Thursday, October 31, 2013

Conferences, Halloween, and Science... Oh My!

Hi everyone! Have I been MIA lately, or what!?! Last weekend I went to an out of town science conference, and this week (and next week) I am making up conferences after school. I am getting home later and have had more on my 'To Do' list than usual. I am hoping to get back to blogging very soon, as I have a lot of fun things to share!

I wanted to share my Halloween costume with everyone because it got a lot of fun comments from the kiddos! I dressed up as a minion. The big yellow shirt isn't the best look, but still very fun :)

Hope everyone is having a great time teaching! Thanksgiving break is just around the corner!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Truth Monday: Fitness

I'm linking up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her new link-up series, 'My Truth Monday.' I think this is a great idea to get to know other bloggers as we share a little more about ourselves.

This past year I have been a couch potato. Other than some speratic walks with my neighbor, I don't don much. I took moving to a small town without a local gym an excuse to not go to a gym. I did join Weight Watchers last year, and that helped keep the weight off, but my body is mushy and I can't seem to find my muscles. 

I've been a broken record about my knee injury, but it's been a big part of my life right now. It has really changed me. I realized the last time I had a knee injury I was around the same weight, which is on the heavy-side for my body. After my last knee injury, I started working out (again) and lost about 25 pounds, ran my first 5K, and looked pretty darn good (in my humble opinion, LOL). It would feel so good to be 25 pounds lighter again! 

The sad thing is, right before I dislocated my knee my teaching partner and I started running with the goal of running a half marathon... Ugh! 

I've already made plans to get an exercise bike as soon as I can and want to bike at least 20 minutes a day. The stationary bike will go in my living room. I don't care if it looks tacky! If I don't look at it, I won't use it! 

Like a lot of you, I need motivation to get back in shape! I'm hoping the blogging community can be a good support to one another in our workout endeavors!  

Head on over to Sunny Days in Second Grade, link on up and share your truth! I'd love to read about your fitness and maybe get motivated by you! 


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Classroom Jobs as Easy as 1-2-3-4!

Hi everyone! How's your weekend going? For those of you who don't know, I am a monthly guest blogger for The Organized Classroom Blog. I love being a guest blogger and sharing my posts with different groups of readers.

This month's post was about how I organize classroom jobs! You can read more about what my classroom jobs look like {HERE}

I wanted to share this job chart as a freebie to my blog readers. Get this freebie {HERE}
Setting up my jobs this way has really helped my classroom management and has made life so much easier. I hope this little freebie helps you too :)

After you download your freebie, stop by The Organized Classroom Blog and see the amazing posts from other amazing bloggers!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Five for Friday: Back 2 Teaching!

It's Friday, it's Friday, it's Friday! I really shouldn't be so excited because I have a TON of work to do this weekend to get ready for conferences. Nonetheless, it's time for some Five for Friday brought to us by Doodle Bugs Teaching! 

After two weeks of being away from my second graders, I'm back in the classroom. I missed teaching, but knew it would be a rough road ahead... and... it was! Somehow my little second graders forgot their expectations! How that happened, I just don't know (*sarcasm*)! 

Even though their were some rough spots in my week, I had a lot of fun teaching my kiddos an anatomy lesson to share exactly what happened to my knee. I get teacher excited when my kids OoOoOh and AaAaAahhh at things I show them.

I knew my kids would want to share every self-connection they had to my injury, so I planned a narrative writing lesson on a time when they got hurt. Since my kiddos were in the classroom while I dislocated my knee, they were experts at helping me write my personal narrative. They then got the chance to begin their own personal narratives describing a time when they got hurt. They had some great and graphic stories to tell! 

I'm enjoying wearing my new slipper shoes to school! Since my knee is aching like crazy and throwing off my balance, I can only {successfully} wear flat shoes. Believe it or not, I don't own a good pair of flats. All of my practical shoes have at least some platform. Honestly, I'll take any excuse to buy a new pair of shoes! These Ugg slippers are so incredibly comfy! The sheepskin lining is like heaven for my feet! I love teaching comfy!

Oh man, I'm teaching regrouping! It's hard! I'm pulling out all kinds of strategies to help my kiddos learn this new skills. Some of them totally get it! Some look at me like I'm speaking a foreign language. This is where guided math groups come in handy! We've been using our manipulatives and practicing regrouping like crazy! 

Please share your secret to success with teaching regrouping! I'd love to learn a new strategy I haven't tried!

Last, but not least, I'm going to leave you with a little story that made my day! As I was walking down the hall, a first grader with his mom walked by my classroom, pointed and said, "this is the classroom I want to be in!"      
This just melted my heart!!

How was your Friday? Will you be working in your classroom this weekend like I will??


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Regrouping Practice for Second Graders who Love to Wiggle!

And two weeks later, I'm back in my classroom teaching! Part of my wants to celebrate, and part of me just wants to curl up in a ball! As happy as I am to be back, I knew deep down in my heart that leaving my kids for two weeks would mean I would come back to a bit of chaos. Boy was I right! Somehow in the two weeks I was gone, my dear second graders forgot many of our procedures and expectations... imagine that! And they were wiggly! And talkative! 

These are the days where I dump the lesson plans and bust out an activity that gets us out of our seats and moving. In a pinch, I borrowed some fabric (and a fun activity) from my teaching partner. While sitting around our meeting area carpet, I had each student grab a handful of colored tiles and dump them on a large piece of fabric. 

Looking at all the colorful tiles, I had my students turn-and-talk and estimate how many tiles we had on the sheet. I then had my kiddos discuss how we should sort the tiles to make them easy to count. We discussed how counting the tiles in groups of ten would make them much easier to count than counting them one-by-one. 

I then took three other pieces of fabric and and labeled them with hundreds, tens, and ones. My kiddos stacked their tiles in groups of ten and placed each pile on the ones column

They quickly noticed that we could easily regroup each set of ten and move them to the tens column. When we counted 10-tens, it was fun seeing their faces light-up and the excitement to tell me that it was time to regroup these tens to the hundreds column

We kept this activity going until we ran out of groups of tens to move to the tens column or the hundreds column. After all of that regrouping, we ended up with one tile left over. As a class, we decided the best place for that tile to go was in the ones column. I was glad there was at least one tile left over for the ones column! 

We ended up sorting 311 tiles in all! When all was said and done, we turned back to our original partners and talked about how far off our estimates were. Some students were pretty close to the actual amount... and they were very excited to tell me so! 

Because of my knee, I decided to keep this activity indoors. But, my teaching partner did this activity outside with objects her students found in nature. How cool is that!?! When I'm feeling better, I'll be taking my students on a nature hunt so we can sort and regroup their findings. 

How do you practice regrouping in your classroom? 

I'd love to hear some new ideas to try! Regrouping is hard stuff!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

About Me... Finally!

After 3 and 1/2 months of having my blog up and running, I finally finished my, 'About Me' page on this little blog. I love reading about other bloggers, so I thought it was about time that I "bite the bullet" and talk about myself. Does anyone else find it a bit painful to talk about themselves?? 

 If you're curious to know a bit more about me, you can click on the 'About Me' tab above, OR click {HERE}

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Quiet Down Class!: Managing Voice Levels in the Classroom {take 2} and a Freebie

Looking through my past blog posts and stats, I noticed that one of my most popular viewed blog posts was one I did on voice levels in the classroom. I also noticed that I created a fun voice level chart, but didn't leave a link for the readers to grab one for themselves! To be perfectly honest, the file was hanging out in Power Point just waiting for me to release it on TPT... as a  FREEbie! Now that I have a few more followers (I love all my blog followers, thank you!), I thought I would share the post again with links to get this voice level chart as a freebie. Click {HERE} to be taken to my TPT store to snag this free Voice Level Chart. 

Here's the scenario: You ask your students to partner talk. As soon as you say, "go" the classroom erupts in noise. Your classroom is so loud, partners have to talk in their own teacher voice to be heard by the person sitting right next to them. Yikes! Read on to find how I tackle this common voice level problem...

One of the first things I teach my students at the beginning of the school year is voice level control. I want my students to know that during certain activities, the expectations on how loud the classroom should be are different. This is also one of the easiest management strategies to teach because the kids love practicing changing their voice levels. 

Primary students and intermediate students alike respond well to a visual reminder of their expectations. That's why a voice level chart is so important to have hanging my classroom! 

This year, I decided to update the voice level chart I'd been using for the past 4 school years. I included 6 voice levels, from zero voice to outside voice, and included what the voice level sounds like in the classroom and when that voice level is used. I attached it to string and will use a clothespin to change what voice level I want my students to be at (see photo above). This was simple to make and an easy way to remind students of voice level expectations! 

Here is the voice level chart I used in the past...

I used 5 cards in 5 different colors. Each color has a number to indicate the voice level I want students to be at. I attached the laminated cards to a binder ring so it was easy to hang on my whiteboard. When I wanted the voice level to change, I would simply flip the card. At the beginning of the school year, we would frequently practice what each number meant.

Voice level charts are easy to make and an important tool in the classroom! Come back soon as I will be adding my current voice level chart to my freebie page! 

How do you manage student voice levels in the classroom?? 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't Let the Pigeon Write an Incomplete Sentence!

Who doesn't love some Mo Willems!?! Before I launched writer's workshop, I did a mini-unit on sentence writing inspired by the amazing children's author, Mo Willems. I love how he uses simple readable sentences to tell amazing {and hilarious} stories. Kids just L.O.V.E his books... even my advanced readers can't put his books down! Read on to see how I reviewed sentences using Pigeon, inspired by Mo Willems. 

I started my mini-unit sharing books and information on good ol' Mo. I shared with students the two parts of a sentence (noun and predicate) and we sang a song a little complete sentence song that I wrote (inside the unit). 

The next day, I held up cards with examples of sentences and incomplete sentences, and students discussed and voted if the sentences were complete or not. Then, we went on a mentor text scavenger hunt to find complete sentences. The kiddos worked in pairs, looking at a Mo Willems' text and wrote down sentences that they found. 

To review all the good stuff we learned, the next day we made a pigeon craftivity to remind us of all the parts of a sentence (subject, predicate, capital letter, and an ending punctuation mark). The kids loved making their pigeon! Some even named them! I think they're pretty darn cute!

But wait...There's more! Our sentence mini-unit didn't end there! We continued to cement our knowledge of sentences by putting together some silly mixed-up sentences. I loved watching the kids complete this activity! They were so engaged with creating their sentence and reading each others' sentences! There was a great energy in the room... it was a great day to be a teacher :-)

I loved this one! I had to show it again up-close!

We ended the unit with a mini-assessment so that I could see which students knew how to correctly write a sentence and which students needed some additional small group support. 

I just put this unit up on my TpT store yesterday! It's my first Common Core unit that I've put together in my store and I am excited to share it with you! To check it out, click on the picture below! 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Primary {P}inspiration: Join a Collaborative Pin Board

I'll admit it, I am seriously addicted to Pinterest and I KNOW I'm not alone{rehab anyone?}! I love seeing everyone's ideas and Pinterest is the first place I go to find new TpT units to purchase for my classroom. Maybe it is the fact that I have been going stir crazy all day without being able to move (knee injury) or maybe the pain has messed with my mind, but I thought it would be a super fun idea to create a collaborative Pinterest board specifically for primary teaching ideas and primary bloggers. 

Apparently I wasn't completely crazy because one of my best bloggie friends, Marcy from Searching for Teacher Balance, decided to join along with me! That means more people seeing your pins and blog ideas!

If you're interested in joining this collaborative board, comment with your Pinterest URL and I will follow you and add you to the board :-)

The only rule is that this board is for primary teaching ideas (sorry, not cute outfits, or recipes, or sports cars, even though those are all fun to look at). 

Happy Pinning! 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Art Uniquely Theirs: Displaying Self-Portraits in the Classroom

With common core, demanding schedules, and everything in between, it is easy to forget about making time for art lessons. I'm not talking cutting, pasting, and following step-by-step directions, but students creating something all their own with no lines to follow, no pattern to cut, and no {well, some} rules.

Two years ago, I taught an after school art class in addition to teaching 1st and 2nd graders and fell in love with teaching art! I'm excited to share with my blog readers some of the way I use art in my classroom!

At the beginning of each school year, I have my students make a self=portrait. This year, the students and I read picture books about being unique and we learned about what it meant to have a strong self-concept. We discussed how no two students looked and acted exactly the same and to celebrate this, we are going to create self-portraits to display in the classroom community.

By giving the art a specific purpose, this insured students would take their art seriously and try their very best. I hope you can agree that my sweet second graders' artwork turned out beautifully!

I brought out the mirrors and my students brought out their smiles! I showed students on my ELMO how to draw a self portrait by drawing "whisper lines" and by carefully placing your eyes, nose, and mouth. I modeled how to take our time and how if we use light lines, it is easier to erase. 

The next day, students colored their self-portraits with water colors. I gave students a lesson on how to mix colors to crate a tan and how to not mix the colors together. 

Once the paint had dried, we used permanent marker to outline their self-portraits. Again, I modeled how to do this very carefully and explained how important it is to be careful because one wrong move could ruin our portraits. 

My mom and I worked together to frame their pictures using Dollar Tree frames. The space above their cubbies made a perfect shelf to permanently display their artwork on! Everyone in the class has their very own framed piece of art! 

Here's a look at all the artwork that I was able to capture without the pesky glare! There are more portraits that aren't pictured.

Looking at these just make me smile! You can see their little personalities in their artwork! I just love it! The pictures at a home-like feel to the classroom. It was amazing to see how much warmth their artwork added to our classroom. 

If you have students' self-portraits displayed in you classroom, please comment with the link. I would love to see pictures!

How do you display student artwork in your classroom?


Friday, October 4, 2013

Five For Friday: An Eventful Week {CAUTION: Not for the squeamish}

I'm linking up for the Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching for the first time. This week was just too eventful to pass up! A word of caution... don't read this post if you're squeamish. 

1. I survived the biggest coastal storm of the year. It rained, and rained, and rained, and rained some more. The power went out for a good three hours. I don't have a photo of the storm, but I do have a picture of elk my friend and I found while driving in the storm :-) I counted about 22 elk total. Quite the sight!

2. My students made a pretty awesome city to display in our classroom! Read more about it {HERE}

3. Are you ready for the squeamish part?? I dislocated my knee while teaching and got to take my first trip in an ambulance! It was very painful, but it was actually pretty cool to look at! I watched the ER doctor pull it back into place (OUCH!) and wish I would've gotten a video of it! The ambulance ride was not too bad. The EMTs were so nice and made sure I was comfortable while on my way to the hospital.

 I can't go back to work until further notice, but I got to say hi to my kiddos and let them know I was okay. The poor dears had to witness the whole thing happen! I tried to keep teaching while the med aid was on her way to help me, but they knew something was up! 

4. I did manage to snap a selfie after my knee was snapped back into place. My first trip to the hospital was too monumental to pass up! AND, I was happy to be okay!

5. Now, I get to rest and prop my knee up at my parents' house. My mother was kind enough to drive me back to Portland so that I could have follow up appointments with my doctor. I don't know when I'll be able to go back to work, but I get to enjoy this beautiful view from my parent's house!! Lucky me (this is Mt. Hood)!!!!!

Told ya my week was crazy :-) How was your week?? 
Design by Laugh Eat Learn // Theme by Pipdig