Friday, May 15, 2015

Five For Friday: Stitch Fix Edition

Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday and this one is all about my latest Stitch Fix. I am LOVING Stitch Fix. There is just something so exciting about coming home to that box on my doorstep! This was my second "fix". I asked my stylist, Megan, for some more summer items and to think about something that might work for our family pictures coming up in June- that I am totally stressing over, BTW. My boys hate to be photographed, hubs included, and I have no idea what to wear! waaaa!

One of the items I requested was a pair of "boyfriend" jeans. I received these Kut From the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jeans and I loved them right out of the box. Once I got them on I was kind of disappointed that they weren't a relaxed fit, more of a skinny jean fit, but I loved the distressing and lord knows, I love a good pair of skinny jeans. They're also nice and stretchy=comfy! I am booty challenged, aka flat butt, so I always do the "hang out" check. These jeans did not pass. There's my tramp stamp for all to see when I kneel down! Ugh, if only I could go back and tell my 18 year old self that in 2 years Britney Spears would get a butterfly on her lower back and you would forever be dammed as the girl with the butterfly "tramp stamp" like Britney! I'm telling y'all now, I had it first. Proud moment, not! Oh well, I love the jeans so longer tops and belts it is!
The next item was this Olive & Oak Arynn Tie-Back Chevron Print Tank. I love the print and the colors but it's made of a very sheer fabric, so you need to wear a cami underneath. It's also really flowy and boxy. While I liked it, and thought it was fun, I just didn't see myself getting a lot of wear out of it. I decided it was a no.

This next top, the Collective Concepts Lydia Floral Print Key-hole Blouse....LOOOOOOOVE!!! I actually pinned it days before and my stylist took note! Keeper for sure! Love the little cut-out, love the colors and fit. Looks adorable with jeans or dressed up. That's my favorite kind of top-versitile! I have a party to go to tomorrow night and I think this will be perfect! KEEP!
Sigh. Big Sigh. I pulled this dress out of the box and was so excited. I instantly loved the bohemian style of this Sugarlips  Julie Crotchet Dress. I thought, "this is perfect for family pictures!" But, once I got it on I was disappointed. The fit just wasn't right. I'm very small busted and didn't fill out the top right. The crochet detail at the top was too low cut and each way I moved you could see my bra. Not cool. The tie around the waist could be cinched in but it just looked bulky to me. I have very few curves and I think it just accentuated that and kind of hung. It's such a pretty dress but not for me. I loved where my stylist was going with it though and I hope to see more dresses/pieces in that style. Return.
The last item I received was a pair of pretty gold earrings from ZAD. I forgot to take a picture of them. While they were pretty, I have something similar so I decided to return them.  

All in all, I think it was a successful "fix". I got two new items that I LOVE and I didn't have to figure out how to leave my hectic life to get to the mall and pick them out! I mean, lets be honest, I'd probably get to the mall and end up shopping for my boys anyway! That's what always happens, right moms? Stitch Fix is just the perfect answer for me. If you think it would work for you, too, I'd love it if you would use my referral code. :)
Click below:
Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the other links!
Happy Friday! 


Monday, May 4, 2015

What Works for my Mini-Wheats!


I'm so excited to be "linking up" with so many amazing teachers for this WHAT WORKS? Linky and GIVEAWAY!
 Happy Teacher Appreciation week, everyone!
Before I tell you about WHAT WORKS in my room, I just want to take a moment and tell every.single.person. who is reading this blog post that you matter. Presumably, if you're reading this, you are involved in the lives of children. There is no greater charge, in my opinion. Children are sacred, they are our most precious gift, and they are the future. As cheesy as that sounds and as much as you might roll your eyes, it is the truth. And the truth also is that teaching is HARD, and it's thankless (at times), and the things that are out of your control will beat you down IF YOU LET THEM. I always joke that "at the end of the day, it ALL rests on my shoulders. I am the only one who is really "accountable". Although I usually say that in frustration the real story is that I wouldn't have it any other way. After all, that's what teaching is all about- being accountable, doing what's best for kids, no matter what, and working your tail off. So, hats off to all of you. You make this world go round and don't you forget it! If you are important in the life of a child, you are important enough.

As teachers our motto is "beg, steal, and borrow" right? I'm going to share a few things that work for me and my Mini-Wheats, feel free to "steal" and "borrow" and I "beg" YOU to leave feedback with what works for you and your kiddos! I'll be honest, I struggled to come up with things that are "working" because ever since I returned from maternity leave I feel like I have been struggling. *next year will be better, next year will be better* <--- that's my motto! lol


I absolutely LOVE using these write and wipe plastic pockets with my students. I use them for 
EV-ERY-THING!  (Teacher Tip: lots of education companies sell them but I have found them soooo much cheaper on Amazon. They call them "shop ticket holders" but they're the exact same thing!) Last year, I bought a case of them and used them as personal white boards for math. Each kid could sit at the rug, with a template inside, and work alongside me during whole group lessons. I also use them for literacy and math centers. Instead of copying tons of worksheets for my kids to do during centers, I simply slip ONE worksheet inside and use it for the entire week. You can still use worksheets for accountability, just have them turn in the "write-and-wipe" pocket, check, erase, and use again!  

My favorite way to use these Write & Wipe pockets is for small group instruction. So much of our day is broken up into small groups and so many of my kiddos need a visual. It saves so much time and paper when I can just slip the worksheet we're working on into a write and wipe and model the activity.



My next tip comes from one of my most popular freebies. Guided Reading is one of my FAVORITE parts of the day. I absolutely ADORE teaching my Mini-Wheats how to be better readers. However, I DREAD writing plans. I made these planning sheets to make that tedious task a little simpler. (Teacher Tip- If you use the same Guided Reading books over and over again, save the lesson plan cover and then all you need to copy is the student note page.) You can download it by clicking the picture above. Please, pretty please, with sugar on top, leave me feedback if you download. xxxxoooo
My last tip has to do with data, which seems to be ALL the rage these days. Many schools are encouraging or requiring the use of data walls in classrooms. Creating a data wall can be very time consuming and difficult to maintain. While my school does not require their use, we are encouraged to have 'proof' of how we are using data to drive our instruction. Now, if you're like me, you're rolling your eyes and saying, out loud, at the screen, "of course I use data to drive my instruction but all the data is in my head!" It's my firm belief, that as the PROFESSIONAL, as the person who knows your kids better than anyone, you don't need some huge wall of data to be "a good teacher". I created these Data Wall Clip Charts with two of my colleagues. The idea being that a data wall could be simple to read, easy to use, and adaptable to any subject or learning target. We were inspired by research based strategies from Carolyn Chapman and Rita King. You can read more about them in the book Planning and Organizing Standards-Based Differentiated Instruction.
Here's how they work: First print and laminate all the pieces. You can use the editable feature to type your student's names on the name cards or write them in with wipey board marker, once laminated. Use ribbon, paper clips, pipe cleaners, whatever you'd like to attach the pieces together and hang in a prominent place in your classroom. Next, choose your learning target- what are you expecting your students to be able to do. I choose my learning target by looking at the standard(s) I will be teaching that week (I change my learning target every week/2weeks depending upon unit).  I use very simple but specific language that is both kid friendly and measurable: ex. "I can subtract 9 from teen numbers”
Now you are ready to use your Data Wall Clip Chart. (Teacher Tip: Clothes pins work well for classes 18 and under however, if you have a larger class you may choose to use sticky tack or tape to attach your name cards. I use sticky tack and it works great for my large class.)
You may choose to pre-assess your students and then place them on the chart before starting your lessons that will allow your students to "meet their learning target" I use my Data Wall Clip Chart to justify my small groupings in both math and ELA. You may choose to use yours as a visual to motivate students, or as a visual for any visitors you may have- principal, district leaders, support staff- who may want to be able to see  what you are teaching and where your kiddos are at.  I'm hoping to get my colleague to do a Guest Blog on Data Walls and the research behind them because she explains it sooooo much better than I have. Come on, Kel, aka "Data Guru" and the creator of the hashtag #dataisntscary
Please click on either of the pictures above. Be aware, I offer three DIFFERENT Data Wall clip Charts: Space Themed Data Wall Clip Chart, Original Data Wall Clip Chart, and Realistic Photos Data Wall Clip Chart (for intermediate students who may not be motivated by cutesy clip art!)

Thanks so much for stopping by to read WHAT WORKS for my Mini-Wheats! 
Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!


Guys... no GUYS! This giveaway is huge! Check it out! Be sure to complete the rafflecopter below!
Just take a look at everything you could win...One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!
Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
We aren't finished yet....take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!
Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon
Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.






Sunday, May 3, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Blog Hop


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!

In honor of all of you, I've gotten together with some amazing teachers to offer you some great freebies!! All you'll need to do is click the picture that says "follow for more freebies" and you'll be taken to each post that offers an amazing freebie. When you've made it back to me, you're done!

I'm so excited to show you my FREEBIE. 
My kids are obsessed with making mobiles this year. They almost cried when I started taking down our Solar System Fact Mobiles. So, I whipped up an Earth Day Mobile to replace them. I got such a great response from that freebie, I decided to make a Mother's Day version, too! Please, please, pretty please with sugar and gummy worms on top- please leave me feedback if you choose to download. Simply refresh the page after downloading and leave me some love. Don't forget to do the same for the rest of my friends. 

For this easy project, you can choose from color or black and white copies. Next you'll need to  trace circles from construction paper (tracer included), paste, and connect. I like to use big paper clips (I have a system, I've done soooo many), but you may prefer pipe cleaners, ribbon, etc. I have also included lined and blank pieces for different levels of students. The kids have so much fun putting these together. They make a really nice classroom display if you're having a Mother's Day Tea or celebration. Students can also bring them home to hang up. I hope your kids like making mobiles as much as mine do!
Click the photo below to find more wonderful freebies!


Already have a favorite Mother's Day craft? You can find my All About School Mobile for sale in my store now, too. Just in time for end of the year projects.
The pieces can be used to make a mobile, poster, or book. Students will love having this keepsake for the end of the year. 
Here's the Earth Day Mobile Freebie if you'd like to tuck it away for next year. :)

Thank for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments.