Thursday, August 28, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

I am linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for 
Positive Thinking Thursday! 

We're beginning a brand new school year oh so soon!!!

This is the time right before school starts when I just can't wait. And then I get started and remember that the beginning of the year is like...a lot of work! And a lot of teaching! And a lot of needy, dependent kiddos who ask A LOT of questions!

But...I'm still excited. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I received an AWESOME Slant Box from my partner, Carrie, over at Follow First Grade! Check this out!

 Oh goody! :)

You're o-fish-ally a 2nd grade teacher!


I can't wait to read this book to my new group of second graders!


Second graders are #1!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Made It

I'll be linking up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics. 
It's time for another Monday Made It!

Just a fun bulletin board I made for outside my classroom a few weeks ago!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five For Friday! 

I've blogged about this before...and moaned about how expensive it is and how I do not have a login through my district! Welp, turns out that you can get a FREE NYC library card online and then you will have access to BOOKFLIX for free! Plus other awesomeness, like Tumblebooks! HOW COOL? THIS INFORMATION MADE MY WEEK.

Here is a recap about Bookflix:
Basically, there are PAIRED nonfiction-fiction texts. One is movie-version....but still has text, just more motion-y movements, movie-like. The other is the book, page flipping version. There is the option of the books being read aloud to you or not. Words are highlighted as they are read. There are additional activities, like puzzles and games to go along with each text. I love it!

Each classroom teacher at my school has an iPad in the classroom, so I am totally using my iPad and Belkin splitter to make another listening center focused on this website. To use it on an ipad, I figured out that you should download the free Puffin app first, and then save the website into that app. Works like a dream!

Some great websites I signed my new class up for this year:

Math site. Cool because as kiddos sign in, the program tracks questions they get right or wrong. Then, the questions get easier or harder for the child. And the teacher gets progress reports emailed to them. FREE!

ELA and Math questions. Not as much fun as scoot pad...but sends progress reports to the teacher and has individual logins. FREE!

Kiddos work on math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), one operation at a time until they reach mastery. FREE!
We've been at our local BOCES three days this week doing some hardcore MATH curriculum work.

I seriously got work done, and it was great...although a teensy bit exhausting. It's tough to sit at a computer all day! I'd much rather be in the classroom with the kiddos!

All of the second grade math goodies I made during curriculum writing went right on TpT, if you're interested! Reviews for each module, lessons, games, topic by topic formative assessments, etc.

My little blonde dog was cuddling with her dark haired buddy while I dog sat last week. 
How precious?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

I am linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for 
Positive Thinking Thursday! 

There's a lot of pressure on teachers these days, and it can be easy to forget that we're working with kids...not test-takers. I'm excited to be teaching second grade this year, instead of fourth. I think without the THREE state tests looming in our future, I'll be able to be a little nicer and a little more like the teacher I would have liked to have. Not that second grade has any less's just not THREE state tests. That's some scary stuff!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Christine from "Sugar and Spice," for a Wordless Wednesday linky party! It is time for Wordless Wednesday!

What new bulletin board ideas are you trying out this year?

Oh, and there are mere hours remaining is the BOOOOOOOOST TpT sale!

New EngageNY review packs for each second grade module, along with formative assessments for each topic, amazing novel studies (Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, Eagle Song, The Hope Chest, etc.), and oh so much more. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Made It

I'll be linking up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics. 
It's time for another Monday Made It!

I've completely update my classroom website!
I switched it over from fourth grade to second grade, and I feel GREAT!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ramona Recommends August Book Club

I'm linking up with melissa at A Teaspoon of Teaching for the Ramona Recommends Book Club for August. I noticed that the July book was Wonder by RJ Palaccio and I am SO SAD that I missed it! (seeing as I looooooove that book oh so so much!) of the August books is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and that THRILLS me!

So, I love this book.

I read this novel with not one, but TWO of my fourth grade classes as a read aloud. 
They loved it.

We started with the BOOK TRAILER.
The kiddos were hooked. So was I! And the book trailer gave us the opportunity to discuss MOOD. Seeing as the music was pretty gloomy. And a bit suspenseful!

We also listened to the author read aloud the first chapter. using a clip I found online.

So, while I read, I didn't read every single chapter title. Mostly because many chapters were quite short. I also had created the novel study for chunks of pages. Usually, my novel studies are chapter by chapter, but obviously that wouldn't work with this particular text. As we read, we stopped intermittently to answer questions using the novel study. This was the time we focused on citing the text, using evidence, stating a claim, and making our answers sound even smarter by using BRILLIANT evidence statements. ("The author states on page....")

Culminating Project, anyone?

I blew these sentence stems up on the poster maker as a culminating project for a few read alouds we did last year! The kiddos worked in small groups or with a partner to discuss theme, setting, genre, character traits, perspective, etc.

Not Wordle...BETTER!

For this text, I had the kids choose a character.
Ruby, Ivan, Bob, or Stella.
They brainstormed as many character traits as possible!
Next, they went on Tagxedo and created a word cloud using the character traits. They chose a shape, like a dog for Bob! Or mama elephant for Stella! Or baby elephant for Ruby! Or Africa for Ivan!

We printed them and hung them in the hallway because they look AWESOME!
Below are other examples of Tagxedos.

Hey guess what? Another culminating project idea!

I copied random pages from the novel and let the kids create black out poetry by BLACKING OUT words. The words they left behind created a poem. To make this easier for fourth graders, we circled the words we wanted for the poem AND THEN blacked out the extra words.

Oh, and this is what we do for EVERY read aloud. A STORY BOARD.
I tape the book cover up and then, as we read, we add to the board.
Perspective, Setting, Genre, character Traits, Author's Purpose, Vocabulary, Theme, etc.

After reading, we looked up information on the real Ivan. Turns out, he passed away fairly recently. We looked at his artwork, discussed what elements of the novel were made up versus what was truth. That was fun!

One of the teachers at my grade level organized a wax museum. Of course some of the kiddos from my class recreated a scene from The One and Only Ivan!

Now, some websites suggested researching gorillas after reading the novel. We spun this a different way. I had the kiddos research endangered species. We wrote two pieces using the information we found. One was a research paper, sticking to the facts that the kids learned about their animal. Very structured. The next was a Diary of a Worm writing piece using the information we used. We read the book and the kids had to write from the perspective of their animal, diary entries. In each entry, the kids had to teach the reader one fact about their animal. At the very end of this project, we had two pieces, fiction and nonfiction.

Great Websites: