Friday, December 7, 2012

Comparing and Contrasting

We've spent the last week working on comparing and contrasting during Instructional Focus. The standard(s) addressed are: 2.RL.9 - Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures. and 2.RIT.9 - Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

I started out small, by first just going over what comparing and contrasting means and what it looks like. Here is our anchor chart:

Then, I had the students compare/contrast our school librarian and myself. We made a giant venn diagram (not one of my prettiest pieces of art, but hey, it works), and students wrote their thoughts on sticky notes and added it to the large venn diagram. Some of the answers were so cute. One of my personal favorites, "They both are good techers." :-) My heart is smiling for both the comment and the spelling!

Next, students were put in pairs and compared each other. After filling out a venn diagram, students had to write about their similarities/differences.

The following day, we read two books, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Three Silly Girls Grubb. Students then had to compare and contrast the different versions of the story. To do this, students filled out a comparison organizer and wrote about the similarities and differences. Check it out below!

The final activity we did this week was to read 2 different versions of informational text selections on bats. Students had to compare and contrast the two texts using the bat organizer. They then had to write about the similarities and differences. Here is an example of how this turned out:

Overall, it was a great set of standards to focus on for the week, and the kiddos loved the activities that went with it, and they seemed to really do well and learn a lot about comparing and contrasting. Another successful week down (two more to go until break, but who's counting???)! :-)
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday is Here!

Head on over to my TpT store to get up to 28% off any and all of my products!!! Be sure to use the promo code: CMT12

Click HERE or click the picture below to see my store. Happy Monday!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Happy last day before Thanksgiving Break! :-) In the spirit of the season, I am so thankful for many many  things, but here are a few:

1. My friends and family
2. Having a job where I can teach and make a difference
3. The freedom to pursue an avenue of sharing and personal professional development
4. Having a few days off to relax, recharge, and enjoy!

Thanks so much for following my posts and being a part of sharing ideas - this is why I got into blogging in the first place. I know I haven't been as on top of my blogging this semester, but I will get better. 

Today we are having our Thanksgiving feast. We supply a turkey, and the rest is brought in by our students and their families. It is always such a fun thing. I will post more about it later!!!

In the meantime, next Monday-Tuesday (November 26 & 27), I will be having a Cyber Monday + Tuesday sale in my TpT store! Combined with TpT's sale, you can get up to 28% off!!! Definitely come check it out! Click HERE or click the picture below to head to my store and check out all the great items. You will need to enter the promo code listed on the picture to get the full 28% off. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TpT Safety Unit - Safety/Traffic Signs and Symbols, Stranger Danger, Bike Safety, and Car Safety

Happy Election Day! I'm so thankful for polling places opening early, because I was able to get in and vote before school today - woohoo for not having to go mess with that after school, because I am EXHAUSTED tonight! It was cute today to see how excited our students were today about Election Day. 

Anyway, I have a new TpT unit up for sale in my store! This unit for primary age range includes lessons addressing awareness of traffic and safety signs and symbols, stranger danger, car safety, and bike safety. This unit has been teacher tested and taught at the first and second grade level. :-)

*This unit is meant to be a resource for you, the teacher. While you are welcome to follow it as outlined, feel free to supplement with your social studies text, outside videos (such as United Streaming), and/or other books. Also, depending on your social studies block, some of these lessons you may have to extend beyond on day if you don’t have as much time for social studies. I hope you can use the items in this unit as a guide/resource for you.

Along with 8 days of lesson plans/descriptions of activities, this unit includes:

-"safety" vocabulary card
-safety unit anticipation guide
-safety and traffic sign posters
-safety and traffic sign powerpoint
-traffic and safety sign tic-tac-toe boards (2)
-traffic lights poem
-project idea for traffic lights
-stranger danger role-play/scenario cards
-stranger danger bingo with questions
-stranger danger bubble map
-student information address and phone number sheet
-seat belt song
-car safety sort and answer key
-riding safely in a car writing paper
-dream bicycle helmet writing paper
-bike signal game
-flip book template
-safety unit 4-in-a-row game
-writing paper template

This file is a zipped file, and you will receive the full unit plans and the powerpoint. I also included many of the pdf files, even though they are in the unit plans. 

Please let me know if you have any questions at all! To purchase, please click HERE or click on the picture below.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Free Terrible Turkey - Subtracting Tens Game and Weekly Dinner Planner

Ummmm. Wow. November is here, and while it doesn't feel like November, it certainly is. There are exactly 2 weeks and 2 school days until Thanksgiving break. Where has the year gone??
This is the time of year that I start feeling busy and like life is a little crazy. Our past few weekends have been filled with weddings, birthday celebrations, trips out of town, etc..., so this weekend felt like heaven. We met a couple friends out on Friday for dinner, I went post-Halloween shopping and to lunch with another friend yesterday, after I got home I did absolutely NOTHING, and then today I woke up early and did my grocery shopping for the week, cleaned the kitchen, and did a pile of the mountain of laundry that has built up. So, it's been quite a productive and fabulous weekend. :-) Speaking of which, because I feel like I'm losing my mind at the moment, I've come up with a weekly dinner menu planner to keep at least that part of my life sane. Feel free to download a copy if you like! To download, click HERE or click the picture below to go to the file on Google Docs. Then, go to File, Download, and download a copy for yourself! It's amazing how such a simple document can make life that much easier. I print a copy, write in my dishes, fill out the shopping list, attach copies of each recipe (if using), and go shopping! Very simple, but very handy.
I have another math freebie for you today also. Someday, when I have a life again, ha, I will be posting some more TpT units for sale, but for now, you get a math game freebie. I want to thank you all for your support, comments, and feedback on both my teaching blog and my TpT store. I am absolutely amazed at how each has grown over the past year. This hobby and passion for sharing has turned into more than I could have ever imagined.
Anyway, in math, we have been learning all about mental addition and mental subtraction. I created the following game for students to practice subtracting tens. To play this game, put students in groups of 2-3. Each group will get a set of cards (print on cardstock and laminate for best results). The cards will go in the middle of the circle. Each player will take turns drawing a card and solving the subtraction problem listed. The other students will also solve the problem to check the answer. If the student gets the problem correct, he/she gets to keep the card. If a student draws a “Terrible Turkey” card, he/she will say, “TERRIBLE TURKEY”. Everyone must then put all of their cards back into the pile, and the game starts over. To download a copy, click HERE, or click the picture below to go to my TpT store and download for FREE!!!


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Pumpkin Smash" - a free 2nd grade sight word game

Holy moly. How is it already parent-teacher conference time??? This school year has flown by on the wings of crazy. Anyway, in honor of conferences and all that goes with this time of year (being too busy, having a million things on your mind, etc...), I have a freebie sight word game for you. This one is called "Pumpkin Smash", and my kiddos got a kick out of it.

To prepare this game, copy it on cardstock and/or laminate and cut apart. Each group will get a stack of cards.
Students will shuffle the cards and lay them out, facedown, on the table or ground in front of them. Students will then take turns to play. When it is a student’s turn, he/she will choose a card, and he/she will read the word aloud. That student will then continue to draw cards, reading each word, until he/she gets a pumpkin card. If a student picks a pumpkin card, he/she says, “PUMPKIN SMASH!” (some students seem to think this is hilarious - how little it takes to entertain a 7 year old...), and it is the end of his/her turn, and the next player will go. Play continues until all of the cards have been chosen. The person with the most cards is the winner! They seem to think it's pretty funny when a student will draw a pumpkin card right away. Dear me...
Hope your students enjoy this game as much as mine do. J This is a great game to use for word work during Daily 5 or guided reading, or students could practice it at home or play it together any other time.
Enjoy! To download, click HERE, or click the picture below.


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Free Pumpkin Thief 1 Before and 1 After Game

Happy Thursday! We our taking our sweeties to the Pumpkin Patch today - so excited! I just love going to the pumpkin patch, and taking the students and seeing their joy and excitement makes it so fun. We have a great day ahead!

Anyway, here is a math game freebie! 

This game is to be used for helping students practice 1 more and 1 less (1 before and 1 after) with a hundreds chart.

To play, each student will place his/her chip on "Start." They will take turns flipping a red/yellow counter. If the counter lands on red, the player will move 1 spot. If he/she lands on yellow, the player will move 2 spots. For whatever number the player lands on, he/she must say the number before and the number after, and the other player should check his/her answer. If a player lands on "Splat", he/she loses his/her her turn (I tell them that means they dropped their pumpkin). If they land on a "Hidden Passage" spot, they get to take the shortcut down the arrow. The first person to make it to the square marked "Finish" is the winner (we always go over good sportsmanship in our classroom).

Hope you can use this game in your classroom or with a small group of kiddos! It's a fun way to practice those math skills. :-) To download, click HERE, or click the picture below. Enjoy!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Text Dependent Questions

The Common Core State Standards for reading ask that students analyze, grapple, and linger on parts of complex text in order to better understand what they are reading. To do this, students are now answering questions that can only be answered by explicitly referring back to the text being read. These kind of questions are called text dependent questions.

As we implement the CCSS ELA, we will become better and more comfortable at writing and developing these kinds of questions for our students. Hopefully this document will help you to understand how to do that.

This document has tips for you, the teacher, and it also contains 20 generic text dependent question prompts/stems (I cut these cards out and hang them on a ring for easy access, but you could post these in your room, keep a copy in your plan book, etc).
To buy a copy, head on over to TpT! Click HERE or click on the picture below.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Office Max - A Day Made Better

Aside from fighting a nasty cold, I had a great surprise this last week. I was nominated for the Office Max A Day Made Better Award, and I had no clue! Here I was getting ready to teach math, and my coworkers told me that the principal was coming down to talk to our students. I was thinking to myself, "Why didn't I get that memo?" Lo and behold, in walks my principal pushing a brand new chair, and following her are some Office Max representatives with flowers and a gigantic orange box full of presents. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I get ridiculously embarrassed when the attention is on me (I even dread Christmas morning every year when the whole family stares at me while I unwrap a present - yes, my family does the one present at a time thing - lucky me). So, as my cheeks turned red, and I started making awkward comments, the attention continued while they bestowed upon me all of these gifts. In spite of the mortification, it was a really cool surprise. Thanks so much to Office Max for providing this treat, and I am very grateful for the new supplies and things I got for my classroom! Check out my new chair below (take a long at the old nasty one - when I moved into my classroom originally, I didn't have a nice comfy roller chair like I was supposed to - it had disappeared!).
Here is the gigantic orange box (almost as tall as my mini-fridge in my room):
And here is the "loot" that was inside of the orange box. It was so much fun to go through with my coworkers! My students will certainly enjoy the sparkly folders that were included (my girls will anyway). Check out the laminator in the back - pretty cool!
Hoping for another great week ahead! :-)

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dropbox - to download or check it out, go to

I am in love with Dropbox. Dropbox is an online file storage site. As a teacher, and as you can all relate, I have to work on school work all the time at home. However, our drive space at school is kept on a server that can only be accessed in the district on district computers. So, for years, I was traveling back and forth with a jump drive (multiple jump drives actually, because I tend to lose those pesky things all the time) and/or e-mailing myself constantly. It was quite a pain! Then, our district moved to Windows Sky Drive, because it came free with our district Outlook e-mail. I thought that was pretty cool, at first, because it meant I could access my files anywhere. However, I found it difficult to download and sync multiple folders, and it wasn't an easy process. I would have had to manually set up folders within the Sky Drive. I've also tried Google Docs. I do like Google Docs just fine, but when a friend recommended Dropbox, I was blown away.
Dropbox is the easiest file storage/backup site I've ever encountered (and it is completely free). You can carry your photos, documents, and videos anywhere. You literally just download it, and you choose which files to sync, and it will sync them for you, exactly as you have them set up. Then, you can download Dropbox on however many computers you want, and it will sync to all of those computers. I can now access my school files at home on my laptop, at home on my desktop, at school, and on any computer I ever encounter (even if you don't "download" Dropbox, you can still access your Dropbox from the internet). I even have Dropbox downloaded on my phone. Dropbox automatically saves my items to all of my computers, my phone, and the website - it does it all for me, and I don't even have to worry about it.
One cool feature about Dropbox is shared folders. My coworkers all downloaded Dropbox so we all have accounts. We can now share files and folders in a secure way where we can all access them. It's like having our own 2nd grade drive that is accessible right at our fingertips, wherever we go.
My explanation will not do this tool justice. I would recommend just trying it! Just think - no more flash drives, no more e-mailing documents back and forth to work, just easy peasy and free. If you are interested in checking it out or downloading, please please please click the link below, click the picture below, or click here (you can get free upgraded space if you refer others and if they use your link - easy way to get more space)!
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Communities Unit

Yay! My communities unit is finally done and ready for you all on TpT. Go check it out if you're interested! Click here, or click the preview pic below to head on over. There is a sale going on to get it for $3 off the regular price, so get it while you can! :-)

Oh happy Saturday. I was ready for the weekend, I must say. We had quite a week this week. Very busy and tons of meetings. On weeks like that, I am just exhausted and quite pathetically often, I am ready to crash and go to bed at like 7:30pm on Friday night. Anyway, I am feeling much more energetic today, and I've finally convinced my dear husband to peel himself away from the ridiculous t.v. to go with me to the pumpkin patch - one of my favorite activities in the Fall! We had quite a firm conversation last weekend about the fact that there are other things to do on the weekend besides watch sports (and I do like sports quite a bit, but still). He was in firm belief that Saturdays were for college football and Sundays were for NFL football. Don't worry, I helped shape his new view that there are other things going on.... ;-) HA!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Freebies - Guided Reading Forms for Running Records

I just love Sundays... They are my "lazy" days. I love laying around with the hubby, watching football, napping/dozing off throughout the day, and just enjoying being home. :-)
Here are a couple freebies for you. One of my colleagues asked for a copy of one of these documents the other day, so I figured it may make a good freebie.

The first document is a running record form. How many of you get tired of counting words ahead of time and writing them out? I certainly did. It was NOT my favorite thing. So, I came up with this super simple, but very handy and effective, form. To use this form, all you have to do is keep recording while the student is reading, until you get to the bottom! There are 100 boxes, so once you reach the bottom, you're good to go. Hope this works for you as well as it has for me! To download, just click HERE or click the picture below.
The other freebie I have for you today is a data sheet I use to record running record scores for my students. I print a page for each student, and I keep it in my guided reading binder. Each time I give that student a running record, I record the info (including any observations or comments) on the form. This is then handy to have, because I can see a comparison of their scores on one page. I can also easily see/use this information when discussing students at PLC (professional learning communities) or when trying to figure out if a student needs an MTSS (RTI in other states) intervention. Hope you can use this form also! To download this form, click HERE, or click the picture below.
Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead. If you haven't already, stop by my new Facebook page and click "like".

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finally on Facebook!

Well, I'm finally on Facebook! I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm there. :-) Help me out and stop by my Facebook page to "like" it.
If any of you have any tips or ideas on how to use Facebook in conjunction with my blog and TpT store, I'd love for you to share! Hope you are all having a terrific weekend. I'm one of those people that can't fall back asleep once I wake up in the morning, no matter what time it is. So, I've been up for the last few hours. While that is frustrating, at least I have a whole day ahead of me!
Stop by to say hi!
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Informational Text Feature Poster Pack Sale

Yay for Friday! As much as we love our classes and are quite invested in our students' progress, even teachers need some time off. ;-) Hope you've all got something wonderful planned for the weekend!
My Informational Text Feature Poster Pack is on sale for the weekend over at TpT! We will be teaching informational text features in a couple weeks for Instructional Focus, and I've finally finished my poster pack. I plan on printing, laminating, and displaying these posters that have a description and picture for each text feature. We've never taught text features explicitly for Instructional Focus, and I'm really excited to do so. I think this will be a great unit for the kiddos, especially since our students are expected to read informational text 50% of the time now. What great strategies for gleaning information from non-fiction informational text!
To download, click HERE for a reduced price over the weekend, or click the picture below. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!!!
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sight Word Toss/Read/Write

We're definitely in the full swing of things at school. :-) I hope you've all had a great start to the school year so far!
To play this game, students will take turns dropping or tossing a chip, cotton ball, counter, bean, or pom-pom onto the board. The student will read the word he/she landed on, and he/she will write the word on the recording sheet. This particular download includes 16 various 2nd grade sight words.
To download a copy, click HERE or click on any of the pictures below:

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Informal Daily Writing Checklist

I've finally created a daily writing checklist to use during writer's conference or for informal observation as I walk around during writing time. This would also be handy for Daily 5, Work on Writing. This will help me collect data that I can then use for both grade cards and for other student data purposes.

I plan to put this sheet on a clipboard, write the date at the top, come up with how I want my coding system to be (letter grade, 3/2/1, +/-, etc), and quickly and easily mark what I observe for each student on their daily writing/work. The categories covered/included are capitalization, punctuation, and complete sentences. I won't use this every single day, but maybe a couple times a week. This then keeps all of my informal observation data in one place, or I can easily transfer it to my gradebook.

I am going to include a free copy of it in case you'd like to use it also in your classroom!

Enjoy, and I hope you can use this! I've included both a student numbered version (if you use student numbers in your classroom for confidentiality purposes) and a blank one for you to write in the students' names.
To download, either click HERE, or click on the picture below.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Teachers Impact a Child's World

As another week comes to a close, I wanted to share something with you. Our school IRT (instructional resource teacher) sent a link to Kylene Beers' blog post (Kylene Beers is a prominent literacy specialist) from August 20. I just had to repost the link to her post, "Why I Hated Meredith’s First Grade Teacher: An Open Letter to America’s Teachers". Click HERE or click the name of the post above to visit her site. Take just 2 minutes to read through her letter. What an awesome and powerful reminder about how what we do can really impact a child's life. This is the reason we are all in this profession, and it is sometimes good to remind ourselves of that. Before you get bogged down in the craziness of another school year - the paperwork, the behaviors, the test scores, the disgruntled parents, the rude staff members, etc..., just remember that your students cherish you, look up to you, and will remember you and your love for the rest of their lives, even if they don't show it to you immediately. Your impact will live through them, and that is why your job is so important. Make the best of this school year with your kids. As Winston Churchill once said, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Please, just take a few minutes to read Kylene's letter. You won't be sorry. Happy 2012-2013 school year!!!
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

IPICK Anchor Chart

Oh the many differences between 1st and 2nd grade... :-)  The list is long, but one major difference, at least in our school district, is the amount of time you have to set up you guided reading/Daily 5 time. In 1st grade, we have 6 whole weeks to get set up and go over expectations. In 2nd grade, we start in 2 weeks or less. AAGGHH! 2 week to go over Daily 5 and teach all of our minilesons???!!! Gasp. However, it can be done. Luckily, the 2nd graders know a lot more about expectations and learn a tiny bit quicker. For instance, I could skim over some of the minilessons like choosing a gathering spot, picking a signal, etc..., because the kiddos already knew those kinds of things.
Anyway, the students LOOOOVED the shoe minilesson (if you haven't read the Daily 5 book, you must must must - such great information) that preceded the IPICK lesson. They just thought it was hilarious that I brought in so many different kinds of shoes, and they about died of sheer delight when I showed them my husband's shoes, put them on, and asked if his shoes fit me (keep in mind that I wear a women's size 5.5, and my husband wears a men's size 12 - a bit of a difference, haha). This lesson was definitely a great hook for choosing books. We then made the IPICK anchor chart, and students got to practice choosing their books from our classroom library. Here is a copy of our anchor chart - more pictures of some of our other lessons to come later! Happy Thursday! Can you believe how fast the school year has gotten into gear???

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cool Down Strategies Revisited

Remember how I posted that post at the end of last school year with the free anger management cards (I think end of April or beginning of May 2012)? Well, we went ahead and STARTED the year, this year, with having a whole lesson on anger management. If you missed that previous post, you can click HERE to go to the free download of those anger choice cards, or you can click the picture below.
After reading the book When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we talked about things that might make us angry. Students then discussed what they could do when they got to the point where they were angry. Next, we talked about how it is completely ok for students to feel frustrated, angry, upset, disappointed, etc... We are, after all, human, and humans have a range of emotions. However, we talked about the fact that even if we feel angry, frustrated, upset, etc..., we can't deal with those emotion in a way that will hurt or bother others or ourselves. The class brainstormed some ideas of how they deal with their anger "appropriately" (after discussing what appropriate would look and sound like), and we talked about how you might use different strategies at school and home. After sorting out which strategies might be good to use at school, we made an anchor chart.

 I then introduced the quiet spot, and went over my expectations for when a student feels they need to go to the quiet spot to calm down. I placed a laminated copy of the above discussed anger choice cards, and students will use a dry-erase marker or vis-a-vis pen to mark which choice they picked in order to calm themselves down. They will be expected to discuss this with me later when they return or when we have a break (which strategy they chose and how it helped them calm down). I also went over the calm down sensory box that our school counselor graciously put together for us (includes a glitter jar, marbles hidden in clay, buttons to sort, and letter beads to string onto string), and we discussed those expectations as well. All in all, this turned out to be a great reminder lesson for these kiddos, and I feel like students will not be intimidated or feel threatened or scared to express their frustrations in a calm and safe manner. Fingers crossed anyway! ;-)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School/Get to Know You Glyph

Well, I found out today that, apparently, when I speak in Spanish, I sound like Dora the Explorer.... :-/ My kids (I have quite a few Hispanic/Latino students) told me today that my Spanish sounds like Dora, but my English sounds normal. Haha! I was like, wow, I sound like a 7 year old, or however old she is! :-) Oh dear me...

Anyway, we all know that teachers do much more than teach academics. We teachers play many roles in the classroom, and one of those roles is to teach and reinforce life skills and social skills. I teach at a Title I school, and many of my sweet darlings need some practice on social skills at school. My teammates and I are spending the first couple weeks teaching basic social skills, based on the format described in the Boys Town social skill curriculum. I've made posters to go with each skill, and I have the posters hung up in my room to refer to all year long. Two of the very first skills we taught, were listening and following directions. After we taught, very specifically, the steps for how to listen and follow instructions, the students then got to practice those skills. For listening, the students played a Get to Know You Fan n' Pick game, and for following instructions, we thought it would be fun to have the students make a glyph. The students had to listen to the directions, and they had to follow the correct instructions for each part/detail of the glyph.

If you wanted to use these in your classroom, you could say the categories and directions out loud, or you could put the directions on the SmartBoard if you wanted.The learning statement goes out in the hallway with the glyphs! :-)

These glyphs turned out super cute, and the kids had a great time while practicing some social skills that they will need in just about every situation in school, home, and life! :-)
To get a free copy of the directions and the hallway learning statement, click HERE, or click on the picture below to download.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Prize Catalog

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE not having a prize box anymore. There are so many great reasons for moving to a prize catalog instead, including not having to spend money on prizes  rewards being more matched to Positive Classroom. Seriously though, it is a great feeling to not have to worry about prize boxes anymore. I do, however, still have students "buy" prizes from the catalog, especially in 2nd grade, as this helps with math and social studies skills.

As one of my individual behavior management systems, I randomly give out "fake" pennies to students for exhibiting positive behaviors. Students can then count and trade their pennies in each week or every other week (*bonus math skill time). Students can then trade their money in for certain "prizes" in the prize catalog (or they can save their money - *bonus social studies economics skill time). I place the prize catalog in sheet protectors and store them in a binder. Students can then look through the prize catalog whenever they'd like. Here are the prizes included in this catalog:

$0.10 - Happy Helper (classroom helper)
$0.25 - Super Supplies (students get to use smelly markers or fancy pencil)
$0.30 - Leap Frog Line Jumper (line leader)
$0.40 - Stinky Feet! (shoes off in classroom)
$0.50 - Cool Cat in a Hat (wear a cool hat in the classroom)
$0.60 - Littlest Pet Shop (stuffed animal on desk)
$0.75 - Be Proud, Read Aloud (read a book to class, friend, or adult)
$0.80 - Show n' Share (bring something to share with class)
$1.00 - Teacher Chair (sit in the teacher's chair for the day)
$1.15 - Computer User Time (extra computer time)
$1.25 - Swip Swap (switch desks with a friend)
$1.50 - Lunch Bunch (lunch with a friend and the teacher)

There are also some coupons in the back, so that when a student chooses a prize, he/she can take home a coupon to show his/her parents (this also works so parents know it's ok to bring a hat/object to share/stuffed animal).
And that way, too, students have something tangible to show their parents.

I have posted my version of the prize catalog on TpT, but it does cost a small amount. To take a look at what I use, click HERE or click on one of the preview pictures below.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bucket Filler Slips

We are a Bucket Filling classroom! If you haven't read "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud, you must! You can find the book at most bookstores, including the one below.

There are so many awesome Bucket Filling resources on the web and with fellow educators right now, and it is really neat to see how different people implement it in different ways. The key to bucket filling is that we all have a secret, invisible bucket (I teach that it is in our hearts). When you do kind things, you are filling people's buckets and your own. When you do things that are not kind, you are dipping into other people's buckets. We all want to be bucket fillers, not bucket dippers. I have seen some super cool classrooms that have actual buckets for each child. In our class (keeping things a little more simplified), we have a single bucket - the compliment jar (see my earlier post from last year). Students can write thank you notes to others for filling their bucket, or they can fill someone else's bucket by writing compliments. Then, at our class meeting or during sponge times, I will read a few of the slips aloud and then give it to the corresponding student to keep. We always talk about who maybe needs their bucket filled at our class meetings, and that way no one is left out. My students love filling our compliment jar, and really enjoy giving and receiving their slips. They are allowed to write during writer's workshop or during the writing portion of Daily 5. The bucket filler concept is one that I feel students can really understand and visualize. Here are some free slips for you to use in your classroom if you like! :-) Just click the link HERE or click on the picture below to download.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Class Agreement

First of all, Happy New School Year! The kids have officially started, and we are already just about in full swing. I'm in 2nd grade this year (love teaching 2nd grade), because I looped with my class. We've been 1st/2nd grade loopers for 6 years now at my school, and I've really enjoyed it. There are so many positives about looping, especially that you already know most (if not all) of your kiddos and parents. The beginning of the second year is so smooth, and it's nice to be able to jump right into things. However, this may be my last year of looping for a while. We may take a temporary leave so that we can focus our attention and energy on Common Core and MTSS (RTI in other states). That way, we can become really knowledgable and comfortable with the new curriculum. :-) I'm very excited about all of the changes and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to become familiar with Common Core in both 1st and 2nd grade, and I'm ready to now delve deeper into it!

I always make a Class Agreement with my students (consistent with Positive Classroom). We usually talk about and brainstorm the agreement together, and then I write it on chart paper to make our own little Anchor Chart and have the students sign it. However, thanks to Pinterest, one of my coworkers found this SUPER cute idea, to have the kids brainstorm things we will do as a class this year and then mount it and hang it from ribbon. So while it was the same concept of having the students come up with the agreement, we typed it up instead, and we are displaying our class agreements on all of our doors (all 2nd grades at my school). Here is the finished product for our class:

I think it turned out pretty cute, and the kids love it. We can now refer to it throughout the day, and other people entering our room (we keep our door open a lot) can also see what we're "all about." :-)

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