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I remember how excited I was when I began teaching 12 years ago!  I had my dream job and I knew was going to make a difference.  Twelve years later, I still work in the same school district, and I still work in a school that has about 85% students coming from a low-income home.   I still have the same excitement and feel the same way- that I am making a difference!

Not everyday is perfect and some days are harder than others.  You'll meet lots of people that have lost their "teaching spark" but that doesn't mean you will!!!

I'm a big picture gal, and I know that what I'm doing is going to change these children's lives and help break the cycle of poverty!  I've been collecting the wisdom of experienced teachers from one year to thirty years experience!  I wanted to share with you some ideas that will help you survive your first year, help maintain your sanity, and keep you energized and excited!

Jennifer from the Practical Primary Teacher and Carla from Comprehension Connection both focuses on classroom routines and procedures.  Jennifer says that it may seem like overkill to model and have kids do certain things over and over until they get it correct, but it will be worth it when they can do it automatically. It will save you from chaos and from wasting valuable instruction time. Remember...wasted seconds and minutes each day can add up to wasted hours and even DAYS over the period of a school year! Some examples of things to perfect: Coming to meeting area, lining up, leaving meeting area, drink and bathroom procedures, getting supplies, turning things in, going to centers/stations, cleaning up centers/stations, meeting at small group area.

Carla reminds new teachers to think about about the traffic flow- (least amount of wandering possible)! If you decide to change things up in your room, try to make just one change at a time and polish it before making another. Too many changes at once leads to a stressed teachers and confused kids.

In terms of academics, Cathy Collier reminds new teachers to help provide students with the tools they need to be successful independent workers!  

Sandy Cangelosi provides advice on digital citizenship and online safety.  She says that it can be incorporated into your classroom behavior plan, and if your district doesn't have policies in place, there are lots of resources online!  Here are some great resources from ISTE to get you started! 

The most frequent advice I was given was to use your fellow grade level teachers as a resource for questions, guidance, anything you need!  

Darcy from Ms. D's Literacy Lab reminds new teachers to become good friends with your literacy coach and reading teacher. They will be your greatest supports with ideas, websites, knowledge of your school's literacy closet, understand the language arts curriculum at all grade levels, and know your students' already !  

I love this great suggestion from Janiel Wagstaff:  One way to boost your skills is to observe expert teachers in your own building. Your literacy coach or admin can facilitate this.

When it comes to students, Miranda J. reminds new teachers to create a bond with your students, relationships are everything. They will work and try hard for those they know care and believe in them.

Finally, Shelly T. reminds teachers to get plenty of sleep!!!  You’ll need it!



Since school is getting ready to start back up!  I've been looking at lots of awesome classrooms on Pinterest and searching for great print rich classrooms!  If you click on the photograph, it will take you to some awesome blogs with great idea.  My Pinterest board is full of more ideas!

1.  I loved the class books in this classroom!  These books were made for the students.  It is easy to


2.  This blog has lots of great ideas for not only print rich classrooms, but also print rich literacy work stations.

3.  The next two blogs have more great ideas about creating print rich classrooms, and have some great organizational ideas!



4.  Love For Kindergarten has done a great job of including environmental print on a bulletin board.



I'm linking up with teachers from the Reading Crew to help get you ready for a great school year.  My tips are all related to staying organized during literacy work stations.

Tip 1
Photo containers from Michaels are great to keep you organized at Literacy Work Stations.  I've used them to store magnetic letters.  They are the perfect size and make them very easy to store.  I've also used them to store task cards.  I like that they come in different colors and you can easily differentiate task cards by color.
Using photo organizers to keep task cards organized!

Tip 2
Label everything.  It makes it so easy for both you and the students to find things!  I like having containers for work stations that are labeled.  They just stack and can be stored on a shelf.
Label everything so students can easily find their work station and materials.

In addition, it makes it easier to keep work stations organized when supplies are labeled for the students.  You can download these labels for supplies free!
Label supplies so students can easily find- and put away materials!

Tip 3
Have a Station Manager that the students ask for help.  I always have this be a class job.  That way, when issues come up, the Station Manager helps out!  I just print out these badges, laminate them, and clip them on lanyards for the Dollar Tree.  You can download these job tags here!
A station manager can work stations running smoothly!
These great bloggers have amazing ideas to help you have a great school year!





Last school year was one of my most challenging school years.  I'm still recharging and trying to get excited about the 2016-2017.  I'm almost there!!  This summer, when I've been on Instagram, I've been saving inspirational quotes that other teachers have posted.  I'm determined to not let last year get me down!!  Here are a few of my favorites!


I loved this quote that Sara J Creations shared.  I refuse to let envy or insecurity get the better of me this next school year.  It is easy to compare yourself to other teachers and begin to think that you are not good enough.  I'm going to be the hustler, the well-wisher, and the go-getter!


Teachers Pay Teachers shared this quote during their annual conference.  I am lucky to work with some amazing teachers.  I'm lucky to be able to not only call them colleagues, but also my friends!  Teaching isn't easy.  I've said before that even on an easy day, teaching is tough!  I know that I need to be a teacher that values other teachers and be a resource for all the teachers in my building.


Mikey D Teach posted this quote, and I love it!! It is so easy to get caught up in the pressure and stress of testing and data, but I know that cultivating imagination is so important!  Each school year, I have a "word" that motivates me.  Last year it was focus.  This year it is IMAGINE!


Finally, I leave you with this quote.   This school year, I want to take time and not rush through things just to check them off my curriculum standard list.  I've learned that it is better to do one thing really well, then 5 things half-a**!  


It is getting close to back to school time!  I have a $10 gift card that you can win to Teachers Pay Teachers!

It is easy to win...you just need to leave a comment about your best advice to a first year teacher!  I'll be compiling ideas and sharing them on a blog post in mid-August!

My advice to a first year teacher would be to focus on building a classroom community while you are also teaching your expectations.  It is so important for all students to feel welcomed and accepted at school by both their teacher and classmates.   One way I try and build a classroom community is to include the teaching of social skills.  

You can download this freebie of learning targets to help you get started!  This is just one example that is included.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Word walls can take up quite a bit of room, so I want to make sure I'm getting the most out of them.

I try and refer to the word wall all day long.  I started putting the words on different colors, and it has made a big difference. I can say, "that" is the word that is on green, next to "so."  It has helped students find words much more efficiently.  I also find that I encourage the word wall more.

Since the purpose is to have the students take ownership of the word wall and use it as a reference, I have had them place the words on the word wall when we add new words.

Some ways to use the word wall daily are by incorporating it into a work station.  Mr. Giso's Room to Read has a great free What to do With My Word Wall set!  It has all sorts of activities that students can use during literacy work stations.

I've also had students make their own personal word wall by using spiral-bound index cards.  Back-to-school time is the perfect time to find them!  Students (or the teacher) write each letter on each page.  As words are added to the word wall, students add to their personal word wall.



I love this fun link-up - especially in the summer!

I have been very busy this summer- relaxing and catching up on house projects and scrapbooking!  I've also started a little bit of school supply shopping.
I'm hooked on Project Life App.  This is one of my favorite pages...it was from places I've traveled in 2016.
These are a few things I found at Michaels and Walmart.  My local Kroger has been having REALLY great deals!!!  I've been posting some of the bargains on Instagram!
Here are two pictures from my travels this summer...I love Colorado! I love the first picture because I'm totally relaxing!!

I love this picture, because I took it about 2 miles into a hike.  I still had a ways to go, but I made it!!



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