Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome blogging...and TpT...and LIFE!

You might be wondering where I've been...

Last school year I started out strong with blogging and updating my TpT store. Then reality set in...I found out I was pregnant with our second child (YAY!) and little did I know that writing my thesis this past school year would seriously TAKE OVER my life.  So, the little time I did have left for myself was spent being a good wife and mommy:)  Blogging and TpT had to take a back seat for a little while!

The month of April turned out to be a very busy month for the Meurlin Family!  I celebrated my birthday, graduated with my Masters degree and we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy on April 28th.  Tristan's due date was not until June yet I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome requiring me to be induced at 34 weeks. Tristan spent 3 weeks in the NICU and came home 2 days after Mother's Day. I'm now happy to report that he is strong, healthy, and vibrant!

My Sweet Tristan at 4 pounds, 8 ounces on his second day of LIFE!

Tristan Finley at 12 pounds, 3 ounces as a 3 month old Honey Bear!

And ME...happy, healthy, and enjoying everything life has to offer! that I'm relaxed and settled...I want to show you what I've added to my TpT store!

This past year I created a document called A Parent Guide to Reading (for Second Graders}.  It was definitely a labor of love!  

Do you ever hear the question from parents, "How can I help my child read at home?"  And then, immediately think to yourself...{Oh.  My.  Where do I begin?}

This product stems from this very situation!

The Parent Guide to Reading {for Second Graders} is a resource that may be used in a number of ways! 

This document offers suggestions for parents covering topics such as:
~ Common Core State Standards for Fictional and Informational Text at the second grade level (in parent friendly language!)

~ Accuracy Tips and Strategies including descriptions of predictable and unpredictable vowel teams, flip-flopping the sound, cross checking, blends, digraphs, covering up parts of a word, focusing on beginning and ending sounds, and skipping a word.

~ Comprehension questions based upon Bloom's Taxonomy

~ Fluency Tips and Strategies including the various dimensions of fluency such as speed, volume, smoothness, as well as noticing punctuation and matching your voice to it.  Parent suggestions include choral reading, repeated readings, echo readings, and selecting a goal before the parent and child begin reading together.

Included in this packet:
~ 2 Pages of Teacher Resources explaining different ways to use this product.

~ 4 Pages explaining the fiction and informational text Common Core Standards to parents.

~ 2 Pages for teacher use for student reading conferences and individual student goals.

~ 6 Pages of accuracy tools for parents

~ 5 Pages of comprehension questions for parents to use with their readers.

~ 4 Pages of fluency tips and a graph to track a student's speed.

~ 9 pages of sight word practice using the Dolch Sight Words, Pre-primer through Third Grade.

This guide may be used from cover to cover for parents or perhaps you want to print out individual pages to share at conference time targeting specific goals.  I typically print out individual pages from this guide and send them home with my students' weekly reading goals.  How you choose to use the product is up to you!

This product is in color.  However, I have printed this file in gray scale and use it this way in my classroom when handing it out to parents or giving individual pages to students to help them remember their reading goals.

 If you have any questions, please let me know!  I am excited to share this product with you!

I also uploaded another product this morning.  My Be Positive! Classroom Reward Posters are the perfect FREE way to reward your students for turning in their homework logs or reaching a milestone in the classroom!  These posters are ready to print, laminate, and use!

Teachers everywhere are heading back to the classroom!  I wish you a successful, fun, and exciting 2013-2014 school year!  

Happy Teaching!
~ Nichole

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers!

After months of shopping Teachers pay Teachers and mulling over whether I should join the ranks of thousands of teachers selling their products on this amazing site I have decided to take the plunge and create my own shop.  Thanks to those of you who have purchased my products!  There is something deeply gratifying about creating a great tool to use in my own classroom and then sharing it with other amazing teachers!  (And I must admit it is highly slightly addicting to receive an email stating another product has sold and to watch the download count on my free items go up!)  If you have a moment, stop by, take a look, and follow me!

I am inspired to create...this is just the spark I was looking for!

Some ideas for upcoming items:
- An Election 2012 unit.
- Word Wall Word display
- Spelling Pattern sorts for individual practice
- Math strategy posters
 I'm open to suggestions, too!  What do you need for your classroom?

I have added 2 new products to my shop this week.  One is an opinion writing unit using Amy Krouse Rosenthal's and Tom Lichtenheld's book, Duck! Rabbit!  Another product is an informational writing unit using Gail Gibbons' book, Apples! as a mentor text.

Here are a few freebies to give you a sneak peek!

Thanks for making a girl feel appreciated:)

I hope you're having a STELLAR day in your little part of the world!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Feeling More Like Fall! is finally cooling down!  Yesterday I rocked my new mustard colored deep v-neck sweater to our neighborhood block party.  It felt sooo good to wear skinny jeans and a sweater, drink a little cider, and sit around a bonfire.  Bring on all things fall!

This week we are diving into beginning of the year assessments.  We have a math assessment, three writing prompts examining narrative, opinion, and information styles, and the SRI!  (Did I mention, it's only second grade?!)  To help my little ones along, Monday and Tuesday of this week I am reviewing narrative writing before administering the 3 day (yes, that's right! 3 day!) narrative writing assessment.  The first day of the assessment, the students brainstorm their topic and use a graphic organizer to sketch and write a few details about the beginning, middle, and end of their story.  On day 2, the children use their graphic organizer to begin writing their narrative piece on lined paper.  The third day, students edit, revise, and write the final draft of their piece.  We use a district created writing rubric to assess their work.

We are only 5 days into the school year and I need to review components of narrative writing before we dive into the assessment.  No big deal;)  I created a short unit using Brian Lies (pronounced "Lees") amazing book, Bats at the Library.  In the unit, I included a Narrative Writing anchor chart to display in the writing center.  I plan to post some of the students' narrative writing pieces with the anchor chart as samples.  I also created a graphic organizer to record the beginning, middle, and end of the story as well as a chart to keep track of interesting words in the story.  Head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download the unit for your classroom!

Click the link below to get a free copy of the Interesting Word graphic organizer!

I hope it's cooling off where you live!  Make it a great week!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Addition and Subtraction Key Word Sort

Oh. My. Goodness.  The first week of school has been busy, exciting, and e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g.!  I have a great group of little sweeties and I am excited to be their teacher this year!  Seriously, their enthusiasm and smiles are contagious!

But...WHOA...what a shock on the system to go from summer fun and relaxing to working full time, being a mom, a wife, and taking my last grad class before I write my thesis.  Just 2 weeks ago I was sleeping until 10:00 each morning and my biggest decision was pool or beach. I'm tired.  Just tired.  I'm sure I will have a greater appreciation for sleeping in on Saturday mornings!

Today we were reviewing some of the key terms for addition and subtraction and one of my kiddos said, "This is fun! Can we sort these words?"  Well...of course we can!  I created this little activity for tomorrow morning.

I hope you are having an amazing start to the school year!  Tomorrow is Friday....ahhh....

Click here to download the {Addition and Subtraction Key Word Sort} file.

Happy Thursday night:)


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vowel Team Poster UPDATE:)

I'm in that, "I can't believe school starts on Tuesday" mode and can't relax!  I have been working on school stuff all day and my mind keeps racing on!  I'm hoping by getting it out of my system today I can actually relax and soak up all of the snuggles and cuddles I can from my little one tomorrow before we are back to the daily grind.

Over the summer I spent some time tweaking and revamping my vowel team posters that I had previously posted.  My teaching partners and I are increasing our time spent working with words and vowel teams this year.  I want to include an anchor chart display focusing upon the vowel teams in a prominent place in my classroom.  So...this is what I came up with...

I partitioned my whiteboard using bulletin board trimmer and created sections for our weekly spelling list, word wall words, the spelling pattern of the week, and vocabulary.  (The fifth title you see "P.A.W. Award Winner" is part of our building behavior management plan.)

I created vowel team posters giving the specific name of the vowel team, examples of words highlighting the vowel team, and gave visual interest to the word by writing consonants in blue and vowels in red.

 I have posted these posters in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  You can find them by clicking on this link: {Vowels Make the Words Go Round!}

For all of you teachers out there who have been back in school for a few weeks, I hope you enjoy the extra day off tomorrow!

For all of my teaching friends in Michigan, enjoy one more day before we head back to reality!!

~ Nichole


Helllloooo!  After a much needed, relaxing, care-free summer, it's time to head back to the classroom and get back in the routine of blogging.  I seriously have debated for a few weeks whether or not to continue blogging since I haven't posted much of anything all summer long.  Yet, as soon as I stepped back into my classroom to prepare for my new batch of kiddos, I quickly realized I have a lot of ideas to share and what better way to do that than to blog about them!  I have been stalking all of the great teacher-bloggers out there and I am uber-inspired!  Amy Lemons from Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons and Hope from 2nd Grade Shenanigans are seriously amazing!  I want to be just like them when I grow up:)

Each summer I spend weeks trying to let my mind wander and relax and push school further and further out of my brain.  Every summer...until this summer!  Pinterest is amazing for so many reasons...yet I found myself up at midnight each night scrolling through amazing images from other teachers' classrooms and ended up creating a gigantic to-do list for myself.  One item I saw that I just knew I had to have is the check-in board!

In my eight years of teaching, I've never lost someone (Whew!  It feels good to say that!)  BUT....I have come close. You know that moment when you're working with a small group and someone leaves to go to the bathroom, someone else leaves for a reading group, someone else leaves for testing, someone else has to go to the bathroom, then a students remembers where they left their library book after weeks and weeks of it being MIA and heads in search of it....and...before you know it...the fire alarm goes off and you're like, oh, this is just perfectly awesome timing and you start counting kids like they're ducklings as you head out the door?!  I'm hoping the check-in board helps with a scenario just like this one and all of the other crazy moments throughout the school day.

Here is what I created!

My check-in board is hanging right on the front door of my classroom at my students' level.  The plan is that they all start "in the classroom" at the beginning of the day.  If any student is absent, I will move them to the "other" category and write an "A" by their name.  The students will then be responsible for moving their number to the appropriate category as they come and go throughout the day.  {BONUS!  Did you notice I only have 22 students this year?!  LOVE!}

Head on over to Teachers Pay Teachers to download your own FREE headings and labels to get started on your own check-in board!

I hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend!!!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Wow!  It has been nearly 2 months since my last post.  I needed to have surgery unexpectedly and have been out of commission for awhile!  I'm feeling much better now and am ready to start posting for a great 2012-2013 school year.  Stay tuned for spelling lists coordinating with the Treasures series and RTI continuum, 2nd grade common core standard displays, and Daily 5/CAFE displays!  I'm also toying with the idea of having a "Brain Book" learning log for students to keep track of their learning throughout the year as well as sending home book bags with a weekly book to read.  If you have any ideas on these topics, I'd like to hear them!   I hope you're having a fantastic summer!
Happy Independence Day!
From my family to yours;)

~ Nichole