Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently

Yikes!  It's been over a month since I blogged.  When I started my blog over the summer, and I was frustrated with not having to blog about.  Now that we are back in school and I have plenty to blog about, I am frustrated about not having any time.  I guess it's time that I make the time :-)  Today I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the October Currently.

LISTENING: I love the show, Nashville.  I'm a huge country music fan, and have always wanted to visit Nashville.  The show has really made me want to visit now.

LOVING: Even though winter is my favorite season, I do enjoy fall.  I especially love everything apple!  I'm hoping to visit the orchard soon to pick up some apples, apple pie, apple cider, and apple cider donuts, YUMMY!

THINKING: I really want to visit the beach.  I was looking through my pictures from my trips this summer, and I miss it.  I'm going to try to convince my husband to make the seven hour drive after work one Friday, stay for Saturday, and head back Sunday.

WANTING: I am counting down the days until we have off for Columbus Day.  My to-do list feels like it is a mile long, and I just need more time to try to get it all done.

NEEDING; When school started, I planned on writing a "First Day of School" post.  I came home exhausted.  Then it was going to be a "First Week" post, but again I felt exhausted.  Each week in September I said I was going to post, and I just never found the energy.  Maybe by posting this here and now, it will motivate me to work on a "First Month of School" post over the weekend :-)

TRICK OR TREAT: I really don't like tricks, I dread when April 1st is a school day!  I do love treats though :-)  This week we did some of my Falling for Place Value Centers.  My students really enjoyed the activities, but I realized I didn't have any technology incorporated.  So, I quickly whipped up some place value task cards with QR codes.  As a "treat", I'm sharing them with you.  You can pick them up here or by clicking on the picture.

That's all for now!  Hopefully it won't be November before I blog again :-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Student Recognition

I'm sure we've all had that student that needs a bit of extra guidance when it comes to behavior.  I know that when I have a student that seems to really struggle, I want to jump on any positive thing they do and praise them for it in hopes that they will like the positive reaction from me and want to continue the good behavior.  That's why I made these buttons and stickers:

After praising the student for their positive behavior I give them a button to wear around school and home.  The buttons encourage others in the building to ask the student what they did to earn it. The student is then repeating the positive behavior several times throughout the day.  My hope is that by seeing all of the positive reactions from people other than just their teacher and repeating what they did they will want to continue the positive behavior.

I have used  a clip chart in the past where students moved their clip up for demonstrating positive behaviors.  At the end of the day I asked students why they moved their clip up so that I could record it on their chart that went home. I found that a lot of students forgot what they did to move their clip up!  By having to repeat it several times a day when they wear the button or sticker, it's harder for them to forget what they did that was good.

I used PowerPoint to design the buttons.  I made the circles 2.33" in diameter and then added clip art and text boxes.  These were the buttons I purchased from Amazon.  I liked these because you didn't need an expensive button maker.  After printing your circles, just cut them out, pop off the top of the button, put your picture in and snap it in place.

Here you can see all of the buttons I hand out.   You can download them for free here or by clicking on the picture.

The stickers are even easier to make than the buttons.  I just buy the 2" by 4" shipping labels.  I use the template for the labels in word, add my text and clip art, and print!
Here you can see the stickers and the labels I used.  You can download my stickers for free here or by clicking the picture.

I teach 2nd grade so my students think it's fun or cool to wear a button or a sticker.   I'm not sure how older kids would handle it. When I put these on my students they just love to get the recognition from others.  I made them all bright yellow so they were hard not to notice when they are wearing them.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Currently September

I can't believe it's September already!  I'm liking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly currently linky party.

Listening: I'm having a relaxing Sunday evening.  My husband helped me out in the classroom today, so I'm not complaining about him playing on the computer :-)

Loving: I am so happy that it's a three-day weekend, I have SO much to do before school starts on Tuesday.

Thinking: I've made copies for the week, but I haven't written down any of my plans yet.  I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do, but I really dislike writing down lesson plans and I put it off to the last possible moment.

Wanting: We've been lucky and have had a pretty mild summer, until today when it got extremely warm and humid.  I prefer cold and snowy.  I am so ready for winter.  We had 14 snow days last year and I've heard reports that this winter may be colder and snowier.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Needing: I have copies made, but I need to figure out what exactly I'm doing each day and get that organized.

3 Trips to places I haven't been: Switzerland sounds like the perfect place: cheese, chocolate, and snow (what more could I ask for) Chicago looks like a fun city, and Maine because I love New England and haven't been to Maine.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Classroom

This is my last weekend before school starts.  I'm so excited to get the year started.  I have been busy working away in my room for the past week getting it ready for Tuesday.  I love looking at pictures of other teachers' classrooms so I thought I'd share my room :-)

I switched schools this year so this is what my room looked like after I moved everything from dining room into my classroom.  I pretty much just dumped it all in the room.

After many hours of sorting through nine years worth of stuff, I have finally finished (mostly)!  Here is my room now:
My name in the window and a "Welcome to 2nd Grade" sign above the door.

A view from the door. The room was set up for Back to School Night which is why there is a Sign In sheet. I'll blog a little later about Back to School Night.
The back wall drives me crazy.  I really don't like empty space, but I use that wall for anchor charts we create together, so I threw a couple random things up until we start making anchor charts so it wasn't completely empty.

Here is my room from the opposite corner looking toward the door.  On the far right wall are my punctuation posters which can be purchased here.

I am pretty happy with my classroom library areas.  I LOVE my crate seats that my parents and husband helped put together.  The two white benches came from Target and my mom recovered the cushion that they came with.

Closeups of my bench and crate seats.  My classroom library needs a little organization, but that will have to come later.
Curtains over the window.  I change the curtains every month to something seasonal.  

My desk area.  I printed out some clip art on the poster maker to decorate my desk.  In the second picture you can see the area behind my desk.  I have my "Teacher Toolbox" back there.  I also hang my class picture from all of my previous classes (that's what all the blacked out pictures are).
You can't see too much from this picture, but it's my reading table area.  The seats are from Target, and are great extra storage.  I also have a whiteboard easel back there.
My word wall.  I love the curtains covering up the mess on the bookshelves.  I use the numbered baskets to store weekly math centers.

Job chart on the bathroom door.  I put clothespins with each child's name on each card.  Each card has the job name AND a description of the job.

Famous American posters by my sink area.  I have all of the famous Americans that students are required to know from K-3.

My clock.  You can pick up the numbers here.

Content word wall.  As we learn important vocabulary we will add the words under the correct subject header.

Front wall.  I have our schedule, Class Dojo Hall of Fame, noise level, calendar, Promethean Board, birthdays, number line, and alphabet.

Schedule posted.  You can get the cards by visiting my Facebook page.  I will be using Class Dojo this year.  I will add students' names to the "Hall of Fame" as they reach certain points values.  You can pick up the Hall of Fame display here.

You can see my alphabet cards above the board.  You can purchase them from my TpT store here.  Since our school mascot is a Lab, I have a weekly "Top Dog" instead of a star student.  Students decorate a poster that is displayed on the board.  You can also see our stuffed dog that students take home. Here is the Top Dog letter I send home.

I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into my classroom.  There's still a little work to be done.  I'll update then :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently

I can't believe it's August already!  Where did the time go?

Isn't that the truth?  I am more excited this year than any other year to get started on the school year, but at the same time, I do love my summer break. It doesn't help that I'm currently at the beach, and when I leave summer break will officially be over.

Since I'm on vacation, this is going to be a quick post.  I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the August Currently linky.  Before I started my own blog, I always loved reading the Currentlys that others posted each month.  I have been waiting not so patiently for the beginning of August so I could finally participate.  So without further ado, here is my August Currently:

As I said, I'm on VACATION!!  It is a horrible, rainy, stormy day, so I don't feel guilty taking the time to blog while at the beach.  I LOVE my parents' condo.  It's right on the beach. I love LISTENING to the ocean.  I've set up my laptop on a table, and check out my view:

Too bad this is what the weather looks like: 

I'm THINKING about and dreading having to move all my stuff into my classroom, and I'm really WANTING for it to be done for me!
Currently nine years worth of teaching materials are sitting in my house.  It took my husband and I a total of eight full SUV trips to get it out of my old classroom and to my house.  My poor dog had to find a seat in the middle of all my stuff.

I am NEEDING to finish all of the projects I have started, and start the ones I had ideas for.

This is currently my "Products in Progress" folder.  134 items in that folder!!!  Tomorrow is supposed to be another rainy day at the beach, maybe I'll use that time to get working.

That's it for now!  If you're already back at school, I hope it's going well.  For those of you that aren't back yet, enjoy your summer :-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two for Tuesday Linky

Happy Tuesday! I am on VACATION!! However it's been stormy here at the beach so it is the perfect opportunity to get a quick blog post in.

I know I've been doing a lot of "linky parties", but for a newbie blogger this is the perfect way for me to figure this all out :-) Today I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune for their "Two for Tuesday" linky. I have been following this linky for a couple of weeks now and have found a ton of great resources. Each blogger has put two items in their Teachers Pay Teachers store on sale at 50% off!!!

If you are not already back at school, you probably will be soon.  This is a great way to pick up some awesome resources at heavily discounted prices!

My Two For Tuesday Items:

Who says summer has to be over?!  This is a set of 6 task cards covering skills such as abbreviations, synonyms and antonyms, guide words, past and present verbs, plural nouns, and homophones.  All cards have a "summer" theme to help ease us back into the school year.  With the 50% discount, you will get each set of task cards for less than one dollar each.  Five sets of cards have a QR Code option to help engage students.  

Homophone task cards using QR code option in use

We all know that it is important for students to master their basic math facts.  These puzzles give students the opportunity to work with those math facts in a fun AND challenging way.  Students choose a puzzle to work on. They have to match up all the addition sentences and sums so that all sides match (that's the challenging part).  All the puzzles have an adorable animal picture to help guide students in putting the puzzle together and to allow them to check their work.  

One of the subtraction puzzles in use

I know it's TWO for Tuesday, but I'm on vacation, and in a great mood so I'm throwing in one more item to discount at 50%.  

I know I've mentioned my Back to School Language Arts Task Card before, but I'm so excited about them!  At 50% off it's like getting six sets of the task cards FREE! Make sure you head over to my store and check them out!

Parts of Speech task cards with motivating joke

Again thanks to The Teaching Tribune for hosting this awesome linky.  Head back over to The Teaching Tribune to check out other great resources marked down 50% today!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I am teaming up with some fantastic teacher-authors for a huge giveaway!  Diane at One Teacher's Adventures has reached 200 TpT followers, and as a celebration, she is hosting a giveaway of 3 fabulous prize packs. 

Each prize pack includes amazing products for the selected grade range plus winner's choice shopping sprees at participating stores! 

Check out the amazing prize packs below, then enter the giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School Blog Hop

Today I'm linking up with some blogging buddies to do a Back to School Blog Hop.  We'll each be sharing some of our favorite back to school activities.  Make sure that when you're done reading here, you head on over to their pages and read some of their awesome tips!  

Thanks to Mackenzie at Brownbag Academics for hosting this event!

I always am really excited about the new school year.  As much as I love my summer break, I really do look forward to going back and meeting all my new students.  Despite my excitement, I am always very nervous.  That's why I LOVE reading the book First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.  
If you are not familiar with this story, RUN not walk to your nearest library and check it out!  This is the story of  Sarah Jane Hartwell not wanting to go to school.  She has many of the same fears that our students and ourselves have about starting a new year.  Eventually Mr. Hartwell makes her go.  The ending is a surprise, and I won't spoil it for you, but we can ALL probably relate to Sarah ;-)   I love to read this to students to show that they are not alone in being nervous.  

After reading the story, we get academic on the first day of school, and construct a picture graph of our emotions.  Students color a picture of themselves showing how they feel on the first day of school.  Then we construct a large picture graph as a class.  
We go over the parts of a graph, make the labels together, come up with a title, and then each student adds their symbol to the graph.  Then we analyze the data by using the picture graph.    

This activity also allows for me to check off a lot of procedures that need to be taught while still covering academic standards!  Students learn procedures for coming to the carpet to listen to a story, getting up to go back to their desks, using their supplies, working as a whole group, and more!  
On Monday of this week, I showed a picture of the "Meet Your Teacher" book that I mail out to students before school starts.  You can see it here.  I think in order to build a classroom community it is important that the students and I get to know each other as people.  That's why we spend time during the first week getting to know each other.  Just for stopping by today, I'm sharing two getting to know you activities :-)

1. Who doesn't love a good word search?
In this activity students hide information about themselves in a word find.  Then a partner interviews them to learn all about the person who made the word search.  The partner then looks for the information in the word find.  
You can pick this up for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store here or by clicking the picture.  

2. Another fun getting to know you game is Classmate Bingo.  Students write three facts about themselves.  Then each student makes a bingo board by writing the name of a classmate in each square.  The caller collects the facts from each student and reads the three facts.  The class tries to figure out who is being described and then covers that name on the bingo board.  
Click here or on the picture to download this activity.  Even though it's a game, you can use this as yet another opportunity to teach rules and procedures.  

Finally I'm planning to introduce center work by using my Back to School Language Arts Task Cards.  There are several skills found in these cards.  By giving these to students at the beginning of year, I will be able to begin to assess what they know.  

These task cards are different from your ordinary task cards.  Each card has an answer choice on it.  Next to the answer choice is a letter.  The letters are written on the answer sheet.  When students have completed each task card, they will have the answer to a school related joke.  As someone else pointed out to me, youngsters sometimes have difficulty understanding jokes, so this will get those critical thinking skills in!  You can purchase this from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here or by clicking the picture!

Now for something REALLY exciting!  I'm going to attempt my first blog giveaway!!  I'm giving away one set of task cards from the bundle above.  You can enter to win the Back to School Parts of Speech Task Cards!  You can check them out here.  Enter Below and check back on Monday evening to see who the lucky winner is!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  Thanks for stopping by on the Blog Hop.  Make sure you visit the other bloggers participating to grab awesome tips and even a few FREEBIES!!  Read the message below from Brownbag Academics and you'll see the list of bloggers participating!