Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spark Student Motivation with a FREEBIE

I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

Okay, you're not going to believe how easy this was, but it's true!  First, let me explain, I have only 12 second graders (who are the sweetest!) this year.

I've moved to a new little room (which I adore!).

My kiddos are a little behind in reading and math, and that's all I teach this year, integrating science and social studies along the LLI path. Trouble is was, I have ZERO student laptops, i Pads, or any other tech-friendly devices other than our Polyvision board.
That's okay, but I've been a little worried about meeting our technology standards for students.  No More!!!

The Media Specialist and I have worked out a deal.  Even though she teaches classes all day, she is allowing my babies to come in, four at a time, to use the computers there to take Accelerated Reading tests, as long as they can do it completely independently. KABAM!

I taught them all how to log in on the Polyvision board, gave them each an index card with their Username, Password, Lexile Levels, and Guided Reading Levels written on them.

Independent Reading went from, "ugh!" to, "I've read my book twice! Can I please go to the library to take an A/R Test?"  Huh?  I've never had kids so super incredibly motivated to take A/R tests, or to actually stay engaged in independent reading, on their level, for the entire time that is their station! This happened in ONE DAY:
I've had kids in my classes who have never taken one A/R test all year before!  I'm thinking I'll un-request computers for my room for a while!  Now I can finally hand up my cutey-patootey A/R goal banner!  To help me celebrate my students' motivation, you can grab one for free for 24 hours!  Just click the picture.

And, people, I just need three more followers for this:

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Fun, Fabulous Friday with a Fun, Fabulous GIVEAWAY!!!

First, the Friday Fun!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday and Hoots n' Hollers for Fabulous Finds Friday.

I finally figured out Google Docs well enough to use for some visual lesson plans.  Now that I have that mastered, I'll be able to use my Planner Pages online and share my plans with you!
Visual Lesson Plans 

We have been working on the commutative property of addition in my class, and made these super-cute flip flops, as a visual reminder of what the commutative property means. They are a part of my 
Flip Floppin' Math Unit, which is one of my best sellers on TPT.

 We began using Math Mania, from Sunny Days in Second Grade this week.  My class caught on so quickly, and seemed to really enjoy doing the activities with the number of the day.  Well, we actually used the same number all week, and the same page, because many of these concepts are new to my babies, so we worked slowly, and together, but I noticed that on the MAP test this week, some kids remembered the expanded form and place value concepts from this activity - otherwise I haven't taught them yet, but they answered correctly on some of the MAP questions on these concepts!

We also began using the idea of Mentor Sentences from Jivey. After watching her video, I was amazed at how much work she did with just one sentence a week, so I gave it a try, too.  The only book my class has in common, because they are all on different levels and participate in leveled reading groups, is my read-aloud, Superfudge by Judy Bloom.  They LOVE this book, and beg for more, so we took a sentence from the book and used it just like Jivey does.  My kiddos quickly identified the nouns, verbs, learned what adjectives and adverbs are, revised the sentence to make it even better that Judy did, and finally wrote their own sentence, based on the mentor one.  I even taught a mini mini-lesson about the writing process through the mentor sentence, when we revised it!  My principal walked in, and was so involved that he asked me to show the kids an e-mail he'd sent out, and talked about how long it takes him to write it (his weekly bulletin), how many times he has to revise it, edit it, and finally send it.  This was a shining moment for me!  I felt like he was impressed with what I was doing, so a BIG shout out to Jessica for sharing mentor sentences!

Finally, I created my own birthday party invitations for my Clare's ninth birthday.  She is
the QUEEN of sleepovers, and wants one every year, so I always try to come up with a theme, but this year, she said, "no theme, Mommy, just a plain old sleepover".  Well, there aren't a lot of sleepover invitations in stores, so I thought I'd make them with scrapbook supplies, but then I realized I could do it digitally...DUH!  I thought they turned out to be adorable, and so did she!  I bought the clip art from Etsy.

 Now, for my Fabulous Finds...

 I've been trying to find more of these wonderful two pocket folders that I found ten of this summer, so I stop in at the Mighty Dollar weekly to see if they have more.  They are incredible!  Each one has four two-pocket folders spiral bound together, for the most organized way I've ever found to keep student work.  Well, they still didn't have more this week, but I did find some awesome stuff for just a dollar each!

One is Marimba, by Pat Mora, an ABC book with a jungle theme, in which each animal name is given in Spanish, which I love, because the rest is in English, so while reading, you really learn the animal name in Spanish.  Next week, I'll be visiting each of my students at home, and wanted to take a gift.  Now I have the perfect book, with our WILD About Learning theme, and a package of dry erase, bound addition and subtraction flashcards (also $1)!

Next, I found Diane deGroat's Love, Lola books, which I'll save and give as my Valentine - I'm so excited!

Well, if you stuck through all that, you deserve the Fun Fabulous Fan Giveaway!  I'm super excited to have made some great blogging buddies, who are helping me celebrate 150 followers very, very soon!  I just need four more of you to gimme some Bloglovin'!  I have prizes from Ideas by Jivey, In That Room, Barrow's Hodgepodge, Fourth Grade Flipper, Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin', Teaching with Moxie, The Bender Bunch, and of course, from, hit that Bloglovin' button up to the right, and the Rafflecopter Giveaway will be underway!

Hugs till then,
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Five for Friday, on Saturday (again) and a Safety Tip

I'm linking up late for Five for Friday!

I found a new absolute favorite app I want to share with you.  Pics Art is available for either Android or i phones, and it is Awe-Some!  You can turn your photos into the cutest things ever before uploading them to Instagram, or wherever you want to share them.  It's free and super easy to use, from adding clip art, frames, doodles, text, and more, to saving and uploading, it's the best app I've seen, and I've checked out literally 20 or more!

My sweet class finished Hollie Griffith's Kevin Henkes author study this week, and made Chrysanthemum craft-ivities with speech bubbles of what she might way, like, "I whisper my name in the mirror" or "I love my name". Before this unit, my students had never heard of text connections, but they can now easily identify all three types, all three authors' purposes, character traits, story elements, and have fallen in love with an author and several books, which is the first step in falling in love with reading!  I'm so thankful to Hollie to have done such a great job with her unit.  We're off to a great start, and everything has transferred so easily into my LLI lessons!

It's possible that this is the absolute most boring and plainest anchor chart I've ever made, but my little class needs kind of a no-frills approach this year. We'll probably keep it simple until they are more fluent readers, so that they're not distracted by fancy handwriting, cutesy borders, or too many words. Sometimes, simple is best (and I'm a glitter-lovin', curly-cue-drawin', Fancy Nancy kinda girl).

I am SUPER EXCITED to be participating in
from Lessons With Coffee!  I have "met" two bloggers already, and just received my matches yesterday. Jameson could not have had a cuter, better idea!  If you haven't participated yet, it's too late this month, but be sure to check it out next month.  You get to know two bloggers, receive and give a gift box, and support teachers nation- and world-wide!

The Desk Fairy may never have to visit my room again.  I am amazed at how wonderfully the plastic trays I found this summer are working to keep my second graders organized and neat!  I've never even seen desks that look like these before!

Oh. My. Word!!!  I dropped in at Hobby Lobby this week, looking for some shimmery embroidery floss for friendship bracelets (which they do have, by the way, and I did buy), but what I found was nothing short of a miracle!
I know you can't see the clearance price, but it was $41.99, and came with 50 sheets, in assorted sizes, of lamination film too!  It's a hot or cold personal laminator, that takes paper up to 13 inches wide (amazing in and of itself), is self-adjusting for the thickness of the lamination sheets, and is lightweight, wonderful, and my new BFF!  I haven't laminated one single thing this year at school.  We have three laminators, but as soon as film is installed, it's gone within 2-3 hours on all three machines!  NO LIE!  I don't even know how people know it's there by the time it's gone again!  My "lamination" usually consists of a huge fight with clear contact paper, whatever I'm trying to make, and a pair of gooey scissors!  But no more, thanks to this baby!

So, that safety tip I promised?  It's about hot glue guns.  Instead of ending up with a band-aid, begin with one!  Put it on your thumb, and you'll never get burned again.  You know you're going to follow your line of glue, pressing down whatever you're working on as you go, and you know that it's going to burn the crud-o-la out of your finger or thumb, so cover that finger or thumb with a band-aid before you begin, them smooth away, and you're protected from the heat of the hot glue!  It's like a little miracle I discovered while happening to have a band-aid on my thumb and using a hot-as-fire glue gun.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tried it Tuesday and Oh So Close!

I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper today for her Tried it Tuesday Linky Party.

Today, and every Tuesday, my class goes to Related Arts from 8:30-9:15, then our STEM Lab from 10:00-10:50, the media center from 11:05-11:40, lunch from 11:43 to 12:08, and recess from 12:25 to 12:45! How's a girl to teach when there are no kids?  Well, to top all that off, I also had to leave early, at 1:45 today, to take my daughter to the doctor in a nearby town.  We begin school at 8:00 and dismiss at 2:25, so you can imagine the squishing I tried to do today. What was new about it was, that instead of trying to do a full math lesson, I did a whole group mini lesson on problem analysis between related arts and STEM (about 30 minutes after using the bathroom and getting supplies together). We only got through two problems, but when my kiddos returned from STEM, and we had those 12 or so minutes, they seemed to have had enough time to absorb the mini lesson, and easily did the next three problems!  

I know all about "brain breaks", but maybe what we really need is a scenery or topic break.  My students were totally engaged, able to process and analyze the word problems I had for them, decide the given and needed information, the operation, and model and solve those last three problems in no time flat.  So, instead of a brain break, we tried an academic break today!

I am feeling the excitement, as I get closer and closer to the 150 followers mark!  I've contacted some of my blogger buddies, and am hoping they'll join me in a celebratory bloghop and give-away with just 6 more followers.  I have some very savvy blogger friends, so be looking for that give-away very, very soon (I hope)!  Until then...

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