Meet the Teacher and Open House PowerPoint Presentations!

I am a visual learner.  This influences my teaching and everything I do as an educator.  In the classroom, I utilize diverse modes of showing my students new concepts and ideas.  I also use PowerPoint presentations with parents for Meet the Teacher and Open House, which I have created using different themes.   They are editable!

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I hope you enjoyed this post!



How I Organized my Home Office on a Budget

I couldn’t stand the look of my bookshelves any longer, so I decided to give it a make over… on a budget. Take a look at the “before” and “after” pictures below:

Before and After Pictures

First, I took everything out of the shelves and checked it.  I purged, consolidated, and removed empty bins.

I had previously googled decoration boxes, but they were all so expensive!  I finally found what I wanted at IKEA in light green, which is the color of the room, in order to be consistent with the rest of the décor.  I purchased 6 FJÄLLA boxes with lids.  They came with a metal bookplate to insert a label.  I paid $5.99 each plus taxes.

I also purchased magazine files in the same color for $4.99 at IDEA.  They come 2 per pack.  I purchased 9 packs (18 magazine files total).   These also came with the metal bookplates.

IDEA boxes and magazine files unopenlabeled magazine file

I labeled each box and magazine file and finished the bookshelf on the right side in no time for about $80.00 total.

My plan was to spend $100.00 for the makeover.  After spending $80.00 on the one on the right, I only had $20.00 left.  No problem! I had everything planned in advance.

Prior to ordering the IKEA boxes and magazine files, I had plan to use the boxes that you can see on the BEFORE pictures (on top of the bookshelves) and wrap them after seeing this post from Namely Original on Pinterest:

In her blog, she used fabric to wrap her boxes, but my budget was limited, so I thought about using contact paper in light green.  I found the one I wanted at the Dollar Tree online: Con-Tact Quick Cover Green and White Self-Adhesive Shelf Liners, 18×54“ for $16.00 a case.

This is how the order came:

This is the first box I wrapped using contact paper:

This is how I spent the money:

6 FJÄLLA boxes with lids $5.99 each = 35.94

9 sets FJÄLLA magazine files $4.99 = 44.91

Contact Paper (Dollar Tree) = $16.00

1 pack adhesive metal bookplates = 5.99

Total Make-over: $102.84 (plus taxes)

You can save even more if you wrap your own boxes instead of purchasing decorated boxes and magazine files like I did for the first bookshelf.  Although it would have saved me some money, wrapping my own boxes was a bit tedious, time consuming, and frustrating at times.

I didn’t spend any money for my desk area… just organized, consolidated, purged, and added spines/covers to my binders as you can see on the pictures below.

Desk Before and After Pictures

Now… it is a joy to look at my bookshelves and desk area in my home office!

How to Create Marzano Learning Goals and Scales

I have been asked quite often how I create the Marzano Goals and Scales that I use in the classroom.  This is a complex task that requires the teacher to have a foundation on Dr. Marzano’s philosophy.  Dr. Marzano’s book “The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction” is an excellent resource that I read in order to understand his framework.

Once I was familiarized with the Marzano Framework, I read “Creating and Using Learning Targets & Performance Scales: How Teachers Make Better Instructional Decisions” by Carla Moore, Libby H. Garst, and Robert J. Marzano.  This is another excellent resource that guided me through the process of creating my own Learning Goals and Scales.

I do not consider myself an expert on learning goals and scales.  I am a teacher who enjoys creating them for the classroom.  There may be different ways to create learning goals and scales, but I will describe the process I use, which is the one I prefer.  It is my subjective interpretation of what I have learned and works for me.  This is a summary of what I do:


  1. Select the state standard(s) to be taught.
  2. Unpack the selected standard(s) in order to understand exactly what I am asked to teach. I determine the procedural knowledge and the declarative knowledge.  This step helps me to create a learning goal that is aligned to the standard and keeps its intention/purpose.
  3. Use Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Levels to identify the DOK level of the standard/goal (cognitive complexity).  These are the questions that I ask myself when I use this tool: Is the standard at Level 1 – Recall?  Is the standard at Level 2 – Skill/Concept?  Is the standard at Level 3 – Strategic Thinking?  Is the standard at Level 4 – Extended Thinking?
  4. After identifying the cognitive complexity level of the standard and creating the goal, I move to the learning targets.
  5. When creating the learning targets, I always use Webb’s DOK Levels.  I move up or down the DOK levels in order to identify the verb I will use for each learning target.  I also look at the DOK level number.  This is vital because this number indicates the cognitive complexity level of the standard.


Level 3:  I start with level 3 of the scale. The rationale for this is that this learning target is the one aligned with the goal/standard.  I use the same verb that I used for the learning goal, which is also the verb used for the standard.   Level 3 content and skills are standard specific. They mirror the standard.

Level 2:  After identifying level 3 of the scale, I move down Webb’s DOK Levels to create this learning target.  Then, I use a verb that is one level below the cognitive complexity level of the standard.  Level 2 of the scale contains the foundational knowledge and skills needed to build to level 3.

Level 1:  My level 1 targets always say, “With help, partial success at 2.0 content or 3.0 content.”  In other words, students at level 1 receive differentiated assistance/instruction from the teacher.

Level 4:  Before creating this learning target, I go back to level 3 to refresh my memory and make sure that I keep the intention of the standard.  Then, I look up at the Webb’s DOK level that is one level higher than my level 3 learning target and select a verb that I will use for level 4.   I always remember that level 4 of the scale has to include content and skills that have students moving up a cognitive level from the goal (level 3 on the scale).

Once I check my learning goal and scale several times to insure that it is correct, I add graphics/clipart that I purchase to illustrate the learning goal/scale that I want to use.     Using illustrated goals and scales helps my students visualize what is driving their instruction.  Even if they cannot read, they can look at the graphics and understand what they are learning.   It facilitates their learning.



Note: Dr. Marzano did not create the goals and scales included in the products displayed above.  They are my personal interpretation of Dr. Marzano’s Design Question 1, Element 1.  Therefore, they are subjective.  Correlations to Dr. Marzano’s research or Learning Science International have not been evaluated by Dr. Marzano or LSI.

The March Morning Work is Here!

This resource includes daily practice that you may use for morning work, review, small groups, whole group, homework, formative assessment, and much more! The worksheets are March-themed and cover a period of 5 weeks. These are labeled with the week and day (numerical) on the top for easy reference.  Most importantly, kids love it!


Kiddos Love Math Games!

The Making Ten Bears game can be used to reinforce making 10.  It helps students visualize unknown addends.   This game can be used both for individual monitoring and/or small group competition.  My students love it!