Saturday, March 30, 2013

Writer's Notebook Linky

We are very excited to be linking up with Learning Together Linky: Writing Workshop through Growing Firsties.

This year we have started to do the Daily 5 (which we love) and the students work on writing every day for 20 minutes.  Last year when we didn't do Daily 5, we filled up a little over half of our writer's notebooks with writing.  This year while doing Daily 5, most of the kids will finish the whole writer's notebook with writing because they have wrote almost every single day. YAY!!  EXCITING!  :-) 

Here are our books that we use (nothing too exciting)-but they have lines at the bottom part for the story and an empty spot at the top for their illustration:


We do writer's workshop as well which has a mini lesson on writing. In the beginning of writer's workshop, it teaches them to brainstorm ideas of what to write about if they are having troubles coming up with an idea. For the most part, the students are really good about coming up with topics to write about on their own at this point.

During their work on writing time, they get to decide what they want to write about.  They write what they want and then illustrate.  We have a variety of writings that we see daily, some are real while others are made up. After reading their story, we will check for any corrections that need to be made such as capital letters, ending sentences etc.  The next day they are to check to see if they need to revise anything on their story before they begin their next story. 

We conference with each student weekly to discuss his/her writing.  Together we talk about all the things that we like about their writings and things we want to see improve the next time we meet. 

We have purchased a book called words I use when I write (it is like a little dictionary) that the kids will pull out and use to look up those words that they are unsure about.  We have also taught them to check the word wall and if they can't find the word that they are looking for, they are to stretch the word out and spell it that way. 

Below are some samples of writings that our students have done this year:

This is one that is being worked on right now-no revisions yet. 


This one is almost done, just a few corrections and some more illustrating.

How sweet!  :-)
Crystal and I have been talking a lot about our writer's notebooks this year and have been very excited about how much writing the kids have been doing. We have talked about a few things that we would like to change about it. Last year, when we did writer's workshop, we would have a mini lesson every day and right after the lesson, the kids would go back and write and apply what they had learned. This year, we have done it a little different because we started Daily 5.  We don't have as much time for the writer's workshop lessons this year and when we do get to them, we usually teach the lesson and then they write the next day during their work on writing rotation.   After talking about it, we think that it is better for them to write and apply what they learned right after the lesson instead of the next day. So we are trying to figure out how we can tweak it a bit. 

We are excited to hear how others are doing the writer's notebook! 

Hope all of you have a great weekend!  Kristi

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Back to Work!

Monday morning, we were back to work here. Spring Break was over - but we still had snow on the ground and cold temperatures. After the break, students are allowed to wear shorts again. Can you believe I had one kiddo wear shorts one day? It was 18 degrees that morning! He spent the day with his socks pulled up as high as they would go - LOL!
The kids were tired - and QUIET - on Monday.
Yesterday, they seemed to have forgotton our classroom rules and expectations.
Today was a little better...
However, as I have been checking work to see who will be doing "Thrilling Thursday" (no school Friday or it is called Fun Friday) with me, I'm a little disappointed to find that I haven't had very many hard workers this week. Too much time off, I guess. We will be having a talk tomorrow. :-(
Anyway, here is what we have been doing this week:

We have been working on the -or sound this week. Last year, Kristi made a Connect Four game for the -or sound that we could use to practice. It was so handy to pull it out and have a fun game for the kiddos to play. Best of all, it is a FREEBIE at our TPT store so go grab it for yourselves. :-)
Our reading story is STORMY WEATHER so we have been talking a lot about weather. The kids never run out of stories about storms. I especially enjoyed this one...
"My friend had his window open during a thunderstorm and lightening came through the window and he got struck by lightening."
Or this one...
"My grandma was watching TV once and lightening came in through the TV and electrocuted her."
"One time we were outside during a tornado and it just whirled and whirled and whirled around us, but we didn't get ate by it."
Ok...these AT&T commercials have been playing during the tournament. They are so funny. My hubby and kids laugh and laugh. I try to explain that this is the mentality that I deal with all day long. This one made me laugh the rest of the night!!! Check it out:

I'm super excited to watch some basketball this weekend - Go Jayhawks and Shockers! Maybe I'll get to see NICKY FLASH again too. :-)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Returning From Spring Break

We are on the last days of our spring break....we start back again on Monday.  Sounds like a lot of you are getting ready to go on spring break.  I was able to see my mom and spend some mother-daughter time with her.  We had a great time (eating, shopping, going to the movies, laughing)!  It's nice to take the time off and spend it with family.

When we return from spring break, Crystal and I are hoping that our boot camps that we did will still be fresh in their little minds. 
 :-)  Our hopes are that they remember all about the place value and counting money.  As a quick review, I plan on having the kiddos play the game that Crystal made on money (I Have Who Has). 

Come grab your free version of it:

If you are getting ready for spring break, I hope you have a great one and have some nice weather for it.  We had some nice days during spring break and then it got cold.  Now we have another winter storm heading our way.  :-(  I'm so ready for that spring weather. 
Have a great week and don't forget to check out our sale on TPT (it ends on March 23): 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy, Scary, Sad, Good, and Great News

My spring break started a little earlier than Kristi's last week. I had to get special permission to do some parent/teacher conferences ahead of time so I could leave Wednesday for the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament. For those of you that don't know, I'm a HUGE college basketball fan. It was so much fun -- especially seeing my JAYHAWKS win the championship (sorry Kristi - she's a K-State fan)! I did cheer for K-State also...until they were playing against KU. :-)
I love March Madness! My bracket is filled out and I'm anxiously waiting for the games to get underway!
Okay, enough about basketball.
I have some news to share...
Last week, I was hired as the 2nd grade teacher in my home district for 2013-2014! I'm so excited to be in the same district as my own kids and to be so close to work (right now I spend almost an hour driving to/from work every day). I know this is an awesome school with great teachers, and I can't wait to get started next year...
2nd Grade? Can I do it??? So much to learn and figure out...
I *love* my current school too! I will truly miss all the wonderful faculty and staff there. I have made such great friends the last four years. I have shed tears over this decision, but I know it is right for me and my family.
When Kristi and I started our blog, we didn't want the name to include a grade level in case we got moved around. We're still going to be a team for our blog and our online stores. :-)
Kristi and I want to wish you all a Happy Spring Break by throwing a sale in our TPT store. We did some reorganizing to try and make things easier to find. We have added some items recently as well, so head on over to do some shopping at 20% off. Hurry - Sale Ends March 23rd!
Okay, I think that covers it...
If you have any advice for changing grade levels or 2nd grade in general, I'd love to hear it! Thanks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Money Boot Camp

We finished our week off with money boot camp.  The kids had a blast!!  We started each day of our boot camp marching and singing the Honey Bunny Money song (not really army chant, but it worked LOL).  We found it at the following:

After singing the chant, we called groups up to the front of the room where they had to stand in a straight line.  (After having boot camp last week, they were really good at standing in a straight line with straight backs.  :-))   Check them out! 

They were each given a coin and the other groups had to work together to determine the amount of money the group had.  They then wrote it on their whiteboards.  If they got it right, they patted themselves on the back, but if they missed it, they owed us some exercises. 

After practicing a few of these, we put them with partners and passed out movie tickets that each had an amount on them.  They had to use their play money and get the coins out to pay for each movie.  We got this idea from

Wednesday was the last day with kids since we had parent teacher conferences on Thursday and then spring break.  So, we decided that after practicing counting coins the days before, we would show a movie on Wednesday.  The kids had to use their play money to pay for the movie and we opened up what we called a concession stand where they could come buy pop, popcorn, and candy with their play money.  They really thought this was neat! 

Luckily, we had some other teachers in the building that were available and more than happy to help us with it!  This made our concession stand go a lot faster and smoother. 

We our now officially on spring break and the temperature outside right now is 76 degrees ( I love it!).  But, rain and cooler weather is on its way.  :-( 

Any of you start your spring break yet?  If not, when do you start?

Enjoy your weekend!  Kristi

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Place Value Camp Fun!

We  had a great time doing our place value camp this week.  We got this great idea from Missy Johnson from T.G.I.F.
The kids were so excited about it and we all had a blast!  Like Crystal said, the best part about it was that it helped them.  By the end of the week, they seemed to have a better understanding of place value-YEAH! 
The part that was really hard for me was the smiling part-we told them that there was no smiling during place value boot camp....which Crystal and I had to watch each other and try to stop one another from smiling and laughing throughout it.  :-)  The kids had a hard time with it as well.....LOL! 
Crystal and I decided that the last day of the week, we were going to take a break from the boot camp....oh how the kiddos were disappointed.  They liked it so much and wanted to continue to do it.  We even had some students dressing in camouflage.  :-)  So, we decided that since we only have 3 days with the kids next week (parent teacher conferences), we would do another boot camp.  Only this time it is going to be Money Boot Camp. 
Check out some of the pictures that we took! 

We hope that Money Boot Camp will be beneficial to our students and that they continue to have a blast with it next week! 
Have a great week!  Kristi

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writing Bulletin Board!!!

Place Value Boot Camp is going great! I know Kristi is going to share some pictures when she blogs this weekend, but I'll just say it has been fun and (best of all) it seems to be working! Hooray!
I wanted to share some pictures of the bulletin board we did for our "First Grade Authors." They did a great job with their narrative writing. I tried to get some pictures with illustrations then get a little closer so you could read their super cute stories. Check them out:


I have to tell you about this last one... I brainstormed with each student individually to make sure their story had a plot (LOL!) using the Sombody Wanted But So strategy. The little girl who wrote this one came up with a very simple, unexciting story when she was with me. I ended up telling her to go pick her favorite out of her Writer's Notebook and copy it because they were far better than when I "helped" her!
Happy Wednesday! Tomorrow is "Friday" for us. We have self-directed staff development on Friday, which means time to work in our rooms! Yippee!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Preparing for Place Value Boot Camp

We have worked on place value with our kiddos and it always seems like it is a difficult concept to grasp. So, we found this cute video from

If you have never seen this guy, you really need to watch him.  He is so good and has some really great ideas!  After seeing this, we found that Missy Johnson from T.G.I.F had seen this video and had the great idea to do a place value boot camp with her students.  (Thanks Missy for sharing this awesome idea!)

After seeing these two great ideas, we thought that we would do something similar next week during our math time.  We have had several teachers bringing us props to help us play the roll as a drill sergeant and Crystal has been practicing using her drill sergeant voice and singing the chant LOL!  I told her that I would be the one to stand back and take pictures :-). 

So, we told our kiddos what we would be doing next week and they are so excited about it.  In fact, by the end of the day last week, my students were practicing saying yes ma'am to me after every direction that I gave them.  :-)

Come back later next week to check out our pictures of place value boot camp!  Kristi
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