Classroom Library

Last Fall I was fortunate enough to have a Student Teacher.  It was great to be able to be a part of a future teacher's experience, but it was also a great time for ME!  I had a "to-do" list before she arrived.  I have never been so organized.  My biggest project was organizing my classroom library.  It was a mess and difficult for the students to find the books they were searching for.  
My Classroom Library

I started by closing the library I already had in place and making sure I had all of my books.  I then taped a piece of cardstock to the inside of the back cover of EVERY book and made a corresponding library card.  This was probably the most time consuming part.  It could have been easier if I had purchased the pre-made library cards and pockets, but that wasn't in the budget.  

Pocket in the back of the books

Then I organized books into different categories.  I am sure there are many different opinions on how to categorize them, so just do what makes sense to you.  For the most part they are organized by series, so I have a basket for Magic Tree House, Clifford, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc.  For the miscellaneous books I leveled them, so I have a 1st grade level up to 4th grade.  Once I determined the categories, I made tags to stick to the basket the books belonged in.  After I had them organized, I assigned a sticker to each series and placed that on the outside front cover and on the coordinating tag for the basket.

Each basket has a tag and coordinating sticker to book.

My system to keep the cards organized.
Once the library was complete I went into GREAT detail with the students on how they were to treat the library and how they were to get books.   Every Friday after they have taken their reading test I allow them to return and check-out 5 new books for their book boxes.  I have a library card check out system at my desk.  It is made of index cards with student numbers on them.  I put their 5 library cards behind their number.  So simple!  I give them their cards.  They put them back in the books and return them to the "Return Bin".  Then they are able to go shop in the library for their 5 new books.  Later I  put the books back into the correct basket.  Sometimes as the year goes on I find a responsible student to take over the job.  
They store their boxes here and have access to them all day.

This system has dramatically increased the amount of reading happening in my classroom.  Instead of them wasting time searching for a book they already have 5 waiting to go!  I love it!  The book  bins keep the kiddos organized and my books in better shape.

I also find the book boxes extremely helpful when I do Daily 5- "Read to Self" or "Read to Someone".  They are able to grab their book boxes and get started right away! 

 I LOVE my classroom library!  I hope you do  too!

Whole Class Behavior System

My kiddos absolutely LOVE this whole class behavior system.  I started using it several years ago and have tweaked it over the years, but the kids still feel the same about it.  I hang the words on a bulletin word that say, We are on the Road to Good Behavior.  I have them created for a large or small classroom bulletin board.  Every time they are given a compliment about their behavior from a specials teacher, or about how they are walking down the hall, or their behavior during a drill, I move the bus one letter.
You should see their reaction when the music teacher says they were so well behaved today.  They all look at me with wide eyes full of excitement.  The kicker is they know they can't say, "can we move the bus?!"  otherwise I won't.  I know, I am terrible!  So they just stare with anticipation until we get into the classroom and I move the bus.  It takes some time to get to the end, but when they get to the "r" in behavior I blindly pull a reward card from the treasure box. 

There are all sorts of rewards that my past kiddos helped me create.  So you know they are "kid approved".  The one that has been a huge hit in the past has been "lunch with the principal in the classroom".  The great part is that it didn't cost me a penny!  I do have some reward cards that would require some cash, such as "donuts and milk", but sometimes I don't include those.  The choice is yours!  There are PLENTY to pick from without those few.  You can even print multiple copies to increase the chances of picking your favorite.  I know, I know a teacher would NEVER do that! ;) It will be our secret!
Here is a sample of some of the rewards

I know your class will be on the road to good behavior in no time! Enjoy!


Getting Back into the Swing of Things with Daily 5

I will be starting my 4th week back to work on Monday.  I have to say I am so thankful it is a short week.  I can't wait for all of the good food on Thursday and an extra couple of days to spend with my family! 
 I have been busily working to get my class back where I am used to it being.  Two weeks ago I began introducing Daily 5.  We started with "Read to Self".  This is only my second year doing Daily 5 and it is amazing how it happens exactly how The Sisters describe it to happen.  It is so neat watching them be so engaged in their books and how they are excited to find that they added time to their stamina.  Last week I introduced "Read to Someone".  A couple of the days I just sat back and listened to them read aloud to their partners and I had the biggest grin on my face.  They were reading to each other with so much expression and laughing about the stories they were reading.  I also heard them talking about what they read and helping each other if they got stuck.  It is absolutely amazing!  I found some great resources on TpT for D5 by and Mel D at  They have Daily 5 freebies that I started using with my kiddos.  I especially liked the check marks that remind the students to "Check for Understanding".  Here they are in action.

I loved how engaged my student on the left is.  The student on the right is describing what was read and she is talking with her hands like crazy!

They just read something really funny.
I love how the check mark really reminds them of their task.
I would love to hear your successes with Daily 5!


We do make a difference

Do you ever have those days after a LONG day of teaching and wonder did I reach ANYONE today? You begin to question why you are a teacher or if you are doing enough.  I had one of those days yesterday.  I was really down on myself and those questions were screaming in my head.  I vented to a fellow coworker and went home and had a couple glasses of wine.  Wine makes EVERYTHING clearer.  I spent some quality time with my babies and hubby and then had a pretty decent nights sleep.  Well as decent as you can get with a 5 month old who still wakes up to eat!

This morning I woke up feeling ready for the day.  I knew I had a guest teacher/speaker coming to my class first thing in the morning and I couldn't have been happier.  Since I returned from maternity leave I have spent everyday looking for missing things and stuck at my desk pumping during my special and lunch break.  Needless to say not much was getting done.  So I took the time to finally get organized and it feels GREAT!  After she left I felt reinvigorated and had a fantastic day of teaching.

I realized that I am not a bad teacher.  Those questions are what a great teacher does to make herself better.  Yesterday was a perfect kick in the pants to remind me that I AM doing what I am supposed to.  I care about the kids and I strive to make them better everyday.  


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Accelerated Reader Program

AR is a BIG to do in 2nd Grade!

My team makes a HUGE deal out of AR.  It was something that was in place when I joined the team and I think it is an excellent way to motivate the kids.  Every month we set a goal for the students to meet.  We usually start the beginning of the year with something smaller, usually 2 points.  That typically equates to 4 smaller books like a Clifford book.  We slowly raise the goal each month and adjust for short months.  By the end of the year I think we expect 4 points.  The students who read chapter books usually go above and beyond.

Students gathered in the hub
So at the beginning of each month we gather all of the 2nd grade students together to celebrate and recognize the past months goal reachers.  We are lucky enough to have a hub to accommodate all 6 classes.  Before we come together students are given a slip for every 1/2 point they receive.  They put their name and teachers name on the slip and put it in a bucket for a chance to win prizes. We begin by calling off the names of the students who reached their goal.  They stand and we all get really excited for them.  Next, we recognize the top 3 students from each class who went above and beyond.  We usually give these students a free homework pass or free meal ticket to one of their favorite restaurants.  We have also given stuffed animals that have been donated by families in the past.  Then, we pull 3 names out of each of our buckets.  These students get to have lunch and a movie with a teacher.  They LOVE this!  
Here I am calling off my Goal Reachers
AR slips that the students fill out for chances
This sign is attached to our bucket or basket where the chances go

Finally, we combine all of the slips into one large container.  This is where the students get REALLY excited!  We have an administrator help with this.  He pulls the ticket out of the bucket, but doesn't call out the name right away.  He usually gives clues.  Here is an example of some: 

-The name on this slip is someone who read a book and took a quiz.
-This person is a 2nd grader.
-This person's teacher has 2 syllables

Our Dean of Students 
Super Secret picture of the GRAND PRIZE

The kids get a kick out of the obvious clues.  He finally announces it after the students have been shouting out the answer to him for some time.  It is really cute how bashful the student they think it is gets.  The winner sits in front of the kids and is presented with the GRAND PRIZE.  It is a bucket filled with all sorts of goodies like free homework passes, jolly ranchers, Happy Meal toys, bracelets, etc.  We then announce to the monthly goal winners what their prize is.  We try to do something pretty big.  It starts off small at the beginning of the year and gets more exciting as the year progresses.  We have done game days, free recess and ice pops, nachos, ice cream sundaes, tops made out of cd's, bubble blowers we call "foam-r-ators", and we end the year with a Beach Party.  The kids who reached their goal every month or only missed one month receive the Beach Party. In the past I have kept a chart to keep track of these kids, but this year I am giving each student a punch card.  The Beach Party usually lasts an hour.  We typically take them outside and play games, give them visors, and popsicles.  It is really fun!  The teachers and the students both love the AR Ceremony.  It is something we look forward to each month and it truly encourages reading.


All of the files will be available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store soon!

Year long AR Punch Cards


Good Morning!

Welcome to Teaching Ever After

Hey Everybody! Welcome to my new blog, Teaching Ever After!  I am excited to begin sharing all of the great things that are happening in my classroom.  This is my 6th year of teaching.  I started off in Kindergarten and now happily reside in 2nd grade.

I just returned from maternity leave this past week.  I had my beautiful daughter, Norah, in June.  I also have a handsome little 3 year old, Gavin.  I'm not sure why they call it the "Terrible-Two's" because I have to say 3 has been so much more trying!  I love my kiddos to death and missed them terribly last week.  I am so happy it is the weekend!  I am sure you will hear a lot about what they are doing.  I am so proud of every little thing they do!  Gavin was born with Cerebral Palsy, so his milestones are a time to celebrate.  His CP is very mild, but he is still unable to walk, but he WILL get there!  He also has a peanut allergy that I blog about at Norah started rolling over about 3 weeks ago and is OBSESSED! That is great except for the fact that she can't get herself back and she cries until you flip her over.  I turn my back and she is back on her belly! Ugh she is a pistol!

Since I have been on maternity leave things haven't been the most consistent in my classroom.  We started the year off with one substitute and she got a full time job several weeks into the leave.  So they hired a retired teacher to cover the rest of my leave.  Needless to say I am spending some time on classroom management. They are a nice group of kids, but I just prefer things a certain way. LOL!  They are VERY quick learners.  I already have them saying, "May I please..." I love it!  My husband thinks I am crazy for making them say that, but I think it's great!


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