NOT a good day...

Have you ever had a day where EVERYTHING that the kids do aggravates you?  I had absolutely NO patience today.  I don't know why.  I was not in a good mood from minute one when the kids walked in.  I'm not sure what set me off - but it wasn't good!  I felt really bad at the end of the day because the kids definitely got the brunt of my 'anger'.  I really hope tomorrow is better..

On another note - I have an observation on Monday.  I hate being observed...  The only thing that I have been told in the last two years is to 'speak up more in staff meetings because I have a lot to offer."  If that's the worst I've gotten in 3 years I know this observation will go just as good as the others - but alas I'm still nervous.  So I thought I'd run my lovely lesson over all of you out there and get some feedback!  Let me know what you think!

Topic:  Making Connections

Opening Question:  Have you ever been in the middle of reading a book and thought 'Hey!  This reminds me of...."?

*Discuss WOW pages/moments when from when we read and how books can remind us of different people, memories, and feelings in our lives.

*Introduce all three ways to make connections - T2S, T2T, T2W

*(I do) Model making these connections by sharing specific parts of the book Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.

*Next we will discuss different connections using the book we read last week, Henry's Freedom Box, while filling out a basic graphic organizer using our document camera (principal wants to see technology being used)

*(We do) Pass out a thought bubble cut out to all students (with a post it on the back for a later activity).  I will read a very short story out loud allowing the students to raise their thought bubble up in the air at ANY point that they made a connection - we will discuss connections as they come up from the students.

*(They do) Next, I will put the students into three groups based on their abilities and give each group a short reading passage (different passages based on the groups).  As a group they are to read their passage 2 times.  Then individually they are to write ONE thing their passage reminded them of.

*Finally, I will call back all of the students and we will create an affinity diagram on the front board of their post-it notes.  (We will read and organize them into T2T, T2S, and T2W connections)

* We fill finish by reviewing all three types of connections.

Please please please let me know what you think.  The principal said he's looking for differentiation, technology, and a quality tool (affinity diagram).  With the differentiation - we already ability group and I have the high ability reading group so its sometimes hard to differentiate..  Please any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Great Giveaway!

Amanda, over at One Extra Degree is having an amazing Giveaway!!  She is actually going to be giving away two of Deanna's (Mrs. Jump's Class) products from her TPT store.  Check out this amazing giveaway HERE!


Ok - so our school has voted and we are receiving the TAP grant from our lovely federal government.  With this grant - our school gets to 'hire' two mentor teachers and a master teacher.  The mentor teachers are teachers who still teach in the classroom - but get to lead professional development, assist teachers, and do other fun things.  The master teacher gets to do the same but they are no longer with a class.  Anywhoo - I am VERY interested in the mentor teacher position.  I like the fact that I still get to be in the classroom but I also get to help out teachers.  I feel that I'm very dedicated to my job and use a lot of my free time to create materials, research, and try to do my best for everyone.  HOWEVER - I hate interviews and of course there is an interview process for this position.  I'm assuming this interview would be very different from a normal teacher interview process.  I'm thinking a lot of 'situational' questions.  Here's what I need from you.  Please please please help me come up with a list of possible questions that you think I might be up against.  I want to be as prepared as possible!!  Also - they said we can bring a portfolio.  What types of things do you think would go into this portfolio.  My last one had things that dealt with classroom management and my fabulous units - but that's not what they will want to see.

So - possible interview questions and what to put in my portfolio?  I need YOUR help!!!!  I don't know how I'll repay you if you help me out - but I promise I'll come up with something.  I'm making a measurement unit - maybe a free copy?  THANKS!!!

Crazy Ramblings

Not a bad start to the week.  Today SHOULD have been another day off for our "February Vacation" but those darn snow days we had threw us off!!  Alas - we were in school today.  Everyone, teachers included, were 1/2 asleep.  It was a simple day - got a lot done.  Nothing much more to say.  Tomorrow will be a different story.  Our intermediate school's gym teacher won a contest and we get to benefit.  Tomorrow - we are the lucky recipients of a Radio Disney Dance Party!!!!!  (I'll let you assume how many of those exclamation points are real and how many are sarcastic..)  HAHA!  It's going to be a crazy day.  We have to eat in our rooms during lunch because they will be setting up.  Should be a fun day.  :)  I'll update you more tomorrow.

I posted a new mini unit on TPT today as well.  It's a quotation mark mini unit that includes three VERY adorable and engaging quotation mark activities.

*Finish the Sentence - Quotation Race Game
*Cwunchy Qwotations
*Quiet Quotations

I've done two out of the three with my kids and they've been BIG hits.  I'm excited to do the 3rd tomorrow :)  Let me know what you think if you download it!  And JUST because it's 6:00 and I'm done with dinner and have nothing else to do tonight and I'm in a good mood - I'll give a FREE quotation unit away to the first reader who comments on this post.  :)

Happy Tuesday!!

You can get it here!!  Hope you like :)

I would like to thank the academy...

Stylish Blogger Award!

I am still very new to the blogging world and yet I just received an award. What an amazing surprise!

Amber - Over at Fabulous First Grader gave me this amazing award!! :)  You ROCK Amber!!

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

7 things about myself:

1.  I am 1 of 8 brothers and sisters but yet I am the only child from my mother and my father!

2.  I have witnessed a bank robbery!!

3.  I competed on ESPN in the UDA dance competition in high school.  

4.  This is only my third year teaching.

5.  I have 2 dogs and 2 cats AND a bearded dragon as a class pet!

6.  I'm addicted to watching Criminal Minds

7.  I'm married to the most amazing man in the world :)  

What a great way to start my weekend!! :)  

Here's who I pass this award on to!

And the winners are...

iteachk said...

I am following you on TpT!


Pinks My Ink said...

I now follow your TpT store and I am more than impressed.

Contrats to both of you!!  I'll be getting your Chocolate and Fraction units to you soon!!  If you didn't win - both units CAN be purchased on my TPT store.  I PROMISE they're worth every penny!!


ONE MORE HOUR for my first GIVEAWAY!!!  Read about it here!!

So busy!

So I'm going to be extremely busy this evening (Grad Work) and won't have time to make a full post but just wanted to ramble off some things.

1.  Found out today that Everyday Math has some iPod Touch apps out there!  They are $1.99 a piece and there are (I think) 6 of them.  I definitely downloaded them for my class set of iPods we have.  Very excited about this since we are adopting this series next year!  If you have EDM and iPods - Check them out!!

2.  Does anyone have any idea what happened to "Suddenly.. 2nd Graders" blog?  She made a post about having to remove some sort of pictures and that 'administration' such her down.  Her blog isn't working now.  I'm just curious as to what happened.  I don't want to break any type of 'blogging policies' out there.  If you see that I'm breaking one please let me know!!

3.  Don't forget about my giveaway that ends tonight at midnight!!  You won't regret it!!

Have a great Thursday night!!

D.O.S.E. (Daily Organized School-wide Exercise)

So I'm very nervous and excited.  My class got to be the guinea pig class for our school's first D.O.S.E. video.  D.O.S.E. stands for Daily Organized School-wide Exercise.  Basically - at our intermediate school, the gym teacher makes up some very easy, fun dances to some popular tunes.  She then teaches them to a small group of students and then it gets filmed.  Then, using the projector technology the video is aired every morning for about 2-3 weeks.  Every student in the school gets out of their seat and dances!!  The kids love it and they're getting exercise!  So..  now we're starting it at MY school.  I'm a little embarrassed about this being shown on Friday to our school - but my kids are excited so that's what matters :)  So here it is...  (please ignore the crazy teacher in the middle ;)  HAHA!!

Tuesday Reflections.. and my FIRST GIVEAWAY!!

It's so sad that we're getting to the point in education where teachers are mandated to use a teacher's manual and made to read every word out of it to teach.  I went to college for 4 years for you to tell me how to teach?  No!  Where's the creativity?  Where's the engagement?  It's not there..  We are required at our school to use the basal every week for our students' stories and I try so hard to supplement as much as possible.  This week and next week we are doing a two week Chocolate Unit as a class because we received a RIF grant and this unit was one of the activities we wrote about doing.  Anyways - long story short - I about cried today when I saw my kids faces loving all of the chocolate activities we did all through reading.  THIS is what teaching and education is all about.  The learning and engagement that took place today was incredible.  Knowing that we were going to have these two weeks to have fun - I planned my chocolate unit to include as much fun as possible.  I've made a chocolate chit-chat unit and I love it!  Everything is based from the book Chocolatina by Erik Kraft.  So as my first GIVEAWAY 
I would like to give two lucky winners a copy of my Chocolate Chit Chat Unit (25 pages of centers, games, word work activities, etc.).. as WELL as my fraction unit which includes 5 fun fraction activities!  They are both on TPT here.

Here's what to do for the giveaway:

1.  Follow my blog
2.  Follow me on TPT here.  
3. Blog about this on your blog.
4.  Leave a comment about your favorite fraction activity and leave your e-mail in case you win!  

The Giveaway ends Thursday at midnight and a winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Friday.  
I really don't want to seem like a copy cat - there are so many awesome giveaways out there these days.  I'm just really excited about these two units and just want to share them!!  Happy Tuesday!  


 There's a giveaway going on over at Fabulous in First!!  Read about it here! :)  Good luck!


Ok - so I really want a new look for my blog.  I have NO idea how to download and get all of the neat things everyone else has.  I love the teacher look, but its really too teacher-y for me.  I've looked at some sites of custom blog designs and they ask like $40 or more!  I don't have that much money to sink into a blog right now.  I was wondering if someone out there could help me get mine looking good with a free blog template from like shabby blogs or somewhere else.  I'm willing to spend about $20, but that's about it.  I just really have no clue how to do this!!  Help please! :)


Unifix Cube Fractions

Here's my next one!  Unifix Cube Fractions!!  Again - only $1.00 at my TPT store :)  

Get it here!

Fraction Word Fun!

So we're teaching Fractions for the ENTIRE month of February so I'll be posting a LOT of fraction activities here in the near future.  I'll start with the first one I made - Fraction Word Fun!  Get it HERE at my TPT store :)  It's only $1.00!  

More Quality Tools :)

So this week was CRAZY!!!  It's crazy how your body forgets what working an entire week feels like.  I was exhausted every night - I didn't even have the strength to blog!  And you all know how tired you have to be to not do that!  Well, I am now caught up on sleep and am very excited to share all of my lovely Quality Tool printables with everyone!  :)  I had a few people interested in knowing more and wanting the list that our school has compiled of how the teachers are using them in their classrooms.  Enjoy!  

For each quality tool there is a summary sheet - which just tells about the quality tool and gives a few ideas on how to use it and then there's the actual tool itself.

Quality Tools:  

Affinity Diagram

Issue Bin






I really hope these are helpful for others.  If you need any more ideas on how to use them in the classroom just let me know! )  

Plus/Delta Fluency Activity/Affinity Diagram

So our school takes pride on being on the 'cutting edge' of classroom best practices and other school-ish trends.  One big trend going around is the use of 'Quality Tools'.  These are used a lot in businesses and are now beginning to take over schools. This is our 2nd year using them in the classrooms and I must say the kids do love them!  (Quality tools are different types of charts and organizational tools.)  There are MANY different type of QTs but our school focuses on 7 different ones.  We have:

Fishbone Diagram
Lotus Diagram
Affinity Diagram
Issue Bin
Parking Lot
PDCI (Plan, Do, Check, Improve)

We are required to use ONE of these in our classrooms every week and we even have to turn in a 1/2 sheet of paper stating which one we used and how we used it to our principals on Friday.  

Anywhoo - the reason I wanted to share this is because I really enjoy using these and wanted to pass on some of the ideas on how I've used them in the classroom.  First, the Affinity Diagram is a GREAT way to assess prior knowledge.  It really takes the place of a KWL chart.  Basically what you do is present the students with a question.  Give each student a sticky note and allow them to respond.  Have them place their sticky notes on the front board or a central location when he/she is done.  When all sticky notes have been turned in then the next part begins.  For the second part - you (the teacher) reads through each post it note and you and the students organize the sticky notes according to similar answers.  I usually write those answer topics above the sticky notes as we group them.  

Here are a few pictures of my class using it.  I asked them, "Why do we celebrate Black History Month?".  This was before we began our BHM unit.  

This is the finished product, after we had grouped them all and labeled them!

The students really enjoy being able to see how their Affinity diagram changes from the beginning of a unit to the end.  

Another great Quality Tool that I LOVE using is the Plus/Delta.  Plus stands for positive things or things we've done well and Delta stands for things we need to improve on.  I made this lovely Plus/Delta page for a fluency activity we do on our iPod Touches.  I have the students record themselves reading a short passage and then they listen to themselves read it back to them three times.  As they listen they are listening for things that they did really well at when reading out loud and things that they could get better on.  They fill out their Plus/Delta while listening and in between listening.  The kids do really well and its a great visual.  

Click the picture to download the Plus/Delta chart

There are SOOO many other ways to use these and the other quality tools in the classroom.  I have a list made up of all of the ways they've been used in our school since the beginning of the year if you're interested :)  Hope these are helpful for someone else!  


Hand Sanitizer Gifts

So I don't have a picture of these made with Valentine's Day ribbon, but you're teachers - you can use your imaginations! :)  These are adorable and I can't take full credit for them.  I made these for every one of the teachers at the beginning of the school year and thought I'd share just in case you could use it for V-day! :)  They are adorable..

I've attached the label in a PDF HERE.   I believe I used Clear Avery Labels 5664.  The one I posted only has the word 'Teacher' at the top instead of actual teacher names.  I can't post the word copy because the fonts won't be the same.  Hope you find these as adorable as I do!  :)  Happy Monday everyone.  

New Blog Design

I'm looking for someone who knows how to design blogs.  I like my design... but it's SOOOO teachery!!  I want something more crafty and cute looking.  Does anyone have anyone to recommend?  Thanks!!

Candy Hearts Quotation Mark Activity

So I'm working on a big Quotation Mark unit and wanted to put this activity in the unit - but my unit is going to be 'Beach' themed and candy hearts really don't go with beaches.. unless you live in someplace by an ocean of course ;)  So.. here my candy heart quotation mark activity.  Hope someone else can use it :)  


So I went to bed last night thinking... wouldn't it be neat if I woke up and had 60 followers!?!?  Well, my wish came true!!!  I have 60 followers!  :)  You have no idea how honored I am :)  Thank you for making my new addiction seem reasonable ;)  You guys rock!  


So Miss Knight from Miss Knight's Khronicals is having an adorable giveaway!  Make sure you check out her blog here!!  :)

New Blog - Shout-out!

So with Blogging being my new obsession and all I'm using every spare moment to look for some new blogs... and I found the CUTEST one today!!  

She has some of the CUTEST centers, games, and fluency activities around.  :)  Definitely go and check her out!!

Fact & Opinion Center

I just have too much cute clip art to go to waste and with all of this ice and snow around I just got inspired. Hope you like it! :)

Valentine's Day Coupon Book!

So my kids LOVE making things for others - especially their parents.  So I thought what a cute idea it would be for them to make a coupon book for their parents that had things in it like, "I will make my bed", or "I will NOT argue with my sister for one entire day!".  Cute right?  Here's what I came up with.  It's nothing fancy but I know the kids' drawings and writing will really make them come to life!  :)

Biography Unit

Ok - so I've been home the last two days because of this lovely ice storm that has swept the nation.  So I have decided to plan on and make my biography unit that we'll be doing very soon.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know what you think :)  Just click the picture to download!

Link Party!

So I woke up this morning and of course the first thing I do is check out all of the wonderful blog updates!!!  Well, there was definitely something a little different going on in blog world this morning...  


One of the BEST blogs I've come to follow, The First Grade Parade, has started this lovely trend of getting to know one another a little more and I plan to follow!  So here goes! :)

My name is Ciera Harris.  I currently teach 2nd grade in a school in central Indiana and I absolutely LOVE it.  I'm a looping teacher as well so I get to have my lovely kiddos for two whole years!!  What growth and personality changes I get to see!  This is only my 3rd year teaching..  I'm a youngen.. I know!  

The above picture was an engagement picture taken a few years ago.  I just love the picture and think it has such a neat view.  My husband Matt and I have been married for just slightly over a year now.  We got married in December of '09.  It was such a wonderful day!  We don't have any kids yet.  I'm currently taking grad classes to get my masters in Elementary Education with a focus in reading development to become a reading specialist.  My husband is also taking grad classes for Emergency Management and Homeland Security (that's a mouth full!)

The picture above is of my two dogs.  One - if you've been following my blog you should recognize - is Allen, my school's service dog.  The other lovely canine is Lyla.  They are the loves of my life :)

This picture is just a close up picture of myself and my husband at the Indianapolis Downtown WhiteWater Canal this past summer.  I love being out doors!

This is a wedding picture - had to share one of those.  I had a winter wedding and got to wear a BEAUTIFUL winter white cape with fur around the edges.  It was gorgeous!  

I'm also a HUGE Colts fan!  This is a picture I took this past season at one of their home games :)

And finally the two pictures above are my two cats.  Max - the one above and Mia, the cat above Max.  I'm such an animal lover!!

Question Time!

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?                                       
A:  I would be a Vet!  I love animals!!

Q: What are your hobbies?                                                                              
A:  Going to the movies, shopping at Lakeshore, shopping, digital scapbooking, and recently Blogging!                                                               

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?               
A: The right question would be what DIDN'T I want to be when I grew up?  I think it changed up until the day I registered for college...  ;)

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?                                                             
 A: Rootbeer, ice cream, cheesy teen drama shows on ABC Family

Q: What is your biggest fear?!                                                                  
 A: Being murdered.  I'm addicted to shows like Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU - so I have this huge fear now that I'll be murdered and turned into one of those shows.  Haha!

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?                              
 A: I go to Florida - Naples, Florida to be exact every spring break.  I also LOVE Hawaii and going to historical places like Savannah, Georgia.  
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?                                            
A:  In the end, its all okay.  If its not okay - its not the end.  

Q: What do you value most in others?                                                             
A:  Generosity.

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?                                                                                                  
A: I would hope my free spirit.  I love just going with things and not knowing what's ahead and not caring.  Taking a drive and flipping a coin to decide where we're going.  

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it 
A:  My husband's grandfather.  He practically raised my husband and is the reason my husband turned out to be the wonderful man he is today.  I never got to meet him and wish everyday that I could.  I want to meet him and thank him for doing what he did.  

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:

Umm...  I've witnessed a bank robbery when I was little!!  My mother was going to the bank in a grocery store and the person in front of us robbed the bank with a gun!!  After than man ran out my mom turned to me and told me to stay in place - and then she proceeded to run out the door.  She chased down the man and ended up getting his license plate number, gave it to the cops and the guy got caught!!  What a day!


I woke up this morning to this lovely ice covered neighborhood!

Yes... this is me and my husband butt sledding down our driveway!!!  It was terribly fun :)

The dogs were enjoying slipping and sliding around on the ice as well :)

Gotta love a snow day! :)
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