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! =)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013-14 Classroom Reveal!

I was beyond excited to set up my brand-new 2nd grade classroom this year. A brand-new room, my first time teaching 2nd grade, and FINALLY a permanent full-time position! In the past I'd been a specialist and shared a room with another teacher, so I was never able to really set up my room how I'd like. This year was so liberating because the room is all mine and I could finally create my dream room!

 Welcome to room 12! Come on in!
{Pennant & cute craftivity from A Cupcake for the Teacher}

The view from my door...
{Adorable lanterns from School Girl Style}
{Close-up of a table group - the baskets and cups on the ends were from Dollar Tree!}

The east wall: cubbies (love them!) with my monthly organization on top:
Close-up view:
{Adorable hand-made bunting from Etsy!}

 {Chevron curtains sewn by my lovely mom}
{The organization hidden behind those curtains. Bins from Michael's}

Close-up of my student job display:

On to the south wall: my writing center!
Small group area:
{Super cheap stools from IKEA!}

Word wall and part of my library:
 {Super cute chevron rug from Target!}

Whole group area & math corner:

On to the west wall & my favorite part of the entire room: my class library!
{Fabulous book bins from Really Good Stuff!}
{Keep calm and read on}

And the north wall...
{Chevron floor poufs from Kohl's}
Close-up of my desk:
Student computers, daily schedule, learning targets, clip chart:
Close-up shots of schedule and clip chart:

On right side of door:
{Awesome mail slots from Really Good Stuff}

I hope you enjoyed my 1st annual classroom tour!
My 1st day of school gift to the secretaries:
 {Idea credit Teacher Laura}

My neon-themed gift to the principal and my grade level team:
{Idea credit Surfin' Through Second}