On A Personal Note: Are You a Donor?

If you’ve read my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I don’t often post about my personal/family life.  But, every now and then, I will post about something that is near and dear to my heart. 

April is National Donate Life Month.  National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003. Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

Organ donation has touched my family in more ways than one.  My mom received the gift of life in 2006 and my precious Nora was an organ donor.

Watch their story here:

My mom is a strong advocate for organ and tissue donation.  She helped to create a law in our state that all drivers educations students be informed about organ and tissue donation, she speaks at high schools, churches and other organizations throughout the state and even helped to build a donor memorial wall in our hospital.

This past Wednesday, the wall was dedicated to organ and tissue donors and their families.  It is a beautiful tribute and my beautiful Nora is also featured on the wall.

We always say, it will never happen to me.  But it did happen to us.  We lost our beautiful daughter suddenly nearly 8 years ago.   Receiving the call from Life Source about organ donation was scary and hard – it was a conversation we never had, nor thought that we needed to have.  But I am so happy that we chose “yes” for Nora. 


If you make the choice to be an organ and tissue donor (and I hope you do), the most important thing you need to do is to notify your family of your wishes.  Anyone can be a donor – your gift can and will save lives – just as a special gift saved my mom’s life.

Take just a minute to read these important statistics, and then click the link below to register as an organ and tissue donor.  If you had the chance to save a life, wouldn’t you?

Donation and Transplantation Statistics

· Approximately 79 organ transplants take place every day in the United States.

· On average, a single donor can save or heal the lives of up to 50 people.

· Each year more than 28,000 patients begin new lives thanks to organ transplants.

· Over 46,000 patients had their sight restored last year through corneal transplants.

· A living donor can provide a kidney or a portion of their liver, lung, pancreas or intestine.

· More than one third of all deceased donors are age 50 or older, and nearly 8% are age 65 or older.

· Sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day while waiting, simply because the organ they needed was not donated in time.

· On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day—one every 10 minutes.

· More than 120,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.

· Nearly 35% of patients awaiting kidney transplants are African American.

· In 2012, there were more than 30,000 tissue donors and 60,000 cornea donors.

· More than 1 million tissue transplants are performed each year and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising.

· As of June 2013, over 112 million people, approximately 46 percent of the U.S. adult population, are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors.

· To register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor visit www.donatelife.net.


Daily Schedule

I get a lot of e-mail asking about my daily schedule, so I thought I would post it here for you all to see.  My schedule can change throughout the year and of course from year to year.  Here is what it looks like right now:


Hope that helps a bit!

A Whole Lot of Bunny Fun!

I’m throwing back to a post from a couple of years ago tonight! It’s been another crazy weekend of dance for me, so all of my center drawers are not set for the week yet, but I’ll be using most of the same activities from my Hoppin’ Into Spring Math and Literacy Center Pack. I’ll also be throwing in some of the activities from my April Word Work pack to round out my word work drawers.

Here are the pics from my center drawers from a few years ago: (there are a few freebies thrown in there too!)


Counting Syllables


Using our sight words to write super sentences!


Practicing the tricky tr and dr blends:


Matching ending sounds to the picture and stamping the CVC word:


Cracking an egg to write the digraph:



Adding with 3 numbers: 


Still working on naming and saying the value of coins.


Which number is bigger?


Working with number words.  The children crack an egg and build the number word with the letter tiles that are inside of each egg. (download this one below!)


Who doesn’t love Peeps?


I think I forgot to snap a pic of the recording sheet for these 2 centers. The top one is for count the room, and the bottom is for an egg vowel hunt.


Here are some centers that we did last year too…I would love a comment if you download!  image


For this center, you can use picture cards or miniatures (like the ones from Lakeshore)


I can’t remember where the original idea for this sheet came from.  If you know or if it’s you, please let me know so I can give credit where it is due!  For this activity, I put an assortment of jelly beans in a plastic egg – each child gets an egg to sort and graph. Fun!


We follow Scott Foresman Reading Street, and I usually save the book Bunny Time for this time of year.  We use this sheet to record things that we do in the morning, afternoon, and night.


If you’re interested in the activities from my Hoppin’ Into Spring pack, click {here}.  It is on sale for the next few days!

Hoppin' Into Spring! Math and Literacy Activities

Here is the link for my April Word Work pack too!

April Word Work

I will be starting to work on my May Word Work pack in the coming days, so if you have any suggestions for skills to include, please leave a comment!

Have a great week!

Word Sorts!

A little more than a year ago, I started on a crazy, wild journey with my colleagues.   We embarked on a word sort journey.  We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we started, but we are so glad we did!

Every classroom does their word sorts with their children slightly different.  Some are using them as a whole group lesson, some are using them during guided reading, and some are using them during Daily 5 time.  I do a combination of all three.

I’ve always done sorts with my kiddos, and we’ve always done them as a whole group. 





For kindergarten , this is absolutely the best way to introduce sorts.  We did our sorts whole group, in centers, and in guided reading groups until about January when I gave them more responsibility to do them on their own and also started differentiated each sort for each child.

….back to our “school journey.”  We did a book study with this book:

And then we started preparing our sorts.  Oh boy.  This was a process.  I’ve seen many classrooms just print the sorts and keep them in a file – the children then cut the sort out each week.  We decided that we didn’t want the children to have to spend time cutting their sorts.  So, we printed on cardstock, laminated and cut out each sort.  Often 4-6 sets of each sort.  Yes, this was a HUGE process. I have 3 drawers filled with sorts just like this.


In Kindergarten we also used this book that was recommended by my friend and mentor Kim Adsit:

Like I said before, it took me a long time to “let it go” and let children be responsible for their word sort learning.  It’s still a work in progress, but here is how we “do” sorts in my room.

Each child has a drawer with their name and a number on it.  IMG_8834

They keep the one sort that they are working on in their drawer in the labeled baggie.


They work on each sort over a period of 3 (or more) days.  Often it is a Daily 5 choice, but some will choose to work on their sort when they finished their first Daily 5 activity.  Let me tell you – they LOVE doing their sorts!!!  It’s a game to them!

Here are the 3 tasks that they need to do:


Task 1:  Sort and write.

I don’t have a special notebook that they use.  We use one composition book to record all of our language arts/guided reading work.  It just makes it so much easier for them (and me).  They’ve already had practice making 2 way or 3 way charts during our whole group experiences, so this is a breeze for them.  This particular sort is not a WTW sort, but one from my January Word Work pack.  It just shows a really nice example of how they set up their page.




Task 2: Sort and write sentences:

This sweetie recorded her initial sort and a sentence all on one page, but I encourage them to use the opposite page.



You can see on this one, that there are 3 lines drawn to the left of the sort.  That’s where she will write her sentences.


Task 3: Sort and write on iPad

THIS is what keeps them going!!  They are VERY excited to get to type their sort on the iPad!  AND they get to record themselves reading their sort! We use the app Educreations to record the sort.


How do they know which task to do?  Those numbers that are on their sort drawer….they move them down each time they finish a sort activity (after my approval, of course).  When their number is on the bottom drawer, I know that I need to put a new sort in their drawer.


Of course, I do the WTW assessment 2-3 times a year, but I really do know where they are at.  I want them to have a good, SOLID foundation in word work, so I don’t push them through the sorts too fast.  A big part of my job is to really to establish the routine of working through word sorts, so when they move up to 1st grade, there is not as much of a learning curve.

Like I said, it’s a work in progress, but so far so good!

Here’s the dealio – you’re probably doing word sorts in many different ways in your classroom – here are some other ways we are integrating word sorts:








I bet you can think of all sorts of ways you incorporate word sorts!

If you need some extra help in that department, you can obviously go the Words Their Way route or snatch up my Word Work packs.  I have made them to be super user friendly – and the basic activities stay the same each month. This makes it easy for YOU! The kids will know what to do!
{Here} is the link if you’re interested!

april word work 1

april word work 2

Happy Word Sorting!