Monday, April 30, 2012

Who doesn't like a sale?

I'm joining in with others to bring you a Teacher's Appreciation Sale this Sunday-Tuesday (May 6-8).  I'll be offering 20% off, and with TpT's additional 10%, that'll be 28% off of products!  Please stop by...I've marked all my current (and upcoming) products on sale!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Would you like to try a Prefix? How about a Suffix?

I must admit, I've been enjoying teaching this to my kids this year!  It's always good when you can make something boring fun!  :)  Besides creating "unmuffins" and matching aliens to their spaceships (from an earlier post, available on my Teacher's Notebook and TpT stores) which the kids LOVED, we created an anchor chart 

and "springed" up our grammar tree outside the room.
 The students were given the center of the flower with a prefix or suffix and a template for flower petals.  They then had to use words (written on the petal) that used the prefix or suffix (I made my kids do one of each).  I'm adding the extras to our literacy centers so we can fill up the bush a bit more! :)

 I hadn't anticipated adding a bush, but I really didn't want to take my rainbow down from St. Pat's Day and it couldn't just end mid-wall.  That, and I had requests from a PreK teacher and the PT across the hall (who has her kids park the trike at the rainbow or at the tree) to not remove it!  I very heartily agreed!  It does add a nice splash of color to the hallway! :) 

I also add magnetic alphabet letters to my whiteboard to use during our unit.  It helps the kids remember what each one means when we add it to a word.  

I did the same with the suffixes on the right side of the board.  The students had fun writing words on the board and moving the letters to make new words!

Next week, we'll end our unit with a Grammar Adventure and a game of Scoot before our assessment.  (I wanted to add pics here, but long story short...the links take you to my TN store, where they are CHEAP through April 30th!).

I have to admit...I'll miss our activities, but have great ideas for our upcoming reference materials unit.  Here's a peek at one of my scavenger hunt ideas, available now on TpT and Teacher's Notebook.

Don't forget!  All my activities on Teacher's Notebook are half price until April 30th to celebrate my new store!  Please grab an unmuffin, alien, Grammar Adventure, or Scoot if you like what you see! ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Firetrucks, the FBI, and Nurses - OH MY!

We had our first annual Career Day on Friday.  What a great time!  Our wonderful counselor put it together (our school has only been open for 2 years, so we're still going through "firsts").  Each grade level had 6 "careers" they rotated through.  I was lucky enough to have the FBI/police detective in my room :), but we also saw a landscaper, technical writer, firefighter, miner, and nurse.  My children (fifth and kindergarten) got to see other jobs:  chemist, professional athlete, doctor, graphic artist, etc. 

It was rave reviews all around!  PK-2 had their time from 9-11 and 3-5 had their time from 12-2.  I honestly had never heard of a technical writer before!  (She writes directions, etc.).  It was funny when she told my students that she HAS to leave out descriptive words, etc.  I mean, isn't that what we always emphasize with students?  Instead, she has to use plain, simple English everyone will understand.  I was a little jealous when she said she went to work in her pajamas every day! (Think my principal wouldn't approve, although it would be comfy!). 

So, wanted to share some photos of our 2nd grade experience below!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Earth Day and a Trip to China

I cannot believe how fast time is moving towards the end of the year!  My kids have started a countdown and we have 28 days left (and I realize that's not all teaching days!  Ack!).

This week, we celebrated Earth Day on Tuesday.  Inspired by several Pinterest posts, my students created an Earth Day Promise poster.  They really enjoyed doing the handprint (anything that involves paint!), which I told them helped seal their promise for taking care of the Earth, wrote their Earth Day promise, and created an Acrostic about how people should take care of our Earth.  We preceded this activity by looking at our wiki Ecology page.  The kids enjoyed watching how a plastic milk jug was turned into a fence post, and of course, the rapping worm (you have to check it out!).  This really inspired some good conversation in my room about the Earth and how "Earth Day is Everyday."

I meant for us to celebrate Earth Day on Monday (closer to the Sunday calendar day), but a trip to China got in the way.  (Yeah, imagine THAT field trip!).  Well, we DID go on a field trip....just via Google Earth.  Several years ago, I learned how to create a virtual field trip using Google Earth (mine is a pretty basic version) and created trips to China, Egypt, and Famous American homes.  My students were so excited to "fly through the air and across the ocean" (as they said) to Asia, where we explored China.  You can find the field trip here on our China wiki page (it's a download which will open your Google Earth program automatically.  It does start at my former elementary school, but you can skip that part!).  If you've never used Google Earth, it's a GREAT teaching tool and is a free download!  

So, with our trip to China, we got a basic overview of the ancient culture to begin our unit.  We then read the story "Chinatown" by William Low and created our own New Year's dragon!  The kids did such a great job adding detail to their dragons (a template from Brain Pop Jr.) that we ran out of time!

More to post later on China and since this is such a lengthy post, prefixes/suffixes are going to be pushed out of the way till this weekend.  I'm excited to share with you some of the things we've done this week and last (and somehow, is getting pushed into next week).  I never thought I'd say I have really enjoyed teaching this concept! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Greatest Pencil Sharpener EVER! :)

Okay, so I have to admit, I was skeptical when I saw others post about this "fantastic" pencil sharpener and how every teacher needed one in their classroom.  Out of frustration one day, when our pencil sharpener yet again would only sharpen one side of the pencil (sooo annoying!), I clicked on a link to the website.

I was skeptical about shelling out $25 for a pencil sharpener when I wasn't even sure how it worked.  Plus, it just looked...strange.  Definitely not your traditional pencil sharpener.  I was surprised when I saw a link that you could ask the inventor, Troy DeCoff, to possibly send you a FREE one if you would review it.  I thought...what could it hurt?

I was even more surprised when Mr. DeCoff emailed me the NEXT DAY and told me he had checked out my blog, it was what they were looking for, and my free pencil sharpener was on its way!  Woo hoo! :)  You know teachers - we're all about the free stuff!

So, it took awhile, but it arrived.  I waited to play with it after school, took it out of the box, read the directions, and grabbed a pencil.

It sharpened one side only, just like my traditional one.  What?  I tried again. Same thing.  Read over the directions.  What was I doing wrong?

Well, thank goodness for other bloggers!  I emailed Traci over at Dragonflies in First, convinced I was doing SOMETHING wrong!  Why would everyone rave about this fantastic new thing?

So, Murphy's Law....I WAS!  After rereading Traci's post about it, I realized that the cool silver plate thing?  You pull that out, pinch the black clamps together, insert the pencil (let go of the black clamps and the pencil STAYS!), and sharpen in a clockwise direction.

It WORKED!  The hallelujah chorus could be heard throughout the building!  Okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but after one of my students and I had spent the last week trying to figure it out, I was so happy to show him HOW it actually worked!  Well, we just had ourselves a pencil sharpening party!  EVERYONE wanted to sharpen pencils! 

So...take it from a is sooo worth the $20 to buy one!  Ours is still going strong through even a tug-of-war that broke out one day between who got to sharpen pencils! (and a few drops).  Troy is simply a GENIUS!  So, please, click on my button to the side to see more or this link here!  It's definitely worth it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grand Opening!

I'm so excited! I opened up my shop on "Teacher's Notebook." I've been debating on doing this, since I see a lot of bloggy teachers have both shops listed. I've discovered some definite pros and cons for both sites. I LOVE that Teacher's Notebook gives you 100% of the sales for a one-time fee, as well as has the sale directly deposited to your Paypal account. However, I find that Teachers Pay Teachers seems to be more popular and is much easier (and faster) to upload items than Teacher's Notebook.

Either way, I'm just so excited to have my shop "Everyday Adventures," that I'm throwing a "Grand Opening Sale!" EVERYTHING in my Teacher's Notebook store is 50% off! While I do have the same items listed on my TpT store for the same price, they are half off at Teacher's Notebook, so please go check it out! (Have I mentioned they're half price?) I have only uploaded 12 items (one free) so far, but I plan on doing more! I have included some of my more popular items, as well as my newest ones.

The sale runs until April 30th, so as I upload more items (and yes, I am developing more Scoot kids can't get enough!), they'll also be included in the sale!

Click on the link below and hope you see something you can use! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Apples and Pizza

This week, besides prefixes and suffixes (another post, another day!), we were working on fractions and Johnny Appleseed. Yes, a little late in the year to be honoring good ol' John Chapman, but in our reading series (Harcourt Trophies), they have his story as a Reader's Theater, and since most of my kiddos couldn't participate reading that, until now, we waited. It went well with our plant/animal life cycle unit :)

So, a few Pinterest-inspired activities: The fraction pizzas my sub did while I was out sick (unfortunately, I just got them up, and after a few corrections my kiddos did!) and "getting to the core of Johnny Appleseed." I thought they turned out cute. We also did an anchor chart on Johnny Appleseed as well.

Our "brag" wall :)

A few pizzas...I like the one with the bugs! :)

I also threw in my fossil anchor chart as well as our "metamorphosis" one (yes, I had to use clip art for deer after my first attempt, which the kids thought was a dog!).

So, hope you find something useful! Feel free to comment or ask questions! I'm excited because tomorrow is our "unmuffin" episode for Electric Company, and I am excited about our activities!!! "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Prefix and Suffix Games

I always try to take a creative spin in subject areas that are either difficult or (gasp) boring to my kiddos. Unfortunately, prefixes and suffixes fall into both categories with mine. Over the past years, I've added alphabet magnets and add that prefix (or suffix) to the board after we talk about it. Students can then use the letters to add to words they write on the board, etc. Simple enough and can be reused each year (I had to buy several packs of these to have enough vowels, especially "e").

This year, being a more "pinteresting" teacher, as well as inspired by all those that teacher blog and create activities for TpT and TN, I've created two games I think my kids will like!

The first one is inspired by our Friday viewing of The Electric Company. We stream it from the website, and then I always create (or find) centers to go with each episode. If you haven't checked it out, you should! This week, I decided to do "Unmuffins" because it covered the prefix "un." So, that inspired me to create my own version of "unmuffins" as a center (which also includes pre, re, mis, and dis).

Sooo...what to do with suffixes? I was trying to think of things that go and worms, sandwich slices....and boom! I created a Suffix Alien Invasion (covering y, ly, er, est, ful, less). I thought it turned out really cute!

Both of these are available on TpT if you click on the pictures. I'm planning on using both in my classroom this week as we return from Spring Break (I am NOT looking forward to waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow!). I'll let you know how my kids rate the centers! I can see my boys really enjoying the aliens (although one will complain its not zombies...but oh well, can't please everyone!).

Till then, if you're like me, returning from Spring Break, good luck to you! I hope you are well rested, your kids are "spongy" and ready to learn, and things don't get too hectic! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TpT Linkup: It's a Spring Thing!

I was asked to link up my Spring Estimation Station/Spring Eraser activity to Teacher 2 Teacher's blog! Be sure to check it out! It's a link up of all Spring-themed free items on TpT! Definitely you should check it out! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Centers

I didn't go whole hog into Spring Centers this time, just because we had a field trip scheduled for that Friday. However, we celebrated a bit on Thursday, so I wanted to share what we did!

First, my team put together an egg hunt that was a review for Science and History. Students had a numbered sheet, 1-20, and had to work in partners and find each egg, read the slip inside, write the answer on their sheet, and put the egg back.

I don't know why...maybe it was the excitement, the fullish moon, the field trip the next day...but my students had the worst time putting the eggs back where they found them! Some would be holding clues in their hand, with no idea where the egg was! The bad thing was, we were FIRST! We finally got it all settled and taken care of but...whew!

Since it was our math time, we came in and did our usual math rotation, except with a twist. We usually do a group/independent/center rotation (the center this year being with my assistant, who does different activities with the students....when students finish their independent work at their seat, they have time for centers...each rotation is 30 minutes or so).

With my assistant, they created bookmarks with fun foam spring stickers (Dollar Tree!) and had to write on the back the fraction of what each item was (to emphasize parts of a set!). With me, they had two activities: Estimation Station and a fraction activity using spring erasers (also from Dollar Tree!). I've included them both here, and you can also click on them and find them as a free download on TpT!

So, know Easter's over, but if you'd like to use them after break or for next year ;) feel free! The kids had a lot of fun with them! It was a fun way to review fractions....I' m also going to be posting my fraction centers on TpT that we're going to use on Monday to ease us back in from a week off!
If you'd like a free copy of the fraction centers, be one of the first three to comment and leave your email address!

The emphasis is on recognizing fractions, determining the denominator and numerator, and being able to represent fractions! Included are 4 different games that use fraction tiles, fraction dice, cubes/colored blocks, two-colored chips and a "graffiti wall." If you don't have those manipulatives, I've either included a link to a free download, or provided them in the packet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tagged Again :)

Jenny over at Luckeyfrog's Lilypad tagged me, so here I go again! (Can you tell its Spring Break? Of course, crazy ol' me is going into school tomorrow to get ready for next week and possibly clean my room....hah hah, kidding on that last one! Even when I try to clean/organize my room, it somehow doesn't last long!).

1. Did you take lessons in anything as a kid?
piano taught me to read music, which helped being in the handbell choir at church!

2. What is the one book you would recommend to a new teacher?
Strategies that Work! (the first edition that's red...I'm not a big fan of the newest edition) That was a GREAT way to not only understand about the different reading strategies, but had some great examples! It was one of the few books I actually read cover to cover that was handed to me for a "professional library" (oops...did I just confess that?).

3. Who is your very favorite children's book author or illustrator?
Mo can do almost anything with his pigeon books, no matter the age...teach a strategy, characterization, etc. My favorite author to read aloud is Bill Wallace and his "talking animals" books...they are TOO FUNNY!

4. If you could only listen to one musical artist/group for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Rascal Flatts.....or would it be Maroon 5....or The Frey....hmmm.....have to think on that one!

5. What is your favorite dessert?
lately, anything with strawberries and chocolate!

6. What is your biggest strength as a teacher?
being to change the lesson when the kids give you the "deer in the headlights" look....I have learned to take a moment, recollect my thoughts, and come back to it in another way...that and teach with a sense of humor

7. What is your favorite piece of clothing?
pajama pants! wish we had pj day more often at school!!!!

8. What is the last thing you bought?
besides food? tennis shoes/walking shoes...mine were downright embarrassing and falling apart!

9. If someone gave you $500 for your classroom right now, what would you buy?
oh my....cardstock, organizational things (such as drawers...I sadly have no closet in my room so I'm trying to make it look nice with decent containers/drawers to put my centers, etc. in )....and think that would take all my money! LOL....maybe take the rest and put it on a gift card for Dollar Tree (fave store!)

10. What is your favorite vacation spot?
Years ago, my family used to go to Sunset Island in NC. Would LOVE to take my family there! Quiet, family-oriented beach and only 30 min from the craziness of Myrtle Beach and close to Wilmington :)

*Since I've already tagged 10 people, I'll skip that part for right now :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Field Trip Friday!

We managed to schedule a field trip the last day before Spring Break! :) Yep, good timing, I know! Our kiddos got to experience their first charter bus trip, literally going through the woods and over the mountain to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA.

This is a FABULOUS place for a field trip! It focuses on the past and how early Americans settled in the area and their early life! In the "new world," it focuses on 1740s farm, 1820s farm, a one-room schoolhouse, and an 1840s farm. In the "old world," it focuses on the ancestry of folks who settled in the area, including an Irish farm, English farm, German farm, and African farm.

The interpreters are costumed and tell of life back then. Of course, my kids were wild about the animals they had there, especially the chickens! Don't ask me why...these are rural kids, so chickens are no big deal! :) Here are a few photos of our trip. If you ever have the chance to visit, this time of year is great! The weather was beautiful, and usually, there are baby lambs to see as adorable! You can also visit the website and use the photos in your classroom, when you focus on past and present!