...sharing strategies for teaching second graders...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Love "Quiet Coyote"!

If you had pix of "Quiet Coyote" within the last couple of days, please comment. I just want to say I love Quiet Coyote! The best part today was that two of my boys started opening Coyote's mouth and saying, "OOOooooooo, OOOooooooo!" Today is my mom's 70th birthday, so I shared that at dinner. We all got a kick out the boys, especially my mom who asked if the child's name is David (that's my brother!). :)

Happy day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2012 Instructional Pacing Guide

I worked late, late, late every evening this past week to complete our 2012 Instructional Pacing Guide for the year. Most of it was already organized on calendars last year. Each subject had its own calendar. The new format shows three weeks on one sheet. I adapted it from one I received from our first grade team. I am thrilled to have it done (for the most part). I do intend to tweak it this year to make it better for next year. It won't feel complete until I add vocabulary this year! When we change to the new standards, it will be a breeze to change them with this format. I am very excited to have done this because it helped me familiarize myself even more with the curriculum expectations in preparation for writing S.E.A.T.S. plans.
SEATS focus on the Standard, the Essential Question, Activating Strategies, Teaching Strategies, and Summarizing Strategies.
Because I volunteered for the GA Class Keys last year, I must be evaluated on those this year...even though they are changing yet again. Isn't that the name of the game? Change is just about the only thing that remains constant. I feel so much more prepared this year due to all the blogging buddies sharing their excellent idea... can I say it again? I love my blogging buddies!! Thanks to all of you, my classroom is rocking! I am reading The Book Whisperer (albeit a little late) and using the FACE of a Reader along with incorporating elements of the Daily 5. My students are settling in to a routine and I am tickled pink to be at school these days! I know this is going to be the best year yet! Hallelujah!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

I'm joining everyone and Blog Hoppin' for Meet the Teacher Monday!

                          Tell us something about you...

I am excited to be back in school, but as most of you I'm super busy! I just got home at 9:00 tonight and decided to check the blogs before heading off to lullaby land so I can get up at 5:30 and do it again! I love, love, love school. I think I have one of the best groups of second graders I have ever had this year! Oh, and my darling husband just turned 50! :D

                   How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching 23 years...I've taught PreK, Kindergarten, first through fourth grades, Art, and adults completing their GED...not in that order. The longest amount of time I have spent in one grade~six years in second and five years in third. Third and second are my two favorite ages!

                   You might not know...

I have three college degrees, changed my name to Sue Ellen when I was five, and won a beauty contest at age 12. I play piano and read voraciously! I'm also a children's book author in the making. I might possibly even illustrate my own books using photography and my own or my hubby's drawings/paintings!

    What are you looking forward to most this year?

This year I am most looking forward to seeing the progress my students make because of my shift in paradigm due to reading The Book Whisperer and The Daily Five. I am also looking forward to facilitating more and talking less as my students benefit from the changes I am making in my classroom thanks to blogging!!!!! 

           What do you need to improve?

I want to work smarter, not harder! I hope to utilize every minute of the day for my students while they are there and totally focus in on completing my list of to-dos as soon as they are gone so I can get home to my hubby, son, and our pups.

I want to support my students so wholeheartedly that they believe in themselves as readers, writers, and mathematicians without hesitation!

I want to utilize all the manipulatives, books, games, and activities that I have gathered over the years better so that my students can play to learn. Humor makes the learning stick better and longer...I want to make the most of it!

    What teaching supplies could you not live without?

My promethean board, post-it notes, sharpies, books, books, and more books, my teamie, and Chick-fil-A's sweet tea and chicken nuggets for breakfast! Oh, I must not forget my rolling stool and Earth shoes (negative heel bed for my back). A former assistant was working nights, laid back in my chair and fell asleep, and broke the back. So, it is my rolling stool. If you suffer from lower back pain, you must try Earth shoes. Check them out at I love my Earth shoes!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Third Grade Meanderings Giveaway!

Third Grade Meanderings is having a giveaway! I hope I win because I really want the Miss Malarkey book. I have one and my students and I love, love, love it!! Pick me, pick me!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to school, back to school...THANKS, BLOGGING FRIENDS!

So, it's back to school for me! We started Wednesday. I have the sweetest group of children. Using the volume control levels really made my first three days awesome ones!! I am thrilled that we are going to have a fabulous year because I found blogging! Thanks everyone for being such a wonderful group of teachers. I appreciate all the wonderful ideas you have shared. Blogging is like having loads of teammates you can discuss ideas and concerns with every day. I love, love, love it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Plan for Word Detectives...

First, I evaluate my students with the National Reading Vocabulary. It's an awesome list of words~by grade level~that I use to test my students. Students receive a copy of the National Reading Vocabulary list at their reading level for home practice. I am going to present each student with his/her Word Detective Kit individually when I finish evaluating. I think getting the kit individually will make everyone want one and be eager to get started! ;)

Here are the directions I plan to give so far (I'm open for suggestions!):

"You are now a Word Detective! You have a job to do each day. You should find a word you don't know each day (from a book, speaking with a friend, or the dictionary). Write the word with its definition and the pronunciation on a sticky note so you can learn it. Use your new word in three sentences that day. By Friday, you should have four new words (or at least three for some students...we'll see). Choose your favorite new word and complete the Word of the Week sheet (by Rebecca Rojas) for a grade." 
{Rebecca: please post a comment and remind me of your blogspot address..I'm having a brain fog this morning! I love, love, love your Word of the Week sheet!)

Note: It may take a while to build up to three or four words. I plan to build stamina with this just as we will build stamina with reading and writing.


 I love word play. My dad and I played Dictionary when I was a child. He'd try to stump me and I'd try to stump him. If he found a word to which I did not know the meaning, he got the point. If I knew the meaning, I got the point. Same went for him. We took turns with the dictionary he used as a little boy! I dearly loved this because it was time with my precious daddy! So...I tell my students that story, introduce them to the dictionary, challenge them to find a word I can't use in a sentence, and they get "points." They never do anything with the points, but they love getting one over on their teacher! ;) I make a big deal about having three college degrees and WOW! they still stumped me! It is so much fun and my students seem to love it. I challenge them to play dictionary with their parents so they'll learn new words and maybe their parents will learn new words, too. We can all learn something new every day! I'll make sure I tell them this story before giving them their Word Detective Kits. You are welcome to tell my story to your students about your "friend" who loves the dictionary! ;)

One of my favorite memories was Daddy asking me to define conquistador and pronouncing the "qui" like kwi with a short i sound. When I said, "That's conquistador! It's like a Spanish cowboy or gunslinger..." (I was in third grade, I think) he was amazed that I knew the correct pronunciation and the definition! He asked how I knew and I replied that we'd studied them in school. I don't really remember studying that, but I read all the time so I'd probably read about them. I am so thankful for my Daddy's influence! I usually tell my students this little tidbit later on during the year when interest wanes. As always, some students like the dictionary better than others. Hopefully, all the students gain vital dictionary skills through this! Comments and suggestions welcome and requested...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Word Detectives!

Now, where did I see these? Please post a comment and I'll edit with a link to your post about these! I love, love, love this idea. It's going to be the springboard for my Word Work station this year. I am sooo very excited! Thank you, thank would you please stand up and take a bow so I can recognize and applaud you? ;)

These are my Word Detective kits. I am thrilled! I found some hard plastic envelopes just the right size. Hopefully they will be durable enough for my second graders to use them all year. I went to Party City to get the 12-favor pack of magnifying glasses. The Cadoozles were $5.00 a pack at Staple's, with a $5.00 rebate on one. My mom bought me the second pack and I found a 5 pack of the same type pencils at the Dollar General so I bought 10 extras. I will have extras in case of new students throughout the year. I won't pass them out until the second Monday of school, though. That was suggested by my Teamie, Leah. She said give them time to get acclimated without thinking I'm Santa Clause! ;) (See previous posts about Welcome packet and kiss! I think what I'll do is check my students on the National Reading Vocabulary (wonderful assessment instrument which also provides the words for parents to work with students for mastery) and give them their "Word Detective" kit when they finish the assessment. I plan to make it a "badge of honor." You made it through the vocab assessment, now you are a "Word Detective!" Thoughts? How does that sound?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ready for Open House...

Sorry for breaking the rule of blogging only once a day, but I just had to share these! I got the idea from Mrs. Morris at Simply 2nd Resources .

I am going to give mine out at Open House tomorrow afternoon. I put the children's names on them so I could keep up with who shows up for Open House. Those who don't show will get theirs on the first day of school, unless they come to the school Tuesday to meet me. I sent home a letter letting my students know they are in my class. In it, I offered to meet them during the day Monday or Tuesday if they couldn't make it from 4-6p Monday.

I am so pleased with how they look in my basket from one of my students last year! It's from Swirls and was full of goodies! His mom even paid for it to be monogrammed. I just took it over and told them what I wanted. She wanted me to have the option of my initials, name, or Mrs. S. ;) I felt (and still feel) so loved and special! It will make my day tomorrow afternoon during Open House! :D Thanks, D & J!

Top Ten Reasons I Know It's BACK to SCHOOL time!

Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is having a BACK to SCHOOL linky party! How do you know it's time for school?

10. I receive phone calls about school supply lists.

9. I receive more phone calls...parents ask if I can find out who their child's teacher will be for the coming year.

8. I spend too much money at Staple's and SchoolBox.

7. I check Staple's online for the one cent deals!

6. My family (hubby, son, parents) all ask when I'll be home or if I'm going to school.

5. I yearn for one more trip to the beach...

4. One entire week is spent setting up my classroom.

3. We get the "letter" from school with our pre-planning agenda.

2. I'm napping in the late afternoons because I got up early...trying to retrain my system for those early mornings!

1. My darling hubby helps get everything ready...painting, drilling, hanging, painting more, moving furniture, relaxing in my yellow rocker in front of the classroom T.V. while he waits for me to do "one last thing..." before we leave school after 6 hours there! There's always one more thing I need to do before coming home with more to do at the kitchen table! He even reminded me to get chocolate kisses when we were out and about the other day.

I have a note I send home on the first day of school:

"Thank you for a wonderful first day of school.
  You deserve a kiss!"

We attach a chocolate kiss to it and give it out at the very end of the day. I always tell my students to be sure to take the note home so their parents can see that they had a good day! Of course, most of the children eat the kiss immediately! ;)  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to School

Thanks to all you wonderful cyber-friends with whom I blog. I have 23 years experience teaching. I am more excited about school starting back than I've been in a few years and that's thanks to all the marvelous ideas and fabulous freebies I've found online. God bless you each and every one with the best school year ever!

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Wishing you an amazingly blessed day!
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Hugs, Melly<><
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Friday, August 5, 2011

New Teacher Advice Linky Party!

Fun in Fourth is having a linky party! Join the party and share...

 I'd have to say pray, pray, pray first and foremost! The best advice I ever received was from an assistant principal (thanks, Johnny!). He said to make a deposit in the "bank" with your parents before you'd been in school two weeks. Call the parent/s of each and every student with some sort of praise for their child. Let them know how excited you are to be working with their child and that you are always there for the child and to help. He said that when we do this, we have a "deposit" for those calls we all hate to make when behavior has been less than spectacular! :) It really works. I have been teaching 23 years and learned this 16 years ago. It is amazing how much smoother the parent contact aspect of teaching goes when you make the extra effort during the first two weeks of hurry~burry to contact parents. Blessings, peace, and Godspeed as you set out on the adventure of a lifetime!

Melly <><

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a TBA Addict!

I'm a Teaching Blog Addict addict, that is! I love all the wonderful ideas and activities I've found this summer since I started blogging. I just know that I'll be a better teacher this fall. Finding TBA and having the opportunity to connect with other teachers who teach the same age level I do is a blessing from God! Thanks, TBA! You rock!

If you haven't checked out TBA and you're following my blog, please zip on over there right now! I don't want you to miss another minute! Blessings and peace,

Dice Games!

 I found a deal and thought about Little Miss Kindergarten's Dicey Linky Party... even though it's closed. So,here's the scoop! I went to Staples today to get the Composition notebooks (the ones that are sewn together) for $0.10 each. Yep, I scored 25 of them. Twenty five compostion books for only $2.50! Woot! Woot! I am soo excited about that. Then, I ran into a friend with whom I taught at a previous school. She is still at the old school, teaching third grade Math. As we walked to the back of the store to get the $5.00 Cadoozles pencils (which just happen to have a $5.00 rebate) for our $5.00 required purchase, we see these little plastic boxes. I had no ideas, even though they only cost $0.25 each.
Well, Tammy certainly did!
She said, "Oh, I'll use those for dice! That way, the dice will not roll all over the floor, and the children can see through the top. We can use dice games without all the problems."
 I loved her idea! Consequently, I bought ten little boxes and spent another $2.50! With my $5.00 pencil purchase (for which I will fill out the rebate online when I finish this blog), my $2.50 boxes, my $2.50 composition notebooks, and $10.00 on 2 four-packs of Crayola dry erase markers, I spent $20.71 and brought home 38 items. Not bad, huh? I am getting $5.00 rebate through mail, too, so my total cost was $15.71.  I haven't seen the Crayola dry erase markers anywhere else and they are really good ones! Crayola sent me one last year to try out and, BABY, did I love it! So of course I had to stock up! On the way to school to get my classroom ready for Friday (when we start back), I thought about the place value dice I'd seen in my drawer earlier in the week. Wow! Those will be wonderful in the little boxes!! Check out the pictures below. I took several to be sure they show well.

Here's my place value game: Students (2 to 4 per set of dice)will shake the box to roll the dice ten times each. Using a dry erase board, each student will write the value of his/her role. Playing partners will check to be sure they agree with the student's answer. The person with the highest roll each round will receive a point. Whichever student has the most points at the end of ten rolls wins the game. Variations can include writing out the expanded notation, writing the number using words, and adding or subtracting two rolls for 3 and 4-digit addition or subtraction. Regular dice could be used for addition, subtraction, and multiplication practice as well! Whadda ya think?!? 


4,329 + 1,940 = ________

Anyone else have any ideas to add to these wonderful boxes? I think they are on sale through Wednesday. Check Staples online for the price and sales dates in your area. :) Peace & blessings!