired by so many on Pinterest, that I find it humbling that someone else would want to pin me.

Ahhh! I've been pinned!
With the fun/happiness this discovery has made, I like to share a little something with you!

In the coming weeks, we are moving from novel studies to reading skills practice. One facet of reading that we will be reviewing are the 5 prefixes and suffixes that 5th graders in Kansas need to know. I created a foldable for note taking for the students and I thought I'd share it with you too. Click on the picture below to be taken to my Teacher's Pay Teacher's store to download for free!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend... happy pinning :)

Reason Number 9,572...

....Why I love my school.

I'm sure I could think of more, but 9,572 seemed like a good number.

It's starting to be that time of the year. Christmas break has come and past. Spring break feels forever away. Assessments are looming. Teachers and kids are both starting to get into the dreary part of the year, where the days seem long and patients seem shorter.

Then things happen. Things that make me love the school I work in that much more.

This week, one of my students had a birthday. A younger sibling had their birthday earlier in the year and didn't bring treats, so this student couldn't bring birthday treats either. When one of my paras learned this, over her break she bought ice cream bars for this student's homeroom class. It was a fun treat to celebrate not only this student's birthday but also the unseasonably high temperatures (in the 60's earlier this week!)

A call was accidentally made to the school. The conversation was heard by a staff member. Soon after a building wide email was sent. It never mentioned which student or the circumstances of the call. Just a reminder that sometimes kids come to school with more hardships than we'll ever understand. Suggestions of a few more high fives or hugs, a listening ear, and more patients were suggested.

I love being in such a kind and caring environment. The staff in my school (and I'm sure the staff in your schools as well) truly care about the kids. A person can tell that from the moment they walk into the building. With each passing day, I love my school, the students, and the staff just a little bit more.

Shopping Show & Tell

Two of my favorite events happened on Sunday: football & a TPT sale! I enjoy all of the linky parties showing all of the goodies bought... my wishlist is growing with each post I read. It's so wonderful to be apart of such a great community of teachers who create so many great things I can use in my classroom. I love it!!

I'm linking up with Blog Hopping and Sunny Days in Second Grade to join in the fun and share a few of my finds. 

For those of you who don't know, I am currently a K-5 special education teacher. My "primary" position is that of a 5th grade special education teacher, I also cover a small rural school that is a K-4 building once a week. I'm so blessed to have a para who is has taught before to work with me. We plan together, and it's fun to not only buy and make things for my 5th graders, but also for the kiddos at the other school I cover as well. So if a few items don't quite seem like they are 5th grade friendly, there's a reason for that :)

Without further adieu....my purchases!! {Click on the pictures to go directly to these items on TPT}

Babbling Abby has such wonderful resources, I love that she has become a title teacher. What a wonderful resource for her school and students. Here is what I picked up from her store:

From Ms. Nannini, I picked up her mystery Valentine pictures. We haven't covered coordinate graphing in my math class yet, and I thought these sheets would add some festive fun.

Teaching with a Mountain View had an error analysis for long division. A topic the kiddos in my math class are struggling to grasp.

Another Valentine themed activity came from Katie Jones, this math scoot looks like great review material.

I also purchased clipart from both KPM Doodles & The 3AM Teacher through their Etsy shops half off.

What a wonderful way to end the weekend!


New Years Check In

I blogged about several goals I have during the resolution linky party. I told you as I was mulling over what I wanted to do that I wanted to try to have you all keep me accountable. So... I thought I'd attempt to do a monthly check-in to see what type of progress I'm making. Feel free to join in!

....Besides the lights are out in the Super Bowl, and I'm just not that into it this year...


My professional goal with technology was to learn how to create my own products for my classroom and possibly post them to TPT. Honestly, I'd never thought that I would get the gumption to do it, especially in under a month from creating this resolution, but I did. There are so many wonderful tutorials on how to create printables: the Ladybug Teacher Files, tutorials pinned on Pinterest from a variety of sources, and good ol' Google/Youtube. All it took was an all day hunter adventure for my husband and too much time on my hands, and I learned some of the ends and outs. Within two weeks, I finally tweak, nudged, switched fonts to my liking and created my first product to sell on TPT. You can visit my store by clicking here {I'm having a 20% sale today and tomorrow}. It's so fun to have the students use {and enjoy} my materials! This could become addictive rather quickly.

My personal goal was to master my DSLR. Which, since I filled up all of the free space allotted on blog for snapshots of newlywed life and I'm still trying to pull files over to a new site, it's been neglected...


At home and work my goal was to get things orderly. Things are better... but not "Pinterest" worthy. We will call this a work in progress.

Professional Goals:

My goals were to
  1. Get more organized. --Work in progress...sorta.
  2. To incorporate more technology. --I'm restructuring my math pullout class, more movement and smaller groupings. Which is working well, but I haven't included anymore technology...so I need to step this one up.
  3. Learn how to incorporate more TEACCH methods in my classroom. As long as I'm still at this school, come next year, I will need to have TEACCH processes in place. I'm hoping to do some observations this spring. A work in progress. I've find many resources through Pinterest of course and I have a board full of ideas for next year. To see some of the ideas I've collected reguarding TEACCH, tasks, and ASD please click here.
  4. Survive my first year. So far I'm still alive and kicking, I think I'm making good progress on this goal so far. :)
Downtime Goals:
  1. Have more random and fun date nights with my hubby. ---Nothing too purposeful here yet. Though we have enjoyed attending a couple of KSU basketball games, and watching some bowl games with a couple of new friends.
  2. Conquer a Pioneer Woman recipe and just cook at home more.---A work in progress, sort of. The fridge and especially freezer that desperately needed going through have been. We've been on a sandwich kick lately... but my cookbooks are still calling my name.
  3.  Make my rental our home.---We had a few friends over recently and that evening was the first time our rental really seemed homey. Everything {including the hubby's hunting and tailgating gear} was put away and tidy. Which helped immensely. I'd still say a work in progress though, but I'm still holding out for some change in scenery this coming year.
  4. Get crafty. --Minus a couple of TPT project not really much is going on in the crafting department. I need to step this one up too!
Fitness Goals:
  1. Eat more meals at home.---We are doing slightly better. Not great. But, better.
  2. Get back into shape...So far, I'm way too stagnet for this resolution to get anywhere, but round. {Which is a shape, just not the one I'm going for!}
  3. Drink more water and less pop. I'm becoming better at doing this too. I'm more purposeful in my drink choices water and tea more often than soda. 

Well some change but mostly needing to get my rear in gear {both literally and figuratively} guess I have just under 11 months to get things going! :)

How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?


New Centers, Sale, and I'm a Winner!

I almost didn't think that I would get these centers done in time for the big sale, but I did it! Introducing "Going on a Camp Out!" Math Centers for Upper Elementary!

In my 4/5 math pullout class we do centers every Friday. This is the second set of centers that I have made, and I'm pretty proud of them. Several of my students are in scouts and several more enjoy camping so I knew they would love the graphics from KPM Doodles!

Here is what is in the pack:
*Double digit multiplication matching the problem to the product
*Rounding coloring sheet
*2 and 3 digit addition/subtraction with and without borrowing and regrouping
*Solving and analyzing products
*Comparing decimals

Each activity also comes with a recording sheet. If you are interested in this pack you can check it out at my TPT store by clicking on the picture above.

Credit to Amy Lemon's for the cute graphic!
Speaking of TPT, I'm sure that nobody has heard of the big sale going on this Sunday...but just in case you haven't here is the great deal going on: Sunday, you can save up to 28% by using the checkout code SUPER. All items in my humble little shop will be 20% off both Sunday and Monday (but the extra 8% is only on Sunday with the code, so be sure to check out all of the great teacher stores and clear out your wishlist!)

Click the picture to go to Kimberly's TPT store, so many great items to fill up your shopping carts with :)
Last but not least...I've finally won something {because seriously, I never do!} I was surprised and so glad to check my email this afternoon and find an email from Kimberly at Literacy Sundae I won her new St. Patrick's Day paper. Seriously, cute! Check out all of her wonderful products which will be on sale this weekend too!

Now, to fill up my wishlist so I'm already for tomorrow! Happy shopping and football watching...or commercial watching :)

February Currently!

This month has flown for me. I'm not sure why, it just seems like it has....which mean's Farley's Currently!

Listening: I'm loving a weekend that I can catch up on all the shows I have stored on the DVR. Necessary Roughness, How I Met Your Mother, and a few others are on the dock for tonight.

Loving: I love opportunities to get together with friends, the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to do that. Wild game (goose) as well as ribs, "man dip", and a few other favorites are being prepared for the big event.

Thinking: Tomorrow I'm going in for a haircut something I haven't done in months... since the day after our wedding. Definitely in need of a change in the hair-do department.

Wanting: Spring! It was 75* on Monday, snow on Wednesday, and so cold I had frost on the inside of my front door this morning. Kansas temperatures can vary so often. I'm just ready for an even keel on temperatures--hopefully without extremes.

Needing: Sleep or a personal assistant, preferably both! Parent teacher conferences are in a couple of weeks, graduate classes are up and going, several IEP meetings this month, just so much to do and not enough time.

Pet Peeves: There are several...but with snow on the ground, somehow the snow doesn't always come completely off the bottom of my husband's boots... so there are times... like tonight.. when I innocently walk from the bedroom to the living room. When all of a sudden, my sock only clad feet find a small puddle of water left by melted snow, and I just hate that feeling of wearing a wet sock. It's weird, but I just don't like it. Especially, when there are rugs by the doors for shoes to go on (especially when there is snow/rain/mud).

Hmmm... well that's it for now. I'm off to continue watch the missed shows of the week, gear up for a full and fun weekend. Hope you all enjoy your weekend too!