Back to School Mega Giveaway!


Just wanted to announce the winners of the Chalk it Up! Decor Pack!  Congratulations to Kristal, Amanda, and Nicole!  I'll be emailing you!

Also, just so you know, there is a huge Back to School giveaway going on today at Teaching First featuring my journaling packet.  Click here or below to check it out!



Chalk it Up! {Revamped} and a GIVEAWAY!


Hey All!  I am still knee-deep in moving boxes that need to be unpacked so this is going to be quick!

I'll be turning 25 next week and I think I may be going through a quarter-life crisis...you see, before the move I started revamping EVERY product in my TpT store.  Why?  Because I'm crazy. When asked what I did this summer I am going to say (enthusiastically, of course), "I spent the summer editing .pdf files to have cuter fonts and colors! What did you do?"

Anywho, here is the next revamp: Chalk it Up!


I love this old classroom decor pack and I love it even more now.  I gave it an updated look with bright happy colors. Here are a few of my favorite features of the new version!

All new bright alphabet posters!


Number posters that include the numeral, number word, corresponding ten frames, and tally marks.


2D and 3D shape posters



Cute hand print color posters


All new calendar items





A variety of classroom labeling and organizational tools







A number line that, per request, now goes up to 200!

...and there is a special secret bonus surprise at the end!

Go re-download or snatch up this packet here!



Also, because it is my birthday soon I am feeling jolly and like I should give away stuff!  Leave a comment (make sure to include your email address!) and I will randomly select three winners tomorrow night to receive my Chalk it Up classroom decor pack for free! :)

Free Chevron Banner!




My life is a large heap of boxes. This will be our fourth move in our two and a half years of being married!  However, it will be the first time we haven't moved over CHRISTMAS so I am pretty thrilled about it.

My laptop is going to get packed up for a few days so I wanted to share a quick freebie with you while I have the chance!  This cheery chevron banner will brighten your classroom and help your little ones feel welcomed! Click below or here to grab yours for FREE!  Enjoy!



Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Journal Writing in First Grade (It is the BEST!)

Three years ago, as an intern teacher, I had a hard time feeling like I was doing anything really well.  My teaching consisted of a lot of trial and error.  Mostly error. :)  I didn't discover Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers until later that year so I was mostly left to my own devices.  

I knew that I wanted my first graders to be confident writers so I came up with a plan for daily journal writing. This has been one of my novice teacher experiments that I have never given up on!  I LOVE JOURNALS!  And better yet, my students love writing in their journals!  I wanted to share a few ideas for making journal writing successful in your class!

1. BE CONSISTENT
Write in those babies everyday!  I usually have my students pull out their journals after lunch.  This way they have had some experiences already that day that they might want to write about AND, in all honesty, it gives me a few extra moments to breathe and make sure my next lesson is ready to go.  At the beginning of the year my kids write/draw for maybe 5 minutes tops.  But it quickly lengthens out.  At the end of the year we were writing for 30 minutes!



2. LET THEM MAKE THEIR JOURNALS THEIR OWN
Let them write about whatever they want!  We brainstorm a class idea list that we display throughout the year and I also keep an idea jar with writing prompts in case they get stuck, but I let them write about anything they desire.  It is their journal and they should feel ownership for the thoughts and expressed feelings.



3. HAVE APPROPRIATE EXPECTATIONS
There is a world of difference between our August journals and our May journals.  I LOVE being able to see the progression and the night-and-day difference from month to month, but realize that you are going to have to start out slow.  I model journal entries for my kids a few times a month to remind them of the expectations.  I use manuscript paper with an increasing amount of lines so students can develop their fluency without feeling completely overwhelmed.  In August our journals have two lines!



4. CONFERENCE
This is super important!  I love to walk around the room while my students are writing and just drop down for a moment to talk to them about their process or content.  It is extremely informative!  I also like to pull students to the back to my table and have a more formal conference where we can identify areas of improvement and set a goal for their next entry.  Formal or not, just talking to students about their writing will have a tremendous impact!



5. SHARE
My students LOVE to share their journals!  This is one area of sharing that is completely voluntary.  I'm not going to make anyone pour out their innermost feelings if they don't want to....but honestly pretty much everyone wants to!  I love to put their journals up on the document camera and let them read it into the microphone.  After they have shared their entry the class can offer a compliment and a suggestion.  We then give them a round of applause.  If my students had their way we would share all day everyday.  They love it!  And I love getting some insight into those cute little heads.  It is fascinating and often entertaining!  Here are a few fun entries from past students! These often make me laugh so hard I cry!

I'm making songs. I'll sing one for you.  Let me be free.  Let me be...oe, oe, oe. I'm gunna see the world someday day day day oe oe oe....don't let anything in my way. Don't let anything in my waaaaaaay!

I loved the pumpkins. They were cool.  I liked it.

After school I'm going to play Sugar Rush on the downstairs computer. I'm playing Candlehead. Even though I'm bad at the Sugar Rush racing game I still like it.

Visitor Day. We voted for the president and this is my vote and it was fun.  But I can't vote until I'm 18 and when I vote when I'm 18 I will get a sticker and President Obama won and I voted for Mitt Romney.

These are so much fun, you can probably see why I love first grade journaling SO MUCH!

I recently TOTALLY revamped my Journal Writing packet, here.  I went through each slide and tweaked it to make it (in my humble opinion) 5 million times better so I hope you enjoy it! 


There are journal covers for each month, over 17 variations of manuscript paper so you can choose what you feel is best for your students, over 100 writing prompt cards, and an assortment of assessment and conferencing pages.  Oh, and there are all new mini-posters!  Here are just a few!




This packet will be on sale throughout the week.  Enjoy!



Still Here!





I just wanted to pop in for a moment and let you know...I AM NOT DEAD!  I apologize for not being able to blog much  at all this summer.  Early in June my laptop mysteriously decided to give up the ghost!  I panicked and worried and prayed and panicked some more...because my life's work is basically on this thing! We took it into the district tech office (where miracles happen!) and it has now been returned to me all fixed and ready for action!  Just in time, too!





I've been re-working a couple of my old packets, getting them ready for the new school year, and I am excited to share them with you!  My husband and I are moving this week, but hopefully in a week or two things will be a little bit more normal around here and we can start talking BACK TO SCHOOL!  Exciting stuff!





Also, welcome to any new followers!  I've got a fun freebie in the works just for you!  Have a great day, friends!






Still Here!


I just wanted to pop in for a moment and let you know...I AM NOT DEAD!  I apologize for not being able to blog much  at all this summer.  Early in June my laptop mysteriously decided to give up the ghost!  I panicked and worried and prayed and panicked some more...because my life's work is basically on this thing! We took it into the district tech office (where miracles happen!) and it has now been returned to me all fixed and ready for action!  Just in time, too!

I've been re-working a couple of my old packets, getting them ready for the new school year, and I am excited to share them with you!  My husband and I are moving this week, but hopefully in a week or two things will be a little bit more normal around here and we can start talking BACK TO SCHOOL!  Exciting stuff!

Also, welcome to any new followers!  I've got a fun freebie in the works just for you!  Have a great day, friends!