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Hi, I'm Ashley. I am an organized, slightly OCD fifth grade teacher and blog stalker. Even though most of my ideas are taken from someone else, I wanted to start a blog that is a compilation of these creations. There isn't one specific topic that this blog will cover, there will be teacher stuff, life happenings, and random thoughts... a hodgepodge of mumble jumble, if you will!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

playing catch up

So... it's almost Friday and lemme tell you... the weekend CAN NOT come fast enough!! It's been an insane week!! Whew. So all of this blogging I told myself I was going to do obviously hasn't happened. Although, this is my second post in a week. Be proud. :)

Topics to cover:
1. Guided reading stations: At our school we do a mixture of Jan Richardson's Guide to Guided Reading and the Daily 5. Since we are pressured to up our testing scores I am requiring my kids to read 40 straight each day to build their stamina for the EOG. I have made my rotations so that each group will meet with me, the reading specialist, go to a station, and then read silently for 40 minutes. We do one station a day. It will either be listening center, computer station (my kids are going to be blogging!! Go to kidsblog.org), buddy reading, or word work. To transition my kids to their next activity, I have a powerpoint set up with all of the group names and their assignment for their rotation. The powerpoint is set to chime and change every 20 minutes. When the students hear the chime, they move on to their next activity. It works well because it also keeps me on track with time.

2. Work work activities: I found some really awesome word work games last year on ProTeacher that works a lot with parts of speech. Go here to find them. They all come with cards and game boards as well as a set of instructions so you don't have to do any of that stuff!! Also, since science is such a big focus in fifth grade, we do a lot of science vocabulary games like concentration or guess my word during word work as well.

3. Math materials for small group instruction: I'm not really sure what to do here... I was hoping someone could help a sista out in this area. I have a lot of math manipulatives in my classroom, I'm lucky to be working at a school that sees a need and the need is met! I always have my math materials easily accessible for the kids and they can use them anytime as long as they are problem solving!

On a side note... setting a date for the wedding is stressful.


Monday, September 26, 2011

good news in a quick post...

So... what was the most exciting thing that happened to you this weekend?? I'll go first! I got engaged!!!! That's right, my precious boyfriend FINALLY popped the question! I said yes, of course :) I will for sure post pics and stories later! This blog may take a drastic turn from all about teaching stuff to all about wedding stuff here soon! Soooo excited!

On to my challenge: favorite management tool. My favorite management tool would have to be the clip chart that is pictured below in the classroom pics post. It's so easy and effective. I have found that on the days that I really try to catch kids doing the right thing, everyone else catches on and I suddenly have a class with no behavior issues!! It's wonderful! I know everyone does it differently, but in my class if you get on parent contact OR on outstanding, it is written in the student's planner so I can keep a record of it. If they get to outstanding, they get a sticker on their clip and a piece of candy. Once they have 5 stickers on their clip, they get a fishbowl coupon and their clip gets put into the "hall of fame." If they get above outstanding one day, I will wear their clip on my shirt or lanyard. Since pretty much our whole school has adopted this system, it's easy to compliment the students who are doing a great job when you see their teacher with his/her clips on them. What is your favorite management tool??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


unite tomorrow!! Seriously, school takes over my life. It should be an episode on MTV's True Life. Mine would be entitled True Life: teacher has no life outside of school! I NEED AN INTERVENTION!! Or maybe a vacation... oh wait, I'm going on vacation TOMORROW!! Don't be jealous :) On the flip side though, I had to make sub plans and I HATE making them! What do you do for sub plans? Emergency sub plans? I need ideas. Help a sista out.

Since I've been a bad blogger due to my obsession with my job, I've decided to challenge myself. Next week (since I'll be on vaca the rest of this week) I'm going to try to post everyday. I would LOVE it if you would challenge yourself as well, because I love reading what you guys write! Here is how the schedule looks if you want to join in:

Monday... What is your favorite management tool?
Tuesday... How do you run your stations during guided reading?
Wednesday... What kind of word work activities do you use?
Thursday... What tools do you use for math small group instruction?
Friday... What do you get excited about while in the classroom? Is it a subject you teach? Activity your kids love? etc.

We shall see how that goes! Keep me in line people, make me do it!!

One last thing, you won't even believe it... my very tiny blog got an award!!! YAY!! I'm sooo excited! Lindsay from My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher. Her blog is FABULOUS!! Thank you so much :)

Which brings me to my last question: how do you make a button for your blog?? Please and thank you... have a great and restful weekend! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

LOTS of classroom pics!

So, as promised... here are lots of classroom pictures from this year. I decided not to do a theme this year because I have found sooo many cute things on Pinterest that I wanted to do, none of which were connected enough to create a them. So the theme is just pinteresty cute things :) Enjoy!

The first couple of days of school, my class came up with a list of things we DID do instead of the normal do NOT list. Every kid signed the poster to show they would do these things. This was completely done by the kids and I was so impressed with some of the things they came up with.

This is a really bad picture of my oh so cute reading center. I will get a better picture, because this doesn't do it justice!

Here are my math and science boards. In my room, I virtually have NO wall space for anchor charts or anything else, so I'm going to try using these boards this year for my anchor charts and other things we do throughout the year in math and science.

Computer table with a cutesy skirt around it so I can hide junk under it.... tricky tricky!

Of course I have my Essential 55 posted!! Love me some Ron Clark! :)

Here is my CAFE board. I'm going to hang the strategies on the ribbon.

Behavior clip chart.

These are above my whiteboard. All of the EOG terms will go up here once they are discussed.

I totally stole this idea from my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching. I say "super focus" and the kids look at me with wide eyes. I tell that if they are super focused, nothing can take away their concentration. They LOVE it!!!

I have all of my word wall words for math and science on these nice flippable (yes it's a word in my world) poster format. I love not having to change the words each unit!

Another idea I stole from my cooperating teacher is fishbowl coupons. There are tickets inside with "prizes" on them. The kids love this too! :)

This is the check in area. All homework and papers are turned in in the labeled folders stapled on the board. Also, my calendar is a framed piece of scrapbook paper that is changed with dry erase marker. Saves a ton of room!

Each day, I pick a boy helper and a girl helper. I made this sign on vistaprint and glued cut off sheet protectors on the sign so the helpers can be easily changed out. I write the daily jobs on the index card beside the names as a reminder.

Lunch count and lunch tags.

Writing board. With their clips (not shown in this picture), students move the clip to where they are in the writing process. This also helps me know who I need to conference with.

Another stolen idea (I'm starting to see a trend) from my cooperating teacher is "mystery envelope." Each time the whole class does something good, they get a letter of envelope. Once the word is spelled out, the class gets to draw out of the envelope to get a treat.

I always tell my students to dream big (from Ron Clark), this is just my reminder to them that stays above the Smart Board.

My version of the bored board found on pinterest.

Pledge of Success is said every morning after the pledge to the flag. This was stolen again from my cooperating teacher, but it's origin was a Sports Illustrated magazine. Sign from vistaprint

Drawers with laminated scrapbook dry erase labels.

Labeled math manipulatives.

All of the math manipulatives.

My desk organizer.

Easel for guided reading made with a framed piece of scrapbook paper.

My picture board and spray painted cookie sheet for notes and pictures.

And last but not least... my dirty little secret!! Looks like a map to me...

But, really it hides all my junk from the world. I know, I know, I'm sneaky!! :)

That's all of my classroom! If you have any questions about anything, please ask! I will be going into more detail about some of my organization tips later this week. Have a fabulous four day week!! :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

so... school's started back

Can you tell??? I haven't had time to breathe, much less blog! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my class this year! I have such sweet and well behaved children. :) There aren't any HILARIOUS stories to share yet, just everyday giggles. Although, a spider did go down my dress the other day on the playground. But, no worries, I shook it out without showing anyone my goodies. I may have flipped out for a moment, but all in all it was ok.

I've been much more organized and on top of things so far this year. Of course, it couldn't have gotten much worse from last year! I have several "tools" for organization that has helped me out this year, which I want to share. Knowing the curriculum and how things work sure does make a big difference! I have made a TON of notebooks over the summer and the first few weeks. Notebooks are my BFF in the classroom. They just make life so much easier!! So... in the next few posts (coming this weekend) you will see:

1. Classroom pictures
2. Organization tools
3. Teaching the scientific method ideas

Hopefully, you'll come back to enjoy those posts. But, since it's First Friday and I'm a die hard Clemson fan.... I'll leave you with a GGOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!! :) Have a happy long weekend!