Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions and a Sale!

It's that time of year again when everyone sets their resolutions for the coming year. This past year was one of the best and I am looking forward to what 2015. Even though 2014 was great, there are still some areas that could use a little improvement. One of those areas is this blog and creating products for TPT. So I decided that I would post some of my resolutions on my blog this year (considering I didn't have the blog last year to do so!) I am posting these resolutions in the hope that I will stick to them a little bit better this year.

Resolution #1: Blog at least once per week. Sometimes I have really good ideas and think to myself "That would be really great on the blog!" But then life happens and it never seems to get done. I really want to try to blog at least one new idea per week. I also need to take advantage of scheduling my posts, whether it's on my blog or on Facebook.

Resolution #2: Create at least one new product per month. I am very pleased with how my TPT store is taking off in the past couple of months. However, I know that I can work much harder to create new products in a timely manner. Again, I have some great ideas and things in the works, but then I never have enough time in my day.

Resolution #3: Pin a little bit every day. It doesn't matter when I do this: before school, after school, late at night...whenever. Just pin a couple of things at some point throughout the day.

Resolution #4: Read the forums more often. When I first started selling on TPT, I read the forums constantly. Granted, I had more time on  my hands. But I learned so much just from reading the forum posts every night. Now I occasionally read them. I need to put more effort into making my store the best it can be.

Resolution #5: Finish Teaching Blog Traffic School. I have had the subscription for awhile now and it really helped me out at first to design my logo, find my name, start my Facebook page, etc. But now that I have done all of that, I am at a standstill. I still have many lessons left but cannot push myself to finish it.

Now that you have read all of my resolutions...thank you to those of you who did...here comes the best part! For today and tomorrow only (Wednesday and Thursday) my entire TPT store is 20% off!! What a great time to stock up on items for the upcoming semester! Stop by and check it out: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Dabbling-In-Differentiation.

Have a great holiday!

Michelle

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Conversation Linky!


Hop on over to The Inspired Apple to participate in the Christmas Conversation! Here are my answers below!


Happy Saturday!
Michelle

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!


As many of you know, there is a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale starting tomorrow! You can save up to 28% on items on TPT. I will be putting my entire store 20% off for the next two days. Also, if you enter the code TPTCYBER at checkout, you can get an extra 10% off!! I decided to link up with Ideas By Jivey and share what are the most wish-listed items in my store and what I plan to buy as well! Here we go!



The item that has been added to wishlists the most is my Mystery Picture Bundle!


I also have a Mystery Picture Christmas Edition!


Click on the pictures to add them to YOUR wishlist!


Another item that has been added to a lot of wishlists is my ABC Book. It's perfect for preschool and Kindergarten students. There are many different versions included, as well as both black and white.


Click on the picture to add it to YOUR wishlist!


I only have a few items on my list for this sale, but I still love a good deal when I see one!

The main product that I will be snatching up is Kourtney Payton's Map Skills & Landforms Unit. My students will be starting this unit this week, so purchasing this product comes at the perfect time!

Map Skills & Landforms Unit

Have a great start to the week and happy sales!

Michelle

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Liebster Award!


I know I am late to the party, but thank you Reading Recipe Pals for your nomination for the Liebster Award! I was so excited to see this in my inbox! I am still a beginning blogger so I was so happy to see that I was nominated!

Here are the answers to the Liebster questions and then I will be sure to pass on the award!

Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

I started blogging back in May, but because of the the end of the school year, getting married over the summer, and then starting a new job, I really haven't had as much time as I would like to dedicate to my blog. I started my blog to share tried and true tips for differentiating in the classroom.

What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Differentiation - it's in the title! I wanted to write a blog that shows how all students can achieve their learning. Whether, it's math, reading, science, or social studies, there are so many ways to make learning fun and engaging for everyone!

Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?

How much time it takes to maintain a blog. As I mentioned, I haven't had the time that I would like to dedicate to my blog. I always think of ideas while I'm at school, but I never find the time to actually write them down.

What is your favorite pastime other than blogging?

Traveling and exploring new places

How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?

0-1. Like I said, I could use some work in this area.

What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?

I would say that I love educational blogs as well as homeschooling blogs. I love all of the creative ideas!

Where does your blog inspiration come from?

Everything that is in my blog is something that I have done in my classroom, or plan to do in my classroom.

Which post that you've written are you the most proud of?

Sight Word Folders - I just really like how I laid out all of the steps to create sight word folders, which I think are a very valuable part of my reading program.

Is there any post that you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for awhile now?

Fruit Loop math - different types of graphing. Stay tuned!

What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love that I can share my ideas and then hearing that other people want to use those ideas in their classroom is a great feeling.

Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?

I really like the reading websites that you listed in your post here. I like that these programs have placement tests that place the students at their level. It's all about the differentiation when it comes to reading!

And now...time for my blogging friends!

11 Favorite Blogging Friends:
Mrs. Dow's Little Owl's Nest
Mrs. D's Corner
Tricks of the Trade in First Grade
My First Grade Backpack
Grasty's 2nd Grade Goodies
Here's an idea
Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning
Mrs. Alexander's Amazing Ants
Nicki's Notepad
1st Grade Salt Life
A Trendy Teacher

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)  

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Thanks again and have fun!

Michelle

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Scoop!

Before I head off to bed, I wanted to post my Sunday Scoop! It's interesting, but looking back on my past posts, I never seem to get the "hope to do" things accomplished....maybe this week!


Have a good night!

Michelle

Sight Word Folders

I have been planning this post for a long time now, but preparing a blog post takes a lot of work! I finally have the time to sit down and type this out. I am so excited to share my Sight Word Folders with you! This sight word learning strategy has served me well now for almost two years. I used it in my Kindergarten classroom and am currently using it with my first grade class. The concept was presented to me in a college course, but was not specifically designed for learning sight words. I modified some of the ideas, but some of the printouts and concepts I will still be using from my course. In this post, I will give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up the folders for instant use!

Step #1: Get Your Materials 

In order to make these sight word folders, you are going to need a few things:

First, obviously you will need a folder. Just any basic two-pocket folder will do. You will then need to write the words 'Go' and 'Stop' on notecards and tape/glue them to the pockets.


You will need this page (included as a FREEBIE at the end of this post.)


It will need to be taped/glued to the front of the folder like this:


You will then need some type of blank game board. The one that I have is not available for downloading online, but you can find one by The Sophisticated Teacher here. The more spaces it has, the better it will be.


And you will need to tape/glue this game board to the back of the folder like this:


Then, you will need a sight word list. It does not matter what list you want to use. You can use the Dolch list, the Fry list, or a list provided by your reading program. In the past, I combined my list from the Journeys reading series and the Dolch Sight Word Assessment and Progress Monitoring Materials by Make Take Teach, which you can download for FREE here. Now, this is the only list I use.

Dolch Sight Word Assessment and Progress Monitoring Materials


You will also need some blank notecards (these were blank before I wrote the words on :)


Here is what the folder looks like once it is all set up: a folder with 'Go' and 'Stop,' notecards, a sight word list, a small plastic baggie. And don't forget the pictures on the front and back of the folder mentioned above!



Step #2: Assess Your Students

The next step in setting up your sight word folder is to figure out what words you want to put in each student's folder. First, in the beginning of the year, I give the students the sight word assessment mentioned above. For Kindergarten students, I would wait to use this folder until at least 10 sight words have been taught. After giving the sight word assessment, I look at the results. I then choose 10 words that the student did not know and write them on notecards.


These words are then placed in the student's 'Go' pocket in their folder. Now you're ready to use the folders!

Step #3: Using the Sight Word Folders

I use these sight word folders during my guided reading block. When the students come to my desk, they immediately grab their folders. And this is what they do. It has become so routine that they don't even have to think about it anymore!

1. Students take out their folder and remove their 10 words from their 'Go' pocket.
2. They practice reading the words once or twice, until they think they are ready to be 'tested.' During this practice time, they may ask the teacher or another student in the group what the word is.
3. The teacher will then assess the students on these words, and only these.
4. If the student gets the words right, they are placed on the smiley face on the front of their folder. If they get the words wrong, they are placed on the X.
5. Then, the teacher will mark on the back of each card what the student did for the day. For example, the cards that were placed on the X will then have an X placed on the back of the card. The same goes for those on the smiley, but a smiley face will be placed on the back of the card.
6. These words are practiced daily, or whenever their guided reading group is called. Once the student receives 3 smiley faces in a row (important!!) those cards will be moved to the 'Stop' pocket in the baggie.
7. Last step!!!! Every time a student gets three consecutive smiley faces on a sight word card and moves it to the 'Stop' pocket, they get to color a piece of the game board on the back of their folder.

And that's it!! Whew!!

I have seen tremendous growth in my students' sight word knowledge and retention by using this strategy. The best part is that it is differentiated for every student. No two students are studying the same words. I have had students complete the Dolch list that I included in this post and so I had to move them onto harder words/nouns. It never ends!

Once students have put a good amount of the words into their 'Stop' pockets, the teacher can then look back at the list and choose more words that they can write on notecards. I would be sure not to have more than 10 words at a time. If a student has 10 completely new words that they have never seen before, it is a little overwhelming and may take them a little bit longer to learn.

Thank you for reading all the way down to the end of this post! Here is your freebie! It is the smiley/X page that you will need for the front of your folder!


What sight word strategies do you use in your classroom?

Michelle

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Scoop!

It's been awhile since I have blogged, but I have been very busy. We cleaned out our spare room in our apartment, and now I have plenty of room for my planning and classroom projects! I have also been trying my hand at baking using my new KitchenAid stand mixer. I love it! So far, I have made pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting and a banana bread. So with all of the busyness, I thought I would just drop in for a minute to give you my Sunday Scoop!


Have a great week! I hope to write soon about the sight word strategy that I use in my classroom!

Michelle

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Theodore the Teddy and a Freebie!

I recently heard of this great writing idea from another teacher at my school. She sends home a stuffed animal dog and a notebook with her students on a rotating basis. For homework, the student with the dog must write what they did with the dog from the dog's perspective. I thought it was an amazing idea and one that could easily be done. So I went to Walmart and bought my materials.


A stuffed bear for $5.00


A composition notebook for 75 cents.

Then I set to work creating the journal. I came up with the name Theodore and then I made a cute cover and a direction page for the inside.



My plan is now to send home the bear with a different student every day. Then, either in the morning or during writing time, the student who took him home last would share what they did with him. Because we just finished talking about different types of sentences in language arts, this would be a great opportunity to demonstrate what they learned. It's also homework, without feeling like homework. I am also going to encourage students to take pictures with Theodore and they can bring them in to share as well. Or we can glue them in the notebook so we can see all of the fun things that he has done throughout the year.



If you would like to use this idea in your classroom, check out the FREEBIE in my store!


Michelle


Sunday Scoop - New Linky!

Aahh! I stumbled upon a new linky today and I am so excited! I love linkies! This one is called Sunday Scoop and every Sunday you can link up and write 3 things that you have to do, 3 things that you hope to do, and 1 thing that you're happy to do. I am very excited to do the first one!


Head on over to Teaching Trio and link up your own Sunday Scoop!

Michelle

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My New Laminator!

Hello everyone! I am writing to you this evening about my latest and greatest purchase. A laminator!! I have hemmed and hawed about this purchase for a long time, but a few weeks ago, it was the Amazon deal of the day and I just HAD to go for it (plus some laminating sleeves) on the side.

The laminator arrived on Monday and just in time! I needed to laminate THAT NIGHT for a write the room activity for Tuesday. And oh my goodness. You would have thought it was Christmas. I oohed and aahed over the laminator and put all other chores aside so I could get the laminating done. Here are some pictures of what I laminated:


Here it is! Getting ready to warm up!


Here we go!


All finished!



Here is what I laminated! Cara Carroll's Goodbye Rhymes and a setting and character sort from Rulin' the Roost. You can find it here.

I can't say enough about this laminator. It's the Scotch Thermal Laminator and I bought it with 100 laminating pouches. I would highly recommend it. The laminating is perfect and I can use it anytime I want!

Now I'm off to find more things to laminate!

Michelle




Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

September is here and school is in session! I can't believe that I have already been in school for three weeks. Time has flown by with these new students of mine. It feels like just yesterday I was eagerly anticipating what my new students would be like and now they are here and we are knee-deep in our curriculum. Even though we are very busy, I still had time to sit down and complete September's Currently!


1. Listening - I am currently watching my favorite show Friends. I only have two seasons, courtesy of one of my good friends. Goal: get the other seasons ASAP!

2. August just ended and the sales have been tabulated. I just had my best month since I started selling on TPT! This was my first August and I am so pleased with the results. Thank you to everyone who supported my store in one way or another. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

3. I have taken a LOOOOONG break from creating products. Now that school is in session, I need to get going and create more fun and exciting activities for my students!

4. I now live in Texas and it is so HOT down here. Fall is starting soon and I wish I could be back home and experience the crisp fall weather and go apple picking and have bonfires and s'mores and go to pumpkin farms, all while wearing scarves and boots. But I don't think I will be having those experiences this year. I guess I will have to start some new fall traditions down here in Texas.

5. Now that school has started and because I live in a different climate than before, I am realizing that I need some new clothes for work. I recently ordered my first box from Stitchfix, which should be arriving next week. I can't wait!

6. I have three places that I would like to visit someday: Spain, Tuscany, and Ireland. Spain has always been on my list. I was all set to study abroad in Seville, Spain in college, but then decided against it. Every since then, I have wanted to visit Spain. I also studied the language for 8 years and it would be nice to go and see all of the places and try all of the things that I learned about in my classes. Tuscany is another place that I would like to visit someday, mostly because of how it looks in movies. It looks so romantic with its winding roads and vineyards and cute little houses. It would just be so beautiful. I would also like to visit Ireland. My brother studied abroad there a few years ago and it would be nice to visit and see what it's like. It's also in a lot of movies and the views look absolutely breathtaking.

That's all for this month! Don't forget to check out the other blogs who linked up over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Have a great Tuesday!

Michelle

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five for Friday...Better Late Than Never!

Hello there! It's been a long time since I have visited my blog. I have been so busy with moving, setting up my classroom, and school starting that I just have not had the time to dedicate to my blog or my TPT store. With that being said, I am now going to try to blog more frequently now that things have settled down and we are in the swing of things at school. So here we go!

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I recently ordered a Scotch Thermal Laminator when it was the Amazon deal of the day. It was quite a steal, if you ask me. It finally came in the mail! But I'm still waiting on the laminating pouches...

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In  my classroom, we were reading some Splat the Cat books. These books are so funny and the students really enjoyed them! I decided to read Secret Agent Splat in order to discuss main idea and details. I then found this item on TPT...

Secret Agent Splat Writing Craftivity

And it was perfect! My students loved making the duck craft to go along with all of Splat's ducks. They made their "Missing" poster to go along with it. I then hung them in the hallway (sorry, no pictures). It was great to see the different ways that they decorated their ducks and it was great to see because I love ducks! They're my favorite!

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Have you ever heard of Stitch Fix?!? I recently placed my first order with this website and I am super excited! It is like having a personal shopper and you don't even have to leave your house! You get to choose the styles and types of clothing that you like, place your order, and voila! The clothes come right to your door and you can also return them for free. I placed an order for my first five items and they should arrive on September 10. I will post about what I got when it gets here!

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I have recently become a board game fanatic, courtesy of my husband. Among other games, our newest favorite is Power Grid. This game has many different rules, but changes each time the game is played, which makes it more fun and interesting. Even when we're only playing with each other, we can always end up with a different end result. I love games that challenge the mind, and this one definitely makes me think!

Check out the description here on Amazon! I highly recommend it!



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Stay tuned for a blog post about my new sight word strategy!!!

Have a great long weekend!

Michelle

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently!

Where did the summer go?! Suffice it to say I did not get anything accomplished that I wanted to over the summer as far as work goes. I wanted to spend a lot of time creating TPT products. Now I did make a few things, but not as much as I would have liked. I also joined many giveaways, which helped build my store and Facebook following, so I'm not complaining there. I guess I was at least successful in getting my store name out there.

And now, it's back to school again. I'm starting in a new school and a new grade this year so I definitely have a lot of planning to do. I am feeling nervous about all that needs to get done in the 10 days that I have before the kids come. Yikes!

Anyways, despite all of the planning and decorating that is going on in my head, I always have time for a linky party. I am linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the August Currently.

And here it is!


Listening - There really isn't much to listen to when you are just sitting at home working. So a little white noise is always nice too.

Loving - I recently moved into a new apartment and it is so much nicer and bigger than the one I had before!

Thinking - As I mentioned above I only have 10 days left to work on my classroom and I have a lot of resources that I want to print and laminate and cut and hang up. Phew!

Wanting - Summer went by way too fast. I had a relatively short summer this year. I ended school in the first week of June and am starting now mid-August, which is the shortest amount of summer I have ever had. I'm excited to go back, but would love a little more time to myself first.

Needing - I have SO MUCH to do in my classroom. Enough said.

Also, this year is the most amount of professional development that I will have prior to school starting. In my old position, we only had one teacher work day before school started. Now I have 5. It will be nice though to learn all the ins and outs of my new school.

How was your summer? Too fast? Too slow? Just right?

Don't forget to link up with Farley!

Michelle



Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday July 11, 2014

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It's been a few weeks since I posted a Five for Friday, but a lot has been going on so I thought I would share.

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I recently took a trip to my local Lakeshore store and I stocked up on items for my new classroom. I decided on a chevron theme with gray, turquiose, orange, and white!

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Here is my latest product! I'm so excited and proud of this product because I think it will be very useful for PreK and K teachers.




You can find it in my store here. And it's 50% off through tomorrow (Saturday, July 12)!

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I've been working on the Blog Hoppin' Scavenger Hunt and having a blast! I have a long way to go though.

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I bought my first maxi skirt (JCPenney)! I can't wait to wear it!


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Here's a great recipe for you. I don't have a picture but it is DELICIOUS!

Yogurt Pie
1 crust (graham cracker or Oreo)
2 yogurts of your choice
1 small Cool Whip

Mix the yogurt and Cool Whip together. Pour it into the crust. Freeze the pie for a few hours before serving.

So easy and so simple! I hope you try it! My favorite flavor is raspberry yogurt in an Oreo crust. :)

Have a great week!

Michelle