Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Show and Tell Tuesday - Valentine's Day

Sunny Days in Second Grade is hosting a Show and Tell Tuesday on Valentine’s Day Linky!

I thought I would share one of my all time favorite Valentine’s books: Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. 

This book is about a man who does the same things every day and is not a very happy person.  One day he receives a box of candies from someone in the mail.  The box totally changes Mr. Hatch.  All of a sudden he is happy and trying new things.  Then he finds out the candies were sent to him by mistake and he is crushed.  However, after all the wonderful things he did when he was happy, his friends and neighbors decide to cheer him up. 

You can also find this book read by the wonderful Hector Elizando on Storyline Online. This is a wonderful resource if you have not discovered it yet!

This book is a wonderful for sparking a discussion about treating others with kindness and feelings.  It never fails to captivate my entire class and leads to lots of sharing and kind words and actions.

Here is a quick freebie that I thought would be a cute craft with my students after reading.  Students can make a chain of ways to be kind or how they have been kind.  They could even be connected into a class chain.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Multiplication Raps!

I think I may have found a way to help my students learn their multiplication tables AND have some fun! For some reason, it has been really tricky to develop fact fluency and I have tried so many ideas.  I found a great YouTube Channel that has raps for each of the tables. So, every day my students come into the room (we have leveled math groups and all of the students switch classrooms for math) we listen/watch one of the videos. They are from Kiboomu and have three stages:

  1. Chanting each fact in the table with the answer.
  2. Chanting each fact in the table without the answer.
  3. Mixing up the facts without the answer – so the students have to respond.

They have many more educational videos too! Check out the station!


My kiddos are loving this and it gets them moving and thinking first thing in the morning!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tell Me Something Good {Linky}

Jennifer from Rowdy in First is hosting a "Tell Me Something Good" linky.

Something Good at School: I FINALLY started a fun unit with my students!  We have been buried in assessments and play practice and new teacher requirements dreamed up by the state, so it feels like we haven't done anything fun in ages!  I started a unit on China and the Chinese New Year this week.  We read (yes...read...as in shared reading with my class) Lon Po Po and Yeh Shen.  I put together and investigative inquiry center where students were engrossed in books about China and put their "I notices" and "I wonders" on sticky notes to share - quietest and most productive center in ages! I will shared pictures as soon as I can remember to bring my camera to school!

Something Good at Home: 1. I FINALLY have a dishwasher installed!  It has been two years and I finally decided, since I have gone back to school one night a week, that I can't stand the dishes anymore and it was worth it to buy a new dishwasher.  We have one of the 18" ones, so they are about twice as expensive. 2. I started my second doctoral class!  Oh, my!  I so love it, but am so out of my element.  I'm taking a Qualitative Methods course and I have to observe people and do interviews.  I guess I'll just have to come out of my shy shell!

I am excited about the upcoming 3 day weekend!  I am prepping for a workshop I am doing on integrating CORE into literacy centers.  I have the basics, but need to really work on fleshing it out.  I hope I can share something new with area colleagues!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Pet of the Day

I wanted to share a great activity that adds authentic reading and writing to the classroom and provides a bit of entertainment. I was finding that snack time was turning into more of a recess time and management issues were cropping, so I pulled out an old calendar activity from when I taught first grade.  It is a website called “Pet of the Day.”  I pull it up on our electronic whiteboard and we read it while the kids are eating snack.  Here are a few features:

  • Introduces different animals.
  • Animals are from all over the country and world – makes a great connection to social studies.
  • Sometimes kids write about their pets and send it in.
  • Students can get a sense of an author’s voice and other writing features.

This has been super motivating for my students and they love to read about the pets together.  Check it out!



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Random

This post is just total life randomness and reflecting.

Is it just me or did the weekend to super fast?!? I planned ahead in spelling, but am not quite feeling ready to tackle the week. I can't say how many times I thought about how I should have stayed in first grade. I really like to teach new things and pull new units together, but I guess it feels harder this time. I was in first for 5 years, after six years of looping or changing jobs/roles. So, I think this change has thrown me for a loop. I am just not as happy to spend hours planning for the next week as I used to be and it is overwhelming when everything is completely different. i end up not making decisions because I'm not sure what to do next.

Anyway, what's a girl to do? Of course, go shopping! I know, I know, I was on a whole spending diet. I tried to use gift cards but could not find a leopard print scarf at Peebles, so I succumbed to TJMaxx - where one can find just about anything. I found a cute shift dress and a heavy red, black, and white plaid jacket. I may end up taking the jacket back. I found it in the children's section. Rachel Raye had a segment on how everyone can find items in the children's section and it is so much cheaper. However, this is not the first time I have perused the girls section. I, sadly, can wear large and XL items. It is just hard to find trendy things. Anyway, I got the jacket and think it might be too small. After bringing the first armful from the car, I just didn't want to go back out in the dark and snow.

I also found a filing cabinet at the thrift store for $5! I am rearranging my room and needed somewhere to put my phone, so I thought it would serve as a phone area and for storage. My thought right now is to start to reorganize my mentor books for reading and writing. Now that I can look back on the last four months, I can foresee how I want next year to go.

Maybe that's it! I know I'm a perfectionist. It is just killing me that I'm not doing things the way I want the first year in this grade. I'm just making it through the days and it is bringing me down. I think about how I cold have done it better and what I need to make better. I think it's a low to the confidence level when you second guess everything. We have a new math program and it is a huge undertaking. We also adopted a new spelling series and it doesn't have leveled lists or any word lists to send home. So, even though we have the book and workbooks, we are still typing everything.

Oh, we had an eventful afternoon! We put a tin roof on last year and the installers didn't include the snow guards. We have had about a foot of snow over the last two weeks and some of it has slid of the roof. Our dog has been so nervous because the roof makes noise all day. The snow on the back deck slid off in an avalanche sort of way. The sound was incredible! So now we have about three feet of snow blocking our back door!

This was totally a random brain dump! Have a great week!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five for Friday

I am linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky. I know that I am posting twice (and that breaks the teacher bloggy rules Winking smile) but this is after all, a Friday linky!
Let’s see…
1. I am on a no buying (except for groceries) spree! I cleaned out my closet and realized that I truly do not need any more clothes.  I haven’t even attempted to organize my craft room/office, but I really am set for oh, about 100 years with all types of crafty supplies.  AND I have way too many décor items – I don’t have space in my tiny little house for them!
2. I am anxiously awaiting my very last purchase before the new year!  I ordered some items from Maurices and a bunch of jewelry from Forever 21 and am dying to get the packages in the mail.  I hear about all these great things that people find there, but the store just drives me crazy.  I can never find anything and it always makes me dizzy when I walk in there.
3. I am in the middle of changing my classroom around for about the millionth time!  I am one of those teachers who just can’t feel comfortable in my classroom until I find the perfect arrangement. I have a long, narrow room and just find it hard to arrange everything. II am still loving the Dots on Turquoise scheme I went with this year.
4. I have yet to take down my Christmas tree. We always take a picture in front of the tree and it takes forever for us to get around to it.
5. I have resolved to use up things I have before buying more  I have lots of make-up, skincare products, and general household items that are half full and I haven’t/don’t use them or multiples of items.  I have so many bottles of scented lotion and don’t want to throw them out.  How many eyeliners does one person need?  How about blushes? Really?
Anyway, those are a few random things that popped into my mind!

2012 Bloggy Best and Brightest, and Books for Boys Linky

A little alliteration…
Bunting, Book, and Bainbridge is having a linky! It's one is a chance to share and brag about blogging in 2012. I'm trying to do this post in my iPad because I still did not get my computer fixed! Let's see...
Bunting Books and Bainbridge

1. I wrote a lot of posts and posted more freebies last year.

2. I found more of a voice in 2012. I think I have mentioned before, but I am a very shy person when it comes to talking to adults. The blog world is no different for me. I can be a little more anonymous, but you are still putting yourself out there for people.

3. I learned so much about the actual creation of a blog! I learned how to modify and create templates, creat blog buttons, and customize my blog.

My goals for this year...

1. Make a connection with other third grade bloggers. I have been bridging the world between the first grade teachers I love to follow and third grade blogs that I need for the support.

2. I'd like to share more thins that I create. Yikes...such a risk!

3. Along the same lines,I would really like to get into TPT world. I really need to think about how to be ale to do the college thing and still pay the bills! I just hope I have something useful for others!

Swimming into Second is hosting a linky party all about the best books for boys.

I am lucky to have pretty voracious readers this year and I have been working to update my book collection, with a particular focus on books for boys. Maximum Boy has been a favorite in my room for a few years and I found is by accident at a thrift store a few years ago. Maximum boys is your average kid who is also a super hero!  Hank Zipper is a new discovery.  I was looking for books for boys and found these at Goodwill.  They are getting great reviews from my boys. The story lines remind me of Boy Meets World.  AND they are co-written by the Fonz – Henry Winkler if you don’t know who the Fonz is.


Anything Lego related has been hot this year.  It has really made me think of how to appeal to boys through their interests.  I find that they use many skills that non-fiction readers use.  The books can be written like encyclopedias or how to books.

Garfield comics have been so huge this year that the kids are sneaking them into their desks to read. They even take them to lunch.

Matt Christopher is also a popular author among the boys. He writes books with a sports theme. They really appeal to boys who love baseball or football stats.

These are a few popular books in my room this year.  Some years the dinosaur theme is hot or books about sharks or volcanoes.  These year, the kids seem to have very different tastes in books. I hope that you found a few new ideas for your kiddos.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First 12 Linky and a Freebie

Lorraine from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is having a linky party to look back at the first 12 post of 2012 and reflecting on them.
Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies

  • Randomness and Giveaways! – Haha!  complaining about going back to school after the break.  I guess nothing changes!  I did do come work before going back last year.  I WILL NOT feel guilty about that!
  • Clutter! – I joined the Clutter-Free Classroom Project.  Well, that was a giant fail considering I packed my whole classroom.  It did help reduce the things I packed.  I think I need to go through that again because the number of things in my little classroom keeps growing!
  • Blog Updates! – Oh!  I had made some updates to my blog!  I think it is time again.  I like to overall look, but want to redo my button.
  • Leibster Award Love! – Ahh!  An award.  I love them because it means someone is still reading.  But, goodness they take forever to follow up on. Sad to say, the awards thing just wore me out last year.  I stopped following up after a while. 
  • Go-To Books Linky Party – This was a great linky party  I t really helped me to think about what books influenced my teaching and I found some that I wanted to reread.
  • Thank You! – Another award.
  • A Few Random Things – I shared some organizational tips and a Valentine’s printable.  I still use the math organization and it is a blessing with the departmentalization of math this year.  It helps everything stay speedy!
  • Pinterest Tips – I loved this post!  I use the search function to look up pins from my favorite blogs all the time.  The printing of your board is also really helpful!  I need to try that again!
  • Clutter-Free Classroom Project…and Other Stuff – Again, the Clutter-Free project.  They were good rules.  Maybe I need to take a look at them again.
  • Currently Linky Party – Hmm!  This currently was during a really busy time!  I was planning a baby shower, negotiating to switch grades, and applying to go back to college.  What was I thinking!  I always look back and think that, if things were that crazy then, I have no reason to complain now! Oh, I forgot about the 50th anniversary party and defunct reunion I was planning too…
  • My Rules for Purging – Clutter-Free Project
  • Organizing Centers – Hmm!  I wonder how I should start to organize my centers now?  After all, it took my five years to get them down in first grade!
  • Wow! – haha!  I topped 100 followers!  I’ve been holding around the same number for a long time.  I try not to focus on that.
  • New Toy! – The file bag!  I just pulled that out again..  Great tool – need to use it more consistently!

This was a fun linky party! I actually listed 14 posts because that’s how many I had in January last year. Check out any of the old posts if they interest you!

I also make a quick freebie.  We have departmentalized math classes and this is a huge adjustment to me.  I have been having a tough time tracking everything when 3/4 of the class is from another homeroom.  At any rate, I am not too much of a stickler for homework - only if I notice that it never gets done.  I am stepping up my game and created an "Oops Slip." Believe it or not, my teachers in elementary school used these to remind us to bring our homework back.  After 3 slips, we lost recess or had to have our parents sign the slip.  If it is something you can use, feel free to print.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Currently Linky!

Wow!  Two days – two posts!  A-maz-ing!  I’m linking up with Farley for her Currently Linky:


Oh' boy fourth grade

1. I discovered the Eleventh Gorgeous girls on YouTube!  They are a riot!  Seriously, if you want a pick-me-up, check them out!  They have me doing their voices and everything!


2.  I found a new book series!  The Immortals series is a good one!  I am currently reading City of Bones.  Good thing I got a ton of gift cards for Banes and Noble, because I have vowed to not buy any more books this year and I need to pick up the second book in this series!


3. I have been down and out for over a week! I never never never get this sick.  I usually just get tired, but this wiped me out.  I started coming down with what ever it is before the break, but held out.  I ended up lazing on the couch for 9 days.  It was only on Monday that I actually got up and felt human again.  I saved a bunch on gas because my car literally went out to pick up last minute gifts last Sunday and went to my parents (5 mins. away) and back on Christmas Day.

4. Enough said!

5. Yes, I am on a purchasing strike!  I cleaned out my closet and realized that I keep buying clothes and really don’t need them.  If you show me an outfit, I can probably pull it out of my closet. 40 skirts and 50 sweaters is waaaay more than any one person needs.  I really need to purge and see if I can reclaim both my closet and my craft room/office again. Oh, but I did buy a new dishwasher.  I am waiting oh so patiently for it to come in.  Our broken about 2 years ago and it is one of those little baby 18 inchers.  That means twice as much money and twice as long a wait.  I tried to be happy with doing dishes, but the reality is that I need to have a dishwasher.  I just hate doing dishes and I would rather buy a new dish washer than become a slave to the sink.

6. Balance – If you read my post yesterday, you know that I want to find some balance.  I have been exhausted and doing so much without really doing anything at all.  I need to balance home, school, and college.  I think the first step is to pull myself out of grump mode and start getting some good planning and correcting done so I feel like I am on the ball at work.  I also want to get myself in order at home.  That means purging and organizing.  Have you seen A Bowl Full of Lemons?  She has a great plan for organizing your house in 14 weeks.  I’m going to give it a go!

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Have a great one!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Linky Party!

I so want to get out of this rut that I seem to be in right now, so I am going to link up to a few linky parties to get myself going!

I'm linking up with The Teachers' Cauldron to make a personal resolution and a blogging resolution.

My personal resolution is to find balance in my life. Okay, I cheated.  That really encompasses a few things. I need to find some balance between home, school and college.  For home, I would really like to get my house organized and stop feeling like I am a hoarder (I have vowed to not buy any more clothes, home décor items, or books this year.) At school I would like to get some units under my belt and really do some strong planning.  I feel like I have been coasting a bit because my four hour mornings are just killing me this year. And for college, I would like to be able to better balance the demands of coursework with school planning and house work.

My blogging goal is to simply blog more.  I have been out of the blogging and creating mode this year.  I want to share more and maybe even update/create some items for Teachers Pay Teachers – hopefully the field isn’t so saturated that everything has been done!

Well, those are my resolutions this year.  I have already started on some of them!  I have a large roast in the slow cooker for dinners for the week, have an outfit ready for tomorrow (and hope to have a few more picked out tonight), some items ready to copy tomorrow morning, and have oatmeal ready to get into a new breakfast routine. 

For everyone going back to school tomorrow – have a wonderful day!