Monday, October 28, 2013

My Truth Monday, Creepy Edition!

Anyone else already exhausted?  Well I have news for you, it's ONLY Monday (just in case you didn't know!) :) Anyway, Linking up with Denise over @ Sunny Days for week 2 of My Truth Monday.  This week is the creepy edition!

Yes, I know.. Cheese?? I had a traumatic experience when I was little.  For the most part, I can't stand cheese.  I hate the smell of cheese, and I even hate the taste even more.  What makes this even more weird is I LOVE Goldfish, Cheese-its, Boxed Mac & Cheese, and Cheetos.  I think it's just the real, melted stuff that grosses me out.

Scary Movies?? HATE them.  Especially the ones with creepy little kids.  Justin loves them so every once in a while I'll be nice and go but he knows if we go see a scary movie, we have to come home and watch a comedy before bed! :) I watched "The Ring" when I was about 15 and slept in my sisters room for probably about a month before I went back to my basement bedroom!

Spiders are probably the thing that creep me out the most out of everything.  I always get the chills no matter how big or how small!

Thanks for stopping by.  Go link up with Denise so I can learn a little more about you!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Truth Monday: Fitness

Linking up today with the fabulous Denise over @ Sunny Days in Second Grade for this fun new "Get to Know You" weekly party!  Each Monday will focus on a different topic so be sure to stop by and learn some more fun things about me!

This week is all about fitness.

Now that you know about me, why don't you head on over and link up?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quick Freebie Post (Ghostly Fact Practice)

Stopping by to share a cute little freebie I made for my students this week. I'm using it as homework but you could use it in your classroom too!  One of the goals in Common Core is for second graders to be able to add and subtract 1 digit numbers fluently.  This week, we will start by practicing our facts adding and subracting 1, next week we'll add 2, then 3 and so on.  Here is my Ghostly +/- 1 Fact practice.  Just in time for Halloween!  Enjoy :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Power of Animals

I have an amazing story that I want to share with you all today.  In my school, we are extremely lucky to have an absolutely amazing social worker who has brought an equally amazing program that has helped so many students!  The program is called Pet Pals.  The program brings therapy dogs & their owners to schools in our county to do a number of things.  Most of the time, you'll see kids reading to the dogs or taking them for a walk to give them a little stretch break.  The dogs are amazing because they help the most struggling readers by providing a non-judgmental ear (They love to listen to stories) and they accept any child, regardless of their physical or emotional needs.  I've seen the Pet Pals have a profound impact on students I struggles to make a connection with, students who have a difficult home life, those struggling with confidence, anxiety, academics, or the kid who could just benefit from a 15 minute break to run/walk off some energy!

I've had Pet Pals in my room every year for the past 3 years and don't think I could ever go a year without it.  Last year, I had the privilege of welcoming Zeus with his mom, Holly into my room.  Zeus was humongous to say the least!!  A gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog who brought new excitement to my room.  We only have him for a few weeks before our Social Worker decided that he might be the best fit in a high needs classroom for kids in wheelchairs etc.  He would be easy for them to reach!  So unfortunately, we didn't get to see Zeus again but we knew he was doing amazing things!  

Last week, an amazing story was written about Zeus in the Boston Globe.  He had made such an impact on one boy in particular that is such a heartwarming story that may bring tears to your eyes.  Sadly, Zeus recently passed away but what he did for this child and so many others will never be forgotten!  Click the picture of Zeus and the boy below to read the article! It will inspire you!

And you may even want to think of a way to get Pet Pals into your schools! Trust me, you would be amazed at what the love from an animal can do for your students!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy Fall Y'all! (Melonheadz Guest Post)

Hi friends! Nikki here, from Melonheadz :) I get to try on Ashley's blog today!!!
I have to say, it fits her much better, lol. I'm so excited to be over here!
Thank you Ashley :)

It's finally fall... one of my favorite times of the year.
I live in a large valley, just south of Salt Lake City, Utah. The leaves are changing, 

and frost has appeared. The mountains are beautiful!
The reds, golds, and oranges of the leaves make my color choices shift,
and I can't help but be inspired by what I see. Fall is all warm and 
cozy to me..... from sweaters and slippers, to pumpkins and the holiday craft projects
that my girls bring home from school.... I LOVE it all:)

Here's a little warm fuzzy to you from me:

She will only be available here:)

Some of my best memories are centered around this time of year too:)
Family camping trips, warmth from our fireplace, and looking forward to the upcoming
holiday season.

Break out the hot chocolate and toe socks my friends......
Snuggle up and blog stalk!!!
Be sure to come back and read up on Ashley's fabulous posts too :)
Happy fall y'all!!!!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Humongous Giveaway @ 2 Brainy Apples

Hey Y'all!!

Don't have much time due to lots of planning but wanted to let you know about a super ginormous giveaway going on over at 2 Brainy Apples!

There are 4 incredible bundles you can win.  Head on over, check it out, and enter.  This is one you DON'T want to miss!

Happy Fall!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five for Friday Somewhere

What an exhausting week!  After 3 weeks of late nights and sleeping in, it's been hard to get back into the opposite routine.  Anyway, linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share 5 things from my week! :)

First...this pup was not excited Monday morning when it was back to work.  How could you not want to stay and hang out with that face all day?

1. Lots of fun science experiments on matter! A melting race, learning about evaporation and condensation, and solids that dissolve when put into a liquid.

2. This week we spend our Math time learning new math games for the quarter.  They were lovin' this one.  Combination toss.  They roll 2 die, show the combination with unifix cubes and put it on their board in the correct spot. 

Here's a copy of the game board for you if you'd like to play with your kiddos! :) (We have 0-5 dice but I made a 2-12 for you) Just print, cut, tape and it's ready to go!

3.  Experimenting with some Stability balls.  I don't have enough for my whole class, I only have 12.  BUT it just so happens that I have 4 camping chairs, 4 crates, 12 balls, and 20 students. I have quite the energetic group of 2nd graders and sitting on the carpet is a struggle.  Here we are testing out our balls, chairs, and crates during a mini lesson :)  You can see some of them acting out external and internal traits!

4. Lots of rain this week = lots on indoor recess and time with Mr. Mark on Adventure to Fitness.  My kids LOVE Mr. Mark and his adventures.  And I love that it gets their energy out on these cooped up weeks.

5.  Field trip!  We headed to a local camp/retreat center to learn about Changes to Matter.  Our kiddies made Gak, Ice Cream, Candles, and our Spaghetti Lunch.  Lots of fun!

Now you understand why I'm exhausted? :) Time to recover from a busy week and plan for a new one.  Hope everyone who gets Columbus Day off enjoys their 3 day weekend.  I'm jealous!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Character Traits! A few freebies

Well, it was back to the bump and grind this week.  After 3 glorious, relaxing weeks off, I can't say I was exactly looking forward to going back.  I'm just looking forward to the end of the week! I saw this and it made me laugh because I have a classroom full of talkers so it is impossible to separate them all!!

This week we've been learning all about Character Traits to go along with our Realistic Fiction/ Character Change Reading & Writing unit.  In my district we use Lucy Calkins units as a guide and she focuses less on Character Traits/identifying them and more on analyzing them and how they change BUT I wanted to spend a week reviewing so we jumped right into Character Traits this week.  Here's what we did..

Monday we talked about how Reader's can identify the main character in a story and their wants.  This went right along with our writing unit too!  As writer's we started to think of something a boy or girl our age might want & what problems they might run into that will try to prevent them from getting it.  Here's the graphic organizer we used to start planning our story. (Click on the picture to download)

Yesterday and today we talked about External and Internal Traits.  I got a handy dandy student sheet (Click to grab it!) from Primary Paradise.  I forgot to take a picture of my Traits anchor chart but here's the one we did today...

It corresponds directly with the student sheet that they filled out (Freebie from Primary Paradise).  We read Jamaica's Find by Juanita Havill so that I can refer to it next week when we start analyzing characters and how they change.  Tomorrow we'll talk about Character's Feelings vs. Character Traits and review our chart to double check and see if we have any feelings that aren't traits.

They did such a great job on their own that I even hung them out in the hallway (Again- Picture fail!)  I can't wait to start  really analyzing characters, thinking about why they do things, and what we can learn from them!  

One last thing before I go.  I would like to start having guest bloggers once a week (if I can get enough guest bloggers).  I have 3 lined up with some fabulous idea to share with you.  So be sure to stop by Thursday's and check in with my guest blogger.  If you'd like to be a guest blogger, please please please contact me! :)

Off to set up groups for our field trip Friday! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy World Teacher Day!

Long post ahead...
On this day that is meant to celebrate amazing teachers all over the world, I find myself reflecting on my {short} career so far, why I became and teacher, and my hopes for my future.  At a time when teaching morale is at an all time low and teachers are pouring their hearts and souls into their jobs with higher stakes, more testing, and little thanks, it is now; more than ever, that we need to remember exactly why we decided to become teachers.  Being a teacher is not a job, it's a calling. And despite what many people say, not everyone can do it.  It takes a special kind of person to touch a childs heart and help them learn about the world around them while simultaneously supporting 19, 20, 25, maybe even 30 other little learners.  And while you may be feeling downing, thinking "Why am I doing this?" or maybe even thinking about leaving.. I want to remind you that you are appreciated, because we all need to know that what we are doing is changing lives for the better!
So what's my story? Why did I become a teacher?  Well, unlike most teachers.. I didn't always know I wanted to be a teacher.  Growing up I had my heart set on saving animals {don't most kids?}  Even through highschool, while I wasn't totally sure, I stuck with my "dream".  I had been accepted {early admission} to the veterinarian program at SUNY Oneonta.  Throughout my senior year; however, my heart just wasn't in it.  I hate needles {I practically pass out when I get a shot}, how was I going to poke animal will them?  Surgery? Forget it.  Dreams need to change.   So they did {to another dream I always had- a girl can have more than one, right?}.  Something else I was always very fond of was music.  I was in my highschool symphonic band, jazz ensemble, and chorus all 4 years of highschool.  I took music theory and spent almost my entire senior year in the music room.  It's what made me happy.  I am a HUGE fan of country music and had dreamed of going to Nashville, finding the next big country star, and being their manager.  Well- I went off to school and ended up HATING my music business classes. Plus, it was a really hard career to get into.  What were my chances?  Ok- why don't I be a music TEACHER?  Great- it's settled.  Music teacher.  Well- guess what? That didn't make me happy either.  Luckily I found this all out within my first year when I was taking mostly core classes, so no lost time.  Then, there were some things that helped me realize that teaching elementary school kids was my calling.
Clue #1- I've always loved kids.  I was my neighborhood babysitter, coached baseball with my dad and cheerleading with my mom.  I was born to be a mom (So why no kids yet? Well that's another story). 
Clue #2- One night while I was sitting in my dorm room flipping channels, I ended up turning to a movie called The Ron Clark Story.  I'm sure you've heard of it and if you haven't seen it, it's a must see!  I was instantaneously pulled it and didn't take my eyes off the T.V.  I got this feeling inside that I could not describe.  I was excited and energetic.  That's what I wanted to do, I wanted to be Ron Clark.  Change kids lives.  Teach them.  Help them believe that they CAN do whatever they want and they ARE worth it.  Ron Clark helped me realize that, even though I didn't ever think about being a teacher, the desire was always inside of me.. It just took a little encouragement to come out.  He is an amazing educator who I look up to and where my desire to be amazing comes from.
Clue #3 and the icing on the cake- The Teacher Store:  My boyfriend was going to school to become a teacher.  We had made a trip down to the local teacher store with his mom to pick up some things for him and I was in heaven.  Looking at all of the books, supplies, signs, rewards, stamps, flash cards, games.. Oh.My.Word.  I already could not wait to use them in my own classroom and my head was filling with ideas.
And so it began.  My journey to becoming a teacher.  And here I am today, my 2nd year as a classroom teacher .  Sometimes questioning if I made the right decision, but then I think about all the reasons I decided to take this path and how important my job is.  Even if I do struggle to save money, fix my broken washing machine, or am took broke to have kids, I know I have my 20 little babies in my room that need me [And who I get to send home at the end of the day ;) ].
Happy World Teachers Day! Keep Changing Lives!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray, Today is your day!

Who loves comfy chairs?  If you are anything like me, you LOVE them and love to have lots of these around your classroom for student seating.  Like most teachers who have chairs in their room, I had a rotation chart.  20 kids names on a list, with a clip that indicated who got the special chairs that day.  It was one students job to move the clips each afternoon.  It worked well...for a little bit.  Until that student got sick or they forgot to do their job or we ran out of time and were packing up in turbo time. 

Then I heard lots of, "She sat their YESTERDAY, its MY turn... So and so didn't switch the chart, can I?... He SKIPPED me!!"  Can you hear those little voices in your head right now? 

I finally decided to try to come up with a new way that would be easier on everyone and I'm here to share it with you today!...

In my classroom, I have 5 tables that seat 4 students a piece.  I have 4 comfy chairs, and 4 crates.. hmmmm...  1 table a day on the chairs, 1 on the crates, rotate each day.... they each get 1 day a week on the chair and 1 day a week on the crate!  WINNING! Perfect Plan.  Oh wait, I could even use it as an incentive.  The table with the most points at the end of the day gets the chairs the next day.  Double Winning!  Hooray to starting new routines 9 weeks in #teacherprobs (Yes I just hashtagged ... I know, it's getting annoying)

I decided I would start by giving each table 2 chair days per week.  Once on the chairs, Once on the crates.  The chair is theirs ALL DAY!  Here are the little tents I made to put on their tables when their day has arrived!  They will be so excited!   (Click on the picture to download! It has lots of different versions and even a version where you can add your own reward or special activity after "You get to"

What ways do you make life in the classroom easier on yourself?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Currently October

Wait, WHAT? October, already!  This year is flying by, that's for sure! Taking some time today to link up with the always amazing and fabulous, Farley, for Currently October!

Who doesn't love Judge Judy?  She just tells it like it is. 
Speaking of "who doesn't".... Who doesn't absolutely love this fall weather?  I seriously wish it was like this ALL YEAR LONG.  55-60 degrees, some sun, a nice fall breeze, and the holidays lurking around the corner.  Best of year, hands down.
I'm getting hungry.. Any suggestions for a good dinner?
The fiancee and I recently bought our first house.  Love it! Buuuut... with a dog and a cat, the carpets are constantly covered in fur!  Even when I vacuum every darn day.  Wood floors would be so much easier to clean!
I've been on intersession for the past 3 weeks.  For those of you that don't know, I teach at a year round school.  We started mid July so now we are on Fall Break.  It's OK, you can be jealous ;).  Anyway- I want to try to get a really great 2nd quarter plan done so I have less planning to do throughout the week.  I've got the first half of the quarter's Science & Reading skeleton done.  Hopefully I can get some more done before Monday.  Also, first week back... Field trip on Friday! Woot Woot.
Trick or Treat: Totally TRICK!! On Monday I'm going to get my kids good.  We're going to start reading The Witches and I will be really exaggerating my actions and having a little different wardrobe to trick my kids into thinking I'm a witch.  I love that look when they hear "Maybe even your teacher.." muahahhahaha. I'm evil.

What are you up to this month?