Friday, January 31, 2014

February Currently

Hello February! I love this quirky short month... Days get a little longer, the sun comes out a little more often, and there's even a little romance (eeewww, as my students would say). 



Listening: I love Motown music! I could listen to Marvin Gaye all day, every day! 

Loving: My little furry child, Lilo, turned 2 on Tuesday. I love the joy my little girl brings me!


Thinking: I think every teacher feels the exact same way... If you don't, you must have super powers! 

Wanting: I have a free trial of Amazon Prime and love it! But, the free trial is almost up... I DO NOT want to pay the $79... boo!

Needing: Yup, it's that time of year when school supplies, like pencils, go completely extinct!

2 Truths and a Fib

What's the lie?? Take your guess...

It's that I've traveled to 6 out 7 continents. So far, I've been to North America (obviously, haha), Europe, and Asia. It is a dream of mine to travel to all 7 continents, including Antarctica!

I am an opera singer {mezzo soprano} and I have had just about every natural hair color you could imagine... except mine was fake. To tell you the truth, I don't even know what my natural hair color is! Last year, I was a brunette and a red head. This year, I am a blonde



Are you ready for February!?! Share your Currently and link up on Farley's blog,
Oh Boy 4th Grade!




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Martin Luther King Freebies

I checked my blog this morning and saw that I just reached 150 followers! What an exciting milestone! It seems just yesterday I started this little blog (*sobs*). I want to thank everyone for reading my blog, commenting, downloading my freebies, and for stopping by! 


To celebrate 150 followers, I am throwing a 15% off sale on Teachers Pay Teachers for the next two days. 

Friday, I blogged about my MLK mini-unit and shared a quick writing assignment. I finally have my freebies up and ready for you to download! Pick-up your MLK freebies {HERE} or by clicking on the picture below. 


If you find this packet useful, please leave feedback. I would love to hear from you!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Making Meaning of the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. {Five for Friday Style!}



My sweet 2nd graders spent the week learning about the life and legacy of MLK. It was a great week with lots of learning and active engagement!

Countdown with me as I share what our week looked like, Five for Friday style!



Before I start any unit, big or small, I always start with the end in mind. For this unit on Martin Luther King, I wrote two essential questions (guiding questions) that I wanted my students to be able to answer by the end of the unit. Since my second graders' prior knowledge of MLK was limited, my questions were basic, but important in understanding the life and legacy of MLK. 

Throughout the lesson, I reminded students of our essential questions, and we added information throughout the unit. 

My Essential Questions:

Who was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,?
Why is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. important? 



I went on the hunt for some great resources to help us learn about MLK! I am a huge fan of Reading A-Z. I love how they have printables of the same book, but at different reading levels. They had three levels of the book pictured above, and another MLK book for my lower readers. Just what I needed! 

We met each day and read a section of our books. While reading, we paused to write down what Martin Luther King saw, did, felt, and thought on a graphic organizer. We also made a timeline of MLK's life... very 2nd grade Common Core of us, hehe...




To check our thinking and end our unit, my kiddos completed this quick writing assignment. It was their job to use their knew knowledge to answer our essential questions in writing. The cute graphics are from Creative Clips. 

I had one of my little {hyperactive} sweeties tell me, "This is a really fun writing assignment!" I really didn't expect my kiddos to be that excited about sharing what they learned about MLK. 




Our unit couldn't be complete without a cute and purposeful art project! I have to tell you... this art project was THE BEST! My students had such a great time bonding with one another while making this. 

I had my students hold hands (what a moment *awe*) and told them that we can all be in the same classroom learning, sharing, and laughing together because of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists. 

To symbolize this, I had my students pair up and trace their partner's hand in brown and white paper. 



Once both partners traced and cut-out one another's paper hands, they traded each traded one of the hands with each other. The students put these hands together, interlocking them, to make a sweet little heart. 






The final project turned out beautiful! I am so proud to have these hanging outside my classroom door! I stayed late just so I could have them hanging up, ready to greet my students on Tuesday morning!







How did you, or how will you celebrate Martin Luther King Day? 

Now that I'm able to relax after a busy week, I'm looking forward to reading about other bloggers' weeks! Be sure to check-out Five for Friday on Doodle Bugs Teaching!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Metacognition: Thinking about our Thinking!

Every time I look for a lesson plan, a worksheet, a project... anything... I'm making sure it taps into my students' critical thinking skills. Common Core and the upcoming Smarter Balance assessments make critical thinking skills impossible to ignore. 

I made the anchor chart below to help my students think about their thinking. They know that I'm a tough cookie and expect them to explain their thinking. If a students gives me an answer, it's common for me to answer with:

"Are you sure?"
"Why?"
"Explain..."
"Tell me more"

This makes students very uncomfortable at first, but the more I ask these questions, the better responses I get when students answer a question. Critical thinkers at work!


This anchor chart was inspire by many anchor charts on Pinterest. Check out my inspiration below! Click on the pictures to be taken to these amazing blog posts and resources...

This comes from Just Reed!

This one comes from First Grade Brain Sprinkles

How do you foster metacognition and critical thinking skills?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Making New Year's Resolutions Part 1, Back 2 School Fun, and a Math Game FREEBIE

It's back to school I go! It's always so hard to go back, but today was actually very pleasant, until I realized how few days we have off until Spring Break... Okay, I won't go there! 

We had a busy day, and I'll be continuing to add a few new things to our routine to keep up the rigor and pace of our learning. First up, we started our New Year's resolutions, a yearly tradition of mine. I told my students that a new year means we get to wipe our slate clean and start over! 2014 gives us a chance to start all over... if 2013 was a challenging year, we can change to make 2014 spectacular!

I gave my students a worksheet and asked them to predict the meaning of, or write their best definition of RESOLUTION. Then, I brought out the Dictionaries and challenged students to quickly find a definition of resolution and compare the Dictionary definition to our own definitions. 



Another New Year tradition... I read the book, Squirrels New Year's Resolution, pausing to discuss the examples of quality resolutions that the animals made and made a prediction of what Squirrel's resolution would be. If you don't have the book, YouTube will save the day!


Now it was time to brainstorm resolutions of our own! We're working on a mini-unit called, The Stars of the New Year (my kids really like the name, yay!). Our New Year's resolutions are Hollywood themed... so fun! 

Here's a peak at an example I made with my students to help them get their brainstorm on!



We did a little more brainstorming during our writing block... We'll continue writing a rough draft of our resolution tomorrow (stay turned for part 2)! 

Speaking of writing... hehe... I really wanted to update my old writing process chart. I made this one over the break and had my students decorate clothespins that we will use to track our journey through the writing process. 



And, since I'm on a clip chart kick, I made this one to go with our Math Facts program. Students start on different letter levels and more their clips up the rocket as they pass a level. Since students start at different places, it takes the competitiveness and bragging out. As a class, we celebrate moving up a level, not how high you are. As soon as a student gets to 'W', they have to start all over again with a new operation, anyway. 



If you would like a copy of the rocket chart, email me and I would be happy to send you one! 

Math time was a day of review! I made a quick, easy, and fun game to help students remember how to add, subtract, and trade. It's called, Pick Three (I gave the game a much needed name change from what I originally called it!). 

To play, students make two piles of cards: a pile of number cards and a pile of operation (+/ -) cards. Working in partners, students pick an operation card and mark the operation on their paper. One partner then draws three cards and decides how they are going to order the numbers. Your new three-digit number is placed in the squares of your record sheet. 



Next, the second partner picks three more cards, orders them, and writes them in the second set of boxes. 



Lastly, students add or subtract the math problem and repeat! 



Snag this math game FREEBIE {HERE} and enjoy!! 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Currently January 2014!


Hello to the New Year! I am so excited for a new beginning and I know 2014 has a lot in store for me.

Listening: I'm a big fan of countdowns, and a big fan of 90's music... I say, win-win!

Loving: I made a ton of TpT purchases over the break, one of which was the font license for Hello Fonts. I'm using these fonts on everything, I love them so much!

Thinking: 2014 will be a great year! I have so many blogging and TPT goals... stay tuned!

Wanting: Who doesn't want an extended vacation? 

Needing: I officially have a clip art addiction!

Tradition: My family is starting new Christmas traditions now that our family has changed. My sister is married, my cousins are married with little ones... we have all started new family traditions for wonderful reasons. It is very bitter sweet :-)

To see what other bloggers are up to, take a look at Farley's Currently link-up


Happy New Year,