Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Counting Down The Hours

Two more days....aaah, lovely to think about, isn't it? It really is a funny little quirk about teachers. These people (myself included), who love children enough to choose a career centered around them, spend a great deal of time counting the days and hours until we're rid of them for a little while. At least I'm not ashamed to admit it, right?

So, let me just say that I'm eagerly waiting for 2pm Thursday afternoon to arrive. And when it does, I will promptly put school and the children out of mind for two whole weeks! I don't know about you, but I'll be too busy relaxing and eating cookies and watching Maury reading a good book to think about school. One thing I plan to do is catch up on one of my favorite websites...

If you like food, even a little bit, you need to check it out. It's like porn for foodies. I wouldn't even call myself a foodie (I mean I'm no stranger to a can of Spaghettios.) and I can't get enough of it.

So, what will you be catching up on over the break? I'd love to hear! Let's make it a linky party. Feel free to add a link to what you'll be doing for fun and relaxation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Present

I'm here to confess... I played a mean little joke on my class today. I told them I had an early Christmas present for them. I let them all guess what it could possibly be and then had them close their eyes while I snuck around the room leaving this on their desks:

Can you believe how awful I am? lol  They recovered and forgave my little prank and actually enjoyed doing their math practice. And yes, I do have real presents for them...next week!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Common Core Resources

Common core, common core, common core... that's not a cheer or a chant.  It's my head spinning around in circles like a dryer. Oh wait, that sounds like the exorcist, doesn't it?

How are you all doing with common core? Honestly, it's making me feel a little bit crazy. Not the standards... all the handouts and meetings and PD and "tips" from the county that come to my email every few days. I'm all for change and growth and improvement but sheesh... they're acting like God came down from the Heavens and presented the standards himself and if we don't do every single one of them right this very second, we'll all go up in a ball of flames.  But hey, I'm on the bandwagon. I really am.

In fact, I found this nice little website with videos of actual lessons arranged by standard. Yes, by common core standard! So if you're a little bit stumped or tired or too busy making your Christmas shopping list to think about school, check it out...

Pretty great, right? Well the next one is even better! If your district is anything like mine, they are completely and utterly  unprepared for common core. In fact, they may have told you to stop using the old assessments IMMEDIATELY and then proceeded to provide you with absolutely nothing to use instead. If that's the case, you will love this site...

It has tons and tons of assessments for specific standards written by real teachers.  It's so easy to find specific SHORT assessments for any standard. You may never have to make up your own ever again!  I hope you find this as useful as I have.

Friday, November 30, 2012

TpT Holiday Freebies

This year's holiday e-book from Teachers Pay Teachers is out! It's full of freebies for you to download and enjoy. They actually made two books for K-2 this year because there were so many great submissions. Here are links to both of them...


I can't wait to spend some time looking through them and getting fun stuff for my class!

Monday, November 26, 2012


I found a great giveaway for those of you who make your own materials (Tpt, Teacher's Notebook, etc.). Emily at Educating to the Core is giving away a subscription to Graphics Factory. Wow, that's a nice one!  Check it out on her blog...

Good luck, if you enter, but I really hope I win!  Is that wrong to say? lol

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fun Christmas Freebie

I don't know about yours, but my class loves doing glyphs... You know, those pictures you color based on answers about yourself. Well I made one for Christmas and thought I'd share it.  Enjoy!

And now for a little shameless self-promotion... TpT's big sale starts tomorrow, so here are a few of my favorite items that you might like to check out:




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cyber Monday (& Tuesday) Sale!!!

It's time for the BIG Cyber Monday & Tuesday sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!  I'm super excited because it's my first sale on TpT and I'm hoping to make a dent in my septic tank fund (see my Duty Day post...ha!) and also because I have a ton of items on my wishlist. Time to do some shopping! Here's a link to the sale...

And a freebie...

I hope you'll stop by my store. If you reply with a link to yours, I'll come see what you've got for sale too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Place Value Cups

I love teaching math and place value is one of my favorite topics. There are so many fun ways to engage the kids. Here's a new one I just found that is so cool!

I've seen pictures of these cups before but these pics from Sue Downing's blog really show how useful they are.  We're going to be making these at school tomorrow. I think the kids will love "dialing up numbers" on them!  I think they might be really helpful for adding 10, adding 100, etc. That's one thing my kids are having some trouble with. Ooooh, I can't wait to try these!

Visit Sue's blog by clicking on the pics. She has a link to directions for making them if you aren't sure how.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Freebies

Just for tonight, I've made all of my Halloween themed items on TpT free.  Visit my store to get them before they go back to being paid items tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a fun night with their families!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I'm so excited to start doing Thankgiving activities with my class. It's my absolute favorite time of year!! Luckily, our social studies curriculum has us starting native Americans and early settlers now, so that fits right in.  Here are a few of the activities I'm planning for the upcoming month...
  • Making applesauce - It's so easy to do in the crock pot and the kids get to taste the results at the end of the day.  We practice some measurement skills when we measure out the sugar and water. We also talk about how writing clear directions is important with a recipe or any other kind of how-to expository writing.

So, how to make it?  Super easy... 12 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced), 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of water, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Put it all in the crock pot and let it cook on low all day. I add a little cinnamon at the end for the kids who want it. Some don't like it.  You also might have to drain a little water out before serving depending on the type of apple you use.

  • Thanksgiving Writing - I made up a little writing packet where the kids try to convince Farmer Brown not to eat turkey for Thanksgiving. They think it's really fun and it's an easy introduction to our persuasive writing unit. I've adapted it for lower level writers too (I have a few ESE munchkins that are barely writing sentences). This pack also includes a bunch of fun Thanksgiving writing prompts that I use in centers.

  • Thanksgiving Word Wall - This goes along with our writing too. Sometimes the kids get so hung up on trying to spell a word that I've made holiday word walls.  This is what my Thanksgiving ones look  like...

(That's really tiny...sorry!)

We also start a big Native Americans and Plymouth Colony project but I'll save the details for another post. It's based on Evan Moor's History Pockets.  If you've never seen them, check them out...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricanes & Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Candy Corn Day in second grade and wouldn't you know it.... we have a hurricane coming. School has been canceled in the county below us but so far, we're still open for business.  I am kind of hoping for a rainy day at home though, so I can try out this recipe...

Don't they look YUMMY?!!  If not tomorrow, I'm definitely going to try these this weekend.  Minus those disgusting little candy corn pumpkins in the picture!  Does anyone really like candy corn?  As I said, we have candy corn day at school.  This is a yearly tradition for the second grade classes where we do math and literacy centers (plus some crafty things) with a candy corn theme. ICK!  It's good for me though because I'm not even a little bit tempted to eat any of their candy.  I'll just wait for my own kids to bring home their Halloween loot on Wednesday night!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Place Value Freebie

We are busy learning place value to 1,000 in my classroom and the students are really doing great with it.  I've started implementing a lot of the "Thinking Math" strategies.  Kids really do like math when you give them the freedom to figure things out in their own way! I used to hate teaching math but it's actually become my favorite subject over the last few years. I almost wish I could just be a math teacher (but I'm secretly terrified of middle schoolers).

I've been working on adding to my collection of math centers and task cards. I like to do a whole group lesson followed by centers. That way I can work with small groups on what I just taught. That gives me a better idea of who got it and who didn't.  So here's a little place value freebie for anyone who happens by here and sees it...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Duty Day or Doodie Day?

So today was a teacher duty day and I had grand visions of organizing my room, getting all of my paperwork done, and leaving by 2:30. HA HA HA HA! I did manage to get my report cards done by the deadline though, which is a great reason to celebrate with a powdered donut... which is exactly what I did... twice today. But hey, they were minis.

Tonight I've been working on some TpT stuff. I have only recently discovered the game of Scoot and my kids just love it. So much so that I've been making Scoot cards for every imaginable skill. We've been Scooting through math and Scooting through language arts.  I wonder if it counts as exercise (The donuts, remember?).  So anyway, here are my latest Scoot creations for math:

I told my husband that my goal is to sell enough stuff to pay for our septic tank repairs. (Record amounts of rain, 3 kids using one bathroom, old septic system... if you can't guess, look back at the title of this post).  He thinks I'm crazy but I'm making progress and luckily dry season is starting.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Words, Glorious Words

I don't know about you but the hardest part of my job right now is teaching writing. The kids either love to write and won't stop...even when they've gone wildly off topic... or they won't even pick up the pencil. One of my goals this year is to really build their vocabularies and hope (pray, fingers crossed) that it transfers to their writing. But I've done the explicit vocabulary instruction, the "colorful words" charts, etc. and decided someone else could probably do a better job of it.

And who might that be, you ask?  Edward Tulane. More specifically, Kate DiCamillo, author of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I decided to jump straight into really good chapter books as read-alouds... chapter books full of challenging vocabulary. Edward Tulane just happened to be the first one I tried and wow, did it pay off.  First of all, the kids were totally captivated by this book. I even had two little ones cry in the middle of it (Not that I want to make my students cry.) and they begged, yes BEGGED, me to read it as soon as they got to school every morning. But the vocabulary... that's the best part!  We talked about all of those big words and we practiced using them and they put them in their writing notebooks. And guess what...I'm seeing them in their writing, along with other fantabulous words we've come across in books.

So, first I'd like to suggest reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to your class. But I'd also like to ask for your suggestions. Do you know any really great chapter books that will challenge our kiddos to think harder and deeper?  Leave me a note if you do. I'd love to hear what must-have books are on your read-aloud list.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Is Here

Ok, so it doesn't exactly feel like fall today. It's about 85 degrees, which isn't bad for Florida. But I just spoke to my parents in Pennsylvania where it's a downright frigid 39.  How can they stand it?!!  If I ever had to live somewhere that required closed-toe shoes half the year....well, I'd move. Loooove my flip-flops.

So this weekend I'm looking for things to use for Candy Corn Day with my class. We do this every year and the kids always LOVE it (i.e. lose their minds). I've made a few items myself and will post pics as soon as I figure out how. Anyone? Anyone?  In the meantime, let me share the latest super easy dinner idea I found...

Publix (my local grocery store chain) has this great little program called Aprons. You can go into the store any day of the week and sample whatever meal they're making and get the recipe. The fabulous thing is that they're almost always really easy things that kids actually like to eat! What?!! So the one we just tried is called Barbeque Baskets and it requires almost no cooking and my whole family immediately nominated me for Chef of the Year. Well, not really but...

(yeah, the kids didn't eat the beans)

Try them! I bet you'll get some unexpected (and possibly undeserved) accolades too.