Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adios, October

I wish I could write posts to just my followers. However, I don't think that is possible - so I will just say ADIOS to October. You were not my friend.

Moving on... :)

We've been doing some things in school; let me tell you about them!

We learned about problem and solution in first grade reading and then drew pictures of them!

We are becoming amazing writers thanks to Writer's Workshop!

We plotted ordered pairs on a coordinate grid to make a pumpkin!

Note to all the first and/or second grade teachers out there: this was NOT easy. I got the page from Scholastic (here's the link), and I gave it a shot.

I teach ordered pairs in second grade, we actually covered it a few weeks ago, so my second graders were amazing at this. That made me feel really good because they really learned ordered pairs!! The looks that the first graders were giving me, however, made me think I was speaking in a foreign language. It was pretty frustrating but oh wells!

Alert!!! I just figured out that BrainPop is free ALL WEEK! It's going to be Thursday tomorrow and I am going to try to find a video for everything we do!!! Haha! Go check it out!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun With Friction!

Today in school we learned about friction!

We started by talking about riding our bikes and how we'd rather ride on a smooth road than on the grass. This was an easy connection to the idea of friction!

We moved onto an exciting experiment to test out the force of friction. We set up ramps and rolled Hot Wheels cars around!

I tried a LOT of combinations to make a good ramp with the supplies I had on hand in my room and in the building. Three textbooks and a file folder provide a nice, smooth ramp! We tucked the edge of the file folder underneath the stack of books to stabilize it a bit.

Then we tested the friction of three surfaces - the cafeteria floor, our reading rug, and a tumbling mat.

It was a really fun experiment, and everyone totally grasped the idea of friction!

In other news, we are having a legit birthday party tomorrow in my class. One of my parents emailed me today and said she is bringing a cake. If it wasn't a Friday, I might have hesitated....... but I did promise my class we could watch Scholastic's Taylor Swift reading webcast, so it kind of works out perfectly. :)

Hope you have a great Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spelling Words

Quick question for you, teacher friends!

If you do a weekly spelling test, how do you let the parents know what the words are?

Just wondering. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Something Good

I have had a very stressful day - and that should not be happening on a Sunday!! Especially when the stress is school-related!! So when I saw Amber doing this linky party, it was like a sign from the heavens. I NEED to be focusing on something good right about now. :)

Something good at school - I've been trying out some TPR and it has been working wonderfully! As I might have mentioned 5 times, we're working on force and motion, and the vocab is a little abstract! We've been making up motions for the definitions of "force" and "gravity" and the kids looooooove it. Another thing - and this will be a semi-long story. So I will start a new paragraph.

I started Daily Five and never got past Read to Someone (so I still, at some point, need to introduce Word Work and Listen to Reading). Anyway, when I am teaching the first graders, the second graders are supposed to choose Read to Self, Read to Someone, or Work on Writing, and vice versa. This week, I had another teacher in my room during reading time, and I gave her some things to do with the first graders while I worked with the second graders, so I basically took away their independent reading/writing time.

They were NOT happy. One girl almost cried when the other teacher took her independent reading book away. This made my day. Although my class is WAY too chatty during independent reading/writing time, they are actually doing it! And they love it! This makes me so so pleased.

Something good at home - I hung out with my brother this weekend! We both moved out in August and we have only seen each other like twice since then, which  makes me sad. This weekend, we went out to eat a lot, went to a little fair, and just spent time together. Love my broski.

I hope your Sunday has been stress-free and that you are ready for the kids tomorrow!! :) What good things are going on in your life? Go link up!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm teaching forces and motion in science right now and I am LOVING IT! I absolutely, one hundred percent adore teaching content. I love it, the students love it, everyone is happy!

Today we covered gravity and watched this super cute video

Then we extended our learning a little by hypothesizing which would fall to the ground faster - a heavy book or a marker. We were SHOCKED to find out that they fell at the same rate. Who knew?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Types of Motion

Yesterday we started a new science unit that I am REALLY pumped about - Forces and Motion!

Today we learned about motion. We made our books and desk contents move all over the place in all different types of ways. The engagement was through the roof!

As a culminating activity, we completed a picture sort. We sorted pictures into three different types of motion - straight, back and forth, and circular. They loved that big word - circular! :)

My students did a great job with this! I think it also really cemented the idea of motion into their little brains. :)

If you're teaching about Forces and Motion and would like to use this sort, feel free to download it (for free)  from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Creating Graphs Online

At the end of every math class I teach, I give out little quizzes to check for understanding. They're only two questions long and cover only the information taught that day. I started this at the end of last year, and I love doing it because it gives me such a clear idea as to how well I taught and how well they absorbed the information!

Right now in second grade, we're covering graphs, and my little quiz for tomorrow is on reading line graphs. Now, I am for sure NOT going to hand-draw a line graph for their little quizzes. That's just cray cray.

Instead, I remembered this sweet website I found last year - NCES's Create a Graph! If you just input your data, it makes a lovely little graph just for you.

You can print it straight from the website or save it in a variety of formats - PDF, JPEG, PNG... whatever you want!

Your students could use this also instead of hand-drawing graphs. I had my own students use it last year when we studied natural resources. It was a bit on the complicated side for my class (there are a lot of steps to make a graph), but if you modeled it and had them use it on a regular basis, I think it could really come in handy!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Technology in the Classroom Presentation

Hello friends!

Today I presented at the UIUC Professional Development Conference. If you're visiting from the conference, here's a link to my Prezi!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wait, Who is Running for President Again?

Casual conversations about the upcoming election...

First Grader #1: So if the white guy doesn't win, he doesn't get the job?
Me: Right.
First Grader #1: And if the black guy wins, he does get the job?
Me: Barack Obama is already the president, so he would get to keep his job if he wins.
First Grader #2: But what about Washington?
Me: Yes, Washington is where the President lives!
First Grader #2: No... George Washington...

Apparently someone in my class has not been informed that George Washington is no longer a presidential hopeful...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Currently

Today I started my Assessment of Language Minority Students class. So far it feels like a good fit! My teacher is really chill and very intelligent. I think I will learn a lot and I am really excited about having the opportunity to effectively assess my ELLs!! Also it's my last class that I need to take to have my ESL endorsement. Yay for me!

Florida in December!!! SoooOOOoooOOOoooOOO excited! Let me tell you why:

  1. It is cold in Chicago in December.
  2. It is warm in Florida in December (or so I am told).
  3. I love the beach.
  4. I love vacations!!
So excited.

I chose Duck for President as my favorite fall book because I also love elections. They are fun to teach about and the kids get really into it. I also love Grace for President. What great books!

Link up!

I Voted!

Today we voted for the President of the United States!
Each year, Scholastic hosts a Presidential election a month prior to Election Day. Students around the country, from Kindergarten through twelfth grades, can fill out a ballot. Teachers collect the ballots and submit them to Scholastic, where they count up the votes and declare a winner.

The interesting thing about the Scholastic election is that it has reflected the results of the actual election in every case except for two!

We briefly discussed voting today and then, one-by-one, we went out into the hall to cast our vote. Everyone took the vote VERY seriously and were excited to participate in the political process. After the vote, we all got “I Voted!” stickers, just like adults!

Did your class vote for the next President?

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