August 2016 - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

September Rooted in Reading!

Can you believe it is almost September??? For some of you in the south and other places in the country you have probably be in school for a couple of weeks!  I also know some areas like where our good friend Erica lives you don't go back to school until after Labor Day!

Amy and I have SO enjoyed seeing all your wonderful pictures using Rooted in Reading in your classrooms (Don't forget to use our hashtag #rootedinreading on instagram).  I am also getting to see work from our program coming home with Emmie.  She loves sharing about all that she is learning from the August unit!  We wanted to give you a little picture tour of the September unit as you get ready for next month!

The books in September are some of the best of the best! I have loved When I was Young in the Mountains since I was a little girl! 

Here are my Amazon links for these books if you are are wanting to purchase.  Please, please look elsewhere for Wilfred or put it on your wishlist, I have no idea why it is so expensive! 

Now for a close look at the unit!

Amy's directed drawings are SO good and really activate the learner's thinking about the book! I am pretty sure the the salamander tail is my favorite though!

We thought Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge would make a great opportunity to work with Grandparents' Day!  You can easily adjust hair and skin color to match your students' loved ones!

Look at all these grammar opportunities for the students!

Amy also included Anchor Chart ideas in each unit as well!

Every lesson comes with an interactive notebook printable for your students to share their thinking or takeaway.  I was in Emma's class yesterday and some kids were reading the passages with partners, some kids were completing Amy's grammar activities, and other were writing in their notebooks about the comprehension skills. It made me SO happy!
With each week of plans you have a Nonfiction reader that ties to the book in some way!
AND last but not least the focus posters are wonderful additions to your Reading board or can even be copied and sent home with students to show parents what their kids are learning!

You can find all four weeks of lesson plans and activities here: 

Last year Amy and I complied this document below that addresses all the standards and also contains a list of supplemental books that are suggested pairs for each week!


your photo name

A New Role

I am writing this blog post as I listen to Emmie and her friends make chocolate chip pancakes! I am also rounding out my first full week "staying at home." If you follow my accounts on FB or Instagram, then you know that I resigned from my teaching position at the end of last year.

I have debated writing this post for lots of reasons. One- I know there are many of you who would love to be at home with your littles.  I am SO aware of that.  I don't ever want to come across as being insensitive to that.  Two-  I don't want anyone to think I have lost my LOVE for teaching.  Three- I kind of feel in limbo right now. 

I have written on this blog for 6 years being 100% honest about what is going on in my life and I want to continue to do so.  {No oversharing I promise :) }  I would just hate to give the impression that I am balancing a full time job, being a mom to three, AND TPT'ing when I am not.

So I wanted to give you a little insight into what life is like for me right now....

1.  First and foremost- mom to Nash, Emmie, and Smith.

(The first day of school)

Those teacher kids are the best aren't they??  Able to entertain themselves and hang while mommy gets her work done! 

Like many of you, I will be running mine all over Creation after school to their activities.  Emmie is very into music and dance.  Nash LOVES his football!

Smith and I are enjoying a little slower pace.  The big kids' school (my former school) is very close to the beach so twice this week, we dropped the kids at school and headed straight out to the beach. Literally toes in the sand by 7:30 a.m.

2. PTA Mom/Room Mom

I love, love, love doing bulletin boards and other displays in the classroom and around school.  Three different grade levels let me scratch my creative side by helping with their boards. 

I am also doing things for the teachers that I haven't necessarily had the time for before.  Yesterday I picked up dinner for both my kids' teachers and made dessert.  I texted a few other moms and we all chipped in toward the meals!  I'm thinking after a FULL week their first week back that the teachers weren't really planning on making dinner :)

3. Actually cooking for my family (and with Emmie- my chef in training)

I have really relied on my husband to handle dinner a lot over the years.  Lately I have had the desire to find and make meals for my family!

The pizza sliders definitely aren't healthy, but many of my new recipes revolve around making healthier versions of our favorites- like this chicken salad which was delicious!  We also love zucchini boats, zucchini lasagna, and black bean burgers. 

4.  TPT.  I won't be abandoning this blog or my creating.  I will have some work time when Smith goes to socialize with other kids or during his nap time.  I have a HUGE list of projects that I am going to get started on very soon.  

I have this freebie in the works and I will be uploading it today or tomorrow- I will let y'all know!

Being a mom is the hardest and most amazing thing I have ever done.  We all question our decisions, but for my family- I know I am in the right place.  I wasn't able to give all the people in my life EVERYTHING they needed at the same time. I was headed in too many directions. Will I go back?  Most definitely.  Teaching is a part of my soul. In this season of life I just needed more flexibility than the classroom allows. Thank you so much for reading this post and your support in my new journey <3 


your photo name

Eye-Catching but Clean Bulletin Boards

I have been planning this post for quite a while!  I wanted to talk to y'all about my thought process and why I had my room look the way it did.  A few other girls and I decided it would be fun we showed you our tips and tricks and paired it up with a giveaway (Giveaway is now closed)! At the   end of the post you will get links to FIVE other classroom posts that will help you when planning out your room!

 I have ALWAYS loved black and white in my classroom, but when I first tried it about 6 or 7 years ago it was a bit of a mess.  I had a few zebra print things and went with a jungle theme.  Well y'all know how that goes, once you start a theme, everyone tries to shove you into it even further.  People were giving me everything they could find zebra print until my eyes crossed.  So when I moved to South Carolina three years ago, I banned any and everything zebra print and decided to go more towards just black and white with pops of purple and aqua.  I absolutely DID NOT want a theme. 

I was super blessed to find a job at a newly built school with enormous windows and tons of natural light. Here's a picture to show you what I mean. 

I actually felt like there was SO much light and white, that I needed the black to even it all out. Sooooo, that is how I ended up with black bulletin boards. 

The space to the left of my SmartBoard was actually one HUGE white board.  I didn't really know what to do with it my first year so I just divided it will borders and wrote on it.   This year I split it evenly into three boards and because I am really OCD about color, I knew I needed to alternate those boards with black and white.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought the thickest, blackest fabric I could find.  And y'all don't tell on my but I hot glued it up. It peeled right off when I needed it to so don't worry.  Then I used black polka dotted border and the aqua border from Schoolgirl Style to finish them up. 

My favorite thing about the black bulletin boards is that all my content POPS off of them.  I feel like my kids are able to focus on them better. Now if you have an already dark classroom, it may not be the best thing for you!

The last reason I really love the black and white is that it is super easy to "clean it up" for special occasions so that your students become the center of the attention and not your classroom!

Here my classroom is ready to go for a special occasion.  My students walked the Red Carpet in front of their parents to read their published fiction pieces. 

And then just another quick one.  Here is my last class on our Poetry Coffeehouse Night.  Those Astrobright poetry books really popped!

This past year I decided I wanted something even more eye catching in my room.  I wanted my kids to remember that there is more to life and school than memorizing facts and figures.  I wanted them to remember that school could help their dreams come true!

In order to make this word stand out on my HUGE white wall, I found these paper fans at Hobby Lobby and hot glued aqua letters on them.  We actually have a digital letter cutter at our school (not Silhouette or Cricut) and that is what I used for this project.  I then, you guessed it, hot glued the fans on the cement wall.  I promise you, that it all peeled right off when I packed up my room at the end of the year!  The "Math" pennant and alphabet are also from Schoolgirl Style

And just because I love y'all and I know I will get questions, these are the flowers above my desk.  I made them myself with dowel rods, tissue paper, ribbon, and galvanized buckets.  It took a little playing around with to figure it out but I absolutely loved them and they added a pretty element and pop of color to all the black and white. 

Don't forget to check out these gorgeous classrooms!


your photo name

Back to School Bulletin Board and New Rooted in Reading Product

I have ooh'd and ahh'd over this bulletin board from Doodlebugsteaching for what feels like forever. I finally decided I was going to make it happen!

Kacey reminded me how easy it is just to print letters by putting your favorite font as big as it will go on the paper in powerpoint. 

Here it is broken down-
1. Open powerpoint and choose the layout option without any boxes.  You are going to insert text.
2.  The font I chose was "MTF Jumping' Jack."  It is a free font for personal use but paid font for commercial use.  You can find it HERE.
3.  Then print the letters on Astrobright paper.  Trust's the best.  You can find it at Target, Walmart, or on Amazon.
4.  Then cut out the letters. 

I did all this last night before I went to school. I like to have everything prepped before I get there so I am not wasting time with my kids acting crazy.

On the way to school I stopped and got these paper fans at Michaels.  I have a slight obsession with paper fans...I use them EVERY time I am decorating anything.  I found these with the party supplies. When I started putting the fans up on the bulletin board I loved them, but my colors were a little off.  Don't call me crazy, but then I went to Hobby Lobby to get more paper fans.  I told y'all I love them.  At Hobby Lobby I was able to find some brighter colored fans that tied in with my letters better.

*In order to get the fans to stay together, I hot glued the cardboard part.  I then stapled it all up on the board.

I added the felt WELCOME banner from Target Dollar Spot too!  

This is where I am now, but OF COURSE I need a border (or two or three) so I hopped on my phone and ordered some from Schoolgirl Style.  I promise to show you the completely finished product as soon as the borders come in!

I also wanted to let you know about a new packet that Amy and I put out too!  

We have been talking for a long time about doing a graphic organizer pack that could be used with Rooted in Reading OR with any book that you like. We understand that many of you have mandated curriculums that you HAVE to use.  These printables would be great with any book out there!
Because Emmie begs me to do anything we make right away.  Here is just one of the NINTY printables in action.

And because I LOVE you dearly and I don't want you to miss out.... don't forget about the TPT sale.  Use code: BESTYEAR for an additional 10% off my already 20% off sale. 


your photo name
Back to Top