Sunday, November 27, 2016

TPT Wishlist Linky!

It is my favorite time of year!

My tree is decorated, the house has lights, and almost all of the gifts have been purchased.  Not wrapped....  let's get serious!  I can't get all of that accomplished during Thanksgiving break!

Another BONUS....  It's time for the big TPT Sale!  Just click on the picture and use the code CYBER2016 to save on all those items on your wish list!

Just in case you need to fill up that cart I've teamed 
up with some other TPT Sellers to bring you....

Can't decide what to buy during the upcoming TPT sale?  Look no further!  These are my top three wish listed items on TPT by other teachers just like YOU!

Wish List Item #1 is a science packet to help you jump into studying living and non-living things!  It includes printables, word sorts, hallway displays, anchor charts and more!  Here are some of my favorite hands-on activities for this packet.

Students create their own riddles and put them in a pile.  Each student takes a riddle and has to solve it by gluing it to the anchor chart.  You can have them work independently or with a partner.  It's lots of fun and gets the kids "talking" about their thinking process.

My favorite part of this packet is the end of the unit assessment.  Instead of a test, the students create a project showing that they can identify the difference between living and non-living things.  Just take a piece of construction paper and fold it in half.  On the inside the student cuts and sort the pictures that come in the packet.  It is easy to differentiate for higher learners by adding a writing requirement to their project or having them add additional pictures to their project.  The kids love completing this and having so much fun they don't realize it's an assessment.

Wishlist Item #2 is everything you need to make your kids LOVE reading centers again!  And you TOO!  These centers have been a game changer for me!  It includes six different centers that you set up and you are done!  It only requires changing out a few books here and there. Can I say NO PREP each week!  YES, PLEASE!

It comes in 3 different themes to fit any classroom.  If you are looking for another theme, please email me and I can create one to match your classroom!

Here is a look into the Paw Print themed pack.  It has 6 different centers.  Each center has directions and all of the printables that the students would need to complete the center.  The only thing you need are some picture books, tiny stickers, and some colorful crayons/markers.  It's things that you already have in your classroom.   Just organize each center into a folder.  Once you set it up, you are ready to have uninterrupted time with your groups while the students complete their centers.

You can check out the different themes by clicking on the links below:

                  Rainbow/Kid Themed
                  Safari Themed
                  Paw Print Themed

Wishlist Item #3 will help your kids become masters at singular and plural nouns.  It includes an interactive anchor chart, projectables to teach the skill, a matching game, cut/paste activity, and printables to practice the skill.   Just spend a week on this packet and your kids will have this skill down!

Here are the anchor charts to teach the skill.   Just open the pdf file and use your projector to show the slides.  Pick slide/presentation view to use them just like a PowerPoint.  The kids love seeing them on the screen to look back at during independent work time.  I put them up each day when we work and if I forget one of the kids always reminds me....  Where are the charts?


My favorite part of the packet is creating a word sort as a class.  It makes an amazing anchor chart and the kids take such pride in their work.  All of the pieces to the chart are included.  Just cut them apart and give each student/group some pieces to glue onto the chart.  It lets them get out of their seats and interact with their classmates.  

Want to see more wishlisted items from other stores?  See what others can't wait to buy!
Take a look at the TPT Wishlist Linky!  I know you will find some goodies you just have to buy.  I know I did!!!!!

You will be glad you read all the way to the bottom!  It pays off to read!!!!!!

Want to win a $70 TPT gift certificate to use during the sale?  I've teamed up with some sellers to do an Instagram Blog Hop.  Just click this picture to go to get hopping.  Hurry the hop will soon!  I really hope one of you wins!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Flexible Seating and Winning the PENCIL WAR!

This is my first year with flexible seating.  I saw all the amazing pictures on some teacher blogs and wanted the same experience for my kiddos.  I truly wasn't sure where to even start.  I decided that simple was the first rule.

We set up a meeting area for most of our direct instruction.  I just put two 8x10 carpets together and it was plenty of space for the kids to sit.

No desks? My first question.... what to do with their pencil boxes?  Everyone keeps their crayons and a pencil in a plastic box with their name on it.  We store them on top of a shelf and the kids get them whenever they need them.  We store all of the scissors, glue, paper, and other supplies into labeled bins and the kids just go get whatever they need and return it when they are finished.

Where will they all sit to do independent work?  Over the summer I found a few things here and there to get us started.  Like all teachers I "borrowed" a few things from my own house!  We had some mats, a bunch of plastic chairs, and a few other items.  I bought three carpets to put in different areas and was able to score two long tables at the school.  We started small and everyone was able to try out all the different places they could pick from.  My original thought was I have 20 kids so I need 20 spaces... I was wrong!

They argued because someone always was last and didn't get the type of seat they liked.  I had to fix this to make the experience better for the kids and save my own sanity.  I began researching how people funded flexible seating and took the JUMP!

I wrote my first Donor's Choose project.  I was extremely lucky and Target paid all but $97 of it.  My sweet classroom parents and my own family funded the rest within 2 hours.  I WAS OVER THE MOON!

We waited and waited for those first packages to arrive.  Once they did our classroom took on a new shape.  We had over 40 different places to sit and everyone was always able to find a spot that made them happy.  It has transformed our classroom and helped us build a truly positive community.

 We love the bean bag chairs and if we are reading a friend can join us!

 We were able to get 2 of these fun chairs with Donor's Choose and they are a FAVORITE!
That SMILE is worth it all!

Safari themed bath mats have proved to be easy to move to anyplace they want to work.
I also scored a bunch of green fuzzy mats at Dollar General for $4.  
These stools made by Big Joe are great for laying on or working on!

I was able to get my hands on two of the SCOOP chairs!  The kids love them!  I was worried that second graders might not fit in them, but I was wrong.    

I was also worried about their handwriting!  Would they write super messy?  
It has never been better!  
We have 6 of these green lap desks from Amazon.  

What about pencils?
Every year I try different things to make it through the year without spending fortune on pencils.  I've tried it all and nothing ever seems to work until flexible seating came along.  I put the "Need Sharpened" bin away from the "Ready to Write" bin.  
Two locations and it has worked like a charm.  

I know you are not going to believe this, but I haven't put a new pencil into the bin ALL YEAR!  We are still working on the original 100 pencils I started with!  I've actually thrown some away because they were NUBS!  I can't say the same for the cap erasers.  We have gone through a TON, but that is OK because I still have a ton of pencils from the kids beginning of the year supplies left!

So I was really curious as to why this happened.  Why are the pencils lasting?  It makes no sense.  We are writing the same amount of work as last year....  the difference....

NO DESKS!!!!!!
The kids can't bury 100 pencils in the back of their desk and get a new one!

I wanted our classroom to truly be flexible, so we don't pick specific spots each day/week and we can move to different spots whenever we need to.  When we move to do independent work I either send the girls or boys first.  They find a seat and then the other group goes.

What happens if someone gets up to get something they need?  Our rule is simple if you leave a spot, leave your stuff then it will be there when you get back.  Your spot is SAVED if something is sitting on it.  Leave your paper, pencil box, or book.  It was something that we had to practice and talk about, but now we have no disagreements over spots.

Is it easy at first? No!  I had to figure it out for myself and make adjustments to make it work for me.

Am I glad I did it?  YES, YES, YES!  The kids love it and our day flies by because everyone is engaged all day long.  Give it a try.  Start small and you will be glad you did!

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Double Digit Regrouping!

Oh it is TIME!!!!!!!!!!

Time to teach one of my favorite things in WORLD!


Serious.....  it truly is.  It might be one of the toughest things for the kids to master and the struggle is REAL!  But I love teaching the concept.

We just started this past week and this year I didn't use my old base ten blocks.  We broke out bags of pretzels and marshmallows!  Much better choice if you ask the kids.

Everyone got a bunch of pretzel sticks and tiny marshmallows.  First, we organized our treats.

Then we talked about how these would help us model our new skill.  It was important that the kids understood that these are non-proportional models.  To show that these were non-proportional models we talked about how we know that a pretzel stick is equal to 10 and a marshmallow is equal to 1.  We lined them up to show that they are not proportional like the base-ten blocks.   

                To throw in some measurement I asked them to estimate how many pretzel sticks 
                                          they think would equal 10 marshmallows.  TWO!  
                                          Why not hit another standard while we were at it!     

We started by modeling a problem on our paper.  
This was a hit!  The kids were totally engaged!  
Then, we traded out 10 marshmallows for a pretzel stick. 

The last step was to draw a model of what we did. 

We practiced three together as a whole class and they did fantastic.

Now it was their turn.  I put the problem on the board and they had to create their "food" model, trade for a ten, and then draw the model in their notebooks.

It was a SUCCESS!  The kids loved it and everyone completely got the concept!

This lesson took HALF the time as my starter lesson did last year.  The best part is that we understood the concept so much better than we have in the past.

Lesson learned.....  add more food to our math lessons!

Give this a try.  Even if you have already started this unit.  You and your kids will be glad you did!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Open House Success

Open House came out from NO WHERE!  All the sudden I flipped my calendar page and there it was!

How did that happen?  I always feel like I am scrambling to get ready, but not this year!  I had planned a little better and learned from my past mistakes!

Since I use flexible seating the kids don't have a desk, so I set up some stations that they could visit with their parents.

We had just made a really cute book to sort asking and telling sentences with our Rooted in Reading story the past week.  The kids just loved sorting them, so I figured that would be a great activity for them to do with their families.  It was amazing to watch them interact with their families.  

We also had our reading/writing notebooks on display.  This has been a labor of love for us this year. We have really worked hard to putting good quality work into our foldables.  The parents especially loved seeing their hard work in action.

This year I have saved all of the great work we do each week and kept them in a manila folder for each child.  At the end of the year the kids will have this enormous folder of their second grade year to keep forever.  So many of the parents were excited to hear that all of these masterpieces would be coming home in May.  The kids reactions to seeing all their work made it worthwhile.  They sat with their families in a flexible seating option and shared everything in their folders.  I heard so many parents compliment their writing and their directed drawings that we have been doing!  Having them get positive feedback from their parents was worth a MILLION DOLLARS!

Hands down the best part of the night was GO NODDLE!  (Can you believe I didn't even get a picture?)  I set the computer up on my screen and the kids could select a GoNoodle to do with their families.  They LOVED it!  I was amazed at the kids ability to use the computer and encourage their families to join in with them.  Watching them dance and laugh with their parents was spectacular!

So this year..... NO STRESS!  No last minute coloring and gluing!  

It was so wonderful that I know this is what I will do for years to come!  

Happy Teaching!