Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Scrabble + Family = Happiness

#1  It has been wayyyyyyy too long since I have posted.  The school year engulfed me.  Like literally.  Once the infamous to-do list gets shorter, it all of a sudden gets way longer.  The holidays came and are on their way out.  Where did 2015 go?!?!
#2  I wanted to post a picture of the present I made for my parents on their 36th wedding anniversary.  I am so happy with how it turned out that I HAD to share it with you all.
#3  Happy New Year!  May 2016 bless you with exactly what you are looking for in the upcoming year.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Writing Workshop Often Melts My Heart

Who here LOVES to teach Writing Workshop?  My hand is up...way up in the hair after hearing this question.  Helping kids gain a voice is so powerful and one of my favorite things about my job.  Here are two examples right here!  For number one, the little munchkin wrote about her brother and had such powerful voice.  She even used the phrase, "Guess What?  Are you ready?"  Just like I modeled during my Write Aloud.  :)  Get ready for some extra cuteness.  :)
My second kiddo wrote a longer story her new baby brother or sister.  She even wrote this, "We do not know if it is a boy or a girl yet, but I know this for sure.  I will love the baby and it will be so lucky to have a big sister like me."  Awwwww!!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Days of the Week Labels

Do you want to organize all of your papers/materials you will use during the course of the week/next week in your classroom?!?!  Here is your answer!  I ordered these 3-drawer organizers from Amazon, and they work like a charm.  This link is for the 3 pack, so am using 2 for the daily drawers, and then I have a the 3rd one holding writing workshop paper in our writing center! You can get these FREE daily labels at my TpT Shop!

Have a great night!  I am off to bed!!!!!  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

If you think you are done, you have only just begun.

Writing Workshop!  I love teaching Writing Workshop!  It is one of the times during the day where kids truly learn more about me as their teacher.  I love telling them more about me and my life through my Writing Aloud.  :)  During one of our first Writing Workshop lessons, I like to teach kids the familiar Lucy Calkins quote, "When you think you are done, you have just begun."  This teaches the students that even when they think they are done with a piece, they can add to the pictures, add to the words, or start a new piece!  :)  I love how Writing Workshop empowers students as true writers!!!  Do you use Writing Workshop in your classroom?!
*Get this for free at my TpT Shop!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Behavior and Inspirational Posters

Do you want to brighten up your students' faces, as well as your own each and every single day?!?!  Here is your answer!  Get your behavior and inspirational posters!  HERE!  These are great reminders for us all each and every day.  :)
Behavior and Inspirational Posters

Chicago Teachers Blogging Meet Up!

This was my very first blogger meet up, and it was so amazing!!!  I had a great time, learned so much and best of all, I was so INSPIRED!  What an awesome place to have it!!  Lou Malnati's Pizzeria!  YUMMM!!
I am excited to get back into the blogging world now that we have been in school for a month!  More pics from my classroom to come very soon!  :)  Thanks to Teaching in a Nutshell for setting this up!!  #CTBMU2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Planner!

Woah!  This is my very FIRST Erin Condren planner!  I cannot wait to start organizing and writing everything down.  I love being organized, and this planner will HELP me do this very easily!  Check it out!  The box and wrapping are ever SUPER adorable!!  I am in L.O.V.E.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Made It!

I am happy to link up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for this week's MONDAY MADE IT!  :)  I am seriously 3 years late to jump on the bandwagon of this Teacher Toolbox have I not noticed this for 3 years, and how have I lived without it?  I love organization, and I love knowing where everything is...this toolbox will help me with both of these!

So, I purchased this toolbox from Home Depot online because it is already black.

Many people online have purchased the one from Lowes, but it is blue and I did not want to take the time to spray paint it!  But, then when I received the black one from Depot, I realized that the larger drawers have this little notch on the top inside, so I could not place the labels on the inside.  So, if you decide to purchase this one, please beware!

But honestly, this worked out so well!!!  This version made me think that I would just make everything colorful using scrapbook paper.  I LOVE how it turned out!  This is basically my color scheme from my classroom, so it works perfectly!

Have you made a teacher toolbox that you are in love with?!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Productive Sunday, New Products and TPT Sale!

What a productive Sunday it has been today!  :)  I organized, organized and organized the house sooooo much!!  It feels so good!

I am also excited that I finished and added new products that are going to help me with my ELA Anchor Chart Wall!  I added them to my TpT Store, so I hope they will help you, too!!  I placed them below for you to check out!!

Also, have you heard about the TpT Back to School Sale!?!  It is tomorrow August 3rd until August 4th!  Up to 28% off at my store!!  Fill your carts with all of your favorites that you have had your eyes on this summer!!!  I know I am!!  :)  Enter code:  BTS15!

Check out my TpT Store here!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Proud Moment


I know I have said this almost every day someone asks me, "How is your writing class going?"  My response each and every single time has been the same.  "I am amongst the most talented, creative and thoughtful educators.  I am proud to be one of their leaders in this Summer Leadership Institute.  I am learning soooo much for them!!"

Today, was the last day of our institute, and honestly, I feel like it was the end of an era.  Yes, we will see each other for a follow up meeting in October.  Yes, we will connect virtually.  But, it won't be the same.  I have truly enjoyed the 12 days we spent together and will take back so many new and fresh ideas to my classroom.  I now have 20 more resources to reach out to when I have questions, ideas to bounce around and fine teachers to admire.

Today as we shared our own pieces of writing, it was as one of the participants said, "like a therapy session" where we cried together, smiled together, laughed together and clapped together.  When it came to my turn, I was pretty nervous to share my Where I'm From poem, but my group members who listened to my poem last week, reassured me that I had this, and I had great things to share.  In the big group, instead of giving verbal feedback, we wrote out a sentence or two on post-its and handed them to the authors.  I would love to share some of my feedback from my fellow participants, my friends.

I enjoyed the poem.  Very descriptive and delightful.  Your writing brings a smile to my face.  It's easy to identify with your words.  You are a delight.

I love getting to hear this poem again!  I love it and I can't wait to share this with my students.  I feel like we learn so much about you!

You are from what sounds like a beautiful childhood.  It truly reflects why you are the lovely woman you are today.  Thank you for sharing.  So pleasant.

I enjoyed the details you shared:  New Kids on the Block to Coke Slurpees.  It makes me think about my own childhood.  I'd like to write one of these.

Very cool.  Love all the description - "the most manicured lawn on the block."

You are from names written with a heart over the i!  :)   Love your poem!

I am so glad you did not become a nun.  Your joy and effervescence have been a gift to our group, as I'm sure they are to your students and family.

I love the line about you sitting with your dad talking about Prince Charming.

I love this piece, Kari.  The structure afforded us great glimpses into important pieces from your part that have helped you become the wonderful person you are!  :)

I loved that poem just as much today as I did the first you read it to the quad.  It's honest, beautifully written and heart filling.  So great!

I am from a place that connected to a lot of what you mentioned.  So cool!

I love this.  A lot of memories were brought back when I heard it!  I can see using this as a beginning of the year activity!

Thank you for sharing your life.  Your word choice and the way you described your life drew me in and kept me waiting for the next piece.

Beautiful piece and so are you!  Your voice is loud and your enthusiasm shines through.

So...can you see why I absolutely loved working amongst these creative, dedicated and talented teachers?  I am proud.

I also want to thank each and every one of them for the beautiful flowers and the very generous gift card to Barnes and Noble.  I cannot wait to pick out amazing new mentor texts to use in my Writing Workshop!  :)


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Erin Condren Lesson Planner

I took the plunge!!  I ordered my first Erin Condren Lesson Planner!  I am very, very excited!  I just know that this will help with my organization and will aid in my teaching!  :) is adorable!!!  I will post a picture of it when it arrives!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Feeling Inspired

You know when you get that inspired feeling?  You know how that makes you feel?  Can you think of a time that you felt inspired?  Picture that moment in your head now...

I feel so lucky to say that four things happened today, SO FAR, that definitely made/make me feel inspired.

1.  At the Illinois Writing Project Leadership Training this morning, we found out on site there is a girl who just graduated from high school and will be entering into her freshman year on a writing scholarship.  She used to attend the elementary building where our training is.  We invited her into our session this morning to read some of her writing.  She was so excited to come in and share!  We were in awe of her, and I was definitely inspired.  
*Inspired to see a product of why we are at this writing workshop this summer.
*Inspired to meet a young woman as excited about writing as myself and the rest of our participants.
*Inspired as a writer myself.
2.  I led the teachers in a discussion on diverse learners this morning, which went so well.  First we finished the following sentences:
*Diverse learners are...
*Diverse learners have...
*Diverse learners can...

We then viewed this short movie clip from the Khan Academy.
It is entitled, "You Can Learn Anything.
Get ready to be inspired.  :)

After that, I had the teachers jot down any times in their classrooms that they helped a struggling learner:  ELL student, special ed student, any student who had difficulties that would make the learning process difficult.

We split up into 4 groups.  We took these ideas we jotted down around on a Gallery Walk and referred to these strategies as we read each scenario on chart paper.  The scenarios were:
1.  Peter is in 3rd grade, and he has trouble coming up with ideas to write about.  He speaks Polish at home.
2.  Angelina is in 9th grade.  She struggles finding the correct word choice while she is writing.  She speaks Spanish at home.
3.  Bobby is in 5th grade.  He struggles with spelling, conventions and grammar.  It's hard for anyone to read his writing.  He is embarrassed.
4.  Kailey is in 1st grade.  She gets distracted easily and is a reluctant writer.  She writes one sentence and says she's done.

The teachers came up with amazing supports on their posters!  So inspired!

3.  Have you heard of Kid President?  If not, please drop everything you are doing right now and watch, listen, reflect, smile and many even tear up.  :)  Here is the other video I shared at my Diverse Learners session at our Illinois Writing Project Leadership Training.

4.  This morning, I left before Emma woke up so my husband, Joe, just sent me a picture of what he found on his jeans at work when he looked down.  Awwwww...our little bug.  She teaches us things day in and day out.  This morning's lesson:  I am always with you. is ok to be addicted to stickers.  ;-)

So, this is what inspired me today...what has inspired you?!?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday-Family, Writing, Music, Show, Dinner and Dessert

Again today, I am accepting the daily challenge of Michelle over at BigTime Literacy!
So, here is what I'm loving today (and always)!

I am beyond in awe of our daughter.  Every. single. day.  My heart is overflowing with love for her.  I love my husband more today than the first day I met him because of all of the connections we now have together.  One being our daughter.  She reminds us about the important things in life.  Never take those for granted.  #lovesofmylife

Fresh Writing Ideas
I always love hearing about new ideas to get kids writing.  I hope you do as well! 
*Tell your students to write down 5 or so different names for themselves.
My example:
Mrs. Commare

*Next, pick 3 of your favorites.
I picked:  Kari, Mommy, and Karl

*Then, invite kids to write about one of the names.  Kids can write down a funny story about the name, something interesting, or the origin.
I wrote about Karl.  :)
Sometime in upper middle school, I had a PE teacher who seriously called me KARL like every single morning during attendance for almost two weeks!  Seriously. how. embarrassing.  I got the stares, I got the looks, I got the points from the cutest boy in class.  Every. single. day.  Finally, the PE teacher realized my name was Kari.  Not Karl.

This could be an awesome beginning of the year activity to get your kids knowing each other, which will allow your students to become more comfortable sharing their own writing!

I need to always remember, "Prewriting is more important that the actual writing itself."

Boy am I jealous of anyone who was able to go see T. Swift this past weekend in Chicago!  My favorite as of late...Style!

I cannot wait until The Big Bang Theory comes back on this fall!!!  I love Sheldon and Penny's relationship!

I <3 this meal!  I make it often, and it is super easy!  Just a lot of chopping involved!
corn, red peppers, green peppers, black beans, cilantro!  YUM!

How can I pick just one?!?!  Haha!  Well, good old chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite!  Maybe I should bake tonight?!