Sunday, June 28, 2015

For the Love of Reading

As a woman, a mom and a primary teacher, I have to say I love reading!  I read for enjoyment, for professional development, and for gaining knowledge on raising boys and being a better wife and mom. I pick what I am interested in and don't worry about readability, the book level or a possible AR test! I read because I LOVE reading!

A quick  glance at my nightstand boasts my summer picks and my cherished Nook!  Professional books are the only ones I don't purchase on the Nook as I like to highlight, take notes and insert post its for easy reference.
So reading is part of my life.  I read to my children while I was pregnant.  I read to them as babies.  I know the research.  Literacy is my passion!
But then my boys learned to walk...and talk...and they couldn't get away from books fast enough!  They had no interest as they were on the move! I quickly learned to capture their attention at bed time as they were a captive audience with no where to go! They would pick a book or two for us to read each night... Those were the days! 
So let's have some #realtalk!  My boys don't LOVE to read anymore!  Most days, they don't even like to read.  Insert heavy sigh here.  This mama's heart is so sad.  This teacher's heart is heavy.  How can I blog about fostering a love of reading with my students when my own children have missed the boat on this?
Do we, as a school system, turn children away from reading?  We test their sight words, their fluency and their comprehension.  When they finish a book, they take an AR test.  With Common Core and other state standards, we are modeling for students how to dig deeper into the test. This takes multiple readings of the same text.   We are encouraging students to read more non-fiction.  They need to site text evidence.  And then at the end of the year they need to take a state reading test.
My goal for my boys and for my students is to foster a love of reading.  So when my youngest says he wants the next book in the Nate the Great series, I am going embrace this and encourage it. You see, earlier this summer, I tried to talk him into reading books with a higher reading level and deeper content. He totally fell asleep while reading!!  #epicfail

So, what do we as parents do?
 Jen Jones from Hello Literacy shares how to find out 7 ways to get your kids to know without even realizing it!!  Jen cautions us away from "summer mandated reading time" because isn't that what we as parents and teachers avoid the summer slide?

I challenge you to join me in finding meaningful ways to encourage our children and students to read throughout the summer!  I am going to suggest some of the apps from Hello Literacy's post to my own kids and maybe...just maybe...I can sneak a little more reading in!
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Meal Plan Mondays Linky {6/22}

We are back for week 2 of Meal Plan Mondays. Summer is the perfect time to try something new!
Last week I shared two new recipes and LOVED them!
This week, I am sharing one of our favorite family recipes with YOU.
This is the PERFECT recipe to share with friends or to put in the crock pot and have your family dinner ready when you get home!  We even add tortilla chips to the bottom of the bowl,  add the soup and top off with some shredded cheese and sour cream.  YUMM-O!
You can find the original recipe on my favorite blog for documenting life, Becky Higgins.  You can find the printable recipe under her FREEBIES section along with her other delicious  recipes.  In fact, I am going to make her chocolate chip banana bread recipe tomorrow morning:)
I would love you to join this linky and share your favorite recipe!   If you do not have a blog, feel free to comment with a link to your favorite recipe here or on my Facebook page.  The more the merrier! 

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Center Fun with Stamping

Hello Friends!
I am so happy to be joining in the Bright Ideas Link Up today!
Here is a Bright Idea to make your learning centers fun and effective.
Anytime stamping is involved, my kids interest level skyrockets!
Stamps are a quick, easy way for students to practice independently.
Stamping at Literacy Centers
Our go-to at the word work center is stamp a word with spelling and high frequency words.  This is one additional way to use different manipulatives to practice their words.  We have also used stamps at the writing center for editing.
Stamping at Math Centers
Students  use math stamps for concept development during centers.  We have used number stamps, money stamps and even clock stamps to practice skills.  Students have also used seasonal stamps for number concept development as well as patterning.
Now, before you say, "No way!" to stamping due to the possible mess,
look at these quick tips to help you and your students stay clean and on focused!
Stamping Tips
1.  Use multiple stamp pads that are the same color for the center so colors do not get mixed. I usually let up to two children share one pad.
2.  Have a designated place for stamp pads to be put down at the center.  Letter stamps go back on the trays that are pre-marked with the letter names.  A labeled paper towel is a great idea too!
3.  Have wet wipes available the center to wipe fingers as needed. 
Model how to hold the stamps while stamping and to put them down correctly.
 I hope you found this Bright Idea helpful!
For more Bright Ideas you can follow me on Bloglovin', Facebook and Instagram.
For more Bright Ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link up below and find a grade or topic that interests you! 
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Meal Plan Monday {Linky}

HELLO Monday!!
Nothing is better than a Monday...during summer vacation!
I love the lazy days of summer, but I am also inclined to step up certain things a notch! So this summer one of my goals is to find some new, family friendly recipes for dinner. So welcome to...

Each week I will feature a few new recipes that I have found and tried with my own family as the judges!  This is a tough group I tell you:)  I have to tell you I have been a little addicted to The Pioneer Woman  this week from The Food Network!  I have selected and tried two of the week's favorites!
Click on the above links for recipes!

The grill is our favorite cooking source pretty much all year living in Florida!  These are both the perfect grilling recipes for summer time.  Recipe notes:  I  omitted the bacon on the chicken sliders. Just personal preference:) I also added roasted cauliflower and broccoli to the meal with olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves and salt & pepper to taste.
I would love you to link up some fun summer recipes that you plan on making this week!  Perhaps it is an old favorite, something new you want to try or a fabulous Pinterest find!
If you don't have a blog, you can join the post over on The Resourceful Apple's FACEBOOK page!
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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Teaching with Intention - Beliefs & Practices

Hi Friends!  I hope you are well into enjoying your summer break!I am joining in the Teaching with Intention book study  with Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard. This week is hosted by Flying into First, The Primary Gal and Mrs. Dailey's Classroom
Chapter 2 focuses on our personal teaching beliefs.  What EXACTLY do we believe about TEACHING and LEARNING and is it EVIDENT in our CLASSROOMS?
That is easier said than done!  Have you ever written down your beliefs?  Debbie Miller took over 1 year to refine her beliefs!  With 20 years of teaching, these are the first things that have come to my mind about my own beliefs about teaching and learning in the primary grades:

I have spent a LOT of time organizing my classroom library.  I have books organized by theme and by reading levels.  My goal is for students to be able to access books of interest quickly in order to optimize their reading time.

We are a TEAM in and out of the classroom.  We work on building each other up and supporting each other's efforts.  All students learn in different ways and have different abilities.  Celebrate that!
I spend a lot of time planning meaningful activities and integrated units. I love that Debbie Miller says, "Learning is maximized when the lessons I design are purposeful, interactive and engaging, with real world applications."
Now its time for some self reflection.  Do I do all of these things consistently? 
Honestly, NO!
This summer will be my time to reflect and see what I can do better.  Debbie Miller suggests reflecting in a journal at the end of each day.  How and when we reflect is personal, but reflection will lead to better teaching!
The chapter was wrapped up with this powerful thought:
"Do what you have to do; in the end no one can mandate how you feel about your children, the ways you interact with them throughout the day, and the things you say and do that reflect who you are and what you believe about teaching and learning."
In a time of  many state and district mandates, this is something I need to remind myself of!  Don't forget to check out the posts from the weekly hosts for this chapter if you haven't already.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Identifying Coins

I can't believe Wordless Wednesday here on my blog
will be coming to a close for this school year shortly! 

I pulled out stamps to work on coin identification and values this week.
What do you use stamps for?
After you leave your comment, head on over to Sugar and Spice
to see what else is going on this Wednesday!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We {Heart} Teachers- Techie Teacher

It's time for day two of our We {HEART} Teachers Event 

and that means more fun stuff for you to win! 
But first, I am sure you are anxious to see if you won one of those 2 TpT Gift Certificates!

and the winners are...

Today's prize is one for the #techieteachers... AND the not so techie teachers ;)

Yeah... you're reading that right! Here's an official run down of this totally awesome prize pack!

IPad Mini 2- Now you can bring technology to your classroom (or just keep it for yourself, we won't tell! ;)) with your own tablet. The miniature size makes it ideal for smaller hands or stowing away in a purse!

Chevron Stand Case- How cute is this case? Protect your newest accessory with this easy to find cover! The built in stand makes it ideal for video viewing while you're jet setting to Vegas this summer!

$10 Itunes Gift Card- Buy some educational apps, download a few books, whatever you want! You've got $10 to spend to help fill up your new toy, I mean educational resource, with new apps! 

Planbook Subscription for you and a friend- It is user friendly it is AND you can share lesson plans with your teammates. Now you and a teammate can enjoy easy planning for the year! You can check out more on   

Ready to get your #techieteacher on? Enter the Rafflecopter below! 

I am also excited to share with you that TeachersPayTeachers decided to join in on the Teacher Appreciation week fun!  They are having a site wide sale today and tomorrow as a way to say thank you for all your hard work this year!


So, from May 5th through the 6th ALL our stores will be on sale! Combine that with the coupon code THANKYOU and you can save up to 28% off your must have resources! Grab up some products to get your through the rest of this year or stock up for next year! It's all good when there's a sale! 

...And because we know your feet are tired at the end of a long day (and your brain!), we made it easy to shop! All your favorite stores all in one location! 

Don't forget to use the coupon code: THANKYOU!

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