2nd Favorite Things and Giveaway!

Hello everyone!!!

Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing  a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:


For years, my team and I, have "wished upon" a membership to PebbleGo.  We tried the free trial and saw the great possibilities  in terms of science and social studies. When the free trial was up we were as bummed as can be... Sadsville! PebbleGo is an outstanding resouce for reserachers in the primary grades, juts like mine.  The website has 5 databases: animals, science, biographies, dinosaurs, and social studies.  Each text is enriched with spoken-word audio, text highlighting and audio/video media. PebbleGo offers a perfect balance of technology, content area, and literacy! It is a must-have for any research unit.


I try to be so organized... I do try. It brings balance to my life.
These are some of the things I do to keep a healthy balance (because believe me, I want to be as present in the life of my children as possible and being "somewhat" of a good teacher takes a lot of work):

* I order my groceries online
* I plan most of our family's meals
* I have a cleaning lady that comes twice a month
*I have three wonderful men in my life who are my world, and help me a lot.
* I laugh and don't sweat the small stuff.

Now, now... I love some serious organization in the classroom especially when it comes to guided reading.

And a few months ago, my  NC friend Monica from NC Teacher Chick introduced me to Clever container. 

  How is this great Clever Container Organizer to hold all my pens and supplies for teaching firsties!


And as usual, this is by far my absolute most "favorite" favorite!

When times are dark and I want to quit, I can't. When I don't want to be strong and I want to let go, I can't.
Because. Of. Them.
The Lord blessed me with these two, and they are my all.


Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!






Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

I Feel Like Smiling Today! {and a FREEBIE}

Hello everyone!

Today I am linking up with  my teacher friends  from I Teach First!  Every month we will be linking up to bring you great seasonal,  thematic ideas and resources!

I had a very nice Thanksgiving with my entourage of boys. Honey Graham’s dad and brother flew in from San Francisco to spend the holiday with us. We had a grand time and I love the memories that are built around the kitchen and the dining room table.

I hope you snatched some awesome deals at the TPT sale! I LOVED the “smile” theme and even joined other sellers and created this promotional slide with my Kindergarten picture:


Speaking of smiles… I have discovered that I love creating teacher memes using the 2 Equis man. I thought I would share them with you today. I really love making people happy, and I KNOW this is a very stressful time of the year full of commitments, assessments, etc.  I hope you enjoy my teacher memes and I also hope that they bring you joy!

OMG!!! Please tell me that I am not alone on this one!

    This is one of the reasons why I use really good skincare.

I don’t know why I keep on doing this, especially during three day weekends.


I think LOOOOONG and hard before getting the glitter out. I love the sparkly, but I don’t love it in my armpits and between my toes, and my ears, and my teeth.


We all know how much we love this!


I am sure you can relate to this one!


Buahahahahaha! Aren’t they so relatable??!!

Now for my Christmas freebie…   We have been hard at work learning the meaning of the equal sign. This is a perfect math work station to review this important concept while making responsible use of instructional technology!!  To get this freebie,  click on the picture to download from my TPT store!!!

Christmas QR Code Equal Signs FREEBIE!!!

Until next time!! I hope  I made you smile, and I hope my freebie makes your life a little easier!!

Close Reading: What, how, and why {FREEBIES too!}

Hello everyone!

This girl over here has been enjoying the beautiful weather and hanging out with the boys… oh yeah… I have also been crazy busy at school and have had a million things going on! That’s the reason I have not blogged in what it seems like forever. 
Anyhow, I have been reading and reflecting A LOT about how to transform my literacy teaching  in this era of higher standards.  For about a year I have been a close reading groupie enthusiast.  There is so much literature out there and so many materials that, I did not know what to read or where to begin. I am so lucky to have my BFF Marie from The Literacy Spot… she always recommends the best reads.   My Amazon wish-list is about to pop!


So really what in the world is close reading?

According to Fisher and Frey, close reading is:

“an instructional routine in which students are guided in their understanding of complex texts.”  Basically, close reading is a component of dynamic reading instruction where students:
  • Read strategically
  • Interact with the text
  • Reread to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deeper understanding
  • Analyze multiple component of the text and illustrations
  • Focus on the author’s message
These are some of the most important things that I have learned about close reading:
  • Not all texts deserve a close reading
  • Close reading is also not necessary when the text is fairly accessible. In other words,  when choosing texts for close reading… you want to pick a text that do not give up their meaning easily or quickly.
  • Close reading is MORE than a worksheet!!! Our students need to interact with their peers and their teachers using academic language and  argumentation skills as they discuss the text.
  • Close reading is not one-and-done reading! Rather, it is purposeful, careful, and thoughtful.
And honestly, I could go on and on…


I really could give you a million reasons.

Close reading is not to be confused with guided reading. They are two extremely important instructional approaches that must be part of your balanced literacy.  Close reading  is not exclusively about eyes on print or reading accurately. In close reading we seek to explore the comprehension of ideas and structures more deeply. In other words, there will be times (especially during the first read) that my students will read, but some texts demand to be heard  and read aloud – poems are a good example.
These are some of the benefits of close reading:
  • It leads students on a cognitive path that begins with discovering the literal meaning of a text and ends with the exploration of deeper meaning and  a plan of what should occur as a result of the reading.
  • Close reading will help our students understand the mechanics of a text, especially vocabulary, text structure, and the author’s craft.
  • Close reading will require that all students cite textual evidence in their products. {Hello, mCLASS?}
These are some of the differences between close reading in the primary and upper elementary grades:




If you are thinking that a close read is an easy task for the teacher… then you might be like Santa Claus in the month of August.
Close reads are divided into four different phases:
  • What does the text say? (general understanding and key details)
  • How does the text work? (vocabulary, structure, author’s craft)
  • What does the text mean? (author’s purpose)
  • What does the text inspire you to do? (extended thinking)
These four phases provide our students to explore, practice, review, and navigate through literary and informational text-dependent questions. {Hello again mCLASS!} Text-dependent questions drive close reading!

You go right ahead and download this evidence based terminology poster to use during your close reading time! {click on picture!!}

And just in case you are wondering, this is what Fisher & Frey recommend as the best think marks for close reading based on their research.


Classroom Materials? No problem, I got you covered! Check out these great close reading materials from my TPT store! Click on the picture to be directed to my store.

Until next time!

Five for Friday {Anchor Chart Edition} and a FREEBIE!

Hello everyone! I am joining Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five For Friday linky!


I am still enjoying my fall break with my boys, so today I will be showing you some  great anchor charts that I developed with my students during the first nine weeks of school.

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With this chart, I introduced the concept of odd and even numbers. I wanted to capitalize on the brain’s tendency to attend to new information by presenting this concept in ten frames and a 120s chart.

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Oooh! This is a BIG one… This is an accuracy strategy that I want all of my students doing in spite of their reading level!  I introduced this chart by reading a projectable book from Reading A-Z. Once I started showing my students what “crosschecking” means, how it helps us understand and make sense of what we read, they started using it during guided reading groups, and independently.

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I read the ChartChums books and blog constantly! They are the true experts when it comes to anhor charts and a highly recommend their resources. From them, I learned that you can make your anchor charts interactive by using sticky notes.
And just in case you are wondering… no, I did not teach how are “addiction and subtraction” related. LOL!
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Thinking Maps, Interactive anchor charts, fiction and nonfiction, and Common Core? You got it!

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written retelling stew

Last but not least, this is a great anchor chart that I shared a while ago… you can read all about it and download the posters for the anchor chart by clicking HERE!!

I hope you enjoyed and got some anchor chart ideas today. Until next time!

“The Chapter Book Club” Easy Chapter Books for Early and Transitional Readers {and tons of FREEBIES!!}

Hello everyone!
. I am just starting my 3 week fall break in the company of my boys and my beautiful family who came to visit from out of town.
As the first quarter of school came to an end, I had many meetings with my students’ parents regarding their present levels, needs, strengths, etc.  There are a couple of questions that usually come up in most conferences:

What kind of easy chapter books can I read with my child at home?
What kind of books in my child’s reading level can I get from the public library?

I always begin by explaining parents that hooking a reader goes beyond any reading level.
It all starts with book choice and “just right” books.
I am no Donalyn Miller WHATSOEVER, but I have learned from experience that readers are motivated when they feel successful and the find their book (or text) interesting and meaningful.
I have spent the first days of my break compiling some books and series  that are classic, engaging, and perfect for those students who are itching to read more challenging text.
In my classroom, I  send the following letter to parents first. {Please click on the picture to download}
I make a HUGE deal about it! And I encourage parents, grandparents, guardians, and caregivers to do the same!
I provide each student with a chapter book club membership card, I alert the librarian and encourage my students to display their card with pride.  I take a picture of my students and glue on the card and laminate.{click on the picture to download}
I created the following posters to guide my student in forming book clubs, or duos, or trios. It doesn’t matter how many students are there per series or book! All that I really want is that my students are reading, and that they are reading something they like. CLICK HERE to download!
I  laminate the posters and hang them on the wall… I am kicking myself for not having a picture. Anyways, my students write their name on the poster  of the book or series they are reading. That’s how The children keep track of their group. They meet during morning work, and during Daily 5…
I hope you enjoyed the post, until next time!