December 13, 2015

Winter Freebies

Hi friends! Only 5 days left before Christmas break... Let's hang in there!

I hope you didn't miss out on the 12 Days of Winter series over at The Primary Peach. Each day was filled with great freebies for all subject areas! 

There are some fabulous activities that were highlighted that you can download to help fill your plans during this last week. 

The following freebies of mine were included in the 12 Days of Winter. Click on the pictures to be taken to the original post at The Primary Peach, where you'll be able to download all of the freebies.

Enjoy! 





December 2, 2015

Currently December

It's December, y'all!! Can you even believe it? December is my favorite!

Thanks Farley, as always, for hosting Currently!


LISTENING

My roomie and I are rewatching One Tree Hill. It's truly great. 


LOVING

I bought this new coffee. I think it's by Archer Farms... I'm all about using Cartwheel coupons at Target! It's called Dark Chocolate Truffle and it is almost as good as a peppermint mocha from Starbucks... almost. 


THINKING

Thanksgiving break was such a TEASE. This year has been so rough for me. I'm seriously ready for summer winter break! 12 more days.. I think I can, I think I can!

WANTING

I wish I could celebrate Christmas at school, but I can't this year! I have an incredibly diverse class. Almost half of my students are bilingual. It's truly amazing. Along with all of the diversity comes a variety of world religions.  I just LOVE Christmas, though! This season makes my heart so full!

NEEDING

I have a full day of planning with my team next Wednesday (whoo-hoo!) AND I am actually taking the whole day off on Thursday. Yippee! Next week will be great! Of course, being out calls for sub plans. Writing sub plans (especially for subs that you don't know) is basically the worst thing ever in my book. 

REAL OR FAUX

It's fake. Yet we still have needles ALL OVER THE PLACE because our cat seems to like eating the tree better than eating her cat food. #diva


Thanks for coming by! I would love for you to follow along on Bloglovin', Pinterest, and Instagram!

Happy holidays to you and yours.

November 29, 2015

Sharing Sunday: December

Y'all. This year has FLOWN by. Since this year has been so difficult for me (hence the lack of blogging), I really thought it would pass slowly. I honestly am having trouble fathoming that it's practically December!

Don't worry; my friends from The Primary Peach and I have done the planning for you! I've sifted through many resources and chosen my favorites to share with you.


My primary focuses for our three weeks of December are teaching my second graders about telling time and informational writing. 

Make sure to click on the pictures below to get your resources

Clicking will take you to a PDF file, where you can click around on the individual pictures to check out all of the blog posts and freebies. 




Make sure to head back to the Primary Peach for MORE November fun and freebies!

You can find me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your teaching life a little easier! Have a happy November!!



November 28, 2015

What's on Your TPT Wishlist?

Now that we are all STUFFED from Thanksgiving and totally relaxed after some extra days off from school, it's time to get your fingers ready for mouse-maneuvering and clicking. Cyber Monday is coming!

I have lots of shopping to do - from the comfort of my couch - when I get home from school on Monday. I plan to spend my hard-earned money on some Christmas gifts and on new Teachers Pay Teachers products, of course! 

My TPT wishlist and cart are full. 
Is your cart ready??


Here are the top three wishlisted items from my own TPT store, School and the City. Thanks to Teaching in the Tongass for hosting this fun linky!


My reading strategy checklist is my best-selling product. I have this checklist printed for each of my students and in my conferring binder for easy reference. It's truly a tool that I use every day and am incredibly thankful for!


You can read more about the checklist and see what else is in my conferring binder here.


These editable station signs were created on whim for me to use during my open house last year. The lovely Instagram community encouraged me to create an editable product out of them. They are a hit on Teachers Pay Teachers, and they come in multiple colors/designs.



Lastly, my growing word study bundle was designed to supplement Words Their Way. It is wishlisted and complimented often. It's a growing bundle, which means products are added as they are created. The price increases as products are added. If you buy it now, you will receive any new word study products for FREE just by re-downloading the product on TPT.

Words Their Way is daunting and overwheleming... which led to the creation of these products, which are also all available individually. You can read more about how I implement Words Their Way here


Thanks for coming by my blog. Please feel free to follow along via Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin, Instagram, and Facebook

Happy shopping! 

November 24, 2015

Scholastic Warehouse Sale Advice


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Scholastic Warehouse Sale!!

Have you received your email invitation and coupons yet? I have.

Don't miss out; Head over to The Primary Peach blog to read all the advice I have to give to warehouse shoppers. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

October 25, 2015

Sharing Sunday: November

Contractions, nonfiction, and Thanksgiving... oh my! All of that combined with regrouping, counting money, and Red Ribbon Week makes for a busy, busy month in second grade.

Don't worry; my friends from The Primary Peach and I have done the planning for you! I've sifted through many resources and chosen my favorites to share with you.


Make sure to click on the pictures below to get your resources

Clicking will take you to a PDF file, where you can click around on the individual pictures to check out all of the blog posts and freebies. 





Make sure to head back to the Primary Peach for MORE November fun and freebies!

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your teaching life a little easier! Have a happy November!!


October 14, 2015

Finally! A Teacher-Approved Pencil Sharpener

Y'all. I hate pencils. And pencil sharpeners.

Some days I daydream about quitting my job and inventing something to replace pencils and becoming a millionaire overnight.

Oh wait. Those things already exist. Thanks mechanical pencils and ink pens for shattering my dreams.

Unfortunately, I do not prefer mechanical pencils to old-fashioned pencils. Second graders and mechanical pencil lead do not make for a happy ending. I'm that girl that sharpens pencils for her students on my own time after school because I've spent too much time and money buying electric pencil sharpeners that end up in the trash.

You can't use this new pencil sharpener, I told them. Only I can touch it, I told them. I am tired of you all breaking pencil sharpeners that I buy with my own money, I told them.

You already know how this story ends.

Yep, that sharpener broke too, even though the only person who touched it was perfect in every way.

Ahem.

Then, this pencil sharpener walked into my life.
(Or rather, the mailman walked it into my life, but that's beside the point.)


There are so many great things about my Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener.
  1. It actually works. What a concept.
  2. It's not electric.
  3. It doesn't sound like someone's making a gravel smoothie in a blender.
  4. Pencil points are super sharp and don't break. 
  5. It matches my classroom (because that's important).
  6. The kids fight over who gets to use it... because they love it so much.
  7. I don't have to sharpen pencils anymore. 
I used my document camera to teach my students how to use the sharpener correctly. Then I used my equity sticks to randomly choose students to demonstrate. EVERY child had a hand raised. It was as if I was giving away candy or - even better - offering free Dojo points.



The sharpener comes with a clamp mount so that the sharpener can stay put on a table or desk. The clamp works fine when I use the pencil sharpener, but it doesn't stay put when kids use it. Hmm. Somehow I'm not surprised. Why is it that kids are so good at destroying things?

However, I'm not bothered by it. Without the mount, the sharpener can be portable and move to where it is needed. Kids can use one hand to hold the top of the sharpener and the other hand to turn the crank.

Classroom Friendly Supplies does sell permanent mounts as well as replacement parts for pieces that get lost or worn out!

Overall, it's been a good investment! It works, it's quiet, pencils are sharp, and I'm happy. 

If I were to buy another, I'd absolutely get the Precious Pink sharpener. Part of every sale goes to cancer research! I love that!
Click to Shop
If you haven't tried this pencil sharpener yet, it's a must! 
Which cute color would you get?

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your life easier!

October 8, 2015

Teaching Text Features


This year was my fourth time around teaching text features, and I decided that it was an area that I could show improvement. I think text features are a difficult concept for young students to learn because it's typically rote memorization of a lot of funny words that they don't understand the importance of. 

This year has been the fastest my students have ever learned the names of text features, and they know how to use them, too. 

First of all, I have seen anchor charts on Pinterest where a teacher tears apart a worn-out nonfiction book and uses pieces of it to create a visual reference for text features. I loved the idea of that, but it was a LOT of work and I didn't want to have to do it year after year.

I spent an afternoon cutting apart a book and some magazines and gluing pieces on a piece of chart paper.

Then I took that baby down the hall to the place where the magic happens: the teacher workroom.

Because that's where the laminator is, and my new school has unlimited lamination, and I'm pretty happy about it. 


Each day during our unit, I introduced a new text feature in a mentor text. We were learning about states of matter at the time, so I tried to use science books about that topic to teach all of my text features. After the new text feature was taught, we identified it on the anchor chart, and I labeled it with an Expo marker. 

I didn't have room to include every text feature that ever existed, but I covered the ones that I am supposed to teach and a few extras. 

At the end of the year, I'll wipe the chart down to get rid of the Expo marker, and it will be all ready to go for next year! Yippee!


You can find my bulletin board header letters on TPT for free by clicking HERE!

Hand Gestures & Silly Voices

I like to integrate kinesthetic learning and mnemonic devices whenever possible. It keeps the students engaged and makes lessons a lot for fun for all of us!

For each text feature that I taught, I taught a hand motion to go with it. Some text features have silly voices to go along with them too. At this point, I am able to make the hand motion alone, and the kids can tell me which text feature I'm referring to. I wish I could film my students during a reading lesson and show it to you... and maybe I will someday... but for now, here are some examples.

For TEXT FEATURES, we cup our hands over our mouths and say it in a low announcer voice, like we are emcees introducing someone.

Picture Ben saying this: text FEA-TURES!


For TITLE, we put a number one finger in the air, because of course the title is the first thing that you read and therefore the first text feature that you use.


For BOLD TEXT, we put our arms out in a wide gesture and say "bold" in a deep, manly voice.

(Buddy the elf's voice is not deep and manly, but you get the idea.)


GLOSSARY: Wave your arms around and say it in a high-pitched, excited voice because you were able to easily figure out what a word means by simply looking in the back of the book!!! Yay!!!



If you are looking for a particular topic and are not sure where to find it, you look carefully in the INDEX, said in a soft and slow contemplating voice.

Is there such thing as a contemplating voice? A thinking voice?

Hmm.

OH. Say it in the same tone that you would say "hmmm."



We have a few more signals and voices for other text features, but those are the basics. You get the idea. It really doesn't matter what you come up with, as long as you are allowing your students to be as successful as possible by giving them multi-sensory ways to remember vocabulary words.

RESOURCES 


The best resource for teaching nonfiction text features is a good old-fashioned book!

I've created some quick nonfiction text feature assessments that you can grab here:




What is your favorite activity to do when teaching nonfiction comprehension strategies?

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your life easier!


September 27, 2015

Write Like a Detective

We are wrapping up our narrative writing unit. We use Lucy as our writing workshop curriculum, but I like to put my own spin on things. 

My class this year doesn't love writing...

(and let's be honest, I don't love teaching writing)

...so I try to make it as exciting as possible by making real world connections.

We discussed what it takes to be a detective. Students decided that detectives look carefully, take their time, and so on.  I told them that by the time we were through, they would become official certified writing detectives and that they would get their own official writing magnifying glasses.

*Cue excited gasps.*

Kids are the best.

Throughout the week, I taught them new ways that they could "write like a detective." I used my own writing as mentor texts for this week. Kids love hearing/reading stories about me because I tell them funny or interesting stories about myself. The engagement is great!


As promised, all students received their own official writing magnifying glass to use while writing. 

They're actually that official considering I just laminated some black construction paper. 

The kids love it! It's the little things. I love seeing them pull out their magnifying glasses to use while revising and editing their writing.


What do you do to make the revision process exciting?

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your life easier!

September 8, 2015

Classroom Reveal on the Primary Peach

Hey, y'all!

I have lots of great news.

First of all, I have accepted an invitation to join lots of incredible teacher bloggers over at the Georgia collaborative teacher blog called The Primary Peach.

Secondly, my first blog post on Primary Peach is TODAY and it is....

(drumroll please)

MY CLASSROOM REVEAL!

Yes, school started 5 weeks ago.

But I barely have time to cook buy myself dinner, much less blog.

It's cool.

Head on over to the The Primary Peach to check out my new room at my new school!






August 30, 2015

Move Your Bus, Y'all

Hi, friends! It's been a while! I am 4 weeks in at my new school, and things are going... well, it's going!

As I try to stay afloat and survive the back-to-school chaos in addition to getting acclimated at my new home away from home, I've been trying to stay positive. 

A happy teacher is a good teacher. 

Well, that may not be exactly true, but you get the idea. 

I've been reflecting on a book that I read over the summer written by the truly incredible Ron Clark.

I was able to download the book for free with my free Audible trial. I listened to it while I was packing for my move. A lot of the stories in the book were the same stories that Ron Clark told when I went to visit RCA in May, but I still loved the book, especially because it was in his own voice! I plan to add a hardback to my bookshelf soon. 


My Biggest Move Your Bus Takeaways:

  • Don't get caught up in negativity. I know we hear this all the time, but it's imperative. Some people thrive on negativity and will try to drag you down with them. 
  • "Runners" don't "run" for the sake of competition or to receive credit. They "run" because they genuinely believe in what they are doing, and they find motivation intrinsically without seeking affirmation from others. 
  • As a "driver," there is nothing more detrimental than killing the spirit of the "runners." Morale is important. Morale is especially important in a field like education, where lots of little lives are involved and impacted by our emotional well-being.
  • Even "runners" make mistakes. And that's okay. "Dear Runners, it is okay to allow yourself to make a mistake. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself and move on. You can’t run with a mistake on your heart. Let it go. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We think we have to prove ourselves by having all the answers, doing things well, and independently, but we don’t."

Take a minute to let that last one sink in.