Saturday, May 23, 2015

SoCal End of the Year Link Up!

Happy Saturday!


I am so excited to be a part of this fabulous SoCal End of the Year Linkup today!

Here are a few things I’d love to do this summer in beautiful Southern California!

I am DYING to go to Disneyland. I absolutely love DISNEYLAND!


My husband and I have a 14 month old and we are expecting our second child any day now - I am 38 weeks pregnant!  We decided our kiddos are too young to take to Disneyland this summer. We think by next summer they’ll be able to enjoy it more! But here are a few throwback pictures of my times at the Happiest Place on Earth!



When my 14 month old was about 6 months old, we took him to the Avocado Festival in Carpenteria, CA. It was a beautiful day! I really enjoy going to these beaches in SoCal. It’s always a relaxing and enjoyable day! Hoping to head there this summer too!


Another great adventure in SoCal is heading to an exciting Dodger game! My husband and I would love for our two boys to grow up and be Major League Baseball players. Next summer will be a lot of fun as we take our two boys to more baseball games. There’s something about those summer nights at a baseball stadium!


We live pretty close to Ventura, CA. This is a great restaurant to visit if you’re ever in the area. We try to make a stop every chance we get!


San Diego is a far drive for us down south. But, it’s totally worth it! This summer we want to head back to the Gaslamp District for some good food and drinks!



Another great SoCal visit is CATALINA! Hoping we can take our two littles there this summer too! It's like a little tropical paradise not too far off the coast of California!




As a part of this linky, I am giving away this FREEBIE! It’s a sample of my End of the Year Certificates. There are three certificates included in this FREEBIE. 

You can use them to honor your students at the end of the year. If you want a larger selection of certificates and some student gift tags, head on over to my shop. They’re printer friendly and they’ll provide you with a variety of honors to bestow upon your students!




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You Oughta Know About Mystery Readers!



You oughta know about Mystery Readers!


I LOVE this idea for ANY grade level!

It’s simple. You enlist the help of your students’ parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and relatives to come into your classroom to read a story to your class. The best part…it’s a MYSTERY!

Your students will be so excited to see their relatives/friends in their classroom, reading them a story. Their classmates will also be filled with joy to see other parts of their friends’ families.

To get the Mystery Reader system set up in your classroom, you’ll need to follow these steps:
1.   Host a sign up at Back to School Night and send home an information letter.
2.     Keep your sign up sheet easily accessible throughout the school year.
3.     Offer a selection of quick stories and/or picture books.
4.     Create a cozy environment for the reading!
5.     Get your Mystery Reader clues ready for your class!

1. Host a sign up at Back to School Night:
It’s really important that you start the year off by letting your families know about this great opportunity in your classroom during your Back to School Night. In your Back to School Night paperwork, include an information sheet about the Mystery Reader process and details. Don’t forget to include available dates throughout the year. Here’s a copy of a letter I wrote for my Back to School Night to inform the parents in my classroom.

In addition to the informational sheet, I also place a sign up sheet in the back of the classroom.


More on this next step below…

2. Keep your sign up sheet easily accessible:
I remind parents to sign up on their way out. Once Back to School Night is over, I transfer everything to a Google Doc. I send home a link with the Google Doc for families to sign up online. I also keep the hard copy in my classroom, for any parents interested in coming in to sign up. Don’t forget to keep both copies updated so there is no confusion. On the sign up sheet, I have parents write down their name, child’s name, if they need a book, and their email address. The week of their scheduled day/time, I send them a reminder email with the day, time, book choice (if they said they already had one or not), and the directions of how to come into our classroom without ruining the surprise. And of course, they needed to email me FIVE clues about themselves that I could read to the class prior to their arrival. More about this on step number FIVE.

Here’s an example of my email:


Here’s a template for a sign up sheet.




Just insert it has an image into a PPT document, add text boxes to add your dates, print, and leave accessible for families.

3. Offer a selection of book choices:
I always ask my Mystery Readers if they’ll need a book to borrow for the reading, or if they’ll be bringing one of their own. A lot of the parents in my class chose to bring their own books. They would also bring a gift for the class (not mandatory of course J) that would match the book. For example, if the Mystery Reader brought If You Bring a Mouse a Cookie, they also brought cookies for the whole class. Just make sure your school’s rules allow for food gifts and all that good stuff.

4. Create a cozy environment for the reading:
I always set up a reading chair in our little reading corner. My kiddos would sit at the carpet, patiently waiting for the Mystery Reader to arrive. I also set up an additional chair for the Mystery Reader’s child to sit. They always loved sitting next to their reader that came by to visit! I would sit next to my group of students and make sure my behavior management was ON POINT! Most of my Mystery Readers did a good job reading, keeping the kiddos engaged, and making it a fun experience. My students were just so excited to have a guest in our classroom!

5. Get your Mystery Reader clues ready:
As I mentioned above, the Mystery Reader would email me five clues about themselves that I could read to the class. They could be simple clues, but not so simple that the class could easily guess who was coming to our class! They could be something like…
I have three children.
Breakfast is my favorite meal.
I love dogs.
ETC. ETC.

I would read these clues to my class the morning of the Mystery Reader’s visit. I would take five guesses and write these names on the board. My kiddos were excited to see if their guesses were correct!

So there you have it! FIVE easy steps for conducting Mystery Reader in your classroom!

1.     Host a sign up at Back to School Night and send home an information letter.
2.     Keep your sign up sheet easily accessible throughout the school year.
3.     Offer a selection of quick stories and/or picture books.
4.     Create a cozy environment for the reading!
5.     Get your Mystery Reader clues ready for your class!

The families in my class had a lot of fun with this over the years! We had relatives from out of state come visit, grandparents, cousins, and older siblings.

Here's my mom as a Mystery Reader in my classroom! My mom was a teacher for 20 years, became an Assistant Principal, Principal, and is now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for her district. She's the best mom and a phenomenal educator to look up to!




You can grab all of these printables for free from my TpT shop. Just click here!







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Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday {5.22.15}



Woo hoo! It's Friday! Five for Friday!



Check out my Deconstructing the Common Core State Standards post on Education to the Core


It posted this past Monday! I am so excited to have been a guest author on Emily's blog this week!


Tomorrow I'll be a part of Jasmine's You Oughta Know Blog Hop! Don't forget to check it out!! 


There's a FREEBIE! Here's a sneak peek...




I created this new reading game this week. It's posted in my TpT shop. 

You can grab it now!! Read more about it when I join A Dab of Glue Will Do's Winner Wednesday linky on June 3rd!


I'm also a part of a SoCal blog hop happening tomorrow. 
Come by not only for You Oughta Know, but also to read about beautiful SoCal livin'!
I'm posting an end of the year FREEBIE there too. :) 


Finally, I'm 38 weeks pregnant today. OMG. Where did the time go. This is how I feel. 



Have a beautiful weekend! 



Honor Memorial Day this weekend by remembering those who served our country and are no longer with us!! 
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Memorial Day {Informational Text and Direct Instruction Lesson}

Happy Tuesday!

It's almost Memorial Day!


Teach your students the importance of this day and its history.

I used this Direct Instruction template I created to write a Memorial Day lesson using the standard I deconstructed in my guest post on Education to the Core. You can grab it here for FREE!

Here are the step-by-step directions for my Memorial Day Direct Instruction lesson with my deconstructed standard:

Slide One: Hook
Excite your students about Memorial Day! Talk about the upcoming three day weekend for a few minutes then explain how it’s an important day for our country.


Slide 2: Objective

State the objective to your students and write it on the board.

Slide 3: Review


Review these questions with your students and remind them about informational text and key details.

Slide 4: Big Idea

State the big idea. It will help your students understand why we need to know this information.

Slides 5 through 12: Modeling








Use the following slides to show your students how to fill out the graphic organizer. Here’s a copy of the organizer for you! There’s an alternate copy (vertical) in my Memorial Day download on TpT.

Slides 13 through 18: Check for Understanding






Show your students each slide and have them answer their questions on their whiteboards.

Slides 19 through 21: Closure



Ask the three questions on the slides and have your students answer these questions on their whiteboards.

Slide 22: Independent Practice

Explain the Independent Practice for students. They can use their sheets to help them complete the flip book!

Grab my Memorial Day download from my shop!

Have a great day! :)
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