I can't believe it's July already....in 1 more day!  I love linking up with Farley each month for Currently:
I'm listening and watching Enchanted right now. My daughter and I have picked a movie every other day to watch, which goes with the fact that I'm loving summer!  I live in southern Cali and we're experiencing a triple digit heat wave....no bueno!
I've really been wanting a Thirty-one organizing utility tote:
Party Punch
I'm really liking this party punch one.  I plan to use it for work.  Anyone have a Thirty-one that they absolute love?
I need to clean my house because I have stuff all over.  That's on my to do list for the upcoming week.
Finally, my tips, tricks, or hints: I've found that when you make things you actually use, you'll find that others will use it as well.
Have fun linking up and make sure you stop by tomorrow for a Facebook fan flash freebie as part of Monday Made It!
I'm back to link up with Elizabeth and Kristen for

On one of our last teacher work days, a few colleagues and I went out to lunch and then to Target. We all had some gift cards to spend thanks to our fabulous students and families!

While we were there, I picked up this 4-drawer Sterilite container:

When I saw it, I instantly knew that it would be perfect for construction paper. My school orders construction paper in packs that are 9x24 and this container holds them perfectly!

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it in action because I just stored it in my classroom, but I can't wait to fill it up. I'm going to make labels for the drawers so the kids and parent helpers know what colors can be found where.

I've got my notebook and I'm ready to be inspired and organized! Make sure you check out everyone's wonderful ideas!
This summer I will be participating in Whole Brain Teaching's Book Club. If you would like to participate, you can get more information {HERE}. My post today is a reflection on Chapter 4 with the directions/assignments coming directly from the book club. I'd love to read your comments and feedback!
You can read my previous reflections here:
Reflections on Chapter 4:
Directions: Imagine next year is completed.  You've faithfully charted your own behavior as an instructor and your students' progress.  Looking back, what did you learn?

It's June 2014. I've just finished another year in second grade, but my first fully implementing WBT strategies. One of the first things I realized I needed to do was take a look at myself and how my behaviors affect my classroom. I started the year by focusing on two critical features of my behavior--controlling my tone and being consistent with my classroom management plan.
In order to chart this effectively, I utilized Class Dojo. Each week I would rate myself based on my ability to control my tone and consistently follow my classroom management plan. The data was shaky at first. I realized that I had periods of time when I wasn't being consistent. What I also noticed was that this lack of consistency was linked to my inability to control my tone. Imagine that! When I was consistent with my management plan, I controlled my tone! Once I saw this connection, I went back to basics and was able to see a change in my behavior, which led to a change in the whole vibe of the classroom!
Once I had a firm handle on my behavior, I moved on to focusing on student behavior. The measures that I focused on were following directions quickly, raising hands for permission to speak, and being ready to work at all times. Once I picked my focused measures, I saw who my Alphas, Go-Alongs, Fence Sitters, and Challenging Students were. I again used Class Dojo as a way to record students’ points. By using this in combination with the Super Improvers Wall, I was able to see my students strive for greater behavior and effort. By using these strategies and focusing first on me, I was able to see my students all move at least one level, leaving as Leaders, Alphas, Go-Alongs, and Fence Sitters. I was also able to see myself striving for more. I wanted to increase my score, which increased my students' score!
Overall, the year went smoothly. By focusing on my behavior first I was able to see where I struggled and where I excelled. Then I was able to use this information to help guide my students along. Also, pinpointing specific measures allowed me to provide genuine opportunities to watch my students grow. Charting my behavior and student behavior is a strategy I will continue to use throughout my teaching career.

Thanks to all these great summer linky parties my creative juices are flowing!  I've created 2 new products that I can't wait to use in my classroom to help me stay organized. 
The first is a set of 6 editable binder covers and spines:
Each has the rainbow stripes background with a polka dot layer in lime green, teal, purple, orange, yellow, and pink.  The spines coordinate with these colors.
The second is a rainbow 2013-2014 calendar:
Each month has a 2 page spread.  There is also a blank page and a lined page that can be copied multiple times for notes.
I plan to use these pages to make my lesson plan book later in the summer!
Now on to the blog hop!
Tori from Tori's Teacher Tips is having a Bloglovin' Blog Hop!
With Google Reader going away July 1, we all need a new place to read our favorite blogs.  You can follow me on bloglovin' by clicking on the little chalkboard to the right!  Hop on over to Tori's blog to make sure you're following all your favorite blogs!
To give you a little incentive to follow me, I'm giving away these 2 new products!  All you have to do is follow me through Bloglovin and leave a comment below telling me you are a follower along with your email.  I will pick a winner on July 1st!
Today I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching:
I'm loving all of the linky parties this summer and am getting so many ideas I can use in the classroom in the fall.  One of the things I used last year that my kiddos really loved and worked hard to achieve were kisses from the kiss your brain jar:
I made this last summer and kept it filled with Hersey kisses.  When kids improved on a test, gave a great answer, or just wowed me, I would tell them to kiss their brain.  They would kiss their hand then touch their brain.  Then I'd give them a kiss from the jar.
This worked well for me and my kids.  They loved the whole process and I think it got them to dig a little deeper in they type of answers they gave.
Head over to check out more motivational ideas!
I'm back again for this week's Monday Made It! 
This week I made a blogging planner using a ton of FREEBIES!  Be sure to snag some for yourself while you're reading!
Why do I need a blog planner?  Well, last summer I made my teacher organizational binder, which really helped me keep my desk looking clean and organized. 
A few months ago I made a home organization binder which helps me keep all things on the home front organized.

Now that I have those things organized, I decided to make a blogging planner to help me organize my lil ol' blog!
The first thing I did was google free blogging planner.  One of the first sites that popped up was The Eager Teacher
from The Eeager Teacher
I decided to use her dividers which you can download from her TpT store for FREE! 

Once I knew what sections I was going to have I went in search of planner pages.  I decided to go with another FREEBIE!  This one was from Simple Sprout:
For the calendar section, I'm using a flash freebie from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad:
Free printable 2013-2014 calendar
For the product section I'm using another FREEBIE from The Eager Teacher:
And the final section I have is the ideas section.  This time the FREEBIE is from Jen at IHeart Organizing:
Here's my final product.  I had it bound at Staples for less than $5:

I made my own cover so I could personalize my planner a little more.  Then I laminated the cover and the back page to make it a little more durable.
I mounted the section dividers on tabs so they would stick out of the planner.  A tip I read about {HERE}.

In addition to the planner pages, I made a little notes page to go on the other side.  I plan to use this side to go into details about posts, linky parties, and giveaways.
click HERE if you'd like to download it

 I love how it turned out and am excited to use it!
Make sure you stop by Tara's blog to check out all of the great summer projects everyone's up to this summer!
This summer I will be participating in Whole Brain Teaching's Book Club. If you would like to participate, you can get more information {HERE}. My post today is a reflection on Chapter 3 with the directions/assignments coming directly from the book club. I'd love to read your comments and feedback!


Reflections on Chapter 3:
Directions: Pick two of the errors described in Chapter 3, pages 9-13, of "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids" and write yourself a letter of advice about how you're going to avoid these mistakes in the coming year. Include one or two useful quotes from the chapter.

Dear Brandi,
You've been there before.  Tired and frustrated at the end of the day.  You look back and wonder what happened.  Then you realize, "I made the same mistakes again". 

Now that you're utilizing Whole Brain Teaching in its entirety, there are some mistakes you won't be making this year.  Coach B has taught you that the options are simple--grow or die!  You've taken steps in the right direction to do this.  You've continued to grow by blogging and creating.  Every day that you read, reflect, comment, and post, you're learning.  The more you learn, the better prepared you will be and the more you'll be like the teacher you want to be and know you can be.  This new online community has also led you to fall in love with teaching again.  The excitement you had 10 years ago is back armed with knowledge and determination!

Another thing to remember is the importance of organization.  You love things to look neat and organized, but remember to have things be functionally organized too.  As Coach B said, "The less class structure you have, the less structured your classes will be."  You don't want that.  Remember to review rules and expectations daily!  Using the gestures you've learned makes this fun for you and the kids.

Along with this organization comes preparation.  You don't like the feeling of not being prepared.  Remember that you need to put in the work, but you also need balance.  Work hard all year to keep this in mind.

You can and will do it!

I'm super excited to be linking up with Kristen and Elizabeth again!
One of the best organizational finds from last summer were these bins from Big Lots:

A few of the labels have fallen off from use this year, but they were originally labeled Language Arts, Math, Science/Social Studies, Spelling, and Other.

When students were done with an assignment, they would put it in the correct bin.  This saved me from having to hunt down papers and repeat over and over what to do with papers when they were done.  Now I'm not going to lie, they also served as a place to store papers until I was ready to do something with them!
Overall, this system worked out great for me.  As kids got into the routine of the year, they would already know where to put papers so it was one less thing I had to say!
Make sure you check out everyone's fabulous organizational ideas!

Today is my first official day of summer and to celebrate I'm throwing a flash sale in my store!  EVERYTHING in my store is on sale today and today only for 20% off!  Happy shopping!
Click the picture to head over to my TpT store to check it out!
This summer I will be participating in Whole Brain Teaching's Book Club.  If you would like to participate, you can get more information {HERE}.  My post today is a reflection on Chapters 1 & 2 with the directions/assignments coming directly from the book club.  I'd love to read your comments and feedback!
Reflections on Chapters 1 & 2:
Directions: Coach B says... "You've just been made principal of a charter school and you're about to address your staff for the first time. Select three points from chapters 1 and 2 that you are going to talk about describing key aspects of Whole Brain Teaching. Include one story about your teaching experience."
Last summer I was a frustrated teacher. I had a good class, but there were one or two kids that always seemed to be presenting behavior challenges. The more I tried strategies from my old bag of tricks, the worse it seemed to get. While looking online, I found many discussions, articles, and videos on Whole Brain Teaching and I was instantly intrigued.

Whole Brain Teaching is more than a management plan; it's a teaching style.  As Coach B says in his new book, Whole Brian Teaching for Challenging Kids, "if a student's whole brain is involved in learning, there isn't any mental area left over for challenging behavior". This is something that is often missing from the classroom today. As educators, we are presenting great lessons to our students. However, are we engaging them completely utilizing current brain research?

This leads to another point from Coach B.--the longer we talk, the more students we lose. We've all sat through a presentation with great material and an amazing presenter that was all talk.  How soon did we check out? In this same way, we can't expect our students, even the best behaved and most motivated, to sit through lecture after lecture.

That's where Whole Brain Teaching comes in.  It's a way of teaching that leads to total engagement no matter what you're teaching or to whom you're teaching it! It's also been proven to work from kindergarten to college. By using these methods, we will be creating classrooms that enable students to see, hear, say, and move about to learn. Those challenging kids that we've all had will be experiencing learning in a new way that will keep their brains so busy learning, they won't have time to be "challenging".  Sounds like the classrooms we all want to be in and create for our students.  Let’s get ready to do it!
Last summer when I started blogging, I read up on Whole Brain Teaching.  This summer I will be participating in the Whole Brain Teaching Book Club!  I'm super excited to share and learn more so that I can better understand the strategies and implement the philosophy more fully next year!

I will be posting my reflections on the new book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids.

I know there are other fabulous bloggers reading and learning about WBT this summer.  If that's you, I'd love to chat with you about it!  I'm hoping to start earning points toward my WBT certification too!

Make sure you stop by again tomorrow for my reflections on Chapters 1 & 2!

Hey everyone!  I'm making the switch to Bloglovin'.  I'll be honest, I don't completely understand what's going on but I know that Google Reader is going away July 1st and I want to be able to catch up, learn, and share with all of you fabulous bloggers!  Click the link below to follow me on Bloglovin:
from Kickin it in Kindergarten
If you need a tutorial on how to import blogs you follow, check out The Brown-Bag Teacher's recent post.  For tips on how to claim your blog, check out this post from Kickin' it in Kindergarten.
Now on to a question about reading logs.  I hate them!  I want to foster a love of reading and show kids that reading for pleasure is awesome!  I feel like making them fill out a reading log takes this away.  What do you think?  My school requires them, but I want to try to switch things up.  I'm thinking of making a tic-tac-toe type of menu of differet activities students can do during the week instead of just summarizing.  I teach at a multiple intelligence school so I'll be incorporating that into whatever I come up with. 
What do you use as a reading log if you use one?  Have you ever used a menu?

I'm so excited to start linking back up with Tara for her weekly Monday Made It.  When I started blogging last year I was so inspired and got so creative making projects for the classroom and my home. I can't wait to do the same this summer!

Friday was the last day of school for the kids so I put together their end of the year gifts.  I made similar gifts last year that you can read about {HERE}
Here's what I made my kiddos this year:
The tags are a FREE download from A Cupcake from the Teacher.
I also bought bubbles from the Dollar Tree and attached a cute little tag from Carrie at Table Talk with C and C:
I put the bubbles and krazy straw into these owl bags that a coworker got me:
Then I whipped up this little tag to put on the back letting them know they're 3rd graders now!
You can put up the tag for FREE at my TpT store {HERE}
And the finished product:
My daughter's last day of preschool was the 7th so I was a little behind in making her teachers their end of the year gifts.  I saw this cute gift on Pinterest:
And decided I wanted to make these for her teachers.  I picked up some containers at the Dollar Tree and filled them with M&M's.  Then I attached some ribbon and this adorable M&M poem that you can download {HERE}
.  Simple yet sweet!
My to do list for Monday Made It projects keeps growing!  Make sure you stop by for ideas and inspiration!
I love organization!  Now that school's out I'm super excited to be linking up with Kristen and Elizabeth for

One of the things that I made last summer was the "highlight your name" bucket.  I blogged about it {HERE}.
It made such a difference in cutting down on no name papers.  Students loved highlighting their name and I didn't have to track them down to see who had turned in an assignment.  It was such a simple fix to a problem that I hated!
It was also a cheap project--the bucket is from the dollar spot at Target and the label is a FREEBIE from Teaching in Flip Flops.
So, there's one of the organizational tools I used this year that worked.  Now I have a question for all of my bloggy friends--I'm looking to binderize this summer.  If you've done this, how did you choose your binder titles....did you do common core strands or individual standards?  I currently have everything in file folders by standard and if I did binders for each standard---that's a lot of binders!  But if I just do strands, I'll have huge binders that I won't be able to transport easily.  What should an organized teacher do?

With my question out of the way, go ahead and grab a notepad, some fun pens and a cool summer drink!  Let's get ready for a summer of organization!  I love it!
I'm super excited to be participating in Carrie and Caitlin's 100 Follower Giveaway!

You can win prizes from over 10 different bloggers....there's something for everyone!  I'm giving away my Teacher Autobiography!  It's a great time to get it ready for Back to School!
Check it out at my TpT store by clicking the picture!
Good luck!

The fabulous Miss V is celebrating her 1 year blogversary!

There are multiple days and a ton of prizes you can win.  I'm helping her celebrate by contributing my Teacher Autobiography to her Day 3 Giveaway.  You can click the picture above to go to Day 3 or click {HERE}.  Don't forget to check out all 6 days!
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