Last Friday of the School Year!

1. Field Day and Tie-Die T-Shirts

We had field day this week and our weather was beautiful!  It felt like summer and the kids had a blast! Aylin lead the parachute station and believe me the kids loved it!  Some of our other stations included jump rope, hula hoop, musical chairs and we even had a popsicle station! All of first graders made tie-die t-shirts a couple of weeks ago and wore them on Field Day!   It was a really cute, fun idea and I hope we are able to do it again next year!  

2. Notes from Students

With the dropbox our school uses you can see the student's name and the time/day when they turned in their work which is very helpful!

Technology is pretty amazing.  One of my favorite things about teaching first grade is after being away, for a conference or being sick, I am welcomed back with many "I miss you notes."   I still get those handwritten notes but I am loving that even on a day when I am not at school physically I can still communicate with my students via dropbox.  Above, one of my students wrote me this note while I was away, screenshot it, and turned it in via dropbox...all on her own!  No assignment was even given!  It is hard to believe that a 7 year old can do this all on her own!  

When being absent I have also given assignments to students to tell me what they learned in math or reading that day...again I can check it, grade it, and send it back to students all on that day that I am out of the building.  Pretty fantastic if you ask me!

3. Favorite 4-End of The Year Writing
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on all of the fabulous things that have happened over the past school year.  It is fun to think back to the things that made this school year special.  When we brainstormed a list of ideas the students surprised me with some of the things they remember that really stood out to them.  I even had a student remember a "magic play-doh" activity from the very first day of school! 

Aylin created an "End of the Year: Literacy Writing Activities" that are all aligned with the common core! My students loved it!  We used almost every page from her pack and with each page my students created something they were very proud of and helped them to keep writing up until the very last day of school!  

Here are a few of my favorite examples of my Class' Favorite 4: 

To see more writing activities from this pack click here or the picture below.  Thanks Aylin for sharing this great pack with us-the writing activities allowed my kids to have keepsakes about their first grade year and their favorite memories!  

4. End of the Year Wordle and End of the Year gift (linked to a freebie!) 

A couple of weeks ago I saw one of our favorite blogs, Collaboration Cuties, end of the year gift used Wordles.  Click here to see their post.  Stacia and Amanda have so many fabulous ideas and both Aylin and I simply love reading their blog!  

I thought the Wordle Amanda and Stacia created for each student looked super cute and like something my first graders would love as well. We have used "wordle" many times throughout the year and I knew it was something my they can do independently.  Students typed the things that they "will always remember from first grade."  Their lists included: field trips, activities, programs, subjects, names of teachers, specials and many more things we did throughout the school year.  Once they finished typing they got 2 minutes to choose the fonts and colors they wanted to use.  Then, students turned things in via dropbox and I printed them all out.  Next, I taped their wordles onto constuction paper and laminated each copy.  They loved them and were so excited they got to keep their very own!

To see more about the steps in creating a wordle with students and different ways in which a wordle can be used in your classroom click here.  

I love Pinterest.  There are so many great ideas floating out there and Pinterest gives individuals an easy way to organize them.  I found these awhile back, pinned it, and they were there for me when I was ready to use them!   I mean really, how cute are these?  The end of the year is crazy and super busy this is an easy gift to give students that they are very excited about.  To get this freebie head over to Classroom DIY by clicking here!  

5. Last Day of the School Year

We did it-we made it!  We are o.f.f.i.c.i.a.l.l.y. finished with our school year! It is hard to believe.  This year got started slowly but came rolling quickly to an end.  I will be excited to see all of our friends come back as 2nd graders next year!

Happy Friday!

What a Wednesday!

We are linking up with Alisha at First Grade Follies for her Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Wednesday linky!


 We thought these shoes are just perfect for the wild category.  These are a little 1st grader's shoes- she is definitely ready for summer with these fun shoes!

wacky: as we were organizing books for our book room next year, we came across this book: Jo's Toes. Yikes! Definitely a little wacky...and's literally full of different things that these fancy toes are doing.  I'm thinking it probably will NOT need to make an appearance in our classrooms next year! :)


Our classrooms are getting all packed up because we only have 1 more full day and 1 hour on Friday! This is wonderful because that means it is almost summer!!!

Have a great day!
Amanda & Aylin


Tuesday Tried It: Organization with Leveled Book Baskets & Labels Freebie!

It's Tuesday and I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tuesday Tried It and Ladybug's Teacher Files & Fun in Room 4B for Optimum Organization!

So this is a little embarrassing, but I'm now nearly complete with my 4th year as a reading specialist and this is the FIRST time I will officially have book basket labels (that are more than just generic themes...)! This is mainly because we haven't really followed a system of leveling at our school up to this point so I just never put the effort into labeling all my books. Also, I've always been using either the intervention books that came with our reading series or Reading A-Z books, be's kinda ok that it's taken me this long (or at least that's what I'm telling myself!!). :)

I'm so excited about my new book basket labels because next year we will be getting 100% into F&P reading levels and this way I easily have books to choose from for my little friends' book bags, for guided reading and for student choice! 

I leveled these books mainly through Scholastic Book Wizard. I personally chose the DRA Level option (but there are other options depending on how you level your books) and then used a correlation chart from Reading A-Z to see the F&P level of each book. The book wizard is a great resource and although it is quite mundane to sit and type in the names of books, in the end it makes you have a very organized classroom library so it was worth the time for me! 

After I had my books labeled with their F&P level on the front cover of each book, I set them up in each little leveled book basket and woohoo I officially have a leveled classroom library! I'm so very glad that I tried out this new organizing idea because I really think it will make my bookshelf so much more resourceful for my little friends next year. If you are looking to spruce up your classroom library, you can download your free copy of my F&P book basket labels (AA-Z) here (or by clicking the pic below)! 

If you don't use F&P but you use numbers for your book leveling, you can grab these labels with numbers instead here

Oh and I still am using generic theme labels for my read aloud books that I like to keep separate from my student book baskets.  But, I made new fun labels for those too and I have them now all organized in my tall bookshelf so I can easily grab them throughout the year for read alouds. I personally have to take the time to do this kind of organizing now at the end of the year because I always find a ton of other things to do the days leading up to the beginning of school- so for me, end of the year is a major organizing time for me otherwise it doesn't happen (evidently so, considering my 4 years without leveled book baskets...). :)

Have a great day!

Summer Bucket List

It is almost summer...I mean we are really, really close!  We only have 4 days left of "wake-ups!"  Let's face it, this week is not the most rigorous of weeks because it is  filled with lots of fun so I know it will go by very quickly. Today, as we daydream about summer, we are linking up with A Cupcake for the Teacher, Miss Kindergarten, and A Modern Teacher to share our Summer Bucket List!

at home: 
Amanda:: The hubby and I are moving this summer.  We probably should have a place lined up and ready to go but we don' that means we need to continue looking and hopefully find something soon! My bucket list goals for our home this summer are going to include: actually finding one, moving, and making it feel like home!  The good news is the locations we are looking at will bring us closer to both of our families and many of our friends!

AYlin::  I have a few Pinterest ideas that have been on my list for wanting to create for our home, so, maybe this summer they will actually get done?! I'm also always wanting to do a little more organizing of all the things that tend to get disorganized during the school year- like my home files! Oh and I'm hoping to either print out some of our pictures or find some new pictures for our bedroom- we've had the same ones for at least 4 years, so it's time to update! 

for school: 
Amanda: The bucket list for school seems endless but I like having the feeling of time to complete some of these I am excited for my endless list!  Organizing my reading and math centers is definitely near the top of my list!  I also want to think/look at different ways to teach spelling/word patterns.  As a school we are doing a common core book study on the book: Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work.  So much of my time will be spent thinking and continuing to educate myself about the common core and how it will change the way in which I teach my first graders.  

AYlin: I have a ridiculously long list of ideas/things to create/organize for school.  My bucket list for this is to just a least get a few of those creations and ideas done and some started! My biggest idea that I want to accomplish from this school bucket list is to get a better system in place for how we evaluate which students receive services from me and some sort of evaluation that will help the classroom teachers and me decide when those students are ready to move on from interventions. 

for me: 
Amanda: I will be running, relaxing, traveling, and enjoying-nothing too difficult but I want to just appreciate the summer and simply enjoy it!  We have several weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and even a few trips planned.  Some of the places we will be traveling to will include Vegas, Ohio, Nashville, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and New York.  I am excited for each one of them and thrilled to be able to spend extra quality time with my hubby, our families, and our friends!

AYlin: Well, my list sounds quite similar to Amanda's- I hope to do lots of running & other fun workouts, relax and travel! Since my hubby is a teacher too we pretty much live for summer break so we can spend our time on vacations.  This summer we'll be visiting a few different locations, including some beach time, some camping/hiking time and some out of the country time! Needless to say, I cannot wait for all these fun trips!

I know this summer will be busy but it is packed with fun things!  To see what other teachers are doing over their summer please hop on over to  A Cupcake for the TeacherMiss Kindergarten, and A Modern Teacher!

Happy Memorial Day!

Amanda and Aylin

2nd to last Friday of the school year with a freebie!

Hm...everyday this week felt like Friday, but today really is Friday, so woohoo! Of course I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday, Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday and Teaching Maddeness for her Friday Flashback.


Freebie Fridays

1. We officially have only 4 more "wake-ups" for this school year! Enough said. :)

2. As you already know, I LOVE using QR Codes with my little friends...pretty much every today my freebie is a QR code activity that is super fun! Oh, but don't worry, there is a non-QR code version included in this freebie too, for those of you without any sort of scanning device (they just won't be checking their answer)!  I did this activity both directly on the printed page and on our MacBooks.  My little friends read each sentence, highlighted the words with silent e and digraphs and then answered the comprehension question about each sentence. They then scanned the QR code to check their comprehension question response. So fun! I love this activity because they are reading, finding specific types of words, answering comprehension questions AND using QR codes! 

You can download this freebie here!

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3a Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3c Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.

3. To go along with this freebie, I also have a pack of these QR Codes with a focus on long vowels with silent e, r controlled vowels and digraphs.  I created these as individual task cards where each student can choose a card and then read the sentence, make a list of the specific kind of words, answer a comprehension question about the sentence and then scan the QR code to check their answer. QR codes just make practicing reading skills that much more exciting! My little friends completed their recording sheets for each task card on their MacBooks, but you can just print out the recording sheet and have them complete it with pencil. They had to search for a specific word that followed the focus skill of each task card in order to answer the comprehension question for each sentence.  I was super impressed with how well they read the sentence and answered the questions because even though the answer was right there in the sentence, reading to find specific information can be a real challenge for my little friends! 

You can check out this set of QR code fun hereOh and those super cute frames both in the freebie and in this pack are from the amazing  girls over at Collaboration Cuties (thank you girls!). I absolutely love all their creations!

 4. We eat lots and lots of produce in our house.  I love to make new healthy recipes using fresh vegis and I just love to eat fresh fruit.  No question though, I also like plenty of non-produce items too, especially french fries... :)  Anyway, since we eat so much produce, I was thrilled to find these reusable produce bags in the Dollar Spot at Target!  (oh my word, do I ever love the Target Dollar Spot- so many goodies in there for so cheap!) We have brought our own grocery bags to the store for awhile, but had been using the plastic produce bags grocery stores provide all this time and now we don't have to- we have our very own non-plastic produce bags- yay! You are probably like, 'Really? That's one of your 5 for Friday random things about you??' But it's the little things in life, right? :)

5.  We are finally done with F&P testing (yay!) and I just loved what one of the little kindergartner's response was to one of the comprehension questions. One of the early leveled readers is called Our Teacher Mr. Brown and it's all about a child's experience at school.  Then the question is "Why is Mr. Brown a good teacher?" And this kindergartner's response was, "...because he always has a smile and helps the kids." I thought it was so sweet and it put a big smile on my face! It was so nice to hear this little friend pinpoint what we as teachers are always trying to do- be happy and help kids! :)

Have a great day!


Workshop Wednesday: Reading Response with a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Jivey over @ Ideas by Jivey for her weekly Workshop Wednesday linky- this week's topic is something near and dear to my heart- reading response! 

Ok, seeing that my job is 100% focused on literacy, this post has the potential to be never-ending, so I'm only going to choose one reading response activity I use with my little friends because otherwise it would just be overwhelming. :)  I do tons of reading response activities on our iPads, MacBooks, graphic organizers and through all sorts of materials, but I'll save those other reading response ideas for another day (or you can check out other ideas that I already have on this blog by clicking "reading response" in the little list of all our posts in our sidebar)! 

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

This reading response activity is an 'oldie but goodie' reading response activity- it is my Story Map Board! Now, this is not an original idea- if you search Story Maps on Pinterest that'll most likely lead you to some blogs where I got the idea from a few years ago. (I'm just not personally sure which one led me to create my own- but I appreciate the many ideas out there that made me make it!) I love using this Story Map with my little friends for a number of reasons- it is very straight forward and simple for the students to respond to while adding a visual component, it keeps my students engaged and it is evident right away if my students are understanding our story or not! 

I unfortunately for some reason do not have any pics of this Story Map actually in action, but basically my little friends are drawing or writing their responses to the various topics on the Story Map on post it notes/notecards/whatever paper is around.  We do reading response everyday so I switch up our activity more or less each day and my little friends just love the chance to write on post it notes!  We either "stop & think" as we read and fill out our post it notes or we read the whole story and then complete the Story Map at the end.  Once the Story Map is completed with my little friends' post it notes stuck on there, we review what happened in the story by going through each post it note.  After my little friends have gotten used to the Story Map when working on it with me, I have them complete it as a reading response activity in centers with a partner/group. 

This aligns perfectly with our graphic organizer "Can I tell you a story?" that my little friends can then fill out on their own after we've done the Story Map together several can grab your own free copy here

And here's some pics of the version we do on the MacBooks and iPads- you can check out my old post about this techie version of reading response here!

This still counts as one reading response activity- just done in a few different ways-- you have to have options, right?! :)

Have a great day!


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