Saturday, October 31, 2015

Caring, Sharing, and Preparing: Advice From Amber - Building Reading Stamina

I think it is safe to assume that most teachers struggle to get their students to build (and maintain) good, consistent reading stamina.  I'm talking about "actually reading and thinking about the book, not just pretending because my teacher wants me to focus" kind of stamina.  Can you relate?

Well, I tried something this year with my firsties and it worked like a charm!

We have a mini poster in our classroom that has a thermometer outline.  It is tough to see, but the mini poster hangs on the upper-left-hand corner of our whiteboard and this is what we use to record our minutes (or at least the highest number of minutes we have reached).  Do you see it?  (I'm sorry I do not have a close-up!)

Every single day, I refer to our stamina chart.  We talked about it A LOT in the first few weeks of school...less now because it is not as necessary.  We also learn, regularly discuss, review, and routinely practice what good habits readers have and show without reminders.

I told my students that when they reached 5 minutes, they would get to use the "fun stuff."  This includes pillows, stuffed animals (to whisper read to), laundry baskets (to sit in), and exercise balls.  Do you think they tried hard to focus on their reading and thinking in order to show that they were building stamina?  Yep!  It took them a few days, but they got the hang of it.

After the students showed 5 minutes of stamina, our next goal was to get to 10 minutes.  It was at this time that I told them the next incentive = reading partners!

These pictures were actually not taken during Partner Reading, but I realized I do not have any pictures to show this.  I am using these as a substitute.  These partners pictured here were actually trying out a new reading strategy during the Active Engagement section of our Mini-Lesson.

So the next goal was...yep, you guessed it = 15 minutes.  After my students met the 10 minute reading stamina goal, I then told them the next incentive was... Flashlight Friday!

I have not yet taken a picture of our bucket of flashlights, but I can tell you that I found mine at Wal-Mart for $1.00 each in cute colors.

Our next goal was then 20 minutes, which my students have already exceeded, but...there is problem.  The incentive is to read books via Raz-Kids on our tablets, but we are having issues deploying apps to the tablets in our school district right now.  I hope the issue is resolved SOON because I have some antsy first graders.

What do you use as incentives (or anything really) to encourage your students to build and maintain reading stamina?

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trendy Teacher Linky Party

Hey there!  I am linking up with the hostesses of...

This day was a new record for getting in the shower late.  So please ignore the hair...ugh.

shoes - Nine West
pants - Loft
vest - Banana Republic
white long-sleeve t-shirt - Banana Republic
necklace - some little jewelry boutique in Spain :)

brown boots - Aldo
red orange tights - Old Navy
khaki skirt - The Gap
navy blue zip-up sweater - Banana Republic
white button-down blouse - Abercrombie and Fitch

I so love this dress!

 black pumps - Nine West
dark gray tights - Old Navy
dress - Banana Republic
bracelet - Hmmm, I can't remember!

Don't you just adore that blazer jacket top?!  My sweet friend gave it to me recently as a "just because I thought you'd like it" hand-me-down gift.  Awwww.  I heart her.  <3

black pumps - Aldo
jeans - New York and Company
black turtle neck top - White House Black Market (and a Goodwill find from my mama!)
ring - Oh man!  I can't remember again.

I strongly hate dislike how dark and terrible my pictures turn out.  :(  There's nothing I can do, it seems.

My very favorite part about that cream cardigan is the lacey back!  Soooo CUTE!

Seriously!?  How cute is that top!?  Again, another hand-me-down gift from my sweet, sweet friend.  :)

shoes - Born
brown corduroy pants - Old Navy, I think
cream cardigan - Banana Republic
pearl necklace and earrings - Lia Sophia

 I found those cutie patootie "teacher shoes" at a close-out Boston Store outlet.  They might have even been on clearance.  Love 'em!

 black pumps - Aldo
black slacks - The Gap
lavender tank top - Old Navy
purple cable knit sweater - The Gap
white and pink striped button-down shirt - Ralph Lauren
ring - Lia Sophia

Thanks for stopping by!  :)  Be sure to check out more fab looks from the other ladies in the linky party!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Featured Teacher Tuesday - Week 4

Grab your beverage of choice and settle in for another exciting round of Featured Teacher Tuesday!

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This week our featured teacher is... ME, a first grade teacher who shares real estate with the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, lots of cows, and many beer breweries.  Yep!  You guessed it; I am a proud educator in Wisconsin.  I am in my 7th year of teaching: 4 years in Kindergarten, 2 years in ESL, and 1 year in first grade so far.  I never thought I would find a grade level that made me happier than Kindergarten, but I quickly learned this school year that first grade is the place to be!

My “home” away from home looks like this:


And I share my real home with these men:


I have been blogging since 2011.  You will definitely want to dig through this blog (using the labels helps) for years worth of great teacher tips, student-centered ideas, and fun photos!

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You will also want to swing by my Teachers Pay Teachers store, as all of my products are free! I have a dream to find TIME to make products that I feel are worthy of selling, but until then - enjoy the freebies (currently 59) in my newly updated TPT store.  Here are a couple of examples:

You can also follow me in these ways, too:

Be sure to stop by our Featured Teacher Tuesday linky party next week to learn about another fabulous first grade teacher: Misty!  (Can you believe next week is November already!?)

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trendy Teacher Linky Party

Yay!  It is time for another exciting week of "Trendy Teachers" - a linky party hosted by Lindsey from It's Elementary, My Dear, Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls, Brittany from The Posh Teacher, and Caitlin from Teacher, Inspire, Change.

necklace - Lia Sophia
cardigan with sequin trim - Banana Republic
ruffle tank top - White House Black Market (and a Goodwill find from my mama!)
skirt - Loft (and a hand-me-down from a dear friend of mine!)
leggings - Old Navy
neutral wedges (shoes) - Nine West

necklace and earrings - 
white and blue striped blazer - Old Navy
white button-down shirt - Ralph Lauren
roll-up jeans - The Gap
navy blue pumps - Nine West

Our school district had a WEAR PINK day this week for Breast Cancer Awareness.  It wasn't until I arrived to school that colleagues informed me the shirts were black...I thought they were navy blue and wore navy blue shoes.  Shoot!  I felt so mismatched all day.

shoes - Aldo
pants - Forever 21
necklace - $3 on clearance at Wal-Mart (Woot woot!)
breast cancer awareness bracelet - handmade by a high school friend of mine

ring - made by a local crafter / artist
bracelete - snagged it in a jewelry store in St. Augustine, Florida

shoes - Nine West
khaki pants - Old Navy
top - Banana Republic (and another Goodwill find from my mama)

Be sure to stop by the linky party if you are in need of some style inspiration!  Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Featured Teacher Tuesday - Week 3

Our fabulous first grade teacher this week for "Featured Teacher Tuesday" is... Jenny Kramer!

Do you use songs in your classroom? If not, now’s the time to start! Introducing Jenny Kramer, also known as “Miss Jenny.” Her “Edutunes” make singing with children as simple as pressing “play”—No musical experience necessary!

Jenny began creating her “Edu-tunes” nineteen years ago, after learning about the research. According to study after study, children learn more, remember more, and ENJOY learning more with educational songs. Along with teaching full-time for almost two decades, “Miss Jenny” has piloted her songs with 80 teachers and 1500 students South Bay Union School District in San Diego, CA. She has also given professional development speeches across the U.S. for the Bureau of Education and Research, the Institute for Educational Development, and Staff Development for Educators. Her work inside the classroom, along with her work with other professionals, has helped her to make the songs truly teacher-friendly, fun for kids, and effective as learning tools.
Jenny just created a NEW “Halloween” song, along with lots of materials to promote literacy. Preview her new song here, or click here for her giant DELUXE “Halloween Literacy Fun” package, including the song and dozens of additional materials—currently on sale for 50% off!
Miss Jenny’s “Edutunes” educational songs help children to learn every aspect of the curriculum. Common Core 1st Grade Math teaches EVERY SINGLE first grade standard in 38 songs. You can listen to song samples here.
Her Phonics Time CD-book set teaches everything from simple letters and sounds to advanced phonics concepts through 28 songs.
Ready for some FREEBIES?
Miss Jenny has posted the “Magic E” song from Phonics Time for FREE here.
She is also giving away her “Butterfly” song and packet for a limited time here.

This fun song—complete with motions—makes high-level concepts comprehensible to young children.
Miss Jenny has started giving MONTHLY $25 TpT Give-Aways. You can enter to win in 5 ways:
  1. Follow her on TPT.
  2. “Like”, Inc. on Facebook.
  3. Follow her boards on Pinterest.
  4. Follow her on YouTube, where she has over 1,000,000 views!!!
  5. Check out her blog here.
Finally, send a note in response to her blog, or to, to let her know you want to enter 5 times.
Happy Singing!