Sunday, August 9, 2015

Updated Lotion Labels

I just wanted to stop by and tell you what I made today.

It's crunch time around these parts.  New teacher orientation begins this week, all staff return next week, and KIDS come the week after that.  I am constantly adding things to my ever growing to do list for my classroom.  Are you feelin it too?

Well, if you are, you've come to the right place.  I've got a freebie for you that'll save the day.

Do you have a safe place in your classroom?  The idea comes from Becky Bailey's book Conscious Discipline.

I have had a safe place in my room for over three years and let me be the first to tell you: it works!

A safe place is a small space set aside in your classroom where students (or the teacher!) can go to calm down, cool down, and refocus for learning.

I keep several things in my safe place:
-Huggsie the huggable bear
-a timer
-a notepad and pencil
-charts and reminders of how to calm down
-a mirror

Each year I teach my students how to use the tools in the safe place in hopes that they can learn how to self regulate their emotions.  One of the best tools my students have are the magical lotions they can use in the safe place.

I recently moved classrooms and chunked my old lotions.  I had been needing to make some new lotions so I updated my labels to make them easier for me.

If you want to make your set of lotions for your safe place, here's all you need to do.

Make a trip to your local store and get the following:
-unscented lotion
-empty bottles (I found mine in the travel section at Target, but you could use old bottles at home too!)
-Essential Oils of your choice

To Make:
1. Pour the lotion into the bottles.
2. Put drops of essential oil in with the lotion.  I used about 20 drops, but this will depend on your brand of essential oils and how strong you want the scent to be.
3. Shake generously.
4. Slap a cute label on it and viola!

I used peppermint for my Focus Formula, lavender for my Cranky Cream, and Eucalyptus for my Kindness Cream.

Tomorrow I will print my labels on avery shipping labels and slap them on the bottles!

Enjoy the freebie!

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Currently July


I am currently prepping for Words Their Way next year.  I am very excited to be switching back to this great resource.


'nuff said.


About my presentation this week.  Excited to brush up on some Writer's Workshop!


We move in t-minus-eighteen days.  By all means I am ready mentally, but physically we've got an entire apartment to move. Yikes!

All Star:

I think I would have to go with organizing. I love to organize and can make some mean labels.  

I am not the most organized person when things get busy, but I try to keep some basic rules to help stay on top of things.

1. Everything must have a "home" (and a home does not consist of piles!)
2. If I leave a room, take something that belongs in the next room and return it to its home.
3. Keep a planner and stick to it.  If everything on your to-do list has a time/place to get done, you can rest easy.
4. When all else fails, file it tomorrow!

It's not too late to link up here.

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Balanced Literacy Basics

I am here today to talk all about Balanced Literacy!

After studying and researching this subject and then putting it into practice in the classroom, I thought it might be helpful to put down all of my thoughts in a blog post.

By all means, there might be a different definition for balanced literacy.  I am only claiming this as my version of balanced literacy (in hopes that I am pretty darn close to following what the experts are saying it is).

Here are the components:


Now, this might seem like a lot to do, but keep in mind our goal is to balance the way we teach our literacy block.  So if you are struggling with fitting it all in the day (like I did!) think "bigger picture".  
Take a look at your weekly schedule and now see if you can fit in all of the components.

Easier, right? 

Okay, now that we have the components listed, let's take a peek at what each one would look like in the classroom.

To read more about Reader's Workshop in depth, check out my previous blog post here.

To read more about Writer's Workshop in my classroom, read my guest blog post on Leach Teach's Blog.

In order to have a successful read aloud with accountable talk time, our students need to be sitting close to a reading partner so that they can do some talking!  (Go figure!)

The book should be marked up by the teacher with sticky notes as reminders of when to think aloud or prompt students to talk. 

The students are actively engaged by: 
-turn and talk
-stop and jot
-stop and act out/pretend
-stop and sketch

Our Word Study time should be differentiated, hands-on and focused on these skills:
-phonological awareness
-phonemic awareness
-high frequency words

This is typically found during morning meeting or calendar time.

During Shared Reading, the teacher is modeling and noticing reading behaviors.  The students are engaged in fluency, comprehension and accuracy.

And that is it in a nut shell.

I am wondering, is there one component that you want to learn more about?  Are you struggling with a certain piece? Or are you a professional juggler? 

Remember, it's a balancing act!  

It takes time, patience, and just plain hard work. 

But it is worth it because IT works!

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

What Are You Reading?

Hello!  It's never too late to link up and talk about what we are Reading!

I absolutely love reading.  During the school year, when teaching takes priority, I add books upon books to my want to read Goodreads list.  Come May, I have collected stacks and stacks of books to read over the summer!  

When I saw this linky I knew I had to join.

(Click any of the pictures to be taken to the Amazon link.)

Amazon Link

At a recent training, we were fortunate enough to Skype with Suzanne.  I enjoyed reading this book in light of meeting the author.  It would be a super fun and adventurous read aloud book.

Amazon Link

I am currently re-watching Parenthood for the fourth time, so when I saw that Lauren Graham had written a book I just had to give it a try.   I will say I was pleasantly surprised. 

Amazon Link

Great refresher as I plan on switching grade levels next year. 

Amazon Link

My team next year will be using this book during our morning meetings.  I am excited to get some new ideas for starting our day off right.

Amazon Link

Recommended by my husband.  Great short stories.

Amazon Link 

I read this three or four years ago but need a refresher because this is how I will be teaching spelling next year.  Hip hip hooray for differentiation! 

 Amazon Link

Just for fun.  I've heard it's great.

Amazon Link

Again, a recommendation from my new team. 

 Amazon Link 

I want to read this and then watch the movie.  I love comparing books to films.

There are TONS more on my list, but that's all I will share with you for now.

What are YOU reading?

If you'd like to link up, join here.

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