Archives for : Organization/Management

Snow Day AGAIN! Five for Friday Linky!

I cannot for the life of me figure out why there is a giant space at the top of this post…GRRRR!


I am linking up with Doodle Bug’s today!  Click the pic at the bottom of the post or here to link up yourself!


5:30am (alarm sounds) – {hit snooze}

5:40am (alarm sounds) – {hit snooze and now holding phone so hitting snooze the next time will be easier}

5:50am (alarm sounds) – {hit snooze thinking about how I really need to get up now but I don’t}

6:04am (receive text from Kelli) – {reading her text about how she is dreading the drive to school}

6:05am (receive second text from Kelli) – {NO SCHOOL….what?!…no way…YES-more sleep…GRRRR-more make-up days…GRRRR-more being behind in everything…YES-more sleep…GRRR-I didn’t bring ANY work home last night…YES-I can work on report cards…YES-more sleep-GRRR-can’t sleep because my mind won’t SHUT UP…finally get out of bed…YES-coffee}

I am still in shock that we have another day of school off due to the weather.  

Snow Pretty

In honor of our snow day, I am going to try out my first give-away!  Winner gets their choice of one product from my TPT store!  If you follow me on Bloglovin’/TPT/Facebook, you already get an entry.

snow day

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I finished up Think Tinks – Volume Three last week!  Check them out for some creative and out-of-the box  thinking activities for your class!  You could use them for morning work, early finishers, gifted and talented, challenge activities, or put in your sub-tub!  Click here or the pics below to take a look!

Think TInks Volume Three

Think Tinks Volume Three

This past week, I was reflecting on my OLPA data (pre-MCA math test) and decided that my class is just not able to keep up with our Math Expression curriculum.  The majority of them NEED the basics.  So I am giving myself permission to give them what they need!  I am refocusing on getting my small groups back up and running along with all my Math Centers that focus on basic operations!  I am also going to create a few more based on some quick assessments I did this week!  Check back for more!  In the meantime, here are some current games we’re getting back to!

Differentiated Math Games

I really dislike when I have to prep things (cutting, laminating, more cutting, storing, etc.).  I really try to keep my Math Centers low-key for me!  I have my students keep all their game boards in their Smart Pal!Smart Pals

I have NOT been paid or recruited to endorse these…I just plain old love them and want to share them!  They are essentially a heavy-duty (but easy-to-use) plastic sheet protector.  You can insert ANY graphic organizer or worksheet and write with a dry-erase marker!  Super slick!  Click the pic above to link to EAI – which is where I buy them from!


Lastly, a non-teaching thing.  I was over at Alison’s blog at Rockin’ and Lovin’ Learnin’ and she posted about this mascara.  I am ALWAYS trying to find a mascara that is good, so I thought this one looked interesting and I can’t wait to try it!  Check out her review of it – click the pic or here!

Thanks Doodle Bug’s for hosting – click the pic to join the party!


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Five For Friday Linky and FLASH FREEBIE!!

Another piecemeal week:

  1. Monday – no school for MLK
  2. Tuesday – no school for Staff Professional Development
  3. Wednesday – back to school
  4. Thursday – no school due to cold weather…AGAIN
  5. Friday – back to school
  6. Weekend

And another next week:

  1. Monday – gone at SIOP training OR school will be cancelled again because of this…

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 9.52.15 PM

2.  Tuesday – gone 1/2 the day for PLC
3.  Wednesday through Friday – back to school (hopefully!)

Let’s just cancel everything until Spring!  I’m linking up with Doodlebug’s for her Five for Friday Linky!  Click the picture (or here) to link up too!  Here we go!



I would like to share Think Tinks!!!  I created Think Tinks to stretch my higher learners during our LEAP time.  I honestly don’t even know what that acronym stands for.  It is basically our daily intervention time (30 minutes).  Here’s how it works.  Students are assigned “learning groups”:

  • Some go to the computer lab and work on Study Island or Reading Eggs
  • Some go to another teacher for the program Making Connections
  • Some work with a Minnesota Reading Corps teacher
  • Some work in a guided reading group with me
  • The students who are not in one of the above groups are left in my room and are my “independent workers” – these kiddos are typically able to handle more challenging and independent activities during this time…and guess who gets to plan it?

I try to mix up the activities my independent workers do, but also keep some structure and routine at the same time.  Here is the schedule – my fab colleague, Kelli, coined some of the catchy names (visit her blog here):

Math Monday
Technology Tuesday
Word Wednesday
Think Thursday
Free Friday

I designed Think Tinks for Think Thursdays!  Here are 3 student examples of one of the Think Tink pages.





think-tinks-TPT-storeHead over to my TPT store by clicking here (or the picture above) to snag this set for FREE (for a limited time)!    If you grab the freebies and use them in your class, I would love to see or hear about your students’ responses!  Leave me some feedback love about Think Tinks!


We have been plugging away at multiplication and this week we dove into division!  For this, we busted out the counters and they ROCKED it!  I was seriously impressed – not only could they represent the word problems with the counters, they could write the equation too!  Let’s hope it sticks!



Okay, this one is not teaching related.  One of my friends attended the Gopher Hockey game and spotted my twin!!  Here she is!!  We pretty much have the exact same hair…maybe someday I’ll run into her myself!



Here is how I display my daily objectives (sorry – the pic on the right was taken right after I erased for the day).  They are front and center next to my Smartboard.

Lately, I have been trying to include more academic language in the objective and then using parentheses to insert “everyday” language.  If you look at the pic on the left, the red words were inserted after we discussed the objectives.  The kids help decide what word goes there!  It’s been working well!



A bit of personal and professional positive self-talk!


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Five For Friday Linky and Slim-Down Saturday Linky!

Even though it’s Saturday, I’m linking up with Doodle Bug’s Five for Friday Linky!  Here are some random things from this week (and some older stuff that I just want to share!).


Back in December, we taught a Rainforest Animal Research Unit.  Along with a written report, students had to create a visual aid.  It could be as simple or elaborate as students wanted.  Here was a conversation I had with a student.

Student:  Mrs. McDonald…my project is probably like 16 feet long!

Me: {thinking…okay, that is an exaggeration}  Oh wow!  I don’t know how we’ll display a 16 foot         project! {thinking…he must be confusing feet with inches}

(fast forward a week later)

Me: {jaw drops as mom brings the anaconda project into classroom}….

Anaconda Door Decoration

I didn’t know how I was going to display it!  Last year, I did the whole tree and vines around my door.  As I was visualizing that display, I thought I could rig it up outside the door!  I used trusty 3M hooks and string!  You can imagine what all the students’ reactions were as they walked down the hall and saw it!


The week before Winter Break, I was out sick for 3 days with pneumonia…yuck!  I wanted to share this funny post-it that a student wrote while I was gone.  I can always count on someone in the room to report the major offenses while I am out!

Funny Student Note


Have you heard of these fabulous little inventions?  Pen-Pals!!  Not the kind you write letters to.


 I found them at Office Depot or Office Max…can’t remember which one.  They were $0.99 each.  You can probably find them even cheaper online.  They have an adhesive back and I stuck one to each desk.  For kids that like to pick and peel things off their desks, they will come off.  If they come off I use Crazy Glue (shhhhhh…don’t tell our custodian).  Try peeling that off now kiddo {muah ha ha ha}!


This week we tackled strategies for all our basic facts!  When we got to the 9s, I wanted to show them the finger trick.  As I was awkwardly trying to show my hands to them and describe what I was doing, I decided to quickly trace my hand and cut it out…sooooooo much easier to show them and explain!

Learning 9s Facts


This week we continued our country study in Reader’s Workshop.  We learned how to use an index to find specific information and on Friday we focused on finding information about their Country’s history.  After students jotted history facts on post-its, they attempted (keyword: attempted) to put their facts in order like a timeline.  It didn’t go that well…but that’s okay!  Reading about history is hard unless you have a lot of background knowledge (which they don’t).  I  was happy that they could use the index!

Creating Timelines

Click  here or the image below to join the linky and share 5 things from your classroom!


I am also linking up with Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits for Slim-Down Saturday!  Here’s how my week went:

Slim-Down Saturday

Come join us and stay focused with your health goals!  Click here or the picture below to take part!


I am off to make a late dinner!

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How My Classroom Library Has Grown!

Okay, so like most teachers, I am kind of a perfectionist.  I have been putting off starting my blog posts because I honestly don’t even know where to start and of course – I want it to be perfect!  I have so many ideas to share and things to say!  The majority of last week was spent trying to figure out how to organize it all before I start – what ideas do I share first?  How many things should I talk about in one post?  In one day?  How often should I post?  Yada yada yada…but then I had an epiphany!  Just like many of my teaching ideas and lessons…I just have to jump in and work through the kinks as I go.  So that is me today – jumping in!  Now because it is Saturday, and all we have planned is taking our dog and cat to the vet, I have a feeling I may get a little obsessed with my posts (obsession goes along with my perfectionism).


o ….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One thing that I love most about blog browsing is looking at pictures!  So I am digging through my picture files to see what I have to share!

Let’s start with my most prized possession….my BOOKS!!!  As stated above…I am obsessed with many things –  but buying books takes the cake.  But not brand new books – no no no…too expensive – and not very thrilling!  Now, don’t get me wrong – I do love the smell and feel of a crisp, brand new book (who doesn’t?).  But what do I love even more?  I love the hunt.  Thrift store shopping is my drug of choice.  There is something about sitting, digging, flipping, and scrounging through dusty shelves until you find that wondrous title that you have been waiting for!  It’s like winning the lottery!

When I started teaching 8 years ago, I immediately began building my library!  I don’t have a great picture of it, but I found this one.  You can barely see it behind the girl in the purple and the study carrel!  It started small with just one shelf (that had been left in the room) and the books were not leveled – simply organized by genre.

My First Classroom Library

8 years later and MANY trips to the thrift stores, this is what my library looks like today!

My Current Classroom Library

Books galore!  Beautifully organized by genre and all books are leveled. Every book has it’s own label with my name, the genre, and guided reading level!  I’ll add photos of the individual book labels at another time!  I use the Sterilite plastic shoe boxes found at Target for all my books.  I made custom genre labels to fit these boxes.  You can get my labels in my TPT store for FREE…click here to see them!

Okay, that is all I can handle today…just writing this simple post and adding the images was a huge learning experience!  Time to enjoy the rest of my Saturday!




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