Hey y'all! Hope you are having a fantastic start to the school year! I am linking up with
The Owl Teacher for a very cool linky, What's in my teacher bag?
 So I have multiple bags I carry to and from work, probably just like you! But here is one of my favorite designed bags!

My gorgeous Macbook! Although it's really NOT mine, it's the schools, I purchased a hard case and colorful chevron silicone key protector (not sure if that's the correct term). Anyway, it makes me happy, and I carry it with me to and from school every day!

Weekly Calendar
My weekly calendar from Krista Wallden I use weekly. I plan out the standards I will be teaching, and I also write any school meetings, or school related activities on this calendar. 

TPT Planner
I ordered this planner from Erin Cobb (unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to Vegas this year, but I purchased it anyway). It is amazing! I am able to track my ideas/stats. Before I'd write an idea on a post it that would get lost, not it's all in one place!
What teacher doesn't have post-its somewhere, whether it's their teacher bag, purse, a desk drawer--wherever!! Post it's are a must have, especially when I'm lesson planning :)
Book- Reading Strategies by Jennifer Serravallo
Seriously, this book is A-mazing! Whether you are a primary teacher or intermediate---seriously 300 reading strategies to help meet your kiddos where they are. I teach only Literacy this year, so this book is my LOVE!!
Blair Turner Paper
Ok, if you don't know who Blair Turner is---run, and go check out her stuff. She is not only a TpTer, but she also has her own line of paper products. Seriously she's brillant, and her stuff is SUPER cute!! Love her work!
Planning materials
I have the teachers planbook for the Social Studies I'm teaching, as well as the Phonics book for the phonics program we teach. 
Mechanical Pencils and Flair Pens
I am a writing utensil WHORE---there I said it. I was actually surprised I only had 1 red pen and 1 mechanical pencil in this bag. I normally have like 15+ writing utensils with me in any given bag at any given time. I love and have an obsession with all things ink/lead! 

So that's it for me, check out the other teacher bags, and link up!!

! An InLinkz Link-up
Hello Friends!! I am teaming up with some terrific bloggin buddies to bring you the 2015 Fall Blog Hop!
Thanks to my dear friend, Stephanie, who organized all this fabulous fall-ness fun!! You can check her out here....
Ok, so has anyone else had a panic attack this year, or has it just been me? I have started year 3 in 1st grade, and friends, I am still struggling with the start of school! I kinda thought I'd be past that beginning of the school year anxiety, but nope--it has hit me hard!!
I do have to say FALL is my favorite time of year!! From the yummy food, to my anniversairy, one of my children's birthdays, football, the back to school rhythm, and of course the fall scented candles!!! LOVE THEM :) So I guess my beginning of the year teacher tired-ness is ok---because I have so many wonderful things happening during these great months!

Ok, so now onto some goodies!! I start the year off talking about characters (if you are a common core state or school, that standard would be RL.1.3). My kiddos love Chrysanthemum and we start the school year off by reading it and talking about how we feel as well. Then once we start talking about characters, we revisit Chrysanthemum, and start digging into character traits. I often use an exit ticket or response sheet that says, I think ______is _______ because _______. That way the student can choose which character they are describing and giving me the reason why. So I've created my newest freebie to go along with this!

You can find that freebie by clicking on the image above!

This green shade is one of my favorites!! In fact, I just purchased this bag from Target last week! You can find it here.

This is another must have! I love these pants from Old Navy--I just bought this color, I also have navy, gray, black and a green that has black polka dots! They are super comfy and you can find them here

My favorite time of year to burn candles is when it starts getting cooler outside. I am NOT a candle snob, I will buy candles from anywhere, however, I have found in my candle buying experience, Yankee Candles do seem to smell stronger for a longer period of time. One of their fall scents that I love is Autumn Leaves! You can find it HERE.

Ok, so because I love fall so much and I know how tired and stressful it can be at the beginning of the year for you as a teacher, I'm running a giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers! Of course I would love you to spend it in my store, Momma with a Teaching Mission
however I want you to get what you need for your kiddos and classroom :) I will announce the winner on my blog when the Fall Blog Hop ends on 9/26, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next stop on the hop is

Ok, so picture this. You go to your local grocery store to pick up some Grandma Utz chips for yourself and some Martins BBQ Ruffles for your hubs. You arrive only to find out that your grocery store is only carrying one brand on plain lightly salted Lays. NOTHING ELSE. That's it! BOR-ING, who doesn't want a variety to choose from when shopping!

So how is it any different if you teach reading via a whole group lesson? I'm gonna tell ya something, it's not! Yes, I'm sure you may be meeting the needs of some of your learners, HOWEVER, many of your learners are wanting or needing or CRAVING something different or
 something more!!

So let's talk about hitting a home run during your reading block!!

I hear the groans. But Melanie (that's me), I have so many excuses why I shouldn't teach small group! Ok so maybe those are the exact words you would say---but maybe it sounds like one of these...

Ok so maybe you have been teaching since 1998, or 1983, or 2005---however long you have been teaching THANK YOU :) Second of all---have you always done it the same way? Maybe your school has purchased different programs---you have taught under different curriculum---but your delivery....has your delivery remained the same?? Just because you have always done something a certain way, doesn't make it right. Yes, it may be the way you are the most comfortable. But in a nation (the US) we have approximately 40% of our students reading below grade level----something ain't working!!

Ok so you are not comfortable with the whole idea of teaching lessons via small group. You have some questions and concerns---that makes you a great teacher!! All great teachers I know get nervous or anxious about trying something new. But, let me just be blunt, get over yourself ;)

 So maybe you're a primary teacher like me, or maybe an intermediate teacher. Maybe you're thinking---seriously? who is this chick? My kids are so far from being able to work independently--I would never be able to get any small group work done with the others interrupting! It's all about building that stamina--whether it is math, reading or writing stamina. Yes I have to agree, there is somewhat of a developmental ability to remain on task while a teacher is working with other students, but hopefully I can help with that! Start off small, I didn't start off with rotations on day 1. We worked on practicing each skill and building our stamina. Then like on day 15 I finally showed and we practiced how to do rotations. After 2 rotations, I would hold a short meet back at the carpet reminder of rules during rotations (no talking to teacher when meeting with groups, ask 3 before asking me)
Maybe you are questioning pulling small groups because you are concerned with what the other students will be doing at this time. Maybe you are thinking--hey I've tried daily 5 and that stuff the kids are supposed to be doing while I'm meeting with the other students just does not work in my classroom. The other students will be engaged in meaningful activity based off the learning they did with you in the small group session.  I oftentimes end my small group lesson with them and tell them to go back and work on the skill we just talked about. My students do 'rotations' (which if you have read other posts you have heard me talk about). My rotations are similar to daily 5, with more of a control factor from the teacher. I have an editable powerpoint that I flip every rotation. The 4 rotations the students move through--meet with me, read to self, word work, and buddy read. Two of these rotations are very social (buddy read and meeting with me) and two of these rotations are completely independent. I do that purposefully. They do one social rotation followed by one independent (or vice versa). The word work is completely based off their needs---if they are struggling with reading CVC words, I may have them building words with alphabet charms from my daughters' bracelet making kid, or building rhyming words with blocks. If they are struggling with basic sight words, I have some more tactile tools, like sight words written with puffy paint, or a salt bin for them to write the sight words. If they are more capable readers I have them working on unscrambling sentences. The word work (most of the time) aligns with the skills they are working on in small group with me.

Ok so maybe the last excuse that you may be thinking---my students are 1st graders (or 3rd graders or 8th graders) and they need to be taught their grade level standards and content!! Ok, I agree with you TO A DEGREE! But my question for you then is....what if they can't reach the grade level be-low's standards? What is the point of teaching them standards if they can't master 2 grade levels (or more) below. MEET YOUR KIDDOS WHERE THEY ARE! If they need to learn to read---teach them--don't waste their time or yours trying to compare and contrast two texts when they can't even read! Yes, I think all students need exposed to their grade level standards and curriculum or content, but what a dis-service we are doing by continuing to push them through and shove content down their throat that is so foreign to them.

Ok so I apologize if I've made you feel guilty. Well, not really. I WANT you to get out of your comfort zone. I WANT you to try something new. I WANT you to get mad that approximately 40% of the students here in the United States are reading below grade level. So here are your challenges :) You're welcome.

My school does MAP testing (Measurement of Academic Progress), maybe your school does something similiar. This MAP testing that my students do three times a year gives me data based off their RIT score. I use a tool called the Learning Continuum to see what skills my students need to work on. In reading, the MAP tests breaks the students scores into 4 areas: Foundational, Literature and Information, Language and Writing, and Vocabulary. I then created a table in Powerpoint based off the data from the different scores and areas. One student may be in the lowest scoring group for Vocabulary, but may be in the highest group for foundational skills.
For my lesson plans, I have made multiple copies of these data sheets. I then just highlight the skill I am working on with them when they meet with me.

Your school doesn't do any sort of testing like MAP testing?! That's fine! You can do some formative data collection to see what skills your kiddos need to work on.

I'm sure many of you pull small groups based off F&P level, fantastic, but that's not the needs I'm speaking to. Look at everything---from the way they form a sentence, to grammatical errors, to reading fluently. Your groups should be fluid---meaning they are constantly changing based off your students needs.

Data collection is key! The more data you collect, the more you know what your kiddos need. Yes, little Johnnie may read on an F&P level of J, however, he really struggles with fluency and comprehending the text. And let me also add, I don't mean take more grades. I mean informally (formative assessments) assess your students---pull groups based off skills and based off their needs. Continue to collect data--DAILY! The more you do it, the more skilled you will become at data collection--you will see and wonder why you hadn't done it before!

So hopefully you aren't gonna continue to serve up your kiddos those plain old lightly salted Lays potato chips---through a little Grandma Utz and Martins BBQ in there :)

Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you!! Wishing you all the best in teaching reading :)

I am once again linking up with the super fab Doodle Bugs Teaching for another peek at my week!
This has been a super busy week, but check me out :D

On Saturday night we took our little Buddy to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate his 6th birthday. The kiddos had a ball running around and playing games. All of them that is except Alexa, she was petrified of the mouse!!
In writing, we have been working on goal setting. I purchased Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills, you can find it here. It seriously has been a life saver for my planning in writing!!! Love their work :)
In reading, we have been talking about characters. We read Lilly's Big Day and I used the mouse clipart from the amazing Mel of Graphics from the pond!! The kiddos loved creating their character pyramid.

Many of my kiddos are early readers. They are still struggling with CVC words and they don't yet know their sight words. I created this product to assist them with early stages of reading and comprehension. You can find this Reading Comprehension NO PREP Printables. The kiddos really enjoyed showing me what they knew!

Our art teacher had all the kiddos draw portraits of their favorite teacher. These fabulous drawings (over 700) are in the hallway that all the kiddos and staff wall through everyday to get to the cafeteria. This one portrait cracked me up! I often say my hair is like  a birds' nest, so I wonder if that's why the student drew a bird at the top of my hand saying tweet :)

Wishing you another great week!

I am linking up with the super fab Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's
This week has been a very eventful one!! Check me out :)
So I am ONLY a literacy teacher this year. I teach one group of kiddos in the AM, then I switch with my STEM counterpart and I teach her kiddos literacy in the afternoon, while she teaches STEM to them. So one of the first standards we have attempted to tackle has been RETELLING. Last week, I unsuccessfully attempted to teach my kiddos. Nothing seemed to work--not the retelling rope, retelling hand, retelling bracelet, NOTTA! Then I saw my friend, Carrie over at Adventures in Kinder and beyond, had these amazing Nursery Rhyme pack and she blogged, or it may have been instagramed, about how she used it for retelling. A lightbulb went off!! This would work perfect, so all this week, we have been reciting nursery rhymes, and then they using Carrie's nursery pack to extend our learning. I even have a retelling center now with these nursery rhymes and the retelling cards---the kiddos went cray cray for them!!!
It's so important to have a happy medium between work and family. I absolutely love my children, and I also love my job. I feel that teaching makes me a better mother, and vice versa--being a mother has made me a better teacher. Wednesday night, my eldest had football practice (my husband took him), and my two middle children had AWANA at the church, so me and my Lexa bug got to have an ice cream date. I love spending one-on-one time with each of them when I can---which isn't that often!!
With teaching literacy, I also attempt to do my version of daily 5, but it's more like a daily 4 and I call it rotations. With Rotations, the students are either buddy reading, reading to self, meeting with me, or doing some sort of specific word work activity. Last year I started creating a powerpoint with the students' names and I would project it so they knew which rotation they were to go to. This year I have changed it a bit because I have the students in different groups based off of different data. I have groups for Foundational skills, vocabulary skills groups, literature and information groups, and language and writing groups. We took the MAP testing at the end of last week, and I took that data and created groups so I am able to hone in on those skills. So I was able to start rotations with my afternoon group, my morning group is not quite ready for independent activities, so we are still in the practicing phase, WISH ME LUCK!
Thursday September 10th was my 3rd child's birthday. Christopher turned 6 and he had a great day! I took the day off, I was able to make them breakfast, take them to school (with his cupcakes), make dinner and a cake, and then pick them up from school. He was so grateful for his gifts, after opening each one, saying 'thank you mommy so much!' He is such a sweet little boy and I was so glad I got to make his day special for him. On Saturday night, we are taking him out to his choice--Chuck E Cheese, so that should be fun, we haven't been there for a long time!
So this is Marking Period 1 of our school. We map out all the standards we are teaching throughout the year, to make sure they are all planned for, and then we go back in and plug in assessment and checkpoints, and then finally we do themes and the day to day activities. So we've spent about 2 weeks on retelling, and next we are moving onto describing characters, setting, and main events. In writing, I've been trying to get the kids excited about writing, but next week we are moving onto 'how to' or informative writing. Social studies, which is integrated into reading time, we are going to be talking US symbols. It should be an exciting week!

OHHHHH and I got a brand new blog design, just up and running today from the AMAZINGLY talented Laine from Peace of Africa she is absolutely wonderful to work with, and if you are in the department of shopping for a new blog or logo designer she is SUPER QUICK and fantastically reasonably priced!!

Anyway, have a great week!!

Hello Hello! I am linking up with the super fab Rachael from The Classroom Game Nook for
So I've been back in school for about 3 weeks now. And man, I have been wiped out!
Every morning I stop at Dunkin Donuts, which is super convenient because it's beside my school, for coffee. The pumpkin flavor is back, so I'm all over that in my XL coffee :) And yes, I have a coffee maker at school (and at home), but this is just a little something I do for myself every day! Sometimes you just gotta do that to keep your sanity!
Today, September 10th is my 3rd child, Christophers' 6th birthday. He just started KG this year and is absolutely loving it! I am so proud of my little Buddy :)

From March through September, we pretty much spend every Saturday night at the races. My husband races on a dirt track, and this past Saturday he won the points for his class! I am so proud of him, he had set out to race for points this year and with him winning he has proven to himself that he is a fantastic driver, as well as so smart about the mechanics and everything with his car (he does all his own engine and mechanically work).
This kid. She is my youngest. And she has my heart. I mean all 4 of my kids have my heart, but she is just something else. My other daughter, Katie, had a parade on Saturday, so me and Alexa had a mommy-daughter date at the parade watching and waiting for Katie. We also ate some homemade ice cream :)
This is the door to my classroom. I have spent countless hours here. I have attempted to make it inviting, as well as a home away from home for me and my kiddos. You can read more about my classroom reveal HERE.
So we have been working on retelling stories--focusing on beginning, middle, and end. I quickly forget how much my 1st grade friends grow from the beginning to the end of the year. I learned remembered the hard when with a quick activity with simple sentences. They couldn't even read those, so that lead to the activity my student is completing in the picture. They had to cut and paste the animals, in the order that they were in the story, and then they had to draw and label a picture of what each animal wanted from Farmer Brown in the story Click Clack Moo.
We continued to work on retelling with something familiar. I read the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, then I had students take turns reading line by line. They absolutely loved it!! And I owe it all to my dear friend Carrie from Adventures in Kinder and Beyond
After we read the story, I used Carries' super cute retelling cards to have the students put them in order. Wednesday we read Jack and Jill, and they did a cut and paste to retell and order the events. On Friday, I'm going to have them read Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and then complete an activity by themselves for a formative assessment (I'm crossing my fingers that my kiddos will finally be catching on to retelling after spending 10 days on it!) OH and you can find Carrie's Nursery Rhyme set HERE, please check it out because it is awesome!! I plan on have a center activity, with each poster and the retelling cards in each bag, so the students can read the nursery rhyme, and then work on retelling it.
We spend countless hours at practices. Tuesday night, Karter (my eldest) had football practice, so I do everything I can to entertain my other littles :) On Tuesday, my kiddos found a small container of bubbles. Christopher blew them for Alexa and she just squealed and giggled with excitement :) There's nothing better than your children's laughter!
Our lives right now revolve around football. Between Karter's practice 3 nights a week, and games once on the weekend, and then Christopher's once a week flag football practice, and once a week games on the weekend---we are just a footballing family :)

Make sure you check out my other blogging friends who are linking up with the 10 on 10 with Rachael from The Classroom Game Nook

Take care!

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