Sunday, August 14, 2016


Hey all! It's been more than a hot minute since I blogged...almost a hot year! And it's been a crazy year. Personally I have had a lot of changes in my household. Some sad and some happy. One of the happy ones was that in January I had a baby. 

Here is proud big sister holding her.....

And what my gorgeous girls look like now... 

I mean SERIOUSLY, do I make cute babies or what?!? :) And with faces like that the sad things aren't so sad or at least not going to bring me down. But needless to say those changes caused me to not blog, not make anything for TPT etc for a long, long time. 

Now, as if having personal changes were not enough for me I decided to make a MAJOR change in my professional life AAAANNNNDDDD...SWITCH TO KINDERGARTEN! 

So, what does that mean for Diving Into 2nd Grade??...I have no idea... Other than I still want to blog... I still want to create resources for TPT...And I still want to share what is going on in my classroom. 

I decided to change the theme of my room too. And I am going with camping. This is a sneak peek at my room...and I am OBSESSED with how this looks. 

And because I've switched grade levels I had to move away from the birthday beach that I created for my ocean themed 2nd grade classroom and go with a camping themed one so I made a campfire themed birthday chart. You can find it here.  

These are a few images from the product: 

That's all from me for now. If you've already started back, I hope your school year is off to a good start! If you are like me and you are getting ready to head back in a few weeks then I hope you enjoy your last little bits of summer vacation!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Success on the NWEA MAP Test Part 2: I MAP tested. Now What?

Back with the 2nd part of my Success on the MAP Test series.

And so are our students. This is why for months and months I have been debating about whether I wanted to do these posts. But I thought, if we're being judged on this I want to share the tools I have developed and learned along the way so other teachers and their students can be successful too.

So now that your students have taken the fall MAP test it is time to get their scores so you know what you are working with this year.

Now that I have been MAP testing for many years I write down my kiddo's end score so I have an idea of what I am working with right away. Even though it is usually uploaded to the site by the next day I still like to have that initial score. (If you didn't do that don't worry. Like I said it is usually uploaded within 24 hours.) 

My curriculum director usually prints us off a copy of the scores ,but in case you need to look them up yourself I am going to walk you through that now. If you have that sheet feel free to skip this next section. :)

There are two different websites that I have used to log in to. It is bookmarked on my computer at school, but if you type in NWEA Log In to google the site will come up.

This is the "old" log in site that we used. 

This is the "new" log in site that we use at my school. 

Once you log in. This is what your going to see: 

Where it says View Reports you are going to click on that. 

Click on MAP reports under the view reports tab. 

You will see this large menu. Now, my curriculum director has different access than we do and so she is able to print off a really nice one page list of my students scores and goals. Since I don't have access to that I am going to show you how you can find those scores in two different ways. 

One way is by clicking on projection or summary under Achievement and Growth reports. This will give you everyone's scores on a couple of sheets ,but it also includes a lot of other extra numbers and info that I don't do much with. 

Once you get to this screen then you will choose the testing dates that you want to look at. For this year it would be Fall 2015- 2016. 

Another way that you can access those scores is by clicking on the student goal setting worksheet.  This will print each child's out on its own separate page. I like this way because it can be a useful tool for sharing that information with their parents. 

Again you would select the term that you are in. For this coming school year it would be Fall 2015- 2016. 

Obviously I can't show you exactly what these sheets look like because of my students personal info that are all over them. But I can show you some modified versions. 

This is the one you will get with the achievement and growth report. To get the total growth score you would look at the projected RIT  and projected growth columns. Adding those two columns together gets you the score they should get at the end of the year. 

This one is from the student growth report. This picture includes my end of the year data on this student. The dotted line on the graph is the goal score. It is also located underneath the graph by the my goal line. 

There are two different score areas that I like to look at. One is the overall score and the growth target. (Which we talked about above.) The other is the student's score in each subject sub area.

In order to guarantee the most success you NEED to look at both areas. Obviously looking at the overall fall score and the growth target for spring are important because you need to know where your students should be by the end of the year. But the sub area scores will save your sanity, because lets face it, there is just SO much data you cannot do it all. ( But more on that later.)

To get the sub area scores and data...

Back at the home screen select Class Breakdown Reports. Then select your term. 

You will want to break the class list up by goal. And then choose view report online. If you want to print a PDF of this report you can click on the other one. But for following the steps below choose view report. 

This is what will come up when you view the report. Underneath all the blue are my students scores in each of the RIT bands for the 4 sub areas of math. 

Clicking on any of those sub areas will bring up this screen. 

Click on one of the dark green bands.   This is what shows up under Operations and Algebraic Thinking. Along the left you can see the RIT band numbers. On the right will be the names of your students in that RIT band. 

Now, get your printer ready. You are going to print ALL of this info. The good news is once you print it for one year you can just sticky note over the students on right hand side. 

The best way that I have found to organize this data is in binders sorted by test ( Math, Reading, and Language Usage) , then by sub area, then by RIT band.

These are my binders. 

Click HERE to download a copy for yourself.( Note: Descartes has now been changed to Learning Continuum. On the binder covers to download the name is updated to L.C.)

In the interest of transparency, at my school we are now only required to take the Math and Reading, but that change only occurred at the end of last year. So remember all my " credentials" were based on having to take all 3.

Now I am sure there are other ways that you can organize your information, but you are going to need to find something that works for you because there is no way to keep ALL of the information overload you are about to get straight without it!

So work on getting your binders assembled and then join me for the next part which is planning for small groups!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Success on The NWEA MAP Test: Part 1: The Intro Post

(Insert your grade level and students age as necessary)

I hope you giggled a little at those. I know that even thinking about testing "season" can stress me out and I need all the laughs I can get. Today I am here to start my very first blog series (pretty excited about that!) to share with you the things I do to help my students reach their NWEA MAP goal. And while I know that this series will be pretty specific to the MAP test, I hope there is something here that can help you. Plus I will be including some freebies as we go along too.

Why Should You Listen to Anything I Have To Say? 

Now, with as high stakes as testing can be you might be wondering why you should do anything I am about to tell you. 

Good Question.

These are my "credentials" if you will. 

1st:  I have been MAP testing my kiddo's for 9 years now, so I have been doing this for awhile. 

2nd: In those 9 years that I have been MAP testing we as a school went from a laisez faire attitude, to having it be part of our teacher evaluations. So I have been on all ends of the spectrum when it comes to testing. 

3rd:  I have had training when it comes to reading and interpreting all of the MAP data that you get after the fall test. We have had whole school professional development on it and I have done a few independent PD's on it as well. 

4th: In the past 3 years, which have been some of our most highly focused, I have had over 90% of my class meet their growth goals. At my school 90% is what it takes to be highly effective in the data category. So basically I am good at interpreting this crazy data output and figuring out how to help my students succeed.

5th: Finally, and the most important in my opinion, I am a *real* teacher and I am in a *real* classroom. We've all had PD from people who truly have no idea how things work in a classroom. Or had higher ups who try to tell us to do things that we *know* won't work. And while my classroom dynamics will be different than yours, the things I am going to share are all things I have actually done in my room. 

The Series

So! Here is my plan. 

The Intro Post
I've MAP Tested. Now What? 
Planning for Small Groups ( This may be a 2 part post as there is a LOT of info for this one.) 
Monitoring Student Progress
The Final Countdown
Answering Your Questions

I'm excited to share this with you. However, I am taking a page from my pal Angela over at Hippo Hooray for 2nd grade. She did not schedule a specific time or date when her interactive notebook series posts would go live. And I am not either. But I am hoping to have this series finished by the end of summer so that you have all of the information before starting back to school and testing. 

If you have any questions about MAP testing or info that you would like me to make sure to include leave a comment here or on my Facebook page

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Planning Your Morning Work

First off, its been a hot minute since I blogged that's for sure!

Kelli at Surviving the Little People posted recently about trying to get back into blogging and some of her goals. It inspired me to get back into blogging and, while I am not ready to commit to anything more that trying to at least do a couple of Currently's or Five for Friday linkys, I am ready to blog again. 

I still have almost a month and half ( don't hate!) before school starts again ,but you all know that we teacher's spend our summer planning for success for the coming school year! So with that in mind I have been thinking about morning work and how to best handle that time. 

Typically I spend Thursday or Friday after school planning, printing, and prepping for the next week of school. I am always looking for areas to improve on and one area I felt could use some streamlining/ improvement was morning work. Typically what I do for morning work for the week is to look at things like Super Teacher Worksheets or Teachers Pay Teachers until I found 5 skills that I felt would be good independent practice for my kiddo's. This could be a time consuming process! So I decided that for this coming school year I was going to focus my morning work and make each day a specific area of focus. 

This is my plan:

Monday's are going to be devoted to a math concept from the previous week that my kiddo's need practice with. We use Bridges Math at my school and I really love the number sense that my kiddo's have developed over the past two years. However, it is sometimes tough to find pre-made practice pages that align with it. In the past I have created some of my own ,but it can get overwhelming with all of the other things I have to do. However, only having to create one piece a week seems much more doable to me. 

In Michigan we take a "lovely" standardized test called the MStep. I am sure you all, unfortunately,  have something similar where you are. This was our first year with it so we weren't exactly sure how to prep our kiddo's ahead of time. One of the things that the 3rd grade teachers have asked 2nd grade to do next year is to do more writing prompts so that they are used to writing to a specific topic.Our writing curriculum is all about genre writing and writing workshop, which does not include a lot of time for prompt writing. Our reading curriculum ( we use Wonders) has writing prompts built into the writing portion of the curriculum which I will be using. But you could use prompts from Super Teachers or type writing prompts into TPT and see what you can get!

Each week with Wonders we have a different weekly grammar concept. Our kiddo's are assessed on this concept on Fridays. Wonder's has some really good practice pages for grammar. Last year I put them at my writing station as a have- to. But not all my kiddo's were at that station throughout the week and I wouldn't usually check that page until after the week was up. By giving it as morning work I have 2 days to clear up any misconceptions before they are assessed on Friday. 

We also do a weekly spelling test on Friday. Every week as part of our weekly homework packet I send home the spelling words for the week ,as well as the previous week's test. We also review the words throughout the week during our Wonders time. But about March of this past school year I started having my kiddo's practice their spelling words for morning work and they did SO much better on their weekly spelling tests. Last year I typically did this on Friday morning, but with all that we usually have going on on Friday's I thought moving it to Thursday would allow for more guaranteed time. 

 Finally for Friday we will be practicing our math facts. At my school one of the awards that students can get during our monthly awards assembly is for fact fluency. Last year I had students work on this skill but not as consistently as I would like. Having a designated day for this will help it to be more consistent and hopefully have kiddo's that are stronger in their math fact knowledge. 

So that is my plan for morning work for the coming year. How do you handle morning work in your classroom? 


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Currently November

Oh my word. August???? Really? That was the day of my last post.

I can't even tell you how many posts I have started since then that I have not finished. I feel like I have read a lot of posts on blogs and Facebook from people who have been in my same boat of just not feeling the blogging thing. I wish I was more frequent with it, but I am a Gemini and we are really passionate about things for short bursts of time. :)

So tonight, since my husband is monopolizing the tv,  I am linking up with Farley for her November Currently. 

Listening: Usually my hubby, my brother, and my sister in law get together on Sunday nights and watch The Walking Dead while I make a swift exit....can't stand Zombies. Tonight they aren't coming over so he has decided to watch some horrible sci fi movie with Tom Cruise...both of which I also can't stand. :) 

Loving: On Friday, because having a Harvest Party ( our version of a Halloween party) at school and the promise of trick or treating that night wasn't enough to make my kiddo's crazy we also got the first snow of the season! It didn't stick, but it was still exciting. 

Thinking: Of course, if you have ever read a post by me you know I absolutely LUH-HUV Christmas. Some of my blogging buddies and I are doing a Secret Santa gift exchange and I am SO psyched about it. I also just got my Beans presents from Santa this weekend too, so I definitely have Christmas on the brain. :) 

Wanting: I love, love, love puffy vests. I wear one at least 2-3 times a week starting in Mid October and going as long as possible. (Usually in Michigan I can make it through about April.) I have two blue, one black, one brown, and one red. I REALLY, REALLY want this super cute blue and white checked one from J Crew Factory. 

But my clothing budget does not allow for $98 to be spent on a vest. I mean really? Its basically like a puffy tank top. ;)

I was hoping to get a white one this weekend from a couple of different places that were having sales but neither Old Navy nor Lands End had the one I wanted. :( 

Needing: I think everyone feels this way on a Sunday night, but since June my weekends have been RIDICULOUSLY overbooked. I just need an extra day or two to get some projects done. 

Reading: I actually just finished rereading the whole Hunger Games Series in preparation of the new movie coming out this month. And yes, I got my tickets the day they were available.  And yes, I am going to the marathon cause that's how I roll! :) 

Enjoy the last bits of your Sunday friends!

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Triple Scoop of 2nd Grade

Today I am linking up with other fabulous 2nd grade bloggers to share......

We are here to share with you some of our fave products. The first two are from our own store and the third is a can't live with out product made by someone else. Keep reading. It might even be you!

My first product is my Making Connections packet. Confession time: Comprehension used to not be my favorite thing to teach...probably near the bottom. But after taking several classes on it Comprehension has become one of my absolute favorite things to teach. If we could do nothing but read good books and discuss them in my room all day I would be happy as a clam. 

I made this packet back when I was starting my comprehension journey. To me Making Text Connections is one of the "easier" comprehension strategies to teach and so it is usually one I start off with. 

It comes with 3 posters, student bookmarks, response sheets and question strips that could be used in a variety of different ways. You can find it in my store HERE

 My 2nd scoop is one of my favorite products.
I change my kids seats monthly. I find that if they stay by each other too long they become best friends. And by best friends I mean they talk. A LOT. ;)  I also enjoy decorating for the seasons/ holidays. So I created my seasonal nameplates packet so that I could change their name plates when I change their seats. Which is a good thing because by the end of the month those babies have DEFINITELY seen better days. 

The clip art on the cover is representative of the clip art you will find on the name plates. The 2nd image lists all of the different designs. ( There are 20 different styles!) You can get that HERE

PS: Both of my scoops will be on sale in my store through this weekend!

For my final scoop I decided to share one of my purchases during the big TPT sale. I am working on updating my ocean/ beach theme to be a bit more nautical. During the sale I was searching for clip art and papers to use in my creations and discovered this: 

Matches the colors of my room perfectly. Has anchors, chevron AND polka dots! Sign me up!!! There are tons of cute digital paper sets, clip art ( the elephants in her store are to DIE for!) You can check out Digital Dollface HERE.

If you follow me on Instagram you have seen her products in action already. And if you don't click on that little Instagram Icon and join me! :)

We've got more scoops of second grade for you! Make sure you stop by & check out everyone else's triple scoops! There are some real treats in store for you!!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two Stars and A Wish

Today I am here to share with you some tips to start your school year off right, as well as to share one thing I am hoping to improve upon this year. You know, if you tell people it kind of holds you accountable right? :)

My two stars are all about how to handle a teacher's favorite thing...classroom supplies. We all love them. But, if you are like me and you don't have student desks ( I have tables), you have to figure out how to store them. 

However, my post is not about how to store them as I think this is very teacher specific depending on space, organization style, and amount and type of containers. :) But if you want some organizational ideas check out this post from last summer.  My two stars are how to deal with the sudden influx of 20+ notebooks, boxes of crayons, and scissors etc. 

At my school we do a Back To School/ Meet Your Teacher night the week before school starts. I send home a meet your teacher brochure before then to encourage the kids and their parents to attend. I also include this note: 

 I have found that about half of my students will bring everything in with them ahead of time. ( I make sure to say any they have. They get this note about 2 days beforehand and some families haven't gotten everything yet.)

I go communal on most of my supplies because of the whole no whole desks situation. I can sort through the supplies that are brought in ahead of time and get them labeled if need be and put away ahead of time. This really cuts down on the amount that needs to be taken care of the first day. 
 Now I don't get 100% of the supplies then, although that would awesome. :) So we do have to take care of some things on the first day. Confession ( Although for many of you I am sure it is nooooo surprise.) I HATE clutter. I hate mess. I hate when things are not in their place.

                I mean this picture pretty much sums it up folks. ;)

 So unloading the supplies time in my room used to just make me itch. It was a horrible way to start our very first day together. 

Here is my next tip on supplies. Spread it out throughout the morning and put away the supplies as you get them. Here is what I do. While my students are working on something else, usually morning work, I will call for supplies one at a time. For example, all the tissues. Students that didn't bring them in already will bring them to me and I will put them away where I store them. Then I will call for something else, like plastic baggies, and put those away before calling for a new item. 

This really works for me for three reasons. 

Reason #1: It keeps the piles of supplies to a minimum. Yes, our backpacks are in the room and they take up some space. But overall the "mess" is a lot more under control and it helps to keep me sane on a very insane morning!

Reason #2: I can point out acceptable behaviors and start conversations about what we act like in 2nd grade. I usually have someone model bringing me a supply first before I have others do it. 

Reason #3: It gets the kiddo's up and moving, something that is SO necessary in those first weeks of school!

OK, now to switch gears and on to my wish. This is the thing I am hoping to do better next year. 

I always have several areas that I want to work on each school year...who doesn't. But for this post I decided to focus on improving my character education. 

At my school we have a monthly character trait and at the end of the month we have an assembly where we award students who we feel demonstrated that character trait. We used to do an assembly at the beginning of the month where the students learned about the character trait. Each teacher was responsible for one months assembly. But that went by the wayside and it just became up to us to teach about the character traits in our room. 

Now, I'll be honest, sometimes teaching the character trait would get pushed off until the day before the assembly and I would scramble to find something to use to introduce the character trait. But I TRULY believe that as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic are, teaching our students to be good people is just as important if not more. 

So in order to help me be prepared for the character traits I created this little gem here:

Each of the character traits has a poster explaining the trait in kid friendly language, a list of books that help students to understand the trait, and then a writing response that includes space for students to write and draw about the topic. No more scrambling to find SOMETHING to do with them. This is ready to go and requires very little of our precious instructional time. You can check out the first month, respect and responsibility, HERE. 

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook or Instagram for more great ideas. 

For more star ideas more than 40 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!