Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Sale

Here in Arizona it feels like we skipped Spring and went straight to summer weather!  97 degrees is the forecast today! 
Head on over to my store today or tomorrow!  My entire store is 20% off! 

Spring Sale Ad

Now would be a great time to grab some of my best sellers! 

Have you been wanting to give Genius Hour a try?  Check out my Genius Hour Starter Pack, it has everything you need to get your class started!  You can read about Genius Hour in my room here.


Do you have a unit on fossils coming up?  Grab my Fossils are Fantastic pack!

Make No Bones About It

This week we will be using my S.U.P.E.R. Sentences unit to do some more work with complex sentences.


We will also be using my Read With a Pencil pack to help us prepare for the writing portion of our state testing coming up! 

Read With a Pencil Ad Pic

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Five For (the day after) Friday!


This has been a CRAZY, AMAZING week!  I can’t remember another week that has been this jam packed with awesomeness and left me this exhausted!  But it was totally worth it!

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My new blog design!


I spent Sunday emailing back and forth with the lovely Lindsey at Miss Johnston’s Journey.  She was amazing to work with.  We literally emailed back and forth all day and she kept making changes until it looked exactly like I wanted it to.  I can’t tell you enough how great she was to work with.  My blog is now up and running, I couldn’t believe how quickly she got that done, and I couldn’t be happier with it.  I am in love!

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Pride of Peoria


On Monday morning I was surprised with our district’s Pride of Peoria award.  It was a pretty exciting way to start back from break and such a huge honor!

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My baby turned 16!


On Tuesday, my baby girl turned 16 and got her license!  I can’t believe this is actually happening.  It is so crazy to see them get in the car/truck together and go to dance without me!

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My BFF visits my class!


On Thursday, the amazing Mrs. Nelson visited my class.  They were so excited to show her how we do Number Talks, since she was the one who taught me all about them!  They had a blast and it is always amazing to watch a master teacher at work!

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Friday was an awesome day that just wrapped up all of the awesomeness this week entailed!


My morning started with this little ray of sunshine from my teammate!


Later that morning we rocked our Socratic Seminar!  I was so impressed with their insight, the evidence they found to support their opinions, and how they were able to respectfully disagree with each other and discuss it! 


The week ended with our annual school carnival.  Some of my boys were so excited to put me in jail.  Little did they know that I was thankful for the break from running our booth! 
It was an amazing week and one that I won’t soon forget! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Visual Plans (Tons of Freebies!)

It’s back to school this week.  We had a relaxing break.  The oldest made it back from her NYC trip, she had so much fun she didn’t want to come home!  We got our spring cleaning finished, visited my sister and nieces in Tucson, and threw a sweet sixteen party for the oldest!  Tomorrow is back to reality!

It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things and I know it won’t be any different for my 31 sweet kiddos tomorrow!
Here are my visual plans for the week.  Don’t forget that you have to click on them to download the pdf to get all of the clickable links to the freebies and on sale items!

The Gold Rush passage to go with the True/False sort is from Read Works.  Click here to download it.  You may need to register for a free account if you don’t already have one, and if you don’t already have one, I highly recommend it!  They have amazing lessons and passages with comprehension questions and they are all lexile leveled!  It’s a great sight!


I absolutely love starting our math time together with Number Talks.  You can check out my blog post about my love of Number Talks here.  After our Number Talk, we head back to our seats and do a little CGI style problem solving in our math notebooks.  I uploaded the problems that I will be using this week and you can download them for FREE by clicking the link on the visual plans!  We will also be using my March Madness Math centers.  You can grab those on sale for 20% off this week!


Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, it’s ending tonight!  And stay tuned for my new blog design!  I’ve been working with the amazing Lindsey from L. Paull Designs for All on a new custom blog design!  I can’t wait for you all to see it, I am absolutely in love with what she has done!!!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2015

And Just Like That…I’m Out!

March Madness is like Christmas in March in my house.  I guess that’s what happens when you are married to a basketball coach!  Every year we pay close attention to Selection Sunday, listen to all of the analysts, and fill out our brackets.  The whole family gets involved and my daughters love to rub it in when their brackets are doing better than Dad’s!  (As of this evening, they are all tied for 5th place and I have dropped to 14th.) 
So, when my friend Ashlyn at The Creative Classroom emailed about a fun March Madness Blogger Match Up, of course I was in! 
We were randomly paired with a team from the tournament.  Well, it doesn’t take a coach’s wife to know that when you are the 16 seed playing the 1 seed it’s most likely going to  be a short tournament for you! It was fun to cheer for the underdog during the Lafayette/Villanova game but the realist in me knew that I would soon be sending a gift to my competition, Karri at One Sassy Teacher
I am also doing a fun March Madness giveaway here on my blog! You can win the same S.U.P.E.R. Sentences pack I sent Karri and ONE other item of your choice from my store!  Enter using the Rafflecopter below, giveaway will close tomorrow night! Then scroll down below to see the other teacher/bloggers who are competing and check out their blogs for giveaways with great prizes! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Teacher/Bloggers who are competing:
Learning with Mrs. Langley cheering on Belmont Second Grade Stories cheering on Indiana The Neat and Tidy Classroom cheering on UC Irvine Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten cheering on Coastal Car. Miss Johnston's Journey cheering on Maryland The Creative Classroom cheering on San Diego State Fifth in the Middle cheering on Wichita State Lessons with Coffee cheering on Arkansas The Kinder Garden cheering on Notre Dame Exploring Elementary cheering on NC State Inspired Owl's Corner cheering on Oregon Frampton's Fundamentals cheering on New Mexico State Learning in the Little Apple cheering on Michigan State NC Teacher Chick cheering on Utah State A Tall Drink of Water cheering on Baylor Sara J Creations cheering on Oklahoma ELA Everyday cheering on Duke The Blessed Teacher cheering on Lafayette Mrs. 3rd Grade cheering on VCU Rock & Teach cheering on Albany Create Teach Share cheering on North Dakota State One Happy Teacher cheering on Gonzaga Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! cheering on Iowa State First Grade Roars! cheering on SF Austin The Learning Chambers cheering on Hampton Teaching is Sweet cheering on Eastern Washington Sounds Like Fun cheering on Louisville Confessions of a Teaching Junkie cheering on Cincinnati Year2tastic cheering on Kansas Sparkling in Second cheering on Wyoming Making Meaning with Melissa cheering on Purdue One Sassy Teacher cheering on Villanova Brittany Kiser cheering on Texas Coach and Teach 24/7 cheering on St. John's Hardcore Teacher Resources cheering on LSU The Whole Wheat Class cheering on Oklahoma Mixing It Up In The Middle! cheering on Mississippi Teaching Maddeness cheering on UAB Its Elementary My Dear cheering on Ohio State Live Love Serve Teach cheering on Providence Education Kingdom cheering on North Carolina A Dab of Glue Will Do cheering on Dayton Learning to be Awesome cheering on Kentucky Technology Timeout cheering on Harvard Kovescence on the Mind cheering on Butler Blossoms of Blue in 2 cheering on North Eastern Mrs. D's Corner cheering on Robert Morris Where the Wild Things Learn cheering on Buffalo Bright Concepts 4 Teachers cheering on North Iowa (UNI) A Trendy Teacher cheering on Valparasio Lucky to Be In First cheering on Wisconsin O-H So Blessed! cheering on Virginia Tales of Teaching with Tech cheering on Woffard Very Perry Classroom cheering on Arizona A Kindergarten Life for Me cheering on Georgia First Grade Buddies cheering on Iowa Miss Case's Classroom cheering on Georgetown A Grace-Filled Classroom cheering on West Virginia Third Grade Cupcakes cheering on SMU The Class Couple cheering on Xavier More Time 2 Teach cheering on Georgia State Owl-ways Learning cheering on UCLA

Monday, March 16, 2015

Student Praise

Student Praise2

“You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!”
“Look at that drawing, is he the next Picasso or what?”
“You’re so brilliant, you got an A without even studying!”

Many good intentioned parents/teachers have said these things and see them as supportive and self esteem boosting messages.  Reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck has completely changed my outlook on praise as both a parent and a teacher.

Book Cover

Read the praise messages again and listen closely to the underlying message that children hear.
  • If I don’t learn quickly, I’m not smart.
  • I shouldn’t try drawing anything hard or they’ll see I’m no Picasso.
  • I’d better quit studying or they won’t think I’m brilliant.
According to Dweck’s research, messages like these will quickly put our children/students into a fixed mindset.  “Parents (teachers) think they can hand children permanent confidence- like a gift- by praising their brains and talent.  It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect.  It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong.”

We need to make sure that our messages of praise aren’t saying “You have permanent traits and I’m judging them,” but rather, “You’re a developing person and I’m interested in your development.”

So what/how should we praise then?

Dweck offers these suggestions……

Praise as much as you would like for growth oriented process.
  • practice
  • study
  • effort
  • accepting a challenge
  • persistence
  • strategies
When we praise students for growth oriented process they begin to attribute their accomplishments to their own effort, something they have full control over!

So, how can we do this in our classrooms?  Here are a few of my favorites…….

“My Favorite No”

I love this idea from The Teaching Channel.  I often use this very informally in my room.  When someone gives an answer that is incorrect, but I can tell that a lot of thought went into it, they really put in a lot of effort or they were using a great strategy that just didn’t work out for them, I will tell them that it was my favorite no and to keep trying!  It’s a great way to let students know that while their answer was incorrect, the thought process they were using to arrive at the answer was on track!

Class Cheers

We love cheering for each other.  I use class cheers for things that we do great as a class, or for individual students to celebrate hard work and effort.  We love using them to celebrate students who take a risk, who try something and take a chance.  It’s a great way to build your classroom community and let students see that in your room you celebrate challenges and that even if the answer is wrong you can be proud of trying something new and taking a chance.  I introduce some basic class cheers at the beginning of the year.  It never fails though, each year my class will start making up cheers of their own that we add on.  This year we have “The Perfume Cheer,” they pretend to squirt 3 squirts of perfume and say “Oh La, La,” while shrugging their shoulders.  We have added several others too!
Click HERE to see a great blog post about class cheers and it includes a freebie to download.

Effort Awards

Effort Awards are something new that we just started in my room.  I use them to recognize students that worked extra hard.  Some days when we are learning a new concept in math, equivalent fractions for example, I can see that some of my kiddos (especially my “gifted” learners) are getting frustrated.  They aren’t getting it right away, because new learning takes time.  We talk a great deal about how learning something new means our brain needs to make new connections and it takes time for that to happen.  Anyways, I like to point out and recognize students who make it a point to not tune out or give up.  Students who continue to ask questions, discuss, and try to make connections with those new concepts.
Sometimes we use “Effort Awards,” to recognize students who met a goal in class.  Not, I got an A on my spelling test goals (that would be results based not process based), but the I practiced my words every night and improved my score from last week kind of goals.
Here are the “Effort Awards,” I give out in my classroom.  You can click on them to download them for FREE!

Effort Awards

I love that some of my kiddos are even pointing out their classmates’ hard work and effort now and telling me they think someone deserves and effort award because….!  It makes my teacher heart happy to see them recognize hard work and effort in others as well as themselves!

I would love to hear your thoughts and hear about how you use growth oriented praise in your classroom.  Comment below so we can all learn together and work to get our kiddos into a growth mindset!

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Mindset in the Classroom

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes things for you.  My husband is a reader, as in 75 books a year (yes, he keeps track) reader.  Every now and then he finishes one and tells me that it’s a must read.  And, he is usually right!  He finished Mindset by Carol Dweck and immediately said that I NEEDED to read it….that every teacher/parent should read it.  As usual…he was right.  The concept of fixed vs. growth mindset changed my thinking completely.  It changed my language in the classroom.  It changed my approach and interactions with students.

Book Cover 

I put together this little graphic to help explain the difference between fixed vs. growth mindset in a nutshell.


I mean really….who wouldn’t want their students to be in the growth mindset column.  Isn’t that the kind of student and thinker we want all of our students to be.  So, how do we get our students to start thinking that way.  According to Dweck, “You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs.  They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.” 

Check out this TED Talk about Mindset and how it works.

There are some amazing resources online as well.  Check out Mindset Works and sign up for a free account.  This week my class will be reading the article “You Can Grow Your Intelligence.”  We will then discuss the article and begin our journey toward changing our mindset to a growth mindset!

After reading the book, I realized how important this concept is, and not just for my struggling students.  My gifted kiddos need it as much, if not more than my strugglers.  They need to understand that being wrong doesn’t make them “dumb.”  That being challenged and not “getting it,” right away means they are learning something new.  A few weeks ago, after I began changing the language I used with students in my classroom, we had a particularly challenging lesson.  It really made my kiddos think and there was a lot of productive struggle going on.  One of my gifted kiddos was getting visibly upset at not “getting it.”  I mean, this is a kiddo who has been told all of his life that he was “so smart,” right?    We talked about how challenges are an opportunity to learn and grow our brain, if everything is always easy and we already know how to do it, then where is the learning opportunity in that.  You may not “get it,” but you just don’t “get it,” yet!  At the end of the day we did our daily wrap up.  I ask them to think of one new thing they learned that day.  My gifted kiddo, the one who had struggled that day, said this….

Hunter's Quote

What a HUGE step for this kiddo!  My goal for the rest of this year is for EVERYone of my students to leave my classroom with a growth mindset and the belief that they truly can do anything they set their mind to!

Have you read Mindset?  How have you implemented the principles of growth mindset in your classroom or school?  I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently March

It’s March already….say WHAT?!?!   That means it’s time for a new Currently with the one and only Farley!


1.  Listening…… to my daughters watching iCarly.  I love that they are teenagers and they still love Nick and Disney Channel! 

2.  Loving….. that my husband is the Driver’s Ed teacher at my girls’ high school.  Our oldest is 16 this month and has her learner’s permit and is learning to drive.  Thank goodness he is an expert, that means I am off the hook!

3.  Thinking……that we have a lot to do with our house over break.  Things need to be painted, cleaned and organized!

4.  Wanting… freeze time.  My oldest not only turns 16 this month, but she is going on a trip across the country to NYC with her high school dance team.  I am so excited for her to have this experience and I know she is going to fall in love with the city.  I am struggling with the fact that she is old enough to get on a plane without me and spend 4 days without me in the big city.  Her studio dance teacher is going as a parent chaperone so I know she will be well taken care of…’s just a big step in a sea of big steps that are coming…..

5.  Needing…..I have been in a cooking rut.  I feel like we eat the same meals over and over.  It’s hard enough to meal plan for the week, but then you throw our food allergies and my daughter’s choice to be vegetarian in the mix and it’s nearly impossible.  I need to spend some time on Pinterest and try some new things!

6.  Spring Break… feels like it’s never going to get here!  We still have 2 more weeks.  I plan on taking a short road trip to see my sister and nieces.  I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.  Three hours doesn’t seem like so far away until you look at a calendar and realize how busy every weekend is.  I am blocking out some time to spend with them and putting it on the calendar… pen!

Seriously, I feel like this year is moving at warp speed but I continue to count all of the blessings in my life and to be grateful for each day.  I was reminded of how blessed I am this weekend.  I was fortunate enough to be able to hang out with an amazing group of women, maybe you recognize some of them?  Big things are happening and I couldn’t be more excited!

Blog Group Photo