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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 in 11, 2012 resolutions?!?

11. Favorite Movie:

I don't think I even went to a movie this year! How sad is that? Oh...I did see Cars 2. It was okay, but I didn't like it as well as Cars.

10. Favorite TV series:

9. Favorite restaurant:

8. Favorite new thing you tried: Blogging, of course!

7. Favorite gift you received: I received a camera (Nikon 3100 series) from a favorite person who asked to remain anonymous. I love, love, love it!

6. Favorite thing you pinned: I can't wait to take these "Melting Snowman" cookies to my students after a snow day. Don't you think they'll love them? ;)

5. Favorite blog post: Gosh, there are so many, I really have to pick one? I love, love, love blogstalking. I try to share what I do that's new and exciting...and if I tweak something from someone else I try to share it.
My favorite blog I posted is this one: Goldfish Colors Place Value . Doing this with my students was fabulous and I absolutely adored taking pictures of all the fun!

4. Favorite accomplishment: Well, I think I've learned so much as far as blogging that I'd consider blogging my favorite accomplishment this year. I still have lots to learn and want to create my own units, so I have something to work toward...

3. Favorite picture:
This picture of my darling hubby is my favorite of him. If I put all my favorites, there would be a long list of pictures here. ;)

2. Favorite memory: My favorite memory this year would have to be of my son's willingness to help out financially. He's 22, saving for a house, and willingly took some of his "house money" out for me to pay an unexpected bill. I will definitely pay him back, but just knowing that he said, "Don't worry about it, Mom, I live here!" touches my heart!

1. Goal for 2012: My main goal for '12 is to keep calm and reach on! I say "reach" because I've asked the Lord to let me see everyone through His Eyes this year. He knows the struggles of the people I meet, so He alone can guide me to the perfect (well, as perfect as I can get it) way to reach out to them. I pray that my focus will be totally on Him for '12, that He will be honored and glorified in everything I do! The following little poem I borrowed from somewhere sums it up. :)
I also hope to get my children's book published (my college professor told me to get it published in 1991...why I've waited so long to pursue it, I don't understand!) and write more. I have three or four stories floating around in my head. I also hope my darling hubby will illustrate for me (again...he did in 1991) and start doing some clipart for me so I can create units without all the TOU troubles. He's good, I just gotta give him ideas to work on during his spare time (since he works part-time now). Clipart and illustrating are going to be his new career, I think. ;)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Three Most Viewed Blogs~2011

I'm joining Fern Smith's Top Three Linky Party . I started blogging in June with Multiplication Kites as my first post, joined a linky party sponsored by Babbling Abby over at The Inspired Apple, then made some speech bubbles with Bloom's Taxonomy to hang by my board to use as I write Essential Questions for my students. I work to use the higher order thinking most frequently. Views are listed below. I'm pleasantly surprised. :)

1. Multiplication Kites 739 views
2. School Bag Linky Party 641 views
3. Bloom's Bubbles 622 views

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A BIG THANK YOU TO FERN SMITH~my Holly Bloggy Santa!
I love it all...Flamingo Driveway Markers, Post-its, Cadbury Milk Chocolate (YUMMY!), and fineline Sharpies. I am one happy girl!
(Shh! Don't mention how "old" the girl is... ;)

Thanks to Caitlin and Sarah for hosting ! I enjoyed playing along. :)

Here are some of my other favorite things
about Christmas...
This is my favorite ornament...a reminder that even though Jesus was born with the shadow of the cross hanging over Him, He overcame and sits victoriously at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for me! Hallelujah! The pastor said this morning that we don't sing Happy Birthday to people who are dead, yet many folks sing Happy Birthday to Jesus every year. He's ALIVE! How's that for awesome?!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot egg nog for me!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He just sat them under the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have colored lights everywhere except on my "Praise Jesus!" tree. It has white lights with white and gold ornaments. 
 4. Do you hang mistletoe? I have in the past, but not for a few years now. 

5. When do you put your decorations up? I try to put up my decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving. The last couple of years, it's been the first or second weekend in December. :(
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Homemade vegetable soup (with veggies frozen from our garden in the summer), mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Yum!
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Taking something Santa brought to my Granny's house for Christmas Day Dinner. My mom was one of 8 children, so I have LOTS of cousins!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My best friend in second grade broke my heart! ;)
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? After my brother and I got older, we started opening all our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve because we went to Granny's on Christmas Day. It's still a tradition.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have a tree with crosses, nativities, gold balls, gold instruments, gold ribbon, and white lights in my music room. I also have a tree in my den that has colored lights along with all our ornaments from the beginning of our marriage, the ones my son made, and the ones students have given me over the years. I also have a kitchen tree with red lights, jalapeno pepper lights, and cowboy/Texas ornaments.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it, but I always pray that the Lord will keep all the animals warm, safe, fed, and dry and that no one will be without food, heat, and a dry place to live. 
12. Can you ice skate? I roller skate, but never tried ice skating. My son can, so I think I could...
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My first bike. I saw it reflecting the light from the bathroom when I needed to go at 1:00 a.m., so I got up REALLY early! :D
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?  Celebrating Jesus, and visiting with my family.


15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Homemade chocolate cake (my Granny's recipe).
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Worshipping Jesus by going to the church services with my family. :)

17. What tops your tree? A star made by my son in our den, an angel in the music room, a cowboy in the kitchen.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I enjoy both, but I'd have to say I love giving because I shop for my family and friends beginning December 26! :)

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?  Yum, especially cherry flavored ones to stir some homemade hot chocolate.

20. Favorite Christmas show? I like most of them...can't say I have a favorite...yet!
21. Saddest Christmas Song? Christmas Shoes
22. What is your favorite Christmas song?  Do You Hear What I Hear

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
     II Corinthians 9:15

Merry Christmas!
  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I use whatever fits. My hubby says I should wrap everything so it's more fun (ripping paper), but I do it all so I tell him he's welcome to wrap! ;)
  2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I love the smell of a freshly cut pine tree, I'm just allergic... :(
  3. When do you put up the tree? I like to put up the tree the weekend before Thanksgiving, but for the past couple of years it's been the weekend after.  
  4. When do you take the tree down?  Last year, my hubby finally took down our trees in February, after Valentine's Day. I love to leave them up until February. This year, I'll take them down before January 1 to please darling hubby. :)
  5. Do you like eggnog? No! We raise chickens (just a rooster and five or so hens) and I just can't!
  6. Favorite gift received as a childMy first bicycle.
  7. Do you have a nativity scene? LOTS! I have a huge one that sits on my porch. I also have some of the Willow Tree set and continue to collect. I put a tiny nativity in each room of my house...usually by the sinks in the bathroom and on the windowsill in bedrooms. :)
  8. Hardest person to buy for? My daddy because he says he doesn't need anything! When asked what he wants, he'll say my two front teeth or a nickel's worth of five dollar bills (?!?). My son because he says he doesn't need anything, too. He is single, lives at home, and has his own money so he buys whatever he wants within his budget. I can't afford to buy him a Skyline from Japan (which he'd love).
  9. Easiest person to buy forMy hubby's mom. I just listen to her all year and when she says she "needs" to buy something, I watch to see if she gets it. If she doesn't, we get it for her for Christmas or her birthday. She said,"I can't say I need anything around that Melanie or she just buys it! I really just wait and get it for her for her birthday or for Christmas. ;)
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I love to mail Christmas cards. :)
  11. Worst gift you ever received?  I don't know. I just forget about it if it's not a desired gift.
  12. Favorite Christmas movie? I love Christmas, so I think all Christmas stories which show love and share Jesus are marvelous!
  13. When do you start shopping for ChristmasDecember 26!
  14. Ever recycled a present Maybe...well, okay, yes! I receive some gifts that I know I'm never going to use them and if I think they'll please someone I love, I do recycle. I don't intend it to be mean or anything, just thinking of the person who I'm gifting. It's the thought that counts, right?
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Homemade chocolate fudge like my Granny made and my Mommy makes!
  16. Clear lights or colored lights on a tree?  Both 
  17. Favorite Christmas song?  Do You Hear What I Hear?
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home. I hope one day my entire family will take a cruise together at Christmas, but I haven't been able to talk them into it yet. Plus, my hubby and son work for Publix and can't take off much around Christmas.
  19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, want me to?
  20. Angel or star on top of the tree?  Both! I have two trees. The "white" one (with white lights) in the Music room has white lights, white and gold ornaments...with lots of musical instruments and gold crosses. It's my "Praise Jesus!" tree.
  21. Open the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morningMy hubby, son and I open gifts on Christmas Eve with my parents and extended family.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?  People who are rude and disrespectful to others...always!
  23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?  My favorite ornaments are those that point to Jesus as the reason for Christmas and all seasons!
  24. What do you want for Christmas? I want everyone to come to know Jesus Christ on a personal level. I have so many personal experiences I could tell...I love Him!
Merry Christmas! Blessings and peace to you all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just a few things we've done and Jenga...

I like to play Jenga.  Fred's had wood towers (similar to Jenga, but miniature) for $1.00. I bought two. Here's my plan: write addition and subtraction facts up to 20 (or as far as I can go with 48 blocks) on both sides of one set, multiplication and division for the second set. How's that for differentiation? ;) My students love to play games and I think this will be a hit.

"The person that inspires me is Mrs. Stapler. Mrs. Stapler always pushes to work harder."  (tear) This was posted on the QUEST door by one of my students from last year. He is the student you wish you have at least ten more just like! :)

Here's a photo of our balloons. We used them to discuss solid, liquids, and gases. The balloon is a solid, the children use gas (their own hot air) to blow up the balloon, and their breath causes condensation on the inside of the balloon (liquid)--or at least that's what I told them. We also talked about water balloons.

Here's a sample of my colored rice for Synonym Search bottles I found on Denise's blog: Sunny Days in Second Grade . I colored 10 pounds of rice so far to make Synonym Searches #1 and #2 for myself and my buddy across the hall. I have another 10 pounds of rice to color for Antonym Searches. I also started saving the individual sized Tropicana bottles to make some addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division searches. I think I'll put the problem in the bottle and have the children copy the problem and write the answer in their Math journals. That way I'll have a record of work done while they're having fun!

The Following Directions (go here  to see it) worksheet was a bust. One student did exactly as he should. The students I thought might get it right began putting red circles, so I jumped the gun and stopped the entire class. Two students had not done anything (slower readers) and weren't finished, so I should have just waited a little longer to see what they did. Some students began doing what their podmates were doing rather than reading it for themselves. My one student who did this correctly is the child who is uber-intelligent and quite hyperactive. He masks his intelligence with all the movement and silliness. I was aware that he is a smart little guy, and this  clarified my suspicions. He's QUEST material...if we can get him focused enough to prove it. I know he can do whatever he needs to do; he has to choose to want to do it! After the break I am going to have a talk with him about QUEST, telling him that when he can settle himself and show what he's capable of doing (I know he picks up everything as easily as drinking water!), he'll make QUEST. Of course, I'm not sure he'll know how the smart students are sometimes.... At any rate, he'll do well whatever he chooses to do with his life. He's just that with it! I love having students like this! Anyone have suggestions on how to get more students to that place? ;)

Here is one of our Nerds. We had Nerd Day ... too smart to do drugs... as part of our weeklong festivities to say NO!! to drugs. This is our Music teacher...I love, love, love her! She's the BEST ever!

This is our principal and one of our Kindergarten Parapros. Aren't they a hoot?

Here is the beginning of the USN section of our Veteran's Day parade around the school. My darling hubby is in the background in the hat. :) The blonde cutie with the smiley face was my student two years ago...dearly love this child! She is such an awesome witness to her fellow students. She sang a solo about Jesus to every single class while in second grade. We need more heros like her, too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snowmen--building, painting, globbing

Mary at Pitner's Potpourri is having a linky party and giving away an Amazon gift card! Come on over and join the "snowy" fun!

Erin over at Teaching with heels has a post about using shaving cream and glue to make a snowman, which prompted me to share this. In January in Georgia, we sometimes get snow. The children are always excited about snow. I  play it up big time by asking how they build snowmen when/if we have snow. For the past two years, we've had enough snow to have snow days. I hope for at least one snow day every year because it plays right in to my plans! I build snowmen whenever possible, so I take loads of pictures. I share those pictures with my students along with pictures and stories of snowmen, snowladies, and snowbabies past. At least one child usually always says s/he wishes s/he could spend the  snow day with me!

Then I usually bring out the paint and my students take about 3 days to finish all their painting. This year, I am going to use the shaving cream and glue Erin does. They can "glob" on Day 1, then add construction paper on Day 2 to finish their snowman. Painting with several colors always takes longer so they don't mix the colors too much. I'll put painting on hold this year.

Here's another example of a Shaving Cream Snowman at Oopsey Daisy.

For this project…
* Mix equal parts of shaving cream and Elmer’s glue.  The mixture dries puffy just like this.
* Use your fingers to spread the shaving cream mixture and create your snowmen on blue cardstock.
* Add cardstock pieces to form the eyes, nose, mouth, hat, and arms.  (I used ribbon for the scarf.)

I also found  Jen doing this Oil Pastel Snowman activity at Runde's Room. We'll do this one, too. I love oil pastels...have since I first used them in Art class when I was a fifth grader.

So to incorporate this into my curriculum, we will write about how to build a snowman, how to glob a snowman, and how to draw a snowman using oil pastels. Writing about snowmen and all the different ways to create them helps me get my children writing three or more paragraphs in preparation for third grade. I always make a HUGE deal out of the writing. We post these on the wall outside our classroom so that everyone can see our snowmen and our marvelous writing.
I also found the following recipe for which I will pick up the ingredients on my way home when they predict snow. I want to bring these in to my students after the snow so they have one more thing about which to write. I found this at Kathie Cooks.

Mixed-Up Snowman Snacks
Pretzel Sticks
Junior Mints Candies
Orange Sprinkles (the long variety)
Fruit Roll-ups, cut into strips
Small Marshmallows
Mini Chocolate Chips
Sandwich Baggies
This will be our morning snack even though I never allow morning snacks with more than 7 grams of sugar! I'm sure the children will be so crazy wild excited anyway that a little extra sugar won't change things the first day after snow!

Finally, we'll have snowman cookies to celebrate completion of our writing whenever it is finally done displayed for all to see! Check these out at Crazy Domestic. I like the easy way she does them best of all. :)
You might also order one for $10.00 at Cookies for Ken to help raise money for his leukemia/bone marrow transplant treatment. It's an amazing story of love and friendship!

Happy Snow Days! </:~)