Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

Before I forget, I want to share this AMAZING video with you all. Some of my kids were singing this today and I thought they made it up. I was so wrong!

Is your class obsessed with Sexy and I Know It? Mine is..... not appropriate....

Today I had a pop-in! It shouldn't have been a pop-in but I forgot that the assistant superintendent of our diocese was coming by today. Luckily I had something pretty sweet going on at the time!

In second grade, we've been learning random prefixes and suffixes over the course of the year. Do you typically do a whole prefix/suffix unit or something? Mine are just thrown in wherever.

Anyway, we played a little beginnings and endings game today. They got into teams and had to brainstorm words with a specific prefix or suffix for 2 minutes at a time. After 2 minutes, we came back together and read off our words like Scattergories, so a team only got a point if the other team didn't have the same word. I was the judge of made-up words, such as "loveful." My favorite word they came up with was "refinance" for the re- part of the game, haha! We also learned that "rerase" is not a word... life lessons.

They were REALLY into it! It was a near perfect pop-in lesson besides the extreme competitiveness that was exhibited. It's amazing how loud 5 second-graders can get... but at least they were yelling about literacy... right?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Using a Grid Map

Happy Monday! Today was definitely a Monday. Let's just leave it at that!

Wait, one tiny story - when my class came back from lunch recess, about half of them said they felt like they were going to throw up. This is common.... the claim, I mean. Not the actual throwing up. Mostly they just want to go to the bathroom and fool around. I see through their facade!!

During XtraMath time, one of my girls sighed and said she felt like her brain was going to throw up. That pretty much made my day, haha!

So for Social Studies (which I realize I talk about a lot...), we learned about grid maps today. When I asked when they'd used a map, all of them had pretty much only used maps on a GPS. That was sort of funny.

After we learned about grid maps, we made grid maps of our bedrooms! They wanted to make grid maps of our classroom, but we just made maps of our classroom using compass roses, and I wanted to switch it up a little.

They had to label the sides (letters and numbers) and then draw their room! No one had a problem drawing an aerial map! Go first and second graders!

On the back, they had to write out these three sentences and fill in the blanks with the coordinates. So mine would be... "My bed is in A1." It was a great assessment! Everyone passed with flying colors, although one girl wrote, "I keep my clothes in a laundry basket." Haha!
Unrelated to teaching, my brother found an idea online about making jello and using an orange as the cup! It worked out great! I think the intention is to use these to make jello shots but he just made regular jello. Here I am enjoying my little cup of jello!
Lastly, I'd like to give a shout-out to Kim at Finding JOY in 6th Grade for being my 250th follower!!! To Kim, and everyone else who is reading, I love you. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Long IS a Minute?

In first grade, we're starting our math unit on time. I love teaching time because they can apply their new knowledge all day long at school!

Today our lesson was about understanding the minute.

The first thing I had them do was close their eyes and raise their hand when they thought a minute had passed. When I first explained this to them, I said, "So today we are going to learn how long a minute is." And one girl said, "A minute is 60 seconds." Wellllllll okay then, thanks for ruining the activity! Haha! We still did the closing eyes thing. One girl raised her hand after 10 seconds! A couple people raised their hands after about 30, and everyone else counted to 60! Cheaters!

Then we did a little "minute to win it" type of thing. I typed up a little sheet where they estimated how many times they could do a jumping jack, clap their hands, hop on one foot, and count to 10. Then we tested our estimations. We were WAY off! However, we found out that one energetic child can hop 80 times in 30 seconds. I just let him off the hook after 30 seconds and taught them two-digit addition so my first grader wouldn't pass out. :)

Here's the sheet I typed up! If you can use it, let me know!

On the back, we estimated and then wrote as many numbers as we could in a minute. Most of the first graders thought they could write all the numbers from 1-100, however, they were sad when they only got to 20 or 30!

This was way more fun than what my book wanted us to do today. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flow Charts (Freebie!)

How was your long weekend? I had a four day weekend and it was lovely. I read a LOT, especially this wonderful book.
Any Tina Fey fans out there? I have just started getting into 30 Rock and I think she is HILARIOUS.

I totally forgot my camera at school because I was in a rush to leave since I had class tonight, but I can still share some things!

Today in Social Studies, we learned about flow charts. Our unit has been about government, and we used a flow chart last week to learn that when community members work together, they can make changes! Our book's example was that the bus stations in Harlem were taken down to make road repairs, but were never put back up. The kids were super, SUPER concerned about the poor people of Harlem being cold in the winter. Thankfully that problem was solved.

Today we reviewed flow charts and made our own. They had to come up with their own problems and potential solutions. So far, the best problem was, "There was one prince and two princesses."

This is big stuff, people.

Anyway, when I was looking for a flow chart online for them to fill out, I couldn't find anything that looked like what I needed, so I made my own. You can have it if you want! Just click on the picture. Let me know if you take it. :) 
And here are a few pictures for ya... sadly, from my phone.
Here's the pupster in his little seatbelt harness on our way to el banco yesterday. Unbeknownst to me... el banco was not open! Oh wells. We had a fun little ride. 
My first box of cookies came in!! I got 2 more after this. And it is only the beginning...
And another Hey Girl for your viewing pleasure. This one made me laugh so hard, especially because my boyfriend totally knows what TpT stands for!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Love Jar

I realize that Valentine's Day has come and gone, but I am a slowpoke and just finished my Valentine's Day gift for my boyfriend today!

Before I begin, let me just say that I am really interested in crafting. I am interested in ideas and buying all the things I will need. I am also interested in beginning projects. After that... not so much. My cousins, Kelley and Lisa, can attest to this. I have so much stuff sitting around that I NEEDED for whatever reason. Sigh.

But I actually finished something, so go me!

This is the love jar! I wrote out 30ish nice things about my boyfriend, printed them out, and folded little fortune cookies to house them. I got this idea from Chrissy and then when I looked up "love jars" on Google, I saw the fortune cookies and I just HAD to do it. I have had all the stuff for a week and just now I did it. Story of my life.

I sort of followed the directions I found at Better Way Moms but I am way more lazy than that person so I adapted the directions to fit my needs and maybe yours! I made my own step by step pictures if you are interested!

1. I traced my circles. I used 12x12 scrapbook paper. I used a CD to make 2 big circles on each paper and then I used a cup to trace 4-5 small circles which were about 3.25 inches in diameter. 

2. Then I ripped off a strip of double-sided tape. No specific size... I sort of used the premarked lines on the tape to guide me but I was not religious about this. I cut it in half lengthwise. In the picture you can see that I put the two pieces of tape on the top part of the wrong side of the circle. I folded one of my little messages in half and laid it in there.

3. I had the sticky side and unsticky side meet. I did not crease at all.

4. Then, like so, I held two fingers on either side and just shoved the middle in. Other places told me to make a crease so I could tell where the middle was. I just winged it (wung it?). I think the imperfections will make it special.... haha.

5. Then you will have a little fortune cookie! This one actually looks pretty good but believe me, most of them were off centered and one side was bigger than the other. Whatevs.
 6. However, it will not stay fortune cookie-like unless you stick it together. I tore off a tinier piece of double-sided tape and stuck it close to the fold on the bottom part. I don't think you can see it in this picture. But it is there!
 7. Then I held it together. I didn't crunch it or crush it together... I just held it together and looked at Pinterest for a minute. Haha!

And that's it!! It was actually pretty easy and semi-fun once I got started. You could use this for many purposes! Birthday gifts, anniversary, you know.
So far they are sticking together... nothing is popping apart or anything! Good old double-sided tape. If you choose to do this, you might want to cut some practice ones. My brother and I played around with them and I got super frustrated for a while when they didn't look perfect. Then I let go and now I am happy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wall O' Words

This post is linked to Jen's word wall linky!

I had my Word Wall set up with the letters since the beginning of the year, like so. I got the alphabet letters from Christie at Teaching in Flip Flops.

In the first week of school, I wrote everyone's names on sentence strips and we put them underneath our letters. Aaaaaaaaaand that has been the extent of our word wall until yesterday. I feel like a bad teacher but at least I fixed it, right?

Here's what it looks like now!

Why do I have so many W words???
I am wondering where your sight words come from. Or whatever you call them... my program calls them "Memory Words." I bought the Sight Word Superstars pack from Jenn at Finally in First, and yesterday, just out of curiosity, I checked my memory word list next to the Fry words, and they are on like totally different planets.

The next memory word we will learn is "oh." ....................

What do you put on your word wall? Sight words? High frequency words? Or do you have an academic vocabulary word wall?

And I will leave you today with this little gem.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Teacher Bag

I have been severely slacking on the Clutter-Free Classroom Project..... but here I am today to talk about my teacher bag!

Sorry about the sun there... it was just pouring in!!
I have a 31 bag! It's the organizing utility tote. I got it for Christmas from one of my students and I love it a lot. It has held up so far and I think it is suuuuuuuper cute.

This is one area that I don't need help with as far as decluttering!! That is because I never take ANYTHING home. I know for a fact that I will not do it so I have just accepted it and moved on with my life. Here's a little peek inside!

All I have, from top to bottom, is my planning book, two library books to be returned, my little laptop and the cord. I never have anything else in here so it stays super clean and decluttered!

I don't use the pockets at all... I sort of wish I did but then I'd be carting around lots more stuff, so it's probably better this way. :)

And here is one area of my room that is always decluttered!
These are the little baskets where I keep all of our reading stuff. My manuals are on the top there. I keep all of my other manuals in a plastic crate inside the coatroom, but since these aren't bound, they don't sit nicely like the other ones. Plus I can never find find them if I don't keep them in the baskets!

So you can see the manuals on the top, and then underneath there are workbooks and readers for each kid. I also keep the CDs in there because I would lose those too. :) I am happy that I thought to keep the books like this... at the beginning of the year they were across the room and it would take the kids two hundred years to get their books and come to the carpet. Now it's right next to us so they just come over and grab their stuff!

And the kids LOVE to reorganize this area after reading is over because no one ever puts their books in like this when they're done.

Okay, that's all for today! Now I am off to a fondue party!! I have never had fondue so I am hoping for the best!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Partay!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

We had a lovely day today in first and second grades. Let me give you an idea of how it went down and the bloggers who helped us get there!

We made Valentine's mini-books which I got from Michelle at Fabulous in First. I used these for our morning work and then they worked on them when they were finished with things throughout the day. They loved these!
I loved this boy's answers, especially that he loves "apple gose" because he can "suck on the gose."
Then in Writing, we finished up our paragraph Valentines. I loved the ASL Valentines I saw on Pinterest, so they chose a scrapbook paper piece and I traced their hand onto it! Super cute and easy.

Unrelated to Valentine's Day... I busted out the "library books" that come with my reading program for the second graders. We started with a Mercy Watson book - have any of you read those? My kids LOVED IT. Two of them finished it in one day but a few are still working on it, so I read with them today. Three of my second graders are SUPER readers, way way above grade level. These two friends are right on level so I read with them today and they did great!
This is what I gave the kids for Valentine's Day. Thanks, The Teacher Wife! The kids also were obsessed with these and they were so cheap and easy! Best idea ever.
For Math, we did Cara Carroll's candy heart probability. I'm not really sure that they grasped the concept but it was fun regardless. :)

Then we had our party! My room mom planned this activity, which she found here. Super cute! It went along well with our love monsters!!

We played HEART Bingo, which I made here!

And the kids graphed candy hearts, obvi. I got the sheets for that activity at Teacher Bits and Bobs!

At the end, we got our pouches and ate candy! We totally ran out of time to eat our all-red fruit snack!! So we saved it for tomorrow. We'll be eating watermelon, raspberries, and strawberries for a few days I think. :) Fine with me!!!

I also wanted to share what my BTF next door did! She found this cute bookmark idea on Pinterest. All it took was some paint samples and a little heart punch that I found on clearance at Michael's for $2!
 She also made little lovebugs! It was in a little craft kit, also from Michael's!
It was a great day. No behavior problems, although one boy went into the girl's bathroom. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looooove Monsters and a Freebie!!

Hola friends!

How was your Monday? Mine was great, considering it was a Monday. My class is really excited about Valentine's Day but they weren't being too overly crazy today so hooray for that!

Today we prepped our Valentine holders for tomorrow. I got this idea (and the templates) from Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher. I just found her through Chrissy's linky party and I was instantly loving the love monsters. My class died of happiness when I showed them my sample.

She spent a lot of time on hers! It had hair and also nail polish, which you can't see in this picture.
Last week, we made hearts for our wire thing! I got the template from Mrs. Bainbridge. They loved these even though no one understood how to weave them and basically one of the second graders and I did everyone's hearts for them. Whatev.
Tomorrow I have a pretty fun day planned, I think. For writing, we have been working on 5-sentence paragraphs, so today we started working on a Valentine which will incorporate paragraph writing! They had to write it to someone in their family about why they were the best sister ever, or brother, or mom, whatever. They needed a topic sentence, three body sentences, and a closing sentence. We wrote our sloppy copies today and I was so very proud of them! A few friends think that "bald and cool" is a sentence, so we're not quiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite there yet, but I'd say 80% of them can easily write a 5-sentence paragraph with no prompting from me!

I'll show you the finished product tomorrow, but for now, I want to share a little freebie for ya. For this writing project tomorrow, I needed heart writing paper and I couldn't find anything that I liked. So I made my own. It is nothing special but the lines are big enough that my kids can write on them and can fit their whole paragraph on there!

Just click on the little preview to go there! I'd be super happy if you left me a comment if you're able to use it!
I am excited for Valentine's Day tomorrow! Are you? We get a non-uniform day so that makes the day 100% more awesome.
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