Master's Class with the University of West Alabama Online Update

4:54 PM



Hi friends! I’m about a month into my very first Master’s class at the University of West Alabama online, and I thought I would pop in and give y’all a little update on how everything is going. You can check out my first post here.

Now, the entire class is online (in fact, the entire Master’s program is online!) and to be honest, I was a bit intimidated by that. I took online classes when I got my undergrad, but we would have weekly or monthly meetings so you could check in and make sure you were understanding everything. This is completely online, which can be a little terrifying, but let me tell you: it’s SO not scary! The professor that is teaching the class that I’m taking is super helpful and always available to answer questions. He posted an intro video and explained the basics of the class and when everything was due. I cannot tell you have helpful that was!


My weekly assignments are always due on Sunday night, which is convenient. I never forget since it’s always on the same day. In addition to the assignment, we also have to answer a discussion question in the discussion board and respond to our classmates’ answers.


Another part about UWA online that I like is how they check in on you. When you are admitted into the program, you are given an academic counselor and your counselor calls and emails weekly to make sure you are staying on track and not having any difficulties. That is so helpful when your entire degree is online!


A lot of y’all have messaged me about wanting to go back and get your Master’s degree. I would HIGHLY recommend the online program at the University of West Alabama. You can check out the different kinds of Master’s degree programs they have to offer here.



My Fifth Grade ELA Syllabus

3:41 PM
Happy Wednesday, friends! I asked earlier if y'all wanted to see what my syllabus that I give out at the beginning of the school year looks like and y'all did, so here it is! Now, I didn't make an editable template for y'all, because everyone's class is set up differently, so I didn't think it would work for anyone. I'm just posting this so you can get an idea of what mine looks like and what I put in it. We go over this syllabus on the very first day. I have the kids take it home and their parents/guardians have to read it and sign off that they have read it and understand it. I collect those slips and keep them all year. I make the students leave this syllabus in the very front of their binder in a clear page protector. This way, if anything comes up throughout the year, I can refer back to the syllabus. 

Like I said, we go over this on the very first day of school. If you want to know what else we do during the first couple of days, let me know and I'll work on a post! :)









Teacher Tidbit Tuesday: Classroom Planning Guide

7:44 AM
Happy Tuesday, y'all! It's time for our weekly Teacher Tidbit Tuesday post and today's topic is planning your classroom for the new school year. 

If you've been a long time follower of my blog, you know I'm all about some classroom decorating. I LOVE decorating! I cannot wait until my house is built so I can have a new space to decorate. I love changing the design of my classroom every summer because it's just fun for me.

I never have a theme. I just always do bright colors. Every summer I think about changing it up and doing a two color "theme", but then I see all the bright colored things in the stores and I know I would get tired of two colors reallll quickly, so I just always stick to brights!

Although I love the design aspect of it, I think it's more than just having a "cute" room. To me, the way I map out and design my classroom makes the space work for my teaching. I think, research, and plan out where I want each area to be so the flow of the room is right. I think, research, and plan out what my displays are going to be because each display goes along with my teaching. It's not just having a "cutesy classroom." It's making the classroom work for a successfully managed class. I fully believe this. The space needs to work for YOU! 

Here's how I plan out my classroom each summer.

I start by thinking of what displays I'm going to need and where they should go. 


Then I map out the classroom and draw where the displays will be so I can get a sense of how the room will be pictured and how easily accessible the boards will be to the kids. 

Then I think about how each board will be designed and I do a little mock up on the computer, so I can see it and play around with the look of it. 




Then I make a list of things I need to make for the boards!


How do you plan out your classroom design? I would LOVE to know! :)

That's it for today's Teacher Tidbit Tuesday post. Here's what topics are coming up. 





Your Summer Rountine


Classroom Design Plan (this post)

Top 10 Favorite Movies

Favorite Phone Apps

Happy List

Fictional Character Role Models

Workspace Must Haves

What's in Your Teacher Bag?







Picture Books to Teach Plot

6:08 PM

Download my FREE Reference Guide here!

Happy Monday, Friends! I'm back with another list of my favorite picture books to teach certain skills and this time we are focusing on PLOT. Be sure and check out my post about picture books to teach THEME and download the free reference guide for that skill here

Now, some of these books were also included in my list of books for teaching theme because we all know that stories can be used for multiple skills. I've picked these 20 picture books because they lend themselves easily to mapping out the plot of a story using various strategies like the five W's or SWBST (my favorite way to teach plot!)























*Links are affiliate links

Disrupting Thinking: Chapter 4

3:16 PM
Okay, y'all. I was a slacker last week and didn't post my book study post for last week's reading. Since I need to post about chapter 4, I didn't want to include that with this week's reading because that would be a LOT. I've decided to post my thoughts on last week's reading (chapter 4 and part 1) today and then Saturday, I will post my thoughts on this week's reading (chapters 5,6) and then I'll be caught up for next week. Forgive me, friends! :) 

So let's talk chapter 4. This chapter was all about how students need to be compassionate readers. Although this sounds like a simple concept, I have found this to be difficult when teaching reading. It is so hard to get kids to put themselves in the reader's shoes and communicate how they would feel if they were put in a situation that the character found themselves in. So often, they just want to answer with things that are happening in the text and leave their feelings out of it. 


Did this statement stick out to anyone else? I gotta say, it really resonated with me and then left me a little confused. There's a fine line between just letting the kids read and response to the text and actually teaching them how to do it, and sometimes while I'm reading this book, I'm overwhelmed and unsure of how to go about it. I want more than anything for my kids to love reading, but I also want them to know how to read and comprehend and response to the text. I mean, sometimes a "sticky note" is needed, right?? How do you get them to develop a love for reading and not smother them with sticky note tasks, while at the same time actually teaching them useful strategies??


This is another statement that I highlighted. This year, I really want to teach my kids to respond to the text as it relates to them, but I also want them to share their thoughts with others. I think literature circles will really help with this. 


Y'all know I struggle with nonfiction. I always have to force myself to incorporate more nonfiction into my lessons. Fiction just comes naturally to me, and I always lean toward that type of text, but I really liked what this chapter said in regards to being a compassionate reader when reading nonfiction. I think this is so important now more than ever. The book used the 2016 election as an example and that really hit home with me. We need compassionate readers (and people!) now!

Okay, what stuck with you from chapter 4? I wanna know! And I promise after Saturday I will be caught up and on time with the rest of the book study posts. :)

To see the other posts in the book study:




Chapter 4, Part I Thoughts (this post)

Part II, Chapter 5,6

Chapters 7,8,9, Thoughts on Part II

Part III, Chapters 10, 11

Chapters 12, 13

Chapters 14, 15, end of book



Teacher Tidbit Tuesday

1:59 PM

Happy Tuesday, y'all! This week's Teacher Tidbit Tuesday topic is your favorite Instagrammers. If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with Instagram. I LOVE finding inspiration through this social media app, whether it's for fashion, teaching, or reading! You can follow my accounts if you want to see my posts.

Fashion/life+style: @msleslieann01

In this post, I'm sharing a few of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. If I included everybody that I love, this post would go on forever! And if I'm being completely honest, I'm typing this late Tuesday afternoon after a crazy, busy day and I have about 30 minutes to work on it before I have to leave to go somewhere else. My life has been so so busy right now, y'all! I'll try and do another post like this soon because there are so many people I love to follow and that I want to share with y'all!

Teaching

Terri's eye for design is spot on and her TpT creations are fabulous! You will love.

Maddie's stories are so funny and real and after watching her, you'll want to be BFFs!


Teacher+fashion...need I say more? I LOVE this girl's OOTD posts!

If you want to be inspired, follow Brittany. She is such a passionate teacher that gives classroom makeovers that are so fun to watch!

Not only do I love Katie's thoughtful posts, but she shares the best books that her kids love. I always find new books to add to my classroom library. 


Need posts that make you think? I LOVE this account!

Great ideas to use in the classroom and also some great book suggestions too!

Need tech help or knowledge? My go to for new ways to incorporate technology is Mitchel.


The picture book queen!

I've followed Babbling Abby since my first grade days. I feel like I've watched her children grow up and I'm fully invested in their lives LOL!

Fonts galore. Although I do get sad looking at her anchor charts because mine will NEVER be that pretty. :(

Reading

Chelsea shares the best books that I always put on my TBR shelf! She reads all kinds, but she shares mostly thriller/mystery.

Alyssa and I have such similar tastes in books! I love to see what she's reading and what she thought about it. 

I LOVE how Amy incorporates fashion and books. Bonus...she's a teacher!

Kristina is one of my absolute favorite teachers and I feel like we're twins. She teaches first grade and shares her fashion on IG. I LOVE her account!


This girl is a boutique owner that lives in Nashville. I love her IG stories and her hair is perfection.



Catlin is a huge fashion blogger that just got married. Even though we don't really have the same style, I love her posts. She works from home, which is my dream LOL


I can't post about my favorite Instagrammers without sharing my IDOL. Reese is just perfection in my eyes. Perfection!



That's it for today's Teacher Tidbit Tuesday post. Here's what topics are coming up. 





Your Summer Rountine

Favorite Instagrammers (this post)

Classroom Design Plan

Top 10 Favorite Movies

Favorite Phone Apps

Happy List

Fictional Character Role Models

Workspace Must Haves

What's in Your Teacher Bag?


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