The first of August finds me a week into my school year already!  Hard to believe I get gets on Monday...YIKES!

And as if that's not crazy enough for me, I'm participating in 2 different events this weekend plus one more back to school event next week!  #backtoschool season is wearing. me. out.  But so much fun!  Check them out!

First, I'm starting a brand new linky for back-to-school season...

Join me and my blogging buddies on the first of the month to find all of those great #DollarDeals all in one place!  $1 deals on the 1st of each month!  And since there is no minimum purchase on TPT anymore, you are free to grab those deals NOW and not have to wait!

In honor of #BTS season, my first dollar deal is Setting Reading Goals and Self-Assessing!

Remember when you just tested little Jane on her reading level and when you were finished you just said, "Ok, thanks, sweetheart, you can go back now!"....and inside you were cringing because she had barely missed the mark and she was skipping along as clueless as could be???  Okay, okay...maybe you didn't ever do this.

But I did.

And then I decided that the kids needed to be able to celebrate the successes with me...and we needed to talk about their weaknesses together!

So, that's how this little guy came about.  My kids keep their reading level thermometer in their reading folders.  That's what they bring back to me each time we test.  I literally take a minute extra after I test to have them color in their new reading level, let them know if they are on track, behind or above, and set goals for the next quarter.

I have a thermometer for Kinder, 1st and 2nd grades that correlate with DRA and with the Guided Reading Levels so you should be able to find what you need whether it's numbers or letters!

I love this self-assessment because it gives ownership to the kiddos.  I have been having my kids set reading goals and monitor their progress for several years now and it is really one of the most powerful things I've ever done.

The kids *love* knowing their level.  Just the act of knowing their level and where they should be is motivation for them to grow at this age.  It's so simple that I can't believe I missed that my first few years of teaching.

Of course, I have been using this since before the LochTESS monster came around... :) but it is *fantastic* evidence for that distinguished category since kids are self-assessing and taking charge of their learning and record keeping.

This dollar deal is a small part of my complete guided reading packet which you can check out HERE.  Tons of resources and more to come in this packet!  You can read my blog posts on Guided Reading to catch up on how I organize my space for Guided Reading and the nuts and bolts of it all.

Oh, yeah...and I'll be giving one of the guided reading packets away with our Big Heartland Blogger Back-To-School Give Away!  Enter below and be sure to check out all of my other blogger friends and enter their give aways too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And on Monday, I'll be linking up with #TeacherMom for another back to school linky.

Do you have a back-to-school dollar deal to share?  Link up with me so we can all have our dollar deals in one place!  And change your product name to say "1on1DollarDeal" at the front of your product to make it easier to search on TPT!

It's that time of year again...While many of my friends are casually making their way back to school to set up for the new year, I am frantically finishing...

As several of you may know, I accepted a new first grade position at a new school in a new district.

This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.  I love my school family dearly.  I spent 9 years teaching first grade in the same classroom at that school.  In many ways, I feel like that school "raised" me as a teacher.  It's where I first started out as a "baby" teacher.  My dear principal and teammates helped me grow as a teacher and professional in more ways than I can count.  And I am forever grateful and blessed to many of those friends for suffering through my teaching shortcomings to help raise me into a tolerable teacher! :)  God knew exactly what He was doing when he placed me there 10 years ago.  I met my best friend there, I worked on an absolute dream team of teachers and made friends like family to me.  I will never forget my experience there.

So I knew that if I were ever going to move schools, it would have to be a God thing.  After all, my plans were to finish my teaching career there.  But God had different plans.  After moving to our new house and making my commute 35 minutes instead of 15 minutes, I needed to find a place closer to our new house.  After school let out, my husband and I made the decision for me to look for a new job closer to home...after many hours of tears and was not a decision that was made lightly.  I knew it was a bad time (in my eyes) to make a job switch in June, but within a week of turning in my resume, I was offered a new job...15 minutes from our new house!  Surely, God knew what he was doing!

I am so thrilled to be at this new school.  I can already tell it is a wonderful school with a very close and friendly staff.  And I see a little bit of my old school in many of the people there which makes my heart happy!

With all of new school is a year round school.  This means I just finished my week of inservice and kids will come back to school August 3rd.  I am super excited as a mommy of a little one to try out this new calendar schedule!

The fun part is that I was not able to get into my room to set up my brand new classroom until Thursday, July 23rd.  And my family was vacationing in Disney....So we returned from vacation Sunday, July 26th at 12:30 and I worked until 1:00 am or later Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to set up my room for our Open House on Wednesday....

PHEW!!!! I. Am. Exhausted!

All of that long introduction to's my new room.  Once I got past the exhaustion, it was a lot of fun setting up a brand new classroom.  And it's not 100% finished, but I wanted to go ahead a post before the first week with kids crazies start! :)  It was a new challenge and I love new decorating challenges!  So let's get to it!!

Yes...I stayed with the western theme.  I just love it too much AND I didn't want to have to spend the money on a new theme this year!

Cons of my new room:
1. No color.  I really wish I had taken a "before" pictures, but I was to frantic trying to get organized.  It's like a tub of gray paint exploded in this room!
2. No windows.  I am super sad about the lack of natural light in this room and the fact that I didn't get to use my curtains. #sadface

Pros of my new room:
1. I can use hot glue to decorate!!! #happydance
2. All those gray walls can be stapled into so bye-bye expensive tape! #doublehappydance

 I hot glued rope around my doorway and made some bandana and burlap swags to dress up the windows.  This is the closest I could get to curtains!

The swags are red bandana, burlap, and a black and white dot bandana.  I used one of each and cut 2" strips and tied around twine.  Super easy and super cheap!

The view from the sink corner of my room.  Yes I know most of my walls are bare.  That's how I like it.  I don't want stuff on the walls until we learn it together.  I strongly believe that the walls of a classroom should reflect the learning of our, naturally, our classroom starts out basically as a blank slate.

View from my desk/small group area.

View from my classroom library.  I told ya it was gray!

View coming in the front door.

Cubbie shelves. Love how much color the bandana and burlap squares added.  I just folded them over on twine and hung on command hooks.  Super easy. Super colorful.  Lots of bang for my buck right there!  Also...I *heart* my Turnbow painted pot I kept! #tear

The shelves made the perfect display for my art piece I did in college, my framed picture of my first class and my Listen to the Musn'ts poem {grab it HERE}.

Stealing my creative former teammate's idea from last year and having a special seat for my ranch hand this year.  I'm planning to go back to highlighting my ranch hand more throughout the week like I did a few years back.  I'll be blogging more about that later.  My name is up there because I am always the first ranch hand! :)

With only 1 official bulletin board, I had to get creative.   Here's where I'll post our big idea for our well as our "I can board." {which I haven't finished yet...told ya...still frantically trying to finish for Monday!}

I was super excited to find a way to make my Ladybug cart skirt work from before!

Thanks to a $14 mirror from Walmart, my kids can actually look at themselves in the mirror when they wash their hands!

Since there is only one bulletin board in this classroom, I had to make one from scratch.  But I love how well it breaks up this gray blob of a wall! {Grab word wall cards HERE}

New room, new set of black shelves.  I just love these shelves.  Best organization tool ever in my classroom.  This year, I'll be storing browsing boxes on them for my kids as well!

And my classroom library, aka "Reading Corral."  I am SOOOOO happy with how this turned out.  This area was so so sad with just the corral fence and no furniture.  I needed something with some height and to add some visual interest over here.  I had the idea of making a barn of some sort, but couldn't quite figure out how to execute that in a reasonable way.  Until my *genius* hubby suggested corrugated metal.  Y'all, he's seriously the best.  I talked to him about the idea Sunday night around midnight, he drew out plans Monday, built it late Monday night and installed it Tuesday night.  For realz...he just awesome.  I love that he puts up with my crazy ideas!

Aren't these perfect?  A little toilet cleaner and steel wool to age these and they're beautiful.  Later, I may come back and glaze over them to age them a bit more, but that's on the back burner for now! #priorities #keepinitreal

My classroom library shrunk when I moved because I had to leave many of my books, but it ended up being just the right amount for this space. {Grab the tub labels HERE) Thanks, again, to Walmart for a cheap, cute shelf!

Out with the old floor pillows and in with new pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I kept the same bandana accent pillows.

Calendar board and dry erase board...

Love the combo of the wavy burlap ribbon and chevron ribbon.  Both from Hobby Lobby.  When you have to completely decorate a room in 3 days, there is no time to order just the perfect border.  So, Hobby Lobby bailed me out with wide ribbon that worked beautifully!

Here's my guided reading and small group area.  Love that I was able to combine my desk and small group table in the same area this year.  Also...the jury is still out on a desk chair.  I told ya it wasn't completely finished!

My desk area.
 Chalkboard is from Hobby Lobby and blank because my chalk markers died.  Others are in the mail and on the way....again...#keepinitreal

Calm down spot...

Cooper has fallen in love with Telly the Turtle this summer.  He is going to be devastated when he learns Telly has moved back in with Mommy's first graders....

Thank goodness I sharpened 30 pencils before the last day of school last year...that's one less thing on my to do list this year!

I love this bandana lamp I made a few years back.  And I can see it so much better in its new home on my desk.  Just a cheap lamp from Walmart with a little hot glue, rope and bandana fabric.  Super easy to do!
Writing table...

Above my cabinets...I had have the upper cabinet space to decorate this year.   But I still love how cozy it turned out!

I am so excited about my new adventure in a year round school and can't wait to get started with kids on Monday!
Intervention has been quite the buzz word the last year or so, hasn't it???  At least it has been in my neck of the woods.  Generally, teachers are very comfortable doing intervention in literacy, but what does good, research based intervention look like in math?  I'll be blogging about ways I used intervention in my math instruction last year over the next few days.

#4: Math Skills
Once a week I try to work on a specific math skill with some sort of game.  Last year I wasn't as consistent as I hope to be this year.   Sometimes I think math games need to be limited because it can be hard to differentiate games to meet the needs of all learners.  But I have a core group of games that I have used over the last 10 years that are the best of the best.  They are tied to base 10 understanding and building flexibility with composing tens, which I believe is the basis for deep math understanding and success in the CGI classroom.

Again, this is another opportunity to pull a small group after I get everyone started.  All of my print and play math games are easy enough that kids can play independently after modeling or playing together for 5 minutes or so before partner practice.  During math skill games, I mainly pull my strugglers.  We play the same game with additional support.

Here is the Game of Compare from the packet.  This is what it looks like in partner practice for on grade level kiddos.

Here is my intervention group on that same game.  Same game, same rules, but I added the pop cubes to help give them a visual for comparing--connecting it to the idea of a graph.

Here's another game that I've been using in one-on-one tutoring this summer: Tens Go Fish.  I didn't get action shots of us playing the game since it was one-on-one, but it's just like go fish, but finding pairs that make 10.  Using the ten frame is a great scaffolding tool for my strugglers.  Such a powerful tool, but I do like to go back and forth with them from using the frame to doing it without or with fingers, just to give them a variety of visuals to experience.  That's super important to me because I think it helps the transfer of their learning.

And yet another favorite: Total of 10.  Game board of 20 cards...and the object is to clear the board by finding ways to make 10.  I also love this one because it can be played with partners or independently.  During tutoring this year, we used the ten frame to help visualize making 10...

This game gets really good when the board starts to clear....
....because kids have to use more than 2 numbers to make 10.  That's when the 10 frame becomes really helpful!  My strugglers will always insist that we are done finding pairs of 10's (especially if they just have them memorized....womp, womp!)  So, I use the 10 frame to help them visualize...

Then, we record how we made 10...with the same colors of course (!) and write our number sentence to match.
This one is a favorite of my kids at all levels.  My highs love it because it really is a challenge (even for adults) to completely clear the board.  I've only had a handful of kiddos clear the board in 9 years  of teaching!!  Need an extension?  Play Total of 20 instead!

And these are just 3 of the 10 games included in my math games packet.  This packet includes scaffolds for your strugglers and extensions for your high kiddos too!

4 blog posts later and we are up to a grand total of 120 minutes or 2 hours of intervention each week that is available to me!  Knowing I have that much time to can I even think about not using that time.  That's some major bang for my buck right there!

How do you use intervention in your math classroom?
Intervention has been quite the buzz word the last year or so, hasn't it???  At least it has been in my neck of the woods.  Generally, teachers are very comfortable doing intervention in literacy, but what does good, research based intervention look like in math?  I'll be blogging about ways I used intervention in my math instruction last year over the next few days.

#3: Fact Fluency 
Like Counting Collections, during Fact Fluency, my kids are practicing facts and explaining their thinking with partners for about 20-30 minutes depending on the time of year.  {Read about the details of partner practice for fact fluency here.}  Fact Fluency partner practice does take a little more "overseeing" than Counting Collections just to make sure kiddos are really explaining their thinking and not just trying to rush through facts.  This usually means I only meet with one intervention group.  This gives me time to walk around the room every few minutes and give kids that accountability piece.

As with guided reading, most weeks my groups are my lowest babies who are still struggling to understand addition and subtraction.  While every one else works on facts, we do CGI problems to give them context.  This is essentially an additional day of CGI work for these strugglers.  I use my anecdotal records I blogged about in my first blog of the series to know who I need to pull for this.  We work really hard on the difference between addition and subtraction, and how to show their thinking.  What I have found is that in small groups, several of these kiddos actually DO understand the problem and can get the right answer when you just work the problem orally with fingers or tools.  But the disconnect comes when they try and show their thinking on their paper.  That's why they look like they are completely lost when they do CGI independently on their desk...because their paper is a mess! :)  So my interventions center around notating their strategies. {Sorry no pics for this since it's summer...I'll try to update during the school year.}

One math game that I also work on with these kiddos for fluency practice is build, break, notate.  This game is in my print and play math games packet.  It's a great game for building fluency when I'm not practicing CGI problems with this intervention group.

Students roll 2 dice (or 3 or 1 or draw cards...whatever works to make the number ranges you need!)

Then, they draw and label the set, and find two other ways to make the same number and write a number sentence to match.  I've used this in small group informally and with my 1-on-1 tutoring kids.  It's so great for building fluency and flexibility with numbers!  I also love that I can stretch my high kids by having them decompose the number into 3 parts instead of 2!

Again, while most of my intervention time is for my lowest, about 25% of my intervention time is for bubble kids or my highest who need some extension {They get extensions with 2nd grade level facts in partner practice, but they still need my help extending their notation.}  So once or twice a month (fact fluency is only a weekly activity) I will pull a different group during Fact Fluency.

How many RTI minutes am I up to now?  Let's add it up...
CGI: 60 minutes
Counting Collections: 20 minutes
Fact Fluency: 20 minutes
100 minutes and counting! 

And one more RTI Math blog to add later this week! Stay tuned!!
Back to Top