Intervention and Fall Writing

I have completely neglected my blog posting this week. Things were so busy and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I know I am not alone in this department.

We started parent conferences this week and will continue into next week. We are wrapping up our first reading unit which means testing, testing, testing. This will be the first time this year the kids have seen a formal test booklet, which can be very intimidating to many of my kiddos. So I am breaking it down  and testing over 5 days so they just get a little bit at a time. This usually helps their anxiety level go down.

This brings me to the topic of intervention. I have always found it frustrating and difficult to find the time during the school day to do "proper" intervention. Pulling a couple of kids for 5 or 10 minutes, never seems to do the trick. Well, this year the "magic" is happening in second grade at my school. We only have 2 second grade classes. Usually between our two classes we might have 6 kids that really need intensive intervention. This year, however, the story is different. We have about a third of our kids that are not at grade level. We knew we HAD to figure out how to consistently implement intervention. My team partner and I have finally figured out how to make it work for our kids.

Our reading program is California Treasures. The fifth day each week is an assessment and review day. We decided to combine our two classes for this time. My team partner takes all the kids that need intensive intervention for one hour, while I take all the other kids and review difficult grade level concepts or work on enrichment. That means every five days the kids are getting an hour of quality intervention! Also, the kids that need higher level instruction get their needs met as well. Now to take this to the next level, the sixth week of each Unit is review and testing.  We are combining the kids each day that week for a total of 5 MORE hours of intervention! I am so excited about the possibility of huge progress for all these kids. We are progress monitoring all of them and hope to see some significant gains.

Here are some of the things I did with my group:
We reviewed main idea and details. The kids can never get enough exposure and practice with this concept,

We also wrote stories about Mr. Leaf from Amy Lemons Fall Literacy Centers. We are going to continue with the fall centers next week and I will post more pictures so you can see the kids at work. Have a great weekend everyone!

It's Fall Y'All- Time for a Sale!

I am joining Casey at Second Grade Math Mania for a HUGE weekend sale to welcome in Fall! I love fall and only wish the weather was cooler where I live, so that I could really enjoy the season right now! It's time to bust out the jeans, boots and light weight sweaters!

Here are a few of my best sellers that you will be able to grab during the sale for a nice discount!
I have ELA Common Core Vocabulary cards for grades K-4.

I also have Common Core MATH Vocabulary cards for grades K-4.

And if you still haven't had enough of Common Core, you can grab your grade level (kinder-fifth) checklists  of the standards, so you can keep track of when you teach and assess each of the standards.

The sale begins at midnight tonight, so stock up and get ready for Fall Y'all! Have a great weekend!

Apples, Apples Everywhere!

Teaching My 3
Fall is in the air! Well, maybe everywhere else, except where I live. I love Fall! I love the cool weather, the change of colors in nature, the holidays-BUT I don't get it for very long because in Southern California it is still 100 degrees everyday. It's horrible! Doesn't Mother Nature know it is time for summer to move on out and for Fall to slowly blow it's way in? Since, Fall is not coming to us at the moment, I thought I would bring Fall into my classroom!

Yesterday afternoon we created these great apple glyphs in my class. The kids answered questions about their likes and dislikes about apples. We read a book about how apples grow and how many people go apple picking this time of year. The kids were really engaged in the activity and had a lot of opinions and questions that I was surprised about. Many of the kids had never heard of apple picking because it is not very common where we live.

I have very limited space to showcase things in my room. I decided to use the door to our classroom bathroom to create a tree and a bushel basket to display our apple glyphs. These apples are so darn cute. Some of them have worms and others have a bite taken out of them. The kids loved making them.
Beside it, I posted our graphs, glyph key and data that connected with our lesson. Yes, it is right below my lovely classroom thermostat. Hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, right?

We are going to continue our lessons with the parts of an apple and how it grows and then connect it to how a pumpkin grows. We will be doing some comparing and contrasting of the two in the next couple of weeks. If you are interested in bringing the apple love to your classroom you can check it out HERE!

By the way, Heather at Heather's Heart is having a fabulous giveaway:
She is giving away $100 worth of awesome, teacher coveted  gift cards just because she loves her followers. Stop by and check it out! Happy Friday everyone!

Behavior Management Linky

I am a couple days late to this party! However, better late than never. It's just been one of those weeks, I guess. I am linking up with What the Teacher Wants for an incredible linky party on behavior management.
I think behavior management is one of the most important things to establish in the classroom from Day 1. The key to making any system work- CONSISTENCY!  
I have made a HUGE change in my behavior management system this school year. For the past 14 years I have been using the ever so popular color card system. (I can hear all of your groans as you read this) It actually has worked really well for me and most of the teachers at my school. Most of us used it school wide. This year I wanted to make a change and switched to the color coded clip chart. The main reason I made the switch is because I really liked the idea of rewarding positive behavior as well as having consequences for negative behavior. Here is the chart I use:

Every student has a clip with their classroom number on it. This makes it slightly more anonymous than using names. Also, I am hoping the clips will be able to be used for more than one year- fingers crossed. It has been a bit of a change of mind frame for me. I have to remind myself to reward those that are doing well. Sometimes at the end of the day if I see that I haven't had that many students move their clip from green, I will have them move it up before they leave. At the end of each day the students fill out one half of this behavior chart:
They color in the circle with the color their clip is on at the end of the day. At the end of the week, they take their chart home and have their parents' sign the chart. They bring the signed chart back on Monday. When they return the signed chart, they get a ticket.  On Friday, any student that has been in the top three colors all week gets a treat from me. The treats can be small snacks, bookmarks, stickers or even special erasers. I also use tickets throughout the day to motivate my students during class. Tickets can be given out for any number of reasons: quiet in line, smooth transition, answering questions etc. They can save their tickets or enter them in our class rewards jar to be one of the possible luck winners that get to choose a prize from our classroom treasure chest. Some kids save their tickets all year to see how many they can get, while others spend them as soon as they get them. 
What is your behavior management style? Link up and share!

My Favorite Freebie Linky Party

I am super excited to be joining 2nd Grade Pad for this awesome linky party! As teachers we are always looking for inexpensive ways to jump start ideas in our classrooms. It is even better when they are FREE!

My favorite freebie is an activity I do with this poetry form:

This is a poetry form students can use to write facts about themselves. It is great to use at the beginning of the school year or towards the end of the year to review what is special about them.

I personally use this towards the end of the year, in my class, and have students draw self portraits of themselves to have up during Open House. I also take the students' written poems and type them on nice paper and attach their self-portraits next to it. Here is an example of some student work:
You can grab your copy of this poetry form at my TpT store HERE. If you happen to download it, I would love for you to leave some feedback at my TpT store and/or share your comments here.

What is the best freebie you have ever created to share with others? I would love to hear about it. 

Tell Me Something Good

As I was blog stalking last night, I came across this great linky- Tell Me Something Good from Rowdy in First Grade! At the beginning of the year, I find that there is a lot of stress and complaining from teachers in the lunch room about various things. So when I came across this linky, my eyes lit up and I got excited. Time to share some positive things. All you have to do to link up is share one thing positive from school and one thing positive from home.

One Positive Thing From School
I have the sweetest class. They are really good kids who want to do well and learn. All week we have been working on understanding Main Idea and Details. Today the kids walked into class first thing in the morning and asked me if we were going to be doing Main Idea and Details again. I said yes, we have an activity on that today. All of a sudden, two boys high-fived each other and said, "YEESSS!" How cute is that? Must have done something right this week!!!

One Positive Thing From Home
My husband is coming home from a week long business trip today! Boy, have we missed him! And my son (who just started kindergarten) received the Student of the Month Award for his class, passed his first sight word test and reached his first Accelerated Reader goal. Now that is something to celebrate!

Have a great weekend everyone! Make sure to link up and share all your good things. I can't wait to read all about them.

Southern California Blogger Meet Up

I am so super excited for this amazing event! I just a couple short weeks a few of the teaching world's amazing bloggers will all be together in one place. There will be a meet up in Orange County that is being organized by the wonderful Hadar from Miss Kindergarten!

Fill out this form if you are  interested in attending so you can be kept up to date on all the latest information about this incredible event. Hope to see you there!

Pen Pal Love and A High 5 Lesson

Last week, I introduced the concept of Main Idea and Details with a non-fiction story from our reading series. This week we continued the concept and I read my kids this adorable fictional story:
After the story, we discussed point of view and then revisited Main Idea and Details. I wanted the kids to be more independent in generating the main idea and details. Maybe I should say, I didn't want to do as much guiding. I was really proud of them. They were very engaged in the story, so I think it was easier for them to come up ideas for the main idea and details. The kids didn't seem confident with the main idea they came up with at first. I explained to them they could come back and revise it if they couldn't come up with any details to support it. They were really pleased with themselves when they realized they hit the nail on the head with their ideas. They came up with a ton of details to support their main idea. After our class discussion, the kids made these cute hands:
They wrote the main idea on the palm and a detail on each of the fingers. To the left you can see our ELA CC Vocabulary Cards that applied to our lesson. 

We also received a special package in the mail last week. We got our first set of pen pal letters from our new friends in North Carolina! My kids were so excited to read about their pen pals. They loved looking at the kid's self portraits and what they wrote about themselves. We put the letters in a binder so everyone can enjoy reading the them.

 Here are some of the adorable self portraits they sent us:

My kids were so excited to get to work on their self portraits and letters. They were so focused and proud of their pictures:

We are finishing up our first letters and can't wait to send them to our new friends in North Carolina!

Main Idea and Details!!

This week, our focus was on understanding main idea and details. This seems to be an abstract and difficult concept for many of my little darlings. We read a story in our reading series that many of the kids were not connecting with. So I decided to use a craftivity about Main Ideas from Amy Lemons. We created super cute trees! On the trunk of the tree, we wrote the main idea and we wrote the details on the each of the leaves. We created one large tree together as a class, which included as many details as the kids could find in the story.
Then the kids got to work to create their own trees about the story we read. They need to write the main idea and choose four meaningful details to write on the leaves.
We then created a class bulletin board titled, "Rooted in a Great Story."
I posted the Main Idea and Details anchor charts on the board to remind the kids how to use the skill they just learned. Here is a closer look which shows the kid-friendly standard as well.

I think using a hands-on activity to reinforce more difficult concepts helps create ownership for the kids and they are more likely to understand and apply it. What great ideas do you use to teach main idea and details?
Click the button above and hop on over to Teaching Fourth and link up with your fun ideas and activities for the week!

My New Blog Design and Open House Week At TBA!

As many of you know, I have been wanting a new blog design for awhile now. Well, I am so super excited to share my new creation with you! I couldn't have done it without Lindsey from Lindsey Joy designs (formally Sour Apple Designs). Lindsey has been so patient, creative and amazing throughout this whole design process. If you need some inspiration and a true professional, Lindsey is your girl. She is A-MAZING! I still have a few things to tweak, but I think all of our blogs are always a work in progress, right? I am so excited I finally have a Blog Button that everyone can grab!!!  Let me know what you all think.

I am also linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for their Open House Week. Click on the picture below to link up or just read about all the awesome bloggers out there.

Open House Week
Day 1
Meet the Teacher:
My name is Jaime and I teach second grade at a great K-12 school in Southern California. I have been at this school for most of my teaching career. It has been 14 years now! Wow! I am so lucky to work with such a group of dedicated teachers. We are not only a school, but a community as well. I have two boys of my own, 8 and 5. I have my master's in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. I love being in the classroom, but may want to join the administrative ranks once my own children are older.I am currently the Elementary Coordinator at our school. I have also been the GATE and ELL coordinator as well.  I started blogging in May after I blog stalked for a few months. I found out about teacher blogging when  my girlfriend introduced me to the world of Pinterest! Every since then, I have been addicted, obsessed or completely consumed by blogging and making products to share with others.
I am in my second year of teaching second grade. Before I taught first grade for 11 years and 2 years of fourth grade. I absolutely LOVE second grade and can't believe I didn't switch sooner. I am really into integrating technology into my lessons. I wrote many grants last year through Donors Choose to bring technology into my classroom. We now have touch screen computers, ELMOS, laptops, iTouches and more to help enhance the learning of our students. It is amazing what a little technology can do to grab the attention of our students. 
Check back later this week for more Open House Week fun-Classroom Photos.

September Currently

It's hard to believe it is September already! It seems like yesterday that summer was just starting. I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently.

How many times have you had a long weekend and think to yourself, if only the work week went by this quickly? I love these long weekends but I always seem to need more time.

I love long, warm summer nights. So I think we are going to have a little BBQ and swimming going on over at our casa today. Sounds like a good way to culminate summer to me!

If a little BBQ is going to happen today, I better get the family to help me pick up and organize this house. It's a mess!

The strap on my school bag broke this week. Saturday I went to Target for some other things and of course found this:
Merona® Soft Tote - Black.Opens in a new window
Love it! I think it will be a great replacement. It has tons of pockets and zippered compartments. I can't wait to read everyone's Currently this month. Make sure to stop by and link up!

Classroom Timeline Freebie

My students always have a difficult time understanding the concept of time. Trying to visually explain days, months and years when reading informational text is an abstract concepts for many little ones. I wanted to help my students understand, visualize and internalize the idea of how long a school year is actually. Just telling them it is 10 months or 180 days means little to most of them.

So, I thought I would try something new this school year... create a classroom timeline! Before the kids entered class I posted the timeline on our wall.

I used painters tape to create the line. It doesn't damage the paint on the wall and I could move it until I got my line as straight as possible. Then I created a timeline header and colorful monthly tags and spaced them apart evenly. 

I explained to my students that we would take the entire school year to fill our timeline with pictures and captions of activities we do throughout the year. Last week, we picked two of our most favorite activities since school started and wrote captions for the pictures to go with them. The kids loved making their All About Me glyphs and getting their picture taken with their First Day in Second Grade frame. 

I printed these pictures and posted them above August on our timeline. Then we wrote a caption together to put below it. Writing the captions also helps students understand the purpose of a caption in the informational text we read during the week. They get excited when they find them and read what the picture is about.

I hope our class timeline will help the kids understand and apply the concept of time over one year, as well as help my students remember all the amazing things they learn over the school year. If you would like to create your own classroom time line click HERE to grab my template for FREE. Have a great long weekend!