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.