Sunday, September 30, 2012

Organizational Tip [Math Library]

One of my favorite parts of my classroom is the math area. My kids love it as well.

On those bookshelves are levelized math games. These games coordinate with what we are learning, and as I stated, are levelized based upon their math groups.

These are where I place the students' names for their groups. As I stated, I levelize my groups based upon the students' knowledge of the concept we are teaching. The color of the ribbon holding up the tray matches the buckets in the math games' library so the students are playing games that are appropriate for their level.

I found the idea from Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files. Each bucket color is levelized according to ability level...AND each bucket is labeled according to the concepts as well as bucket number. The games in each bucket will have a tag that is colored the same as the bucket AND has the same number. Needless to say...the kids will HAVE to keep it organized! :)

This has really helped my math small groups work efficiently. The students are playing games that are on their level. They have a variety of choices, and they are learning! :) I also love how organized it is!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giveaway Winner and A Behavior Plan

Woo Hoo! We have a winner for the AMAZING Laminator Giveaway from MyBinding.Com....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats!! I will be emailing you tonight with more information!!! :)

I have one student in my class (as many of you do) that has been causing me trouble. I love this sweet girl, but she has no support or structure at home nor does she really care how her behavior is at school.

We use the clip-chart system in our class, and my students get to choose certificates as their rewards each time they reach "Outstanding." She LOVES getting these certificates, but it is SO hard for her to even get on outstanding. It seems every time I turn around, she is bothering someone else.

Enter my new behavior plan. I searched for a specific plan online that I could tweak for my little girl. I found one that Angela uses over at Cornerstone for Teachers. I love how the plan centers on specific goals that my girl has to meet, and if she continues it over time that day, she is allowed to get a reward. We even sat down to make the rewards together. She is totally sold. I'm starting it tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes!!

We'll start off with self-reflecting on her behavior every 30 minutes. Slowly we will build over time to make it 1 hour, 2 hour, once in the morning and afternoon, etc. It will gradually build over time.

You can download this customizable behavior plan here.

Do you have a specific behavior plan set out for students who might not be motivated towards your whole class plan?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Season for Chapters

All second grade teachers out there who have implemented Common Core know the first unit has been focusing on studying the four seasons through use of poetry, informational text and other forms of text. 

Honestly, it has been so hard to find informational articles relating to the four seasons that are age appropriate. Common Core wants the students to be able to read and understand informational text through use of text features, finding the main idea, etc. How can they independently do this without some form of age appropriate text?

Thus comes this packet that I created. Although this packet doesn't have some super cute craftivity about the seasons, it does go in detail regarding main idea and key details. The students will read four different articles relating to the 4 different seasons. In each article, the students will be responsible for finding the main idea and key details. Don't get me wrong, I love cute activities, but Common Core really requires the students to read and understand informational texts. In order for them to master this skill, they must be given practice.

Lastly, the students will participate in a performance task as a summative assessment of our seasons study. This performance task comes in the form of a research based project where the students will create a brochure of a particular season. This could be an at home project or in school. The students will list characteristics of the season, find pictures of the season, and describe seasonal activities. The students must also record where they found their resources. What a great start to learning about must record your resources! The information can't just come from your head!

You can download this packet from here!! I'm excited as this is one of my first somewhat "big" packets [it's only 15 pages, but I've never done this before.] Haha I'm excited about it though. My kids have LOVED learning of the seasons, and they are in the process of completing their research project/brochure. I'll have pictures of that soon! 

Hope this is somewhat helpful to you as you are either implementing Common Core OR teaching the seasons! NOW...I am off to work on grad school stuff..woo hoo...why can't I be more motivated for working on grad school like I am for blogging or creating other classroom materials???

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm Done! Now What? {free download}

One problem with blog hopping is that I see ideas all over the place which inspire me, and then I totally forget where I found that idea in the first place.

I found a very cute sign on one blog that they used for students who finished early, and always say that awful phrase, "I'm done - now what??"

I used to have the "I'm Done" jar that had popsicle sticks that students could choose for something to do. Wasn't my favorite...although it did work well.

Last night I decided to make an "I'm done - Now what?" packet that matched my room colors (black with bright colors). My hope is that this will diminish the constant raising of hands and calling out "What do we do now?" (even though I have already told them quite a few times what they could do when they are Bless their little tiny 2nd grade just sometimes drives me nuts when they do not listen.

This will allow me to display their options on the wall or board, and they can always refer back to it without having to interrupt me.

Clipart is by ClipArt by Carrie, Maree TrueLove, and KPM Doodles.

You can download this for free by clicking the picture above. 

Don't forget to enter to win a free laminator! Scroll down below for your chance to win or click this link! Good Luck!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm Obsessed..

Ok..but really..this personal laminator is so addicting! I keep trying to find things to laminate! :) Honestly, though, it really is durable so I can't help but love it. Here are a few more pictures of this laminator that you could win!

The materials in these pictures are from my Word Study stations. These are games my students play while I meet with my Word Study small groups. The class rotates through these games. All the words reflect back to the pattern we are studying so the students are getting practice reading and writing words that follow our vowel patterns we are learning that week.

I have LOVED my Word Study units so far this year (as have the students). They are learning more about identifying patterns vs. simply memorizing words for a Friday test.

You can check out these Word Study stations at mine and Little Miss Whimsical's TPT or TN store. They include:

-Word Study Go Fish
-Word Study Monopoly
-Word Study Scattergories

Also, if you have not entered to win this amazing personal laminator, you should! You could win a laminator exactly like the one you saw in the pictures above for FREE! Check it out by scrolling down OR by clicking this link!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

I stumbled upon this linky party over at Rowdy in First Grade, and am SO glad that I did. As she said in her post, I feel that at the beginning of the year we all get so bogged down with the many things piled onto our plates. It becomes hard to focus on the positives. I love that she is using this linky to intentionally cause us to focus on the positives of school and home life instead of the negatives!!

My Something Good from School: 
My kids have been doing an excellent job on their behavior these last few weeks. I have quite a few pleasers that I can play up on, but my principals have both commented multiple times about how well behaved my class is! Talk about an uplifter...especially since I am at a new school. One thing my kids have really loved is having our "compliment" parties. Every time we get a compliment in the hallway, we add a letter to spell the word "compliment." When we spell out the word, we get a party. They've already had 2 compliment parties, and it is only the 4th week! That is at least 20 compliments in the hallways for good choices! :) Having a well-behaved class makes my job a little easier!

My Something Good from Home:
Man, school has been so busy that I have to really think of something good from home. Geez...that's pathetic. It is good that I have an amazing husband who understands how demanding my job can be this time of year. I guess my something good would be that my husband and I have recently started back coaching a 4th grade girls' soccer team. This is our 3rd season to do this, and I have a majority of the same girls! It has been so much fun to build relationships with these girls that aren't necessarily teacher/student relationships. We joke around and just have fun with them. Honestly, after playing teacher all day, I like going out and spending time with these girls. Not that I don't have fun with my class at is just a more relaxed fun with these girls. It can be demanding since we practice twice a week and have games Saturday mornings, but it gets me out exercising and takes my mind off of stressful things. I love it!

Well...that was my something good from school and home! Go check out her linky...I'd love to hear about the positives in your life!

Don't forget about the awesome giveaway going on! You could win a free, personal laminator! If you haven't already entered into the giveaway, follow the link and enter (or scroll down to view it below)! Believe me, these laminators are amazing! You will love it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Laminator Giveaway!!

After a long time waiting, I finally came home from school today to see a large box from MyBinding sitting on my kitchen table! I was SO excited! I opened it up to see this!

I have read SO many blogs talking about how much they LOVE their personal laminators so I could not WAIT to get mine!

My husband was a little hesitant however. He kept asking, "Are you sure it will be good quality?" and so on and so forth. So of course...we had to try it out!

I was nervous at first that it would be hard to use, but it is SO user friendly! It took me maybe 5 seconds to figure out how to work it!

You place your materials in between the lamination pouch, and send it on through the machine. It doesn't take long to laminate either!

We pulled it out, and I was so happy to find that it is SO durable! I had someone ask me what was so special about having your own personal laminating machine when you might have a free one at school...

Honestly, my school laminator does not produce the best lamination! I had classroom library labels, and the lamination peeled off of all of them! I KNOW it will not peel off of this. This is definitely high quality lamination!

So now...the finished product! :) I've seen so many cute welcome signs that I had to make my own! I have a small bulletin board on the outside of my classroom for my newsletter, calendar, etc. It will go above that! 

AND FINALLY...what you are all waiting for! :) MyBinding has been so gracious to provide a 2nd laminator, exactly like this one, for you to win! All you have to do is enter below to win! We'll have the giveaway for 2 weeks then everything you see will be shipped to the winner for free (Hey! Teachers love free...whatever it is!!) Good Luck!

Spread the word!!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 10, 2012

CAFE in the Classroom

Last year I implemented the Daily 5, and I must say, it was the best thing that I could have done! I loved it! I am still in the process of introducing all the Dailies to my new group this year, but so far it is going great!

Because Daily 5 was SUCH a huge success in my class, I began looking into the CAFE Literacy Model written by the same authors of the Daily 5. I am LOVING it so far! I wanted to walk through what CAFE looks like in my classroom, and hope to gain some advice and insight from my fellow bloggers on how it looks in their classrooms.

1. One of the key visuals you see as soon as you enter into a classroom that has implemented CAFE is the large CAFE menu board. I've seen SO many cute examples of this board. Here is mine.

 I love having it right by my carpet area because we refer to these strategies ALL the time during our mini-lessons.

2. The next (probably most important) item needed in CAFE is the CAFE Assessment Binder. I'm sure there are many CUTE designs out there for the binder, but here is mine.

In the binder, I have many different sections. One section is focused on Launching CAFE. In this section, I have listed out the different strategies that need to be taught in a specific order. These correlate with my Common Core mini-lessons. I also included my notes I wrote while reading through the book. These notes discuss how to conference, hold strategy groups, etc.

The next section includes all the Ready Reference Forms. I simply downloaded these from the cd included in the back of the book. These are incredible! They state what the strategy is, the "secret to success," and how "The Sisters" teach the strategy. These are just simple cheat sheets that are so helpful!

 Next, I include my calendar. This calendar is what I use to write down when I am meeting with each student for conferencing or strategy groups. The book definitely recommends to stick to your plan! The students need consistency so it is important to stick with these meeting times!

The last part of my assessment binder includes individual tabs for each student. In these tabs, I have a copy of the CAFE Literacy Menu so we can refer back to the different strategies. There is a Reading Conference Form that I use when I meet with the students for their conferencing, and a Writing Conference Form.

3. Lastly, each child has their own personal CAFE folder. They use this folder to keep any records relating to their personal goals, strategy groups, etc. One of the important things that I have each child keep in this folder is their own personal conference form. I created these forms so the students have a place to write down their particular goal that we decide to focus on during our individual conference time. If they do not write it down, they definitely will not remember it.

This folder is also a place where I have my students keep any type of records showing their progress towards their goal. For example, one of my students is working on the strategy "Asking Questions" to monitor her comprehension. She keeps her sticky note tracking sheet in this folder. It helps having everything together so they understand the connection between it all.

You can download the individual student recording sheet here. I haven't seen many other student recording sheets so if you have one, I'd love to see it! I just feel it is so important that the students write down their goals to take ownership in their learning.

I'd LOVE to hear how CAFE is going in your classroom. I know there were many book studies over the CAFE book this summer so I'm assuming there are quite a few classrooms in the same position as I am...slowly trying to get all of this right! :)

Let me know how CAFE works in your classroom!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Before I started blogging, I always saw SO many bloggers do these "currentlys." I LOVED them, and now that I've joined the blogging world recently, I wanted to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently!

I was so upset - I missed the UPS guy with my new laminator!! He should be bringing it back on Monday SO...all my dear blogging friends, I'll hope to have a big giveaway next week sometime where you could possibly win a new laminator! WooHoo! Stay tuned in and thanks for being patient! It is coming! :)