February 28, 2014

My First "Five For Friday!"


It's my first Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching


We had so much fun this week celebrating Dr. Seuss with Read Across America week. 


On Monday, we filled up our compliment jar! Each time the class get a compliment from an adult (other than me), we get to add a puff to the jar. When it's filled, we have a party! We get 5 puffs when we get a compliment from the principal. She gave us 3 compliments last week, and now I owe my class a party. Thanks a lot!! ;)





I have a new parking spot at work!!! I am so flattered, proud, and completely thrilled. I must be lazy, too, since I am so excited about a front row parking spot. 


On Tuesday, second grade was a "live wax museum." Students pretended to be a book character. They had to come to school in costume with 1-minute speech prepared and memorized for the audience (other students). They did a FABULOUS job!




Coming soon to my TPT store... a letter to send home to parents explaining the live wax museum project, including a suggested timeline and a rubric.


This week I created and posted my FIRST product on TPT! I'm too excited to add more products to my store. Check it out here!




Thursday was our book character parade!! Second grade dressed as the 101 Dalmations. We read The 101 Dalmations for our interactive read aloud, "Today's Number" in math was 101, and we made as many words as we could from the word "dalmations." The best part of all? My male coworker was Cruella de Vil! WOOF.






Read Across America week is always a blast - I'm sad that it's over... kind of. I'm exhausted! 

Have a great weekend. See you next week!





February 26, 2014

My Many Colored Days... Freebie!

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday this weekend... I just posted my first TPT product and freebie!

Today, we read Dr. Seuss's My Many Colored Days.  Then, I gave my students about 10 minutes to complete a the following writing prompt: On ____ days, I feel _____ because...


Click here to download the template for FREE from my TPT store! If you use it, please rate me and leave feedback to help me get started on TPT. 


After we were all done writing, I bound the pages together and we read our very own book which we called Our Many Colored Days. The kids loved it and our first class book turned out great! I wish we could have incorporated some artwork, but there is just not enough time in the day. (I know you feel me.)








My favorite is by the student that changed her color to "Alabama Red" at the last minute... ha! She knows her teacher well!!




February 25, 2014

Get Excited About Writing!

I have found that with this particular class, the least-loved subject is writing. In fact, when I say it is time for writing, many of my students GROAN... It makes me cringe!!  No matter how fun I make the writing prompts, I still have a select few that hate to do it. 

After doing some research, I made a few changes, and now my kids LOVE writing workshop time. 


First, 
I showed this video clip of a Lucy Calkins interview. I started it at about the 1:25 mark. It really got my students thinking about how they can use their words to make a difference and the fact that their writing can and does matter. After watching the video, we discussed.



Then,
We used some sharpies to customize our writing folders with some of Lucy's words, "My words are powerful; My writing is gold." Now, these words of encouragement are the first things that my students see when they take their writing folders out of their desks. Sometimes, we chant it!!



Lastly,
I decided to change up the way our writing workshop looks.  Instead of keeping students at their desks, I allow them to move anywhere in the room that they can concentrate. I also dim the lights and play some music. My kids are really into a "hip hop instrumental" playlist on Pandora. (Update: We also love Piano Guys radio!)

Usually I have our writing workshop instructions projected on the board, but my students get so excited when we "write by the fire." I like to use theinternetfireplace.com... it even makes fire sounds!




After our writing workshop period, I ALWAYS let some students share. We compliment each other and encourage each other, letting the students know that their words are indeed important and valued. 

The progress I have seen my students make in writing is incredible!!! Do you have any other suggestions? 

Follow along on Bloglovin'Facebook, and Instagram for more fun ideas!

February 24, 2014

Bulletin Board Tips

Congratulations - we survived another Monday!

As I am new to the teaching world, I am constantly overwhelmed.  However, there's at least one aspect of my job that I am an expert at: bulletin boards. Keep scrolling for some tips and pictures of my favorite boards. 

1. Make it 3D. 


Yes, I know what you are thinking. "If I make my bulletin board 3D, students will rip it down." As my classroom is right next to the bathroom, I just knew my snowman would be destroyed by the end of the month. I was so wrong; all of the kiddos loved him so much that he stayed intact! 

3D requires a little extra work (like balling up recycled paper to stuff your snowman) but the outcome is worth it. 

He won "Bulletin Board of the Month!"


2. Tailor your board to your students' interests.

This board was not my favorite - but it was a favorite of kids from all grade levels. I love the little burst of pride I get when I hear a student walk by my room and say "WOAH! Look at that bulletin board!" This Pokemon board got everyone excited and it made my 2nd grade kiddos think that their teacher is the coolest EVER for making a Pokemon bulletin board. (She is.)

This character trading card will be available on my TPT store... coming soon!

3. Get the kiddos involved.

For Read Across America week, I decided to change my bulletin board to "Oh the Places We'll Go." Of course, I could not complete the board without the multi-colored landscape featured in the book. Did I have the time or desire to color the hills? Of course not. Do I have students who are dying to help me and to have their work displayed for everyone to see? Absolutely. I put them to work, and it looks fine. 

Here's another tip: Need a specific font for your letters other than what's available on your Ellison? Download the font, type, print on cardstock, and have a student who needs to practice their motor skills cut them out for you. 

My board is so long, I had to take a panoramic picture - eek!

4. Use pictures. 

Incorporate pictures of your students into your bulletin board design whenever you can. Your students and coworkers will love it!  I like to take pictures with my iPhone during independent work. I use a big piece of colored butcher paper as my background. Then I use the Kicksend app to send pictures to my nearest Target to be printed for less than $5. Easy! 




5. Post the assignment details and the corresponding standards. 


Now that your bulletin board is the best in the school, let your administrators and coworkers know that not only was it fun, but it is also aligned with the Common Core standards. 

6. Don't make it harder than it has to be.


Notice anything about my bulletin board? Yep - I haven't changed the paper or border all year long. Pick something simple that will go with everything. None of us have the time or energy to change the background paper on a 10-ft bulletin board every month! 

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A fabulous bulletin board will make it look like you have it all together... even if you don't. Do you have any other suggestions for being a successful bulletin board decorator? 






February 23, 2014

About My Carolina Classroom

"The first year is the worst," they say. "If you can survive your first year, you can survive anything." If I had a dollar for every time I've heard one of those statements, well, I'd still be broke - thanks to NC's teacher salary being ranked 48th in the nation.

I'm a Georgia-born, Florida-loving, North Carolina resident. I graduated from the University of Alabama with dual degrees in elementary and special education. At Alabama I found my passion for teaching, lifelong friends, the love of my life, and - most importantly - myself. I'm blessed to now be teaching at a wonderful public school in North Carolina where I have a great administration, supportive coworkers, and first class that has taught me just as much as I have taught them.

I'm just a first-year, second grade teacher trying to find my way in the "real world" and in the ever-changing realm of elementary education. I'd love for you to join me on my journey and in all of the tears and laughter that I encounter along the way!