Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Books to Build a Reading Community

At the beginning of every school year, I always use picture books to kick off our year together.  These are not your traditional beginning of the year read alouds.  These are the books I use in the first few days of school to introduce our classroom reading community.   I teach two classes of ELA/SS and there are very few rules I have when it comes to my classroom library, but the few that I do have are VERY important!  Each book below demonstrates a specific rule or purpose for our classroom library and can be used in any order and with any grade.  Some of these rules might not apply to your classroom (or might even apply in a different way), but are all excellent reads none-the-less.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Williams Joyce
PURPOSE:  Books can change your life!
The is the very first book I read with my students EVERY. YEAR.  It sets the tone of my expectations for our year together - that being that I fully believe that books can change your life and I EXPECT them to this year!  If kids see how much passion you have for books, they will become interested.  I have had many students walk through my classroom doors hating reading and when they tell me that I just light up.  It's like the best gift I could ever be given as a teacher: a challenge!  Don't get me wrong, I love my kiddos who come to me already bookworms, but I especially love watching these "nonbelievers" grow into voracious readers.  All it takes is one book and to change their life and together we will find it!  That's essentially my whole lesson while reading this aloud to them.  They love the illustrations and ask to read it more than once.  It's a book that when you read it a second and third time, you always find something you missed.  There is also a short animated film (15 minutes) based on the book that I HIGHLY recommend showing after reading as well.  It is silent, so you could even show it before hand as a discussion and comparison piece.
Bears Don't Read! by Emma Chichester Clark
PURPOSE: Reading is for EVERYONE!
This is a very sweet and slightly exaggerated, yet humorous, book about a bear who wants to try something different: reading.  It has good messages about perseverance and kindness, but I also like to point out to my students about the stereotypes found in this story.  
Before we read this story I always ask the students to draw or write on a note card "what a reader looks like."  It is usually the same response: a little white boy (or girl) with glasses with a book in their hand, occasionally I'll even get more of a nerd look to the drawing.  Then we discuss this as a class and talk about why other people can't be readers... and then we debunk ALL OF IT!!!
In the book a lot of people in town think the bear is up to no good because he's a bear, when really he just wants to read.  These people don't see him as a reader though, they have stereotyped him.  After discussing the book and how every person in that room can be a reader, no matter their interests, we watch this clip.
This video is EVERYTHING! This video is about Malcolm Mitchell who joined a book club in college, goes on to win the Super Bowl, and then writes a children's book. At around minute 1:50 he says that football will never be his biggest accomplishment because "it came natural - that's a gift. I had to work to read."  I also love that he admits that he entered into college only being able to read at a junior high level.  He IS our students!  So many of our students need to see that everyone CAN be a reader but that it might take more work than others.  Just because you don't look a certain way or like specific things, doesn't mean you can't be a reader!
Here is his book (because you know your kids will immediately want to read it after you watch this, LOL).  Click on the image to read more about it!
Alfred Zector, Book Collector by Kelly DiPucchio
PURPOSE: Always share your stories.
Alfred Zector LOVES books.  He loves them so much that he wants to read ever single one and collect them!  Eventually, he has collected all the stories from the town but realizes he is lonely when he doesn't have any one to share the stories and talk about them with...  You also get to see what a town without books looks like (it's a scary place!).  Eventually, Alfred realizes that he enjoys sharing his stories with others and talking about them.
As a class we discuss why it is important to share our favorite stories and the different ways we can share our stories with our friends!  Here is a general list of what we usually come up with:
Book Talks at Morning Meeting
Write something for the Book Recommendation board
General discussion at any time, any place
Class/School Newsletter
Book Ambassador (keep reading for more info)
How to Read a Story by Kate Messner
PURPOSE: Getting started reading a book.
This is a very cute and simple book that would be fabulous to launch a Reader's Workshop (especially in the younger grades)!  I still use it with my 4th graders as a reminder of what to do when reading but some of it doesn't necessarily apply to us all the time (like the buddy reading).  It begins with Step 1: Find a Story - which is where I insert our choosing "Just Right Books" mini-lesson.  Step 3: Find a Good Spot - which is where we talk about our "Reading Spots" around the room and how we like to read in different places than we like to work.  Some of the lessons go over reading strategies (prediction, questioning, context clues, emotion, etc.) as well as practicing fluency.  A very cute and quick read to remind your students about how to read a book.
Schomburg by Carol Boston Weatherford
PURPOSE: Reading Ambassadors
Schomburg is a very moving true tale about a boy who never saw himself, or any one like him, in the history books.  When he asked his 5thg rade teacher why not, he was told, "because Africa's sons and daughters had no history, no heroes worth noting."  He did not accept that answer and made it his life's mission to amass as much history about his people and their contribution to world history as he could.  And boy did he!
After reading this we talk about what Arturo Schomubrg really was.  He was an ambassador, a representative, for his people and their history!  We discuss how we can always find information and other things in books and how if we want to know something, or need advice, we go to an expert, like Schomburg.
In our class we have Reading Ambassadors, or experts, based on genres.  If you read over 5 books in one particular genre you are considered an expert at that point and your name goes up on the board underneath that specific genre title.  This way, when another students wants ideas on what to read in the Fantasy category, they don't always have to come to me for advice, they can look at the board and see who is an ambassador for fantasy and ask them for the opinion on a selection.
Let Me Finish! by Minh Le
 
PURPOSE: No spoilers!!!
This is probably my BIGGEST pet peeve in the classroom and the kids know this from day one.  I hate it when students spoil the end of a story for another student... they take away their OMG moment that the other student got to experience!  Now, I know accidents happen and I am okay with that.  What I am NOT okay with, and if you're a teacher you know what I'm talking about, is when kids want to show you, or other kids, that they know something that you don't and prove it by telling the ending.  They want to show off their knowledge in a sense.  They don't always do it to be mean or cruel, most don't even set out to ruin the book per se, they just want to prove to people that they knew what was going to happen and in doing so, spoil the book.  Drives. Me. Nuts.  Okay, soap box over. LOL!
This is a really cute book about a boy who is just trying to read a book but all the animals he happens upon keep asking him if he has gotten to specific parts in the book, which could possibly spoil it for him!  It is humorous and has beautiful illustrations!  This is always a class favorite every year I read it!
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
PURPOSE: There is a book for everyone/Even reluctant readers can enjoy reading.
This is one of my favorite books!  It is about a boy named Cal who lives up in the Appalachian Mountains where there are no libraries to be seen for miles.  A Book Woman keeps showing up to his house delivering books for his sister but he would rather do anything else than sit and read a book.  The fact that this woman delivers these books through all kinds of weather (especially the dangerous kind) starts to intrigue Cal as to what is so special about these books that she would be willing to risk her life to deliver them.
It is a fabulous read that shows your readers how special, and valuable, books and reading can be and how there really is a book for every reader, even the most reluctant of readers.  I always like to tell the kids that I am their own personal Book Woman!  I would happily go through the rain and fog and cold to get them a book!
I use this book as an introduction to our #truestorytuesday for #classroombookaday.  If you have never done #classroombookaday, I cannot recommend it enough!!!  As a class we read a picture book every day - for fun and community building experiences.  I don't always have a plan when it comes to the books, just whatever our class needs at that moment.  But I always do a true story on Tuesdays and I will say this is by far their most favorite day!  This is the book I use to introduce different types of non-fiction picture books as well as #truestorytuesday and talk to kids about the real Pack Horse Librarians from American history!
{This is also a fantastic book to use when teaching context clues and dissecting unknown words and phrases.}
Hooray for Books! by Brian Won
PURPOSE: Try new genres, formats, and titles.
This is a very cute and simple story about having a favorite book and wanting to read it but also how it is okay to try new things.  After Turtle has searched and searched for his favorite book and declined everyone else's suggestions on what he should try, he finally realizes that maybe there are other good stories out there that he should read.
This is a perfect story to share  for reader's who have an absolute favorite (which I totally get!) and to show them that it is okay to branch out and read what other people suggest.
I hope you have found some new titles that will help you set up your own classroom reading community!  What books do you read to help your students begin their reading journey?


Monday, June 4, 2018

All the Books!










My classroom library is home to over 1,000 books.  Yes, you read that correctly - over 1,000 (EASILY).  Every year I probably add about 100 new books to the lot: chapter books, picture books, informational text, etc.  I am constantly promoting new books and buying books that I think my current readers would be interested in.  This is not always an easy feat on a teacher's salary, but it can be done!  Here are the top five methods I have used to add more books to my classroom library:

Scholastic Book Order

Scholastic Book Clubs is my all time favorite way to get books!  Just by sending home flyers each month and promoting a love of reading in your classroom, you can earn points and free books to help build up your classroom library!  I work at a Title 1 school so I run the average book order every other month.  Some months are better than others but in general I get about 4-6 student orders each go around.  Just form that alone I am able to accumulate enough points that I can purchase AT LEAST 40 new books each year with points alone... that means I didn't pay a single penny for those books.


Scholastic has started putting a $1 book in each flyer EVERY month!  This is perfect for a couple reasons.  

1. You can get books for cheap for your classroom library.  There are also $2 and $3 books as well - still a great deal! If you are like me and work at a Title 1 school, your families don't always have a ton of extra money to spend on books, so them being able to get classics and favorites for just $1 is an AWESOME deal!  

2. I use these $1 books to build my novel study or literature circle libraries.  I will buy anywhere from 5-25 copies (whole class set) of a book to use in my class.  

3. I will also purchase the $1 books for our "Christmas Book Pass" game (for the students who can't bring one in), and for an end of the year gift.  I keep an eye out all year for a perfect summer book for my kiddos.  I want it to be something that is a good piece of literature but also a series, this way if they love the book they can keep the momentum going with the rest of the series throughout the summer!

Also, if you are a first year teacher, Scholastic Book Clubs offer even more extras to help you build your library!  Don't forget to look at other flyers besides the ones for your grade levels as well.  I am a big believer in using picture books to teach my standards as well as reading a classroom-book-a-day picture book.  Purchasing picture books through Scholastic Book Orders are a very inexpensive way to build up this portion of my library as well!

Donors Choose
Image result for donors choose
I LOVE using Donors Choose and I try to do at least one a year for books for my classroom.  I usually have something specific in mind and ask for diverse books, non-fiction, classroom-book-a-day, etc.  But that's the joy of Donors Choose, you can ask for whatever your classroom needs!  I usually try to ask for my more expensive books through DC because sometimes they will offer half-price matching.  The only draw back to DC (in my humble opinion) is that you never know when it will be funded so you never know when you will receive the books.  Better late than never, but if you need them by a specific date this might not be the way to go.  Also, ALWAYS check with your school or district about what their parameters are for Donors Choose and if those books get to stay with you as your teaching career advances, or do they belong to the school...

If you would like to get started with your own Donors Choose account and project, I recommend this page to get you started: 5 Steps for a Successful Start on Donors Choose.

Goodwill

Every Goodwill might be different but ours sells paperback books for $0.29 and hardback books for $0.59.  Y'all, you cannot beat those prices!  It can be hit or miss like anything, but it's always worth a shot!  I also like to go to the Goodwill in my school's neighborhood because they always have a better children's book selection than my neighborhood one. Probably because of all the kiddos! LOL  Another good tip is to at peak times, like before and after Christmas and around Spring, for bigger selections.

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Scholastic Warehouse Sales are events in major cities that usually occur 2-4 times a year.  If you sign up for their email list you will get notifications weeks in advance as well as coupons for $10 off and more!  You can even sign up to volunteer for the event and my understanding is the volunteers get even more discounts/perks!  Every warehouse sale is different in what they offer (book-wise and sale-wise).  There are usually two sales a year that offer 50-80% off of their books.  Be sure to check the email to see what sale prices are being offered.  Some of the events also offer Build a Box.  This is where you take a box inside a specific section of the warehouse and fill it with as many books as you can for a set price!  There was a time where this was my main source for classroom library books.

Student Donations

Another way to get more books into your classroom is to ask your families!  You will be surprised how many students want to donate something to their classroom library.  Let them promote and talk up their books to the class before you put them out for circulation!  This will make the students feel more special, allow them to share their love of these particular reads with their friends, and inspire another student to do the same.  Trust me, I know!  My principal even gave me the idea that if you have a classroom economy or ticket system, that any student that brings in books (as long as their parents give permission) get "X' amount of money or tickets toward their class account. 

Everything is worth a shot once!  In this case, I recommend giving all of these options a shot more than once!  There are a lot more ways to get books into the hands of your students but these are the top 5 ways that add to my classroom library the most.  Later I will tell you about some other, less common, methods (especially if you work at a Title 1 school like me)!  Do you have any other tried and true methods to get books?  Let's hear about them in the comments below!


Monday, July 4, 2016

The Best Kept Secret in Education Part 2

As you have previously read in Part 1, I attended the ALA Conference last week.  I don't think I specifically mentioned why I thought it was the best kept secret in education but if you read the post, I feel like it was self explanatory... 3 hours, 3 aisles, 42 new books for my classroom.  No brainer.

And that was only Sunday.

Monday was a whole new ball game folks.  

First off, my shoulders were KILLING me from the day prior.  All those bags weighed down with those books was no joke.  I had no idea how I was going to carry the new books today. (Yea, yea #firstworldproblems)

Secondly, I had little man with me and that was a gamble right there friends.  It could have gone either way.  Luckily the little ham bone did amazing and won over many very sweet people with his smile and manners.  


Now I was nervous to bring him for a variety of reasons but one of the main ones was that I didn't want to be this giant stroller in the aisle.  Then I remembered how many people were walking around with rolling suitcases and how large your load is with bags of books hanging off both sides of you and I immediately stopped feeling guilty.

That stroller was clutch y'all!  There was no way on God's green earth I could have carried all my new books with my shoulders the way they were.  Why yes, I am a wimp.  But seriously, I should have taken a picture of how red my shoulders still were the next day from the "strap rash" (I don't know if that's a thing...  It seems like a sketchy disease one gets...).

Any way, moving on!

Monday is different than the other two days in that it is shorter.  The conference was open from 9-2. There are fewer people as well, not by much but still smaller.  There were also fewer authors than on Sunday but still a very good amount!  We got to meet Jonathan Fenske who is the author of Barnacle is BORED and the illustrator of Maxi the Little Taxi, Henry Cole.  Both very nice men!

Definitely using this one with my 5th graders for #classroombookaday
Sunday night after the conference I saw on social media how many books, authors, and publishers I missed so I devised a game plan of who I wanted to see and where I needed to be for the next day.  So on Monday I got to visit at least half the conference room and my same three aisles from yesterday ;)

Same sort of goodness happens on Monday that happened on Sunday...  "Free book?"  "Want to meet this author?"  "Would your son like a book?"  Just as nice as nice could be.

What was different was even though they say the conference ends at 2, people really start closing up shop at 12.  When I say closing up I mean they really don't want to haul anything back so they just start giving it away.  For free.

Now not all publishers/vendors did this but the majority and definitely the big name ones did.  Here's the rub: they all do it at the same time so you need to figure out which vendor has the most goods you want and get in line.  And I do mean a line.  Some people even started getting in line around 11.  That was not going to work for us.  You should also be aware of their rules.  Some places only let you pick 3 books, some would let you get 5, some were as many as you could hold.  Know what you're getting in line for!  This was not an easy decision.  So many good books I wanted but you just didn't know what you might get...

Look at all those beautiful books!  I just want to add them all to our class library!
Around 11:58 (because I wasn't even sure we were going to make it to this point since lunch time was vastly approaching) I jumped eighth in line for a distribution company who had one side of their set-up for free and the other for super cheap!  It was surprisingly organized!  I went in with a number of other people (they do police how many can be in at one time) and grabbed what I wanted, paid for my goods and left.  What was a nice surprise was the diverse selection of books I got because it was a distributor and not a specific publishing company.




Told you that stroller was clutch!
Part 3 is all the advice I could possibly give you for a trip to the ALA Conference!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Best Kept Secret in Education Part 1

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, FL and it was beyond anything I could have ever imagined!  In this three part blog series I am going to tell you about each day that I was able to attend and my final advice for you should you ever get the privilege to go!
 I knew it was coming a couple months ago, I had even said to myself, "Hey!  A lot of my favorite authors are going to be there, I want to go."  And then mommy-hood and teaching life got in the way and I completely forgot about it.  Fast forward a few months to this past weekend and what pops up on my Instagram feed but pics from the conference (#alaac16)!  Well since it's in my own backyard I decide I'm just going to get an exhibit pass (for $65) and go the next day!  The exhibit pass gets you in for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  At this point I have already missed Saturday and because of other plans already made I would only get to go for a short while on Sunday and Monday, but that's okay because I'm a HUGE book nerd and it's worth it to me.

So I get there Sunday, register on site and walk into the mass amount of vendor booths.  There are so many books and crazy technology I don't even know where to begin!  I see Scholastic's sign hanging from the ceiling so that's my beacon and where I go (what teacher wouldn't?!).  
Well, as I'm walking someone says, "Would you like to meet Frances O'Roark Dowell and get a book signed?"  
"Yes, I would!... but I don't have any of her books on me.  How much are they?"
  "Oh, they're free!  Here are two, one has already been published the other is an ARC (advanced reviewer/reader copy)."  
So I wait in line and meet the fabulous Frances who I can say is an absolutely a doll and funny to boot!  She was so nice and personable.  We even got to talking about my kiddos and how we like to Skype with authors and she offered to do a Skype visit with my students!  When she signed my book she even wrote her email inside to get connected.  Just so friendly!
Okay, so back on my journey towards Scholastic...
I finally make it to Scholastic, but on my journey I pass many different children's publishers along the way.  And at every publisher they are giving away free books.  I don't mean some dinky boring book that no one wants.  I mean the new release you have on your Amazon Wish List but are waiting until it comes out on paperback (because we're teachers and have no money), or the sequel to a book you and your kids have been dying to get your hands on.  It's all there just waiting for you to claim and take back to your room!  Usually it's not even just one freebie, there are three or 4 to choose from and guess what...  You can take all three or four!  So I did!  (Disclaimer: I offered to pay for almost every book because it just blew my mind that they were giving them all away for free.  Every time they said, "Oh no take it, it's free!")
And when you go back about 20 minutes later, there is a whole new selection of books because they ran out of the last one they had!  Well, let me just take one of those as well, thank you!
Now, not all books are free.  Some are for sale.  When I say sale, yes I mean you can buy them but they are SUPER DISCOUNTED.  Hardbacks anywhere from $5-$10 max.  Paperbacks $1-$5.  If you are having an author sign your book, they give you the book for free!
I got to meet Pam Munoz Ryan and I LOVE her!  She gets me.  Or she could have just been really nice and saying what she thought I wanted to hear but either way, it worked for me!  I am so excited to read her new book ECHO.
Now, Sara Pennypacker was signing at Disney Hyperion for her new book Waylon! One Awesone Thing, but I also wanted her to sign our Global Read Aloud for this year, Pax.  So I spent $10 at Scholastic and bought one.  Come to find out two hours later she was signing for Pax at Scholastic and I could have got a copy for free then, but that line was ridiculously long so I found it money well spent!
I made the fatal mistake of not branching out and/or preparing for this visit.  To be fair, I had no time to plan because I registered on site where I got my goodies then but I was also short on time so I was trying to get as much in as I could.  I also assumed that the three aisles of children's publishers was it because on either side was book technology.  So those three aisles are where I stayed and got all my goodies.  Rookie mistake.
This was my first time I ever had FOMO (fear of missing out).  Seeing how many authors I almost missed, or did miss, and looking at other people's posts and seeing the books they got that I didn't definitely put FOMO into high effect, haha.  It also made going back the next day all that more exciting!  You remember that feeling you got on Christmas Eve as a kid just waiting to see what would be under that tree the next morning?  It's like that but tenfold because it lasts way longer than 30 minutes!!!
Imagine if I had stayed the whole day and actually walked around!?
Part 2 is all about Monday (which was different than Sunday!) and Part 3 is my advice to anyone going, especially the first time!  I will also be giving you a list of all the titles I received.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Blog!


New year, new blog I say!  I got a whole revamp from the lovely Gabby over at Gabby's Classrooms!  I love the brightness and cheerfulness it brings me every time I look at it.  The perfect way to start off a new year!  Thank you Gabby!!!

This time of year is all about resolutions.  What are some of yours?  I have had many in the past which have worked out well and some which have not.  This year I was getting real about what I was actually going to do.  Now with little man on our hands our time is a lot more valuable (and non-existent).

Let's be real...  I'm not dieting, I like food too much!

I'm not committing to exercising because I don't love it and I wanted to focus on the things I love this year.  But also because at the end of the day when I have my 15 minutes left after baby time, mommy and daddy time (aka dinner), and finishing school work or my gifted courses, that last 15 minutes before I completely pass out, if I haven't done so already on the couch, are spent brushing my teeth, taking out my contacts and escaping into a book for 15 minutes for my sanity.  Without that it gets ugly people.  UGLY.

This year I have a resolution with my hubs and two with myself.  So for those of you counting at home, that's three!  A bit gutsy for me if I do say so myself but let's just see where this takes us shall we.

This year my hubs and I have decided that we would like to go on one date night a month.  Sounds easy right?!  Surprisingly, that time just flies by and you realize with a new baby, who is now almost one, that the last date you went on was right after he was born.  Unacceptable!

We challenged ourselves to each come up with six dates, this way we would have one for each month of the year already set up.  Sometime this weekend we will share our ideas and start to plan them out!  The nice thing about this is the flexibility.  We can do these whenever we want!  We can even swap them out if we need to.  I made these little cards to fill out (because have you met me... it's what I do) and when we decide the date we'll circle the month, check off the day and write down the date in the box.  If you want your own date night cards, click here for your free copy.


I'm ridiculously excited to see what the hubs thought up!  I have always loved gifts (whether it is the getting or giving) not because of the stuff, I in fact hate clutter stuff, but because of the thought behind it!  We were only allowed to do three dinner and movies but the dinners had to be unique, not some place we always go.  I'll let y'all know what he comes up with!

This year I wanted to challenge myself to take a picture a day.  Maybe it's something I'm proud of, a stinking cute picture of our Peanut, a funny moment, the mundane, whatever it is I'll take one photo a day.  I started talking with my girls about this and Project Life by Becky Higgins was brought up.  So I check out her website and what to my wondering eyes does appear but absolute greatness!

I've seen her scrapbook stuff in the craft stores but remember, I only have 15 minutes a day people.  Aint nobody got time for that.  So I move on to the next tab which says Project Life Digital.  I can totally do digital!  But the digital is a SMIDGE over what I want to spend right now.  Because let's be honest.  I'm going to need more than one of those cute kits.
Then you see there is an app that let's you do all this while only spending a few dollars here and there for the kits you want.  UMMM yes please!  I can totally rock this resolution with this and print a super cute book at the end of the year.  I even made one page from New Years already.  Can't beat that!


Here is a super quick video that shows you all it takes.


Super simple y'all.  I'm going to try and read 60 books in 2016!  I got the idea from my friend Amanda at My Shoe String Life.  You can even sign up at SixtyBooks.com to sign the pledge and make reading a part of your every day life.  I've already started my first one for our Literary Leaders Book Club : Masterminds by Gordon Korman.


It doesn't count because I finished it before the new year but you MUST READ Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman.  I loved it!!!  It's all about codes, puzzles, mysteries, and books!  It's another of our Literary Leader Book Club reads for this upcoming semester.


That's it in a nutshell y'all!  My three resolutions for this year.  What are you resolutions?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Orange Ya Glad It's a Blog Hop

Hey y'all!  I'm so glad that you were able to join us for the third annual Orange Ya' Glad it's a Blog Hop!

I am the


If you have hopped with us in the past, some things will be familiar, and some things will be new!

This year, all of our bloggers are focusing on free tips or ideas that they can share with you to get your school year off to a great start.  Some ideas will have a freebie, others might just be a stand alone concept.  The idea is to try and share things that will solve problems and create a happy and stress free first few weeks!

Let's get this party started!

Last year one of my old teammates and teaching soulmates, Tia, sent a letter home asking families to send in a framed family photo with their child to help decorate her room.  Well, I LOVED that idea!  Her room looked amazing, it was like a second home, and the kids really had an investment in it because it was part them.

So, what do good teammates/teaching soulmates do?  They steal/share the idea!!!  She's also the brains behind the Parent Homework Letter the first week of school that I blogged about earlier this year.  If you want a freebie that will have an amazing impact on your year and how you view your students (no big build up or anything), click here.  I just don't know where I would be without that woman!?

Here is what mine will look like this year!  Yep.  You read that right...  What mine WILL look like this year.  So school hasn't started yet for me (one more week?!) and Tia didn't have any pictures so I made asked some of my past and present teammates that had kids at our school to bring in framed family photos so I could post them here for y'all!  Once a teammate, always a teammate.  For better or for worse.  #they'restuckwithme


Here is the letter that I will send home this year.


If you'd like to have this freebie file for your own class,
please click here.  It is a PowerPoint and the only thing editable is the name.  The font is KB Tiny Red Whale if you wanted it all to match, but really any font will work.  You could even go wild and crazy and jazz it up with a little cursive signature!  You know, that secret language your students think you write in, lol.

We will be having an Instagram giveaway again!  At the bottom of each post, there will be a letter.   The letters all work together to give you the name of a type of orange!  This year is a bit tricky...it's a two word name!  Who knew there was such a fancy two-named orange out there?!

This post is brought to you by the letter "O."


**Fun Fact: Starting at the first blog, Mrs. Russell's Room, and going through will give you the right answer!** 

Once you've solved the puzzle...take a picture of the answer.  
Post it on instagram and hashtag it with #orangehop2015.  We love original ideas...so, do something fun with your image!  Check out these ideas from last year!


We will go through the pictures and select a winner!  What do you get if you win you ask? Well for starters...


Some of these other ladies just might have prizes for you as well... I guess you'll have to hop along to find out ;o)

Next up, a blogger that I not only love and follow religiously, but she is one of my BBB's and a good friend.


The awesome Joanne Miller from Head Over Heels for Teaching!  Click on her button to move on to the next idea.

http://headoverheelsforteaching.blogspot.com/

I hope you enjoy the hop and good luck!