Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween FUN!

What a weekend of baseball and RAIN!  Only competitive baseball moms can understand that pure torture of a tournament where it rained EVERY SINGLE GAME!  My feet may never dry out and I am frozen!  The only good thing is a rain delay where you can run to the car and write your lesson plans and get some papers graded.  Of course an extra bonus is if the team eats between games in a fantastic place that has Wifi!  I know I am crazy, but I realize that I only have a few more years and my youngest will be done with these weekend baseball tournaments and that does make me a little sad.

So BIG plans for the week in second grade!  It's Halloween and the kids will be crazy!  So I've planned, planned, and planned activities to keep them busy!

We just finished the first 9 weeks.  In talking with our team, we really wanted to reward the honor roll kids that had perfect conduct.  So much of our time is spent on the struggling students or those with "not so perfect" behavior.  On Friday, we are going to celebrate the best of our grade!   Some of us will be taking those amazing kiddos for some outside fun including some parachute play!  We are going to have treats and drinks for them, but we still wanted to do more.  These are the kids that hang on every word we say and do everything they can to please us.  So we decided that they need bags of FUN! Each of the teachers will be buying Halloween themed "stuff" for their bags of fun!  I bought glow necklaces, pencils, and huge Halloween erasers.  I can't wait to see how excited these kiddos are on Friday.  Time to celebrate them! Time to tell them we appreciate them and that they matter!

Here are some of my favorites activities we will be doing!

We have already started working on two digit addition and subtraction.  I know it's early in the year, but this bunch really seems to have great math skills.  One day last week they asked how you would do it and I jumped on the chance to teach them.

We LOVE, LOVE, SCOOT!  So we will be starting our math lesson off one day this week with this little group of happy ghosts!  If you haven't ever played with you kids, YOU MUST!  They love it!


We are also doing a lot of review on some important skills with some cut and paste activities.  We are covering main idea/supporting details, subject/predicate, common/proper nouns, and a bunch of others! The kids love doing these and they give me a quick look at who really has this mastered and who I need to work with in the next few weeks.

Here is a peek at the main idea/supporting detail activity.


These are the cut and paste pages - I love them because it is 2 to a page, so less copies!


We are also reading some great Halloween stories.  This year I'm giving them more choices.  After we do our read aloud I'm going to let them pick what they want to create to show me the main idea, main characters, and setting.  They can write, color, create!  

I'll be sure to post some pictures of their creations!

Time to get some time in with my kids and carve pumpkins! 

I hope everyone has a great week and a fantastic halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Planning for the Next Grading Period... it's Monday already?

I can't believe that 1/4 of the school year is already over!

We were on fall break last week, so I decided it would be a great time to get my "ducks" in a row for the next 9 weeks topics.

We did a BUNCH of read alouds the last few weeks and my kids LOVE THEM!  So I'm going with the Halloween/Thanksgiving themed books for the next few weeks.  I figured that I could slip in a craftivity or two to go with the holidays, so I've been busy designing those.  Check back later this week to grab the templates!  Here is a little cutie I have been working on today.  Can you guess what story he goes with?  It is one of my favorites!


I try to be very systematic when we do our read alouds.  I usually do them for 3 - 4 days.  Each day we have a focus.  Sometimes it is story elements, characters, problem/solution, and even grammar.  My cute little mummy is part of a chart activity during a read aloud focusing on adjectives.

Number of the Day Packet #1 was a big hit, so I am so excited to unveil Packet #2 to the kids when we return.  The concepts are the same, but we are adding larger numbers and more story problems.  It also includes more work with number lines and money.   I am so amazed by the progress with the kids after we finished the first set I can't wait to see what they can do by December!  Can I say NO math RTI!

My books are already made, thanks to an amazing group of PTA moms.  Having helpful parents makes all the difference in the WORLD!  

Here is a sample of the pages from set #2.  I am so pleased with how they turned out!  Now that the kids are in the habit of doing these everyday, they can complete them in under 5 minutes!  Can I say AWESOME!!!!!!!



We started by hitting the ground running this morning and made some CANDY CORN!  The kids were really excited until they figured out that we were making math candy corn!  I wanted to do a quick review on place value from the last 9 weeks, so I whipped up a little freebie!  Click on any of the pictures to download the pumpkin template and packet.

I used to always make a sample up for the kids to look at when we did these types of activities and I felt like a chicken with my head cut off running around the room showing them what it was suppose to look like.  I felt like someone was constantly calling my name because they needed another look.  My solution was to make a PowerPoint slide of the finished product.  It works like a charm!  It is SO MUCH bigger than the sample I would make and everyone can see it.  Here is the slide I used for this project.
Here is one of the kids papers before we added the color to it.  We picked any number and did the writing first.


Then we added color to it, cut it out and put it on black construction paper.  I hung them on our door and they look so cute!  It is festive and in the spirit of HALLOWEEN, but still educational!


Today was also GOAL SETTING DAY for AR.  This year I have really taken a different approach to AR and it is working so much better.  I have conferences with the kids and talk about where they are in their reading and what types of books they should be reading on their own.  I have a HUGE range of readers this year, so I feel like it is really important that they understand where they are and be PROUD of how far they have come.  

Each grading period (we are on 9 weeks at a time) we select new goals.  We fill out AR Goal contracts and sign our names to them.  Then the kids take them home for their parents to review and sign also.   This has been a BIG help this year having the contracts so that we are all on the same page.  During the grading period, I send out updates so the parents know how many points their child has earned.  The contracts have really helped get the parents more involved and the kids are reaching their goals much faster.


So that is a WRAP for today!  I am one tired teacher.  

Let me leave you with a happy picture.  A few months ago we rescued a sweet dog that had to loose her eye due to owner neglect.  Adopting a dog is hard and it is especially hard when she is considered a special needs dog due to her medical problems. When we got her she was shaved bald due to all of the surgeries and it has been a struggle as we watched her fur SLOWLY grow.   Thanks to my sweet groomer that took the extra time to try and get BOWS in my little girls hair because she knew that her momma wanted them badly!  SHE IS ADORABLE!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Verbs, Place Value, and Writing!

We sure have been busy in Room 11!

I finally feel like we have a schedule and routine going.  We have added 2 new students to the mix and overall I am seeing some real progress with this bunch!

Last week we attacked VERBS!  The kids loved being a VERB SUPERHERO and came up with some fun adjectives to describe their superhero.  We made flip books, played charades, and designed some verb superheroes!

Here are some pictures of our wonderful work!



We also made flip books sorting words into 2 categories - verbs and not verbs.  The kids had so much fun with this activity and sorted the words like masters!  I couldn't have been happier with how well they did and they had such a great time!



We spent a good part of the week working on place value.  Since we have no textbook that the kids can write in, I decided to create a whole new unit to use with place value this year.  I love to use anchor charts on my board to teach the skills and I wanted to have tons of different activities so they could practice this skill.

Some of the activities we did as a whole class, some in small groups, and some for reteaching.  As we worked, I added several different levels so that all the kids were doing the same basic activity.  I leveled several of the activities so that some of us were working on just 10's and 100's and others could add the 1,000's.  The kids really enjoyed it and were so engaged, so tonight I'm going to start working on more leveled activities for money next week.


Here are some pictures of our place value unit in action!  We made these cute flip books - each kiddo picked their own number to show what they know!  


We all made a 2 digit accordion with no trouble at all!
The 3 digit ones took a little help from the teacher, but once we finished the kids had the best time "pulling" their number apart!  We are masters of expanded form now!


We did lots and lots of hands-on activities with this unit.  I really loved using the anchor charts on my screen each day to go over place value with the kids.  The kids loved that most of the activities were leveled, so my high kids weren't bored at all and my lower kiddos could work without feeling rushed!   


Where did September go?  One smart kiddo reminded me that we needed to write in our learning journals Tuesday.  I completely forgot!  Thank goodness she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES these journals, so I'm sure she will remind me every month.


When we do these journals, we brainstorm together and create a list.  I do this for two reasons - one it helps so much with the "How do I spell...." and it also gives the lower kids some ideas to get them started.  They actually named over 20 things we worked on this month....  that made me SMILE!

If you don't have monthly learning journals, it is never to late to start.  They are great at Open House and make a wonderful end of the year keepsake.

So that is a wrap for this week!

Happy Teaching!