Parent Teacher Conferences

I can't believe that parent- Teacher conferences are starting TOMORROW!  Woo- Hoo!  That means  that in just a few weeks we have Thanksgiving Break and then soon after that is the long Winter Holidays!  Our district was moving toward a more balanced calendar last year.  The Board decided to return to the more traditional calendar this school year.  Now that I have had a taste of those fall breaks, I must say I miss it dearly!  How spoiled I got in just one year!

Since conferences start tomorrow I thought I would share some of the conference forms and parent handouts I have collected over time.  NONE of these are my original creations.  I have tried to cite the original author or cite when I knew or recognized the work, but unfortunately most of this has been lost over time.  I did take the content and "pretty it up."  If you are the author or recognize the work, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

This sheet has helpful English and Grammar sites

This is a questionnaire to send home prior to conferences to get a feel for what a parent may want to discuss.

A collection of website in Reading, Writing, Spelling and Math
Double check to make sure all of the links are still active!

I  DID NOT create this handout- I just added the graphics and fonts and such.  This was originally on the Mosaic Listserv but the page it was from is not longer active.   I could not find the exact document anywhere  online?  Does anyone remember this link?

I have created a conference check list for teachers to use as a guide to prepare for conferences and also as a guide for discussion. It is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for $2.00.  The check list is a Word document and is customizable once it is downloaded.  Please feel free to check it out!

I will give away a free copy of the conference sheet below to the first 3 visitors that leave a comment correctly guessing the number of conferences that I have tomorrow that actually show up.  It should be interesting since even I don't know the answer yet!!!


Please take the time to enter our awesome giveaway!  The giveaway ends this Friday, October 28th!



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Treats Only- No Tricks! A Pumpkin Math Game Freebie


I am so ready for this week to be over. My classroom has been wild. I feel like the little boy in the story The Little Dutch Boy. I plug my finger in one hole and solve a crisis only to have more crises fracture and leak until the dam is about to break.  Seriously.  I could be a fireman for all the fires I have put out this week!

I DO have a treat for you though! I initially intended on selling this in my TpT store, but it is just too much work right now to set up a cover sheet and fill out the description and so on. So... I thought I would blog about it instead. It was be available for a *limited time only* (cough...sometime after Halloween when I get around to taking it down).

The game practices subtraction and estimation. To play this partner game in students will need one pumpkin mat, two recording sheets and yellow and red counters. Students will grab a large handful of counters and then estimate how many they grabbed. Students then count the actual amount. Subtract the estimate and actual amount (great opportunity to discuss which number "goes on top"). The player with the LOWEST difference wins the round.

My kids loved it, but I need to review to ESTIMATE first and not count. Some of my kids were able to (gasp! shock!) correctly guess each and every estimation! Hmmm..

Download and enjoy!

Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!


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American Heroes: Frederick Douglass and Eleanor Roosevelt


A few months ago I posted a packet or "book" I created based on our curriculum's resources for Paul Revere. We study several American Heroes so I have been working on creating the other books for the other important people.

So far I have finished Eleanor Roosevelt and Fredrick Douglass. Next on the list is Susan B. Anthony. Please feel free to download and use!


Please don't forget to check out the awesome giveaway from below! Lots of chances to win BIG- 1 product from 5 different Teacher Pay Teachers stores. That is 5 different products per winner! Yay!
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Awesome Giveaway with FIVE TpT Products from FIVE Awesome Bloggers!!

A few a my new blogging friends are hosting a giveaway, and I just had to join!! I am loving this whole give away thing!   Read below for more info.


Welcome to our awesome giveaway! Each winner will have the opportunity to select one item from each of our TpT stores! How awesome is that?? That's FIVE TpT products in all!! Best of all, you have 11… count em’… 11 chances to win!
Here’s how:

Follow each blog and comment stating you do: That’s 5 chances

Follow each blogger’s TpT Store and comment stating you do: That’s 5 chances

Blog about our awesome giveaway on your blog: That’s 1 chance

Five lucky winners, one from each blog, will be announced on October 28th

Good Luck and Happy Blogging :)




Ashleigh's TpT Store
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Reading Retelling Projects

Thanks so much to my winners and their feedback!  The Retelling Reading Response packet is now available on TpT.  I originally set the price at $7.00, but I have decided to put is on sale for $5.00 to celebrate it being done!  Yay!


Please click here to see this project in my TpT store!  Enjoy!
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Favorite Read Alouds linky party

Courtney at Swimming into Second is hosting a favorite book linky party and since books are a passion/ hobby/ lifestyle for me I decide to join up!   My most favorite, favorite, favorite book to read aloud is Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.


In this story the main character Trisha has great difficulty learning to read due to an undiagnosed disability. In fifth grade Mr. Falkner comes along and with the help of the reading teacher she learns to read. On the last page it is revealed that this story is actually based on the author's childhood and her difficulty with reading.  It makes me cry every time I read it aloud.

I use this story to launch my Making Connections unit.  You see, I was retained in first grade because I had such a hard time with math- it was like a foreign language to me. While I was never diagnosed with a learning disability, I dreaded math most of my school career (including college). I teach in a co-taught classroom and I am the general ed teacher. Many of the students struggle with reading and it is SUCH a powerful book for them.  Not only to hear that a famous author and illustrator had difficulties (and disability) like they do, but also their teacher.

Story Online has this story read aloud by Jane Kaczmarek.

It is hard to believe the weekend is almost over!  Back to school tomorrow after a long weekend in the mountains.  Kinley got to  pick out the pumpkin.  I think she liked this one!

Have a wonderful week.  I have tons of pictures from my classroom , and want to do a photo series of how I run and organize guided reading group.  It is on my to do list! PLUS I need to post my retelling unit in my TpT store!  Gah!  Gotta add that to the list!
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And the winners are...

It is 8 o'clock and the time has arrived to announce my first winners ever for my first give away ever!  The reading response  packet will go to the following winners.... (I wish could learn how to post the picture of the random number generator- sorry!)...

Comment #9  Yearn to Learn

Comment # 12  Mrs. Corbitt

and.... Comment #3 KS

Congratulations!! Please contact me at mandyholland@hotmail.com and I will send the packet your way!  Thank  you so much to all that entered! I really appreciate it!
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Desperately Seeking Shoes

What I am NOT loving:
I am Desperately Seeking Susan Shoes.  My right foot is on the verge of falling off from a pain on the bottom of my heel. Seriously, I am going to have to find a podiatrist because I am afraid that my foot/ ankle  will give and I will drop my baby.  A PODIATRIST.  I feel old.  If it is a bunion or a corn I will be so embarrassed.  I don't even know what they are, but I know they are bad.  And women with rolled  down panty hose get them.

So...I need shoe help.  Any comfy teacher shoes.  Even my New Balance tennis shoes are hurting my feet.  I have fat, Fred Flinstone feet so a wider width is best.

Any suggestions for shoes?  Literally price is no object at this point.

What I AM loving:
The give away at  The Creative Apple.  Gah.  Must have both, especially the glyph with the line plot!  ingenious!

Don't forget to enter my give away.  Three winners will be draw on Wednesday night!
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Guided Reading: What are the Other Kids Doing? and Reading Response Project Give Away

This year I have  a problem that I have never had in the 10 years I have been teaching.  I have too  many adults in my classroom during guided reading time!  Most years, it has always been  a struggle to meet with enough students.  This year there are three adults in my classroom during guided reading: myself, my co teacher, and the ESOL teacher.  We all run groups and many of the students get more than one guided reading group.  I have been very pleased with the results.  I feel that some of our students are making gains relatively quickly.

So, what my kids may be doing may look different than other classrooms just because I have an abundance of adult hands.  When students are not meeting with groups they are doing one of two things:
  1. Reading to self
  2. Independent Reading Response projects
I had originally intended on introducing partner reading but since students have so little independent time, I am not.

I introduced Read to Self using the Daily Five model. 

If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful resources, with step by step instructions on how to guide students on how to be independent during reading time.  All the activities in the book focus on the main domains on Language Arts/ Reading and it is research based.  When I had more independent time for students, they did more of the Daily Five activities.

This is a picture from two years ago- I left my camera with my new, classroom pictures at school!  Whoops!
I have a relatively extensive classroom library with a variety of genres and text complexity.  Students choose their own books and can have 5-7 books in their book boxes.  Students are only able to trade in books before the morning announcements. No "book shopping" during the school day. Occasionally I will also pull books from the library if I feel there are not enough books on the student's reading level and we may also throw in some guided reading books the child has mastered (occasionally).  We only do this if the student is a struggling reader and really needs a "pick me up" in confidence.

We do several lessons on "just right books" including a lesson by our school librarian, I PICK lesson from Daily Five and a mini lesson that I guide based on riding a bike. I use the riding a bike analogy to introduce just right books.

The other activity students are expected to complete is some kind of reading response project.  This is how I get many of my reading grades for report card and is usually based on  whatever strategy or skill we focused on the past week. This year many of our students have struggling with retelling so several of the projects have revolved around written retellings. We have also focused on making connections and are about done with questioning so that will make its way into response projects soon. 

We have done three different projects and I have created a packet of those projects with rubrics for the student and teacher and then the printable project ready to go. I intend on eventually selling these on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.  However, I need a few friendly editors and test drivers. 

Does anyone want to try these babies out?  I will attach the google doc with the description page.  Here is how to enter:

*  Please leave a comment with your name saying that you follow my blog.
If you are a blogger, I would appreicate/ love for you to blog about this give away, but it is not required. : )

 I will figure out how to do that random drawing thingies on  WEDNESDAY night by 8:00 pm.   I will draw THREE winners.  Winners will get the 25 page document FREE as long as they agree to give me feedback, any corrections and a suitable price for the packet.  Deal?
Click here for the link.
Have a great Saturday!
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