Monday, January 7, 2013

New Stuff!

 Whew! I am exhausted tonight even though today was a work day!!! I can only guess how tired that means I will be tomorrow with the kiddos!

I cannot tell you what a wonderful day today was! My room is officially clean AND organized. I cleaned out cabinets that I have just been shoving stuff in for months now! It feels SO good to start with a clean, fresh  room.

As I was gathering up all of my things last night, I had to take a quick picture of all the goodies I got from family this Christmas. I'm tellin' ya- I am one LUCKY girl!!! My family knows exactly what I want! My mom and dad treated me to a little shopping spree at my fav store, Lakeshore Learning, and that made for one happy girl!!!

I figured that anyone who would take the time to read my little blog would appreciate these goodies as much as I do! I was so excited pulling them all out today when I got to my room! Ah! I have big plans for all of these wonderful things- from stations, to warm-ups, to whole-group lessons. I am psyched! I also got other random goodies I will blog about later- including a light up timer that goes from green to red as the time runs out- amazing!!!

One of my favorite products of all time are these Building Fluency Card Banks. They are perfect for practicing fluency AND they are about all sorts of interesting topics!  They come in two sets- one with reading levels for 1-3 grades and one for 4-6. Every Friday we do what I call "Fluency Friday." I make copies of one of the passages for the whole class and they take turns reading the passage to a partner for one minute. The kids are trained on how to mark errors and calculate the number of correct words per minute they read.  We record them on the tracking form that comes with the product. I know, Lakeshore thinks of everything! Each passage has numbers at the end of each line so kids can easily count backwards or forwards from where they stopped to calculate their scores. They repeat this process twice so they have an opportunity to improve their score. I'll do a separate post about exactly how I do this process with the class another day! It takes lots of training and practice, but the kids love it!

I am most excited about having the first set with levels for grades 1-3. I have some struggling readers and now I have a wonderful resource at my fingertips to use with them. It will be a great way for the kids to see how they are progressing. Can't wait to use them! This will also help me differentiate for those babies that need it during our Fluency Friday- yay!

In the future, I plan on creating an entirely separate fluency folder with a snazzy label so we can keep all of  our fluency things together. That's on my list of "to-dos". If I do wind up making them, I will be sure to share how they turn out! For now, we will continue storing our tracking sheets and passages in our catch-all "Language Arts" folder :)!

Another one of my favorite products are these Reader's Theater Scripts. I LOVE them!! My kiddos love doing reader's theater, but I do NOT like the preparation! First you have to print them out, then go through and highlight each role on a different copy, blah, blah, blah. Usually they have an odd number of characters, or one person only gets a line or two of text to read. Ugh. This product solves all of those problems! It comes with several stories, each with FOUR scripts- perfect. Each one is highlighted already- yes- already! Brilliant! The kids can sit with their group and there is no hassle! The stories are short enough that within the station time, they will have an opportunity to read for more than one character. I. am. in. love!

Moving on... my mother-in-law found me the CUTEST tape dispenser ever! Check him out! Adorable!
Random, I know, but he is so cute! I had to share!

Now for my MOST favorite find of my shopping spree- my name tag and pencil holders!!! Can you hear the angels singing?! I have not blogged about this yet, but at the beginning of the year I tried to create my own do-it-yourself pencil and name tag holders using rulers. A friend came up with the idea. I just knew they would be perfect! I plugged in my glue gun and went to town! I glued three rulers together to form the holder. They were super-cute and I was so excited! I took them to school, hot glued them all to the desks (by the way, hot glue is easy to remove from desks!) that first week of school and they were ADORABLE- until... they started falling apart. Imagine rulers on the floor, rulers in the desks, rulers everywhere! The hot glue just wasn't strong enough to hold them. Kids would bump them and they would come apart and all I was left with was a massive pile of rulers. They just didn't work. I was heart-broken.

Mom came to the rescue during our shopping trip and found these little gems at Lakeshore! They are blue, my favorite color, all one piece and made of STURDY plastic! I just about died! They can hold a name tag, or any other thing you can dream up to put in there, and a pencil. No more rogue pencils! I stuck the holders to the desks with adhesive squares that are supposed to have a firm hold but remove easily (we shall see!). I am anticipating them falling off, but at least if they do, they won't break! We will see how they work tomorrow when the kids come in! I couldn't find them on the Lakeshore website, so if you like them, check with your local store.

For now, I can enjoy how neat and straight the room is (minus the overflowing trashcan) with the holders in place.

I am looking forward to seeing all of my kids' faces tomorrow and see how they have grown! I missed them!

Tomorrow is all about a fresh start- resolutions and all!

Have a great night!!!


  1. Hi Kelly,
    I love Lakeshore! It's my favorite place to shop for literacy activities. I'm following you now. I'm a reading specialist gr. 1-5, so I think we'll have a lot to share. I'm looking forward to stopping by for another visit soon!
    Take care,

    Read with Me ABC

  2. Wendy,

    Thank you for following me! I have to admit that I am still a semi-new teacher (my fourth year) so I don't have tons to share, but hopefully you can find something worth reading!!

    I love it that you are a reading specialist. I may have some questions for you in the near future!!! I am now following your blog as well. I have really enjoyed what I've read so far.

    Have a great night!


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