June 7, 2017

SS Overview Map

Hey friends!! Just wanted to drop in to let you all know that I have picked topics for my social studies units this year!!

I just wanted to start off by saying how disappointed I am in the Arkansas state social studies standards! They are so vague, broad, and redundant it's ridiculous. I'm all for teachers having more of a say in what topics they cover, but I don't want to teach something that the teacher before me previously covered thoroughly. (Yes I know that's where vertical and horizontal alignment come in, but in my tiny school there is very little of that, unfortunately) There is also no need to have basically the same standard from K-6th. I liked our old standards much, much better. They were more defined, but still broad enough I could pick my topics. I also learned that from K-8th grade there is only one standard on the Civil War, and one standard on both of the World Wars. That seems crazy to me. Anyway....I'm sure there could be a lot of debate on our standards, or the standards of any state for that matter. Although, I am less than pleased with how our standards are written I was able to incorporate probably 90% of them into my topics.

I also think that social studies teachers are little more fortunate than other departmentalized subject areas. Because, we are not tested. I don't know about you, but I never have ever had anyone breathing down my back, wanting to know super specific details about my social studies class. This is beneficial to me because I am able to stray a little from the standards, teach more than is in the standards, and do what is best for my kids. If plans need to change it is absolutely no problem because sadly, the administration doesn't really care.

Okay rant over! :)

So without further adieu. Here are the topics I have picked for my social studies classes this year.

So there you have it! I hope this helps you plan your own units a little bit too! I will link a file for this for you to download from my TpT store as well if you would like to print it.

My own team had some questions, so I'm going to address them here in case you were wondering the same thing!  :)

1. Yes I have my students memorize their state and capitals, and label maps.
Now we don't spend forever labeling maps, and it is not the focus of my instruction, but I find that memorization is very powerful. There is a deep sense of satisfaction and pride that comes when you have to work to memorize something. Anything to build up their self esteem, and it's not busy work! I always have them memorize something important that is useful. When a kid can't tell you that California is on the west coast, and Florida is on the east coast we have a problem! This is knowledge that our kiddos need, and I fear because of the way our standards are written it is something that is more often than not getting left behind.

2. Yes, I teach economics.
I will address economics each 9 weeks. It is woven into my units. For me, it just doesn't make sense to teach economics on it's own.

3. Yes, I realize that this is A LOT to teach in one 9 weeks.
I may not get to all of this, but I will have the resources available. Also, I only spend 1-2 weeks on each topic. I could spend a semester or more on some of these topics, but my hope is to expose my kids to as many things as I can in the two years that I have them. They will get more in depth knowledge of these topics in high school.

4. Yes, I will teach AR History in my 5th grade classes. 
Remember when I said my standards are very redundant? That is so much  the case on our Arkansas standards. So, I'm going to have to do a little thinking to come up with really great topics for that class! I will update the files as soon as I make up my mind! :)

So that's it! If you're still with my thanks for reading! Look for the first mini unit by July!  Don't forget to download your copy of the overview! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email me! :)

June 5, 2017

2017-2018 Schedule

Hello friends!! I am bound and determined to keep my blogging going during this school year. I usually blog a few times during the summer, and then the school year hits and before I know it's May again! Sound familiar??!! So I thought I'd start this year off by sharing how I set up the first part of the school year. Now that I've been teaching this grade level for 2 years, I am getting more confident about sharing what we have been doing.  But first, I want to share with you my situation because it is a little bit different than most teachers, and it will help you make sense of my schedule a little more.

I teach at a small Title I school. We are actually consolidated with a school about 10 miles away, but we kept our building. We are a K-5 campus, but we do have 3 and 4 year old Pre-k program that share our grounds.  I teach fourth and fifth grade ELA and social studies. I have fourth grade until lunch, and then fifth grade until the end of the day. Fourth grade is my homeroom so I do get them back at the end of the day for a little while.  I am also my school's literacy coach for grades K-5. I am the elementary schools ACSIP Process Manager, and taking classes for a master's degree in administration. So I am very, very scheduled! Oh, and my prep period is never the same which is why I have 4 different schedules, and we teach our own PE. Now if you're still with me, and not totally confused let's take a look at what my week looks like, and how I block off time. :)

2017-2018 Schedule
Monday & Tuesday

7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:40: prep period (computer lab)
8:40-9:00: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
9:00-10:00: Reading Workshop
10:00-11:00: Writer's Workshop
11:00-11:25: Social Studies
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:25: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
12:25-1:25: Reading Workshop
1:25-2:25: Writer's Workshop
2:25-2:45: Social Studies
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)


7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:20: Reading Workshop
9:20-10:20: Writer's Workshop
10:20-10:45: Social Studies
10:45-11:25: prep period (art)
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:25: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
12:25-1:25: Reading Workshop
1:25-2:25: Writer's Workshop
2:25-2:45: Social Studies
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)


7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:20: Reading Workshop
9:20-10:20: Writer's Workshop
10:20-11:25: Social Studies
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:50: prep period (computer lab)
12:50-1:00: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
1:00-2:00: Reading Workshop
2:00-2:45: Writer's Workshop
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)


7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:30: assessments/independent reading
9:30-10:30: Social Studies
10:30-11:25: PE
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:50: prep period (computer lab)
12:50-1:10: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
1:10-2:20: Assessments/Independent Reading
2:20-2:45: Social Studies
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)

And there you have it, my crazy schedule!! My hope is that this might help another new teacher to split grade levels/departmentalized subjects. I'm going to spend the next few days breaking down what I do during each subject, and the rationale behind it all! Also, these times are just a guide to help keep me on track. I "borrow" time from other subjects all the time, but I find over the week everything was covered about the same amount.

Do you teach different grade levels/subjects? Leave any tips you have for managing your time in the comments! I'm always looking for better ways to stream line things to get the most bang for my buck! ;)
Have a great rest of your day, and thanks for stopping by!

September 5, 2015

Subject and Predicate Song

Hey y'all!! It's been a crazy three weeks of school! I am LOVING being in upper elementary, and it has taken me no time at all to feel comfortable with kids in this age group again! :) I have a lot of different things I want to share from the first 3 weeks, but first I wanted to start out sharing a song! :) My fifth graders have not had a very strong background in language, and they were really struggling with finding the subjects, and predicates. No matter how many times I went over it, or how many interactive activities we did with it I had almost half my class that still didn't get it. I NEEDED to move on, and I was racking my brain, when Taylor Swift's "Shake it off" started playing on my shower radio. And the lyrics just came to me. I was hoping the kids would like it so I sang it for my daughter who's in second grade, and she just LOVED it. The lyrics are simple and repetitive, because I needed to teach it in one day so they would have it in their brains for the quiz the next day.

I used an instrumental version of the song on You tube to sing with. You can find the version I used HERE.

And you can download a copy of the lyrics for FREE in my TpT store, which you can find HERE!

I hope this helps you teach this skill if your students are struggling like mine were, or if you just want to add a little more fun to your language lesson! :)

August 22, 2015

Five for Friday

Hey y'all can we first just Oooh and Aaaahhhh over my new blog design!! I am so in love with it

! Shanon and Courtney from Blogs Fit For a Queen did a fantastic job, and the whole process went so quickly! In fact they were always waiting on me to make up my mind about things! :) I appreciate them being so patient, and easy to work with!

I have been MIA lately, but I have a lot of really good reasons! :) To kinda recap the end of my summer I'm going to link up with doodlebugs teaching for her Five for Friday linky! It's more of a summer summary though!

I finally graduated from graduate school!! I am so excited! It's been a crazy 2ish years, but it was well worth it. This year is going to be a whole new world with out homework looming over my head every weekend! :) I'm excited to be able to use this  time to work on lessons for my class and TpT!

Please excuse the crazy cap. I shoved it back on really fast to take a pic with my little! :)

My husband and I celebrated our 9th anniversary! It's really hard to believe we've been married that long, but here we are! So thankful that I get to live life with this guy! :)

P.S.- We can never take a "normal" couple selfie! :)
I also had a birthday! I turned 31 this year, and we had a small family party. My husband bought me carpets for my classroom (woohoo!!!), and a dishwasher!! Oh. My. Goodness. Our old one was such a goner. It took 2-3 runs to get our dishes clean, and that was after pretty much hand washing them before I put them in. I'm pretty sure it threw more junk on the dishes than it got off, and I always had to hand wash the majority of them after I was done. Needless to say we almost always had a stack of dishes in our sink. Now, the sink has been clear for 2 weeks, and that's even during the first week of school! :) This is a sure fire sign that I'm getting old! :) But I'm so dang excited about my gift!!

We started a new school year as well! My kids are in 2nd and Pre-K. I can't believe it! Second grade just sounds so much more grown up to me than first grade. #timeslowdown If you don't know I moved from teaching kindergarten to fourth and fifth grade literacy and social studies so it was big changes for all of us! It was a WONDERFUL week, and we celebrated on the way home Friday by stopping by our favorite drink stop for a treat! :)

Ha! Don't let his face fool you! He was excited about school, but I made him put down his dragons to hold my sign. He wasn't pleased! Lol! :)

I also got my first gift from my secret pal this week! My secret pal is super sweet, and hilarious! I'm already trying to figure out who it is! :) Oh yes..... that's a cupcake maker! ;)

So, that's it for me! I had a wonderful first week of school which I'll share about later! I hope the rest of you are enjoying the rest of your summer/first weeks of school! :)

July 11, 2015

What's Next?!!

Hey friends! The beginning of July was a lot busier than I anticipated!! And, my summer of no worries is officially over! Even though my teacher brain never turns off completely I took a month after we got out of school, and worked only on things I wanted to, only after my kids had gone to bed. This summer was about family time, and we packed A TON into June! :)

So, as Jed Bartlett would say, (any other west wing fans??) "What's next!" Here is a rundown of what I have planned for the rest of July! I anticipate it is going to be busy and productive...hopefully! :)


* Next week I am leaving on Monday and taking my daughter to gymnastics. Then, I am meeting my mom for lunch, and dropping my kids off with her for the week. I am going to a PLC conference out of town, and my husband works nights 2 of the nights I'll be gone so they enjoy spending the week at Grammy and Big Pa's. :)

* The week after that I'm headed our for a literacy coach training. It's about an hour away, and I will get to come home everyday, so my mom is staying with us for that week. I see a lot of my mom in the summer, but I'm so glad she is able and willing to help us!

* Redecorating my classroom!! This is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm moving classrooms and grade levels  so I'm going all out with a new design!! :) But, I haven't even been able to get into my room yet! They are STILL waxing the floors, and meet the teacher night is in less than a month!!!

* Figuring out what the heck TLI is. Do you know? Do you use it?? DO YOU LIKE IT??? I'm afraid I'm going to hate it. I've heard it dictates what standards are taught weekly, and they are assessed every 1 or 2 weeks?? I feel like I'm going to lose some creativity, and losing the ability to work on what my kids need to work on. Because, ya know I've heard teaching has a lot to do with kids. ;)

* I'm also going to work on having an open mind about that TLI stuff. ;)


I still have some things to do at home too....

* Stain my porch. It has never been done. 
* Redo the floor in my kid's bathroom, and put in a new toilet. I am so glamorous! :)
* Finish graduate school! I graduate in August!!!!!
* Still find lots of time to snuggle my kids. 
* Celebrate my birthday! I'll be 31! #noshame
* Celebrate 9 years of marriage! 

We shall see how much of this gets done! And now since you read my lists I'll give you a funny story. I was deep cleaning my couch, lets just pause for a moment and savor that fact....., okay. I THOUGHT my kids were playing together. All of sudden my youngest comes out of his room smelling an awful lot like baby powder, which we do not own. I looked at him, and said, 
"Jake what's all over you??!"

 He replied, "SOUR CREAM!!!!" 

Me: " Yeah I think you mean Vaseline."

That nut had Vaseline ALL. OVER. HIM. Head to toe AND all over his BED!!!! He ruined about $100 worth of bedding, and I was cleaning Vaseline off of everything all the ding dong day. I didn't even know we owned Vaseline. However, since this is my second kid I totally snapped a pic before I cleaned him up. :)

So...How are you spending the rest of your summer?! I'd love to know!! :)

July 4, 2015

July Currently

Hey guys! How in the world is it July already??!! July is the month this year that is going to get crazy busy, and hectic. While I love it, I've also loved the slow pace of my June. It was perfect. I promised my kids June. No working, no crazy projects, nothing but finishing up grad school which I was able to do at night while they were sleeping most of the time. We so needed some slow quiet, and fun time together! July is a whole different kind of beast. Back to school prep, PD, etc... I already saw composition notebooks and loose leaf paper on sale so it. is. coming! :) It's raining today on our 4th of July celebrations so we are taking another slow day, and while everyone is napping I thought I'd link up with Farley for her Currently linky! :)

Listening: to the rain, and the quiet. My whole family is napping, even the dog and cat! We had a really fun morning at the Clinton Presidential Library. Today was a free day, and they have an awesome dinosaur exhibit right now! My little man is loving dinosaurs, so we took the kids. We got there about 20 minutes after they opened, and walked right in, No lines, not crowded. Perfect! :) So now we are napping!

Loving: Our quiet and fun 4th of July. As I've already mentioned our July is about to get crazy! So I'm enjoying this quiet, lazy day with my sweet family!

Thinking: How to spend the last few weeks of summer. Most of my summer is scheduled for me. An out of town conference for a week, another week of PD, GRADUATION! That one I am so ready for! Working on my classroom, since I'm moving grades and rooms I've got a lot to do. But, there are still going to be some fun days, so I'm looking for way to pack as much fun into them as I can. :)

Wanting: The floors to be done at school! Our floors have not been waxed yet. Which means that we can't arrange anything until they are done,,,I would at least like to get my furniture placed soon so I can see what kind of wall space I have to work with.

Needing: Ummm...can I have another June? Please?? :)

All Star: I think I am pretty good at prioritizing. I try to be anyway. Balance is such a struggle for all of us, but I try to make it so that when we work, we work hard, and when we play, we play even harder :). Some weeks are more balanced than others...always a struggle...And I try to just be present when I'm home, and at work, and focus on the now. My kids are growing so fast. They just turned 7 and 3 in May, I just don't want to miss out! Not everything gets done, like ever, I haven't cleaned out 1 closet and my sink is full of dishes, but I try to make sure that the important stuff gets done. And by important stuff I mean the snuggling ;)....

June 28, 2015

TpT Sellers Challenge Week 2: Dream Big!!

Hey y'all!! I am so behind this week, as I was busy with VBS and visiting my parents! Plus, I'm still in the middle of graduate school so I'm just now getting to post! I thought I'd better hurry up before the next challenge was announced. ;) This week we were challenged to dream big, and share what we wanted our TpT store to accomplish. I'm not gonna lie, this challenge was a bit scary for me. I don't like to put my personal goals out there. I almost didn't. But, then I read some of the most amazing stories, and personal goals of the other teachers, and I thought if they can do it...so can I. So, thank you all for pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit. :)

I'm linking up with Emily at Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Peppy Zesty Teacherista ,and Sparkling in Second. :)

1. This one probably resonates with most of you too. :) We have various forms of debt, mostly student loans, and it would be so nice to only have to worry about our day to day living expenses.

2. My youngest first cousin is graduating from high school next May. They live in Indiana, and I don't get to see them often. My family is wanting to go on a big trip to celebrate his graduation, and to spend time together somewhere out of the country. Right now that is off the table for my family, but I would love if my TpT store could fund that trip.

3. Fueling my classroom is what my earnings have been doing. Every dime has been spent on resources for my kids. Granted, it's not much, but every little bit helps, and I will continue to use this money for my kids.

4. Giving back is very important to me. When I first started teaching I was excited to have my own classroom, but mad that I couldn't stay home with my daughter like I had always dreamed. For us, it wasn't a matter of just cutting back what we were spending to make it work, we absolutely would not be able to pay all of our bills if I didn't work so I felt stuck. Until I walked into my first classroom, and I saw 20 pairs of eyes looking to me. Until I heard 20 different stories, from kids with 20 different backgrounds. Some good, some not so good, and some heartbreaking. Then I decided since I couldn't afford to stay home, teaching would not only be my job, but my ministry. To guide the students in my classroom, to give them everything that I could, and to show the love of Christ through my teaching. I knew I could still be a good mother while being a teacher, and now that my youngest is going into the pre-school at my district I know I am exactly where I should be. My personal children are flourishing, and I get such immense satisfaction from teaching. I truly have the best two jobs in the entire world. :) So, my longest term goal, my dream is to be able to get to a point where all of my earnings can go to helping those who need it more than I do. Where I can afford to not only take care of the kids in my classroom, but also give to their families. To be able to give, and give freely, and bless others.