Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's About Time!

Thank you for all your great ideas on how to make test prep more interesting!  That is another one of my favorite things about blogging.  I can post a dilemma and you guys are right there with so many different solutions!  I am very grateful.

I took a big step this weekend.  I told my family members about my blog and my TpT store.  Up until this point, the only people who knew about it were my husband and a few close co-workers.  I didn't want to say anything because I wasn't sure how they would react.  I come from a family of education professionals.  Like, principals, hs teachers, elementary teachers, school nurses, etc. - my family has 'em all!  I finally told my mom, and boy was she impressed!  She was so excited she showed my dad and both of my grandmothers right away! (if any of you are reading - hi!)

Which leads me to my next point.  My grandmother just retired from being a second grade teacher (like me!) and she is already giving me new ideas to create.  Her first suggestion? Telling time!  Such a challenge in 2nd grade!  I got to it right away with the help of graphics from The 3am Teacher.

And wa-la!

I am going to be using all the games as an end of the year review.  It's fun and educational!
Check it out!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Test Preppiness

We are down to single digits!  Single digits people!  Only 9 more wake-ups till the end of the year.  And this year flew by - I can't believe it's almost over!

I have to say that I am pretty lucky that state testing doesn't exist (yet!) for 2nd graders in my state.  However, the minute they get into 3rd grade, they have to do a HUGE state test.  Seriously, can anyone think of a better time to give a major statewide test than a month into the school year?  Beginning of October my poor babies will be put to the test.  Literally.  Since Back-to-School isn't busy enough, let's throw in some bubble sheets.  Sheesh.

Needless to say, the last unit of math, reading and writing in 2nd grade is test prep.  BORING!  I need help!  What are some things that you do to spice up preparing for a test??  Any and all ideas are welcome!  Really.  I mean it.  ANY ideas.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Reading

As a student, I hated, HATED summer reading.    I'm sure most students do, but, here's the thing.  I love to read!  I've always been an avid reader.  I just want to be able to choose my own books!  And now that I am an adult, I can choose my own summer reading!  I'm linking up with Clutter-Free Classroom to tell you about what I plan to have in my beach bag this summer.

I plan to re-visit these two bad boys:

I've read them both and I use pieces of both in my classroom but I want to re-read them so that I can incorporate more!

One of my biggest challenges in my class is guided reading groups.  I'm hoping to check this one out to see if it can help me in this area:

And I've heard lots of great things about The Book Whisperer so I plan to read this one as well!

And for my girly-side:

I actually just finished this one and really enjoyed it.  I want to read some of her other books!  

What are you reading this summer?  Link up with Clutter-Free Classroom to share!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Fun!

Raise your hand if you are still in school.  Yep, my hand is up.  Only 12 more days though!  

I just won a gift certificate to Scrappin Doodles from Today In First Grade - yippee!  And I went ca-razzy!  I definitely have beach on the mind so I got all sorts of summer stuff!  So colorful and fun.  To celebrate the summer, I created a packet of activities and centers for students to do during these last few days.

There is a packet of word work activities as well as three different centers, which all come with cover pages and directions.

It's on sale in my TpT store right now!  It will only be on sale till tomorrow (or until I get to my computer!) so grab it quick!  

TGI {almost} F!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Question For You

I don't have a job this summer.  By choice.  It's the first time I haven't had a summer job since high school.  And I'm excited!  Hubby?  Not so much.  I think I almost have him convinced that creating products for TpT is going to be my summer job.  Feel free to wander over to my store to help me sway him!

Anyways, since I'll have some extra time, I'm going to do some extra reading - my favorite!  This is where you come in.  I need some recommendations for professional books.  What are books that have really helped you as a teacher?  

All help is appreciated!

*Feel free to send some "non-professional" (aka read-on-the-beach) book recommendations my way as well!*

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How do you spell...

Please tell me that your students ask that question just as much as mine do!  My response is always "What sounds do you hear?"  But then sometimes I get the students who are constantly asking about the SAME words.  Well, I decided to solve my own problem!  I created dictionaries for my students!  Each student has their own dictionary, which they can add words to, once they figure out how to spell it!  
I also thought this would be a great resource to add faculty and family members' names.  I've had students ask me how to spell their siblings' names...Nevaeh (Na-vy-ah)...Dulce (dul-say)...yeah, I had to ask parents for those!

My students keep their dictionaries in their desks so they are easily accessible at all times!  These would even work to create a "Class Dictionary" that all students could add to.

Check them out at my {TpT} and {TN} stores!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Technology in the Classroom

I'm so excited!  I now have a document camera and projector in my classroom!!!  Isn't she pretty??

We used to have one cart per grade level (except 2nd grade for some reason - we had to share with 3rd grade) and it was a challenge to get time alone with it.  But thanks to the help of DonorsChoose and some hard-working colleagues who did some heavy-duty fundraising, we now have a lot more of these babies in our school!  I just got it this afternoon and can't wait to use it!

On the other hand, is it a FULL MOON?  Oh my goodness it was a whirlwind of craziness at school today.  My kids had a music concert (they did such a great job!) and it ended at 1:45ish.  Most of them got picked up right from the concert.  I had only 8 students for the last hour of school.  It would be so weird to only have that many all the time!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Non-Fiction Text Features Book

We are in the middle of a Non-Fiction unit in both Reader's and Writer's Workshop right now.  It is definitely one of my favorite units.  The kids get SO excited when they learn a new fact and they just have to tell me right away.  I love to see them get so excited about learning (especially this late in the year)!

To kick off our unit, we created Non-Fiction Text Features Book.  Each student created one for reference:

Then, they used magazines and old Scholastic News to cut out examples of each text feature

And glue them into the correct boxes:

They had to find 16 different text features!  Some were more challenging than others.  If they really couldn't find one in a magazine, they were allowed to draw it.  It was a great activity to do right before our spring vacation back in April.

Check it out at {TpT) and {TN}.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

End of the Year Assessments

It's crunch time!  The end of the year for us is coming quickly (18 days and counting)! 

That means lots of end of the year assessments for the kiddos.  One of the big ones is determining their Reading Level.  In our school we can use both DRAs and Rigbys to assess our students.  Unfortunately, our grade level only has one set of Rigby assessments to share among 6 teachers.  It's hard to get your hands on it!  We each have our own DRA kit, however, so I tend to use that throughout the year.  The kit only has one book for level so I'm kinda outta luck if I need to re-test a student on the same level.

Teacher's College to the rescue!  They have at least 2 Running Records for every Reading Level.  It comes with  a student copy of the text, a teacher copy, a rubric for calculating fluency, comprehension questions with a rubric and sample answers.  It's great!  I believe each running record is an excerpt from a children's book, but I haven't gone through all of them yet.

I organized all the levels in a binder because, well, I just love binders.  I made a cute cover for it and forgot to take a picture :(  But I did get pictures of the rest of it to show you.

I used these dividers (I love them!).  Although I did work at Staples for over 7 years, I am in no way advertising for them.  I just think these are the best for me!

I labeled all the tabs by level:

In the front of the pocket, I put the teacher copies of the running record:

In the back of the pocket, I put a copy of the sample answers:
(although the Reading Teacher said she prints out a copy of these for each kid and just highlights their answer)

And behind the pocket, I put the student copy in a sheet protector.  That way when the kids gross grimy hands are touching it, the paper doesn't get wrinkled and dirty and I can re-use it.

It's been a real life-saver at the end of this year and it's nice to hear some different stories being read aloud!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Summer Bucket List

I'm ready for summer!  Unfortunately, I still have 20 more days (although one is a half day and one is a school-wide field trip...).  Since I'm dreaming of the beach, I'm going to link up with Hadar, Teri, and April to share My Summer Bucket List.

Work on lots of stuff for TpT!  I've had so many good ideas the past few weeks - but no time to do them!

 Head to Hawaii with my husband for our honeymoon!  I've always wanted to go to Hawaii and I am beyond excited!

Spend lots of time at both of my grandmothers' beach houses with friends and family!  

 Go through my wedding pictures and create a scrapbook (I've barely looked at them!)

And make some things for my classroom:

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

A BIG happy mother's day to all the moms out there (esp the working mothers) - I'm not one yet and, honestly, I don't know how you do it!  I got to spend the day with my mom and grandmothers today, it was wonderful!

On Friday, my students made Mother's Day cards.  I'm not as crafty as the rest of you out there - I may need to step my game up a bit next year!  I made templates for the kids to put in their cards.  We practiced using similes and acrostic poems.  The kids worked so hard on them but I got a kick out of reading them!  They turned out so hilarious!

Here are a few:

This one has quite an affinity for animals:

 This cutie wants to buy her mom a llama...maybe her mom really likes llamas??

This one is my favorite:

This mother is not athletic apparently:

Their designs were beautiful!

Even the covers came out great!

 The students were allowed to choose which templates they were going to use, so here are all the materials laid out:

Click the picture to grab my templates
(I know it's late but pick it up for next year!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Little Late...

It's been a little hectic, but here's my Currently for May

Here's a picture of my brand new desk:

After moving into the new house, I was more excited about my desk than anything else.  I didn't have room for one in the apartment and I just needed  a place to do all my blogging!  I bought the desk and hubby pointed out that I would have a hard time reaching my laptop because it was a corner desk.  So he ordered me an extra keyboard.  Then he decided that I might not be able to see the screen very well so he ordered me a (huge!) computer screen.  After hooking it up, he realized I could have 2 screens going at once - amazing!  This is where I plan to spend most of my summer...creating away!

Andd the puppy I want:

Happy {almost} Friday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


As teachers, I'm sure, we've all been called "mom" more times than we can count, by our students.  I always take it as a compliment.  They are comfortable enough around me that they can call me mom without thinking about it. of my cutie patooties turned to me today and said "Grandma?"  What?!?!  I'm only 26!  Where did grandma come from??  I must have looked appalled because the poor thing got all flustered: "I mean...I mean...I'm sorry!" He's a great kid so I just kinda busted him up about it and we both had a good laugh.  I'm still shaking my head about it though....grandma...sheesh.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whadja Get??

I've had a blast with this Teacher Appreciation Sale!  I've gotten so many great things and I can't wait to use them!  

...for the beginning of the year...this great unit from Babbling Abby!  I don't want to wait until next year to use it!  

...and for the end of the year...Hilary Lewis made this great Memory Book for kids to take home at the end of the school year!  I've always had the students do one of these but they were never as great as hers!

I got this awesome Reading Comprehension unit from The Teacher Wife.  It will work perfectly with my guided reading groups next year!

Click on any of the pictures if you want to check out their products!  Then head over to Erica's blog to share what you purchased!

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Not Over Yet...

Wow!  I sure feel appreciated!  The Teacher Appreciation Jackpot was a HUGE hit!  Not only did I get some free stuff but I also have lots of stores to purchase some sale stuff from before the sale ends (don't tell the hubby!).  Oh, and I have TONS of new blogs to stalk follow!  Um, yeah, that's a good day in my book!

Even though the Jackpot is over, my whole TpT store is still on sale!

Don't forget to use the promo code TAD12 to get the full discount!

Some of the Best Sellers from my TpT Store

Does anyone else have a favorite unit that you've made?? Or am I just weird??  Anyways, this is my favorite one that I've made (and my kids love it too!)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


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