Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Currently

How in the world is it July already? I mean, I feel like I JUST got out of school a few weeks ago. Oh wait... I did! Our summer is super short this year because we started late. Our high school was pretty much getting an entirely new building this time last year. Boy are we paying for it now! I only have 4.5 weeks left.... NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Oh well, time ticks on! Here's my currently!

When I had my boys and my first summer rolled around, I kind of wondered what to do with them. I wanted to spend time with them, but I also wanted a little time for myself. I felt guilty... like a bad mom... but then I got over it! Not only is it good to keep your kids on some type of schedule, but moms need their time, too! I send them two days a week. I use this time to work on resources, blog, and stay in touch with other bloggers. I'm not gonna lie when I say I may also use this time to lay on the couch and watch a few shows on Netflix. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT! Do I have to pay for it? YES! Is it worth it? YES! What will I do when my oldest starts kindergarten? I HAVE NOT IDEA!! I think that's when some summer camps will come into play. Moms, don't feel guilty! You deserve it :)

My sweet husband wanted me to have a new car... so I did! I mean, who turns that down? I never in my life thought I would purchase a Ford Explorer, but I love it! We also used this as an opportunity to talk to our boys about going to college, working hard, and getting to do and purchase nice things. Learning Experience!!

You read it... and I really don't want to talk about it. Is it just me or is this summer zooming by??

Oh how I want this! I live in a house full of boys, y'all! Everything I have gets touched, broken, drawn on, spilled on, peed on (not really), but you get the point! I need my own 'woman cave' if you will! And I need it BAD! This is a goal I have in the next 6 months. It may not be what I envision, but it will be something! Right now my current situation is the dining table. I have to move ALL my things every time we eat. It gets a little old! I've been eyeing this beautiful desk from Ikea for a while now.
Soon folks, soon!

I thank my heavenly father every day for taking care of my family and providing our essential needs. He is so good us, y'all. I'm not just talking about me here. He is good is us ALL! Don't ever forget to thank him for the many blessings he grants us each day. I am a spoiled child of God! Is my life perfect? NO! Have I had trials? YES! If anyone has, I have! Losing a child is a terrible grief to deal with, but his mercy and love endures forever. Don't dwell on the bad. Instead, focus on your small every day blessings! My outlook is... your life could be a lot worse!

All Star
Aren't we all All Stars in some way? I'm known for my creative problem solving skills. Whether it's scheduling, shopping, crafting, whatever! I'm going to think... and think... and think until I find a way. Even if it is buying that pretty little desk or a bundle of office supplies I don't need! LOL

There you have it! Go link up with Farley!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Favorite Pins Friday!

Welcome back to another Favorite Pins Friday! I'm going to start making #5 a resource that I use in my classroom. A lot of them will be my own products since I do use them but also others. I'll also include a little blurb about how I use it.
Here's a quick note! When you pin these images, make sure you are pinning them from the original source. I'm seeing a lot of these images on Pinterest that have been pinned directly from my blog. I love that y'all like my Favorite Pins Friday, but we need to give credit where credit is due. Thanks so much for doing this! I'm sure the original owner of the picture will appreciate it, too! All you have to do is click on the picture to view it in Pinterest. You should be able to pin it from there ;)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has 5th graders who STILL don't capitalize the beginning of the sentence! With texting becoming so popular, I don't see this changing any time soon. I tried to point attention to this last year but it honestly got SO overwhelming. I'm going to make a chart similar to this and refer to it ALL-THE-TIME! Can I get an AMEN?!?
I've said this every year, but this year I'm going to do it! No one knows your students better than their own parents! On the first day of school, I'm going to send home a survey and a letter request. I want the parents to give me any information they think I should know about their child with a focus on reading and writing (since that's what I teach!).

This is a great way to get students thinking about characters in a story. I'm definitely going to use this with my character trait unit. Students always struggled with how to analyze character and this will get them started!

This year I'm wanting to really get my students writing about their reading. This will be a great chart for students to refer to when they have a free response prompt.
Last but not least is my Close Reading Seat Work Bundle. If you want to get your students supporting their answer with evidence, then this pack is for you! It covers a range of reading standards, both literary and informational. The resources are equally split between literary and informational passages with high-interest photos and facts. Each passage is related to the season/time of the year.

I used this this past year starting in January. I was a little scared at first. All I knew was that I didn't have time to spend 10-15 minutes a day on this. It literally takes 5-10 (max) minutes. It is ah-mazing and I plan on using it this coming school year from the first day of school. Here are some photos of my students using it.

If you are interested in a closer look, I have taken three of the passages and compiled them into a FREEBIE in my TpT Store

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge: Week 2

How many us have hopes and dreams? I know I do! Thankfully, TPT has helped me reach a few in the past few years and I am forever grateful!

For example, TPT paid for my beautiful deck that I am absolutely in love with!
Here are some other things I am looking forward to!
  1. I am in desperate need of an office! But right now I am sharing my room with my boys' toys! It's always messy in there and they are always in my stuff! I need a desk in a major way! There rooms are too small to put all their toys into, so I am seriously considering getting them bunk beds and having the other room turned into a room just for playing! Every boy needs a bunk bed, right? And every teacher needs an office! LOL
  2. I have a HUGE student loan payment, and I am looking forward to paying off some debt. I am looking forward to the day when I have it all paid off :)
  3. Oh how I look forward to the day when we can build a house! However, I have to do #2 first! And... I'm waiting to pay off my car and have both my boys in school. Childcare is no joke, folks! Paying for two at the same time isn't either! Here's my dream house!

There you go! Here's my dream list! LOL

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge: Week 1

I'm FINALLY linking up for Week 1 of the TPT Seller Challenge. It took me a while. I'm really thankful for this week's challenge because it gave me time to update a resource that was needing it desperately BAD!!

My #1 seller and #1 wish listed item has been update with an all new look! AND... it's now editable AND... it can also be in binder format.

I created this resource back in 2012. It was in NEED of a MAJOR update. Some of these photos are actually embarrassing! LOL I can't believe I thought some of these looked decent enough to sell. Do any of you feel that way?? Here are some more updates!

If you are interested, you can check it out in my store!
If you haven't grabbed it up, you can get it until the end of tomorrow for 20% off!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Made It: Summer 2015 #2

Welcome Back! I'm joining up again with my friend Tara for another Monday Made It!

I have one to share with you today. It's more for my personal life, but I am planning to make a few to put in my room next year and give to my team for their beginning of the school year present :) I made these for an end of the year summer gift for my boys' teachers. There are 7 of them, so I had to think of something cost effective. I MAY have $5 in each of these, but it's probably more like $3 since I already had a lot of the supplies at my house :)
Take your cut boards and stain them or paint them. I decided to stain them because it was quick and easy. I'll probably end up painting the ones I will put in my classroom and give as gifts.

Once you have it stained or painted, take about 12" of burlap ribbon and tie a knot in the middle. Pull tight to get the center of the bow as small as possible. Secure to the board with hot glue (a teacher's BFF!).
I made two by using a wire to secure the bow in the middle (not the knot look). It's all fun and games until this happens... Ahhhh!
Secure the frame to the wood with hot glue. I like the frames with the magnetic strip on the back because it keeps the frame from melting. I applied my hot glue directly to the magnet. Here they are all lined up! These are great teacher gifts!

Thanks for checking out my crafty-ness! What are some things you have created lately that you just love? Go share it on Tara's Monday Made It!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How I Plan My Week {Personal Planner}

Hey y'all! I'm a little late to the party (I mean.. hello.. it's Father's Day... I've been busy:), but I'm linking up any way with Meghan and Robyn for the first ever Plan with Me Sundays linky!

Now, let me just go ahead and warn you... there is nothing fancy here! I don't have an office because we *still* live in our starter home that... ummmm... we were only going to live in for 3-5 years! Ten years later and we are still here! So... it's getting a little crowded up in here! Do I want an office so I can have my *own* space in a house full of boys? ABSOLUTELY! But, I'm trying to ready my house for the market in a year or so. Until then, I'm left spending all my time and extra money on upgrades to make my house that much better for the next owner... go figure! And to be completely honest.. I rarely have time on Sundays to sit down and relax let alone put all sorts of cutesy stickers in my planner for decoration. No offense to those of you who do... it's great! I love it! I wish I had time for it. But with 2 boys ages 5 and 3... it's a little crazy around here! Hopefully I will get to be you in a few years :) So here we go... my little planner that I use to organize my PERSONAL life :)

{excuse my yucky pictures... they were taken with my phone... I need to stop doing this!!}

I have been using Erin Condren life planners for about four years now. I've gotten my sister totally hooked and the funny thing is that she uses hers totally different than me!

I like to use the monthly layout and then transfer that information on the weekly layout that I use the most. It helps keep me organized through the week and has more room for writing. I try to set time aside to transfer everything over and make goals for the week on Sunday!  I have managed to change up the function of my planner with my custom labels I made. It makes more sense to me. The pictures you see here are not for this week. I haven't had time to plan my week yet... SIGH!

I have found it very useful to set goals and draw little boxes so I can check things off. Is it just me or is there something about checking things off a list? I love it!

As far as pens, here are some of my favorites. You can click on the picture to order them on!

How do you plan??

Friday, June 19, 2015

Favorite Pins Friday: Tried & True

This will be a quick post since I am soaking it up in the sun and sand right now!

Here's my view... lovely!

I'm bringing you 8 Tried & True Pinterest-Inspired projects I have done either in my classroom or at home.

{1} Text Mapping- Loved this! It was a little time consuming but it really got the kids engaged with the textbook! Great for science and social studies teachers!
{2} Planning Organization- I started doing the checklist that she mentions on this post for each week. It was amazing just how well-prepared I was for each week. By Thursday, I would have all my plans, copies, and activities ready to go for the following week! Great use of time.
{3} Character Bottle Project- You've seen this on my Instagram account. This was by far the cutest and most fun project I did with my students this year. It was their favorite!
{4} Amazon Book Report- This is a cute idea. It needs some in-depth explanation as my students struggled to meet my expectations. They did it at home in the place of the reading log. It would be a great project in class.
{5} Weekly Organization- I still use this in my class. Once my copies come back from the copier, I place them in a 'next week' drawer. On Friday, I pull them out and place them in the appropriate drawer for the following week. I use the cart pictured HERE which I don't think will work next year since I will teach 4 classes. The drawers were already full with just two classes this year.
{6} Point of View Writing- This will still be an activity I will use next year when teaching point of view. The students did such a great job with it!
{7} Mason Jar Door Hanger- I'm still working on painting this, but I can't wait to put it on my front door!
{8} Genre Sort- The students really loved this! And... it's a great way to recycle all those flyers you don't use!

What are some of your favorite Pinterest-Inspired activities?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Classroom Focus Board: Primary Peach Link Up

Hi everyone! I'm taking a few minutes away from my beach time to share an organizational tip with you and link up with my friends over at The Primary Peach. The Primary Peach is a teaching blog for elementary teachers in Georgia. If you teach in Georgia (or maybe even not) you should check this blog out! There are a lot of GREAT teachers that collaborate to bring you some of the best teaching tips.

I posted this picture over on Instagram back in February. I had a lot of people ask me about my board.

This board is at the center of my classroom. My students check this board when they come in each day. Here are some things that are included on it.

Today Is: of course, this is where the day's date is located. Students check here to see what the date is. .. simple enough!

Objectives: This is where I write the standards that we will be working on that day in kid-friendly "Today we will.." terms. In the past I had Reading, Writing, and Grammar labels that were already attached to the board, but we don't always do each one of those every day. I opted to write my labels instead. This gives me a little flexibility and allows my board to work WITH me... not against me.

Read Alouds: This is where I write what I am reading to each class (yes! I read to my 5th graders EVERY DAY!). Since my classes are very different (I'm going from 2 block to 4 blocks next year) they each get their own read aloud. Sometimes it will be the same (like with Hatchet)... but rarely.

Schedule: This is something that the students came up with. When I taught 4th grade math, I always had a list of things on the board that students needed to complete that day. When I moved to 5th grade ELA, I stopped doing that (I'm not sure why). One day while I was working on conferences, I wrote a list of things that needed to be done in the order in which they needed to be done. The students started asking me to do this each day. So, I decided to make our daily schedule a part of our board. The students really love this part because they don't have to ask the question, "what are we doing today, Mrs. Thornton." I'm not gonna lie.. I kind of love it, too!

I hope this is something that you can use in your classroom. You need to find what works for you. My board is fairly simple because it's easy to write up each morning. Next week, I'm going to share what I do to help me so my focus board can be written up in less than 5 minutes! That's right! Writing this board each morning takes less than 5 minutes! Want to know how? Come back next Sunday for another organizational tip :)

What is your organizational go-to? I hope you will join me and some of my closest friends over on the Primary Peach blog for Organizational Tips & Tools Linky Party.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Student Goal Setting & Progress Monitoring

Do you like to have your students set goals in your classroom and monitor themselves to see where they are in accomplishing those goals? This is something I have gradually started to implement in my classroom. I wanted to make something that would make my life easier as a teacher, make my students accountable as learners, and a way to keep it all together! I knew I wanted this to be a huge part of their literacy binder. So... I finally finished my Goal Setting & Self Assessing resource on TpT, and I'm sure I will continue to add handouts as ideas come to me or as I see needed in my classroom this school year. I wanted to show you a little of what it's about. I absolutely can't wait to get this up in my classroom and implementing next year.

Everything you need to create a SMART goal classroom display.

For your display you get letter cards, question cards to gauge student's writing of goals, and a SMART student handout.

Handouts to help your students progress monitor their progress.

Look at what all you get!

Here's a list of all the handouts.

If you are interested, you can click the image below. It will be on sale through tomorrow!