Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Weekend SALE and a FREEBIE

We ALL SCORE this weekend, thanks to TpT! I am joining many TpT sellers and everything in my store is 20% off this Saturday and Sunday! On Sunday, you can get any extra 10% of using the code SUPER at checkout! Time to empty those wishlist items into the shopping cart! I can't wait to go shopping!!!
Thank you Aimee from Primarily Speaking for this adorable button!
We continued working on learning about our presidents this week. Last week the kids learned about Lincoln and made an adorable craftivity and wrote if Lincoln should have a beard or not. If you missed that post, you can read about it HERE. This week, we learned about Washington and wrote about what we would do if we were president.


Bet you never knew Washington could be so cute, right? I attached the kids writing to these and hung them up in the room with our Lincolns. 

I have a little freebie for you guys to get you ready for Presidents' Day! It goes along with my Patriotic Presidents' Day Centers and Craftivity unit. 

I SPY Presidential Math Problems

Writing Paper, word search, identifying nouns and proper nouns. I hope you can use this with your kiddos. Happy Friday my friends! 





Monday, January 28, 2013

Writing Maniacs!

We have been writing maniacs these past two weeks! As many of you know, writing is not my favorite thing to teach, so I have really been pushing myself and my students to go outside our comfort zone and expand our writing to the next level. Last week, we worked on our informative writing skills, while using a prompt from my Winter Writing Prompts packet.

The prompt asked each student to describe how to make a cup of hot cocoa. Each student "made" a cup of hot cocoa. I brought in the supplies and had different students come up and demonstrate the steps in front of the class. Then, we created a whole class graphic organizer of the steps we needed in order to correctly make the hot cocoa.

 I really pushed them to include specific details in their writing. When they were finished writing, they made a hot cocoa mug with marshmallows to go along with their writing.

Then we displayed their writing with the prompt, Common Core standards and rubric.
They really loved the interactive writing and felt very successful! How's that for kickin' it up a notch? We also worked on writing during our mini polar bear unit. I read the kids the book Knut.
Product Details
The book has beautiful pictures and is a great introduction to informative literature. Then, we created a fact and opinion chart about polar bears.
We used Stephanie's (Falling Into First) Polar Bear Buddy packet to make these cute little guys.

Each student wrote facts and opinions about polar bears. They also wrote about where they live, what they eat and described what they look like.

How adorable are these little cuties???? That wraps up our writing for last week. This week we are going to be working on our George Washington writings... stay tuned.

My sweet friend Storie from Stories By Storie is celebrating reaching 300 followers and is having an incredible giveaway going on right now.
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She has 10 amazing bloggers helping her out!

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I have donated my new unit Time Will Tell, which has tons of activities for teaching time. Head on over and check out the giveaway!







Thursday, January 24, 2013

Measuring Up!

I don't know about you, but I don't LOVE teaching measuring to my kiddos. I am not sure if it is me or the way our math series introduces the topic, (or maybe both) but I always dread the unit. So over winter break, I did some re-evaluating. How am I going to make this year different? I really enjoy teaching math. I enjoy hands-on units and lessons. Measuring fits those categories-so I should love it, right? Yeah, not so much (do you hear the sarcasm?). I figured the only way for me to make it work in my classroom is for me to create activities that work for my students. They are all Common Core Aligned and don't require a million objects to gather so they can learn to measure.
My goal for this unit is to make measuring meaningful to my kids.  I have spent the last week teaching about standard and non-standard measurement. We have used paper clips, cubes, pasta, pennies and more to measure things. We have used rulers to explore centimeters and inches. I was really surprised how quickly they caught on. They became measuring machines this week.

To culminate the unit, we "built" sandcastles! Yes, in the middle of winter we are making sandcastles. Hey, we live in Southern California! I decided to have the students work individually on this activity, but you can place them in pairs, as well.
This is the sample I briefly showed them. I didn't want to give them too many directions because I wanted them to be creative and not just copy my sample. Each student started off with this:

They cut the pieces out and started getting creative.

After they built their sandcastles, they measured the height and width in centimeters and inches and recorded their results.


Then we created this bulletin board:
I love how they all turned out differently. Each student's creative side came out in their creations. This activity, along with the measuring centers I used, can be found in my packet Measuring Up. I hope you find the activities helpful in your classroom as well. 
I have to say, I am not dreading measuring any more. Bring on the rulers!!!





Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Presidents' Day Fun!

I have been wanting to write this post for awhile, but I wanted to wait until I had pictures to show all of you. As many of us are gearing up for Valentine's Day in our classrooms, I am getting my kids excited for Presidents' Day as well. Believe me, I have TONS of Valentine's activities ready to go, but I also want my kids to learn about a few historical icons in our country. Last week, we discussed Martin Luther King Jr. and yesterday we were able to watch a presidential inauguration. So, I thought today would be a great day to introduce Abraham Lincoln to my kiddos. My "hook: was this wonderful book Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen Winnick.
                                               Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers
In the story, the little girl, Grace writes a letter to Mr. Lincoln while he is running for president. In the letter, she tells Mr. Lincoln that he should grow a beard because his face is currently too thin. She also says that all the ladies like beards and they will then convince their husbands to vote for him if he grows one. After reading the story the kiddos and I made a chart of pros and cons as to why Lincoln should or should not grow a beard.
The kids came up with some really funny ideas. Here they are working on their writing. They had to write a persuasive letter explaining why they thought Lincoln should or should not grow a beard.
When their writing was done, they glued their finally copies to the top of Lincoln's hat.

How stinkin' cute are those Lincolns??? They make me smile and the kids LOVED this activity.

We are going to learn about Washington tomorrow and make these:

We also are in a review week in our reading series, so that means enrichment and intervention time! I have the enrichment group, so we are going to be using the centers from my Patriotic Presidents' Day unit. The Lincoln and Washington craftivities are included in this unit.



I am also participating in an awesome giveaway over at Second Grade Math Maniac. Casey has reached over 600 followers and is celebrating by hosting a mega giveaway! I am giving my Let It Snow! Snowman Glyph to one lucky winner. Head on over and enter the giveaway for a chance to win some amazing prizes.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday Shout Out Time!

fiveforfriday,,,
First....yay three day weekend!!!! Second, I am linking up, on this fabulous Friday, with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

1. I don't know about all of you, but this seemed like the LONGEST week ever! Tuesday felt like Friday and Friday seemed like it was in the middle of the week-YUCK! And next week is a short week, which means it will seems extra long as well. NOT COOL!

2. I am super excited to be the Featured Friday Teacher over at Fantastic First Grade Froggies!
                                       
Every Friday, Renee features a different teacher and their blog! It was so fun to participate in! Hop on over and check it out!

3.Today I was given some pictures of my kiddos when they visited our school farm (yes, we have a farm at our school). I took each photo and made Valentine cards for the kids to give to their parents. I think the parents will love them!

4. I found out today I am going to be getting a student teacher in my class in the next few weeks! I really enjoy mentoring new teachers and inspiring them. I had a student teacher last semester and it was a pleasure to watch her grow from being timid and unsure of herself in front of the kids to commanding the class by the end of her time. I look forward to what lies ahead this time, as well! I feel being a mentor teacher is an honor and I can't wait for the experience again.

5. Today we had a commercial filmed at our next door neighbor's house and the film crew used our front yard as well! It was very last minute. They knocked on our door yesterday to ask if they could use our yard and they showed up at 7am this morning to set up. By the time I got home today, they were gone. Poof! Finished! I hope the commercial makes it through final edit so we can see it on TV. How cool would that be? 

Have a great weekend everyone! Don't forget to link up and share your Five for Friday!



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Morning Basket Work Review

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to review an awesome product from Heather at Second Grade Perks.

Second Grade Perks

She was sweet enough to send me a copy of her Morning Basket Work activities for January and February.

I am a HUGE fan of morning work! I have a system I use in my class already, but I am always up for improving the way I do things in my room. I started using this packet right after we got back from winter break. I incorporated it with what I already use in my room for morning work. My students spend about 20 minutes a day, first thing in the morning, reviewing skills independently while I take care of my "teacher" morning work.

I LOVE this time because ALL the students know what is expected of them, when they walk into the room each day. They turn in their homework, put their backpacks and lunches away and sit down and get to work. They have a folder in their desk with a daily packet they work on. Then, we review and correct the skills as a class. 

I added Heather's morning work activities into the mix last week. Here is a picture of some of the activity cards that are included. I suggest laminating the cards for durability. There are 48 cards included that review language arts and math skills. She includes enough activities to get your students through two months of morning work.

My class is set up in groups of 4 or 6 students. I put enough cards in each table "basket" so the students can complete one card a day before I change them out and rotate them. The basket also has decodable books and leveled books at each students' reading level. They need to use these for many of the activities.

My students each have a writing journal in their desk. I had them use their journal to record their morning work answers. At the top of the page they wrote the number of the card they were working on. It does not matter what order the students use the cards in.

The thing I really appreciate and love about these activities is that once it is set up, everything is at the kids fingertips to complete the activities independently. 

If you are looking for ways to start your morning off smoothly, this is a great resource to use! The kids love the structure and predictability of knowing what is expected of them. 
A huge shout out and thank you to Heather for sharing this great resource with me and my students. It is a HIT!




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

There Was An Old Lady-Valentine's Day and A FREEBIE

Holy Moly! Another week of craziness and it is only Tuesday! What is a teacher, mother, wife to do??? I have one really sick kiddo at home and another one on the mend. My husband and I jokingly have an over under bet as to how many days until one of us gets it also. Yuck! Fingers crossed it will leave our house soon.

At work, I have spent the last two days completing the middle of the year Dibels testing for all of second grade. I love seeing the results because 99.9% of the time it reaffirms what is already known in class. The results help guide our instruction and re-evaluate our in class intervention lessons.  I print out the individual results and send them home to the parents. It acts as a mini report card update for them. How do you use your school assessment results?

On a much more exciting note, I have spent the last few days working on completing activities for a mini unit to compliment the book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro.
                                           There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose!
My mom stopped by my classroom the other day and brought me a copy of the book. I was so excited and she said, "What are you going to make to go along with it?" (She knows me so well). I told her I didn't know at the moment, but something good. So I bought some new clip art and a few day later a mini unit was born!

This packet includes literacy and math activities to go along with the book. My students will sequence the book by cutting and pasting the story details in order.

Then they will choose one story detail and write and illustrate it.

The packet also includes ABC Order and Making Words. They are going to review their measuring skills by using their centimeter rulers to measure objects that were swallowed in the book. For some more math fun, they will solve math problems I SPY style! 

I am so excited to have this unit ready, I also created a couple FREEBIES (graphing and sequencing) that go with the story as well. You can grab your copy by clicking on the picture below. 
If you download a copy, I would really appreciate it if you left some "love" and let me know what you think of it. Thanks so much! Enjoy!




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Product Swap Time!

MrsStanfordsClass
I am so excited to be participating in my first Product Swap hosted by Jessica Stanford. I saw all the posts from the last Product Swap and I felt like I had missed out on something fun and magical! This time around, I was lucky enough to join in the fun. I have been super fortunate to be paired up with an amazing lady-Aimee Salazar from Primarily Speaking.

Primarily Speaking

Aimee has an incredible blog with incredible ideas! I had a really difficult time picking a product from her TpT store. She has so many wonderful products and she has spent so much time making sure they are Common Core aligned! I ended up choosing Aimee's Three Digit Addition and Subtraction Fun Pack- LOVE IT!
This product is jam packed with activities to help reinforce three-digit addition and subtraction skills. It has something for every type of learner in your class, which makes differentiating for each student SO much easier.
Here is an overview picture of the activities included: Roll A Number Sentence, Spin A Number Sentence, Sort It Out, Match Up, 5 in a Row and Pick A Card. 
My students really loved the HUGE dice they got to use for this activity. I printed the number dice, cut them out and laminated them for durability. I need to make a few more copies of the dice so several students can do the same activity at the same time.

Here are the centers ready to go for my students. I printed and laminated all the pieces so they would last.

The kids loved this activity because they got to make their own problems with the cards they drew. They were in charge! I had the kids work in partners to check each others' work too! So everyone got to be the "student" and then the "teacher". 

Here are my kiddos working in pairs to complete some of the activities. This activity (Spin A Number Sentence) was a HIT with the kids because they made their own spinners and then checked each others' work.


I was so impressed with the clarity of the directions. It made all the activities incredibly easy to prepare and explain to the kids. The other great thing about these activities is that the kids can be independent to complete them. Once it is modeled for them, off they go! This gave me the ability to check on each of the groups and informally assess how they were doing with the skills. 


Since I was so impressed with Aimee's math packet, I decided to purchase her Valentine's Day Fun Variety Pack. I can't wait to use this with my kids for the holiday. 
This packet has it all: Friendly Letter Craftivity, Conversation Heart Banner, Valentine Bingo, Writing Prompts, Center Work and MUCH MORE! 
Look how darn cute those craftivities are! You must check it out if you are looking for some Valentine Fun for your kiddos! I have mine printed out and ready to go!

Now, if you can't already tell, I am so glad I was paired up with Aimee for this Product Swap! She has put both of these products on sale for 20% off in her TpT store through Monday! That means you can get both these products, for your classroom, at a discounted price, right now! Hurry over to her store and put them in your cart! You will be thrilled that you did!


Make sure to stop by Aimee's blog and TpT store and become a follower if you aren't already! Also, check out all the other amazing bloggers that have linked up for the Product Swap and give them some of your love too!