Desk Name Tags – Never Distracting & Always Clean

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I have been using these types of name tags for two years and I LOVE them. This name tag works for the class because they don’t distract my kiddos. I HATE (using this word on purpose) when my kiddos color or mark on them – All the doodling makes the tags look so ugly! So this design of a name tag solves my little problem. The plastic cover won’t allow them to write on it and they don’t distract them! WOO HOO … In addition to that, the name tags are EASY to move so you can relocate students in a jiffy!!
I have two classes, an AM and PM group. In the past I have chose a different color font for their name to signify the classes. This year I’m going to use black font, but a different color boarder to distinguish between the classes. I will post the tags at a later time – haven’t committed to a theme yet.

I simply bought badge holders and cut the top off that has a slit for the lanyard (See picture below). After cutting the badge holder, I cut Velcro into strips that were the length of the badge holder. I used Velcro that was 2 inches in width. I thought about hot gluing them to the desk - It would be cheaper - But I was scared it would rip the desk top off. = /
I then used a badge template from Word and typed their names in them. After that I cut the name badges out and slide them into the badge holder – Now ... NAME TAGS!!!!!!!!!
This is the Velcro I used and it has lasted two years and there is still no sign of it wearing down.

 Here you see the Velcro that was cut to the size of the badges. It also shows the lanyard slit that was cut off before attaching the Velcro.

Word Study / Work Unit in the Making - Sample Week Assignments for Short and Long /r/ Sounds

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I've decided to put together a Word Study Unit for me to share with you all. My team and I slowly created throughout the year as we worked through a different list every week. This material is inspired by the Beth Newingham’s Word Study Program that most are familiar with. Some things have been added, taken away and altered to better fit my classroom. Her unit has an allotted time for spelling instruction daily and in my district there isn't a specific time for explicit spelling instruction. With that being said, these resources take minimal time from classroom instruction. The word lists are in the order from the Word Pattern Spellers, Words Their Way. This is a SAMPLE of List 25, which covers short and long /r/ sounds. The entire unit will have 30+ lists to use.

~Tic-Tac-Toe Activity Sheet is used by the students to pick their activities for the week.
~The Word Study Words Sheet has all the words you'll need for the week. It has words for the pre-test, word list for the week and the post-test.

~This is the letter that is sent home with the student each week explaining what words they will focus on. There are two different letters because it is designed to be differentiated for my below and on level spellers. The students will still be working on the same sounds in whole group instruction, but it will be more appropriate for specific students' levels.

 ~This is an activity for the students to make words that have the sound you are working on. They cut the squares out and make words by arranging them, then recording them in the columns on the other sheet.

 ~This is just another activity to support the word lists. The word search is also differentiated for the below and on level spellers.

 ~I made word wall words for all 40 words on this list. You can use them for all types of activities though! = )

BASIC OVERVIEW on how I incorporate Word Study in my class:

Day 1 - Give new word study list. Introduce new words and rule(s). Word Wall cards are displayed and the students sort them as part of the introduction lesson before I give them the sounds we will be working on for the week. Decide whether the student gets the regular list (#1) or challenging list (#2) based on pretest given on day five. Give students Tic-Tac-Toe form for the assignments for the week. Have students select the five high frequency words (these words are from a pretest given at the beginning of the year - more info will come about this). This is when students get their tests back from the previous list.

Day 2 - Have students work on assignments during morning work, reading centers and/or homework.

Day 3 - Have students work on assignments during morning work, reading centers and/or homework.

Day 4 - Have students work on assignments during morning work, reading centers and/or homework.

Day 5 - Collect all assignments. Give the test - depending on the list the student was given.

There are a few other components, mainly because of time, but I've included the main parts. Any suggestions, or anyone else who is working on a Word Study unit? = )

"Me Bag" - Know Your Kiddos at the Beginning of the Year

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As I began to plan the first few weeks of school I wanted to share some of the activities I use in an effort to create my classroom community. This reminds me of the “old school” show and tell. I give this bag, with the poem attached, to the students on the first day. I first share my "Me Bag" (that I created previously) before I introduce the activity to the students. In my past bags I included things like chop sticks (love sushi), running watch (like to run), picture of my husband (obvious) and a set of colored pencils (like to draw). These are just some ideas. The first week of school I select a few students each day to share. By the end of the week all the students have shared. My students have loved it – It even teaches me a lot about them. I give the students an option to decorate the bag at home. Let me know what you think! Click one of the pictures below to download the poem for FREE - it will link you with my TpT store.
Materials Needed:
- Paper Bag - $1 for 40 @ the Dollar Tree
- Me Bag Poem – Free = )
- Markers/Colored Pencils/Crayons - Optional for decorating


Cutesy Classroom Libraries ... I’m now in the club!

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This is my first year I’m going to use pre-made book basket labels in my classroom library. In the past, I have used name tag stickers and just used cutesy hand writing because I couldn’t find book basket labels I liked, so I decided I would make my own. I teach math and science, so the majority of my books are non-fiction. Here are 25 (mostly non-fiction) labels you could use – I left a few blanks for customization.

Click one of the pictures below to download the classroom library book bin lables from my TPT store.

Classroom Procedures - Know What They are Before you Start the Year

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Having your classroom procedures thought out and ready to implement the first day WILL make your life as a teacher much easier. If you're a new teacher, my suggestion is to research different classroom procedures then combine a Power Point or some kind of document to make sure you cover everything - It's easy to forget things the first week of school when your remembering 1,000 other things. I use this power point at the beginning of every year to go over the procedures for the class. We don’t go over them all in one day (the kids would lose their minds if we did), but throughout the first week of school. During some slides the students will stop and give examples and non examples. We will also practice some of the procedures as individuals and as a class. It’s a great tool to use so you don’t forget about a procedure as you are going over them all.

Click on one of the pictures and it will link you to my TpT store to download!

THANKS Matt Damon!

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I saw this documentary a few days ago and I must say it was a relief to have an advocate for teachers! I know this documentary shows all the “wonderful” things teachers do for their students, so some may say this isn’t an accurate depiction of the education system. However, from where I’m standing, the teachers I’m surrounded by would do ANYTHING for their students. After watching Waiting for Superman I felt like I was being blamed for the failing education system. At the same time I felt enraged because I knew I was doing everything humanly possible for my kiddos. Matt Damon’s documentary played the other side of the fence. Just like there are absolutely amazing teachers, there are also teachers who should have retired or left the profession years ago. THANKS MATT!

For more information about this film you can visit:

Summer Break - Day 5

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My husband helped me come up with the blog tilte. Appropriate enough, it is five days into my summer break and I am already planning for my classroom and kiddos next year. What’s the theme going to be? How will I re-arrange my desks in the class? What will I have at open house to get my students and their family excited about the upcoming year? The questions have already started racing through my head as I lie in bed at night. I’m becoming incredible eager, as I do every year, about the new kiddos that will be sitting in the desk staring back at me in August. There is so much to do as I strive to make their year with me the very best possible!

So, why this blog? I attempted to start a blog last year and I didn’t plan appropriately. I intended to start a blog for my kiddos and their families, as well as, a way for me to communicate with other professionals in teaching. However, I didn’t think to check the districts internet firewalls before the blog design began. Everything was up and running a few days before pre-planning. I was enthusiastic to share it with some of my colleagues and BAM – Internet Page Blocked. Immediately I knew there was not going to be a blog for my students on BlogSpot. I created a separate webpage for them under TeacherWeb (which is great BTW), but I still wanted something that allowed me to communicate easily with other teachers. This leads me to here … AGAIN!

This year I am committed to sharing, as well as, collecting ideas from my fellow teachers, who EAT, BREATHE, and SLEEP teaching.

                                                           <3, V