Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CBM's Part Two

Ok, so yesterday I explained about CBM's and how we use them for data. First, let me explain the grading aspect of them. It's a little confusing at first, but once you get going it gets easier and easier.

After the three minutes are up, have the students bracket their last letter written. Some students want to finish their story and you can let them because now you know where they stopped after the three minutes were up. Once you have collected their papers, now the fun begins. The first thing you do is underline each word that was written up to the bracket. It doesn't matter right now if they have spelled it right or used it correctly. You are just underlining the Total Words Written. To show you, I have used three different colors for each part that you will grade. I underlined all of the words in pink. I then count them up and that is my Total Words Written (TWW). Now you are going to look at spelling and usage. You will now circle every misspelled word, punctuation error, and capitalization error. I did this in purple, this is your Words Spelled Correctly (WSC). The last part is the Correct Writing Sequences (CWS). You will make little carrots between words that have not been circled. I did this in blue. That's it! You have now graded a CBM.

I have been asked on how I use this information for lessons. I really look at each one and make notes for my Writer's Workshop. These are a great insight to see who needs to work on specific things like spelling, capitalization, punctuation, pronoun I, and just the mechanics in general. When it comes to my higher learning kiddos, this is a great way to work on having them write at the higher level by using details and building a bigger vocabulary. I conference with my students weekly on their writing and I love to pull out one or two of these from the week and discuss how they are doing. I love how they will be very honest with you on if they liked the prompt or not. I have to tell you, a good prompt can really get the kids writing! :)

If you're looking for a fun pack, please check out my CBM 3 Minute Writing Prompts Pack! There is even an editable template so that you can create your own prompts. Check it out in my TPT store. Happy writing, my friends!

Monday, August 25, 2014


Data, data, and just when you think you are finished...you need some more data. Does this sound familiar? It does in my world. Not only do I collect data on all of my kiddos, but I am not the Facilitator of RtI (Response to Intervention) at my school. Math and reading data seem to be pretty easy to collect. However, writing data is a whole new issue. We don't really have a writing curriculum, it's more of a hodgepodge of different programs (Four Square, Step-Up, and Writer's Workshop). One thing that we have struggled with is finding enough data points for writing. Our district found a writing "assessment" that can be used as not only an assessment, but as a progress monitoring tool also.

It is called Curriculum Based Measurement or CBM for Written-Expression Fluency. It takes some getting used to, especially the grading part, but once you get the hang of it, it is so nice to see how your kiddos are doing with writing. We were advised to do ours 3-5 times a week. I like to do mine four days a week. This is how it works.

It consists of a prompt given to your students.You give your kiddos one minute to think about the prompt. I like to read the prompt over and over during that minute. During this time, they should be creating the story in their head.

After the minute is up, they then have three minutes to write as much as possible. There is a great website that gives you all of the instructions needed plus an idea as to where the norm should be for your grade. Click Here to see that site.

Here are examples of some CBM's done by my students.

Another great thing about the CBM writings is the show of growth from beginning of the year to the end of the year. Believe it or not, even your students who aren't a huge fan of writing will show growth.

One of the most difficult things is finding prompts for your kiddos. I decided to help with that. Click here to get my CBM 3 Minute Writing Prompts Pack.

Like I said, it takes some getting used to. However, once you start going on these, you will have a ton of data for writing. Don't forget to check out my pack in my store to help you get started with some easy prompts. I even added an editable template for you to create your own prompts. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School Night

My Back to School Night was on Tuesday. I have been teaching for nine years now, and yet I seem to always forget how much prep is involved. I also have the lovely habit of seeing new things and wanting to add my own little twist on it. #teacherproblems

Well, the night went really well. I only had 5 no shows, which meant I had a turnout of 16 kiddos. Awesome! Here is a little insight to my adventures with Back to School Night.

First, I knew that this was a night that my kiddos would be bringing their supplies. It drives me bonkers to just have them try and put it on their table or to leave it on the floor. This year, I came up with the idea to designate certain spots for certain items. I created posters for this.

Doing this helped out tremendously! There was no confusion and no clutter...at all! You can pick these fun little posters up in my TPT store.
                                     Zebra Print Back to School Night Posters

Next, I made my Back to School Night letter. Of course I had to put it on a zebra background. ;) I found the great idea of the "Meet the Teacher" sheet from One Extra Degree. Such a brilliant idea!

I also had to make "Swag Bags" for my kiddos. I found this wonderful little letter from One Extra Degree. It could not be more perfect! Check it out here. It consisted of an eraser, Smarties, a pencil, Lifesavers, Laffy Taffy, and Starbursts. I added a fun glow stick bracelet and a pencil grip to the bag. The kids loved it! :)

Thank goodness, it went off without a hitch. I met a great group of kiddos and it is going to be a fantastic year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher Linky Party

It's party time! I am joining Falling into First's Meet the Teacher Linky. Woot Woot! I am new to the blog world and I am loving every minute of it! I have met so many people already that are beyond wonderful. I have been reading a ton of teacher blogs and I have found so many great ideas, that I wonder how on earth I survived teaching without all of these wonderful teacher blogs! So now I want to know more about you! Let's have a "Meet the Teacher Party"! Here are some fun tidbits about me. 

Here is my sweet little family. I am the (very young) age of 33. I have seriously tried to lose count of my age, but it always seems to find it's way back to me. Ha! I have been married to my wonderful husband, Kade, for ten years. 

We are HUGE Denver Broncos fans (if you can't tell already). We have had so many great adventures but our favorite one was having this little guy: 

This is our son, Champ. His full name is Kaden Champ, but we all call him Champ (yes, named after Champ Bailey. I told you, we are THOSE people. Hee Hee). He will turn three this September! He brings so much fun, love, and laughter to our lives. Always keeps us on our toes! 

I also have a niece, who I just love and adore! Her name is Karmin and she will be going into the 2nd grade. She lives in Virginia or else I would make sure she was in my class! ;)

I have a younger brother and a younger sister. Which probably explains my whole "control freak" issues. LOL! Some people have two parents, but I am lucky enough to have four! They are all so supportive and wonderful. I don't know what I would do without them! 

I graduated from University of Northern Colorado, but I played volleyball at a small little JUCO in Kansas called Dodge City Community College. I then transferred up to the University of Dubuque in Iowa to play volleyball. Whew! Holy college hopper! My hubs and I were lucky enough to be able to go to the same colleges, he played football. This will be my 9TH year teaching 2nd grade! How did that happen!? I have loved every minute of it! I am addicted to reality tv, online shopping (Etsy, Amazon), and to football season! I love this time of year. Fall is my absolute favorite season. When I am not blogging here at Sparkles in Second, I am playing volleyball or softball with our friends or spending time with my two favorite guys. You can also find me on Instagram (@sparklesinsecond). I am on there way too much, but I LOVE it!! 
Q& A Session

Q: These are a few of my favorite things…
 My son Champ, Pink, Sparkles/Glitter, Zebra, Denver Broncos, volleyball, football, fall, and  Diet Mt. Dew

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you want to be?

I would probably be a cartoon voice over or working in the NFL in some capacity, and by some I mean any capacity possible. ;)

Q: Three little words that describe you. 
Fun, Loving, Tacky (mostly in my taste of jewelry and patterns, ha ha)

Q: Finish this sentence, “___________________, said no teacher EVER!!”

I live for meetings, meetings, and more meetings. 


Q: It’s your birthday and you can invite anyone {dead or alive} to the party. Who are you inviting?
Peyton Manning, The Rock, Jackie Robinson, Jennifer Lawrence, The Big Bang Theory cast, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr., John Elway, the Three Stooges, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe. That my friends, would be one heck of a party! 

Q: If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?
 "50 Shades of Sparkle"

Q: You can pick one superpower. What is it?
Time Out Powers like Zack Morris had on Saved by the Bell.

Q: What’s your favorite quote or saying?

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." -Martin Luther King, Jr. 

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." -Babe Ruth

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." -Vince Lombardi

Q: If you HAD to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? 

Gunpowder & Lead by Miranda Lambert

Q: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning person. Mama has a hard time staying up late. Ha ha

Q: What’s your favorite resource that you’ve created in your TPT shop?
I just created a fun Back to School Pack! It's full of animal print and great activities to do the first week of school. 


Q: Share something we might not know about you! 

I have met John Elway on a flight to London. He was super nice and I love him dearly. ;)
I know a lot more about football than I probably should. My husband is a football coach, so he makes sure that my knowledge is legit. A lot of men are quite surprised when I can spout off about football; and believe me, I like to spout off about football. ;)

Click over to link up!! :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Let's get it started

Holy guacamole! Where did the summer go? Well, it's that time again. Time to prep my room. If anyone knows me, they know that I LOVE bright (especially pink) and zebra print! I have a ton of it in my room. This year, I decided to try and change it up (a little) to animal print with a safari theme. First thing that had to change was my dear Tiki Hut. This hut has lasted seven of my nine years teaching. I loved it dearly, but it was time for a change. This is what it looked like before:  

So with some burlap, duct tape, and a whole bunch of hot glue I did this:

I love the way it turned out. I am hoping my 2nd graders are just as pumped about it!

Once that was finished I needed to clean up my white boards. I have one on each side of my Smartboard. I took some Washi Tape and made some labels to make this:

I also got a new pencil sharpener. I heard through my bestie that this is the BEST sharpener, ever! So of course, I had to get one...in pink. If you are looking for a great sharpener, click here.

I am still working on this yellow zebra bulletin board. I just cannot decide what to put on it. I was going to use it as my calendar time, but I have a habit of doing that on my Smartboard. Any suggestions?

My room is still a work in progress, but it is getting there.

With that said, I wanted to share one more transformation. My fridge. My bestie was on me constantly to redo my fridge. She wanted me to paint it, but I decided to try my hand at my favorite thing...duct tape. Here is what my fridge looked like before. This isn't my exact fridge, but it looked a lot like this one:
 Here is my after! I actually did with three rolls of pink zebra duct tape. I think it looks a lot sassier now!

 I only have one week, I repeat ONE week until school starts. I get so excited and nervous. I will keep updating my progress. I hope your rooms are coming together great!