Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Writing sentences is one of those things that second graders can't seem to get enough practice at.  So I threw some activities together for some fun practice.  

I made a scoot in which students can walk around and identify what type of sentence they read.  

These are some of the cards I made for the scoot activity:

This is the front of the recording sheet.

We did the scoot last week.  I have never had a student lose interest when we're doing a scoot.  They love moving around when they can.

I also made a fun foldable - a prism on which students can write each type of sentence.  

I think we'll create the prisms this week.

If you are looking for some extra sentence practice for your students, you can snatch this up at my TPT store.  Just click on the picture below.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Life Cycles

In my class we're learning about life cycles so of course we focus on butterflies.  We always purchase caterpillars from Insect Lore, but this year I realized that I had milkweed growing in my own back yard.  And milkweed = monarchs.  Sweet.

These little guys have now been successfully transferred to my classroom.  That involved a harrowing ride in which I swear one was trying to escape from the open baggie I was using for transport.  

Now they are all chrysalids.  Awesome.  I love monarchs when they become a chrysalis.  Have you ever seen one?  They green with flecks of gold.  So pretty.

And they are just a bonus.  We got our Insect Lore order Friday so we'll have a plethora of butterflies in the York classroom.  :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pete the Cat - Reading Theme

Our school is using Pete the Cat as our theme this year to encourage reading.   The kids are loving it.  We even got stuffed Pete's to send home with one student (someone who has read each night) from each class each week, so they can read with him and take pictures with him (a la Flat Stanley).

At my house Pete ate some candy corn.

He read a little of my book:

He rode on my Bella's back.

Naturally a few of us teachers got some pretty sweet Converse shoes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Easy-Update Bulletin Board

I have seen some cute bulletin boards that are made so that teachers can just switch out student work so they don't have to entirely redo their bulletin board each time.  I am all about saving time.  And when I helped my little sister set up her classroom she had a brilliant idea: burlap.  She got some cute, reasonably-priced burlap and we draped two rows of it across her bulletin board and stuck some paper clips up for student work.  I loved it.

So the logical thing for me to do was run out and purchase some burlap.  My whole classroom is about the Dots on Turquoise theme so I used that with the burlap I bought at Michael's (did you know teachers get a discount there?!).

This is my end product:

I put student names on the stars and intended to leave them up and hang their work behind their stars but the stars blocked too much of their work.  I think I'll use a clothes pin to put the stars back up right next to their work.

I'm stinkin' excited about just slipping work on and off the board this year.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Starting Off Right

Look what I made!  On the left is my teacher plan book.  I freaking love it.  Yes, I said freaking.  Love it.  I freaking love it.  I personalized the plan pages so that they fit my schedule and added calendars and note-taking pages for staff meetings.  On the right is my conference book (pensieve, a la Daily 5).  I have a section for each of my students (plus extras for move-ins) and a section of small group planning pages.

I can't wait until I actually start small groups.  I have been giving F&P tests to my students so I haven't been able to start yet.  Maybe (fingers crossed!) this week I can start small grouping.

On another note, the morning of Meet the Teacher I woke up and it dawned on me that I had no bulletin board plans at all.  Freak out mode set in.  My amazing husband (also a teacher) hadn't started back to work yet so he helped me set up this ah-mazing bulletin board inspired by this a Buzz Feed post.

I'm gonna be real honest.  Those balloons were a hassle.  Not making them or putting them up, but getting them to stay put so my student names were showing.  But I was still proud.  :)

If you like the style of my planner, you might be interested in my plan books that you can find in my TPT store.  You can snatch up my editable purple one by clicking on the picture below:

Or just print and go with this turquoise one (click the picture):

Or this red one (click the pic):

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's that time!

You know, I'm sad that summer is coming to an end because that means less time with family, but it also means that fall is coming and will usher in holiday season and that's my favorite kind of family time, so I guess I'll allow the change of the seasons to occur.  Heh.

So I went in for about ten minutes yesterday just to kind of start setting my desk up (I had them switch my desk out with a prettier one) and look around so I could start a to do list.  

I'm in love with this pen/pencil caddy thing I got a Mardel.  It's so cute and it rotates (bonus!).

Today I headed back to actually get substantial things done.  I have chalk boards still (I know - I think my district is stuck in the stone age in some ways) and I magnetize borders and put them around the chalk boards.  I rarely write on them so I mostly use them as magnetic bulletin boards.  I put back up my word wall and did a few other things around the room.  

One thing that I'm excited about is that I got new, cute file folders for my copies.  I think I got the idea for this type of system from The Organized Classroom Blog a while back but can't find the post.  

Basically I have a little box for hanging files and I put in a hanging file folder for each day of the week, plus one for extras for later.  

Then within each hanging file folder I put a regular file folder for ELA, Math, and Science/S.S.  This helps me keep my copies so I'm not searching forever when it comes time for me to actually use something.  

So each Friday I copy everything I'll need for the following week and sort them out into these so that I'm ready to go for the whole week.  

I also have a file in the back of the box for extra copies or for copies that I have copied further in advance than one week.  

How do you organize your copies?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Radishes to encourage reading

Recently my school bought us all a copy of this book:

This is a must-read for teachers, parents, and librarians. Really. Seriously. It's good. Read it.

Anyway, one thing that resonated with me was trying to make books 3-D, so today I brought radishes for my kids to eat. Sounds lame, maybe, especially for a second grader, but I was nerdishly excited about this. 

I've been reading aloud this to my class:

The chapter we read today was called The Radish Cure. It was about a girl who wouldn't take baths so her parents stopped making her bathe, then when she got dirty enough, they sprinkled radish seeds on her and let them grow, which was terrible enough to convince the girl to bathe. 

So I brought a bunch of radishes (88 cents):

I am pretty sure some of my students had never seen radishes before. Several hadn't eaten them. So I made a bag of radishes for each table (plus I threw in carrots) along with a small bowl of dip for each table, discussed food sharing etiquette, and let them eat while I read. 

Not sure why, but I felt like a pretty cool teacher. Because every student wishes their teacher would give them veggies, right?

But seriously, I'm looking forward to trying to make books 3-D for kids again and again. 

P.S. Read that book by Jim Trelease.