Sunday Sharing- What I'm Teaching in December!

Seriously, it's almost December!? That means we are {almost} half-way through the year! CRAZY!
The month of December is probably my all time favorite month of teaching! I absolutely LOVE all of the fun holiday activities! There are so many fun activities and just not enough time to do them all!

When we head back after Thanksgiving break, we only have 3 weeks (or 15 days) to get everything in! And considering how excited my firsties and sweet seconds are, that's not a whole lot of time! I try to incorporate fun thematic units into these 3 weeks to keep them engaged and make learning FUN (for all of us).

One of my favorite units to do during December (or January) is a Gingerbread unit! There is SO many standards based activities to do, so many books to read, and LOTS of fun crafts!

I've been doing a Gingerbread unit since my very first year teaching, and I still love it just as much! When I started teaching second grade, I created this fun {You Can't Catch Me!} unit that aligned to the Common Core standards! I needed something for my students to DO after we read each book instead of just completing a fun activity! 

I've also included not one, but TWO fun projects that students can complete at home! A Gingerbread Disguise activity and a How to Catch the Gingerbread Man activity! I can't wait to see the devices that students create to catch the Gingerbread Man! 

One of my all time favorite TPT authors is Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies! And, her Gingerbread unit does not disappoint! The crafts are THE cutest and I can't wait to have my firsties make their own Gingerbread Boy and Gingerbread Girl crafts this year! 

There are TONS of Gingerbread books to read! Here are some of my favorites! 

Head back to the Primary Peach for MORE December fun and freebies!


Teachers Turning THIRTY!!!

The time has come! I am officially turning THIRTY this month! I've got to be honest, I've got mixed feelings about this one! Not because I'm dreading getting older, but because of how incredibly fast the first thirty years have gone by! And, I know the next thirty years are going to go by even faster! Time flies when you're having fun!

This idea has been in my head for ahwile and my sweet friend and co-worker, Theresa from True Life I'm a Teacher, also turns thirty in November and she was super excited to jump on board!

Since turning THIRTY is so exciting we wanted to celebrate BIG! And of course invite all our friends to the party! We are hosting a {Teachers Turning Thirty} giveaway and giving away some of our favorite things! Some of our fabulous teacher friends joined in on the fun and are helping to make this fabulous giveaway even better!

We are giving away a $100 gift certificate to our most favorite shoes every- Tieks!! I have 4 pairs of these shoes and wear them Every. Single. Day. As teachers we are on our feet a lot, and these are trendy AND comfy! And, an absolutely amazing Koko necklace from Dreamy Dwellings Boutique in your choice of color! One of my FAVORITE necklaces EVERY!!! And, an amazing mini-facial kit from Rodan & Fields!!! Perfect to keep your skin fresh and young!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I mean seriously, these are some absolutely amazing educators that have joined in on our celebration!!!


What Writer's Workshop Looks Like in my Classroom!

Writer's Workshop USED to be my least favorite subject to teach. I. Hated. It. I had the most difficult time coming up with mini-lesson ideas and truly understanding what my students needed to become better writers.

Now, I absolutely LOVE teaching writing! I look forward to this time each day and hope to instill a love of writing in my little first grade writers!

In my classroom I follow the Writer's Workshop model. A mini-lesson, followed by independent writing, and end with Share Chair! This is definitely NOT perfect or anywhere near a model classroom, but this is what works for me!

My mini-lesson is always done whole group and lasts about 10-20 minutes, depending on exactly what we are discussing!  We usually meet at the Smartboard to go over our standard and then move to the carpet for the actual lesson and modeling. We always begin by unpacking the standard and students turn and talk about their expectations. This has really helped my students become better writers. They really understand what they are expected to do and can easily explain the standard to others.

After unpacking the standard, we begin our mini-lesson. This used to be really hard for me. I had a hard time knowing exactly WHAT to teach during my mini-lessons. I found some great resources that helped me plan out my instruction for each writing genre.

During my mini-lesson I usually create an anchor chart WITH my students. I keep all our anchor charts posted in our classroom so that students can use them while they are writing independently. I change these out as students need them!

I also make sure to MODEL, MODEL, MODEL! Whatever concept we are working on, I make sure to SHOW my students how to use it in their own writing. I also make sure to read aloud the words that I am writing on the chart paper, I will even make a few mistakes so that I am able to edit and revise my writing later!

After our mini-lesson, my students are ready to practice and write independently! 

Independent writing is what my students spend the most time doing during Writer's Workshop. We usually write for around 30 minutes. At the very beginning of the year we discuss what independent writing looks like and sounds like (which also becomes another anchor chart) and I set very high expectations for them during this time! I play classical music (Disney lullabys are my favorite) and they know that their pencils should be doing the talking! 

Each of my students has a Writer's Notebook. This is where ALL their rough drafts, anchor charts, standards, graphic organizers, etc. go! I've tried doing a writing binder and a writing folder in the past, but this has just worked best for me! There was always an abundance of paper with the folders and binders, and these notebooks stay pretty clean and organized! 

For the really important anchor charts, I create cute little mini versions for my students to glue in their Writer's notebooks. I LOVE when I spy them using them during Independent writing time! 

This is the time my students get to WRITE! This year, I have my students sit and write at their desks. In the past I have allowed them to find writing spots around the room. But, now that I use Daily 5 they are able to write around the room during Work on Writing, so I just have them stay at their desks for Writer's Workshop! 

Instead of having a designated Word Wall in my classroom, each of my students keep a Personal Dictionary in their desk. They are able to ask me to spell words for them when they are not able to stretch out their sounds and spell the words themselves. We also do an entire mini-lesson on "Writer's Spell the Best They Can" at the beginning of the year and I introduce their dictionaries. 

It seems like I always have a few students who use them religiously, and a few students that never touch them! No matter what, I think it's a great resource! I included {special} pages in the back for calendar words, color words, number words, etc. that my students can use throughout the day, not just during writing. 

While my students are writing independently, I use this time to conference with them individually and in small groups! 

Sometimes I pull students to my table to work with them, and sometimes I complete drive-by conferences and travel around the room with my notebook and conference bag! 

I LOVE having this notebook full of all my notes when report card time rolls around! Makes writing comments MUCH easier! 

You can grab the editable notebook covers here

Inside my notebook, I keep notes pages to keep track of what I conference about with each student. I also have one for math and reading! You can grab these freebies here

After independent writing, my students are ready to share their writing with the class! 

During our Share Chair time, my students share their writing with the class. This usually only lasts about 5 minutes. We either meet back at the carpet or I have my students stay at their desks, it just depends on how much time we have left. I usually choose which of my students share, based on who I conferenced with that day or who I noticed did a good job with what we were working on during our mini-lesson. I always try to relate it back to our mini-lesson or something that we've been working on during Writer's Workshop. 

I had THE cutest little white rocking chair to use as my share chair, but when I was out on maternity leave a couple of years ago it broke. Very sad! I haven't found a new chair that I absolutely LOVE yet, so my students either sit in my rocking chair or on one of our buckets that we usually keep near the computers. 

Do you use the Writer's Workshop model in your classroom? What are some of your favorite writing resources? Make sure to leave your favorite resources in the comments!

Stay tuned for some more of my favorite mini-lessons for Writer's Workshop and how I teach Personal Narratives! 

For even more ideas and resources, make sure to follow Teaching with Crayons and Curls on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers


Trendy Teachers-November Edition!

Hello!!! Welcome to the November edition of the Trendy Teachers link-up! The girls and I have decided to make this link-up a monthly link-up instead of a weekly link-up! So, now you have the entire month of November to share your favorite looks this month!

Here are some of my favorites recently! You'll notice how Atlanta weather is completely CRAZY! One day it is freezing and fall weather, and the next day it feels like summer! I've been so thankful for my denim jacket which has been the perfect layering accessory lately!

This amazing statement necklace is my new favorite and it's under $60!!! Great idea to add to your Christmas lists!! 

Dress     |     TJMaxx
Shoes     |     Tieks
Necklace     |     Stella & Dot 

Shirt     |     Old Navy
Necklace     |     Stella & Dot 

Dress     |    Old Navy
Necklace     |     Stella & Dot 

Dress     |     LOFT
Denim Jacket     |     Gap
Necklace     |     Stella & Dot 

Make sure to join in on the fun during the month of November! Post your favorite looks in and out of the classroom!


Music in the Classroom: Another Reason to LOVE Amazon!

Dear Amazon, 
I Love You! 

I'm addicted to music AND I'm addicted to Amazon, so you can only imagine how excited I was when I realized that my Amazon Prime membership came with an Amazon Music membership that I could use in and out of the classroom!

I love playing music in my classroom whether it's classical music, holiday music, or fun kids songs! It seems that I always have some type of music playing while my students are working. At the beginning of my teaching career I would download music onto cd's and play them on my cd player. I can't tell you how many cd's have been scratched and don't work anymore. Then, I started using Pandora on a regular basis. However, I was always very nervous about the advertisements and didn't want to pay for a membership.

I have had an Amazon Prime membership for the last few years but haven't really used it for much more than free shipping. Until NOW! I'm pretty sure I've used my Amazon Music account Every. Single. Day. since I realized how amazing it is and all it has to offer! This makes the price of a prime account even more worth the yearly membership fee!

Once you login to your Amazon Prime account, there are wo different places that you need to visit- Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Library.

In Amazon Prime Music, you are able to search TONS of different artists and albums.

I love the fact that brand new music in included in this, not just older stuff. Like, the brand new Adele song! You can choose to purchase the songs or albums and download them onto your computer and any device OR you can add them to your music library. So far I haven't actually purchased any music, just added tons of music to my library.

Once you are in your music library you can choose to play songs from various stations, your library, Prime playlists, or your own playlists. At home, I've played around with different stations (LOVE the Taylor Swift station). These stations are really similar to stations on Pandora. In my classroom I really enjoy listening to Prime playlists and listening to my own created playlists. You can add music from your library into your own playlists.

I created an entire Disney Lullaby playlist that I love playing during Writer's Workshop or anytime my students are working quietly. When my students are working on something fun and I don't mind if they are talking to each other, I love to play Kidz Bop songs! There is a Prime Playlist and I created my own from some of the Kidz Bop albums!

It was also perfet for Halloween to play the Kids' Halloween playlist! It's so nice knowing there aren't going to be any inappropriate advertisements! I can't wait to use it during December!!

So, seriously Amazon. I love you so much, but you NEED to offer a Prime membership for teachers. Anybody else agree!?

I hope you LOVE playing around with Amazon Music and enjoy using it in your own classrooms!

For even more ideas and resources, make sure to follow Teaching with Crayons and Curls on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers