Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peek at My Week: Week 3



Here's what we're up to this week....

Math: We've offcially started MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION MODELS!! Yikes. I'm on my way to TPT to see if I can find some inspiration :)

Science: It's a test week! We'll be busy reviewing chapter one, which is all about how the Earth moves within our solar system.

Reading: The launch continues with some very "Book Specific" lessons. I especially like the one about abandoning books...something we deal with even as grownups. At least I do....

Writing: We're continuing our Bad Apple project! It's a great way to keep their little brainboxes focused on what is and isn't "ok" at school. Something that, with older kids especially it seems, starts to get pushed to the back burner preeeetty quickly after the school year starts. It's available at my TPT Store :) Here's the link!

Indiana History: We're mostly sticking to the book at this point...any ideas on how I could spice things up?? I'm open to anything!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Today! Today!!

I get new storage for my classroom TODAY!!!!! I love my classroom...but it's storage is a little bit....lacking.

As in there isn't any.

Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

So we've been storing everything on the floor............which I hate. A lot.

BUT TODAY{!!!!!!}


And everything that makes my teacher heart {sigh}


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Peek at My Week: Week 2

Arriving late to the party (per usual...) Here is my week two! Thanks to Mrs. Wills for hosting :)

Science: This is my first year that science has been a requirement and I have to say that I {LOVE LOVE LOVE} it. I've been using a lot of great videos from brainpop, (educational TED talks videos), and youtube for inspiration. This week we're studying the earth and it's movement within the solar system.

Math: ALL ABOUT AREA! And shapes. And using shapes to find area. We definitely do a lot of fun group work during this time. Though it's juuuust about time to get those math rotations up and running...

Reading: 30 Day Reading Program Launch (though to be honest, I definitely don't think it's going to take 30 days....) I love the 30 day daily 5 launch in the lower grades. I think it's fabulous! But I also think that you have to look at the class you're working with and this particular class of mine has been doing Daily 5 since Kindergarten. For them it's like riding a bike. So 30 days? It'll probably be more like 15-20.

Writing: We're launching Writer's Workshop and starting our first WRITING PROJECT!!! No Bad Apples Here (available at my TPT store--shameless plug over).

Social Studies: This is another new one for me. 4th grade studies Indiana History and I have to say that I'm getting PRETTY excited :) We start unit one this week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Peek at my Week: The First Week of 4th Grade!

Tomorrow!! Tomorrow!! I get kiddos tomorrow!!!

I'm BEYOND excited for this new group of kidlets :) I can't wait to start our year together. Since it's First Day of School Eve,  I'm posting a Peek At My Week (Thank you for hosting, Mrs. Wills) AND my new TPT product!


That's a big post! Let's get started, shall we?

Since there are only three days, planning this week was a breeze--PLUS the first week of school is always filled with so much FUN...before testing, before new, before thinkyourbrainsout.....I love it.

Some fun stuff we've got going on:
In the morning...We'll be spending a LOT of time on procedures (practicing and practicing) as well as learning the rules of the school. I'm using this cutesie clip from Despicable Me to introduce school rules--you can find it here! With it being the first few days of school, we also have a little bit of benchmarking going on, which is what STAR Math is.

In the afternoon....We begin our 30 day launch of Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop (which of course in my mind means lots of great read alouds). Our first week of school project will be a classroom quilt (which you can find over in my TPT store if you're interested in joining in on the fun!). It's a great little way to get the kiddos working together and to let them find a spot of their own in their new classroom :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

No Bad Apples Here!

Hi Friends!

Being in the midst of prepping for my new grade has really got the creativity flowing!! That being said, I posted a new product to Teachers Pay Teachers. It's a great little beginning of the school year writing project that is ALL about the do's and don't's of school.

I tell the (very quick) story of two rival schools--Golden Apple North Elementary and Bad Seed Central--that were forced to combine into one school! The crazy little apples have picked teams and chosen sides. They call themselves The Good Apples and The Bad Apples....*cue dramatic music*

For the writing prompt, your students must choose a side (are they good apples or bad apples) and come up with 10 rules (and reasons) for their side. I love that this project opens up the discussion of what is and is not "ok" at school. What's a good idea and what's not.

Here it is! If you click on the picture, it'll take you right to my TPT store :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet Steph!

I'm linking up with Falling Into First for her Meet the Teacher Linky. It's been so fun getting to read about all of you! So I thought I'd tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Stephanie Rudakas. I'm a 25 year old teacher who LOVES her job. I teach in a fabulous district in Northwest Indiana. I taught 2nd grade for 3 years and this year I'm moving to 4th grade. I can't wait to see where this change takes me :)

I am engaged to ^this guy^ and we'll be getting married in a little over a year. So, in a nutshell, I decided to change grades and plan a wedding all in one year....a little crazy? Possibly ;)

This is my favorite (...and only) little furbaby. His name is Rory :) He's a two year old goldendoodle and a total cutiepants. I love him to pieces. My favorite thing about him is that he's an adorable little blanket-dragger! Seriously--just drags his blanket around the house. Like a furry Linus. 

This past summer has been a summer of wedding planning, classroom planning, reading, and hanging out with my family. Total perfection :) 


Shopping. Photography. Flair pens. Sharpies. Running. Yoga. Any show by Shonda Rhimes ever. Netflix. Blogging. Photoshop. Coffee. Tea. Mugs. Purses. 

Photographer :) Hands down. I love everything about it. It makes me feel giggly and happy. 

Passionate. Quirky. Loving.

 "I just LOVE planning for a sub and being away from my classroom!" Said no teacher ever.


My family and friends. They are my favorites and I don't feel weird and awkward around them. But also I would want to invite...
Audrey Hepburn (she is just so classy and cool).
The queen (it would give me an excuse to use the good china)
Steve Martin (WHAT a riot.)


It would be a series under the title of Spazzypants. Examples include:
Meet Spazzypants
Spazzypants Teaches
Spazzypants Gets a Dog
Spazzypants Plans a Wedding
Spazzypants Hosts Thanksgiving
Spazzypants Attempts to Organize Her Pantry


Invisibility. Hands down. Next question. 


Not every day is perfect. In fact, most of them aren't. That being said, I'm a firm believer in the fact that your days are what you make them. You have to choose happiness.


Jolene by Dolly Parton. I just LOVE that song--plus, I feel like if I were on American Idol, there would be a certain amount of respect that came with singing Classic Dolly.

I wish with my whole heartbox that I was a morning person but, alas and alack, I am for SURE a night owl. I always have such big plans to wake up early and get things done...that happens never. I'm a snooze-button enthusiast. 

I really love the editing checklists for primary and intermediate grades I have in my store. It's a great little product that will take your writers through the school year. There's a primary version and an intermediate version :) Click on the picture for the link!


I did professional theatre in Chicago when I was a kid! I even got my minor in theatre. Still love it :)

There you have it! Head on over to Falling into First to join the fun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Peek at my Week...

All of you fabulous teachers out there have inspired me to make the jump and start posting my lesson plans on my blog. So, I'm linking up with Mrs.Wills' Kindergarten and shall begin to visually share my weekly lesson plans....YIKES!

Intimidating? Yes. 

Makin' me nervous??? Also yes. 

But you never know until you just try it and see how it goes--so! I'm making the jump.

I haven't started school yet, but I was inspired by Mrs. Wills who posted a quick snapshot of what a typical day in her classroom looks like!

Now, just to be clear and honest, I haven't actually taught 4th grade yet haha. I have taught 3 years of 2nd grade, but zero days of 4th grade (unless you count student teaching, in which case I've taught three-ish months of 4th grade) I guess this is really just an "I hope and plan for my day to look like this" snapshot. As of right now, it's a combination of my second grade schedule, the schedule of my new 4th grade team members, and what I would like to accomplish within a day. I'll keep you all updated on how well my potential plans go ;)

Now HERE are a few of the resources I've found helpful in years past and hope to use this year as well.

I really love using the Daily Practice series by Evan-Moore in the mornings while the kidlets are getting settled. I feel like it's a quick and fairly easy way for them to get their little brainboxes moving and shaking as soon as they get to school. 

ANYTHING BY HOPE KING IS GOLD. I stand by this statement. I really and truly LOVE her monthly math centers. They have been life savers in my classroom and the kids love 'em.

Finally (of course...) the Daily 5. If you haven't found your way to this book yet, please please please go and read it now :) It's turned my students (even the littles) into independent workers. The ideas within this book are fabulous and have done so much for how smoothly my classroom runs during the 90 min. reading block. 

Here are the links to my resources!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently

It's that magical time of year again..... :)

Well, for teachers anyway. The fresh supplies...the twelve thousand trips to target...jimmy john's on speed dial so you can keep working while you eat dinner....

I love this time of year. It's so full of anticipation--things you want to do differently, things you want to keep exactly the same (and pray that you'll get the same successful results...)

This has been a really busy summer! It has definitely gone faster than any other in my lifetime. I got engaged to the love of my life on the last day of school and since then time has been an absolute whirlwind of wedding planning.

One of my favorites from our Engagement Sesh. Photos by the magnificently
talented Jessica DeKock of Forever October Photography.

I also decided that this would be a great year to switch grade levels! I can't wait to make the move from 2nd grade to 4th grade. I get bubbly in my heartbox just thinking about it!! The CHAPTER BOOKS!!! The DEPTH!!! I. Can. Not. Wait. Keep an eye out for those classroom reveal pics because they are a'commin'.

Anywho. Where was I? YES! August Currently :) Thanks Farley!

Listening: The quiet...lordie I've learned to love the quiet. It's just something that can make you feel as though you're part of the WORLD and not just stuck in your phone with spotify...though that can be fun too :)

Loving: My family and fiance. God I just love them. They make my heart feel like it's going to burst out of my chest. They've been so incredibly helpful while I've been working at the school. I honestly don't know what I would do without them.

Thinking: I am of two minds lately. Wedding planning and 4th grade planning. If I'm not thinking about dresses and cake testing, I'm thinking about curriculum and long range planning. My brain feels like it might 'splode.

Wanting: I really want for the transition from 2nd to 4th to go well...I student taught 4th grade so it shouldn't be too much of a culture shock...but still. Change makes me nervous...

Needing: I NEED to keep working in my classroom. NEED. I have DREAMS about walk in...nothing there....ok, so it's more like nightmares...haha

1st Day You and the Kids: I want to create a classroom timeline this year--photo style. I want to take pictures each month and then post them in our classroom so the kiddos can remember how much they've done. I plan to establish this on our first day :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exciting News Alert!!

I'm getting married!! :)

Read all about it (and see the pretty pretty pictures) over on my personal blog Sparkly, Quirky Lifebox!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TPT Updates

Hello there! I've made a few edits to projects over at my TPT store :) My freebie download has been revamped and so has the Positive Passport. 

Also, the Writing Editing Checklists have been broken down into separate products (one product for primary, and one product for intermediate). Be sure to check them out! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I'm joining the fun and having a SALE over on TPT! Be sure to go check it out :)

I've got some fun writing projects just perfect for spring and summer time! I've also got some editing checklists that are PERFECT for peer or solo editing (both primary and intermediate). Happy Shopping!!


Monday, May 5, 2014

May Currently (just a little late!)

OO So exciting! I haven't done a Currently in about a YEAR and I couldn't be more excited to be back in the linky lovin' game :) Thanks Farley!!

Listening: So Spotify has made some pretty fantastic playlists. I'm especially loving their "Mood Boost" playlist!! So many fun songs.

Loving: Cheesy, yes, but I am just LOVIN' on my honey. He's been so sweet and patient with all this end of the year stuff we have going on at the school. Plus look at this guy!

How can I not?!?! Plus a little birdy (aka ^That Dino Guy ^) told me a sparkly little blingy something could be on it's way very soon....eeeeee!!!!

Thinking: I am OVER this chilly weather!! Up here in northwest Indiana we've had six MONTHS of winter. We had 181 days under 70 degrees. That just should not happen in the real world so I am OVER the cold. OVER IT. DO YA HEAR ME?!?!? DONE!!

Wanting: Some of those cutesie lace TOMS! So femine! So girly!! So cute!! So I need to put them on my feet already.... :)

Needing: I really need to come up with a cute end of the year gift idea for the kidlets...but I'm drawing a real blank. Anyone out there have any ideas?? What are you guys doing??

Surprise: So Funky Fresh Firsties caught my eye because of her SUPER cute button :) It's got coffee...I love coffee...I'm sure you smarty pants readers can put that one together. As I read, she's got SO many cute ideas so be sure to check out what she's got to say! Check Her Out!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Writing Editing Checklists--For Primary AND Intermediate!

Hi Friends!

So, I'd started another writing project with my kiddos and as they were editing I realized I wanted them to go through more "concrete" steps in their editing processes. It seemed like they were just kind of skimming over their partner's work with a "Yep! That looks ok to me!" without really checking it.

And so (out of necessity) was born the Peer Editing Checklist!!

I loved how it got them to really think through each step of the editing process. So I got to thinkin' and I realized that I would want to use something similar to this when I moved up to 4th grade (eek! Still so excited!!) next year.....

And so (out of future necessity) was born the Peer Editing Checklist for Intermediate Grades!!

From there, I went a little nuts and I created a Solo Editing Checklist and a Spice Up Your Writing Checklist for Early Finishers.

I bundled all of these bad boys together and you can find them in my TPT shop! I hope they help out your classes as much as they did mine. Let me know whatcha think!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Teacher Vows

In my heart of hearts, I believe that teachers should take teaching vows. Doctors have to! So why not us?? I've come up with a few of my own...what are yours?

Teacher Vows

* I will speak kindly to my students (even when it's very very hard)-remembering that they are little and see the world very differently.

*I will point out the good things I see in my class instead of only correcting the bad. You get more bees with honey anyway.

*I will remember that they are working to try to please me and that when they've done something wrong it makes them feel nervous. I will assuage their fears.

*I will remember that, to every child's parents, they are the most important bit of their lives.

*I will put on a smile even if I don't feel like it because my students didn't do anything wrong and don't deserve to be grouched at.

*I will drink coffee because, I swear, it makes me a better educator.

*I will contact my parents with any concerns before they contact me.

*I will do the extra stuff. Plant the seeds, find the fun unit, teach them something that ISN'T IN THE STANDARDS just because it's interesting. I will celebrate the holidays and do the extra little things.

For as long as I am a teacher, I will vow to work on these things and try to do them every. single. day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Hi there Friendlies,

I updated my blog over at Sparkly Quirky Lifebox after *ehem* 14 months...yikes! Anywho, feel free to check it out :)

Sparkly Quirky Lifebox

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Perfect Picnic...RUINED!

Hi Friends,

I've posted a new writing project and craftivity over on my TPT store :)

What is your *PERFECT* picnic? Where is it? What is on the menu? Who are you with? And what would happen if it got....RUINED???

Explore these ideas with your kiddos! This is a fun, creative narrative that keeps that "almost summertime" feeling alive, but still pushes your students to write a creative piece that includes a definitive introduction, problem, and solution.

Be sure to go check it out! Thanks!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I love learning.

I love that, as teachers, we are constantly learning.

We learn about our children, our subject areas, our workplace....

We learn about how to interact with the parents of our children.

That, friendlies, was my big lesson this year. I learned and I learned it well.

I learned that it is so IMPORTANT (yep, brought out all of the capital letters) to reach out and to contact them FIRST before they contact YOU.

Seems like a basic lesson, yes? For me it was something I struggled with, but I'm very glad that it's a lesson I learned. Learning this lesson (that hard way) has made me a better educator.

I am thankful. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Springtime is Blooming!

And what better way to celebrate Spring FINALLY making her grand appearance than with a writing project and craftivity??

"Dairy of a Seed" is my new product on Teachers Pay Teachers!

It's a great way for students to expand their knowledge on the life cycle of a seed. Students write journal entries for their seed and we watch it journey from seed to full grown plant! The kidlets really loved thinking about what the seed/seedling/sprout/plant was feeling. It was too cute!

The included craftivity has kiddos using their hands to create their own flower to attach to the finished writing project--the center of the flower, we voted, would be filled with a glitter design of their own invention. I loved seeing what they came up with :)

I also paired this activity with an actual seed growing project. We watched The Lorax as a special in class reward (the day we had to go to school on a SATURDAY...long story...snow day make up...) and while we watched, we planted our own marigold seeds. It was a great way to link the writing project to something they could really learn from as they watched it grow.

Head on over to TPT to check it out! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Positive Passport

Hi Friends! It's been busy here in second grade. With all the chilly weather, we've had quite a few two hour delays and days where going outside for recess was NOT an option.

The kiddos have gotten a little squirrely to say the least.

I had a couple of kidlets that really needed some extra incentive to stay on track so I created the Positive Passport. It allows the kiddos to write down their goals and get their passport "stamped" at different points during the day to track whether or not they're meeting the goals they created for themselves. Each page tracks behavior for an entire week so kiddos can see their progress from day to day or even week to week! It's really helped out around here :)

I've posted it over in my TPT shop! Here's the link :)