Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwin' Back!

Do you remember these?

Since today is Thursday I thought a Throwback Thursday post was needed today.
Here are the things I remember and love from my childhood...


My parents did buy me a Jem doll. I remember being a little disappointed that she was super tall and her feet were too big to share shoes with my Barbie dolls. Jem seemed like a towering giant over my Barbie dolls. I did start watching the show again on Netflix (thank you Netflix!!).

Charm Chain necklaces

These were a huge hit at my elementary school. EVERY one had to have one. We would trade the plastic charms with one another. I asked my mom if she remembered and she said, "Did I buy you one?" so I guess they did not make a big impression with adults. I am sure they irritated our teachers because we would suck or chew on the charms. But they could not annoy them more than 

Garbage Pail Kids

Yes, I will stand up in shame to admit I collected them. My cousins and I were given change to go to the local gas station (think stranger danger...I guess we were too rough looking for the scary guys). We would buy individual pieces of gum or candy cigarettes (so bad) and sometimes Topps cards or Garbage Pail card packs with a stick of gum inside.
I remember at lunch time the cards would come out and we would trade and fight over them in the school cafeteria. Some people would steal them while others would clumsily lose a card or two. If the teachers caught us, they were confiscated never to be seen again. Now those teachers are probably millionaires from selling them on ebay or something!

Cabbage Patch Kids

This was a huge frenzy in the 80s. I had a fake patch kid. I never knew she was fake until I grew up. My mom had bought her at a craft fair. The person made a REALLY good replica I guess. I named her Pollyanna and loved the way her head smelled (now I realize it was the plastic chemicals!). I still have her. Wait, who said that? No one heard anything.

Dealy Boppers

These were headbands with sparkly, glittered hearts or balls on the top. I have no idea why we called them Dealy Boppers. Now this fad was ENCOURAGED by our school because the school sold them as a fundraiser around Valentine's. I just remember when the little styrofoam pieces would high five one another my head would be covered in glitter. FUN.

Vickie the Robot from Small Wonder

Can I keep it real for a minute? I really hated Punky Brewster. She was way too happy and way too popular. Also, there was an episode where her friend got stuck in a refrigerator which scared the crap out of me! But I worshipped Vickie the robot girl. She was totes awesome!! She wore the same Alice in Wonderland-like dress and talked like a robot. Good enough for me!

Peace out, friends. I am off to relive my childhood by bidding on this junk on ebay, making my own Jello Pudding Pops

and watching Sailor Moon at !

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Teacher Giggles

From We Are Teachers
And from the internet...

Why science teachers shouldn't be given playground duty...

Because we could all use some giggles from time to time!
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Write On with Your Bad Self!!!

Let's talk about writing rubrics. I know I like knowing what to expect in life. Especially when it comes to my grades. So not only are rubrics a great guide for grading, but I think if you have them (your expectations) posted on the wall it will help students to think about what they need to do to earn a good grade, or to meet expectations. Think of it as a guide for your students. Yes, we often see rubrics in higher education but they can be utilized even on the primary level.
I also saw another neat one a teacher created~
They have writing prompts for 3rd-11th grades so even if someone is teaching fifth grade they can use 3rd or 4th to differentiate for the students.
They have task templates that are excellent for teachers to use to develop their own prompts!  There are also rubrics there to score writing. The best part?.... it is free! :)

Or You've Got the Write Stuff, Baby! I could do this all day...

Here is a great video of a writing continuum in action in a Kindergarten classroom. This teacher has 1-10 but I would maybe think of scaling it down to 1-5 for the young ones.

I also want to share a neat writing rubric I saw in a Kindergarten classroom. At this school every teacher has something similar in the classrooms at all grade-levels. Do you like what you see? You can get it for FREE here! 

It shows not only the writing expectations, but also drawing and coloring.

 Here are some writing resources that I hope you find helpful!

RAFT strategy from

I also recommend the Mid Del writing prompts.

There are 2 writing videos on YouTube I love to share with teachers:

I also encourage you to look at the Literacy Design Collaborative.

Over a year ago, I gave a writing presentation at the school when I was the Literacy Coach. It was focused on 3rd grade plus, but could be modified for any grades. I have not yet converted it from a Power Point into a video but when I do I will post it on my YouTube Channel.

 The outline of it is:

-Survey teacher's on their writing bias
-Discuss results with them
-Go into writing strategies:
1. Pre-Writing
2. Drafting
3. Revising
4. Editing
5. Publishing
-Then discuss writing purposes:
1. Narrative
2. Descriptive
3. Persuasive
4. Personal, formal letters, thank you notes, inivitations
5. Creative writing (my personal favorite!), poems, skits, lyrics
(we will do a lot of share/discussion with the above purposes)
-Writing evaluation and reflection
-Use of writing prompts
-Mini-lesson ideas to use after guided reading

And finally, for ELL students I always recommend using a visual (like a magazine picture, photo or clip art) for a writing prompt since that correlates with what WiDA assesses and can help make those background knowledge skills strengthened. Always relate what they are learning to real life. Make it meaningful!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making Messes with Red, White and Blue!

My favorite time of summer is coming! The 4th of July! I wanted to start looking for some 4th crafty ideas to help decorate around the house and I thought I would share what I find. I don't want my blog to be just focused on solely teaching reading, but also on things I love like being a mom, crafting, scrapbooking, my crazy family, teaching in general, gardening, photography, webby stuff, recipes, life tips and reading/writing. When I started blogging almost eight years ago, I did it to document my crazy, chaotic life as a mom. Then it evolved into teaching, then literacy and now it is back to being a beautiful mess. My life is a beautiful mess. :)

This would be a very quick and easy craft. I don't know about your family, but my parents (the grandparents) love getting anything with a hand or (stinky! hey, he's a boy) footprint on it!

If you have little ones, you could easily use plastic tumbler or decorative pieces instead of glass. I think it would easy to use an empty Ragu or pickle jar for this. You could add glitter, too!! 

This is a garland of fabric stars. If I tried to use a sewing machine, I would have holes in my thumbs. But I could use my fancy patterned scrapbook paper (very cheap at Hobby Lobby) to cut or punch out stars and then string them. I think I can do this one! :) Happy dance!

SassyDealz has a very creative idea of using forks dipped in paint to make fireworks! Genius!

For those of you who stocked up on flip flops during the Old Navy sale, Passion for Savings made these very easy-peasy patriotic flip flops by adding ribbon to them. 
Looking for some more ideas? 
They have over 15 fun and frugal 4th of July crafts HERE.

Here are some more links to get your craft on!


All Kids Network

Monday, June 16, 2014

Parts of a Parent Reader

Ways to Help a Student

I love these graphics that explain ways to assist students 

who struggle. 

Writing Instruction

Malaika Bryant (2010) wrote, "Often without even realizing it, primary teachers lead their students through pre-writing activities every day."

 A pre-writing activity we often employ in grades PreK-5th is the use of graphic organizers to organize information and for brainstorming purposes.

 Interactive writing: The teacher and the students take turns writing the text. It is a collaborative effort. 

Modeled writing: The teacher models good writing habits. After the teacher has read a passage or a book aloud, he/she will incorporate some aspect of it into the writing model. The teacher models style, punctuation, techniques and structure. 

By completing an author study, students can also learn that the author can be a model for writing purpose and structure. 

 Journals: Journals can be used for free writing, reflection writing, as dialogue, or for anything. I believe students should be able to use them for creative purposes and not for a grammar grade in the elementary levels.

 Four Square Writing: Many schools employ the Four Square Writing books. Here is an example of the writing activities the students do look like:
Constructive Free writing: Teachers are encouraged to allow at least 30 minutes of constructive free writing opportunities daily. This often follows DEAR or silent sustained reading time so students can reflect on what they have just read. 

                                                        Source: Kate Rivara

 Six Traits Writing: The six traits are made up of voice, ideas/content, sentence fluency, word choice, organization and conventions. Voice means the author's purpose is clear and the author's personality is felt. Content is the topic, or essence of the paper. Sentence fluency is when the writer learns to use strong sentences often. Word Choice is about selecting the right words, adding descriptions, and looking at the verbs you want to use. Organization gives the writing purpose and structure. Conventions are the rules we follow in language, grammar and punctuation.

 ~Examples of Best Practices~

 -Incorporating writing into all content areas. For example, students can write story problems for Math or write each step they took to solve a problem. 

 -Letting students see the teacher as a writer. 

 -Have reading and writing go hand-in-hand. 

 -Implementing Writer's Workshop or Literacy Centers. 

 -Making writing activities meaningful and relevant.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!!!

Very cute Father's Day gift!! I found this on Pinterest. Happy Father's Day!!!

Sharing is caring! :)

Here is an example of multiple ways to teach number sense.

Here is a fun idea for letter recognition. Use plastic fishing worms for students to practice making alphabet letters with. They can even work on making their names or saying the letter sound. You can even make sight words!

Write sight words on bubble wrap and have students work with a partner (or use during small group) for them to pop the word after they read it correctly!

Have students sort letters using different font types and sizes under the correct column.

Think about having a poetry area in your classroom. It is important to expose your students to all kinds of text--not just books! Maps, magazines, charts, poems, dictionaries, etc. I always put a picture dictionary in my writing center so my students could look up words when writing. 

Moving my Weebly (Wobble)!

Hey friends! I am slowly going to move info from my Weebly site ( back to my blog here. It will be so much easier for me to maintain one thing. Plus, blogger has made it where I can add pages to this blog, so that is pretty awesome!!!

I never meant to go "MIA" but the past few years have been busy to say the least! I completed my Master's Degree in Curriculum/Instruction and Reading. I took on a new job with the Oklahoma State Department of Education as a Literacy Coach. They cut the coach funding two weeks ago so now...on to bigger and better things! :)