Making Connections with the Text (A FREE Resource)

Hey y'all! Read any good books lately? Why did you think it was good? Could you connect to it in some way? Readers come back wanting to read more books when they make connections to the text and relate to what the author is saying. If that's what we want for all of our students--to get them to love reading--how can we show them to recognize the connections?

First, we have to model making connections. This happens during read alouds when your class is completely engrossed in the story. You may have students say things, "Oh yeah, like that one time when..." or you may have to model it yourself. Either way, we want our students THINKING about what they're reading, not just following along passively.

Second, students need a place to write about or illustrate those connections. We can talk about them all day long, but writing about it solidifies and strengthens students' thinking. A great place to do this is in a reader's notebook.

It can be as simple or as sophisticated as you'd like, but I've always found the simpler route to be better, especially with young students. In our notebooks, we have a tab for our reading log, which is really just a way to keep track of the books we've illustrated in our notebook. We also have tabs for notes, quotes, and new words.

Notes are for thoughts, feelings, and connections to the text. Quotes, obviously, are for quotes in the text that struck us or stuck with us. And the "new words" section is for writing down words that we didn't know AND the definition, preferably in students' own words.

Now, this all can be done in bullet journal style (can you say, "pretty pens?") or you could add your own pages to help your students keep their thoughts straight. We use the Any (Chapter) Book Book Study pages to keep our thoughts organized and to add some pizazz to our notebooks. If you're not familiar with it, you can check it out here or here.

Reading workshop is a great time to use these notebooks, or as an alternative to keeping a reading log for homework. So...grab your free tabs for your notebooks here and let the learning begin!

Stay sweet,

Making the Most of Word Walls

Hey y'all! We all know how important vocabulary instruction is to our students' reading ability and comprehension. But how can you make the most of vocabulary words and best utilize the space in your classroom? Word wall vocabulary cards are an excellent start.

In our class, we post our new vocabulary words on our focus wall along with our objectives, and then move them over to our word wall as we become more comfortable with them.

Vocabulary instruction happens across the subject areas, but we tend to focus our word walls on sight words only. Are we doing our students justice? By utilizing our word walls to include vocabulary, we can get the most bang for our buck.

Each set has over 180 vocabulary cards and covers topics from grades kindergarten to 3rd. Every card has the word, definition, and either a picture or written example depending on the content.

Math cards cover addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, time, money, decimals, shapes, and so much more.

Reading cards cover sequence of events, point of view, the "Five W's," genre, the writing process, parts of speech, grammar, figurative language, and more!

Science cards include tools used, weather, plants, matter, seasons, planets, senses, land and water formations, soil, rocks, force and motion, habitats, animal lifecycles, and more.

And social studies cards cover geography, history, civil rights, communities, community helpers, and so much more. 

The possibilities are endless when you think about it. Yes, you could use them for your focus wall and word wall, but also for handwriting practice, spelling practice, quiz-quiz-trade games, "Headbandz" games, partner talk, Pictionary review games and more.

For more information, you can check them all out here. They even come in a neat and tidy bundle so you're set from the get-go. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon.

Have a wonderful week and stay sweet,


How to Recover Over the Summer

Hey y'all! Whether you just got out for summer, or you still have a few days left, you are probably thinking about how on Earth you are going to recover from this school year.

With all the papers, behaviors, standards, parents, behaviors, changes, new curriculum, behaviors, walk-outs, drama, and's no wonder teachers (and students!) need a break in the summer. Below are seven ways to recharge this summer so that you are pumped and ready for a new year in the fall.


1. Read a Book

Preferably something not school related. We preach it all year: reading grows your mind; the more you read, the more you know; you can't be a better reader without practicing; reading takes you places. But more often than not, we have so much on our plates that we forget to practice what we preach. This summer, take advantage of NOT having ANOTHER meeting and pick up that novel you've been dying to read since last year. Find a comfy spot by the pool or the beach and read the day away. Come on, you know you want to!

2. Get Out of Town

It doesn't have to cost a thing, and you can take the family with you or have a girls day with your TBFF (that's Teacher Best Friend Forever). Take a day trip to the next town over. There has to be a museum or tourist attraction you haven't been to before. Find one and check it out. 

3. Go on a Staycation

Too often, we take advantage of the things that are right there in front of us. We forget about the beauty of the local trails or universities. We miss out on great food places because we get used to going to the same places all the time. We drive right past those historical places without stoping to learn more. Take the time to stop and smell the roses in your own backyard. Check out the local aquarium or museum. Take a walk on a new hiking trail. Rent or borrow a bike and see the town with fresh eyes. Feed your soul from your own stomping ground. 

4. Go Outside

Now my southern people may balk at this (yes, I know it's hot), but the outdoors will do you good. Find a mountain and hike up it. Play some tennis or basketball. Go swimming. Go on a run or walk. Heck, go shopping at an outdoor mall. Whatever you do, get some fresh air. Sitting inside in the air conditioning (yes, I lived in Texas for 30+ years) will just make you hate summer and will entice you to eat everything in your kitchen. Get up and move outside and you will feel a million times better.

5. Binge-Watch Something

So when you're done with your outside adventure, there is no harm in resting. Maybe you still haven't watched Orange is the New Black, or there's a Fixer Upper marathon on...whatever you choose, let your body and your mind rest. Don't become a vegetable--couch potatoes have big, round bottoms you know--but do take care of yourself and allow yourself to rest. Your exhaustion from the school year won't get better without taking a break. Take advantage of this opportunity to just chill. 

6. Pursue a Passion

Who are you outside of school? I know that can be a hard question for some of us, but it's worth taking time to answer. It could mean planting a garden, redecorating a room (or five), finally learning how to use that Silhouette or Cricuit you got for Christmas, finding time to exercise regularly, getting out the kayak, or just having time to enjoy your kids without the rigid schedule of the school year. Whatever you do, do it because it brings you joy. We are full of "have tos" during the school year. Choose to take advantage of "want to" time. 

7. Take Time to Just "Be"

That could be doing some yoga, listening to calming music, cooking quietly, listening to the birds or waves, drinking your coffee or tea in silence...whatever works for you. Just be sure to have time to breathe and clear your mind. Practicing this regularly will help you become more mindful of your emotions and keep your thoughts in the right place. You'll also reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and make better eating and exercising choices. What could be better?

There are obviously many more ways to recharge and rejuvenate over the summer. Take advantage of this time so you are refreshed and ready to go when school starts again in the fall. Yes, it's important to plan for next year, but it is more important to take care of yourself and "summer" first, then start thinking about next year.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great tips, tricks, and resources, coming soon! Have a great week and stay sweet.

Rustic Rainbow Classroom Decor

Hey y'all! That summer buzz is in the air! The kids are excited to end this chapter and start a new one. Teachers are full of mixed feelings--sad for leaving this group students, hopeful for regaining their sanity during the break, and of course, thinking about next year's classroom decor!

While I certainly think we should all make the most of summer vacation (can you say Netflix binge?),  we all know we're already thinking about what we could do differently or better next year. Sometimes the things that get us in the best frame of mind are the simplest ones. Like new decor.

When I made this set, I was all on board with the rustic look, but I felt it needed more color for the littlest learners. Each calendar header has a different color scheme to match the month, but they all have the same feel. The letters for the calendar numbers, alphabet letters, number line, and labels all stay the same blue.

There are four sizes of alphabet letters, but these round ones are my favorite. To see all of the different types (big, small, D'Nelian, and cursive), click here and check out the preview.

And of course, we need the basics like name plates, voice level carts, and job cards.

This set also has editable labels for things like book bins, cubbies, supplies, whatever you need. And with four different sizes, you're sure to have exactly what you need.

Also included are days of the week labels for organizing supplies, subject headers for posting objectives, table numbers, and a Welcome banner. To check out the entire set, click here. This has been a favorite of mine for a few years and I know it will look great in your classroom, too! There's even a Meet the Teacher/Back to School night pack to go with it.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon! Have a great week and stay sweet.

Meet the Teacher Night

Hey y'all! Meet the Teacher Night (a.k.a. Back to School Night) can be a stressful time. The anticipation of meeting your new students and their families, getting all the information to them and from them, setting the tone for relationships with families throughout the year... It can be exciting and anxiety inducing at the same time. The Meet the Teacher kit can help alleviate some of the stress. 


Included in the kit is a welcome sign, a sign and labels for supplies, classroom wish list tags, information station signs (complete with essential forms), and treat tags.

The set above is part of the Rustic and Lights Decor line, and the set below goes with the Rustic Rainbow set. But you could use them however you'd like.

It also comes in a watercolor style.

All three sets come with the same parent forms so you'll know how your students are getting home, the best way to contact parents, and get a little information about your students from their parents.

Meet the Teacher doesn't have to be stressful if you're prepared and ready to go. With this kit, you'll have everything you need to relax and enjoy meeting your new kiddos. I hope you found some great ideas for your Back to School Night. I hope you have a fabulous time and stay tuned for more great resources coming soon.

Stay sweet,