Monday, August 11, 2014

Free September Resources

September Task Cards from The Teaching Oasis
Hopefully you're family with my website The Teaching Oasis {link to the right}. It's full of free resources for {Virginia} teachers that are geared towards 2nd and 3rd grade.

I started the site back in 2010. Funny thing is, I use to share my resources freely on the Second Grade Teachers Club when a teacher took my resources and several others and started selling them on Teachers Pay Teachers. That's when I had a light bulb moment... if she could sell my resources, so could I. So for two years I successfully sold items. Then God laid it on my heart to offer up my materials once again for free and run the site off of donations. So as hard as it was, I was obedient and did just that. Donations have been able to keep the site live so all is well. Oh, and is it bad that I googled the teachers name {because I will never forget it} when I was in the hospital recovering and saw a mugshot of her... apparently she had been arrested for petty theft a couple of years ago. Can't say I'm surprised, as she has always had questionable character. It's unfortunate that we have people like that teaching our children.
Anyway, I just uploaded updated September Task Cards. Same text, different design. I assume teachers print these and laminate them and place them in a writing center.
 These word wall cards can be printed and laminated, then cut apart. You can keep them in a center or put them on a bulletin board.
I also added monthly poems back to the website. Envision a composition notebook. Opened to a left and right page. On the left students can glue the poem. On the right they can glue the journal strip, respond and even draw and color a picture.

So if you want to stop by and download some free monthly resources, feel free.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Student Treats

In preparation for my upcoming surgery I was busy putting together all types of treats I knew I would need once school started.

The first treat they'll get will be their Welcome to 3rd Grade boxes they'll get during Meet the Teacher which is held before school starts. To any student that doesn't come, it will be waiting on their desk when they return.

Welcome to 3rd Grade Treat Boxes

Welcome to 3rd Grade Treat Boxes
I purchased these cute favor milk cartons from Michael's. They came 12 in a pack, I believe they had pink, blue, green, red packs to choose from. In each pack was 4 chevron printed, 4 polka dots, and 4 solid colors.  I added a mini bottle of hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works {5 for $5 with a 20% off coupon}, Target Brand Fruit Snacks and 4 Tootsie Rolls. I picked up some sheer ribbon from Hobby Lobby and made some tags on my computer. You could easily just use the adhesive that came with the carton to create them but I had to be difficult and punch holes and use ribbon to hold it together.

Student Birthday Treats
Student Birthday Treats
I ordered these cute little containers off of Etsy. They came with the cup and the dome lids. I bought a set of mini slinkies from Party City and a bag of Wonka Mix Up Candy from Walmart and added the slinky and 4 pieces of candy to each cup. Then I added white shredded paper that I got from Michael's on top and put the lid on. They turned out super cute!

What do you do for welcome treats and/or student birthdays.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fluency Fridays
Fluency Card Bank from Lakeshore Learning
I began Fluency Fridays 8 years ago with the DRA {Developmental Reading Assessment} starting putting emphasis on Words Per Minute and students couldn't progress on to the next reading level if they didn't meet the fluency rate requirement.

Every Friday I would check all of my second graders fluency. Flash forward... I teach third grade now and not every child needs fluency rate practice. Every Fall when I complete DRA assessments I make a list of students who failed a level because of WPM as well as a list of students whose WPM is borderline. Usually that's around 8-12 students. On Fridays I check those student's fluency only.

I was finally able to capture some pictures of how I set up my fluency checks while teaching summer school. I use the fluency record that comes with the kit to track their progress and I used a program called Graph Club years ago and created this graph {sorry I don't have an electronic copy}. Students read the colored copy from the kit while I follow along in my binder. I also use the minute timers the kit came with to measure how many words they can read per minute.

I use a 1 inch binder for my Fluency Checks
I copied one Fiction and Nonfiction Passage from each level and put them in sheet protectors in the binder.
I started this student at a level E, as you can see it took two tries to pass that level and then she went onto level F. During the year, I would give her the Nonfiction E but for sake of time this summer I just went onto the next level.
As you can see this student's fluency was inconsistent this summer.
This student was only able to stay on level G this summer but you can see that his fluency doubled from the beginning of summer school until the end.
This student was able to progress through 3 levels this summer. I also remind them that their fluency drops when the begin a higher level but then usually by the second reading they bounce back.
Every year I've seen students who've struggled with fluency increase their WPM and most importantly their confidence by do this every Friday. What do you do to increase fluency in your classroom?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I am now fibroid free! I had my surgery on Monday and came home on Tuesday. I was only suppose to have a 3 inch incision and they were only to remove a fibroid that was the size of a small apple. Well after doctor removed what was the size of a peach, she felt around and found 3 more fibroids the size of golf balls that never showed up on any ultrasounds because they were embedded in the uterine muscle. So they had to cut much deeper and I ended up with an incision the about 6-7 inches wide. It's very similar to a C-section cut. I've had a steady stream of visitors plus my mom came to stay with me so I've had plenty of people taking care of me. But I showered and dressed myself this morning! So I'm doing pretty well considering. It still hurts to get up and sit down but once I'm into position I'm fine. Looking forward to a pain free lifestyle. After speaking with my doctor, it's no wonder I've been in so much pain and had so much bleeding, she said she had never seen anything like it before. She said they must have been there for years to be the sizes they were.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently August

Welp it's August which means I'm currently more than halfway through my summer vacation!

I am so tired...I cannot believe it took 5 hours to go what should have taken 2 hours! But I had a great time at the Lakeshore Store, stocked up on construction paper, got my chevron name plates, even a cute welcome bulletin board set for the hallway. Now tomorrow morning I'll be up with the chickens hauling this stuff into my classroom. I would have done it today but I got back too late. Well it's time for me to go to bed, my left ankle is starting to swell and apparently needs to be elevated!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Classroom Sneak Peek

If you follow me then you know that I will be having surgery on Monday which means my room had to be arranged in decorated before summer school ended because I'm not sure how long my recovery will be. I took a few pics before leaving today to give you a sneak peak. I'll probably post more during teacher work week, assuming I'll be well enough to report back to work by then.

Writing Station, Whole Brain Teaching Board
Behavior Chart
White Board
Super Improvers Board, Calendar, 7 Habits
Math and Writing Wall
Carpet Area
Classroom Library
Vocabulary Word Wall, Organizational Items
Reading Group Area {please excuse the table, those are my back to school copies and story books, all ready for me to lesson plan}
Guided Reading Bulletin Board

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to School Goals

I'm linking up with I {heart} Recess on my
2014/2015 Back to School Goals.
I find myself eating out a lot during the school week. I'll take food out to thaw, but then stay late at school so by the time I leave I'm starving and end up stopping at Wendy's or Chickfila or something. I want to wake up early enough to fix be a hot breakfast and leave school early enough to get home and cook dinner.
If you see my classroom set up now (I will be posting pics within the next two weeks) there is absolutely no room for a teacher desk! We don't have traditional desks so that contributes to the massive amount of space I need in my classroom for them. Unfortunately our class sizes aren't getting any smaller, they are putting 9 sections of 2nd graders into 6 sections of 3rd grade and we are busting at the seams. I always have my reading group table to sit at if needed, I just won't have my own desk space.
I posted about my long range lesson plans weeks ago. It's just an outline to keep me on track during the school year. For the last three years my team has been a revolving door. Only half of us remain from when I joined the team back in 2011. Now that we'll have the same team as last year and our newbies have got a year under their belt, I'm hoping to collaboratively plan with them this year. I know for a fact me and one teammate share two sets of twin siblings so it will be helpful for parents if we're on the same page.
I think I'm good with the Leader in Me program. I'm still reading Whole Brain Teaching and even if I don't implement the entire program the way it's written, I at least want to do parts of it.
When you hear 21st Century Learning Skills most people think of digital citizenship and technology but I think of leadership. Every child is a leader, whether positive or negative, I want to cultivate positive leadership within my students.
In the words of Ms. Sweet Brown... "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!". I find myself saying this quite often during the school year, especially when the powers that be consistently place more and more demands on my time, none of which are or even have to do with the actual teaching of my students!