Last summer, a teacher at my school introduced me to Prezi. I played with it a bit last summer. After you get used to the concept and tools, it's a pretty neat way to use technology in the classroom.  I can make Powerpoints faster, so for the rest of the year I went back to Powerpoint.  However, I'm currently working on a Prezi for a professional development workshop I'm presenting and they've made some changes which I think makes it easier to use.

Last year I taught middle school intensive reading.  The first day of school I showed this All About Me Prezi as an introduction to an ice breaker with each of my middle school classes:



For those of you who are not uber-experienced bloggers, there's a few things you should know!

1. When commenting on a blog Captcha is annoying.  (It might be on and you don't even know it.)
2. The owner of a blog can't reply to your email if you are a "noreply blogger".
3. If you have a blog you can advertise it through your profile! I like to visit the blogs of those who comment, like, share, or follow my blog and often I can't find them.

Meghan at Shine On popped up in Google when I tried to find someone who had already written a fabulous post about this topic. Check it out if you want to fix it to be a more-friendly-blogger. :)


Resources I Can't Live Without

Rockin' Resources is a great blog to subscribe to, and I found it through one of my new favorite-things: Linky-Parties! Everyone will be soon inundated with school-related thoughts and will likely be spending some money! Here are some of my can't-live-without-teacher-tools.


My Teacher Story

When I was a senior in high school I joined the Navy Band as a flute/sax player. About six weeks after graduation I left for boot camp. I knew that there were two things I wanted to do with my life, and I couldn't pick: music and teaching.  I decided to pursue the music end and if it didn't work out, pursue teaching. Well, two years later I had a fully paid scholarship to a four year college.  (I developed a life-long disorder called Interstitial Cystitis, or "IC" and was discharged from the military 20% "disabled".) The VA generously paid for me to be "retrained". 

I attended Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island.

Rethinking Kindergarten

“IQ was the predictor of success in the 20th century. In the 21st century, self-regulation will be the predictor of success,” says Stuart Shanker, distinguished research professor of philosophy and psychology at York University and one of Canada’s leading experts on self-regulation. Genes and temperament impact the development of self-regulation, but the key idea for kindergarten teachers is that children with poor self-regulation struggle to cope with ordinary classroom stimulation: sights, background noises, textures, emotions, what other children are doing and saying. “When a child is putting so much energy into coping,” says Shankar, “there is little left over for paying attention, controlling impulses, remembering instructions and ultimately for learning.”
Canadian and American data suggest that between 25 and 50 per cent of children going into Grade 1 struggle to varying degrees with self-regulation. “That’s why it’s crucial to focus on it in kindergarten,” Shanker says. Here are four ways to build self-regulation in the classroom".   Read More


Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

Since I just recently "went public" with my blog, I'm joining the Newbie Blog Hop from Grade Three is the Place for Me.  If you'd like to join, link up and post the following on your blog:

1.  what state you are in
2.  your current teaching position
3.  your teaching experience
4.  when you started blogging
5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

1. I live in Florida. I've also living in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia and Louisiana. 
2 and 3. I am currently the RtI Coordinator for our K-8 school. This year I will work directly with 2nd-8th graders in reading and math.  I have also taught PreK ESE, 1st, 3rd, 4th and middle school. This is my 14th year teaching. 
4. I started a website for my school last summer. This summer I discovered the teaching blog world and I decided to make it public.
5. Cutest Blog on the Block has free backgrounds, headers and graphics! 


Waiting Rarely Works: Late Bloomers Usually Just Wilt

by: American Federation of Teachers at ReadingRockets.com

A look at three pivotal longitudinal studies that clearly show: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficits are almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers.
For thirty years, up until about a decade ago, the idea of "late bloomers" was widely believed among researchers and educators alike. "Late bloomer" was the endearing term for a child who was slower than his peers in learning to read. The idea, so well captured in the term, was that these children would bloom in their reading—they would just do it a bit later than their peers. This common view, known among researchers as the "developmental lag" theory, was


Common Core

I ran into a like-minded friend-colleague yesterday at school when I stopped by to make copies for the RtI Binders I'm going to give to each grade level this year. We started talking about all sorts of things that we agree on.  I mentioned to her to check out my blog for Common Core resources, so I thought I would write a post highlighting that information here for easier viewing.  Here is my Pinterest board for Pinterest Common Core Board and a post about Text Complexity.  Florida has an excellent reading website from the Florida Center for Reading Research with free center activities: just print and go!  My posts about thinking deeper, character titles, and  Education World's Article are all related to Common Core. If you haven't yet, make sure to sign up for and check out Teachers Pay Teachers. As of today there are over 900 FREE documents, lessons, etc. related to Common Core.



Well, this year I won't be setting up a classroom, which, honestly, makes me sad. I loved going to my new classroom (I only stayed in the same classroom for two years in a row once in 14 years!). I love change, so I would usually change my theme each year. So, I can't resist Pinning classroom organization pins even though I have no classroom to organize! I figure I'd share them all with you!


Developing Intrinsic Motivation

Teachers often struggle with students who they perceive to be unmotivated. A common debate is whether or not rewards are appropriate for use with students. On one hand, rewards can encourage students to do things they are not otherwise motivated to do.  On the other hand, people often worry that students can become dependent on rewards.  A statement I often hear is


Advice for the New Teacher

My first year of teaching as a general education classroom teacher I was the fourth teacher of the year and I started in January. The biggest lesson I learned that year is that right or wrong, people judge you on how you handle your class in common areas such as in the hallway or cafeteria. They may have no idea what goes on in your classroom, but your worth as a teacher is judged daily and whispered about behind closed doors. I was successful that year simply because I was the fourth teacher of the year.  I was compared to the other teachers on a daily basis. Because the principal had to go into the classroom and literally take kids off the counters because they were climbing the walls with the teacher before me, I unknowingly had it easy: all I had to do to earn a good reputation was get good line behavior. Never forget that especially in those areas you are being watched and judged.  Your first year teaching is stressful and you are going to make a lot of mistakes. Fourteen years later, I still make a lot of mistakes.  Give your self a break and try again the nexttime. Below are some more tips for your first year.  Enjoy! This will be the worst and best year of your teaching life! 


Top 10 Tools in the Teacher Toolbox

Teaching My 3

John Hattie analyzed over 50,000 research studies on the effects of a long list of variables in the classroom. Assuming we can't choose the students we teach, the following are a list of the top 10 Teacher Tools that have the greatest effect on student achievement. Those listed below were found to have a .70 or greater effect. A .50 is one year, and 1.0 is two years. 

10. Teacher-student relationships - Teachers show empathy, warmth, encouragement.  


I'm pretty sure I already told you already about Teaching Blog Addict, but I have explored that site some more and you HAVE to check it out. It is a daily go-to for me now. You will love it. It is a great collection of Blogs and Pins from teachers all over the world in every possible capacity. Here are some highlights:

Summer Book Studies
Freebies, Giveaways, Linky Parties 
Blog Hop
Featured Authors
Virtual Expo

TBA Fan Page Pinboard at Pinterest
Pins divided into category


Give it All Your Heart

Follow The Famous Yellow Road

Some people say that teachers choose this profession simply because they want summers off. I must say, that is a great perk when you have children. However, what do I find myself doing this beautiful summer morning? Blogging about teaching. And what have I spent my "down" time doing this summer? Planning for the next school year. Oh sure, I've spent lots of time with my kids, cleaned my house, gone to the beach, read a few books for pleasure.  I've gone shopping, but what did I buy last night? Sixty 1 subject notebooks on sale for .17 at Walmart!!! What do I always come back to? What is always in my heart? Teaching.  

My brother recently came into town. We are very different. He was my first student, and truly, inspired me to become a teacher. Either that, or


A Day in My Shoes

Ruby Red Slippers

A day in my shoes. Hmmm. Well, first of all, I am terrible about shopping for myself, so you have three pairs of shoes to pick from so that limits which outfits you can choose, which is further limited by whether you feel like ironing (or if you have enough time between locating lost pom-poms for your daughter and bribing your son to get dressed with xbox).

6:00 - I wake up, go to the bathroom and decide



Happy Independence Day, everyone!

I have some quiet time to myself on this holiday and I was perusing Facebook and noticed someone was on a soapbox (something with which I myself am quite familiar) about not calling today "The Fourth of July", but going back to the holiday's 1940's roots and calling it Independence Day. Or course, this person went on a political rant about the state of our country today and Obamacare, blah blah blah. However, the thought crossed my mind about how difficult it is to balance the immediate needs of our students with the very important life skill of becoming an independent learner.

There is a lot of research about why



I am proud to say that Toad-allyExeceptionalLearners gave me the Lovely Blog Award. The rules of the award are:

1. follow the blogger who gave you the award,
2.  link-back to the giver and
3. pass the award on to 15 new blogs.


Text Complexity

As common core standards become the new driving force behind our teaching, text complexity is of particular importance. This is driven by research that found that there is a 350 point gap between end of high school texts and beginning college texts. The Common Core standards are designed to