T'was the Week Before Christmas...

Things are wild in 5th grade this week, but I wanted to take a few minutes to post about my plans for "the week before Christmas"! 

We have several different events that take place during the week before Christmas that have us in and out of the classroom. It's also an early release day on Friday and the 3rd six weeks ends on Tuesday. This makes it hard to plan instructional time, so this is what I've come up with.

We have a math pacing guide we are to follow throughout the year. I've put together an all-encompassing assessment with a couple problems from each standard we've worked on thus far in the year. I'm going to give it to my kiddos tomorrow and analyze the data over the weekend, separating my kids in to intensive groups for next week to work on the lowest assessed standards based on their results. 

My plan is to have each student work on their two lowest standards in rotations throughout the week, whenever we have an opportunity to work on math! I have accumulated a lot of task cards w/QR readers, some awesome fraction calculators, and have some interactive Jeopardy games that I can use as independent stations while I'm working in small groups. 

I'm anxious to hear your plans! This is my first "Week Before Christmas" in the general education classroom, so I want to hear what other teachers are doing! :) 


5th Grade -- Writing Conferences

One of my favorite things to do during the day is talk to my students. Whether it be during small group, in the mornings when they want to tell me what they did the night before, or out on the playground. My kids are so entertaining and teach me so much!

I also LOVE to teach writing. We've been writing since the first day of school! Some of my students could write all day long, others can't write more than two sentences without giving up. I knew I wanted to meet ALL of their needs within writing, so I decided to block off a day and sign them up for writing conferences with me.

We had just completed an expository essay that required a lot of research, drafts, and editing, so we were ALL busted. So, I figured this would be the best time to pull students to talk about their writing. 

As I began talking to my students I was amazing with how much I was learning. Each students' needs were different (DUH, MRS. MOORE) and each student told me how I could help them!

It doesn't get much easier than that!  

This is how my conferences were set up:

1. First we organized their writing portfolios. We checked to make sure their earliest writing was in the front and their most recent writing was in the back. I also explained how we want to be able to see the entire writing process throughout our portfolio, so we need to put our brainstorming sheets, whatever that may be, in the front, followed by drafts, and so on and so forth until we reach the published piece. 

2. Second, we looked at all their published pieces and my students were able to reflect and tell me what part of the writing process they struggled with most. 

3. After identifying their weakness, we talked about ways I could help them when our next big writing assignment started. (This is where I love 5th grade!) 

4. Finally, we made a plan of action as to what  I was going to do -- whether it be give them a transitional phrases sheet, allow for more peer editing sessions, or just allow more writing time. After we made our plan I had them sign and date it
-- from which I got funny looks! Our kids think it's so strange when we allow them to be equal partners in their learning! What a shame!

I learned SO much from these conferences. We are preparing to start Westward Expansion narratives and I just broke out all of our writing conferences to see what my kids asked for! I can't wait to see the progress! 

Here's a peak at one of my favorites! (I use the writing conference form from The Daily 5)

We were trying to think of ways to help him add more details to his writing and I said, "Does our feedback & critique sessions not help?" He said, "Yeah, I get lots of ideas, but I don't have any time to write them all down, and then I forget!" HAHA! I love when my kiddos straighten me out! 

I am CONSTANTLY making lists and writing things down so I can remember everything. Why would I not allow time for my kiddos to get to do the same?! So, our plan of action was for myself to write down all the great ideas and feedback given to the student who is in the share seat so they can focus on listening to their peers and I can have them a list to take back to their seat when work time starts back up! 

Like I said, I LOVE talking to my kiddos, they teach me something new everyday! 

What do you do in writing conferences? I'd love to hear your ideas!


5th Grade Fun

Well, the wedding has happened and now I am officially a MOORE! 

Now that things are finally settling in to a routine, I've found time to blog! 

At the beginning of every school year I have this idea that I'm going to be a super blogger teacher who posts weekly plans and creates all these awesome things to share ... and then life happens. 

However, we have been doing some pretty fun stuff in 5th grade that I would love to share and I've even managed to snap a few internet-legal pictures of my kiddos doing these things! 

I hope you enjoy and maybe even use these ideas in your classroom! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know how they went!

Yes, I was the crazy first year teacher who decided to start a student-ran newspaper with a class of 5th graders. However, this was one of the best things I have -- or probably will ever -- do with a group of kiddos! Maybe my insanity paid off in some way! 

In high school I was OBSESSED with journalism... either that, or I was obsessed with my journalism teacher. She made me love writing. I spent my first year and a half in college taking journalism classes, so when I got this 5th grade position I knew I wanted to try to start a paper! 

Journalism has SO many benefits at the elementary level! 

I'm able to integrate grammar, writing, speaking and listening, economics, and technology throughout this endeavor. Yes, it's a little extra work, but it's SO meaningful! Students are producing excellent work that is a benefit to their school/community. 

Here's a little overview of how I've set this up and produced it. 
  • Applying for jobs. -  The first week of school our spelling words/vocabulary words were all about journalism and the jobs that need to be filled in order to have a complete newspaper staff. The students had to take their job applications home (21st Century Learning) and fill them out as if they were applying for a real job. They had to tell me why they were qualified for that position. It's important to explain to students that to whom much is given much is expected. I.e. if you apply for the Editor-in-Chief yes, you will get a lot of praise, but you'll also have a lot more responsibility/work. 
  • Choose beats. This is a one time thing. The beat they choose at the beginning of the school year they will keep the entire school year.
  • Staff meeting. - I was very involved in our first staff meeting. It's important to model to students what a respectful staff meeting looks like, however, the goal is to get them to perform the meeting independently with the Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Editor leading the way. We just had our second staff meeting and I was only a small presence this time! During a staff meeting the class reads any news they received from their beats. "Newsworthy" ideas get put on the board as a story idea. If after the beats are read there aren't enough story ideas the staff then, collectively, brain storms ideas. Once enough stories are generated, the students get to pick what story they want! 
  •  Interviews. - Kids LOVE this! I downloaded a recorder app on a few iPads at our school and when it comes time to do interviews my kids loves snatching up an iPad and going to a student/teacher and interviewing them! Such an awesome, real-world, experience for them! 
  • News writing. - Here's where the writing comes in! Students have a hard time writing objectively! This is something we are still working on. My kids love to tell a good story instead of letting the quotes tell the story themselves. They love FLUFF! To respect keeping this a student-ran newspaper I am allowing a little biased writing to take place, but we will slowly, but surely, work on that! 
  • Pictures - Needless to say, there's always a battle over who is going to take the pictures. I was able to get a nice camera for our class through Donors Choose. The way I handle this is the Photo Editor OR the photographers are the ones who take pictures. If a student finishes his or her article in enough time, they can go take the picture for it. 
  • Design/Production - At this time my students are only doing the typesetting/headlines/captions for the newspaper. You know your kids. My kids are not comfortable enough with a computer for design yet. As soon as we master the writing portion I'm going to introduce InDesign and start letting students play around with layout, but again, they are only 10! 
  • Sales - We sell our newspaper for 50 cents to the school. My students are in charge of the selling and the accounting part of the paper. They work in pairs and distribute to their area only. They take money and give change. Everyone brings their money back and we all count the money and they fill out the deposit slip that goes to our secretary. All money earned goes towards our 5th grade trip. 
The most rewarding part of this student-led newspaper so far has been seeing their faces the first time they saw their printed out newspaper. They were SO proud and they had worked HARD for this! I love teaching the cycle of earning money... nothing in life is free. So few children realize that these days... but that's for another post! :)  

The finished project. 
 Working on our marketing skills.

The Great Debate!

This was a super successful project we did following a week of point of view fun! My students became interested in a Scholastic News article asking whether or not students should be allowed to play football because of injuries, so I decided to make it in to a fun-filled week of debate! (real world application) We researched several articles from each point of view, watched videos that displayed football in a positive light and a negative light, and chatted with lawyers on how to prepare our debate -- all of which students had to document in their debate journals. Students were able to develop their opinion and pick a side. By Friday, we had a live audience of students, parents, teachers, and staff and did these kiddos ever perform!!! The collaboration among these kids blew me away! 

 Deep in collaboration. 

Thinking of their closing statement!

Fractions: QR Codes & Differentiated Instruction
The past few weeks we've been focusing on fractions. I found this great pack of task cards on TPT that have QR codes on them! I downloaded a QR code reader on a couple iPads and showed my students how to work them. I've never seen my kids so engaged and DETERMINED to solve a math problem. The best part about them seeing the correct answer is that if they are wrong it makes them think critically about how they got that answer! This has been a great addition to our math rotations!
I am always thinking of ways to differentiate for my advanced students. When we were working with multiplying mixed numbers I saw on a worksheet online that they had a performance task in which students had to figure out the area of a room so they knew how much carpet to buy. I decided to take it off the worksheet and on to the floor. My kids had a fun flopping around on the floor trying to figure out all the answers.

 Westward Expansion Relay
Last week was a doozey! It was spirit week/trick-or-treat. Enough said. I started my Westward Expansion expedition last week, so I decided to do a culminating activity for my kiddos on Friday that would be fun, but a good refresher. 

I split my kiddos in to groups of three. Within their groups they had to determine who was going to be the 
1. Pioneer - blindfolded person who must go to and from each point (A, B, C, D) and bring the points back home.
2. Surveyor - person who had to count the steps from each point and then add them up for a final step count.
3. Navigator - person who had to verbally guide the pioneer safely to each point on their expedition.

These were 3 spelling/vocabulary words this week.

Their goal was to get to each of their points (which I had set up around the cafeteria) and bring them back home... similar to what Lewis & Clark did for the United States. When they got back to me at the end they were to get with their team and create a map that showed their route they took (also similar to what Lewis & Clark had to do) and a skill that we have previously learned about this year. 

After the relay was finished we were able to discuss the challenges my kiddos faced during their expedition and what challenges they thought Lewis & Clark as well as other pioneers might have faced during their expeditions. 

Love that teamwork!

It was a fun, meaningful activity at the end of a wild week! 

If you took the time to read all of this, God bless you! I hope that you want to use something, or that it sparked an idea of your own! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your ideas or ways to make my ideas better!


Teacher Tuesday: Book Retriever App

Happy Teacher Tuesday! 

So, I discovered this really cool app the other day called Book Retriever and I'm pretty pumped about it! 

I recently brought all of my classroom library books home to label and organize. While I was searching through Pinterest I stumbled upon this app! You can literally put in every book and use it as a check in and check out system for 99 cents! BAM!  Even teachers can afford that! 

There are still some tweaks that need to be worked out on this app, but it is a very cool concept and a very useful tool if you have time this summer to work on a classroom library! 

Have a great Tuesday!


Fixer Up Friday: Front Porch 4th of July Edition

I have been doing so many DIY projects around the house I decided to dedicate a blogging day to them... hence "Fixer Up Friday"! 

Since it's the 4th of July, I'm going to show you how I spruced up the house for the occasion! 

This was what our house looked like prior to decorating! 

Since then we received two white rocking chairs as wedding gifts which I put red pillows on!  I made a small table out of a navy blue drink tray and a small white pillar from Hobby Lobby.

This past week I felt as if our house needed a couple more touches to feel complete, so I got some navy blue paint and painted the front door! I think it made the house look more up to date! 

I decided to try my hand at these curly-Q wreaths I've been seeing everywhere!  I found this wonderful tutorial here!

ANDDD VOILA! This is what I came up with!
How do you decorate for the holiday?!?

Have a blessed 4th of July!


Teacher Tuesday: Bookshelf Facelift and ORGANIZATION!


I've been itching to get in the classroom and work on a few projects and I love how they turned out!

My first project was this white bookshelf I had in the classroom. It didn't really go with anything else, so I decided to use my leftover wall paint and spruce it up.

Even after the bright paint, I felt like it needed a little something extra! So, I painted some fun Dr. Seuss-ish lines on the side and looked up the word "read" in different languages. This end of the bookshelf juts out into the center of the classroom, so it's going to be a great focal point!

My second project was this GREAT cabinet in the classroom! It had a blue striped curtain hanging over it, which I  used as a drop cloth for painting... WOOPS! 

I decided to go through all the supplies hidden in the cabinet and see what I could use and what needed to GO. I ended up storing most of my math manipulatives and resources in the top portion and my FOSS kits in the bottom.

I also picked up some bright fabric from the sale bin at Wal-Mart and my momma sewed together these fun curtains to replace my drop cloth curtains!

I ended up going off on an organizing tangent and managed to get my social studies resources organized as well! I lined them along our shelf in chronological order. I plan on putting a timeline above them, so the students (and I) have a visual to go along with our lessons through time!

I ended up finding a ton of cool science stuff in the big storage cabinet and decided to take them out and put them on display in our "discovery center." By having these materials out I'm hoping students will be more willing to jump in to science and not be afraid of the different instruments! 

I know it doesn't look like much, but I feel like it's all coming together. My biggest goal right now (one month out!) is to see what all I have to work with! As you see, I still have a long way to go! 

This is my next big project... the classroom library! I want a fun, inviting space that encourages students to discuss and promote what they're reading! I've got a couple ideas in my head, but I'd love to hear yours! 

Happy Tuesday!


Two Months 'til Moore!

It's hard to believe that we are almost two months away from the big day!

I feel like I should be saying I've been a wreck and stressed and overwhelmed with all I've had to do for the wedding, but I really haven't at all. My mother has been working her tail-end off and I can't say enough about a long engagement! Although I would have loved a May wedding, these few extra months allowed me to enjoy the end of the school year... remember to ask me if I still feel the same come August when I'm back in school and finishing last minute details!

There have been a ton of decisions made since the last time I blogged about the wedding, so I thought I'd share my "vision"! 


I feel like every girl has this picture on her wedding Pinterest board, but how can you not? It's timeless and classic.


Invites turned out exactly how I had pictured and we are getting RSVPs back! 
Try to have them back by July 15, please!
(Shameless plug)


I found this precious company on Etsy called One Fancy Day who make these BEAUTIFUL garters! Since my theme is lace and pearls it only seemed right.


Mom and I had several conversations over these bad boys after our venue coordinator slid one over our banquet chair a few weeks ago. WOW! We were in love, so after shopping around for the cheapest price, we (she) splurged!

These will probably be my favorite things from the wedding! My incredibly talented cousin made all of these beautiful wooden signs with our favorite scripture about love for pew decorations! Check her work out here!

My momma revamped our old radio flier wagon to make a perfect ring bearer wagon! And of course Dixie had to try it out. :)


Our florist appointment ended up being one of my favorite to-dos! We have a fantastic florist who was super laid back and fun to be around! These were the two pictures I gave him for the girls and my bouquets!

 It really is all coming together! I can't believe I get to marry the man of my dreams in two short months. I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts! 

Don't forget to check out our wedding website!

God Bless!


A New School Year... A New Grade...

I'm officially a 5th grade teacher! 

I am so excited to start my career in a grade that I adore! I found out last Tuesday that I had received the 5th grade position at my school and have been working ever since! I'm hoping to share what I do in my classroom through my blog, but with newlywed life and starting a new job, I'm not sure how well I'll do with that!

I have so many plans for this coming year, but my first was to get in my classroom and PAINT! :) I fully believe in making your work environment fun and inviting. (That's why my kitchen is turquoise and lime green!) My kiddos and I are going to be spending a lot of time in this room, so I wanted to give them something that was motivating and fun.

 Now TELL me that doesn't say motivating and fun to a 5th grader!

 Here are some pictures after most of the painting was completed. The room is still a hot mess, but it's starting to take shape and I couldn't be more excited!

 Fellow teachers: How do you feel about the U-Shaped Tables? I only have 12 kids (NANANANA BOO BOO) so I'd like to keep them close together to promote collaboration and discussion. Your thoughts? 

 Prospective chill space for reading, possibly.
My favorite space in the room (or will be in the future). Our writing nook! This is where our computers will be set up for our newspaper and all the supplies we need to be successful writers will be stored! I can't wait to teach writing!

Speaking of which.... here is my current Donor's Choose Project to get my kiddos a camera for our school newspaper we will be producing this coming school year! 

And just for giggles... you can't be a teacher without being flexible and knowing how to roll with the punches... that happened when my entire gallon of lime green paint fell off my portable book shelf and onto the floor and everything within a 5 foot radius... solution: I have a great lesson to teach my kids on motion and balance and a new lime green book shelf.

Happy Monday, everyone! God Bless!


When you try to make plans...

When I graduated last year I pictured myself in a classroom full of 4th of 5th graders at a school 10 -15 minutes from my house. I would know exactly what to expect, what to plan for, and how to do my job. I would love every second of it and never have a bad day -- but that was MY plan, not God's.

Enter God -- I applied for and received a job in a special education classroom at Dunlow Elementary, a 40 minute drive one way, not to mention out one of the curviest roads I've ever been on (CAR SICK). My first day of school I had NO idea what to expect, I had made all of these wonderful plans that FAILED, and I had NO confidence in myself. Not quite the picture I had painted a few months prior.

Eight months in and I still don't know what to expect each day I walk in to my classroom (today being one of those days), I still make lesson plans that may not work, and I still don't always feel confident in the job that I do, BUT I know that this was God's path for me.

I have fallen in love with the four most incredible children I have ever met and whether they ever realize it or not they will help me be SUCH a better teacher to so many children to come. They have taught me patience I never knew I had, to always be 5 steps ahead and to never put limitations on ANY child!

The aides that I work with will make it difficult for any future co-workers I ever have because they work harder than any people I've ever seen. What they do on a daily basis impresses me to no end and I could NOT have made it through this year without them.

And there aren't enough words for what I could say about Dunlow Elementary School. I'm satisfied to say that it is one of the best schools in West Virginia. The principal, the staff, the students, and even the secretary are outstanding.

I know there are still two more months of school left, but it's just been one of those days when you questions why you are where you are. After a few hours of laying on the couch with a headache, I realize this is where I was supposed to be this year, and although I don't always say it, I'm so thankful.
I've learned more this year than I probably will the rest of my career teaching.

My hope is that I can learn to accept God's plan for me and stop worrying so much about the plans I have for myself. He seems to know better than I do.


Home Sweet Home

To say that this past month was the biggest month of my life would be an understatement! 

We bought a house! I've been reluctant to put anything online about it before knowing that our loan went through, but it's now OFFICIAL.

We will be homeowners on February 3rd!

Here is a little look inside our first home. :)

Our living room is VERY spacious and the first room you walk in. 

Master Bedroom.

 Guest Bedroom.

 This will be Pup's office, but I think it will double nicely as a nursery one day! ;)

Our kitchen is newly remodeled and the cabinets are all brand new!

Our little dining area, which leads out to the deck/backyard.

Our bathroom (which will be first on the redecorating list).

Although not much to look at this room I'm most excited for! This is our huge wash room that was once packed with our hvac and hot water tank, but the previous owners moved all of that to the garage, so now it's big enough to add a second bathroom. (Thanks, Dad!)
 Here is our beautiful deck and backyard! I'm so excited to get a nice little fire pit out there!

I tried to take pictures off of my Pinterest page to show my ideas for decorating/painting, but I failed with that, so here is a link to my "Our First Home" Pinterest board to check out some of my ideas for the new place! Feel free to share some ideas of what you think may look nice!