Friday, September 23, 2016

Fairy Tale and Fable Series Giveaway!

There is no denying the fact that I love Hameray Publishing's book series.  And, their new Story World Real World books are amazing!
They have taken familiar fairy tales and fables to the next level.  This series will help lead your readers to real-world knowledge with Story World Real World paired texts. Each theme set pairs one traditional tale with three nonfiction books that are filled with informational text features giving your students practice making connections and navigating informational content.   What more can you ask for in engaging text?!?!

These 10 fairy tales and fables are the perfect addition to any classroom library.  Even better, they can be yours!!!!

Hameray Publishing is raffling off the Story World portion of the series, that is ten traditional tales at guided reading levels I–M, filled with bright, modern illustrations.  All you have to do is click on the image above or this link to enter. 

*Raffle ends Friday, September 30, 2016, at 9:00pm PST.*

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Teacher Style with ULTIMATE Comfort

I am a bit of a clothing nut!  I love clothes and believe that what you wear not only reflects your mood, but can change your outlook on the day.  For a long time, I would wear clothes that I thought were "cute" but they were not always comfortable.  Well that changed the moment I was introduced to LuLaRoe.  LuLaRoe takes comfort and style and crashes them together like a Midwest Thunder Storm!  
About LuLaRoe: ALL LuLaRoe styles are limited. It's unlikely that you're going to see someone with the exact same item that you have. Our designers create hundreds of prints each day. Those prints are then divided among all of the styles LuLaRoe produces. Only about 2,500 pieces are created in a print. Then, those styles are distributed all over the USA. Talk about one-of-a-kind!  LuLaRoe fashions change rapidly so there's always something new to love!
The styles are fabulous and comfortable.  The signature piece is the leggings.  They are without a doubt amazing!  The prints are so fun and they take any dress or tunic to the next level.  If you are looking to try out LuLaRoe click the link to find Myranda Sue's (a fellow teacher) LuLaRoe Boutique.

For those of you that love LuLaRoe and are looking to add to your closet you need to jump on this amazing deal!  Myranda has a Leggings of the Month club that features a VIP discount, free shipping, and well LEGGINGS!

To join just follow these step:
2. Fill out the link on the pinned post.
3. For How did you hear about Leggings of the Month Club? enter Marcy Godesa.

What are your favorite LuLaRoe styles?  I love the Amelia and Sarah, and the leggings of course.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Establishing Buddy Reading Expectations

Setting clear expectations beginning on the first day of school is vital.  The amount of time we practice routines in my classroom may seem crazy to some people, but it is the only way to ensure a successful school year.  One area that I spend a lot of time practicing with my students around is buddy reading.  I have learned never to expect that my students know how to do something; they need to be taught.  This doesn't just apply to primary age students, but all students.  As teachers, we sometimes expect kids to just know or remember from the pervious year and that is not always work on our favor.  Therefore, day by day, we practice one expectation and add another as mastery of the previous is shown.
Here are the buddy expectations that we have been working on.  We practiced one a day, adding to our expectations over the first few weeks of school.

I have learned over the last 12 years that it is important for buddy readers to not only be able to meet the expectations set, but to be able to communicate on the same level.  I have searched high and low for great books that buddies can build their background knowledge with, and then discuss further through a buddy read.  My search for great books is finally over!  The Fables and Real Word Series, from Hameray Publishing fits all of my buddy reading needs.
This series allows my kiddos to read and build their background knowledge with the nonfiction books.  They can read them independently during Read-to-Self or with their buddy.
Students then have common vocabulary and topic background knowledge to make connections, retell, find their favorite parts, and just book talk.  The nonfiction books are just the beginning.  Each nonfiction set has a fable that relates to the topic.  Buddies are able to read the fables together, building off their nonfiction reading.
 I love sitting and listening in on buddy reads.  It is such a wonderful opportunity to hear students talking about books.  I have noticed that by reading books sets and series together they are able to make connections through the conversations they have.  Buddies are also so excited to share interesting excerpts with each other.
Buddy Reading has become a successful time in my classroom.  I firmly believe that setting and reviewing exceptions is key, but having meaningful text is the icing on the cake.

What is a Buddy Reading MUST in your classroom?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Making Reading Relevant

Moving schools has been no joke!  I am loving my new group of kiddos and super grateful for my new colleagues answering all my questions; it is not easy being the new kid for the first time in 7 years.  What is even more difficult is moving into another teacher's space.  We like things our way, there is no denying that.  So when you inherit a classroom library the first thing you need to do is go through it.  Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to have books in my classroom, but it is so important to have books that students can connect to and that are RELEVANT to their lives.
Have you even seen the look on a kiddo's face when you hand them a book that has no connections to their life?  Well that look is devastating!  In order to make sure I see nothing but excitement on my students' faces this year I made sure to give my classroom library a facelift.
I quickly jumped on Hameray Publishing's website and began making a list of books from the Kaleidoscope Collection to rebuild my library.  I love the Kaleidoscope Collection's nonfiction book selection.  There are so many books that my students are interested in.  One title that they cannot get enough of right now is Summer Olympics.

So why is it important to provide students access to relevant text?  Well, making connections is why.  Readers that make connections to their reading are readers that will continue to pick up new books and continue to make connections.  We don't want to loose readers by having irrelevant text in our classrooms.
What are some of your must have genres and titles for your readers?  

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Have you had a chance to tune into my weekly tips on Periscope?  Every Sunday, I pop on Periscope to give you a tip to try and make your life a little easier.  This week, I shared a way to gain some time, by organizing your meals for the week.  As so many of us know, coming home after a long day and cooking can make a long day even longer.  I have learned that by planning my meals for the week, I can easily get dinner made with little hassle, except for keeping a one year old safely out of the kitchen.
I use this grocery list and meal planner to keep everything organized.  I can add to my list throughout the week, and then on Sunday when I run my errands I am good to go.  I just pop it in my Happy Planner and add to it when I get a couple minutes.
You can grab this grocery and meal template by clicking on the picture or this link.  I hope this saves a little of your sanity this week.  Be sure to hop over to Periscope next Sunday for another #SundaySanitySaver.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Keeping It Real and Finding the Balance

How do all of you working parents do it?  The stress of the beginning of the school year is so much to handle, yet that is only a piece of my life now.  How do you balance taking care of your children and family as well?!?!  As we all start to transition back to school, I can't help but think about how I want to take better care of myself this year.  I want to "find" the balance between my personal and professional lives.  We all do; don't we?  I have learned over the years that balance is not always about sitting right in the middle ALL the time.  Instead, it is about the give and take.  Yes, at the beginning of the school year my professional life is going to require more of me, but that doesn't mean that I can't carve out time for yoga, hikes, and walks at the duck pond with my family.

This year, I want us to support one another.  I want to learn from each of you on how you find balance in your life.  Each month, I will feature two educators and how they find balance in their life.   These features will allow each of us to take a piece of advice from a fellow teacher.  Any educator can participate.  All you have to do is fill this form.  I will create a feature based on the information provided.  Let's support one another and have an amazing school year!  Please let me know if you have any questions (my email button is on the top right of my webpage).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Change Will Do You Good...I Hope

Change is not easy, we all know that, but it may be one of the greatest things for you.  This year, I am changing schools.  I will still be teaching first grade, but I will be setting up shop in a building unfamiliar to me.  I will be leaving my teaching family, my home-away-from-home.  This is a choice that I made, but it is still one that I am struggling with.  Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited, yet at the same time, I am so nervous and overwhelmed.  The mere act of setting up a classroom from scratch is exhausting to think about.  Plus, getting to know a new staff and fitting in is scary.  Have you ever felt this way?  How did you overcome these fears?
I have decided to take all of my nervousness and turn it into excitement.  This year, I get to start over. I get to relate to my students' feelings of nervousness on the first day.  I get to be the "new kid" that everyone supports (at least I hope).  Most importantly, I get to challenge myself to be my BEST self.

Are you resisting change or embracing it?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Guided Reading Expert Groups

One of my favorite ways to utilize guided reading groups and reading conferences is to create expert groups.  By allowing students to read about a topic that they are interested in I have found that their want to read increases substantially.  This year, I used Hameray Publishing's Fables and The Real World Sets to build expertise with my students.
The nonfiction books were perfect for my reading groups.  Each group would read their text throughout the week.  We studied main ideas and details, as well as retells.  The next week, I mixed up my reading groups and students taught each other about the topics they read about.  
I can't wait to get my hands on more of Hameray's real world books.  

Do you like to switch up your reading groups?  How do you try to spark interests with your students?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Building Connections Within Readers

When teaching students the importance of understanding their reading, lessons on making connections must take place.  As an adult reader, we constantly connect what we are reading to real-life events and topics.  These connections are what allow our brains to store the newly read information for immediate and future use.  How do we get young readers to do they same thing?
First off, as parents and educators we need to make sure that these readers are exposed to rich text, meaningful stories, and all around interesting topics.  I have found that Hameray Publishing offers a wide range of books that cover these three needs.  My students and I love that their books contain real photographs and cover interesting topics.
Second, we need a variety of books to support the strategy of making connections.  By reading nonfiction text and comparing it to the author's message/moral of the story in fables, young readers are able to grow their reading minds.  The connections that they are able to make between nonfiction and fiction helps to build the bridge to successful comprehension.  I feel that too often young readers focus only on text-to-self connections and the text-to-world connections fall to the wayside.  It is these text-to-world connections that strengthen our language skills and understanding of the world. 

The Fables and Nonfiction sets, from Hameray Publishing, are an incredible resource to use when teaching students about text-to-world, as well as text-to-text connections.  My kiddos not only love the nonfiction component, but they thoroughly enjoy discussing the moral of each fable.

What is your favorite resource for teaching connections?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Building Number Sense with Games: CHOMP

Number sense is critical for each and every child to have.  Many child acquire it at home as they explore and play.  Unfortunately, too many children now lack this vital skill.  As a primary teacher, I work diligently to build number sense with my kiddos.  Over the last decade I have learned that games make the biggest impact on mathematical knowledge.  This is because students are taking mathematical information and being forced to apply it to a real life/useful situation.  They are also building connections to math and the world.  These connections strengthen their brain thus enhancing their mathematical knowledge bank.
One of our favorite games right now is CHOMPCHOMP is designed to practice comparing numbers and place value.  The game can be played with either two or four players.  Here two of my kiddos are working together practicing their lanugae skills, while comparing numbers.
By playing games like CHOMP, students are able to apply number knowledge in an interactive means, thus strengthening their mathematical mind. 
You can grab a copy of CHOMP from my TPT store

I would love to see it in action with your kiddos.  Snap a picture or video of your kiddos playing and tag me in your pictures!  I love to see learning in action!!