Sunday, September 30, 2012

Snapshot Sunday

Well, I can’t say my classroom was clutter-free this week! With report cards and students testing, it definitely got a little very messy!  So, here are a few pictures from my classroom this week.  My DAILY5 chart and CAFÉ chart are on the same wall. I am not sure I love the idea and would like to do something on a tri-fold board, but haven’t gotten that far yet.


And, of course, our standards chart! I love that I can refer to this and re-focus students attention. It is working like a charm!!

On Tuesday this week we also had our first Snazzy Snack – thanks to Christina Bainbridge for this amazing idea! My students loved, loved, loved it! Unfortunately, I forgot to get my camera out for that event –duh!

We are gearing up for Halloween our Fall Festivities and I am so excited to see what my room moms come up with. I have some fabulous parents (again) this year and don’t know what I’d do without them!! I am SUPER excited to work with the rest of my second grade team doing some great animal research…bats, spiders, and owls oh my!
Link up with Clutter-Free classrooms Sunday Linky Party - I can't wait to see your classroom pictures too!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

I feel like I have really neglected my blog this week…I have a ton of reasons, but most of them have to do with my new killer tough work-out routine and report cards!  Yes, it was the last week of the quarter for year-round teachers.  The last week always seems to be one of the most stressful – report cards, end of quarter assessments and reading tests.  I am sure that if I am this exhausted my students must be too!
We used our talking chain again this week and my kiddo’s did GREAT!  We’re learning about sound in our science unit and we made it to 13 links!  That means they are really listening to what others are saying and making those connections. Ah-mazing! 
Here is what our talking chain looked like before… look closely... yes, the three little links in the corner...

And, I was so excited, I forgot to take the after pictures!  You can also see the marble jar in the background.  Our marble jar is how our class earns great group activities because they have shown such fantastic classroom behavior!  I can’t wait for them to earn their first celebration…I might have to add some extra marbles before they arrive at school on Monday!
I also wanted to give you an update on WBT!  Well it has been rough hit and miss, but they are successful about 80 percent of the time.  That is better than we were doing at the beginning of the year, so I’ll take it!
I am so excited about October – I love the fall.  My students are getting ready to do some non-fiction research about spiders and bats!  This is always a project I look forward to because they really learn new information and recognize their misconceptions!  Here is a quick peek at some new materials that I plan on using my my students next week!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thematic Paper

After spending time yesterday focusing on CCSS math materials, I wanted to sit back and do something fun creative for my classroom.  I created some great thematic paper which is available at my TPT store.






And, of course, I couldn't resist adding a few freebies!  So head over to my TPT store and get some great materials. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Busy Saturday

I can't believe how much I've already gotten accomplished this morning - I am so excited!  It doesn't seem like I am already half way through the day.  My students really need a lot of math support this year so I created some great addition and subtraction assignments using the number line, story problems, and writing prompts. 

The best thing is - it all aligns with CCSS!  Yayyyy!!  I think I am finally finding my "groove" this year!  You can find my new products on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Each download is at least 4 pages including the homework assignment.

Got everything checked off my list and still have time to watch some college football!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Talking Chain Success

My kids did a great job with talking chain’s today!  I am so incredibly proud of them!!!!  We have been working on procedures for talking chains and we finally nailed it today!  For those of you who don’t have experience using talking chains it is a great way to get students to actively listen to each other and respond in an appropriate way.  We used the talking chain to discuss sounds they created as a part of our science unit.
I started the chain and described one of the ways that I would make sound using two materials in our classroom.  Another student would respond by staying, “I also made a sound similar to that by…” and filling in the blanks.  Our talking chain was 10 students long today.  The students love to hang the links up so that we can challenge ourselves to improve.

This is a great tool to get students actively listening and engaged.  The kids love responding to one another and making those connections.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Management Monday

This is one tough group of kids and they all seem to need something different.  We’ve started doing WBT and my kids LOVE it!! 
I have found the need to adapt it since so many of my kids are worried about what everyone else is doing.  So we added rule #6 – Keep Your Nose Out of Other People’s Business.  The kids think it is great.  When one of them starts to tattle, another pipes up – Rule 6!  It is working like a charm
Of course, I love my clip chart behavior system and wouldn’t give it up for the world!  My kids love knowing that at the end of the day they earn a punch on their punch card for green or above behavior.  They have really taken ownership and we’ve made “card puncher” a classroom job.  The kids really love the double meaning!  When they tell students in other classes that they are trying to earn punches they get all sorts of silly looks and it just makes my kids work even harder.

Nifty & Thrifty Cart

This year my husband donated a utility cart to my classroom…maybe donated is a strong word. The teacher in me scooped up something he wasn’t using! Yes, I really think each teacher is a hoarder…we can make something out of nothing! Since I am not a seamstress (okay, let’s be honest, I can’t even sew a button on a shirt) I used the hem tape and hemmed an inexpensive piece of fabric to create a skirt. Here is my fantastic new mobile cart to hold my “Pig Math” and “Unfinished Work” crates. Under my skirt is another area where I can store paper products that we’ll use later on during the year. A great (and inexpensive) cart that serves multiple purposes!

I was hoping that today would have gone better than yesterday, but my kids were just wound up… it didn’t help that we had to have indoor recess and didn’t have a “special” today. So we had lots of opportunities to practice our most challenging rule – Raise your hand for permission to speak. When I find a way to cure the chatter in our classroom I think it will be time to call for the Vatican for confirmation of a miracle!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Here are my monthly featured author studies! Each featured author study includes a short biography with a photo of the author along with a poster showing a few of the featured titles. Check them out at my TeachersPayTeachers store!

September- Gail Gibbons
October- Marc Brown
November- Patricia Polacco
December- Helen Lester
January- Jan Brett
February- Audrey Penn
March- Dr. Seuss
April- Peggy Parish
May- Robert Munsch
It’s hard to believe that I’ve taken the blog plunge!  Now, I have pages and pages to write….(crickets chirping)…and nothing is coming to mind….quite possibly it’s because I am so used to the sounds coming from my classroom, that the peace and quiet is distracting me!
Seriously, I love adore my class, but sometimes the volume can be overwhelming.  I have a loud class this year.  You know how some years you’ve got the quiet kids…not necessarily shy, just quiet…well, this year, not so much!  When one stops talking, another starts – yes right in the middle of a lesson plan when I am about to hit it home.
So, I’ve turned to Whole Brain Teaching (WBT).  Here’s how it started….
Me:  When I say class you say yes.  Class?
Students:  Yes (turning and talking to their neighbors)
Me:  Let me explain, when I say class and you say yes, you are to stop what you’re doing, put your eyes on me and listen.  Classity-class?
Students:  Yesity, yes! (a few neighbors continue whispering)
Yes, we are definitely going to need more chances opportunities to make a go of this!