Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Organizations

Can I get an amen?  My room was so super organized and (duh) adorable and then the first week struck. I am exhausted! If I thought teaching all day and having a 2 year old was exhausting then I definitely had no clue what I was getting myself into by starting my Masters! #overachiever 

I just finished up a guest blog post on their blog so go check it out!

Just so you know, this blog post was sponsored by ATPE, but the words and opinion are alllll mine!  

Anyway, sorry for the short post here, but go check out my post on ATPE's website and if you aren't a member of an organization, definitely check them out! 

Be back soon! Here’s what you have to look forward to this fall:
-Vocab strategies
-Launching the Reading Workshop
-Anchor Charts I Can't Live Without 
-Field Trips and how I organize for them
-ATPE Part 2 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Classroom Reveal and Happy First Day Back to Me!

It's finally ready! Listen, I worked so hard for two days and got a ton accomplished and THEN...the heat. It was so hot in my room. I am thrilled that the fabulous maintenance men fixed my broken AC so that I won't die while working in my room. Anyway....Welcome to Room 404. This year I am back in 4th Grade teaching Reading and Writing. This is my 4th classroom and I'm starting my 6th year but I gotta say...this room may be my favorite. Besides the fact that the 3 former occupants of the room are all my BFFs, I can see my parents' house from my desk... (for real)...and it has the best set up of all my classrooms so far. it is: 
Computer area with my UNT giant window is just to the left of the green shelf and gives a TON of light to our room...unfortunately, it also gives a ton of heat and makes it difficult to use the document camera so I have curtains up. #wompwomp

I hate that this pic is blurry #mommaneedsanewiphone, but this is the front board and also the location of my "whole group" area. I've never had whole group at the board before but I'm loving the rain gutters shelves at the front that I can use to house my markers and such for anchor charts we create. I can't wait til there are 25 4th graders in the floor talking about books :) 

No, you're eyes aren't playing tricks...I have a curved wall in my room. It's like a castle. Everyone who walks in, loves it...I haven't decided yet...we will see if my Writing anchor charts stick to the curve and then we can make a decision. 

Fiction section of the classroom library
This is the view of my class from my "desk" aka the guided reading table. 

Of course the Wizard of Oz section is located close to me :) It makes me happy!  

My little corner. You can see the bright light coming in the curtains are up and aren't even opaque and it has that much light!
My back counter and cabinets
There you have it! My little slice of home at Elliott. I really love my room this year :) I'm sure I'll love it even more when it is filled with kids in just a little while! Come back soon! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sundays are for Linky Parties

Guys. I love a good linky party so I decided to combine these two linkys because...
1. My goal this year is to be better at blogging through the week. I'm also starting grad school so I'm not sure what kind of time I'll have to do...well, anything other than school and family BUT my super goal is to blog consistently! 
2. My Sunday letters are to myself-ish. So...without further ado 

Dear hungry-at-lunch Caitlin,
Don't do it. Don't go out to Braums or Sonic even though this week is going to be exhausting and you'll want that coke and fries. Be a good girl and eat your salad. You'll thank yourself later. 

Dear Jackson (and his immune system),
Please please sleep tonight. And please don't get sick. I know you can't help it but Mommy and Daddy can't miss the first week of school.... And please forgive Mommy for working late and then working some more at home. I promise I won't get out my computer until you go to bed every night. 

Dear football season,
Be kind. Please let me see my hubs this year...It'd be great if you could go by super fast during the week and then make Sundays extra long. Deal? Deal! 

Dear new 4th graders,
Let's do this. 

First day of school tomorrow---I'm excited for year 6! 

**And don't forget to enter the giveaway. Thousands of free resources for a whole year? It doesn't get much better! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

5 for Friday and a Giveaway

It's been a while since I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little old 5 for Friday action. I've missed it! 

 I have been in PD all week. Some of it was fantastic, some of it was good review and some of it was...this.
 Ok, it wasn't really THAT bad and I do love me some data BUT you know when you reach that point where you are just like "can't I go live in my classroom for a little while and just bask in all that I've accomplished while feverishly writing my to-do lists in my personalized Erin Condren planner"...that was me yesterday. Even though my room was done (reveal coming soon...I promise), I wanted to just go sit at my desk and think through some of the little things. Today we have a work day and I'm looking forward to some alone time 
One of my personal instructional goals this year is to be more purposeful with my vocabulary instruction. Luckily, that directly ties in with our school goal of increased vocabulary development/instruction with intentional use of word walls...HELLO. Love it. 
I attended a training on this book last summer and loved the strategies but kind of stuffed the book in with the thousand other "resources I'm definitely going to use...sometime" and forgot about it. Well now I'm in a book study and I'm loving this book. 44 easy-to-implement activities that you can do...right now. Thursday I helped lead a training at our school where we introduced 2 of the activities so I thought I'd share the info with you, my fabulous readers, next week. I even have a freebie handout you can have to easily implement. [[I'm just that nice!]] :) 
 Have you guys discovered S'well bottles? My teacher friends and I are in love with them. Let me be honest, I'm so not a water drinker. I'd happily live my days drinking peach tea, Dr. Pepper and almost any other caffeinated, carbonated beverage. But I know I need to drink more water. Enter the S'well bottle. You see, I only drink water if it's super cold. So it's only up to my standards for as long as the ice isn't melting normally....but my adorable hot pink S'well bottle keeps my drink cold all day. As in at least 20 hours. EVEN IN THE 100 DEGREE WEATHER. It's amazing. S'well isn't paying but (but hey S'well people, if you want to pay me to rave about your bottles, I'm totally cool with that...just sayin')
You need to get one. They are cute and work like a dream. #Christmasgiftidea
I've said it before but I absolutely love the people I work with. They are seriously the best. That being said, we lost alot of "core" team members at the end of last year for various reasons. That means we have to work even harder to stick together and have each other's back this year...I am LOVING my new team. Of course I knew all of them before but it's nice working together! Plus we are adorable. #Team Elliott #LivingTree ((that's for you Krissy) 

We are some FANatics! Our kids are college bound :)
Love my SpED team friends and glad I get to work more closely with ya'll ths year!
Just #SharingaCoke :) 

Have you checked out my giveaway that's going on now?! It's for a FREE YEAR-LONG membership to! Free. Thousands of resources. Free. You should definitely go check out my post and comment so you can be entered in the drawing! Winners will be announced Monday night/Tuesday morning. Do it. Or if you know a teacher that could benefit, let them know! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

ABC've gotta check it out!

Hey ya'll! A couple months ago, Stephen from reached out to me about previewing the website and sharing what I found if I wanted to. 
This is an invaluable resource! As in, you have to check it out and get a membership! They of course have some free stuff but I wanted to share with you those things plus the "extras" you get as a member! 
Check it: 

Freebies: has hundreds of freebies from worksheets in every subject, to clip art, themed units and fun stuff for the holidays. The website is super organized and easy to navigate! There are even activities to go with your SMART board! There are so many great forms for everything-classroom management, organization, literature circles, book reviews, etc. And that's just the reading stuff that I checked out...there are a ton of great math resources as well! 

Member Benefits: 
Ok, it is totally worth it. With a membership, you not only have access to hundreds more ready-made lessons, worksheets and comprehension packets, but you have the ability to make your own pages for students with a worksheet generator. If you are lucky enough to have a SMART board or Promethean board in your classroom you have access to all kinds of interactive activities through If you find resources you love, you can bookmark them or "favorite" them so they are easily accessible next time you go back to look. 
Listen, we've all checked out superteacherworksheets and some of those other websites and they have some great stuff but I'm telling you, has THOUSANDS of resources that are easily accessible. The website is very easy to navigate and is super organized (which makes my little OCD heart happy). You've gotta check it out today! 

Oh! And I just discovered that their memberships are on sale so you better go NOW before the 50% offer expires!!

Here's the exciting news...! ABC Teach is giving away one-year memberships to 3 lucky readers!!! If you are interested, leave a comment with your name and a note about which resources on ABCTeach you are most excited to know more about...and on Monday I will put all your names in a random selection generator to choose 3 winners :) Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

STEM Nonprofits

A few weeks ago,  Marissa Zych, a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, reached out to me about posting/sharing about nonprofits that help promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives for younger students. I know so many school districts are promoting STEM or STEAM courses for their students and we all know we have to prepare students for life after graduation and STEM activities do just that! Below is what Marissa sent me: 

Nonprofits have the opportunity to see a problem and analyze it, come up with a creative solution, and expand upon what educators are teaching. Utilizing the base that the education system constructs, nonprofits allow for continued education and provide advancements within specific fields. It certainly isn’t easy to create a successful nonprofit. It takes heart, great support, and engaged stakeholders, but there are some non-profits out there that are doing a great job....Check out the ones below! 

Girls Do Hack
It’s important to make sure young people are getting proper education, even extending outside of the classroom. With the help from sponsors like Misha Malyshev, a program called Girls Do Hack became possible. This program has mentors that work in science, technology engineering, and math fields. These mentors are there to inspire young women to potentially follow in their footsteps. This is an extremely important program that may help bridge the ratio gap of men and women in these fields.  
For more information: is a relatively new nonprofit that is dedicated to explanding participation in computer sciences. Founded in 2013 by brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi, this initiative targets women and underrepresented students of color to learn software development. This nonprofit designs it’s own courses, trains teachers, partners with large school districts, helps change government policies to expand the reach and education of computer sciences. 
For more information:

Synapse Project
The Synapse Project, founded in 2011 by a then-15 year old Grace Greenwald, holds the goal to  make everything related to neuroscience available to girls of all ages. This initiative’s goal is to get young women talking about the brain in the sense of medicine, psychology, technology, education, and child development. This nonprofit also connects these young women with professors, doctors, and scientists to further the conversation and ignite interest in these fields. 
For more information:

If you're like me and STEM/STEAM hasn't quite reached your entire district yet, check out these resources for getting started or for more info: 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Where Have I Been?!

Ya'll. I have been a blogging failure this summer. It has been a busy busy summer and I have barely been home in the month of July! Let me give you a quick little update on my life. 

1. Next year I am going back to teaching 4th grade. I'm like 70% excited right now because I LOVED 5th grade but I understand that the STAAR Writing test is a beast that need someone with experience to tackle. (yay...) 
2. Next year is going to be ...challenging. Some of my very best friends are moving schools, moving positions or just plain moving. I'm so sad because I work with some of the best teachers on the planet but I know sometimes you have to share the wealth. 
3. Next year I have new teammates again. Don't get me wrong, I love all the people at my school. I'm not even joking, we have the best staff. But I am going to miss teaming with my bestie. and James. The CKJ trio was like the dream team for last year's group of kids. It just worked. I know I will love my teammates this year but why is change so hard?! 
4. I keep saying "next year" but really it's in like a week...where did summer go? 
5. I know where summer went: I sat in 10,000 interviews, went to various PD, shared at GT PD, applied for grad school, entertained my 2 year old, created new TPT stuff,and traveled. In fact, I'm typing from Mississippi right now on our way to Florida tomorrow. The beach is calling my name, people! 

So there is a little update...check out the pics below for a peak at my summer! 

Also, I have some guest blog posts coming, new products on TpT revealed, a review for (( Check it out--there are a ton of resources on there! I could spend hours looking through everything.)) :) and of course, back to school pics! See ya soon! 
My girlfriends and I headed to Houston earlier this week to visit our friend Megan who just moved there. We are going to miss Megan sooooo much but her new school is absolutely blessed to have her! 

Car Selfie
Aren't my friends beautiful?! In this pic we have 4th grade, 2nd grade, academic coaches and specialists and admin. I am so lucky to work with my besties.
I'm going to miss Megan so much! 

I led a training about teaching gifted children with these 2 ladies and it was quite interesting! It was one of the largest groups of strangers I've presented to yet :)

My old partner teacher and bestie, Kristin, surprised me with an afternoon visit to the Gaylord Texan (which is like 10 minutes from my house) to see all of the Wizard of Oz art and decorations :) We had a blast on our adventure!

Y'all. I've been coaching volleyball for a summer league and these middle school girls are my favorite people right now. We laugh so hard and have a blast. And they are pretty awesome athletes. I absolutely love these girls. 

We tried to get a family picture and this was as good as it got. Jackson was only interested if it was "exciting"

Just living out of a suitcase. #teacherlife

See ya soon! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Made It Monday

Guys! Look...I'm blogging again in less than a week. Gold star for me, please.

I have been dying to share with ya'll my latest Made It Monday (which is like, a month overdue but let's just pretend...)

Ok, so around Christmas time, I decided to redo my bedroom decor. The hubs was thrilled. [not.]
Even though we have a walk-in closet, I needed more space for dresses and sweaters/jackets [can I get an Amen!??] so we bought a stand-alone wardrobe from Home Depot and I painted it turquoise.

THEN, I got two old screen doors from my Great-Grandmother's house in Clarksville, TX and after scrubbing those bad boys, I repainted them to match my turquoise closet. 
The doors after a scrubbing but before paint.
My Great Grandmother must've been fabulous because the doors
were very close in color BEFORE I painted them, to the after color :)

The finished product looks like this: 

I also made the baby. ;) He's my best work of art yet! :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Reflections of a Teachaholic :)

So obviously I've been like, the worst blogger ever this school year. Remember how I whined complained vented shared early this year that I was having a rough school year. Listen, I totally was. This has been the most challenging year for me so far. Granted I've only had 5 but the first four were a freakin' breeze compared to this. [seriously.] Anyway...I want you to know, I have survived. ((cue Queen Bey))

Somehow, someway, my little devils darlin's wormed their way into my heart. I seriously am going to miss this group of kids so much. I'm pretty sure we have a future president, some NFL stars, a Nobel Prize winner, screenwriters, authors and a whole slew of other amazing jobs to come from these kids. Why I couldn't see this in October...November...December? Idk. 

Anywayyyyyy, I'm pretty sure every teacher has always dreamed of being THE teacher that impacted a students' life. I really really think, there is a possibility I've done that this year...and that, my friends, is the absolute best feeling in the world. But, in order to get to this point, I've had to come to peace with this: 
1. Sometimes, it's acceptable to go to recess and have time to get to know your kids. It really is. I promise. In fact, I think it saved my year. [[Plus now my boys know how amazing I am at football]]
2. Scores matter. But they are not the only thing. [duh.]
3. I can do anything for 187 days. ;) 

Ok, #3 is sort of dramatic, but at the beginning of the year, I was seriously living day by day and just trying to make it through. Now, I'm sadly realizing how few days I have left with these kids. And it makes me want to cry. #teacherprobs #amiright? 

On a happier note...I'm looking forward to this summer when I can make more TpT products ((especially some stuff I made for the school year that I loved!)) AND when I can start planning how to conquer the world have a successful year next year as a 4th grade teacher. That's right peeps, I'm going back to 4th. But I'm taking my amazing partner teacher with me. :)  Isn't she cute? Love her. 

Talk to ya soon (probably...maybe?) 
Love, Caitlin 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Currently March--a little late

I'm a little late for the party...shocking, I know, since I am such an All-Star blogger and all...but better late than never! :) 

Listening: I love me some Downton but I am like 4 weeks behind so I have to catch up! 
Loving: Need I say more? Everyone loves a good Spring Break
Thinking: On the Tuesday we get back from Spring Break, we have "learning walks". That means multiple principals from across the district will be coming into our classrooms to judge observe us and to see how well we are achieving campus and district goals. Goody. This means I have to go visit my classroom and get some things in order before all my visitors come. 
Wanting: I've been working on redecorating our bedroom (gold, black and turquoise!) using old screen doors from my great-grandmother's house. I need to finish painting the doors and get all my decorations up so I can be done with this project! 
Needing:  PTL it's Spring Break so I can get some real relaxing and primping done!! 
Plans: My little guy had surgery yesterday to get tubes put in...hopefully these pesky ear infections are a thing of the past. The surgery went well and we are just relaxing and recovering this week. :) 

We are also going to go visit Jackson's great grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles in Texarkana for a few days just to get away! I'm hoping for some nice weather...Texas has been insanely crazy these past few weeks. 

So we already had "ice" days and then last Friday, during district assessments (which carry a lot of weight),  it starts SNOWING. and it snowed hard for several HOURS..while our students gazed longingly out our blind-less windows. 

THEN, on Wednesday, overnight, we got 6 inches of snow, again. 6 inches! That's insane for Texas, especially on March 1st! 

So we had another snow day on Thursday ...and then J had surgery Friday so I'm technically on my 3rd day of Spring Break! Hoping for better weather and more regular posting soon, ya'll. Have a good weekend!