Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am now on Facebook:)

Well, I finally started a Facebook page for this site:)  I plan on posting many things there in the future including giveaways.  If you would like to become a fan, please check it out here.

Also, if you have not already done sure to check out Ashely's contest!  She has stuff for K-5 and she is having a sale in her TPT store!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Michigan Teacher Blogger Meetup!

I am so excited for the Michigan Teacher Blogger Meetup this Saturday!  I wanted to post this earlier, but due to massive flight delays I did not get back from my sister's until very late last night.   I did find humor in the delay they had our flight leaving (5:15) before the actual plane was scheduled to arrive (5:30).  I joked that someone was not paying attention in math and physics class!  It was so worth it though to see my 5 week old nephew!  :)

Anyway...back to the blogger meetup!  If you are interested, please see the information that follows!
You need to r.s.v.p. here by Wednesday so make sure that you have a seat reserved:)  I hope to meet some of you there!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Blog Party - Week 2 Work on Writing & Journals

I am linking up with Lory for her "Summer Blog Linky Party."
I feel like writing is my weakest area of teaching.  I am really working on improving it this summer through reading and learning from others.  One thing that I do is to use writing across the curriculum.

Journal Writing
My students do journal writing in their spiral journals every morning.  I have several books that have writing prompts, and choose one for the day.  Students are expected to have a title, and several sentences that relate to the topic.  I up the expectations throughout the year, asking them to focus on what we are working on in writing as much as possible (ex. strong verbs, leads).

Daily 5 Writing
Now, for those of you who completely follow the Sisters, I do "write about reading" instead of "work on writing" as I do that at a different time of day.  I feel that during reading workshop, it is important for students to write about the books that they are reading.  This is typically in their reading journal (black and white composition book).  I provide them with a list of prompts that we have practiced.  Here is an idea of what I use.  This is another example.

Writing Workshop
As I am sure that many of you do as well, I have writing workshop.  I have a mini-lesson, work & writing conferences time, and sharing.  At the beginning of the year, we made writer's notebooks so that students could never say, "I don't have anything to write about."

I am really looking forward to using this new writing program to help guide my instruction this year!  Does anyone else out there have any experience with it?  When they have finished working on the lesson, they can free-write.  I have many options including: pictures to write about, and writing pockets (below).  As for pictures to write about, I am lucky that I kept a whole bunch of teaching magazines, parenting magazines, and veterinary journals that my sister has so kindly kept for me.  I have parents who help to find and cut out suitable pictures.
My kids love these!  With having the split, I have both the K/1 and the 2/3 versions (they have a 4/5 version available too).  They are divided into topics, and then have pictures with word banks as well as 3 leveled writing prompts.  I think that one could make their own as well. I find that they really help with having kids work on adding details to their writing!

Writing in Other Areas
I have students write as much as possible to explain their thinking in math.  We also do a lot of writing in science and social studies as well.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Blog Party - Week 1 Read to Self/Book Organization

I am linking up with
for her "Summer Blog party!"
This week we are focusing on "read to self" and book organization.

Library Organization
I have to say that I LOVE my classroom library!  Unfortunately with being on summer break, I do not have any pictures.  I have thousands of books, thanks to my parents who kept all of mine, plus many library and garage sale finds over the years:)  My school provides some books as well.  All books are leveled with F&P leveled color ranges as follows:
A-C red
D-E yellow
F-G dark green
H-I blue
J-M orange
N+ light green
The levels are posted with either a sticker or a crayon in the inside back cover of the book so reading levels are kept as private as possible.  I have two sections in my library: fiction and non-fiction (each have multiple sets of bookshelves).

In the fiction section I have several author bins in the author/book series study section (ex. Magic Tree House, Laura Numeroff).  Other than that, the fiction book are divided into bookshelves/bins by color (all red in one bin).

The non-fiction section is made up with about 20 bins depending on topic (ex. weather, biographies, animals, etc.).  I have the colors mixed up in here so that if they are looking for a weather book, they can find one that is their leveled book color.

Read to Self
I divide my students up throughout the week so that only a handful of students choose their books each day (they choose the following day if they are absent on their day).  This allows me to have a few minutes each morning to help kids to find appropriate books that they are interested in.  They have their seat sacks to hold their books so that they can easily read them if they have an extra minute or two and they don't have to go across the room to a book box.
Students choose 7 books that are at "their independent level" and 1 book of their choice.  I find that having the extra book can help really engage students with books, even if it is above their reading level.  I do however require that they read their leveled books first.  I try to have them have about 1/2 fiction, and 1/2 non-fiction.

During "read to self" time, students are able to get a pillow, or a stuffed animal from my stuffed animal collection to read with. I have many book characters too.  The kids love this!  They know that whatever they choose, they have to have by the time I finish counting down or they don't get anything for that round.  You can read more about how I keep things fair with my It's My Turn! post.
In addition, some years I have cozy places to read.  For several year I had a pool that was filled with blue pillows which the kids loved!  When I had a camping themed classroom, I had a 1 person tent that the child of the day got to read inside of during reading time.

Happy reading!  :)

Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason Giveaway

I am taking part in Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason's 100 follower giveaway!  My Comparing and Contrasting Unit  is in the K-2 giveaway, but there are also 3-5, and 6-12 giveaways as well.  You can enter the giveaway until Tuesday, so be sure to enter soon!
Sweet Rhyme - Pure Reason
Click on the picture below for how to enter each giveaway!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Last Day Graffiti

For our last day of school, I had the students come in and instead of morning work they found a large sheet of white roll paper at their table.  I told them that they could draw, play tic-tac-toe, etc. on it. It is a very easy last day activity if you are looking for one:)

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I can't believe it but the last day of school is here!  I saw this comic the other day, and could not resist passing it on:)
Although it is the last day of school, I plan on being a better blogger than I was last summer so stay tuned for posts, giveaways, and freebies!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Dream Community: An Urban Planning Project

My 2nd graders just finishing their dream community projects!  They had so much fun being "urban planners!"  We first learned about what urban planners do.  Then, they had to plan their communities (including what state they would be located in).  After getting their plan approved, they were able to color and design their communities.  They had to think about where to place things such as placing houses in quieter locations.  At the end, they had a writing response activity with their urban planning book which included a variety of geography, economics, and government questions as well as having to compare and contrast their dream community with the community that they live in now.  Here are some samples:)

 I am willing to giveaway a copy of this project to the first person that comments and provides their e-mail address:)  If you are not the first person, and are still interested, you can click on the cover to find it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
 Only 1/2 day to go!  :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Currently June

It is so hard to believe, but it is finally June!  :)  I love my job, but could really use a break.  So, I am linking up with Farley for the June Currently.

-I am listening to the news on TV.  I feel like I write this frequently, but it is the truth:)  I really do listen to other things as well, I just get too distracted watching other shows while blogging, and end up having to rewind my DVR because I have no clue what is going on.

-I am loving that school will be done on Thursday!  I love my class, and love my job, but am really looking forward to sleeping in and things on my summer bucket list:)

-I am thinking about how fun this summer will be with a new baby in the family, a wedding, and travel which will take me around the country!

-I have such a wonderful class this year, and will really miss their appetite for learning new things over the summer.

-I met my now almost 3 week old nephew over the Memorial Day break, and think that he is just adorable!  I will be going down to the D.C. area at least twice to see him:)  Here I am with him below with my Dad (the proud grandpa:)  We already had him in MSU clothing:)
-My 3 vacation essentials are: my tablet computer (so I can read tons of books but have a light bag, and do other fun things with all of the apps), Itouch (so I can listen to music & podcasts, as well as watch movies), and my camera.