Friday, September 21, 2012

What a start to school!!!!

Well, it has been a great while since I have blogged.  My life has been crazy since I went back to work on the 20th of August.  

In my personal life, My divorce became final on the 24th of August and that was a big relief to get it done and over with.   I rented a new place, going from a two bedroom town home to a 3 bedroom house with a yard.  This was much needed, since me, my two children, two dogs, and bird where in a 900 square foot town home with out a yard.  

So with all that it has been 5 weeks of new students, lesson plans, packing, moving, getting furniture, and utilities all ready to go.

With all that in mind, it has been a pretty amazing 5 weeks.  

My kids are truly loving their new rooms and the space they have.  The dogs have decided that staying outside all day isn't such a bad thing.  My wonderful family has helped me get the house completely organized, and in fact, helped me move, have everything put away, and even pictures hung all in one weekend.  I couldn't have done it without them.  Then my gracious parents bought my kids new bikes this past Monday, and let me tell you, it has been the best thing for my kiddo's.  They are loving riding their bikes each night.

Now on to some school stuff.  

I am on a team with two other wonderful teachers.  Mrs. John teaches Science (she is amazing at it), Mr. Belknap teaches Math (not sure I would have the patience), and I teach Reading, Writing, and Social Studies (World Geography to be exact).  

So that means I have 3 blocks a day, each with a time limit of 90 minutes.  Yes, you read that right 90 minutes.  I am still working on how to get all my curriculum in.  Right now, I am trying to do 45 minutes of reading everyday and rotate writing and geography.  Let me tell you this has been tough.  Now, in the past, I have gotten to geography when I can, and focused on Reading and Writing (my favorites), but this year that isn't an option.  They (the district) have decided to add a district mid-year and end of year Geography test on us 6th Graders.  YIKES, now that is 3 district reading tests, 2 district writing tests, 2 district geography test, and the 1 BIG STATE READING TEST, and this is only what I have to get covered.   Needless to say, I am a bit worried about getting it all covered.  

Oh, did I mention that we have almost (27-28) 30 students in each block.  Yes, that is almost 30 hormonal boys and girls in a small portable classroom.  Low on space, but trying to make it fun.  I am trying to implement Daily 5/Cafe and some of the Whole Brain Teaching.  I still have not become consistent with any of it.  I am having a hard time finding Daily 5 time, because by the time I finish my 20 minute lesson, there just doesn't seem much time left.  Well, maybe that is because we have had mandatory keyboarding the last 3 weeks and our schedule has been CRAZY!!!!  

Then, there is the level of my students.  Can we say all over the place?  I have 3-4 brand new to the country English Language Learners, one who is needing to learn his colors, shapes, and sight words.  We have 3-4 darlings who like to test us daily, and we have to watch out for bullying on a regular basis, and then there are the ones who are slightly below grade level, and the rest are right about average.  Oh boy, differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.  Keeps me on my toes, that is for sure.

Overall, it has been a pretty good start to the year.  Most of the kids are respectful, at least to us teachers, and they seem to be working pretty hard. Plus, with progress reports going out this past week, I think the students have realized, that they are going to have to work for their grades, and thinking beyond the obvious is part of that.

So maybe some of my blogger friends can help me with ideas to incorporate Geography, Reading, and Writing.  I would love to know of some books that I can use to teach Geography through Reading.  Any ideas?  Websites?  Etc?

Well, till next time, and I hope it will be less that 5 weeks, Good luck with your endeavors and may each day be blessed with good things and happy times.

Nicole Rutledge

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made it # 8

Well, I'm linking up again with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics and her Monday Made It Party.  Make sure you check out what others are doing and join in on the fun.  If it wasn't for this every week, I probably wouldn't be where I am at with all the things I need to do for my class, or be as organized as I will be this year.
So on to my Made Its.

Made - It - Exit Ticket Board(s)

I did mine a little different than the other ones I have seen.  I used library pockets, and did it over 3 boards.  I did this for a couple of reasons - 1) I live in portable land and with the humidity and wind or other elements when the door opens, there is no guarantee that the sticky notes will stay.  2) I have 3 classes through out the day, and if I don't have time to grab the slips from each class, I might not have enough space.  

So I see myself using index cards (over multiple days), and them sliding their index cards in to the slot as they leave.  

Made It # 2 - More Book Bags

I got 15 more bags done, thanks to my amazing Mother who helped me accomplish this while she was here this weekend.  Not sure what I would do without her.

So that means I have 12 green and 15 Red.    Still have 18 Green, 15 Red, and 30 Blue to go.  I had better work on a set a night if I want this finished, since I am back to school on MONDAY!!!!  YIKES!!!

Made It #3 - 

 I then started working on my writing process folders - 4 pocket folders that is.  I got this off pinterest.

If you want to know how to do this, please go here for instructions.
 Ms. M's Blog
 Now for a little something different.


I posted this last Saturday, but realize a lot of people may not have seen it.  

Awhile back I had a Monday Made It # 3.

Then I pulled it out to show my mom this weekend the actual thing and when I went to unfold it, it was all stuck together.  Even with a hair dryer to try and allow the glue to melt, this is what I ended up with.

As you can see, the paper tore, and I couldn't even get the top two pieces apart.  It was a very sad moment.   I would love your suggestions on how to prevent this, because I would like to create it again.   I appreciate P Marksberry and their comment about a sealer.  

Well, till next week, I'm Off to finish creating and getting things done.  

Here is my current list:

13 Topic Binders (yep, didn't get anymore of those finished)
63 Book Bags
My Teacher Notebook - started but not finished
My Sub Notebook
75 Writing Folders
and classroom set up, I should stay pretty busy.  

YIKES, I had better stay BUSY!!!!  A Lot to do and not a lot of time.

Nicole Rutledge


Saturday, August 11, 2012


I need some major modge podge help.  Back in July I made a writing process line up so that my kids could mark where they were in the writing process.  It looked like this.

Last night I took it out to show my Mom, who wanted to see my projects in person, and it was all stuck together.  I had folded it to store it.  So now it looks like this:

As you can see when they got pulled apart, my pages ripped.  and I couldn't even get the top two apart.

I don't have a problem recreating this, but I would like to know how to prevent it from doing this again.  Was Modge Podge the wrong thing to use?  I will take any suggestions.  I think I'll Link Up with Tara and Monday Made It today so that someone might get a few more suggestions.

Thanks all my bloggie friends.

Nicole Rutledge

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday Made It #7 on Tuesday

Well, if you caught my Monday Made it last week, you know that last week was kind of a blur. 

I started off in Dallas at Mary Kay Sapphire Seminar.  Oh, How much fun I had.

New Nail Colors!!!                            Dress made out of recycled             Future National Mundy
                                                                         boxes!                              Area (My Girlfriends).

I finished up in Dallas on Wednesday Morning and headed to Mardel's to get some laminating done (I had a 5 Feet Free coupon!).  After doing that, repacking, and getting my carpets cleaned, I headed over to my sisters for another Stitching Weekend.

Thursday Morning - Beth (my sister), and I headed down to Red Rock, Texas to Hideaway Hills Bed and Breakfast.  Oh my, what an amazing place.  It holds a max of 10 people in bungalows.  Has a separate great room, that they have set up for crafts.  Yes, that means 10 large tables with rolling comfortable chairs and lights already provided.  They have had quilters, scrappers, and stitchers all come.  Not to mention each meal we had was to die for and the owners just became a part of our group.  Oh how much fun. 

My project here was a stitched sampler.  This piece was started in March of 2009.  It is being completed by My mom, my sister, and myself.  Let me explain,  we each started our own piece (yes all the same design), and then are rotating it around so we each have the same completed piece, that each of us stitched on.

Here is the piece I worked on, my mom's:

The before I started my section (My Mom stitched this part):

Here is what I got done while I was there (I stitched):
Sorry, I couldn't get it to turn, but you should be able to see what I added.  The phrase so far on there is "With Silken Stitches Dost My Nee" (the last word will be needle).

We came back Sunday, and did I mention that while I drove my lovely sister cut out all 20 feet of laminated items for me.  YEA, BETH!!!  Then she asked if I had more laminating, and when I said yes, she said it is hers to cut out at night.  So I finished the last 15 feet of Laminating I had today.  Woo Hoo.

On to my school made its:  Yes I did do some of those.

I completed my Vocabulary in Context Binder to add with my other 5 I have done.

In case you didn't read last weeks post, I have printed off hard copies of lessons and reading passages for each "topic" and for the grades 2-6 from  With all the RTI and different levels I have in my 6th grade class', this allows me to have the information at my fingertips with out having to go web searching.

I also worked on creating book bags.

So, I know I could have bought actual book boxes, but when you need 90 (yes, 3 classes of 30), the next question is where to put them.  I don't have room for all those boxes.  Then I thought well I could just do canvas bags, okay on space, but that green thing called money, my budget just won't fit that.  I tried using gallon baggies last year, but they broke, and some non-fiction books just wouldn't fit.  So then with all the duck tape projects going around, I decided that maybe duck tape would fix the breaking problem(reinforce the edges and bottom).  The I started thinking about size and remembered those baggies I saw a few years back with the school bus' on them.  I couldn't find those, but Hefty had a 2.5 gallon Ziploc bag.  I decided to go with those.  12 for $4 wasn't bad, big enough for most non-fiction or picture books, and I got duck tape when it was on sales at Michael's for 2 for 7.  So I started off with one box of bags and tried it tonight.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out.  Now to find a storage idea, and see if they actually work. By the way, that is my son (Paul) who was helping me.

So after a busy week, then a busy Monday with my kids I got back from their Dad's, I decided I should like up with Tara for her Monday Made It.

I start back to school on the 20th, so not much more time and so much to do.  Another :

13 Topic Binders
78 Book Bags
My Teacher Notebook - started but not finished
My Sub Notebook
Exit Ticket Poster
and classroom set up, I should stay pretty busy.

Till next Monday,  Have fun linking up with Tara and seeing what others made.
If you want to get some of that awesome nail polish, check out my website at

Nicole Rutledge

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It #6!!!!

Well, here goes nothing.  I am posting this from my phone because I am in Dallas at Mary Kay Sapphire Seminar!!!  Woo Hoo Party Time.  Yes, that is right, on top of being a teacher, parent, and stitcher, I am an independent beauty consultant.  Interested in skin care, body care, color cosmetics and more?  Then check out my website at and let me guide you to amazing things.

Okay, okay, I'm back on track now.  Back to school stuff.  Well, this is what I "made".
Well, rats!!!  Can't figure out how to insert the image off my phone, I'll explain instead. 

I have printed off over the past few weeks lesson passages and ideas from my district web site and to create separate binders for the different concepts in reading (summary, main idea, inference, etc.).  The binders are coming together slowly, but I'm still working on it. 

Then there is the stuff I printed on card stock - Parts of the Daily 5, CAFE Headers and Strategies, Daily 5 bookmarks, Calendar Pieces, Affix Word Wall, figurative language posters, genre posters, and I think 1 other thing.  Okay, I know not really a made it, but a heck of a lot of printing, and then at least an hour of cutting and trimming to get ready to laminate.  Thank you Mardels for the coupon for 5 feet of free laminating.  At least it will save some money (oh, and they accidentally gave me 2 :))!!!  So as for later this week, I will be a laminating, cutting machine, because as you can tell, I only have a little laminating!!!!

Well - Ta Ta for now, post more about seminar later, and the another stitching weekend coming up, then I guess it is back to reality.

Tara, sorry but the only way I know how to put a link to the Monday made it site with my phone is this way -  I'll try to rdmebed to grab your button on Wednesday when I'm back at home.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It - #? for me

Hello All,

Well last week was crazy and I am so behind.  Behind on Guiding Readers book study, Daily 5 Book Study, and now CAFE book study.  I plan on catching up today between doctors appointments and other things, so today will be a multiple blog day (sorry).

I finally got the craft projects I wanted to get done on Thursday.  My brain just wasn't in school last week, and it was probably due to all the divorce stuff I was handling (that's okay because I was ready for it to be done with).

Here is all what I completed thursday night while watching TV, and procrastinating on house work.

#1 - No Name Board -
         There have been so many out there, so I can't tell you exactly where I got my inspiration, maybe a little from all.   I kept mine simple.  (sorry its the wrong direction)

# 2 -   Table Tubs and Buckets
I got the tubs from the dollar store and the buckets from the dollar spot at Target.  If you go looking for these and can't find the orange one, it is because I spray painted a silver one orange.  The silver one (s - don't forget I painted one orange) had a chalkboard spot on them to write and I just put my labels over them.   I created the labels on my computer and then went Modge Podge crazy (well at least for me). 

I plan on the tubs holding community crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks, and maybe markers.   As for the buckets, I am thinking one at each table each day for them to put their trash in and then empty at the end of class, just maybe this week keep little papers off the floor.

#3 - Where are you board -
Again  I know I have seen this in circle format somewhere on our Monday Made It's, but I am not sure who started it.   I got the two rectangular trays from Dollar store and took some spray paint to them.   The magnets are the clear class rocks from Michaels in the flower section with Modge Podged numbers that I created off my computer and magnets glued on.  

#4 - Well I had extra of those clear rocks and decided I should make some more magnets from the stitching crew I am getting together with the first week of August.  Back to the computer for some fun pictures and more Modge Podge.  Hope they like them.

#5 - Tuesday at my Mary Kay Meeting we had a party and I was responsible for the fruit salad.  Loved my fruit bowl and had to share.

# 6- I need your help here.  At my big stitch weekend a couple of weeks ago, the ladies gave us these medal siding things.  They weren't a big hit, but I knew I should be able to use them in my classroom somehow.  I ended up getting mine plus the 4 others from the people at my table (like I said, they weren't a hit).  I spray painted them to match my buckets as a start (I know I am missing yellow, didn't have yellow spray paint at the time).  I'm not sure what to do with them?  I have thought of stacking them to show class volume, putting them on my table for the kids to request bathroom, etc, or maybe one on my table to show busy or free for when I am in small groups.  I would love to have your ideas.  Here is a picture so you know what I am talking about.

Hope you all have a Marvelous Monday and Don't forget to Link Up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for all of this weeks Monday Made Its.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made It #4

Well, I am back from my wonderful birthday weekend and all I have for a Monday Made It is for my home from my trip.

I got to attend a stitching retreat put on by The Silver Needle in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I was able to join all of these women.

That would be 121 women representing 24 states and Canada.  For Thursday and all of Friday till 5 we got to work on what every project we wanted.  So there were lots of neat projects going on.  During that time I was able to finish a piece I have been working on for months.  (unfortunately during school, I don't get to stitch daily).   Here is what I finished on Friday.

Friday evening the ladies at the Stitching Needle had the designers of Bent Creek Designs come and give us projects and teach us some new stitches.  YEA!!

Here where the projects we received Friday:                          


Both of these ladies also helped us  make these magnets.  One is just cutesy and the pink one is a pin cushion.  Here is a pictures.  

To finish up Saturday we got some awesome gifts:

 And I finished one of Friday's Teaching Projects:

I guess I now have to get ready for some school made its, but I sure did have a great amount of fun in Tulsa with my mom and my sister and all the women.

Till next week.  Happy Make It Monday.  I can't wait to see who else posts things on Tara's Monday Made It.  Link up and see what others have done and post yours as well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Guiding Readers - chapter 7

Well, this one won't be as long, due to the fact that I'm in Tulsa at a stitch retreat. Look for my Monday Made It to see what I did. Now on to chapter 7. All of what was said here really hit true to me. I love the lesson ideas as well. I think visualization is so hard for older kids because they didn't always do it when they had picture books because they used the pictures. One things I have done is read a picture book without showing the pictures and have them draw a scene. I also tell them to make a movie in their head. I also use pictures for inference. My favorite web site for that is Sorry, I they started stitching class, so I am finishing this on Sunday night.  If you have never been to, let me tell you why I love it for inference.  #1 - there is a new picture every day, #2 - they are typically real world things (animals, places, people, events, etc), #3 - there are squares you can click on in the picture that will take you to links to tell you what it is.  I think working with our higher grades, doesn't mean not teaching what they need, but instead teaching it in a way that allows the students to feel that they are being taught on level and not like a "baby."

Hope this helps some.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Daily 5 - Chapter 4 - Update

Okay, I would like to answer a couple of questions/concerns I am seeing repeated in the comment sections at .We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Stephanie - Yes, start read to self on Day 1. Ibbeck1701 is correct, till you have a good amount of time to pull students or a group, you go to a spot and pretend to be busy. Trust me it all comes together.

For those of you that are overwhelmed, hang on. When we start CAFE, it will all make more sense and you can see how it all merges. I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and panicky after I read D5 the first time before I read CAFE. Once I read CAFE, it all came together.

As for retelling the story - yes this is something the lower leveled readers will do, and yes they do it by pictures, but a lot of times a Non-Fiction Text can be read by pictures and gain information. We read the captions for information, right? So I do teach all 3 ways to read a book, because I want my students to know you can get the information from more than just the words, especially in Non - Fiction Text.

Here is a couple of video's the Two Sisters have done regarding Read to Self and the "Barometer" Child (the one who tells you when to bring the group back).

and some links:

I could just keep going. I just went to their website (, and typed in Read to Self in the search area. Then I looked for the public links. They also have member links. I hope this helps some of you.

If you would like to see my original thoughts and comments on Read to Self, you should be able to find it on my blog's home page.


Daily 5 - Chapter 4 - READ TO SELF

Woo Hoo, we are in the Meat and Potatoes of this. Read to Self is one of my favorites. I time for kids to read on what they want to read, but oh how it can be frustrating at times. I think I will just answer Mrs. Klohns 5 questions today:

How do you launch or plan to launch the Read to Self component in your own classroom?
1. I always begin Read To Self the way the book suggests. As a class (and each individual Class, I will have 3 this year) we create the I chart. Yes that means 3 I charts in one day. No I don't post them all, I combine to make 1 that gets posted. As you can see the Sisters give you what should be on there, so they all end up being about the same. Some years I add picture visuals, some years not.

  How do you implement modeling within your reading workshop time? Do you always model, or do students model correct reading behaviors too?

2) I also do modeling with the kids. They think it is funny, but it makes my point. Even though I teach 6th grade, and a lot of my students have done this in the past, I still find it very important. Each teacher is different. My versions of a bubble space, silent, and appropriate seating spots may differ from the previous teacher(s). I mainly have the kids model. As for time, I don't always start with 3 minutes, but I never start with more than 5. Yes, they are 6th graders, but we don't want wrong practice and believe me there are years we don't make it past 3 minutes.

How do your students choose their spots of read to self in your classroom?

3. I let me students choose their spots to sit, of course this is after we make an anchor chart of where appropriate seats are. (Where I can see you, what is a bubble space, where you will stay awake, yes you can be on the floor, no more than 2 people at a table, etc)
Do you allow your students the opportunity to book shop during their read to self time, or when do your students have an opportunity to do this?

4. I prefer book shopping to be done before Daily 5 starts, but with 3 classes and only 90 minutes each, a lot of time the book shopping has to be on the way to their spot. I haven't figured out a good way to do this. I will take any ideas that may be out there.
Is Read to Self something that you expect your students to do on a daily basis when they are picking their rotation spots?

5. I think Read to Self is a DAILY must do. I am hoping to have a Daily 3, where Read to Self and Work on Writing are required, and then Read to Someone, Listen to Reading (don't do this very often), and Word Work as an optional the 3rd rotation. However to be honest, even after doing this 3 years, it is still hard to get it all in for me. I have also found that my Mini Lessons some times are 20 minutes (hey with 6th grade sometimes it takes that) and we can only do a Daily 2. I have also realized in order to get those grades, we all must have, I have to help my students understand that Read to Self may include an activity to do as well. Sometimes we need to record as we read to completely comprehend.

If you want to hear what other teachers are saying, link up the Blog discussion going on at We Read, We Blog, We Teach.

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Till Friday, make sure you take some time for you to have READ TO SELF.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Guiding Readers - Chapter 6

Well, I decided to try something new, colored letters instead of black.  I know I'm a day late, again!  I promise to try to be on top of things a little more, however Chapter 7 will probably be late as well, I will be out of town from Thursday to Sunday.  

This chapter really hit home with me in several ways -

1) This is where a lot of my students are.  I teach a lot of ESL kids and while they can read fluently and with accuracy, their comprehension and vocabulary are weak.  

2)  Hello, CAFE.  Does this not connect so well.  Our students have the A - accuracy and F- Fluency strategies and we have to work on the C - Comprehension and E - Expanding Vocabulary.  

3)  I think I have figured out how to include this with Daily 5/ Cafe.  I can so see myself teaching these strategies as a whole group the first few weeks of school while getting my Daily 5 set up, and then reinforcing these strategies in small groups with their Must Do's being their activities during Daily 5 Time.  I think this might just work.  

I also like how she includes the writing components and vocabulary components which fit right in with Work on Writing and Word Work.  

Oh boy, I may be putting too much on myself trying to get all this to come together, but I love all my thoughts.  Now how to include Geography, I'll figure it out.  

The neat thing is, is Lori's strategies (lessons) during Small group match up and give you strategies for teaching the Comprehension elements and having a physical for grading. 

I can't wait for the next chapter (Hey my color goofed), That's better.  Working with Struggling Readers in the Upper Grades is where I am, so I can't wait for her new ideas.  Has anyone thought of putting a spreadsheet together of her Lesson Routines, What they Are, and Her Must Do's along with what area of reader they go with?  Stupid Auto Save, changed my font again.  Maybe that will be my first TPT.  Not sure if mine will look as cute as ya'lls.  Till next time.  Happy Reading.


To see what others have wrote link up with Beth at Thinking of Teaching.


Monday Made It # 3 - for me

Hello all,  this Monday Made it has kept me on my toes.  It seems as I complete one project I get to add two more to my list.  I have decided I am going to do two more fun projects and then on to things that help my students learn.  I will be incorporating Reading, Writing, and Social Studies all in 90 minutes (YIKES!).  I need to figure out how to make my Daily 5 work with Social Studies too.  I have always struggled teaching vocabulary and spelling, so those are two things I think I will work on the next couple of weeks.

This weeks Monday Made It I got my inspiration from Alison at Eberopolis and her creation of the Writing Process. (Click on the picture to see how she did this.)

I did mine a little different for two reasons.  # 1 - I wanted it to take up less space and #2 - I have 3 classes of up to 30 students each.  That is a lot of clothespins.

Here are the clothespins - 30 of each color and I added plate joining biscuits (from the hardware store) so I could write the numbers bigger and hopefully see them from some distance.

Here is the Writing Process.  Modge Podge and I didn't get along very well.  This is the first time I did it and there are some wrinkles, but I think it will do for this first year.

I know that I probably can't fit 90 clothes pins on each board, but I got at least 60 done last night, and who has all the students on the same step in the process.

As for next week, I plan on having two fun teaching projects and a stitching project.  I am going to a stitch camp from Thursday to Sunday, I can't wait.  Well, the laundry needs to be done (YUCK) and the house needs to be cleaned (YUCK, YUCK) so I guess I better get that done so I can work on some more projects.  Wish I could just blog hop instead and work on crafts.

Happy Monday Made - It.  Until Next week, have fun creating. If you need ideas, go see what other teachers have created on Monday Made it with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.  Just Click on the Button Below.  Tara, I hope I grabbed your button correct today.  I've been trying to figure it out)