Hi everyone. We just got back home from our final road trip of the summer - we have been driving around for the last 5 weekends straight. We always had a good time but I am so glad to be out of the car!!

I am glad we made it back in time for me to link up with one of the sweetest bloggers with the best ideas, Joanne at Head over Heels for Teaching for her linky...

So, Tuesday is my official start day with my students and we will be starting off our day with this book...

At the end of the day I am giving my students a little gift bag, since I am so happy that they are finally here (well there, not here at my house).

 Inside the gift bag is a small box of Smarties, a magnet with my contact info for their parents (freebie template from Teaching with a Touch of Twang) and a magnet for them to hang up future super work on their fridge. I posted about the magnets here and you can pick up a copy here. (I typed my students names in on the real ones).

Next inside the bag are these door hangers. I stole this idea from Joanne, she posted about it here and you can pick up hers in her TpT store here. I took her idea and made it fit my superhero theme. We did not do reading logs last year and the amount of home reading went way down. So I want to start them off right with some motivation to read before we start our reading logs next week.

Lastly there is this little note. Students need to find something that is special to them that can fit in the bag to share with the class later in the week.

I hope these little gift bags motivate my students on the first day of school! Now I need to go find the motivation to finish laundry, unpack and do some more planning for next week :)

This is it – my last week off before school starts next Tuesday. So of course I am in full panic mode.
I have been busy having fun with my family and prepping things for and in my classroom. I thought I would share one of the things I tried in my classroom by linking up with the amazing Holly at Fourth Grade Flippers for her linky….

This is one of the bulletin boards in my classroom.

Yes, that is Joanne's Back to School Autobiography I am printing while working on this project :)

Yes take a good look at that, the pipes, the metal rods, the phone, the electrical outlets – all part of my bulletin board. It was bad enough when I just had the heating pipes but when they installed our projector system they added all those lovely metal rods that contain all the wires and cords and necessary to hook the projector up to my computer. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Brightlinks but I will admit I lost my mind when I showed up one morning and saw what they had done to my bulletin board.

So this summer I saw a picture on Pinterest that showed a bulletin board border made out of tissue paper so I thought I would give it a try.

I chose a few colors that go with my class theme (we have tons of tissue paper in our school – but you would not need more than one or two packages of each color you wanted to use).

I folded each sheet in half lengthwise then in half again.

I stapled it to the board a few centimeters above the bottom so I could fluff out the bottom. In some areas I had to use push pins since I can not get a stapler in the small space.
I put two colors together and alternated colors.

I love that I could get into all the hard to reach places.
Do I want to do all of my bulletin boards like this – no – cause I love borders (slight addiction).
But I do love this option for holidays when I don’t want to be a holiday specific border or to do a bulletin board with our school colors – I think that is an awesome use of this technique.
Make sure you check out Holly’s blog so you can see what everyone else has tried.

Well it is official. I have reached the point in summer when I realize I have more things on my to-do list than I can possibly accomplish and I still want to enjoy these summer days with my family! It happens every year so I should not be suprised. Today was my first day back in my classroom to do prep and I came home cranky and hot and tired - my husband said "Really, after just one day" and I said "YES!".

I am going to apologize now if I am not around here as much as I would like to be - I will get back into the swing of things but it may take me a week or two. You can always check me out on Instagram for pictures of the projects I am managing to accomplish :)

Okay, on to the point of today's post. Sharing information on how I start up Reading Workshop and of course to link up with the truly amazing blogger, Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.

I love books. I love reading. I know you are shocked to hear this, imagine that, an elementary teacher that loves books and reading, gasp! Okay, well how about this, I do not like buying books!!! Sure there are some books that I feel I really must own. But there are so many great mentor texts out there, sometimes in hardcover, and I just can't buy them all. But I love books. So what do I do? I use the public library. Like I use it so much they all know me by name and if one of my personal books or school library books makes it into the book return by accident they know to put it aside for me. I am like Norm from Cheers, but at the library!

When launching Reading Workshop there is a list of books I like to use every year and here is what I do. I log onto the library website, log in to my account and start a list. I put all of the books I want for launching reading workshop on it. Then two weeks before I need them (today!) I put in a request for all of the books that I want. They all show up at my local branch, I pick them up and smile. Now, I have bought some books, ones that after using for a few years I realize I really want to own, or I find on sale or in the Scholastic book orders.

Here are some of the books is use when launching reading workshop.

This website is a great place to find books and ideas for launching reading workshop

and of course there is Jessica Meacham's reading units too.

I am linking up with Jivey today for her linky (don't pay attention to the Wednesday, shhh)....

to talk a little bit more about how I start up my math workshop. I talked a little bit about what I do the first few days during math class (you can read about it here - there are a few freebies there too if you missed them). I wanted to add a little more info on how I sort my students into groups for math.

In that previous post, I shared a simple math survey I use. This gives me a quick idea of how the students feel about math - so that when we are doing math problem solving or inquiry I can pair up a student that has some negative feelings about math with some one a little stronger. Also I can be prepared to provide them with more modelling and prompting when discussing their thinking (I have had consultants come in and push my students to tears since they were not aware of their comfort level with math :(  ).

In addition I do a quick place value assessment. The first one seems really simple when you hear it, but it really does give you some good info on how your students are making sense (or not) of numbers. This is my own version based on a real version that I can no longer find. So the students just count up how many stars there are. They write the number down (there are 34 FYI). Then you call each student up and ask them to tell you how many stars there are. Then point to the four and ask them to show you where that is in the picture. Then point to the three and ask them to show you that number. Students who have a good grasp of place value know that the three is really thirty and can circle or count of 30. Students who do not have a good grasp of place value will show you three. Some students will be confused and have the look on their face that they know three isn't right but can't figure out how to make it right. I also pay attention to how students count the stars - can they count by 7's, do they count by 5's and then count by 2's or do they count by 1's. I know it seems super simple but it is effective and quick.

The second is my attempt to add on to the first one - to get a little more info from the students before I meet with them.

You can click on either page to pick up a copy of them.

If these are still too simple for you, Jivey shared a place value assessment that asks students to make 1000. Click here to go to her blog post.

I know I am late to the workshop party but since I am late to one party I might as well be late for two.
I am going to link up with Molly at Lucky to be in First for her Fabulous Freebies on the 15th linky too.

In addition to the above freebies I want to re-share something I first shared back in May on Tonya's Treats for Teachers blog and have been working on all summer (well actually shuffling it to the side as I do other things). I am hoping that posting it again will get me motivated to finish it (especially if I hear that it is something others might use). Every year when testing comes around I realize my kiddos do not have enough practice with balancing equations - so I am working (really I am) on making some supplemental materials to help them with this. Here is the freebie.

It's here, it's here! The TPT Back to School Sale is finally here :)

I know all of us are busy prepping our classrooms, going through professional development, or in survival beginning of the school year mode and have been anxiously waiting to here when our favorite and most wish-listed products will go on sale at TPT.

Well the time has finally arrived. This Sunday and Monday save up to 28% on your purchases at TPT. I know my entire store is on sale and I can not wait to buy some of the items on my wishlist (seriously, the list is too big to buy it all!)

In celebration of this momentous event, I am joining up with a group of wonderful bloggers to showcase our shopping carts and our favorite products.

If there's one thing we teachers love to do, it's shop for our classrooms, right?

Join us by linking up with 2 of the top wish-listed products in your store and 1 product on your wish-list you just have to purchase! *If you're not a blogger or TPTer, still feel free to comment with your most wish-listed item! Use the graphics below if you'd like!

So here are the two most wishlisted items in my store. Click on the picture to head over there and check them or my other products out.

Writing Goals Chart with Editable Pages!


Poetry Posters and Writing Frames!


I am cheating and posting two - since my wishlist contains a crazy amount of clipart and teacher resources I am linking one of each.


I love looking at other people's shopping carts - the site is so huge I am sure I have missed many good ideas and these other fabulous bloggers have done all the leg work for me - so I am off to check out their items :) Be sure to link up! And be sure to use the code  BTS13 to get your discount when you shop on Sunday and Monday ( I shop both days :)  )

Hi everyone, it is Tuesday so I am linking up with Holly at the Fourth Grade Flipper for...

Today I want to share something that I tried this summer, that I was really not looking forward to, but it turned out to be super easy (although I am not actually finished using it for what I had planned -oops).

It is creating hyperlinks. Sorry to all my non-blogger friends, I guess this is not really interesting to you.

I have to admit html code scares me a wee bit. But I wanted to create hyperlinks in my TPT descriptions and then I read this post, by Deniece at This Little Piggy Reads, and I was saved :)

It is the website, aptly named, Easy Hyperlinks.

All you do, is go to the website, type in the link you want to attach to in the URL spot and the words you want displayed in the display text area and then hit construct link.

Then you can test the link (if you are a little OCD like me), copy the code and paste it where you want it!

And here it is...

It is available now!

Here is what it looks like on my TPT product description...

I love how easy this is - and if you are like me and can not write your own html code you should check it out.

Speaking of being helpful, Diane over at Fifth in the Middle has started a Helpful Blogger Network, a group of bloggers, that are willing to help out their fellow teachers and bloggers the best they can. Head over to her blog to sign up or check out the list (just click on the button below).

Helpful Blogger Network

Okay, this time I am linking up for realises :) with some amazing bloggers, Amanda and Stacia at Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky.

The book I am suggesting is a book I am sure many of you use...

I don't want to spend too much time talking about this super fun book so I will just give you the description from Goodreads

Did you ever wake up to one of those days where everything is a problem? You have 10 things to do, but only 30 minutes until your bus leaves. Is there enough time? You have 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants. Can you make 1 good outfit? Then you start to wonder: Why does everything have to be such a problem? Why do 2 apples always have to be added to 5 oranges? Why do 4 kids always have to divide 12 marbles? Why can't you just keep 10 cookies without someone taking 3 away? Why? Because you're a victim of the Math Curse. That's why. But don't despair. This is one girl's story of how that curse can be broken

The reason I picked this book is that I just wanted to throw a couple of teaching ideas out there to go with this book for the first week or two of school.

I use this book on the second day of school during our first full math class. I use it as a jumping off point to talk about how my students feel about math and to highlight how math is everywhere.

I follow the book up with a couple of activities.

#1. A math survey. I was given a very long and very official survey from one of our math consultants. It was 3 pages long and had a marking key and I am sure would be very helpful to many people - just not me :)
I made this quick little survey to just let me know how my students felt about math and to help me group them (I also use a quick little assessment - but I will tell you more about that on Workshop Wednesday).
Here is my survey. It is not fancy or official - just a little something to get me started on grouping and looking at what kind of feelings my students are bringing with them. Click here for a copy.

#2. A "Math About Me" page. This is sample from Pinterest with no link - sorry!!

I am undecided if I will do this again this year and use it as their Interactive Math Notebook cover or if I will give them this page to decorate for their cover. Click on the picture to get a free copy - there are different subject pages to choose from.

#3. An "I Can't Believe I Used Math in the Summer" page. This was an idea I read about on Teaching with a Mountain View who did a similar activity after Spring Break, so I adapted it for B2S. Students have to draw and write about how they used math over the summer break. I will go through a few examples with my class first of how I used math over the summer. Since most students will have done some B2S shopping that will be an obvious example but I hope to get to some more creative examples - math for baking, building with lego, what time to leave to arrive at the movie on time, how much money my daughters saved, how many cobs of corn to make....

Click the picture to get a copy.

 I will use this activity as an opportunity to introduce my math goals chart. In particular - the pictures, numbers and words pages. Click here to get a free copy of these pages.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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