Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Juli!

What a better day to return to blogging than to wish Juli a Happy Birthday! As you can tell from like the past ten posts - she has been holding up the blogging fort around here.  This school year has been somewhat different to say the least, but that is another post for another day. Just wanted to stop by and let everyone know that my amazing friend is celebrating her birthday today. In addition to be a great friend, she is also an awesome teacher, fun violin teacher, super mom, and recently added swimmer to her many titles. I do not know anyone who is busier than Juli, but was not at all surprised to hear she now gets up even earlier 3 days a week to go jump in a cold pool and swim for endless laps.  She is crazy! Join me in wishing Juli a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Place Value

I don't know about you guys but I LOVE Sundays!  Don't get me wrong.  I like Saturdays too, but my family is very busy on Saturdays.  It almost seems like it is another day of the work week.  We have soccer games, football games, and dance rehearsals on Saturdays.  But on Sunday, we have one thing to focus on.  Our family!  We begin with a carefree morning of quietness, coffee (husband not me), breakfast and lounging around.  Then we go to church and enjoy a morning of worship together.  Then we head home for relaxing, football games on TV, Sabbath rests (my personal FAVE), and playing.  Today we even baked cookies together.  This evening we will headed to our small group meeting with our dear friends.  We have the best time.  PLUS...I don't have to cook.  Each week two couples share the cooking responsibility for the whole group.  It is just a remarkable day.  I don't want you to think that it's all play and no work.  I definitely work, especially on school and TPT stuff.  And I still find a few minutes to make it to the gym.  But it just feels different!

So as I have been planning for the week, I thought I would pop in a show you what we're up to this week.  PLACE VALUE!  Aren't we always working on place value?  I'm being dead serious.  I literally feel like it is ALL.THE.TIME.  There is always lots to cover so we try to make it as fun as possible.  It is also a skill that is great practice through application in games.

So this week, we will be breaking out the Web Themed games that specifically cover 2.NBT.1 and 2.NBT.3.  I hope you pop over and pick up your own copy too!  I also have lots of other ones as well that cover Place Value.  Let's be honest, it is one of the most important skills we teach as second grade teachers.

I am also excited to be pulling the pumpkins out and teaching through pumpkins on Thursday!!

 Make sure to stop by and pick up all the Place Value packs available to you.  As always, the first comment picks up a copy of your own for your classroom.  (And as an added bonus, If you have a blog and post about your class using this packet, please send me the link and I will let you choose ANY product from my TPT store for free!)

Happy Halloween Week!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall and Frenzied

Wowza!  I feel like every time we get on to blog we are complaining about how stressed we are.  It has to be said though...we are STRESSED.  I hope that we aren't the only ones feeling the pressure.

Last year seemed to be quite stressful with the addition of all those extra kids.  Let's just say that it is a good thing that didn't happen THIS year.  I am quite certain my family would have me committed!  This is the most challenging year I have had to date in 13 years of teaching.  I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it.

With that being said, I love my class.  They have lots of needs and they are exhausting.  But I love them.  They have fun personalities, they make me laugh, and they love to be at school (even if for most of them I am asking them to do near impossible things!)

This week we had a short week.  We took our kids to the zoo on Thursday and then had a half day on Friday.  Tomorrow we will not be having school so that teachers can get some much needed time in their classrooms.  I have scheduled parent conferences for tomorrow so I am looking forward to meeting with my parents and discussing their kids!

This past week we spent 3 and 1/2 days reviewing skip counting.  Seems like a simple enough task for these kids.  However, we pretty much can only do it up to 100.  Past 100 is hit and miss and all the way to 1,000 is laughable.  We spent lots of time evaluating and discovering number patterns this week.

So this coming week, we have decided to use my Fall Activities pack for the kids to review.  It should be fun for them and the fall decor is perfect for the weather we have had here in NC.  I love October so it seems perfect to embrace the fall weather while practicing our skip counting.

Be sure to head over to my TPT store and pick up a copy for yourself before Fall leaves us!  As always, first comment gets a copy for free!

Happy Fall!

Check out all the awesome stuff that you get in the pack!!! (There's much more, but I couldn't do a preview of ALL 51 pages that it includes)  The range is from 5-1,000.  It is a perfect pack to use to differentiate!!

And as I promised, click below to get yourself a fun little fall freebie!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Place Value Perfection

What a week!  This is going to be one crazy year if last week has any indication!!  Let's just say that both Heather and I have characterized our week as "teaching first grade."  Yes, first grade.  This isn't the typical first graders coming to second grade and we just don't "remember" what they're like at the beginning of the year.  This is like kindergarteners coming to first grade.  It is B-A-D y'all.  Now, trust us when we tell you that we were warned from the first day of school LAST year by all of the first grade teachers that "they were coming".  I have spent all of this week reviewing short vowel sounds.  Well, back up.  I have reviewed what a vowel is, and then what sound they make when they are short.  YIKES!  Toward the end of this week, we began analyzing our words their way lists.  I have the full spectrum of ability levels.  I have two who know NO sounds and will be beginning on the picture lists.  Then I have two who made it all the way through the primary list and 3/4 of the way through the elementary list.  So they are on the final 3 spelling skills and all in between.  My grandfather grew up going to school in a one room schoolhouse.  I spent three weeks with him this summer and we talked a lot about that one room school house.  He truly believes it is the best way of learning.  I thought a lot about those conversations this week.  Even though I don't have different ages like he did in a one room schoolhouse, I do have all of the levels of one.  It is exhausting.  I am tired.  However, more than ever before in a school year I see my PURPOSE for these children.  It is clear as day.  I will not let the negative get the better of me on this year.  I will see the good in everything and be the best I can be for these little ones who have SO MANY NEEDS!!!!!!!  So that brings to me to place value.  They don't know it.  So this weekend I hopped on the place value train and started making some games.  I think we are going to need them and I am hoping that you will too!  There are two card games with levels of all sorts.  Use them all.  Use what you need.  Use it throughout the year as they improve.  It includes a value challenge game which is played like war.  It also includes a concentration game with numbers in standard form, expanded form, base ten model, and number word.  I hope it helps your classes build that number sense that is so vitally important!  First comment gets their own copy free!

Building place value perfection!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fact Families- 2.NBT.5

This week we are teaching addition and subtraction strategies.  One thing I plan to focus on this year is moving my students to become better mental mathematicians.  I really dislike the reliance on fingers and pictures that my students have.  One of the strategies that we teach to help with this is Fact Families.  There are lots of great resources out there to help with teaching fact families.  I wanted to create a fun game that my students could play in an independent station to review the concept.  I also wanted to be able to hold my students accountable with a recording sheet.  This game will allow your students to play and review the concept while also having fun!  I also included a variety of cards so that it can easily be adapted for a variety of ability levels.  As always, the first comment gets their own copy FREE!

Happy Fact Families!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Baskets

Ever since our school adopted the Reader's Workshop approach, I have been trying to find what will work best for my kids during their IDR (independent daily reading).  For the past two years, I have used the cardboard magazine files from IKEA.  They are cheap and easy to replace.  However, being cheap means that I am buying class sets twice a year.  As the year began, I ran to IKEA to pick up another class set and to my surprise, they were sold out of them.  I started racking my brain about what else I could do that wouldn't cost a lot of money.  I went to the Dollar Tree to pick up some more book baskets for my book collection (I mean when you have 63 baskets of books holding your classroom library, you are constantly buying them!).  I came across these cute blue baskets with handles.

I LOVE them!  I figured $23 was a good investment and they will hopefully hold up for a few years!  I wasn't exactly sure how to identify everyone's baskets since they look the same.  I didn't want to write on the basket so I decided to take some Rock Star name tags, mount them to card stock, laminate them, and then write on the name tag with Sharpie.  That way, I can reuse them as well.  Since there are holes all over the basket and it would be hard to stick anything to it, I punched a hole in the name tag and used a book ring to attach it.  So far, it is working wonderfully and I think they're super cute!!!

On a personal note, all of my children are finally in school with me.  Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade.  I am so happy that I get to take them to school with me each day.  It brings a lot of other issues that I have to learn to manage, but having them with me is priceless.  They are also in the classes of 3 of my personal friends.  So it is a lot of fun.  Not to mention my second grader is in Heather's class!  Each night, my job is to pack lunches and backpacks.  This is what my house looks like every night!

Here is what we looked like on our first day of school!  We have a very early start school (7:15 for students).  I leave my house at 6:30 every morning and have to have all of these precious ones ready as well.  So it is EARLY in our house getting up and ready.  They are pretty wide eyed for the first day and their first wake up call of 5:45!

Here we are leaving school in the afternoon (the morning pic is in the dark).  Everyone jokes because we always walk with Momma and her ducklings.  I don't know why, but they always walk in their birth order.  (Oh, and they are all 15 months apart from each other.)

I don't know about you guys, but we have completed 2 weeks of school and I am BEAT!  Exhausted does not even come close to what I am feeling.  Heather and I met at school today (Saturday) because we sill had hours of work to do.  We currently feel like we can't catch up.  Hopefully it will get better but until then, I will continue to look bleary eyed and breaking out in hives dealing with the stress and exhaustion.  My husband made a comment today about me not having put anything out on TPT for awhile.  He is right, but there just isn't a spare minute in the day.  Hopefully soon people!

Happy Back to School!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale

In an attempt to get back into the swing of things for the school year, head on over to Teachers Pay Teachers to check out the awesome Back to School Sale!!  We have all our stuff on sale 20% off and with the checkout coupon you can save up to 28%!  We are so excited to fill our carts with stuff from our favorite sellers!

Thanks to Michelle at The 3am Teacher for the graphic!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Getting Crafty!

Hello out there!  
Wow, what a summer!  I feel so badly about the lack of blogging on my part.  Heather blogged about her reasons for not blogging earlier this week so I figured it was my turn.

My parents and my husband had an amazing opportunity this summer to spend 3 weeks in Tanzania, Africa.  They helped with water filtration systems, gardening, and soccer camps.  They ended the trip by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!!!  It was an amazing experience for them and I am so thankful they had the opportunity to participate in such a worthwhile cause.  Here is a picture of the hubs while in Africa:

While they were on this amazing adventure, I was at home on the other side of the mission trip.  The side not talked about as much...The ones left behind.  It was a wonderful three weeks of single parenthood.  To any of you single parents out there, I admire what you do on a day to day basis.  I truly appreciated my husband more after those three weeks apart!  I spent those weeks in Ohio with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins.  The time with family was priceless and so enjoyable.  But in all actuality, let's be serious...I needed reinforcements.   

Once my husband returned home, it was GAME ON!  We packed as much as possible into the rest of our summer.  We made a trip to the beach, went to Indiana to visit my brother and his wife and attend a wedding.  Then we went to Tennessee to visit my husband's family.  All in all, we have only been home 2 weeks this summer!  It has been magical and wonderful and I wouldn't trade any of it!  So as you can probably imagine, blogging wasn't even on my radar screen.  In fact, for the first time ever, I haven't even thought about anything school related this summer.  It was a weird feeling.  But I liked it!!

Now that we are home and I return to school on Monday, school has been on my mind!  All of my children will finally be in school this year.  I have been joking that in my whole teaching career I have been a K-2 teacher.  Now I will be a K-2 parent too.  Literally!  I will have my son in 2nd, middle daughter in 1st, and baby girl in Kindergarten!  WHOA!  This also means that these three precious ones will be with me at school.  UGH!  I love my children and I do believe it is amazing that I get to have them with me at school to love on and spy on.  But before and after school, COME ON!  It's like I trade my teacher's hat in for a referee's!  I can hardly get anything done.  

For this reason, I have been attempting to get as much of my stuff done BEFORE my first day back.  That way I can get in, get out, and no one gets hurt.  So I started getting a little crafty.  

Have you seen the pin going around Pinterest with the bookshelves at the end of each table group?  It originated from Dandelions and Dragonflies.  I fell in love with this idea and decided to bite the bullet and do it myself.  Then I found on her blog that she did this adorable fabric on her bookshelves.  I decided that I had to do this too!  So I got some adorable fabric that will be on all of my bookshelves and then also some curtains.  

   Last but not least, I decided to make some bookmarks for my notebooks at school.  I tried this last year and it was very helpful.  I originally saw the pin here.  I have a rockstar theme in my classroom so I ordered some cute rockstar ribbon and went to town.  

1.  I cut the ribbon to the length that I wanted.  Then I folded it at the end in half.  

2.  Next I use my scissors to cut on an angle.

3.  Then the bottom of each of the ribbons looks like this:

4.  Last I use a lighter to melt the ends of the ribbon.  Don't get too close or you'll light it on fire.  Get just close enough to watch the edge melt.  By doing this you ensure that your ribbon won't fray.

5.  All done!  The girls get the pink rock star ribbon in their notebooks. The boys get black and white zebra print in theirs.  

 Well, I better stop since this blog has gotten quite long.  I hope everyone is well and enjoying back to school time!  Stay tuned because I assure you that we will be blogging more frequently this school year!

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

MIssing In Blog Action! Catching up...

So about that summer we didn't blog at all....

You may or may not have noticed Juli and I didn't blog this summer. It wasn't planned or discussed at all. I imagine it has something to do with our families. Juli has 3 kids and I have 2. We had talked about all the great things we were going to make this summer for TPT and all the awesome blog topics we had. Then summer actually started. I think I speak for us both when I say we just needed to spend all of our time focused on our families.  All you fellow teacher moms can relate - we spend all year frantically putting as much as possible into our classroom while trying to be Super Mom at home. The slow pace of summer allowed me to be completely immersed into my children's world. I decided mid summer to stay there and enjoy the small window of time I get to be with these amazing little people I brought into this world.  Now that summer is coming to a close I am stopping by to catch up.  Hopefully with regular blog posts now that school will be starting.  I thought I would use this post to show what an amazing summer I have had with the 4 men in my life.  DISCLAIMER: no educational value what so ever in this post - just a peek into my life these days.  I personally love when the bloggers I follow show their lives outside the classroom. My apologies to any readers that don't.

Man #1 - my husband
Isn't he handsome?  He is driving the new boat my father in law purchased. Much of our time is now spent on the lake cruising up and down in this thing. I refer to it as a floating play pen because my boys can play and I don't have to worry about them wondering off.  It is a lazy mother's dream!
We are having Juli and family over at the end of the month so maybe we will have fun pictures to share.

Man #2 and #3 - my sons
They are so much fun! And work! And by work I mean mind numbing, endless demands, mess making tornadoes! But I wouldn't trade a single second.  Our best friends have two boys as well so we had a lot of fun with them. Here are some of my favorite moments with them:
Man #4 - my puppy
Turns out Banjo is quite the little lake dog!  He has his own little life vest and jumps right in.  He is still in puppy stage, which has exhausting and expensive.  His latest adventure was eating my underwear. Yep! You read that correctly...he ate my underwear. That was our ticket of fun to the ER vet.  The staff loved it. Anything I can do to bring a little fun to a vet office I guess.
How often do you get discharge papers like this?  The vet asked if I would like my underwear back! With a straight face! I thanked her for offering but decided to leave that pair with them. I prefer my undergarments predigested.  I don't think that makes me a diva or anything.

So that's my summer. We have one week left and then it's teacher workdays. Sigh. I have enjoyed seeing everyone's classroom set ups. Juli and I will have to do a post with our classroom pics once we get our rooms put together.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloglovin'...I think

So Juli is out of town on single parent duty (for a very cool reason that I will let her share later) and I am left to here to manage this new fangled move to Bloglovin'. As you know if you are a regular follower, Juli is the tech savvy one. She's also the one with all the cool teaching ideas. I am still a little unsure of what exactly I bring to this blog of ours! But back to Bloglovin' and me manning the controls solo...

I just recently quit using messenger pigeons as my main form of communication so this one was tough for me.  Hopefully I have done it correctly. If not - Juli can save the day when she returns. I managed to import all our blogs we follow over. Then I THINK I got us set up to be followed on Bloglovin'. There should be a little thingy over there on the right of your computer screen that says "Follow This Blog With Bloglovin' and then a little box to click under that. If you click that - that is your ticket to following us. I have sent up a series of smoke signals to Juli to let her know that her assistance may be needed in this transition.   If you have any problems or notice anything I have done wrong, leave a comment (or send me a messenger pigeon).  Thank you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Heather!!!

I am just popping in quickly to wish my dear friend and blogging buddy, Heather, a very Happy Birthday!!!!!  I am so thankful that I have her as my coworker.  She makes going to school everyday SO much fun!  She is so funny and you never know what might come out of her mouth.  But rest assured no matter what she says, it is hilarious and it will make me LAUGH OUT LOUD!   More importantly I am so thankful to call her my friend.  She is one of the sweetest people who regardless of what is going on in her own life, will stop and do anything for you!

Happy Birthday, Heather.  I love you bunches!!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gardens, Butterflies, and Ladybugs, OH MY!

We have had several good days of rain lately!  So when I got to school today, I noticed that we would need to pick some of our carrots.  We headed outside and found these
As I pulled the carrots out, I noticed several little ladybug larvae crawling around in the dirt.  Check it out. (this is in Heather's hand)
We have been keeping busy learning all about the complete metamorphosis of insects.  As I was showing them the ladybug larvae, one of my students said, "look, here's a pupa!"  I was SO excited.  We haven't talked about the ladybug life cycle yet.  When I showed them the larvae it was the first time they had even seen one.  I was so impressed that this student applied his knowledge from mealworms and butterflies to ladybugs.  I turned around quickly and saw what he pointed to.  It was in fact, a ladybug pupa right on the wall outside my classroom window.
So amazing!  Well, we needed to move inside and get to work.  However, work in the garden had to continue.  So I left small groups of students with our full time substitute.  They harvested peas, carrots, and lettuce to take home.  We even got one onion! 

The next amazing thing was what one of my students found munching on some lettuce and dill.  2 monarch caterpillars.  When we study butterflies, we raise Painted Lady Butterflies.  I have actually never seen a monarch caterpillar before!  It was absolutely amazing!

It was just such a fun day of getting our hands dirty and learning about insects in REAL LIFE!  I can't wait to keep our eyes on these two caterpillars and see them go into their chrysalis!  I sure do love those gardens and how much Heather and I can teach to our kids through it!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Easy Explanations ~2.NBT.9

How has everyone's weekend been?  Mine has been good.  Heather was away this weekend celebrating her little sister's graduation.  My weekend was full of soccer games and family time so it was also fun!  What is your countdown down to?  We have 2 more Mondays and 3 more of every other days.  Being a grand total of 14 days left.  We have been keeping our days full with our balloon popping activities.  The kids sure do love it!  What have some of your favorites been?

This week we tackled 2.NBT.9.  The excellent standard for having students explain their thinking.  As always, as we explicitly teach the skill the first week, we place the skill in our stations for the following week.  One of those stations is math games.  We needed a great game for our kids to play that would allow them to apply this skill in game form.  There aren't tons of resources out there for this skill.  And to be honest it is a tricky skill not only to learn for our kids but to teach for us.  We took the approach of having the kids not only explaining their thinking with both word problems and equations.  But we also had students analyze other people's strategies for solving problems.  We had them to analyze and decide why their strategies worked and explain why they didn't work.  

I came up with a little game that allows the students to solve problems and choose multiple choice style the correct answer.  Then they have a recording sheet that allows them to explain why the answer they chose was the correct answer.  Be sure to check it out!  First comment gets a free copy of your own!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale

We are so thankful for all of our followers who are teachers!  We are so excited to be able to participate in this sale as well as shop this sale!  Be sure to check out some of our great lessons and units on sale for the next two days!

Happy Shopping!