Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Resources That Keep Us Afloat!

Every teacher has those STAPLE resources in their classrooms.  You know the ones I am talking about... the resources that you seem to come back to over and over and over again, because they're just that great!  Today I'll be sharing a couple of different resources that, quite literally, keep me afloat in the classroom!  One is from a fellow blogger and the other is from yours truly.  :)

The Owl-ways Be Inspired Collaborative Blog girls are all joining in to highlight some of those resources that we just can't live without.  After reading my post, you can hop on down to the bottom of the post to find my other 2nd/3rd grade teacher friends and their blog posts featuring their favorite go-to resources as well.  If you read all the way to the bottom, there might be a special surprise for you!!  :)

First up is a product that has changed the way I create sub plans in a crunch.  Everybody knows how hard it is to write and gather materials for a sub when you are super sick or your kiddo is super sick or it's major last minute.  Unfortunately, we don't have a job where we can just "call in" and that's it.  Sub plans are a lot of work!  I like to adequately prepare for a sub with detailed sub plans and great materials that are challenging for the students, but easy for the substitute teacher and the students to understand.  So I present..... The Busy Teacher's Best Friend!

If you haven't seen or heard of Katie's Busy Teacher Packs, you should REALLY head on over to her TPT store right this minute!  You won't be sorry!  I have all of her 1st grade packs from when she taught first and was so excited when she moved up to 2nd grade this year, because that meant she would be creating them for 2nd, so now even when I have a substitute teacher in the room, I can still differentiate by using both 1st and 2nd grade packs!  Win-Win!

Here's an example of how her Busy Teacher Pack helped me out with a substitute:

Everything I needed for quality Reading Activities.  I just printed these off to go with our story in the basal.

Math Activities were an easy pull for a quick review of different skills previously taught.  I just printed off the ones that my students needed more practice with.  I love that she offers some cut-and-paste activities to keep the students more engaged as they're reviewing skills with the sub.

And finally, Grammar/Writing Activities were an easy print and copy!  We are working on verbs this week, so it was an easy decision to review the Parts of Speech while I was out of the classroom.  Love her options for coloring the parts of speech - much more engaging than just a plain 'ole worksheet!  She also integrates writing into grammar often.

As you can see, her Busy Teacher Packs are all themed around the months.  So February included Valentine's, President's Day, Groundhog's Day, and more!  I just love the variety!

This is just a sampling of what all is included in her packs.  She was correct in naming these packs "The Busy Teacher's Best Friend."  They certainly are!  If you're interested, she will have a March Busy Teacher Pack coming out soon and she usually gives one away on her Facebook Fan Page when it's finished, so make sure you stay connected!  It will be just as good as the others! :)

Next up for Resources That Keep Me Afloat is one of my own!  And it's my #1 Best Seller!  I created these Common Core Graphic Organizers when I first started my journey into blogging and creating curriculum for TeachersPayTeachers way back in January of 2012.  We had just adopted the Common Core State Standards (before many other states had even started the process) and had NO resources that supported CCSS!  I wanted a quick formative assessment, or snapshot, for each standard so that I could see which students had mastered the standard and which needed more practice.  So I sat down at my computer and started creating and this is what I came up with:

  My Common Core Graphic Organizers are a one-page formative assessment for each Common Core Reading Standard, both Literature and Informational Text.  They can be used with ANY text on any level (to allow for differentiation).  I often use them with leveled readers so that the students are reading on their level and I am only assessing the particular skill featured in the graphic organizer, not their reading level.

  They can be used in many different ways, but one example is found below.  Place the complete set of graphic organizers in a binder - one binder per student.  After you teach the skill, give the student the formative assessment (graphic organizer).  They complete it and it stays in the binder.  There you will have a collection of documentation of mastery, or lack thereof, for each and every standard for each and every student.  This is perfect for parent conferences, RTI data, or standards-based report cards!  The standard number is right there on the page in the top right corner for easy documentation.  You can repeat the formative as often as you like and continue to add to the binder as needed for further documentation.  Check this system out below and feel free to pin the pictures for further use:

Honestly, I use these Common Core Graphic Organizers every single week in my class.  It is definitely one of my favorite Resources That Keep Me Afloat!  It has made standards-based report cards a BREEZE!  I also created these graphic organizers for 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, and 4th Grade if you're interested.

Similarly, I have Common Core Math Quick Assessments for 2nd Grade (my #2 Best Seller).  Very similar in format, one quick snapshot for each and every Common Core State Standard in Math.  Same process for documentation as shown above.  They are available for 1st Grade and 3rd Grade as well.  Feel free to check them out! :)

Some other resources I LOVE that keep me afloat... Click the pictures to check out the products!

This resource from Creekside Teacher Tales has kept me afloat with informational text!

This resource from Stephanie Stewart has kept me afloat with tons of winter fun!

This resource from 3rd Grade Thoughts keeps me afloat when we need to get the wiggles out!

Might as well shop while they're on sale also!  Thursday, February 27 and Friday, February 28 you can save up to 28% in my TeachersPayTeachers Store using Promo Code TPT3.  My entire store will be 28% off!

Cute graphic courtesy of Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher Blog.

If you stuck around and read the entire blog post, you get a special treat!  How would you like to WIN a product of YOUR CHOICE from my store ($10 value or less)?!  I have made it SUPER EASY for you to enter!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post telling me which product from my store will help keep YOU afloat!  The winner will be announced on Friday, February 28th!

Now, head on over to the other Owl-ways Be Inspired blogs below to check out more "Resources That Keep Us Afloat"!  Check out all the links below!  Each link will lead you to a blog post where you'll find some awesome products and you can enter to win a product of your choice from their store as well!  Lots of chances to win!  Woo hoo!  :)


  1. I love seeing new products from other great teachers!!
    Thank you so much,
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  2. I love your CC Graphic Organizers for 4th grade

  3. What great resources! I would love your #1 Best Seller...CCS Reading Graphic Organizers for 2nd grade.

  4. I would love your Common Core Standards Math Quick Assessments. This would make my life a little bit easier!

  5. Your your #1 Best Seller...CCS Reading Graphic Organizers for 2nd grade would really help me stay afloat!
    Teacher Gone Digital

  6. Oops...forgot the email!
    teachergonedigital @ gmail. com

  7. The Busy Teacher's friend looks amazing. I can't imagine any teacher who is not busy. This looks like a great grab and go pack when you need it.

  8. It was hard to pick one but, I really need this product:

  9. I'd love Quick Math Assessments for 2nd!

  10. Your April Showers Centers would help keep me afloat!!

  11. I'd love the win your march ELA printables!! I love those packs!! :)

    Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

  12. I would Love to win the Common Core Quick Assessments for 2nd grade!!

  13. To keep me afloat I would love to win your Common Core Graphic Organizers for 1st Grade.

  14. I would love to have your March Math & ELA Centers, Games, & Fun! {12 Activities Aligned to CCSS}!

  15. Find us forever homes! I have a rescue dog, and I love the whole idea of this!

  16. Your Common Core graphic organizers would keep me afloat. We have just adopted these and having formative assessments for each standard would be helpful preparing upcoming lessons, reteaching, small group instruction, and would help with parent conferences as well. Thank you for the opportunity to win these!

  17. My state is not on CCSS but I think it would be great to have your Graphic Organizers for 2nd Grade! I am always needing some sort of organizer for various skills. Thanks for sharing such wonderful resources!


  19. I would love the Common Core Math Quick Assessments for second grade. Thanks.

  20. I would love to win your March math and ELA centers and games.

  21. I would LOVE your graphic organizers for third grade!

  22. I love your Common Core graphic organizers for 2nd grade! Thanks for being an inspiration and so generous!

  23. I would love a good and new Fairy Tale unit! Thank you!!

  24. Your monthly writing units keep me afloat all year long! I LOVE them!

  25. I would love your Quick Assessments for Second Grade. Thanks!

  26. I'd love your math assessments for third grade!

  27. Your Quick Assessments for 2nd grade or 3rd grade would keep me afloat!

  28. Quick Assessments for Second Grade!

  29. I would lOVE your Quick Math Assessments for 2nd grade. That would keep me afloat and bring me to the end of the year!! :)

  30. Your products are great. I love your Graphic Organizers (3rd Grade Edition). Thank you for posting about the other great products that keep you afloat. They're on my wishlist for tomorrow's sale!

    Maria (

  31. I always could use more writing resources...

  32. grammar and writing please

  33. I would love the Common Core Standards Reading Graphic Organizers for 2nd grade

    These center would keep me afloat as we lengthen our days starting next week to cover the snow days!! hah :)

    Nicole :)
    All Things Apple in 2nd

  35. I would love the April Showers Math and Literacy Centers.

  36. I would love your Common Core Math Quick Assessments for 2nd grade! You have great resources available...thank you for sharing! :)

  37. Love the CCSS Graphic Organizers for 2nd grade. These would be perfect!


  38. I would LOVE your 3rd grade CCSS reading graphic organizers! :)

  39. You are beyond talented, and you have made my life so much easier! I would love to have the Common core graphic organizers!

  40. The graphic organizers would be awesome! This is great! Love your work!

  41. I always like to start the year off with some engaging! This product would be perfect!

  42. March ELA and Math Centers would be great. Thanks!

  43. Would love this:

  44. Would love this

  45. You are so right! Katie's packs really ARE my best friend! :) Great compilation of amazing products for 2nd grade! Thanks for sharing!

  46. I LOVE your common Core products, and have many! Thank you for your hard work! I'm using your january writing set, and would love the February or March set too!

  47. I'm sort of in awe of how organized you are! I'd love your Common Core Graphic Organizers for First Grade. :)

  48. Since our state just adopted the CCSS last year I am very interested in your Common Core graphic organizers and your Common Core Math Quick Assessments. I teach a first/second grade loop, so I'll be putting them on my wish list for both grades! Thanks for creating them.

  49. I'm all about the organization so I think I'd choose your Common Core Graphic Organizers for First Grade.

  50. Dear Jamie:

    I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to be the VERY LUCKY recipient of your "Common Core Writing Activities Bundle #2 {January - July}." My class as a whole is performing WELL below standards in Writing, so I am looking for ways to jazz up my program and provide exposure to a variety of genres. This would be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT <3. Thank you for considering me =).

  51. I LOVE your products! I already have your Winter ELA Printables and January Writing Activities! Both have been truly helpful in my classroom! I really like that your items are Common Core aligned and I thin that I will definitely looking at your Graphic Organizers pack! Why recreate the wheel right??? Thanks for all of your hard work and creativity! You help us all be better teachers!

  52. I'd love the Common Core Standards Graphic Organizers for Reading: 4th Grade Edition. I wish you had a bundle for all the grades because I am a reading specialist for k-5.

  53. Would love your Common Core Writing Activities Bundle #2

  54. I would love your common core math quick assessments

  55. I definitely think that your Common Core Writing Activities Bundle #1 and #2 would definitely keep my AFLOAT since writing is the area where I struggle most. Thanks for all your ideas!

  56. Three thousand people can't be wrong...I would love to win your

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  57. You always have great products and they are easily used to "Stay Afloat". I have the Common Core Reading Graphic Organizers on my Wish list! Keep up the awesome work!

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