The Big Poem Post: Part II

I tried to take a picture of my poem each week to share with you all and to help myself out next year! Unfortunately the quality of some of the photos is not the best, but they're what I've got! You can find my poems from fall and winter here. Here are my poems from March-June 2016:

I love reading authentic texts with my students, so I loved sharing Still I Rise by Maya Angelou with them. I was really impressed with their take on it, and there was something very powerful about hearing them read it.

Inspired by A Very Potter Musical, and I made up the last few lines. We read this the week we finally finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

John Ciardi

I made this one up to go with our mini desert unit from Rooted in Reading May.

I tried to attribute where I found the poems, and most of the visuals I used are from LessonPix. Do you do a weekly poem in your classroom?

Make Your Own Chocolate + Champagne Pineapple

Need a cute gift for co-workers or a housewarming? Try making this adorable pineapple out of chocolate and champagne!

This post contains affiliate links.


Mini-champagne bottle
Miniature Reese's peanutbutter cups (about 50 per pineapple)
Yellow tissue paper
Green tissue paper
Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
Gift tag 

1. Start by gathering everything you need. You'll need A LOT of Reese's so make sure stock up beforehand!

2. Cut the yellow tissue paper into small squares, about 1.5 in x 1.5 in. You'll need about 50 for one pineapple.

3. Spread out your yellow squares and hot glue your peanutbutter cups to the squares. You want to glue the narrower base of the cups to the squares so your gift-receiver can easily open the Reese's later.

4. Beginning at the base of your champagne bottle, hot glue on your tissue-paper wrapped peanutbutter cups in even rows. You'll need about 8 cups for each row. When you pick up your peanutbutter cups, gently press the tissue paper around it to create the effect shown. To create a more natural effect, stagger your rows like you're laying out bricks instead of putting cups directly above the one below. Make four rows of peanutbutter cups.

5. Before you start your fifth row, you'll want to make and attach your leaves. Cut 5 or 6 pieces of green tissue paper in long leaf shapes. Hot glue them around the neck of your bottle directly above the fourth row.

6. Glue your fifth and final row of peanutbutter cups on top of the leaves to cover up where they're attached. You'll only need 7 peanutbutter cups for this row, as the bottle has narrowed.

7. Tie a ribbon around your pineapple and attach a fun tag. I listed the one I used as a freebie here

Let me know if you try it out!

Want to keep the pineapple fun going? Check out my End of the Year Pineapple Bulletin Board Kit

The Big Poem Post: Part I

I've displayed a poem of the week every week during this school year, usually in my giant pocket chart with visuals from LessonPix. It's surprisingly hard to find themed, beginner reader level poems each week. I've tried to take a picture of my poem each week, and I think I did pretty well! The quality of many of the photos is pretty mixed, but I thought I'd go ahead and post them since I'd have to wait another year to re-take them! I've tried to link to the author or the source underneath each poem-- if you know the source of one I haven't linked, please comment and let me know!

You can find Part II here!

5 Little Tips & Tricks I Learned This Year

This post contains affiliate links.

My third year of teaching wasn't filled with the quite the same number of revelations as my first two years, but I definitely figured out a few little things that have made my teaching life easier.

I think I technically knew these existed, but I just started using them a month or so ago. I was blowing through 100-packs of sentence strips for my weekly pocket chart poems and objectives, and then noticed the dry-erase sentence strips on Amazon when I was about to re-order! So much more environmental and cheaper after just a few uses.

Since I only teach one resource class (I'm inclusion the rest of the day), and it's only an hour, I send home a homework pack on Monday and it's due on Friday. I was writing out the due date by hand when I thought of using a date stamp! I have one for scrapbooking and it's worked great! A lot of my students have trouble keeping track of things or forget to turn in homework (sigh) so having the date at the top is helpful for the students, parents, and, me!

I don't call them this since it seems weird to encourage students to "brag," but I know this is what they're widely known as. I was looking for a way to celebrate and acknowledge students when they made academic or behavioral gains. We use them for mastering phonogram lists and reaching a new reading level (you can find my reading level brag tags here ). I also recently introduce one called "Wizardly Work Habits" and one called "Rug Rockstar" that I give out weekly based on good work habits and good rug behavior. I like that they can be as public or private as the student wants. They can leave the tag on the board or wear their chain on the day they earn a new tag. Even if they choose to wear it, they can leave their name tag as the front tag if they don't want to publicize their reading level-- which is very understandable! 

Guys, I was so against this when my administration mandated it. Good fit books and reading the pictures!!! But. I'm not able to closely supervise independent reading time (because I'm working with a small group), and having students choose from their leveled bin makes it much easier to ensure they are reading something they can actually decode and understand. It wasn't ideal for my "print concepts" students or students that have been at a Level A for most of the year, but it was perfect for my students who were blowing through reading levels every few weeks. How do you organize your library?

Sometimes it's hard to keep myself from making a dash for freedom on Friday afternoons at 3:00, but if I can complete a few simple tasks before I leave it makes Monday a little less daunting. I change out my weekly poem, the date, and jobs, and make sure I have my homework packets ready to go for the following week.

Do you use any of these tips already? What new tricks did you learn this year?
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