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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who's Your Teamie Linky Party?

Monica at The Schroder Page is having a linky party!
Just copy and past into your post and answer in color. 
So stinking easy!
10 Teamie Questions about Leah
#1 How long have you and your Teamie been teaching together? Leah and I have been teaching together four! We taught first grade one year, I went to third for two years, and for 2011-2012 will be our fifth year together on the same team, but seventh year together in the same school! We even rolled a cart to one another's hall when I went to third and had paper grading parties! :)
#2 What is your Teamie's best quality? Leah's best quality is her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Her willingness to share and her positive attitude are also wonderful! She has so many, many good qualities that I can't really say which is best...
#3 Who will retire first? Leah and I talk about retiring together! She can retire first because she has more years...I took time off when my son was born.
#4 What makes you two an awesome pair? Leah and I bounce ideas off each other, we share our enthusiasm, and most importantly, we pray about everything together!
#5 Do you both have any rituals that get you through the day or a hard time? Yes, we both know that prayer changes things and we do not hesitate to drop everything and pray about any and all situations!
#6 What is a word that describes your Teamie?
#7 Is your Teamie in the blog world?  Leah is not yet in the blog world...I'm working on that one! ;) If so...what is their blog? (Don't forget to link it:) If not...will this post push them in? Maybe...I am working on it! :)
#8 What is the funniest thing that you and your Teamie had to face at school? Oh my...I think it was one day she walked into my classroom after someone had been observing her (five by fives) and said, "I hate someone watching me!" while the same person was sitting at my computer wall in a tiny chair, observing me for five by eyes bugged out of my head and I tried to indicate that she was in my class... When Leah realized that the observer was in my class, she just gulped, turned, and walked out. Later, she said, "Why didn't you SAY something?!?" My response was that I didn't have time before she'd already blurted out hating being watched. We still laugh about that.
#9 Complete this sentence...I would not trade my Teamie for a $1,000 gift card at the Dollar store  because...she is worth a million and more! Money is nothing compared to our friendship!
#10 Add a special tribute to your Teamie:) I consider Leah to be the sister I don't have. She and I have much in common, we enjoy many similar things, and we think alike in sooo many ways about children and our students. I honestly cannot imagine teaching anywhere other than across the hall from her! I have told her that I believe (I know) that God sent her to me as a buddy, partner in teaching, sister, and prayer warrior partner. It was a marvelous, fabulous, very good day when I met her! I am sooo thankful for her!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Working away...

Empowering Little Learners is having a "What's your room look like?" linky party. I'm not quite finished with my organizing and setting up...well, actually I plan to work about 6 hours tomorrow and finish! That will give me time to work on my new lesson plans for the first week (maybe two) of school along with a Standards Checklist I want to create to streamline grading for this school year. We'll see how that goes!

I've been back in my classroom several days now. No time to blog, read blogs, or do anything other than take care of the hubby and son (as in cooking, laundry...yep, I'm an old-fashioned girl...they can and do cook and do their own laundry when needed...I just like to love them that way). Nothing like a home-cooked meal made by wife & mama...I know I love, love, love it! when my Mommy cooks for me! ;)

Anyway, it's slowly coming together. I did the banner for behavior this year. I am soooo excited! I just know this is going to be the best year ever! I even made one for my buddy. I haven't gotten pictures of it yet, though. More on that later. Here's a picture of my yellow rocker that belongs in my reading area. I put it in front of the outside door that my hubby painted for me. The window gets morning sun and my students are blinded by it, so rather than risk the fire marshall marking my class for curtains (fire hazard, ya know), I had the window painted. It's still bright in there, but not blinding. I had the windows blocked last year with posters. Those were taken down, too. :( This year the window and door shouldn't be a problem. Of course, darling hubby may have to come and paint something new every now and then. ;) He loves it, too.

Here are some photos of before...

This is part of my "Staple's Loot!" I bought 150 two pocket folders for $1.50. I also bought the erasers and Sharpies they had for $0.10 or $0.20 per pack. I went to Target for the paper bins at back. The corkboards were $4.00 for a pack of 4 at Staple's. I also just had  to have a new notebook for lesson plans. I forgot to take a picture of the bag full of 200 pencils ($0.25 for all 200), 50 yellow Sharpie highlighters ($0.25 for all 50), and 2500 index cards (again $0.25 for all 2500!). I bought some shipping tape, a slap-on wrist watch (my niece's birthday or Christmas gift $10.00), just the usual teacher necessities.

The yellow three-drawer chest is a supply station. Notebook paper goes in the top drawer and I store pencils, more paper, and other supplies in the bottom two drawers. I have also moved pencils to the top of the chest rather than the green paper. The yellow bin on top of the chest (under a trash bag) contains our beginning writing portfolio info and the white bins on the right contain graphic organizers for reading. On the dry erase board I have a grid which shows the subject, unit standard, unit EQ, and unit vocabulary for each subject for the week. I love the new Common Core Performance Standards posted the other day. Awesomeness!!

I have my writing and Math broken up into two different areas each. I think this will work this year~not having all the Math or Writing materials bunched up in one area.  Traffic control, ya know?
This is my reading area with my desk covered in the background. I have Language games behind the rocker and ottoman. I also moved a yellow shelf filled with my library to where the brown shelf sits in this picture.  
Here's a side picture before I moved the old, tall bookshelf away and put the short yellow one in its place. I can't wait to finish up everything. I have moved Mt. Language to the bulletin board behind here, and will also make a Reading Focus Wall of some sort here. The yellow pocket chart in the top right is our "Chunk Wall" which I will tell more about later.

Here are the lovely cubbies my darling built for me in 2004. I had no storage in my classroom at the time. Due to a new class, I now use these cubbies as a storage for students' backpacks. :) Behind this you see the shoe organizer where my students' buckets will be for "Bucket Filling." To the right is the lunch graph. Once upon a time we had two lunch choices plus a salad choice which made 4 choices along with the lunchbox crew. Now we have two choices plus the lunchbox crew.

Student cubbies. The black curtain to the left now has a partner to the right. Student cubbies were all on the right, but some smaller students couldn't reach everything if they had numbers 1 to 4. This will work much better... :)

This area has been revamped. I can't wait to show it off. I moved the other tall brown bookshelf there and it now houses dictionaries, thesauruses, our library bunnies, and Math manipulatives beneath the curtain. :D
Here is my Math manipulative shelf just inside our classroom door with Mt. Math on the white board beside it. Darling hubby came and touched up the paint on my shelves he has built. I used excess laminating film and glue dots (from the scrapbooking area) to put a protector on top of all the painted shelves in my class this year. This way, the tops won't look grungy by Christmas when the parents come for our Christmas party!

My famous Looney Tunes clock...a character tells us the hour all through the day. Friends said I was nuts to do this, but second graders need to learn the time and this is an excellent way to amuse them while they learn. Don't we all remember things we learned with humor best? I do have a little speech at the beginning of the year about taking the clock home if students allow it to totally distract them or disturb class. It's amazing how quickly they adjust and totally ignore the clock. Parents who volunteer jump every time it speaks, though! My students love that! ;)

Here's a long shot of the classroom before uncovering most stuff or moving any large furniture. I'm so pleased with how it looks now and how much better it will be when I finish revamping! :)

Totally off subject... I simply had to share this picture I took the other night. We have four poles of 24 Purple Martin gourds (yes, that's 96 Purple Martin houses!) in front of our house. I read somewhere that Purple Martins eat 17x their weight in mosquitos daily. The Purple Martins have been amazing this past week. My dad thinks they are getting ready to fly south to Brazil or Argentina (where they usually go) soon. Anyhow, we tried counting (it's really hard with soooo many birds!) and estimated between 400 and 500 PurpleMartins camping on our poles each night for the past week...the most ever! I was snapping away in hopes of being able to count the birds on the crossbars from a photo. This bird flew right by as the flash lit. How awesome is this shot?!? It looks surreal, huh? It is totally a God thing...a straight-up blessing from Him! I couldn't have gotten that shot if I'd tried. My mom did try to get another one last enchilada (or bird, either! ;).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Handwriting Linky Party!

Seriously Primary is having a handwriting linky party! I had a student who needed extra help with keeping her writing on the lines last year. Our OT recommended highlighting the margin lines as well as the lines upon which I wanted her to write. I highlighted every other line yellow so she'd skip lines due to the size of her handwriting. I admit her handwriting still needed lots of work at the end of the year, but it was much better than when she started.

Second Grade Pen Pals, anyone?

Is writing friendly letters as part of your second grade curriculum? Are you interested in writing friendly letters back and forth throughout the year? We average around 20-23 students per class at my school. I am interested in pen pals. Maybe if we wrote to one another once each month, it would be feasible. Has anyone else done this? How did it work out? Is anyone interested? Comments and ideas, please!  :)

Please help!

Recently I saw a second grade welcome pack for the beginning of the school year. It had a pencil, eraser, laffy taffy, smarties, and I can't remember what else...but the teacher who shared this had made a header for the bag of goodies that said "Welcome to Second Grade!" on one side with the poem on the back side. I want to make that for my students, but can't find it. I thought I saved it... whaaaaaaaaaa!! Please help if you've seen this or you are the awesome creator who was so kind to share this. Thanks bunches!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ms. Male is giving away "Cooties"...Cootie Catchers, that is!

A Day in the Life of a 2nd Grade Teacher is giving away Cootie Catchers! I LOVE these! My students loved them LOTS last year!! You really want to win these. :)

Check her out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bainbridge Giveaway!

Mrs. Bainbridge has almost 400 followers. Check it out! :) She rocks!

My new (school) year resolutions...

Clutter Free Classroom is having a linky party! 

See quote below:

"I don't make the typical resolutions in January. Instead, my New Year resolutions come with the start of a new school year. What are your resolutions for the upcoming school year?

Will you be more organized? Do you want to leave school earlier? Are you hoping to improve your teaching in a certain area? Link up and share."

I resolve to be more consistent with discipline, watch and listen to my children even more in order to be more consistent, use Volume Control and the Station Patrol (my version of Center Patrol), and leave school by 4:00 in order to walk with my buddy for 30 mintues and still get home in time to get dinner ready and spend more time with my family. In order to make this happen, I am planning each week ahead, making adjustments as needed daily. Our school has a new lesson plan format which I am actually excited about using because I know this will support me in my endeavors. I am soooo excited about 2011-2012! God bless you each and every one this year!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

*Positive Post-Its*

Mrs. Rojas at Create Teach Share still has her linky party about Post-Its going. I always write Post-Its notes to my students to remind them of their Accelerated Reader goals at the beginning of the quarter. Sometimes I use them to remind them of their reading goal when they're really close. I also write "Congratulations!" notes on Post-Its. I like to do this after school and leave them stuck to the desks for the students to find when they arrive the next morning. If there is a student behavior I'm working on reinforcing, I'll brag on that behavior to a student or two with a Post-It note (to be found on arrival in the morning as before), and it's amazing how word travels! More students exhibit that behavior in hopes of getting a Post-It on their desks! Positive reinforcement for the price of a sticky note! How's that? ;)

Melly <><

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Snazzy Class Prep Linky

Mrs. Chappell's 2nd Grade is having a linky party!

She asks that we share one idea that will inspire everyone as we set up our classrooms for the new school year. :)

I am sooo excited about this new year with all the wonderful new ideas I have garnered just reading everyone's blog. I'm excited about "The FACE of a Reader." I can't wait to use "Station Patrol" to keep my students focused. I also love the "Volume Control" poster and will use it. As always, we will play "SCOOT!" to review before unit tests.

In February last year, a Promethean Board was installed in my classroom. I will use for introductions to many lessons. A movie (maybe 5 -7 minutes long) introduces topics. We use these as a springboard for discussions and mini-lessons. My second graders loved Annie & Moby. They also loved Tim & Moby from . Some of the movies from there are also appropriate to our curriculum.

I am moving my classroom library, my math station area, and dividing my room up more than last year. I moved my reading table front and center last year and loved it!

I am considering doing away with some of the desks. I had 23 students last year and everyone had their own desk. Has anyone had 20+ students without a desk for each child? How did that work? I have lap desks as well as clipboards and it never fails that I have at least 2 students who never want to sit at a desk. Please leave comments about how this has worked for you. I've done this with fourth graders, but never second. Ideas, please! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes Linky Party

Oh the Places We'll Go... is having a linky party! What do your students say? Do you have enough quotes to write a book? I do!

Here's one:
One of my third grade students came in from lunch one day to tell me that Micah had dropped his meat on the floor, picked it up, and continued eating. I asked Micah why he didn't let me know because I would have gotten him another piece of meat.

He replied, "Awww, Mrs. S., I prayed over it!" :)

Post-It Linky Party

Mrs. Rojas at Create Teach Share is having a linky party. How do you use Post-Its?

Here's one way I do:

I have a poster (I'll take a photo when I get back to school and add it here) that has a parking lot on it. It also has "Questions? Comments? Concerns?"  with space for post-its to be stuck on it. Students can get a "sticky note" and write down their troubles. These will be discussed at the end of the day before recess. Some students like to post lots of nonsense questions at first. They will stop when the others get upset with them for our "Wrap-Up" running over into RECESS! :D

Here's another way:

We also have a game called SCOOT! Anyone out there play SCOOT? I run the answer sheet for SCOOT front to back and put Post-Its on each desk. The Post-It note has the problem number, then a problem which the student answers in the box with the corresponding number. Students have one minute to solve the problem, then I call out "SCOOT!" and they scoot to the next desk. We continue until each child has been to each desk. I put out the first Post-It set, and we "SCOOT!" When everyone has been to each desk, I put out the second set of Post-Its (a different color), students flip to the other side of their paper, and we "SCOOT!" again before going over all the answers for both games. This is a wonderful way to review before testing and my teaching buddy and I switch students to give the children a break as well. It helps to keep them motivated and enjoying learning! We did this lots before I got a Promethean Board (smartboard?) so that my students had an opportunity to experience the technology. The children loved switching!

NOTE: Before you play SCOOT for the first time, have the children scoot around going to each desk so they can learn where to move each time for less confusion...especially with second grade and younger. :) I will attach a copy of the SCOOT document or e-mail it to you...just comment. I'd go ahead and do that now, but my copy of SCOOT is at school...

UPDATE: Because I have no idea how to attach a document for you to download, please leave your e-mail if you'd like a copy of my SCOOT doc. (Any help in solving this problem will be greatly appreciated! I know it has to be something soooo simple...) You can make your own xls spreadsheet with number boxes and put a header with SCOOT and a couple of cute pix if you prefer. :) Happy SCOOTing!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

YRC Handbook

I have written my own little handbook for years. I borrowed one from a fellow teacher "back in the day" and it has evolved into the following class handbook. I usually print out a copy for everyone. This year I am going to try to go paperless with it, so I started The Yellow Rocking Chair blog for my parents. I hope they will check my YRC blog regularly for information. Should I set it to private so I can post students' pictures? What would you do? Please reply with your thoughts and ideas. :) Thanks bunches!

My Philosophy
  Education is the right and responsibility of each individual. The teacher's job is to create an environment that facilitates learning and to support the children in gaining knowledge. The student's job requires cooperation with rules, which are put in place to promote education, and willingness to attempt new and challenging activities.

  I will contact you during the first two to three weeks of school to discuss any concerns you have regarding your child. You may wish to come in for a conference or have a telephone conference. At any other time during the year, I will be available for conferences upon request. Please make an appointment for a conference via e-mail, telephone, or note. This will allow time for me to pull your child's records and work samples as well as insure that there are no distractions. Drop in visits are not acceptable as they disrupt the class climate.

  Regular attendance is critical to your child's educational success. Written notes are required for excused absences. Constantly being tardy may warrant a visit from the school social worker. Advance preparation on the night before school sets the stage for successful morning routines. Students who are hard to awaken in the morning most likely are not getting adequate sleep and possibly need to have their bedtime moved 30 minutes earlier in order to help them get enough rest and sleep. Another trick might be to warn your child that s/he must get up in 5 minutes and leave a lamp on in the room while s/he wakes.

Gerenal Information
1. Students will copy agenda news on a daily basis. This is an important method of keeping in touch. Please be sure to read and initial this to show that you have read it. A newsletter will be sent home as needed with news too lengthy to be copied.
2. Papers, assignments, and progress reports will be sent home weekly. Please check these and return those requiring parent signature.
3. Label all jackets, sweaters, lunch boxes, and caps with your child's name. This will help keep those items out of Lost & Found.
4. We will have two class parties (per county office standards) and possibly several reward activities (as earned by the class).
5. Reading progress is made through much practice. Students will be reading at least an hour at school each day and should read twenty to thirty minutes each evening. Reading is like riding a bicycle or playing piano...the more you practice, the better you get!

  • We are a family.
  • Respect every conversation.
  • Respect other classes.
  • Say please, thank you, you're welcome, ma'am, and sir.
  • Keep good hygiene.
  • Turn in your classwork and homework on time and completed.
  • Keep your area neat and clean.
  • Stay positive!
  • Be responsible for your day.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  Children need movement to help "cement" (in their brains) what they are learning. We will go outside unless it is colder than 32* F or raining. Please send appropriate attire for your child's comfort. If your doctor does not want your child to go outside due to illness, please send a note. A doctor's  note is required for restricted play during P.E. For safety purposes, sneakers must be worn on P.E. days. Failure to wear sneakers for P.E. will result in a lower P.E. grade per Coach Parker.

  To assure each child an appropriate learning opportunity, each child will be expected to follow classroom procedures and "be responsible" for his/her day. Behavior Beads* will be utlized in our class this year to celebrate students' positive behavior. Rewards for behavior above and beyond the call of duty include praise, a "happy note," a high five, a "brag" call to parents, a warm fuzzy to place in the class container, and lunch with a friend from another class. Multiple warnings for misbehavior will result in the student writing his/her name on the board. This is a visible warning to help the student cease the misbehavior. Upon a second warning, a check is placed beside the student's name which results in 5 minutes lost recess. A second check results in 10 minutes lost recess. A third check results in loss of entire recess as well as time out in another classroom to allow the student time to regain his/her composure. A fourth check results in an office referral and/or a phone call home or to parent's work to discuss a conference time. The student will be expected to speak with his/her parent first and describe the misbehavior. A fourth check may also result in immediate removal from class to Mrs. Wild's or Mr. Criswell's office. Immediate removal from class without other warnings is an result of extreme behavior~especially threats to others.

*Behavior Beads~Students will be able to earn three beads each day for positive behavior. A bead can be earned from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and from 12:00 to 2:40 p.m. Students will make a key ring to hang from their bookbags for each set of 15 beads earned.

 Restroom breaks will be provided mid-morning, just before lunch (to include hand washing), and before exploratory classes. Students may also visit the restroom as needed during recess. Please encourage your child to "try" at each opportunity offered in order to train the bladder for the entire year. This is effective each year for those students who make an attempt when an opportunity is presented. This practice cuts down on restroom breaks, which often disrupt the students' learning. Students may go at other times as necessary. However, caution your child not to take advantage of this privilege. Continued disregard for the opportunities given may result in "warnings" or losing the opportunity to go other than at appointed restroom break times.

 Our lunch is from 11:10 to 11:40. You are welcome to join us for lunch. Please remind your child not to share any part of his/her lunch with others. Classmates may have food allergies and sharing could be very dangerous. Also, remind your child that luncheon with a parent or grandparent does not mean the school day is over and s/he should not expect to leave school after lunch when s/he has lunch visitors.

The attitude of the students in a class make all the difference in the class climate for the entire year. Let's all make an effort to look on the bright side of things, find a positive outlook for every situation, and help out our friends in class by being pleasant to everyone. My motto is: If I can't say something nice, I should say nothing at all! I do as much as i can to insure a positive learning environment. Please encourage your child to be kind to everyone. This will support my efforts and result in a fabulous year in second grade. Thanks in advance for your hellp!

 Students may check out two books at a time from the Media Center. Please help stress to your child that books from the Media Center should "live" in the student's backpack if s/he is not reading the books for the duration of their check-out. This helps cut down on lost books and relieves students' stress. :)

 A homework folder will go home with your child every Monday (unless it is a holiday). Please help him/her establish a routine of reading 20-30 minutes each evening and completing the homework. There will be a reading log in the homework folder which should be initialed by the parent or guardian. Also, please initial the agenda in the area designated for home/school communication. Notes should be written on separate paper and placed in the front pocket rather than written on the lines where your child will copy the "Agenda News" each day.

 Children will be offered a snack at 9:40 just before we go to Exploratory. I keep Animal Crackers for snack. If you wish to provide your child or the class with snack, please check the grams of sugar. Snacks with more than 7 grams of sugar will be served at recess in the afternoon. Please send a snack for your child if s/he has food allergies that complies with this classroom expectation. You may also donate non-perishable, healthy snacks for the class if you choose to do so. Ice cream may be purchased for recess (when available) for $0.75 or you may choose to send a sweet snack for afternoon recess.

 The Accelerated Reader program (AR) is a reading incentive program. Your child will be required to read books on his/her reading level to earn half a point (we call it $0.50) each evening as part of his/her homework. This will count as 25% of your child's reading grade. Reward activities will also be planned. AR Reward Time will be held at the end of the month for those students who meet their goal. The goal will be set by the teacher with the child's input. Children who do not meet their goal will read while the other children enjoy themselves. This is not unreasonable, as each child will be reading on his/her reading level and have the same opportunity as his/her peers to read each evening and take an AR test the following day. We have four computers in our classroom which can all be utilized for AR testing. Second grade is a year of transitioning from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." AR supports this endeavor. I look forward to seeing tremendous gains in your child's reading this year!

 Exploratory rotation this year is as follows:
Tuesday~Compass Lab
Wednesday~Computer Lab
Friday~Art (semesters 1 and 3) and Music (semesters 2 and 4)

 I have a container of colored pom poms which I call "warm fuzzies." The class has an empty container for warm fuzzies. The warm fuzzies are transferred to the class container until my container is empty. When this occurs, the class has earned a special treat. The warm fuzzies work on a deposit and withdrawal system. Warm fuzzies are deposited in the class container for the following: a class behavior compliment from an adult, all students present for the day, all agendas signed and brought to school, and good classroom behavior for specific periods of the day. Individuals may choose a warm fuzzy to add to the jar for good behavior, exemplary work, and other praise. Withdrawal of warm fuzzies is rare. This only happens if or when students are extremely talkative and refuse to listen or misbehave badly in the hall, cafeteria, media center, or exploratory class. Withdrawing a fuzzy very deliberately helps bring the studnets back to the task at hand. This is usually done only after even exercising fails to calm the class. Students are not allowed to request warm fuzzies. Only the leader of the day reports adult praise to me.

 Please allow me to thank you in advance for sharing your child this year. It is a privlege and an honor to be a part of his/her life. I am thrilled to be here. Children are our future. Let's do all we can to make this a very successful year for your child. Thanks!

Sight Word Checkers

I saw Sight Word Jenga on Mrs. McHaffie's Beg, Borrow, Steal blog and just had to share Sight Word Checkers. This may be old and everyone may know about it, but just in case...

I bought six "Checkers" games at the dollar store. A parent volunteer printed a list of sight words I had given her on stickers cut to fit the checkerboard squares. She stuck the stickers facing toward the inside of the board on each side. When a player moves a checker, s/he must first read the word on the space where they plan to put their checker. When I get back to school, I'll pull out a board or two and add pictures. My students enjoy playing checkers while practicing their sight words!

I love the idea of Sight Word Jenga, too. I can't wait to try it! Thanks, Mrs. McHaffie!

GIVEAWAY @ Adventures of Room 129

Adventures of Room 129 is having a giveaway for reaching 300 followers! Check her out!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Teacher Always Says... Linky Party

    Mrs. Bainbridge is having a Linky Party!
We've all got those "things" that we say.  What is something you always say to your students?  Maybe it's something cute that you love... or maybe it's something that you heard them start to say to each other that made you go "uh oh!"

  • Bubble! (My way of telling students to put a bubble in their mouths in the hall.)
  • If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!
  • Now where did I put my marker? (I carry them away from the board and leave them at my desk.)
  • I like the way _________ is ______________. (especially when someone else isn't!)
  • Check your vocal chords! (vocal chords don't vibrate when you are whispering)
  • Listen up! 
  • Mind your business.
  • Did you work it out with Kelso? (Our schoolwide behavior frog)
  • If it's not blood, barf, bones, or breathing~sit down!
  • I'm changing my name to Ms. Lambert!
  • Capish?

Something else I do regularly is use my marker as a microphone and sing along with the television. Before morning announcements, our principal plays a song to let students know they should be settling down and getting ready to pay attention. It's a way to release adrenalin (which really rises on the school bus for some reason) in a fun, relaxing way. I turn the T.V. really loud and sing along to You've Got a Friend in Me, Lean on Me, and any other favorites they play. I go around the room trying to get students to sing with me. Some of them are shy and some really get into it with me. Such fun!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Favorite Books...

Runde's Room is hosting a linky party where we can each share some of our favorite books. I love this--I love books, too! If you share your favorites and link up with her blog, you'll get a copy of her 30-Day Book Challenge packet, and you're entered into a great giveaway!

Childhood Favorites: I read anything I could get my hands on. I remember the Ramona series, Socks, all the Judy Blume books, plus those little historical novels written to tell the stories of historical figures in the form of a story...I loved those! I think my all-time favorite was The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I ordered that through the book club in third grade and read it repeatedly until it fell apart! I also read my Bible daily as a child and still do!  

Classroom Favorites: Henry & Mudge series, Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 (great for teaching possessive nouns, contractions, use of apostrophes), Frindle, No Talking!, all the books by Andrew Clements, C.S. Lewis series which includes The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Ralph S. Mouse books.

Reading to My Son Favorite: Worms Wiggle (a pop-up book) and the Sandra Boynton collection which includes Red Hat, Blue Hat; The Going to Bed Book; But not the Hippopatomus! I also read the C.S. Lewis "Lion" series with my son.

Professional Favorites: My very favorite professional book (I have two of them) is about reading and writing in the second grade classroom. I loaned one to someone, then loaned the other one (which was signed by the author for goodness' sake!) to someone else and cannot remember the author's name NOR the title of the book! :(  1, 2, 3 Magic for Teachers is also a favorite.

Guilty Pleasures Favorites: I like books period! I like magazines, too. My very favorite author is Francine Rivers. If you've never read Redeeming Love or The Atonement Child, you should! Get the tissues ready, though!  I like Debbie Macomber and Danille Steele books. I suppose my guilty pleasure favorites are dog training books. I love my pets! I also like the 100% Klutz certified books...Lettering in Crazy Cool Quirky Style, Chalk the Block (not sure if this is 100% Klutz but, it's similar). I also love Max Lucado books. He is an amazing author!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

*Second Grade Questionnaire*

A few years back when I taught third grade, a friend found a "Third Grade Reading Questionnaire" which she shared with me. I used it faithfully and my students worked independently while I taught individuals and small groups. When I moved to second grade I wrote this one for second graders, aligning it with the GPS (Georgia Performance Standards). Of course, beginning second graders sometimes have a little trouble. To alleviate worries, we go over the questionnaire during whole group and I allow students to work in pairs as long as they complete their own. Each student gets a spiral bound notebook which is stored in a central location in the classroom. I can check these when I have a free moment.
This is a bit much at the very beginning of the year, but by January I expect most of my students to be able to comfortably finish the questionnaire within the time allotted. :) I have yet to figure out how to insert a document here, so please forgive me. (Hints welcome! ;)

      Second Grade Questionnaire

1. What is the title of the story?
2. Did you read this story for information, pleasure, or
3. Write one prediction about the story based on the title
    and first page you read.
4. Which of the following did you use to preview text and
    make your prediction: title, table of contents, chapter
5. What are some explicit facts you read?
6. Can you infer some implicit facts from your reading?
7. Is the story fact or fiction? How do you know?
8. Can you interpret information from illustrations,
   diagrams, charts, graphs, and graphic organizers located
   in the story?
9. Does this story remind you of a personal experience?
10. Can you identify cause-and-effect relationships in the
     story? Name them.
11. What is the plot of the story?
12. Who are the characters? Who is the main character?
13. What is the setting of the story? Are there more than
      one? How many?
14. Compare and contrast the plot of this story to another
     one you have read.
15. Compare and contrast the setting of this story to
     another one.
16. Compare and contrast the characters of this story with
      those in another story.
17. What is the main idea?
18. What are some supporting details for the main idea?
19. What is the genre of the story? Give a reason for your
20. Write a 3 to 5 sentence summary of the book you read.

Directions for students: Sometimes a simple yes or no answer will suffice. Do not be lazy, though! You and I will conference when I see a problem (either something you do not understand or a problem with not completing your work). Completing this questionnaire weekly will help you to become the best reader you can be and also prepare you for third grade! J

Monday: Complete questions 1-5
Tuesday: Complete questions 6-10
Wednesday: Complete questions 11-15
Thursday: Complete questions 16-20
Friday: Finish any questions you failed to complete Monday through Thursday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2012 Schedule

7:40     Announcements, DROPS
            (bellwork~Drops in Bucket, other practice)
8:00     Reading--go over DROPS
8:10     POEM of the Week
8:20     Reading Mini-Lesson
8:40     Reading Stations-
           -Wordwork, 2nd Grade Questionnaire,
            AR/Media, Reading Tools (w/teacher)
9:40     Station Clean-Up, Snack
9:50     Exploratory Classes:
            M-P.E., T-Compass, W-Computer, T-P.E.,
10:40     Science/Social Studies
11:10      LUNCH
11:40      Math Mini Lesson-Vocabulary Notebook
11:50      Everyday Calendar Math
12:10      Math Stations-Math Card Games,
               Math Games, Problem Solving,
               Strategy Building, Math Tools (with teacher)
1:10        Writing Mini Lesson
1:20        Writing Stations--Independent Writing,
               Journal, Mt. Language,Vocabulary Notebook,
              Writing Tools (with teacher)
2:05       Recess
2:25       Dismissal

This year I am incorporating lots of ideas I have learned through following blogs. Thanks to everyone for blogging and sharing!

Stickers & S'mores

Stickers                             S'mores
Saltines                             Graham Crackers
Cheese                              2 Hershey's chocolate rectangles
 (1/4 slice)                           (from a chocolate bar)Marshmallows                Marshmallows

Background Info: A family treat that we enjoyed growing up is called Stickers. Similar to S'mores, Stickers have a saltine cracker topped by a slice of cheese and a marshmallow. Sound yuk? Well, it's actually pretty tasty!

According to my dad, you must use Nabisco Premium Saltines, Kraft Real American Cheese slices (non of that "oily" junk!), and Jet-Puffed marshmallows. Premium goods produce the best stickers! :)

As a beginning of the year graph activity, we make Stickers for morning snack and S'mores for afternoon snack. I usually try to do this on a Friday. I enlist the help of a parent volunteer to man the toaster oven while I teach small groups. Students know that we go down the list from the leader to make our treats, so they understand their turn is coming and they must be working or their turn will be postponed to the end of the line. It usually only takes one student's turn being postponed during the first week of school for everyone to settle down to work.

"It's the only way we can do the fun stuff," I say.

 Then, we create a pictograph of our classmates' choices. Students are given a blank paper Sticker/S'more which they color to show their favorite. This is followed by students creating a bar graph individually or in pairs which we use to discuss horizontal and vertical bar graphs. These are posted on a big piece of butcher paper to create the pictograph. Students use the pictograph to create a bar graph. I provide only paper to see how creative the students can'd be surprised! :)

I have used plain and strawberry marshmallows on the S'mores to offer 3 choices. One year, a student said they had Sticky Crackers as a treat at his home. Sticky Crackers have peanut butter instead of the cheese, but are toasted in the oven just as Stickers and S'mores. These were very messy and added an extra day to our cooking which was not good regarding time management .

I'll scan and post a copy of the blank Sticker/Smore sheet for coloring soon. It has 8 or 12 blank Sticker/Smores per sheet which are easily cut apart using a paper cutter.

To incorporate writing, my students write the recipe for Stickers or S'mores. Of course I model, model, model before they begin writing. They must write the ingredients, the utensils needed, and the steps necessary to make at least one of the treats. High achieving students often prefer to do both. At the bottom of the recipe page, students write a meaty sentence telling which treat they liked best and why. A meaty sentence must include the answer to five of the following six: who, what, why, where, how, and an action. This is an assessment which shows me how well my students write and gives me a springboard from which to begin their writing mini-lessons. I'll post pictures when we do this in August.

Friday, July 8, 2011