Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Last night, as I was doing my nightly Pinteresting I came arcoss a "Snowflakes for Sandy Hook" pin. The students from Sandy Hook will be attending a new school when they return in January. The PTA is going to be creating a "Winter Wonderland" throughout the school and are asking schools around the country to make and send snowflakes. Check out the article here.  

This morning our kiddies got going on making and decorating snowflakes to send.  They turned out so cute!! We are sending a HUGE box full. :) 

Today was full of projects!
We did a "Santa's Stuck" writing.  This can be found in our Hopping Through the Holidays Pack

   Tomorrow our kids will climb aboard the Polar Express in their pjs. 
I transform the room into the train (thanks Beth Newingham for the idea)! 

As they walk into the classroom they are given a round trip ticket to the North Pole. Before boarding the train they are served a cup of hot chocolate and their ticket is clipped.  While enjoying their hot chocolate I read the story.  We then have a bunch of fun activities (all Polar Express related) to complete throughout the day.  We end the fun with the movie and a venn diagram to compare and contrast the book and movie! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Early Christmas!!

It's been a great first two months in the blogging world and starting up our Teachers Pay Teachers store, Sister Secrets.  We are so thankful to all of our followers and have decided to throw a sale to celebrate the holidays early.  Our whole store will be 20% starting tomorrow, December 19th through the 21st.  So, hop on over to our store to pick up that last-minute Christmas idea.

We're looking forward to Thursday when our kiddos will wear their PJs and we will have our annual, Polar Express Pajama Party.  You can grab the pack here.

Polar Express Pajama Party Pack

Or...if you want a quick activity, Splat the cat is always a fan favorite!  This pack includes an adorable craftivity and a few activities that are sure to please your little elves. 

Merry Christmas, Splat!

Another fun, quick activity is our Christmas Gift Inference Activity.  Our kids LOVED searching our rooms and using their inferring skills to decipher the clues.

Christmas Gift Making Inferences

Thanks for reading and enjoy these last few days before break.  I'm sure you're just as ready as we are! :)

As an added bonus, the first 2 people to comment below will get their choice of the activities above.  

Monday, December 17, 2012


We are blogging today with a heavy heart over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I can tell you that we all gave our kids a little extra love today.  It sickens us to think about what might have been if it weren't for the courage and strength of the teachers in that school. We are proud to be in such a wonderful profession that comes together in times of need. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Congrats to the Realistic Teacher on her 100+ followers.  We have contributed an item to her giveaway, so hop on over to sign up!

We also are donating our Friendly Letter Writing Pack to Totally Terrific Teaching's 100 Follower Giveaway.  Check it out.

Thanks to both of these fabulous bloggers for the chance to enter. Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can December Get Any Crazier?!?

Hello all!  What a crazy few weeks!!  Last week we had our first set of parent-teacher conferences!  Not that I need to tell all of you this...but what an exhausting few days!  I love meeting with my parents...I tend to talk too much and run over time....but I do enjoy it!  However I feel like I should bring an air mattress and camp out at school!  I would probably get more rest!  Then of course the weekend was busy with everything that keeps us all "too busy" in our non-teacher lives!  Next, this week starts with a substitute on Monday for an RTI committe meeting!  Are you kidding me?!? The week after conferences AND two days before my first observation of the year?!?   Sounds nutty but I found the PERFECT way to make my life just a tiny bit easier.  I wanted to concentrate on planning and prepping for my observation and sub plans were the last thing I wanted to spend hours on.  So...I used one of our Sister Secrets Sub Packs from TPT.  What a LIFESAVER!!  It made planning for a substitute so much easier and guess what?  My class LOVED it!  They couldn't say enough about all of the fun things "the sub had them do."   I chose to do Moostache, which you can find here if you want to check it out too!  This pack comes complete with a whole day of activities to do after reading the story Moosetache.   I had them start by making a folder out of construction paper that they could keep all of their activities in!  The sub showed them the cover, had them write the title and author, and then illustrate it to match!  Then the sub was free to set her own pace for the day with activities for all areas of the curriculum.  Just a few things that they did were a story map, an adjective activity, math story problems, and an adorable activity called  "Moosetache Me!"  Here is a peek at how their folders turned out and some of what was inside when the day was over!

What do you think?  Turned out pretty cute I think and they learned so much from one story!!  Most importantly it gave me a little stress relief between two busy weeks!

If you like our Moosetache sub pack...check out Knuffle Bunny and Miss Nelson is Missing too!

And now for some rest so I can recharge for some Christmas shopping this weekend!  
TGIF....have a great weekend! :)

~Sister 1

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Terrific, but Tiring Tuesday's over.  My first observation of the year, that is.  :)  I am so glad...the last couple of years things have really changed up here in Michigan with the teacher evaluation process.  And even though I know that what I'm doing is wonderful (obviously or I wouldn't be sharing it with you...haha!), I am always extra stressed on the day of the observation. 

So fast forward to 9:25 A.M--My kids were just finishing up their morning journals and math games and I quickly gathered them on the carpet for "the talk."  You all know "the talk." "The principal is coming down this morning to check out our classroom. She really wants to see children who are behaving nicely...yadda yadda yadda."  BUT, I really got their attention by saying that if you are very well behaved you might even earn extra recess time.  Hey, some might call it bribery, but I call it "persuasive speaking." :)

9:30--We start our Christmas Making Inferences activity. This morning I prepped all of the bags and had them all set out around the room.  As the kids came in, it was so cute to hear them "inferring" to each other about what was in the gift bags.  I explain everything (in my extra nice teacher voice of course) and we get moving.  Here's a picture of what the bags looked like.

The kids LOVED it.  It was adorable to see them working together with a partner that I chose and being "Inferring Investigators."  They did a great job on reading and inferring what was in the gift bags.  We wrapped it up by going over our guesses and unwrapping the gifts.  So much fun and a whole lot of learning!

~Sister 2

PS: Good luck to Sister 1 on her observation tomorrow morning!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Cheer

Like Sister 2 said, Christmas is our favorite holiday! We have so many holiday craftivities underway that I thought I would pop in and share a few.

Last week we really focused on synonyms and antonyms.  We used our Scholastic Children's Thesaurus (a MUST have!) to find synonyms for commonly used words. 

The kids were able to pick any word from the thesaurus to write on their stocking. Check out how cute they turned out!

Then we brainstormed a huge list of antonyms on the Smart Board (another MUST have!).  The students created antler antonyms.  I'll let you in on one of our little secrets... all you need are your hands and feet to create this darling craftivity. 

These two activities can be found in our Hopping Through the Holidays pack.

By the way... What do you think of our new look?!?  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

23 days and a FREEBIE!!!

Thought that title would get your attention!  First, if you are like us, you are counting down the days until the biggest, most wonderful holiday! let's be honest!  It's really more like a 19 day countdown...until our holiday break!   I don't know about all of you, but we are looking forward to it!  But before then there is much to do!  For us, a new math unit, landforms, projects, decorating, baking...oh wait...let's just stick to my school list!  We are keeping our kiddos quite busy with projects that tie into CCSS and get our classrooms into the holiday spirit!  If you have checked out our TPT store lately, you know we have uploaded many units and ideas that would be great to use this time of year. Today we uploaded a new FREEBIE!!  Yes everyone loves a good freebie!  It's a Christmas acrostic poem craftivity and you can get it here.  Print it out in a pinch and have a great poetry activity to hang up that your class will love...ours all did!

Happy December!! :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Give Us Your Feedback, Get a Freebie

We're so excited that we just participated in our first big TPT sale.  Now that we're gaining followers we want your feedback!  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and you'll get a Christmas freebie sent to your email address!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Giveaway

The sisters are so excited to be participating in our first giveaway!  We have donated our Polar Express Pajama Party Pack.  Thank you so much to Karen Jones over at Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten for hosting and congratulations to her on all of her milestones. 

Enter to win below!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Infomational Text Features

After looking at the Common Core it's easy to see that informational text plays a huge role!  The sisters and I have been working hard on infromational text features for the last few weeks.  Our kids are really starting to understand why they are so important and how they help us as readers. 

We started our investigation of informational text by reading a book called "Changes in Autumn."  Each student had their own copy and we discussed important aspects of the text.

Next we completed our "Navigating Through Informational Text" text features reference guide, which can be found in our Here's the Info! pack.  This really hit home as to how text features help readers.  

Today we created an informational text feature poster.  Our students worked with a partner to pick out each of the different text features. Grab a copy of the headings.  

Tomorrow our plan is to use book orders from Scholastic (love them!) and do a narrative vs informational book sort!      

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TPT Sale

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! We are so thankful for all of your support as we begin our journey in blogging and in our new TPT store.

Speaking of our TPT store please check out our 20% sale tomorrow for Cyber Monday which extends to bonus Tuesday! Plus, by entering CMT 12 at checkout, you will receive an additional 8% off.  We've been working hard on lots of new products!!

Thanks to Ashley Hughes for this adorable graphic.  Check out her awesome clip art at

Make sure you check out our new Language Arts and Math Common Core "I Can" Statements.  We have two versions in each pack exact language and kid friendly! Great for a Focus Wall. :)

We also put together 3 emergency sub packs: Miss Nelson is Missing!, Moosetache, and Knuffle Bunny.  We use these packs as a "back up" for those days when we don't plan on being out.  All you have to do is provide a copy of the book with copies of each worksheet.  Not only can these pack be used as sub plans but you can use them as plans for yourself on any given day!

In addition to all that we have a new social studies unit... all about mapping, continents, and oceans!

Don't forget Christmas is coming up! Check out our Hopping Through the Holidays pack and chapter book studies.  Have you heard of Dan Gutman's My Weird School Series? They are hilarious!!!  Our kids are seriously OBSESSED. Miss Holly is too Jolly is a crowd favorite and we just so happen to have a book study on it in our chapter book stack.  We also have a Polar Express Pajama Party pack and Christmas Around the World.  Needless to say we have ALL of our bases covered! 

All right, all right... enough promoting our products.  We are looking forward to our up coming week! Hope you have a great one too!    

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Friendly Letters

Sunday night always comes way too fast, especially when you have been juggling grading papers, making units, writing lesson plans, completing graduate homework, filling out report cards, and de-stressing from the week.  But I'm not complaining! hehe

My sisters and I love teaching the kids about friendly letters. Letter writing is such a lost art.  Check out our Friendly Letter Writing Pack at our TPT store.

Once we have a good foundation set the fun begins.  We set up a classroom mailbox.  Near the mailbox we set out cute writing paper for the kids to use.  They are able to write kind notes to one another, put them in the mailbox, and the mail-person delivers them.  Our students really get into it. It's so much fun to see the students complimenting one another without being told to do so!  The sense of community is wonderful.

Another one of our favorite activities corresponds with our social studies community unit.  Each student writes a letter to their favorite restaurant. We get so many wonderful responses back!  Sometimes the restaurants even send free kids meal coupons, gift cards, or special perks.  

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday evening!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday Fever!!

Hello everyone!!!  It's November....wait....November?!?  Already?!?  I can't believe how fast the last few weeks have gone by.  The three of us have been busy (as I am sure you have been) with prepping for upcoming report cards.  This is such a crazy time!  Way more fun than those, are the upcoming two holidays!  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it....pick up a great unit packed full of activities here that will keep your little turkeys busy this month.  My favorite activity has to be the persuasive writing "Save the Turkeys!". This is a fun way to incorporate common core writing in your classroom....Sister 2 and I were just laughing about the meals we will soon be hearing about.  We love getting our kids to be creative!  Check it out!

And before you can sing "Jingle Bells" the next big holiday will be upon us.  It's one of our favorites, Christmas!!!  The three of us have been enjoying getting some great activities together, old and new, and posting them on TPT for you!  We like to be ahead of the game with our planning.  So if you are like us, you're in luck!!  We are very excited to announce that we uploaded 2 great new items for the holidays.  There are at least 2 weeks worth of activities for the holidays in our gigantic 52 page pack called "Hoppin through the Holidays.". It includes 4 craftivities as well.  You can check it out here.  Secondly, one of our favorite holiday movies is The Polar Express.". We love hosting a Polar Express pajama party in our classrooms every year.....Sister 3 has helped us get very creative with this over the last few years.  If you want to host your own Polar Express pajama party, you can get our activities here.

Looking forward to uploading 3....yes 3 (I told you we REALLY loved the holidays) Christmas literature studies. They are very cute Christmas stories your classes will love as much as ours do.  Look for these to be up in just a few days.  We are putting the finishing touches on! 

Happy report-carding to those of you in our boat! 
~Sister 1 

Friday, November 2, 2012


Well...we made it!  This week seemed like it was forever, having Halloween in the middle definitely didn't help.  But, it's finally the weekend.  Yippppeeee! ;)

Just wanted to share a quick math activity that we've been working on this week.  We're moving through our Addition Strategies unit and have started with adding 2 and 3 digit numbers without regrouping.   You can use this Build It, Draw It, Write It for students to fill out as well. 

So, this week we spent some time learning the "hows" of adding big numbers.  Our kiddos loved working with these work mats (big thanks to Cara Carroll :)) and worked on solving and then writing through the steps in their math journals.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reading Strategies

Daily 5 is our favorite time of the day.  We like to save it for the afternoon because it's such a relaxing way to end the day.  

We have taught many strategies from the CAFE Menu but I'd have to say that making connections was a big hit! We read various picture books throughout the week and talked about how we can make meaningful connections to each.  The kiddies were able to practice by making personal connections, sharing with a partner, with the class, and also writing them down in their Daily 5 Notebook.  To conclude the week we made this cute connections chain... We all wrote down one connection to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and linked them together.

Need a quick lesson on visualizing? Try this... Read this poem to your class, without telling them the title, and ask them to draw a picture of what they "see."  Once everyone has their picture complete, do a "Gallery Walk."  This means the kids walk around and look at everyone else's pictures.  Invite them to share some similarities and differences between the pictures and explain why they drew their picture the way they did.  Next, tell them the title and read the poem again. Pass out a small copy of the poem to everyone.  They can glue this in their notebook and then draw a new visualization.  Our classes were so surprised to know that the poem was really about a PENCIL!


We'd love to hear how you teach the strategies in your classrooms!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Witchy Halloween Fun

Wow!  I was just stopping in to tell everyone about a great new product when I was thrilled to see many more adds to our "Linky Party!". This "party" has turned into something very exciting.....thanks to Sister 2 for getting this party started....ha ha (music trivia anyone?).  It's also great to "meet" our new followers and check out the happenings on their sites.  Thank you to everyone who has linked up so far.  What creative items we've been seeing! 
Keep the good "links" coming!

Speaking of all know how much we love Halloween and today we added a new product to our TPT store!  It's a super cute witch craftivity that comes with many ideas of how you can use it in your classroom.....a glyph perhaps?  Or my personal favorite is to use it as a countdown to Halloween!  "Witchy Halloween Fun" can be found here.  

Check it out "my pretties"....little witchy weekend humor for you!

~Sister 1

Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween Linky Party!

The sisters decided that a great way to share some spooktacular ideas with other bloggers was to host our first linky party! up, folks! We are so excited to see all of your fabulous Halloween ideas.

Pumpkins, Bats, and Elections Oh My!

TGIF! That's all we can say after our crazy, but very fun, Pumpkin Day. The kiddos LOVED it!!!

Our classes are wrapping up our bat unit!  Check it out on TPT.  Here's the expository writing craftivity, they turned out great! The best part was the kids were super into it. 

Can you believe that November is right around the corner?  We are excited to share with you our two new election "babies"  that have recently been uploaded to TPT.  Our election unit includes a list of picture books, vocabulary cards, mini book on symbols of the United States, voter/president: can, have are, voter registration cards, a candy bar election, a voting timeline, the election process, and a "Vote For Me" writing craftivity.  We also created a book study with Marvin Redpost: Class President.  This book study includes comprehension quizzes, word studies, and a writing prompt.  We can't wait to get started on these units next week!      

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Fun!

The sisters and I love Halloween! Last year we had our first annual "Pumpkin Day."  With our second annual pumpkin day quickly approaching (tomorrow!) we thought we'd share some of our favorite activities! 

Last night, after school, to get in the spirit we picked up a Pumpkin Spice Latte...mmmm...and stopped by the grocery store to get our classroom pumpkins.  Everything was going smoothly until Sister 1 spotted the most perfect pumpkin...of course it was at the bottom of the pile. As she was trying to pull it out Sister 2 and I were standing behind her giggling. I bet you can guess what happened next!!! Yesssssssssss, next thing we knew that large display of pumpkins were rolling around the floor. After a few dirty looks from other shoppers we managed to pick up and put away all the pumpkins.  The great news is she got that pumpkin!  Sister 2 and I are a little jealous of how "perfect" it truly is!   
Tomorrow morning our plan is to start with a pumpkin book read aloud, then move into pumpkin centers, and finally do an expository writing titled "How to Carve a Pumpkin." 

After lunch is when the real fun begins! We recruit 4 parents each to come in and join our fun.  We split our classes up into 4 groups to complete the Pumpkin Math and Science page.  Grab this TPT freebie today!  Once they finish measuring, weighing, and counting the seeds as a group they decide how they want the parent to carve the pumpkin. As the parents and students are carving the pumpkins the sisters and I run down to the oven.  We pop the pumpkin seeds in and enjoy them as a little afternoon snack!  Our kids love setting their newly carved pumpkins around the room to add to our spooky decorations.     

What did one jack-o-lantern say to to another?
Cut it out!

Have a spook-tacular time! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays

Hey everybody...Sister 2 checking in today!  Well, birthdays are in full swing here.   I have 3 in October in my class and as you know, kids love their birthdays!  I love birthdays, too...especially my 29th, I have celebrated it the last 4 years. Haha...:)

Anyways, check out this craftivity.  It's a cute birthday graph pack that I made with my kiddos at the beginning of the year.  Each student got a cupcake, decorated it...we made a pictograph and then the kiddos solved the problems and made their own graph.  Enjoy!

Oh and did I mention this is works for Common Core??!!  (2.MD.9 (Representing and Interpreting Graphs))  Who would of thought learning could be so fun? :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Batty News!

What's up, friends?  Sister 1 here..... trying to pretend the weekend is not almost over already!  I don't know about all of you but mine sure do go by way too fast.  Sunday is always a mix  of emotions for me.....sad that tomorrow is an early wake up, excited to start a week of new ideas, but frustrated that I somehow didn't get as much done as I had planned the last few days!  But enough about onto the real news!

Secrets of the Second Grade Sisters has begun posting items on Teachers Pay Teachers!!!!  We are SO excited.  For those of you who know about this site, I am sure you love it as much as all three of us do!  Seriously....we are obsessed with all of the great finds on there! And for those of you who might not know about it, be sure to check it out!  There are lots of good ideas for you to use in your classroom.  

We have posted our first 3 items this week.....estimation slips, a birthday graph pack, and the largest being our "Bat'tastic" unit!!!  Our kiddos love learning about these nocturnal creatures!  We noticed when looking for new ideas, that there weren't a lot of informational activities out there so we came up with our own unit!  You will love all of the factual info you can share with your classes while working on meaningful activities.   Dare I say the best part of the unit is the cutest bat craftivity ever!?!?  It ties in a great display for your classroom with a writing piece you can grade for your Common Core informational writing!

Hope you all had a great weekend.  Don't forget to check out our TPT store.....we will be adding more activities this week as well!  A little hint of what's to come???.....think Elections! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Estimation Jar

Hey all, Sister 3 here! A big hit in my classroom is the estimation jar.  Our "Star of the Week" is responsible for filling the estimation jar.  The jar is displayed all week and students are responsible to make their estimation by Thursday morning.  Estimating is an important why not start today?!  Grab your free copy of our estimation skips here

Friday, October 5, 2012

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

We don't know about all of you... but after months of throwing around ideas we're finally ready to take some action. We've decided to try our hand at blogging! So WELCOME, we're glad you stopped by, and hope you come back often.

You might be wondering who the "Second Grade Sisters" are???  Well... we are second grade teaching partners by trade and sisters by heart!  We've been teaching for a combined 25 years... you know a sister never tells her age. ;) Since Sister 1 started teaching, boy times have changed!  With all the new curriculum popping up in the last few years we thought it was time to share some of our "secrets" with you.   

Follow our blog and enjoy this journey with us! 
Look for more posts coming soon.

~Second Grade Sisters~