Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sneak Peak

It always amazes me at how tired I am when I go back that first week.  I am finding myself literally crawling into bed each night. 

I have been a busy bee crazed maniac as I finish up my classroom for Open House on Friday.  We have a full day inservice tomorrow so I pretty much had to have the room set today.  Of course that didn't happen, but I am almost there. 
Here is a sneak peak at some of my happy places in the room. :)

I wish you could see the jobs a little better.
My new stuffed animal bin. :)
Math vocab. posters
We will be starting the year off with Monarchs.
Hopefully that net will be filled with caterpillars soon.
I have to go hunting. :)

 Before and after shots to come....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ahh, a feeling of accomplishment.

My hand feels like this...

After filling out 25 of these:
AND these:


But, they are complete and the postcards are ready for the mail tomorrow.
All in a good night's work. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Time...

It's finally time for us to officially head back to school tomorrow.  As many of you might have, we have slipped in the past few weeks to get a "jump start," especially since I had changed rooms again.

On the homefront:
The house is cleaned.
The kids are all set for daycare. 
Our school stuff is packed and ready to go. 

Now we are enjoying our last non- planning, papers to grade, e-mails to answer evening watching a movie as a family.

I am definitely excited for school to start but I sure will miss these frequent carefree evenings. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Character Rocks!

I cannot take credit for this idea.  I actually saw this over at Rundes Room.  However, as soon as I saw the idea, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for to revamp my class reward system.

Here are Jen's "Character Rocks:"


I thought this was an awesome tie in with our first unit Character Education.  I can give a child a rock as they display a certain behavior.  Since our counselors introduce "filling buckets", I will have the children place their rocks in our class bucket.  Once our bucket is "filled," they earn a class treat or party of their choice.

Here are the rocks I created this past week along with our class bucket.



The other thing I want to do is keep track of which children get a rock and for what trait.  I want to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to work toward our class goal.

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Children Oh My!

It was interesting explaining an earthquake to my daughter earlier this week, being that it is a little hard to understand at four.  Now with the Hurricane/Tropical Storm approaching, I find myself needing to explain how this storm is different from a regular storm.

Sesame Street came up with a few ways to help young children understand hurricanes.  I am going to wait and find out if we are really getting as much as the coast will before I show it, but this is just another reason why I love Sesame Street!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Moment In Time

I have made this great time capsule sheet to use with my student at the beginning of the year.  Click on the image if you want to heat to my TPT store and snag a copy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three For Thursday

Today's Blog Hoppin' Party is asking to share your three favorites: favorite font, favorite blog, and favorite resource.

Favorite Font
That's a tough one.  There are so many fonts out there and it depends on what you need.  However, lately I am finding myself using 

Click on the font to download it.



Favorite Blog
Seriously, I can't tell you which one I like the most.  It's like asking which kid is your favorite.  You love them all differently. :) 

The teacher blogs I frequent most often have been:






 
These are amazing because so many authors post on these so it's like a one stop shop for ideas!
 

My recent favorite crafty one has been:


And a favorite family/DIY blog has been:



Favorite Resource
Up top you can see my favorite resource sites, but my top one(besides the teacher blogs) is:

It's mostly for VA teachers, but I'm positive you can find great tech resources for your own curriculum.  Just click on your grade area and it will give you the subjects to choose from.

A great reading resource site is

Well those are my favorites.  Can't wait to read about everyone else's!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Melted Crayon Art (Yes, here's another one.)

Ok, so I think I am the 1,000,007th person to make this crayon art or at least share it on a blog.  But I just couldn't help it.  After seeing it on Pinterest a while back and then on a few blogs, I finally had to make my own.  The best part, it actually wasn't that hard.

Here's what I used:
16 x 20 canvas that I had laying around
64 count Crayola crayons
Hot glue gun
Hair Dryer
Newspaper(for splatters)

I laid out the crayons the way I wanted them and then hot glued them down.


Then it was time to get to work melting...


Ta Da!

I LOVE it!  I am so happy I finally made one. 
Now I just have to find a good place to put it. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Blog Hoppin' is having Teacher Talk Tuesday about advice for new teachers.  I had a post sharing exactly that a while back so here is what I said:

1. Do NOT worry if you don't get to everything in your daily lesson plan. There is always another day. Teachable moments and extending great lessons are always more meaningful and important.

2. Don't sweat the small stuff. Whether it is a student remark, parent comment, other teacher...it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Just try your best to remain confident and know YOU were hired for a reason. :)

3. Please ask other teachers. I love helping others and sharing ideas.

4. Also, don't be afraid to share your own ideas. I know I love gaining new ideas from younger teachers. You guys have some fresh perspectives that others may have forgotten.

5. Try your best to stay as organized as you can. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed the first year. If you keep labeled files, organized electronic folders, and a binder with a copy of everything you did your first year, then next year will be so much easier!

6. When you are able to, leave your work at school. You HAVE to give yourself a night off once in a while. You won't survive if you live, sleep, eat, and dream teaching the whole year.

7. Try to eat lunch with your colleagues. I know many coworkers eat lunch in their rooms because they have work to catch up on. Believe me, my black hole classroom sucks me in at times too. But, forcing yourself to take a 20-30 minute break during the day is worth it AND it is a great stress relief, especially if you have a hysterical group of people to eat with like I do!

8. Search these teacher blogs! They are amazing resources and have such a supportive group of people on them. They will have an answer to any question you have.

Good luck! You WILL survive! :)


Meet The Teacher

Blog Hoppin' is having a Meet The Teacher Party and I wanted to join in.

A Little About Me:
I am a mom of two great kids, Gabriella(4) and Kiernan(1 1/2)


I have been married to my wonderful husband, Jeff, for five years and going strong. :)

I am one that tends to have trouble focusing in on one hobby.  I guess you can say I have Hobby ADHD.  I love to cook, bake, sketch, paint, craft, digiscrapbook, blog, and mess around with a ton of other technology goodies.  Now finding the time to do this in between two small children running around is the real challenge and I accept!

How long have you been teaching?

This will be my 12th year teaching.  I taught a year of preschool in Upstate New York before moving to Virginia where I have taught second grade ever since.

You might not know...

1.  I am originally from Long Island, NY.  I miss the water terribly but love living in VA.
2.  My husband teaches 6th grade at the same school as me.  It has been really nice having him in the same school and thankfully we haven't killed each other yet. :)
3.  I have a Masters in Reading and received my Specialist Endorsement.  However, I decided to stay in the classroom.  I may switch to Reading Specialist in a few years.

What are you looking forward to this year?

It's funny how I still find myself getting just as excited about a new school year.

I am really excited to try out all of the great new ideas I have found through my summer reads and the great teaching blogs out there.

Stay tuned in the next week or so for some of those ideas. :)

What do you need to improve?

I am always wanting to improve what I do in the classroom.  One area I always feel I need work on is my writing instruction.  I have a bunch of tricks up my sleeve but think there is more for me to learn.  I don't think I will ever be an "expert" at teaching it though.

The other area I want to change up a bit is my behavior management system.  I threw the "card flipping" system out the window a few years ago.  I am going to try two systems this year.  One is a class system of "filling our bucket" instead of the class jar we have done in the past.  The other is an individual system using tickets I have had in my room but have never used.

What teaching supplies can you NOT live without?

My computer!  (Slight palpatations are ensuing just thinking about it)

I also can't live without some type of interactive board, such as a Smartboard, Mimio, or Promethean board.  Right now I have a Mimio in my room, but I sure do miss the Promethean.   There is just so much more you can do when you have these in your classroom.

Well, that's it.  I hope you enjoyed reading about me.
Be sure to "hop" on over and share yours as well.  They are doing a different interactive post each day.  Meet The Teacher was yesterday(I am so on the ball.)  Today's is Teacher Talk Tuesday. :)






Monday, August 22, 2011

Back from Vacation and Free Samples!

I'm baack!

My family and I just got back from our reunion at Hilton Head.  It was the perfect way to end the summer.

Besides tackling a LARGE pile of beach paraphanalia, leftover food, and suitcases today, the mailman also delivered a weeks worth of mail to our front door.  As I sifted through the letters(with the help of my 1 1/2 year old's chaotic sorting), I found a small package.

A while back, I saw this being shared on another blog.(I'm sorry I can't remember which one.)  I headed on over to the website, filled out the form and here it is!

In the package, there were a number of samples of magnetic tape, velcro, double sided sticky foam, etc.  It is a nice amount of samples to use toward finishing up a project or two.

Be sure to check out Teacher's Tape, so you can get a few adhesive freebies of your own!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just Right Books

One of the trickiest things I find with second graders is having them read books that are "just right" for them.  They so desparately want to read higher level books(i.e. chapter books), and as you know, some just are not at that level quite yet. 

In my room, the children "Shop for Books" during literacy centers.  I got these great book bags for the back of their chairs through the Steps to Literacy site. 


They choose 5 books to keep in their bag at all times. They can then use them during Independent Reading, Free Time, or any other time that they would like.

During Independent Reading, I conference with children to see whether they have chosen the correct books as well as check for understanding.  I also review with them how to choose a book that is right for them, if they are having difficulty. 

I created this poster which I will display near my classroom library. I hope it will help remind them what a "Just Right"  book is as they go shopping. 


Click on the image to grab a copy for yourself.


Friday, August 12, 2011

My FIRST linky party!

Welcome to my first linky party!   I'm so excited to try one out.
TBA has set up a place where you can gain access to so many great linky parties.  I was able to add mine on there.  Make sure to go on over and check the other parties out after you link up to mine. :)



TBA's Ultimate Linky Party


I have been working on a few computer items lately.
While going through my digital files, I came across my Star of the Week stuff.  I thought it would be neat to share ideas of how you celebrate The Star(Student) of the Week in your class.

Here is a parent letter I send home, detailing the week ahead for our "Star."

Click here to check it out in Google Docs.

The Author Bag is a bag I send home every Friday.  The bag includes a journal, stickers, writing prompts, gel pens, fun pencils and pens, picture prompts, etc.  The author writes a story in the book and then brings it back by Monday for the next "Star of the Week" to write in.  Once everyone has been a star, we add the "Star of the Week" journal to our library for the children to read.

I can't wait to see what you all share!  Oh and since I am still a newbie,  I would love it if you could follow me!

Feel free to leave a comment with your idea if you don't have a blog.

Thanks for visiting!

Daily Schedule

Ok, so technically I still have 16 days before I have to go back to work.  After seeing Simply 2nd Resources Linky Party, it has gotten me motivated to put together my schedule.
We just received our "mother load" email from our principal which included our specials schedule.  Thank goodness not a lot changed so I just had to tweak a few things.
Here is the rough layout:

8:20-8:45-      Arrival, Agenda, Morning work
8:45-8:55-      Go Over Morning Work, Announcements
8:55-9:45-      Math
9:45-10:00-    Read Aloud
10:00-10:45-  Guided Reading (Centers)
10:45-11:25-  Writing Workshop
11:28-11:58-  Lunch  (This may change...we didn't get our schedule yet)
12:00-12:20-  Recess
12:25-12:55-  Shared Reading
12:55-1:15-    Independent Reading
1:15-1:30-      "Star of the Week" Time
1:30-2:20-      Specials
2:25-3:00-      Social Studies/Science
3:00-3:10-      Pack up, End of Day Jobs
3:10-3:20-      End of Day Show, Silent Dismissal

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reading Buddy Strategies

I found a great strategy poster in Jan Richardson's The Next Step of Guided Reading.  Many of the phrases are what most of use when prompting children.  What I liked was that this strategy poster allows children to help each other problem solve words.

Here is a poster I made, inspired by hers:


Click on the image to save a copy for yourself.

Also, go and check out Jan Richardson's website.  She has some great resources free to download!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cute Attention Getters

I saw this over at Pocket Full of Kinders.

I've been wanting to change up my usual attention getters.  This gave me a bunch of ideas! 

Trait of the Day

In our school, the main writing program we use is 6 + 1 Traits of Writing.   I say main writing program because, like most of you, I like to use ideas from a number of different programs. 

One thing I wanted to try this year was to have the children focus on the particular trait we learned about and use it in their writing throughout the day not just during Writing Workshop.  I want them to understand that these traits are applied in all writing not just stories written during writing time. 

I saw this idea on Pinterest and made something to use in my own classroom.  I am going to laminate it and then use Vis a Vis to write the trait for the day. 

Click on the picture below, if you would like a copy. 


Monday, August 8, 2011

Wow, Download Heaven!

So, I locked myself in my room(hubby was watching the kids don't worry) and went to town downloading some great materials.

You really need to check out these links for Cyber Search Showcase!

When you go to Runde's Room, you will find a free products tab at the top of her page.  She has a zillion other free downloads for you to get too.

Happy Downloading!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

$85 Worth of Free Materials this Monday!

Teaching Resources is having an awesome Cyber Monday. 

You can download $85 worth of materials for free! 

If you go to each blog/website featured on that page, you will find one item valued between $3 and $10 free for you to download!  This is for Monday, August 8th only. 

So go on over to Teaching Resources and check it out.

Happy Downloading!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Advice to New Teachers

Fun in Fourth Grade is hosting their first linky party about good advice for new teachers.

Here are a few things I always share:
1.  Do NOT worry if you don't get to everything in your daily lesson plan.  There is always another day.  Teachable moments and extending great lessons are always more meaningful and important.

2.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Whether it is a student remark, parent comment, other teacher...it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  Just try your best to remain confident and know YOU were hired for a reason. :)

3.  Please ask other teachers.  I love helping others and sharing ideas. 

4.  Also, don't be afraid to share your own ideas.  I know I love gaining new ideas from younger teachers.  You guys have some fresh perspectives that others may have forgotten.

5.  Try your best to stay as organized as you can.  It's so easy to feel overwhelmed the first year.  If you keep labeled files, organized electronic folders, and a binder with a copy of everything you did your first year, then next year will be so much easier!

6.  When you are able to, leave your work at school.  You HAVE to give yourself a night off once in a while. You won't survive if you live, sleep, eat, and dream teaching the whole year.

7.  Try to eat lunch with your colleagues.  I know many coworkers eat lunch in their rooms because they have work to catch up on.  Believe me, my black hole classroom sucks me in at times too.  But, forcing yourself to take a 20-30 minute break during the day is worth it AND it is a great stress relief, especially if you have a hysterical group of people to eat with like I do!

8.  Search these teacher blogs!  They are amazing resources and have such a supportive group of people on them.  They will have an answer to any question you have.

Good luck!  You WILL survive! :)