Monday Catch-Up

I’m feeling super productive today. Which is weird for two reasons. One, it’s Monday. Two, I had a slight meltdown this morning about not having centers prepared and a premonition that the district was coming to observe me (neither of which actually happened). So, I was basically WonderWoman during planning and for about an hour after the kids left. Here’s what today looked like:

FullSizeRender (30)

You know it’s going to be a good day when you get to wear a cute outfit you haven’t worn recently. Fall, I am embracing you with OPEN ARMS today. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ME. Seriously, though, the fact that I got to sleep with my windows open and that I could wear a scarf and not suffer from heat exhaustion makes my heart happy. So, a little #teacherstyleootd for you.

FullSizeRender (32)

This week, we’re starting our adjectives unit. It could be that premonition I mentioned earlier, but I had a random inspiration this morning to write different types of adjectives (colors, sizes, numbers, and emotions) on index cards and stick them under each student’s desk. They LOVED it! It was a great way to build background knowledge for them and get them moving around. I color-coded the words by what kind of adjective they are, so tomorrow we will sort them as a quick review/warmup.

FullSizeRender (34)

I’m not sure why that picture is so blurry. Oh well. Our classroom snapshots board is a place for hot topic anchor charts and student work. I took down our August work samples (character-building activities that went along with Chrysanthemum), and put up grammar anchor charts from the past couple of weeks along with our writing project from last week (How to Make Apple Pie booklets). I wrote my feedback for the booklets on a writing rubric (available here for free!) because I like to keep that private for each student. The kiddos worked so incredibly hard on their books, and they got to share them on Friday during our Grandparents’ Day celebration. Fun!

FullSizeRender (33)

Operation: Apple continues this week with a Science/Social Studies/Math integrated unit. Tomorrow, we’ll be reading Ten Apples Up on Top! and using the apples above to measure each other. Today, we talked about producers and consumers using apples. Because it is fall and apples have to be in EVERYTHING. #Ilovefirstgrade.

FullSizeRender (31)

And the real reason today was a good day? A student gave me this cookie. I think it’s a witch? Not sure if there is some subliminal meaning in it, but it was delicious. Probably because it was 98% sugar and 2% corn syrup and 100% adorable for her to give it to me. What other job can say that?

Blog signature


Totally Free Tuesday

Totally Free Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! The thought that tomorrow is hump day and the week half-over is lovely. This Tuesday I’m bringing to you a new product: my Writing Assessment Bundle for the Primary Grades. I talked last Friday on the blog about how intimidated I was by planning writing lessons for my grade level this quarter. After sitting down with the standards and district pacing guides and perusing the teacher blogosphere, I dove into it headlong and haven’t looked back since. My class’ motivation is my motivation here. 🙂 Each week, we delve into a new writing project. The first two weeks of school were devoted to creating biography class books about different students in our class. This week, we jumped into our first big project. After reading The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, we are working to write five steps for making apple pie. Each student will then make a mini-book with step-by-step directions. My hope is that on Friday (Grandparents’ Day!), we will be able to make our own apple pie. I still need to check if I can bring in my toaster oven for the project. Fingers are crossed! I know the project would bring writing, science, and math to life for the kiddos, so hopefully I can get the go-ahead.

Anyway, back to the (rather fast) evolution of this bundle. I needed a way to assess the students’ writing in a developmentally appropriate way that can play to each child’s strengths. At our school, first grade is the first year with numerical grades, and I didn’t want to use a rubric with a confusing format or weights that pretty much guarantee failure for the typical six-year-old. I also needed a quick conventions checklist to use for our SLO (Student Learning Objective) required by the district. Thinking I’d just go ahead and use what I had already created to develop checklists for use throughout the year, I made a list of the major writing projects primary students encounter. And that is what brings my bundle to you!

Writing Rubrics Cover

The bundle includes checklists for the following projects:

  • How-to
  • Persuasive/opinion
  • Personal narrative
  • Story
  • Informative

Each form also includes a student self-reflection. The bundle has a printer-friendly format of just student reflection sheets as well as a more broad conventions checklist for use across the curriculum. Also, you’ll find two checklists for each project. The first of each is for writing booklets of 1-3 sentences per page. The second is for all other projects.

Please download the product TODAY–it might not be free forever!–and please, please leave feedback so I can learn how to better serve my customers!

And remember what tomorrow is….

Blog signature

Five for Friday

Five for Friday Header

Fridays are for treats, jeans, and linky parties! Let’s go!


FullSizeRender (26) FullSizeRender (27) FullSizeRender (28)


Photoshoots with Molly

This dog. There were about ten more failed selfie attempts than just the ones I posted. She honestly looks like a Dementor in the first one. Apparently I taste delicious after a run? And apparently she just likes posing solo because I soon as I gave up on the selfie idea, she set herself up all nice and pretty.


Planning Writing Lessons

I won’t lie, when I elected to plan writing for the grade level at the beginning of the year, I was slightly terrified. I assumed that my firsties wouldn’t be able to write much more than a few words, but they have taken me by the most wonderful surprise. They are so amazingly motivated to write! When I taught third grade, the students seemed to have a lot less intrinsic drive to write and it could be hard to get them to. I’m finding that my babies take an idea and run with it, even those who can’t quite form all of their letters yet. I use a highlighter to write what they dictate and they trace over it. I realize this is definitely not a new idea, but it’s new to me and I LOVE IT! Hopefully we can wean ourselves off the highlighters soon!


Finally Feeling Organized

I feel like I hit my rhythm this week. I haven’t been having to get to school quite so early and I haven’t been having to stay quite so late. The kiddos are also finally starting to move through transitions and assignments a bit more quickly (small victories)! The loveliest thing, though, is that I actually put file folders in my file cabinet. Yes. I know. I am an organization genie. Really though, I was just tossing extra papers and master copies in a cabinet because I didn’t have the brainpower or energy to organize them all, but this week I finally gathered the courage to set up big folders and subfolders. I also made tubs for each math area to hold ready-to-go centers. It’s the little things.


FullSizeRender (29)

Finally Owning Real Boots

As a girl who isn’t originally from the South, I have never owned “true” cowboy boots. I actually had a white pair with pink glittery stars that I was literally obsessed with in pre-school. As in, I wore those babies to bed. School. Playing. Everywhere. In Massachusetts. Then I got a cheapo pair later that I completely regret ever wearing. Then I found these bad boys online from Durango Boots. And yes, I bargain hunted. They were already on sale and I also found a promo code. 😉



It’s finally September. Football has begun and it should “only” be in the mid-80s this weekend. YES! Also, Labor Day weekend, anyone? Happy Friday!

Coming Soon: I’ve been trying to work on my TpT store this week to create some new products. Up first will be editable monthly newsletter templates! They’ll be available by the month or as a bundle once I finish them all. Stay tuned!

Blog signature