Monday Made It: September 9, 2013




This teacher is tired.

I know some of you have been back in school for a few more weeks, but... GOOD GRAVY! Why do I always forget how stressed and worn out "back to school" time makes me???

We had our Grand Re-Opening as a Leadership School during Open House last week. I am still recovering.

My kiddos were asked to sing our Team Sparter theme song at the PTA meeting. They were a-dorable. But being the panicky-control-freakish-teacher that I am, I had all 40+ of them stay with me after school so that I knew I would have them there on time to perform.

Do you know what it's like to try and get 40+ kids to do their homework after you've been working them to death all day long? It's about 9 kinds of aggravating. Which is why I immediately declared it a homework-free night, put on Netflix, and served up pizza and Capri Suns.

Yep, I waved the white flag... and saved about 40 lives in the process. :)

Do you know how terrified kids are when you perform 3 weeks into the school year?

They are a whole lot of terrified.

So to celebrate no one fainting or falling off the stage, I bought a gajillion Ring Pops and attached these to them... Click below to get your copy! I made 2 different versions:

1. You're my favorite POP star!  and 2. You're our favorite POP star!

I figured that covered self-contained and departmentalized peeps. :)

Credits: Ashley Hughes, Lovin' Lit, KG Fonts, Kevin & Amanda, Teacher's Clipart

They loved it! In fact, I heard more than once - "If we sing for PTA again, will you buy us more Ring Pops?"

Um, only if you buy me a subscription to the Wine of the Week Club.

I'll leave you with one more "made it" before I sneak off of here to go do more school work. YUCK!

How about a yummy recipe?

recipe via
I tried this "Speedy Breakfast Casserole" with a few variations of my own... I'm retyping the recipe with my additions and adjustments. :)


  • 1 bag (thawed) frozen hash browns - We like the shoestring kind!
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar (or whatever you have)
  • 1 package of cooked crumbled Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, finely diced 
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. If using raw sausage, cook until browned. Chop up the onion and pepper and set aside. Layer the baking dish starting with the hash browns. On top of that, add the shredded cheese, then the sausage, onion, and peppers. Beat together the milk, eggs, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper and slowly pour over the entire dish. If you need to add more egg + milk mixture to cover the potatoes, add in 1 egg + 1/4 cp. milk at a time. This worked best for me!

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to set about 5 minutes before slicing.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

I hope you'll stop by 4th Grade Frolics and check out what everyone else has been up to! I'm headed there now! Happy Monday!


Five for Fraturday, a FREEBIE, + One Lucky Winner!

First, I want to congratulate Jamie Garratt! You won the resource books from MPM School Supplies and $10 to spend in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check your email, Jamie! :)

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I would love to share some bits and pieces from my week with you all!

#1 and #2 - Mornings.

My alarm goes off at 4:55 a.m. every day.

Ouch. Ugh. Gross. 

But I have move painfully slow in the mornings, so I have to give myself some extra time to get movin'. I've discovered I get a lot more done if I go in early instead of trying to stay painfully late in the afternoon. Our kiddos start coming in at 7:15 though, so going in early is reaaalllly early!

To make getting up so early a little easier, I made a breakfast casserole last Sunday and used the leftovers for my breakfast all week long. The recipe I found made a BIG casserole and it was DELICIOUS! I heated up my breakfast as the kids were coming in on Wednesday, and I actually had a couple of them ask if they could have a bite! :)

Recipe found here!
I'm planning on posting a bit more about making this on Monday, but I really loved that I didn't have to prep much the night before. I made some minor adjustments according to what I had in my kitchen, but it was so easy!

I do love the way my room looks in the morning though...

This is our classroom library and large group lesson area. I love it. We are surrounded by bookshelves whenever we meet in here. I love sit on the carpet and make charts in the morning with my coffee and Pandora playing. Such a sweet way to start my day!

#3 - Morning Meeting + Mission Statement

I don't know how many of you "do" Morning Meeting, but I am in L.O.V.E with Morning Meeting. It is the best way I've ever started my day and my kids love it too! 2 of my teammates started it last year, and I happily jumped on that bandwagon after seeing it in action in their rooms.

It is a great way to incorporate the 7 Habits into our day and we end it by saying our "Team Sparter Mission Statement." (My teaching partner and I tell our kiddos they are part of "Team Sparter" - a mashup of our last names.) The mission statement is a Team Sparter effort, and it changes every year. As one of our kiddos said this week, "It's kind of like a class pledge!" :) We wrote it out on chart paper after the first week of school, and then I typed it up and made it cute!

Morning Meeting and Leader in Me/7 Habits schools are not affiliated with one another, they just happen to play well together. :)

If you're interested in Morning Meeting, I highly recommend the books below. I was able to read the first book really quickly, and the companion book is a great daily resource!

I really love the companion book as well. I keep it in my large group area so I always have it handy! 

#4 - Daily 5? How about Daily 2 or 3? :) 
I only have an hour for Reader's Workshop with each group, so we only get in 2 or 3 rotations - depending on the time of year. We've been working on building our stamina, choosing just right books, and finding good places to sit. 

PS - Awesome storage ottoman courtesy of Scholastic bonus points! LOVE!
I finished a reading assessment  on Thursday and peeked into our classroom library. My heart melted when I saw these three! I love it! 

#5 Writer's Workshop: Heart Mapping

This is one of my favorite lessons every year. I love, love, love seeing the different things my kiddos put onto their heart maps. It's such a fun way to get to know them and they really enjoy sharing them under the ELMO. 

This year's group was no exception!

I love that this is such a fantastic "bank" of writing ideas for each kiddo. I love the care they put into their maps. I love these kiddos. :)

Our heart maps are a little different than others I've seen. Because opinion writing is such a big focus in our Common Core standards, I wanted to make sure my kids had a bank of ideas they could use for opinion pieces as well! However, I really don't like the word "hate" so when I thought about a 2-part heart map, I knew I had to come up with a suitable synonym. 

Hence, the word detest making an appearance on our heart maps. We talk about why "hate" is a word we don't want to use, how we are not people that "hate", and how we can add an awesome new word to our vocabulary by using the word detest instead.

It takes 2 pages (side by side) in their writer's notebooks, and they love it! I'm sharing the PDF of our heart maps with you below! I've uploaded the file to Dropbox to make it easier. 
If you don't have an account, it's FREE and easy! I love, love, love not having to email files to myself in order to have what I need at school. I just save a copy to my Dropbox folder, and it's there the next morning! My district has some pretty serious "blocks" on our work laptops, but it let me install Dropbox on my school computers. :)

Happy Weekend!

School Supplies + Patience Pay$ {A Giveaway!}

A little while ago, I was contacted by MPM School Supplies and I had the chance to do a little shoppin' for my classroom! Squee!

We heard the group coming to us this year would need a significant boost in reading comprehension. When I peeked at their reading levels, I started gathering resources for strategy groups, RTI, and guided reading.

Here are a couple of gems I found:

 I started using this bad boy last week as we finally got past our rituals and routines lessons in Reader's Workshop. I have several kiddos reading on a first grade level, and I want to determine early on if they need extra instruction or if something more needs to be done for them. This is perfect for that! I love having sequential resources that I can maneuver into guided reading and strategy groups that don't take up my entire segment with a group.

I started using this book as a homework practice page once a week. I shrinky dink the page to 85% and it works great! I ask my kids to use a couple of strategies (underline the evidence and slash the trash) so that I know they aren't just circling random answers. I also love the written component with each story. It's good practice for our CCSS assessments!

I haven't had a chance to use these yet, but I know it's coming soon! When we introduce informational text, one of the first standards we'll teach is finding the main idea and supporting key details. I love using task cards in small groups and as a SCOOT assessment. Small groups are probably my favorite because I can check in with more students than during a whole group session.
I somehow lost my grade tracker during the pack up and unpack season at school, so I added in one of these as well.  After teaching literacy for 6 years, my math skillz aren't quite as quick as they used to be! Plus, with 40+ students each year, I need something to make the grading process go by a little quicker whenever I can!

Oh, be still my smelly-marker-lovin'-heart! I love me some Mr. Sketch. They are my FAVORITE chart markers. Hands down. So when I saw these on MPM's site, I absolutely had to get them. I wish I had gotten several packs because when I went to order more... WAAAAAAH! They are gone! NO MAS! If anyone knows where to get them, please let me know. I am in serious Sadsville over here! They are absolutely perfect for grading, doodling, and putting yourself in a better mood!

So here's the delicious part for you!

Since we have all survived this blogger d-r-o-u-g-h-t I've been in, I'm giving away 1 copy of BOTH comprehension assessment books that I've used. I'm also throwing in $10 to my TPT store to the winner. It's going to be a quickie so I can get the books out to the winner ASAP, so get on it! :)

Good luck!

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This Bookworm is Currently...

Back in business! I'm linking up with the fabulous Farley again!

The back to school chaos seems to be subsiding, I have gotten real sleep, and the only thing I am blatantly ignoring is the giant pile of laundry in our bedroom. Who's with me?! :)

Listening: Do you ever hear a song that speaks *right* to your heart? That's pretty much what has happened here. This song has been cemented in my heart in the past 30 days. I cannot sing it without getting that "oh-my-goodness-I-might-cry" feeling in my throat. But I love it. Every word.

Loving: I didn't always love football. But then I went to an SEC school and the rest is history. My team may not have won on Saturday, but just being able to call the Dawgs again made my weekend.  Looking forward to watching lots of games with my sweet boy this fall!

Thinking + Needing: These two go together this month. I seriously have about 7 different projects and 3 freebies that are *almost* finished. I need to sit my tail down and get them finished. I have had major TPT ADD, so I when I finally get my butt in gear I am definitely going to be on upload overload!!

Wanting: How many of you are in the same position today? I made a deal with myself. If I wrote out my blog post, then I had to go do a load of laundry. My husband's empty underroo drawer would probably appreciate it too --- HA!

Love Yourself! I have done a little of that this weekend. I slept when I wanted to sleep and I worked when I wanted to work. I've gotten all of the BIG things on my To Do list done, so I'm going to call that a win. :) 

1. Leave by 5: I know this may sound absolutely insane to some of you, but I have not walked out the door before 6:00 p.m. since school started. I'm getting there around 6:30 a.m. (kids come at 7:15) and I cannot seem to get everything done. (Focus? Again?) So, for the next 30 days, I'm going to walk out the door before 5:00 p.m. I'm going to have to get someone to hold me to it, but I've got to get back on track. My husband misses me. :) 

2. Plan a date night: Speaking of that sweet boy, he is sorely neglected. I am so thankful he is such a patient man and he knows this time of year is CUH-RAZY! I have an idea for a fun surprise - I just don't know if I can pull it off. But I'm going to try!!

3. Quiet time: I know I've mentioned it before, but I feel like I need to keep doing it. This is not a strength of mine - it never has been. One of the things I'm hoping I'll be able to do if I leave at 5:00 is to come home and have my own quiet time before my sweet boy comes home. My Bible study group is gearing up for another season, and I'm looking forward to having that time for fellowship each week as well.

I hope you've all had a relaxing Labor Day weekend! I'm looking forward to poking around Farley's list and seeing what everyone else is up to this month!