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It's Summer Time!!

It is summer vacation time!!  Yayyyy!  Well, technically I have a couple more days and then it is back to school....summer school!  But I sure am enjoying this week off.  It is just so nice to have a week to myself.

Are you out of school?  If you are still in school and have to pack up your classroom, check out my packing tips from last week!  These tips can help you make packing everything up easier and more manageable.  Click here or on the picture.

With summer time comes grilling!  I love to grill!  Keeps the kitchen clean and the food just tastes amazing.  I grill hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, shrimp, ham steaks, pork chops, pork loin, corn, potatoes, etc....  One thing I can. not. get mastered is steak!  I haven't gotten the flavor that I like or the tenderness.  Anyone have any tips for me??  We like to eat steak but I just can't get it to where I want it.  My husband and sons seem to like them fine, but they aren't where I like them yet!  Of course, I know part of it is I like my steaks well done.  But I know well done can taste good and be tender because I have had it at restaurants!

I am hoping to find some time to do more reading now that school is out.  I have a couple of these magazines laying around that I haven't gotten to yet. I am also reading In the Garden of Beasts.

I love to read, but find that I am having less and less time to do it.  So I am making an effort to do more of it everyday.  

I am excited that I get to go to the I Teach K conference in July!  I am trying to get in some shopping for some new clothes and shoes.  Two other kindergarten teachers are going with me. Have you been?  Any tips for us?

Are you on Instagram?  If not, you should be!  So much fun sharing things as a teacher, your personal life, fitness, food, etc...There are some groups on there now encouraging each other to be healthy like #3weeksnocheats and #teachersgetfit.  It is so motivating to eat better and get out and move more when you see others like yourself doing the same.  If you are on Instagram follow me there @conversationsinliteracy!

Don't forget to linky up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

Tips to Packing Up & Looking Forward

If you read my last post, you know that I have to pack up every single thing I have in my classroom because I am moving to a different classroom for the next school year.  It isn't really something that most teachers want to have to do...but I will say it was a great time to reflect on your materials and whether they are worthy of making the move with you or not.

I have some ideas that might help you make packing up your classroom a bit easier and hopefully more manageable.

Packing Tip #1- Use Fabric

Using Fabric to cover bulletin boards and book shelves

If you are lucky enough to get to keep books or other items on bookshelves, use fabric to cover them to keep them from getting lost or dusty and dirty.  You could use paper, but with fabric you are saving paper and it can be saved and used over and over.  You can also go ahead and prep your beginning of the school year bulletin boards and cover them with fabric to protect them too.  If you already have some of your boards up and ready, you are saving yourself huge amounts of time during the very hectic beginning of the school year.  Try to get in the mindset of thinking ahead to August/September and do what you can to make things easier.

Packing Tip #2-Copying

If you know at the end of the year what resources you will be using at the beginning of the next year, you can copy those now and have them ready for the beginning of the year...welcome notes, parent letters, supply lists, etc...  This is my Interactive Reader's Notebook papers.  Getting them ready ahead of time would be a huge time saver.

Packing Tip #3- Clean!

While you have students in your room make use of the extra willing hands that you have and get everything scrubbed clean!  Students love to help and feel accomplished when they have completed a task like this.  Of course, they don't need to handle any harsh cleaners.  While they wipe off desks, tables, shelves, you can be cleaning other items.  I don't want to pack anything gross and dirty, so cleaning it should come first!

Packing Tip #4- Labels

Label every single box or container. No matter how tired you are or how big a hurry you are in to get out for summer!  This will help you out come August/September.  Use one label for the contents of the box and one label for where these things go.  You will thank me later for the extra 5 seconds it takes you now to do this!

We are supposed to label everything in our rooms to help out the janitors when they put everything back in our classes.  Use nice labels instead of masking tape.  If the labels look nice, you can just leave them on your furniture and this will be a step you can skip the following year because all your labels are still there!

Packing Tip #5- Organize

This tip comes from the teacher who came before me in my job.  She took 2 large poster boards and stapled them together along 2 sides and the bottom.  On the outside, write what bulletin board themes go inside.  Great way to keep all those materials together and easily know what you have inside without having to go digging around looking!  So easy!

Packing Tip # 6- Maps

Draw a classroom map.  We are required to have a classroom map to help the janitors get our things back into our rooms the way we would like them.  Keeps teachers from moving items and scratching up the new shiny floors.  

Packing Tips #7- Purge

One of the positives about moving is it forces you to take a look at what you have been holding onto.  Do you really need it?  Is it an item worthy of taking your time to pack it and move it to the new room?  Give away all items that you are not using or have not used in a long time.  Teachers are so bad about this!  We hold on to things thinking we may need them at some point!  If items are broken or has missing pieces, throw it out!  I threw out quite a bit of paperwork and items no one will use.  And it felt good!

Packing Tips #8- Lists

Keep a list inside one of your cabinets of items you need for the new school year.  As you pack, you notice what you have and what you are lacking.  Keeping one list in a handy location keeps you from running down all those little slips of paper that you jotted down items you needed to requisition.  Keep your list up all year and add to it as you run out of things.  

I hope these tips help you pack up your classroom this year, whether you have to just do end of the year packing or if you are having to move to a new room.

What tips do you have to share to make packing up a little bit easier??

Wordless Wednesday- Time to Move!

I just got the news this week...I have to move to a new room!  That means packing everything and I mean. every. thing.  

My room is almost half packed.  I have a ways to go.  But I will get there.  

Do you get to stay in the same room for next year?  Do you have to pack everything up or just part of your materials?  Stay tuned...Sunday I will have a post about packing up your room with the mindset of thinking forward to the next school year to make things easier!

Join in with Miss DeCarbo and Wordless Wednesday!!

Easy, No Fuss Activities

pinwheel chunks

It's coming to the end of the year.  Your students are getting restless and are ready for new activities.  You are running way short on time and have no energy for activities that you will need to spend a lot of time on.  But the students still need some review before the year ends.

Easy activities that take minimal prep is what we need right now! 

My students love using pinwheels!  There is just something about them that draws them in.  I just stuck scrapbook stickers on the pinwheels and they are ready to go.  Easy and No Fuss!

easy no fuss activities

Students spin the pinwheel and add the beginning sound to the chunk.

pinwheel chunks, easy no fuss activities

Your students can write their words on any paper, write a silly sentence and then illustrate it.  That pinwheel can go back and they can begin again with a new chunk.

Bright Ideas for the classroom

Another easy, no fuss activity is Splat.  Just scatter out sight word cards on some bulletin board paper.  You don't have to use the paper.  You could just use the floor, but the paper will give them a boundary.  One student calls out a word from a duplicate set of cards and the partner uses the swatter to swat the word when they find it.  This can be used so many ways- sight words, capitals/lower case letters, vocabulary words and definitions, math sentences and answers, antonym and synonyms, etc.....

sight word review idea, Bright Ideas for the Classroom

One more easy, no fuss activity is to place word cards, letters, and a wipe off board in a center.  Students draw a card, build the word with the letters and then write the word on the wipe off board.  Easy way for reviewing right at the end of the year!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea for your classroom, please don't forget to follow me at Bloglovin', TpT, and Pinterest.  

For more bright ideas from over 130 bloggers who have some great things to share with you, please browse through the link up below.  We are so glad to have you visiting us!  Don't forget to leave us some comments.  We love to hear from you!

Wordless Wednesday- Book Baskets

Leveling Books in your Classroom library

Yay for another Wordless Wednesday linky party!

Here are two of my book baskets.  I have my books categorized by levels.  Each book has a sticker that matches the basket it belongs to.  I like using Fountas and Pinnell leveling the best.  Students in grades K-5 can come in and out of my room so I needed a way to help them chose books that would be appropriate to their reading level since I have so many book baskets.  If I were in a regular classroom, I might not level my books.  I might have them categorized by author or subject.

How do you categorize the books in your classroom?

Don't forget to link up with Miss DeCarbo with your picture too!

RtI Data Collection Folders

Collecting data for RtI

We have finally made it!  Our second cycle of RtI is complete!  It seemed like it took forever this year.  Snow days put us significantly behind.  Add in missed days for state testing and any days missed due to student absences and no wonder Tier II and Tier III seemed to go on so long!

Tier II at our school runs for about 10 weeks.  During those ten weeks, we progress monitor the students to check their progress on the interventions.  Tier II meets outside the classroom setting in small groups of usually 4-6 students.  But due to staffing issues, we have had slightly larger groups of 8 at times in the past.  I do not like to have that many in a group.  You really need smaller groups to give enough individual attention to each child in their areas of need. 

Tier III is more intensive, both in interventions and for the length of time.  It lasts for 12 weeks.  Tier III is usually one student per teacher, but again staffing can be an issue and I have had 2 in this intensive tier.  Optimally, of course, one student is best.

Collecting Data for RtI

collecting data for RtI

Tier I students stay in the classrooms and are to work on areas of need or enrichment.  

Now that the tiers are completed and paperwork is turned in, I will go over the graphs and collect data for our staff RtI meeting.  

collecting data for RtI

Types of data that I collect are universal screening scores before Tier II and III began and again after the tiers ended.  We use the DRA and IRI for our universal screening.  

DRA reading assessments

I also collect data on what other supports the student is receiving:  Title 1, Reading Recovery, tutoring, etc...  Is the student now on grade level?  If not, how far below grade level.

All those questions, plus the data from the graphs help my RtI team make decisions on each individual student.  Whether they should stay in that tier, move up or down a tier or be dismissed out of Tier II or III completely.  It is a long day full of important decisions that we don't take lightly.  I think most of us are mentally exhausted by the end of the day.

My question for you is how does your school decide how students move in and out of the RtI tiers?

Wordless Wednesday: Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It is another week of Wordless Wednesday thanks to Miss DeCarbo!  It is also a great week of Teacher Appreciation Celebration!!!  My wonderful school is celebrating teachers in a great way, allllll week long!

Monday was doughnuts for breakfast and cashew chicken for lunch!  Then Tuesday was free biscuits and gravy day.  Today, we will get a wonderful Subway lunch provided for us.  Thursday, our superintendent is going to have a fish fry for the teachers and Friday is gift card day!!

I am sooo appreciative of all the extras our school is doing to celebrate us!  It is a wonderful treat...even if by the end of the week I will have gained 10 extra pounds from all the eating!

How is your school celebrating you this week for Teacher Appreciation?

RtI Visual Plans & a FREEBIE

We are wrapping up our RtI second cycle this week.  Whoo hoo!  With RtI completing and state testing being finished this week too, teachers will have 2 big items for the end of the year completed.  Then we can get on to the other thousand things still have to be done!

My kinders are ready to move on to the next Dolch sight word list!  Wow, they have worked so hard!  They now will work on the primer word list.  The cards above are all the words in the primer list.  Click here or on the picture to download them for your own use if you like!

As you can see in my plans above, I will be using Learning to the Core's Sight Word Sizzle!  They have some fun ideas to freshen up your sight word practice.  Go visit Aylin and Amanda and download their Sight Word Sizzle FREEBIE!  Your students will have a lot of fun while practicing their words!

Be sure to visit TpT and my store for our Teacher Appreciation Sale!  You can find the resources that I use in my RtI Reading Intervention Visual Plans plus many other great reading and writing resources there!

Free Resources