Blog Neglect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am at the point of thinking that life may NEVER slow down again! Trying to juggle 2nd Grade {Which is not the piece of cake that I thought it would be}, homebound for my sick little darling, and cross country practice with my high school peeps is definitely not an easy task. Oh wait...did I mention that one of my littles broke her arm last week??? Lets just say...I am greeting the up and coming LONG weekend with open arms! Shheeessh!  This craziness that I call life has left very little time for the blogging world {Sad, sad day!} BUT...check back tomorrow and I will be posting several of the activities that we have been working on over the past few weeks. I have a fun little activity using scripts to teach author's purpose as well as the 2nd Grade Rocks Song to the tune of "Baby" by Justin "Beaver" as one of my faves calls him! {He is just too much!} We sing it every morning and it gets us pumped up for our day! Can't wait to share it with all of you!

Speaking of pumped...One more little tidbit...I am SUPER pumped to be a contributing author to Blog Hoppin'! Head on over for some AMAZING ideas from some of your favorite teacher bloggers! 


Three for Thursday!!!

Is it Friday...yet???? Man this week has got me begging for the weekend! :)  TGIF...almost! In celebration of the "almost" weekend, I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share my favorite three!

My Favorite Font:
Recently, I have totally fallen head over heals for Fonts for Peas. This is a collection of handwriting turned fonts! You can actually submit your very own handwriting to be turned into a font...for free! Check out this amazing site HERE!

My Favorite Blog: {Well, One of the MANY!}
Definitely can't narrow the amazing field of teacher blogs down...BUT...recently, I have definitely been checking in on Amy Lemons and her awesome 2nd Grade Ideas. I never realized how challenging changing grade levels can be and she has some WONDERFUL ideas to get me up and on my way! Can't wait to Pen Pal it up with our sweet second graders this year!

My Favorite Resource:
Do I really need to go there? Pinterest....Hands Down! This site is DANGEROUS but I just can't stay away! Love all of the amazing ideas that this resource has to offer! And the best is ALL so stinkin' cute!

What are you favorite share! :)

My Top Ten!

I am linkin' up with Blog Hoppin' to tell you just a little about me! Here are my top ten things that you should know {although some are a little random}!

10. I am a total Craft-A-Holic and love creating, gluing, bedazzling and making anything sparkle. I love, love, LOVE to paint and swear that I can make anything look better with a little "touch up"!  Seriously, this is an intense addiction! :) Especially now that Pinterest is in my life, I always have to itch to create! It is my therapy! :)  

9. I am obsessed with Diet Dr. Pepper!  If I told you how many of these I drink a day...I would be totally embarrassed! {Please don't tell my runners!!! - refer to number 7}

8. Is anyone else on Team Edward? Yes, yes, I am a definite Twi-hard and am totally OK with it! I am counting down the days to Breaking Dawn and may have even read the books...TWICE!!! {don't judge} 

7. I love to run! Ok...I am in love with running! I have ran since middle school and continued into college where I ran Cross Country and Track for my University. I am now assistant Cross Country coach at the high school in my district! Our girls won state last year and we are headed for Double Trouble!  WATCH OUT! ; )

6. I am a BIG reality TV junkie! Yes...anything and everything including the Bachelor and Bachelorette, Teen Mom, Jersey Shore {shhhh!}...seriously the list goes on! I won't go there!

5. I Can't live without my Keurig! It ranks right on up there with my husband Diet Dr. Pepper!

4. I begin my PhD program in January at Clemson University {Go Tigers!}...say a little prayer for ME!

3. I LOVE my job! Although the teaching profession can get a tad chaotic at times, there is no other place that I would rather be. There is not greater joy than to see those bright smiling faces each morning that just can't wait to learn. Light bulb moments are the best and my hope is that I inspire my students half as much as they inspire me. I am truly, truly blessed to work with such amazing kids!

2. I am married to the most patient, Godly man in the entire universe. He is my biggest fan! We just recently celebrated our one year anniversary! We were married last July in Venice, Italy with about 30 of our closest friends and family. Hands down...the most ROMANTIC day of my life!

1. Jesus is my Savior and without him I am nothing! He makes me everything that I am and prepares me for everything that I will become! He is my strength in this crazy life!

Head on over to Blog Hoppin' to link up with all of the fun!

More Beginning of the Year Fun

Whew! The first week is behind me and NOW I am ready for some fun with my precious second graders! They have already amazed and inspired me with how excited they are about learning. Their sweet determination and contagious spirit make my job that much MORE enjoyable each day! Love them already! 

Last week, we spent the majority of our time getting to know one another, building team spirit and most importantly getting our classroom into a routine { is TIME for a routine AGAIN!} 

I began the week by having the students introduce their classmates. I thought that by placing the students in charge of introducing their "teammates" {a.k.a. classmates}, they would take initiative to really get to know one another. I was a little hesitant and knew that this would be a hit or a miss. was a definite HIT! The students did such an amazing job.

I paired the students with a buddy teammate. The students used the Celebrity Interview sheet to record information about their teammate. As we all came back to the carpet, each student introduced his/her teammate by turning the information collected into complete sentences. {I was totally impressed!} BUT...the kicker was the students dressed up as celebrities prior to presenting. I had feather boas, hats, sunglasses, fake diamond rings {BLING! BLING!} and large necklaces. The students just couldn't get enough of it! They introduced their classmate in center stage and had a blast! I so wish that I could share pictures of my silly kids, but I am still waiting on my parent's approval to place their pictures for all to see! To grab this swag {celebrity interview sheet}, click on the picture below! 

This activity went perfectly with my Rock Star Profiles. Here is that download one more time! We added a little ribbon and had the perfect VIP All Access Pass!

I wanted to get a little academic work in just to get some idea of my student's writing ability {after two months of summer vacay}. To tie right in with our Rock Star theme, I had the students write about things that make them "Reel" happy. I was totally inspired by this little picture that I saw on Pinterest.

I went straight to ETSY and downloaded these cute little smiles. {Click here if you've just GOT to have them!} I took pictures of each of my students with their smiles and they created their own "Smile Reel." They then wrote a paragraph about things that make them "REEL" happy! Each student presented their writing in center stage as we cheered them on! Such a silly activity that definitely kept the giggles going! You can click on the two pictures below to download the writing prompt paper and the reel for student pictures! 

Last but not least, I really pushed classroom unity and teamwork this week. I want my students to understand that in order to reach our potential, we must all work together as one classroom family. Amanda over at One Extra Degree has an amazing idea for a classroom promise activity that I incorporated into my character education plans this past week. {Check her out HERE}

Such a fun week filled with memories for my students! Check back soon for our Second Grade Rocks Song! Due to the fact that my classroom has an overwhelming amount of Bieber Fever...I created a song that we sing each morning to the tune of one of his famous hits! I think they would sing this song all day....every day!  They even asked to sing it in the halls! :) 

Time to get ready for another week on Full Blast! Happy Sunday Friends!

For those of you who have requested the number line with negative ya go! :) Click HERE to download!

Get Your Mod Podge On....Journal Covers

Raise your hand if you are ONE exhausted teacher!!! Trust me, both hands are shooting straight up right now. It is amazing what we have to do to pull off the beginning of the year and it always seems to get the best of me! BUT...we have been having a BLAST in second grade and I must say...I am pretty certain that I have the most fabulous class EVER! They are precious and so excited about school and learning which is any teacher's dream.

I am hoping to have time in the next few days to post all of our beginning of the year activities that we have been doing over the past several days! Until then, I did want to share a quick little activity that we did today and it is so darn cute! I seriously thought of this idea at about 10:00 p.m. last night and had to make a quick Ingles run for magazines! Thank goodness it is less than 1 minute from my house!  Oh...the life of a teacher! :)

Student Journal Covers

This year, it is my goal to motivate my students to become creative writers. I want them to incorporate their own voice like never before and strive to make their writings unique and interesting.  So, to inspire the students, I allowed them to tap into their creative side by creating journal covers. I gave each student magazines to begin cutting out things that either inspire them or things that represent their personality. We used Mod Podge to attach the clippings.  Let me was a total HIT! They loved, loved, loved this activity and were begging to begin writing in their journals. {I had to explain the importance of allowing the journals to dry first!} This was also a great "Get to Know You" activity. I allowed the students to show off their journals and explain why they chose each clipping to represent their personality and interests. I hope this allows the students to really take ownership of their journal and create powerful writings filled with creativity!!!

I think it is safe to say that my students have the Bieber FEVER!

On a little random two of my new students:
The Biebs!

Happy Wednesday Friends! Wow...I have almost made it through my first week of school! Is that crazy or what?

Random As Can Be!!!! {THREE FREEBIES}

Hi bloggy friends! Oh my...I have been in my classroom all day because parents come TOMORROW {FREAK out mode} and students begin on Tuesday!!!! I am so excited about this year and can't wait to fire it up on the first day!  I had the majority of my students last year and they already know how crazy I I won't freak them out {that much}!!! 

I still have things to do and get together, organize, clean....AND not to mention the fact that I just went and visited one of my sick babies in the hospital! Broke my heart!!!!  As always, I have been creating away and wanted to share a few freebies with all of you since you have been SOOO sweet welcoming my new blog and leaving way too many fabulous comments! All of you CRAZY AMAZING teachers seriously inspire me to keep on keepin' on!

I hope that you all have the most amazing beginning to your school year!  

FYI...these are as random as random can be! :0)

Teacher Notebook Covers
Yes...even our notebooks have to be cute! {As my husband rolls his!} :)
Click HERE to get your cuteness on!

I was in pure panic mode today when I realized that A. I had forgotten to put up a number line in my room and B. my number line was cute little frogs! {ummm....not going to work with my rock and roll theme!}
Numbers 1-100

AND...last but not least...calendar numbers....rock and roll style {well, more Hollywood style...but they work!}

1 day...1 day....1 DAY!!!!

Happy Sunday Friends!!!!

OH SNAP!!!!! Motivating Young Readers!

I think that all teachers would agree that motivating students to read and practice reading on a daily basis can sometimes pose a little challenge. Sometimes, students may need a little incentive to direct them towards a true love and passion for reading! As I was thinking about how I wanted to motivate my readers, I had two things twirling in mind. I wanted my incentive program to be something AWESOME that would actually motivated my students and excite them about reading. AND...the OCD teacher side of me wanted something that would be easy to maintain and would not require a great amount of "housekeeping."  I combined these two things to create OH S.N.A.P. {Get it.."snapshots"...that's where the cameras come into play...I know...cheesy is my middle name and it is totally part of a teacher's job description!}

OH S.N.A.P. does not only reward those students who are demonstrating progress by advancing levels in their reading. We all know that it may take some of our struggling readers several weeks to advance and these students are the readers that we need to target and keep consistently engaged and motivated. This program also rewards those students who are going above and beyond to become the very best readers that they can be. Rewarding effort is just as important as rewarding achievement! While using OH S.N.A.P. to encourage reading, students will be rewarded for four different reading achievements: Reading Practice (Reading Logs), A.R. (Accelerated Reader: If your school does not implement this program, there is an alternate point system), Reading Level Advancement, & Readers Response.

The students will earn OH S.N.A.P points as they accomplish their reading goals. They clip their point cards on individual ribbons to keep track of what they have earned (I Use the OH S.N.A.P. Student Records Chart to keep track of my students points each week). On Friday, I hold a small celebration to reward students with point clips and certificates.
The students will add their S.N.A.P. clips to their individual ribbons. The students are rewarded with special rewards as they reach a specific amount of points. 
They students receive the reward as soon as they have earned the needed points. The point system does not start over until the student has reached 150 points. So, by this point, the student will have received all 7 rewards. The student will then begin working towards 150 points again earning rewards along the way!

If you would like to pick up OH S.N.A.P., head on over to visit my TPT store!

Here is a weekend FREEBIE for you to enjoy! OH S.N.A.P. Reading Log!
How do you motivate and reward young readers in your classroom?

The Count Down Continues...3 days until I see the most amazing second graders...EVER! :)

Q & A Thursday!!!!

Alright bloggy friends, I am here and ready to answer all of your fabulous questions that you have been emailing and posting over the past week.

Before I start answering your questions {a.k.a. TRYING to answer your questions} and provide you with a little more information about the hows, whys, and wheres, I just want to give all of you amazing teachers a little shout out! Ya'll are the absolute best and I am so grateful for each and every one of your sweet comments! Your notes of encouragement have inspired me and completely pumped me up for this new year! I don't know about you...BUT...I am SO EXCITED for yet another opportunity to work with amazing kids and can't wait to celebrate all of their learning and accomplishments throughout the year! Do we have the best job or what?!? 

Ok! Here we go! I chose a few of the most commonly asked questions to hopefully provide you with a few tips that may be of some use as you create, innovate and inspire this year!

Where do you find all of your graphics? Do you create your graphics yourself?
Oh dear...where do I begin! First of all...I totally wish that I could create graphics. I can do the basics and have made a few of the graphics that I have used but I definitely can't take credit for most things! I am ALWAYS on the lookout for great clip art and graphics to include in my documents.  If you are not a fan of ETSY, I highly recommend many of their designers for some very unique and of course extremely CUTE clip art! You have to do a little searching but it will be well worth your finds.  Of course, I also incorporate a little Scrappin Doodles and Lettering Delights in the mix! I am also a HUGE fan of digital scrapbook kits. You can check out some pretty amazing kits at ScrapDelicious.  I highly recommend this cute little shop that includes a collection of some really fabulous designers!

What fonts do you use in your documents?
Love me some fonts! I think that fonts are such a cute and fun way to really express yourself and make your creations truly unique to your style!  I would have to say that my "Most Fave Fonts Award" would go to Fonts for Peas...hands down! These fonts are just way too cute to resist and are extremely appropriate for an early childhood teacher who is CONSTANTLY creating "kid friendly" materials. You can get a little download for this collection of fonts here! Truly amaze! I just know that you will love them as much as I do!

How do you create your documents? Do you use/recommend a special program? 
Wait...don't you have a little creative genie that jumps out and creates all of your documents for you? HA! Don't we all wish!!! So, since that is NOT going to happen any time soon, let me introduce my sweet bloggy friends to the best design and graphics program around...PowerPoint! :) I know all of you gifted graphic design peeps are probably rolling your eyes right about... NOW...but PowerPoint is where it is at for me! PowerPoint makes it extremely easy to add a slide here and there and delete slides when necessary. It is also clip art and graphics friendly and pretty darn fast too!  After I have created a document, I save it as a PDF! I know that this is not the most profound answer to this question but I am all about EASY! So...go get your PowerPoint designing on friends!    

Would you be interested in creating a First Grade Word Study Unit? does the saying go..."Ask and you shall receive" right? Get ready, get is in the works! After several requests, a First Grade Wordy Study is currently under construction! Next week will be my first week with the kiddos, so I am hoping to have this unit finished within the next two weeks. I wish I could have it ready for you now but...ready...OR NOT...those sweet little smiling faces will be at my door bright and early Tuesday morning and I have a crazy amount of work to do! I know you are saying...join the club :) {right?} BUT, be on the will be out and ready to go in a few weeks!

Will you be posting any beginning of the year activities? 
What? I have to write lesson plans? Seriously? {Alright, Now that I am done FREAKING out...} :) Of course I will be posting some beginning of the year ideas! I am keeping it rollin' with my music theme and we will be rocking out the first two days of school. I have lots of ideas but NOTHING on paper. Yes...I said NOTHING!  We all know what I will be doing this weekend! So, check back soon and I will have some music inspired ideas for all of your beginning of the year needs!

Alright friends, I hope this little Q & A session answered some of your burning questions. However, if you still have more, feel free to email me at

Don't forget to check back soon for my beginning of the year plans and a pretty awesome tool to motivate young readers called...OH S.N.A.P. You can see a little peek below! {It's going to be a BLAST!} Happy {almost} Friday! 

Get "Reel" With Writing

Are you ready to Get "Reel" with Writing?  I think you would agree that there are so many wonderful writing curriculums and resources at our fingertips that build powerful writers in our classroom. However, that was just my problem! In an early childhood classroom, it is so difficult to find one "perfect fit."  I always find myself seeing the effectiveness of this and liking a little of that. {I am just so sure that you can totally relate! :)} And then, sometimes I would really like a specific strategy but it would be above my students' level of understanding. Now, believe motto is go big or go home and I am all about pushing my students towards excellence but it is a waste of time to teach something that does not relate to things that they are already familiar with and things that are not relative to THEIR world! {ESPECIALLY IN WRITING!!!} So, I have pieced together a few of the strategies that I like best to create this nice supplement to all of the outstanding writing programs that are already out and about in our classrooms.  This unit is not meant to be a writing curriculum all on it's own. Rather, it is created to enhance the program that you are already using during your daily writing instruction.

Get "Reel" with Writing explains and provides resources for several writing strategies that I have found effective for the writers in my classroom. Some strategies spotlighted in this unit include "Color Your Words" Editing Strategies where the students learn to associate a specific color with an editing strategy/writing skill.  You will also be introduced to a vocabulary strategy that I have implemented to enhance my students' academic vocabulary called Playground, Party and White House Words. This strategy will have your students using vivid vocabulary that will appeal to all of their reader's five senses and really create a dynamic and powerful piece of writing.

You can implement all of the strategies into your writing instruction or pick and choose to create a "perfect fit" for your classroom and more importantly for your budding authors! :) Here is a little preview of Get "Reel" with Writing. You can pick this up now at my TPT store!

 5 days until my students arrive!! WHAT!?! Can't wait to see all of their smiling faces!

Extra...Extra....READ ALL ABOUT IT

One of things (among many) that I am MOST passionate about in my classroom is bringing the outside world in and showing my students all of the amazing things that our world has to offer. Many of my children have never had the chance to visit another country, much less another state or even town in our nation. So, in my classroom, I try my darnedest to recreate some of the most ridiculously beautiful places that I have been so fortunate to visit. Thank goodness that I have a crafty mama to help me "dress up" my room in lots of different themes to allow them to experience other cultures and give them a glimpse outside of our small town. I really want to give them a reason and motivation to learn and show them that their is no limit to what they can experience and achieve. 

Along these lines, I just have to share one of the most amazing websites that I use in my classroom. DOGONEWS! I am sure that you have probably heard of this site from many others, but it is just too great of a resource not to share! This site includes daily news articles and stories of current events happening all over our world. The best part...THE STUDENTS CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT!!! Their world is completely crushed if we do not make it to our daily story! If that isn't powerful motivation, I don't know what is! DOGOnews is one of the many ways that I attempt to open my students' eyes to some of the cultures that shape our world and the unique individuals and animals that inhabit this spectacular place! This site just gives them a taste of the goodness in our world and believe me, they will talk about these stories for DAYS! It is amazing how so many students who are still struggling with adding single digit numbers can recall and explain events such as the devastating Tsunami in Japan or the aftershocks that followed soon after the earthquake. {And yes...they really will use big words like aftershocks and tectonic plates! It is basically amazing!} I try very hard to read these news articles prior to our writing time which always provides them with a great topic to include in their journal if they can not think of an idea...BUT I incorporate these current events wherever and whenever possible. I am currently working on some activities to go right along with this amazing content! I will let you know when they are ready!

If you are looking for a great news site for kids...this is it! Check it will not disappoint!

Extreme Makeover...Classroom Edition

I have been eating, drinking, sleeping and dreaming around the preparation of my classroom this past week!  I am pretty sure that I should have just moved a sleeping bag in for the night to save myself some time! BUT...I am proud to say...I am about four banners, a few labels, and one front door decoration away from having the entire classroom rockin' and rollin' for my sweet second graders next Monday! {OK, so basically...I still have some work to do but it is getting that the hallelujah chorus I hear?!?} 

In all seriousness, it really hasn't been that bad and has actually been a tremendous amount of fun pulling it all together. I must say, I have had some crazy amazing helpers!  About 10 of my cross country kids came on Thursday to cut and cut and CUT!!!! {They must love me is all I can say!} :) They were so wonderful and a few of them even came back on Friday asking for more! Are they CRAZY?!? And of course my super duper crazier than I am Mother has been there every step of the way! She is a craft genius and adds her little touch of spunk all over my room. At times I have to pull out the teacher voice on my own mother and say "No Mom...We are DONE!" I swear she has more energy than my 18 kids put together and would go for days! I just love her!  

Now, before I show you pictures, let me just say... I. Need. A. CAMERA!!!! My dear old friend bit the dust a few weeks ago and I have been using the phone on my BlackBerry {a.k.a. "crackberry"} religiously! Although I love my dear BlackBerry, the pictures...well...not so much! So, please don't let the crazy lighting stand in your way of enjoying this little peek into my classroom and contrary to what you may see in the pictures, I do not actually have a layer of dust three inches thick surrounding my room. On some of these pictures, I swear the lighting makes my classroom look like is 100 years old! BUT...that is not the point now is it?!? :)  So, enjoy these little snapshots of my teaching world and if you are planning to rock out with your students this year, I hope that some of my ideas can assist you in your decorating needs!  

Classroom Tour
Our Guided Reading and small group math area! I am pretty excited about this cozy little spot and the fact that I have such a large area to display strategy posters and content vocabulary. I am using my glitter clothespins to hang posters, anchor charts, vocabulary words ect. to make it easy to change things up!
 Up close and personal! 

"In the Spotlight" {still missing a title} bulletin board that will feature social studies and science content words for the week. Yes, the camera actually "flashes" thanks to my mother! I told you...she is overflowing with awesomeness { that a word?} :) And no, the camera will not be flashing 24/7...180! It is a special occasion kind of flash!

Beboppin' Birthdays...Ready for my students' pictures!

Our math area:
The majority of my math instruction is small group {most of the time by ability level}. I supplement my instruction with math tubs and I also include something that I call "Pump Up...Power Practice".  I will post more about this later. Basically, it is a drill and practice type of activity where the memorization of basic skills (addition facts, subtraction facts, time, money, place value) is heavily enforced and constantly reviewed. The students get to choose which manipulative (dice, dominoes, puzzle pieces, dice shakers, math chips, etc.) they would like to use to complete their activity. These activities build the students' confidence by enhancing their abilities. They love, love, LOVE to get pumped up about math during this time!

Student Work Area + Chapter Book Library

Our Classroom Library
Our little library has several parts. The chapter book rack that you saw earlier, books leveled by topic (in the colorful buckets), and our books in the spotlight (red shelf). I am using a clothespin checkout system this year to reinforce proper care and return of books in our classroom. The students will clip their clothespin on the basket that holds their book. When they are ready to return the book, they place it back into the correct basket and remove their clothespin.

 I also have a leveled book library in my classroom. The students get to choose a new book each day  to take home for nightly reading practice. You can download my book bin labels HERE!
Rock Star of the Week Wall
I still have a little work to do here, but you get the idea. The students picture will go in the frame and I will highlight some of their "Rockin' Work" below. 
ipod Cubby Numbers
You can download these little cuties HERE!

Classroom Shots

My jammin' guitar is going to say "Rock and Roll in Second Grade"

A little peek at "THE RUNWAY!"

Outside Wall Display

The students will be creating their very own Hollywood Star to add to the wall.

Well...that is it! I am getting so close to being completely finished and ready to ROCK OUT! I hope that you have enjoyed the little tour of my classroom! Happy Sunday sweet bloggy friends!