Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm Still Here!

I know it's been like forever (a month) since I've taken the time to blog!
Life has been going on around my house and with that brings husband out of town, orthodontist appointments, sickness, and this big boy having his first birthday!


And the sickness part was me. On the day of the party. STREP!!
Oh, I went though.  Just had to stay clear of everyone, which is hard with a family as loving as mine!! We like to hug!
But it's all good now.... A shot and antibiotics and I am back!
And tomorrow, this big guy is officially a 1 year old!
Time flies!
Anyway, I did manage to work on my October pack for my
 literacy stations.  This pack follows the Storytown skills sequence since that is our adopted reading series.
I am soooo loving using it!! I used to just put the recording sheets at each station and HATED it!  Papers ev-er-y-where!! And no one knew they were suppose to take a recording sheet from THAT station!
The idea of making a station packet is genius.  So a BIG THANK YOU to the amazing teacher who first thought of it!!
And adding the checklist to the front
so that they can keep up with what they have completed is GOLDEN!
You can check it out on TPT ! Hope it helps someone else
 as much as it is helping me!

Friday, September 5, 2014

3 States of Matter Kind of Day!

     We've been studying the three states of matter this week.  We've read about it, talked about it, cut out pictures for good examples of each, and today we did an experiment!!  Who doesn't LOVE a science experiment that is edible?!?! Well, the kiddos were certainly excited enough about it even if we had some doubters that it would actually work!! One little smarty, in one of my teaching partners rooms, looked oh so sad as he said his liquid mixture in the baggy would never make ice cream!! 
 He was very happy to be wrong about this!! 

Two of our second grade classes did the experiment today and the other two plan to do it next week.  My friend and I used different recipes (and I am told her's was much better!) and the taste was different but other than that, both classes were successful!! 
We had never tried this before so we were a little anxious.  

Basically, you use your favorite ice cream recipe.  (We both used vanilla, but I'm sure you could branch out and try other flavors as well!) Fill a gallon size bag half way with ice and add about a half cup ice cream salt.  Put about a half cup of your ice ream mixture into a snack size bag and seal.  Then, put the small bag inside the larger bag and seal. Shake the big bag until the liquid is yummy ice cream. (We worked with a partner and put two bags in each gallon size bag. They each took turns shaking and it was more than enough fun for the both of them!)  It seriously took like 5 - 10 minutes and it was done!  Amazing!!!!

Mine needed more flavor according to Ms. White from FirstGradeBlueSkies.  I didn't taste it because I am trying very hard to stick to this Bodies for Believers diet plan.  One bite of an unapproved food and I would stop burning fat.  I plan to have some ice cream this weekend but wasn't willing to let this throw me off lol!  So next time, I will use more vanilla and more sugar!!  Live and learn!  My kiddos never complained!! They were amazed that they had made ice cream just by shaking their ice cream baggy inside a bigger bag of ice/salt combination. Wish I had taken more pictures, but when you are mixing and pouring and sealing bags while cleaning up spilled mixtures, you kinda have your hands full!  Loved it though and I WILL do this again!!! 

We took a liquid, surrounded it with cold air and ice, and made a solid!! Hoping that the cold air surrounding the liquid was the only gas involved!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Saw this Linky Party and had to join in!! I'm usually not much of a party person, but this one looks like fun and I sooooo need some fun right now!  I'm just getting into this whole blogging thing and I am learning so much from all these experts.  Thanks for the help you guys!
I am really wanting to get out there, so follow me!

I am in Alabama and we have had such a tough time with this heat and lack of rain! I'm talking 90 degrees and up!   So thankful for what we are getting right now! 
 Gonna sound awesome when I get to crawl into bed!
So, I'm on this Bodies for Believers diet plan and I am missing my beloved ice cream terribly!  But, Dannon has this yummy Greek yogurt that fits into the plan as a snack, so YUM!  I saw another teacher friend with some delicious key lime pie flavor in the Dannon Light & Fit
so I am on the search for it now!
I know it's just September, but I am really thinking if I start Christmas shopping now, I'll be able to find some great items that will make the perfect Christmas gifts!
 Love to buy gifts when I am not pressed for time!
Back to the diet thing, I do miss my Blue Bell ice cream!  This plan does allow for what they call cold days where you can enjoy some of the stuff you think you're missing.  I'm trying really hard to be strong and not have the allotted 2 days a week.  But I feel one coming on pretty soon! lol
We are having our 1st Annual Reading and Writing Fall Celebration  the week before Halloween that will include a super fun carnival and pumpkin patch!  I am beyond excited, but also a little anxious! I want to go ahead and order the prizes
so I know they will be here in time!
We took an amazing trip this summer.  We spent two weeks out west and had the best. time. ever.  But if I could jump on a plane tomorrow, the destination would be Hawaii!! 
Go on over and join the fun!
Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Paperwork, paperwork, and, yeah, more paperwork!

 So here we are, three full weeks and two days into the 2014 - 2015 school year.  I have already collected like 12 billion pieces of very important papers from each of my 15 students (yes, I got a new student since my last post). Full name, DOB, address, phone numbers, siblings, medical, and sooo much more info that I really do need but its scattered over all these different papers that need to be filed here and there!  So last year, I saw some smarty's idea of a single page to park all the info that I need at my fingertips.  Their sheet didn't exactly fit for me, but gave me the idea for making one that would.  I used it last year and had every intent to use it this year.  I even printed them out!! Then, my dear friend Paige that I teach with, shared her info sheet with me.  She had thought of a few more things that would be nice to have access to quickly.  So, as much as I hated to do it, into the trash went the fresh copies and I went to work on adding to my sheet! In the older version, I had everything on one sheet and just the front.  I had only a small space allotted for conferences, so after the new add ins I took the entire back of the sheet for a full chart to help me track all parent contact. It makes my heart happy to make my life a little bit easier with such a simple concept!  I'm sharing the finished product with you here.  Take from it what you need and make it your own or use it like it is! Happy Labor Day and rest up! You know you'll be getting a new student or two since you've already written in your grade book with ink and have your groups and partners so nicely divided!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our E.A.G.L.E.S. binders

One thing that we started several years ago (like some of the kids that used these have already graduated), is our EAGLES binders.  The kiddos carry these back and forth every. single. day.  Eagles are our mascot, so we searched the internet for an acronym and this super smart person at Smiths Room had the answer we were looking for!! The site has an organizational acronym for just about any name you want! So, we made our cover and began.

We have 1 inch binders on our supply list and we request the ones with the clear pocket on the front.  Sometimes we get some without the clear pocket and we have made it work, but it's not ideal.
Next, we made labels for all the "stuff" we felt was important to keep in there and help the kids be more successful keeping up with their papers.  This led to us seeing that we needed a couple of page protectors, a pocket folder with holes, a pencil pouch, and recently a tab divider for poetry!

When you open the binder, the first pocket is labeled "In The Know".  This is where we have the students put any notes so the moms know just where to look.  And the moms can put notes there for us!  In the beginning, we do remind them to look to see if they have something for us.  But after the first couple of weeks, we hand over the responsibility to the students.


The first item added is a pencil pouch.  This can be a place for pencils for homework and also any money that they might need.

The next page is a page protector that holds the calendar for the month and, behind that facing out, is the study guide for language arts for the week.  We keep the study guides from year to year and has really cut down on copying!!  The calendar includes the lunch menu, tests for the month, and any extra activities that might be going on for that month.  The calendars just get tossed at the end of the month.

The next item added in is the pocket folder.  The pockets are labeled "Grade Sheet" and "Super Duper Work".  The grade sheet side holds the graded tests and the printed out progress report from iNow.  The super duper side holds any sheets that we worked on in class and I checked over or artwork.   These papers go home to stay, while the test papers come back for me to file with the signed grade sheet.


The next page is in a page protector to keep it from being pulled out, but they actually write on this one.  Its a fluency and comprehension sheet from The Second Story Window.
This is our first year to use this.  In the past, we had a fluency passage each week with a calendar for the parents to record the words per minute.  This was obviously not working when you have them returning the calendars at the end of the month----empty!  With this new fluency passage, it also has questions and directions for the parents.  This gets turned in weekly so we will see how it goes!  I have high hopes :). 

Next, we have the poetry section.  This is also new this year.  It includes a student made table of contents as we go and a poem gets added each week that goes along with our theme that week!! Just a little extra fluency practice that's fun!

And last, but not least, the Homework pocket is the
pocket in the back of the binder. 
Any unfinished work or extra practice goes here!  
( Apparently, I forgot to take a picture of that but I'm sure you get the idea!)

Whew!  I promise I won't always write a book when I post!! I just saw some questions out there about keeping students organized so I thought I would share in hopes that it might help!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Linking Up for Organization Tips

There are several little  things I do to try to keep my self organized that would probably seem silly to some, but it's all in what works for you I guess!  I'll just share this one that has totally changed needing a sub and getting together plans for me!
Last year, we were expecting our first grandbaby.  So I thought I had better have my act together ahead of time in case the Nana nerves kicked in and I just couldn't get sub stuff together on the fly.  I've always had a sub binder with the important stuff like emergency plans, attendance register, contact numbers, you know! But I wanted things to go as smoothly as possible for all involved so I could enjoy this amazing time for us.  I started keeping all the papers for the week in separate colorful folders for the day of the week that they were needed.  Nothing much new here.....I'm sure most teachers do this.  Then I printed off a schedule for each day to include what the students usually did for whole group, small group, independent work, bathroom breaks, specials, EVERYTHING that was happening that day.  Now of course it had to be somewhat generic and not include the actual page numbers but it gives enough to help keep the structure there.  Now whether or not the subs like it, I don't know.  But, anyway, I attached the schedule for the day on the days folder.  Now, before I leave each day, I leave the next day's folder out and ready for me and also just in case something comes up!  Sure has made things easier for me! 
Go see all the other great ideas that these AWESOME teachers have to offer!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome to My Home Away from Home!

So this is where I get to spend some valuable time with some pretty awesome people!
 This is a view from the doorway to the "front" of my room.  I don't know why I call it the front but that's it's title and it's too much to change it now lol!!
 I did this over my door on the hallway side to kind of go with my pinch of a superhero theme.  Not really into the whole full blown theme these days.  I just seemed to get tired of looking at it the entire year.  But I like a little novelty to get the kiddos excited.
Not sure who first started this behavior chart system, but I am loving it for my class!  I've been doing it for a few years and just made this new one for this year.  I love the idea of rewarding those sweethearts that are just always found doing what they are suppose to be doing!! When they make it to Amazing, they get a jewel on their pin.  You would have thought it was a priceless gem!!  I also added in a reward on each of the move ups.  They LOVE it! Wish I had one more level up from Superhero but too late to change it now. Maybe next year!

 These are my birthday baskets!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea that I totally snagged from another blogger (can't remember who, but THANK YOU)!! I have a basket for boys and one for girls.  I only keep about 5 in each one at any given time.  They have inexpensive prizes in them that I pick up throughout the year at Dollar Tree or wherever! If they have a birthday in July, they get to pick one our first week in school.  If they have a birthday in June, they get to pick one before we leave for summer break!
 Not totally thrilled with this yet.  Needed to add some pop on the boring cabinets and needed a place to anchor my number words.  Used wrapping paper from Wal-Mart as the background and then laminated it all!
 My calendar and math manipulative area!  Use this EVERY morning with our math notebooks!
Student cubby areas for their art boxes and big ole science and social studies textbooks!
Just dishpans from WM and used our Silhouette to make the student numbers.
Birthday banner bulletin board and places to park the paper trail of parent notes, student handouts, and the like.

My HUGE desk that was a thrift store find on the cheap and it was in perfect condition.  Even has the L for a computer.....if I had one!

Another view of the front!  Not sure if you can make out the name hangers from my ceiling.  Each child has one and someday soon we will have some fabulous art work hanging down! Can't wait!

Another view!  Notice all the empty wall space for upcoming charts and student work!

Bulletin board in the hallway that no one but my class ever sees :( ! 
Our character this week!! Arthur from our reading series story Arthur's Reading Race!
Superhero job chart! Thanks Pinterest!
A job for everyone.  All 14 of them!

Our classroom library!  I sooo struggle with organization here!

Another view of my desk area that I house stuff!


High frequency word wall!

Small group area that is behind my desk!
Station rotation chart.  We have 10 stations.  Each student goes to two stations every day for 30 minutes.  I would really love to paint this monster of a file cabinet, but it is most likely waxed to the floor and I'm sure it weighs like a billion pounds!
Portable stations!
Spelling and high frequency words for the week!
Well, that's about it!  I am really out of my comfort zone sharing my classroom!  I know there are so many teachers with rooms that should be in magazines or something, so click on the link below and enjoy theirs! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Things About Me

Sorry about this since I know I've just started this blogging thing and I've already told waayyy too much already! But, I decided to join the fun and maybe get to know some of you better.
You should totally join in too and then we'll know each other's deep, dark secrets!
I listed 10 trivial things about me but the most important thing to know about me is that I am a Christian.  I was saved when I was 12. I am not perfect.  I make mistakes, but I try hard every day to live my life for Him.   He is always with me and I hope some little sweeties can see that He is with me in the classroom as well.  I saw how Mrs. Lemons of Step into Second Grade shared her testimony and it is very refreshing to see such people loving on all these babies we get!
Okay so here goes....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What I've Been Up To!

Good thing teachers only work 5 days a week 8:00 - 3:00, right?
I've been as busy as can be trying to get
myself organized so the year will
run as smoothly as possible. 
 We've always had pacing guides that we set up each year, but they're for each subject separately.  And we've always tried to tie it all together when planning each week.  I've been feeling the need to pull it all together in a yearly plan to help me organize what we'll be teaching and how we can tie it together across the content areas.  I'm also going ahead and adding the standards so when lesson planning time comes, it will already be there. (I must add here that I am blessed beyond measure with fantastic coworkers that carry the load with me!) It's also helping to  make sure we cover all the standards since I am making notes on a checklist for all the standards.  I'm almost finished with everything but writing.  We are beginning a new writing program called "Being a Writer" so I'm not clear on how we will implement this yet.   (Anybody using this already???) We are going to have some PD on this soon, so then maybe I can get that part added too.  So far, I am loving the ease of everything being together.  I am walking out on faith that all the extra work now will help me to plan ahead for special guests or special events that
we can add to our lesson plans and
keep these curious second graders engaged. 
 I'll share more about this when it is complete!
I've also been working on a couple of things to pair up with our reading stories.  We are still using Storytown and the first story is Arthur's Reading Race. I tried using Paint for the first time and created a craftivity with the main character. 
You can get that here for free!
This summer I created a close read pack on aardvarks that I am going to use for science this week!
You can see more about that here on TPT!
The second story in our series is Frog and Toad All Year.
I also created a close read pack for this on Frogs.  I plan to use this for our science for the week.  I added it to my store today too!
Clicking on the picture above should take you to it in my store!
So that about sums up what I've been doing classroom related this past week/weekend/very late nights!  We're also car shopping and I'm sure y'all know how much fun that is!  I should be excited, but I soooo hate deciding which car will be what we need/want!
And, of course, I hate the payments!
Hope y'all have a blessed week!  I'm sure going to!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Crayon Box that Talked

Just wanted to share a little something we did the first week back to school...

  I shared the book The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane Derolf with my brand new bunch of second graders on the second day back to school.  We are still getting to know each other and taking our time with the transition from summer vacation to full time student!   I always share this book at the beginning of the year since it teaches the valuable lesson of how each one is important and adds something unique to our lives. This year, I added a new craftivity! I made a large "crayon box" and each student used their favorite color of construction paper to make their own crayon.  I had already printed the oval cut outs with their names so all they had to do was cut it out and glue it to their crayon! I am in love with how it turned out!  And yes, the 14 on the box does mean I have 14 students.  I know what you're thinking and I am loving every minute of it!!

You can grab the book here from Amazon!

Here I go!

I've been on the fence about this for some time, but just never committed to it...Partly because of the time involved and partly because I see all the other wonderful bloggers that I get AWESOME ideas from and I wondered how I could possibly contribute anything that these talented teachers have not already shared?! The deciding thought that pushed me into the cyber world? I still want to grow as a teacher (and every other area of my life, except weight lol) and I think that being a participating part of this blogger family will help me to become a better educator. Selfish? Maybe.  But I'm just being honest!!
This picture is several months old.  P is 10 months now!!
So a little about me.....
I am a Christian, wife, mother of three, MIL to two, Nana, and teacher!! I wear a lot of other titles too but this is enough to mention at the moment!  I love my life and where God has me right now.  My husband, Jon, and I have been married for almost 27 years.  ( I would add something mushy here but who wants to hear it?) We have two boys.  Kyle (Lauren) 25, Jake (Keri) 21, and one daughter, Kara 13.  Jake and Keri have given us the most precious grandson, Preston.  I just started my 22nd year teaching at the same school I attended from 1st through 12th grade.

From the title of my blog, I guess you see that I teach second grade.  I taught fourth grade for about 7 years before making the move to the primary grades.  Best change EVER! 

To keep from making this the longest blog post ever, I will stop here and just welcome you to my blog!  I am so glad you stopped by and I hope I can share some things I am doing that are helpful!

And, of course, I've been sharing a little on TPT!!