Lightbulb Moment!

Today I had a little glimpse as to what
my reading block could be like when this Daily 5
thing is in full swing.
All I can say is I. Loved. It.

The whole process of introducing the Daily 5
has taken longer than I thought.
However, we have 3 of the 5 going
pretty strong so far and I'm proud of that.
So, this week, I thought I would take a break
from introducing the next part,
{for me that is word work}
and let the kids rotate through and
see how everything will sort of play out.

I actually had 4 or 5 reading conferences today
with some of the neediest kiddos.
It was SO amazing!
We talked about what their goals would be
from the CAFE menu and I felt like
I connected with them and understood
a little more about where they are as readers.
I feel like this additional attention from me is definitely needed
along with the intervention groups with the reading specialists.
I could see in their eyes that they knew I cared
and truly wanted to help them become better readers:)

This little snapshot of what things could be like
all the time once the Daily 5 is up and running
was just the little boost of confidence I needed
to keep going!

So, next week I'm tackling Word Work.
I'm trying to get set up and I'm finding ALL sorts
 of great ideas online. It makes it hard to keep
it all organized and figure out exactly how I want it to be
but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

I'm so encouraged when I read about other
newbies to Daily 5 and even old pros,
so let me know how its going for you!

Happy {almost} Thursday!



lesson planner

Thought I would share my new Erin Condren
lesson planner!
Love this thing because its so colorful and cheery
and make writing plans that
much more fun:)
{I'm a sucker for anything colorful/cute!}

I found a great deal on this through a post
Cara had a while back.
They are normally $50, which is kinda steep
if you ask me.
There was an offer through a deal's site, kinda
like Groupon, for half off.
So I snagged the teacher lesson planner and a few
other goodies!
I was seriously contemplating using the deals
I bought for some Christmas gifts too
but ended up just splurging all on myself:)

I love the Life Planner too.
During my free time, I try to get crafty and
make little personalized things.
I write down when orders are due in this
and just normal everyday stuff.

I also had to splurge on this
sticker for my ipad cover.
This summer we sold our mac
notebook and my NOOK reader.
We bought ipads in place of those
and we LOVE them!
These are normally $20 but I got
them through the deal for $12.
They actually send you 2 stickers,
in case the first one you use gets
worn looking. Very cool!

Hope you all ENJOY your weekend and 
get to RELAX!


Emerald City Day=FAIL!


Ever have one of those days {or weeks, months or years:)}
that doesn't go as planned?!?!?

I know.
Silly question to ask a bunch of teachers!

The first month of school was absolutely CRAZY!
It was crazy it many, many ways.
It could have been crazy in a bad way.
Bad stuff happened.
But I'm just so darn positive that I can't
help be thankful for how this school
year really has gotten off to a GREAT start!
Just with a lot of crazy thrown in there too;)

Ok, so here's how it all played out...
I purchased these two extrememly fabulous
Since our first theme for Open Court
Reading is "Sharing Stories" these units
were great ways to start everything off!
We had a blast and the kids LOVED
the week we spent on The Wizard of Oz.
Abby suggests having an "Emerald City"
day to end the unit and the kids were
definitely excited.

I saved a few of the science experiments from
the unit to do on that last day
and also planned to make one of
these babies!

Yep...a fabulous, tasy, rainbow cake!
That is a pic of the first {and only}
rainbow cake I've ever made.
It was for my niece's birthday
this past summer and it turned out pretty
darn good for a first try:)

So I was all ready to make another one
for Emerald City Day.
The night before, I was feeling lazy and
decided it would be much faster to make
rainbow cupcakes.
It went pretty well and my daughter
even sampled one....

That night, about 2am, I heard
her crying and could smell it before
I even opened her door.
Poor thing had gotten sick in her
We cleaned up. Got her back to sleep.
I got back in bed and tried to fall
Then she got sick again.
We cleaned up. Got her back to sleep.
And I think you get the picture.
This went on several times.
She was so sweet and was
apologizing for getting sick and making a mess, poor baby.
So I stayed home with her the next day
and had to miss Emerald City Day.
I went up EARLY that morning to write
my sub plans and decided there was
no way I could take the cupcakes.
What if it was the cupcake that made her sick???
What if I made the whole class sick???
I'd have so many angry parents!!!
I couldn't risk it.

So I kept thinking about how she probably
just had a stomach bug and the cupcakes were fine.
I didn't want to waste all that hard work
and the cupcakes looked awesome.

So the next day I ate one and nothing happened.
But then, Sunday came and I got sick:(
I still don't think it was the cupcakes,
but I couldn't risk it, even if we
did just catch a bug because my germs were
definitely all over those puppies.
As soon as I could pull myself off the couch
and felt alive again, I threw them all out:(

I was sooooo disappointed the kids
didn't get to have the kind of Emerald City Day
I had hoped for, but they still
did the science experiements
and wore green to celebrate!
So during the first
few weeks of August I had to move
my classroom, start school, found out I had
a torn retina, missed 2 1/2 days of school {already},
got the stomach bug, and took care
of a sick toddler!
But, I still declare it could have been worse,
and I can honestly say that overall I've enjoyed
the start to this year:)


Daily 2.5

I feel like this is more
where I'm at when it comes to the
implementing the Daily 5...ha!

In my defense...I read Cafe and The Daily
Five right before school started. I 
instantly LOVED them and wanted
that for my classroom, but I was a little hesitant.
Mainly because it would be different than what
I've done before and we use Open Court Reading.
I was/am unsure of how it can all
mix together.

I started the school year teaching Read to Self
first and then Read to Someone. Those
were not too different to implement since
I have always had a silent reading time.
It was great to take more time this year
teaching expectations for reading with a partner
since we do it a lot in my classroom.
I also {heart} teaching EXPECTATIONS
because I am kinda picky...at least that's
what I tell me students!

Anyways, my moment came about two weeks ago,
when I didn't have any doubts about whether
or not I was going to dive all the way in
with the Daily 5.

I was feeling frustrated with our reading program. 
There are some parts that I like.
But, it needs to be WAY more fun.
That day I was also reading the parent surveys 
I had just received back and one of the 
first questions was, "Does your child like to read?"
It broke my heart how many "NO's" there were and they
were often followed by, "because they are struggling and get

I knew at that moment that I had to try something
different this year, and if anything is going
to work with along our reading program
{that I have to teach with FIDELITY.
Does your school district use that word
as much as mine? Probably not!!!}
the structure of
the Daily 5 would possibly
be my only hope.
The Daily 5 sounds FUN.
My students need to have FUN reading and
they need to LOVE reading.

So that's where I'm at. :)

One thing my students are doing great at is
during Read to Someone. They are fabulous
at stopping to check for understanding.
I actually think they ENJOY doing it:)
I made these cards for them to use
to remember to stop at the end of
each page and check for understanding.
 Each pair of kiddos grabs one before 
they find a spot to sit.
They help the kids a lot because it prompts
them the sentence starter of, "I heard you read..."
in case they forget how to start!
Walking around the room and hearing them say those
words and then retell what they heard
is so rewarding as a teacher:)

If you'd like a copy of the Check for Understanding cards
click the download link below!

I need to introduce Listen to Reading, but we don't
have the supplies yet, so I think I'll just have to
move on to Writing and Working with Words.
I got the idea to use CD Walkmans if I can
get enough of them {maybe 4 or 5} donated.
Has anyone used these before?
I just thought the mobility of them would be
good for my classroom since I don't have
a space for an entire listening center.

I am excited that I'm going full force with this and
hoping to see some great results this year:)

I thought I'd write about this to see if there is
anyone else out there new to using the Daily 5 this year.
If you are, I'd LOVE for you to leave a comment and tell
me how its going for you!


Urban, Suburban, & Rural Areas....and a THANK YOU!

 Can I just say how much I appreciate
you all stopping by my little blog!!

I know a lot of you found your way here
from Cara's post last week.
She is sooooooooo sweet
and VERY generous to take the time
to introduce some of us newbie bloggers:)

This week has been all sorts of CRAZY!
Really, the last month has been out of control,
but in a good way:)

I can't wait to get a little free time
this week {hopefully} so I can 
follow all of my new readers' blogs, too!

 Here's a little something I did with my class this past
week to learn about the differences between
urban, suburban, and rural areas.
They had a blast making these posters
together. Everyone had a part and created 
something for each area.

Later, when we compared/contrasted the
different areas, these posters we SO
helpful to the kiddos and I could see
them studying them as I asked them
to tell me, "How is an urban area
different from a suburban area?"
Great visual cues!

I hope to post later this week about my Daily 5 progress.
Like I said before, I was kind of on the fence about
implementing Daily 5 this year.
Let me just tell ya, after completing beginning of the
year reading assessments...I'm becoming more
confident that this is the right thing to do:)
And, I'm having so much fun getting Daily 5
inspiration from fellow bloggers!

Have a great start to your week!


A Trading Game

I thought I'd share with you one of my FAVORITE
math games to have my students
play at the beginning of the year.

This game is very simple, but does
a whole lot to prepare them for regrouping or
"borrowing", which can be a huge
challenge for some kiddos.

I learned this game at a workshop a few years
ago and I've had my students play it ever since.
They absolutely LOVE it and
I LOVE it because it is sooooo meaningful.

I'm sure this game is not anything new and it may have different names that it 
goes by out in bloggy world.
The presenter I heard about it from called the
game "3 Town" or "5 Town" depending
on the way you decide to have your kiddos play.

Since the game is focusing on "trading",
you can tell the kids that this game is all
about a land where "3" is the number for 
You really play it up.
I use examples like, "Everyone is '3 Town' eats
3 meals a day, have 3 kids, 3 pets, 3 cars, 3 houses, etc.."
They think its quite fun and like to come up with their own
examples too!

Here are the supplies you will need:
Gameboards- When I moved to second a few years ago, I found a handful of these in a closet.
When I attended the workshop, I realized what they were. I had to make the rest which was not difficult at all. Just construction paper, ruler, glue, sharpie, and then laminated.

Colored poker chips- I bought a bag of 1000 from Teacher Direct a few years ago.
The colors are yellow, green, blue, red. You could use any colors as long as they
match the boards you use.


Chip holders- I really like using these chip/dip trays I found in Target's dollar spot to keep the chips organized.


  • I like to put 4 kids in a group so 1 will be the "banker" (in charge of the chips) and the other 3 will be playing and each need a gameboard. 
  • The "banker" (I choose the banker for each group) is the only person allowed to touch the chip tray and take chips in and out.
  •  1 player rolls the dice. They ask the banker for that many YELLOW chips.
  • Since the game is "3 Town", every time a player gets 3 YELLOW chips they can trade in for the next color, so on my gameboards that is BLUE.

  • If they can trade in their chips, they need to do it before the end of their turn, or before they pass the dice to the next player. 
Example: Player rolls a '5'. Player says to the banker, "Can I please have 5 YELLOW chips?"
(We practice our please and thank you's a lot during this game!)
The "banker" then gives them 5 YELLOW and the player puts them on their gameboard in the YELLOW column.
The player will then take 3 of the newly acquired chips and ask the banker, "Can I please trade these 3 YELLOW in for 1 BLUE?"
The "banker" takes the chips and gives the player 1 BLUE, who then places it on their gameboard.
If the player decides they can not trade in anything else, they pass the dice on to the next player.

  • Every time they roll they get YELLOW chips. That is always the "starting point" on their gamboard and they have to trade in to get the next color.  Some will forget and think they should get BLUE chips on their 2nd turn, but usually other players will remind them:)

  • When a player gets 3 BLUE, they can trade in for 1 GREEN.

  • If they get 3 GREEN, they can trade in for 1 RED. The first player to get 1 RED chip is the winner!
I told you it was simple:)
But, seriously, the kids get addicted to this game.

So, the 2nd or 3rd time we play, I'll switch it up and we will play
"5 Town" and so then they must get 5 YELLOW chips to be able
to trade for 1 BLUE, etc...

  • Model, model, model. The first day I introduce the game, students are watching me play and I usually have 1 or 2 other kids "play" with me as we go through an entire game for everyone to watch.
  • I am picky about the "banker" handing the chips to the player. Sometimes, they want to just put it on the player's board for them. We talk about how each player needs to be in charge of their board and its their job to PAY ATTENTION and realize when they can make a trade! Some kiddos like to run everyone's board so we talk about this a lot.
  • During a player's turn, they can make as many trades as they need too, but they only roll 1 time each turn. If they pass the dice and the next player starts to roll, they can't make a trade until their next turn.
  • If a group finishes, they can start over and the winner will become then new "banker".
When we start regrouping in early October,
its great to be able to use phrases like "Now we're going to trade in 10 ones for 1 ten"
with the kids and they know exactly what that means
because they've been playing the trading game!