Monthly Archives

February 2016

It’s Monday… What Are You Reading? 2/22/16

For Fun, Literacy


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate

in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.



Since it was school vacation, I was able to read quite a few books this week!


Pax by Sarah Pennypacker


Pax was such a touching story! I downloaded the Kindle sample Thursday night as I settled into bed, unsure if I wanted to spend the money on the book or wait until my library received a copy. I finished the sample in minutes, with tears streaming down my face. I immediately purchased the ebook and devoured this touching story. Read my full review here.


Red by Michael Hall


Red by Michael Hall is a wonderful story about being true to yourself and overcoming obstacles. Throughout the book, Red is made to feel like he is not enough – not good enough, not smart enough – and everyone has suggestions on how to make himself better at being red. Red feels frustrated until the end of the book when a new friend asks him to draw a blue ocean, which is easy for Red to do since he is really a blue crayon. This was a re-read for me. The first time I heard it was at a professional development session for literacy interventionists. When the presenter finished reading, she compared our struggling readers to Red and how it is our job to help our students see their own potential. I was reminded of this great picture book when I visited my town library because they had Red, The Day the Crayon Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home displayed by the checkout. I couldn’t resist re-reading it!

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan



Counting by 7s was suggested to me by Amazon after I purchased One for the Murphy’s (another AMAZING book!) this fall. Unfortunately it was just a book I couldn’t seem to get to the top of my reading list, until this week and I am so glad that I made time for it! The narrator, Willow, is a quirky girl who experiences tragic loss at the beginning of the novel. She spends the remainder of the story learning about healing, starting over, and taking chances. It is a wonderful, uplifting story that deals with some difficult topics.


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Classroom Management Strategies

Classroom Management


As a teacher, I am constantly on the look out for new classroom management tips and tricks to add to my toolbox. Many of the strategies that I come across on Pinterest are cute and fun but are not necessarily things that will work in my upper elementary classroom. Below is a roundup of strategies that I have successfully used with fourth and fifth grade students. I hope that they help you out as much as they’ve helped me!





Secret StudentSecret Student from Teach Create Motivate




Student vs Teacher

Student vs TeacherStudent vs Teacher from Downeast Teach




Class DOJO Store

DOJO Store

Class Dojo Store from Going Strong in 2nd Grade




NOISE strategy

NOISE Strategy

NOISE Strategy on Buzzfeed




Scrabble Rewards

scrabble Rewards

Scrabble Rewards from Created By Mr. Hughes



Read on to see five more awesome classroom management strategies!

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Vacation Reading Challenge


As teachers, we know how important it is for our students to read every day. We make sure to plan time for it in our classrooms, but how can we help our students to take the time to read during school vacations? Turn it into a challenge!

Vacation Reading Challenge


Friendly competition makes any academic task feel like a game, which creates buy-in from students. To help encourage your students to read during vacation, give them a reading challenge. Hand out the recording sheet and work with students to set a reading goal. A good guideline for upper elementary students is 30-40 minutes per day.



Then share with students the challenge page. Review some of the fun ways to read – “Under the table” or In the dark” are just a few of the fun challenges.  Every time a student reads, they glue the challenge they completed onto the recording sheet.


When students return to school after vacation, they turn in the completed reading challenge. All of the students who completed the challenge then receive a reward. Something I’ve done with my classes is a hot chocolate party. Students who turned in their challenge ate lunch in the classroom and toasted one another’s success with a delicious cup of hot cocoa.


Want to challenge your students? Download a copy of my February Reading Challenge Freebie. Or visit my TpT Store and download my Vacation Reading Challenge bundle and be prepared for all of your school vacations.Post Signature4.1



Currently February

For Fun


Listening: I am enjoying the quiet that comes with getting home first!


Loving: I am counting down to February Break for a few reasons. First, work has been a bit overwhelming lately so a break will be greatly appreciated. Two, we are having a bunch of work done on our house and we should be ready for painting by the start of break.


Thinking: We have a late start next week, which means that I have two hours of professional development time with my classroom teachers. I need to get started on my presentation!


Wanting: When we bought our house a few years ago, we didn’t realize that the popcorn ceiling was installed incorrectly. Because of this, it is now falling off in large chunks so we are having a contractor come in and rip it all down, mud, and prime the ceilings.


Which leads me to Needing: I need to finish packing up our things and move them into the finished basement, where we will be living during the construction. I started last weekend but I’ve lost steam…


Swooning: Since the ceilings are coming down, the drywall tape that covers the seam between the wall and ceiling will need to be replaced which will lead to every wall in the house needing to be repainted. I loved the colors in the house when we moved in so I only painted the living room. Now I have to choose paint for the whole house, which is a daunting task as I don’t like making decisions! I think I have settled on my colors. What do you think?

House Colors3 Labeled

Want to link up with Farley and share what you’re currently up to? You can find her here.

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