Monday, January 26, 2015

What a Year!

I can't believe it has been a WHOLE YEAR since I've posted on my blog! I have some pretty good excuses though, I swear! I got married to a wonderful man from Peru (not only does he help me improve my Spanish, but he is also a talented computer engineer and helps me with all things techy!), went on a honeymoon to San Francisco, and bought our first house. 2014 was full of moving, wedding planning, and home improvement for me! I am now a pro at throwing an affordable wedding, so you can ask me for tips. =)

As for teaching, I am still teaching and enjoying 2nd grade - I am just more busy, working on my house and learning to cook, now that I have a husband to feed. :) I'm also still loving Zumba and still going 3-5 times a week! I've been slightly obsessed with my new FitBit Charge HR (an upgrade from my old Polar watch) and new favorite cookbook, so those keep me motivated to stay healthy. :) 

With all that has been going on, the time I have to create my own teaching materials has definitely dwindled to school breaks only. My latest education-related obsessions are science and interactive notebooks. My kids enjoy them, I enjoy them - it's a win-win! Over the winter break, I had major inspiration to dig into the Next Generation Science Standards for 2nd grade, since they were kind of thrown at us last spring and I had no time to do anything with them. I wanted to make sure I covered all of the NGSS this year but wasn't finding any materials I liked, so I spent a week of my break creating my own - just like old times! Here is the result: 4 mini-books covering all of the NGSS. 

Each book took me roughly 8-9 hours to complete. My husband was amazed at how much time I spent working on them. This was his first time witnessing me in my full-on teacher creation mode. :)

My friend Myranda, whom I've known for many years, has been inspired to start her own blog about teaching 5th grade and just started her journey selling on TpT. Her blog and store are full of fantastic resources for teaching math to 5th graders!

Friday, January 3, 2014

January Activity Book

I'm down to the last weekend of winter break and I don't know about you, but I am NOT ready to return! I started having teacher dreams already. You know the kind... dreaming that I'm walking my kids in the hallway and one of them starts throwing up all over. Yup, just like the dreams I get in August!! ha!

Anyways, my winter break has been wonderful and productive (not so restful, but I'm really bad at just relaxing and being still, it's just not my thing!). I've been going to the gym like crazy - doing Zumba every day, sometimes twice a day! It feels so luxurious to sleep in, then go to Zumba at 10am on a weekday - I could seriously get used to that lifestyle!! Can I just be a stay-at-home dog-mom??

I've also been busy FINALLY finishing up my monthly activity packs. I posted January, February, and March - one a day. *whew* Got them done just in time to use with my class!

January Activity Book:

I was also pretty very excited to find out that my TpT store was briefly featured on the TpT front page!
Thanks to Teacher Laura for the head's up and screenshot!!

 And since it is that time of year, my RESOLUTION for 2014 is to add some diet to my exercise! ha! I've already been really good about hitting the gym 4-5 times a week (which is the main reason why I don't get to blog very much!), but I still eat whatever I want. I'm really impressed by the people who "eat clean" and do meal prep like this every week:
 What a clever idea! Ready-to-go-salad!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Teaching Blog Linky Party

I can't believe that I haven't posted since Thanksgiving! 
Winter break is halfway over already, so I thought I'd better get on it! 
The break has been wonderful, I've been going to the gym like crazy (I went to Zumba 9 times last week alone!) and finally got to pick up a book that I haven't been able to touch since summer (I'm reading the Mortal Instruments series).

Now that I'm on the second half of my much-needed break, I'm turning my attention back to TpT and my blog. I have several items to create on my to-do list, the first being the January activity pack. I'll post right here when I finally get my projects done. =) 

In the meantime, I'm joining up with Jennifer at Simply Kinder on her Teaching Blog linky party. It's simple - just a great way to discover new teaching blogs and resources that you may have never heard of before.

And just because I can... my Chloe wants to say hello! ;)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey!

Things have been so crazy at work lately (almost everything that can change in my school has changed this year: new principal, new tests, new staff, new schedule, I could go on!) that it has been SO wonderful to have a long weekend to catch up. I am celebrating my mom's 60th birthday today (my grandma's 95th is next Sunday!) and catching up on projects that have been on my to-do list for MONTHS. Tomorrow I'm hanging out with some co-workers to make Christmas cards and drag them to Zumba (I know they'll love it like I do!).

Since Thanksgiving is already right around the corner, I thought I'd better use my time wisely this long weekend and work on November activity books I'd been meaning to do. 
I finally got around to making my November activity book
(September and October got skipped, whoops! I'll get them next year!)

And just for fun, I also created this little Thanksgiving coloring/writing booklet:
 My plan is to pass these out right before the Thanksgiving break so the kids have something to work on at home during the long weekend. I used to work with a kindergarten teacher who brought in a huge pumpkin pie and gave all of the students a little slice, so I just might do that too (even though I hate pumpkin pie myself!) =)

And I had such great news at the end of October, I have to share!
My new 2nd grade classroom came without a rug for the students to sit on during carpet time (and no funding available to buy one). This made me so bummed that I decided to post a grant request for one on DonorsChoose. It went awhile with no funding, so I resigned myself to the fact that I may never have a class rug again. Then shortly before Halloween, I got an e-mail that Chevron had fully funded my request and on Halloween day it was delivered!!
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this Lakeshore rug! It has 30 squares so it can accommodate a large class and it has nice, roomy squares so that even my 2nd graders can sit comfortably with no one in their "bubble". This is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rain Forest Fun part 2!

Our 6 week study of the rain forest is finally wrapping up! 
The kids finished their rain forest animal research reports and painted animals for our hallway mural.
Checking out PebbleGo for animal facts.

Finished animal reports!

Our finished hallway mural.

So FINALLY I was able to finish up the unit and post it on TpT. 
This unit has been my baby for two months and I'm so excited to finally be able to share it!
{Click on the pictures to see it in my TpT store!}

Next week we'll be starting our next science unit... Desert Fun!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rain Forest Fun!

The 2nd graders have eaten me alive!! Just kidding...but it sure feels that way! I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted! I have been busy, busy, busy setting up a new room, planning for a new grade, and I've had about 5 TpT projects on my to-do list.

The biggest thing taking up my time has been creating two GLAD units on the rain forest and desert to fit the science CCSS. GLAD stands for Guided Language Acquisition Design. I went to a wonderful two-week GLAD boot camp last summer and learned a lot of great techniques and activities for teaching science AND reaching my ELD students, all while making science fun! 

I'd first taken a mini GLAD workshop 6 years ago when I was a brand-new teacher, but the boot camp this summer really inspired me.

We started off with a GLAD version of the classic KWL chart. What we know, what we want to know.

Another day the kids examined rain forest "observation charts" in their table teams:
These are simple - photos of the rain forest mounted on construction paper. The kids went to each one and wrote their questions, thoughts, and "noticings" on the paper next to it. Each student had their own marker color and had to put their initials next to their comment so I could make sure everyone was writing. 
These were fun to read as a class, the kids had great thoughts to share!

Another day I taught them this rain forest chant my teaching partner and I wrote, 
complete with movements for each line.
Notice that each part of speech is color-coded (nouns=blue, verbs=green, adverbs=red, adjectives=pink, prepositional phrases=orange). This is another GLAD strategy so that you can use this fun chant for more than just singing and moving.

I then introduced them to the important vocabulary words we are learning as part of the unit, which I created word wall cards for:

Next I read them my teacher-created big book about the RF:

To go along with my big book, I got the idea to create a student mini-book with the text from the BB plus additional activities.

We also worked on creating rain forest animal reports with this form I created and information about the animals that I printed off of the internet.

We also did a fun visualizing activity, where I read this book aloud. 
The students closed their eyes and I didn't show them the illustrations. They had to practice imagining the story in their head, then I gave them time to draw what they saw in their mind on paper. It was wonderful because the kids were completely silent the whole time! Then I had the kids summarize what they heard in their journals. One student took the time (2 days!) to write a very detailed summary, drawing and listing every single rain forest animal that appeared in the book.

Believe it or not, 3 weeks later we are still going strong with our unit! GLAD units are generally about a month in length because they are very in-depth. To wrap up the unit, we are going to revisit our input chart (the KWL-like chart from the 1st day), play a unit review game (played Jeopardy style in table teams), create our own rain forest chant, AND paint pictures of the animals and plants to put up on the huge rain forest mural we are creating in the hallway. 

To supplement the unit, we watched rain forest videos on You Tube and BrainPop Jr. on my iPad. I checked out all of the rain forest books I could find at the public library.
 I also got some amazing resources from Amazon:
And this wonderful Scholastic rain forest bulletin board set:
In fact, everything that I bought from Amazon to use for this unit (LOVE my Prime membership!) can be found on the little pink Amazon widget to your right.

I can honestly say that I (and my students!) have never had so much fun with science! I am working on compiling the rain forest materials I created to post on my TpT store, so keep your eyes peeled if you'd like to do this unit with your class too! =)