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Clutter Free Classroom Catch Up & freebie!

I haven't been keeping up with the Clutter Free Classroom project but I have been busy organizing! 

Week 8's challenge was organizing and storing thematic units.  A few days ago, I posted about the new containers I bought.  Here one is with it's label: 
I don't do thematic units but I'm using these bins to store all the wonderful resources I get from all of you as well as seasonal books: 

Week 4 was all about the teacher's desk....Here is my desk before: 
Everything was just thrown in.  I don't really use my desk drawers so I should probably get rid of it BUT all the furniture in my school is accounted for right now so I have nothing to replace it with. 
I took everything out of my desk drawers and threw stuff away:
 I organized what was left in small bins: 
The green basket contains my extra supplies like markers, pencils, post it's, Velcro, highlighters and I threw some stickers on top for quick access.  Next to that, I have a box of "teacher tissues".  In the back of the drawer, I have a blue bin full of rewards for my students.  I got rid of my prize bin but I do need to keep some incentives on hand.  There are bookmarks, play-dough, and glow sticks in that basket.  I put a bag full of teacher stamps on top (sign and return etc...).  Next to the blue basket, I put extra folders, card stock, Ziploc bags and page protectors.
My top drawer (not pictured) has my binder rings, clips, label maker, index cards and band aids...the things I use everyday.  

I also worked on straightening some shelves in my room: 
I'll leave you with a freebie.  Remember my daily materials labels?
Click the picture to grab yours!  I just have one little request - I'm almost to 100 followers so if you download the freebie, follow my blog (if you don't already) Thanks!!

1 hour Delay!

Today we had our first one hour delay!  We have had NO snow days or delays (until now) this year and it is making these winter months feel looonnnggg.  So what did I do during my extra hour?  Naturally, I went here:

and bought this (among other things):
Merona® Twill Casual Double-Breasted Coat-Blue Polka-Dot
I can't resist polka dots! 

I also grabbed Starbucks of course! 

When I got to school, I realized there is an assembly today so my entire FRIDAY morning is free!  What a great end to a short week.
Happy Friday Everyone!

Strategy Sunday: Error Detection

I have been going through all of my grad school notes and finding a lot of reading strategies that I had forgotten about.  I thought I would share some of the strategies here in case any of you could use them.  

Today's strategy is called Error Detection.  

Purpose: To help students develop self-correction strategies - the words need to look right AND make sense. 

-Familiar Text
-Pocket Chart
-Sentence Strips
-Word Cards

How to do it: 
1. Rewrite the familiar text (or part of it) on sentence strips.
2. Cut each word apart and put them in order in the pocket chart.
3. Replace a few words from the familiar text with new words that wouldn't make sense in context.  For example, replace cat with chicken.  
4. Read it with the class and model how to read for understanding.  "Chicken doesn't make sense in this story! What should be there?"  As the students get used to this activity, they will find the errors on their own.  

I haven't used this strategy yet so no pictures.  I am going to introduce this strategy this week with a very simple snowman poem that I found on Deanna Jump's site.  I will add pictures after the lesson! 

Pinterest Update

I had a Reading/Writing board on Pinterest and I decided to separate them into two boards.  Now I have a new Writing board.  I will be deleting the writing pins from the Reading board soon so make sure you go follow the new writing board!  Enjoy your Monday!

3 Year Portfolio

As I said in an earlier post, I have a lot of stuff going on right now, including a portfolio.  Misty from Think, Wonder, & Teach asked me to post what is in my portfolio.  I'm hoping writing this post will give me the inspiration/motivation to finish it!
(Sorry - some pics are sideways and I don't know how to turn them)

As a part of the tenure & mentor process, we were asked to do a 3 year portfolio.  There are 8 areas that we need to work on and show proficiency in:
1.  Content Knowledge
2. Planning and Preparation
3.  Instructional Delivery
4. Classroom Management
5. Student Development
6. Student Assessment
7. Collaboration
8. Reflective and Responsive Practice

The district has rubrics for each of these 8 areas.  Each year we are to pick 2 or 3 to focus on.  At the end of the year, we write a reflection on those 2 or 3 areas.
The portfolio itself has a set of 8 tabs for each year which oddly enough are not the same as the 8 areas above!  My 8 tabs are:

1. Reflections - for the areas we chose to focus on that year

2. Sample Lesson Plans 
I include a week of plans with a few samples of student work from that week.  Obviously, the plans in my portfolio are completed but I can't share them for confidentiality. 

3. Sample Student Work
Anything that looks impressive, shows a lot of growth, or things I made like this sight word book:

4. Sample Assessments 
I choose one student and put all their progress monitoring sheets, anecdotal notes, etc in

5. Additional Artifacts
This is where I put pictures of classroom, students working, field trips, welcome letters etc...
 Class Jobs
 Objectives posted in the room
Bulletin Board with a student created rubric

6. Observations & Evaluations - all official evaluations
7. Workshops - a list of professional development workshops
8. Rubrics - where we are evaluated on those initial 8 areas

I hope that this helps any of you who are trying to put together a portfolio with little to no guidelines!  

Center Organization

If you are like me, you have collected hundreds of freebies and activities from blogs.  I have quite a collection of holiday-themed games laying around now and I wasn't really sure how to store them.  I keep all my centers in  9x12 envelopes as many of you do.  I'm not sure if this is my favorite way to keep all the pieces together but it's not not working so I'm sticking with it.  
While I was at Target today I found the cutest containers.  
They are chevron stripe containers that are big enough to fit a TON of my activity envelopes. 
 I've been obsessed with chevron stripes lately so I bought one to try it out.  I always regret buying just one container...I'm already planning my trip back to get more.  
I plan on having a container for Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec, Jan/Feb/March, April/May/June so 4 total.  There is room for a ton of envelope activities & seasonal books, and manipulatives on the side.  All of my seasonal materials will be off my shelves and out of the filing cabinet which will open up some room.  I can also store these in my basement easily and just switch them out every few months if I get moved back into a closet room.   These would be great for science units or themed units as well.  

On a completely different note, I know many teachers have laminators at home.  I have the scotch thermal one and I love it but the pouches are expensive.  
Royal Sovereign Laminating Pouches - 200 ct.
These are at Sam's club - 200 pouches for $20!  I actually bought a different brand but they were the same price for 200.  If you have a membership, it's worth checking them out! 

I just realized that this post fits with Week 5 of the Clutter Free Classroom project!  Click on the image below to join in!

Terrible Blogger

I feel like I've been a terrible blogger lately!  These have been the craziest few weeks ever.  In a span of about 2-3 weeks I've had to write 10 IEP's, go to 10 CSE meetings, set up and attend 3 parent meetings, write 40 progress notes, fill out forms for my midyear evaluation, and do a write up about how my yearly goal is progressing.  Throw 2 grad classes, an observation, and tenure paperwork (including compiling a 3 year portfolio) in there somewhere too!  Luckily, everything but the grad classes and tenure paperwork is done now!  

On a different note, my fifth graders REALLY do not get cause and effect relationships.  As I was thinking of some activities to help them with it, this came up on my Pinterest feed: 

I love pirate themed anything and it's FREE!  Go grab your copy at Pitner's Potpourri (click on the picture to be taken to the post).  


I've been tagged!


Thank you to Kara at Sped-ventures for awarding me the Liebster Blog Award!!

I've been tagged by Kim at Joy in 6th AND Ms. D at The Superlative Six AND Haley at Following Optimism!
 Superlative Six 

Here are the rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

My 12 Random Facts:
1. I ALWAYS play rain sounds at night to help me sleep.
2. I had not one but 2 grad classes last night and I'm really wondering why I am doing this to myself.
3. I drive a honda civic.
4.  I could live on Mexican food.
5. I lived in southern California until right before 9th grade (probably why I love Mexican food so much).
6. Everytime I fly I pack Mint Milano cookies...I only eat them while traveling.
7. I currently have a cold (I said these would be random facts).
8. I'm finishing this post during my prep time.
9. If it's above 55 degrees outside, I wear flip flops <3
10. I love Coach bags...I can't stop buying them.
11.  My favorite new show is New Girl.
12.  is a hilarious website you should check out if you haven't already.

Here Are My Questions from Joy
1.  What is your favorite Starbucks beverage (in case I'm in your neighborhood and I'm bringing you a treat!)? 
Iced Venti Nonfat White Mocha :)

2.  Book, Nook, Kindle, iPad, book on CD, other?  What is your favorite way to enjoy a new book? 
Books on CD.  I like listening to stories while I drive.
3.  If you weren't a teacher, what career would be your second choice?  
I would like to be an interior decorator, however, I don't know if I would be good at it. 
4.  What is the first subject you plan for when you start your lesson plans for the upcoming day?
I don't have an order for planning.  I just do whatever comes to me first.

5.  If you have traveled, what is your favorite country to visit?  If you haven't had the opportunity (or if you have!) what country would you most like to visit?
I really want to go to England.
6.  Have you been a principal?  Would you ever want to be?
Nope...I really don't want that pressure (not that I don't have enough already).  
7.  What dessert would you choose in a fancy restaurant?'s one of my favorite foods.  
8.  What's the most adventurous/daring/exciting thing you have ever done (that you can blog about!)?
Most of the time, I'm a pretty boring person.  There are a few things I've done that were "adventurous" but I can't blog about them :)
9.  If you slept in "late" one morning, what time would it be?
Noon...I LOVE sleeping.

10.  Do you still read magazines?  What's your favorite?
I read celebrity gossip magazines...I don't really have a favorite one.

11.  Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets? 
Sunsets, I am not a morning person!

12.  What brings you JOY?
My kittens Ally & Waffles

Ms. D's 12 Questions in "Favorite..." format:
1.) Place to be?
At home in my PJ's....I'm live a really exciting life haha

2.) Memory teaching?
A student who worked for an entire year on subtracting with regrouping finally got it! I cried I was so excited!

3.) Animal?
Big Cats (tigers, lions)
4.)Time of the school day?
8:20...before the students arrive and everything is quiet.

5.) Breakfast food?
Breakfast Pizza...I know it's not available everywhere but if you have a chance to try it - you should!
6.) Way to de-stress?
7.) Place to Blog?
The couch
8.) State?
I've lived in CA and NY and I honestly couldn't choose between them.  
9.) School supply?
10.) Dessert?
11.) Color?

12.) Item in your home?
My laptop

My Questions from Haley:

1.  What is your favorite place to eat?
Coralles in California...I miss it!
2.  What is your favorite accessory?
My Tiffany's bracelet
3.  What is your favorite game to play?
Apples to Apples
4.  When you aren't blog stalking, how do you spend your time?
Doing school work or watching tv shows on Netflix...boring I know!
5.  Do you pack your lunch, or do cafeteria food?
A mix
6.  Do you prefer a paper book, or a Nook/Kindle?
paper books
7.  How long do your morning announcements last?
About 3 minutes
8.  If you could have any car, what would you have?
An Audi Q5
9.  Do you have more boys or girls in your class?
10.  Biggest indulgence?
Not sure..
11.  Are you a cat or dog person?
12.  Any big plans for "our summer off?"
No :(

I'm not going to pass this on because I am ridiculously busy right now (Sorry!).  Tonight I need to finish my 40 progress notes and 10 IEPs that I have been working on the last week or so.  In the next few weeks, I'll be working on my 2 grad classes, tenure paperwork, tenure portfolio, and more IEPs.  

A HUGE thanks again to Kara, Kim, Haley & Ms. D!