RECAP: Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Back to School BASH

A few weeks ago, Jessica from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten and I hosted a meet up for Wisconsin bloggers and TpT authors. Honestly, we were just hoping we wouldn't be the only ones in attendance! Haha!! So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we were joined by over 20 other amazing bloggers/TpTers at our event!
After introductions, we got our craft on! Everyone received a bottle of hand sanitizer, and we decorated the bottle with sharpies and ribbon. It was such a sweet and practical gift to take back to our classroom. Take that, Cold and Flu Season!
Along with all the fun and socializing, Jess and I wanted to make sure the event was worthwhile to our blogging and TpT lives. So we created a list of our Top 5 Blogging/TpT Tips and Top 5 Social Media Tips. It was so awesome to have conversations and collaborate with our peers!

Of course there was food:
And we even took a brain break with a Name that GoNoodle Champ contest, sponsored by our friends at GoNoodle!
  Jess and I were so fortunate to be supported by MANY generous donors for our giveaways!

We also had SIX grand prizes, thanks to our amazing donors: Tailwind, Kendra Scott, Teaching in the Tongass, and ESGI.
All in all, we had over $15,000 in giveaway prizes and swag! Everyone left a winner! It was truly an AMAZING outpouring of support for our event!

Our phenomenal group!

Knowing that not all of our friends would be able to join us, we want to give YOU, our awesome readers, to win something as well! We have TWO $25 gift certificates to Teacher Created Resources to give away! Enter through the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends at 11:59PM on Friday, September 11th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We truly had a blast connecting, collaborating, and sharing with each other. This is definitely going to be an annual event. Will you be joining us next year? We sure hope so!!


Independent Reading Routines: The Reading Spot

I'm struggling to stay above water at my new school and in my new grade level (YES! Many changes around here, but we'll have to save that story for another day!), but I just HAD to put my school work on hold for a few minutes to share this nugget of AWESOMENESS with you!

My new school is a Teacher's College Reading and Writing Workshop lab school. I am amazed by the amount of trainings and resources we have at our fingertips, and I am beyond excited to jump into the deep end of that pool! But coming from a Daily 5 mindset, there are a few new routines I need to wrap my head around.

I've been meeting with my instructional coach, and we've been discussing establishing routines for independent reading time. Yesterday she suggested that my students choose a "reading spot" and sit that spot for the whole month.

My first thought was, WHAT?! When I did Daily 5, my students chose a new spot for Read to Self every day. Wouldn't I be taking away student choice and ownership?? Besides, everyone needs a change of scenery every now and then. What if they didn't want to sit in that spot the next day? Also I don't have enough reading pillows and carpet squares for everyone to have one. So how will I make the use of those fun reading materials fair?

But, I went along with her suggestion despite my reservations. She's an expert after all, right?

Well, it didn't take me more that 3 minutes of my instructional coach teaching my mini lesson to realize that this idea is GENIUS!
Think about where you read/work at home. I'm usually parked in the same spot on the couch in my living room when I'm reading. Do I find a new spot every time I sit down to read? Usually not... unless one of my kids is being distracting!

We picked students' names at random, they grabbed a reading pillow or carpet square if desired and available, and then chose their spots. I wrote down everyone's spot, even down to what color pillow they will be using. This will be especially helpful if there is a sub in my room and someone tries to pull a fast one :) We practiced several times setting up and cleaning up. My students were able to get ready for reading and clean up in less than 45 seconds for each transition!
There was no arguing over the pillows. There was no racing to sit by certain people. There wasn't any wandering around the room, wondering where to sit. No more wasting time "getting started right away."

They got their book boxes and pillow/carpet square, went to their spots, and got down to business.

In less than 45 seconds.


We were focused on reading during independent reading time. Not trying to hide behind a bookshelf for the 37th time and then me having to talk to the student like it's the first time I've had to tell them that.
I did tell my students that if there was a day that they wanted to sit in their desks instead of their spots, that's fine. So their options are their reading spot or their desks. That's it.

I wrote down the names of the last three students that chose spots. They will go first next month. Each month we will choose a new reading spot.

Semi-permanent reading spots are here to STAY in my classroom! What do you think? Will you give it a try?

For more Reader's Workshop ideas, check out my Pinterest board!

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