Friday, May 31, 2013

Five for Friday

 I am so excited for my first Five for Friday post!  Below are five random snapshots from my week.

Everyone at my school is changing classrooms this summer so all of my teaching stuff if currently residing my house (.  I spent some time this week organizing all of my supplies.  

I also been using the extra time I have had this week to work on products for my TpT Store.  Check out my new Editable Classroom Labels Pack.  I wanted labels for myself in the new color scheme I am planning using next year.  

I have been using some of my free time try all the recipes I pinned throughout the school year but never had time to try.  This Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup was delicious.  
Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Photo courtesy of

I completed an item of my summer bucket list and went to the water park with my hubby.  Woo Hoo for fun in the sun!

I finished my first book off of my summer reading list. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.  The use of profanity in a YA book seemed unnecessary. 
Photo courtesy of

Summer Bucket List 2013

Well, I have a week of summer vacation and it has been wonderful.  After a week of relaxing I decided it was time to get started on my summer bucket list.   I have a lot I want to get done this summer so, I decided to link up with HadarTeri and April  for their Summer Bucket List linky !

For School

1. I really want to make some new classroom decor, fueled by my Pinterest addiction.  I will be moving classrooms this year so it is a great chance for me to redecorate and reorganize. I have a whole board dedicated to my new classroom ideas.  

2. Lesson Planning Galore!  Next year my school is switching to gender differentiated classrooms.  I will either have a class of all boys or all girls (I can't wait to hear which).  After we have training I planning to revamp my old lesson plans with strategies specifically targeted to the gender I will have.

3. Organize, Organize, Organize!  I need to go through all of my school stuff (that is currently residing in my house due to moving classrooms) and get it organized and ready for next school year!

For Me

1. Read, read, read! I have a ton of books on my summer reading list.

2. Spend time with my sweet hubby!

3. Hit up the dollar movie theater near my house.  It combines two of my favorite things cheap and movies!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Organize Your Classroom Library with Booksource Classroom Organizer

As I posted earlier, one of my goals this summer is to organize and level my classroom library to get ready for next year.  I am so excited because one of my coworkers told me about this great app available for FREE in the Google Play Store called Booksource Classroom Organizer.

I love this app because it lets you quickly and easily scan the ISBN bar-codes on the books in your classroom library.  The Booksource app then uses the bar-codes to retrieve the title, and in the cover picture and guided reading level, of your book and adds it to your classroom database.  You can access your classroom database from online from this website.  You can also use your online classroom database as a checkout system to allow your students to borrow books.  How cool is that?

If you don't have a smartphone, you can also go here and manually enter the books in your classroom library to create your own classroom library database.

If you want to get started using the Bookstore Classroom Organizer follow the steps below.

1. Go to and click on Create Your Account.

You will need to create a username and password.  If you plan to use the Classroom Organizer as a student checkout system this password will be shared with students so, you don't want it to be the same password you use for everything.  You will create a separate password to login to manage the account.

2. After you create your online account navigate to the Google Play Store on your phone and search for "book organizer."  The Booksource Classroom Book Organizer will be the first result. Click Install to begin downloading the app to your phone.

3.  After the app is downloaded click on the green Booksource shortcut to launch the app.  You will be taken to the log in screen.  Use your username and password to log in.  Note: You will need to use the second "teacher" password you created during the log in process. The username and password are case sensitive.

4. After you log in you will be taken to the Add Books screen.  Click scan to begin scanning bar-codes and  adding books to your library.  You will be prompted to download a bar-code scanner if you have not already.

5. Center the bar-code view window over the bar-code of your book  the app will automatically scan the bar-code and identify the book. 

6. Click "Add to Library" to add the book to your classroom database.

7. After you have scanned your books using the Booksource Classroom Organizer, go here to view you classroom database.

7. If you wish to add or change any information displayed about the books click "edit" on the left hand side and change the information to your liking.

That's it!  You are all ready to get started organizing your library so its all ready for next years batch of kiddos.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Printable End of the Year Student Awards on TPT

The end of the year is a great time recognize the special talents of your students.  I developed these super cute printable student awards as a way for teachers tell my students how proud I was of them.   This 30 award pack has an award for each student!  Each award is included in color and black and white to help you save on printing.  Best of all the whole 61 page pack is only $1!

Here is a sample award in black and white (looks great printed on colored paper):

Here is a sample award in color:

Visit my TPT here to download a sample file and view ALL of the awards for yourself!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

End of the Year Activity- Word Art

The end of the year is getting closer and my student's attention spans are getting shorter.  I was so excited when I found an educational activity that was engaging to them even at the end of the year- Word Art!

I gave each student that task of thinking of one or two words that described this school year.  Each student then wrote their word on a piece of paper and decorated it. When we were done, we put all of our work together and made a word art mural!  My class thought this year was awesome, special, cool, sweet, stinky, and epic!

Try this out in your classroom.  Don't forget to take a picture!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Earn 5 Box Tops for Your School on Facebook!

Through May 26th you can earn 5 Box Tops for your school with a few clicks!  Go to the Box Tops for Education Facebook page and "like" them.  Then search for your school by name or zip code.  Simply click on your school's name to earn 5 free Box Tops.  Don't forget to share with your friends to help you school earn even more!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Summer Project: Leveling My Classroom Library

With only 10 days left in the school year, I have begun to think about projects I want to complete over the summer to get ready for next school year.  One of the main projects I plan on doing is leveling my classroom library.  Having my books sorted into levels would make is so much easier for my students to choose "just right books" to read during silent reading and centers times.

My school uses the Fountas and Pinnell (Guided Reading Levels) levels for their guided reading library. I plan on using the same levels in my classroom library for simplicity.

While I was searching for online tools to help me level my library, I came across a variety of websites. Many of the sites I found were either not very helpful or charged a subscription fee.  However, after some searching I found the websites below that are easy to use and best of all free!

The, easiest and fastest to use, website I found is The Beaverton School District Leveled Books Database.  This database allows you to search by title, author and publisher to find the level of the book you are looking for.

Another helpful tool I found was Scholastic's Book Wizard. Scholastic's Book Wizard lets you search for a book by title, author or keyword and it will tell the level of the book.

Finally, if you are trying find levels for picture books, you can use the searchable Portland Public School database of picture books.

After I determine the level of each book, I write the level on the inside of the front cover.  After I have finished determining the levels of all of my books, I plan to add a color coded square to the spine of each book to make the books easier for the students to find.

Easy Bookbinding Tutorial

Getting a chance to bind the stories that they have written into books is really motivating to my little second grade authors.  My students do their best work when they know it is going to be bound and made into a great end product.  Below are instructions for a quick and easy way to bind kids into a book.  The best part is all you need is paper and a stapler!

Step 1:  Fold a piece of paper for the cover.  If you wish, you can use card stock for added durability.

Step 2: Fold pieces of paper in half for the inner pages.  Each folded piece of paper will create 1 page. Depending on what you will be using your books for, you may want to use one of the templates provided below to add lines or lines and illustration space to your book.

Step 3: Insert the folded pages into the cover with the creases of the pages facing out and the open ends towards the center.  Having the creases facing outward creates more durable pages and makes the book thicker and more durable. 

Step 4: Staple the pages into the cover of the book. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

End of the Year Review with Zinger

As the end of the year approaches, the Sweet Little Things and I have begun reviewing some of the topics we covered earlier in the year.  One of our favorite ways to review is to play the game Zinger.

As a teacher, I love Zinger because I can use it to review any subject. I simply develop questions that will lead my students to review the intended topic.  

My students love Zinger because it is a fun, engaging way for students to review what they have learned. They love the chance to compete against their classmates.  My students also love completing the zany actions that come when their team gets to draw a Zinger card.

In Zinger, the students are divided into teams.  The teacher poses a question to the class and all teams work to find the answer.  After students have had sufficient time to answer the question, the teacher calls on a team to answer.  When I play this game with my class, I call on the teams in random order (making sure that each team gets an equal number of turns) to ensure that all teams are participating.  If the team that is selected has the correct answer, they earn one point and get to draw a Zinger game card.  If the team gives an incorrect answer, the teacher chooses a different team to try to answer. 

When a team draws a Zinger card, they must follow the action on the card or loose two points.  Some cards have crazy actions such as: "Sing Happy Birthday like an opera singer."  Other cards let the team earn bonus points or take points from another team. 

Get Zinger is only $2 at my TPT store.  Check it out here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

End of Year Presents

I can't believe there are only 10 days left of school.  I feel like it was just yesterday that my sweet little second graders were walking through the door for the first day of school.  This year has absolutely flown by!

To commemorate the end of the year, I wanted to get my Sweet Little Things a present.  I toyed with many different ideas, but I finally settled on getting my students each a chapter book.  I hope that these books will encourage them to keep reading over the summer.  To keep things cheap I decided to hit up my local thrift store.  I was able to find some chapter books that looked like they had never been read for only $1 each! I plan to write a personal note for each student inside his or her book.