Weekend Warriors: Valentine LOVE

I am so excited to link up with the Weekend Warrior girls to bring you some Valentine love with: 

This time of year, I always scour Pinterest for new gift ideas for my own students, as well as gifts for my boys to give to their friends and teachers. 
Here are a few of my favorites:

Paint Chip Bookmarks <3
Paint Chip Book Marks! DONE! I'm making these for my students.

glow stick bracelet valentine -- printable
Glow stick bracelets or necklaces with a cute tag! Simple, easy, fun, and NO CANDY!

Cute Teacher Valentine!  You're the koolest valentine and printable.
My son wants to give his friends this Kool Aid pouch for Valentine's Day! Adorable!

I am also going to use my Valentine's Day Word Problem Task Cards to spread the love of math. I swear the kids don't feel like they are doing school work, when they use task cards. This is a no brainer- these are a MUST use this coming month!

Check out all these fabulous bloggers and all their amazing ideas for January!

Get Organized! Perfecting Parent Conferences

I am so excited to be joining my Primary Powers gals for an awesome blog hop: Get Organized! 

My middle name should be Organization! Nothing makes me happier. I little OCD...yes! But, hey, it works for me. I am known as the "Binder Queen" at my school. It's true. Everything goes into a binder, with plastic sleeves, AND labels. 

I would LOVE to share with you how I get organized for parent conferences without all the stress. I have created my own conference binder that has all the forms and information I could need in ONE place! 

1. Personal Binder Cover: This just makes everything easier to handle.

 2. Sign in sheet. This allows a record of all your parent conferences and communication to be in one place. When conferences are over, I make a copy for my administrator as documentation. 

3. No matter how hard we try to find the PERFECT date and time for every family, someone always forgets or misses their scheduled time. This form is a quick reminder to send home if you choose to reschedule. 

4. I make all my copies on different colored paper and put them in the same plastic sleeve as my master copy. This way I have everything ready to go at a moment's notice.

5. This form is my lifesaver! It has all the information I need to give to the parents all on one, neat, organized piece of paper. I have made this form for the beginning of the year and middle of the year progress updates. It is so easy and quick to fill out. I feel silly that I didn't start using this format sooner in my teaching career. Live and learn...

Are you ready to get organized and make your own conference binder too? All of these forms and MORE are in my EDITABLE Parent Teacher Conference Forms packet.

I like to give parents the opportunity to pick their conference time. I have found when I do this, there is a much GREATER chance they will keep their scheduled time. I add the conference dates and times to this form, make copies, and send it home. If you would like to use this form too, click on the picture or HERE to download your free copy.

Time for some more organizational tips.... head on over to Second Grade Perks and see what Heather is organizing on her blog.

Second Grade Perks

Trade & Grade Product Swap!

I am so excited to be joining some fabulous bloggers for this month's Trade and Grade.
 I was paired up with the talented Stephanie from The Learning Chambers.

I was extremely lucky to be able to test out her Arctic Informational Text passages.

I was SO excited to use these passages with my kiddos. We have been working with informational text passages all year, but I wanted to change it up for them since we returned from winter break. Time to introduce NOTE TAKING in second grade! Yes, that's right...note taking! I don't think I was EVER taught how to take notes in school. But, with Stephanie's informational text passages, I was able to do just that for my little ones! 
I chose to start the note taking lesson with Stephanie's arctic fox passage. We had talked about arctic foxes previously, so I was thrilled to give them something they were familiar with the first time we attempted note taking. The reading was at the PERFECT level for my second graders. Not too easy. Not too hard. 

We boxed vocabulary words we needed to know the meaning of. Then, after reading the paragraph we would write a phrase on the side of it to help us remember the meaning. I taught them how to highlight and number important facts and information, so they could answer questions easier. 

After we read, highlighted, and underlined important facts together, I had the kids show off their new found knowledge about arctic foxes with Stephanie's comprehension page. We made sure to use complete sentences and spell words from the story correctly in our answers. The kids nailed this! 

Stephanie's packet also comes with fluency practice pages about each of the different arctic animals. I made packets for the kids and they practiced their fluency with partners during center time. This packet has it all! Your students will be engaged, learning, and feeling successful about informational text! What more can you ask for? THIS PACKET IS AWESOME!

Stephanie is so sweet, she even gave me a sample of this incredible pack to share with all of you. Just click HERE to grab your copy!
Arctic Fox Informational Text Sampler {Easy Printing}

Powerful Place Value + Freebie

This week has been all about district assessment prep! We came back from a long weekend and BAM...we dove right into place value review!

I don't know about you, but I just loath district assessments. I know I have prepped and taught my kids all the concepts covered, but without fail, the district test always presents the material in a foreign way to my kiddos. The wording is different or the format is not the same. It's always something. I want to scream when this happens! 

I was bound and determined to NOT let this happen to my kiddos again. SO.... this little flip book activity was created! I made the books ahead of time with two sheets of construction paper. Then, I stapled it at the top to secure them.  Hence, the four flaps were created.  
I had each student cut out the flap labels and I modeled where to glue each one, so there was little room for error. 

Next, I asked my students to choose three numbers 0-9 and cut them out. They glued them above the "My Three Numbers" label.

Finally, each student needed to use the three numbers they choice to make the largest three-digit number possible AND the smallest three digit numbers possible.

Here is the BEST part...the kids had to EXPLAIN why their three-digit number was the largest and smallest! This quickly gave me an understanding of who mastered the concepts of place value and who still needed practice before the district test. I was one happy teacher when I saw this writing under the flaps of most of my students! SCORE!

You can grab a copy of this activity by clicking HERE

I hope you can use these in your classroom. If you download them, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think of them. Thanks so much everyone! 

Martin Luther King Jr. Freebie

Hi Friends! Today, I am blogging over at Primary Powers.

I am sharing a ton of Martin Luther King Jr. activities we have been using in class. Head on over to Primary Powers to learn more about these activities and how you can grab a FREEBIE for your classroom too!

Write Away! & Descriptive Writing

I have spent most of my winter break relaxing and spending time with family. However, I also spent some time updating and revising some of my classroom resources. 
When I get back into the classroom next week (yes, we have a three week winter break), I want to focus heavily on writing skills. Writing is the one thing that always seems to get pushed to the back burner when "things come up." I think it has a lot to do with writing being subjective. Some kids have a hard time getting their thoughts down on paper. Some need a WHOLE LOT of direction and still struggle. Some kiddos whip right through it and produce beautiful stories and text (or not). It's a struggle to find that happy spot where everyone can be successful.

First thing we are going to do, is dive into descriptive writing. I want my kiddos to expand their sentences using interesting and meaningful words. I am going to use activities from my newly updated Time To Get Poppin' with Descriptive Writing pack. There is no better way to grab the kids' attention, than with food! This is a week long mini unit that uses the five senses and popcorn to get the kids writing. I use it every year and they go crazy for it!

After they get a bit more comfortable with descriptive writing, I am going to have them use those skills to help them practice writing an informative essay for our next district interim assessment that is on the horizon. They are going to be eating, breathing and, sleeping informative writing. I joke. But seriously, we need to get ready. I am going to use activities from my Write Away! series of writing prompts. 

I am going to use the informative pieces from the Winter Edition for practice. I love this packet because it has everything I need: student checklists, rubrics, prompts for all writing types, a craft and more! 

I am going to grab them hook, line, and sinker with the how to make a cup of hot chocolate writing prompt. I will bring in the ingredients for them to have a hands on experience. Hopefully, it will get their creative juices flowing. We will also make this adorable craft to display next to their writing.

I have redesigned all my Write Away! seasonal writing packs and BUNDLED them together at a discount too. Click on the picture for more details. 

Fingers crossed all my food lessons work! I will keep you posted. I would love to know how you teach writing in your classroom too. 

Winter So Cal Blog Hop and Giveaway

Happy New Year! I am so excited to be joining a fabulous group of bloggers from sunny Southern California to bring you....

Winter in Southern California is incredible! We have the best of it all. The beach is just 30 minutes away to the west and amazing skiing is just a few hours in the other direction. I can't complain. The other night, we were leaving our house and my jaw dropped! This picture perfect sunset was out for all to see!
This is what makes winter is Southern California so incredible! Just look at that sunset! It was breath taking to see.

With the New Year upon us, it is always a time to reflect and carve a path for this coming year. 2014 was a difficult year for my family, but it has made us all stronger and wiser. I hope 2015 is a little easier and brings joy to all! This coming year I want to work on PATIENCE! I need to stop sweating the little stuff, take a step back, look at the big picture and be patient.

I hope I can help you start your New Year off right with this little FREEBIE! These pages are from my Snow Much Fun Language Arts unit.

 When we return to school I will be using all the activities from this packet to get my kids excited about polar bears, penguins and of course winter!

For the FULL product, just click the picture above! It includes non-fiction reading and writing skills about polar bears and penguins, word work, comprehension skills, grammar activities, and crafts!

Now it's time for some more surprises! Freebies are fun BUT gift cards to your favorite stores are even better! How would you like to win $60 to TpT or Target or BOTH? Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win. What a fantastic way to start of the new year, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you grab your goodies, continue the hop by heading over to visit Ali from Teaching (Powered by Caffeine).

May your 2015 be filled with joy, love and laughter the whole year through!