Sunday, June 29, 2014

The dreaded RED CLOCK!!

It's here.  The Donor's Choose red clock has arrived and made it's self a home on my project.  Those of you use are on Donor's Choose know what I'm talking about.  It's ticking down the days until my project expires. I have 41 days to raise $458 more dollars so my sweet little students can have access to two iPad Minis in the library.  If I am not fully funded, the money donated will go back to the donor and they can choose to give it to another project or me in the form of DC gift cards for my next project.

Does anyone else out there in bloggyland have a Donor's Choose project posted? Are you at the red clock phase? Can you offer some suggestions on finding donors? Let's all band together and help promote each other's projects!  We all have great ideas, we just need $$ to get them going!

If you'd like to view my project, you can by clicking {HERE}. I invite you to leave a link to your project in the comments below.  Maybe if we get the word out, we will all meet our deadlines!
Good luck!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Informative Writing with Self-Regulated Strategy Development

Click the image to download the poster and graphic organizer!
   I am working for the TN State Department of Education again this summer, training 1st and 2nd grade teachers on best practices for math and literacy.  I am so excited about the literacy part of it- we are teaching writing!!  I've taught for 13 years now and I cannot remember any PD on writing.  I have always felt weak in that area and unsure of the best methods for teaching my students how to be better writers.  Well, not anymore!  I know how to teach informative writing and I want to share it with you!
   We are teaching Self-regulated Strategy Development for Informative/Explanatory writing.  SRSD is sweeping Tennessee, because all of our coaches, 1st grade through 12th, are teaching this model!  We are going to have the highest writing scores ever next year!  If you are unfamiliar with SRSD, it's a 6 stage gradual release of responsibility model.   It's not meant to replace your current writing curriculum/practices, just enhance and supplement them.  This approach was developed by Dr. Karen Harris and her colleagues.  It is based on two concepts- self-regulation and strategies.  Research shows that this gradual release model works!  
 Here is a brief overview of the stages:
  • Stage 1- Activate & Develop Background Knowledge- Collect a pre-assessment (cold write), build enthusiasm, introduce mnemonic (see graphic above), evaluate exemplar essay, review parts and terms for this type of writing, discuss key general writing traits, & introduce self-regulation
  • Stage 2- Introduce graphic organizer, map out exemplar essay, repair weak essays, discuss students' current attitudes toward writing, & discuss when and where to use strategies.
  • Stage 3- Introduce self-talk, model a think aloud using positive self-talk, lead collaborative write, introduce scoring, score samples, & support goal setting.
  • Stage 4- Memorize the mnemonic and internalize self-instruction plans
  • Stage 5- Time for students to practice all they've learned.  This stage is an active, buzzing writing workshop.  Differentiation happens here.  Students are gradually released and begin to blossom into independent writers.  Hold steady in this stage until all students are successful.
  • Stage 6- Use strategies and self-regulate independently- Independent practice! You have writers!
Murfreesboro City & Wilson County Teachers using SRSD
   Depending on your group of students, you could start producing writers who self-regulate and use good writing strategies within the first quarter!  Want to know more? You can watch videos and download free materials from the Think SRSD website by clicking {HERE}!  There is information for  the 3 main types of writing on the website, my training is focusing on informative, because that's the area our students struggle with the most.

Watch this Prezi on SRSD to learn more!

Teachers in Milan, Tennessee putting SRSD into practice!

POW+TIDE writing center created by Core Coach Kerri Newsom.

Below is a Padlet with so many great resources for SRSD!
   If you already use SRSD, I'd love for you to share your experiences and tips in the comments below.  If you have further questions, leave those below too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

I have a new teacher blogger to introduce you to today! Her name is Christa Lyons and her blog is just adorable!

1.                           Name of blog and link:

2.                         Tell us about your blog and why you started it.
My blog tells about the daily adventures I have with my kiddos in my first grade class. It also has a few things here and there about my life outside of the classroom. It started it as a way to showcase what I do in my classroom, journal teaching memories, swap ideas with other educators, and meet other teachers.

Teachers can have fun too! Here I am laughing at my ‘sculpture’ during an after school pottery class hosted by our art teacher.

3.                           Tell us a little about your teaching background.
I began teaching right after graduating college. I have a degree in Elementary Education and an English as a Second Language endorsement. I student taught in my home state of Virginia, and I currently teach in Colorado. I’m finishing up my third year of teaching. (I taught Kindergarten for two years and first grade for one year.) I am currently in graduate school finishing up my M.Ed. Reading degree. I’m licensed to teach in Virginia, Colorado, and Tennessee.

4.                          What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
I’m super indecisive, so I couldn’t come up with songs for my entire life, but I really like India Arie’s “I Choose” right now

5.                         What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I can’t think of the hardest thing I’ve ever done; being a teacher, I face many hard decisions daily. If I had to choose something that continues to be a challenge it’s holding my tongue. I’m super outspoken, but I’ll admit it, sometimes I need to hush up J

6.                         What’s your favorite TV show?
Definitely Scandal; I’m addicted!

7.                          What is your favorite item of clothing and why?
My LuLu Lemon leggings! They’re stretchy and go with almost any outfit. They also transition easily from the day clothes to gym clothes.

8.                         Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?
26. (Yes, I take pictures of everything J) My mom shipped a cake to me for my birthday this year. (I promise there’s cake under the flames!)

9.                         What was the last book you read? What are you going to read next?
      The Desire of Ages, it’s a book my granddad gave to me ten years ago. I’ve started and stopped it so many times, but I finally finished it. It’s a great book! I have no idea what I’m going to read yet; my principal probably does though! J

10.                   What was the last thing that you ate that you really shouldn’t of?
      Chocolate cake from a coworker’s baby shower, but it was soooo good!

11.                    Give us some links- Twitter, Pinterest, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, Facebook, a free teaching item etc.  
Freebie: First Grade Memory Book

If you are a new blogger and would like to be featured, email me at!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pens, Pens, and more Pens!

I opened my most recent package from and there were pens galore! I was in pen heaven trying out all of the new BIC pens and markers!  Shoplet has tons of office supplies 
Click an image below to go to that specific pen's link on
These pens have a nice contoured grip, a medium point, and write very smoothly.  Best of all, the ink is a beautiful shade of pink!

This pen may be my favorite out of all of them.  The gel ink just glides across the paper and has a great grip.  The pen is very light and extremely smooth on the paper.

This is my second favorite.  It also writes very smooth and won't bleed through paper!  The tip is fine and perfect for writing very small!

These permanent markers are very viberant on paper and have a fine tip.  They mark on most surfaces including glass, metal, photos, coated papers, and damp surfaces. 

If you use a stylus for your devices, then this is for you!  This is such a smart idea! The stylus is great for tablets and smartphones and the pen writes very well on all types of paper.  The pen clicker is on the side and does not get in the way of holding the stylus pen!

If you need pens, you won't go wrong with any of these!

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