Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Christmas Freebie

We are proving to not be very good at this blogging thing lately!  I don't know about you but I am so exhausted at the end of the day, blogging is the last thing that is on my mind!

Heather and I have been busy planning many upcoming units for our classes.  In our math plans we have been creating some stations to go along with our mini lessons!

One of the stations that we have planned for our upcoming Christmas stations is a hundreds board activity that focuses on place value.  As I finished it tonight, I thought that I would give it as a freebie as an apology for being MIA.

Click the picture below to pick up your free copy.  The picture is a completed version, but when you download it, it will be ready to print and copy for your classroom!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

We have a winner! And other stuff...

Congrats to Meredith for winning our giveaway!  You will be receiving an email from us soon regarding your winnings.  Thank you to everyone who participated in our giveaway.

We have been nominated by several people for the Liebster Blog Award! Thank you so much! Since we have already been nominated for this award and given it onto others, we will just give love back to those that nominated us this time around.  First we were nominated by Amy over at Little Miss Organized.

 We were also nominated by Kathy at Third Grade Doodles.
  Sarah from Wishful Teaching nominated us as well.
 Thank you so much ladies! Please stop by these ladies' blogs and show them some love. After you are done showing us love of course!  Here is where we answered the questions.

 We have been working on measurement in math lately.  This is a cute activity we stole saw from a third grade teacher down the hall.  It is a "yard" with 3 "feet" and each foot has 12 "inchworms" - get it?!

 On one FINAL note - we promise this is the last topic change in this post - Juli passed her National Boards!! Yay Juli!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway!!!!

 Hooray for us! Not only did we reach 100 followers but we are FINALLY doing our giveaway!  Which means hooray for you because we have some fabulous ladies lined up in our giveaway.  The winner of this giveaway will receive one item from Heather's TPT store and one item from Juli's TPT store.  And in honor of this exciting milestone for us, Juli is having a 20% sale in her TpT store!

But that is not it... 
Laura is giving away a 31 Organizing Utility Tote in Aqua Circle Spirals.
Natalie over at Teachery Tidbits is giving away an item from her TPT store.

Amy aka "Little Miss Organized" is giving away an item from her TPT store.

Jeannie at The Second Grade Surprise is donating an item from her TPT store.
The 2nd Grade Surprise

Tania at My Second Sense is also donating an item from her TPT store.

These ladies are AWESOME! We want to thank them so much for supporting our giveaway. AND thank you to all our followers!!  We are new at this, but really enjoying learning and experiencing the world of teacher blogging.  We will announce the winners on Thanksgiving day so you may have even more to be thankful for. Good Luck...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2.NBT.1-4 through pumpkins

Halloween is over....I'm exhausted!  Between Halloween and a full moon - our kids were just a tad hyper crazy INSANE!  Then I got to come home and take my own children for what felt like an endless walk around my neighborhood to get candy.  I am recovering though and thought I would share the fun activities Juli and I did with our classes to keep their minds off Halloween.  We did a variety of things with pumpkins to teach a lot of Common Core objectives.  In math we focused on 2.NBT.1-4.  We used a GREAT unit from Sunny Days in Second Grade to have the students complete a Pumpkin Investigation. Once we were done predicting, measuring, and recording data, we moved onto cutting those pumpkins open.  We also used these items from Abby over at The Inspired Apple.  The kids loved everything we did! They kept saying how much fun they were having and I didn't have one child ask me about how much longer until they could go trick or treating.  I had grand visions of plotting the seeds on graphs using bar graphs and line plots, but we ran out of time. I think next year I will use smaller pumpkins. Before I show pictures of work I have to show a picture of my cute little trick or treaters:
               How cute are they?! Okay onto pictures that actually relate to this post:
   This is a picture of Juli's kiddos doing the predictions and investigations. We gave each group a pumpkin so we  each had about 4 groups per class.
Another one of Juli's crew doing the measurements. Everyone actually got along and worked together nicely - very little arguing!
Trying the pumpkins seeds - roasted and salted ones - not the ones we just dug out of the pumpkins!
      Graphing the results of the pumpkin seed tasting. Most liked them - I was surprised!
   Each child filled out one but I also made big versions for the hallway shown above.
      I also made a big version of this for the hallway but the kids each had their own to complete.

Examples of student work....they did awesome! After we did this, we sorted the seeds into groups of 10 and counted by 10s. Each group made their own pumpkins patch and then we compared the pumpkin patches.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and learning took place on Halloween - SUCCESS! If this looks like something you would be interested in doing with your class, you can follow the links above to Sunny Days in Second Grade and The Inspired Apple.

I am going to close with my new anchor chart for Subject and Predicate. I am hoping that leaving it up all year will help my class actually retain this information.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Place Value

November has arrived.  I LOVE and hate November!  The reasons that I LOVE November?  My birthday is on Veteran's Day and my first daughter was born on Thanksgiving Day!  I also love Thanksgiving as a holiday.  I have descendants that were on the Mayflower so I love the history of the Pilgrims and teaching my kids about Plymouth and the first Thanksgiving!  I also think it is just wonderful that we take the time to acknowledge the things that we are thankful for.  We sometimes focus on the negative and the things we want and don't have.  We all have so many things to be thankful for so I really like that about the month of November.

Those are great reasons to love the month of November so how could I hate November???   Well, we don't have a full week of school in November at all!  I am a very structured person who thrives on consistency, much like children!  Short weeks for me always seem to make me feel "off" and I don't like feeling like that.  It also interrupts our routines so then my kids are all off!!!  Another reason is that National Board Scores are almost always released in November.  I have worked on it for 2 years and now I await the scores to be released for the 3rd and final time.  It is a funny thing that you work so hard on it until March, then you submit and sort of forget about the scores being released.  Then November hits and the thoughts, dreams, and dread begin!  So, hopefully this time when the scores are released I will a wonderful reason to be even more Thankful!

In the meantime, here is a fun little pack for you as you get ready for Thanksgiving. Do your kids, just like ours need more practice on Place Value?  I have updated my Passing with Place Value pack to have a Thanksgiving Theme!  Make sure to head over to my TPT store to check it out!!

 Happy November!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkins, conferences, and weddings...oh my!

Wow! Has anyone noticed we have been MIA?  We have been swamped!  We, like many of you out there, have been enjoying surviving parent conferences.  Whew - they are exhausting! I am not sure if I am missing some important social skill needed to get through these things comfortably, but they never end with me thinking "Well that was fun."  Don't get me wrong - I think they are very important and I love communicating important information to parents. But somehow most of them are always awkward.  Juli has two left and I have about 7 so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In addition to conferences taking up our time, we have been chasing down all evil doing and demanding justice for innocent pumpkins everywhere. Well, really just for the pumpkins in our garden. But it has been time consuming all the same.  If you remember from a previous post, a pumpkin was nabbed from our garden. It still remains a cold case. Just as we were starting to heal from that experience, evil struck our poor garden once again!  Juli went out to check on things and the majority of our pumpkins had been picked and smashed!!!!  When I found out I was upset angry borderline homicidal. We went to the front office and demanded to see the surveillance video from the weekend. Sure enough - Juli and I witnessed our pumpkins being thrown against the building by three boys.  The images are burned into our brains now. It was terrible!  I calmly suggested starting ranting that we call the cops ASAP.  The suggestion was not received with open arms by admin.  In the end, I never did get to call the cops. But the boys were identified and consequences were handed out.  When I was told of the punishment, I suggested the boys also be responsible for replacing the lost pumpkins. New pumpkins have been purchased, 4 garden beds got weeded without any sweat or tears or blood from us, and apologizes were accepted.  I hoping this is the end to assaults on our garden. I am not sure how much more we can handle!  I am also hoping that word has gotten out that Juli and I avenge all wrong doing that occurs in the garden so that future wrong doers decide to leave our garden alone.

And the last thing that has taken up so much of our time...a wedding!  One of our teammates who we love dearly got married this weekend! It was BEAUTIFUL!  Juli and I and another coworker piled into her van with our husbands and traveled to Charleston, SC.  The wedding was on the beach, the weather and the bride were gorgeous, and we all had a blast.  Other than being called out for being old by a young guest at the wedding, it could not have been better. The conversation with the young lady went sort of like this...
Heather - "Yeah, I graduated from the same high school as him."
Young Guest - "What year did you graduate?"
Heather - "1996"
Young Guest - "Oh that was the year I was born!"
Juli - "uh oh" and starts to take a drink to avoid to be involved in the conversation
Heather - "No feel so old"
Young Guest - "Don't worry - you look good for your age."
Juli -  starts choking on her drink

I pretty much ended the conversation at that point to go find a glass of wine. Because seriously when you are told you look good for your age, a glass of wine is pretty much the only thing that will help. 

We have lots more blogging to do....we have been Boo'd and our upcoming giveaway! However,  I think I have made this long enough. To close, I am including a picture of Juli and I at the wedding.  I am the older lady next to Juli.  I hear I look pretty good for my age though!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Can your students tie shoes?

At the beginning of the school year, I began teaching my first grader how to tie his shoes.  Then his teacher started assigning how to tie shoes as homework.  We worked and worked on it and he finally got it!  As we were trying so hard to teach him how to tie, I realized that only about 3 kids in my second grade class actually know how to tie their shoes.  I personally hate tying shoes.  I mean when you think about our kids walking around the school, on the playground, and in the bathroom with their shoelaces untied, and then our hands tying the laces over and over... EWWWW!!!!  This morning I was browsing Pinterest and my partner in crime (Heather) re-pinned this video.

 I had to give it a try. So I grabbed my daughter who is in Kindergarten and started teaching her. She learned in 5 minutes.  I am so excited!!

Yay for us! We only have one more to teach and then we all know how to tie our shoes. I tried with my 4 year old but she gave up easily. Plus, I intend to start teaching my kids at school this on Monday. Hopefully, I soon won't be tying any shoes except my own!!!

Happy Shoe tying!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Classroom Library Management

Hello everyone!  I thought I would share a cool product I found on Really Good Stuff for those people that are wanting an organized library but are too lazy pressed for time to create their own system.  I first got this idea from Juli but of course she had organized and coded her books using a system she herself created....she is a freak of nature I tell you!  I can't decide if she is super human or just secretly lives in a time warp the rest of us don't know about cause the girl gets EVERYTHING done!
Anyway - back to the point, I decided I would copy this system but in typical Heather timing - it took several months for me to get around to actually doing it. In that time, a Really Good Stuff magazine came in and I was looking through it.  There I found the exact same thing Juli had done but it was already done and I only had to pay a few dollars for it! SOLD!!!
So here is how it works...we have our libraries organized in baskets such as "Realistic Fiction Picture Books" or "Fantasy Chapter Books." Same as most of you I imagine.  When conferencing with students, Juli and I wanted a way to check on the level of book they were reading without plastering the Fountas and Pinnell level on it.  We don't want to discourage their picking of books based on a level - we merely want to monitor it to see that they are making good choices.  We also didn't want students to be self conscious about what book level they are reading.  This system uses a variety of color circles on the front of the book - green through blue along with a number inside that circle 1-4. The color and number indicate to what level they are reading on but I am the only one who knows the codes. I know it sounds confusing but I promise it's not!  Here is what the circles look like:
I bought just the circles for $6.99. Then I bought and used the correlation chart to put a sticker on each book in my library.  The correlation chart is below and only cost $2.99!!
It gives you way more information than just guided reading levels such as grade levels, lexile levels, etc.  Here is an example of one of my books:
It is a yellow 3 which means that it is a Fountas and Pinnell level L. But none of my kids need to know that - I want them to choose books based on interest and readability. I don't want them uncomfortable or restricted by the book level they are currently reading at.  I get to monitor reading choices and they are oblivious - it is WIN WIN! I hope you find this helpful. I love ideas that are easy and affordable but help out a lot in the classroom. I find this to be all those things.

Oh I we haven't forgotten our giveaway! Thank you to everyone who said they would donate something. We will be in touch soon. We are still getting it all together.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Currently

The blog hasn't done a CURRENTLY lately and I've never done one before so I thought that I would give it a try.  Hop on over to Farley's blog to check it out and participate in it.

It is so much fun to see what everyone is up to in October.

On an exciting note, I won my first giveaway this week from Jeannie at The 2nd Grade Surprise.  She is new to blogging so please head over and check out her new blog.  It is super cute!!!

The 2nd Grade Surprise
On another exciting note, Heather and I threw a bridal shower today for one of our teammates.  It was a great time but I am exhausted!  I am so glad that this week we get to wear jeans everyday this week with pink to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness.  I am thrilled to be able to support such a worthy cause, but to be honest I am just as excited to not have to think or plan my outfits in the mornings this week!

Hope you guys have a great week!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thematic Maps

We teach Map Skills to our Second Graders.  Personally, map skills to 7 and 8 year olds is completely BORING!!  I mean really, map skills for any age is not tons of fun.  To help make the concept a little more fun and create a way to apply their knowledge, we assign a Thematic Map Project each year.  This project is one of our favorite times of year because our kids' creativity really comes out.  Each year, the themes are different and exciting and we LOVE them!  It is a project that is sent home to complete and then returned to school to be presented and displayed.  We typically give about 2 weeks for them to work on them before we ask that they are returned to school.  Students choose a theme that interests them (cheer-leading, soccer, dance, etc...) and create a map.  The outline of the map is in a shape that matches the chosen theme and the landmarks, streets, and map key items are all named to match as well.  The students are graded on a rubric for the following items:

Map Title
Map Key
Compass Rose
Labeled Landmarks and Streets
Neatness and Creativity

Here are a few of this year's maps:

If you are interested in trying out this fun project in your classroom as well, click here to download the letter that we send home to parents.

Happy Map Making!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Thief!

What is the world coming to?
If you have been following us for awhile, you will remember that Juli and I  (and our 5 children under 6) braved the July heat to clean up our school garden and plant pumpkin seeds. Our plan was that the pumpkins would be ready by the end of October for a math and science investigation for our kids.  Everything has been going well...we check on the pumpkins - they are tiny at first and slowly starting to grow.  Finally one was the size of a basketball and it is only the first week of October! Juli and I were pumped! So Juli goes to check on the pumpkins today and then....
it was GONE!
Our big pumpkin was gone.
 From an elementary school garden!
Who does that?
When Juli broke the news today I was so mad!  I emailed our principal and asked if the video cameras picked up the criminal in the act. When we left this afternoon they were still not to the pumpkin stealing part so we are hoping that we have a suspect in the morning. I just can't believe that someone would steal our pumpkin! From what I understand about crime (from my extensive COPS watching) most missing cases have 48 hours to be solved for the best results. I am guessing we are moving on to around 24 hours since our pumpkin was nabbed so I preparing myself for the sad news that we may never see our pumpkin or the perp again.  I know - it's a lot of emotion for a pumpkin but we literally put our blood and sweat and tears into that garden. Well, the sweat and blood are mine and Juli's (the garden has killer weeds with thorns). The tears are mostly from our children who we wouldn't let use the gardening tools they wanted.  But still - it has blood, sweat, and tears put into it all the same!

On a happier note, Juli and I have reached 100 followers! Yay followers - we love you! We would like to do a really big giveaway to celebrate. We are brainstorming a few ideas. If you would be interested in donating to our giveaway, please let us know. We love all the blogs we stalk follow out there so we would love to share your great stuff with a giveaway winner. Hope everyone has a happy Friday!