Saturday, November 7, 2015

Doggie Haiku Poems

I can't believe it is already November! October simply flew by.  I wanted to stop by and show you something we have been up to in our classroom. This week we worked on poetry in our reading classes. For fun, I read the class Dogku by Andrew Clements. By the way, I love Andrew Clements' chapter books, and Frindle is one of my favorites. Dogku is very different from most of his other books. This is a sweet story about a dog, but as the title suggests, each page is written as a haiku poem. After reading the book, students drew doggie pictures and wrote their own dog haikus. I thought these turned out very sweet.
This was such a simple activity, but my students really seemed to enjoy writing their poems.
Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Border Winners

Congratulations Emily L. and Brittany D.! You are the winners of my geometric borders! Thank you to all who visited and left comments!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Beautiful Bulletin Boards

I teach with some wonderful ladies (and 1 gentleman). They are dedicated, caring, and so creative! These are a sample of the bulletin boards that adorn our hallways this year thanks to the creativity of our teachers. This rainbow bulletin board is beautiful! I love the little clear marbles that are hung from the cloud as raindrops! Also, the saying is a reminder that I need each and every day.

I love this creative sunshine bulletin board! It is simply stunning!


This is the bulletin board in our 4th grade hall. I like how bright and cheerful that it is!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Favorite Read Alouds for the First Week of School

I always say that it takes two weeks for everyone to get settled in at the beginning of school. Routines are established, schedules are in place, students and teachers are settled in. I think we are now reaching that point, and now we are ready for a year of learning!

Now that I am settled in, I have the chance to share some of my favorite first week read alouds with you. There are so many wonderful picture books to choose from. These are the books I chose to share with my kiddos this year.


Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind is the book that I chose to share with my class to discuss finding those just right books and becoming a classroom of readers this year. This is such a cute book that students and teachers can both relate to. I know many of us have probably searched and searched for books for students just like Miss Malarkey.

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon is such a sweet book for a lesson on respect and treating others with kindness. It is a great follow up to our classroom rules introduction.

A cockroach is the most unlikely character that I would normally want to read about, but in Crickwing there are so many wonderful lessons to be discussed about bullying, treating others with respect, and working together, that I completely forget by the end of the story that Crickwing is a cockroach. If you haven't read this book, it is a great one to read.

My Mouth is a Volcano has been on my wishlist for a couple of years, and this summer I finally purchased it. It is a very cute book that even my fourth graders enjoyed, and learned from the message in the story. It is a great book for a discussion on how to work and talk with our partners and in our groups. Very cute!

I always enjoy reading First Day Jitters to my class. It is such a fun book that I think it is a great ice-breaker for the very first day of school. It helps to get us all relaxed and settled in, and helps to calm all of our jitters on the first day.

Over the years I have changed read alouds. This was the first year that I did not read Chrysanthemum, which is one of my all time favorites. I'm sure I'll come back to it later in the year, perhaps when we study character traits.

What are some of your favorite first week read alouds? There are so many great books out there! Do you have any new ones that you have discovered and tried?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015

Busy...whirlwind...That is how I would describe this past week and a half! We are beginning to get down our classroom routines and procedures, and this sweet little group that I have is working so very hard! I have been so busy, that I am just now getting around to posting my classroom reveal.

This year, I didn't go with a typical theme like I have in the past few years. Instead, I opted to go with pops of color: orange, turquoise blue, and bright green. It is strange that I have ended up with so much orange in my classroom, especially since a few years ago I would have told you that orange was my least favorite color. The school where I teach is a very old building, built in the 50's. Several years ago, a school committee decided to spruce up our hallways by painting the walls and doors. They decided to paint each classroom door a variety primary colors, and my door was painted orange... Well, to make a long story short, I have ended up with orange plastic bins, and curtains. Since then, I have moved classrooms, and my door is now green, but because of the money that I have invested in fabrics and bins, I still use orange in my classroom, and I must admit that it has grown on me.

So, now, here are a few pictures of my classroom...

To welcome everyone in my classroom, I created a door decoration from a cute plaque that was in my daughter's room. She redecorated her bedroom, and I thought this corkboard would be perfect on my door. I simply added a wooden letter and a bow.

I love positive sayings in my classroom, and this bulletin board turned out so cute and colorful! It is made with my Motivational Posters.
I wanted to create a colorful focus board this year, and I think this one turned out great. I decided to place it on my whiteboard so that I can easily write my objections each day. This bulletin board can also be found in my Tpt store.
If you are familiar with my blog, you may remember that I had antique desk in my classroom. At the very end of the year, I was so excited when my principal told my team that she was going to purchase new desks for our classrooms! I have been teaching for 25 years, and this is the first time that I have ever had new desks! I was thrilled!  I have my desks grouped with 5 desk in each group. I purchased bookshelves and placed one at the end of each group of desks for folders and lunchboxes. 
I hope you enjoyed my classroom pictures!
Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Made It

It is hard to believe, but my first day of school is Wednesday. Teachers in my district have had professional development days since last Tuesday, and tonight we have open house. Needless to say, I have been very busy getting my classroom together. First, I purchased and put together five of these:

It is hard to tell from this picture, but these are bookcases that I placed at each group of tables. I'll show you the finished product at my classroom reveal coming soon!

Even with a being busy at school, I have found some time to do a few projects at home. We have several blueberry bushes, and fresh blueberries call for blueberry desserts. This one was very yummy!
Finally, I have had this picture for several years. The mat and picture were very faded and dated, but I still loved the frame. So, I replaced the mat, and had my husband to cut out some stickers.
This is the result.  Much better!
I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for this week's Monday Made it.
Have a blessed day!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to School Giveaway

All of us over at Upper Elementary Snapshots thought it would be fun to have a whole week of giveaways right before the new school year! That's right...a whole week!! To start off our week, we are going to be linking up all of our blogs just for you, and giving some great "Back-to-School" tips and freebies to help you start your year off right!

My Back To School Tip...  Give Your Parents a Contact Card on Open House (Meet the Teacher Night)

Let your parents know from the first time you meet them your willingness to communicating with them by simply printing  business cards for them. Label the card with such information as your name, the school's name, school's address, school's phone number, your school email address, information for Remind, classroom blog or wikispace, etc.  Print, laminate, and attach a magnet on the back of each one. Place one on each child's desk for parents to take home and place on their refrigerator or information board. This will be the first step in forming a positive relationship with your classroom parents that they will greatly appreciate. For your free copy of  these editable Teacher Business Cards, simply visit here.


For more tips and FREEBIES, make sure you visit all 12 of our blogs! You can use the links below to help you get there faster.

You may also enjoy my new owl themed Objectives Display Bulletin Board for you classroom. Make displaying your objectives prominent in you classroom while making it easy for you.  This set includes editable objectives cards, or simply hang the pieces on a white board and write your daily objectives.

Also, don't forget to enter for a chance to WIN one of our AWESOME prizes in our "Back to School" Giveaway!

 That's not all!!!  Watch out this whole week for ways to collect even more goodies from all of us at Upper Elementary Snapshots!  We are going to be doing some special promotions through Facebook and Instagram too!  Make sure you follow us to hear all about it!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Ways Bulletin Boards Can Work for You


When I first began teaching, I loved creating fun and pretty bulletin boards. Each month I created and decorated a brand new bulletin board just for that month. Back then, I was single with no children and had plenty of time on my hands. Now, fast forward 25 years, a husband, and two children later, and my views on bulletin boards have changed slightly. Instead of changing bulletin boards each month, why not set up a bulletin board that will work the entire school year and meet the needs of my students? Bulletin boards can be beneficial to your students and work for you in several ways.

1). Bulletin boards can display important daily information. Lower elementary teachers have utilized bulletin boards for daily information for years, but with the focus on objectives being visible in the classroom, upper elementary teachers have begun to use bulletin boards daily as well.  By displaying important information for the day on a specific bulletin board, students will know where to find this information each day. Daily information may include:
     a). Display objectives
     b). Focus walls for reading, math, or vocabulary
Check out my new objectives board!

2). Bulletin boards can be used as a teaching tool or used to remind students of material that has been taught throughout the year. I have often used a bulletin board to display concepts that the students will need the entire year such as parts of speech or character traits. Bulletin boards can also be set up to display anchor charts that can be changed as needed throughout the year.

3). Bulletin boards can be interactive. Use a bulletin board to display information about a topic that you are studying, information about an author, or current event articles. Include articles about the topic, maps, and/or charts. Then give students a scavenger hunt handout to locate information from articles on the bulletin board. This makes a wonderful station or center.


4). Maps.  To familiarize students with geography, display a map on a bulletin board and use the map when lining up, or between transitions. Have 2 students come to the map to be the first to locate on the map a town, state, or country that you call out. Use the map to locate places that you study, settings in books, or hometowns of authors. We have a maps on the wall next to our restrooms. When we take whole class restroom breaks,  my students who are waiting gather around the maps to locate places that we have discussed.  Another advantage: maps cover a large area very easily and very quickly! They are also usually very colorful.

5). Bulletin boards can be connection builders. Use bulletin boards to connect with students and send positive messages. This can be done several ways:
    a). Display students' birthdays.
    b). Use for student of the week.
    c). Display student work.
    d). Display motivational posters and sayings.
My Owl Themed Birthday Display can be found here:

There are so many possibilities with bulletin boards. Choose bulletin boards that will best meet the needs of your students for the entire year, and make those bulletin boards work for you.

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Five for Friday!

I hope you have a blessed Friday!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Relaxing By the Pool

It is H-O-T! Summertime is definitely here in the South, complete with temps in the 90s and high humidity. This is perfect weather for hanging out here:

Do you see that pink float? That is where I have been parked this afternoon, complete with a good book and a glass of sweet tea. What a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon! I feel so blessed.
As much as I've tried not to think about it, my summer will be winding down soon, and my mind is beginning to drift to school things, classroom decorations, and kiddos. We have a lot of changes taking place, so it is very hard to even begin planning. In fact, my principal told our faculty to not do to much planning this summer because of all of the changes. (That is kind of scary, but hopefully, it will all be good!)
For those of you beginning to plan and those of you even starting school in a couple of weeks, I have spent my summer creating a new product in my store. Now, I know that most of my products are geared for grades 3-5, but this packet is actually for grades 1 and 2. It was inspired by my best selling Common Core Graphic Organizers for Reading Literature. With the huge response that I have had to these graphic organizers, I wanted to create a set for first and second grade, and I am so excited about this set!

120 adorable and fun graphic organizers are included in this set. Each graphic organizer is not only cute and fun with high quality graphics, they also will help your students think deeply about their reading. Just as in my set for grades 3-5, each graphic organizer is aligned with the Common Core Standards which will make lesson planning easier for you. Even if you teach upper grades, these graphic organizers could be used for intervention or differentiated instruction. For the rest of this week, my Common Core Reading Literature Graphic Organizers Grades 1-2 will be on sale for 50% off! Don't miss out on this huge savings!
If you would like to see and use a few sample pages from this packet, you can grab three samples here:
Free Reading Literature Graphic Organizers for Grades 1 and 2

If you download this freebie, I'd greatly appreciate your positive feedback.
To all of the teachers who have purchased my Common Core Reading Graphic Organizers for Grades 3-5, thank you so much! I can't thank you enough for purchasing this product and for the positive response that I have had to these graphic organizers. In fact, if you have purchased the grades 3-5 graphic organizers, a big surprise is coming to this set that I think you will love, so stay tuned!
Have a blessed summer day!


Monday, July 13, 2015

A Busy Week!

I love summer, and I certainly hope that you are enjoying yours! I always make a list of things I hope to accomplish during the summer, but some days I don’t feel that I accomplish very much. Between working on new products and borders, cooking meals, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry, much of my days are full. Tell me, am I the only one?
I must say, however, that last week was very productive! My husband helped me with one honey-do that I have been wanting to accomplish for several summers. We cleaned out the garage! Now, that might not sound like much, but if you could have seen our before (that I’m much too embarrassed to show to anyone) you would have thought that we could have been on an episode of Hoarders. I must say that I am so proud of the clean garage, that I’m no longer embarrassed for guest to walk through.

Not only did we clean the garage, but we also moved furniture out of my daughter’s room, and moved her new bedroom suite in. Of course that meant putting things on the walls, decorating, etc.  Finally, we made some blueberry and blackberry jelly! Now, why can’t every week be that productive?

This week, I’m linking up with Tara for Monday Made It.

I don’t have pictures of the garage, but I do have a pic of the jelly that we made. Yum! (And yes, my husband helped make this. To be truthful, I guess I helped him!)


I have also been busy adding some new products to my store as well as updating old products. For the beginning of school, I have just updated my All About Me Posters: Insect Theme. I simply updated the clipart and borders to make these posters pop! I think you will like the changes. I think it turned out adorable!

I also created another All About Me Posters set. This one is Superhero Themed.

For a very short time, I will have these two products in my store for only $1! Don’t miss out on these great dollar deals! Either one of these posters sets will be perfect for your first day, or use them for birthdays or student of the week. Both of these sets are just like my best selling “Owl” About Me Posters. here 

Now it’s time for me to try to make this week just as productive as last! I can check blogging off of the to-do list. ;)

Have a blessed Monday!