Using Showbie Pro in the Classroom

Hey friends! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Remember that time I set a goal to blog twice a month? Well it’s March and here we are. Anyway, I wanted to share an awesome new technology that I’ve been using in my classroom with you. It’s called Showbie and it is uh-ma-zing! First off, something I love about Showbie is that it’s FREE for educators to use (up to a certain number of assignments), or you can purchase Showbie PRO if you plan to use it full time with your students. I have been using it for about a month now, and it has been such a game changer for my students (and me!). We have been using it for our partner projects that we began recently, so I’m going to tell you all about that.

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To get started with Showbie, I made an account and created a classroom. I actually teach both fourth grade classes, so I easily created a classroom for both 4A and 4B. Each class was given a code that I could easily share with students so that they could login using their Google accounts. To get ready for our partner projects, I uploaded the Powerpoint Presentation that I used with my class so that they could have all the information in one place, the rubric that I would be using to grade their projects, so they could make sure they had all of the components they needed, and the assignment planning sheet (just in case someone lost theirs – teachers, I know you feel me on this one!). With all of this in one place and ready to go, I presented Showbie to my students and they created their logins, which seriously only took 5 minutes. The best part is that there was no time on my end creating individual student logins for 35 different students (again, you all know that feeling). After that, we were ready to start working!


Our partner projects were an assignment to create a Powerpoint about a topic they were studying and it was something that we would be working on over a few class periods. When we picked up where we left off later in the week, the inevitable “I forget our topic!” or “Where did you tell us to look for that again?” and “What pages was that on?” questions came up. This is where having all of my materials on Showbie really saved me. All I had to do was direct my students to Showbie for the Powerpoint with all that information. Those questions quickly turned into, “Oh right! This is awesome!” and “This is so cool to have it all right here for us!” No really, my fourth graders ACTUALLY said those things. And I certainly was thinking them.

Once my students started to complete their projects, they were able to easily submit them right into the Showbie discussion board. All they needed to do was click the assignment and add directly from Google Drive. No more, “should I share this with you?” followed by mistyped email addresses or having to dig through my inbox to find 20 different links to projects! Seriously, a game changer for all of us.

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This was our first assignment using Showbie Pro, but it will definitely be a staple in my classroom now! Anything that saves me and my students time and makes our lives a little easier is a no-brainer for me.

If you’re interested in trying out Showbie for yourself, you can sign up for free at or get Showbie Pro for just $99 (regular price $149) using coupon code showbie499 until March 31, 2019! Let me know when you sign up so we can Showbie together!



Five Key Tips for First Year Teachers


One of the questions I get most frequently is, “what advice would you give to new teachers?” There are so many little tips I would give and things I’ve learned along the way, but I’ve rounded up my 5 biggest pieces of advice to share below. If you are a first-year teacher, an education major, or even just someone considering going into teaching- read on!

1. Be Flexible

This is my absolute number one piece of advice for all new teachers! The need and ability to be flexible was something I learned quickly, but not necessarily easily. I am such a planner and when I plan something, I want it to go exactly as expected every single time. News flash…it won’t. Sometimes you have a fire drill in the middle of something that you allotted a particular amount of time on. Sometimes an activity you think would be engaging and exciting is a total flop. Sometimes you don’t get to every last thing on your lesson plan in one day because your students are enjoying another activity and you opted to spend more time with it. Sometimes a student decides they want bangs in a middle of an activity when they’re cutting with scissors. THAT’S OKAY! Okay, well, maybe not that last one, but it might happen. As a first-year teacher, it’s hard to accept the fact that these lesson plans you’ve meticulously crafted may need to be switched up, but learn to roll with it! Things will get done, even if it’s not exactly as you expected.

2. Cultivate Relationships

This one is important in so many areas. First and foremost, build relationships with your students. Find out their likes and dislikes, learn about their families, find out what their dog’s name is. These things will help you build trust and strong connections to create a loving and safe learning environment. Secondly, develop relationships with parents. I firmly believe in the mentality that parents and teachers should be a team. We are here for their children and we should trust and work together. Keep lines of communication open and be honest with parents. Trust me, things will go smoother if you have them in your corner. Lastly, establish relationships with your colleagues. The best things I have learned have come from other teachers. From little pieces of school culture that you may only know after having been there for a while, to understanding a brand new curriculum, all the way to ideas on lessons or classroom management, don’t be afraid to reach out to your colleagues! Likewise, don’t forget about the non-teachers who work in your school! Establish relationships with your custodian, your office staff, and your admin team – they help to keep your school running seamlessly (and it never hurts when you need a favor later on. 🙂

3. It’s Okay Not to Know

Again, this was another lesson I learned the hard way. My first year teaching, I walked the line between asking for help FAR too often and not asking enough when I should. I was teaching with established teachers and didn’t want to feel like the “weak link” on our team. But, guess what? No one expects you to know everything the second you walk through the door! You are learning just as much as your students are throughout the year and, in most cases, other teachers are there to help you! Find a mentor teacher that you feel comfortable with and pick their brain. Ask questions when you aren’t sure what to do. Take suggestions and criticism (I’ll admit, this one was and still is tough for me!). Don’t be afraid to say you need help. We tell these things to our students (“mistakes are proof that you are trying” anyone?), so allow yourself the grace to learn and make mistakes too.


4. Don’t Try to Do It All

In our classrooms, it can often feel like there are one hundred different things going on at any given moment right in front of us. Nevermind all the things that sit on our to-do lists, the ideas we get from the internet, or the activities we see other teachers doing in their classrooms down the hall that are swirling around in our heads. It can be easy to want to do TOO MUCH. It can be easy to try to do too much, and then end up doing those things only halfway and ineffectively. As a first-year teacher, it’s okay not to do it all. Try picking one or two things you want to focus on and work on doing them WELL. Really go all in on them. For me, my first year was all about mastering the curriculum. Maybe I wasn’t going off script in a natural way like the veteran teacher next to me and rather was trying to stick to what the book said. Maybe my classroom wasn’t the cutest or neatest one compared to a woman teaching there for eight years before me. But five years in, I could likely teach my curriculum with my eyes closed, adding and taking away things that best fit my class based on the year and differentiating activities for my students with ease – and I owe that to spending the first year getting to know my curriculum in depth. My “cute” and organized classroom came in bits and pieces year by year. It’s okay to build up rather than dive in all at once!

5. Reflect on Your Year

When I was a student at Boston College, one of the things they said over and over (and over and over) was to reflect on your practice. This has guided my teaching as I have moved on from year to year. Of course, as a student, my reflections were long, tedious, and time consuming (think: journals and papers with specifications and guidelines). However, reflection doesn’t mean you need to sit down and write a page long essay about a lesson. If that works for you, great! But as a teacher, my primary forms of reflection are short, quick notes. If a lesson goes well, I write down what I did to make it successful or an idea that may have popped into my head for next time. If it does not, I write what didn’t work and make notes about how to fix it. I jot down notes about differentiation, about how I could have made a lesson more culturally responsive, things to make sure I do next year before a unit comes up, about EVERYTHING. I also reflect in the form of conversations with my team. If we are all teaching the same lesson and something doesn’t click for my students, I ask them how it went in their room, what they did that I could try, and so on. The same goes for when we knock something out of the park. Sharing and talking with others is a big form of my practice and something that has had huge benefits on my teaching! Reflecting is key to becoming a better educator.

To help you reflect, I’ve created a short and sweet reflection sheet for you! You can choose to reflect daily, weekly, or by lesson! GRAB THE FREEBIE HERE!



See, I told you I have alot of advice for new teachers! These five, however, are the biggest and best things that I wish someone told me before I stepped foot in my classroom. Above all, though, enjoy it. You’re only a first year teacher once!


And, as always, if you need any more guidance, have questions, or just want to REFLECT on that first year teaching- reach out to me! I’m here to help!

Fourth Grade Book Ideas

Hey everyone! A while back, I posted on Instagram about needing book suggestions to build my fourth grade library as I gear up for my big move (EEK!). So many of you came to my rescue with some absolutely amazing book suggestions! So many suggestions, in fact, that I felt that I needed to compile them all in one comprehensive list for you! Okay, okay. This list is LONG overdue, I know. The end of the school year got me good. But, since it’s the first week of summer, I finally have a chance to sit down and put it all together for you!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission off a purchase to keep this blog up and running!

Here we go!

Favorite Series:

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

-Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

-Diary of a Wimpy Kid  by Jeff Kinney

-Who Would Win? by Jerry Pallotta

-The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

-Divergent by Veronica Roth

-Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

-I Survived… by Lauren Tarshis

-Ivy and Bean by Sophie Blackwell

-Who Was…? by Various Authors

-Where Was…? by Various Authors

-What Is….? by Various Authors

-City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau


Favorite Authors: 

-Judy Blume

-Beverly Cleary

-Gordan Korman

-Rick Riordan

-Kate DiCamillo

-Brandon Mull


Favorite Books

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

-The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

-Wish by Barbara O’Connor

-Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

-Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

-Frindle by Andrew Clements

-Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


So…what do you think? Do you see any of your favorites on the list? Any that should be added? Let me know and I will add them to the list! I will also be adding more as I read them or get suggestions from others!


Happy book hunting!


Guys, I have big news to share.

As you may know, I’ve been teaching Kindergarten since starting out four years ago. It is where I struggled as a first year teacher, felt as if I knew (a little more of) what I was doing my second year, and really grew as a teacher in my third and fourth years. This year has been especially full of growth as my teammate and team leader was out on maternity leave for half the year, leaving me as the pseudo team leader for quite some time. It taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as both a leader and a teammate. These past four years have been extremely formative in my career and I am so thankful for all that I have learned as a Kindergarten teacher. I learned that, yes, kids do poop their pants on the first day of school on your first EVER day teaching. And no, it is not mud that they stepped in on the playground. I learned that it’s really important to clarify that put your finger ON your nose when you have an answer does not, in fact, mean to put your finger IN your nose when you have an answer. And I’ve learned that freeze dance Friday is really the best way to end the week. I’ve also learned that young children are capable of truly amazing things. They are compassionate, empathetic, kind, loving, funny, and so very, very smart. They make tremendous growth in such a small amount of time and it has been the most wonderful feeling to watch their pride as they do so.

However, as much as I have enjoyed my time in K, my heart is pulling me elsewhere. I am very much they type of person who needs frequent change and challenge. I am always looking toward the next thing. At this moment, the next thing for me is a new grade level. I’m so excited to say that next year I will be teaching FOURTH GRADE! I am so thrilled, but so terribly nervous. I am excited for new content, new teaching strategies, and new challenges. But I also know that the challenges I face will be very different than many I have already come across with the little ones. It is so hard for me to leave this grade level where I feel confident and comfortable, but I know it will be a great thing for me both personally and professionally (I mean, it will be…right? Someone tell me this is a good idea!) It will be a whole new ball game for me! Well, except for the kids. My class next year will be many of the students I had in my very first kindergarten class! Cool, right?!


Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s where I need your help. I want to know what you love about fourth grade and what works for you! Who do you follow on social media that gives you great ideas? What are some must-haves for my classroom? Any behavior management tools that you love? What books should I add to my library? What should I absolutely AVOID? Anything you want to share about is fair game, I’m all ears! Leave a comment below, message me on Instagram, send me an email, whatever you want, just give me the low down!

I’m so excited to share my journey with you as I transition from K to 4th and I hope you follow along and enjoy the ride!




Math Strategy Practice

Math is one of my absolute FAVORITE subjects to teach! I think my favorite thing about math is that it is so universal and that there are so many ways to solve one problem.

In Kindergarten, we expose students to multiple ways to solve both addition and subtraction problems. We use counters, fingers, pictures, number lines, and counting on/back!

To help visualize our strategies, we made this anchor chart. It’s such a simple visual for students, and they absolutely love it!


As the year goes on, we explicitly practice each of these strategies, but we also encourage students to find the one that works best for them. And that might change throughout the year! I find that students start working with pictures or fingers, but then gradually move to counting on (or even just solving in their head when they are ready!).

We did this math activity as a refresher of a few frequently used strategies.

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Students solved one addition and one subtraction problem using this worksheet. To make sure they were solving one that was “just right” for them, even within a whole class lesson, problem cards were differentiated by color. As students came to pick a card, I simply asked them to pick either green, blue, or pink. Then, they were given materials at their tables to solve the problem using counters, a picture, and a number line.

It was a great way to see who gravitates toward which strategy and which ones we could practice a little more!

You can grab the math activity here! It also includes word problem options and is editable!

What are your favorite ways to practice math strategies? Let me know! We are always looking for fun and exciting ways to problem solve!