Friday, November 10, 2017

Look What We've Been Doing...

     Where did the week go?  I looked through my iPad and couldn't believe that I didn't take many pictures this week! 

     Conferences and report cards all in one week!  Enough said, you know what that is like!  After all the conversations with parents and explaining what "really" goes on in 2nd grade, some kiddos had a little time to evaluate their quarterly goals.

     When the students arrived this morning they saw this on our daily schedule.  "Mrs. Brown, what are we going to do?" was asked again and again.  I kept them in suspense for most of the day and throughout the day there was a lot of catch up work going on.  The something special time finally came.  Students who met all the weekly goals were able to enjoy chewing gum and playing Thanksgiving bingo!  Then the students have a little free time with our Chromebooks!

     Added bonus... while the kiddos were enjoying their free time, I had a few minutes to wrap up my things from the week.  And I was able to leave work early on time. 
     These cute treats were enjoyed by the everyone!  Our Owl S'mores was another recipe we added to our recipe books this week. Yum!

     That is a little look at what we were doing this week.  Stop by again for another visit.

Enjoy your weekend!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Look What We've Been Doing!

Happy Friday!

     Each week flies by!  So many activities and so many activities I want to do!  I guess that's why my second graders say, "It's the end of the day already!"  That statement always makes me smile and I can't help but think, "I'm so glad you feel that way.  I must be doing something right."

     Enrichment Group - I am having so much fun with these students.  This is a group of students who have opportunity  to participate in a wide variety of activities while other students are in intervention groups.  This week the students started working on a ZOMBIE unit!  When I first mentioned we would work on zombies, the giggles came out!  Thursday the group had to draw conclusions as to where the zombie outbreak possibly started!  Each group had a lot of discussion and explaining their answers.

     I want to give Tristen Dixon a huge shout out for her fantastic unit.  You can find her unit in her TpT store.
       Working with place value - I love to see the kiddos engaged in our classroom activities!  Our school uses Expressions Math, so you will notice the secret code cards.  It was tedious laminating and cutting out the cards but, so worth it as each student has a set they can use.  More place value activities planned for next week.

     Also, just as we were starting this activity, our admin team (yes 2 administrators) stopped in for an informal evaluation.  I was so pleased the kids were so into our activity they didn't even notice our visitors! 
      Keyboarding Time - This week our second grade students began keyboarding time.  The students use the Typing Agent program.  This isn't an ideal situation, last year we had a qualified keyboarding teacher work with our students.  She was much more qualified to instruct the students in the proper finger/hand form and keyboarding process.  I can only manage the students and they are all at a varying levels within the program.
     You know as well as I do, as teachers we do the best we can with the challenges presented to us.

     Finally, God is so good!  Look at the beautiful sunrise I saw on my way to school one morning.  That sentence made me chuckle, on my way to school watching the sun rise!  I can see many of you nodding your head in agreement.
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Look What We've Been Doing!

Hello Friends!

     Wow!  It has been a loooong time since I've visited with you!  

     So much has happened.  I was off for two weeks to take care of my daughter after the birth of her second child.  Then a memorial service for both of my in-laws.  They were 90 years old and married for 70 years.  God was so good through the years and provided many blessings in their lives.  After all that it was hard to get back into a routine with school and home.

     Several grades (2-5) from our school were able to attend a performance at our nearby two-year college campus.  Field trips are always fun!  The actors were all local elementary and high school students from our local region.
     Fire Safety Day ended our week.  Our local firefighters did an outstanding job educating the students on ways to stay safe.  The presentations included:  dress up in fire safety gear, up close look at fire trucks, operating a fire hose, dive team safety, rescue and safety when fighting fires in remote areas, and several more.
     Thank you, Firefighters for a wonderful learning opportunity!
     As a follow up to our safety morning, students worked to build a house with escape routes.  The partners discussed how to get out of a burning house and what exits could be used.  So much good conversation and idea exchange.  

     Although, one group did struggle with figuring out how to build a house.  One student wanted everything her way and her partner came to me somewhat frustrated.  It's difficult to try to make partners work together.  That will be skill we will have to work on.
      There were many more things from last week, these few were just the highlights.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Solid Read Alouds

Connecting poetry and your classroom read alouds

Hey Teacher Friends!  Rachel and I are so excited to share our updated Solid Read Aloud units!

Poetry was a challenging unit to teach all in one month.  I always felt rushed, there possibly could have been a little eye rolling when I talked to the students about writing their own poetry, and frankly, I  really wanted them to enjoy poetry as much as I do.  This is how I solved that dilemma, Rachel and I created Solid Read Aloud units!  Then, while talking to a mentor teacher/friend, she commented a solid read aloud incorporates many different pieces of literature, fiction, non-fiction, poetry.  This added to my excitement about the units and here we are!  The Solid Read Aloud units have been used in my classroom for the past school year.  I know there will be even more updates in the future.  Hmm, maybe thinking snack connection, directed drawing?!?!

We started planning our units by searching National Observance Days in the United States.  This gave a great list of topics for each month.  At times it was very hard to decide which topic to select.  Rachel and I stayed away from holiday topics and focused on a wide variety of topics.  Because we didn't focus on holiday topics the Solid Read Alouds can easily be interchanged and used when they best fit with your long range plans and curriculum.

Each unit begins with an anchor poem, some are original and others were found (and credited) on various sites.  Each unit contains:  lesson plans, anchor poem, writing paper, anchor chart printables, close read selection, on some units: question cards, project directions, games, graphic organizers, original non-fiction books, and more.

As we read the poems, we have lots of discussion.  Sometimes I use question cards and other times, the students direct where our discussion may go.  Also, when reading poetry the students listen to me on the first day, then on subsequent days I have a student reader.   As the year continues the students are modeling excellent fluency and expression.

The units include examples of anchor charts for your classroom, as well as, printable titles, graphics, captions, and more.  By using the printables provided your anchor chart is almost complete, just add your information.

Solid Read Alouds are designed to fit into a daily 15 minute time frame.  I found that to be about the optimum time for the unit activities.  Last school year our Solid Read Aloud fit into a time right after our milk break.  I haven't looked at my schedule for the coming year to find the best time.  Right now I'm thinking the last 15 minutes before we go to lunch.  Hmm, I'll keep you posted.

To start your school year, Rachel and I are offering our Good Neighbor Solid Read Aloud for FREE!!!  Stop by our TpT store to snag your free copy.  We hope you will enjoy using the read aloud product with your students!  Here's just a little sample... 

Shout out to Krista Wallden for her Kindness Nation clipart

Krista Wallden - Creative Clips

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Made It

Where is the summer going?  There are not too many Mondays left in August.  My first day back for in-service days is Tuesday, August 29.  Each day is so precious, isn't it?

This week my sweet teaching partner, Linda and I are teaching at Triton Academy (a two day PD workshop for teachers) for the sixth year in a row.  Prior to my gig with Linda, I taught at Triton for 3 years.  

I haven't been doing much for my second grade classroom as I was getting ready for Triton Academy.  Maybe next week I'll have an update for you.

STEM is a focus for one of our sessions this year.  I have gathered so much information from everyone this summer as I prepared for the session.  I've found that I am in LOVE with STEM bins!  What a fantastic way to engage early finishers and incorporate hands on exploration in the process.

To prepare for the session I created task cards for three books I found at my favorite Dollar Tree.  I love stopping in at Dollar Tree because you never know what you will find!
The task cards are currently free in my TpT store!  I wanted to give our session participants the opportunity to download the cards for free.  

I plan to place the book and task card set in my STEM area, along with a variety of materials to use to complete the tasks.  Many of the task cards have sentences from the book and a building activity listed.  Some cards have words from the book to spell.

I would love for you to pop into my TpT store, grab your copy, and leave a comment!  Maybe while you're there, you'll find something else you would like for your classroom.

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hey, Hey, Hey Everyone Loves a SALE

Hi Friends!
Tomorrow is the day!!!

Everything in my TpT store is on SALE.  
Visit TpT for the huge sale on August 1 & 2.
Don't forget to enter the promo code when you check out.

Download for Facebook - 740 × 400

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Made It

Brag Tags - Everyone that uses brag tags in their classroom knows prepping those little guys is a big job!  I worked on these tags last week.  My students loved them last year, I hope my new students will like them also.

I love the tags that Primarily Speaking by Aimee Salazar has in her TpT store!  She also has a set of editable tags, as well as, color tags.  I like using her black and white tags and print on color card stock.

Word Wall Words - I updated my word wall rings.  I added family words and number words this year.  Read about how our word wall is used here

Procedure Task Cards - In case you missed it, I have a free set of Procedure Task Cards ready to the first day/week of school.  Read how I use the task cards in my classroom.  Visit my TpT store to get your free copy.

I had this out last week but there wasn't a linky party so I'm just adding it for this week.

So glad you visited today!  Stop again!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Day of School Procedure Task Cards

Procedures, habits, routines, rules - fill the first days of school.  It is necessary to lay the foundation for a successful year for your students and yourself.  Don’t get caught in the trap of teacher talk, talk, talk.  After a little while your students will only hear wah, wah, wah. You don't want to be Charlie Brown's teacher!

To make teaching classroom habits and routines more interactive, enter Procedure Task Cards.  The cards have a wide array of procedures and routines necessary for a smooth start to the school year. The product includes: 40 task cards and a blank set (to make your own, if desired).

Prior to the first day of school I sort the cards into categories, for example: entering the classroom, going home time, hallway behavior, etc.  On the first day/week of school, I keep the cards in a prominent place so I won’t forget to go over each one.

When I'm ready to talk about our procedures and routines, I randomly (I make sure everyone has had a card at some point in the day) hand out the stack of cards that I want to cover at that particular time. Now it's time for the kiddos to get involved. One student will read a card, we talk about the routine for that card. Since I teach 2nd graders, they have been in school for a few years so many of them already know the procedures. This makes our discussions move a little quicker. Also, if there are "new to the district" students I can adjust our discussions. The student who just read the card will select the next person to read their card, and so on. This continues until all the cards have been read in my pre-chosen stack.

As a follow up to our task card routine discussions, we play a game. This may happen on the same day or whenever it fits during the first week of school. To play the game, I read a card, the students tell the procedure/routine. If they are correct, they get a point. If incorrect or not complete enough answer I get the point. Usually they win! Well, you get the picture. The reward is usually a brownie point on our classroom brownie pan.

I hope you enjoy this freebie! Pop over to my TpT store to get your Procedure Task Cards.

Thanks for visiting! Stop by again, I love your company!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Made It

Happy Monday, Friends!  I love visiting all your blogs to get a glimpse into your classrooms and projects.  Thanks for inspiring me and I'm sure others!

Spelling Choice Board - You can read about my journey to use a choice board here.  I really like my second graders to take ownership of the classroom.  If they have ownership and leadership in the classroom, I've found that things run smoother when there is a sub.

Temperature Afghan - I put the final border on this crocheted afghan, that was a year in the making.  To give you the background on this incredibly large afghan (approximately 5'x9'), it all started with Phill, my son-in-law.  He challenged my daughter and I to make them.  Each row represents a day in the past year.  You can see the variety of colors of rows.  The color is based on the high temperature for the day.  My daughter lives on the west side of Wisconsin and I live on the east side so our afghans have turned out somewhat different.  She is still in the process of finishing her afghan, otherwise I would love to have a side by side picture comparison.

Search Pinterest for a wide variety of ideas.  That's where I found my inspiration.  Oh, be prepared to have a wide variety of yarn left over!  Now I'll have to find another project for the leftovers!  It is quite a cycle, isn't it?

The afghan will take up residence in our guest room.  It will be perfect for guests that need an extra cover for the night!

I love summer time to finish projects that seem to get set aside during the school year.

Have a great week!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spelling Choice Board

Spelling word practice - essential, important, but sometimes hard to manage. We know that students need to be able to apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when they decode words. How can classroom teachers manage this important time of the day?

In the past I would decide what spelling activity I wanted the students to complete. This procedure was okay but I wanted my second graders to take more ownership in the classroom. I did some Pinterest searching and found that many of you are using Spelling Choice Boards.

Using all of you as my mentor, I created my own Spelling Choice Board. I printed on white cardstock with astrobright border, laminated it, and will hang this up on my ELA board.

To use the board, I will have a class helper select a spelling task for the class to complete. In our class we do not have time to do a spelling task everyday - probably three times a week. To make the selection, will probably have the helper toss a squishy-type ball at the board. This will eliminate the helper selecting the "easy" spelling tasks. I can also blindfold the helper, spin them around, and make the selection - pin the tail style. I hope the kiddos will come up with some other ways to select the task.

Once the task has been chosen, they will mark the selection by clipping a clothespin to the task. That way the students will be able to check back to the Spelling Choice Board if they forget what they need to do. The clip has a front and back so it works with either side of the board.

Hopefully, the students will take ownership by using the Spelling Choice Board.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Made It

Tara, a big thank you from everyone who enjoys visiting your weekly Monday Made It!!!

New Substitute Folder - When I have a planned absence I write detailed lesson plans.  However, there are those days when I don't want to drag myself to my computer to write lengthy, detailed plans for my teaching partner to print off and deliver.  You know as well as I do that those plans don't get followed to the extent you thought they would. 

To take care of this I redid my sub folder.  Everything is included for the sub to have successful day.  Here is a list of the pages I included:

Morning & Afternoon Routine
Daily Procedures
Class Schedule
Specials Schedule
Class List
Behavior Expectations
Substitute Lesson for each class
Emergency Procedures

Each of the pages is written with bullet points so it is easy to read. 

The folder is 3-prong vinyl folder with a cut out cover.  Each page is slipped into a page protector.

I plan to set the folder on my desk each night before I leave school so it will be ready if a substitute will be called.

Sparkly Pineapple - Look what I found on a visit to my favorite Dollar Tree!  A sparkly pineapple!!!  The quote came from a kitchen towel and also from Pinterest search.  I created my classroom coordinated quote to hang alongside my wonderful pineapple.  I'm thinking Molly Lou Melon books during the first week of school.

Sewing Project - Just in time for the 4th of July, my daughter and I made these fun table runners.  I did a quick search of my fabric stash and found enough red, white, and blue fabric to make these cuties!

Happy 4th of July week!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday Made It

I spent last week volunteering in the kitchen at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp.  It is always a fun but exhausting week!  I was one of 6 volunteers that prepared home cooked food for 250 people three times a day.  My only made it for last week was food, food, and more food! 

When working in the kitchen, my friends and I like to have matching aprons.  During the last few years I've been working on sewing aprons for the three of us.  A different apron for everyday!  It is fun to see the campers faces when we come with a different apron everyday.

Also, I love seeing former students at the camp!  Even though my name tag says Judy is large letters I am still Mrs. Brown to all of them.  Working/volunteering at the camp is a very rewarding experience and a huge change of pace from being in the classroom.

Thanks, Tara for hosting a favorite summer linky party!