Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It - July 27

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Thank you to 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It.This is my favorite link up! All of the neat crafts/projects are inspiring

With only 10 days before school starts for my students I am still waiting to see what grade I'll be teaching this year. That being said, it's made it hard to create for my classroom. Depending on the grade will change how I set things up. 

One thing that I will do regardless of the grade is a first day poster. I may make changes if I end up in primary but for now it will work. I love using these the first day of school because they require little instruction and my kids can work on them while I deal with paperwork/supplies, and talk with parents that come in. 

I also made some cute Super Hero labels or to go along with our school theme. They could also work for name tags for those early days of school. You can find them for free on TPT for a limited time. 

I will hopefully be creating more this week as I find out what grade I'm teaching next week. Fingers crossed I get everything done in time! Have a great week! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wonder Twins - Unite.

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

I am a twin. Did you know that? I have a fraternal twin sister. She has blue eyes. I have brown. She's athletic. I can't walk and drink from a cup at the same time. She's spatial. I get frustrated by Tangrams. We are night and day different. 

Growing up I always heard how twins ran in the family but it always skipped a generation. I remember thinking it would be neat for one of my children to have twins. 

While engaged my doctor told me it would be very hard for me to get pregnant. I was crushed. I'd always wanted kids. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant almost immediately after trying to start a family. In 2004 our oldest son Colin was born. In 2006 we added our daughter Leah. We tried for several months to get pregnant again and had really accepted that it may never happen. 

Then in 2009 we found out I was pregnant again. I was shocked to say the least. I had accepted I would only have 2 children and was ready to move on. I waited the acceptable time and went to the doctor where they wanted to confirm the heartbeat. My mom went with me along with Nick. Nick was leaving after the appointment to go to a textbook adoption meeting so my mom was driving me back home. 

The doctor came in to find the heartbeat and couldn't. I feared I had lost the baby. The doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to see what was going on. We moved down the hall and waited a few minutes for the doctor to begin. A few moments later the doctor found the heartbeat and I finally started to relax. The doctor kept checking things out and then said "Well that's funny, the baby just flipped. Oh, wait a minute.......the baby didn't flip. You are having twins!

I went from fearing I had lost my baby to finding out I was having 2!

My husband turned to me. Patted me on the head. Said "Good job" and left the room. To say he was in shock was an understatement. 

I remember telling the doctor I couldn't be having twins that I was a twin. She just laughed and said that doesn't matter. She was pretty sure I was having identical twins because of only 1 placenta. 

At 34 weeks my baby boys arrived. 

Owyn weighed 5 lbs 5.9 oz. Gavin weighted 4 lbs. 13 oz. They were rushed off to the NICU where they would spend the next 3 weeks. 

They were indeed identical. We left their hospital bracelets on for WEEKS! We were so worried we would mix them up. Luckily for us Owyn has always weighed about 2 lbs more. This has made it easy to tell the boys apart. 
Can you guess who is Owyn? 

Once I was comfortable enough to leave the house with 4 kids ages 5 and under the fun times began. The questions from complete strangers were ridiculous. 

When asked if they were identical I would say "Yes". This was often followed up by "So 1 boy and 1 girl." I simply shook my head and explained that no, it meant they were the same.

But really they aren't the same. They are 2 unique individuals. They may have the same DNA but they are not the same. 

They are both cute. 

They are mischievous. 

They are curious about the world around them. 

They love Mario. 

But they have different personalities. This picture captures that perfectly. 

We never refer to O&G as "The Twins". For their last birthday Owyn wanted cupcakes but Gavin wanted brownies so we had both. They get different gifts. 

We want them to have their special twin bond but we want them to be unique too. 


Because my sister and I were always "The Twins". We were never invited to friends without the other one being asked along. We shared cakes. We shared gifts. We were Tracy and Stacy. Our teachers always compared us. I loved school. My sister didn't. 

This caused a major rift with us later on during Middle School and High School. We were always compared to each other and that really bothered us. 

When I found out I was having twins. I didn't want them to grow up being compared. 

I know that's not realistic. But I want to help them be their own person. If they grow up and want to play separate sports we will let them. If they want to pursue separate paths we will encourage them. Identical twins are the same...but they aren't the same. 

It's hard to separate them into 2 unique people for most people. Twins are becoming more common but still a novelty and people are curious about them. I understand that. 

But I know how it feels to always be compared. My sister was an amazing basketball player growing up. I just wanted to be left alone to read. My dream was to become a member of The Babysitter's Club. She wanted to be a builder. We were so different but our teachers and parents wanted us to be the same. 

It was frustrating. 

So now that I'm raising twins, I want to celebrate that they are identical. I want them to have a special bond. I also want them to grow up and know they are unique and that it's okay to have different friends, play different sports, have different likes and dislikes. 

  Owyn is an enjoy the moment kind of guy. Gavin has become a bit OCD. 

In Gavin's world everything must match and line up. Owyn is not like that at all. But some see them as identical and think they must have the same ability. That's not true. 

It's okay to be your own person and not be molded into someone that isn't you. 

Being a twin and raising twins has been a neat experience. 

I wouldn't have it any other way. I love all 4 of my children. Twins simply add a whole level of crazy. 

If you find yourself with twins in your classroom this year or even a twin, try not to compare them. Especially if they are fraternal. 

Growing up a fraternal twin I've come to believe that fraternal means siblings born at the same time. Would you treat sisters that were 3 years apart the same? Probably not. 


5th Grade Scope and Sequence

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

My husband teaches 5th grade and they also had to create a PIVOT for their Scope and Sequence. All of the 5th grade teachers worked together to combine resources so that everyone was teaching the same thing at the same time. This really helps when students move among buildings but stay in the district. I asked him to share what they created to help out other educators and he was happy to share.

ELA Scope and Sequence

Math Scope and Sequence

Hopefully if you are trying to create a PIVOT or something similar you can find some useful information here.

Thanks to my hubby for sharing and to all the SCSD2 5th grade teachers for your hard work.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Creating & Troubleshooting

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

I sat down last night and changed my Creating & Troubleshooting presentation. I wanted to make it more about creating with apps and websites and less about programs we use. I hope you like the changes. Feel free to share this presentation with your colleagues.

Creating and Troubleshooting

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Monday Made It - July 13

             You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Thank you to 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It.
                     I love seeing so many great ideas for the classroom!

With a crazy summer schedule (and over 2,000 miles in a car), I have not gotten to create a lot for my room! I'm hoping to get REALLY busy this weekend. I have been blessed ,however, to learn some incredible new things from inspiring people. Tracy and I have also been blessed to share our experiences and resources with many people through the Indiana eLearning conferences. 

This week I had a new presentation to create on Time Saving Tech in the Classroom. Something that every teacher needs!

In this presentation I tried to cover many of the things Tracy and I use to stay organized in the classroom. Online lesson planning, group email lists, digital newsletters, and booksource.

Have you heard of booksource? My entire classroom library is now scanned into their system, Classroom Organizer,  just by scanning the ISBN with my iPad. (I had to manually input a few too.)

I also included many of the resources we use to digitally share and receive work from our students!

The entire presentation I made for our eLearning presentation can be found here.

What time saving technology do you use in your classroom?

In between presenting I did have time to start a remodeling project on my laundry room. It was dingy and blah, with no storage space. Not a room I enjoyed spending time in!

With some cabinets and a coat of paint the room became much warmer!! I still need to add accessories (and I am saving up for a new washer and dryer), but it is already so much better!

I am happy to have at least one check on my summer to do list at home!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

4th Grade Reading Scope and Sequence

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Michelle and I worked with the other 4th grade teachers in our district and created a 4th Grade reading Scope and Sequence. While you can use Reading Street as a guide it is not mandatory. Michelle and I very rarely use the textbook, but it's listed if you need it.

We did something new this past year and we focused on a specific skill for 3 weeks at a time. This allowed us to dig deep into a concept before we had to move on. We constantly came back and reviewed the skills throughout the year. is a fantastic website to go along with your reading curriculum and I highly encourage you to check it out if you are not using it in your classroom.

As Michelle and I add materials we will update the doc and you will have even more resources available for you.

If you find resources you think we would love please send them our way!


Scope and Sequence

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Made It - July 6

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Thank you to 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It. This is one of my favorite link ups. Teachers are so crafty and inspiring. 

This summer has been jammed packed! Michelle and I have been presenting at various conferences around the state for the #INelearn. We also had the pleasure of going to ISTE and if that wasn't enough. I've moved schools! Right now I do not have a classroom or even know what grade I will be teaching. I will either be 1st or 4th but I will not know until the end of July and school starts back August 3rd!!!! I know what room I will be in but currently all of my stuff is sitting in the hallway. The only thing I do know is our school wide AR theme.  Which brings me to my #MondayMadeIt

Can you guys our AR theme? SUPER HEROES!! I am so pumped for this theme. 

I made this wreath to hang on the outside of my classroom door. I'm still waiting on my super hero ribbon to arrive and I will add that once it comes in but I couldn't wait any longer. 

This type of wreath is the curly loop method. I learned how to do this from Southern Charm Wreaths. She has many videos on You Tube and if you join her mailing list she will send you instructions  t

Friday, July 3, 2015


 You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Michelle and I had an amazing time at ISTE. Not only did we hear some amazing sessions but we spent an insane amount of time in the Exhibit Hall. This place was MASSIVE!!! My calves are sore from walking from one end to the other and then back again multiple times. We had so much fun talking with vendors and finding out more about their products and how to use them in the classroom. 

5.  Glogster

Glogster is a neat way to add notes, images, and videos to create your own multimedia poster. It is extremely kid friendly and what I loved about it is students submit their work to you through the app. Last year I used Book Creator and while I loved it, the recent IOS update made submitting work to me a nightmare. Glogster eliminates that headache. 

Right now Glogster is only 1 poster size page. When I talked to the guys of Glogster they told me that adding multiple pages was up next on their To Do list and they know teachers are anxiously waiting for this. Don't let the lack of pages stop you from using this app. 

I plan on using this app for Anchor Charts, book studies, character traits, and math lessons to name a few. I can't wait to use this one. 

4. Eduction City by edmentum

If you have any of the edmentum products like Reading Eggs, Reading Express, or Study Island you already know how awesome their products are. Education City is a component that I fell in love with for it's vidoes, lessons, activities, and the ability to link it to Study Island. Let me say that again. I can link the Education or Reading Express lessons into my Study Island lesson. That way if a kiddo needs a refresher they can follow the link and it will take them straight to the lesson I've linked. Pretty nifty! 

3. BrainPop. It's not just videos. 

I didn't know that you could create Concept Maps in BrainPop did you? If you click on a BrainPop video you will see Make-A-Map below the video. What's neat is that kids can drop and drag images from the video straight into their concept maps. Teachers and students now have individual logins also. You will need to get the code from your BrainPop tech person. If you hit "Enter Code" and then "What's a Code" it will send an email to the person in charge of your subscription and they can email it to you. This allows you to track your students and keep a record of what they are doing. They can also send you their maps. 

BrainPop also had games that go with videos! 

The downside: It's not iPad compatible YET, but they are working on it and will hopefully have that released soon. 

2. Classroom Booksource

Classrom Booksource saved my sanity this year. I scanned in every book in my classroom library using this app. Once every book was scanned in, I had the ability to track who was reading what book and if they turned it back in or not.  During ISTE I learned that this site also has a 10,000 teacher resource book section. These resources are free for teachers to use and are created by teachers. 

1. Tiny Tap

Tiny Tap is such a neat little app. This app has children's books that can be read aloud to students through the app and then ask comprehension questions. Many books are free but the site works like TPT where teachers can create and then sell their book creations. Check it out 

Let me finish my saying "Thank You". ISTE was amazing and I have to take a moment to praise my district for letting so many of us attend. Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for all the good that is around us. Working in a district that is 1:1 and provides their teachers with PD is such a blessing. I'm so thankful that I was able to spend the last few days in Philadelphia being surrounded by amazing educators. 

While traveling to and from ISTE I was able to visit some  neat sites. Check out the few pictures I remembered to take below! 

The West Virginia State Penitentiary. The cells were TINY. 5x7 and most had 3 grown men inside. The site is now on the national registry and a neat tourist attraction. 

Independence Hall

I never wanted to leave this store!!! So much chocolatey goodness. 

While touring the Hershey Story Museum we sampled chocolate drinks from around the world. My favorite was the JAVA. It had a very creamy caramel and vanilla taste. So yummy! 

Anyone want a Twizzler? 

This Irish pub was AMAZNG. Best pub food I've ever had. #Fado