Here are some totally random thoughts!

1.  Summer goes by way to fast!!!  I think I'm in mourning that tomorrow is July 1st.  My husband says to quit whining and be happy that I have all summer off :)

2.  My list of things to do keeps growing!!! I'm headed down to my craft room in a few minutes.  I like to get caught up with my scrapbooking in the summer, so I'd better get busy!  Last summer I took classes, and I did not do ANY scrapbooking! That means I'm caught up through summer 2011.  This is the first time in 17 years that I've been more than 1 year behind!!!

I have a family album, and then I do a scrapbook for each of my children.  Plus, each child has a "photo" album of pictures throughout the year.  I need to get in GEAR!!!

I have found that if I do online scrapbooking, I stay caught up better.I've had great luck with Scrapping Simply!  I usually print 12x12 pages.  I've done some pages in Photoshop and uploaded them, but I've also used their templates and have been happy.  If anyone else has a great online scrapbooking place that they use, please share!!! My scrapbooks are very average compared to my friends that scrapbook seriously!!! 

3.  I MUST WATCH BIG BROTHER!  This is MAJOR embarrassing, but I love Big Brother!   I haven't even had time to play catch up on the DVR!  I don't know if this year is going to be good or not!  I get pretty into it (not so into it that I vote for the rewards and stuff), but I definitely have my favorites! 

4.  Finally, I'm hoping that the solar lights I bought for our walkway today are good ones!!!! They sure were cute!
I'm throwing a 1 Day 20% off Sale!  Thank you  Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade  for the Sale Linky Party and the adorable graphic!!!  You can click on the picture below to get to my TPT store.

Comprehension Connection is having a fun linky party!  Each week there is a picture book linky that supports Six Trait Writing.  This weeks trait is IDEAS!  Duck on a Bike is one of my favorite David Shannon books!  I love the illustrations and students love the story.

For me, teaching writing is very challenging.  I like this book, because David Shannon thinks outside of the box, and at the same time he is writing about something that students have quite a bit of knowledge about.

Duck on a Bike can be used to teach students how every day occurrences can be transformed into a story that is full of creativity.  It is a good starting point to get students writing about things they do every day:  walking to school, going to PE, playing at recess, eating lunch in the cafeteria, riding the bus, doing homework, etc.  It is a also a great book for teaching visualizing.  Using this book as a model, students can transform their daily event into a creative story.

Using this graphic organizer, students can organize their ideas into a fun and creative story! Click here to download!  The adorable stars on the Writing Ideas page are from Ashley Hughes!

Another fun David Shannon book that takes another ordinary event (room cleaning) and turns it into a fun, creative story is Too Many Toys.

Here is the link for the linky party :)

1.  Supermoon. This was one of my best moon shots.

2.  We are in Denver!  I LOVE DENVER!  The museum of nature and science was  VERY LARGE!  By the end of the day, I was worn out.  They had a cool observatory where you could see 60 miles south to Pikes Peak and north to Longs Peak.  Digging for fossils was my sons favorite activity and my daughter loved learning about tree trunks!

3.  Then we went to the Rockies was HOT in the sun (we got $1 Rockpile tickets).  This was our view.  At 95 degrees, in the sun, we got kind of warm... so we hung out in the shade! We had to stand, but it was so much cooler :)

4.  I think I'm going to need a vacation to recover from this vacation :)  I could only come up with 4 things....  Once I get my pictures week I will have 5 things...I promise!

I thought it would be fun to throw my first linky party.  In real life, I'm quiet and somewhat shy.  I feel like this is a HUGE DEAL!  I'm hoping people show up and I didn't clean house for nothing ;)

I've been at PD the last three days, and they had a fantastic Dollar Store not far from where our PD was held.  It was AWESOME!  I was super excited :)   I thought this linky party would give teachers some great ideas and since it is summer, some time to get new ideas (that are at a great price)! 

Here were my deals yesterday:
1.  Baskets.  I like to color code reading groups.  Every student also has a folder that matches their reading group color.  The larger baskets can hold books or guided reading materials.  The smaller baskets can hold

2.  Animal Chip Clips.  These are not magnetic (that would be super cool, but then they probably would charge more than a $1.00).  I think they would be pretty easy to turn into magnets- they have flatish backs that you could glue on a magnet.  I thought they could be used at a literacy workstation or could be used to clip papers.

3.  Dry Erase Board.  I liked this one because it had the alphabet written on it.  I use dry erase boards all the time for word work during guided reading, but they are also great for students to have in their desk and they can be used all day long.   Instead of just asking one student to answer a question, students can respond on their dry erase board, and teachers say, "SHOW ME YOUR WORK!"  or something cute.

Rules for Linky Party
1.  No drinking wine on the carpet (just kidding).  As you can see my social skills need some work :)

2.  You can post to any of your blogs that feature dollar deals from the Dollar Store or Target Dollar Spot!  It can be a current blog post, but you can also link to an older post.

3.  THANK YOU for participating.  I hope you get lots of new ideas! 

Compared to other Made It Monday posts I've read, this is pretty unearthshattering :)  My children had fun with me, and nobody was harmed in our first Monday Made It!

At the Dollar Store, I picked up some flat marbles, and wrote letters on them.   I also found these cute baskets (4 for $1) to store them in.  I only put a few consonants in the basket, but included all the vowels.    My "almost" first grade son saw what I was making and had a BLAST making words.  All of the sudden I hear, "I need another O!"  If you look at the picture, you'll see the word he made!  I suppose I should be happy he likes to spell :)

Then my daughter helped me make little pointers with big eyes.  The Dollar Store had a pack of 125 eyes for $1!  I thought that was a steal.  My plan is for the pointers to be used during guided reading while the letter marbles would be placed in a Word Work Station or an ABC Station. 

I love picture books.  Here are some of my favorites (I tried to pick books for a variety of grade levels).  There are so many fabulous picture books to choose from, it was VERY difficult to pick out my favorite!!!!  Check out First Grade and Fabulous, for many more great ideas! 

If you are looking for a great "first day of school" project, First Grade A La Cart has an adorable link to a class book that you can make for your classroom library based on The Important Book.

PS- The polka dot paper is from Ashley Hughes

**I am super excited.  I made the Free Download section of the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter.  You can download the sight word matching game here :)  This weeks newsletter has lots of great ideas on keeping students engaged.  


 1.  Summer PD!  Yesterday, today, and Monday, I've been at PD.  Yesterday was OUTSTANDING!!!  I need to get all my notes sorted, but I loved the phonics continuum that was shared. There were so many little things I realized that I didn't know, that could make a big difference when students struggle.  One idea that I loved was when students get confused between short i and short e (or even mixing up letters), don't try and teach both a the same time during intervention.  Focus only on one.  I also got tons of ideas for phonemic awareness and phonics!  I love when I go to a PD and I come away with LOTS of ideas.  Once I get my ideas organized, it will eventually be an entire blog posting!!! 

2.  Date Night.  Tonight, dear husband and I are going to see "42"!  I cannot wait!  We have a $1 theater in town...the movies are never the newest releases, but it is a cheap, fun date!

3. Biopsy...I had a biopsy on my back done over lunch :(  I have so many scars.  The dr. is pretty sure this one is basal cell carcinoma, which is much better than melanoma (I've had both).   My doctor is amazing, and thankfully, I can get in pretty much same week, if I need to see him.  My public service announcement: Don't forget to wear sunscreen!

4.  I love this quote.  This describes me perfectly!  I love adventure!  My goal is to one day be on the Amazing Race. 

5.  I got the email that Old Navy has $8 dresses tomorrow!  I love wearing dresses!

My flash freebie is my newest product.  It is great for back to school- and the PowerPoint can be edited!  PS I'm addicted to Mealonheadz clipart!!!  This is free until 4pm today!

I thought this was a fun linky.  Click here to link up with Forever in First!

I try and always be very positive.  In fact, my first day at my current school as a reading interventionist, when I said the above statement, the reply was, "You know we can't read, right?"  That just broke my heart.  Many of the students I've worked with struggle not only with academics, but with behaviors as well.   I have found that being positive has paid off in more ways than I could ever imagine.  Since I'm a literacy coach, and I don't really work with students very much anymore, this statement is VERY true.  I tutor over my lunches one to two times a week, and I say this statement all the time.  The students love it, and they know I love working with them!

I had one fifth grade boy finally ask, "Do you say this to all your classes?"  Before I could answer, a girl in the group (with a HUGE grin) said, "Of course she does, but I'm pretty sure our group is the best part of her day!!!"

I've gone on home visits, and many of my students have difficult home lives.  At school, I want them to feel loved, and I want them to have a positive school experience.  I've read quite a bit about children in poverty, and I can't control what happens when they leave school, but I can make sure they love coming to school and love learning :)

My children love playing board games.  We have Monopoly Millionaire, and it lasts about 45 minutes (winner is the first one to $1 million).  If you read the reviews on Amazon, people say it is too short.  I think it is the perfect length of time. Every once and a while, my children want to play REAL Monopoly which takes DAYS (probably even years...I've never actually finished a game!).  Our house is small, and I'm kind of OCD about things being put away, so a Monopoly game board out for weeks causes me stress!!!  After 1.5 hours, we end the game and I give out awards :)   I change them up, but my children LOVE getting awards.  Yesterday these were the awards I gave out:
Most $1 Bills
Most Different Colored Properties
Most Get Out of Jail Free Cards
Most Houses
Most $500 Bills
Most Cash
Most Value in Property

For the first time in years, I'm planning our summer trip to Denver.  My husband is swamped at work, and he usually plans all our vacations (I just pack).  Last week I mentioned that I wanted to go to see a glacier, and I've found lots of awesome adventures for us to do.  One day we are going to visit the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. I've also been planning some hikes to waterfalls and some canyons.  I've also been practicing my photography skills (and reading lots and lots of photography tips), and really want to shoot some cool waterfall pictures.  I'm not really sure how this will work. Sometimes I have ideas of taking beautiful waterfall pictures while hiking in the Rockies.  What I forget, is that I have two little munchkins to chase after!!  The picture below is my goal picture.  I promise I will post pictures when we return.  I can't promise they will look like this!

I also found another great deal!!! Colorado Rockies are playing on Friday night, and we can get tickets for $10 for the whole family!  They are the cheap seats, but that's okay :) 

For teachers that are wanting to get ahead this summer, I'm offering my 1st Grade Bundle for $8.  This is a great deal (valued at $35).  Includes sight word, fluency, phonics, and word family activities, as well as lesson plan templates and Common Core checklists. 

Until 1:30 pm today (CST), my newest product on TPT will be a flash freebie! My goal is to continue to add more phrases to this set! 

If you haven't entered A Tale of Two K Teacher's 200 Follower Giveaway, you might want to check it out!  There are 48 products to win!  I'm in one of the K-3 giveaways :)

1.  My early mornings this week were spent at swimming lessons, then we went to my school, and the afternoons were spent at basketball camp. Three hours of basketball camp everyday is quite a bit for a six year old and a ten year old!  My daughter had volleyball practice twice this week and played games last night!  They are sleeping well at night :)

2.  I completed one of my big summer projects for school!  I made all the K-2 teachers folders with LOTS of activities to help students with phonemic awareness, reading fluency, letters, letter sounds, and skills for nonsense words (Dibels tested).  I was hoping to be done with all the copying on Monday, but I finished this morning. My daughter and son helped me and saved me tons of hours!!! I also have everything in the bookroom in order!!!  However, the new labels have not been done, but if someone went to grab a book, they could find it!!! This means I'm officially done with school for the summer!  Well kind of :)  I'm doing school improvement work, but we meet at a coffee shop and it is fun!  I also have three days of PD next I guess I'm not really done.

3.  I've been planning activities for our trip to Colorado.  I have always wanted to go to a glacier (it is on my bucket list), and I found one not far from Denver.  I'm super excited :)  My sister is in Colorado right now, and she says in the mountains there is still snow on the ground!  I'm hoping that when we go in about 10 days, we'll get to hike in some snow :)

4.  My friend is reading this book, and I thought it looked great!

5.  Tomorrow & Saturday are pool days!!!!! Our pool bag will be filled with sunscreen, towels, snacks, and books!

I tutor every Monday and Wednesday and I love it.  The little girl I'm tutoring does not go to my school, and she loves the strategies we are working on! They are all new to her (which keeps her very engaged, but makes me sad that she hasn't been taught these strategies). I'm using ideas from Strategies that Work, as well as a strategy I learned in college..."Stop & Retell!"

Stop & Retell is pretty easy and it works.  I place little stop signs in the book and when she gets to a stop sign she has to stop and retell what she read. When I've done this with students at school, in the beginning we stop at every page. In addition to using Stop & Retell, we also use use sticky notes to monitor comprehension.  Stop & Retell and sticky note coding help monitor comprehension, and then we practice using fix-up strategies when she doesn't understand something she's read.
Some fix-up strategies we are using are the following:
-is it a specific word that caused the problem, if it is, we look up the word together
-sometimes we have to build background information (we use the Internet)
-read more to see if that helps
-try and make connections to what we are reading
-use text features
-looking at story structure (problem-solution, cause-effect, sequence)

The Busy Teacher Cafe has great reading comprehension resources for monitoring and fixing comprehension.

**This mat was given to me years ago by my husband's aunt who is a reading specialist. I love it because it has all the comprehension strategies we are working on in one place.  I have no idea who made it, and I wish I could give them credit!!!! Right now since it is summer, and I'm tutoring at home, I keep this mat in a page protector, because I don't think it would match my kitchen decor if I taped it to the table ;) We place sticky notes all over this mat as we are reading.  If she reads more than a page without using a strategy, I say something like, "I had a question on this page, did you?"  or "I was able to visualize something on this page, were you?"  If she says no, then I tell her my thinking and she writes down my idea :)
We are also using Making Big Words to help with spelling and word patterns. 
It is finally going to be hot here this week!  I see some trips to the pool in our future :)

I made up this little sight word matching game for 4th of July!  I picked these words, because they seem to be the words students have a hard time learning when they are learning sight words.  Many of these words do not fit regular phonics patterns.  I also picked a few that were similar, except for 1 letter, which forces students to look at the entire word.

I'm already getting excited about 4th of July.  Our neighborhood goes all out for 4th of July. We have a parade with fire trucks, police cars, motorcycles and even some tractors!  Then we have a picnic and shoot off fireworks.  At 10:00 pm there are fireworks shot off by the lake (we can sit on our front lawn and see them perfectly).  In fact, I already picked up t-shirts for my children when I was at Old Navy yesterday to get their $5 running shorts.  However that was a colossal flop... WAY TOO SHORT!  Nobody wants to see these legs (and booty) in short, short running shorts!

PS- My 10 year old daughter says it is a good thing I made this free because, "it wouldn't be fair to charge money when kids aren't in school!"  :)

I figured out how to add an email subscription.  I've had a couple requests.  It was WAY easier than I thought.

On Sunday night, it was nice and cool...the windows were open, and I thought I was hearing the "whooosh" of a hot air balloon (which was a strange sound to be hearing).  Sure enough, one was trying to get over the trees in our neighborhood, and made an emergency landing three houses down!

I started Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  It is an amazing story.  I try and put myself in the main character's shoes and can't even imagine how I could endure what he endured as a POW during World War II.  It is not an easy read emotionally, but I can't put it down, and I really want there to be a happy ending!

I started working in the Book Room this week.  I was VERY nervous because I was going from 70 shelves to 43!  However, some of the shelves are 1.5 times longer, and some are twice as deep!  I put the Mondo books on the shelves in order.  That was a huge accomplishment.  After that, I just wanted to make sure all the other books would fit.  THEY ALL FIT!!!  I haven't used any of the new labels I made or marked the shelves.   Here is a picture of some of the Mondo books, after they were put away (there are still 2 more shelves of Mondo books).

I've been working on a new product for beginning sounds.  I finished it this week!  The cover is in my favorite color, and the apples & background paper are from Ashley Hughes.

Earlier this week, I posted about getting a new vacation purse. I also HAD to buy new running shoes.  You are supposed to get new running shoes at about 400-600 miles.  I had been wearing the same pair for 1.5 years, and I figured they had at least 900 miles on them.  My right foot had been hurting for about a month (not bad enough to make me stop, but it hurt the entire time I ran).  I bought new shoes on Monday night and they did the trick! PAIN FREE RUNNING!!!!

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