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Ten Gifts for Teachers That They Will Actually Love

Unsure of what to get your colleagues, teacher friends or kids teachers? This list is full of the best teacher gifts that they will love! The best part is they work for holidays, birthdays, Teacher Appreciation Week, or just because.




Best Picture Books for Thanksgiving

There are so many picture books for Thanksgiving.  How do you know which ones are the best?  If you are anything like me, you hate to spend your limited resources on a book that just doesn't fit your purpose or looked cute but didn't hit the mark.
I am sharing with you my November favorites with a quick synopsis so you know what to expect.


fall picture books read aloud, best picture books Thanksgiving


Reading Comprehension Strategies in First Grade

In first grade, we not only get to teach students how to read but how to think about their reading, too. These skills are very important but can be so hard for first graders to grasp. Teaching students how to think is not an easy task.



Implementing the Readers Workshop Model in First Grade

Elementary teachers have so much to do!  We teach all of the subjects and are expected to be knowledgeable and plan for each one.  Reading is one of the hardest subjects to teach.  In first grade we teach students how to read.  We provide the foundation.  Without a strong foundation in first grade, students will have reading deficits in future years making it very hard to catch up with peers.


Implementing readers workshop has been a game changer for me! Gone are the days of endless planning and prepping of literacy centers that often felt like busy work. Gone are the days of asking my students which Daily Five they were going to and making sure they got to each one.  Gone are the days of feeling like my first graders weren’t spending the bulk of their time in books, actually reading.


readers workshop mini lessons, first grade reading worskshop units of study

Top Ten Books for October

We are about to enter the beginning of the holiday season, a time where children act like it's a full moon and the barometer is dropping on a daily basis.  This time of year can be crazy! I understand all too well the struggle of keeping students' attention during this time.  

Morning Routines

What does your classroom morning routine look like? Are you trying to juggle students, parents, taking attendance, looking at emails, notes, all while you want to get started teaching so your students are working on something meaningful without having to give the same directions over and over again?  Ive got a few things that Ive implemented over the years that help make our classroom morning routine easy.

Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day.  A strong classroom routine includes clear expectations, consistency, and procedures that your students know how to use.  It is an important time for students to be independent.

first grade morning routine, first grade morning meeting

Guided Reading Tools


Guided reading is important work in every grade, but especially first, where students must move through a lot of levels in a year.  Guided reading offers students meaningful instruction that is intentional. Texts are at a student’s instructional level of reading {ie: not easy, not too hard, just a little challenge}.
Planning and prepping for Guided Reading can be overwhelming.  Guided reading lessons can be overwhelming for students, too.  I am going to share with you some of the best tools I use to help my young students stay engaged and focused throughout the 15-20 minute lesson.

If you are interested in reading more about how I structure guided reading, check out this blog post.


guided reading for first grade

How to Have the BEST First Day Ever!

Tomorrow I begin year 25 of my teaching career!  How have I been teaching for 25 years?  It just blows my mind!
I still get nervous for the first day of school.  I want this year to be as good as last year.  I want the kids to like me.  I want my students to have fun.  I don’t want any stress or tears {for the children and ME!}  I want to know everyone’s name. I want to remember our schedule and get to recess, specials, lunch and dismissal on time. I want to have ALL the patience in the world and remain calm and smiling the entire day.  I want to make sure I haven’t lost a student.  I want every single child leaving with a smile on their face saying that they cannot wait to come back!
Boy, that’s a lot!  I put a lot of pressure on myself to ensure that the first day is the absolute best day. 

back to school

Top Tips for Meet the Teacher

Meet the Teacher Night can be an exciting time!  There is so much to say and do.  We want to meet everyone, know how students are getting to and from school, what they are eating for lunch and inform parents of anything they must know for the first week of school. And that is not even the important stuff!  Being a teacher is all about building relationships with students and their families.  We have a few minutes to initially learn about our new students so they have a super successful first week and year. My number one tip is to focus on relatonships and your incoming students and families.