Powered by Blogger.

Cute and Comfortable Personalized Teacher Shoes

As teachers we are on our feet all day long. And not on comfy padded flooring, but on really hard 
concrete floors. I learned early on in my teaching career how important it was to purchase quality,
comfortable shoes! However, as someone that loves fashion it's also very important to me to 
purchase shoes that are not only comfortable, but also fashionable!  I was so excited when I found T&N shoes!

T&N shoes are made of high quality leather that is so buttery soft! This incredibly soft leather makes them super comfortable to wear throughout the school day!

The soles on the bottom of the shoes are extremely unique! They help to make the shoes even more comfortable and easy to stand on that hard concrete floor throughout the school day!

These shoes are absolutely beautiful. I love the classic ballet flat style that can take you from the classroom during the day, to dinner in the evening, to a wedding on the weekend! Truly perfect for any occasion and they are easy to dress down or dress up!


For my first pair I chose the Robin's Egg Blue. I love this whimsical color that can be worn year round. I paired it with skinny jeans and a leopard print vest in the fall and I can't wait to pair them with a flowy white dress in the spring!

One of my FAVORITE elements of these shoes is the ability to personalize them! I live in the south and absolutely LOVE a monogram on anything and everything! You are able to personalize them with initials, a date, or Greek letters! So many options to truly make them your own!  

I chose to go with my initials for my first pair! However, it'd be so cute to personalize them with your birthday or anniversary! What a great gift!

There are so many different styles to choose from! Click here to see all the different choices!

Want to try a pair for yourself? Use the discount code CD20 for 20% off of your purchase until December  30, 2018

Want to save these shoes for later? Make sure to pin the image below!

Promote Reading at Home with Ready-to-Read Books!

This post is sponsored by Simon & Schuster.

It's that time of year again, Parent-Teacher Conferences! It doesn't matter what school or grade I was teaching, I always had parents ask me ways that they could help their child at home with reading and/or great books to purchase for their child for home. I am so excited to be partnering with Simon & Schuster to share their Ready-to-Read book series!

As a teacher and a parent, I am always looking for ways to promote reading at school and at home!  I also know how hard it can be to get your own children excited to read! Here are some ideas for parents to get their children reading at home!

Whether I was sharing a child's Fountas & Pinnell reading level, their Lexile range, or a score on an online reading assessment, parents would always want to leave the conference with ideas for books that their child could read at home. Ready-to-Read books make a GREAT recommendation because no matter the level, from pre-readers to more advanced readers there is a Ready-to-Read book for everyone!

The Pre-Level One books are perfect for my four-year-old daughter. They really help her with concepts of print and allow her to become interested in reading. I love reading them to her at home cuddled up in her bed!

The Level Three books are great for my son who is in second grade! Camden loves to read independently but can be pretty picky with books. The Ready to Read books are great for readers like him because they have so many different options! From favorite characters like Batman (affiliate link)  to non-fiction texts like True Colors! The Story of Crayola (affiliate link)!

Since there are five different levels and you can buy these books at so many different places, including Amazon, they are a great recommendation for parents! To learn more about Ready-to-Read books, visit their website!

As a teacher, I always discuss HOW important it is for parents and their children to be reading together at home. However, as a parent I completely understand how difficult that can be some nights! From doing homework, to cooking dinner, to sports practices, it's just hard to get it all in! As a teacher, I always wanted to make it as easy as I could for parents to not only read with their child, but also talk about what they are reading! As teachers we know that reading is so much more than just reading the words on the page!

These little bookmarks are a great tool that parents can use when they are reading fiction and non-fiction Ready-to-Read books and having a discussion with their child! It's a great tool to give them during your Parent-Teacher Conference! Grab them FREE here

I'm going to be honest, I am not a fan of reading logs at all. I truly don't believe in making reading a chore, I feel that it should be done for pleasure and recreation. On the other hand,  I do believe that in order for children to become better readers, they need to be reading. I just don't feel like making them (or their parents) record the books they are reading each night is helpful! I started using these simple reading logs that my students were responsible for each month! Instead of having their parents try to remember to write down the title of the book each night, my students just had to color in a picture for each book (or chapter) they read throughout the month! It allowed my first graders to become more independent and really take responsibility of their reading and homework! 

I hope your students (and parents) LOVE reading Ready-to-Read books at home as much as mine do!

Want to save these ideas for later? Make sure to pin the image below!

Four Simple Ways to Maximize Instructional Time

First things first, to REALLY maximize instructional time in your classroom, it is so very important to set up clear expectations and procedures for pretty much EVERYTHING! Your classroom will not run smoothly and efficiently if you do.not have expectations and procedures put into place. And, you can't just TELL students what they need to do. You need to model it, model it, and then model it some more. And practice, practice, and practice some more. Once you have these little things, like asking to go to the bathroom or sharpening a pencil put into place, your classroom will be much more manageable and you'll have way more time to spend on the important things!

Even if you didn't focus on them as much as you think you should have the beginning of the year, it will never ever hurt to go back to them! A long weekend, a break, when a student moves or comes in, review them again and again!

Of course, setting up expectations and procedures takes a lot of time! But, I promise it's worth it! I love using a simple PowerPoint to go over all my routines and procedures with my students at the beginning of the year! I love adding pictures of them actually completing the procedures correctly into the slideshow and then revisiting it throughout the year! Then, you can even make them into little booklets to keep at students' desks or tables!

Although expectations and procedures are super important, they do take a lot of time! So, here are four SIMPLE ways to maximize instructional time!

Whether it's a doorbell, a song, a chant, or a clap- transitions help make things easier! In my classroom, we chose a certain song and my students knew that when they heard that song it was time to clean up and meet me back on the carpet. Of course, this definitely goes back to those expectations and procedures that you have to go over explicitly! Just having a transition won't help you maximize instruction time if you don't have procedures for your students to follow!

One way that I love playing music in my classroom is using Amazon Prime Music! If you've got a Prime account, it's a great way to listen to awesome music with your subscription! You can read more about how I use it in my classroom here! This allows you to choose from a TON of different songs for your transition music!

For those times that you don't need to actually have your class clean up but just want to get their attention, using a specific signal like chimes or a wireless doorbell (affiliate link) can work great! It's just important that your students know exactly what to do when you make the signal! Otherwise you'll be waiting forever for all their little faces to look up at you! 

There is SO much to do during the day and it's so hard to get it all in. I really struggled with this as a teacher because it was so hard to stop working on something and move onto the next thing if my students weren't quite finished! I also really struggled with getting in the closing of my lessons, but again, those closing are so very important! In order to help with this I started using a timer (affiliate link) to help keep me on track! This little thing came in really handy when I was working with groups!

Another way to maximize the time you have with your students is to make sure that THEY are organized and can easily find their materials! In the elementary classroom it can be hard when you're teaching all the subjects to transition between lessons and activities. Even giving simple directions to primary students can be extremely challenging and take up lots of time! I love color coding ALL the supplies to make it super easy for students to find exactly what they need and not waste a lot of time!

In my classroom I used composition books for literally EVERYTHING! However, since they all looked the same it was so frustrating when students couldn't find the correct notebook to pull out of their desks! It helped SO much to color code them for each subject and put a key in my classroom so that students could easily remember that when we were completing a reading activity they needed their blue notebook! 

Using color coded covers helped save a ton of time throughout the year!

It also helps to have students supplies easily accessible! I have always allowed my students to keep some supplies in their desks and community supplies in caddies. I am absolutely in LOVE with these organized caddies from A Primary Kind of Life

Reading a new book? Have your book ready to go! Creating a new anchor chart?  Make sure the paper and markers are ready! Passing out a worksheet? Have it right beside you! It's so important to go ahead and have all your materials that you need for a lesson prepped and ready to go BEFORE you actually start teaching! I'm not going to lie and say that I haven't been the teacher that has to pause a lesson to go get my copies out of my weekly bins or go find a specific marker, but being prepared makes things SO much better! As soon as your students know that you are OFF, even just a little bit- THEY are going to be off! Then it takes longer to get them back on track!

I hope these four simple tips help you maximize instructional time in your classroom!

Want to save these ideas for later? Just Pin the image below! 

Launching Writer's Workshop in the Primary Classroom

Teacher Truth- I used to despise teaching Writer's Workshop. I understood the structure of the workshop model and the focus of each grading period, however, I didn't really know WHAT to teach each day during my mini-lessons. Fast forward a couple of years, and I had an amazing opportunity to visit an amazing teacher's classroom and observe her in action and I fell in love with her writing instruction! And then the next year, my amazing team and I decided to each tackle one subject and share our plans. I chose writing (even though it still wasn't my favorite) so I could spend more time learning about teaching writing and *hopefully* fall in love. It worked!

Now that I LOVE writing, I wanted to share what I currently do to launch Writer's Workshop! I've taken pieces from what I love from different resources to make what works for me and my students. This post is a little peek into my mini-lessons, anchor charts, and mentor texts that I love! I posted them in the order that I usually teach each lesson, however you can change them around to make it work for you and your group of writers! For each lesson I shared an example of an anchor chart! In my classroom, I always prepped the anchor charts with the title and an image first, but added the content WITH my students during the mini-lesson!  The books that I have posted are linked to my Amazon affiliate store. If you purchase them through the link, I will receive a small commission!

This might just be one of the most important lessons to launch Writer's Workshop because it explains exactly what it is and what students can expect from their teacher and their own expectations. This is always the very first lesson that I teach when beginning Writer's Workshop and I love using the pie chart as a great visual! I begin this mini lesson using the book Arthur Writes a Story to get my little writers thinking about writing! 

After we complete the large anchor chart together, my students completed their own mini-anchor chart to glue in their writer's notebooks! I love using these mini-anchor charts because my students can reference them at anytime, even if the large anchor chart is not visible in our classroom anymore! 

After this lesson, I continue to follow this model for our writing instruction each and everyday! The independent writing time is always the most important and longest part of our writing time! 

For the next mini-lesson, we discuss WHAT writers actually write! Some groups do a great job at brainstorming different types of writing, while others need a little push! This would be a great mini-lesson to bring out different types of writing to show your little writers! Think cookbooks, Christmas cards, printed e-mails, grocery lists, newspapers, magazines, etc. You can put all these items in a basket to have your writers explore independently, or pull them out while you are making your list as a class! 

After creating a list as a class, students can either create their own list OR they can simply glue in a similar list into their writer's notebooks or folders!

This is another important mini-lesson! It really allows your little writers to think about WHY writers write and why they should write!  I love using the book Author A True Story by Helen Lester because it is a story from an author's point of view and allows writers to hear why an actual author chose to write!

In my experience, sometimes writers have a difficult time determining WHY they write and might need some guidance to brainstorm ideas for the anchor chart!

This particular mini-lesson sets up your expectations for HOW students behave during Writer's Workshop. Using the book Ralph Tells a Story, you can show students what not to do during writing time. This really allows them to brainstorm ideas of what they should be doing during writing! 

I always teach this lesson right after the {What Good Writers Do} lesson because it always focuses on writing behaviors. For this particular lesson, I reference back to Ralph Tells a Story to help my writers determine what writing should look like, sound like, and feel like in our classroom! 

For this mini-lesson, I always ask my writers what our classroom would look like, sound like, and feel like if one of our administrators walked into our classroom during writing time. Depending on your class and group of writers, you could complete this in one lesson or split it up into three different lessons! 

This particular mini-lesson discusses the tools that writers need in order to write. I'm going to be honest, if I'm struggling with time this is probably the first lesson that I would cut out because you could also discuss it in the What Good Writers Do mini-lesson. But, this is a good lesson to go over all the tools that your students can use in your classroom and your expectations for using them. Writing journals or folders? Pencils, erasers, pens for editing? Extra graphic organizers, writing pages? Writing prompts? Word wall or personal dictionaries? There are TONS of writing tools for the writers in your classroom! It's really important to talk about your expectations and even discuss with your writers how they should set up their writing journal or folder! It's common for little writers to not able to keep their belongings organized, so this is a great lesson to really focus on that! 

Using the book The Day the Crayons Quit is a fun book to use for this lesson because you talk about what would happen if you didn't have access to certain writing tools! 

"Mrs. Dills, I'm done!" If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that statement, I would probably own my own island! I don't know what it is, but at the beginnin writers always think they are completely finished as soon as they finish with one writing piece! This anchor chart stays up in my classroom for a very long time and I reference it A LOT! 

This book is a great story to read for this mini-lesson because they are SUPER short stories and allows you to discuss how writers could add lots of details to complete their story!. 

Then, you could discuss what else writers could do when they think they are done! Because of course, they've really just begun! 

In my first and second grade classroom, it was very common for my writers to freeze when they couldn't spell a word correctly- especially at the beginning of the year! Some would ask how to spell the word and some would just sit there and not write anything else! This mini-lesson really focuses on stretching out their words the best that they can instead of focusing on spelling the word perfectly. For this mini-lesson, I don't read a mentor text but instead I really focus on modeling how to stretch out words by listening for each sound and then writing them down. 

I go over each step with the students and then model writing my own story using this strategy. 

There are times that my writers still have a difficult time stretching out words for their writing, so during this lesson I also give them a personal dictionary. I didn't have a word wall in my classroom, but instead each of my students received a personal dictionary to keep in their desks. I like printing this 2 pages to a sheet and allowing them to keep it in a pocket in the back of their writing journals or folder! 

And FINALLY, it's time to really dig into story writing! I absolutely LOVE hearing from my little story tellers and I really look forward to teaching them HOW to write a story! This can definitely be broken into multiple days if you want to focus on modeling each step! However, it can easily be taught in one lesson! A Squiggly Story is such a fun little book about a little boy that is learning how to express himself, just like your writers as they learn how to write a story! 

This is another important anchor chart that I refer back to a lot during my writing instruction. A lot of times writers want to skip right to the writing part, but it's important for them to realize that there is a process! This is a great introductory lesson to the writing process for your little learners! I model this a lot in my classroom! 

This lesson really focuses on allowing students to come up with their own ideas for writing. I teach this after the {How to Write a Story} lesson because then I can really focus in on the first point, which is thinking of an idea! I like to reference the book Ralph Tells a Story again because the character in that book really struggled with thinking of an idea to write. The character in The Best Story has a similar problem, but she figures out that she should write from her heart! 

After reading the book, we talk about what is in our heart. Then, we talk about maps and their purpose. It would be really great to show students a picture of an actual map during this lesson! Then, I begin creating my own heart map and have students create their heart maps to keep in their writing journals to use throughout the year! 

Oh my goodness! I always, always, always have writers that get stuck or frozen and just don't know what to do! Stuck is the cutest book about a little boy whose kite gets stuck in a tree and he is determined to get it out! 

For this mini-lesson, I really like having my students brainstorm ideas for what they can do when they get stuck during writing time! So the anchor chart will look different each year because it really depends on the ideas that the group comes up with! Then, during independent writing time my students get to practice using those ideas if they get stuck! 

This might be one of my FAVORITE writing mini-lessons, which is crazy because not a lot of writing actually takes place! This mini-lesson shows the importance of illustrations and having them match your words! All of these book options are great because they have very little or no words at all, and students have to look at each illustration to tell the story. 

For this particular mini-lesson, I did not create an actual anchor chart with the students. Instead, I drew a simple picture and had students tell me what was happening in MY story! Then, my writers had to do the same thing! I had their return to their desks and they drew a detailed illustration. Afterwards, in pairs, students had to look at each other's illustrations and try to explain what was happening just from their drawings. This really helped them see the importance of their illustrations! 

To introduce the Writing Process, I like reading the book Rocket Writes a Story and discussing each part with my writers.  Of course, this is truly just an introduction and students will not go through the entire writing process in one lesson! However, it is good that they have an understanding of each component and are aware of the process as they begin their writing units! 

I allow my writers to glue this mini-anchor chart into their writing notebooks so they always have a visual reminder of the writing process even if it is not currently displayed in our classroom!

After students have an understanding of the writing process, we spend more time on how writers can fix or "fancy" their writing using the book Fancy Nancy

Although we go over editing and revising in a mini-lesson, this is definitely not the last time that my writers are introduced to this concept. I model editing and revising throughout the entire year and they have A LOT of practice working independently, with writing partners, and during writing conferences! 

For these lesson ideas in one easy FREE document, click here or the images below!

For the mini-anchor charts click here or the picture below!

For the personal dictionary click here or the picture below!

For the FREE writing notebook cover and dividers click here or the images below!

For all of the subject covers click here or the image below!

For the books click here or the image below for my Amazon Affiliate storefront!

How do YOU launch Writer's Workshop in your classroom!? I hope this post gave you some ideas for your classroom! 

If you want to save these ideas for later, make sure to pin the image below!