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

Monday, December 31, 2012

HaPpY nEw YeAr!

Happy New Year!

It has been a busy first half of this year of second grade. I am looking forward to a slower pace. Let's hope I can do it!

I'm joining Jen R. over at the Teacher's Cauldron for a New Year's Linky Party. I like her idea of having one personal resolution and one for blogging.

My personal resolution is to on the look-out for every opportunity I can find to make the world a better place. More about that below...

My blogging resolution is to blog at least weekly and share something awesome! Of course, when there are wonderful things cookin' in the classroom, I'll blog more often...sometimes even daily.

I'm joining Farley's linky party and sharing my Currently.

Okay, so for my One Little Word...SOAR!

My biggest resolution this year is to trust God and honor Him for creating me the way He did. I am extremely hyper with a "bleeding heart"-as some folks say-who tries to fix everything for everyone! I know God created me this way for His Honor and Glory. It took me this long to realize it, so I am going to soar with eagle's wings this year by doing/being exactly who He created me to be...with His leadership and guidance, of course. I have been too worried about too much "stuff" for too long. That ends today!

Join me, please, in "soar"ing to new heights this year. Soar into your classroom. Teach your children to look for the adventure in every situation, everywhere they land, with everyone they meet. "Soar" by giving your best in everything you do...including R & R time, eating healthy, getting fresh air and exercise, and finding the glass half full. Be the optimist and the opportunist. See the positive and grab every opportunity you're offered. Lead the way in transforming every place in your circle of influence! :D


Monday, December 17, 2012

I have no words in mymouth to tell what is in my heart.

That is what a man touched by short-term missionary workers told our congregation. He said, "I never understood this king who would leave everything he had and come to me. Then you, who live here in the United States left all your riches and came to me. You brought clothes and left everything you had in your suitcases except the clothes you wore home. You gave us many things: food, medicine, a well, etc., etc. We have in my country a saying. When someone does something sooo wonderful for us, we say I have no words in my mouth." He knelt beside the pulpit as he was speaking and thanked us all for everything we had done...going to Burkina Faso, sending funds and supplies with those words: "I have no words in my mouth to tell what is in my heart." I cried like a baby at his gratitude.

This weekend, I cry like a baby for all those mommies and daddies whose babies are in the arms of Jesus now. I cannot understand their pain, but it breaks my heart as I try to imagine the emptiness in their hearts and lives. My humble prayer is that Our Father would send guardian angels to each and every school worldwide to guard and protect our innocent ones, so that this will never happen again. Specifically, I ask that anyone with intent to harm will lose all strength in his/her/their body/bodies, fall as dead in a faint, and be carried out of the school building by strong men. Amen! 

Go with God, my friends. He is our shield and our refuge, a strong tower in times of trouble.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Bloggy Friends!

Happy Thanksgiving! May the Lord bless and keep you and make His Face to shine upon you today and always! I am thankful for all your contributions to the bloggy world. I learn something new every time I read blogs.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sorry! Second Post...

I have a question...can you see the linked item? I keep getting requests to share. Am I doing something wrong? HELP! ;)


Poem for Christmas gift...

    Last night my Mother-in-Love had a dizzy spell, so I went to pick her up and get her home (she is doing okay now, thank You, Jesus!). Well, she had a little gift in her gift bag from the ladies' meeting she attended. It has the cutest little poem.

    I have typed up the poem so my students can practice their handwriting (they want sooo badly to write cursive), wrap a little gift for their parents, grandparents, etc., and give it at Christmas. Four copies fit on one sheet...perfect for a writing station! I think it will be sooo precious because it's their handwriting (or printing) from second grade. They can even write "Christmas 2012" at the end. I think the children will enjoy wrapping the gifts themselves and tying the ribbon on the gift (and won't it be special that it was done by the child!) to give to their parents. 

    To make the poem small enough to work as an ornament, I am going to shrink their writing on the copier. Does your copier have a special features button that will put two or four or 8 copies of the same thing on one page?  I think doing four or eight on one page will make it just the right size to make a cute little ornament. Now if I can just find 20 tiny boxes... :D Any suggestions? Maybe Hobby Lobby? Michael's? Maybe I should ask for donations of tiny jewelry boxes from parents...he!he!

    I'm sharing a copy of the poem if you're interested.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving already?!?

WOW! I am amazed that we are only 4 weeks away from being at the half-way mark for this school year. I have posted soo little! It's been overwhelming, but I have my groove back now. :) With the new Common Core, a new situation, and some extremely busy students, I neglected my blog. I'm back now with loads to say and loads of fun!

Daily 5 is rocking the house! I have some super students...five are being tested for our QUEST program, and I think two or three more should be tested. Alas, their COGAT scores said otherwise. :'(

I just found Spelling Battleship which I think my students will seriously love in my WordWork station. I can't wait to try it out on them tomorrow. I made my own because the one I found was so simple and didn't have rules. My students are a little freaked when they don't have rules for the games...they make up their own and then argue to beat the band. I think I have too many chiefs, not enough braves. :D

I am sooo thankful to have an entire week off for Thanksgiving. How about you? Do you have the entire week off? I have major plans for my house next week as well as planning some cool lessons for the upcoming Christmas season! I can't wait to pull out all my Gingerbread man stuff. I think I'll make those Gingerbread head cookies I saw. They looked sooo cute! Maybe the children can decorate their own head. :D

Hallelujah! It's good to be back to me! ;)


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently NOVEMBER! (seriously?)

I cannot believe it is already November. Wow! I am really feeling overwhelmed this year. I just can’t seem to get everything done in as timely a fashion as I have in the past. My family sees me less, my body aches more, YIKES! I need a shot of B12, or maybe seventeen shots of B12!

I have loads of good ideas, but little time to implement them. We are “meeting” to death as well as being paper-worked to death! Anyone else found this to be so this year with the Common Core? A friend who teaches in another county said they’re not having the same problem. Another friend was talking with an “administrator friend” from another county and said they’re not being swamped like this, either. Hmmm...interesting.

Keep me in your prayers, please!  I have some fabulous ideas cooking, but can’t seem to do anything except sleep when I get home from school. Currently--


Saturday, October 20, 2012


Golly! Does anyone else feel as overwhelmed as we do? My teamie and I agree that we feel like hamsters on wheels! I think things are calming down now, but it has been a busy first two months. I am amazed at how long it has taken me to get acclimated to this year. Maybe part of the reason it has taken me so long is that two close teacher friends retired and gifted me with books, books, and more books! I think if I could be quiet I’d be a great librarian. I love books so much and I love sharing books with children people! Part of what keeps me teaching second grade is seeing the light bulb go off as the year progresses and my emerging readers have finally crawled out of that chrysalis and begun to fly! Is there anything that is more rewarding?

I have several projects going to add to my TpT store, but I haven’t finished and uploaded yet because I’ve been running. With PTSO monthly, Chick-fil-A Spirit nights, and the other added fun things we are doing I just haven’t been able to sit down and get my creative juices glowing and flowing for completion. (sigh) It will come, and I am excited at what God is doing for me right now. He is to be praised!!

Last Sunday evening as I was talking with my teamie, I had a brain fog and asked her what Georgia Rivers we teach in second grade. I know those and more, so I have to be careful not to add in some extra ones. I said, “I know! I’ll Google it!” When I googled Georgia Rivers taught in second grade, I was pleasantly surprised ecstatic to see that a link to my blog was the first!! GOOGLE knows who I am! (He! He!) Seriously, that excited me to no end that God is opening doors. I just gotta walk through them. Hallelujah!

So, what’s up in your corner of the world? I am asking Our Father to help me “bloom where I’m planted” and give me strength for the journey. I think it’s going to be a BIG one this time. I’ll be careful to give Him all the honor and glory. Remind me if I get overwhelmed again…my Daddy’s got this! ;)
<>< Melly

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Hi friends!

    It's been a hectic beginning of the school year for me. I began the year with 22 students. Last Friday two of my little friends moved to their new homes and schools. We are teaching using Thinking Maps now and I know those must be included in my Georgia Regions activities...which I am working to rewrite.

I have a new item to post to my TpT store soon as well. I hope you will like it. It is going like gangbusters in my classroom! My students love this reading practice activity. I should have it up by Wednesday.

So, how's your year? Please reply...I love comments! :)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daily 5, setting goals...

Didn't I read in the Daily 5 that children need a sense of urgency and they need to know where they are in order to develop a sense of urgency? Did I dream that one? I was telling my students that my teamie's class always has more students who earn 100 points each on AR than my class and since AR is a big thing at our school (yeah, I know...sometimes it's overkill and leads to extrinsic motivation) I wrote a sentence on the board for the children to use to write in their journals. "I would like plan to earn _______ points each week. I would like plan to earn _______ points this year." I pointed out to my students that they need to do more than "hope" or "like" or "love" something. We need to plan so we'll be successful. I said if you fail to plan, you plan to fail but I think that went right over their heads. Of course, right now we're discussing I PICK, good fit books, and practicing reading to self correctly.

I think someone at my school did Daily 5 last year because some of my students seem to be old hat at D5. I wonder....

Anyway, Day 3 is a wrap and it was a wonderful day! :)


Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day

Today was an awesome first day! Of course, I didn't accomplish everything I had planned. I never do on the first day. It's necessary to overplan in my opinion. Daily 5 began with awesome and amazing results! Hallelujah! I am looking forward to the most marvelous year ever!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fundraising, anyone?

Hi friends!

     Be sure to check out Big Event Fundraising by clicking on the School Fundraisers link (just under the clock) in the right column on my blog. If you're interested in adding Big Event Fundraising to your blog, contact Clay Boggess and he'll set you up. Tell him Melly sent you! ;)
     I think this might be a way to raise money for Cancer Relay for Life since it's a big thing in our county. I'll pass on the info and let the powers that be decide. :)  They have lots of different fundraising ideas. Check it out when you can!


Thursday, August 9, 2012


Oh.My.Day!! This has been the craziest two weeks I've ever spent getting ready to go back to school! With all the books I received from my two friends who were retiring, I should have known better than to wait until the last minute. My mom once gave me a little sign that says, "Don't rush me! I'm waiting for the last minute!" YIKES! Sad, but it was true this summer. I'm ashamed of how little I did over the summer ... with the exception of picking, preparing, freezing and canning vegetables, blogging about The Daily 5, and reading (great relaxation for me).  

Now I have my classroom looking great, but I have about 15 little "piles"-some in crates, some in boxes, some tucked away here and there. My classroom library ROCKS.THE.HOUSE! I am so thankful for my friends who donated their books to me and to my family for helping me get them ready for use by my students. I can't wait for my children to start Daily 5 Monday. :)

So, in the process of scurrying around like a little  mouse because I procrastinated, I failed to help out my new teamie. I shared my beginning of the year powerpoint. She said she didn't know exactly how to fix it and I seriously intended to go over and help. I remembered this about 10 minutes before Open House began (at which time I flew into her room and asked (DUH!) if she got it up. I offered to change it to suit her wouldn't take 5 minutes. She said, "That's okay." I don't think it is okay. I would be nervous about something taking longer than the person said it would if I didn't know much about it and I'm afraid that my "blind dash" to finish everything caused me to be a less than stellar teammate. I sent her an e-mail, apologizing, but I'm ticked with myself for not being a good team player. She's the new teacher on our team (not new to our school) and I am afraid I made her feel less welcome. :*(

On a brighter note, I have a wonderful library! I am thrilled with how organized my room now looks! Pictures to follow this weekend.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 7

  First, thanks to Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations and Nicole of Teaching with Style fame for setting up this amazing book study! I will forever be grateful! :)

  One of my favorite quotes from Chapter 7 is ""One of the advantages of the Daily Five is that the structure allows for uninterrupted blocks of time to work with children in a one-on-one situation." I am feeling empowered by this aspect of Daily 5.

   I love the idea of "conferring notebooks"  which "become our diaries and documentation" and show "our plans for where to go next, allowing for differentiated instruction." Education is all about differentiation for the individual child, as it should be. Daily 5 will be the support I need in being able to give my students more of what they need! SHAZAM!

I've been working in my room, rearranging so that we have a  gathering place, library, and lots of small private work spaces that I can see from my work space. Student loved sharing the rocking chair as well as the ottoman in my class last year. I'm adding another chair and possibly a bean bag this year. It's exciting to be able to offer children the choice for which spot is "the best place for your brain and body to work." I love how the sisters even have an "Ignoring the Teacher Focus Lesson!" That cracks me up! To top it off, I have my class list for the 2012-2013 school year and I will most likely have to use that particular lesson. YIKES!

The Check-In page in Figure 7-1 on page 94 is something I can also create now that I have my class list. YIPPEEE!

I believe the time I've spent this summer reading and blogging about the Daily 5 has been some of the best time I have spent this summer. Thank you to everyone who participated in this book study. Thanks for sharing your ideas and methods. I applaud you! May God bless you 100-fold!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board...

Oh. My. Word! My classroom looks like a storm hit! I have books, books, books to sort and label. My hubby painted two bookshelves for me more tomorrow (and it's 8 feet long!). I hit pay dirt with two friends retiring and gifting me with books, books, books back in May. 

 I know I should have leveled, sorted, and labeled these books earlier...but I just could not force myself to go back to my classroom. Just needed the R & R! Now, I think I'll work straight through to December! YIKES! Prayers, please, peeps!

I'm happy to be back at it, though. I'm sooo very excited about doing the Daily 5 this year! YIPPEE!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Daily 5~Chapter 6

First, I'm late posting about Chapter 6 because I lost a very dear friend Tuesday morning. She'd had vertebrae fused May 23 and was still taking pain meds and either threw a clot or mixed the wrong meds. She was found on the floor in her pajamas by co-workers who came to check on her when she didn't show up for work. I did get to talk to her before she died (she could only blink to answer questions) and am assured she is with my Jesus resting in His arms. That is the only thing that has kept me going this week. It has been awful because some vicious people are hinting that she purposefully overdosed. I will never believe that! My take on that kind of gossip is that it is not acceptable to speak ill of the dead and these people simply need to SHUT UP!

I am working on saying goodbye for now to my sweet friend. I know that she is with Jesus and I told her just before she died that I expect her to be waiting beside Him when I get there! I just wish we could sit and talk one more time! That said, thanks for listening, reading my rant. You're the best!


Well, I love, love, love D5! I am one thankful teacher who cannot wait to try it out. The step-by-step plans to launch Work on Writing and Word Work are as awesome as the others. "...a direct correlation between student motivation, ability, and productivity and this increase in writing practice" is enough of a reason for me to go gung ho with Work on Writing. Students who can read and write can conquer all subjects! :) Because Work on Writing and Word Work follow the procedures already established, students quickly fall in line with expectations for these two of the daily 5.

I've done Word Work in Kindergarten and first, but haven't carried it over very well with second grade. I'm eager to use their tips and others I find blogging to go at it! I can see how it will support my learners. :)

My favorite passage from this chapter is "We want to constantly reinforce the message that children are independent so they can get to be better readers and writers, but also that the teacher has a very important job to do--teach children."


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wow! :)

Check out Janine at Faithful in First's 400-Follower Giveaway! She has a list, a looonnngg list of freebies for one follower. I am donating my first draft of Morning Messages for Smart Board, Promethean Board, or however you can use it from your computer. It is a year-long set. I got some recommendations for some other buddies to make some changes and I’m working on those as well. The finished product with both choices will be available on my TpT store…coming soon!
Thanks, Janine, for inviting me to participate in your giveaway! I’m thrilled! :)
♥ Melly♥

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 5

"Reading with someone helps students read independently and grow as readers." Doesn't that say it all? My main focus as a second grade teacher is helping my students grow as independent readers. If you can read, you can figure out soooo much! For three years I taught adults working toward their GED. Those who could read could read about the Math they needed, practice, and move on. They could read the Science, History, etc. and they could read and practice their writing for the writing segment of the test. Those students who couldn't read spent their entire time (4 hours daily, M-F) practicing reading, learning reading skills, and reading. Those who began the program reading below third grade level often required more time to finish the program (PEACH~Positive Employment and Community Help) than they were alloted. I had to write letters requesting more time due to this. Of course, some got discouraged and left the program before they could get to the technical classes which would insure they found a better paying job. :*(

I love how the sisters told exactly what they did and laid out their plan step by step for us. I attempted Read to Self and Buddy Reading last year. This chapter and chapter four have clarified so much for me! I look forward to introducing my students to ever single, little bitty step the sisters made because I know that patience and repetition with my students will pay off in SPADES! Just the little I understood to do last year paid off well. I feel empowered for this coming school year! Hallelujah!

Preparing to teach Voice Level; Check for Understanding; I Read, You Read; Read Two Different Books; How to Choose Books; Choosing Your Own Classroom Spot; How to Choose a Partner~"the only acceptable answer is "Sure, thank you!"; Coaching or Time?; and Listen to Reading ~"put small headphones on school supply lists" is the absolute best time I could spend reading this summer!

I love how the sisters lead students to "solve the problems quickly so we don't waste any of our precious reading time!" That's exactly how I feel! I've even been carrying The Daily 5 with me in the car and reading while my hubby drives this summer. I love it that much! :D

"A person's a person, no matter how small." ~ Dr. Seuss

Staples Rewards

Staples has changed their policy. I've seen this several times, but asked at my Staples store just to be sure the change is everywhere. It is at my store. :(

We get the two items for a penny each instead of being able to buy up to 25 items for a penny each. After the first two, teachers must pay full price but will receive 100% refund on their Staples Rewards. A reward check will be issued for the amount which is only to be spent at Staples. A good way for them to keep the money at their store. Rather than give you 25 items for a penny each (grand total of one quarter), they are giving 23 items just have to use the money you would have spent on those items in their store. Win for them, lose for me. I do not buy that many packages of items for my students.

I teach in a Title I school which means my students' parents really appreciated that I got the penny items at Staples. The parents will now have to buy their children's pencils, glue, etc. that I bought last year for pennies. I'm not so happy with the change.

Please let me know if you hear of or know of any good deals out there! I'll keep my eyes and ears open as well. Thanks and have a marvelous day! ;)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Celebrations Galore!

Wild about Teaching is having a 500 followers give-away!
Check it out!

A Pirate's Life is turning one! Check her out!


Teachers Pay Teachers

I finally did it! I am excited and feeling a bit overwhelmed. Am I really ready for this step? I hope so, because I jumped in today! I gathered my courage and opened my TpT store .

I only have two items so far~Fraction freebies that are also offered here on my blog...

I'm sort of surprised at myself for this nervous attitude. I've always jumped into whatever with both feet...this sort of makes me feel pressure, though...gotta get on it!!

I want to offer my ideas and fun activities for others to be able to use. Of course, the idea is to make a little extra money since our salaries have been cut each year for the past four years (as if we were so well paid to begin with...).

Did anyone else feel excited, but nervous when you opened your TpT store? I'd like to hear...



Friday, July 6, 2012

Second Grade Squad

Have you seen Second Grade Squad? Please link up if you haven't. It's the go-to spot for all second grade blogs...what a marvelous way to link up and check out loads of second grade ideas, concerns, thoughts, get the idea. Many thanks to Charity Preston of The Organized Classroom Blog for setting up Second Grade Squad! If you're reading this and you're not a second grade teacher, check her out... she started a blog roll for every grade. Thanks, Charity!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

D5-Chapter 4 & Versatile Blogger Award: Warning~Loonnngg Post!

I'm linking up! Tessa from Tales Outside the Classroom is hosting D5 Chapter four. Come on over and join us! :)

Dang! Dang! Dang! I'm still kicking myself for not reading this last year!! Yes, I did some of it...but sketchily...not correctly due to not having the book and finding the info in January...

I love three ways to read a book! What awesome support for my little nervous nellies! ;) I love how the sisters lay it all out in the text, and then follow with the figures as a reminder of each step. I'm excited to begin practicing the first day of school! I'm excited to give the children three-minute practices of Read to Self, and have all those little mini~lessons! Yipppeeee!!! I love the Check~In idea, too. Breaking everything down into 3 or 5 or 7 or 10 minute segments is such a novel idea for me. WHY?!? I am asking myself this repeatedly. I love that this offers so many opportunities for practice as well as regroup/rehash/reteach opportunities. I think this is so awesome to me because I have always known this, but felt others (as in administration, etc.) would think we weren't accomplishing anything with all the movement. Hmp! Thanks, Sisters, for providing me with your research-based book (and lots of research quoted) so I have a basis for all I'm doing that's different. I feel FREEEEEEEEEEEEE!! :D

I've always marched to the tune of my own drummer, but tried to do the "dog and pony show" whenever someone came in to observe. No more of that garbage. Research backs up my quirks and I will revel in them now!

I love the additional information about adding 1-2 minutes throughout the first day month of school until desired stamina is built. I wondered about time frame of introducing each of the Daily 5, but found the appendix on page 119! I love, love, love it! Hooray! The sisters really did lay it all out. I think the Daily 5 should be required reading for every elementary school teacher before s/he begins her final block of student teaching! WOW! Awesome and amazing!

Here's a thanks to Heather @ The Meek Moose for the Versatile Blogger Award. Now on to seven random things about myself...

1. I am old enough to be my students' grandmother (although I don't have grandchildren yet...)
2. I taught adults working toward the GED for three years when my son was preschool aged so I could be home with him 1/2 days.
3. I won a beauty contest in seventh grade after being convinced to enter by a couple of friends...who received first and second weird is that?
4. I accepted Jesus as my Savior on my ninth birthday after a "discussion" with the Lord about folks coming to celebrate my birthday having to "wait" while the church gave me the "right hand" of Christian fellowship.
5. I met my darling hubby when I was 15 and we've been married 28 years...after dating on and off for six years, so I've known him more than twice as long as I haven't.
6. I live next door to my parents. I'm a Mama's & Daddy's girl! (yes, even at age 49)
7. My family is more important to me than anyone/anything except Jesus and honoring Him!

Now for 15 blogs... well, gotta fix dinner, then run and pick more green beans! I'll update and add these later!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Currently July & One Lovely Blog Award...

Wow! It's already July? Where, oh where, did June go? I can't believe you're gone with the wind...or lack thereof! ;) Actually, I spent June in the garden...on the green bean rows to be exact. Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. House cleaning, basement organizing, lesson planning and writing, yadda yadda...

Reads...I love Andrew Clements. Frindle is definitely one of my all-time favorites because I love word play. I love the letter at the end from his teacher...I just love it! The Daily 5 is my new go-to professional book because it reminds me to reteach, reteach, reteach for as long as necessary until procedures and routines  have become ingrained habits for the children. I must hold on to that! has awarded me a "Lovely" award! :) Thanks, Tammy. I've been a bit slack blogging for the months of May and most of June... :( I'm glad you found something interesting here. The Daily 5 has got me cranked back up and ready to go! ;)

Here are the rules...

1.  Follow the person who gave you the award.
2.  Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3.  Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers...received and done previously!


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daily 5 ~ Chapter 3

Gathering Place

We had three "Gathering Places" last front of the Promethean Board (back of class), near the library for read-alouds (middle of class), and at the white board (front of class) for charts, etc. I think relocating the "Gathering Place" to the rear wall near the Promethean Board makes best use of space. My teamie gave me an easel with white board, so that can hold up anchor charts as well as provide white board space for mini-lessons. The Promethean Board can also be used as a white board as needed. There's a Bulletin Board next to the Promethean Board that can hold our FACE of a Reader info.

We used our Gathering Places to turn and talk quite often. One Gathering Place = more other space and less distraction since it's at the back of the class. :D

Good-Fit Books

I worked on this last year, but see areas where I will tweak my instruction to better support students in this strategy. The most important idea for me is to follow the sequence of concepts until this is routine for the children.
Setting Up Book Boxes

I find it interesting that I am to have a book box for each child ready for Day 1! I love it that Daily 5 starts the very first day of school! I wanted to ask the children to create the front and back of their cereal box and have a parent come help cover the cereal box creation with contact paper. I'm not sure that will work...maybe if I get my parent list soon enough. I'm going to try, anyway! :)

Anchor Charts

I love how anchor charts provide a point of reference for all students. Just think how easy learning the ropes will be for any new student who joins the class later in the year.

Repeated Practice

I never thought to stop the entire class because one person does not have the stamina to complete the practice. Fabulous! We modeled correct, incorrect, correct behavior last year, but didn't STOP when one person lost stamina. That person struggled all year! WOW! There's my proof! Three-minutes each and every time is awesome, as well. It fits right in with the idea of "mini-lessons."
Signal & Check-In

I'm lovin' how the signal is practiced repeatedly at first in an upbeat manner as if playing a game. Making it fun has always helped my students and I'm so glad the sisters lay everything out so easily! Using the thumbs~up, thumbs~side method for self-reflection is awesome. Can't wait to try it! I'm glad the sisters don't use thumbs-down, too. Positive and high expectaions yield postive and high results!
Correct/Incorrect Model

We modeled correct, incorrect, correct behavior last year, but I chose the students who were modeling correct behavior to model incorrect behavior. There's another idea (why didn't I think of that?) that didn't occur to me. Using the incorrect behavior and then the correct behavior to retrain the antsy student who thrives on negative attention is simply genius! I have one question~if that student must practice incorrect, correct behavior repeatedly, is there a "cut-off" where you take that student aside and allow the practice to happen during recess? I have only so much tolerance for "stuff and nonsense!" Anyone?

1. What "rings true for you" in this chapter?I love, love,  love the idea of having the student who acts out model correct/incorrect behavior. Go ahead, show off and get the laughs...but, then you must prove you can do your job correctly. No more excuses. Ha! Ha! Ha! Accountability at its very, very best! :D

2.How are your students progressing with picking appropriate books? I had children who chose books for their entire Read to Self time last year...dang! Only a couple, but still...I'm on it this year, by golly!

3. What (if anything) could help improve the processes from this chapter in your classroom? I will stick to this chapter religiously for this first year. I love every idea and can't wait to try everything! Don't get me wrong...I'm loving my summer break, but this book has me pumped up and excited like blogging got me excited last year! I said I would be organized this year, and honey, God has delivered to my hands the very book I needed to fulfill that statement. Hallelujah! He is awesome and amazing! :)

One thing that really stands out to me in this chapter(p. 42): "By seeing what's expected and what is unacceptable, they have a much clearer idea of what they are to do as well as what they should not be doing. The latter can often be more important, because it clarifies and delineates the boundaries of acceptability within the classroom. Later... (still p. 42) "We move slowly to eventually move fast. The payoff is enormous."

I cannot wait to share this with my teamie! What excitement this generates for me in setting up my classroom for next year. My darling hubby has more bookshelves to make for me (due to two good friends retiring and gifting me with LOADS of their books...collected over the years). Making up book boxes based on the students' reading levels from first grade will keep me busier than I already am!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Currently, One Extra Degree~Luna Camera Giveaway!

Linking up with Farley at Oh Boy! Fourth Gade for Currently...

...and Amanda at One Extra Degree has a Luna Interactive Projection Camera giveaway going! Enter soon...she's giving it away July 3!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Daily 5~Chapter 2

Back again with the pertinent question for chapter 2 of The Daily 5...

What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? Here are my thoughts and ramblings on chapter 2...


So...why is it so much easier to trust some students than others? Yes, I've had students I trust. They understand, they get it! Then there are the ones who want to goof off, disturb others, etc. You all know about that. I think "trust" challenges me to rethink my classroom jobs for sure. It seems to me that "trust" will lighten my load. You know you always have those volunteers who want to help? I always let them (yes, sometimes nervously if I already know the student...), but the challenge here is for me to show the entire class what I would do and stand back and allow the students to develop into strong students with a work ethic like mine (and I know you all have that same work ethic simply because you're doing this book study on your summer break!). I raised my son this way (and receive compliments all the time on his work ethic and go-get-'em attitude), so it shouldn't be hard to transfer that idea of supportive love to my students. :) Why didn't I think of this sooner? :*(


This one shouldn't be too heavy for me...I love allowing choice. I do like the requirement to visit each of the Daily 5 each day to maintain structure and routine. Sometimes last year I told my students they had to Read to Self first (even though I didn't incorporate all of the Daily 5), but I'm game to adjusting things. Let's just consider this a very important experiment. Just imagine how much better off our students will be at the end of this school year if all goes according to plan. I believe it will...the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I'm feeling freer already...less headache, stress, and lack of sleep for 2012-2013! :D


Wow! We all have a class culture whether we plan one or not! Deliberately building community from the first day in order to provide accountability for effort, learning, order, and kindness is an awesome idea! Why didn't I think of that?!? My students built a good sense of community last year with all the praise and celebrations we had for one another using the Behavior Clip Chart that is so prevalent in the blogging world. Using the positive reinforcement (even to negate the negative) really worked well. Adding this aspect will definitely put the icing on the cake. I am going to love, love, love group dynamics this year! With the positive reinforcement of community, I am looking forward to observing, conferring, and teaching small groups without having to worry about whether my other students are learning anything! :)

Sense of Urgency

Creating a culture where every moment of practice and learning counts and students take ownership of their learning just feels right! I've always tried to explain why we should study something. It is probably a throw-back to my childhood when I was told, "Do it because I said so!" I have always explained things to death according to my son. ;) Once this atittude becomes a principled habit for most of the class, peer pressure will help any laggers!


This is something we discussed and worked on last year in my second grade class. My teamie mentioned how my students would work so quietly because they were so engrossed in their work. I realize now it is because they had built stamina. It got better as the year progressed. I think following all of The Daily 5 this year is going to delight me even more!

Stay Out of the Way!

I think this will not be too much of a problem. Staying out of the way while my students are working diligently will afford me time to confer, tutor, teach small group or individuals,, and finish that confounded paperwork that we are all saddled with these days. I look forward to having time to complete my job while my students complete their job, and we all go home tired, but happy that we have accomplished our chores for the day in a positive way!

Blog Hop - D5 Ch. 2 with Nicole at Teaching With Style


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daily 5~Chapter 1

   I am sooo excited! I'd thought about going out to buy The Daily Five, but hadn't just yet. I saw the Daily Five Blog Hop and reminded myself I needed to go buy the book.

   Then the green beans came in...yep, I live in the deep South where green beans "come in" and girl, do they evah! We (my hubby, my parents, my son, and a friend or two along the way) have been hard and fast at the green bean vines. We only have two rows. Yes, they are about half the length of a football field.   We picked the vines "clean" last night...or so we thought! More friends dropped by today and two little sweeties wanted to pick green beans. Can you believe there were MORE green beans already? Since last night around 9:00, folks. I have never in my life seen the green beans grow so! Well, I shouldn't be surprised...I did pray for green beans. So...what do GREEN BEANS have to do with The Daily Five? I'm glad you asked!

    My dear sweet teamie, Brenda, retired in May. She gave me loads and loads of teacher stuff. I'm talking about top of the line, quality teacher materials. So, her only request was that I call her and sell her some veggies from our garden. She lives less than 2 miles from me, so of course I take her some green beans (the first of our garden veggies to produce well so far). She insists that she will pay for them and I point-blank refuse! She meets me in the yard (I'm in my garden grungies...not gonna get outta the car, for crying out loud!)...with three books! Well, did you guess already? Yep, you is The Daily Five. Brand new, friends...never opened from the looks of it. Did I say I'm excited!?! Oh yeah! So now I'm playing catch up on the blog hop.

     I've read chapter 01 and if this blog weren't going to make me slow down and chew, I think I'd swallow this book WHOLE! That's how excited I am! I think you're getting the idea, right? ;) So, I'm joining the Blog Hop. Chapter 1 Linky can be found at Seusstastical Classroom Inspirations with Mel D.

So here are my responses...

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literary block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it? My literacy block falls between the two ends of the spectrum. I tweaked it a bit last year after learning of the Daily Five, but not having the text in front of me held me back. I read The Book Whisperer last year and tried to incorporate her much as they would fit into a second grade classroom. I cannot WAIT to truly implement the Daily Five this year. It really struck me that the first 20 days of school are absolutely necessary for establishing routines. This year, I will practice routines that I see not in place rather than being discouraged. (c:

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers? I really sunk into the Read to Self and Buddy Reading aspects of Daily 5 last year. I neglected the other three and my students' achievement was not as high as I'd hoped. I am sooo thrilled to have this opportunity to hone my understanding and hence, tweak my implementation of the Daily Five. Let's get ready to ROCK! :D

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom? Oh my! Having the students truly understand expectations and follow that understanding by following through with their own independent work (thus allowing me time for small group instruction and individual conferences) makes all of Daily 5 an absolute MUST for 2012-2013!

I am sooo excited!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Morning Message for Promethean or Smart Boards

Today I found a fabulous idea! I can't find it again, but I wanted to share what I did because of it. If this is your idea, please let me know because I want to give you credit...I'll send you my entire folder.

I made my own morning message boards for the entire school year. I changed the pictures so that each day of the week has a different picture and the pictures change monthly as well. I had to save it to .pdf file to keep the fonts. So...please give me some feedback. I'd like to open a TpT store, would this be something anyone would be interested in buying? Do you have an idea how much it might be worth? I did spend a few hours on it, but the user will have to make it her/his own to fit her/his needs.

I will add more to my Morning Message when the school year starts and I know what will happen daily, weekly, etc.

We have agendas and our students must copy agenda news each day. This is our form of parent contact on a daily basis. We do send newsletters on our homework (weekly contact) and a more in-depth newsletter bi-weekly or monthly.

My team sends homework on Monday and it is due the following Monday so that the parents can help the children on the weekend if they have Wednesday night church, ballgames, dance, etc. I don't know what our Exploratory class will be on Monday, I just added Compass in as an example.

Click here to download. Morning Message August 13

I'll be happy to share the entire folder with the first three to leave comments who would look over this and help me decide if it is sales worthy and how much it would be worth... Maybe users could download the are the ones I used: DJ Doodlers, Chinacat, Kristen ITC, Elizabeth Skinny, CK Handprint, McPhatty, CK Primary, and Bathing Cap. I really don't want it to be more than fill-in-the-blank for anyone who would use this because it's meant to be a time-saver. :)



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Following Directions-easy version

I revamped the Lesson in Following Directions because it was  little too wordy for my seconds even in January when I tried it. Tomorrow we are doing "Step-Up" for our students. Each grade level will go meet the teachers for the next grade level for next year. We have some cool ideas going, and I wanted to send the message that you must read the directions carefully (as well as see who can read well enough to follow directions). So, here's what I'm doing...

Click here for a copy.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Three Marvelous, Three Parent Contact

I'm linking up to  Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher's Linky Party. I read about it at Buzzing with Ms. B's blogspot. Ms. B cracks me up...three yays and three boos. I decided I'll base mine on my Clip Chart...clip all the way up to "Marvelous!" or all the way down to "Parent Contact"--"you have a choice each day" has been my mantra this year.

The first "Marvelous" is actually blogging. I have learned so much and it has really been awesome. My students have gotten so much more awesomeness this year because I can peruse all these fabulous ideas, choose the ones that work for/with me, and ShaZAM! Marvelous Mrs. S. strikes again! ;)

The second "Marvelous" is actually two...the Clip Chart and the Volume Control Levels we used this year. Behavior has been so much sweeter this year with these two awesome tools!

My third "Marvelous" is continuing to work with my teamie across the hall. One of my teamies is retiring, another is moving on up to fourth grade, and the third one is moving down the hall to the classroom of the retiree. We will have four second grade teachers next year, so a teamie from my years in third will be joining us in second. It looks like we will once again have an amazing team. :) I will miss the two leaving terribly, though! we really, really have to Parent Contact? I mean, I can go all day without this one...well, if I must! First, I am going to cull and organize materials in my classroom. I get so involved with my students that "stuff" just seems to "pile up." I, too, wanted to do the "Classroom Organization" thingee...that's on my summer to-do list.

My second Parent Contact has to do with consistence and the Volume Control Levels. We started off the year fabulously. It sort of slipped my mind these past three or four weeks. My students (and consequently, I) have gotten louder and louder. >:(

Third Parent Contact--hmmmm--too many students. That's a Parent Contact for whomever "they" are... :D I stand by my professional opinion that 18 is the absolute maximum number of students a second grade class should have. It's just so much easier to give each of those children the one-on-one attention they need for optimum (well, maybe not excellent optimum, but you get my drift) growth. I've always believed that the child's age should dictate the teacher-student ratio. Seven- and eight-year-olds should have a 1:7 or 1:8 ratio. However, in the real world, 18 is the best it has gotten for me in my 23 years teaching...except for the year I taught 20 second graders with an assistant! That was heavenly!

I am excited about getting some R&R this summer after cleaning and organizing my classroom, my house, and my basement. First things first, ya know!

God bless you each and every one!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Field Day 2012

Field Day was today. Whew! It was a busy afternoon. My little friends won second place. They have grown so much this year! I can hardly bear to let them go...but off they must travel. These are the sweet days. I'm so excited about their progress and maturity which is really shining brightly now. I am always sad to see them go in a way. In a way, I am anxious for some R&R! I know they will go far and do well. Now, to plan the last 8 days of school! WOW! I have so many things I want to finish with them next week so we can just enjoy our time together the last three days of school.... The days are just flying!

How are your days going lately? Speedily or slowly? Inquiring minds want to know! ;)

Another Awesome Day!

Today was another awesome day in the classroom! Hallelujah! I am sooo excited about how much my friends have grown this year. Their writing is awesome and amazing (my favorite words lately). :)

Check out these photos!

Here are some photos from the "What's Hatching, Chick?" unit I bought and blogged about yesterday.... At the top, we have Chicks & Salsa with a tri-fold review. Next, under the chick's legs is our Egg-Hatching Observation Journal. Finally, at the bottom is a Chicks tree map which supported my students in writing three (count 'em...1, 2, 3!!) paragraphs! YIPPEEE!!

Here is Amelia Bedelia. I traced her using the Promethean board, and then brought her home and colored her in with my darling hubby. Next, I hung her in the hallway outside our EIP teacher's door. She shares her wall space with us! :) Finally, I gave my teamies a different color of sticky note to write "multiple meaning words" on with explanations of how Amelia Bedelia gets everything balled up. We had a blast reading about Amelia Bedelia. You should read her if you teach second grade in Georgia with multiple meaning words as a standard. The children will laugh & learn! :D

Here is my Contraction Surgery activity posted in the hallway. I had some really cool band-aid stickers. I hope I can find some more for next year. Be looking, friends, and if you find some please let me know where you found them. They were cute and engaging for my students! ;)

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yesterday... :*(

Yesterday was probably my least favorite day ever teaching. We had four baby chicks die (crying profusely) and three try to hatch but not succeed. This is the worst hatch I've ever had...only 22 eggs out of 83. The first year, we had 27 out of 35 hatch. The second year, we had 35 out of 44 or 48, can't remember. Last year, we had about 48 out of 66 hatch. I won't go into the gory details Don't read the italicized part if you have a weak stomach...two of our babies had their insides hanging out and two weren't able to walk. I am not sure what happened, but I think the hens might have been older. Then my hubby and I checked our setting hen this afternoon and she'd left her nest...with three dying chicks (also with their insides hanging out)...I've had enough death! :*( I know all about survival of the fittest and all that, but it's still hard to see.

  You can start back reading now. I feel better to get that out. Thanks for reading/not reading! ;) Anyway, a bad morning could have turned out worse. My husband came to the school to get the eggs that didn't hatch as well as the babies who were injured. He's a country boy, hunter, deer meat provider, and took care of the babies for me. Poor babies.  I'm a country girl, too, but I guess girls are just supposed to nurture, not kill. One of my teamies said I'm not really a "chicken" lady because I can't handle that. She's absolutely right! To top it all off, there was a little bit of other drama (which went totally over my head at the time), and a buddy came in with her "feathers flying" ready to flog someone. The peace of Jesus just floated along with me. Drama was non-existent for me, considering those poor babies!

     Well, toward the end of the day, my buddy had me a little concerned about our "egg hatching" endeavors. Yes, there are bad things that happen, but getting to witness new life is something amazing my students will never forget. I do this for them! She thought maybe we wouldn't be able to incubate eggs next year. Our AP came down three times to check on us. His visits sort of unnerved my buddy.

   I was so discombobulated yesterday morning that a teammate took my students to her room for half an hour so I could collect myself. The first time, the children were actually in the other classroom while I removed chicken items and collected myself. The second time, the children were back in the classroom, reading away. The third time, we were writing all about our chickens using items from the wonderful "What's Hatching, Chick?" by Christie and found at her First Grade Fever TpT store. 

    Fast Forward to today...

    Thank You, Jesus!! Today was heavenly! My students had their work awaiting them when they arrived and got right down to business. They completed the "Chicks & Salsa" activity from yesterday, completed their chick tree map organizers, and wrote three paragraph essays!! YES!! So, my wonderful principal comes in to do a 5-by-5 and she was very impressed with our TREE MAP! Hallelujah!

    She mentioned "Thinking Maps" in April, so we're having six hours of Professional Learning time with a Thinking Maps rep. I bought the "What's Hatching, Chick?" unit on March 24, so I had no idea that was a "tree map." I just thought "What a cool organizer!" I will have my students write three paragraphs instead of three sentences! When I researched Thinking Maps and realized what a tree map is, I was ecstatic that I already had one prepared and waiting to use!

     Awesome and amazing my friends were today! I had about six students with their three paragraphs almost finished when Mrs. W walked in and she was impressed. She just learned about Thinking Maps and was very excited to share them with us, but very clear that she didn't want to "force" more work on us. Ha! They will make our lives so much easier! I am thrilled and look forward to using these even more!

    I have the book Chicks & Salsa, which I love so dearly that I've read it to my students several times. We completed the cute little tri-fold about the book and the Craftivity from "What's Hatching, Chick?"  I put the ones finished on white construction paper for the hall. I told my friends that we will complete our three paragraphs to hang at the bottom of the long sheet of construction paper. I brought out the candy for bribes I'm not above a bribe, it's war against illiteracy, right? and didn't even need it! The two boys who finished their writing were so proud that the candy was not needed. Of course, I'll probably give them a delayed reward tomorrow, just to hype up the enthusiasm again...maybe. ;) I'll post pictures tomorrow, when we've finished some more and my wall looks fabulous! :D Have a Terrific Tuesday!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Linking up with Mrs. Farley at Oh Boy Third Grade for Currently May. This is my son's birth month, so it's a favorite of mine for two reasons...his birth and school's out this month! :D
God bless you every one!