Anybody else exhausted??

Overwhelmed? Stressed? Tired? Can’t think straight? Freaking out? ๐Ÿ™‚

I worked in my classroom for most of the day-come to think of it, most of the night, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s looking better….I just still have so much that I need and want to do. My wants get ahead of my needs sometimes!

I did get the desks cleaned off today-and actually went through the stuff that was piled on them instead of just shoving it all into the cabinets-tell me you’ve never done that!

Although I have many, many, many things to accomplish before August 11th, here are the biggies:

1. Classroom library-I want to organize ALL of my books in my baskets with labels-I would also love to put them into (we’ll see if that actually happens) ๐Ÿ™‚

2. CAFE Conferring Notebook-GOT to get all of this organized, especially since this will be my 1st year implementing it

3. Lesson plan template-I’m “thinking” about revising my lesson plan template that I used last year to something that will actually GUIDE me in my teaching

4. Reading notebooks-I want to get all of this “stuff” organized

5. Writing notebooks-I want to get all of this “stuff” organized

6. Writing-I didn’t do a good job of teaching writing last year, so this is an area that I want to improve on which means a lot of reading, thinking, planning, etc.

OK-I can’t think of anything else right now and really need to go to bed.

What are the things that you are working on for your classroom????


I won the giveaway!!!!!

I can’t believe I won a giveaway from another teacher’s blog!!!! YEA!!!!! Here is a picture of my fabulous prizes!

A CUTE picture frame, a snazzy water bottle (my 17 year old daughter already got it!), some yummy energy gel (for when I REALLY begin exercising), and some stylish socks!!!! All because I am following a wonderful teacher/runner blogger (Miss Teacher)!!! Go on over to her blog and check out her stuff!

I have been following her pretty much all summer (she even inspired me to run once)! Great sense of humor!

Thank you, Miss Teacher for my prizes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reading about reading

I just bought 3 professional books to read BEFORE school starts! YIKES! What was I thinking? Wouldn’t it be easier to just swim and lay in the sun all day? Or go to the movies? Or claim a stomach virus and lay on the couch and read for “pleasure” all day? But I have got it in my mind that I am going to revamp my teaching of reading this year so I NEED to read these 3 books-I’ve got to read these 3 books-I am GOING to read these 3 books! ๐Ÿ™‚

Conferring With Readers Supporting Each Student’s Growth and Independence by Jennifer Serravallo

ย This should hopefully help me with my individual conferring with students that I plan on doing.

Conferring: The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop by Patrick Allen

ย This is another great one to help me understand how to confer with students.

SIDENOTE: There is an ongoing book study chat on twitter about this book-in fact the next chat is tomorrow night (Monday, July 25th) at 8pm CST. #cyberpd is the twitter hashtag for this book chat.ย!/search/%23cyberpd

If I’m not mistaken, I think Patrick Allen himself will be on the chat tomorrow night.


Laura Candler’s Power Reading Workshop by Laura Candler

ย I am super excited about this one-she also has a great website:ย

You can buy the book directly from her website if you go to this page:


I guess I have my work cut out for me! Do you have any professional books that you have read this summer or planning to read before school starts?????


Classroom management mistake#1

Classroom management is an often used term by administrators and everyone else on the planet. It is essentially how you manage your classroom and your students. It includes rules, procedures, routines, classroom jobs, etc., etc., etc.-all the way down to the way your kids turn their tests in to you.

We know we are supposed to have “good” classroom management for our rooms to run smoothly. We all want that. I think we all strive for that. But do we accomplish that? At what point do we make the wrong decision just to have everything come crashing down around us for the rest of the year?? I just found an article that says it happens on the 1st day of school. YIKES!! What????

It’s a simple mistake that I believe we are all guilty of at one time or another. Here’s how to identify it and change it! Read on.

Am I done yet? Am I done yet?

When oh when will I be finished with my classroom? Not to mention all of the plans I want to get together or the forms I want to create or the copies I need to make or the thinking that still needs to be done about english mini-lessons, reading mini-lessons, writing mini-lessons, whole group teaching, small group reading instruction, individual conferring, lesson plan format, decorating classroom door, organizing classroom library, setting up reading and writing notebooks, bulletin boards, OH, YEAH I forgot-I still have a family! Maybe they’ll remember me in 3 weeks when I surface again! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I went into my classroom this afternoon to do a few things (and actually did accomplish a little-nobody else was there was the only reason!). I took 4 pictures of the 4 things I accomplished today in 2 hours (holy moly-how am I ever gonna get finished???). ๐Ÿ™‚

ย classroom library book checkout-each student has a library pocket with their number on it. They write their name on an index card and each time they check out a book they write the date and title. When they return it they draw a line through it. When they fill up a card (smile) they get a new one and staple to the old one (so they will have another record of what they read). This is a VERY simple system!! I’ve probably lost a few books, but it’s worth me not having to manage it. And I just thought of something-maybe I will make each student get another student to verify that they are checking it back in. Hmmm…..

parts of speech word wall-we will add interesting words and vocabulary words to this word wall throughout the year

cafe board-YEA!!!! It’s finished!!!!!!!!!!!

fab five board-this is my version of the Daily 5-we won’t have enough time each day to do 5 things, and I wasn’t really sure about any daily thing so my 6th graders will have to do these by the end of the week with read to self EVERY DAY.

Now I know you are wondering if I like color in my classroom!??!!? I LOVE BRIGHT COLORS. I never do a theme like some teachers because my theme is Color Me Bright! ๐Ÿ™‚

What have you gotten ready in your classroom? Are you finished? Well, if you are-I don’t want to hear about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

CAFE small group

I’m still not sure what my plan of action is going to be this year concerning small group instruction. Our reading program, Reading Street, calls for a version of leveled guided reading. This is what their plan looks like:

Scott Foresman Reading Street small group reading

1. Kids are grouped according to reading level ability

2. They are all reading the same leveled reader within their group during small group instruction. Essentially, you read with the group of kids, show them how to fill out a worksheet, send them out to fill out the worksheet, maybe meet with them again to go over the worksheet-then the process starts all over

3. “Most” of the provided leveled readers are non-fiction (and not too interesting, I might add!). They are not easy to read, and I really haven’t seen too much of a difference between the below level and on grade level ones

4. Kids can be re-assessed every 6 weeks and moved into different groups based on the assessment

CAFE small group reading

1. Kids are grouped according to the reading strategy that they need help with (visualizing, summarizing, etc)

2. They are all reading their own independent books(that they have chosen). You teach them what they need to know at that given time-this could be going back over a whole class lesson that you feel they need again, showing them a different way to use a certain strategy, practicing a strategy for mastery, etc.

3. Since they are reading books they have chosen, they are reading on their level of comfort

4. Kids can be changed from group to group whenever you feel they have mastered a strategy-this can be done OFTEN


So, having said all of that I’m not sure how I want to design my small group instruction. I see pros and cons of both types! (Isn’t this always the case???) ๐Ÿ™‚

It would be EASY to follow the Reading Street plan because it is already layed out for you-day by day by day…. However, how did those people that created that plan know my kids? Did they get together with them over the summer and see what they needed and create a plan based on that? NO! So what if I follow the small group daily plan and just waste their time??? What is the benefit in that?

On the other hand, if I truly want to teach each child what THEY need to know and practice, I would be planning EVERY DAY! WOW! Would that be too time consuming? There’s already so much to do anyway. Hmmmm…..

Maybe I should do this (since this whole post is my thinking out loud):

1. Definitely group the kids according to what they need to work on and what they need help withย 

2. Sometimes use the leveled readers (if they support what I am teaching the kids), sometimes use magazines, articles, poems, essays, sometimes let them use their choice books-vary it depending on what I’m doing with them during group time

3. Continuously observe and talk with individual students (this is informal assessment) to be able to know what group they need to be in-try for a weekly reflection time on my part for all of my students to make sure that they are not part of a group working on a strategy that they have already mastered

4. Talk to the kids about what they think they need to work on-hopefully this will not blow their minds since I will begin week 1 of school talking to the kids!!!

I have high hopes in reaching every child this year and guiding them from where they are to where they need to be!

CAFE Keeping Track

I added a “Keeping Track” form to my CAFE/Daily 5 page. This is the form that I will use to keep track of when I have conferred with students about their reading and writing. Here is a screenshot:

If you have not bought the CAFE book and The Daily 5 by The Sisters, you need to stop what you are doing and get on with it!!! They are better than sliced bread!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Go on over toย right now and click on “Buy”.


CAFE cards

I just found a teacher’s blog where she has created CAFE cards that go along with the upper grades CAFE menu. I’m thinking these cards would be great for the kids to glue in their readers notebooks when I teach mini-lessons!! That way they will have a reference to always refer to if they need to.

They are very visual so maybe they could even be added to the CAFE board beside the sentence strip after a mini-lesson.