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My New Life and an Editable First Day of School Sign!

Hi Friends.

This next year I am starting a new chapter of my life. Ever since my kids reached the age where they began going to school, life kept getting busier and busier. Now that they are a bit older (ages 10,8,5) life is just CRAZY; sports, church, dinners on the run, taking kids to different practices, homework, projects, AHHHH!!!! I could not keep up! Last summer, my husband and I both agreed that we could not go on living like that. We did not like running on the hamster wheel. We wanted needed more family time. My husband works different hours than a normal "9 to 5" job so his day off are Fridays. My kids go to school on Fridays. See the problem? We had to make a change. We LOVE my husband's job so that wasn't changing. I LOVE teaching, so that wasn't changing either. We knew we wanted to kids to be home on Fridays so there was only one option. Change the way schooling looked. After 14 years of teaching in the classroom, I am taking a leave of absence to…
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Easing Back into the School Year and a $100 TpT GIVEAWAY!

Hello Friends.

Thanks for hopping on over.

The Back to School frenzy has begun!

People have NO IDEA how much time teachers put into preparing for the school year. Purchasing, decorating, researching, printing, laminating, cutting, redecorating, purchasing, adding more, Googling, more purchasing... whew! I'm tired... and that's just in the summertime!

I know that A LOT of prep goes into starting off the school year so that you can be less stressed once it gets going. When I was in the classroom, I always had a couple of things in place to make the first weeks easier for me.

I want to share them with you in hopes that it can ease your load a little bit.

1. Memory Book

I always had kids start their memory book. What? In the beginning of the year??!! Yes! I would have them fill out the beginning of the year information and then stash it away far back in my cupboard for the end of the year. This helped me because towards the end of the year, it's crazy, too! And I used to wait …

How to Keep Kids From Overusing Media in the Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with media. 

I know that's the way the world is going and when you go on a field trip to Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and they tell you that kids need to start coding NOW if they ever want a job at the JPL caliber, you start to question if you should let your kids just have more screen time to "code", play Minecraft, Roblox, etc to understand the tech world.

But I couldn't deny the results that limiting screen time produced for my family. My kids got a long SO much better. They were more patient with each other...not being able just to "swipe" their sister away to go onto the next screen. They were CREATIVE. And the things they produced... modding nerf guns, painting, drawing. Yes! My son drew and I had NO IDEA that he was the artist that he was until he didn't have the media time to FILL his time. So, he took a piece of paper and a pencil and began to draw. Then this....


WOW, right??!!!  He was 5 yrs old here and looked at a…

How to Bring the Joy Back into Classroom Writing

Hello Friends.

It's near the end of the year. I get it. You are tired. No, no. NOT just tired... but you're actually crawling to the finish line. You're almost there, my friend!

So WHY am I talking about writing at this point in the year? Well, for many reasons.

1. You still want the kids to behave before summer brains kick in and they have forgotten ALL the classroom/school rules
2. You still need some resemblance of order as you wind down your school year
3.  You want to have fun at the end of the year and if you can incorporate some sort of learning ..then HECK YES!

Believe it or not, I have something that will help you with all these concerns AND it's fun, fast, and EASY for you (more on that later)!

I'm not sure if you've ever done journal writing in your classroom, but it seriously was our class favorite when I was still in the classroom! Kids would share their writings with their peers and I would pick a couple kids to read their journal aloud. Kids would laugh…

Depth of Knowledge

Hello Friends.

New Year. New Goals. Now that the school year is well on its way, we all have new things that we want to try for our classroom this New Year.


If you have not incorporated Depth of Knowledge questions/prompts, then now is a great time to start! I can help you (more on that in a bit).

Did you know practicing Depth of Knowledge (DOK) questions/prompts can help improve critical thinking skills? If you're unfamiliar with DOKs, I would highly encourage you to Google it.  I'm not going to go in depth with it's meanings but here they are in a nutshell.

DOK in a Nutshell
There are 4 DOK levels.  Each level reflects a different level of cognitive expectation, or depth of knowledge, required to complete the task.

DOK 1 - Recall and Reproduction
DOK 2 - Skills and Concepts
DOK 3 - Short Term Strategic Thinking
DOK 4 - Extended Thinking


DOK tasks are great to work through with your students. I have found with my own kids that doing a think aloud of my thought process allo…

Text Dependent Questioning Skills for My Firstie

The Christmas season brings so many FUN teaching activities.  My little Karis loves polar bears so I quick looked up some polar bear reading units on Teachers Pay Teachers and found this one.

I love it because I'm really into great pictures and this one has amazing pictures! I printed up the pages and put them into sheet protectors, then connected them with a ring so that we could work with them. If you're using them in class, I would forgo the sheet protectors and just print and staple.

Citing evidence is a HUGE deal in classrooms right now. Even though we homeschool and are not in a "classroom", I feel that this skill is such an important part of learning so I try and incorporate it into our readings anytime I can.

So when my little first grader began answering questions about the polar bear "book" that she just read, it was a perfect time for me to teach her how to cite evidence from the text.

I had her read the questions and told her that she was not a…

Christmas Deliveries

Hello Friends.

It's that time of year again when we are hustling and bustling to get the decorating done, presents purchased and wrapped, going to holiday parties, cooking dinners, visiting families...whew!

I sure am tired.

One thing that I have enjoyed more and more over the years is shopping online. Yes, Amazon Prime is my best friend. I can shop in the comfort of my own home and get it delivered in just a short couple of days.

Which got me thinking of all the people who deliver my packages.

I can't even imagine how hard the UPS, USPS, and FedEx workers are working this season! I know that they work long hours and I am SO thankful for them because they make my holiday shopping so much easier.

To show my gratitude, I created a little treat basket at my door for my sweet delivery friends. I got this idea from some Instagram friends and so I decided to spread the love.








I also have something for my postal carrier. I hear if you just put something in the mailbox labeled "Fo…

Happily NEVER After

Hello Friends.

Another summer is slipping away and the new school year is quickly approaching. As I see tons of Facebook posts of teachers getting their resources ready for the new year, I wanted to share something with you that worked out extremely well in my classroom.

Once upon a time when no one really heard about task cards (at least me), one of my friends decided to create some task cards of standard based skills for her classroom. She used it during her literacy center time and it was beautiful. Kids were working on and reviewing skills that we as teachers don't always have time to go back and review.  It caught on and soon, a lot of the teachers at my school began creating their own and using them... me being one of them.

Fast Forward 15 years....

I now see task cards EVERYWHERE. There is a reason. They work really well in practicing skills and make learning fun! I've seen them with QR codes, cute graphics, in scoot activities, etc.

Then one day as I was catching up i…