Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Middle School Classroom Tour

Here is a mid-year look at my Middle School classroom. We keep the overhead lights off 90% of the time per student request. They love the darker atmosphere. There are lamps and string lights placed along the room and the projector is on most of the time as well. Having the lights off really provides a calming environment.

Here is the view standing in the back of the room:

Here is the back wall:

And the side wall where I meet for reading conferences:

My favorite accessory to decorate any classroom with is the tissue pom pom...

Check out Amazon to get a great deal on a variety pack.

I can't hang them from my ceiling, but that would be super cute too!

Now here is a look at our 6th grade teacher lounge makeover!



This was super easy and didn't cost a dime. I used left over boarder and pom poms from my classroom, some decor I wasn't using at home and put the whole thing together in no time flat.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to follow me on Facebook at Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hello friends!!!

I am back!!! I took a few years off from blogging and sooooooo much has happened during my hiatus.

My last post says I was packing up and moving to New England, which did happen.
We lived in Massachusetts and I taught in Rhode Island at a charter school for two years. I absolutely loved it!
It was so different from anything I had ever done in my teaching career and I learned so much from
my experience and made incredible friends to boot. I was so busy though, that my creative juices just kinda
came to a halt. The charter school experience was hard core and time consuming, but oh so rewarding!

Then, my family got the opportunity to move back South just an hour from our hometown. We couldn't
pass up the opportunity, so for the past year and a half we've been in the suburbs of Nashville, TN.

It's been 17 years since my husband and I have lived this close to family, so it has been a breath of fresh air!

This school year (2016/2017) has been a first for me!
I am teaching MIDDLE SCHOOL!!!
I never in a million years thought I'd be a middle school teacher.
I mean James Patterson even wrote a book about middle school...
and right there in the title it says "worst years of my life" !!!!!!

Let me go back to the charter school experience I mentioned above.
I was hired there as a 3rd grade ELA teacher. At that particular charter school, we taught with co-teachers.
Everyday, all day, I had a co-teacher in the room with me!!!! (Feeling my happy feet a-dancing?!)
We taught 3 classes of 3rd grade ELA per day for 90 minute blocks. And it didn't even include writing; someone else taught the
writing portion.

So, now I am teaching 6th grade ELA. And let me tell you - I love it!!!!
It has been one of the best years I have ever had!!
The kids are great, I love the curriculum, and my school/colleagues are amazing.

Well, friends, it feels so good to be back.
I really look forward to bringing you more tips and tricks, more teachers-pay-teachers items, and more ideas to help you through tough days at school and home.

Spread the word that I am back and please follow me on Facebook.

I will bring you live videos, product suggestions, pictures and posts there as well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Can...Student Trackers (and some BIG *news*)

Oh has it been busy!!

What have I been up to?


(New Orleans Skyline - my trip to the GOTR Summit)

And this...

(Cleaning, de-cluttering, and **PACKING**)

And this...

(2 back-to-back weekend trips to Rhode Island for -gasp- house hunting)

Plus teaching, professional development(s), interviewing, mom duties, and all other life roles.

Yes! You read that correctly - InterViewing!!! BooHoo!!

Good news is - our house sold in 5 days!!!

Never would have dreamed that would happen.

Now we are busy making plans for a move to the Rhode Island/Massachusetts area - where this weekend they are having a blizzard with around 24 inches of snow!! How ever will I adjust to this kind of weather?!? Yikes!!

Okay, on to more important, school related news!

I have created a new "I Can...Student Tracker" packet available on TpT. It includes several student tracking sheets with a graphing section. Click here to see my previous post on "I Can..." statements.

My students love getting out their clipboards and documenting their scores. They love comparing their new scores to previous ones. I try to give pretests and then a post-test.

Here are some of the responses my class made about student trackers:

As you can see they feel empowered and so smart when they get to compare a pre and post test! I love using the forms for formative assessment/exit tickets. I can see their work, their self-evaluations, and I can make personalized comments all in one spot.

It has been a big hit in my classroom and hope you can use it too!

Click here to get your copy.

I will give one packet away by random drawing on Monday, Feb. 11 - just comment below and don't forget to leave me an email address!

Stay tuned for more news on this *BIG* adventure event move (tear, tear).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I {heart} Lakeshore Learning

I can't believe it - it is only 11 am and I have had 2,194 pageviews today! What!!

I am so humbled that I can write and share ideas that teachers from all over can use and benefit from!

Well, right now I am in bed sick with Bronchitis and Strep Throat!! (I also believe that I have the flu even though I wasn't tested for it.) The body aches I have felt in the past 24 hours have been horrible. I am finally feeling well enough to sit up and touch my computer. And once I logged onto my blog and saw the number of pageviews, I just couldn't resist writing to thank everyone!

Yesterday was such a neat day 12-12-12. I wish I could have linked up with Stacy over at Simpson's Superstars to commemorate 12-12-12 with 12 random pictures. But, I was so sick that no pictures got taken... well, except for this one

Nice, huh!!

My son snapped this picture of me at the doctor's office yesterday morning. Me at my finest!!

Okay, on to more exciting things...
I received a question about my classroom, so I wanted to share the answer with everyone!

Here is a current picture of my classroom wall.

I was asked about these frames:

They come from Lakeshore Learning.

There are 12 in a pack (four of each color: blue, yellow, and green) so I bought 2 packages. They have pre-made holes in each corner allowing the frames to be hung vertically or horizontally. I bought inexpensive ribbon at Walmart and tied a loop for hanging.

I also bought Command strip hooks in clear to hang the frames on. Here is the link to order the Command hooks from Amazon:

Click here to check the frames out!!

Once I am up and feeling better, I have a giveaway that I will be posting, so stay tuned.

Now it is back to bed for me (only 1 hour and 45 minutes before the kids get home from school)...yikes!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Address Labels = Formative Assessment Tool

I know we have all been super busy this school year. I don't know about you, but I feel like I can barely keep my head above water right now. I am just doggie paddling along.

One way I have discovered to make formative assessment as easy as possible is to keep my cruisin' clipboard loaded with peel off label sheets. As I walk around helping students and observing their work, I jot down notes onto the labels.

You can find labels like I use here:

Later in the day, I remove the labels and affix them to individual student sheets I keep in my Teacher Notebook. Each student has his/her own number and I found numbered tab dividers here:

I slap my formative assessment sticker onto the page and I'm done. Super easy (and quick).

My GOTRBCF (Girls on the Run Best Coaching Friend) Brittany gave me this inspiration. She even uses a different colored pen for each quarter - so smart!! Well I started off with pencil (I have an obsession with mechanical pencils), so I guess next quarter I can switch to maybe...hmmmmm

Now what?!?

I highlight the comment I made on the sticker if the student didn't seem to have mastery of the skill. Then, I know that I need to spend some time pulling this student during intervention to continue work on the skill. Something I haven't done yet, but plan to do is to write (and date) a comment next to the highlighted sticker as to how I helped the student once I saw they were experiencing trouble.
There..I have documented the problem and my plan for helping the student.

Need more information on my cruisin' clipboards or formative assessment? Click here to read my previous post.

Now here is what my desk usually looks like (if I'm not up to my eyeballs in paperwork):

All of the important stuff is right there, easy to access. My lesson plan book, teacher notebook, cruisin' clipboard, and the quick reference guide with all the common core standards for 3rd grade including the North Carolina Essential Standards. Most importantly my diet Coke. Can't get through the day without it...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

No More Name Plates

The most frequently asked question when visitors come to my room is "What did you use to write the names on your desks?"

Well, my friends, I can't stand name plates. Nope, don't like them at all! The kids pick at them, tear them, write on them, and they basically look a mess!

So, my teacher buddy (Kathy at Kathy's Coordinated Class) and I came up with the PeRfEcT solution...

Sharpie Paint Pens!

These pens rock!!

They are like your typical Paint Pen (shake and shake and shake, press and press and press and finally paint starts flowing).

The best part is - they don't wipe off! Yep, that's right! They stay put, no mess, no fuss.


my second most asked question is "How does it come off?"

Let me tell you my friend it is simple!

Just rub well with an Expo marker, wipe clean with a Kleenex, and voila! It is gone!

I will be posting a live video on this technique on my Facebook page. Be sure to follow me - see the link below!

(Btw, this little trick works with any smooth slick surface that is written on with Sharpie. For example, my laminated birthday posters have names and dates written with black Sharpie. At the end of the year, I clean with my Expo marker and the poster is ready to go for the next school year. Cool, huh?!)

The markers come in a variety of colors. Click on the image below to purchase these markers:

So, go - hurry - pick some up now and start your next school day with a clean, neat desk top!

Also, check me out on Facebook for live videos, photos, tips, and tricks!

So many readers have commented with additional suggestions on removing permanent marker from surfaces. Old expo (dry erase) markers are my favorite, but there are many other options. I suggest testing a small area first before committing to your entire room. While I have yet to run into a problem, I have heard from some readers that they have not been as successful. Insert sad, crying emoji.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Essential Standards Checklist

I am Baaaccckkk!! I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! I have been busy, busy, busy!

Let's start back at the classroom! Here are some pictures of my room this year.

It has been a great layout and I enjoy the pleasant atmosphere my room creates (considering I spend more time in my classroom than anywhere else).

Now down to business...
I have created two new items that can be found in my TpT store.

The first is a checklist for the North Carolina Essential Standards for Science and Social Studies (3rd Grade).

Click here if you would like this checklist.

I also made a skeleton cut and paste for the NC Essential Standard 3.L.1.1. In this sort, students decide which bones are needed for movement, protection, and support.

If you would like this activity, visit my TpT store.

Now that I am back at it - I can't wait to share all the things my class has been up to.

Stay tuned...