Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Anchor Charts

Anchor carts.  Where do I even begin? When we began Writers and Readers Workshop all those years ago, I don't think I realized the extent to which my teaching day would revolve around Anchor Charts.  I have come to love and appreciate their use and existence in my everyday routines.  I love how students can give input to create the charts and reference the charts when necessary.  Over the years, I have had to come up with a procedure for how long to keep charts and when to take them down.  I have also gone through those rough stages of charts becoming like white noise.  The students no longer see or use them!

2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in a Professional Development about the book Smarter Charts by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz.

I loved the way this PD forced me to really think about what the purpose for my charts were.  I was always so worried about my drawing and my handwriting.  But I learned that the focus always needed to be about the students and their needs.  They didn't need to be perfect, just thoughtful.  

Fast forward to this summer.  I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a summer intensive  workshop with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  It was amazing!!  If you ever have the opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend it!  The project works hand in hand with the Smarter Charts book and I learned about Chart Chums, the blog of the writers of the book.  It is such an amazing resource.  I also fell deeply in love with the Large Post it Notes that are encouraged to be used on anchor charts.  

As I explained in my previous post, I am embarking on a new spanish/english immersion program.  As you are well aware, it is vitally important to have students give input and help create anchor charts.  As this year began, I realized I was running into a slight issue.  I began one chart with my blue class and then began a second chart with my green class.  I was going through chart paper like crazy! I discovered that I could use the Post it Notes to my benefit. I could create them ahead of time and put them up as the current class and I made the chart.  Then at the end of the day, I could take them off and use them again tomorrow with the class that came the next day.  After the chart was completed, I could hang the one chart on the wall that both classes created.  I have saved a huge amount of chart paper!!

I take a picture of the anchor charts and put them in my students' Readers/Writers Notebooks.  This way they can reference the chart if needed.  It also allows for me to not worry about taking the charts down.  If they need to reference a chart that has been taken down, they can look in their notebooks.  I also use the picture that I take, in a plastic sleeve.  Once the chart comes down, I can place the post it notes in the plastic sleeve and save for next year.  I keep all of the plastic sleeves in a 3 ring binder.

I love how the charts help me to work smarter and not harder.  It helps simplify the process of anchor charts and helps my classroom run so much smoother! Not to mention, the post it notes helps make the charts so cheerful and colorful.  Here are a few of the charts my classes and I have made so far this year:

Happy Charting!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Number Words

It's Sunday!  Does your brain work extra hard on Sundays like mine?  I try so hard to take care of school things on Friday afternoons and some Saturday mornings and spend the rest of my weekends relaxing.  But something happens on Sundays.  I begin thinking about the upcoming week and everything that I haven't gotten done!!!

I am embarking on a new adventure this year.  I am teaching in a 50/50 Spanish/English immersion program.  I am paired with a wonderful teacher from Chile and we have a class of 24 and a class of 23 students that we share.  We teach identical days, me in English and her in Spanish, and our kids flip flop back and forth between the two of us.  So each day I have a different class than the day before.  When all is said and done, I will have taught each class for 90 days in English.

This week we were working on representing numbers in standard form, expanded form, base ten blocks, and number words.  WOAH!  I found myself at a loss when it came to the number word form.  I am unsure if it is that my students are bilingual, or just a rough year, but I found myself needing number words for my wall that covered numbers to 999.  By no means are these fancy, but they cover all numbers in standard form and number word form from:


I printed them, mounted them on colorful card stock, laminated them, and hung them on my wall.  I am hoping they will be a huge help and resource to my students as they learn how to spell these number words. Click on the picture below to pick up your own free copy!

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Break?

Hello everyone! Juli is in Hawaii!! While I am....in curriculum writing. Could our summers be more different???

Juli is enjoying a much deserved, kid free vacation with her hubby. I am sure she is getting some amazing pictures and will be hopefully posting them for us to enjoy when she returns.

Now onto the ever exciting world of curriculum writing. The first day I was treated to a thrilling introduction to UbD (Understanding by Design). Yesterday I was able to gain a deeper understanding of Performance Tasks. For the rest of the week I get to dive in to curriculum maps and design for K-2 ELA.  I imagine Juli is doing her best to control the enormous amount of jealousy that must be bubbling up inside of her. She will unfortunately have to content herself with sand, palm trees, and tan lines. Please feel free to take a small moment of your time to extend your thoughts to Juli and her suffering.

But seriously, in all honestly, going through this has really deepened my understanding of not just my curriculum but the curriculum before and after second. If you have not done much with vertical alignment, take some time to see the curriculum beyond your world whenever you get the chance.

That said, given the chance - I would rather be in Hawaii!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break

Oh my word!  Does Spring Break totally refresh and rejuvenate you like it does me?!?  This has been such a wonderful week.  I hate to see it going by so quickly!  It has been filled with nothing but fun and relaxation!  We had an egg drop at our church this week.  We dropped 20,000 eggs out of a helicopter.  My kids loved that!!!

We have had beautiful weather that has allowed for endless hours of playing outside, riding bikes, and enjoying sweet treats in shorts and T Shirts!

I have also enjoyed a little extra time to get some school work done.  Heather and I are embarking on a very new and exciting adventure next year.  I am sure you will be hearing lots about it in the upcoming months.  But I needed some new baskets, so my kids and I had a fun excursion driving from store to store looking for these cute green baskets.  After visiting 5 different stores, I think I finally have enough.  You may remember my blue baskets from my post here.  Next year I am going to have 2 classes.  A blue class and a green class.  So naturally, with adding another class full of kids, I need some baskets! :-)

But the one thing that Spring Break does for me is make me LONG for summer break.  How about you!?!  We officially have 47 school days remaining and 70 days left until Summer Break and I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring is in the Air!!!

Spring may just be my most favorite time of the year!!!  Especially with the extra long winter that we have had this year, it is a welcome sight in my eyes.  Since summer in North Carolina can be a little rough, Spring is just the best time.  Warm temperatures, abundant sunshine, Carolina Blue skies, and no HUMIDITY!!!  Perfection, if you ask me.

One of the things that I love to do most with my class is garden.  Typically, I begin planting with my kids in late January and early February.  But considering this winter has been horrible and just last weekend it was 24 degrees, gardening has been delayed!

I think now that our freeze warnings are behind us, it's time to get our hands dirty!!!  A local nursery donated brand new dirt for us and we shoveled it in this week.

I am excited to get my kids out there in those beds and begin planting.  We will be partnering with our PTO this year as an economics lesson.  My students will be growing, harvesting, and then on Fridays selling their plants at our school's Farmer's Market!  All the money earned will be donated back to our PTO.  I am so excited to get started!

First up this week is one of my favorite activities from a fellow NC blogger.  Rachel Lamb, also known as The Tattooed Teacher, has made a really cute little gardening activity that I highly recommend.  I always begin my gardening with this cute activity.  Be sure to check it out!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Part 2

I love to give my students a little something special for Valentine's Day every year.  My go to Valentine treat for them has been a bag of skittles with a cute little heart homework pass stapled to it.  It isn't much or hard to do but it makes a big impact with the kids and they love it!

Click on the picture below to get your own editable powerpoint file.  All you will need to do is download the font Cupid de Locke so that you can add your name in the same LOVEly font.  

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day Graphing

Do you remember when we did our post about graphing candy hearts here?  Well, we decided to change it up a little bit this year.  Instead of a bar graph, we will be completing a pictograph.  I have updated the file to represent a pictograph instead.  Just click on the picture below:

  Maybe you want to do both with your kids?  Click on the first link to access the bar graph.

Happy Graphing and have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Surveys and Graphing

Greetings world!
I have missed everyone so much.  I actually have missed blogging...a lot!  Things just get so busy don't they?  I feel like Heather and I have struggled a little in the last couple of years with the stress and management of several unruly classes. But I come to you on our 103 day of school in complete second grade bliss.  I am in love with my little bunch of babes and I wish time would slow down just a little!

The last few weeks we have been busy graphing.  Graphing everything imaginable! Most specifically we have been working on Bar Graphs and Pictographs.  I was getting a little tired of coming up with lots of survey questions to ask my class.  Then I came across this amazing file from Kim Swoveland.  Aren't they incredible? So I laminated them and put them up on my board.  Each day I assign a different group to answer the survey question as they enter the room.  By Friday, everyone has been able to answer and we are ready to use the data.

From our survey data we create a tally chart and then a pictograph and bar graph on Fridays.  It is a quick and easy way for my class to practice this graphing skill each week!  Check out the blank graph that I use each week.  I just copy the pages front to back.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Word Problem Freebie: Football Edition

Hello! I have a freebie for you!
 I am sitting here curled up on the couch by the fire waiting for my Carolina Panthers to play! NFC South Champs! Can I get a "Keep Pounding!"???
In honor of football season coming to an end and the Panthers doing so well, I made a math station word problem review...in Panthers' colors of course! My kids will be excited to have a football themed math station and I get them to practice word problems. Win win! You can grab it at my store. Just click on the picture below or HERE