I've been super busy the last few days looking at our Transitional Curriculum!

This year at our school teachers are given a choice on what Grade Level Expectations need to be covered each nine weeks. In the past, we were given a pacing guide by the parish on what GLEs needed to be covered. Then at the end of each nine week period students were given an Interval Test to see if they mastered those GLEs. Their scores were then compared to other 4th grade students as well as your class's scores to other classes and the district. Since the teachers this year are able to decide upon the GLEs covered each nine weeks, the Interval tests will be created by us teachers in our Assessment system called EAGLE.

So with that being said, I have been super busy searching for great Mentor Texts to use with the comprehension strategies and the GLEs that I have decided to cover for the first nine weeks. We do have Treasures in our class to use, but I love using picture books. I used picture books along with the Balanced Literacy Approach last year, and my students loved it. There's something about a textbook that just turns me off!

Here's a look at my planning thus far and the resources I plan to use.

Week 1- Main Idea and Details
              Mentor Texts- When I Was Young in the Mountains Lesson Plan Resource
                                     So You Want to Be President? by Judith George  Lesson Plan Resource

Week 2- Character Traits, Actions & Motivations
               Mentor Texts- Mr. George Baker
                                       Burnt Toast on Davenport Street
                                       or Treasures story Astronaut and the Onion 
                Resource - Read Works Lesson under Character  & Click here to see students' projects from  
                                  last year to wrap up the strategy for the week.

Week 3- Setting Impacts Story Elements
               Mentor Texts- The Three Brothers: A German Folktale
               Resource - Read Works Lesson Under Setting

Week 4- Sequencing
               Mentor Texts- Suggestions??????

Week 5- Cause & Effect
               Mentor Texts - Pink and Say
                                        Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Week 6- Compare and Contrast Story Elements
               Mentor Texts- Suggestions???

Week 7- This week we will take the Interval Assessment

Do you have a pacing guide for Reading?
What resources do you use for Lessons?
How do you create weekly assessments?

My first day of back at work is quickly approaching. Teachers report back on August 6th, we have a meet and greet on August 7th and students begin on the 9th. I have been back to my classroom a total of four times so far, and today I finally feel like it is all coming together. Here is a peek into my 4th grade classroom.

This is a shot from my front door.

Here is my Behavior Board, which I follow a 3 strikes you're out rule.

The homework board

The Agenda board

The Reading Focus Wall
This is a new bulletin board for me, hopefully I or the students can stay consistent with updating it each week.

Here is a rough looking bookcase in my room. I am contemplating on whether I should paint it apple red like my other book shelf in the back. It was originally in the back of my room, but I moved it to the front so my class library is more accessible to the students. I still have a lot of work to do on the library.

 I have not decided what I am going to do with the big bulletin board yet, any ideas? The two smaller ones I am going to use to track my stwo classes Interval scores.

Here is a better look at the back of my room.

Here is my biggest project today! My version of the Daily Five or my Six. I am really happy with the way it came out, considering last year it was all handwritten on chart paper.

My college wall, which is still a work in progress. I am hoping to get more information from colleges around Louisiana in the upcoming weeks.

This is my TEACHER'S DESK! Can you believe it. All of my everyday supplies are underneath. The top is currently housed with stuff I need to trash or put up on the class wall. It will soon house the ELMO and my laptop.

My rules for the iPads
Love them you can get them at Soaring Through Second's Blog

My Postcard Exhcange board and Trucker Buddy board

Here are a few boxes of miscellanouss itmes I still need to go through.

Another and last look at my classroom from the back.

Have you been back into your classroom yet?
Any ideas for my last bulletin board?
My summer is slowly coming to an end! I have two weeks left before I begin my first day back on August 6th. The students begin school on the 9th. So, needless to say there's a lot of preparation still to be done. I have been back to my classroom three times, and have begun setting up. I will post about this later in the week and will definitely share pictures. Can't wait to show off my college wall. It is coming along great! However, I still have a lot to do and that is why I am linking up with Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies To Do Linky Party.

Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies

Here is my list of "To Do":

1. Complete bulletin boards
2. Complete College Wall
3. Sign up my students on Kidblog, Edmodo, and LAPass and print out their usernames and passwords on labels.
4. Plan for the first week of school and the second week. My goal is to be a week ahead this year.
5. Practice my WBT strategies for the first week of school. You can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
6. Put together my class library.
7. Write a grant to Target for a field trip to a local college.
8. Update my "All About Me" powerpoint.
9. Create sign out for bathroom and a signature sheet for lost pencils.
10. Laminate all my class signs that I currently made. You can check them out here.
11. Tape Desk labels down and make name plates for desks.
12. Put up my Technology Alphabet.
13. Update and print out my welcome letter, technology letter and photo form.

Ok, think I better stop here.

Anyone else using the WBT Core 4 this upcoming year?

I have finally come up with a classroom theme for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year!

Shepherd's Shining Stars are College Bound

Today I emailed all the major universities in Louisiana telling them of my class theme, and asking if they could help out by sending me information on their college and any memorabilia that I could use for class decor. So far, I have had one university, Tulane University where I cheered for one year in college, contact me replying that they are sending me 2 pennants, 2 bumper stickers, a magnet and brochures containing information about the college.

I plan to designate a college dream wall in my classroom, inspired by Mrs. Renz. This wall will contain   a poster stating "Which college will YOU go to?" and then I'll place underneath it all the great goodies I get from the colleges.

Here's a look at Mrs. Renz's wall, were I found my inspiration.

Tonight I mentioned my class theme on Twitter and a great colleague and friend of mine @plnaugle suggested that I set up Skype calls with the counselors. What a great idea!

This past school year my student teacher, Mrs. Ahmad, organized a field trip for my 4th graders to the University of New Orleans, where I also cheered for two years of my college career. You can read about the field trip here! The students had a great time and all of them are really thinking about their future.

I plan to write a grant for this coming school year and organize a field trip for all 4th graders, 130 students, to attend a field trip to UNO. I estimate it to cost about $1,000.

What is your classroom theme for this school year?
I finally did it! I managed to make my first product and upload it to TPT. My product contains 6 Test Taking Strategy posters.

 Do you have students who rush through your tests or students who choose any answer? If you answered YES, then these posters will work well in your classroom. I have used this strategy for three years and it has worked effectively on weekly tests and even on our lovely state test. The best part about it is the students LOVE the strategy! Who wouldn't like writing UNERD on the top of their test. Also, think about their parent's faces when they see their first reading test and ask what that's all about. 

Click the TPT button below, and if you like you can have for FREE!

  4th - English Language Arts, Education - TeachersPayTeachers.com
I am back from TN with my family, and am now catching up on 700+ blog posts that I need to read. My Goodness!

We had a great time in TN. My boys loved all the outdoor activities including the hike and the best was the White Water Rafting trip. I wish I had a camera to capture their expressions when the water wiped them out on the raft. They were smiling from ear to ear. The moment was priceless!

Here's a look at our trip!

 I am so excited that my 4th graders and I will be participating in the 2012 Postcard Exchange hosted by Mechele over at Barrow's Hodgepodge. I am actually headed out to Tennessee on Saturday for a weeks vacation with my family. On my way back from TN next Saturday, I will be stopping at the Louisiana welcome center to hopefully pick up lots of goodies such as: postcards, and other Louisiana brochures. The postcards obviously will be used for the postcard exchange and the brochures I am going to give to students to use to decorate their Social Studies composition books.

These states below are still open for the postcard exchange. If you see your state don't wast any time and click here to participate!

Did you know that today is International Blog Hopping Day? I am not sure if I will be able to keep up. Do they have a International Blog Hopping Week?

TBA authors are hosting a wonderful linky party where all of us bloggers can link up all of our wonderful ideas to share. Check out my SHOES hosted by Analia at Ingles 360 has to be my favorite because I get to share my most favorite shoes that I wear to work. The students love it when I wear these shoes, but my feet hate when I wear these shoes. So it is not often that I wear these shoes. Only on special occasions, like when we began our Camp Write Along event, I had to dress to impress because I was the Camp Director. I also wore them when my student teacher was getting observed, and when we had visitors on our campus. Here they are! Aren't they cute? They are sling backs and high heels to give my short  4'11 self some height.

OK enough about the shoes, Here's a look into Monday the busiest day of the week.

6:15- Wake-up and Get dressed

6:45- My husband and I wake up our 3 boys for school. We get them dressed, fed and teeth brushed and occasionally pack their lunch. They like the school lunch, but Tuesday is Taco Day and they don't like tacos. 

7:45- We are out the house headed to drop off the boys at their school. The twins are going into Pre-K4 this year and Patrick into Kinder. Then I head right next door to work. Yes, that's right my work and the boy's school share a fence. They attend a Catholic school and I work at the public school right next door.

8:00- I have made it to work by this time and am in my classroom getting ready for the day.

8:20- The students are rolling in the door. As soon and they enter on Monday, they copy all of their homework down from the board into their agenda including their Spelling words for the week. After they are to read a book. This upcoming year I am also teaching SS in conjunction with all of ELA, so the students will complete a short SS review.  Tuesday- Friday- We come to the rug for Morning Circle! I love this time.

8:45- Announcements

9:15- PE Time

9:30-10:15- We begin our day with the Genius Paragraph. Click here to see my post or here to watch Chris Bifle in action teaching Part 2 of the Genius Paragraph. This year I am hoping to incorporate my English lesson within. Last year we didn't begin teaching GP until January where as most of the English skills were taught and so students could begin applying them as we asked right away. This year we will teach a short English mini-lesson within and have them apply right away and continue with this through the week.

10:15-10:50 Snack Time and Transition into our Reading Block. This is the time where students come to the rug, and I introduce the learning goal of the day on the anchor chart. I also begin a Shared Reading and students turn and talk at various points within in the book.

10:50-11:15 Students go to their first center and I see my first group for a guided reading.

11:15- We line up for lunch.

11:45- Students are picked up from lunch and are brought to the restroom before returning to class.

12-12:20- Students go their second center and I see my second group.

12:20-12:45- This will be our SS time.

12:45- Students line up and switch to their Math class.

12:45-3:20 I repeat the same process as above with my second group of 4th graders.

Definitely a busy day in my shoes!

My blog had a makeover and I am so loving my new blog design by Christi! I love the colors and of course my stars. It is so nice to have a makeover right before the new school year begins. I was really disliking my old design mostly because my banner didn't fit my entire screen. I guess that's what I get for trying to do it myself. One day I will learn how to create my own designs.

I'd love to know what you think of my new design? Positive comments are appreciated!

Frame designed by Tracee Orman 

Viola wil receive an autographed copy of the book Animal Rhymes written by my cousin Katie Rauch. Thanks to all who entered my first giveaway! 

Here's my Currently........

Love beginning the year with a shared reading of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. The students love it and always beg for more. This past year we also received a class set of Superfudge, which we read and also really enjoyed. The students loved taking the parts of the characters and reading aloud. These two books were also great to use to teach dialogue and character traits.

The other book I love reading as a Read Aloud is Owl Moon. This picture book has so many great lesson ideas to use. Here are a few good links to great lesson ideas to use in your class.

One Extra Degree has a some great Owl Moon Lesson Plans

I don't really have a "go to" book that I use in my classroom. My go to for ideas are all the wonderful blogs that I follow! Although, right now I am re-reading The Daily Five for the third time. I have learned a lot from this book and my classroom management and expectations of my students has changed drastically because of this book. Click on the Blog button below to participate in the Daily Five Book Study that just began yesterday.

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

And don't forget to Link up your Currently in July with Farley!

Last but not least I was awarded the One Lovely Blog Award by Southern Teacher WBT! Thanks!

Here are the rules for this award:
Once you receive the award, you have to pass it on to others! Here are the 3 rules to follow:
1. Follow the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

Here are the blogs I'm passing this award on to. Be sure to visit them!

2. Fabulous Fourth Grade
3.  Fourth Grade Fanatic
4. Smarter than a Fourth Grader
5. Rodriguez's Rad Rockstars
6. Ms. Hatty's Magnificent Monsters
7. Fourth Grade Freebies
8. Just Wild About Teaching
9. Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy!
10. Computer Craziness
11. Exceptional Teaching for Exceptional Children
12. Mrs. Wilson's 4th Graders
13. iDream iPlan iTeach
14. Life's a Teach
15. Mrs. Ahmad's Apples 
Teaching My 3

Teaching My 3 is hosting a Top 10 Linky Party to list 10 things that you love! These 10 things could be school supplies, favorite websites, or best teaching strategies.

Here is my Top 10 which is going to be a mix between websites and things I couldn't live without in my 4th grade classroom.

My Top Ten


1. Twitter- Love this social media site! I have found a plethora of class ideas, professional development articles and have grown my PLN. I was also first introduced to Mystery Skyping through Twitter and am hoping to set-up even more Skype calls this year. Feel free to leave me your email if you are interested in doing a Mystery Skype. Follow me @eshepherd

2. Pinterest- I love Pinterest! I view Pinterest at least 5 times a day. I know that is ridiculous, right? I have found so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest to use in my classroom. My favorite finds are the Anchor Charts, and class projects, and lately I have been pinning Social Studies related material. Loving those lapbooks!

3. Facebook-I recently just made a page for my blog! Come follow me by clicking here

4. Google Reader- This is where I house all of the many blogs I follow! Can I say I follow over 300+ blogs, and I keep up with them at that! 

5. Edmodo- Love using Edmodo in the classroom for my students to connect globally. We used it last year to have book discussions, post our thoughts, take quizzes, and backchannel during Mystery Skypes. I am looking forward to setting up a Social Studies group for my students, where I will post videos and projects for students to complete.

6. Class Dojo- This is a new site I discovered on one of the many blogs I follow that I begin using during centers to monitor my students behavior. The students love it and especially love getting rewarded points for good behavior. You can also set-up the mobile app on your phone and monitor students behavior during library or during transitions to PE and lunch.

Things I can't live without in my Classroom

7. iPads- I have 10 ipads for my students to use in my classroom. They use them mostly during our Reading centers to help enrich the skills that are taught. Some of our favorite apps are Keynote, Puppet Pals, Brainpop, Shake a Phrase, Edmodo, Brain Quest, and iTooch Grade 4. I am hoping to use the Remind Me app with parents next year, the Book Retriever app to organize my class library, and Educreations.

8. Promethean Board- I don't know what I would do without this tool. However, I need to invest some time into making more interactive flip charts.

9. Internet- One day I was without internet in my classroom, and since I have an adapter to project my iPad on the Promethean I used it with my iPhone. I never thought I could use my phone in the classroom. It just goes to show how much technology changes each and every day.

10. Students- What would all of us educators be without our students?
Back to Top