Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Scoop

I'm linking up with The Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop!

I'm reading the book The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I highly recommend it! All about occupied France during World War II, focused on the lives of two sisters living separately and fighting in different ways. So, I'll finish that up and tidy the house up for the meeting tomorrow! I'm dreading vacuuming. My dog always freaks out when I vacuum!

Although it is February, we have a beautiful 55 degree day here in upstate New York! I don't know how long this weather will last, but I'm going for a hike with my dog on a nearby trail!

And I am very excited for a delicious Italian meal tonight! Plus, I won't feel guilty leaving the dog alone because she will be POOPED after a hike! :)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays

I'm here to link up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

Just a snapshot of the writing in my second grade class!

I have been using Reader Response Journals since I was a fourth grade teacher, and I still love them. Basically, I write a letter to each of my students each week, and they write back to me. You can see from above that some kiddos get more scaffolding than others, depending on their needs. The first paragraph is personal and fun, and the second paragraph is focused on our most recent guided reading text.

I really love pulling these journals out during parent-teacher conferences for families to observe how far their children have come! I encourage students to do the same, reminding them that each letter should be an improvement, and our focus is on growth.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Five for Friday

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

Time for WRITING!!!

I've been teaching my second graders all about note taking skills,using passages about penguins. Next, we're working on writing informative paragraphs, using those notes!

I have a checklist for the groups. We are currently writing these paragraphs together, and practicing this format during guided reading writing as well. I like using the Post Its with checks to check off when we have finished a sentence. After writing the paragraph, we use highlighters in the colors on the checklist to be sure that we got everything in there that we needed to!

I'm proud of their progress, so far!

I've been using this sweet download from Mel D at Seusstastic for a few weeks now, and I still like it! It's a great early finisher activity during writing and a popular Work on Writing activity for during Daily 5. My kiddos were struggling with getting right to writing and then writing the entire time. Now, with these handy dandy templates and organizers, the kiddos are hard at work and having fun building their writing stamina! Plus, the bulletin board looks cute and I don't have to change it all the time!

I just started reading The One and Only Ivan with my class as our read aloud and they are loving it! Me too! I've read it aloud to my class every year since it came out!

When we get close to the end of the text, we hang huge chart papers around the room with the character names on each one. Kids go around and brainstorm character traits for each. THEN we go to Tagxedo and create super cool word clouds with the character traits in the shape of the animals!

We had a snow day this week! :)

Lucy is the BEST way to end Five for Friday!
I just love her to pieces.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Scoop

Hi everyone! I'm here to link up with The Teaching Trio for The Sunday Scoop!

It's my last day of vacation!
I've been semi-productive this break, but now I feel like I need to tidy up the house, organize my school things before tomorrow, and lounge in my pajamas for a bit! So, nothing pressing to do, just odds and ends!

I have started the TPT updates, a great synonym and antonym review product and a Making and Changing words activity! I am on a word work roll! So, if I get nothing else done today, at least I did something! :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays

I'm here to link up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

I was a fourth grade teacher for five years, and last year I switched to second grade. It has been a GREAT transition. One area I've always struggled with, though, was word work. I could create spelling activities, but coming up with the making and changing words activities on the fly was a big challenge for me. I felt like I was always making my word work too easy for my second graders.

Then, I thought about my close reading and my read aloud time. In the beginning of my career I thought I could come up with text-based questions in the spur of the moment. When I started to re-evaluate my close reading and read aloud time, I realized that my questions weren't always text-dependent. I started jotting down some questions ahead of time on a Post It and saw great results. So, I applied that same strategy to my word work!

I spent my February vacation generating 267 Making and Changing words lists, organized by text level, to implement during my Daily 5 time as a partner activity with whiteboards AND for my own use during small skills groups. I am super duper excited about this addition to my classroom and I think it will be SO motivating for the kiddos!! I mean, come on, kids love whiteboard time! (And if they do a nice job following directions during Making and Changing words activities, I usually give them 30 seconds of doodle time. They LIVE for that!)


Oh me oh my! I really am late to the February party. I'm here to link up with Farley at Oh Boy It's Farley for Currently! I guess, better late than never, right? I'm on vacation right now, so I'm catching up on my pinky parties!

I've been on vacation for one week!
It's been GLORIOUS!!!
But now that it's Saturday and I'm going back on Monday, it's just a regular weekend.

Sooooo, here I am, trying to finish up a TPT product.
I am creating Making and Changing words lists. Personally, I have a tricky time, since transitioning from teaching fourth grade to teaching second grade, coming up with whiteboard word work on the fly during our Skills block. So, I'm creating the lists myself to print and laminate and pull out whenever I need them! I think I'm going to put them out for the kids during Daily 5 too, that way partners can use their personal whiteboards to practice word work in a structured way. Kids love whiteboards, so I think this will be a winner!

Also, my cute little puppy is curled up next to me, being all adorable. 

February Top Ten

Hi everyone! I'm linking up (a little late...but better late than never!) with The Third Grade Nest for the February Top Ten. VALENTINE'S CANDY!!!!

I love to eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...
but I REALLY love reading the wrappers on the Dove candies! :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Five for Friday

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

I've been using a great app recently. It's a running record app! And it was free! I just record the student reading, and while the are reading I can flag errors, self-corrections, repetitions, types of errors, etc. Afterwards, I can insert the running words to determine the words per minute. I can also email it to myself with the child's name, name of text, and text level, plus my notes. 

I've been using this to email a recording and observations of my students who receive other services to their service providers. Sometimes we see different versions of the same kid in the different locations. Now these service providers can hear the child reading at their instructional level in their general education classroom!

I'm using this cool app for the 100th day of school.
I took pictures of my students before our February vacation and I will have the pictures printed and ready for the 100th day of school writing piece we're planning.

What are YOU doing for the 100th day of school?

I used white string and black lights to make a laser show in our classroom. Kids had spy glasses, badges, and glow sticks. 

Each subject had a task in manilla envelopes that kids had to complete, so we still got our work done and our lessons complete, but we had a lot of fun doing it!

The close reading and summarizing was my favorite task because the black lights made the highlighted text really GLOW and STAND OUT. It made summarizing much easier!

Check out this freebie here.

Guess who had a snow day this week?
Me. And Lucy.
This is exactly how we spent our day!
Squashed and snuggled.

And I'm now on vacation! One week off!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Spark Student Motivation Saturday

I'm here, linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, for Spark Student Motivation Saturday!

Our class had so much fun with our SECRET AGENT day!
I used white string and black lights to set the stage. 
Kiddos were each given a badge, glow stick, and spy glasses.
They also used their Flashlight Friday flashlights and our lanterns around the room to see their work!
I had a CCLS aligned task to go with each subject area, four total.

The close reading and summarizing piece was my favorite! We worked at the back table in small groups to read and highlight the important information with a lantern, and then turned off the lantern so the black lights made what we highlighted GLOW. It made summarizing the MOST important information that much easier for the little second graders.

It was a fun day!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Five for Friday

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

Gallery Walks
I'm loving a good gallery walk this year!
The one above is a culminating activity from our Immigration unit. It's in the second grade CCLS ELA domains.

Each child had Post Its and went through the pictures. They wrote down facts that they remembered from our unit and their thoughts on the pictures. (I did have the Smart Board on with a cheat sheet of helpful vocabulary words for my little second graders!)

Next up, I think that I will try this as an INTRODUCTION for an upcoming unit. Activate a little schema and get the kiddos thinking and EXCITED about what's coming next!

I ordered some fun new necklaces from!
I'll be giving a couple away to my sisters for birthday gifts, but I'm thinking that I'll keep that last one for myself! 

And I used a sweet 20% off code from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd!

(And yes, those are Lucy's feet in the picture. She loves being a part of a blog photo.)

Modern Family.
I've just been really into this show recently. :)

This is an exciting day.
I like to use Flair pens when I'm writing greeting cards for my kiddos. I try to write each child a personalized greeting card and put it in their mailbox a few times a month, and Flair pens are perfect for that!

Plus, they are great for writing little desk top reminders on Post Its for my second grade cuties.

Lucy is always a fun way to end a Five for Friday!
Frolicking outside in her pajamas.