Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 3

Here We Go… We have been learning all about the foundation of the D5, but now it’s time to start getting into the nitty-gritty and establishing the daily routine.
Where do we begin????
 The Gathering Place!!
I do not have any cool pictures of my “gathering place”. This will be my first year implementing the D5 in my classroom (Super excited)!!! I have a pretty strong feeling that my gathering place will be in the front of my room where my interactive Smartboard and dry erase board are located in my classroom. (My future classroom-bad picture but you get idea.)
In the book, the Sisters stated that the gathering place is where "the whole class comes together...regardless of the age of the children". This is because "distractions are limited...and students are able to turn and talk to each other." (This reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen. The family would congregate in the kitchen and socialize. People were face to face, eye to eye and it brought the family closer and united us throughout the years.) After reading this, I truly believe it is imperative to have an “official” gathering place designated in your room for D5. It can be a carpet area or set location but you need an “official” spot where everyone can gather together. Once you have gathered then the students can go to different areas around the room to complete their D5 work. KEY: Don’t forget to re-gather and share at the end. I plan to use student number sticks to pick a few students daily and allow them to share what they worked on during their D5 time.
Here is a picture of my numbered student sticks. I plan to draw out a few sticks randomly, the students whose numbers are on the sticks will share what they did during D5. I will flip sticks over in bin (I added color to bottom of the sticks so I know they have already been drawn through the week.)
Good Fit Books a.k.a Appropriate Books
This is all new to me… I was captivated with the section about picking appropriate books. I feel this is definitely something that needs to be stressed prior to beginning the D5. I will be making a polka dot sign to coordinate with my room. (I’ll post as soon as I have it completed for free) To boast excitement about the D5, I think I will also allow my students to bring in their favorite books from home to help increase their motivation.
I found these adorable I Pick posters on Pinterest and added the appropriate blog links-head on over and scoop them up!
Book Box Set-Up
I am excited about setting up my “good fit” book boxes.  At my school, we tier our reading groups. This year, I will be working with the struggling reader group. I feel it will be imperative to set up my book boxes to make them intriguing, interesting, yet reading appropriate for them. (Yes, I am up for the challenge!!) I feel the easiest way for me to ensure that my book boxes are tailored to my students needs, I plan on using the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system. My student’s will be assessed during the first few days of school and they will know their “letter-color zone”.
How do you set up your book boxes??? Do you feel it will be harder if you are teaching multi-leveled readers ranging from beginner to advanced?
Anchor Charts
I am super excited about anchor charts. I have seen numerous examples on pinterest and look forward to creating a few of my own with my reading group. The anchor charts will provide a permanent and visible reminder of the students learning a.k.a their recorded thoughts. If you need some ideas to help get your creative anchor chart juices flowing head on over to Google and type in Daily 5 anchor charts or click the link
Short Intervals of Repeated Practice
Simply stated, “this provides students with a way to hear and feel their learning” thus becoming a part of their default behavior and improved muscle memory.
Signals and Check-In
Hmmmm… what to use for my signal???? That is the big question. Wonder where I can find a chime. Whatever you decide needs to be continual all throughout the year. (P.S. make sure its not harsh!!) The daily chime signal will grab the student’s attention and notify them that’s it’s check-in time. The daily check-in will enable student’s to become more reflective with their learning.
Correct Model/Incorrect Model
I love this…. The teacher will provide the correct and incorrect scenarios of expected behaviors during the D5. This will enable the students to know exactly what is expected of them during D5.
Final Thoughts
My final thoughts on Chapter 3, It’s all about setting the stage for your student’s. Once you set the stage, they will take on the leading role a.k.a taking an active role in their learning.
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this chapter. Don't forget to go over and see the adorable Jana of Thinking Out Loud.
Thinking Out Loud
We are co-hosting chapter three this week.
Link up your thoughts in the blog hop below.
Don't have a blog, no worries simply leave a comment.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 2


As we begin chapter 2 of The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in The Elementary Grades, I want to express that these points below and all throughout the book study are entirely my thoughts and opinions. They are NOT  that of the “2 Sisters” or their publisher Stenhouse. With that out of the way, let’s get started with Chapter 2, which is all about the “why” of the Daily 5 model.
In the book, the 2 Sisters list 6 different core foundations. They are:
  • trusting students
  • providing choice
  • nurturing community
  • creating a sense of urgency
  • building stamina
  • staying out of students' way
Trusting Students
Trusting your students is one of the most vital aspects of what makes the D5 work.  It is very important to teach students exactly what to do and what is expected, then you must “trust” that they will actually do D5. (In my opinion, I feel with modeling I strongly believe student’s with have no trouble completing D5.  Some may need an additional nudge no and again but I feel once you build that teacher/student trust it is a bond that is everlasting.) Trust is a “HUGE” part of the D5. During the D5, teachers should not be worrying about whether a student is working, they need to be assessing, meeting with small groups, and/or chatting with students. As I stated before this will be my first year in a regular classroom and my first year implementing the D5, I look forward to getting to know my students in the first few days and modeling the expectations of the D5. I have no doubt my students will be motivated to learn and work hard daily.
Providing Choice
I love the “Choice” aspect of D5. The Sisters were right on the money when they stated “children love structure and routine” (p.19) . This is something I have witnessed first hand when observing two different classrooms. Students always flourish in the structured room as opposed to the room that is a “hot mess”. Giving students the opportunity to have the “choice” is a huge motivational, it enables them to definitely take charge of their own learning (a.k.a putting them in the driver’s seat of learning).  I feel D5 gives them the opportunity to decide what they want to do on each given day. I love this aspect. I know I always work harder when I am doing something I choose to do vs. something I was assigned.
Nurturing Community
This is an aspect that I feel we already do in all of our classrooms in my current district. Many of our students come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and walk in the doors needing to feel safe and secure.  I love that D5 brings on a whole new meaning of this aspect and enables the students within the D5 to become entwined as a group/community. As the educator, we need to nurture them and help provide them with the basic essentials to become better readers/writers. The community aspect not only holds them accountable for their learning, but also the learning of others all around them. I feel this is a key element for life too. (love it!)
Creating a Sense of Urgency
It is all about teaching the “why”. Once the students understand the “key” purpose then the activity will become worthy of their attention and concentration. By implementing the d5 we are actually teaching them the why (become better readers/writers) eventually this will flourish into an enjoyable habit not just a chore.
Building Stamina
As I read this section, the theme title for “Rocky” kept playing in my mind.  Stamina in the D5 is all about building up (increasing) your minutes of independent reading and writing. Just like Rocky did to prepare for his fights. (okay, why does the song keep playing in my head with a vision of my students in grey sweat outfits running through the school- Stop it, Stop it!) BREAK TIME
With this thought in mind, you must start out slowly and build every day/week/month. At the beginning of the year, the goal is very small  and as they master the goal they will push themselves to try something harder.  (Maybe I should play a snippet of “Rocky” to model the word stamina to my students. –LOL)

Staying out of Students' Way
Oh My Word!!! This is going to be a tough one for me. Leave them alone and let them work!!! Allow students to flourish in their routine without constant hovering!! Okay, this is my goal for the 2012-2013 school year! As a sped teacher, I was constantly walking around giving positive reinforcement to my students as well as the other kiddos in the class. During D5, I need to not “HOVER” and allow my students to work.  I think this will be a challenge for me at first, but I know it will only be harmful to the D5 if I hover. I can do it!!

OH MY! Oh MY! Look at this adorable stamina chart- Hop on over to Teaching with Style and snag it up for FREE

So, this week, think about how you can implement these foundations into your reading instruction. Which aspects do you already do? Which ones do you want to work on more? Are there any that you don't agree with?
Next week we'll hop over to Mrs. Freshwater's Class (That’s Me- Yippeee!!!) and Thinking Outloud for chapter three. Start thinking about your framing questions:
  1. What "rings true for you" in this chapter?
  2. How are your students progressing with picking appropriate books?
  3. What (if anything) could help improve the processes from this chapter in your classroom?
Since this is a BLOG HOP:
Head on over to the LINKY PARTY at “Teaching with Style” !

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Birthday Decor

I just uploaded my birthday décor- I apologize for the delay. I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting. (Thanks for the emails! Smile)


Birthday Journal



Birthday Certificate from Teacher


Cupcake Pencil Topper (Just add a birthday pencil or for an extra special treat a Smencil)


Birthday Cupcake for Bulletin Board/Door Display


Monthly Headers for Bulletin Board Display or Calendar




Friday, June 15, 2012

Packing, Moving, Graduation-Oh My

Hi Y’all.  I just wanted to check in. Although, I have been posting some small items and freebies, I have not posted any units lately. I have had several emails and figured it was time to do a little explaining. As many of you know, I am leaving my position as a special education teacher and heading to a regular education classroom in the fall. Between packing up my classroom for the big move (luckily I was staying in the same building and had some “sweet” people help me move”), watching my baby graduate high school (tears flowing non-stop) and prepping for his graduation party- I have been a bit preoccupied. Okay, I was completely out of my mind. (LOL!)

I have the move, graduation and party behind me so it’s time to finish some projects I started in April. I have a huge sight word unit, carnival unit, camp out, and reading units coming soon. I know that many are just finishing up their school year and need a break, but I will be finishing up the units and starting some new requests. (Thank you for the overwhelming requests- You guys are amazing. Luckily several have been the same so I think I will be able to tackle them. Do you have a request for a particular item or unit theme? Send me an email at and I’ll see what I can do. My ultimate goal is to finish all my projects (new & old) by August 1st.

I have had several requests for my polka dot items, I will compile my classroom décor in a unit so you can just purchase and download. (Coming Soon)



Have any of you gone to Hobby Lobby lately? I went their Wednesday to pick up 1 thing… $100+ later I got my 1 thing, but was in SHOCK to see they have already begun to put out their Fall and X-mas Décor. I don’t know about you but I just started my summer vacation, I would like a few days to enjoy and soak up some rays before thinking about Fall.

Here are some questions for you:

What’s your theme for the 2012-2013 school year?

Have you begun buying items for the fall?

Where do you go to shop for your items???

Always, Melissa


PS Classroom Organizing Part 5: My teacher binder.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Introduction

The time has come to begin learning and exploring the Daily 5. Come join the fun over the next several weeks as many bloggers are teaming up to complete a book study using “the sisters” Gail Boushey and Joan Moser book titled “The Daily 5 Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades” (Grab a cup of joe or a soda and great ready to explore!)

Here are some of my thoughts after reading chapter one.

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?

This will be my first year in a regular education classroom. I have worked the last few years as a special education resource teacher and a co-teacher during the 90 minute first grade reading block. In the school that I work in, we tier our students in reading class based on their individual reading abilities and needs. This year, I will be leaving my job as a special education teacher and heading to a second grade classroom. For reading, I will be teaching the lower level reading group and am very excited about implementing the Daily 5 strategy with my new students. I feel the D5 will give my students the opportunity to explore and become more independent readers/writers. It will also give me the chance to assess and monitor my students very closely. I am very excited about this new journey and can’t wait to begin!!! Yippppeeee!!!

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers?

In my past reading groups, we have always followed along with the required reading material and had the student’s complete daily worksheets. (The parents seem to feel a worksheet showed their child did something meaningful that day, but it didn’t always show that they could read or comprehend the daily lesson.) Although standards were being met, I have to wonder if “active learning” was actually occurring daily with my students. I am hoping that my struggling readers will develop a true love for reading and writing with the implementation of D5 next year.

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?

Since, I have not implemented the Daily 5 in my classroom yet; I do not feel I can share any of the differences from BD5 to AD5. (Maybe next year!) I do hope that by applying this successful strategy in my new second grade classroom, I will inspire my students to “love” reading as much as I do.

I am hoping the D5 will encourage my students to become more independent, take pride in their daily work, and to instill a love for reading that is lifelong.


As, I stated above I have NEVER implemented D5 in my classroom. I do feel that it could be easily done in a special education setting if you have the students for a chunk of time. Materials could be easily adapted and adjusted to suit the needs of all learners. I personally feel with guidance and structure, the students would flourish with this type of learning, but would need to be monitored at all times to ensure they are working the entire time!!! (I know my lower level learners in my 1st grade reading group needed constant re-direction to “track” during oral reading, stay focused, and to remain on task. That is probably my biggest concern as far as a sped setting. Keeping the students motivated during D5!!)

Next week, the book study will be discussing Chapter 2. Questions to think about while reading/reviewing Chapter 2:

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?

2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter?

3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?

Now what should you do?

1. Well if you are not yet reading the Daily 5 go get it! Click here. It's a super easy read that I read in one day and read again each summer. Try it out!

2. If you have a blog and want to link up go to Suesstastic Classroom Inspirations and link up.

3. If you don't have a blog but want to participate just leave comments, ideas, suggestions, and questions.

4. Check back next week to read about Chapter 2.

Classroom Organization Take 4 “Where Are We?”


As a special education resource teacher, I was constantly grabbing students for testing, small group, and etc. Sometimes, I would head into a class just to discover they were not there… The hunt begins… Well, I think it was easier finding a “cute” resolution to this problem via pinterest.

Have you seen this adorable sign by Sara Saucy of Smiling in Second Grade on Pinterest? Oh My!!!! Love it!!!

Isn’t it adorable??? Too Darn Cute for Words!!

As soon as I saw this, I knew I needed to utilize it in my new 2nd grade classroom. As a resource teacher, I was constantly looking for students to complete benchmark and progress monitoring assessments. I have even witnessed students who have arrived late to school and not know where their class is. (With this adorable sign…your problems will be solved!)

I think this sign is a terrific way to let everyone {students (who may arrive late) and teachers/staff members} know exactly where you are at.

I love how Sara used a small circle and velcro to move to each sign. I am going to attach my signs to a long board, attach some ribbon and use a clip style clothespin to “clip” where we are.

I am going to add a classroom job entitle “On the Go” Montior

The student who is the “On the Go” Monitor will be responsible for moving the clip prior to leaving the room.

I wasn’t sure which sign I liked so I made two versions (LOL)

To snag this sign in neon click the images below.



To snag this sign in black & white polka dot click the images below.






P.S. As soon as I get my sign finished, I will post a finished product picture.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Happy Birthday Baby

What do you do in your classroom to celebrate birthdays? We have a very strict nutrition policy at our school (No Candy, No Sweets!- Items must adhere to policy and be under 100 calories.) Personally, I do not understand why a delectable treat here and there is so detrimental especially when 3/4 of the students live on junk and mountain dew. Oh My-That was little rant!!

Last year, I saw these adorable balloons in pinterest from What the teacher Wants

(Too Cute, Huh!! They used XL Pixie Stix but this is a No No in my county! )


Mrs. Osterman from Kindergarten Rocks used Krazy Straws “Cute Cute Cute”

I have decided to add this adorable idea to my classroom using XL Neon Glow Stix from the Dollar Tree.

Simply click the pictures below to snag my polka dot version of the pinterest birthday balloons!!



Always, Melissa

Classroom Organizing Take 3 Math & Literacy Items

I am back with more labels and organizing ideas. I didn’t have a lot of storage in my room during the 2010-2011 school year so I had to come up with a quick solution. I used these bins for my monthly items (pencils, books, paper, seasonal items, etc.) and thought they would be “perfect” to store my math & literacy manipulative and center activities.

Here are pictures from





In the small 3-drawer carts, I store my center activities in color coded zippered pouches. (Yes, I am OCD, but it does help me stay organized.)


In the wide 3-drawer carts, I store my manipulatives, games, etc.


This has been a system that has worked for me the last few years. All of my materials are easily accessible and the students can easily get out and put materials back without hesitation.

I created new bin labels to coordinate with my black & white polka dot theme for the 2012-2013 school year.

You can grab them along with Math & Literacy Group Labels (I labeled math 1-6 and literacy A-F)

at my TPT store for $2.00








Monday, June 11, 2012



Classroom Organizing Take 2- My Storage Bins

As many of you know I “love” Sterilite Bins- I have them in black and white. I do purchase them from Wal-mart as you can get them shipped to site in bundles and usually save a few $$$.
Pretty soon they will have them in various colors, but I like to stick to plain old white & black as it coordinates with any theme and you can easily add some color with your interior labels.
I have found that copying labels onto cardstock and labeling them helps them to stay fresh all year. I adhere them to the “inside” of my drawers with clear tape.
I am updating my bin labels this year to coordinate with my polka dot theme.
Click one of the pictures below to head on over to my TPT store and snag these up for your own room 30 labels for $2
Simply print, laminate, adhere

I will be giving away my bin labels to one lucky person. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
I will randomly pick a comment tonight at 11 p.m.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Classroom Organizing TAKE 1

Well, as many of you know I am headed to a 2nd grade classroom in the fall. It has been bittersweet packing up my classroom for the 3rd year in a row. Every year, I realize I have acquired too much stuff. I did give many things away to some pretty sweet teachers, but I still have tons of stuff. I am trying to stay ahead of the game and organize as I go. After finding some cute ways to “organize” community supplies I pinterest, I decided to take the plunge and organize the crayons and etc. I had laying around. (Okay, I had a whole bin of crayons- What was I thinking…)

I headed over to Lowe’s and picked up some empty quart containers for my “sharp” and “dull” pencils bins.


I already had a few sterilite 5-drawer containers in my room. So I am going to reuse them for my community supplies and my writing supplies.



I created some labels-

Simply download and print

{Click Here}




Make Sure You Stop Back All Summer for More Freebies and Teacher Created Products

Enjoy, Melissa

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daily 5 Grades 1-3 Book Study Announcement & Hostess Search


Did you buy your book yet???????

The Daily Five

We will be launching our book study on Wednesday, June 13th.

Are you as excited as I am?!?! I sure hope so! I am headed to second grade this year (Nervous but very excited!!!)

I have been waiting patiently to begin Daily 5 for a few years and can’t wait to get started!!!

I LOVE DAILY 5- Super excited to begin!! I will be participating in a book study starting June 13th with some “great” bloggy buddies to complete a chapter by chapter book study!!!!

To Prepare

Grab a Copy of the Book

Begin Reading

Follow the Blogs Below

Begin brainstorming your own ideas as you read through the Chapters

Take Notes

Schedule to Follow Soon

The following 1-3 bloggers are participating..........

Thinking Out Loud

First Grade Blue Skies


Castles and Crayons

Fabulously First

Surfin' Through Second



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