Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary who lost their precious children and courageous mothers, daughters and teachers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Did He Say?!?

So this post is linking up with Ms. Jessica over at a Turn to Learn. She posted this on Wednesday, but my charming, choking and laughing quote from my OWN SON, did not occur until Friday morning.

Both of my boys come to school with me, one is a first grader and the other is a third grader this year. It's been a blessing to have them both in the same place finally! Anyway, the 3rd grader was heading to a friend's house after school on Friday and would be taking the bus, so he had a note of permission. We get to school early so that I can get work done and the boys take care of their stuff and put it in their lockers. My phone rang in my room not long after I'd taken my coat off and it was the 3rd grader's teacher. She was literally laughing so much she had a difficult time talking.

Apparently, being the dutiful child that he is, my son handed the note over early. Nancy read it and said, "Oh, so you're having a play date after school!" He promptly replied, "No, we're having a HANGOVER!" Nancy tried to clarify (mind you, I'm hearing this over the phone and she's laughing!) "You mean you're having a SLEEPOVER?" "No, little kids have play dates, we have HANGOVERS," and then down to my room he came. Of course I immediately started laughing, but the best part was, was that by the end of the day, most of the staff had stopped by to ask about my son's HANGOVER,  and my principal has added this story to her book-when this thing is finally published, it's going to sell millions of copies!
The best part was telling my husband and then getting to explain what a HANGOVER is to a 9 year old!

So there it is, my darling child's quote. Click above to read more quotes Jessica has gathered.

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Math Coach ROCKS!

Hey everyone! I am on the countdown! 10 more days and my two classes are D-O-N-E! I am so ready to spend the rest of December catching up on my favorite blogs and the recorded episodes of everything I've missed out on watching.

But, speaking of favorite blogs, you have to head over to the Math Coach's Corner. Donna has reached 1,000,000 page views and is having a HUGE GIVEAWAY! She has bundles of incredible materials for K-2 and 3-5. Congratulations Donna! You ROCK!

I've been working in kindergarten and have some great things to tell you about the munchkins and their new math journals! Also, we've got some holiday math cooking in 1st grade...based on one of "the Math Coach's" fabulous ideas!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Know, I Know...

I've been AWOL...but it's been for a good (?) reason. I started two Masters classes on the first day of school back in September. To say the least...I've been a little overwhelmed. I even missed returning a BOO! I got from Teacher Kirra over at Maestra Kirra! These end December 10th and I AM READY! I literally whined to my husband last night about not wanting to do my homework:-( (I know, pathetic!)

Anyway, in my spare time (ha!) I have religiously been following Donna over at Math Coach's Corner. With the implementation of Common Core and math not being my strongest subject area, she has been an incredible resource! After reading several of her posts, I purchased some invaluable resources. (Two of which I can't keep in my room, and one other that two teachers have gone ahead and ordered for themselves.) Here's my list, and little bit of what I've learned so far about each.

 The two "It Makes Sense!" books are great K-2 resources that include ways to make the practice of hundreds charts and tens-frames part of daily routines, but also help you walk through using these invaluable tools to build children's number sense and help them think aloud as they solve various math tasks.

The Van de Walle books are set up for K-3 and 3-5. As we combed the internet today in search of states who have already created math tasks for the various math strands at individual grade levels, we found MANY who had adapted or used tasks from these two books. As Donna says, every teacher should have a copy of one of these in their classroom.

Number Talks is a book that one of my first grade teachers came to ask me about as I was ordering it! Thanks to Teresa, we have about 3 additional teachers who want to delve into this deeper. It's all about having 10-15 minute daily conversations about solving math problems mentally. Very excited and can't wait to start!

What's Your Math Problem is all about teaching....problem solving! The component of math that we don't go deep enough with with our students. This has practical lesson ideas and strategies for teachers to follow.

So there it is. What I've been up too, who my new math idol is and some great resources for you. Next semester I'm only taking one class, so I'm hoping to get back on schedule!

Enjoy the rest of your week and STAY WARM!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another Good App

This will be quick, but I promise to add a little something extra over the weekend. Appearing in my inbox tonight was a FREE download for Telling Time. This is the company that has also created the great Splash Math apps I posted about earlier. Now, like with the Splash Math, you can download a free version, but you can upgrade for the full version for only $1.99. So far from my view it looks pretty good, and the reviews online have been positive... I'll get the 6-year old opinion shortly.
Check it out and see what you think! If you're thinking about it for the classroom, it also has the teacher option allowing for more kids to use and save the info.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cool Library Organization Tool

Classroom libraries can be tough to manage. This is especially true when you have students shopping from them to fill their book box, but also choosing Just Right books to take home. In helping teachers organize their classroom libraries the last two years, conversations have gravitated to how they manage who has what book. The general consensus seems to be that lower elementary teacher's books typically stay in the classroom, while upper elementary teachers find students wanting to take their in-school reads home. And why not? If they're hooked, we want them to keep reading and finish so they can jump into another great story. So in my travels of trying to solve the check-out dilemma, I came across a really great resource.

BookSource's Online Classroom Organizer-First of all it's FREE! It's a web-based program that allows you to:
-import titles from a BookSource order
-add your existing titles
-import a student roster
-allows students to check out and return books  AND 
-will even run an assessment report on a student that includes their title activity.

They have even put a video on their homepage to tell/show you how this works. Click on the link above or the logo below to take yourself to this awesome find.

Check back for pictures and discussion on how we actually organized many libraries in our K-5 building!
For those of you like me who are wrapping up Day #2, GO TO BED EARLY:-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iPad Apps Worth Buying

So, we went on a family vacation at the beginning of August and I guess I never came back! I got called out on my lack of posting by one of our first grade teachers who over the summer discovered the awesomeness of now I've got to stay on track (Thank you T:-)

We are truly blessed to have an incredible PTA who helps to fund our growing need and desire to have current technology in our classrooms. Not only did they help us to get an iPad cart stocked with these incredible tablets at the end of the year, but have managed to get EACH teacher an iPad that they will be able to keep in their room to use on a daily basis. So with incredible news, I knew I finally had to post my list of "Must Have" apps.

mSecure ($9.99) The one stop place to put ALL of your passwords and logins. It's password protected and VERY easy to use.

Pages ($9.99) The best word processing app!

Noteshelf ($5.99) A great app for note taking when you want to separate your notes in their own notebook...staff meetings, district meetings, ideas, etc. You can insert text & photos,  or use your own handwriting.

Everyday Math Apps ($0.99-$1.99) Get your favorite EDM games played in the classroom as an app! Search McGraw Hill for these. And FIVE of them are FREE now by going to this link

Math Splash (FREE-$9.99) This is an awesome math app! Geared toward students by grade level (Gds 1-5). Download a specific math strand OR, the entire curriculum. Great app to differentiate for students or your own children. (This has been our math practice for the summer)

Storybuddy 2 ($4.99...ON SALE NOW) Storybuddy 2 allows you to insert pictures taken on your iPad or draw your own to illustrate a story. This version also has a READ TO feature...sweet!

Casey's Contraptions [Amazing Alex-new name] ($2.99) This is a great physics app. Learn the ins and outs of physics through game play.

A Monster Ate My Homework ($0.99) Another great physics/strategy app.

Ok, my list can go on and on, so I promise I'll do another post with more great apps. In the meantime, if you're looking for something specific, let me know.

To help keep track of the apps that you want, download AppShopper for FREE! You can create a wish list and it will let you know when the apps you have or want have been updated or when there is a price decrease.

Several developers are running sales or temporarily marking apps FREE in honor of teachers returning to school. Search using the Education filter to find some of these great deals.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Teacher Top 5 "Must Haves" to Start the Year

I'm a little late to the party, but I had to join this Linky Party. Rachelle, from Life Is Sweet...In Kindergarten started this Linky Party to give new teachers an idea about things they should consider having to start the year. This is right up my alley for two reasons, #1- I LOVE school supplies and could spend hours in an office supply store , and #2- I love passing on fun "finds" to my fellow teachers:-)

So here it is, my "Top 5 MUST HAVE Supplies"

1. Every teacher needs a WIDE range of markers to make their Anchor Charts POP! My favorites are the Sharpie Markers. I LOVE the retractable ones, but the Fine Point and Chisel Tip are hard to pass up too. I was introduced to the Elmer's Project Popperz Permanent Markers last year and they have quickly become another fav! (I even gave these as a gift to one of the new teachers I worked with last year).

2. Sticky Notes are the BEST things ever, but the BIG ones are great for PD, group projects and they're so big, you can cut them to shape if necessary-think hundred chart puzzles and big books.

3. Along the same lines are the pads of Sticky Pad CHART more "elementary twist" on the backs of regular chart paper.

4. BLUE Sticky Tack-no other color stays up ALL year long. We haven't figured out why, but the white and yellow versions just can't "hang" with the blue! There are several companies who make blue and usually an office supply store, or Lakeshore Learning carries them.

5. Fun File Folders! I've admitted to my Vera Bradley addiction (so yes, I have a few file folders in Cupcakes in Green), but once again, Staples and Office Max are my go to stores for some awesome designs. You can find a pattern (or two) to fit your classroom theme. I actually use a couple of different ones to help me organize all the data I keep by grade level and subject. These are from Staples and Office Max...

So there you have it! Things I like to have. One other that I would add, would be a three ring binder that I really LOVE! Office Max usually has an incredible selection:-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Freebie on TBA

Check out all of the Friday Freebies on TBA! You'll find It's All Elementary there!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Prep Work Means Freebies!

A huge part of my job is organization. As our teacher's get ready to start meeting in grade level teams come August, I send out a Curriculum Map to each team. The one they receive has our PD and late start days on it, as well as, when assessments are to be given and completed. This helps those teachers who are changing grade levels or our brand new teachers be on the "same page" as their veteran teammates  as they go through the school year and provides a basic framework for the team. If you would like a generic version of this template, click on the image below to grab yours.

I have a small Vera Bradley obsession (once again, THANKS KELLY!) and so my room is actually decorated in the Baroque, white, gray and citron. So, to help keep me organized this year, I created some very cute black and white calendars. If you'd like a copy for yourself, feel free to download them by clicking the image below.

An Award? So Exciting!!

I am so surprised and excited! It's All Elementary was given The Versatile Blogger Award by Amy Grout from Adventures in Teaching. Thank you Amy!

Here are the rules for the award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.

2. Include the award image in your post.

3. Give seven random facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers for the award and include a link to their site.

5. Let bloggers know they've been nominated.
Here are 7 Random Facts....
1. I love chocolate (who doesn't?!?)
2. My next door neighbor is one of my best friends.
3. I LOVE Vera Bradley.
4. I HATE snakes.
5. I love watching my sons play flag-football.
6. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
7. My husband is to blame for my Starbuck's addiction:-)

And the nominees are...
1. Calling Plays in 2nd Grade
2. 3rd Grade Gridiron
3. A Place Called Kindergarten
4. Cooperative Learning 365
5. 2nd Grade Math Maniac

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Time? It Got Away From Me! (& my 1st FREEBIE!)

So, summer is now in full swing. Baseball has started (Coach-Pitch and tee-ball), my summer reading "stack" has been gathered, my home to-do list keeps getting longer...and I've started on the many teacher resource projects that were put off until, well, NOW!

My first project was to create a writing organizer that included a mnemonic and visual aide. This is based on Patricia Naughton's "Picture It!" The organizer is meant to be used for K-2, so the lines are larger and I may have to create a second series with smaller lines for those more capable writers in first and second grades.
This is the first resource I've ever created for a teacher that I've posted on my blog, so I guess it's my first FREEBIE! Click on the picture above to download your own copy.

Keep checking back...there is MORE to come in the near future! ( may be seeing more of OUR work soon:-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

KindergartenWorks: digital three ring binder {instant organization!}

For those of you responsible for interventions, progress monitoring, or wanting to start e-portfolios, check out this post from KindergartenWorks.  The possibilities are endless!

KindergartenWorks: digital three ring binder {instant organization!}: In today's kindergarten {the modern first grade} we are reaching to keep things real, hands-on and kinesthetic as possible. As teachers we k...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Studies GALORE!

I have found THREE more great book studies for those of you looking for something to do over the summer
Number 1...If you haven't heard of or read the book Guided Math, this is  a good place to get started. Click on the link below to join Brenda and many others. Book study starts tomorrow!

Primary Inspired: Guided Math~Book Study Calendar & Survey!: I am SO excited to "get my math on" & start this Guided Math party book study tomorrow! Hope you've got your book, some sticky no...

Number 2...The second book study is taking place at Thinking of Teaching . Beth hosted a book study last year that focused on The Book Whisperer (fabulous book if you haven't read it) and has decided to follow this summer with Lori Jamison's Guiding Readers. This is another incredible must-have professional book.

Number 3...Daily 5 in KINDERGARTEN! Yep, it's true! For all of you kindergarten teachers, hop over to Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten to check this one out. It will be hosted by Tammy and several other TBA authors.

1 week left more me...not that I'm counting!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AHHHH! 1 1/2 Weeks Left!

I have made it half-way through this dreaded 4 week course! Down to the completion of the group project and dreaded 10-15 page paper...that I'm still not sure how to actually put together. Oh well, it will get done.

Meanwhile, I have stumbled upon two awesome things "to-do" for yourself over the summer. If you are looking to play around with some writing, check out this link to "Teachers Write!" A Virtual Writing Camp for Teachers and Librarians. I'm planning on trying it myself. Be sure to scroll down on the page and "Sign Up".

The other gem is the online book study for Daily 5 and CAFE being held at We Read, We Blog, We Teach.

This is being run by several TBA authors and other great bloggers. I have been using Daily 5 and CAFE for a few years now and have also done several professional development sessions for our staff and others in the district, but I'm always on the look out for more. Maybe I'll "see" you there:-)

For those of you like me who are STILL in school, hang in there, the end is near. And for those of you lucky ducks who are done, start having some fun!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm Still Here!

In all my infinite wisdom, I signed up for my first grad class last month- not really thinking that the 4 week course would be that big of a deal this time of year. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only am I trying to close out interventions, collect and analyze data, but I am also trying to complete 4 months of grad work in 4 weeks. soon as that final paper is done, I will return to the blog world. If anyone has any words of advice or encouragement, I'm all ears! Until then, have a great rest of your school year and check back-new ideas on the horizon:-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

She's Got the Look!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that one, of my two inspirations for starting this blog has a brand new look! Head over to The Plaid Apple and check out Kelly's awesome new color scheme.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Invitation for Summer Reading

I'm really NOT trying to think about next year and summer vacation, but it's really hard to not start planning ahead. So, to guiltily be thinking ahead AND be productive, I started thinking about what we could do to keep our students reading over the summer.

The first gem I have come across is This site allows you to keep track of the books you read and have on your shelves, but would also be a great place to "gather" your students. You can create a group for your class, make them members and then everyone can comment, suggest and review books. This site has a great search engine, 1000s of titles AND shows the cover art for each important feature to attract young readers.

If you click on the link in the sidebar, it will take you to my bookshelves. I have listed books I've read, mentor texts I've used for Reading & Writing Workshop, BOY read books (my latest passion) and PART of my professional book collection (I haven't finished the inventory yet). Like so many of you, the latter is a bit of an addiction.
                                                    My Nightstand at Home
                                             One of two cupboards at school

I'm working with my Reading and Media Specialist on a whole school summer reading idea, so stay tuned as we try and pull this together.

If anyone has great books that I need to add to my "shelves", let me know. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Hey Michigan teachers, if you're looking for a great summer conference, look no further! Check out LEARNING CONFERENCE 2012 being held in Birmingham, Michigan
June 20-21, 2012. All sessions will be at the Groves/Birmingham Conference Center.
 Click on the logo below to see a cool video!

If you want more info, visit

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Finally Getting Started

I finally did it! After stalking, I mean browsing, through several blogs thanks to my neighbor passing on another of HER addictions (thank you Kelly!), playing with the idea of setting up a blog, having a conversation about my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and then literally being pushed off the cliff after a teaching buddy set up a blog account (thank you Joan!)... I am publishing my 1st post!

As an Instructional Specialist, I am a resource for teachers, an interventionist for students and wear whatever other hat someone can put on my head. Check back often for teacher resources and intervention ideas. I work in a K-5 building, so IT'S ALL ELEMENTARY!