Monday, February 28, 2011

Leprechauns and Rainbows, Oh My!

I made this version of the popular Snakes and Ladders game but with a differentiated and St. Patrick's Day twist! I want my students working on numbers above 100, so this game board will help them practice. For game pieces you can either use snapping cubes or Lucky Charm marshmallows. I use either 2 dice or 1 die and 1 spinner and have my students add the two numbers together to determine how many spaces they move. We'll be working on subtraction this month, so I'll probably have them roll 2 dice and subtract the smaller number from the larger number. Either way, I know they'll love playing it! Click here to download the file, print, then laminate for durability. Enjoy :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm an Organizational FREAK!

Let me just start by saying I LOVE anything to do with organization. I love to be neat, tidy, organized, and ready. You could say it's OCD. You may have seen these pictures before on my blog, but this time I'll explain my organization tips. 

So this mailbox organizes SO much! I have a small class so the 6 on the left are my students' boxes. The one on the bottom left holds file folders of everything I use weekly/monthly: clip chart sheetsspeller's choice, spelling lists, and monthly writing prompts.
The middle section is broken up into the following: 
Birthday- this is where I keep birthday pencils and certificates
Star student- contains certificates and sticker
Awards- this is where I have misc. awards (like reader of the month or caught you being good), 
Forms- right now it's just "while you were absent" cards that I made on Vistaprint
CAFE- the bottom 2 contain various things I use for CAFE and my Fancy Nancy word wall such as sentence strips, checks for understanding, index card strips, sticky notes, etc.
The last section on the right is open for my students to use and they know exactly how I expect everything to be treated and handled. It includes: 
Construction paper
White paper- basically just printer paper
Loose leaf paper
Stationery- usually themed, last month I had Valentine cards, before that Christmas cards. 
Fancy paper- mostly cute paper from the Dollar Tree. 
Writing task cards- changed out monthly. Right now I have St. Patrick task cards that I included in my unit

And you'll notice EVERYTHING is labeled. I love labels. My kiddos must too because they pick, pick, pick at them! By now they know messing with my organization is a big no no. 

Again, LABELS :) These are mostly math manipulatives and have a cute little label. The middle row with the blue lids are my word work bins. All 3 bins have identical items and the students take a bin when they choose "word work" in the Daily 5. They include: dry erase crayons, stamps, markers, colored pencils, Wikki sticks, magnetic letters, and chalk. The cookie trays on the bottom are what the students grab if they are using magnetic letters. 
On top you can see my scissor bin, pencils, dry erase markers, dry erase crayons, dry erase erasers, sticky notes, index cards, writer's checklist, and editing pens/pencils.

My library bins are all labeled according to genre. The label also includes a number and the back of each book has a corresponding number. Wow my library stays so organized and clean this way :) 
On my shelf you'll see my teacher binders and papers to file, my CD player and CD's, the students' BEE binders and word study games, and on the bottom are individual book bins. 

Well, I think that's all I have to share right now. My room is so small that I've given up my shoe closet at home to store all my non-essentials like bulletin board materials and craft supplies. On Sundays I grab what I need for the week. If you have any questions about my organizational OCD please ask :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Synonym Lollipops

My students LOVE this activity. I noticed that it's one of my popular word work game choices. You write the matching synonyms on popsicle sticks then the students match it to the correct top to make a lollipop. Thought I'd share! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

***And the Winners are....**

Congratulations to Katie at Miss Klohn's Classroom and Laura at The Grade Two Zoo. Either comment or email me to receive your file. 

If you didn't win, but want the activity/game unit you can get it on sale here. Thank you so much to those that have already purchased it. 

On a side note.. I received $80.00 in Mailbox Magazine gift certificates a few months ago because they are publishing 4 of my ideas, and I finally received my order! I was only allowed to spend the gift certificates on their books which was a bummer, but this is what I got: Grade 2 Superbook, Math Practice Pages, Language Arts Independent Practice, Building Math Basics, 1-3 Energy, Light, and Sound, and Math Mind Builders. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with them. I always buy worksheet books and never use them. My math curriculum comes with homework sheets so I'm all set there. Ideas/suggestions? 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

**Giveaway** St. Patrick's Day Math and Literacy Activities

It's FINALLY done. I've been working on this for DAYSSSS. I'm excited to give a copy away. It is 60 slides and here's what it includes: 

-Lucky Charms Graphing by 1’s

-Lucky Charms Graphing by 2’s (for advanced learners)
-Lucky Charms Estimation
-Lucky Charms Estimation (with pictures for ELL or emergent learners)
-Tally Mark Charms
-Tally Mark Charms (with pictures for ELL or emergent learners)
-Charming Fractions
-Lucky Charms Addition
-Lucky Charms Addition (with pictures for ELL or emergent learners)
-Marshmallow Pie Graph (for advanced learners)
-Greater than/less than
-Greater than/less than (with pictures for ELL or emergent learners)
-St. Patrick’s Day Bump Game
(in color for laminating and B&W)
-St. Patrick’s Day Subtraction Bump Game (in color for laminating and B&W)
-Gold Coin Grid Dice Game (in color for laminating and B&W)
-Shamrock Bingo Board
-St. Patrick’s Day War (emergent and advanced suggestions in color to print on card stock or laminate)
-Poems and songs for fluency
- “We’re Going on a Leprechaun Hunt” reader
-ick, ock, ack, uck sort
-Synonym Matching Game
-Fact VS Opinion sort
-Abbreviations Matching Game
-Antonym Game
-Writing Prompt Task Cards

I will announce the winner on Tuesday night around 6PM. You can submit 2 entries.. 1 for following my tPt store and 1 for following my blog. If there are more than 30 entries I will choose 2 winners :) 
If you don't wish to participate but want the unit, you can purchase it here on sale

P.S. The file really doesn't have the Word grammatical swirls underlining it. I always forget that when I take a screen shot of the computer it shows those pesky lines. Hehe! ;)

Wow, Second Grade is Stylish!

Thank you to Katie at Persnickety Pickles, Miss Klohn at Miss Klohn's Classroom and Ladybug Teacher at Ladybug Teacher Files!! You all are very inspiring. Ladybug was one of my very first followers and one of my favorite blogs to read. I envy her technology talent and cutesy blog templates. As for Persnickety Pickles... why didn't I think of that awesome name first??? ;) 
I'm a new follower to Miss Klohn's Class and can't wait to be inspired by her blog too!

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Seven things about me:
1. I have a fiance named Eric, a kitty cat named Kloey, and a dog named Oliver. 

2. I have 4 certifications but regret not having one in math!!
3. I used to think I was obsessed with my job and needed a hobby until I realized teaching IS my hobby. I LOVE making and sharing resources. 
4. I often wonder why the amazing teachers I come across on the Internet aren't employed by major publishing companies. I'm so tired of buying 15.00 books and only using 1-2 things in it. I can go onto my favorite blogs and websites and browse for 10 minutes and find amazing teaching treasures!
5. Jersey Shore is my guilty pleasure.. so is Britney Spears. 
6. This is my second year teaching. I taught kindergarten last year, but fell in love with second grade this year. 
7. My favorite foods are pizza, french fries, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, and anything greasy. 

And the 5 blogs of many inspiring blogs that consume my day: 
1. A Journey Through Second Grade
2. Ladybug's Resource Site (her OTHER site)
3. Miss Knight's Kronicles
4. Second Story Window
5. Ms. M

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A-Z Mysteries

I just finished reading "The Absent Author" by Ron Roy and I've never seen my students so engaged. They were ALL making amazing predictions and connections. Every time I would stop and leave them hanging they would moan and groan, but get excited every time I picked up the book to read. The ending made their jaws drop! I LOVE when my kiddos are this excited about a book. Are there any jaw dropping books that your students just love??

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Speller's Choice

Homework can be a nightmare when you're photocopying and trying to find worksheets constantly. On Thursday nights I assign Speller's Choice homework. My students have a spelling notebook in their BEE binder along with a clear sleeve. Each month I change out the spelling activities so it's new and fun (activities will repeat but not in consecutive months). Activities are differentiated to accomodate a variety of learning needs. This has made homework so much easier for me :) You can get it here if you're interested. The document is in Word so you can change the directions or activities as needed. I hope it makes your homework management as easy as it's made mine!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines/100th Day Duo!

You might think I'm crazy, but I was so thrilled that the 100th Day AND Valentine's Day both landed on the same day. It was one crazy day instead of 2! I assigned my students a t-shirt project. They were supposed to create a t-shirt with 100 items on it. So cute! You can download the family letter here.

I love blogging, however, it's hard to keep track of where I get some of my great ideas. This next project was not my original idea. I tweaked it from a great blog that I follow. If it's you, let me know and I'll give you credit :) First, I read The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza. Now I don't have a large class so I just sponge painted 1 large circle cut from poster board. If you have a large class I would suggest making a couple of pizzas. (You can have the kids sponge paint, but just don't do it on the same day since it needs to dry!) Each pizza pie should have a total of 100 toppings, so I had my 6 students color 16 toppings each and then I colored 4. This is the topping template I made. Just a classroom management tip: I had my students glue the toppings on THEN we counted how many of each topping. We had to count several times before our fractions equaled 100. I would recommend laying them out first, counting the toppings and creating the fractions, THEN glue the toppings on the pizza. After we created the fraction for each topping I had the students add all the numerators together to show that it equals 100. 

I took one of my follower's ideas on creating a Valentine carrier. The kids decorate the back of 2 paper plates then I staple them together in a heart shape and added string. They were super easy and came out super cute! 

Our door display this month was candies and lollipops! The kids decorated small paper plates with paint and glitter and when the paint dried I wrapped them in cellophane and added ribbon. We received many compliments on it's cuteness! 

Any great ideas for President's Day? I'm going to have the kids write to President Obama (last year we got a letter and photos back!) and we'll read a little bit about Lincoln and Washington and fill in a Venn diagram. I cannot upload the template, but if you comment with your email, I'd be happy to direct you to where it came from. Then I enlarged it onto poster board with my amazing tracer!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sneak Peak-- Science Labs

I teach science club at my school and one thing that is really lacking is quality science activities/labs for the K-2 range. I've decided that over winter break I am going to put together a science packet with my top 10 favorite science experiments and design labs to go with it. Each experiment will contain a teacher's manual, student lab, and another lab designed for emergent learners. Let me know what you think. This is one of my all time favorites!! If for some reason you can't see the embedded google document above, click here to download it for free. Please remember to vote/leave feedback if you download it!

Tomorrow we're celebrating the 100th Day AND Valentine's Day! It will probably be a crazy day but so glad they fall on the same day this year. Look for pictures in the near future :) 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Math Centers

I've been reading Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations book online for free. It inspired me to change my math routine. My school uses Saxon and can be very mundane at times. I also feel like it doesn't always meet the needs of my students. I decided that I needed to break my class in half. While I'm doing the Saxon lesson with group A, group B is working on a center then I flip and work with group B. I have a very small class so this works. 

I have a very small room and am out of "tub" space, so bought gift bags at the Dollar Tree (2/$1) and sponge painted them. I modeled and practiced with the kids how to treat the bags and so far there haven't been any problems. 

Again, Debbie Diller has amazingly easy ways to make math fun. Here is what are currently in my centers: 
Bag #1- Valentine's Bump
Bag #2- Heart Grid Game
Bag #3- Valentine's Fractions
Bag #4- Pattern Block Mat
Bag #5- War with a twist. Take out the face cards in a deck of cards and add a spinner or die. The students flip a card like they're playing War and then either roll the die or spin the spinner and add that number to their card. The player with the higher sum takes the cards. 
Bag #6- Measuring mice tails (see photo below). The picture below is from when I taught kindergarten last year, so instead of having the kids use unifix cubes, my second graders use rulers and measure the tails to the nearest inch. 

This is how I'm managing my math centers. I laminated it and write "Ms. D" if they're working with me that round or the center bag number that I want them to work on. The nice thing about many of Debbie Diller's center ideas is that you can easily make them more challenging. 

What are currently in your math centers? 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

***And the winner is. . . ***

Kris at !! Congrats :) Please email me to get your copy of the Candy Heart Math Activities. If you're interested in purchasing it for $3.00 click here. All the activities are hands-on and fun :) The activities and games can easily meet the levels of your low, average, and high students. Just pick and choose! Great for centers and academic Valentine's Day parties. Thank you to everyone that has purchased it thus far! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

**Last Chance to Win Candy Heart Math**

Click here to enter! I will announce the winner at 4PM tomorrow. You can also purchase it here. Thank you so much for those of you who already have purchased it. It means more than you can imagine right now. I also had so much fun putting it together that I'm going to start on a St. Patrick Day activity file this weekend.

And... I thought I'd share this with you all. The kids are making Valentine cards for their parents this week so I made special paper for them to glue on the inside of the card. Please let me know if you can't view it because I've had so many issues with Google documents. Happy Monday :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Candy Heart Math Giveaway

I've been working on ways to make Valentine's Day academic AND fun. My Candy Heart Math file is a whole afternoon of fun math activities and games, which include: 
pie chart making
greater than less than 
bingo game board
bump game (both color and black and white) I like to laminate and use over and over
grid game (both color and black and white) 

You can purchase it here for 5.00 or you can win it :) 
To win it you must follow me and tell me how your kids collect their Valentines (do you make boxes, decorate bags, etc.) I'll announce the winner on Tuesday evening!

$5.00 can get this little trouble maker some Fancy Feast. Meow!! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Exit Slips

A couple days a week I have my students fill out exit slips at the end of the day. I usually ask something quick to assess their learning. Sometimes I ask a fact question, sometimes a math problem, occasionally vocabulary. Usually I ask something that requires a short response, however, I created slightly larger tickets for when their response requires a sentence or two. I have the students write their name on the back and give it to me before they go home for the day. It really helps me see who "gets" something and who doesn't. 

On a side note, I'm all the sudden having trouble embedding a google document. What steps do you take to embed? I used to just see an "embed" link but couldn't for the life of me find it on this document!! Help, anyone? :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sun Graphic Organizer

I'm always trying to come up with fun ways to display information. We just finished our "sun and earth" unit. I had the students sponge paint a circle (the sun) and as we learned facts about the sun they wrote them on paper strips (rays). It really brightened up the room and is more creative than just writing it on the white board!