Thursday, August 30, 2012

Heads Up for a MAJOR Giveaway!!

I still feel like I am having to adjust to school time! Being in Arkansas, we are just starting to feel the force of Isaac (tropical storm or whatever it is now). Needless to say...all the down pouring rain made the day feel MUCH longer!

What do you have your students do during inside recess?

I used to have board games that the students could play, but when I moved schools, I left those there. Today, my students just did whatever. I just had to leave my room (since the paraprofessionals were on duty) because it was driving me nuts! I need to get a file or some materials and have them on hand in case we have inside recess. I'd love to hear your ideas!

More importantly...I'm excited to say that I am teaming up with My Binding to give away a free, personal.....LAMINATOR! woo hoo!

I'm getting mine in this next week, and will be updating some pictures as well as the guidelines for the giveaway! This is the same company that has provided multiple products for giveaways over at Smiling in Second Grade.

SO...needless to say, keep checking my blog for more information regarding this giveaway! I can't wait to use my laminator! EVERYONE has been raving about how much they love their laminators. You could be one of those as well if you win this giveaway!

As I stated, I should be posting this giveaway within the next week or so! Keep posted and spread the word!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday

Today is the last day of the Teacher's Week linky party over at Blog Hoppin'. Today might be my favorite, and I completely forgot about it until now...and the day is almost over; however, I love freebies and wanted to participate! Anything free is worth my time, even if it is just to look at for ideas!

First up is a quick and simple game to review place value. In 2nd grade, we are working on mastering the different forms of numbers. This matching game reinforces the variety of forms - standard, word and expanded - the same number can have.

We focus a lot on character building within my class. Part of our character/career education is allowing the students to have different class jobs and paying them for their jobs. I've seen a TON of class job signs around that are VERY cute, so here is mine to add to the mix! :) The "Hello Name" clipart is by Maree Truelove.

I hope you have enjoyed Freebie Friday. I know I am exhausted from our first week back to school! This weekend will be full of SLEEPING for me! :) 

If you download any of these freebies, I would love for you to follow my blog! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday

WHEW! I am worn out! Day 2 in my class actually went by very smoothly! I was so impressed with my sweet 2nd grade babies, and how quickly they picked up our routines and procedures. Without planning, I have now become a cheerleader in my classroom. Everything has hand motions, gestures, and some form of movement. It has to be done though because otherwise their attention is out the window!

ANYWAYS, I am linking up Blog Hoppin' for their Technology Tip Tuesday for Teacher's Week! I've loved all the tips I've read so far!

Last year I implemented Daily 5 within my classroom. One of the "Dailies" is Work on Writing. We had multiple resources within our classroom the students could choose from for Work on Writing. These included Topic Journals that the entire class worked on, Free Write, then Blogging.

KidBlog is a free, completely protected blogging site for students. I love this because it gives my students a chance to work on their typing skills while doing something "fun" such as blogging.

The number one question we all ask when we see websites like this is "Is it protected?" KidBlog is completely teacher protected. Everything my students post, I have to approve. Whether it is a comment a post or anything, I, as the teacher/administrator, will be sent an email that provides a direct link to where I can approve or disapprove what was posted. Even better, NO-ONE can view my class' posts or comments or site without a password given by me, the teacher. Even parents cannot view their child's posts without a password directly from me.

Our school provides a parent/school handbook where the parents sign off on internet access. I also send home an additional note describing KidBlog so the parents understand that it is completely protected. I have never had any problems from parents worried about their child posting things online because honestly it is completely hidden to the outside world.

It is very easy to set your class up, and once again - the best thing about it - it is completely teacher protected. I have to approve everything!

My kids were so motivated to blog/write. Honestly, I did not assign specific writing assignments for the kids to complete because I wanted them to simply enjoy writing through this technology resource!

I hope this is helpful within your classroom! If you have any questions on how to set it up, let me know! I'm excited about implementing it within my class this year during our Daily 5 Work on Writing time! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School Jitters

I'm excited to link up with Jessica at A Turn to Learn for her Back to School Jitters Linky Party.

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Last year was my first year to teach, and I have to say I am still nervous about those first few days (as I'm sure I will continue to be each and every year.) I always feel that I'm going to forget something, and they always state how important those first 4-6 weeks are as you establish the routines and procedures. I  think I'd prefer to skip to week 5 or 6 and hit the ground running! Haha but the beginning of school is very fun getting to know all the new babies.

I'm moving down to 2nd grade from 3rd grade so I completely forget how small these babies are! We had Open House last night, and I was in amazement at how little they were! I was used to my almost 4th graders at the end of last year! I'm thinking the beginning of the year will be the biggest adjustment for me! I've already prepared myself for their writing to be significantly less then what I'm used to...and that is ok! I'm ready! haha :)

I must say, though, I couldn't help but fall in love with my sweet, new 2nd graders that I met at Open House. They would come into my room, and as soon as they saw me, run to give me a hug! Those hugs reminded me why I do what I do!

Here are all my back to school emotions! The Good, The Bad, and the...EXCITED! :)

I can't believe school starts on Monday! Like I said above, no matter the hardships that I'm faced, my goal this year is to always remember that I'm doing what I love and I'm meant to be here! Have a great first week for those of you starting back soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Library Checkout System

One of the things I struggled with last year was my classroom library checkout system. I didn't feel that I implemented a system that worked. I wanted my kids to spend more time reading and less time book shopping, but it seemed that I had a lot of kids that finished their books quickly because they read all the time OR other kids who only read picture books so of course they finished quicker then those reading chapter books. I mean how do you control that? I also didn't want to look up and see 10 kids in the library at one time because we all know that leads to temptations to talk!

I think I found a cure to this Library Checkout problem! I have to give credit where it is due. One of my colleagues gave me her checkout system sheet so I tweaked it for my own class! I am excited about it!

Basically, I will add in each child's name to the boxes (under student tab), and the kids will have 2 days a week to checkout 3-4 books from our classroom library. As you can see, the days stagger so you will only have around 8-9 (if that) in the library at a time. I will let my kids checkout books during our first 15 minutes of the day on their checkout day. I color coordinated because...let's be 2nd graders will not remember what day they are supposed to checkout (at least at first); however, if I say the "purple and blue groups" are checking out today, that will help them remember!

Here is this form for you to edit for your class! The fonts I used might not be installed on your computer, and I can't figure out how to save it in compatibility mode (or whatever it is where everything stays the same and you just type stuff in)!

The last question I received is how to have your kids remember exactly what color they are so you don't have to constantly read names until they remember their day. My solution - I created these bookmarks for the kids to have that have their color AND the 2 days of the week they can check out. Between my schedule and these bookmarks, my goal is that my kids will get used to this routine AND it'll help my management of my class library!

Because I am still trying to gain followers, you can grab these bookmarks for free HERE. :)

I'd love to hear what you use to manage the checkout system for your classroom library!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Linking Up and a FREEBIE!

I'm SO excited to have my awesome new layout from Diana at Custom Blog Designs!

I also am excited to link up with Lindsay over at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher for her linky party over Reading and Writing Workshop. Last year was my first year teaching, and I absolutely LOVED reading and writing workshop! I'm excited about this linky party to gain even more ideas to make our workshop times even more effective.

A lot of people have already mentioned some of their essential items for workshops - book baskets, bookmarks, etc. When I started thinking about must have materials for my workshop time, I couldn't help but immediately think about Daily 5.

Daily 5 has been exploding in the last year or two, and I've noticed a TON of people talking about it in the blog world. I implemented it last year about half-way through the year, and it was a complete LIFESAVER! I could never go back! Although I still keep my workshop routines and schedules, I add Daily 5 in as the structural system to allow me to better meet the needs of my reading groups!

The next MUST HAVE material is a somewhat new idea for my classroom. I tried last year to really focus on explicitly implementing Word Study within my Literacy Block. This was in the form of word study lessons and/or vocabulary. I had a word study notebook last year for my kids that was just NOT organized. I hated it! They would flip 5 pages to write their next assignment. Just bad. Lindsey at The Teacher Wife inspired my NEW Word Study Notebook idea.

Last year in 3rd grade, and the same in 2nd this year, I really wanted to focus on the STUDY of words, and strategies to use that will improve reading and writing. We DSA test our kids at the beginning of the year, and use Word Journeys as a guide for our instruction. In 2nd Grade, I will start my kids at Feature F - Long Vowel Patterns.

We do 2 week units for Word Study. I find that the one week units are usually rushed, and the kids just memorize the words for Friday's test. With this program, my focus will be on patterns, generalizations and the study of words instead of rushing for Friday's test. This notebook covers the first 10 weeks of instruction - Long A/Short A through Long U/Short U.

Because I am a new blogger and am so excited about this linky party AND my new layout, I am giving this 32 page Word Study packet as a freebie!!! YAY! :) Click here to download the file into Google Docs!

Let me know what you think about it, and how you might use it in your classroom!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

and so it begins...

After almost a year of blog stalking, I have finally decided to start my own blog! I must say, I was very hesitant at first. I more thing on my plate, right? One of my former team members, Jillian, over at Little Miss Whimsical , started her fabulous blog earlier this summer, and I must admit, I was more hesitant. Because we are sharing our TPT and TN stores, I didn't know how it would work out having my own blog. BUT...I had all these ideas and wanted to personally connect with so many other bloggers that..needless to say, I started my own blog! Because Jillian and I basically make and create the same sort of things, we decided to share our TN and TPT stores so some of the things you might see here on my blog will also be able to be viewed on hers as well. I'm VERY new to this whole blogging thing so BEAR with me as I'm sure it'll take me a while to get adjusted to everything!! :)

I am excited, though, because my room is ALMOST ready! YAY! I have been inspired by SO many bloggers out there that I'm sure everything in my room has been "stolen" from some website or blog! Here are a few pictures of my [mostly] completed class library and reading areas! My math section is still a work in progress as I was inspired by Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files, and how she organized her levelized math games. Needless to say, I'm in need of colored ink and lamination to get all those math games ready, BUT I'm very excited about having a levelized math games section for my kids. I'll post more on that when I am closer to completing it!

Sorry if these pictures are dark..I have the OLD iPhone 3G so my camera is definitely not the best! Ha! ;)

I'm very excited about implementing CAFE this year. I've LOVED Daily 5, and cannot wait to see my kids grow as they learn the variety of strategies that CAFE introduces.

Our classroom library! We've continued the theme of black with bright colors so many of Kristen's library labels over at Ladybug's are at use within my library! Check them out on her website, they are SO cute!

Jillian at Little Miss Whimsical helped me paint this bookshelf from a not so cute BRIGHT red to black! I love it!

One other cozy reading area underneath our Daily 5 board. The empty black space is where I place all of our I-charts needed for implementing Daily 5. Those will go up as we introduce them!

Jillian made these SUPER cute book luggage tags to be placed on the kids' book baskets. You can check them out at our TN store! Within these book baskets the kids will keep their guided reading/literature discussion books and 5 of our class library books. My goal is to diminish the constant "book shopping" I see within classrooms. I want them reading not shopping! :)

Whew! That was a long 1st blog post! :) I'm very excited to have this blog to communicate, share, and learn from all of you! Can't wait to see all the amazing posts of rooms and first days of school!

How are your rooms coming along?