06 October 2013

It's October!

Wow!  It is already October...I can't believe the school year is flying by soooo fast!
And since it is a new month...
that means it is time for
So here is what's currently happening with me... 

Listening -

Law and Order: SVU is my background noise.  I can get a lot of good work done to this show!  Thank goodness for Netflix!

Loving -

My school district, like a bunch of others across the country, has a new teacher evaluation.  Ours consists of 10 Standards in which we can be rated as Ineffective, Needs Development, Proficient, or Exemplary.  We have two sets of two unannounced brief observations, one announced half-hour formal observation where all 10 standards need to be observed, then a conference.  While I am not in love with the whole evaluation process...(I don't mind being observed, but when it is about your job that is a little more stomach turning!) My formal observation was this past Tuesday, and I got results back on Thursday morning.   I was really pleased!  All standards were in Proficient or Exemplary...whoo hoo!

Thinking -

Whoa...first quarter has flown by!  This means my teetering stack of papers to get graded this weekend must be completed whether I like it or not because quarter report card grades will be due soon...bleck!  Luckily, there will be a L&O: SVU marathon on tomorrow...so away I will grade!

Wanting -

Speaking of grading...if I must do it...I like to make it fun!  I'm not an only red pen grader...I like to be colorful!  I am picky about my pens though...I must have a bold point...I prefer gel to ball-point...My regular writing fav, the Pilot G2 bold, only comes in blue or black...Ultra-thin Sharpies are the perfect width, but they bleed through and the fumes will make you a little loopy with overuse...Flair felt-tip have the perfect colors, but they also have some drag on the paper.  I can't find the perfect grading pens...suggestions greatly appreciated!

Needing -

My stress relief is paper-crafting - real paper or digital.  I haven't had time to do any fun crafting -- but I'm prepping to do some crafting for Halloween once I figure out what I want to do!  But here was my last little project...


Trick -

Do you know Evernote?  It is an app that can be installed to your phone, tablet, or computer...and it lets notes you take in meetings, conferences, small groups, or student conferences be available to all your devices!  You can also take audio and video recording then shared your notes too!  Can you imagine the possibilities for portfolios, student support team meetings, and parent conferences...you can allow anyone in on student successes, struggles, and progress!
Have a great October...

 Happy 2nd Birthday to my fun, smart, little nephew Colt!


28 September 2013

Itchin' to Read this New Book

I just got the most adorable new book...

Bugs in My Hair! is about a topic most teachers (and moms and dads) dread...LICE!  When I was a child, I did my time with them...and as soon as my mom got my case cleared up, then my sister got them!   After reading this, my mom add to my own personal lice story...As your mother, I want to clarify the history on the liceapolooza. When you got lice (ICK), you got them from a girl in the class who was a repeat offender. In fact, when you got them 7 other students in the class were found to have them when checked. So... moral of the story is... if a kid in the class has them, and doesn't do what is needed to be done, they will continue to spread over and over throughout the room. (AGAIN ICK)  I have been paranoid about sharing brushes and hats since!  Just hearing the word "lice" makes me itchy...I'm itching as I type!
My students loved Bugs in My Hair!, and it was a fun read!  Mixed in with David Shannon's colorful artwork is the story of a boy, his mother, and a battle with the dreaded lice.  What my class loved most was how he sprinkled facts in story...sometimes as part of the text and sometimes in fact box-like inserts. 
You can definitely tell Mr. Shannon has gone to battle with a "Lice-A-Palooza" himself.  At all grade levels Bugs in My Hair! is a wonderful mentor text for writing what you know and how you can write about something ordinary but make it a really great story as well.  And if you teach your students about circular stories...this is a perfect example!
This book definitely needs to be a part of every classroom library...but wait you can add it yours!  David Shannon has given me a copy of this book along with two of his other great books to add to your classroom library...

Both of these books are popular student reads!  A Bad Case of Stripes is a perfect book to use to teach all the elements of fiction...especially theme, character, and plot.  No, David! is a perfect back to school read to introduce classroom rules.  Get them both now by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

08 September 2013

A Short Classroom Tour 2013


I was going through some pictures this morning, and I realized that I didn't show you pictures of my classroom this year.  I didn't make a whole lot of changes but there are a couple of things that I added that are helping to pull my classroom together more and more.  These are pictures I took on the morning of Open House...so yes, it does not look lived in yet!

The first thing you will notice is a TON of desks!  I have up to 33 students in my classroom during some parts of the day.  I like to have a gathering place on the floor though, so there are certain parts of the room that get kind of tight.  I have been squeezed more than once by two students pushing back their chairs at the same time.  We are learning the importance of pushing in our chairs and using good manners!
Here are a couple of other views of my classroom from different corners.
I actually have a very good sized classroom.  I am lucky enough to have an outside door with a window (not every classroom in my school has one!).  I also have a sink and a little cabinet storage.
If you were a student, the first place you would go each morning is to the book bag hooks... 
You would unpack your book bag and hang it up and be remind of the rules at the same time.  These rules are new this year.  I cut out the classroom rules on my Silhouette Cameo, so they would be big enough to see from anywhere in the room.  I made the school rules poster then uploaded and printed it at VistaPrint.com.
Next you would make your way to the dry-erase board where I use the projector to display the lunch choices each day.  You would make your choice using the MimioBoard.

Let's zoom in a little because I want to show you another newbie...

We are implementing Interactive Note-taking this year, so I created some charts with the procedures and examples.
Now some days you may need to come check in with me, so off to the small group table you go...

In this picture, the small group table is set up with sign up sheets and verification forms for Open House.
Or you may need to choose a new book to read...

Don't you love my new genre charts?  I got them from Ginger Snaps, and they are adorable!  Once again I uploaded these to VistaPrint, so I wouldn't spend a fortune in printer ink. 

Not wanting a chapter book?  How about nonfiction?  They are conveniently located under the science and social studies boards...
The shelf top is set up with more materials for Open House...we have a whole lot of paperwork for parents to fill out!
If you have had a good week, you will be happy to see what comes out of this crate... 
 Here are where the conduct folders are stored and waiting until Friday. (although when I took the picture...my adorable new black and white polka-dot conduct folders were in the workroom awaiting their turn for lamination)  Below, the drawers of the freshly painted file cabinet are waiting to be filled with student portfolios and other data that will begin to be collected with the arrival of students.
By the way, did you notice my signs for Open House?

If you like these signs, please feel free to I do now have them available in my TeachersPayTeachers and Teachers Notebook shops!  You do not have to use them just for an Open House because they are editable, so they can become center signs, table signs, or whatever kind of sign you need. 
Click on the button below for the shop you prefer!
Thanks for coming to visit my classroom!  One of my favorite parts of the year is putting together a place that is warm and welcoming.  You and your students spend so much time in this place that it has to be somewhere you love to come into!  What part of your classroom makes it one of your favorite places to be? 

03 September 2013

These Pencils have the "Write" Stuff!

Why are good pencils so difficult to find these days?  Many times they are too cheap to sharpen or break soon afterward.  If they do sharpen, the eraser is crummy.  Then there are times when I think my students are trying to increase their fiber intake by eating pencils because the pencils will disappear as soon as you put them out.  And don't even get me started on 4th graders and click-y (what I call mechanical) pencils.

When SmileMakers contacted me about trying their pencils, I was slightly skeptical because I have become such a pencil snob.  They let me choose a set I wanted, but that was such a hard decision because SmileMakers has a great selection of all kinds of pencils...reward, motivation, and just everyday pencils.  I choose these...
Yes, I did find some polka-dotted pencils!
I tried sharpening them in my pencil sharpen...
and...wow!...they do get really sharp!  And a stable kind of sharp that will not break with normal use.  (Now I haven't tried them yet with my habitual pencil breaker...but I do have high hopes!)  And because the design is painted on instead of shrink wrapped like you get with some of the cheap pencils...just sharpening one pencil did mess up my expensive pencil sharpener!  Yippee!
Now for the erasure test...would the eraser actually erase?
Not too bad!  I think the eraser will stand up to students that are hardest on erasers.
Two thumbs up, SmileMakers, for creating some good pencils...well worth the price!  I will definitely be buying some more of these pencils for rewards and prizes for my students.

To check out SmileMakers, click on the logo picture below...
You will find more than just pencils.  They have all kinds of prizes, stickers, and educational resources as well as dental and medical treats too!  You have to check out their band-aid selection...I am so tempted to splurge on some of these!

02 September 2013

Currently...I'm Back!

Oh my goodness!!!  Back to School has really kicked my behind this year!  I do have excuses why...and I will share a couple a little later! :P

But first, I am glad to get back on a Currently...from the fabu Farley at

(love the chalkboard theme this month Farley!)
drum roll please...
Since we start school in August (on August 7th this year!), Labor Day is always a milestone of surviving Back to School.  And even though I have the day off, what time did my eyes pop open this morning...5:00 a.m.!  I despise my internal alarm clock...it always works on the mornings I can sleep in and never on the ones that I forget to set that actual alarm.
So, since I was up anyway...and I found a Law and Order Criminal: Intent marathon...I decided it was time to get the ball rolling on my to-do list which at the top is finishing up my beginning of the year data. (due on Friday...I have been late turning in everything else this year...I want this in on time!)  With 30 students...and 33 for some subjects, everything takes so much longer to do!  It took the whole month to do IRIs (with the help of another teacher) and last night I finished up staging writing pieces, so now just math problem solving to stage.  Then comes the super fun task of trying to finish my goals.
But is my brain on all that data and goal stuff...no way!! (As you can tell since I'm writing this rather than actually doing my work!) I am really desiring to get my hands on some paper and letting my creativity ooze.  I am having to resort to sneaking in some digital creating...like treats for the Senior class football players and cheerleaders that my hairdresser is giving away at a dinner she is throwing.  Want a little peaky-poo...oh all right!
Don't worry this is not all of the treat...I will post pics when I'm all finished!
But my big goals for the upcoming month (after the data is done) are really kind of simple...
1.  So far I have lost 22.6 pounds since June 20th...I can't wait to get that number to 25...and want that number to really be at 30 by the end of the month.  (By the way...why do tasks such as staging writing make you crave chocolate????)  Weight loss has always been super extremely difficult for me...but I've enlisted my doctor this time, and she has given me some really helpful suggestions that are making it a bit easier this time!
2.  Keeping my desktop clean...a messy desk is a sign of a genius mind right???  I am the worst role model of keeping your desk clean...I am a natural paper stacker, and this year the papers keep coming and coming to the point where they seem to be getting cozy and creating baby papers!  I clean up and two minutes later...more!  I have always had an organized chaos, but this year I can't find a single thing!  I have gone into a major panics as I have had to dig through the mess trying to find the copies I need during a lesson.  So not good...and I am so glad that this hasn't happened during my two observations by assistant principal!
3.  Finally, I loved doing the Random Acts of Kindness with my class last year.  I am planning on getting them started with my class this year...and since I have a pretty sweet group this year, I know that they will enjoy it!  You can see how I introduced this last year to my students right here.  I will pretty much do this the same way except there is no Georgia day of kindness this year...but that won't stop us! :)
Oh it is good to be back!  And I guess I had a lot to say...I hope you have had (or will have) an excellent start to the new school year!  Enjoy your time with your new babies!

16 June 2013

Let's Get Ready to Multiply!

Ok...let me make a major confession...I am a closet professional wrestling fan. It is my guilty pleasure! J I love it because of its soap opera-like qualities, the drama, the fireworks...not the violence of the sport.

I have been so hard at work already getting materials ready for next school year. I want to share with you a multiplication game inspired by my secret love for wrestling that my students love and beg to play over and over! (Yes love and beg to multiply!)

I call it “Tag Team Multiplication”. This game helps students learn how to multiply using multi-digit numbers using the partial-product strategy. In the Common Core standards, this strategy for multiplying is referred to as “using a strategy based on place value and properties of operations.”


But the best part of Tag Team Wrestling is students are actively learning a strategy while they are playing a game...a strategy they can take right into other pencil/paper work! This game is so flexible you can use it in basically any instruction situation. The game changes and grows as students are ready to move into multiplying larger numbers. If you are required a certain number of grades in your gradebook like I am...you can easily grade the recording sheet for the Tag Team Multiplication. Plus it creates a memory trigger in students’ minds that you can refer them back to when they get stuck in solving!

 Click on your choice

to purchase a copy of this game to use with your students!

01 June 2013

Currently - It's June!

You probably thought I have fallen off the face of the earth.  I haven't...and I have no good excuse besides that I have done basically nothing since school got out!  Well...let me amend that I have done some stuff...I made the annual trek to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale...I watched my 20 month-old strep-py nephew.  We did bubbles, cornstarch chalk painting, watched a lot of Elmo, played trains, and I got thrown up on (...eeww!)  I am totally the best aunt ever!
But it is now time for...

I have to thank any of you that have bought my products on TeachersPayTeachers for my iPad because all that you purchased from me last quarter allowed me to be able to afford my pretty new iPad4.  Now I am going to use a Christmas gift certificate to Etsy to purchase the perfect iPad cover to protect it.
This past school year, my principal wants us to have common plans in language arts and math.  Not entirely common like all classes on the same page, on the same day, at the same time, but more shared learning experiences across the grade level.  I am on the planning team, and we will be meeting next week to put together the first semester of school.  I have a couple ideas in mind, but it is a bit stressful to try to find lessons that six very different teachers will all enjoy doing.
I am in the process of trying to update my classroom website.  I am so proud of it!  I have put in a lot of work trying to create a resource for my parents and students, but it is still a major and ever growing work in progress.  Feel free to check it out...www.misscarltonsclass.com.
As far as vacay essentials--I won't be traveling out of town this summer, but, when I do, I do car trips.  I love to listen to audiobooks on long car rides whether I am the driver or not (can't read in the car...I get so carsick!).  Another fun car activity is car singing (and a little dancing) because I'm the next American Idol in the car.  Also when traveling, I like to have a plan...an extremely flexible plan...but some sort of plan of action.  This totally helps me prepare what I want to do or pack or see or shop! :)

11 May 2013

Who Would You Choose?

I got the best email this week!  Barb sent me pictures of a writing project she did with her students that was inspired by my post, Mom of the Year.  Look at what Barb's writers did...

I love how Barb's students chose who would be on the cover of the magazine!  Thank you Barb for sharing your inspiration!
Keep sharing with me!  I love to see how you are inspired by ideas I share.

06 May 2013

Summer Bridge Giveaway

Exciting news! Remember when I sang the praises of Carson Dellosa’s Summer Bridge workbooks?? 
These are the great workbooks that have a 15 minute a day activity for each day of summer vacation to keep a student’s brain active while they are out of school. They review the previous year and preview the next school year...and they are now Common Core Aligned! Yippee!
Well guess what? Carson Dellosa has given me 5 of these workbooks to give away! How sweet is that!

Here is how you can enter to win a workbook...
Please spread the word to your teacher friends and parents too!  I can’t wait until you can enjoy your workbook too!

05 May 2013

Teachers/Nurses Appreciation Week Gifts

I am helping my sister create Teachers Appreciation Weeks gifts for my 19-month-old nephew's teachers.  Since she is a nurse practioner and it is also Nurses Appreication Week, she also needed gifts for nurses and medical assistants at her offices.  So, I got to do a little creating this weekend.  These treats are really inexpensive, easy, and quick, so I thought I would share the tags that go on each of these gifts with you...(you can download the tags by clicking on the graphic!)

First up, a "S'more" goodie basket...
Get a basket.  Fill with a box of graham crackers, marshmallows, and a package of Hershey bars.  Tie on the tag with some curling ribbon.

Next up, "Piece of our Team" treat...

The Reese's Pieces boxes came from Walgreen's, but I have also seen them sold at Wal-Mart too.  Simply tie the tag on with some curling ribbon.
The PDF linked below includes nurse and teacher options

I am still working on some more treats, and I will get those posted as I can!

Graphics by


It's Currently time...
Thanks to

and away we go...
Loving--On Friday, we got our schedule for next school year.  We won't know our students until August, but I do know that I will have the group of gifted students that are taking accelerated math...fifth grade math instead of fourth...I hope those guys and girls aren't smarter than me!  Besides lunch, I get to fill in the rest of the day...and the pieces fell together so nicely!  Love that!
Thinking--I'm sure your end of the year to-do list is as long as mine...as soon as one thing gets checked off another unexpected item pops on!
Wanting--I could use one more week with my students than I currently had...although they are starting to show those oh so fun "I'm ready for summer" behaviors with two and a half weeks left!
Needing--One item on the end of the year list is a first annual Career Day.  It is part of Georgia's new College and Career Readiness initiative replacing AYP.  This year we teachers are presenting with the hopes of next year getting parents.  So I'm technology careers.  I have a mobile cart of 15 laptops (the other was already booked), so I have to figure out a 15 minute activity that students can work together on...I have until the 20th to figure it out.  Worse case scenario...a PowerPoint!  Any ideas???
Summer Bucket List--
1. Relax--I think that is self-explanatory!
2. Interactive Notebooks--Our school is jumping into the interactive note-taking/interactive notebooks in science and social studies...I'm going to explore what is out there but will probably create a bunch myself too (Don't worry, I will share! :)
3. Lego!--Nerd Alert!!--I have gotten into making these big complicated Lego kits...I hope to make another one over the summer.
Thanks for checking in! :)  Here's to a smooth end of the year wrap up!


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