Friday Favorites - Kid's Favorite Series

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds

This week I'm sharing some of my students' favorite book series with you.  My group this year liked many different types of books so I wanted to share some of their favorites.  I definitely have stocked my library up with these series for next year...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinsey - My students for the last few years have all loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series.  They find them funny and I have many kids that once they start they then want to read the whole series.
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My Weird School by Dan Gutman - This series became a huge favorite this year! Again these are relatable because they are about school and they are also humorous. Some of my more reluctant readers have really enjoyed these and it's helped them catch the reading bug.
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy! (My Weird School series) by [Gutman, Dan]

Who Was, What Was Series by Various Authors - My only non-fiction series in this post - but these are amazing! These are definitely higher level books, but for some of my kiddos this was a great challenge. These books are awesome because they provide so much information. There are many written on different people, places, and events in history!
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Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene - I loved reading Nancy Drew as a kid, but that was many, many years ago (I won't tell how you how many).  Here is a newer Nancy Drew series with the same characters, but the stories are more relevant and modern.
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I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis - I love this series as do many of my students. If you have students who love non-fiction, this would be a great fiction series for them. It takes real events in history and provides information through a fictional story.
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Judy Moody and Stink by Megan McDonald - Students also find Judy Moody and Stink funny. Judy and Stink are brother and sister so often kids will read both series.  Great for kids to relate to because most having siblings and can relate to the squabbles and funny stories.

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Clementine by Sara Pennypacker - I mentioned Clementine last week.  It is great for a read aloud, but also a fun series for students to read independently.  Most kids love funny stories and Clementine definitely does some funny, crazy things.
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Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce - This is a newer series that my kids have enjoyed this year. The comic book/chapter book is definitely very popular right now. This series appealed to some of my reluctant readers because of it being comics.
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Next week I'll share some of my favorite books to use for class and small group book studies!



Friday Favorites - Read Alouds

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books




So, this week I'm focusing on read alouds! I love taking time each day to read to my kids. Over my ten years of teaching, we have found many great stories - picture books and chapter books that the kids and I both loved!

Here are some of our favorites...

The Day the Crayons Quit - This story and the sequel below are so funny! The pictures are amazing and the story is quite clever. The kids and I both enjoy reading this one every year.
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The Day the Crayons Came Home - The sequel to the book above is just as good as the first. I got this book at our Book Fair this past year and it is equally as funny as the first!
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Chester - This book is hilarious! It's all about how Chester tries to take over this book that the author is writing about a mouse.  Very funny and the kids always love the ending!
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The Pout-Pout Fish - This is a great rhyming book and has a great rhythm to it!  Another cute story that the kids always love.
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Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying! - This book is Cinderella, but told from the stepmother's point of view.  A great story to explain point of view, great voice, and creativity too.  There are many more out there - Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, etc.  Perfect if point of view is in your reading standards.
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Junie B. Jones- Now, I know many teachers are not a fan of Junie B because of her poor grammar and sometimes poor choices - but I find her funny. I would read most of the series to my class when I taught first grade. Now, I agree Junie B doesn't always speak correctly, however, it does bring up a good teaching moment where you can discuss what the proper way would have been.  She's funny and the kids relate to her. I even enjoy it! I'm a little sad that there isn't a second grade part of the series...
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Jake Drake Series - This is a newer series for me. I tried out Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet last year and my class and I both enjoyed it. There are a few books in the series and you can never go wrong with an Andrew Clement's book.  He is another character who has many situations at school that kids are familiar with.  I actually just recently bought the whole set on Amazon so I can read all four books to my students next year.
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Clementine - So, as I mentioned, there is no 2nd grade version of Junie B, however Clementine comes close.  Clementine reminds me of Junie B, but is in 3rd or 4th grade.  She is a bit of a goofball, but again a crazy character that the kids find funny.  I've read a few in this series to my class and each year a few kids get interested and finish the series on their own.
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Frindle - As I mentioned above, who doesn't love Andrew Clement's books? Frindle is creative and funny. This is definitely a book I read out loud towards the end of the year as it is higher than 2nd grade level, but the kids love it. It's all about how this class led a movement to start calling pens Frindles and started an all-out war of sorts with one of the teachers at the school.
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So, those are a few of my favorite read aloud books. What are some of your favorites?? Write me in the comments below...

Check back next Friday for another edition of Friday Favorites. Next Friday, I'll be sharing some of my students' favorite series.

Quick Tip - White Board Erasers

Just stopping in to share a super quick tip with you today. Every student in my class has an individual white board that we use for many different lessons and activities.  So, in addition to needing a marker every student also needs an eraser.

As we know, the regular white board eraser can be pricey for each student to have one. So, for the past few years I have used socks.  I picked up a package of boys socks from Target and each student gets one.  The nice thing about this is I can reuse it year after year. Every summer I bring the socks home, wash them, and then they are good to go for the next school year. They make look a little funky with all of the colors - but they work - and it's a cheap solution!




What do you use for your white board erasers?

Friday Favorites - PD Books



For my first Friday Favorites, I will be sharing some of my favorite professional development books.  I figured this was a great time of year to share PD books because I know many of us spend some of our summer break reading them to get new ideas for our classroom.

So, here are my Favorite PD Books...


Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller
- This is one of my all time favorite PD books. Back in AZ, my literacy coach shared this book with me and we taught PD on it at the district office. Debbie covers schema, asking questions, inferring and more. She provides ideas for charts, books to use, and provides specific examples of how she taught these skills in the classroom. This is my favorite book!
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All About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray - This book is great for teachers who use Writing Workshop (whether you have Lucy Calkin's Units of Study or not). Many ideas for how to teach writing and the importance of kids spending the majority of their time writing. Provides lesson ideas.
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Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller - Another awesome PD book especially for a first year teacher. Debbie explains her practices and the importance of teaching with intention.


Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller - This book is perfect for anyone wanting to use literacy stations in their classroom. Debbie walks you through the whole process from how to choose your stations, what to put in your stations, how to run your stations, etc.  This helped me set up literacy stations in my classroom when I started using them years ago.
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Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller - Great ideas in this book for using math stations in your classroom. This book is geared more towards K-2, but ideas could be made more challenging for third grade and up. She explains the set-up process and also the classroom management piece of stations. She includes many station ideas for activities and games.
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Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller - This book has amazing ideas for how to set-up your classroom. I highly recommend it for new teachers or teachers switching classrooms/schools/grades. Tons of great ideas for things to consider and think about when setting up your room!
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Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor - I love this book. It has amazing lessons and ideas for how to help kids understand the different comprehension concepts and make connections with what they are reading.  I actually did a little note-taking and sharing when I read this.  You can read all of my thoughts on this book...here...
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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck - A book we read as a school a few years ago. This is perfect to read as most schools are working on a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Interesting read!
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Check back next Friday for another edition blog post of Friday Favorites. Next Friday, I'll be sharing my favorite class read alouds.

Friday Favorites - New Summer Blog Series!


I'm excited to announce a new summer blog series I'm starting tomorrow! It is called - Friday Favorites! Each Friday I will be sharing some of my favorite teaching books, items, tips, lessons, activities, etc with you.

Here is my focus for each month:

June - All About Books - Professional Development. Read Alouds, Kid's Favorites, etc.

July - Activities/Lessons and Tech Favorites

August - All About Back to School - Supplies, Community Building Activities, and more

Tomorrow's blog post will focus on my favorite professional development books! Be sure to check in tomorrow to read all about my Friday Favorites!

End of the School Year - Tip #5

For the month of May, every Wednesday, I'm sharing quick End of the School Year tip...

For previous tips...


Today's tip is all about planning for next year and organization.  By the end of the school year, my library starts looking a little crazy. While I do have a specific organizational system in place, (which you can read about...here...) it doesn't look like that in May.  Some books have seen better days, some books are missing, and many books are in the wrong place.  There's just something about the month of May.  So there are a few things I do...

1- I order new books for my library using my bonus points from Scholastic.  This is a great time to replenish your library, order some of the new series, and replace some books that might have gone missing.


2- I weed out a lot of books from my library. Some of this weeding out is to make room for new books and some is to get rid of books that my students have no interest in.  This is a great time to donate books to a school in need or any donation area!

3 - I put the kids to work.  Kids love to help the teacher clean. So, the last week of school, each kid gets a bin and takes out any books that don't belong. For example, I have a mystery book bin. Any book that doesn't have a mystery book sticker gets removed and set on the table.  Then, once every bin has been cleaned out. They help me put the books on the table back where they go.  They love helping with this and it goes so much quicker having 17 kiddos help instead of me doing it all by myself.

So - just a quick tip today. Friday is our last day so things have been busy!  Hope everyone enjoyed my 5 End of the Year School Tips!

Five for Friday - May 26

Only 3.5 days to go! And we have a 3 day weekend! Summer is almost here.  I'm linking up again with Kacey over at Doodle Bug's Teaching for Five for Friday...




We had our last conferences for the year on Wednesday. I had 15 conferences practically back to back so it was a very long day. We're very lucky that our school gives us a day off to do conferences so we're not having to squeeze them in before and after school...but it was still a long day!


We continued working on fractions this week.  Yesterday we played Fraction Bingo. The prizes were stickers and notepads from Mrs. Johnson's closet lol. I'm trying to do a little spring cleaning and figure I could share my items with them!

Speaking of spring cleaning from #2 - I have a problem...I am a hoarder of teaching supplies. Like it's bad.  I've been at my current school for three years and opened boxes that I had no idea what was in them. Things I haven't touched, used, or needed for three years - so it's been a week of purging...


The students finished up their Think Like a Disciplinarian presentations this week. I know I mentioned them last week, but I have to brag on my kids again. They did such an amazing job! Each presentation was unique and each child presented their material in a different way, which made it fun as an audience. My friend in the picture above learned about being a magician. He even did an awesome card trick when he was finished!

So I'm sure everyone is feeling the end of the school year crazy.  This week I instituted quiet classical/soft music pack-up.  They had been especially crazy the day I started this, so we listened to some Piano Guys tunes while packing up and the room became more peaceful and zen. I highly recommend trying it!

Hope everyone has a great 3 day weekend!



End of the School Year - Tip #4

For the month of May, every Wednesday, I'm sharing quick End of the School Year tip...

For previous tips...


 How many of you have had parents ask for suggestions of things there kids can do over the summer so they don't forget or fall behind? I've had that countless times, which is why I created the Summer Resources Sheet below - which is End of the Year - Tip #4!

The Summer Resources sheet contains information, ideas, websites, activity books, etc for parents to use to help their kids stay on top of school stuff over summer break.  Every year I update it and make sure the websites fit things my students use in the classroom and then I email it out the last week of school. I've had many parents email me saying they appreciate the ideas and suggestions. This can be pretty quick to pull together and I use lots of ideas and websites that we already use - so it didn't take a lot of hunting and digging for new things! 

**I apologize for the blurriness of the screenshots below...



I also send home a list of book suggestions from Scholastic. As you can see, this is from 2009, however it still has great book suggestions and again gives parents and students ideas of things to work on over the summer.



Hope you found this tip helpful! Stay tuned for the last tip...next Wednesday!

Five for Friday - May 19

Man...oh...man... the end of school is always so crazy!  Anyone else feeling like they can barely keep up??? Even with all of the crazy, I'm still linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bug's Teaching for another Five for Friday...



Every year students complete a Think Like a Disciplinarian Project. This an ongoing project that takes the entire year. Students spend time researching their discipline (what it entails, tools, vocabulary, noted practitioners, interview someone in the field), write a report, and then share a presentation with the class. We started presentations this week and I've been blown away! The kids have all done an amazing job! Here are two to share - one student who did a poster about being a baseball player.  The other student studied being a chef and brought in her own recipe! Love the creativity!


We've been working on fractions this week. I love Amy Lemon's Fraction Fanatic packet on TPT. If you teach fractions and are in 2nd grade - this is a great resource! I also love these flip books from Lakeshore. Great practice of matching up the fraction, picture, and picture representation of the fraction in sets.

Our awesome headmaster gave us a nice treat this week! He had a Coffee Bean catering truck on campus Tuesday morning.  The entire staff was treated to yummy drinks and pastries!


Here's a quick formative assessment idea...one of our standards is students being able to identify 2D and 3D shapes and compare and contrast two 2D shapes.  We do have a paper assessment, but I also like to have the kids come back and test them one on one. I use the picture - they identify the two 2D figures. Then, they identify the two 3D models.  Last I have them compare and contrast the two figures on the page.  It's quick, simple and I like that I get to discuss it with them.  Paper assessments are great too, but I do enjoy the observational assessments too!

Last weekend, my husband and I checked out Top Golf Las Vegas! What a fun place! Lots of golf options, pools, concert venue - it has it all! Do you have a Top Golf near you?

Have a wonderful weekend! 8 days to go with kids!