Christmas Questionnaire

Fabulous in First has started this fun linky party.  It is a Christmas Questionnaire.   I like reading all about others and getting to know these great bloggers. So I thought I would link up. Here are my answers. 
1. When do you decorate? 

I usually decorate during Thanksgiving Break, but this year my house is undergoing a little remodel.  We are converting a small bedroom into an office and walk in closet that is attached to our bedroom.  This is very exciting for me and I cannot wait until I have my own office.  My house is finally decorated though amidst the clutter.


2. Elf or no elf? 

My kids are all grown so no elf at home but I do have an elf at school, check out my free elf materials here.


3. Christmas Cookies or No Baking for You? No baking for me. That is one stressful Christmas to do that is not on my list.  I am not a fan of baking. 
4. Favorite Holiday Tradition? 

We have had many but as the kids have gotten older we usually would plan a short vacation somewhere.  Mostly so we can all be together and enjoy each other’s company. We like going to Chicago or Minneapolis and doing all the fun City stuff. 

This is last year at the Zoo in Minneapolis.  It was a 40 degree sunny day so that made it perfect to go to the Zoo.

5. Favorite Christmas Movie? I love Christmas movies.  I like many.  Earlier this week I just watched Christmas Vacation, I think that movie is so funny.

6. Snow or No Snow? 

I love snow at Christmas.  Currently our snow is melting because we have had a little warm spell and rain.  I will be happy if it snows before Christmas. It is cold here in Northern Wisconsin, so it is nice to have snow so we can enjoy being outside skiing, snowshoeing etc...

This snowfall  fell in May.  We had 18 inches!

7. Favorite Christmas Song? 

Hmm. Carol of the Bells maybe.


8. Favorite Gifts to Give and Get? 
I have been busy shopping, my friends at work will all get a bottle of wine, we could all use that to enjoy over break.  My children will get gift cards for many different places and my hubby and I will enjoy our remodel. I do hope that I get the new Piano Guys album, I think that is the only thing on my list.  They also have a beautiful Christmas album. Which I have been busy listening to.  My students in my class beg to listen to the Piano Guys.  Please check out their you tube videos, you will not be disappointed. 

Have a great last week before break.  Hang in there everyone and enjoy the season.

Thanksgiving Interactive Charts

First a quick look at a favorite fall art project.

 It has snowed her in Northern Wisconsin and all the leaves have fallen but a few weeks back I did this art and science activity with my students. I love doing this activity with my students, and my students now know exactly why the leaves turn colors. Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

 Today I am linking up with Holidays Around the Blog Linky hosted by Amy from Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano and Julie from A First for Everything because it is time to start thinking about the holidays. Yes! Also I found some great new blogs to follow.  Please read Amy's post on Failing Teachers, I know you will all relate.

  I would like to share with you all my Shared Reading Interactive Charts for Thanksgiving pack.  These pocket chart poems and activities have been a hit with my students and I love them, because once all the cutting and prep is done I store these in baggies and they are ready for next year.  Shared reading is a wonderful time for learning in my classroom. More on shared reading please see my last post. The next pages give you a great look at what is included. 

Here is a closer look at what is all included.

Happy November everyone! 


Shared reading time with my youngers!

In my multiage class I switch in the afternoon with the other primary multiage teachers for word work and math.  I have the first grade students that we call youngers. I love this time of day and I am looking forward to a whole new crew this year.      

For word work time it consists of teaching phonics and how words work in general.  It is also a time where I do a lot of shared reading activities.  I love my pocket chart and I love how the students can interact with it.  Don't get me wrong, I like my smart board too, but the chart stays up and students can go back to it again and again. Every time I have a poem or chart in the pocket chart for shared reading it also becomes a word work center where students go back to it during our Cafe time as one of the daily five activities. 

So I created many poems and activities to be used during shared reading time and again during word work time during the daily five.  

You can buy each shared reading interactive chart packs separately.  There is a total of 6 or you can buy them together in one great big bundle for great big savings.
What is shared reading?

Shared reading is an interactive reading experience when students join in or share the reading of a big book or other enlarged text while guided and supported by a teacher or other experienced reader.  Students observe an expert reading the text with fluency and expression. The text must be large enough for all students to see clearly, so they can share in the reading of the text.  It is through Shared Reading that the reading process and reading strategies that readers use are demonstrated.  In Shared Reading, children participate in reading, learn critical concepts of how print works, get the feel of learning and begin to perceive themselves as readers. (Fountas & Pinnell 1996)

Benefits to students

-Students can enjoy materials they may not be able to read

-Students feel successful by providing support to the entire group

-Assists students where to focus attention

-Focuses and develops concepts of print and phonemic connections

-Helps in teaching frequently used vocabulary

-Encourages prediction in reading

-Students are engaged

I keep each poem separate in baggies with the activities that go with them and they are ready to go.  The best thing about this is my students are learning so many wonderful skills and they love the charts.

Language Lessons

Most of my day was spent planning  science and social studies with my co-workers for next year.  We got a lot done and it looks great.  We put out our plans on a long term planning form that I quickly downloaded this morning from Jodi at clutter free classroom.

The form was simple but it kept us organized and we soon had the whole year written down.  The painful task of putting our plans  into our pacing guides will be another story. Thanks Jodi, I will be back looking for more ways to stay organized.

I am super excited to announce another sale TPT will be having tomorrow! I will be having everything in my store at 20% off and type in code BOOST at check out for another 8% off. 
Now that I know for sure what I will be teaching next year I have lots of items I plan to purchase again tomorrow.
So I want to let you know about a favorite item of mine that you might want to get on sale. This pack is my Common Core Language lessons with Test Prep. Yes, now would be a good time to grab this pack because it is a bit expensive.  This is a huge unit and it took a tremendous amount of time to create but I love using it in my classroom.  It is easy to implement and my students love working in their language workbooks. They stay engaged are learning skills that need to be taught.  Before I created this pack I had many resources and had spent a great amount of time searching and copying many different resources to teach these lessons, but now I have it all together and it has been a great big time saver for me.
This past week I totally updated this file and I know you will like the new look.
These language lessons work great for my 2nd and 3rd graders. Yes, I do something different with my youngers when they are working on this pack. So staying organized and having everything ready while I am doing sometimes three different things is pretty important for me.
  It is a humungous pack with 50 language lessons along with 50 review pages. Every lesson has a coordinating poster to go with the lessons. The lessons take about 15-30 minutes.  We discuss the lesson, do a few examples, and my students work in these booklets.  We do these lessons about twice  a week.  A nice break from writing but truly needed skills the students need to know.  The vocabulary on the review pages are  also essential for  students to understand for general academic instruction but also these terms will be used throughout the standardized tests and if your students do not understand what the vocabulary means the students will struggle.  Also on the review pages are practice questions similar to what they will look like on the tests and practicing this format is also valuable.You can check it out here.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Word Work and Phonics Activities

Teaching in a multiage class means you have a very large range of learners in your classroom.  I love it, but I can't always do the traditional classroom kinds of things.  For example during our reading block the reading levels  in a 1-3 multiage classroom is very huge. So I do not have centers that students rotate through but instead I have a variety of activities that my students do during word work time during the Daily Five.  This year I will have 5 new youngers (first graders) so I needed to create some activities for my beginning learners. In this pack I focused on phonics skills but I also have a sight word activity and I added some handwriting practice too.  I love teaching the first graders how to read.  Having been a reading teacher I am always up for a good challenge. The great thing about the first graders is seeing their progress throughout the year and for me I see their progress through the three years I have them.  It is truly rewarding! Here are a few pictures of what is included in the pack.

This is available in my teacher stores and contains 10 different activities and a sound office.  The sound office is made up of 5 different pages of sounds that a first grader needs to learn and be taught. You can do many things with these pages.  Put them in writing folders, use as posters in your classroom etc.. I made these into little offices. You just need two file folders and glue them together to have a total of six sides.  Glue the pages around the folder and you are done, a great little reference for you and your students.
What is included.

Vowel Sound Cards-All 41 Vowel patterns

Code breaking activity-Beginning sounds

Short vowel word families

Handwriting wipe off cards

Word family wipe off posters with mini posters of word families

Magic E -cvce words

CVC word puzzle cards

Building blends

Diagraph sort

Sight word-Read, build and write

And sound offices for you to use with your students.
You can grab this pack here.
Happy teaching, and happy August!


Back to School Giveaway!

I have been sponsored in a "Back to School Giveaway" hosted by Emily from Third in Hollywood.  Emily did a fantastic job of putting together some great products for this wonderful Giveaway.  Please enter Here. Winners will be announced on August 8, just in time to get ready for the new school year.

Also I am super excited about Teacher Pay Teachers back to School sale which is on August 4 and 5.  Every item in my store will be 20% off and then  at check out enter code BTS14 and you will get another 8% off for a total of 28%. That is huge savings and great for my back to school wish list. 

So you will want to check out some of my new items.           Here are a few....

And some new free items...

Have fun shopping, today I make a trip to IKEA! I will let you know what I purchase. 
Happy August everyone.


I think one of the best things about summer is not really knowing what day of the week it is and not caring what time you go to bed.  So bring back June, it is going by way too fast.

So I will take you back to May and I will show you some things my students did at the end of the year.

I love animals and I know that most of my students do too.  They love to learn about different animals.  They love to create pictures too of their animals.  At the end of this year we were studying habitats.  My class loved learning about the desert habitat.  Wisconsin is so different then the desert that my students were engaged and enjoyed everything about it. We made non-fiction text feature books about the desert animals this year. Each child was given a desert animal.  They did the research and turned it into a book that includes text features.  We did this book last year also so it wasn't new to many of my students. Some of the pictures below are from my students African animal reports.

The unit follows the gradual release of responsibility model.  A favorite way I like to teach especially to my mixed aged students. Every page of this text features book I model the expectations that I have for the students, then they create their own page.  Each page has different facts and information and a new text feature on it. Prior to working on the books we studied text features and reviewed the packet that is also included in my text features pack.
You can pick up a copy of the text features pack here.

This summer as a family we went to Wildwood park near our home.  This is a small zoo that has many animals that roam freely and that you can pet and interact with.  It had been along time since we took the kids.  My kids are really not kids anymore.  My daughter just turned 21 in April. Anyway, I have been back to this zoo many times since we have taken the kids because we go to Wildwood for fieldtrips with my students but my family hasn't seen my new favorite part to this zoo. Check it out. These birds are parakeets and there are hundreds of them.  They eat and land on your head and arms, and peck at your feet. It was fun.
 Here is a few more pictures.

  This collage was made at picmonkey.  If you are not familiar with that sight check it out.  It is free to use unless you want to get fancy and then it might cost a little bit. You can edit your photos etc..
This spring my students also worked on classifying animals.  It was a great time to use my Animal Classification unit. I used this mostly during our reading block. My students read the reader's theater scripts and worked on the worksheets that went with the unit. My students love reader's theater because they can partner read and in my multiage classroom partner reading is a great way for my students to build on their reading strategies and work on reading fluency. The reader theater scripts have information about each of the animal groups highlighted;  birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish. They learned so much and enjoyed everything about this unit.

You can check this unit out here.
This unit is loaded with fun and engaging activities for your students, and your students will learn about different animal groups.

Happy teaching but happy summer break to you all!!

Memories of my School Year

I am so happy with my new blog design.  Thank you Dianna. 

The count down has begun, we are looking at 13 more days of school.  Trying to get everything accomplished these past weeks have been exhausting.  Testing, projects, field trips, memory books and the list goes on. My students have been working very hard.  I will share their work shortly.  I do want to share with you a journal that my students will be completing these next couple weeks. 
It is called Memories of My 2013-2014 School Year.  There are 22 pages in this book.  My students will complete the memory book and then it will go home with them on the last day of school along with their portfolio. All the pages have Melonheadz clipart and are in black and white, and on each page there is a space for students to add their own pictures.  I decided to bind this together, with the black and white cover copied on cardstock.

The Pages include these writing prompts.
-About my teacher
-My favorite subject
-My favorite project
-In math I learned
-A new friend I made
-Recess was fun because
-A story I enjoyed
-On the computers I
-In science we learned
-In reading I
- In art we
-In phy-ed
-I worked really hard at

-Music Rocks
-When I grow up
-My favorite celebration
-My favorite lunch
-Our field trip to
-My favorite memory this year
-Next year I hope
-This summer

Here is an example of the pages within the book.  Fun!