October Favorites

Hey hey! It's almost November.  Already.  Somehow.
I'm taking a look back at October and sharing some of my favorite things from the this month.

Booties.  I sent out an Instagram bootie plea (that sounds awful) last weekend.  I'm finally ready to embrace the bootie but so is everyone else so I was overwhelmed with bootie options.

These Sam Edelman booties + the Toms booties live in my heart now.  So stinking cute but also comfortable.  Because I can't deal with uncomfortable shoes no matter how cute they are.

Let's just take a minute to admire them.  Swoon.

This READ shirt from Claire Lynn Designs is beyond cute.  It's also super comfortable.  I ordered a medium which is what I usually wear, and it fit just right.  Plus it was a really good excuse to wear a t-shirt to work.

It's faux fall here in Texas (we still had a heat index  in the 90's last week, so it is very, very faux.)  I'm loving this scarf from Loft.  If I can get a close parking spot at school, I don't even sweat it up on the walk into school.

I went to New York City, y’all.  It was amazing.  I got to hang with some of my favorite blogging people, see my first broadway show, and visit the TPT headquarters.
**Side note: See-I do love that scarf! I really only like infinity scarves because regular scarves are too high maintenance for the school day.  They shift, y’all.  I don’t have time for that.  I just pin the two ends slightly overlapping, slide it through the sewing machine, and BOOM-I have an infinity scarf.

My October background made me happy each time I opened my computer.  I shared it at Owl-Ways Be Inspired.  I should have an November one to share with you next week!

Hope you had a great October, too!

The Books I Wish Existed When I Started Teaching Reading

This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit! 

That's probably more of a summary than a title, but it's exactly what this post is about.  My first day of teaching seventeen years ago I quickly realized I had a lot of enthusiasm and very little knowledge.    I had 20 third grade kiddos, six of whom had never passed a grade.  There was no outside intervention, and I was the sum total of the help they were going to get.
The books I wished I had when I was a beginning reading teachers and just learning how to teacher kids to read.

I muddled through that year and was thankful to have had an incredible mentor teacher from my student teaching experience who gave me a crash course in what good reading instruction looks like.  Knowing what it looks like and being the one to teach it are two totally different things.  I still don’t have all the answers I want, but here are a few books that I wish had been around when I was just starting.  They aren't "new teacher" books, but whenever I look at them, I can’t help but think, “Where were you when I first started teaching?"

The Literacy Continuum Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas

There are tons of great features in The Continuum of Literacy Learning, but one of my favorites is a 4 page "snapshot" of what each guided reading level looks like. (affiliate link)
Level D:
 Level Q:

The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Seravallo

I already wrote a whole love letter on this book here.  My feelings have not faded over time.  This book is a workhorse.  The Literacy Continuum is an amazing big picture look at teaching reading groups.  The Reading Strategies Book IS the work you would do with a whole group, small group, or one on one conference.

The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson

One of the things I love the most about The Next Step in Guided Reading is how it helps you understand what small groups look like. The sections are broken down by types of readers: Pre-A and Emergent Guided Reading, Early Guided Reading, Transitional Guided Reading, and Fluent Guided Reading.

Don't worry, you don't have to figure out what your students are.

Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller

Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All is amazing for getting down to the guts of planning small groups.  It really helped me plan in an much more intentional way especially for my struggling readers.  This is the book that helps you figure out what your kids need and how to plan those lessons for them.

Do you have any other favorite resources I didn't mention?

Bouncy Band All the Chairs


Just wow.

I jumped at the chance to try out and review Bouncy Bands because we all have kiddos that just can't seem to stay in their skin much less their seats.  There's nothing wrong with them, they just need to move.  It just doesn't always work so well in the classroom.  I've seen lots of options-wiggle seats, yoga balls for chairs, bicycle desks, but I think this is my favorite.  It's inexpensive, flexible, and it works.  Don’t these cartoon kids look happy with it?

I wasn't familiar with Bouncy Bands, but I see plenty of kids that can't stay focused sitting at their desk while working.  I was willing to give it a try.  I could give you a regular review, but I think a few  teacher quotes would give you a better idea of how well they work.

Me: "Hey, how did the bounc-"
Teacher: "Thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  It was amazing.

Me: "Hey, have you seen these bouncy band things?  You put it on the chair, and it gives kiddos a way to get the movement out while still working."
Teacher: "Wow! I need to get one for <insert me thinking of students' names> my daughter.  That would help her so much.”

Me: "Who do you think we should try these out with?"
Teacher: "Jane Brown, Robert Black, Harry White, Claire Green, William Rose, . . ."
Me: "Um, I only have two."
Teacher: "Can you get more?"

{In case it isn't obvious, I did not use kids real names.  I'm not a jerk.}

To be brief (finally), Bouncy Bands are awesome.  I tried out the chair bands because we have tables instead of desks at my school, but I can imagine that the desk version would be effective, too.

Here are a few cutie models I borrowed to try them out:
That skirt?  So adorable.  Wish it came in my size.

They're a super affordable way to help kiddos that just need a little more movement to get those wiggles out.  You can get them on the Bouncy Band website or on Amazon.  If you go to the site, you can use code 15OFF until 10/16/15 for 15% off.

OR you can work with Donor's Choose and write a project to get some for your classroom.  Here are some helpful tips from the website on writing a DC project specifically for Bouncy Bands.

Happy bouncing!

Happy October! Desktop Calendar

Well hey there! I sharing a desktop calendar background over at Owl-Ways Be Inspired today.  Click here or on the image to hop on over and download it.

Five on the Fifth

Hey hey! Does anyone feel like September flew by (and maybe ran you over with a mac truck?)  It's October now, and I'm here to share five great posts from five great bloggers from the past month.
Want even more great ideas from teacher bloggers? Five on the Fifth has its own Pinterest board you can visit.

Y'aaaaaaaaalllllllll, Mandy at Mandy's Tips for Teachers wrote a post very near and dear to my teacher heart.
You guys need to leave school.  If we don't value ourselves, our families, our health, and our sanity, our school systems won't either.  We’re lucky enough to have jobs we love, but we get to have lives, too!  Read this post on some ways to make that happen.

Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View wrote an AMAZING post on teaching story elements.  Want ideas?  I'm sure you'll find some great ones here.

Head Over Heels for Teaching shared the cutest and easiest tip for motivation in this post.  This is my 17 year as an educator, and all I have to say about this is-Duh.  So easy but something I never thought of!

Corinna from Surfing Through Second shared some great place value games over at Primary Chalkboard.  I love teaching with games, and you'll find some good ones here.

And last but not least is a great idea from Jillian from The Star Spangled Planner that I saw on Instagram.  (Not on Instagram yet? Why? Why? Why?)  Her students mapped their hearts, and the results were amazing.  --> Insert all the warm mushy feelings here <--
That font is waaaaaay too small, so now I guess you'll just have to go join Instagram and find out what Jillian had them do.