What’s On Your Wishlist?


It’s almost Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale time!  Yay!  I’ve started moving things from my wish list to my cart and leaving feedback to collect those TpT credits for free money toward my gigantic cart of goodies!

I’m linking up with Amanda from Daisy Designs to share the most wishlisted items from my store.  You can grab them all for 28% off with the code CYBER2016 on Monday and Tuesday!

Plus, you can win a $50 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card and get your cart for free!  Click below to enter!


Now for the most wish listed items from my store!  Click the images to see each item in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


This product has everything you need to keep guided reading data and notes organized!  Printable sticky notes and labels for notes, editable binder covers, graphs and so much more!  Perfect for reading intervention, special ed or RtI progress monitoring!


A full two week non-fiction writing unit lesson plan and student research booklet.  Easy to implement and perfect for research in the primary grades!


It’s Pete the Cat…what’s not to love?  Two different versions – a cat with shoes or a cat with buttons – and two different sizes!  Perfect for cutting skills and practice following directions!

Be sure to check out the other great resources on sale this week over at Daisy Designs!

What’s on your wishlist?

Happy shopping!



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The Ultimate Guided Reading Data Binder

I just love Thanksgiving!  Family, friends, food and a day set aside to do nothing but enjoy them!  And I’m so thankful for teachers.  The ones I work with, the ones who have taught my daughter, and the ones I have connected with through social media and blogging have all brought so much joy to our lives.  SO, I’m joining some fabulous teachers to say THANK YOU!


You can enter to win one of 11 different $50 giftcards by clicking below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re also hosting an awesome sale with great products for only $1!  Search #ThankfulForTeachers on Teachers Pay Teachers to see everything that’s on sale!


Here’s a preview of what I have on sale today!


If you’re like me, you have tons of papers and notes about your students during guided reading, but just haven’t found the perfect way to keep them easily organized…until now!


I have a binder for each group.  I use a dry erase marker (or vis-a-vis so it doesn’t wipe off accidently) to write my current goal for each student right on the binder cover.


Then I add a post it note to each box so I am ready to take some quick notes about my students while they read.

Inside the binder I have a tab for each student and keep a page to put all my notes.


I have also found that large mailing labels make for an awesome way to take and organize reading group notes.


With my emergent readers I track known words in reading and writing.


During group on this chart so I can quickly prompt my students using the words they are familiar with and then weekly on these graphs so I can monitor their growth.


I also like to keep track of the books that each group has read.  It helps me to make connections between texts with that group and to remember which group has read which books – because somtimes all 5 groups start to run together a little bit, right?


I also have an option for full size note pages that provide space for multiple lessons.  These pages are also great for planning the elements you want to include in each small group lesson.

One of my favorite pieces of this binder – especially for my earliest readers – is this editable action plan!  It makes it easy to keep track of the skills that the student can control on their own and the things that I need to be sure to support.  I also track known words, letters and sounds, all in one place!  Now, it is a bit much to do for your whole class, but for your most targeted students, it’s a lifesaver, espcially if you’re looking to identify need for RtI!


This product also includes 4 different editable binder cover options in both color and black and white!


I’d love to hear how you keep your reading groups organized!



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Organizing Leveled Literacy Intervention Groups

This year, I’m a “Title Teacher.”  If you’re not familiar with this title, it means that I teach small group literacy intervnetion, funded by federal Title I money.  In my district these groups follow Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervnetion (LLI) and I push in to the third grade classrooms to teach.

Being new to this position, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get my supplies organized to teach in 3 different rooms.  After some trial and error, I have a system that’s working for me, and if you’re teaching LLI, or any push-in groups, I hope it’s helpful to you as well.


For starters, if you’re new to LLI, get your materials organized into the files!  I take absolutely no credit for this process – it was already done when I arrived at my school and I’m so thankful for it!


I use a binder clip with the group name on each file to keep track of which group I’m using it for.

Here’s what’s inside each file:


  • Four full color texts
  • Black and white keep books for the students to take (and in our case keep) at home
  • A copy of the lesson plans from the large manual (this is so helpful so you don’t have to drag that huge manual around!)
  • Running record forms and any other lesson materials (writing pages, word sorts, etc.)


Each week I pull the lesson files and organize them by group into these drawers.  Then it’s easy to just pull and go throughout the week!

title-group-basketsI keep a basket for each of my 5 groups.


Inside each basket I keep:

  • Student writing books
  • Old keep books as extra choices on running record days (when the students have more time for familiar reading beacuse I’m taking a running record and assessming comprehension)
  • A binder with all my group data


Our third graders have lockers that have a shelf across the top, which is perfect for storing my baksets!


(Almost) Everythig else I need for my groups I keep in this handy teacher tote.


This bag is the Tall Organizing Tote from Thirty-One, which I found with the help of my sweet friend Erin from Very Perry Classroom!  It’s pefect for carrying around school all day!


It fits everything I need to take from group to group and is wide enough to keep everything organized.


Here’s everyything I keep in my tote:

  • clipboard with a sheet to track which books each group has read
  • lesson files for each group
  • whiteboard for writing on during group
  • comprehension organizers – I love the organizers from Teaching In High Heels!  I keep an assortment in my bag and pull from them as needed.
  • a small pouch with various supplies: stickers, flashcards, notepaper, highlighter tape, etc.


The last bit of supplies I keep in the famous Target Dollar Spot spinning caddy.


So between the baskets, caddy and tote….plus necessary coffee, I am basically a bag lady running between rooms with my hands full all morning!  BUT my things are organized and easy to access!


With my hands (and heart) full, I am able to easily make each room feel somewhat my own and have everything I need easily at hand!


Are you teaching small group intervention or push-in groups?  I’d love to hear how you stay organized!


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Winner Wednesday {Polar Express Science}

Winner Wednesday Header

Ok, I know it’s only November 2, but I’m so excited about this Polar Express Science pack, I just can’t wait to share it, so I’m linking up with Sara from Sara J Creations and Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do for Winner Wednesday!


My class had an awesome time with these science labs on our Polar Express Day last year and I’m wishing I had my own classroom so I could do them again this year!

First up…frozen hot chocolate!

This one is super simple: Which will freeze first: hot chocolate, “cold chocolate” or water?

before freezing hot chocolate

I used a 6 cup muffin tin, so we decided to see if marshmallows changed the way our liquids froze.

Well…we put our liquids in the freezer and then got super involved in the train activities and waited too long to revisit them.

frozen hot chocolate results

Teacher fail: everything was frozen.  BUT the hot chocolate should actually freeze first – who would have thought?

hot chocolate results

Oh, well.  I’m putting it out there and owning my failed experiment.  Plus, I have a better plan in place for next time!  I would suggest doing the train activity in the same area as your freezer so you can check on your hot chocolate frequently and put your ice ramps back in the freezer while you work on the STEM extension.  My room is on the other side of the building so we went back to the room…which lead to over freezing and under freezing the ice ramps.

NOW for the REAL fun!

We tested trains on two different ramps: ice ramp and “tracks” (the cookie sheets I used to freeze the ice ramps) to see which train went fastest and which train went furthest.

This one takes a little (super easy!) prep…You will need to freeze the ice ramp the night before your investigation.  It worked best for me to put a cookie sheet in the freezer, then pour the water in to fill the sheet.

freezing train tracks

Make two ice sheets so you can make a ramp and a road at the bottom.

train track set up

I set my ramps up on laundry baskets, but you could use anything to prop them up!

holiday train hypothesisThe kids made their hypotheses and we tested to find results!

train race

I had one kiddo hold each train at the top of the ramp and simply let them go.  I wish you could see the expressions on their faces – priceless!

ice trains

We tested three times to make sure the results were consistent.  (Now would be the time to put your ice ramps back in the freezer while you’re kids record their results)

holiday train resultspolar express train results

The ice train got out of control (“controller” according to a bunch of my kiddos) each time, so even though it went faster it didn’t go nearly as far.

Next, we did a STEM type extension, which was even more fun!

Holiday train STEM supplies

I put out a hodge-podge of things and asked the kiddos to come up with a plan to help the train slow down.

They almost all wanted to try glue.  “It makes things sticky, so it should work!”

Holiday train STEM test

We now know that white glue will run straight off a ramp made of ice.  It also does not slow the train down at all.  It just makes the train covered in glue at the bottom.

Their next plan involved wrapping the ice in yarn, then pouring oil over it.  I have no idea why they thought the vegetable oil would work.  One kiddo finally spoke up and announced, “It’s not going to work!  Oil is only going to make the ice more slippery-er!”  No one changed their mind, they still wanted to try it.

STEM test

In the process of the yarn wrap, our ice got broken (hence, my suggestion that you put the ice back in the freezer between each step)!

Since our ice was broken, we abandoned our plan to test more solutions and I showed them what happened if we put salt on the ice.  Then we talked about how the bumps from the salt create friction to slow down the train.

Honestly, this was such a fun afternoon!  My kiddos were completely engaged and working like champs!

Want to win this lab booklet? Head over to Instagram and be sure to comment on the post there!

You can see my lab booklet on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking here.



Happy Holidays,


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Books for teaching voting and elections


It’s voting time and these are my favorite read alouds to pair with my voting unit!


Around America to Win the Vote by Mara Rockliff

Simply wonderful.  This book tells the story of two women working to earn the right to vote.  A little long for the primary grades, but the personal story makes the events come to life.  My own five year old daughter simply could not believe that there was time when girls couldn’t vote!


Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

A great book to discuss the election process, including the electoral college, when Grace’s school holds an election for President.


My Teacher for President by Kay Winters

Discuss traits of a great president with Olivier and his class as they explain why their teacher would be an ideal candidate!


Vote for Me!  by Ben Clanton

I love using this book to kick off my election unit.  My classes find it hilarious and it gives a nice introduction to the idea of campaigning for the vote.

1938063635Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak

A funny story that explains the voting process.  Monster decides to run for president and explains the voting process while learning some valuable lessons.


Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

Who doesn’t love Duck and his farm friends?  This funny story takes the farm to the campaign trail when Duck decides he wants to make some changes on the farm and beyond!


When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz

This story doesn’t actually have to do with elections, but it’s a funny story to pair with a discussion about the President and his (or her) job.  Penny’s mom works for POTUS, who Penny is pretty sure is a monster!  When she goes to work with her mom and finally gets to meet POTUS she gets a big surprise!


If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier

This story explains the voting process with details not often seen in other books, such as the process of selecting a running mate.  Entertaining and informative.


LaRue for Mayor by Mark Teague

If you love Ike and his letters for Mrs. LaRue, you’ll love this story.  A fun read aloud!

What are you reading this election season?


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