Newbie Alert! :)

One of my favorite people has joined the bloggy world. I am SO excited for you to meet her.

Her name is Aileen is she was/is the "other half" of my Drama Club adventure this year.

{We directed a 2 act, full length version of Charlotte's Web together this year. It was nothing short of amazing.}

She teaches 4th grade and her fabulous-ness is immeasurable. My kids are always excited to get her and most of the ask me to "put them" in Ms. Fernandez's room next year. :) She won't admit this next fact either, but she was our Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012.

She has already posted several fabulous freebies, including a table organization tool we saw at Dr. Duvall's "Engaging Brains, Engaging Learners" training.

She was smart enough to sketch it out so we could remember how to make it. :)

So GO! Hop over to her blog, give her a follow and leave her some love!


I'll be on vacation this week, so my posts will be a little sporadic, but I'll do my best to send you some love from the beach! :)

Easy Student Affirmations (Freebie!)

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to attend a training called "Engaging Brains, Engaging Learners" with Dr. Rick Duvall. I learned a TON about student engagement and brain science in the classroom. What I appreciated most was that we weren't just sitting and listening all day. He had us practicing the principles he wanted us to promote in our own classrooms.

{BONUS: I got to spend the day and have lunch with my bloggy BFF, Mandy!}

I also came away with a couple of fabulous freebie ideas! :) I have one of them ready to share with you today...

I'm sure there are many of us out there in the blog-o-sphere who use table or group numbers/colors to organize our students. Last year, I had table colors: the green table, the blue table, the purple table, etc. I even found these nifty Dixon pencils at WalMart that matched my pencil pails.

Well, this year I'm adding a little something special to each table.

One of the things Dr. DuVall mentioned was an easy way to add student affirmations to each day. I made a sign for each table (with a few extras to cover all the colors) that I'll hang from the ceiling just above each table. You could also post them on the wall or on the tables themselves.

Instead of calling "the green table" to line up, I'll call "the FANTASTIC table" to line up.

Instead of calling "the blue table" to come and get their book totes, I'll call "the AWESOME table" to get their book totes.

Dr. DuVall used this with a teacher in his school who was having a hard time with classroom management and motivating her students. He said the change in her room within a week was remarkable. If you call up an "awesome" group of students several times every day, eventually they will believe and know that they really are AWESOME! :)

What I {LOVE} about this strategy is that I still get to color coordinate my tables and supplies, AND it's an easy way for me to bring a big dose of positive energy into my classroom every day. Plus, your students will learn synonyms for "good" that will *hopefully* show up in their writing as well! :) I also think it fits in perfectly with Habit 1: Be Proactive. If we want our students to choose their actions, attitudes and moods we need to set them up for success!

To grab these, just click on the picture below!

Also - if you haven't stopped by Charity's blog to take the 5 Star Blogger Challenge, take a minute and check it out. She's given us some definite "food for thought" as bloggers!

5-Star Blogger

7 Habits of Happy Kids: UPDATED Poster Set - FREE!

Since summer school is officially over, I am back at work creating and getting new units ready for school next year.

One of the first things I wanted to work on was giving my 7 Habits of Happy Kids posters a "refresh." Denyse at Scrappin' Doodles did an amazing job creating clip art for the 7 Habits.

I cannot wait to use them in my lessons this year. I'm already brainstorming some character education lessons to share with you *after* they've been classroom tested. :)

For those of you who aren't familiar with the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, it's a book written by Sean Covey. The book mirrors The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (his father). Sean's book tells seven different stories about the animals who live in Seven Oaks, a woodland community. The characters learn how practicing the seven habits helps them to lead fuller and more productive lives. It is really a fabulous character education tool.

We use it in conjunction with The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey. This book serves as our "guide" as we work to establish a leadership theme in our building. Covey describes how several other schools have implemented The 7 Habits books with great success.


If this is something you're interested in trying, I would recommend starting with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Our school used this book to train a core group of teachers on the seven habits before bringing it into the classroom. The training and the book made me reexamine the way I interact with both adults and children. It has changed the way I talk to my husband, my family, my co-workers, my friends and especially my students. I am a big believer in the theory that if you aren't willing to apply the principles yourself, you won't see the success you're looking for in your classroom.

Like my friend Rafe says - "If I want my kids to work hard and be kind, I have to be the kindest and hardest working person they know."

I really enjoyed reading through this with a group of people. I always learn more when I can "talk it out" with other people. Maybe you can find a group of like-minded peeps who are willing to try it out with you!

 Middle school friends, fear not! There is even a book for teens! :)

If you've made it all the way to the end of this post, you deserve a freebie! :) Click on the picture below to download the posters from Dropbox. If you're in a 7 Habits/Leader in Me/Lighthouse school, I'd love to hear from you!


Finally, don't forget to stop by We Read, We Blog, We Teach for my friend Stephanie's thoughts on Chapter 2: From "Management" to "Principled Habits." We love hearing what you have to say!


Currently July

Seriously - Where did June go??

Farley was spot on.

Edward Tulane is my all-time favorite read aloud with my kids. I read it with them for the first time two years ago, and I was hooked. They BEGGED me to read it every day. I saved it for the last month of school. It was perfect. They were all over it.

In case you didn't catch Farley's description, it's about a white china rabbit who is separated from his "person" and goes on an incredible journey that teaches him what is really important in life. We laugh, we gasp, we even cry together. Every time.

Comprehension Connections is a book I *think* I've mentioned before. I used it almost weekly in my Reader's Workshop this year. I know that as I transition into CAFE/Daily 5 I'll still use this to introduce and work through concepts like questioning, schema, inferring, etc. Each chapter highlights a different reading comprehension skill and gives multiple mini-lessons for teaching it. Tanny McGregor also includes song and poetry suggestions for teaching each skill. My kids loved these lessons! Obviously, these weren't the only lessons I taught on schema/inferring/questioning/etc. but it helped to build a strong foundation that carried over into other lessons.

Yes, my husband is a wine sales rep. I have a basement full of grape juice. I like almost all of it. Chardonnay is gross. Everything else is fine. Summer is my favorite. :)

Mama booked a girly beach trip for us girls a couple of months ago as an early birthday present. We (all 4 of us) were summer babies, so we are celebrating everyone at the beach. I cannot wait. We have never taken a trip together (just us girls). She also invited her *favorite* sister to come. I'm pretty sure she would kill me if I told people she had a favorite. Luckily, none of my aunts know I have this blog.

I hope. 

I will leave you with a picture of my "nog" Matilda. She is just about the sweetest and cutest thing I've ever seen. She is the easiest dog in the world to take care of.

Don't forget to follow the *Rule of 3*!  I'm off to stalk everyone else's posts now! :)


Daily 5/CAFE Summer Book Study

I know I said this yesterday but - today's the day! :)

Our book study begins, and I'm hosting the first chapter. I'd love for you to come and share your thoughts!

See you there!