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Summer Reading

Hey everyone!  It's Katie from Miss Kate's Desk.  Today I want to share with you my personal book lists for the summer.  I have two lists of books to get through by the end of summer break.  I don't know about you, but it seems like during the school year I buy books (or want to) but struggle finding the time to read.  If you're like me and in grad school my reading time is taken up by somewhat bland textbooks.  In this post I will share with you my professional development and for fun book lists.

Professional Development:

1. Purposeful Play by: Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler.
2. Text-Dependent Questions (Grades K-5) by: Douglas Fisher & Nancy Frey
3. The Unstoppable Writing Teacher by: M. Colleen Cruz
4. Reading in the Wild by: Donalyn Miller

I typically like to read professional development books during the summer when I have more time and can gather my new ideas/information and come up with a plan to implement.  I was told in May along with the other K teachers in our district that we can now have a free play time in our classrooms so naturally I wanted to read Purposeful Play.  Play helps social skills, behavior, and also things such as vocabulary and math skills.  Since I really enjoy books about literacy... Reading in the Wild, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, & TDQ are on my list.  DeeDee Wills is doing a book study on TDQ, go check it out!  I know some people who hate reading these types of books because they feel it will be like reading their college textbooks.  Not at all!  There are some amazing teaching books that are not dry and information overload.   

For Fun:

1. The Nest by: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeny
2. Me Before You by: Jojo Moyes
3. One for the Money by: Janet Evanovich
4. Girls in White Dresses by: Jennifer Close

I tend to read books for fun at night before I fall asleep.  There's a distinct little glow coming from my Kindle on my bed.  I just recently finished Me Before You.  I had to read it before seeing the movie (which I have yet to see).  A few teachers in my building are obsessed with the Stephanie Plum series and they keep a little cabinet in the lounge stocked with paperbacks of the books.  I finally decided it's time to give it a go.  The Nest and Girls in White Dresses are books I saw on GoodReads that I wanted to read this summer. 

No matter what you read this summer, have fun and enjoy!  Utilize this extra free time to enjoy a good book.  Doesn't matter if it is a professional book or a just for fun book. 

Comment below with your own summer book recommendation.

I took Me Before You with me to Pensacola and read in my beach chair under my blue umbrella between swims.

Happy reading!

Teacher's ABC's of Summer

We all work so hard throughout the year, and know that it doesn’t stop when the bell rings on the last day.  So I thought it would be fun to create an ABC list just for teachers to enjoy over the summer.  Here we go…

In case the image is too little, here is my list

A- Alcohol (sorry this was the first thing popped into my head for A),  Amazon
B- Bathroom (using it whenever we want!)
C- Cleaning (our classrooms), creating
D- Dollar Tree
E- Errands (anytime, anywhere)
F- Family, Fun
G- Going to the zoo, store, mall, lunch...
H- Hanitizer anyone?
I- Ice Cream Sundaes (morning, noon and night)
J- "Just Because" visits
K- Kicking back
L- Learning (PD and from others)
M- Michael’s
N- No Alarm Clock
O- Organizing
P- Planning (for next year), pool
Q- Quiet
R- Rest, Relaxing
S- Searching TPT
T- Target (Dollar Spot)
U- Using the stove to make lunch (no microwaves)
V- Vacations
X- eXtra time fro whatever you want
Y- You can’t remember what day it is
Z- Zzzzz’s

I hope you are all enjoying your summer!!!!

What would you add to the Teacher's ABC's of Summer?  Please add your idea in the comments below.


EASY DIY Classroom Projects

Happy Summer, y'all!! I'm so excited to be back with you...I hope you're enjoying your time at home, and not working too hard on school stuff!  Of course, if you're anything like me, relaxing IS organizing and getting ready for next year...ha!

I wanted to share some of my Summer DIY To-Do List with you today, partly to make myself accountable for following through on these projects, but also to share some of my ideas with you!!

Here's what I'm planning on working on this summer (in between moving into our hopefully new house, getting Harper's nursery set up, and a family beach vacation):

Use a paint stir stick for word work during small group reading!:

The Elementary Math Maniac: Quick and Fun Math Practice for Little Kids. Another cute way to show number recolonization and one to one correspondence.:

Empower young students by implementing age-appropriate data collection in your primary classroom.  (Pictured:  Sample pages from "Student Data Graphs, K-2")  #studentdata  #datafolders  $:

Ouchie Lotion is perfect for those "My arm hurts! Can I go to the nurse?" questions... a squirt of Ouchie Lotion and they're magically better! Click to get the FREE label and read more fun classroom management strategies and ideas!:

Morning Work Buckets:

What are some of your summer DIY goals?  I may not get all of these accomplished this summer, but they're too great not to at least try!

Emily Carnes


As teachers, we possess a life long love of learning!  As our husbands complain that we have the summer off, we know that we really spend that time recharging our batteries, and learning!  We learn knew ways to teach, new lessons to try, new art projects, new behavior management plans, and for some of us, new ways to grow our online business!  Today I wanted to talk to you guys about summer goals! I wanted to share by main summer goal with you, and hopefully you will share yours as well!

My goal this summer is to become a better photographer.  My husband and I bought a digital camera around Thanksgiving (Black Friday sales).  We got the Cannon T5.  This is definitely not the fanciest camera out there, but it's a place to start, and a huge upgrade from iphone photography!
I got the camera, and started messing around with all of the manual options. I thought that the 10 or so minutes I spent reading that one tutorial would all of a sudden make me a pro, but I was sadly mistaken! : )  The rest of the year has been spent on auto, and I do love the crisp and clear images that it gives me, but I'd like to dive a little bit deeper into getting to know my camera, and making it work for me and my business.

To assist me with my summer goal I decided to enlist some professional help!  I'm a visual learner, and need a little guidance where I can figure things out with some guided trial and error.  I searched Living Social for photography class, and found one that meets in the beautiful Balboa Park. The Living Social deal was around $35.

After taking the class, I hope to do some more research on my own through the 100 or so pins I've already pinned to my pinterest photography board.  If you would like to check out my Pinterest photography board, click HERE

I am also hoping to learn a little bit more about editing.  Whether I want to use Photoshop, or Lightroom, how much they will cost, and how to best utilize those resources.

Photo by

So that's my plans for the summer!  Please comment below and tell me about your #summergoals, I would love to hear about what new things you plan to learn about or do this summer! 

Post by Cori Blubaugh @ Mrs. B's Beehive

Scrapbook Paper in the Classroom

Am I the only one with a scrapbooking paper OBSESSION?!? Yesterday, I made my weekly trip to Michael's. Yes, I go weekly in the summer. I never want to miss anything. Now that their Camp Creativity classes have started, I will be there multiple times a week! My girls LOVE to get their crafty on, like their mama.I was pretty excited when I saw their open stock scrapbook paper was ON SALE. Don't forget, they offer an additional 15% off for teachers..

I remember seeing a post awhile back from my friend Jennifer at Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten about making games on scrapbook paper so I decided to give it a try. I made this simple upper and lower case letter matching game. You can get it FREE HERE. You will need 9 pieces of scrapbook paper for this one. I would not recommend giving the kids all of the pieces at once. That would be a BIG memory game.

I also made a simple number and ten frame game. I liked it so much, I printed it on different themed paper for the entire year.  The scrapbook paper stops the paper from being see through, so kids can't cheat. Be sure to laminate them for durability. You can get this game FREE HERE. You can use these cards all year to differentiate math skills. Check out the different memory games I play with these cards on my blog HERE

One quick tip- make sure when trim the paper to fit in your printer, you trim off the side with the price printed.

 I wanted to try making die-cut letters out of scrapbook paper. Honestly, it is much easier to cut these with my Cricut Expression, but in a crunch, you can hand cut them. I highly recommend these Fiscar scissors. I typed the letters with KG The Last Time Bubble. You can get it free for personal use HERE

Until next time,

Counting Down to Kindergarten Countdown

Hello friends! It's Breanna from A Pinch of Primary and this post is all about Kindergarten Countdown.

No, this is not me counting down the days to another year of kindergarten. I love my job and my kinder babies, but summer is my JAM right now! :) If you're anything like anyone I talk to, you probably have this confused look on your face and you're saying what is that? I know I did the first time I heard about it.

Kindergarten Countdown is a program my county and surrounding counties do (not sure how widespread this program is) where 20 students are invited by each school in the different districts to get a little head start or a preview of what kindergarten looks, feels, sounds, smells, and tastes like. The United Way funds this program in our schools and it is AMAZING. It is like a little summer camp for our 4-5-6 year olds. We complete round-up and screening and determine many different factors for inviting students to this program. These factors range from letter ID to number ID to social-emotional adjustment.

Here are some of the amazing highlights and information of this program:

  • The program goes through the entire month of July.
  • It is only a half day, which is great for the little ones (and teachers haha).
  • Transportation is provided to and from school.
  • Students receive a healthy snack each day.
  • The program requires 2 teachers, which is FABULOUS considering we do not have that luxury during the school year. 
  • Teachers get to go shopping for our classroom supplies to fit the current needs of our students! :) Obviously just another reason to go to Target, right?! ;)
  • The kids get to see the building and get to know the areas before other kids (Hello, first week of school helpers and good examples!) 
  • We invite around 25 anticipating that families will take vacations or are just not interested in sending their child, so we always end up with 20 students. 
  • ...And my favorite perk of the program...Each child receives one book each day. YES, EACH DAY!!! By the end of the program they will have 20 books to take home with them. 
HALF of the Kindergarten Countdown books! My themes are ABC's, colors, and numbers!

I just get excited typing about the program!! The beauty of this is that we are not under the gun for testing and standards. It is simply planning based upon what those kids need at that moment. We know we will need to hit letter ID and number ID hard and also how to sit on the carpet, but it's much different than our typical planning. Some of our students have never been to school before and we need to prepare them for what that will feel like--College and Career Ready Standards can't do that. We plan themes for the four weeks. Our themes are ABC's/colors, numbers, social, and getting ready for kindergarten. During this time, we also send out newsletters to the parents so they have an idea what their child is working on. I have seen this program work before my very eyes. The kids who have been involved benefit greatly and I am so thankful for such a giving program for these kids! :) 

Do you have anything similar to this program at your school or in your community? 

Feature Friday ~ Planning With Precision

This month's Feature Friday is Denesha from Planning with Precision.  

In the beginning of my teaching career I never even thought about having parents volunteer in my classroom. I was excited and overwhelmed all at the same time but it never occurred to me to ask for volunteers. For years I managed to do everything in regards to my classroom by myself. It wasn't until my 5th year of teaching that a light bulb went off in my head and I began to ask parents if they wanted to volunteer in the classroom from time to time. I have never looked back. I love having parents volunteer in the classroom. I will say that it does take some organization to get things running smoothly, but once your systems are in place it's fantastic. Having parent volunteers not only helps me but also provides assistance to my students and builds classroom community at the same time.

I usually start by asking parents what times and days are good for them to come volunteer. We then create a schedule. I have them come in one day or two either during lunch or before/after school to do a brief training of what they will be helping me with. This works wonderfully. For the parents that will be doing prep work and copies, I have a specific box that they go to to see what needs to be done. The trainings and procedures are important because this means I don't need to stop any of my instruction because volunteers already know what needs to be done. The volunteers that work with students also know what is expected which keeps my instruction continuous. 

Below I have listed 5 great ways to utilize parent volunteers in the classroom!
 1. Centers
I have literacy and math centers each day and having parents help manage my centers is extremely helpful. For most of my centers I keep the structure the same and only the content changes. This helps everyone know exactly what is expected. 
2. Making copies
This is a tedious but necessary job. Parent volunteers are more than happy to help with this. It's important to train them on how to use (and troubleshoot) the machines and you're good to go. This includes any other machines they may be using such as laminator, die cut machine, poster maker (you get the idea)
3. Prepping materials for lessons
As busy teachers, we can all use help prepping for our fabulous lessons. I just glance at my lesson plans and pull out whatever materials are needed to prep. These materials go right in my “parent volunteer” box with a brief set of instructions (and sometimes an example). This way with a volunteer walks in my classroom, they go right to the box and can get started right away.
4. Prepping classroom supplies
It's always a challenge to get a handle on all my classroom supplies and keep them organized. This is where my volunteers come in. I have them organize center baskets, sharpen pencils, organize the classroom library, file papers and anything else that needs to be managed in the classroom on a consistent basis. You can tailor this to your specific needs.
5. One on one reading 
I have my students on a rotating schedule where they get to read to a volunteer. This provides structured and targeted practice for an individual student.
At the end of the school year, I have a “volunteer tea” to thank all my parent volunteers and they love it! 
So if you aren't using parent volunteers in your classroom but are thinking about it, I highly recommend it. Just refer to these tips and modify them to fit your needs.

~Denesha Janrhett (Planning with Precision)

10 Ideas to a CAREFREE summer!

 Hello Kinder Tribe friends! Heather from Learning with Mrs. Langley here and today is all about YOU and some ideas to make sure you spend this summer recharging and not stressing!

Me on the first day of summer....


Me on the second day of summer....
Oh look...Netflix!

How do we find balance?  Here are 10 ways YOU can have a CAREFREE summer and still accomplish those "must do's" before the school year starts again!

1. Take a break.  A week? 3 weeks? A whole month? You know what you need.  Take it!

2. Love to read? Read something that is just for you! I am shamelessly addicted to Janet Evanovich novels and I've been waiting for the latest installment forever. I will float in my pool, turn off my brain, and read that book until it is done.  Amen.

3. Go on an adventure! Even it is just to the park down the street go out and explore. I live in a fairly beautiful place and hiking is amazing. I NEVER take the time to go out and do it so I make sure to get a few good hikes in before the summer is over. Even if you can not plan an all out amazing (expensive) family vacation, take the time to explore nearby and find something new. 

4. Kids at home? Let them plan a day! Take a day to let them do what they want (you might be surprised!) Mine are all grown up but I know that if I let them plan the day we would end up swimming at the river and it would be awesome.

5. Read a professional book that will reignite your love for teaching. After you read your "just for you" novel go out and pick one thing you want to improve on next year. For me I am reading The Morning Meeting Book to improve my morning meeting time. I'm really excited about this and it has sparked enthusiasm in me for the upcoming year. Sometimes we need a spark to get us going into the next year!

6. Hang out with your teacher friends! Last summer I think I went all summer without connecting with any friends from school. It was a pretty isolating feeling. My teacher friends are my LIFE 180 days a year. I need them. They need me! This year I have attended a concert, gone to lunch, and had a hubby dinner date with my teacher friends. Don't miss out on what's happening in your friend's lives during the break.

7. DON'T overdo the Dollar Store. Honestly....I are never REALLY going to need a thousand tiny erasers for your math centers. DON'T spend your entire summer searching for that MUST HAVE item from Target. I do it. I get it. I see something on Instagram and I HAVE TO have it! Pick and chose what you will work on for next year and let the rest roll right on by.

8. DO spend a day or two putting  your room back together BEFORE you are required to go back. It will save you a ton of stress when your back to school days suddenly get filled with meetings. Even it if just means putting your furniture back in order and covering a couple of boards with fabric it will save you time later (and get you in the mood for back to school!)

9. Don't let the small moments pass you by! One thing I REALLY enjoy in the summer is being part of the "real world". Today I stood in line at the grocery store and took a moment to soak it all in. I am normally running like crazy to get home and make dinner when I am at the grocery store but today I just waited and didn't stress. It was actually quite nice. People watching is always a fun activity!

10. Don't Stress! You might not make it through your reading list (I haven't even finished charging my Kindle yet!), you might not repaint the bathroom (one wall done!), and you may not even change the world all in 8 short weeks but the important thing is that you RECHARGE. Get yourself recharged so that when back to school hits you are ready!  

So what do you do to recharge?  We would love to hear your ideas! Join the Kinder Tribe on FB to connect with more teachers like YOU. Comment in the section below to share your favorite ways to unwind in the summertime.  

Family Summer Fun List

Let's face it, the school year can be stressful.  During school, we end up sacrificing family time to get things done for school.  This is why I really try to make summers special for my family.  It's our time to really reconnect and spend quality time together.

When my son was little, I came up with this idea of a Summer Fun List.  Before summer starts, we sit down as a family and come up with all the things we want to do over the summer.  We each take a turn saying something we want to do.  Sometimes it is something simple like go for a bike ride.  Other times it is something big like go to Wisconsin Dells.  

Here is our summer fun list this year:

We hang the list on the refrigerator and cross items off as we do them.  Many of our items we end up doing more than once.

Do you want to create a list for your own family?  Here is a freebie for you to use to create your list.  Just click on the image below and you can print a copy for yourself and your family!

You can follow along with our summer fun list activities on my Instagram account (mrs_pauley).

What Worked Well Wednesday Linky- Staying Organized This Summer

Hello, teacher friends. It's Kelly from My Fabulous Class. I hope you all are enjoying your summer or will be very soon. Today, I am talking about staying organized with your materials in the summer. Actually, this home organizational system can really help you store your teaching printables all year long.

I am  a pinning addict. Seriously. It's out of control. The problem is, I pin amazing winter ideas in May then forget about them by January. I also like to add products to my TPT Wishlist and then I forget about them.

I like the idea of printing things when I find them, but if I print a winter theme activity in June, I end up with piles like this all over my house. It drives my husband crazy. Plus, the papers can get ruined if I don't laminate right away. In the summer, this becomes a HUGE problem because I do print like crazy, but I can't take it into my classroom right away.

I decided to solve this problem with a file carrying case, hanging file folders, and ziplock bags. I bought all of this at Wal-mart but I am sure Amazon has better deals. I labeled the file folders for the months Aug-May, sight words, word work, and math. I have some additional folders that I can add labels to, as needed.

I found this cute beginning sounds center FREE on TPT. I laminated it, cut it, and bagged it. It is ready to go in August. If my August folder gets to full, I might move this to my beginning sounds folder.

I found these FREE Ten Frames for Counting the Days in School LAST YEAR. I was just going through my Back to School Board and found them. They are now printed an in my August folder.

I found this amazing activity HERE on Pinterest. I haven't had time to laminate it, so I just placed it in the January folder. If you are wondering how I can afford to print so much color, I have two words for you - HP Instaink. BEST INVESTMENT EVER.

When you close it up, you have a simple carrying case that you take to school when you need to. It does not take up much space at home and keeps you organized.

What has worked well for you lately? Be sure to link up below. Looking for great ideas that have worked well for other teachers? Read these great posts.