More Back 2 School Fun and Assessments

Even though we just ended our third week of school, I am still working on completing our Super In Second activities. We just completed our First Week in Second Grade school houses. Which perfectly fit with our Scholastic Weekly Reader- Sliding Into School.

Yesterday the kids were working on their backpack craftivity and wrote a list of things second graders need to be successful. Here is their work in progress:

The kids have been super awesome and flexible when it comes to all the assessments we have been doing. I just finished testing all 40 second graders with DIBELS this last week. Now my team partner and I have a clearer picture of our students reading backgrounds. We have such a wide range of student abilities. So we decided we are going to group both of our classes together for reading once or twice a week. My team partner has a Reading Recovery background, so she is going to take our super low readers (which, sadly, happens to be about a third of the grade level) and work intensively on phonemic awareness, blending, sight words and simple writing. I will take the rest of the kids and teach our Treasures reading program with them. We are going to see if there is any improvement over the course of 6 weeks and then re-evaluate. Fingers crossed these kiddos will show some dramatic improvement.

We are going to start our reading response journals next week. I will post more details and pictures as the kids complete them. Have a great holiday weekend everybody!

Second Week Almost Complete!

I feel like I have completely neglected my blogging responsibilities this week! We are almost done with our second week of school and I am exhausted and crazy busy! That is why I am super late to link up to Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week Linky. I guess better late than never, right?

I love to start my day with a vanilla latte. It happens once or twice a week and I always seem more calm and mellow when I have it in the morning.

 It has been so hot where I live. It seems like each day or every couple of days, I am picking my own kids up from school and we are getting some of this:

Nothing like some frozen yogurt to end the day! It always puts a smile on our faces.

Some of my teacher friends and I always love to go and get foot massages at a shop near our work. I think this is something we need to do to culminate our first "5 day week" tomorrow.

And the best way to relax is a Friday night with family and close friends enjoying some of this:
and of course this:

Happy Therapeutic Thursday Everyone!

You Know It's Back To School When...

Today, I am linking up with  Kindergarten Lifestyle for a Back To School Linky Party. I LOVE Back To School Time! I look forward to getting into my classroom and setting up the room, passing out new supplies and getting my room environment just right. Even if my room is only "perfect" for a short moment in time, I still love the process. I also love being able to go into work whenever I want... 10am, noon etc. I can wake up at my own leisure for the most part... stay in my pajamas until the afternoon, blog, create new items for my classroom etc. So I know it is Back To School time when:

Head on over and link up to share your ideas of when you know it's Back To School Time!

Kindergarten Lifestyle

First Week Complete!

It's hard to believe, but my first week back to school is complete! I must say I am utterly exhausted but I think it was all worth it. On the first day of school I took all the kids' pictures using this frame I made over the summer for Monday Made It. I framed each one and sent it home with the kids the next day. You should have seen the smiles!

The kids really enjoyed all the get to know you activities we did this week. I really can't believe how much we accomplished. The kids are really enjoying our Super In Second activities from Babbling Abby.

We made Jitter Juice for the kids to wash way all those flutters away from their tummies. They LOVED it! It was also wonderful to have because it was 100+ degrees all week.

We brain stormed ideas about what we did the night before we started second grade. Then the kids wrote about it and drew pictures. We are going to continue these activities into next week as well. 

We were able to review adding and subtracting strategies and the kids wrote and illustrated fact families.This is part of our math focus wall. 

This week's favorite activity was making our All About Me Glyphs. Our class was chosen to show case work in the Main Office the first month of school. I decided these glyphs would be perfect for it. My kids are so excited to have their work up already for everyone to see. Their favorite part in making these glyphs was giving their glyphs haircuts! We graphed and tallied all their answers and posted them on the board as well. 

So there you have it, a sneak peek into our very busy first week back to school. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

First Day Back and Classroom Pics Linky Party

Today was my first day back with kids and right now I only have 19 kiddos! I am sure more are on their way. I must say, they all seem super excited to be back at school and we had a great day! Half of my students are new to my school this year. I think they handled the transition beautifully. Many of them had the "first day jitters" but after we did a few get to know you activities, they warmed up.

I am linking up with Courtney at Swimming Into Second for her Show Off Your Space Linky Party.

Here are some pictures of my classroom:
This is my main bulletin board when you first enter my classroom. Each of the stars have the kids names on it to welcome them to the new school year.

Our class birthday blooms. Each student gets their pencil, a card, bookmark etc. on their special day.

Our Treasures Big Question Board. It includes the story genre, author's purpose, weekly graphic organizers, theme connections and reading strategies for each week.

This is where I will hang each student's writing throughout the year. I will look WAY more appealing by the end of the week when student work is hanging on it.

This is part of my math concept board. The kid friendly common core standards are on the left and our weekly common core vocabulary cards are on the right.

The thing I love the most about this part of the room is at the top of the picture. I am going to create a class timeline this year. I used painter's tape to create my line and made color coded month cards for the entire school year. Each month I will post one or two pictures of something we did together as a  class and we will write a caption together.

Last, but not least, my Help Wanted helper board. I love how this turned out. Each pocket has a description of the job. I wrote the kids' names on tongue depressors and put them in the job they want for the week. 

There you have it. I quick peek inside my little old classroom. It will be evolving over the next few weeks. I can't wait to see how it transforms. I look forward to see inside each of your classrooms too. 

Back To School Jitters Linky

Back to School Jitters Linky Party
I am linking up with A Turn To Learn for a Back To School Jitters Linky Party! Here are some of my first day jitters:

Today is my first "official" day back to work. We have meetings today and tomorrow all my new little loves will be joining me for the first day of school. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and we all have an amazing first day of school!!! I look forward to reading about your first day jitters. Link up and share your jitters today!

Just a quick reminder, today is the last day of TpT's Back To School Sale. Make sure you get all those wishlist item you have been wanting to get before school starts for an amazing price! The picture below will take you to my store where everything is 20% off! Thank you to everyone who has purchased items in my store and provided all the wonderful feedback. You are all incredible! Thank you soooo much!

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How Do You Plan?


Jessica over at Mrs. Stanford's Class is hosting a linky about planning. I had to join this linky because planning is in my blood. I don't know any other way to do things (OK, a bit of an exaggeration). But really, I love to plan and planning is what I do well. I am always thinking ahead to the next thing. Planning during the school year is a complicated task though. There are so many variables that get into the way: assemblies, music, art, computer lab, P.E etc. I think it is important to be flexible but the most important thing is to have a solid road map to take you on the journey. Here are a few ways that I plan during the school year.

1. My Team Partner:
My team partner and I are like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump reference here!!). We bounce all our ideas off one another. Once a week we sit down and physically plan out our following week. We check in with one another to see how the kids are responding to the lessons, if we are meeting all our goals and discuss any changes we need to make. 

2. District Pacing Plans and Guidelines 
My day to day lesson plans are guided around our district pacing plan. It provides a framework to work from and helps me make sure I am teaching all the necessary standards. What is also great about it, is that I can check off the standards as I teach and assess them to make sure I have covered all of them. This summer, I created a grade level check list of all the Common Core Standards for ELA and Math. Since common core is new, I want to make sure I am teaching all of them. The pictures show how I am using the checklist in my lesson plan book and an example of one of the ELA checklist pages. I have created them for kindergarten through fifth grade. You can grab your grade level checklist HERE.

3. Lesson Plan Book
This is my go-to resource! In this binder I keep my monthly calendars, daily lesson plans and my Common Core Checklists. It is everything I need to plan, all in one place!

On my monthly calendar, I write in important assessment dates and any events that may interfere with our "regular" schedule so that I can adjust my lesson planning. 

I also have a detailed lesson plan for each day. I have completely changed how I view my lesson plans this year. Before now, I always hand wrote in my weekly plans in a planner I found at a local teacher store. Don't ask why...I just don't think I knew any better. I decided that this year I was going to make my own template and type them out. I saw so many ideas and versions on Pinterest and other blogs and this is what I came up with.

The biggest change for me, is that my daily lesson plans are on one sheet of paper, instead of all 5 days on 2 pages. I have planned out the first two weeks of school and so far I like the way it is working. I can add lots of details and still have room to write in last minute changes and ideas. 

That's it in the planning department for now. I hope all of you are having a great start to your planning and getting organized for this school year! 

Don't forget the BIG TpT Back to School Sale happening right now! There are huge discounts on lots of amazing products! Go shopping and get all those wishlist items you have been wanting. Everything is 20% off in my store!

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Before the Bell RIngs!!! Must Have Items

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This is a very exciting time of year, as we all get ready to embrace and educate a fresh group of students in our classrooms. To celebrate Back To School , TpT along with many amazing bloggers and teacher creators are having a B2S sale for 2 days only! The sale is from Aug.12-13. TpT is giving an extra 10% off already reduced items with the code BTS12! That is up to a 28% discount on some of the most coveted teaching materials around.

You can click on the picture above to take you to my TpT store where all my items are will be 20% off for those 2 days!!!

I want to tell you about an incredible Back To School item that you MUST have! Erin from Tales of Room 112 and I have teamed up to review our favorite Back To School items we have from one another's stores.

Last spring, I was searching TpT for Common Core Standards ideas. I wanted kid friendly standards that were clean, simple and straight to the point. The light shined down and the angels started singing when I found Erin's kid friendly standards for ELA, Math AND Science and Social Studies! Making all these standards in kid-friendly language is a HUGE task. I knew I was dreading doing it myself, so I was full of utter joy when I found Erin's product.

These cards are very unique because each standards card has the kid-friendly version on one side AND the actually standard on the other side. She has taken every Common Core ELA and Math Standard and rewritten it in kid-friendly words and added a few cute graphics to make it simply adorable. She also has included title and subject heading cards in different fonts to fit your classroom needs.

Here is a picture of how I have organized my standards. It's nothing fancy but it works. I took a supply box and cut manila tag board to make dividers and then I used my label maker to make labels for each of the standard groups. I can easily pull out what I need and post it at a quick glance.

This picture shows part of my math board. The kid friendly standards for my first lesson/unit are on the left and the vocabulary words that go with them are on the right. I love that they are in a pocket chart and can quickly and easily be changed out. I was debating whether or not to pin them at the top of my board and then decided against it!

If you are still wrapping your brain around the Common Core Standards and trying to figure out how to manage it all, Erin's kid-friendly standards are a MUST have addition to your classroom. Erin will have these on sale during TpT's Back2School Sale August 12-13. Click here to take you to Erin's store you so can grab your own copy of her kid-friendly standards. 

Also, if you haven't already done so, make sure to link up at my Back2School Bulletin Board Linky Party to share all your amazing ideas.

Back 2 School Bulletin Board Linky

I am super excited to be hosting my very first linky party!!! Many of us are getting our classrooms ready  for the first day of school and many of you are super lucky to have a few more weeks off! I thought it would be fun to have a linky party that shares all our amazing bulletin board ideas we have started to put up or get ready for our new kiddos.

I wanted to share my main bulletin board that welcomes each of my students to my class. I, of course, saw it on Pinterest. I modified it a bit, but I just love the way it turned out. My team partner made the rocket (she is so artsy) and I downloaded the words for free with the link below. This board is above my desk and the first thing you see as you enter the room. Each of the stars has two student names on it.
If you would like to download the words for free just click on this link from Venspired at TN to grab your copy. Here is the original blog link as well (Shoot for the Moon Bulletin Board) which gives directions on how to create it. 

This is my new helper board. I saw this on Pinterest as well and modified it to fit my board space. I love that each job has a description of the job expectation. Click here for the original picture on Pinterest.

We use California Treasures as our reading series at my school. This is an example of my concept board from last year. The dolphin is hand drawn by my team partner, again. (Isn't she talented) It is on the cover of our first anthology book. She also drew a swan to match our second anthology book for the last half of the year. It concludes the genre of the story for the week, the graphic organizer we use throughout the story, author's purpose, strategies, topic connections and of course the Big Question for the unit. I have the vocabulary and standards posted on a different board nearby. My bulletin boards are super small so I have to get creative with the space I have.

I hope this gives you a quick peak into my classroom, as I am setting it up for the year. I am still working on my math and writing boards and hope to have those ready by the end of the week to share with you. I would love for you to link up below and share all your wonderful ideas and pictures of some of the bulletin boards in your classrooms! Let's inspire each other!