Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Songs

We needed to mix it up today! My class is just crazy right now, as I'm sure yours is too. I threw out the plans and we had some Name That Tune fun. 

I scribbled out the titles of Christmas songs on scrap paper, folded them up, and put them in a bowl. Then I partnered up the students, had them pick a paper from the bowl, and gave them a sheet of white construction paper. Their job was to keep their song a secrets and draw it, no words, on their piece of construction paper. 

The room was silent. 

Once everyone was finished I set them around the room and gave everyone a recording sheet. They had to figure out which song each drawing was portraying. 

So much fun!! Grab it here free

1 more day... I can do it. 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Deck the Classroom! Linky Fun

We want to join the linky fun over at Step Into Second Grade! Here are a few things we've done to make our classroom full of holiday cheer...

You Light Up My Life!

Get it free here!

We also made some stockings using adjectives that describe ourselves.

Lindsay found this cute Christmas tree pattern on TPT. We had the kids add a few things they are hoping to see Christmas morning.

We also helped Santa find a great reindeer to add to his team. Thanks Hope King!

Mooseltoe is one of our favorite holiday books. We found this cute activity to go with it!

We just love Christmas activities!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

It all started with a Jamocha Shake.

I didn't expect to meet my future husband that day. I tagged along with my friend, who was home from college, to meet up with some of her dorm mates. We met them at an Arby's near the movie theater we were going to. We walked in and I saw this shaggy haired, tall, goofy guy [who also tagged along] and I just knew. I don't know how. But I did. I knew that one day he would be my husband.

Fast forward 9 years--- December 6, 2014

Yes... it took 9 years for that thought to become a reality. And I must say, it was WORTH the wait. 

I love this man with all my heart. 

He made my dream of a winter wedding come true. Even though he had reservations about it. The weather stressed him because of our out of town guests. [They all made it!] He is truly selfless. 

"Every once in a while, in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale." 

and... I'm living mine. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why I Like Me!

This has been one of my favorite writing pieces this year! We started by reading the book, Me I Am by Jack Prelutsky.

Then we brainstormed some reasons why we like ourselves. The kids completed a thinking map. We love using thinking maps in writing... the final piece always comes out so much more organized with great details!

Then we worked on our rough copy organizer. Once they had their rough copies done we talked about editing. This is still a work in progress. They think everything they scratched down the first time is perfect! But clearly... They is not spelled thAy. hehehe They just don't believe me! 

Once we "edited" we moved on to our final copy. We added a cute drawing of ourselves to the final copy, it added a special touch!  Here's a few that are just too cute not to share...

That hair!!

Boys do rule!

I also love it when people cheer for me! 

Such a fun activity! If you want to add this to your bag of tricks grab it here


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Talk Turkey

I don't know if it's the baby, or the cold weather, or the fact that I'm getting married in 18 days but I am feeling the spirit of the holiday season in a big way this year. I usually have a strict "no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" policy but I'm finding myself listening to Christmas music in car and singing carols to Baby T at bedtime. I am so excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas and beginning some family traditions. The spirit I'm feeling is pouring over into the classroom as well!

To get our brains warmed up for learning I had the students take out their white boards. I told them they had two minutes to write down as many words as they could think of about Thanksgiving. They were 100% focused on this, you could have heard a pin drop!

Once we were warmed up we dove head first into this week's theme --- TURKEYS

Yesterday, we read a turkey mini book, written by Lindsay. It is full of interesting facts! I partnered my students up to read it together. Once they read it they discussed facts they learned. Then they completed a turkey diagram. 

We've also been working hard on becoming fluent readers. Tina found a great pack full of passages for an entire year! [We may or may not have already copied all the passages we will need for this school year.] This week we are working on "Turkey Time." 

I'm always switching up how we practice our fluency. Right now what's working for me is having the kids work independently. Everyone finds a place in the room to whisper read. I set a timer for one minute. Students, as quietly as they can, read the passage. As they read they put an X on words they don't know. After one minute, they circle the last word they read. Then they count up the total number of words they read and graph it. 

I've also done partners for fluency practice. I guess it really just depends on my mood! How do you utilize fluency passages in the classroom???? 

Every year I find that having students write opinion papers is the hardest of the three so we like to start them early in the year. Sometimes I wonder... Are we picking hard topics? I think the topics are cute and age appropriate but maybe they are more difficult that I think? This week we are working on Should We Save The Turkeys? We've modeled and taught how to write opinion paragraphs. We've got a great thinking map, an easy to use organizer, and cute writing paper. Soooo why is the writing not up the par???? Grrr... this is def something we need to keep working on. 

I can't wait for more turkey fun tomorrow!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

And it's Sunday.

What do you get when...

1. Your parents call the whole family together.
2. They give everyone a beautifully wrapped box to open.
3. Inside the box you find sand, seashells, and 23 letters.
4. They tell you, you have to unscramble the letters to figure out the surprise.

A trip to Sanibel Island!!!

December 27th our family is off to the sun! [Which will be awesome especially because the weatherman is calling for snow (yes, snow) this week.] It's even more exciting that this trip will be Baby T's first trip on an airplane, her first time to Florida, her first time in the sand... so many firsts! It's great that we get to share these firsts with my parents, grandma, brothers, and sister-in-laws.

Speaking of Baby T, here's a picture of her and I [and Jack] from Halloween. She was the cutest ladybug I ever saw!

Tina, Lindsay and I have been busy creating some new reading strategy packs. What I love about this is we are really digging deeper into our classroom read alouds. Each day the students are working with a different strategy for a book or topic. We've done Room on the Broom and Together We Gather, Now Get Lost. This week we are diving into nonfiction, all about turkeys! We've uploaded Room on the Broom to our TpT store already! Look for the other two soon.

Guided reading is in full swing! My kids this year are really struggling to decode words independently, or at least attempt to decode them. They just come to a word they don't know, stop, look at me, and wait. What's up with that??? So I made a strategies card that we keep right in front of us. I love that it's a visual reminder of the strategies and that the students are responsible for picking a strategy to use. You can grab it free! Take a look at it in action...

I printed out both cards, glued them to a piece of black construction paper and laminated them.

It's already 10pm. Where do these weekends go! I guess I better go get a start on grading my math assessments.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


That moment when a coworker buys one of your products.

It happened. Today.

We have not promoted the fact that we started a TpT store at our school. There are only about 3 other people who actually know we have this blog and a store. We were a bit apprehensive to share our venture, you know... it case it was a flop. Well, it's been a year [!] and we are going strong. We feel so blessed.

For those of you who blog and/or sell, did you tell your coworkers?


So this week has been everything scary! 

Monday we made a list of scary words.

However, the scariest thing about this picture just might be my spelling! UGH how embarrassing!

After we made this list and the students copied the words into their Writer's Notebook (whoops... they all spelled tarantula and slime wrong!) we used the words to make scary sentences. Every year after we do this lesson I think to myself, "Tell the kids they can't write about Bloody Mary." Then the next year rolls around, I forget, and I get 20 sentences about her.

Because we like to turn activities into friendly competitions we decided to find the person who wrote the scariest sentence of all! I set the writing timer for 12 minutes and the spooky music went on. [We had to set the mood!] After our timer went off I had each student reread all their sentences and star the scariest. Each student shared their scariest sentence with their table. The table then voted who had the absolute scariest. That person when came up to the front of the room. We have 7 tables in our classroom so we had 7 sentences about Bloody Mary to vote on. We found our scariest writer and applauded them. It was a fun!

Yesterday, we turned those scary sentences into stories. I had a sub so my stories were, well... not so good. However, Tina's turned out cute so she had her class turn theirs into a final copy today.

I feel like this is the first year in a while that I've really been excited for Halloween. I'm attributing it to the baby! I bought her 3, yes 3, costumes. I'm seriously going to return 2.. I just can't decide which one to keep. Piglet? Strawberry? Ladybug? They are all just TOO cute.

I have been lighting this candle every night! I just LOVE it.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Team Homework

We recently found the blog Teaching Maddeness and couldn't be more excited about it! I read her post on homework, which we all know is a HOT topic, and knew I had to change the way I was assigning homework. Some parents want more and some want none. It's impossible to please everybody! ... Until now. We think she's found the answer! Team Homework. 

We tweaked her idea a bit to make it work for us but it's still the same concept. On Mondays we send home the Team Homework sheet. It looks like this...

We run it on green paper so it stands out. 

The goal of Team Homework is to give students ownership over their work. The students are completing tasks to earn points. They understand that the more points they earn the better the chance that our class will earn the "Magic Number." The students understand that they all need to contribute in order to earn the reward at the end of the week. If our classes' total points equals or is greater to the Magic Number they will earn a reward. The rewards are teacher discretion: extra outside recess, gum, Smart Board game- something fun! 

Every week there are "Required Activities." These are the activities that change. They are things every student must do in order to reap the benefits if we meet our Magic Number goal. 

There are also "Extra Activities."  The extra choices provide for differentiation and choice. Giving students choices in their learning is so important! These activities don't change often (if at all). 

Team Homework is due on Fridays. We have the students staple any papers they complete for the activities that week to the back of the Team Homework sheet. They must total up their points at the bottom and have their parents sign it. If this is not done their points do not count for the week. 

So you're probably wondering... "What about those students who don't do it?" Well we went back and forth about that as well! We decided if they don't do the required activities they are not eligible for the reward.  It wouldn't be fair if some kids just skated along never doing their homework. Last week, I had 3 kids not turn it in... I bet it won't happen this week!   

So far we are LOVING this approach and so are our students and parents! We've even had parents rave about it to our principal. [I swear we didn't pay them!] 

How do you handle homework? 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Peek At Our Week

I had every intention of sharing our plans with you on Sunday night... but the baby fell asleep on my chest and she was just so cozy that I didn't want to put her down. So here is a "Peek at Our Week" a few days late...

Yes, I didn't sugarcoat them. We seriously still write out our plans in the the old school plan book. It works for us! Don't judge.

This week we've been working on the difference between complete and incomplete sentences. Yesterday we did a flap book. Today we made incomplete sentences complete! We've been using activities from our Statements, Exclamations, and Questions OH MY! pack.

We've also gotten into our mini lessons for Daily 5. This week we are working on the strategy, Check For Understanding. We need some more work on it, the kiddies want to give predictions instead of telling who and what!

We also introduced Work on Writing. We've been talking about forms of writing, writing ideas, and using our word books.

One thing that we are really excited about is our new spelling program! We found The Teacher's Clubhouse. Saw her spelling pack. And HAD to have it! So far... we are loving it. Spelling lists are so much more meaningful this year. Our lessons in class match the word lists. Everything we need is included in her pack!

We are trucking along in our math series. Not to much to share on that home front. We are just seriously missing all of our cute/fun/interesting activities, games, and lessons that we created 2 years ago before we were forced into using this new series. BUT what's a teacher to do? We are trying to make the most of it! I find myself putting my own spin on the lessons which makes me much happier. Here's a look at the "Work Places" we've been engaged in.

As far as social studies goes... full speed ahead in our communities unit! This week is all about rural, suburban, and urban communities. We are also studying for our Where I Live test... this Friday. It's pretty amazing how many kids don't know their address, phone number, or city. Scary.

Now that the "honeymoon" phase is wearing off Go Noodle is my best friend. That Zumba helps get our wiggles out. Life saver.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Five For Friday---TGIF

Oh boy!  I am so happy it's Friday...I say that every week, but I really feel it today. We're linking up with Doodle Bugs again so hop over to her blog and check out the goodness!

1) I found this little great idea From the Pond

The way it works is you highlight one of your freebies, discounted items or a goodie to share.  

Since everything pumpkin is all the rage these days, I am showing you this super fun freebie!

2)  Also, we have been busy prepping our new Team Homework for next week!  We got this fabulous idea from Teacher's Clubhouse.  We are excited to try this new approach and hope that the students and parents will love it as much as we do.  We'll let you know how it goes next week.

3) On a lighter note, we were laughing all week at this you may know Tina and her new hubby are in the process of building a new house.  Tina is trying to furnish her beautiful new place and decorate in her classy way and this is what her husband bought! He really loves the inflatables for the front yard.  We can't wait for the neighbors to see. ;)

4) We started this week our Communities unit.  I always am IN SHOCK of how many kids don't know their address or phone number by now...come on, people!  Teach your kid their dang address! So, I try and put a little fear in them, (bad teacher moment) and say "What if you got lost?  How would anyone know where to take you home?" 
The kiddos did really love learning all about the Rural, Suburban, and Urban types of communities.  We created these trifolds to illustrate the three types.  This plus tons of other resources can be found in our Communities unit in out Tpt store.  

5) And time for my saddest moment of the week!  My poor baby, got cleated at his brother's football game right to the forehead.  (On a side note, it is NOT a good idea to let your kiddo watch from the sideline, even if their dad is the coach and you think nothing will happen.)  Well, my little guy got taken out by a big ninth grader and it ended with me running across the track like a crazy mom and having to rush him to the ER.  Thank the lord that they were able to stitch him up pretty easily and it should heal fine.  It could have been so much worse...but still, look at this face!  I will spare you of the way grosser pics and any pictures with tears.  AND we will be going to Target tonight because I may have promised him any Lego that he wanted...and ice cream for dinner last night...and probably even more! :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Week... Check!

The first week has come and gone. I'm going to be honest... It feels like I never left. Summer vacation? Seems like a distant memory.  Is it just me???

We've been crazy busy, I feel like I'm drowning in all the beginning of the year "stuff." BUT I love my new class and it feels good to actually put on make up and real clothes. Do I miss my baby? YES. Is that even a question?!?! I miss her like crazy. I only had two meltdowns this week about leaving her all day, so I'd say that's a success.

I'm exciting to get back to sharing five things every (well... maybe not EVERY but as often as we can) week. So here we go...

One of our favorite books to read at the beginning of the year is Chrysanthemum. We love it so much we have a mini unit! When Chrysanthemum dreams of her name being Jane, I love to stop and ask, "If you could have picked your name, what would you have chosen?" This year, I got one little boy who said, Spike! LOVE IT. Spike is a far cry from Marko. hehe After the story we do a name graph and then we complete an acrostic poem. Both of these activities (and more!) can be found in our pack

Who doesn't love their birthday? Unless maybe you're approaching your thirties??? Lindsay drew these cute cupcakes (a freebie in our TPT store!) so we could create a class birthday pictograph. As you can see... January is a popular month for my class, it's going up the ceiling! 

The third day of school proved to be quite exciting! I pulled up to school to find 4 fire trucks. The school was evacuated and the fire fighters were geared up. Turns out one of the sensors on the roof went bad and was going off. 

Fortunately, we weren't able to sing... 

The roof was not on fire.

I had my first fail of the year. Although, it seemed like such a great idea. On those adorable little clothespins I wrote every ones class number, 1-29. (Yes, 29! It's my biggest class yet!) In theory, when number 5 is ready to turn in their paper they take their clothespin and clip it to their paper. Then I can quickly see who is still working and who is finished. Now the key there is "in theory." Pinterest steered me wrong. 

What happened in reality was not so wonderful. The clips when flying or broke. 

Clearly, this little girl didn't understand they she needed to complete the whole paper.

The clips lasted all of one day and then after school I took them off and threw them away. It was worth a try, but I don't suggest this form of organization for anyone. 

Now, baby's in bed and I'm enjoying a margarita with this stud. We are excited for a fun filled family weekend!