Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hopeless Homework Struggles.... Answered!

If you're like me- homework can really be a headache! Many times it doesn't come back to school due to lack of help or reinforcement at home. It is a constant struggle between finding something that will really be effective, but also something that the students will be able to complete independently without much help. As we all know- and research proves- it is so important for children to be reading every day and night. After all, practice helps to make perfect, right?!

When I first started teaching, I sent home a simple reading log-- you know the one. Children write the title of the book they read, log the time spent reading, etc. Later I realized and asked myself, what are the kids really getting from this? Half of them weren't even reading anyway! How would I know if they just listed books that were on their bookshelves without even touching them, much less reading them! And let's be real... how many of us really have the time to pull each student aside and conference with them about their homework while we're working with small guided reading groups and performing individual reading conferences from in class reading?!

Then came at home reading journals. Students each had a spiral notebook with lovely little reading reflection prompts glued in the front. Alright- all my problems would be solved! The students would be held accountable for their reading, and they would learn to love it by choosing what they wanted to write about it at home! YESSSSS! Welp- didn't take long for this to be a bust, too. The lovely littles would choose the same prompt every night.... even with me telling them that wasn't ok and implementing a "Write it Once and Done/Week" rule. Little stinkers!

This year, after trying several other ways, I decided to create reading logs based on what we were working on that week. The students shouldn't need too much help since they were practicing the strategies and using them everyday in class. So not only were they now REALLY READING at home, but they were getting reinforcement of the current strategies as well. How awesome is that!

After a few months of using these logs, I can honestly say I have NEVER in 10 years of teaching, seen my students do so wonderfully on their homework reading. So thrilled with these! See for yourselves..... please disregard the wrinkly papers.... Lord knows what they've been through! HA!

If you like these reading logs, they are available at my TPT store by clicking on the link below. :) 

Get my Reading Logs 

Thanks for reading! :) 

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Analyzing of my favorite skills to teach! I love watching my students infer great traits to describe their characters, and then provide awesome evidence to back it up. It always amazes me how when we begin the unit, their favorite words are nice and mean, and by the end of our study they have a plethora of descriptive words from uncooperative to humble. 

To introduce the skill, I always begin discussing the difference between physical traits- how a person or character is on the outside, and character traits- which describe a person on the inside. We then think about words that would describe ourselves- physical and personality. As we were in the middle of a class discussion- the idea for #SecretSelfie came to me....because kids love to tell about themselves, and they love to play games! What better way to learn about inferring character?! 

Each student was asked to describe their physical traits as well as their character traits and provide examples of how they believe they possess those certain personality traits. Once students finished their descriptions, I taped their "selfie" to the back of their papers. I numbered each paper and hung them around the room. 

The students took clipboards and were then on a mission to infer which of their classmates fit each description. They had tons of fun guessing who their friends were, and we learned a lot about each other, too! Apparently the skill was one that stuck with them well because our class received a 100% on character trait questions on our last district assessment! Whoot whoot!! 

 If you are interested in learning more about #SecretSelfie and using it in your classroom, visit my TPT Store by clicking the product below!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Year, New Look, New Adventures!

Happy 2015-2016 school year! I'm so glad to be back in the swing of things...or getting close to being back in the swing of things anyway, and I hope you are too. I'm also so excited about my new blog look! I'm in love with how fresh and bright my page turned out to be. Thank you so much Chalk and Apples! I am hoping with this new bright and sparkly look I'll be more likely to update my page more than once a month. ;)

While we're on the subject of newness... I made the very hard decision this summer to make a BIG change. After spending 9 years teaching in Duval County at the same sweet school, I made the decision (after much persuading from a dear friend who had already made the move) to transfer to not just a new school, but a new county all together. I am now teaching 3rd grade Reading/Language Arts in Clay County about 25 minutes from my former school.  It has been a bittersweet experience for me. I love my new school home and I am excited about all of the things I am going to learn and the new people I will meet, but I will always miss and be forever grateful to the teachers who helped me start out and shape me into the teacher I am today.

I'd be honored if you'd accompany me on this new journey as I start blogging again about my new classroom adventures with a little bit of sass and a whole lot of sparkle!

(.... a peek into my PORTABLE. Yes- you read me right. I am in a portable this year. It's not as bad as I thought it would be though..... stay tuned for a more detailed classroom tour soon!)