Wednesday, September 2, 2015

'15~'16 Classroom

Welcome to my 2015-2016 Classroom!

Let's take a tour, shall we? :)

We'll start right outside my door.
I change my garlands for the month/season :)
 To the left-the 'command center'-mailboxes, attendance/lunch count.
To the right-storage for me, exit ticket poster (our classroom rules and hopes and dreams will go above it), classroom jobs and our goals for the next two weeks.
Around the backside of the 'command center'-our library! The empty bulletin boards will hold our reading and writing anchor charts.
On our whiteboard, I have our daily schedule, as well as show how you know signs. Think Marks will also go up on here.

Then our small group area.
I have comprehension art from the Brown Bag Teacher, as well as I can standards (from me :)
Where I have teacher storage for small group, and the rest of my book bins underneath out writing charts.
 Next to that, I have another table for students to work at, with our grading posters and the mathematical standards on it.
Then our vocabulary section.
and my desk, which is a bit of a mess right now
My area
And our whole group meeting place
We can juuuust fit everyone in a circle-like shape :)
And the part of my room that isn't quite done-my shelves! (Although it's mostly done and the parts are in, so hopefully it will be fixed soon :)
The broken section
My binder section :)
Mentor Texts and Guided Reading Book section
A small display
And the Science and Math stuff that should be on the shelves :)

Close up of my awesome bins and toolkits :)

That's my room!

It's a little crowded with 22 desks in there, but so far we are having a blast, and I'm excited for the new year! They've been pretty amazing so far :)

Smiles and Sunshine,


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I can't believe September is here-Happy New School Year!
Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Fun Facts

Whew! I manage to survive the first two days of school (as well as 3 days of meetings!)-although I slept a great deal this weekend!

I'm excited for Blog Hoppin's Teacher week, so today we're talking about me! :)


I am a voracious reader-I hit 1,000 books on my Kindle this month! (And I've reread 98% of those multiple times!)

A photo posted by Smiles & Sunshine (@smilesandsunshineteacher) on


I also dabble in lots of different crafts-it helps me relax! I've been known to make my own jewelry, scrapbook, make cards, paint and crochet!

#3 I JUST got an iPad this year-and I still don't have a smart phone (my kids call it a 'dumb' phone)-although my flip phone has been acting up, so I may be getting a smart phone soon!  (I have a prepaid plan, since I don't use it all that much. I'll need to re-up my 'year' soon, so I figure that's a good time to switch phones! :)

A photo posted by Smiles & Sunshine (@smilesandsunshineteacher) on

#4 I'm still considered a 'beginning educator' by my state - after 8 years!

 There is a reasonable explanation :)

First, it took me a few years to find a 'full-time, permanent (public school) position'.

 I did a lot of other things in education, like subbing, long-term/continuing subbing, para position, K teacher at a preschool-but the state doesn't 'count' those as professional experience.

Next, the state changed the law a few years after I got out of college-from requiring 3 years of 'experience' to FIVE years of experience before becoming an experienced educator.

So, I'm going into my 9th year of teaching, and 15 years of working with kids-and I'm 'beginning'. (Which means I can't take a student teacher).

BUT! After my next re-certification (at the end of this school year), I'll have those 5 years in public school as a full-time, permanent position, and should get an experienced educator certificate. :)


I heart me some sci-fi! From TV shows (like Star Trek (Voyager is my fav!), Warehouse 13 and Doctor Who) to romance novels (I go from shifter, to paranormal (with magic, physics, and more), to futuristic), I love the possibilities and the differences of it-since my life is pretty mundane! I can get lost in the worlds that others have created :)

I hope you enjoyed those 5 fun facts about me!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday ~ Classroom Sneak Peek

Happy Friday!

My classroom is mostly done-I went in last week to set it up. The last I was in, my shelves weren't fixed yet, so I set it up as much as I could.

I thought I would show you some areas that are done (basically everything, except for half of my shelves) as a sneak peek!
Divider 1
This is one part of my shelves that are fine! I organized a little more, and was able to clear a spot for a display!
I've featured some of my favorite books, and will switch them out during the year. I'll also be displaying the Mentor Sentence book of the week here, as well as any crochet critters, or cute things I find.

Divider 2
My library!
I've moved some of the books from the long shelves over to this part of the library, to free up a little more space for their book bins-they don't fit quite as well one the shelves. :)

Divider 3
My small group area! I hope one day to get two (or three) trapezoid tables, so I can better reach all the kids, but we work it with the rectangle table.

Divider 4
My writing table/grade display/mathematical practice posters (although I tried to word them for every practice!)
Underneath the grade display, I hope to put examples of what each looks like for different things, so students have an example, as well as something to strive for and compare their work to.

Divider 5

Lastly, I got rid of my clip chart (more on that through the year!), and on my filing cabinet, I made a reading graffiti wall!
I put up two quotes two get them started (one from Wonder and one from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone).

Yes, I called it Harry Potter 1. I wasn't about to write our Sorcerer's Stone lying on the floor at an awkward angle!
We start next week! I'm excited to meet my class! (Not as excited to wake up to an alarm again! :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Planning Guides

I thought I would share today about my planning guide-which helps me when I do my weekly planning.

I've already talked about how I do my long-term mapping for ELA and Math, this will be how I do it on a daily basis.

Last year, I made a guide to help me with my process.
The left is this year's, and on the right is last year's.
I had a basic monthly map for ELA,
As well as Writing Expectations,

A Math pacing guide,

and of course, a set of Common Core State Standards for 4th grade.

Those I got from Mandy's Tips for Teachers-I liked her Facebook page and got them for free (although I don't know if she stills has them-it was a few years ago!).

I also added some things throughout the year-you can see my Science map and thinking routines taped onto some covers.

This year, I refined and added in some things, to make it more accessible for me.

I also added a table of contents for I can easily see what each section is (and I'll be adding tabs to it for easy flippage :)

I spent some time refining my ELA map,
A little more detailed, plus some CCSS added in!

as well as completely redoing my Math map (it was basically just a pacing guide before, know it has the skills taught in each lesson, as well as common core alignment as I saw it reflected in the lessons.)

I also redid my writing expectations, shifting some things around, and adding some things here and there (and putting into a horizontal format to fit the rest of the guide.)

I made sure to add in the science map and thinking routines section this year :)

I did retype the CCSS-again, to keep it in the horizontal format, I added in the Next Gen Science Standards, because while my district (and state) hasn't necessarily adopted them YET, I know they are definitely coming, and I want to keep this one for a few years :)

When I go to do my planning, I grab this guide, and am pretty much able to plan away. I don't need to lug my ginormous math teacher editions, or search through all my resources, because I have it in this handy-dandy guide.

I had it bound at Staples for under $4, and printed everything at home (I printed the covers on cardstock, and laminated them at school).

That's my planning guide! It may be a lot of initial outlay of time, to organize it all, but it saves me an equal amount of time throughout the school year (which is a much needed necessity!)

Smiles and Sunshine,