Thursday, December 15, 2016

Respond, Answer, Cite, and Explain- A song to encourage quality responses

I'm not sure which I'm more surprised by:
1) That it's December 15th and I haven't done ANY Christmas shopping yet. #gettingnervous #thankgoodnessforAmazonPrime
2) That it's December 15th and my kids are still starting their responses with "Yes, because..."



We are stopping that NOW.

Whoever thought of the "RACE" strategy for responding to questions is a literal genius. I thank them for the amazing acronym. It's short, catchy, easy to remember, and it just so happens to be the inspiration behind this new song.

I taught my students this song (to the tune 24k Magic by Bruno Mars) in hopes that they would remember to include R, A, C, and E in their text-dependent questions. We went over the process of RACE and how to find text-based evidence while reading through our lyrics. Now keep in mind, I also completed several whole class mini-lessons and small-group lessons that drilled this answering-technique into their brains. Before we answer any text-dependent questions, we sing the first little snippet of our song. It's a fun, quick reminder of how they need to be answering their questions.

Click the picture below to download a free PDF of the lyrics.

Click here to see my class learning the song.

Happy singing! And happy RACE responses!



Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Don't Like School, I Love It! Song

New Morning Song

Start your day off right by having your class sing this upbeat, energetic song! This song has been modified from "I Don't Like It, I Love It" by Flo Rida.

I pull up this instrumental version of the song and have my students sing our version to it.

**Here's a video of our first day singing this song. #itsprettyroughbutohwell...#practicemakesperfectright ;)

**Here is a video of one of my students leading the song. She bought "Teacher for the Day" and wanted to lead our morning song. So cute!

To download the lyrics, click below! (Two styles)

(Thanks Jen Jones {Hello Literacy} for the cute desktop background image!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Order of Operations (PEMDAS) Song Lyrics

These lyrics go to the song "Ride" by Twenty One Pilots. You can YouTube a karaoke or instrumental version so your kiddos can sing along to the music.

Click the picture below to download a pdf version of the song lyrics! :)

I always start off with singing the song (solo style!) so that my students can understand the flow of the song. Then I have them sing it with me, without then with music. I don't like to use a lot of my instructional time, so I encourage you to only sing the song two or three times before moving on. After a few days of practicing, your students will have it mastered!

Happy singing,

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Problem Solving Posters for Math (CUES)

Grab these problem solving posters for free by clicking the link below.

CUES Posters -- CREDITS: KG Fonts- Blank Space

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


The Back to School Bash 2016 has been so much fun! Thank you to everyone who has joined us this year.'s not over yet! We have one final chance for you to win! When we say win, we mean WIN BIG! Anyone needing some updated technology for your classroom? I give you the B2S Bash Grand Prize...

Yes! This is real life!
Yes! This could be in your classroom very soon! 

But you have to enter first! Here's how you do it: 

1) Begin the insta hop by locating @stepintosecondgrade on instagram. You will want to begin with Amy so that you collect the letter tiles in order. Each blogger will link to another letter. Click on the letter and hop to the next location. As you hop...

a) follow each blogger 
b)  collect each letter

The letter tiles look like this....

2. The letters will reveal a question. (Don't worry...the letters go in order so you don't have to unscramble a thing!) 

3. Once you have figured out the question, hop on over to any of our blogs to enter the Rafflecopter to win! You will be asked to answer the instaHOP question! 

You only have 24 hours to enter, so go get your hop on! ;) 

 Yep! That simple! So have you finished your hop? 

Enter below: 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

B2S Bash 2016

Y'all, get ready for the blog hop of all blog hops. Gift cards galore, planners, a document camera, a Flocabulary subscription, a Kindle, and more! Seriously, you're going to want to enter each and every one of the giveaways included in this hop. Our bash baskets are sure to make your teacher hearts happy!

Here's how it works... You'll have a few days to hop to the twenty-four different blogs and enter the giveaways using Rafflecopter. At the bottom of each post there will be a button that will lead you to the next giveaway! The more blogs you enter on, the better your chances are of winning.

What's in my Bash Basket?

*I'm giving away a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Don't you just love that store?! I could seriously live there. (Sorry, Target, I'm cheating on you.) I can see it now...I'd survive off of white chocolate mochas, banana nut bread, and children's books. 

 Anyway, just think of all of the wonderful books you could purchase for your classroom library! You could even wait until the school year starts to ask your kiddos what books they would like. :) Enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! You have until the end of Tuesday!
Now hop on over to Michelle's (Smitten with First) blog! :)

And make sure to check out my Instagram on Wednesday for the GRAND PRIZE announcement and how to enter! You definitely won't want to miss out!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

5th Grade ELA Centers

Hi friends!

I wanted to share with you some of the changes I made to my ELA centers. After Jen Jones came to our school in June, I realized I needed to do a little revamping to my schedule and activities.

What's Different?
*I'm meeting with my kids for 30 minutes twice a week instead of once for 60 minutes.
*I've grouped spelling and vocabulary together. On the day that students are with me for 30 minutes, they will also be at the spelling and vocabulary center for 30 minutes. They will only complete ONE of the centers, NOT both! If a student in group one chooses to complete the spelling center on Monday, they will then complete the vocabulary center on Wednesday.
*I've added Genius Hour. Students will research ONE topic for several weeks. When they finish, they will be allowed to share their findings with the class during our ELA whole group block some time that week.

My kiddos complete an ELA center every day. I have a 20 minute whole group lesson before our centers start. We are usually working on our interactive notebooks from Lovin Lit. I have all of her literacy notebooks- they're truly amazing. Check them out here! After students complete their Friday center, we reflect on the activities and skills covered that week. The students fill out a reflection sheet that will tell me how they felt about their centers, and if they need extra assistance with anything. I use those sheets along with my teacher reflection sheet and notes (filled out daily) to decide if any reteach or enrichment needs to take place the following week. *Both sheets are within my Math/ELA board packet on TpT. See the link below.

Below you will find my weekly schedule.
Pink= length of time
Purple= activity
Blue= link to resource

If you see that a purple activity does not have a correlating link, that means it is something I have created for my classroom.

For a PDF with clickable links to the blue resources, click HERE.

If you are interested in my math and ELA centers board, click here. Here is a picture of my board from last year.
This year, I will be making two boards instead of one. I will post a picture once it's finished! :)


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Swag Stickers

Hi friends! I am so excited to introduce Swag Stickers to you!

Where the idea came from: 
This product was inspired by a mixture of a two things:
1) Brag tags

2) My vocabulary board in my classroom (inspired by Pat Pavelka)
     If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen my Vocab Builders wall. This wall contains pictures of students flexing their arms with words on top of them. Throughout the year, we learn key vocabulary and take assessments to see if they truly know the vocabulary words. Students must identify the correct definition AND correctly use the word in a sentence to earn a word above their arm. By the end of the year they have many words above their arms.

     Alrighty, so Vocab Builders is great and all, but I wanted more. I felt like I could recognize many other wonderful achievements my students were reaching throughout the year. I mean, the idea of earning a few words above their arms really motivated them to learn their vocabulary. Just imagine the possibility of earning stickers for not only other subjects but behavior as well. (Yes, I'm still using Class Dojo, this is just an extra help for behavior management!) I’ve seen Brag Tags EVERYWHERE, and I love the idea. However, I wanted my students to be able to keep their achievements… to see them and be proud of themselves. Now I know some teachers have their students keep all of their earned Brag Tags on a necklace (brilliant idea by the way!), but I just didn’t think that would work for me and my classroom. Plus, I didn’t want to get rid of the fun wall in my classroom. It’s always a favorite! So, taking the idea behind Vocab Builders and Brag Tags… Swag Stickers was born. I know. The name might be a bit much, but I love it!

How to use Swag Stickers  in your classroom:
1) Swag Sticker Books OR Binders. 
We’re all about that data right?! And not just data, student-recorded data. Your students can store their stickers in their sticker books or sticker binders. This puts THEM in charge of their stickers. Not to mention, it will be so nice for them to have their stickers in an organized place. I’ve included both monthly and quarterly tracking sheets. Which one do you need? You decide. Think about how many stickers you’re going to be passing out in your classroom. For me personally, I anticipate only passing out 1-4 stickers a day. Max. I’m only giving stickers out for ABOVE AND BEYOND behavior and academic achievements. You’ve got to really SHINE for those stickers, kiddos. The stickers should be earned. If you just start passing them out like candy, the stickers are going to lose their zest and respect. Have a student who is super low in math, but finally got that B they worked so hard for?! STICKER. See a random act of kindness happening in your classroom?! STICKER. A kiddo brings in a case of Diet Coke for you?! STICKER. Okay, just kidding about that last one. Kids can’t bribe you for stickers. Resist the temptation. 

2) Bulletin Board. This is how I’ll be displaying my students’ stickers in my classroom. 

I love the flexing arm idea because it shows their “STRONG SKILLS!” The kids' stickers will go above their arms! I take their pictures on the first day of school and then print them on a 4x6. If I'm being honest, cutting them out is not the most fun you'll ever have, but just turn on Netflix and it becomes tolerable. Or better yet, have some of your new parents help you out!

Printing options
1) Print on Avery 6450 circle labels. Please make sure that “fit to page” is NOT selected when you go to print. You don’t want your stickers printing off of the circles.

2) Print on full sheet sticker paper. Cut out with scissors or a ONE INCH circle punch. 

3) Print on regular white paper. Cut out with scissors or a ONE INCH circle punch. Students can glue or tape their stickers to their tracking pages. 

I've created several different options for you to choose from in this new product of mine. From color/black and white, to different tracking pages and booklets. 

Purchase the sticker pack HERE! :)


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Target Dollar Spot Find: Dry Erase Map

Download the cards here and get yourself to the Target Dollar Spot ASAP! :)

Happy Shopping,

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Keep the Quote

Hey friends! I've been tackling a lot of my Instagram questions through Periscope, but I thought it would be beneficial to create some blog posts as well! So, here we go.

One of my favorite parts about my classroom is an idea that was inspired by one of my amazing students. 


As soon as he brought up the idea I knew we just HAD to bring it to life. The only question was, "How do we do this?" You can imagine my excitement when I found the amazing roll at Target three days later. I may have screamed "OH MY GOSH, THIS IS PERFECT," but I can't remember. This roll is seriously perfect for this concept, as the quotes need to be kept after being displayed. The paper came with it, but I refilled it using our school butcher paper after it ran out (I just cut it to the size I needed). ***BUT*** you do not need a fancy roll to pull off this concept. You can use basic, large sheets of paper to write your quotes on. Tape them up or place them on your magnetic whiteboard/chalkboard. Don't want to write them? You can also type the quotes up and print them out, or you could have your students write the quotes. :) Many possibilities!

What is Keep the Quote?
Keep the Quote is a fun, weekly goal-setting system used in my classroom. Students bring in quotes that they think our class should use as a motto for that particular week. My kiddos bring in their quotes on Monday morning. (It is completely optional if they bring one or not.) If there is an overwhelming amount of quotes, I simply just put their quotes in a bin and select approximately four.  I read the four quotes aloud and the students listen. We then vote on which quote we like best. The student who brought in the winning quote explains what that quote means to them, and we discuss how students could earn that particular quote. For example, if the quote was "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody. --Kid President", we would explain that our class should be trying to actively make others feel good about themselves. They need to be giving compliments to others and making sure that others are included.

I write the quote on the paper during my prep or after school on Monday. On Friday, we then review our success following the quote and select one student to actually KEEP THE QUOTE. Get it?! Anyway, the student selected has to be someone who was really demonstrating that quote. I have the student who brought in the winning quote select the recipient (I help them with this at first). The student has to go up on our stage and explain the quote's meaning once again and the reason that they are awarding the quote to the recipient. The paper is ripped off, given to that student, and then a new quote is added the following week.

My students truly love Keep the Quote, and I hope yours will, too! :)

To see this concept in action, visit the hashtag #KeepTheQuote on Instagram,

 Happy Quoting,

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Review

Organization. It's a beautiful word, isn't it? I mean, just say it out loud and you feel a little bit better about your life. Or is that just me? Let's start off by saying that being organized as a teacher is a MUST, but it's also really hard. Sure, I may have started my teaching career thinking I was organized, but let me tell you...I wasn't. I had my lesson plan binder, my grading binder, my checklist binder, my absent student binder, my meetings binder, my miscellaneous binder, my binder binder. Just kidding about that last one. Seriously though, everything had their own specific place and to me, that felt organized. But it's a real pain having so many things in different places. I thought it would be some magical fantasy to have something that has it ALL.

That brings me to the Erin Condren Teacher Planner. Seriously, guys. It's amazing. I've heard wonderful things about all of the Erin Condren products, so when they offered to send me some goodies I literally screamed with excitement. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the beauty that is the Erin Condren Teacher Planner. 

                                work of heart teacheru0027s lesson planner

What's Inside:
*Laminated (thick and durable) Cover (can be swapped for different covers later. The inside covers are also dry-erase!)
*All About Me page
*Inspirational Quotes (one for each month)
*Laminated Tabs (one for each month)
*Absentee Log
*Birthday Tracker
*Class Events and Volunteers
*Holidays and Dates to Rememeber
*Graphing Sheets
*Year at a Glance
*Monthly Notes pages
*Monthly Planning pages
*Lesson Planning pages
*Checklists (I will use these for my gradebook.)
*4 pages of Stickers
*2-sided Folder
*Sheet Protector

I'm SO EXCITED about the idea of having everything in one cute, colorful, durable and organized place.
                                                         Good to Go™ - carry-all clutch
If the list above doesn't make you smile, maybe all of the "extras" will. Check out these cute carry-all clutches for you to keep your planner in. I can't tell you how many times I've bent or ripped something in my teacher bag. Wah-lah (Yes, that's how I write it). Problem solved. 

They also have stickers, marker pens, storage pockets, and a LOT more!
       photo stickersmarkers - party popsmini sticky storage pockets

Go check out all of their amazing planners HERE! The biggest problem you'll have is deciding which one you want...there's so many wonderful planners to choose from. I mean, just look at a few of the ones they have below. #crazyamazing
       watercolor drops teacheru0027s lesson plannerchange the world teacheru0027s lesson plannerin bloom metallic gold teacheru0027s lesson planner

Oh, and if you spend $100 you also get the most adorable shirt I've ever seen. 

Click HERE to create an account and save $10 off your first purchase! My referral link (just in case it asks you) is

Happy planning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DIY Mini Anchor Chart Holders

Hey, friends! If you're like me, you've seen these cute PVC pipe anchor charts all over Pinterest. Seriously, they are always popping up on my feed, and I every time I think, "I HAVE to get some of those for my own classroom!" The possibilities are endless with these cute, mini holders! Use them at your guided reading groups, math intervention/enrichment groups, centers, etc! Check out my friend Head over Heels for Teaching's post about how she uses these holders for guided reading. BTW, her product is AMAZING!

I didn't use any specific pre-made plans for my holders, as my fiance knew exactly what I needed to get and how to do everything. He even cut everything out for me! I'm pretty lucky! I did, however, have to pay him with candy and pop. I feel like that's a good trade off though.

Okay, to start, you need to get yourself to Lowes, Home Depot, or a store of the sort where they sell PVC pipe. Head over to the plumbing section and that's where you'll find everything you need! I'm lucky that I had a description of what I needed, because a nice, elderly gentleman was able to help me when I realized they make different kinds of PVC pipe. Please don't judge my non-handywoman qualities.

MAKE SURE YOU GET SLIP X SLIP elbow fittings and T fittings. I repeat SLIP X SLIP. That means that the inside with be completely smooth. Just check the label and you'll be fine!

The PVC pipe will come in five feet tubes. You'll want to purchase the 1/2 inch thick tubing. You're going to need about 5.5 ft. per mini anchor chart that you want to make. Look below to see the exact measurements that I used for mine. This is for ONE anchor chart. To cut the pieces, you can get a PVC pipe cutter. My fiance used some type of saw, but do I remember the name of it? NO. Remember, I'm a Target girl. I'm not meant to saw anything. #pathetic


Put two elbow fittings on the ends of one 10 1/2" tube.

Attach the two 12 1/2" tubes to the elbow fittings.

Attach the T fittings to the bottom.

Attach the four 2 1/2" tubes to your T fittings.

Attach the four other elbow fittings to your 2 1/2" tubes.

Finish your stand by securing the other two 10 1/2" tubes to your elbow fittings.

Make your stands POP by spray painting them or applying duct tape! I found this duct tape at Wal-Mart, and to be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of it. It's just the only tape I could see fitting in with the rest of my classroom.

Tear off strips approximately 3 inches in length.

Apply to all of the tubing. 

 Hang pocket folders from the charts using binder rings. I'm using these four stands for my math centers. All of my worksheets, task cards, etc. will fit nicely in these folders, and it will be nice that I can place these anywhere around the room! Easy access and cleanup for my kiddos and I!

This is just ONE center stand; I still have three to go! Good thing I'm on spring break! :) :) :)