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!
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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.

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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. :)

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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.

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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.

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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,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!


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I've been working hard on my entrance and ext slips, and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm only on chapter 5 (out of 15), but it going a little more quickly (and I'm over the graphing horror of chapter 4!).
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Last week, my state had an educator summit (right in my town-very convenient for me!). I was with the two elementary principals, two teachers from the other elementary school and our new superintendent.

It was a great three days, and I got a lot of useful info, but my biggest takeaway was this.

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I had a dentist appointment this week, and on the way back home, I stopped at outlets (since they were kind of on my way home :).

Somehow, I've lost inches or some weight, and my pants aren't fitting very well anymore, so I stopped at LOFT outlet and picked up a new outfit!
Unfortunately, I'm in between sizes in petite pants, so I had to go regular, and will need to hem them.

I also ordered a new dress, using a gift card that I had from returning a last year.
Colorblock A-Line Poplin Dresses, Cotton Poplin Split Scoop Neck Dresses , A-line dresses, Above knee length dresses, cap sleeve dresses, Colorblock Dresses, cotton dresses, Eggplant Dresses, elastic smocked dresses, machine wash dresses, midweight dresses, plus size dresses, pocket dresses, poplin dresses, pre-shrunk dresses, princess seamed dresses, scoop neck dresses, woven poplin dresses
I hope it fits!
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Of course, I needed a new pair of shoes as well. :)

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I also spent this week in my classroom setting up (or as much as I can without having my shelves fixed!)
Not showing the ugliness of the shelves-since 1/4 of them are missing and stuff is scattered everywhere-I'll show you when it's all fixed!
Right now I have 22 on my list-my biggest class yet! (Our school usually has 16-20 in a class) I do have a little more to do, but that can wait until the PD days before school starts :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Made It

Happy Monday!

I finished my quick checks!
I've since been working on the entrance and exit slips, but they're taking a long time-I only have three (out of 15) chapters fully done.

 I was inspired by Kelli at Tales of a Tenacious Teacher to redo my grading posters, but with a sea twist!
I did organize the sea animals by the depth levels where they live, as we keep going deeper into our learning ; ) (I do know that whales dive deep, but they have to come up to the surface to breathe).

I plan on doing examples of each level with the kids on what it looks like, and posting them next to it.

I also typed up the Mathematical Practice standards in a kid friendly way. I tried to word them so that they wouldn't only apply to the math, but to everything.
We also have two other new teachers in our building, and I felt a little guilty making a welcome basket for our new upper grades teacher and not the others-so I made a smaller welcome gift!

I hope they enjoy it!

Have a wonderful week!

Smiles and Sunshine,