Sunday, January 27, 2013

Giveaway + New Math Journals [Freebie!]

Hey friends! I hope you are all doing well!  I can't believe it's Sunday already -- You know, the day of lesson plans!  Last week was the longest short week of all time for me! We were out Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of course.  Then we had a two hour delay on Tuesday because of the BITTER, BITTER cold!  But Man oh MAN!  Wednesday-Friday completely dragged and the weekend is flying by -- go figure ;)
I should note that I am SO excited today because I finally  finished up my February Math Journal Prompts.  These are made for second grade but would be great review for third grade and an excellent challenge for those high flying firsties!  If you are new to my blog, you just HAVE to click [right here] to see how I use Math Journals in my classroom.  Seriously, they have changed the way my kiddos think about math!  It's one of my favorite parts of the day! Click the picture below to check out some adorable Valentine's/Candy themed February Journals in my store. 
Click the image below to download a freebie page from these journals! :)
Lastly, I feel obligated to do you guys a favor.  If you have NOT been over to Olivia's blog over at Liv to Teach -- head there now! She is celebrating 1,000 well-deserved followers for her adorable TPT store!  She's throwing a HUGE giveaway with 68 items and 5 different chances to win! You will not want to miss out! 
Liv to Teach
 I am honored to be a part of Giveaway #1.  You could win my Lovey Dovey Valentines Math and Literacy Centers! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Readers Workshop Accountability plus some Lit. Centers fun!

Hey friends! I hope you're enjoying your GLORIOUS 3-Day weekend.  We don't get enough of these, do we?  I have to say, I'm loving putting my plans off until tomorrow.  Normally I wake up and try to crank them out before church, but today, I get to be here -- blogging with you! :)
I wanted to talk to you about something that I really struggled with at the beginning of the year.  Being a new teacher, I only had my student teaching experience AND my experience as an actual elementary school student to guide me when it came to grades and the such.  In student teaching, my school followed a Basal program very strictly! This made grading incredibly easy.  In my current position, we do readers, writers, and math workshop.  This made grading more challenging for me.  I had no idea where to get reading grades!  So in order to hold students accountable for their reading and comprehending during readers workshop, I decided to have them respond to their reading one specific way, every time they finish a book --  By writing a response letter to me!  And so was born this anchor chart....
The kids can look up at this every day to remind themselves of what kind of information can go in their letters.  The top part shows what I wanted to know about their books.  The bottom part gives them a reminder about all the different parts of the letter.  *After winter break, I think letter writing fell out of their heads! I have been sending them to this chart a LOT for reminders!*
Each kiddo has a binder for reading which includes a Reading Log, Reading Handouts, and their response journals.  My kids write a letter each time they finish a book, but it might also be a good idea to have them write one high quality letter a week (I am considering this change). I take grades on these letters once every few weeks.  We also talk about them during our reading conferences.  It is nice to have the kids bring something tangible with them to conference!
Of course this is not the only way I get grades in Readers Workshop, but it is a consistent one! We also do a lot of graphic organizers and exit slips! :)
After Readers Workshop in my classroom, we move to Literacy Centers.  I L.O.V.E Literacy Centers. The  kids have fun while learning and I really enjoy making new centers for them!  In my class, we have five centers and five groups.  Each group does one center per day! They are:
1. Fluency
2. Word Work 1 (making words)
3. Word Work 2 (spelling patterns/skills)
4. Pick New Books/Independent Reading
5. Computer
I'm getting SO SO SO excited to whip out my Valentine's Day Centers.  I think I might start them the SECOND we hit February! Here's what I have planned for some of my centers!
Fluency - Sentence Scramble + Punctuation Practice
Word Work 1 - Making Words with "Be My Valentine"
Word Work 2 - Skill Practice - Contractions!
And if you made it to the end of this long blog, then I have a surprise for you! Until NOON today, I will have this item discounted to $5! By the way, it has MATH CENTERS, too! Grab it now to save! :) Click the picture below to check it out.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Keep them moving with Math!

Every other Thursday at my school is "Math Fact Day" in the primary grades.  The idea is that we spend an entire hour of math working toward mastering our math facts.  When I first started, I thought this sounded incredibly boring!!! I could take the easy way out and schedule the computer lab every other Thursday, but I like to keep this time fresh.  We have to get our kiddos to love math at a young age or they'll hate it forever! 
Today's goal was to keep my kiddos moving while they practiced their math facts!  It made the hour FLY by and my littles absolutely LOVED it! :) We started by playing math fact scoot!  I have a large class, so I broke them into two groups of 13 and had them "Scoot" around the floor in a circle :)
If you are unfamiliar with scoot, basically you give the kiddos an appropriate amount of time to solve a problem (any kind of problem!) and then shout "scoot!" or have a timer that *dings!* and then they move to the next one! For math fact day, I simply laid out flash cards and gave them a blank recording sheet. Easy Peasy!
Next up... My new FAVE game for these babies! THEY LOVED IT! :) We played "Find someone who" with Math Facts! We called it Mingle Math :) Basically, I gave the kids this paper which you can download by clicking! :)
Then, they each got a math fact smack dab on their shirt!  I used post-it notes because I have a gobzillion of them.  Avery labels would work great as well!  They had to wander the room looking for people who had the answers on their paper.  For example, if Johnny is wearing the math fact 4+5, then Tyler could write Johnny's name in the box which reads "9".  They LOVED being able to move around the room and I've never seen them so engaged in math fact practice! Check them out! :)
We, of course, are still working hard on our Geometry Unit!  This week we talked about Congruent Shapes!  We used my Two Peas in a Pod activity to do some whole class sorting.  They did a great job! :)
This activity is a part of my new Geometry Pack.  You can click HERE to see more!
We also made a very simple foldable.  This was our first attempt at making anything like this, they really enjoyed it and now they have a resource they can go back to as we continue learning and reviewing!
Didn't get a picture of the final product, but here was the start for a few of my kiddos!  Well that's it for me today! Come back soon to see what we've been up to during Readers Workshop! :) 
P.S. Three day weekend, YEAH! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Product Swappy Love!

SO excited to be participating in 2013's first Product Swap!  Here's some background on what the Product Swap is all about!  The amazing Jessica Stanford thought up this brilliant idea for bloggers to pair up with other bloggers around the world and review each other's product! In the process, you get to know each other a little better and you get an amazing product to use with your kiddies in your classroom! :)
Meet my partner -- Ellen! 
Beach Teacher
(ELLEN! I hope you're not mad I shared your adorable picture!)
She is a 1st/2nd grade split teacher from Michigan!  This is her ninth year teaching in her very own classroom and she subbed for a while before that.  She is super sweet and a cat lover (but I try not to hold that against her, lol!).  Ellen has lots of cute ocean themed (and more!) things on her blog and her TPT store -- One of which I'm THRILLED to be reviewing today! :)  You HAVE to check her out -- CLICK HERE to see her blog and CLICK HERE to see her TPT store! :)  
Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about one of her products.  It's called Ocean Phrase Fluency: Fry Words 1-300.  When I got this cute little item in my email, I couldn't WAIT to get it laminated and cut out.  I knew it would be PERFECT for my literacy centers.  I use it in my Fluency center and my kids stinkin' love it. 

This game is modeled after the ever-popular "Bang!" type games -- only it's way more adorable.  It comes with fluency phrases on ocean themed cards and four Shark! cards. I tried the game out with MY babies before I took it to school for my second graders! Enjoy the pictures.

 You place the cut and laminated cards into a container of sorts and students will take turns drawing a card from the container. 

 They read their card out loud and if they read it correctly, they get to keep it! If they need help reading it, they have to put it back in the container.  Burt and Willow are doing GREAT! :)

But, watch out for those pesky sharks! If you draw a Shark! card then you (appropriately so) put all your cards back in the container!  Ahhh, MANNNNN!

The student with the most cards at the end is the "winner".  But we're all winners when we're learning sight words... am I right?! ;)

You guys, I haven't told you the best part about this product.  Ellen took the time to DIFFERENTIATE this product!  She offers the same game three different ways... for Fry Words 1-100, 100-200, and 200-300!  This is *PERFECT* for my classroom.  Let's be real... my kids do NOT all read at the same level!   I can just set all three versions in my literacy center and label them for the appropriate groups as they rotate through! The pictures from this review came from Fry Words 200-300.

I LOVE the varying levels... this way lower level readers and high flyers get to play the same game and both find rigor and success! :)
So there you have it! Brody, Willow, Burton, and I all give this game 10 gold stars, 2 thumbs up, an A+ (okay, am I taking it too far?)  I will be using this game in my fluency center many times throughout the rest of the year! It will be fun to see my lower readers advance through the different levels!
If you'd like to check out this product for yourself, you can check it out at Ellen's Store! Click here to get a glimpse! :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Too Soon? I hope not!

Friends - is it too soon to talk about Valentine's Day??  I know we all just got back to school after our long break, but I am counting the days until it's the season of hearts, candy, and loooooove!  I will admit, I have NEVER liked Valentine's Day.  I don't really get it.  But this is my first year teaching and I'm excited to celebrate it with my second graders.  Over break I made some adorable Valentines Math and Literacy Centers that I absolutely can't WAIT to use! Seriously, Valentine's clipart is to die for... or as Giuliana Rancic and I like to say... Amazeballs. Here's a little snippet of what we'll be doing in ohhhhh... just about a month! You can never be too prepared, I'm going to have some parent volunteers start laminating NOW! :)
If you think you want to use these activities with your sweet kiddos, you can check it out in my store.  Just click here! :)
Oh, hey, P.S.... I'm GIVING three of these away in the giveaways happening at my store right now!  Your chance to enter 3 separate giveaways ends tonight at Midnight!  That's three chances to win some cah-ute Valentine's Day Centers and SO much more from over 50 TPT sellers and bloggers! :) Click the graphic below to enter!
Alright -- Happy teaching to you all! It's almost FRIDAY! :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sneak Peek at our Upcoming Week - Math Style!

Tomorrow I return to school after a glorious short two week break.  I cannot tell you in words how much I *loved* being at home with my sweet puppies.  They are going to be so sad when momma wakes up at 5:30 (ughhhh!) to go to work!  Over break I worked pretty stinking hard (in between snuggles) to prepare for our upcoming math unit: Geometry.  Our focus will mainly be on the attributes of 2-D and 3-D shapes!  This is what our next few weeks are going to look like! (sorry for the picture quality... it's a combination of bad kitchen lighting and iPad camera!)
2-D vs. 3-D sort!  We're going to discuss how 2-D shapes are flat and 3-D shapes are fat!
3-D Shapes in our World!  I plan to do a scavenger hunt around the school looking for some 3-D shapes, but we'll also do some in-the-classroom activities -- Like this matching game!

It's all about the attributes! I made these two fun board games to help my kids go over attributes of 2-D and 3-D shapes.  They will roll the dice and move that many spaces, then they have to answer whatever question it's asking for that particular shape.  For example, they could roll 2, land on a cube that says "vertices" and then they'd have to say how many vertices there are. This game will be played after LOTS of teaching!
I don't know about your kiddos but mine LOVE the chance to get up and move around the room.  I made this little Write the Room activity for the kiddos to get some extra practice in!
My kiddos will also be doing some work with similar and congruent shapes.  How cute are those pea pods?  Get it?  Two peas in a pod? For congruent shapes? ;)

We are going to be BUSY BUSY BUSY working on our 2-D and 3-D shapes!  I'm so glad I had the chance over break to get all these centers printed, laminated, and cut! Now I won't be scrambling.  If you'd like to try some of these activities with your babies you can  find them HERE! or by clicking the picture below!
By the way... Have you gotten a chance to check out the giveaway I'm running right now?  You won't want to miss it! Tons of fabulous bloggers and sellers donated items to make your transition back into the new semester smooth!  Click the picture below to check it out and enter for your THREE separate chances to win! :)

HUUUUGE Giveaway and a Winter Freebie!

Yay!! I'm so excited.  Why you ask?  I'm so excited because this past week my little baby blog reached over 200 followers.  I knew I had to find a way to celebrate so I decided to wrangle some amazing bloggers/teacher authors together to throw a HUGE giveaway!  So it's your lucky day... Not only do you get to enter into three separate giveaways, but you'll get to meet some amazing bloggers and TPT sellers along the way! Get your computer mouse ready to click "follow" and read on to enter to win some fabulous prizes for grades 1-3! :)

I had so many awesome people willing to donate their products (and hard work!) to help me celebrate.  I decided I didn't want to just have one winner, so I've broken it up into three different chances to win!  Check out each of the three giveaways below.  Follow the links to look at the items more closely so you can see what you'll win! :)
GIVEAWAY #1 - Click through to check out the items and Follow those Blogs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2 - Click through to check out the items and Follow Those Blogs!

Valentine's Math and Literacy Centers from MEEEEEEEEEE!
Practical Patterns Practice from Sarah at Love Laugh and Teach
Valentines Day QR Code Addition and Subtraction from Kristin
Valentine's Find, Tally, and Graph from Renee at Fantastic First Grade Froggies
3rd Grade Daily Math Review for January from Heather
Plotting Data from Christine
Weight Scale Math Centers from The Traveling Classroom
Making Inferences About Setting from Blair Turner
Favorite Author Posters from Ashley at That's So Second Grade
A Word A Day - Incorporating Vocabulary from Ashley at Primary Teacherhood
Alphabet Tracing and Posters from Jessica
2nd Grade Common Core Language Assessments from Alyssha at Teaching and Tapas
Winter Themed Reading Comprehension Passages from Halle at Across the Hall in 2nd
February Poetry Possibilities from Barbara at It's About TIme Teachers
Me on the Map Flipbook from Lori at The Reinspired Teacher
Winner's Choice from Teaching Fabulous Firsties
Owl Themed Class Set  from Maribel at Learning in Wonderland

Giveaway #3 - Don't stop now!!! You don't want to miss out on these SERIOUSLY fabulous items and blogs!

Well there you have it!  Thank you SO much for joining me for this giveaway.  You've got til Friday the 11th to enter, then we're choosing some lucky winners! I've had a ton of fun finding new blogs to follow! 
 If you made it this far... well, you deserve a freebie! :) Click RIGHT HERE to download.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

How math journals are turning my kiddos into problem solvers

Friends. Two Words. MATH JOURNALS.
If you can find 15 minutes, then you can get your kiddos to start thinking like problem solvers and using words to reason through math. Thank about the math you solve in the real word. When you're grocery shopping, arranging furniture, replacing the floors in your home, budgeting for the month. We use problem solving techniques on a daily basis. We need to teach our kiddos to start thinking this way. PLUS -- he-LLO! Common core is alllllll about multi-step word problems and helping our kids to problem solve.
Enter MATH JOURNALS! Seriously, I started these in December and my kids have really been stretching their thinking. They were THRILLED to get a new notebook and love, love, love math journal time. If I skip it for whatever reason, you better believe I've got a bunch of sweet second graders asking why we didn't get out our math notebooks! I've been creating some monthly themed journals and, oh my gosh, kids LOVE having a theme... a little cute clipart and they are sold :)
So, here's how I use them in my classroom! I gave each kiddo a green math notebook, just your standard wide-ruled, 1 subject notebook. Each day, they get one prompt to paste onto the top of their math notebooks. The prompts print six to a page. I just cut them apart the week before so they're ready to be passed out. Click on the picture to download a few to try in your classroom!

This is how they look in the notebooks:

After they paste the prompts into their notebooks, I read the problem aloud.  You can see above that I encourage students to box/underline key words that will help them solve the problem.  They are then given 5-7 minutes to solve on their own.   In this time, they are expected to find the answer (showing ALL of their work) and explain how they came to their answers using words.  After that, I give them 3 or 4 minuets to discuss what they did with their tables, collaboration is really helpful when it comes to problem solving!  Then we share out our answers and go over strategies we used!
All in all -- It's a really beneficial 15 minutes of math time! I do these every day! :)  Most of the problems are multi-step word problems, though I do throw in a few prompts which are meant to review crucial second grade skills.
Check out my set of Arctic/Winter Themed January Math Journals by clicking the picture below! Keep your eyes open for a set of Valentine/Candy Themed February Journals! :)


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013, Currently, and Penguin Punctuation!

First and foremost, I want to wish all of you a VERY happy 2013! 
2012 brought my life a whoooole lot of craziness! I worked, wedding planned, and volunteered while student teaching.  I graduated college in May, was offered my first teaching job in June, Got married a week later, honeymooned, started my first year teaching, bought a house, was robbed, lost my dog, found my dog! SHEESH! It is exhausting just typing it all! WHAT. A. YEAR! I kept it pretty chill last night, played some board games + old school video games with a few friends ... So Happy New Years to you from us!
In 2013, I plan to blog my little heart away! I will start RIGHT NOW with a fabulous Currently -- brought to you from Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade!
Back to teaching stuff! Before we left for break, I whipped out this bad boy.  I don't know what it is about these centers, but my kids LOVE them! They are so engaged and love working together to solve them.  Plus, it hits a TON of skills all in one! 
This past fall, I posted a freebie called Pumpkin Punctuation and since then, I've had many requests to make more Punctuation and Sentence Fluency Centers, so I'm on a quest to make a bunch of different themes.  You can grab Penguin Punctuation & Sentence Fluency HERE for $2.00!  Keep your eye out for the next one - *Lovey* Punctuation! :)
P.S. I am MAJORLY excited to have reached over 200 followers on my little old blog.  Check back soon because I will be throwing a big giveaway to celebrate! :)