Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016-17 School Year Theme & Dollar Tree Goodies

Hi Friends!  I'm sitting here thinking about my theme for this coming school year.  Do any of you do a classroom theme?  I have been doing them for about 6 years now and I love it!  I love going to garage sales or finding small items to go with my theme.  Here are a list of themes that I have done in my classroom.
Hollywood- FAVE!!!
I must say that doing a theme for the classroom gets my kiddos really excited.  I have had previous students come back to my class just to see what my theme was for the upcoming year.  It is really fun and gets my creative juices flowing. 
My theme for this year will be.... DRUMROLL please!!!

Since our focus this school year is science, I think that this will be a great them to incorporate. I don't like to spend a whole bunch of money on themes so I make many of the decorations in my classroom.  I do like to hit up my favorite spot (The Dollar Tree) to see if I can find some items to incorporate.  Here's a few things that I found.
A teacher friend of mind told me about the fly swatters at Dollar Tree.  She uses them to play the math game, Splat.  Imagine my surprise when I spotted the animal print.  Perfect for my theme and only a couple bucks!  Winning!!

Theses wall decals will fit right in.

 I send home a birthday bag full of books for student birthdays.  I love the blue zebra print.

 You can't beat this border for a buck.  I think it will go great in my safari classroom.

 I scored with this animal print alphaline.  Super cute!

A teacher friend also told me about these playing cards for math games.  I love The Lion King cards, but I could only find one pack.  Bummer!

The Dollar Tree is such a great place to shop for back to school items.  Do you shop there?  What back to school items have you found?


Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Blog Refresh

Hey there! I'm sure you noticed that our blog has been refreshed a bit.  If you have been following us, you know that one of my goals was to makeover our blog myself.  You can read more about that HERE.  Well after about a year, I finally did it!  Though it's nothing fancy, I think it fits us perfectly.  If you are interested in customizing your own blog, I would definitely watch The Blog Beautician. Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! She played a huge part in my success.  Her tutorials were easy to follow and she has a ton of knowledge about blog design.  I must admit when it came to "coding," I wanted to throw my laptop across the room, but thankfully I didn't.  I have new found respect for blog designers.  There are still a few "tweeks" that need to be made, but overall we are excited about the changes.  Hope you like it!  Stay tuned for more from the The Teaching Twosome!

Friday, January 1, 2016

CURRENTLY January 2016!

Happy New Year!  I thought it would be perfect to link up with Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this joyous occasion.  Here’s what I’m up to.

LISTENING-I am a fan of The Young & The Restless.  I record it each day, so I’ve been trying to get caught up on all the episodes.  I am like fifteen behind.  Don’t judge me! 

LOVING-Don’t you just love winter break?  I have enjoyed spending time with my family and laying around the house.  Nothing like it!

THINKING-How did winter break end so quickly?  I can’t believe it’s almost over.

WANTING-Just a few more days off would be so nice, but I must admit I can’t wait to see my seconds on Monday.

NEEDING-I need to complete lesson plans for the upcoming week.  This is definitely at the top of the to-do list for tomorrow.

ONE LITTLE WORD-Even though “thankful” is not a little word, it totally sums up what I’m feeling right now.  I thank God for making it to 2016.  I am truly blessed.

Make sure you check out the linky party HERE.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My UPDATED Guided Reading Tool Kit

Hey friends!  Last summer, I shared about a guided reading tool kit that I created.  You can read about it HERE.  It was really helpful to me this past school year so I took some time to update it for my Ohio State University presentation in June and to use for this coming school year.  So grab a snack, sit back, and enjoy reading because it’s going to be a long one.


Here’s what my tool kit looks like.  I purchased this file box from Walmart a few years back for about $5.  It really comes in handy for storing all of my tools for guided reading.  I also like it because I can store little items in the compartment on top such as pencils, timers, and tape.



There are many benefits of having a guided reading tool kit.  Here are a few.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside, shall we?


These cute little guys are used to help kids to “track” when they read.  I got them from Michaels craft store and Oriental Trading.  I typically use these with lower level readers, but all my kiddos enjoy reading with them.  Who wouldn’t? 



My kiddos could not get enough of these this past school year.



If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I am a big fan of dry-erase pockets.  It’s easy to insert a graphic organizer in these babies and have the kids write.  I enjoyed using Michelle Hudgeon’s Guided Reading Games and Activities with these dry-erase pockets. 

I know you’re probably wondering why there’s a phone in one of the pictures.  Sometimes, I don’t have a chance to look at my students’ work before guided reading time is over, so I will take a picture of it with my phone and just look at it when I do my grading.  Easy Peasy!



You know those little marbles that people use for decoration inside of a vase?  I like to use these marbles instead of magnifying glasses.  They work like a charm.



These interactive response sticks are a big hit when answering questions about a text.  I use them to spark discussion.  You can grab these HERE.  If you have students in your classroom, who are reluctant to talk or share ideas, these are perfect!



Questioning is an important concept for me and my seconds when we are in small groups.  I love keeping my Bloom’s Taxonomy flip chart and my questioning sticks in my guided reading tool kit, so I always have good questions to ask about the text we are reading.  I’ve had my flip chart for years and can’t remember where I got it from.  You can pick up the Before, During, and After Reading Questions HERE.

Also, Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom by Diane Heacox  is a great read.  You can pick this book up HERE.  I use it specifically for questioning my higher level and gifted students.



One of my favorite items in my guided reading tool kit are these cute little night lights from Dollar Tree.  Of course, I don’t use them as night lights.  These are stop and think buttons.  Do you ever have students who read a whole book and have no idea what they read about?  These stop and think buttons help students to monitor comprehension.  The students read a page or two, press the button, and write or verbally tell you about what they read. Then they press the button to turn the light off and continue reading.  It’s kind of like Check for Understanding in the Daily 5 model.



I love anchor charts!  They are perfect for reinforcing learning and provide my seconds with resources to refer back to.  I love these reading strategy posters from Teri over at A Cupcake for the Teacher.  I have a set hanging in my classroom and I  keep a set in my tool kit for small groups.  My kids get to see them up close and personal.



Here are a list of other little items that can be placed in your guided reading tool kit. I hope you enjoyed reading about my updated tool kit. Do you use any of these tools for guided reading? I’d love to read about them.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Presenting At Ohio State University

Hey friends!  I hope you are enjoying some restful days during summer break.  I know I sure am. I was blessed with an opportunity to present at The Ohio State University a few weeks ago.  I wanted to share my experience.


Back in April, my district announced that it would be having a Best Practices Showcase at The Ohio State University Student Union.  For this professional development, teachers from the district would be leading the sessions.  I received plenty emails about it but never thought about presenting.  A teacher consultant happened to visit my classroom one day and she told me that I should really think about presenting.  My first response was “No way!”  As I thought more about it, I realized that I definitely needed to step out of my comfort zone and submit a proposal.  A few weeks later, I received an email that my proposal was accepted.  Yay!

First off, let me say that I was super nervous about this presentation.  I have presented before WITH my hubby but never alone. I do not consider myself much of a public speaker.  But after much thought, I realized that I am a public speaker in my own classroom every day.  I’m sure that you will agree with me when I say talking to students is a whole lot different than talking to adults.

Since small group is a HUGE part of our curriculum, I decided that this would be my presentation topic.  I needed to make sure that I presented ideas that my teacher friends could take back to their classrooms and use. I knew I also needed a catchy title to get people to come to my session along with some prizes to win.


I wanted to incorporate my guided reading toolkit in my presentation since it has been such a BIG help to me.  You can read about my guided reading tool kit HERE.    I recently updated a few items so stay tuned for an updated post. 


I created a math toolkit too.  I will be sharing about this sometime soon.


I’m sure you’re wondering how it all turned out.  The presentation turned out better than I thought it would.  I was only scheduled to present during the morning session, but the session was so packed that they asked me to present again in the afternoon.  #winning


Did I mention that one of my biggest fans came from out of town to support me?  My MOMMY!  What a blessing to have her right by my side for moral support….LOL!


I am truly thankful to my district for providing this opportunity to me and my colleagues.  I am also thankful to my family for supporting me especially my hubby and my mom.

Stay tuned for updated posts on my reading and math tool kits.

Have you ever presented for your district?  I’d love to hear about your experience.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Teacher Bucket List

Happy Tuesday Friends!  Today, I’m linking up again with Diana from My Day in K and Jayme from Teach Talk Inspire to share my teacher bucket list.  Thanks, gals, for this fun Tuesday linky party.


Mentor first year teachers….I have wanted to mentor first year teachers for some time now.  I honestly feel that I am in that place in my career that I would feel comfortable mentoring someone else.  I always think back to when I was in my first year teacher and all the support I needed to make it through.  Can you relate?

Grow our blog and TpT store….For me, this is easier said than done.  I think time is my biggest road block.  I am a true believer that if you want something, you must put in the work and go after it. I have a HUGE to do list of products I would like to create and projects to post about.  I would like to manage my time better so that our blog and TpT store can be as great as we know that they can be.

Design our blog….Since we started our blog, I wanted to design it myself.  I am a huge fan of computer graphics and I just enjoy creating anything and everything myself.  I absolutely love what Design by Christi did with our blog.  I would definitely recommend her if you are looking to spice up your blog a bit.  I think doing it myself would be so much fun.  I have already been checking out YouTube videos to learn how to do this myself.   We are hoping to have a total blog makeover launched in early 2016. 

Submit a proposal to DonorsChoose….I would really like to have a few i-Pads for my classroom.  Many of my teacher friends have been funded through DonorsChoose for technology and books.  I would like to submit a proposal through DonorsChoose to get some new technology for my classroom.  I’ll keep you updated.

Thanks so much for stopping by to read about my teacher bucket list.  What’s on yours?