Image Map

A Gift for Me, a Gift for You, and a Happy New Year!!!!

Ok, I know that I am a day early for New Year's Day but it seems like these days, I just can't seem to get things done in a timely manner. I mean, I'm on vacation.... VA.CA.TION.... and I still feel busy??!!! It must have been all the prepping for the holidays, then the actual holiday, and then the aftermath of the holidays. One thing that I was able to finish is my latest Houghton Mifflin unit for first grade. I felt like I was dragging my feet with this one because it took me longer than usual to complete it. In reality, every time I would *think* about sitting down at my computer to work on it, something else came up. THEN when I would finally get a chance to sit, I would just stare at the computer screen. Seriously... just.STARE. It was weird.

I wanted to share with you 3 things today (hence the name of this post).

1. A gift for me:
I wanted to share with you my favorite Christmas gift! Ever since I've started eating paleo, I've been enjoying cooking a lot more...except when I need to use my stove.. which was ALWAYS. I hate my stove. I know that's a strong word, but I do not like it. It is electric and the heat distribution is so inconsistent. My food would sometimes come out burnt... and you know it wasn't MY fault. The culprit? The STOVE!!! So my honey decided to surprise me with a new range for Christmas. I know that some say not to get appliances for Christmas, but I.LOVE.IT!!! Just look at her!! She's so purdy!!!

I love my cast iron griddle, too. The blue flames are so fancy...cause y'know... orange flames are SO 2014! Ha!

2.  A gift for you:

Last night I FINALLY finished my Houghton Mifflin reading series unit for 1st grade. Like I said earlier, it took forever to finish because I just couldn't find the time. Our school district has not adopted a new language arts curriculum and so we are still using the old Houghton Mifflin Reading Series from 13 yrs ago. It is not common core aligned.  Needing to find something that was common core but not finding exactly what I wanted on TPT, Pinterest, Google, and everything in between, I decided to create my own resources that would satisfy the CCSS and be fun for my students. This was the birth of my HM common core aligned units. As I was creating all of the units for 2nd grade, I had teachers contact me asking if I would be willing to do it for other grades. I couldn't. I just didn't have the time. This year, I got assigned to a 1/2 combo and so  it was perfect for me to add the 1st grade HM curriculum to my to do list. I love the activities in these units!!! They are fun and engaging and PACKED with higher level learning. I have been trained in the  Depth and Complexity prompts as well as Thinking Maps. I love them both and had to add those elements into my units. It's amazing what my firsties can do when the expectations are high. To celebrate the end of 2013 and the completion of my first grade HM Theme 5 product, it will be on sale (20% off!) TODAY ONLY! After the New Year strikes, it will go back to normal price. So if you know someone who is using an old HM curriculum, I would love for you to share this resource with them. Trust me, you will be friend of the year!!! It's no prep at all and makes the teacher life easier. AND us teachers love EASY, especially after the holidays!

Here is a sneak peak of it.

All the stories have colorful vocabulary cards with real pictures to illustrate the meaning of word. It's great for not only my ELLs, but for ALL my students!

Thinking Maps are differentiated. Level 2 requires text dependent words.

There are worksheets for the comprehension skill AND strategies for every story.

EVERY story (even Teacher Read Alouds) have an opinion writing and a text connection writing paper.

This is probably one of my most favorite activities from my units that I added to Theme 5. The Skip and Scan activity helps students learn how to locate information in a text. They work withe a partner to complete the worksheet. Partners take turns finding answers for the "team". This ensures that not just ONE person is doing all the work. This activity is also differentiated. I introduce it first with the page numbers for those who need the extra help. After a couple of weeks, I move my students onto the worksheets with no page numbers. They REALLY love this activity because I let them sit anywhere in the room with a friend. :)

Here are my firsties doing the Skip and Scan.  I love that they are using their text and working together to come up with the answers.

This is a closer look of their paper. This is Eric's paper. I have him circle his name because although he and his partner will have the same answers, EACH student is responsible for turning in their own work. Circling their name allows me to know whose paper it is.

Another "team" of firsties working on Skip and Scan. I love that they are sprawled on on my rug...learning in their comfortable position. :)

SO many fun and engaging activities in here that satisfy the Common Core Standards. Remember, it's only on sale TODAY...Dec 31. You can click on the link to take you to my store.

3. A Happy New Year!!!

I'm hoping that you take the time this season to really recharge and clear your mind so that you can be ready when school starts again in 2015. Teachers really work so hard and I don't care what people say about working until 2-3pm and getting summers off.... we ALWAYS take work home with us...whether it's report cards, grading papers, searching on Pinterest or TPT for new and exciting ideas, or just worrying about the student who is having a hard time. Our job doesn't stop when we drive away from our schools. We are the ones educating our future generation. We are the ones that will teach our future president to read, we will teach the future doctors who will find the cure for cancer how to think at an early age.  What we do matters and it's important.  Thank you for all you do to reach your students. You are more valuable than you know!!!!

Have a wonderful New Year!!



Hello Friends!

Whew! Life has been busy! Now with the holidays quickly approaching, things will only get busier. I am working on creating a more peaceful, less stressful holiday season. I am backwards mapping some activities that I want to make sure I do and learning to say NO to some things. It's hard, but I'm learning.

One thing that I have worked consistently on is my Houghton Mifflin units. Since I'm teaching a 1/2 combo this year, I've decided to create resources to align our old Houghton Mifflin Language Arts curriculum to the common core standards. I did this for 2nd grade and many teachers had asked that I do it for other grades.

I am SO happy with how this resource came out. It seriously is PACKED with so many fun activities! I used thinking maps, depth and complexity icons, GLAD strategies, text dependent questions, text connections. and so many more things to facilitate learning at ALL levels. Here is a sneak peak at my newest baby.... :)

There are focus wall labels for every story....

TONS of activities to do every week!...

Opinion writing and text connection for every story....

Blackline Masters and ways to make learning fun....

I LOVE depth and complexity!! I've also added teacher cheat sheets and teacher guided questions....

Colorful vocabulary cards for every story...

Thinking maps for describing our character every week. There are 2 different levels.  Level 2 requires students to use text dependent words.

Opinion writing and text connection for every story....

I LOVE this activity because it really creates a visual for my students to understand the vocabulary words in the story. This has also helped my English Learners tremendously!

I love this activity!! It's a fun way of learning contractions and my students loved putting the puzzles together!

Here is a closer look of my Firsties doing the puzzle......

This picture makes my heart HAPPY!! I LOVE to see students working together for a common goal.:) These are my 2nd graders working on the contraction puzzles.

For those of you using HM or know someone still using this HM series for their Language Arts curriculum, I know that you won't be disappointed with everything that is in here. I've even had some SUPER nice comments from teachers telling me that they have thrown out their student practice workbooks and had their class use my resources instead! WOW!!! What a compliment!  So, we all know how busy the holidays can get. Let me take care of your ELA time for you. And the great news?? It's on sale until TOMORROW night (Friday). So now since you won't need to be doing much planning or searching for worksheets anymore, the only real question is... what will you do with all your extra time?? :)

Click on the picture below to direct you to my TPT store. 

Have a fantastic year!

Thanks friends,

I'm ALIVE (barley...) with a New Product (Finally!)

Soooo.. the beginning of this year has gotten the best of me. We started back at school on August 5 (a CRIME I tell ya!) and it was just waaaay to early... for ALL of us! Kids wanted to be outside playing..and frankly, so did I! Ha! This year, my class is awesome! I mean... BEYOND awesome! I'd say, BEST class in my 14 yr teaching far. So HOW did this year just work me over? Wellllll, have a seat, Friend.

About 3 weeks before school began, my principal informed me that I was going to have a 2/3 combo class. I teach 2nd grade and have taught 3rd so it was no problemo. Fast forward about 1 1/2 wks before school starts and the numbers change and my principal contacted me and told me that I now have a 1/2 combo. I was like, "AHHHHHH!!!" You see, the last time I taught 1st grade... I cried.....EV.ER.Y.DAY! I mean, I went from teaching 3rd to 1st and I was like, "Why can't you sit in your seat?" and "Why can't you write your name or hold a pencil?" Needless to say, I was a *bit* nervous to teach these little ones again. PLUS, my job sharing partner was on maternity leave so I had a long term sub ...who was AWESOME, by the way! But still... I had to learn a new curriculum for 1st grade and learn a new math one in 2nd grade, AND then teach it to my sub..while I still didn't have it all together myself....but only being there 3 days a week.  It was interesting. Well, my job sharing partner finally came back and now all is well again. :) PLUS, my kids SERIOUSLY ROCK!!!! At my school, combo classes get all the great kids because they have to be super independent and be able to grasp concepts quickly. I big puffy heart them so far!

OK, so I wanted to introduce you to my latest unit. We are using Houghton Mifflin for our language arts curriculum, which is not common core aligned. Last year I created resources to align all our 2nd grade  HM curriculum to the Common Core. Other teachers had asked me to do it for other grade levels and I really had no intention of doing that since each theme took me HOURS and HOURS to create (over 250+ pages for each theme!) Since I now teach a 1/2 combo, I thought it would be fitting to create them for 1st grade. I started with Theme 2 since I couldn't get Theme 1 out in time.

I do love this unit because I've included Thinking Maps, activities for The Daily 5 or literacy centers, Depth and Complexity icons, and MUCH MUCH more! The packet contains about 248 pages!!! I am seriously cross-eyed now...but all for good reason. :)

Please check out my sneak peak here:


 There are also vocabulary cards with real pictures for your focus wall. 

Differentiated Thinking Map with 2 levels. Level 2 asks for text dependent answers.

*** UPDATE: If you are interested in this Thinking Map (above pic) and MANY more with Depth and Complexity icons, please take a look at my Print and Go Thinking Maps with Depth and Complexity unit. ALL maps come with samples and are EDITABLE so that you can tailor it to the needs of your classroom.  :)

I've included teacher "cheat sheets".

Every week ends with an opinion writing that ties into their story and a Making Connections activity where students connect the text to themselves, other texts, or the world around them.

This unit is PACKED with resources to help you teach everything you need for the theme. I know that it will be a big help as you're planning your lessons. If you know any 1st grade teachers using HM, I'd love for you to pass the word along about this resource....because you're a good friend, and good friends want their friends to have an easy teaching year, right? Just point them this way and I'll do the rest. :) You'll be "Friend of the Year".....I promise. :)

This unit is on sale until tomorrow night (Thursday). So go grab it....NOW!!!

Happy Teaching, Friends!