Friday, August 23, 2013

Busy Week and FREEBIE!

Whew!  We just finished our first FULL week of school (we started on Wednesday the 14th).  I have quite the crew this year - I am slowly remembering my high school spanish (phrases and words) for my nonenglish student, implementing whole brain teaching with my class, and surviving changes, switches, and all that comes with the beginning of the school year!

That being said, I am currently planning for next week.  As most of you know, we follow Investigations here at my school for K-2.  Of course, if you know that, you know how un-fond I am of that design, but I am trying my best to push it into small groups (how else can you teach math???) and fit our state standards.  

That being said, it does have its merits in some of the games that they have created.  

One of my current class's favorites right now is "Guess My Number."  They love it so much, they've requested it as a BUILD center!  Gotta love that as a teacher!  It focuses on choosing a "secret number" and you basically narrow it down as students guess.  It's a great way to become familiar with the hundreds chart, with number sense, as well as greater than/less than.

Sooo.....I usually use a hundreds chart and dry erase markers (or a number line if we're playing it whole class), but knowing my kids this year, they might need a "refresher" with the rules, so I created a template for the game with some "reminders" of what to do.  Knowing I was offering it to my followers, and how brain-dead I am on a Friday :) I threw in a couple of extra pages with a sample game and sample dialogue, as well as an explanation!
WoWoman Math Teacher
You can click {here} to download it from Google Drive.  If you share it with others, that's fine.  All I ask is that you give me credit and send them to my blog to follow me if interested!  You can also find it in my TPT store as a freebie as well!

Happy Weekend! :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blogger Exchange Goodies!

This summer, I participated in a back to school blogger exchange!
I've always read about these before, but never knew how to participate.  Well, let me tell you - being on Instagram this summer gave me so many "how tos" and connecting with other teachers - it was amazing!  I LOVE my blog, but Instagram is so cool because, well, it's instant and you can just share and put a blurb and get feedback!

So, I was paired up with Marcy at "Saddle Up for Second Grade." 
We follow each other on Instagram and too funny - we posted pics but did not realize we were paired with one another!  Good thing we didn't give too much away!

This is what Marcy sent me:

We both have animal themed rooms (hers is zebras), and we ended up getting each other the animal masks from Michael's.  Funny!

See those scissors?  They were the first thing I opened!  I should share with you about our scissors saga at my house.  Long story short, we lose EVERY PAIR OF STINKIN' SCISSORS THAT COME IN OUR HOUSE!  Seriously!  One of these days, we're going to find 100s of pairs of scissors from Dollar Tree in our house.  I have NO IDEA where they go!  We even have a drawer for markers, stamps, etc. and I try to put them in there, but they are always misplaced.  

Trust me, I am making sure these babies stay in a safe place!  My husband loves them since they have a bigger hole for your hands when you cut, so I know he doesn't want them lost.  For now, they're living in my school bag.  Hah!

The pens were the second thing I've opened and LOVE THEM.  I love these types of pens, where they look like marker, but are pens and do not smear.  I have a marker confession I'll insert here.  Every time I use markers, they always, always, always leave a mark on my hand.  Have no idea why or how, they just do. *sigh*  Anywho, these pens do not do that.  Yippee!  

Scentos stamps - big hit with the kiddos this week.  The journal - Marcy suggested I use it to write down funny things kids say to look at when I'm having a bad day.  Such a cute idea!  Love the giraffe spots!  Hiding in the back is a dry erase frame.  It didn't quite make it from Texas, but the glass was soon replaced and is now sitting at my desk.  It's great to use for reminders and replaces the sticky notes that use to be all over my desk!

Thank you Marcy for such a cool haul!  Be sure to check out Covered In Glitter and Glue's linky party, and definitely be sure to check out Marcy's blog:  Saddle Up for Second Grade, and follow both these ladies on Instagram!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Week, Classroom Reveal, and a SALE!

Okay, first and foremost -
I don't know how I almost missed the boat on this!  Oh yes, I know how - even though we had a short week with a Wednesday start, it was BACK TO SCHOOL with KIDS!

From Open House on Monday to Friday, I swear I did nothing but prepare!!!  Why is there NEVER enough time???  

The first week went well.  This year, I am completely sold on Whole Brain Teaching!  I have several "doozies" in my classroom (you know, the ones that the year before teachers see you, wince, and mouth "sorry" as your class walks down the hallway).  Well, from Day 1 we have practiced the rules, they LOVE the "class/yes" response, and they are AWESOME at "hands and eyes."  A few other things we need to practice/improve upon, but I am soooo excited!  The Scoreboard Game is a HIT!  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, make sure to check out and get the book from Amazon. (I thought it was very silly in the book when they said you would "weep tears of joy" on certain sections, but I can certainly see it now!).

My only problem with it - I am a long winded talker.  I'm having trouble with the "teach okay" bit - you teach in small chunks and they teach a buddy.  I keep forgetting to do it, and go back to my old way of repeating the directions, having a student clarify and going from there.  I have GOT to get better about that.  Of course, we haven't done anything other than "back to school" activities, so it hasn't been too bad (yet).  

Sooo...on to my "classroom reveal."  I am SO excited about my classroom this year.  It is definitely one of my favorites and looks great, if I do say so myself!  I did get a little insulted when a fellow teacher stuck her head in my room and said, "Someone's been on Pinterest!"

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Pinterest.  It's an addiction.  Really.  But, I came up with the idea to do a "safari" room because I wanted to do a meerkat job chart (seriously - came up with that at the end of last year!).  Other than the Whole Brain Teaching posters, the black paper above the board, and the dry erase circles, everything else was "original."  It's okay, though, and I guess I should take it as a compliment! :)

 My Whole Brain Teaching Rules, noise level, and "reminder" poster of WBT's strategies (class/yes, teach/okay, mirror, etc).  I used that to introduce it to my students the first day and it stays up there as a reminder.
 Daily Schedule, Scoreboard (when they won their first "prize"!  It took us 3 days, but we did it!), and clip chart.  We were told last minute that we were doing clip charts, so they laminated construction paper for us.  I decided to one up it a bit and had it match my theme! :)

 I used these cute pawprints to have students and parents follow to each of the different "stations" for Open House.  The students got a BIG kick out of it (even students who weren't mine!), so I decided to use it for lining up.  With the boy-heavy class I have this year, it was worked GREAT!  They know exactly where to stand and save the first two paws for the line leader and door holder.  It was one of those "duh" moments as in, "Why have I never done this before???"

My meerkat job board (that started it all)
My "Genius Ladder" from Whole Brain Teaching (so excited to use this!)

Like my view of the playground?  Yeah, sometimes it causes problems but I tell the kids if we look out there instead of paying attention, our blinds go down.  Let me tell you, it's gloomy with no sunlight, so it only happens once or twice before they learn!  My palm tree I'm using to count "100 days" with ten frames that fit on each "rung" of the tree.
Open House Pictures  
 I was really excited to use the idea of the signs/stops this year!  However, most of my parents didn't make it past stop #2 with the supplies (which I just realized I didn't take a picture of.  Whoops!).  The kids enjoyed following the pawprints, though!).  I found the palm trees at Goodwill (lucky find!).  I'm pretty sure you can find them at party stores.

 "Station 2" in the distance....I labelled baskets/bins for supplies I collect and added a note that everything else went into the student desks.  It saved me a LOT of time from sorting/putting things away.  Most of our parents bring supplies to Open House.
Wish List - thought it would turn out better....too many monkeys (they were too large, I think) that covered up the vines.  I asked for cardstock (any color), playing cards (could be used), band-aids, stamps (for pen pals), envelopes, and spiral notebooks (our supply lists designate composition, but I like using spiral for our interactive social studies/science notebooks).

 Another view of stop #3 with part of my reading center in there.  I was so proud of how it turned out, I kept this photo in here...hee hee (you can see an earlier post about it with my classroom "peeks").

 Most of the items in the gift bag were from Oriental Trading (including the bags).  I made the signs.  The other side said "Come Join Our Learning Safari!"
 My "revamped" magnets I give out every year.  This time, I added cute graphics from Melonheadz to go with my theme.  I include my email, school number with my extension, our class blog, wiki pages, website, and Donors Choose page.
 Not sure if I've ever shared this last pic (maybe for a "Monday Made It" on Instagram).  The treasure chest was a clearance item  at Walmart ($4!) that was red.  The chair was a Goodwill find that I painted (the wheels were broken, so I took them off and added the tennis balls since I could see kids dragging it around and scratching up the floor).  I use it for my "read aloud" chair and for kids to "read aloud."  

So, that's my classroom/Open House for the year.  You can check out more on my Instagram account - I have a tendency to post on there more than any other place since I can snap pics with my phone, upload and boom!  It's there.  You can click on the button above to see my profile/pics, or just look me up at "adventuresinsecondgrade."

Whew!  Now to catch up on the laundry! :)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It, Classroom Peeks, and a SALE!

Just a reminder that my TpT store and Teacher's Notebook stores have a sale going on - 20% and 25%, respectively.  Be sure to check it out!

Now, this is my first "official link up" to 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It.  I've hashtagged it a bunch of times on Instagram, but I'm making it official today. :)  It goes along with my classroom peeks.  By no means is my classroom finished, but today is my last "full day" of being in my classroom on my own time till teachers in our county start on Wednesday!

1.  Table Baskets

 I get so inspired now by Instagram and what teachers post on there.  In fact, I'm finding I'm spending more time on there than on Pinterest!  Shocker, I know!  I bought those baskets for last year and used them for my tables.  This year, I decided to dress them up after seeing a post on Instagram.  I found the peacock ribbon at Michael's and created the labels (one for each side).  I have put off putting my desks down (gives me more floor space to spread out), so hopefully soon, when I do a full class reveal, you'll be able to see them "in action."  

Right now, they're sitting on top of my literacy center drawers.  I stumbled into the red ones for $5 apiece at Walmart (can you believe it???).  Wish I had gone back and gotten more, but I wasn't that smart at the time.  That's why I also have a blue and white one!  (Ignore the mess of other things as I "restore" my room!).
 2.  Owl sign :)
The sticker came from Walmart for like 97 cents.  I also found the wooden sign and spray paint at Walmart, but the washi tape is from Michael's. :)  Can you guess what my favorite stores are???

3.  Classroom Peeks/Kinda Made Its:
We have ugly, drab, gray hallways.  I see so many cute painted hallways, but nope, not ours.  This year, I found the cutest border that fit my safari theme!  So, I decided it could "dress up" our spot outside our room where I usually hang up our work! :)

 This is my math corner.  With the new theme this year, I decided to dress it up a little - and what better way than to label everything??? I found some monkey labels I'd been hoarding saving, and used my massive collection of buckets (don't you love Dollar Tree?  It's like you can justify spending money on baskets when it's only a dollar!).  I have hundreds charts in pocket protectors for my students to use, when needed, and in the other bucket hanging down are student clocks.  I figured this would be handy since during Investigations, we use clocks a lot and it's a great way to review what they've learned for hour and half hour!

 My Math Focus Wall.  I created the vocab cards from a list of Investigations as well as our state standards words.  Popped magnets on the back and voila!  I also have a few posters with magnets I put up there as well, but haven't unpacked those yet.  I like being able to pull off the vocab card and using it in group than having a student putting it back.  It looks a little drab, I know, but trust me, it looks much better in person!
View around the desk:  At the end of last year, I loved the idea of the canvas bins hiding all my teacher books (which usually look like they're about to fall off the shelf!).  Cleans it up nicely, doesn't it?  I have my read aloud/personal collection of books, a filing cabinet, and a mess for right now.  It's gotten better since the picture was taken!

My "new year's" resolution!  I usually cannot see the top of my desk.  Seriously.  So, with the toolbox, basket, and cute peacock feather folders, I am promising myself my desk will NOT look like a filing cabinet threw up on it!  Right now, it's not toooo bad - it has been MUCH worse when setting up my room, I promise!  Snagged the lamp at Michael's when they put that section on 80% clearance - love it! 

My "reference area" and "oversize books" with a few friends hanging out for now.
 Am I the only one that "spreads out" when putting my room together?  Unfortunately, it's still there, but posters are on the "to do" list for today!
 Sad, isn't it?  Unused baskets and containers just cry out to be used, don't they?  Behind them is the mailbox I purchased eons ago that's held up pretty well over the years!  Also I collect pencils, glue sticks, and sticky notes for a classroom collection and hand them out very stingily during the year (else they'd be gone in December!).  I also collect the extra crayon boxes and scissors students bring in.  Otherwise, they'd be lost in that black hole students call a desk!  They're waiting there patiently in the drawer until needed!

 My "READ" Corner

 Front bulletin boards.  The green one will be a focus wall for Reading.  The striped is for the poem of the week and the brown pawprint is for the "featured anchor chart."  That green dot up there is a dry erase sticker from A.C. Moore that has actually stayed up there for enough days, I think it's safe enough to put the rest up!  I plan on writing my standards on them instead of the poster I used last year.  More fun, attractive, and less space!!! See that SMARTboard there?  It takes up a LOT of my board space (and my bulletin board!).  Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful to have it, but we got ours used and it can be VERY persnickity!

Another Pinterest-inspired idea.  Love the black paper above the whiteboard but my oh my, it was a PAIN with that border!  I should have used the decorated duct tape like I had planned, but was worried about stripping paint from the wall.  Instead, that border has fallen so much I literally have a whole roll of duct tape holding it up there (from behind of course!).  

 This is where I put my WBT rules and will put the noise level and other things up there that I want to draw student's attention to.  I swear, I've been getting the strangest sense of "deja print" lately - as in, didn't I already print this? Where the heck is it then?  Is it laminated?  I swear I laminated it!  Well, that was me last night and this morning! Whew!

 Last but not least, my back bulletin board. The brown pawprints will be my history/science focus board (see?  I already have magnet poster up).  The gold shiny one will have my meerkat job chart which I am still working on.

I hope you enjoyed some "sneak peeks" and know that there's more in store (I hope!).  I figured I have some "made its" throughout the post to make it an "official" made it! 

We start with kids on August 14th.  Wish me luck, Charlie!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

VA is for Bloggers - Southern Hospitality Freebie Blog Hop

Welcome to Virginia!

Virginia is for Lovers Bloggers!

A lovely group of Virginia bloggers would like to help usher in the new school year by extending a bit of southern hospitality.  You can follow along the blog hop to visit 20+ Virginia teacher blogs for terrific teaching tips and fun freebies to help get your new school year off to a great start.

 For my freebie, I decided to share what I've created for my unit on Citizenship, since I know a lot of teachers like to start the year with that unit!

Click on the picture to go get your freebie!  It includes scenario cards appropriate for K-5, where students have to decide what is the "right" thing to do!  I hope you find it as useful as I do! It's part of my Citizenship Bundle at my store, so if you like this, be sure to check it out! 
I'm also holding a BACK TO SCHOOL sale this week (today - Wednesday) as well, to commiserate celebrate the teachers' return to school in our district this Wednesday!

The next stop on the hop is  Fluent in Fourth