Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reader’s Workshop Week 2 Procedural Mini Lessons

Just dropping by to let you know I have posted the next 5 lessons of my Reader’s Workshop Procedural Mini Lessons on TpT. If you haven’t downloaded my FIRST 5 FREEBIES you better do that first to check out my format and style. Remember these procedural lessons can be used in any grade. I hope this saves you time when planning for the first weeks of school! Enjoy!

lessons 6 to 10 readers workshop

Stay tuned… I will keep posting 5 at a time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Steal from Scholastic!

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a Scholastic box show up with my name on it I feel like a little girl at Christmas. Something about brand new, shiny books that don’t have any fingerprints on them (yet!) Since I am moving from first to third grade this year, I thought I better invest in more chapter books for my classroom library. I love using books that the kids are into (Magic Tree House, Junie B., Horrible Harry…) when I teach guided reading. So usually when there is a good deal at Scholastic, I buy 6 of the same book and do “Book Clubs”. We have book talks, complete graphic organizers, lots of questioning and comprehension strategies, and usually finish with a project like designing a new cover for the book or something fun. The kids think they are pretty cool being in a “club” and they stay motivated because they enjoy the books. I have been using Scholastic Book Clubs for 3 years now, and I have never really redeemed many of my points. I have had about 3200 points. I decided to use up all the points and see what that would get me. Maybe that will help balance the cash flow I am spending on all my other classroom projects this summer…


I did spend $10 to get free shipping. Otherwise I was going to spend $3.75 for nothing! I also got 2 professional books for Clint, and an interactive Spelling CD. Here is what 3200 points + $10 can get you:


I am super excited about the entire collection of A-Z Mysteries! Some of the others include: Rainbow Magic complete set, Fudge-a-Mania pack, 3 “Book Club” sets, and 15 single books that were good deals. 70 total items!  I think it was a perfect time to redeem those points! Anyone else use Book Clubs or redeemed your points for something awesome? I love getting great stuff for FREE!

Monday, June 25, 2012

FREEBIE! First 5 Days of Reader’s Workshop

My favorite part of the school day is Reader’s Workshop. The majority of my students would say the same thing. I love the philosophy behind it, and I have seen so many students grow into wonderful readers through it! If you are not currently using the Reader’s Workshop model at your school, you should check out this website. It’s a quick overview so you can see how this model works for any grade level.
I wanted to offer a FREEBIE to get my TpT store started, and to share what my lesson plans look like for RW. The great thing about making lessons for RW is that they can work for any grade level! Every student needs to learn reading strategies and comprehension skills. All you have to do is tweak the questioning and delivery of the lesson to meet the needs of your grade level.
I will be posting every lesson I teach this year, so if you like them please follow me or my TpT store. Click the picture to go to my TpT store now! ENJOY!
readers workshop ppt

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crate Seats

Today was a very productive Saturday. While my husband and father-in-law were working on the deck, I completed my crate seat project. I am thrilled with how they turned out. I was planning to make six, but ended up making 8 because I had extra materials. I just have to head back to Target and get 2 more crates. I can’t wait to get them around my guided reading table and see how they look in my new classroom! And Meatball loves them, too!

photo (1)

Here is a step-by-step guide of how I made them:

1. Get your materials together. I bought my crates from Target for $3.49. Amazing deal! I saw the same ones at Kmart today for over $7! The fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics. I do not sew or do anything crafty with fabric so I had no idea what I was doing. I bought WAY too much fabric. I bought 6 yards, and I ended up getting 4 crates from one yard. (Any easy fabric projects out there?) Also, I wanted dog-themed for my classroom so I had to pay $5.99 a yard. I would suggest going to the clearance bin! The batting luckily was 40% off ($5.99 a yard). I bought 3 yards and that was perfect for 8 crates. The plywood was very easy to get. I went to Lowes and they cut it perfectly for FREE! The total price was $18.83 and we have some leftover pieces. If you have a store cut the plywood for you make sure you take the crate along. That way they can make sure it fits before you buy it. You will also need a staple gun. I borrowed mine from my father-in-law.

photo (7)

2. Cut the fabric and batting. I used a 1/2 yard square of fabric. It was just enough. The batting I cut in long strips the length of the wood, and I folded about four layers to make it nice and cushy.

3. Lay out the fabric upside down. Center the batting and plywood in the middle.

photo (6)

4. Now it is just like wrapping a present. I stapled the longer sides first. Then I stapled the shorter sides like you would the ends of a present. Pull the fabric tight so every side is nice and snug. I used plenty of staples just in case.

photo (4) 

5. Turn it over and TA-DA! Mine were a little tight going into the crate. I don’t know if it was because of the fabric or what… but luckily the plastic crates expand a bit and they fit just fine.


Anyone else making these this summer? What are you going to store inside?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The never-ending list

I have realized this summer that I am terrible at being on vacation. I cannot relax. I cannot sit and watch TV. I cannot even sit for more than an hour to read. All I can think about is school projects and house projects. After pinning all school year, I have a few big projects and lots of small projects I want to get finished this summer. And Clint and I bought our first home in September and have many things still awaiting our attention. I have always been a “list person”. It just makes me feel better to brainstorm it all out no matter how long the list ends up. And nothing feels better than crossing them off one at a time! So here is my “Summer Projects To-Do List”.

Classroom Projects:

1. Crate Seats. If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen them. I want them, too! I already bought the fabric and the crates, but I need the rest to finish these up.

2. New Book Boxes. My book tubs/baskets are getting a facelift this year. I want a more uniform look. My oldies are mismatched and starting to fall apart because I tend to over-fill them. I saved about 30 Scholastic boxes this year and will be posting this project soon!

3. Teacher’s Tool Box. Again, thank you Pinterest! I am going to go “NO DESK” this year as my new room is a little smaller and my class size is a little bigger. (EEK!) I am going to use my guided reading table as my teacher table with storage behind it.

4. Move in to my new room! This is still on the to-do list because I am waiting for my boxes to be moved from one building to another. It is very kind of our staff to do this for me, but I don’t know when it will be done. There will be many before/after pics to come!

House Projects:

1. Clean out/organize garage. We have been using it as a catch-all since September and I am getting really annoyed with it every time I get out of the car.

2. Finish building the deck. I (fortunately) am not working on this project. My husband and my very talented father-in-law are in the process right now.

3. Paint the living room and hallway. We have stripped wallpaper and painted two rooms since September (one on Fall Break, and one on Winter Break). I swore to hire the rest of the house done because of my lack of patience with wallpaper. However, the living room doesn’t have any and the hallway is not too long. So I think I will try to tackle this one.

4. Window Treatments!!! Our house luckily came with every window covered and we didn’t have to worry about this right away. They are unfortunately not our style and have been bugging me since we moved in. So we are planning a trip to IKEA! Any other suggestions on cheap treatments?

Other Projects:

1. Teach Meatball to skateboard. He is starting to warm up to the actual skateboard indoors (sniffing, licking…) but he has yet to actually get on the thing. I will update you!

2. Relax! I really want to enjoy this summer. I know the feeling of accomplishment is great, but come on- I need to take a “chill-pill” (as my mom would say it).

Any other non-relaxers out there? Or am I the only one?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I am so proud of myself- my blog actually works! I have spent most of the day tweaking, fixing, researching, etc… I think I will call it a day. Still work to do…

Anyway, here’s my story if we haven’t met-

My name is Allison Mathews. I am married to an amazing man, Clint, and we live in Peru, Indiana (my hometown). I have been teaching for four years now. I taught first grade for three years. At the end of the year I was asked to move to third grade. Not only am I moving grades, but I am also moving schools! My new school is the elementary where I attended K-6 as a kid, and is where Clint teaches 6th grade (this will be his second year). Not only that, but I will be teaching in my old first grade classroom! I am so excited and blessed to have great opportunities and adventures in my life right now. So even though I will be busy enough with a new grade level, I have been wanting to start a blog for some time now. I became very obsessed in love with Pinterest this year. It has saved me so much time coming up with ideas and resources for the classroom. Pinterest led me to teaching blogs. I became glued to the computer checking blogs all evening. I decided if I have time to do this, why not start one myself? I would like to use this blog to share my experiences of setting up a new classroom, learning and creating new curriculum and resources, and figuring out a way to manage my busy life! I hope you stick around and share the next school year with me! Thanks for stopping by!

4 months 8

My loves: Clint and Meatball (our English Bulldog)