Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ongoing Running Records

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If you do guided reading, you may know that an important component of tracking your students' progress is to conduct ongoing running records.  These records can be key to monitoring your students and knowing when they are ready for a new reading level.  Here are two versions of an ongoing running record for you.  One includes 50 boxes and one is blank to allow more room for your record taking.  I've been reading this book:  The Next Step in Guided Reading: Focused Assessments and Targeted Lessons for Helping Every Student Become a Better Reader  which contains a great lesson frame work for pre-readers.  I was able to demonstrate it in a Kindergarten classroom last week and LOVE it!  If you do guided reading in your classroom, or would like to, this is a great resource you should have.  The Next Step in Guided Reading: Focused Assessments and Targeted Lessons for Helping Every Student Become a Better Reader

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Holiday Craft Idea

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I realize this is a little last minute, but for those of you who might need a little something more to keep your students busy and learning these last few days before Christmas, this might be just what you need.  This is an idea from a Kindergarten classroom at one of the schools I work with.  Green paint hand prints form the tree and then a sponge star at the top.  The berries could be done with the eraser of a pencil and the trunks are just painted in.  The teacher displayed them so cutely in the hall as a large tree.  I've also included the poem they used for shared reading and inspiration for the craft.  The poem can be sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Tea Pot."  If you don't need a little something before the break, tuck this fun little idea away for next year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twofer Tuesday and Non-food Reward Ideas

Today I'm running a Buy One, Get One Tuesday...Twofer Tuesday.  Purchase any digital item from my TpT store or blog store by midnight Pacific Time, and receive any item of equal or lesser value FREE!  Just send an email to me at after your purchase letting me know the item you'd like for your freebie and I'll email the free item to you within 24 hours.  Hip, Hip Hooray!!

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And, here's a DIY idea for you.  I've been seeing the clip behavior charts all around and I think they're fantastic.  I love that students can move up for great behavior as well as down for poor behavior choices.  Sometimes, a mid-year change in your reward/consequence system is helpful.  I created this chart for a teacher.  I left it blank and laminated it so she could easily customize it with an erasable marker and could label the rewards and consequences for each spot.  The main green section is 1/2 of a standard 8.5x11 glitter card stock page and the other sections are 3 inches each, also glitter card stock   I had the paper hanging around from a discount sale, you can use whatever you have around, but I recommend you use some type of card stock   I turned them facing down and lined them up.  I ran some tape along each meeting line to hold them together and in order.  Then I laminated it.  This size doesn't take up much room and is perfect for those mini clothes pins you can find at any craft store or big box store.  Here's some choices I found on Amazon:

Write student names or numbers on each pin and start each day with them all clipped to the main section.  Then students are asked to move them up or down throughout the day based on behavior.  Write the rewards and consequences on each section so students know what they are.  You might also make a list of reasons student might move up and down with the class and also let them know the list isn't all encompassing and that students won't get moved up for every little good thing they do.  Otherwise, you may gave students pestering you to move them each time they feel they do something right.

Here are some ideas for some rewards that are non-food rewards.  A move to pink might have a reward as simple as a high five from the teacher and a move to blue in one day might be a point on a point card.  When a student receives 5 points, they can turn in the card for a prize box pick.  A move to yellow might be a warning, orange may be a reflection sheet and red a call home to parents.  The purple could also be a call home to parents to tell them how great their child is doing.  Just be sure whatever you choose, you're willing to follow through with it.  Here are some links for reward ideas: - Love the zero cost list on this site

These books are also great resources on classroom management. (Click the covers to see them on Amazon)

The last one is from fellow blogger Angela Watson of The Cornerstone.

Perhaps some of these ideas will be helpful to you as you return from your Winter Vacation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts of Sandy Hook Elementary

I have been constantly drawn to my television news stations and internet news reports throughout the weekend.  I wanted to write my thoughts as a way to come to grips with the feelings I have experienced in reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy that occurred last Friday.  No other school shooting or other public venue shooting has affected me as much as this one has.  I think this is true for several reasons.  

One, I am a mother of an 8 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old.  As I look at my own sweet 6 year old daughter, I can't help but think of those 20 children.  I thank God that I have my child and my heart bleeds for those who no longer have them to hold.  Second, I was most recently a teacher of 6 and 7 year old children.  Although we prepare for such incidents, the fact that these teachers were brave heroes and did all they could to protect and shelter their students in the face of the reality of the situation is astounding.  Third, I have been seeking positions as a school administrator and I feel a great burden of the responsibility to protect the school and children that I will lead at some point.  

No other incident has touched me so deeply and so personally and yet been so far from me.  As a Utahn and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I also feel a connection to the family of Emilie Parker.  Her family recently relocated to Connecticut from Utah and I have personally been touched by the family's strength and faith in God.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent his children, humankind, to the earth to assume bodies and to learn and grow in choice.  Each of those sweet, innocent children will have a special place in heaven made for them, as will their teachers.  

My reflection on this incident has made me more aware of the time I spend with my loved ones and the way I treat all that I come in contact with.  I pledge to "Try a little harder to be a little better." (Gordon B. Hinckley), especially when it comes to how I treat others.  I will be a little more understanding, a little more compassionate and a little less judgmental.  May each of us pledge to stand a little brighter for good and be a beacon of light to all those around us.  Let us perhaps remember the reason we celebrate Christmas is Christ.  Through his life gave us an exemplar of how to live our lives and in his death and resurrection he brought the possibility of life after death to each of us.  

God bless each of you as teachers and parents in the endeavors of educating our dear little ones.  

Image from Melonheadz Illustrating


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Sale, Up to 35% off!!

It's the biggest shopping weekend of the year!  My products are no exception.  You can receive up to 28% off at my TpT store or up to 35% off at my blog store or a total of 25%+10% off your total at my Teachers Notebook store.  All counting frame products will be 15% off in our blog store.  And, I've completed a brand new product to support the counting frames.  It's a set of counting frame flash cards and is included in the sale!!

The sale runs on Monday and Tuesday at Teachers Pay Teachers and Saturday through Tuesday here at my blog store and Saturday through Monday on Teachers Notebook.

Peruse early and make your list now so you are ready for the big sale.  Remember to not only think about activities you'll need soon, but also ones you may want for the beginning of next year.  This is a great time to stock up and grab all the items you've been wanting.  This sale includes all of our educational packs and graphics items.  You can see other shops that are holding sales this weekend on the linky being hosted by Michelle, The 3am Teacher at the bottom of this post.

So, stop by TpT and enter code CMT12 to get your 28% off

Or, see my blog store here and enter code DDTHANK12 for 35% off Saturday through Tuesday on all digital products.  Or enter code DDTHANKFRAME for 15% off counting frames (Rekenreks).

Or, stop by Teachers Notebook for 25% + 10% off Saturday through Monday (25% off in store and additional 10% off entire order at checkout automatically.)
button from Tanja at Journey of a Substitute Teacher

Choose your store of preference and gather all you desire now.  This is the biggest sale Dilly Dabbles offers, so be sure to take advantage!

Here are some of the items available from Dilly Dabbles and Dilly Dabbles Doodles:
(Click the pictures to go directly to the detail pages)

Quiet as a Mouse Theme Learning Pack

Adding 3 Numbers Pack
Hollywood Mega Pack Digital Graphics, Clip Art
Zebra Digital Graphics, Clip Art

Space School


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Did You Know...National Geographic Explorer

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Extreme Explorer: May 12 IssueDid you know that National Geographic Explorer magazines can be accessed for free?  It's true!  Issues from September 2009 are available in projectable editions and also include access to the teacher's guide.  The most exciting thing about the explorer magazine is that it comes in two reading levels.  This way, your struggling upper grade students can have access to the same ideas as your proficient readers.  The Pioneer edition is the lower reading level, probably best suited for later second grade readers or third grade readers and up.  The Pathfinder edition is the upper reading level, probably suited for higher fourth grade readers and up.  Give them both a look here and see which will be best for your students.  You can also print the articles or entire magazine edition from the projectable view.  I subscribed to the two editions when I taught 5th grade and loved that all of the students in my class could access the information, regardless of reading level.  I'd love to know how you use this in your classroom in the comments below or any other resources like this you use in your classroom.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hallway Display Idea

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Here's a fun idea for displaying work in the hallway.  Attach string to the wall and then clothespins along the string for quick display of student work.

How do you display student work?

How often do you change what you have displayed?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"First Year Bliss" Linky

Today, I'm linking up with Michelle from The 3am Teacher.  She's celebrating her 1 year blogiversary with a lot of fun items and activities.  I've been following Michelle for probably 9 months.  She is fabulously talented and just a nice person.  I had the chance to meet her two weeks ago when I vacationed in AZ with my family.

Well, now to my memory from my first year as a blogger.  I'm still in my first year, having started on New Year's Eve 2011.  I have loved the many people, teachers and bloggers that I have met because of blogging.  I have learned a lot of technology as I've studied up on things I needed to learn how to do, including creating all the buttons and elements for my blog.  And, most important of all, I've become a better teacher as a result of blogging.  I have gathered so many great ideas from all of you and fellow bloggers about content and management.  I've had some bumps along the way, most recently the dilemma of which platform to use.  It's been a fun journey so far and am so glad I decided to take up this great hobby and venture!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Buy One Get One Tuesday

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All About Me Poster, Jungle Theme
Twice a month, I'll offer a "Two-fer" Tuesday.  Buy one item from my blog store or TpT store, and you'll receive a featured item free.  Today is our first Two-fer day.  Be sure you're following the blog or on Facebook so you'll know when the next one is.  Today only, buy any item from our blog store or TpT store, and receive this All About Me poster kit in a jungle theme for free.  

Once you've made your purchase, send an email to and I'll send the poster kit to you by Wednesday evening.  

Happy Tuesday!'s a fun Halloween art idea.  As an instructional coach, I get to see many classrooms and all the great learning and fun that goes on in each one.  This idea is from a Kindergarten class.  Students created a ghost using their white paint hand print on black construction paper, mounted them on orange paper and then wrote what their ghost might say.  They adapted the "Little Pig" poem for ghosts to use as their literacy connection.  Please share with us in the comments if you try out this activity.  We'd love to hear how it goes for you and what adaptations you make to it.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thanks for Sticking With Us!

Sharing my blog woes.  Those of you who have followed me for a while know that over the summer, I switched over to a Word Press blog.  I haven't liked it and feel like I lost a lot of you and never regained momentum after that.  I've come back to blogger in hopes that this will be the place from now on.  I still have the dedicated url,, so if you have been reading my Word Press blog over the past few months, you'll still find me here, just a slightly different look.  This does mean, however, that posts I did on Wordpress didn't follow me.  So, I may be doing some re-posting / updating of those same ideas over the upcoming months.  I hope you'll bear with me and I hope that this decision to come back to blogger help pick up the momentum again.  Look for some upcoming posts with the content you know and love from Dilly Dabbles coming up soon right here.

By the way, this also means that you can easily follow me now through Blogger's friend connect.  So be sure to check the right side of this page and follow us so you'll be sure to get our posts right to your Reader.

To help kick start momentum, I'd love to have a contest or a week of giveaways or freebies.  Let me know your ideas and desires in the comments below.  I'd love to do something that you, my readers, would love and appreciate!



Friday, June 1, 2012

Taking the Plunge...Moving to a new URL!!

I've been working on my new website for several weeks now and I think it's finally time to just move on over there. If you've been following me through a reader or Networked Blogs, please note this change. The easiest thing to do is just re-follow me at this new URL.

You can get to the new site at this URL: 

**Note that for now, my two sites and route to the same site.

See you over there....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer has Begun! Some Activities for the End of the School Year

Friday was the last day of the school year for me.  It was bitter sweet.  I've had a great class and I'll be moving to a district instructional coach position next year, so I won't have a classroom of my own.  However, at the end of the year, the students start behaving like brothers and sisters and were fighting and tattling.  So, it was time for a break from each other.  Here are some of the fun things we did during the last week of school.  If you still have a few more days or weeks to go, maybe you'll find some of these ideas useful.  If you're done for the year, remember them for next year!
Field Day:  We have an amazing PTA at my school that planned and ran a school field day.  The theme was "Minute to Win It."  If you don't have a school wide field day already in place, you could easily do several of these activities with your class.  Even if you do have a similar day, these activities are a lot of fun.  You can find all the directions for do it yourself games on the NBC show's website here.  The Elephant Walk was one of my students' favorite.

Review Rotations:  Each teacher on our team took a topic in both reading and math to review with the students.  We came up with an activity or game that would last 30-45 minutes.  Each day we rotated classes.  We rotated for the reading activities in the morning and math in the afternoon.  For example on Monday morning I had Mrs. Smith's class for 30 minutes and then again in the afternoon for 30 minutes.  Then on Tuesday I had Mrs. Jones' students for the same times.  On the last day we taught our own classes.  I used the activities from my "Quiet as a Mouse" themed learning pack for my group.  We did the book Mouse Paint in the morning and the time activities in the afternoon.

Reading Celebration:  Our principal really supports student reading.  He has a program named "It Pays to Read" in place that is a lot of fun.  Students get to put tickets into a drawing for each week they meet their reading goal of at least 20 minutes per night.  At the end of each semester, he holds an assembly where students names are drawn and awarded prizes.  The secretaries also pull tickets before the assembly and attach to prizes so it doesn't last all day.  The grand prize is a bicycle.  It really pays to read when names are drawn to shoot baskets.  Each throwing line is worth anywhere from $1 to $5.  The student chooses staff members to throw from each line.  The student keeps the cumulative sum of money from all the shots that go in.  Other prizes range from books, to playground balls, to puzzles, crayons and even a few scooters.  It's a lot of fun.  Try your own classroom reading celebration each semester or even start with just the end of the year.  You can use prize box items, certificates for classroom privileges and freebie books from your scholastic orders.  If you have good parent/community support, you might even get a few donations.

Writing Celebration:  On the day before the last day of school, we had an Author's Celebration.  Our grade level wanted to celebrate all the hard work our students put into their writing, especially their 4 published works.  Parents were invited to attend this special event.  We performed reader's theater's for parents first.  We have a great little theater type area in our school so each class was able to take a time slot for a more intimate performance.  Then we moved to the classroom where I showed our end of year video slide show made using Smilebox.  Smilebox is a very slick way to make video slide shows.  I also sent a copy on DVD of the show home with each family.  We then enjoyed cookies and reading the stories we have published to our parents.

Special Lessons:  With the emphasis on testing and teaching specific standards, some of you may have been feeling like you have to let your favorite themed units go.  Well, I've found the last few weeks of school to be the perfect time to fit in those "favorites."  This is the time to teach your dinosaur or insect themed units.  We had fun watching our Fascinations AntWorks ant farm come to life while reading and learning about ants.

What are some of the things that you do at the end of the year?


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