Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style

Hello Friends!
   I am pleased to be working with my mom, Judy.  
I would like to share my version of this pinterest inspired idea...

It’s that time of year again. 
September 23rd was the start of fall. 
So why not start off fall with a fun and educational project.
Paint Chip Letter Trees 
are a wonderful thrifty way to bring some fall color and learning into the classroom.

First, you need to visit your local paint store. Pick out any orange/red/yellow samples you would like. (This project would also work for spring with pretty greens.)

I used 21 leaves on my tree and for that many leaves you will need at least 3 paint chips. I was able to get three leaves per each color section.

Draw all the leaves and cut out. 

Then it’s time to draw your tree and arrange your leaves on your tree.

BAM - you have a beautiful fall tree!
But we are not stopping here...
Now to make it educational. 
 Students pick out 7 vowels and 14 constants. 
Letters can be repeated if the student wishes.
After the letters have been selected, students write one letter on each leaf.
Place the leaves on the tree.  (It will be your choice to glue or not glue the letters on the tree.)  Letters that are not glued on can be changed and/or moved around.  This activity can also be sent home for students to play with their families.

Activities to do with your letter tree:

Make 2,3,4, and 5 letter words
Make fall words (ex. fall, leaf, corn, cider, and apple)
Separate into colors and see if you can make words with only the letters written on that color

Ideas for younger kids:

Sort the letter by color
Sort by vowels and consonants

Sort alphabetically 

Until later,


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Freebie - Just for You!

Hi Friends!
Just a quick post to let you know about my newest freebie!
Last week our reading series unit focused on 
Henry and Mudge
always a favorite with 2nd graders.
To go along with the unit I created this poke card and QR code center for my students.  This product would also be fantastic when you are working with guided reading groups.

Stop by my TpT store to grab your freebie.

Also, be sure to visit again as I have several more 
Henry and Mudge books 
in the works in this same format.  Just a hint, think bundle!

Thank you Teaching In The Tongass for the great boy and dog clip art.

Have a great week!

Also, don't forget to visit on Thursday for my/our 
Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style

Today I'm sharing a thrifty decorating idea!

I've had curtains in need of tie backs for a little too long.  You know how you look and look and nothing seems just right so you just aimlessly go along.  Well, Pinterest to the rescue once again! 

Our cottage has many rope accents throughout the house and look what inspiration I found...

I think you get the idea for the tie backs from the sequence of pictures above.  Simple, cheap supplies - rope (hubby found in his stash of things), hot glue gun, hemp/thin twine (found at Walmat).  So simple, the project was finished in less than 30 minutes!

Here is what the tie backs look like with the curtains! 
I don't know about you but I love the finished product!

These tie backs are super easy to unhook and let the curtain down for privacy.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Vocabulary, Word Walls, High Frequency Words - Oh My!

How do you introduce, organize, and maintain your word wall, vocabulary words, and high frequency words?  
The word wall in my classroom has evolved over the years.  Several years ago elementary teachers were required to have a word wall in their classrooms.  So everyone I quickly made room for a word wall that eventually got covered up with something else, forgotten, or taken down.  That process went on for a while.  

Fast forward to last year.  I started the year with a high frequency word wall.  It was inspired by lots of Pinterest searches.  Each ring has many word cards based on second grade sight words.  I had my students color all the alphabet letter covers (great for student ownership).  This picture shows our word wall later in the school year. 

During the first days of school I made sure we used the high frequency word wall to help spell words.  For example, if a student didn't know how to spell - school.  We figured out the beginning sound of the word.  Took the 's' ring off the hook and searched for the word - school.  Since the words are second grade level words, many of the students are able to read the words.  I've found that flipping through the ring of words at their desks is so much easier than writing a word and circling it because they weren't able to spell it correctly.  Or asking me how to spell words because they want everything to to perfect (even on a sloppy copy).  (I have to work on that strategy.)  Anyway, we used star post-it notes to identify the vowels (great reference for my kiddos).

You'll notice the post-it notes below the word card rings.  If a student has looked for a word and it is not on the ring and if I am circulating around the room they may ask me to spell the word.  I write the word on a post-it note and hang it under the letter.  Periodically through the year I make new cards to put on the rings and take the post-it notes away.   If I don't have time to make the word cards, no worries, I can just leave the post-its on our word wall.  I like that students see the word wall as a tool we use and the word wall changes over time, just like they change.

When we have theme or season specific words the students and I generate a list of words.  This list is written on chart paper and hung near our high frequency word wall.  Then after awhile I would take the list down and make a new one for a new theme or season.

It felt a little disjointed to just throw the list away mostly because maybe we could some of the same words over again.  Thanks to Pinterest again I stumbled across this type of word wall. 

I wanted to get this up and running last year but as you know time doesn't always allow a teacher's ideas and desires to fully develop.  So, here I am at the start of a new school year and have this ready to go!
How will I use this word wall?  Remember I said that I threw away theme/season lists we generated.  Here is where I will write the words on cards and place the words in the corresponding cups.  
Since our school district has made a decision to have uniform colors for various subject areas, I'll organize the words by subject. 

This is our district's plan:
Reading - red
Language Arts - purple
Math - yellow
Social Studies - blue
Science - green

Finally, while I was attending a reading workshop last year this great idea was presented.  It is called a Word or Vocabulary Jar.

Here's how it works - if a new or unfamiliar vocabulary word is presented during instruction time it will be recorded and placed in the jar.  I write the word with marker on one side of the paper and on the other side I write what the word means or an example/drawing.  For example, if triangle is written then on the back I would draw several examples of triangles and write a three sided shape.

If we have a couple of extra minutes I'll grab the word jar pull out a paper and read the word to the class.  They tell the definition or draw an example.  Since the words are on various colors of paper the students know which subject area the word comes from.  Students love 'playing' the word jar game as they call and I love the spiral review our word jar provides.

That's how we do words in our second grade classroom!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style

Do you have an extra egg carton or two?  Here is a great word work activity for your students.  

Collect a variety of environmental print letters.  I am continually cutting letters from any boxes we use at our house or in my classroom.  Cereal, pasta, brownie mix, tissue, whatever kind of box that is available - before I toss it out I cut out all the larger size letters and numbers.

After you have collected lots of letters depending on the level of your students you can...

Place a group/handful/some letters in an egg carton. Students will shake the egg carton.  Then open the carton and try to make words with the letters that are facing up.  Students will record the words that can make.  To make it easy on me, I do not make a special recording sheet.  Students just use a piece of notebook paper to record their answers.

How many words can you make? 
I see: eat, ate tea, team, meat, made, fad, fade, face, and a few more.

You will notice that some of the letters are turned over, that will happen when you shake your egg carton.  Tip - some of the letters may fall out if your students shake the carton too hard.  You may want to check your egg carton to make sure it closes tight.

Younger students can be given a rime, for example -at.  Place the letters in the egg carton.  Student will shake the carton and then make the words using the letters facing up and the given rime.  At the top of your recording sheet write 
-at. Below students will write all the words and/or nonsense words can make.  If we use the same letters as above with the rime -at, we could make these words:
dat, cat, mat, tat, fat

Finally, your students will have to decide which are the real words and which are the nonsense words.  In my classroom I have the students circle the real words.

Now for a freebie!!!  If you have a large stash of environmental print letters collected you can set up a word work center using these free task cards.
Click here to get your freebie!

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Five For Friday

Thank for hosting, Doodle Bugs!

This week was our first week of school, we only had four days but what a tiring four days!  Enough said - You know what I'm talking about!

Here are my five things from the week...

I'll start with a non-school thing.  I had a chance to get these made on Monday before going back to school on Tuesday. Delicious refrigerator pickles. Yum!

I ordered this fantastic Scotch double sided tape dispenser.  I love it!!!  Wow, it sure makes using the double sided tape much easier.

PBIS - so many rules, routines, and guidelines to teach.  This is our 4th year working on the school's positive behavior. Each year we begin the day with an all school assembly then break into grade levels to visit various stations.  Our stations include the bus, cafeteria, bathroom, hallway, before/after school, and playground.  The adult at each station presents the guidelines to the students.  This ensures that all the students and adults hear the same message.

Next year we have plans to switch things up and put a new spin on the presentations.  We're thinking videos or more interactive stations.  Since we do this on the first day of school all those little ones (and big ones) are just getting used to sitting and listening.  By the afternoon many of the kids just want to lay down and listen or not listen.

A busy first week...

Lots of get to know you and name learning activities.  
friends for all of your fantastic ideas!  Wow, every year I find something new that I like better than the previous year.  Again THANK YOU!

We also eased into our reading time with partner activities and read to myself time.  My students enjoyed this cup stacking activity.  Student selects a cup from the bag, reads the word, then adds it to their pyramid.  Smiles and giggles  erupt even when all the cups fall down!  

Students spent some time completing our STAR reading assessment.  My students did great, everyone used our classroom iPads to complete the assessment.

Now to the long weekend...hmmm what to do sleep, read, go to the cottage, relax, work in the garden, clean the house, laundry. I think you know where I'll be!  

Enjoy your long weekend!

Oh, one more thing -
Stop by on Thursday for my Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style. I'd love to visit with you!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thrifty Thursday - Teacher Style

How do you utilize paint chips in your classroom?
This week I'm sharing my idea for math mountain paint chips.  If you are familiar with the Math Expressions series you know all about math mountains.  Some may call these number bonds.

I went to a large hardware store and gathered up these cool paint chips.  Since the paint chips have the triangle appearance they are wonderful for math mountain activities. Here are some of the cards that I prepared for my students. 

On one card I wrote equals ___, on the other cards I wrote all the facts that go with that number.  For this activity students have to sort the cards into the various fact families.

To switch up the activity write the sum on a clothespin.  Students will clip all the cards into the clothespin.  Or write out as many clothespins as needed to answer all the cards.

Another switch up - put the top number on the math mountain card and in one of the bottom places.  To answer the cards students will clip on answer clothespins.

It's almost the weekend!