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Back to School Planning

Earlier this month I did a scope about my back to school planning.  I was a little bit amazed by how many viewers were either new teachers, or had never used these resources.  During the scope I shared many of my favorites but in this post I just want to introduce you to the two that I feel will be most essential to your planning.  

If you are a new teacher, I want you to stop what you are doing and go get this book.
Get it here
Seriously though, this is a resource that I think every teacher needs.  Even if you’ve never heard of Responsive Classroom, this book will be a game changer in how you start your year.    Building rapport with your students and a community of mutual respect is absolutely essential- what you do in those first few minutes, hours, days and weeks will set the tone for the rest of your year… so, you want to make it good right?

My other go-to beginning planning book is this one:

Get it here
This is the second edition of The Daily 5… I have the older edition as well, and I do like this one a bit better (but as a creature of habit I still refer to the original 😉 ).  This newer edition has some great updates about when to implement different components of the Daily 5 as well as how to implement Math Daily 3.  It is meant to go along with the CAFE book, but regardless if that’s what you do in your classroom or not this will be a helpful tool for you!  If you use guided groups in LA and/ or Math this resource will help you to set up expectations and routines as well as build student stamina for working independently.

So for me, back to school planning usually looks like this….

Last years planner, this years planner, and my favorite teaching resources (yes… even several editions of the same book lol)… notice what is missing?  There is no curriculum!  The social curriculum- creating an environment that is respectful and building rapport with my students comes first.  We purposefully take the time to learn and practice routines before jumping into any academics.  Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been doing this for many years, and EVERY year I need to fight the urge to start our formal curriculum- I too (especially during my years as a 5th grade teacher) feel the stress of “the test” and all the material we are required to cover in one year.  Trust me though, taking this time in the beginning of the year make the rest of the year go so much smoother!
Check back soon for a post on my other “back to school necessity”… becoming a Culturally Responsive Teacher.  Now go grab your flair pens and start thinking about those first few days (ok, thats a lie… if you can, enjoy the last little bit of summer we have left!)

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Back to School Tip

Hi Everyone!  I’m linking up with some of my favorite new Periscope/ Blogging buddies to bring you our best back to school tips.  My tip for you is:

Guided Discovery is part of Responsive Classroom and utilizing this strategy has served me very well regardless of what grade I’ve taught.  It is a focused, purposeful yet playful technique teachers use to introduce materials, areas or activities to students.  Responsive classroom suggests using these 5 general steps, which can be adapted to meet the age level/ needs of the students:
  • Introduce the item/ activity/ area
  • Have students generate ideas about how to use said item.  All ideas are valid and welcome
  • Allow students to explore the item
  • Have students share what/ how they explored and their observations
  • Generate appropriate guidelines for cleanup/ care and usage of said item
I especially use this method to introduce our classroom materials like crayons, pencils, paper, book bins, math manipulatives, books, etc.   I don’t let my students have free reign of any materials until we’ve done this process first.  It can be a bit time consuming, but the payoff in the long run is huge.  
This past year my students had plastic pencil boxes that we called “toolboxes”.  First we practiced and modeled how to use them, where to put them, what not to do with them, and what to do if one fell on the floor and exploded 😉  After that, as we went through the guided discovery process of crayons, scissors, glue, markers, etc. they got to add those tools to their tool box.  I do plan to Periscope on this topic and explain/ model it a little further so make sure you’re following me @nagorski1 And if you haven’t already pick up your copy of “The First Six Weeks of School“!  

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My EC Teacher Planner Review

Well, I did it.          I took the plunge and bought myself an Erin Condren teacher planner.  I was hesitant to say the least- they are pretty spendy when compared to most other teacher planners… and for the last several years I’ve been doing just fine with the generic (free) one that my school district gives us!  That being said, there was a decent discount available so I thought “what the heck” and decided to give it a try.  There are so many other teachers out there who say how much they love theirs I figured it wouldn’t be a completely regrettable purchase.  If you are on the fence about getting one, I hope that this post helps you out!

If you viewed my Periscope coffee talk yesterday, then you got to see my planner live as I talked through some of its features- while broadcasting from my basement “office” (aka pile of teacher stuff next to a desk).  In real life my office looks like this: 
 There is so much “office work” to be done that it is much easier to set up camp on my dining room table- this way I can multitask and still be mom.  We are in the process of selling our home, so hopefully there is a new, more centrally located office in my future! (Side note- is the fact that that chair isn’t centered driving anyone else nuts? lol)

So back to the planner…
Deciding on the theme was probably the most difficult.  I decided on this one because I have a lot of these colors in my classroom, and I was kinda just drawn to it.

So, here are a couple of the different pages you will find inside the planner.  Pretty much your standard “planner” pages.  I have to say though that I LOVE the colors as well as the different quotes that are found throughout the book.

Ok, pause here for a moment… when was the last time you kept a paper record of your students absences?  Umm… I’m not sure that I ever have.  There are quite a few of these pages which are a pretty big waste of space if you ask me.


Love the big, 2 page monthly calendars with the tabs on the side!

The boxes for planning seem to be a little small for my liking, so we’ll see how that goes.  One of the reasons I loved my old planner was the big boxes.  I’ll have to let you know!

Grade book… might not be enough for older grades, but this is perfect for the amount of grade recording that I do

Stickers to be used on planner pages and calendar.  There are blank ones as well in multiple colors!
Durable folder pockets (2 sided)
Plastic page protectors and a plastic pouch
Overall, the general quality and durability of this planner is top notch (it is heavy and big though!).  There are a few pages/ documents that I like to keep in my planner/ binder that aren’t included so it doesn’t completely eliminate my need for a teacher binder.  I know that I will enjoy using it this year, but ultimately I probably won’t be purchasing another one next year.  There are so many wonderful teacher planners/ binders out there (including in my tpt store!) that can be printed out (a lot of people are having them printed and bound at office supply stores- genius), I think I will probably go that route next year.

I hope this little review helped you decide for yourself!  I am in no way saying NOT to get one of these planners- do you, and if that means having an EC Planner then rock on 😉  Please feel free to use this code towards your purchase!

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I am addicted to Periscope

Hello, my name is Lindsey, and I’ve been addicted to Periscope for almost one week.  




I’m sure by now you have at least heard of Periscope, even if you have yet to take the plunge.  If you’re looking for more information check out this post.

I’m linking up this post with the fabulous Sheila Jane over at Sheila Jane Teaching.  This could be a blog post all its own, but can I just say “oh my word” this woman.  Sheila is like a little periscoping fairy of happiness sprinkling joyful teacher tip-filled sparkly heart dust all over Periscope-land!  I just love her!  I can’t believe that I hadn’t really heard of her before this revolution.. now one week later and I am a full blown she-sparkling sheilajaniac! If you’re thinking that I’ve gone off the deep end please just check out one of her scopes and I promise it will make sense! 😉 

Now, I have been quite the Periscope stalker the past few days (when my wifi cooperates!!!), but I haven’t really posted many scopes myself.  I’ve done two so far, just kinda introductory posts, but thats about it.  I do have plans for my periscope though!  Pinkadots Elementary and I are trying to get everyone to do scopes of their classrooms.  Theres nothing us teachers love more than scoping out each others rooms and snagging a few ideas, am I right?  We would love to see you do a scope of your space- if you do, please make sure you use the hashtag #BTSperiscopetours (back to school periscope tours) so we can find them all!

I also tossing around the idea of doing a book study on one of the topics near and dear to my heart- Culturally Responsive Teaching.  I will be releasing my “A Teachers Guide to Culturally Responsive Teaching” before August, and would like to make that a focus of some of my scopes… this is still in the planning stages though so stay tuned!
I hope that you will consider following me (@nagorski1) so that we can chat and hangout!  See you in Periscope land soon!
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The Periscope Revolution





In case you haven’t been following all the #tptvegas15 fun there is a revolution happening… it is called Periscope.  


Like many teacherprenuers out there I have been following all the fun TPT Vegas shenanigans via my Instagram… wistfully imagining myself amongst the greats.  I started seeing a lot of the other teachers that I follow posting about Periscope.  It generally sounded like this “I have no idea what this is, or how to use it but I’m taking the plunge!” After about the 5th or 6th one I thought I’d better get on board the cool kid train.  So I too took the plunge and signed up.

Signing up is pretty easy- Periscope is connected to your Twitter account.  If you don’t use Twitter yet, or aren’t quite sure what to do with it check out this post by Peppy Zesty Teacherista!  



First you will need to find Periscope in the App Store



Create your account following the directions

(Here’s Me!)
There is a little tutorial that briefly explains things when you create your profile.  After you view it, start exploring!  You can see what is being broadcast live, where people are broadcasting from, create your own broadcast, or find people to follow (icons on the bottom from left to right).

I highly suggest finding someone (like me for example!) and seeing who they are following.  If you click on “following” you can build your network rather quickly.


Once you have some followers you will be able to view their broadcasts (note- broadcasts only stick around for 24 hours).  Make sure that you enabled push notifications so that you will know when someone goes “live”!  You can comment and show your appreciation by tapping the screen (hearts will appear) during their broadcast.
** note- you can change the privacy setting so that only the people you follow can participate in the chat.  


The Periscope website states that they wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation.  “We realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”  Like the TPT conference in Vegas!  Immediately upon signing up I was alerted that Erica Bohrer was participating in a poker game involving cheese-its.  I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a blast to watch and interact with the Vegas fun instead of just watching it go by on my Instagram news feed.

There are a number of teachers joining the revolution right now so search for your favs and become part of the fun.  There are a ton of new hashtags being born just for this phenomenon- check out #teacher_scope  and #findyourtribe to get started. 

Do you have some ideas for how to use this new social media tool once school starts?  Right now I’m having a blast getting to meet everyone and plan to use it once I get in my new classroom to help with set up and organization ideas!  Leave a comment with your ideas below, I’d love to hear them!

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Work it Wednesday


Hello!  I’m linking up with Katie King, Queen of the First Grade Jungle, for “Work it Wednesday”!  Katie created this summer linky for reflection on her journey back to fitness.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration along your own journey definitely make sure you follow her other instagram kking_fit_mommy the girl is rockin’ it at the fitness thing right now!  Seeing her posts and knowing that she just had a c- section 6 weeks ago (baby #3 I might add) definitely makes you think twice about that (insert delicious but not the best for you item here) and do a few push ups!

Her journey reminds me a lot of my own just after I had baby #2 3 years ago.  I am not a big girl, but courtesy of my husbands genetics I make big babies.  Here I am just shy of 32 weeks pregnant with baby #2…. he ended up coming via emergency c- section (We were having a planned cesarean but I went into labor) at 38 weeks… thats right, I lasted 6 more weeks after this photo was taken- but couldn’t take any more pics because my whole belly didn’t fit in my mirror!

On his birthday baby boy weighed 10lbs 5oz… and I weighed 212 (before kids I weighed 125 :-/).  The icing on the cake was the fact that I was a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding just 5 months after my due date.  The wedding was out of state and we had to totally guess on my dress size because they had to be ordered way in advance.  Game on.
Like Katie, as soon as I felt able I started slowly but surely.  By the time the wedding rolled around I was down to 150lbs and my dress even needed to be taken in!  I continued along this awesome journey until grad school started.  Stress, late nights, etc. caused some of the lbs to creep back on.  Due to my schedule/ school/ my husbands schedule I had to put my dates with the gym on the back burner until school was done.  Which it finally is!
To jumpstart things I am doing the 21 Day Fix.  I love everything about this program!  I tried it out back in April and had some great success, even without doing it with fidelity.  If you are looking for something to jumpstart your fitness journey, or to try something different I highly suggest it!

There are even a ton of great recipes and other ideas on Pinterest.  These helped out a lot when trying to plan family dinners with adjustments for myself.  I just started week 2 today- I’m already down 2lbs, and an inch off my waist (I will be honest and say that I cheated once or twice in the first week).  

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE my Fitbit!  I splurged and went with the Charge HR for my birthday.  I love the data that I get from it, and it is significantly more accurate than any of the other ones I have tried out.  I have had it since January, and I see a long future for our relationship 😉



My Fitbit accompanied with My Fitness Pal on my phone really help me keep track of my progress (or lack thereof).  After the 21 Day Fix is over I will be focusing more on weight training which is how I really prefer to spend my gym time.  I look forward to linking up again next week to let you know how it is going!