Teacher Stuff: State of the Classroom Address


Alright, it’s time for (another) honest conversation.

You might know about my anchor charts (outed! by the way – see the last post) and having a clean, organized classroom. But it’s time we talk about the truth of the matter.

Yes, my notebooks are color-coded. Yes, my children LOVE to wipe down the classroom with disinfectant wipes and take pride in keeping our classroom clean.

On that note, did you see this?
Kids Clean Their Classrooms and Love Doing it

But we teacher bloggers need to be real with you. When you feel down about your stacks of stuff EVERYWHERE and that moment you need that paper that was JUST RIGHT HERE!! You are not alone. We have those moments too. ALL. THE. TIME!

So, I did something many of us would HATE to do. I took candid pictures of what my classroom looks like. Here it is, folks, my dirty classroom laundry.

DSC00402This is the entry into my classroom. Yeah, lots of stuff just gets stacked and left here.

Poor puppy…And books that need to be reshelved. And, honest to God, I’m not sure what’s in that HEB bag.


The picture vocabulary needs some help. And less humidity.

Since this picture, there is a legitimate pile. This is actually PRETTY organized compared to today.

DSC00398Book boxes. Reminder: They are 6!! with cardboard boxes and an excitement about JAMMING as many books as possible into them.

Book-making is messy. No apologies.

AKA the “stuff I need to put away but…” pile.

So there it is. Yes, I (and my kids) spend time cleaning it all up and I value an organized classroom, but it does NOT look picture perfect all the time. So, pat yourself on the back, breathe easier. We are not super heroes….ok, well, KINDA! but we can’t do it ALL right NOW. So go easy on yourself. Teaching is a messy and wonderful job. Sometimes messy means there are AMAZING things going on and there just wasn’t time to stop to clean.

Keep up the great work! We all need capes….and a glass of wine. ;-)


Teacher Stuff: Cute Character Secrets


I got a comment today that really made my day, made me feel guilty, and motivated me, all at the same time. I have been absent. No bones about it. But I haven’t forgotten you.

My past year has been an upheaval to say the least. Not to get into the nitty-gritty, but a divorce with kids is a time-consuming and GIANT ordeal. However, we are on the greener side of the hill, folks, and I am starting to have more time.

That being said, I have SO MANY ideas for posts. So I ask you to be patient and keep checking back, I am motivated (Thanks, LaserTest) and ready to go!

Today, though, I want to share a secret.


I LOVE book characters! I love that they cover my wall and remind my students of the amazing stories we’ve read and the journeys we’ve been on. I get compliments on my characters all the time but you should know something…I have a secret helper.

It’s a projector.

I am BLESSED to have a station in my classroom with a doc cam, computer and projector. I use them to find a picture with either the doc cam or computer, project it on the wall and trace it onto chart paper! Yes, I do a LOT of coloring at home, and yes, it might seem trivial to some. But when my kids walk in every day and see their favorite characters on the wall, they make great connections, they share memories of favorite stories and they remember how FUN reading is!

So, pull out a book, trace and color a little, it will be worth it, I promise!  Here are a few from the first weeks of school. Sorry, my camera was not cooperating with the lighting in my room. More soon!



Good Morning, Fall! Pumpkin Spice Pancakes


PumpkinSpicePancakesWell, it’s finally Fall and it actually feels like Fall here in Austin!  That NEVER happens – at least not until Decemberish.

In honor of this new Fall weather, we’re making Homemade Pumpkin Pancakes for brunch today!  The kids have been begging and (after making a big cup of coffee) I’m ready!!

What You’ll Need:

3/4 cup of flour

2 t. baking powder

4 t. sugar (this rounds out to 1 1/3 T, but using one measuring spoon makes easier cleaning!!)

/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. salt

2 eggs, beaten. (If you have little people that like to do this as much as mine, take a quick coffee break.)

1/2 c. milk

2 T. cooking oil

1/4 cup caramel macchiato or vanilla caramel liquid creamer (This is my secret ingredient…you’re welcome.)
** If you don’t drink coffee, don’t go out to buy this, just add 3/4 t. vanilla.  If you have it, it adds GREAT hints of caramelly goodness to the pancakes, though!

1/2 can (about 1 cup) pureed pumpkin

This Is How We Do It!!! (if you don’t get this reference and start singing in your head, PLEASE don’t tell me…then I will feel old…I’m not old enough to feel old.)

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a whisk to sift together.

Whisk eggs in smaller bowl, then add wet ingredients to the egg mixture.

Add pumpkin and wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Fold together with a spatula until everything is mixed well.  **Don’t over mix – too much beating together will make your pancakes flatter. Did you know that? Bobby Flay taught me that!

Butter (or spray if you prefer) your griddle or nonstick pan. For my pancakes, I pour about 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Cook, serve, enjoy!

PumpkinPancake FinalI usually just serve them with syrup, but a fall-icious pecan or walnut topping would be divine!!

Have fun and Pumpkin Spice-it-up, this Fall!!


Teacher Stuff: One Fish, Two Fish Math!



Let’s have some fun with math!

Whether you use this for Dr. Seuss Day, a beginning or end of the year inventory or just fun math, your kids will love this!

The file includes:
– a sheet for students to create their own patterns of fish
– fish bowl addition and subtraction

Differentiation ideas:
– children can use colored tiles to create patterns before coloring
– use fish crackers as manipulatives to add and subtract
– students can work in pairs
– work together in a group under a laminate overlay

Get yours now from my new TeacherPayTeachers Store!
Enjoy! and Come back soon!



Teacher Stuff Friday Freebie: Classroom Scrapbook Page


Picture 1

Don’t worry!  I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet!  Well, kind of, but we’ve just been busy!  BUT, school’s almost over and we are wrapping up the year.  I can’t believe the year is almost over! I think I say that every year, so maybe I should just get used to it by now! :)

Anyway, I’m back and up this week is the Classroom Scrapbook Page:

The file includes the student page for your kids to write about themselves, draw or glue a picture of themselves, and write about a few favorites as well as their hope for next year.


Usually with these pages, I print off a cover and a couple of autograph pages for the kids to include little notes to their friends.

This is always SO much fun at the end of the year and a great end-of-the-year gift to send home with the kids.

Also, this is a momentous day, because this is the first (of many) products on my NEW TeachersPayTeachers store!
Don’t worry, it’s still free, just go HERE to check it out and get your own copy.

Also, if you don’t have a TpT account or have been holding out on any other Friday Freebies, you might want to get them while you can.  In the next few weeks, I’ll be moving files over from Google Docs to TeacherPayTeachers, most of which will remain free!

Thanks for all the support, fellow teachers!  I have definitely felt the love and look forward to sharing even more classroom ideas and fun with you!
Come back soon!


BamaBoy Blogs Bachelor: The Final Rose…Maybe



It is with a bittersweet heart that we greet you this week for Monday Night “Lady” Fights for tonight is the Final Rose, or IS IT?!?!?!?  We shall see!

Will One Pollo pick Nikki or Clare?  Will one (or both) of the “ladies” realize what a douchecanoe One Pollo is and drop him like a moldy burrito?  Will Nikki accept the final rose solely because she’s so über-competitive she can’t stand to lose?  Will she drop his ass on After the Final Rose?  SO MANY QUESTIONS and so little….no, it’s 3 hours.  Nevermind.

Well, Mommer, J, BamaBoy and I are back this week for a night of laughs (ours not theirs), tears (theirs not ours) and enough DRAMA to last… until next season!  We’re cooking up some Super Bowl food and we’ve got ourselves another “dang’ole box-o-wine” so we’re READY!

BamaBoy: “I just can’t wait to find who One Chicken is going to choose to break up with in a few months!
J: “Who’s going to be the next ex-One Pollo?!

Oh look, the previous Bachelor “stars” are back and tonight, “The drama continues”…yes, thank you Chris.
Was One Pollo here to find love in the first place? Chris Harrison tells us this is “the debate”.
BamaBoy: “How is that a debate?!
J: “I’d want to meet them at their house, not Saint Lucia.  I don’t want to marry into a family of hoarders! I need to know what I’m dealing with here!

Clare gets to meet the Pollos first.  Clare tells us again how much she loves family.
J: “Except for that one sister…

They talk about kids and Clare says she can’t wait to have “one for herself”.  It’s not a freakin puppy!  There’s a little more to it than that! At least she didn’t say “get one”.
In her one-on-one time with Momma Pollo, she finds out he’s hyperactive?  Really?  No, $h!t.
Momma Pollo tells her he’s sometimes very rude.
BamaBoy: “My son’s a d*@k, but ee’s ok.
Clare feels reaffirmed.
J: “That he’s a d*@k.

Rodrigo (Who invited Uncle Rico?!) tells her that when things get rough, One Pollo will be ready to walk away.
BamaBoy: “Wow, this is not a good sign. His whole family thinks he’s a d*@k.
Clare HoneyBadgers that shit and says she loves him anyway.  FOR REAL?!

Daddy Pollo is touchy-feely, too and throws out an “I love you”.
Looks like One Pollo’s nut doesn’t fall far from the tree…..take that as you will.

Nikki’s up next at the Pollo Place.  I really like her dress.
Nikki can’t help but fantasize that One Pollo might propose.
J: “Aim higher!
Nikki is way more relaxed, afterall, she has already met many of the family members in Miami.
Well, until she starts rambling….
Daddy Pollo isn’t all over Nikki like he was Clare.  But WOW, here we go again…
His dad says One Pollo’s self-centered and only thinks about what he wants.
Nikki says her feelings are really, real.
BamaBoy: “I like assholes!
There’s not a single person in his family that has had a nice thing to say about him.
Nikki is so in love…like…
**eye roll**
Momma Pollo says he likes to sit at home every weekend and watch TV.  So he’s self-centered and lazy, but hyperactive.  She predicts that Nikki will say, “Yes.”
J: “Sucker…”

Rodolfo adds his two-cents about what a d*@k One Pollo is…wait, is that Uncle Rico again?  No.
One Pollo fights a lot.
Wow, the red flags just keep PILING UP!!
Please someone figure this out!!

One Pollo wants to keep both.
Chris Harrison shuts him down and even comments on One Pollo’s family and their “honesty”.
BamaBoy: “Well, it looks like he might not be Dos Pollo.

I like that the first audience woman Chris Harrison talks to can’t get over his family calling him out and I couldn’t agree with her more, this IS going downhill FAST!
The next guy thinks this will end well. Hmm…well, it’s going to make you look REALLY good!
The previous Bachelor folks all agree that there are a LOT of red flags.

Clare and One Pollo are on a helicopter ride together.  There are no cameras or audio.  Clare outs him by telling us that One Pollo was an a$$…Really!  You don’t say.  What was it that clued you in finally?!
You realized One Pollo is a perv?   Thanks for showing up today.
AND JUST LIKE THAT, Clare has seen the light. But the angels – they ain’t-a-singin!

Clare reflects and (surprise, surprise) has figured out he’s a douchecanoe.
He’s here for the “hook-up”.
No mas besitos…the jig is up!
**Sidenote: They totally did it in the ocean and in the Fantasy Suite.
BamaBoy: “She does seem like the type of woman that could fit a canoe…”  Oh, geez!

About this time, a few other neighbors, including one we’ll name “Birthday Boy”, show up to join the “fun”.

Clare: “It’s been hard…”
Neighbor: “That’s what she said!”
BamaBoy: “Ee’s ok.”

One Pollo isn’t sure he’s ready….hmmm, well, you might have thought of that BEFORE you came on the show.

Clare wants him to be sure. Amen, sister.  She’s starting to buy his crap. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Me: “I can’t believe she’s still drinking his Kool-aid.”
Mommer: “Damn, I forgot to buy Kool-aid!

One Pollo changes the subject by playing the song he and Clare danced to on their first date and she’s blinded by the music….UGH!  Now suddenly she can picture their life together.
Neighbor 2: “Yikes
BamaBoy: “I think I threw up a little in my mouth.”
Me: “Ee’s ok.”

Sharleen, remember “Yeah, sure girl!“, calls Clare out on ignoring her ‘woman’s intuition’.  Even Sean calls him out on his douchebaggery.  Wow, I gotta say, I haven’t used the word ‘douche’ this much in a LONG time.  But if the canoe fits…

Chris Harrison prefaces Nikki’s date by referring to One Pollo as “the man she thinks she’s in love with”…OUCH!!

More besitos. Bleh!!
Nikki thinks his whole family is awesome. Were you there?!  They all told you what an ass he is.
I’m not really sure what happened on their date.  I was blinded by her ignorance of the red flags.
He shows up at night and she’s dressed in white.  Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn…..

There’s a whole lotta NOT conversation going on….

Neighbor 2: “I feel like they just want us to know how much they both deserve whatEVER is coming.”
True, they’ve both had a chance to walk away but they didn’t.
One Pollo leaves and Nikki is in tears.  More red flags.

Whatever Clare is on, I need some.  Erasitol….that’s it.  You wake up feeling amazeballs.
Boat ride.
No foreboding music?!
Neighbor 2: “They’re not even going to come help her on that rickety… No.”

Ee’s ok.”
A lot of silence.
“You look pretty.” Really, good one One Pollo.

He smacks a lot.
Oh. My. GOD.  This is so AWKWARD!!!!
And if One Pollo smacks one more time….

Clare just got dumped.

Pretty sure he said, “I wish the Earth sucked me…”  I don’t even know what that means, but whaaaa?!
Clare’s gonna let him HAVE IT!!  YES!!!
NOW you lost respect for him?!  Thanks for showing up!
One Pollo has the balls to say, “Glad I didn’t pick her…” OH $H!T!!!
Apparently, she “really, really had faith in him.”
Birthday Boy: “What faith?!”
Clare wants to know where that man that would fight for her is…
Birthday Boy: “Not on TV!
Chris Harrison says that was hard to watch…
Birthday Boy: It was actually easy to watch!”

Nikki is “expecting a proposal”….awesome.
Even Chris Harrison thinks One Pollo’s an ass…cool, man.
Nikki can’t imagine her life without One Pollo….
Birthday Boy: “Oh my god, I’m going to throw up. I’m embarrassed for us as a species.”

One Pollo loves so much about her, but most of them have nothing to do with knowing her personally.
Birthday Boy: “A handred….

He’s not going to propose. But he’s not going to let her go…

Never, and I mean NEVER, have people been more in an uproar about a Yes!

Ok, After the Final Rose…
Was he here to find love?  Ummm, no. Obviously.

It’s perfectly clear that Chris Harrison is NOT a One Pollo fan.

Clare is back.
What’s with all the jet noise?!
She’s disappointed. Hmm, One Pollo let you down?  Tell me more about that.
I am shocked.
BamaBoy: “So you were shocked that you jumped on him in the ocean but surprised that he was there for the sex….mmmm…
She trusted the “process”.
BamaBoy: “Beach sex?”

This season has been one cluster-f&@k after another…
Thank you, Bachelor, for proving what a guilty-pleasure show you are.
I might not watch shows about New Jersey and teenage moms, but you’re close….and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

One Pollo is out.
5 people clapped.

He’s straight-forward – AKA a straight-up ass…..
For the first time, I agree with Andi.  There’s a difference between not knowing the language and being an a$$hole.
“Can I talk?!” One Pollo’s going to be a jerk to Chris Harrison?!  Idiot.

BamaBoy: “He’s just an asshole.” For being Team One Pollo from the beginning, this is a REVELATION.

Nikki comes out. “This is VERY OVER.” OH, yowza she means the show, NOT the relationship.  Well, I thought, maybe for a second but NOPE!  She doesn’t know if he’s in love with her. But, she’s still with him….

More red flags.

He’s never told her he loves her…
To be completely honest, you’re 24, desperate to find love and maybe you’re just being ignorant.

One Pollo’s back.
Oh, Jesus.  This is never going to work.

Chris Harrison asks, “Do you love her?” One Pollo,”I don’t get it.”   He’s an idiot.
I feel worse for her.
One Pollo, “When you interrupted me last time…”
He’s an ass.

I am busy blogging so I am sending BamaBoy to Whataburger…. Good for BamaBoy!!!! (He wrote this.)
I love that he’s such a sweet little monkey!  ;)
Nikki is an idiot.  I feel sad for her.

Chris Harrison, “And they are ‘clearly’ in love…..”
Nikki, I had faith in you, but you’re an idiot.

A naive, young, idiot.
I can say that because I was 22 when I got married and now, 9 years later, we are not playing it by “what happens.”

Sadly, deep down, we all kind of hope the Bachelor will find real love and romance.  Clearly, it hasn’t in this season.  Even Chris Harrison has lost all respect for One Pollo.

Well, here’s hoping next season is better than this one.  We all know Andi is the new Bachelorette now, but here’s hoping she’s not an A-hole like One Chicken.

All the best,
– T

**Sidenote: BamaBoy went to Whataburger and got food for J and I.  It was glorious.  **God Bless, we aren’t affilitated with Whataburger, either….

Disclaimer: As we’ve been whining all season, we are in no way affiliated with ABC, The Bachelor, or Chris Harrison (although, let’s be honest, we’d be willing to take over his position anytime…”Ladies, this is the Final Rose, BIATCHES!!”).  We are not being compensated for our witty remarks or our flawless dance moves, not even with Kool-aid.  Until next season, we’ll miss you, but come back often – I’m sure we can find something to get catty about.  When does Revenge start?! **We are also not affiliated with Revenge.

Teacher Stuff Friday Freebie: Plot Graphic Organizer


Plot GO

Welcome back!  Today’s Friday Freebie is another Reading Response Gem!  This is one of my favorites!  In first grade,  out students focus all year on story plot.  We use Author Studies, Character Studies, and Genre Studies to mix things up and expose our kids to ALL kinds of texts, but this little organizer is one we can use for SO MANY things!! One thing I love, in particular is the open boxes, which allow for easy differentiation. Non-writers or writers who are hesitant can draw and/or write while writers of all stages can write without feeling constricted by lines. My kids are able to respond in their own way with confidence! I hope you and your kids enjoy it and get as much use out of it as we have!

To get your own copy of the Plot Graphic Organizer, click HERE!

As always, thanks for visiting and feel free to share for personal or classroom use.  Please do not use my files for commercial use.  I think we are all made better by sharing our ideas, just don’t try to make a profit off mine!!

Thanks again, come back soon!
– T