I posted a picture of my new bulletin board on my Instagram yesterday and had some comments requesting activity details. I don't blame you; Isn't is so stinkin' cute?!?

I got the idea from a pin that I saw on Pinterest and adapted the activity to better suit my second graders. (Find my activity HERE on TPT.)

First, we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I'm sure there are many books out there that have more to do with snowpeople melting, but I threw this lesson together at the last minute (lightbulb moment) so The Snowy Day - SUCH a classic - had to do.

I stumbled upon this incredible "animated storybook" on the Ezra Jack Keats website. We watched it on BookFlix though because BookFlix shows the words.
Then we watched Olaf sing his “Summer” song in a video clip from Frozen... obviously that was a HIT with my second graders! They sang every word. (Okay, so did I.)
Lastly, we talked about how we could relate the book and the video to each other. Then we talked about how we could relate both to what we are currently learning in science (states of matter / water cycle). How's that for some whole-theme, cross-curricular teaching?! *Pats self on back*

Writing Prompt:
You are a snowman. Some kids made you yesterday, but now you are melting and turning into a puddle. Who made you? What did you look like? What is happening that is making you melt? How do you feel about melting? What is going to happen to you now?
Students wrote their final copies on regular writing paper that I drew a squiggly line around to create a puddlish appearance. We made the snowman heads out of bowls and construction paper. When everything was done, I hot-glued the heads to their respective puddles and TA-DA!

They look great. The stories are SO incredibly clever and creative. 

I just LOVE second graders.

My bulletin board is 14 feet long. FOURTEEN FEET. I literally cannot fit the whole thing in a picture without taking a panorama. #teacherproblems

Check out my newest product on Teachers Pay Teachers:


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If you bribe kids with cookies...

they'll work hard and be on their best behavior.

If you give a teacher time to TEACH, she'll plan a fun and authentic lesson.

That's rare; I know.

I love to use If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to practice identifying goods and services. This was my third time teaching this lesson. Just like wine and Zac Efron, it's getting better with age!

First, we reviewed prior knowledge. I define goods as "things we can touch and feel" and services as "things we do for others." We sang our goods and services song (more info here) and the kids gave some examples of each. Today was the last day spent working on goods and services and the activity served as an informal assessment.

Barnes and Noble's Online Storytime includes a video / read-aloud version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I don't usually use Online Storytime because it doesn't show the words, but it is a safe and quick option to hear the popular book.

Then I handed out this little (freebie) worksheet while I asked my students to try and make a connection between the book and economics. Students led a discussion about how everything the mouse requests can be classified as either a good or a service. I told the kids that we were going to reread the book and record every request as either a good or a service. 

I pulled out the big book and we reread, stopping after every one of the mouse's requests. The students discussed each request to decide whether it was a good or a service and wrote the request in the correct column. They did great!!

Last, I told the kids that they could request a cookie from me, and that they had to ask with an exit ticket telling me the difference between goods and services.

Afterwards, I rewarded us all...

... with cookies, of course!

Do you ever have a light bulb moment and try to throw an activity together at the last minute?

I do. All the time. 
Sometimes I kick myself for it, but sometimes it works out wonderfully, like this one did.

I present to you...One ODD Turkey.

I had the idea that students could create a turkey that has all odd numbers of body parts. 
(1 leg, 3 eyes, 5 feathers, 3 wattles, and so on.) Even and odd is a second grade standard that we practice throughout the year.

Then I decided to take it a step further and create a classroom store so students could "buy" the materials they wanted to complete their projects. All second graders need practice counting coins and making change. 

If I had thought of this farther in advance, I would have asked a parent or two to come help me. Instead, I did it all myself. In addition to all of the usual hats that teachers wear, I was also "cashier" and photographer. However chaotic, it was a BLAST!

First, students made their shopping lists while I passed out materials. They each received the two worksheets, a cup to be a "shopping cart," and 25 cents worth of play money. 

As students finished their lists, they came up to the "store" to "shop. Students that were waiting to come shop began coloring the turkey body on their worksheets.

All items were labeled with a price of 1 cent. Students counted the materials they wanted to buy, handed me money to cover the cost and told me how much change they needed back. 

Here I am being teacher, cashier, AND photographer: multitasking at its finest! 

This cutie asked if she could return something she bought but didn't want. How funny!! She started a trend, of course, even though I told students it didn't matter how much money they ended up having left at the end of the activity. 

Towards the end of our time, I noticed I had WAY TOO MANY feathers left. 
What's a girl to do with hundreds of leftover feathers? 

So, I put the feathers on sale: 2 feathers for 1 cent. 

The kids had a BLAST and the finished products turned out to be adorable and hilarious.

The One Odd Turkey activity is my newest product in my TPT store. It includes directions, the worksheets, and some additional materials for the optional extension of a "store."

It is on sale for the remainder of the week. I hope you have as much fun as we did!

Feel free follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your teaching life a little bit easier!

About a year ago, I created a monster: the Tattle Monster. 

I saw the idea on Pinterest. If someone is hurt, the kids are supposed to come tell me. If no one is hurt, a student can write his or her tattle on a slip of paper and feed it to the Tattle Monster for me to read later. 


It worked GREAT last year.

This year, not so much. 

Today, after recess, I had four kids crowded around the Tattle Monster. I shooed them away and saw that I had 15 tattles in the box... from this morning only. FIFTEEN. 

So I said, "This is the end of the Tattle Monster" and all of these things about how maybe we should all just be nice to each other so that no one has tattles to write.

I may have gotten a little caught up in my not-so-kind speech about kindness that I may have made a big show of throwing the Tattle Monster in the trash can. 

We're lining up to switch classes in 30 seconds, I told myself, I'll just get it out of the trash can when they leave. 

Well, 30 seconds turned into 4 hours. I didn't remember to take the Tattle Monster out of the trash can until I got home and the trash was long-gone to the school dumpster. 

Have you had any success with a tattle box? 
What are your favorite activities to do to encourage kindness?
Any other suggestions?

P.S. I love you, Seth Cohen. 

"Can I help you?" asked the Home Depot man.

"Yes please. Want to guess what I'm making?"

"Ummm is it legal?"

Either he didn't see my shirt that says iTEACH in giant letters or he doesn't think very highly of teachers. 

I informed Home Depot man that it is very common for teachers to make fluency phones with PVC pipes and that whisper phones are in fact legal and that I couldn't get the parts to fit together like I needed them to.

He said, "That's because you need a PIPE, honey."

It was a little more complicated than I expected it to be. 

The pipe that Home Depot man picked out for me was a 2 ft long, 3/4 in (diameter?) pipe. He cut it for me at the store... after I laughed when he asked me if I had a saw at home. 

No husband = no saw, obviously.

He cut the pipe into seven 4-inch pieces.  

Because I had 7 pipes, I grabbed 14 of the 3/4 inch, 90 degree "elbows," as Home Depot man called them. 

I spent a total of $8.76. 

Seven fluency phones for less than $10 sounds like a great deal to me. 

When I got home, I wiped all of the elbows down with my favorite cleaning device, baby wipes. 

They were dirty. Why do PVC pipes have dirt in them when you buy them?

Then I stuck them together and wrapped them in some cute duct tape.

The duct tape got all crinkly because of the change in widths where the pipe meets the elbows, but I'll deal with it. They're definitely not perfect, but they'll do.

If you're planning on making your own, good luck!

Did you enjoy this post? I'd love for you to follow along using Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'!

Yes, I am aware that my open house was four whole weeks ago. 

This whole back-to-school thing has been completely out of control. I CANNOT catch up, and I come home every day aching and exhausted.

I would totally be asleep right now, but it's storming, and I don't do well with storms.

SO, what a perfect time to (finally) share my open house night!

[ If you missed my classroom reveal, you can see it here. ]

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First I whipped up these ridiculously cute station signs. 

Then, due to some demanding Instagram followers - love y'all - I turned them into a TPT product.

Grab 10 blank and editable station cards HERE.

UPDATE: I have created a few different versions of the signs, including polka dots & pirates! 

Before chaos ensued, my front table looked like this: 

Station 3 instructed parents and students to grab a blue checklist. The checklist included sorting supplies, finding things in the classroom, picking out a book for Monday morning, etc. 

My table and countertops looked like this:

Grab the labels for FREE here.

I posted my wish list stickies and volunteer forms on the whiteboard. Most of the post-its were gone by the end of the night. Yippee!

Spotted: Reading Superstar Sign and Essential Questions Labels

The desktops were arranged so that as soon as parents walked into the classroom, they thought, "This teacher is OCD, overzealous, and probably out of her mind."

The manilla folder contained back-to-school forms to be taken home and returned later.
The editable flipbook is from Miss Johnston
The red folder is the FISH folder. 
I gave each student a composition book since I got a class set at a workshop.
The labels are for the kids to stick to their folders, notebooks, etc. 
The glow stick tag is free from Teach With Laughter. 

This was next to my door on the way out:

How cute is that? The sign is free from Nicole Bunt

Then I sent a quick Snapchat selfie (LOL) and the three hours of chaos began! 

Whew. Reliving that was exhausting.

What do YOU do for open house nights??

Please follow along on Bloglovin',  Instagram, Facebook, and TPT for more fun ideas that I hope will make your life easier!

Today was the first day of school and I lived to tell about it! I also fed myself AND am now blogging.

I'd say today was a success, other than the fact that I just popped some Ibuprofen to numb the pain in my legs and my roommate / coworker / live-in comedian is moaning about how she needs a cane and some orthopedic shoes.

Don't tell her I told you that.

Today was an absolute BLUR and naturally I didn't take enough pictures.

We started by reading Froggy Goes to School. It was a great introduction to rules and procedures.

After Froggy, we studied our school's behavioral matrix and brainstormed ways that we can be respectful, responsible, and safe while at school. I also taught my new students how to use sticky notes appropriately so that they don't lose their stickiness! 

Next we did the polar opposite of rule-following by having a "snowball fight" at school! 
(Shoutout to Karen H. for the suggestion on my giveaway post last month!) 

Students wrote 3 facts about themselves on a piece of paper but did not write their names. Then we made "snowballs" by crumpling up our papers. Students had the length of one song to have their snowball "fight." When the song ended, they unrolled and read their snowballs aloud one at a time and we tried to guess who wrote it. We all loved it! 

Then we graphed our First Day Feelings...

The excited column went all the way to the top of the white board before I had to move the chart in order to use my eBeam. YAY! (I'll admit the results may have been a little skewed due to the fact that we just threw balls of paper at each other in school...)

We spent the rest of the morning playing a special version of Four Corners. They LOVED it and it was a great way for me to quickly get to know my new babies!!

After lunch and recess, I read aloud Tacky the Penguin

We talked about how Tacky was disrespectful and some things he could have done differently. Then I gave the kids some independent work to do so I could start math assessments. 
(REALLY? Testing on the first day of school? YES. Don't get me started.)

I was impressed with most of my students' writing. YAY! Actually, when we played Four Corners, writing is what most of my students indicated that they needed to improve the most on this year. Interesting! 

We wrapped up the day by reflecting on our first day together and discussing our future plans, hopes, and dreams for second grade. We whipped up this quick anchor chart of things they can say instead of saying "I can't." 

It's ugly. Of course I'll be remaking it.

Last, I shared some words of wisdom with them:

I wish Kid President was in my class!!

I can't believe it's over already! I love my new students. Hopefully I'll still be saying that in a few months, and hopefully the rest of the year will be as fun as today was!

I can't believe my brain is still working and that my eyes are still open. Sweet dreams, my friends.

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How was your first day??