December 30, 2012

New Years... HOLLA!

Well readers.  Remember that stupid boot I was in last time I posted.  I'm still in it.  It's our 74th day anniversary.  UGH.  Found out that I have a broken bone in there so I see a specialist on Wednesday.  Not really sure what happens with that (hard cast... PLEASE no! surgery... PLEASE no!)  So I'm being patient (not really), watching tv, reading, and pinteresting.  Ok so maybe a little R&R is what I need after a crazy, insane start of this year in 4th grade.  Holy cow.
I got all of the seasons of the Big Bang Theory for Christmas (Thanks to my sister!) so I have watched numerous episodes this week.  I spent a week at my mom's house and it was wonderful!
I decided to link up for my resolutions.  It's actually what the sermon was about this morning in church so my brain has been very resolution-y (not a real word) today.  Here we go...
I have this AMAZING opportunity to help create a Common Core workbook for Have Fun Teaching... it's through  It's a ton of work but oh man am I loving it!  With that said, I would love to really hunker down and get a lot of that finished.
I would also love to create a lot of great things for my TPT and TN store.  I have so many ideas in my head.  It's just finding time to do those.
And I bought a SMARTslate for my SMARTboard at school.  I would REALLY like to learn how to operate the dang thing. :)
I am super organized at school.... like ridiculously so!  But not in my personal life.  I feel like everywhere I go in my apartment I just leave a trail.  I desperately need to do a better job of organizing my stuff in my room.
But if you are struggling with a lot of papers and need a great way to organize, get this:
It's about $45 but it's the BEST thing I've bought for my classroom.  I have so many hanging file folders in the middle for various things that I have right at my finger tips.  STAPLES... go get one!
I need to make (and stick to) a budget.  I'm hoping my boyfriend will propose sometime soon.  (Reading this, Luke?? :)) Which means, I will have a wedding to plan and pay for.  YIKES.  I need to get it together.
Professional Growth:
Now that I have officially finished my Masters... WAHOO!!!!!!!!!!.... I would love to start on National Board in the upcoming year (next school year).
When my foot is in "working order" I tend to have zero downtime.  When I'm not at school, I'm always doing something for school it seems.  I just need to learn to leave school at school.  Is that possible???
Here's the biggy... literally! :)
I'm not sure what teaching has done to the # on the scale but it has made my weight skyrocket in the past 3 years.  WOW. 
I made a plan today and I'm sticking to it.  Gotta be ready for those engagement pics when he asks, right??
Why don't you go over to HOPE or AMY's blogs and link up.
Smiles and Snapshots,

December 2, 2012

December Currently

Not too sure where November went.  Seriously.  No clue.  This weekend was full of Christmas shopping and hanging out with my family.  My elf, Lewis is making his appearance tomorrow so I went and set everything up this afternoon.  
I've got some pretty good mischielf planned thanks to Gina S.  You can grab her "There's an Elf in Our Classroom" pack in her TPT store HERE! 
After you go there, head over to Oh Boy 4th Grade and link up to Farley's monthly Currently!
Here's mine. :)
I am SO excited about one of my newest products in my TPT store.  My AP told us that if she walked into our classroom, our students would need to be able to tell her the difference between revision and editing and where he/she was in the writing process.  I thought.  and thought.  and thought.  and thought.  about a way that I could help my students with remember what they needed to know about revision and editing. 
Meet Randy Revision:
 And Edna Editing:
These have been 2 great visuals for my students.  Make sure and grab your own copy in my TPT store!
Smiles and Snapshots,

November 24, 2012

Well I'm back!

Last blog entry: September 2.  Yep.  That's pretty much right.  Haven't really even taken a breath since then.  Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe the feeling that I have had for the past few months.  Does anyone else feel this way this year?  I thought year #3 was supposed to be a little less stressful. 

Here's the run down of the past few months.
1. Surviving in 4th grade.  I'm loving it but WOW!  I'm having to study every night.  No joke.  I didn't realize how big of a jump it would be from 2nd to 4th grade.

2. Grad school.  ONE MORE WEEK!  I just submitted my final paper.  I will have to get online feedback on my abstract from my classmates and then I am DONE!  I will have my Masters of Education in Early Childhood Literacy.  Can I get an amen!? :)

3. My ankle.  This should pretty much be #3-5. 
           Oct 18th:  Stepped off of a curb on the way back to my car. (Sprained ankle)
           Oct 25th:  Slammed on brakes to avoid random car in road. (Worsened the  sprained ankle) got put in a lovely, heavy black boot.
           Nov 12th: Slipped in the cafeteria.  Not really sure what is wrong with my foot now.  Waiting to get an appointment for an MRI.

It's just been crazy.  crazy.  crazy.

I haven't even created a single thing for my store since then.  I have had SO many ideas and I keep writing them on sticky notes beside my computer and sticking them everywhere.  I did get to the figurative language pack that I have been waiting for weeks to put together.  Get it HERE or HERE!

I'm also having a sale in both stores (TPT and Teacher's Notebook) for the next few days.  Go check them out.

30 minutes until the USC/Clemson game!  GOOOOO TIGERS!
Smiles and Snapshots,

September 2, 2012

September is already here?

I absolutely cannot believe that it is September already.  I've been SO busy lately (and sick) that I haven't really stopped since school started.  The beginning of school was quite different this year now that I'm in 4th grade but I have a classroom full of excited children.  I have to say that I am LOVING 4th grade... especially the SS! It's been a huge change but I'm embracing it! :)

I'm always searching for great ways to have everything organized.  And let me tell you ... it just makes a HUGE impact on how my classroom runs.  My OCD kicks in hard-core when I'm in my classroom so anytime I can sneak in a way to make something better, I'm ALL for it!  Moving classrooms from one end of the school to the other has made me rethink some things.  One of them was how I organize handouts, etc. for each subject of the day.  I have each day in a slide out drawer container but then that certain day wasn't organized the way that I wanted.  I really didn't want anything else on/under/around my desk so I had to figure out a solution.  About the 3rd day of school, I just happened to realize that the bottom drawer of my desk is its own filing cabinet!  OH BOY!  It was ridiculous at how excited I was about this!!! 
I have a file folder labeled for each subject of the day so that I can easily find things, change things, and "load up" for the following day.

And then it was on to conquering my paper problem.  I have a huge cabinet where I keep all of my paper for my printer but I needed a space for my kiddos to choose paper to publish their final drafts on in writing.  I'm all about choice when it comes to writing!  So I decided to turn an old crate into a writing paper station.  I have the folder labeled 1 to how many ever I need. 

The numbers coordinate with the notebook that sits in front of it.  

 If you like paper #6 in the notebook, go to the #6 folder.  It's almost like a catalog.

I can just set the notebook in the front of the crate and students can easily choose.  It's easy to add papers because all of them are in page protectors and I have additional file folders in the crate.  The label is on the outside of the page protector. 
Here's how it looks in my classroom:

How do you organize "student choice" for writing and daily handouts in your classroom?

Smiles and Snapshots,

August 12, 2012

August Currently

So I've been working ALL day on Common Core stuff for a presentation on Friday.  My brain is common cored out for the day.  I decided I should take a break and blog.... and probably sleep!  I decided to link up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her August Currently!

It was super hard to only choose 3 back to school must haves.  A new hot glue gun could probably be added to this list. My is really squeaky and in not so great shape.  And new colorful pens... because honestly there is nothing like a package of brand new colorful pens. :)

It's a big week in my family.  My little (and only) sister moves to college tomorrow.  Oh boy.  I don't feel old enough for her to go to college that's for sure.  Hopefully I won't cry.  The college is 20 minutes from my apartment and 45 minutes from mom's house so I will probably see her more now than I did before but it's still really hard.  When did she get so old??

I loaded some new things into both stores today (during breaks from CC madness).  Go check them out.  I'm having a sale in both :)

Smiles and Snapshots,

August 11, 2012

Classroom Pictures :)

Well the classroom is pretty much complete (minus organizing some cabinets and nametags on desks).  I've had a lot of help between my boyfriend, my mom, and my boyfriend's mom and sister.  I'm a lucky girl, for sure!  My goal was to have it done before Teacher Workdays start on Tuesday... goal accomplished! :)  After a week of Common Core classes and then presenting in 6 days, I've been super busy but I feel like I'm finally getting back into the routine of things.  My sticky note to-do list is still ridiculously long though.

Here are some pictures of what I've been doing...
My classroom library.  This is a GREAT improvement from what it was.

Their cubbies... I put up my zebra numbers that turned out pretty cute.

A little motivational section.  Love the subway art quotes from Hope at 2nd Grade Shenanigans!
I'm really liking the zebra pennant banners I got from Target.  It had pink ribbon but I switched it out with black ribbon.

 My owl door.. .All I need to add it "Look whooo's in our class."  I got the patten HERE.  My boyfriend's mom and sister made the tree branches and leaves.  The leaves have my kiddos' names on them.

My writing wall...  The posters came from Teaching in Flip Flops

 My calendar wall with birthdays (clipart from Digiweb Studios.. .the hats have their names and bdays written on them) and my job chart.  I put the velcro dots on the chart so that I can easily change out the jobs.  The clocks have been chilling in my filing cabinet for 2 years so I decided to bring them out for the 4th graders.

My Student of the Month bulletin board that will go out in my hallway!
     The circles are from Teaching in Flip Flops again.  The paper is from Michael's... it was left over from my hallway.  I jumped up and down when I found it.  The lady at the cash register was laughing at my excitement.  Plus teachers get a discount at Michael's.  Gotta love it.

Speaking of hallway...  There's that paper that I'm madly in love with.  The animals came from clipart from DigiWeb Studios.  Tarzan came from Scrappin' Doodles. :)

My favorite part... :)

 And I'm having a sale in my Teacher's Notebook store.  Make sure to stop by and grab a few things for your classroom this year! :)

Smiles and Snapshots,
Courtney Long

August 2, 2012

25% off! WHAAAAT!

School is right around the corner!  Do you have a plan for Writing instruction this year? 

For one week, and one week only you can grab a copy of my 160 Days of Writing for $37.50 instead of $50 in my Teachers Notebook store!  :)
 Go get yours HERE!

This 86 page packet is a 160 day Common Core aligned Writing Curriculum that I will be using in my 4thgrade classroom but it also covers MANY Common Core standards for other grades as well.  Minilesson and independent work descriptions are included as well as graphic organizers, forms, and graded sheets.  It has everything you will need to have a successful writing time each day of the school year!

Smiles and Snapshots,

August 1, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

So when I set the giveaway to end on August 1st I didn't think it would get here this fast.  I mean, seriously, it's already August!  Oh. my. word.  I decided that I need to just make a to-do list each day or I'll never get stuff done. 

Today's To-Do List:
Finish custom orders
Add a new item to my TN and TPT stores
Figure out the layout of Daily 5 for this year
Do some cleaning
Date night with the boyfriend
Announce the giveaway winner

Why don't I go ahead and scratch one of these off of the list... the giveaway winner!  DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

Congratulations Nesli! I'll be emailing your items over later today!

School's right around the corner so if you didn't win, make sure to still stop by our TPT stores and grab the items that you wanted!

Ok, off to finish some things from my to-do list! :)
Smiles and Snapshots,

July 23, 2012

Tell Me More! Linky Party and Giveaway Reminder!

Well I'm at the beach right now.  It has been a wonderful and relaxing few days and I can't wait for the rest of the week.  I'm such a beach junkie.  Well Amy over at Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons is having a linky party.  She wants us to share things about ourselves.  You can check out the linky party HERE.

1.       I have OCD in my classroom but my room in my apartment is a WRECK.  If only my OCD would pour over into my “everyday life.”  I’m sure my roommates would appreciate it!
2.       I am absolutely obsessed with nutella and peanut butter mixed together in a bowl.  Seriously.  You need to try it.
3.       Sometimes when I cook, I pretend I’m on my own cooking show.  Weird, I know.
4.       I LOVE paying my bills the old fashioned way (mail, not online).  There is just something so satisfying about putting a stamp on that sucker and being done with it.
5.       I make checklists… lots of them.  And sometimes I write things that I’ve already done so that I can go ahead and cross something off.
6.       I check my email and Pinterest on my phone before I get out of bed each morning.
7.       My boyfriend is a tall, lanky redhead whom I LOVE.  I’m gonna marry that boy some day.
8.       I have an obsession with fireworks.  I don’t want to shoot them off but I love watching them.  There is something so magical about them.
9.       I am BAD about starting a book and never finishing it.
10.   I love Big Brother and Survivor.  I’ve seen EVERY single episode of both.
11.   I am TERRIFIED of frogs… really, really terrified.

Don't forget about my giveaway!  It ends on August 1st so get your entries in :)

Smiles and Snapshots,

July 18, 2012


Oh man I'm excited!  Not only do we go back to school in less than one month but I finally got my boyfriend's sister (she calls me her girlfriend-in-law :) ) to open her own TPT store.  She's amazing... and has been teaching for 16 or so years.  I have always seen all of this super cute stuff that she has had for her classroom over the years and she just HAD to open her store.  No need to keep all of that cuteness to herself! :)  So in honor of Andrea opening her TPT store and creating some SUPER awesome items, I have decided to do a giveway. 
Yep, fellow bloggers, my first blogger giveway!

Here's the link to Andrea's TPT Store!
Here's the link to my TPT store!
Make sure to follow my blog, leave a comment, and tell us which product you would want to receive (from each of our stores) if you won.  *Please leave your email with your comment!!!!*

Smiles and Snapshots,

July 12, 2012

Grammar Woes

The #1 thing that I heard this summer during my Writing class was that they weren't sure how to teach grammar.  How much time do we spend on it?  How do I even go about teaching it?  The concern was that when we were in elementary school, we were given a grammar textbook and that's about it.  I remember doing pages and pages and pages and pages of correcting sentences.. all of which my teachers probably never even checked.  So what's the best way to do it?  For me, grammar minilessons come about when I'm modeling writing with my students or conferencing with them about their own writing.  I also wanted to create something that would be quick and efficient but would help me practice grammar with my students.  I came up with "Daily Fix-It Sentences." I have bound the forms (one for each week) and we will use them for morning work.  I have one sentence on each page that can easily be displayed and students can correct it.  The minilesson comes when you go over this with them.  I also included a review for each 9 weeks and an assessment for each 9 weeks.  I designed it around my writing curriculum that is also in my store! You can grab the "Daily Fix-it Sentences" HERE or HERE

 Here are some pictures of what's included....

Smiles and Snapshots,

July 8, 2012

Christmas in July

So we had our Christmas in July party!  Oh. My. Word. I'm about crafted out but strangely ready for more.  I only did one Christmas/Winter craft but I'm pretty sure the point was just to get together and have fun.  And that is exactly what we did!

My first project came from BeColorful Designs.  I LOVED what she did with the pumpkins and I certainly wanted to do this wonderful idea justice.  I needed something to sit outside my classroom door for the holidays.  I started with stove covers, spray painted them orange, and added faces.  I've still got to make the mounting for it.

And then I decided that I could put velcro on the back and change them out according to the holiday.  And that is where my snowman came about.  I used stove covers again and spray painted them white.  I still need to make him a hat and scarf but I think he is cute!

I wanted to create owls for my door in "earthy, natural" tones.  I got the pattern from Amy Hope.  It's free, people!  Check it out.
Her blog is:
Here's what it ended up as.  I think they're too cute!

On my pinterest board I had a lovely "No Name" board for papers that do not have a name on them. I got the idea from Mrs. Brown's blog. I wanted to go with my zebra theme for my room and create my own spin on it.  I have an area of my room that is very slender and I wasn't sure what was going to go there.  I think this will be perfect!

My boyfriend's sister (she calls me her "girlfriend-in-law" haha) is a 3rd grade teacher and so she was busy making things for her classroom too. 

Like PomPoms out of tissue paper.

And then we painted some cacti for her western theme room.  Just a little cardboard, box cutters, and paint.  These were SO much fun to make!

Our next thing is two really big jungle trees for my own classroom.  We may leave that for when we get back from vacation. 

I also spent some time finishing up my Common Core Aligned Writing Curriculum.  It is writing minilessons, activities, graphic organizers, and forms for 160 days of writing instruction.  You can take a look at it HERE or HERE.


I also made a SMARTBoard version of the entire curriculum.  It has all of the necessary components but just on SMARTBoard slides to make it easy for modeling in your classroom.  It is HERE and HERE.

Smiles and Snapshots,

July 5, 2012

July Currently

I can't believe that it's July already but the turn of another month can only mean one thing...  a new Currently from Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

Head on over and link up!

I'm super excited about this weekend.  My boyfriend's mom and sister are having their "Christmas in July" craft party.  Basically, it's a time to get together, chat it up, eat snacks, and tackle that Pinterest board of crafts that I never have time for!  I can't wait!  Of course, I'll post pictures.  :)

Smiles and Snapshots,

June 30, 2012

12 HOUR SALE!!!!!

Everything in my TPT store and my Teacher's Notebook store are 20% off until midnight tonight!
Don't miss the savings! :)

Smiles and Snapshots,

June 27, 2012

I made a blog button... and a freebie!

Oh YAY!  Just made me blog button... after a few online tutorials I got it done.  I call it productive.  Some may call it procrastination because I have to finish my reflection for my writing class that ends Friday.  Ok maybe I was procrastinating.  It'll get done. However, I'm watching the Olympic Swimming Trials right now so I'm a bit distracted.  :)

I have loved this writing class.  SO many great ideas are flooding my brain to use with my 4th graders this year.  Yep, still can't believe I'll be teaching 4th grade next year!  I'm currently working on an entire writing curriculum for the upcoming school year.  I'll post it when I'm finished but until then check out some more back to school packets that I'm posting to my TPT store and to my Teacher's Notebook store.  I am having zebra ALL over my new room this year so I thought a jungle themed beginning of the year packet would be great to do!  You can grab it HERE or HERE!

And here are the matching letters FOR FREE!
And then I decided... how about a detective one?
You can get that HERE or HERE!

And then I've REALLY been thinking about what I want my classroom management to look like.  I want opportunities for kids to feel rewarded when they are doing what they are supposed to.  I decided that I wanted to create a color-coded system.  My favorite part is that if you have an OUTSTANDING day... you make it into our Hall of Fame!

Check this out HERE or HERE!

What are you doing for your classroom management system?

Smiles and Snapshots,

June 18, 2012

Daily 5, Smarty Pants, and Freebie!

Before I blog on the 2nd chapter of the Daily Five for the book study (chapter 1 is HERE) on Wednesday, I thought I would address questions I received about my file folder system to organize student work.  After trial and error, I decided that this was the best organizational tool for ME!  I started the beginning of D5 with trays where students turned in their work. By Friday, there was a huge stack of papers and I had to sort them and it was just CRAZY!  So I got a crate for around $4... one like this...
 and filled it with hanging file folders.  Each file folder had a number on it (my student's numbers for their papers).  ANY work that was completed for the D5 was to be turned in to that student's hanging file folder.  That way, I could grab it on Friday, staple it with the checklist, slap a grade on it, and I was done!  As far as grades, I just did completion for the 6 items that had to be turned in.

I made posters for my classroom to display what was mandatory to be turned in by Friday.  If it's mandatory, I put a star beside it.

Read to Self-
Read Classroom Library Books, Library Books
Book Browsing
AR Tests
*Scholastic News
*IDR Tasks (any independent reading tasks for their notebooks that I give them for the week)

Read to Someone

Listen to Reading

Word Work-
*Fun Spell
*Word Wall Words  - I use the form HERE.

Your Choice

I have a simple checklist that I use and check when each of these is turned in!

I've created another "Beginning the Year Pack" but this one is using the adorable clip art "Smarty Pants" from Scrappin' Doodles!  Check it out HERE or HERE!

And grab your freebie to match it HERE or HERE!

Well I am going to work on some writing pieces for my writing class!

Smiles and Snapshots,