Monday, September 30, 2013

"I'm engaged to my book!"

Last week, I used Laurie's idea (from Chickadee Jubilee) and taught her lesson on the three types of readers.

It was perfect! My kiddos were so excited to tell me how they were engaged in their books the rest of the week--although it was cute to hear some of them say, "I'm engaged to my book because..." I did explain that we were not talking about being "engaged" to be married, but many of them stuck with that idea. Ha!
I'm also linking up with Angela from:
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!

 And Jean from:
Diving Into 2nd Grade
I love the entire idea behind this linky! Click on over to one of their blogs to read more about it.
Here's two of my quick tips this week.
If you've been following our blog very long, you may have heard of this little time-saver before. I have my list of things I need to do every day slipped inside a page protector. As I accomplish things on the list, I cross it off and when the week is done I can use it all over again. The best thing is that it keeps me focused! PROVEN - I leave SO much earlier each night when I actually USE the checklist. Love it!
Dojo Prizes Simplified!!!
I have been using Dojo a lot this year. I found this awesome prize book from Mrs. Goodwin at ilive2learn ilove2grow (I changed it up a little). I was struggling with the "choosing" part. It was taking up my entire "Fun Friday" time which I usually like to use for accomplishing things on my Friday checklist. It took me long enough...but I came up with this idea. Slipped the pages into page protectors. Now the kiddos sign up during Fun Friday and I don't have to walk around asking them what prize they want, waiting for them to decide, and finally recording what prize they want. Last week I walked them through it because it was new, but this Friday I will be free to work while they are having some FUN!
Hope you're having a great week! Head on over and link up your quick tips!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Field Trip of the Year!

Let me start by saying that I am not one that gets really excited about field trips, in fact I am quite the opposite.  I STRESS out about them!  I worry about all of it from making sure it was set up right to how will the kids do while we are on the field trip.
This past week, we were learning about communities and decided that it would be fun to go to the fire station to tour it for our extra fun thing that we do on the last day of the week.  They just finished building a fire station that is less than a block from our school.  So, we thought it would be a perfect little field need for a bus and it could be a fairly quick field trip.
We went on Friday and I was so impressed with my kiddos!  They did an outstanding job and set a great example on our field trip.  Throughout the week, we discussed the field trip and how to behave.  We also wrote about what would be good manners to have on the field trip.  In the end, I should have thought more about my quote on Wisdom for Wednesday because I worried about nothing!  It was a fun field trip and like I said, I was very impressed with how my kiddos behaved.  The other exciting thing about it was I also learned some neat stuff from the firemen that I didn't know about!  LOL!  The firemen that did the tour did an outstanding job with talking with the kids and giving them information about their jobs.   Check out the pictures below. 

I hope all of you have a great week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday-Worry

Thanks so much for joining us for another week of:
I am one of those people that worries about things all the time.  It may be something very little that I really probably shouldn't be worried about or could be something that is a bigger issue.  Unfortunately, I can let things get to me and worry about it for the longest time.  I found this quote and thought that it was just perfect for me.  I need to remember this quote every time I begin to worry about something.  It is so true-I can worry for days and nothing is going to happen OR I could take it to God and give it to him and let it go and know that it will be taken care of for me. 
Psalms 55:22 - Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Monday, September 23, 2013

D5 Update and Some Funnies!

Last week we started our Daily 5 rounds. It went good....a little bumpy the first couple of days, but by Friday the kiddos were doing pretty well. You may remember that I was using my projector and a PowerPoint presentation as a rotation chart...well, on Thursday my projector stopped working! Ugh! We went on to Plan B and I printed out the slides. Thankfully, it was a minor issue and my projector is up and running again!
Our secretary stopped in to snap some pictures for the school newsletter one day last week... Here's one of the first shots she got:
You might not be able to tell, but the cubes on the bottom right desk say, "dr__unk." Wonderful! Then she snapped another picture...another little sweetie had written on the top of her page "crap." Now I did know that the cubes had potential for these questionable words, but my kiddos last year would have notified me that they rolled a bad word. Then I told them not to write it down. I didn't want to start the activity by telling them that...well, you know then some would have tried for the bad word. Anyway, the secretary promised not to include those parts in the newsletter! Ha!
Maybe I should rethink those cubes for next year...

Here's a picture of my kiddos in music. We pulled out the bells this particular day. Anytime I pull out the instruments, I am a "rockstar teacher." LOL! Instruments even work on Kindergartners (who are making progress, by the way). 

Here's another funny...
A first grader in music, " Are we having a program?"
"Well, of course we are," I said.
First graders cheer as if I had just done something amazing.
Then I thought...hey, it will be amazing if I can get these kiddos ready for a program. And then I wondered...were they thinking the same thing? Ha! ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Do you ever just feel like you will never catch up?  Well, I am there right now.  Seems like I have been spinning my wheels these last couple of weeks and barely keeping up.  Last night, I was at school until 7:30 just trying to get caught up.....key word....caught up, not get ahead LOL!  Anyways, not only am I not keeping up at school, but you should see my house....ugghhhh.  :-)
So, I'm asking if you have had any of those AH.....HA moments where you were like......why didn't I think of that before...I could have saved a lot of time.  I know that I have had a few of those moments, but I think I need more of them LOL!  I would like to know if you have found little ways to help with being more organized at school and at home that has helped you save time.....please share those with me. 
My other questions is not school related but does have to do with organization at home and that is closets.  My husband and I have 1 closet for both of our stuff and it is crammed.  I dread even opening it up because it is so unorganized (I like my stuff to be in order and if it isn't I get very frazzled)....any ideas on helping to organize it and make a little more room in it???? 
I hope all of you have had a great week!  I am looking forward to hearing from you and getting more organized as the year goes on!  Thanks!  :-)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday - Faith Untried...

Hi there. Welcome back for...

I love this reminder when I am going through a difficult time. Spurgeon* goes on to say, "Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation."
May it be an encouragement to you today...or a coming day when you feel like you are being tried and tested.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
2 Peter 1:7
*Strengthen My Spirit by Charles Spurgeon, page 55

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Daily 5 Launch!

Today was the big day! We officially launched our Daily 5 rounds today. Hooray!
It was not without some hiccups, but for my 2nd graders first experience with the rounds I think we did pretty good. They did some similar literacy centers in 1st grade so that helped a little. The big difference is that in 1st grade, the groups rotated to each station together. My kiddos had to check the board each round to see where they were headed (haven't tried the power of choice yet).
My rotation chart last year took up so much space that I just don't have this year. I decided to try using my whiteboard. This is what gave me the idea...
Sandy from Soaring Through Second Grade has this freebie.
I like Sandy's and may convert to using it later on. Last night as I remembered I needed to have the rotation chart ready [yes, Mrs. Organized (Kristi would say) is still scrambling...hope I get a routine going soon], I couldn't get to Pinterest (it's blocked HUGE :-() so I just made one Powerpoint slide for each round. At the end of the round, I just clicked to the next round and it told the kiddos where to go. I really liked it!
I'm also loving this Pinterest find...
Meet "Mr. Check In" courtesy of Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts. We've even pulled this guy out of our book boxes during Writer's Workshop to discuss how we can add details to our stories. Another freebie!
Another new thing I tried this year that I really think I'm going to like is not doing the rounds on Mondays. I found when working with a basal, there is so much to introduce it was hard to fit it all in my small groups. I can't remember which blog gave me the idea, but I really like it...
Math is another story... Any Saxon users out there? How do you handle the pages? Do you do the guided practice (side A) every day as a whole class? Do you ever give any independent work? I like the extra fact practice that Everyday Math didn't have, but I'm trying to find a way to make the pages more manageable--for the kiddos and me (on grading)! I also don't give math homework every night, so... Suggestions welcome!
Have a great evening!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daily 5 and Math Rotations in Progress!

We finished our first full week of Daily 5.  I was so excited and proud of how well the kids did with it.  We did have one day where it was a little more difficult staying on task.  But, after we talked about what was seen and what we should be doing, the next day was great!  My principal came in and did a walk through observation and took some photos of what the kids were doing.  Every one of them was on task and doing exactly what I would want them to do!  YAY!  Check them out!

We also started our math rotation rounds (kind of).  I teach a lesson and then 6 of the kids go work on the math page for the day, 6 of them do math fact practice where they work on 50 mixed addition facts and if they finish they play the card game addition top it, and the remaining 6 work on something hands on that we have learned that week (this week we used 10 frames to add, so they did flashcards with them during this time).  We do each one for 10-15 minutes.  Later on, we will do Mountain Math instead of the extra game.  That is why I said that we are kind of doing the rotations now.  They are doing a very nice job with our math rotations as well.  On Thursday, I got excited because a couple of the kiddos were saying while they were working on his/her fact practice page, "Hey, I'm really getting the hang of this and getting good at it!"  I love hearing that and them catching on that they are getting better! 
Hope all of you have had a restful weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wisdom For Wednesday-Friends and Family

Thank you for joining us for another week of:
This quote says it all for me after this past Saturday.  As you all know now since Crystal’s last blog post, I had the Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet on Saturday.  I knew my principal was going to be there to support me because she had asked if I had sent my invitation in because she was planning on being there.  I also knew that my husband was going to be there as well.  That was all that I thought was going to be there.  I knew that my mom wanted to be there but I didn’t think it was possible because I only had 2 tickets (one for me and one for my spouse). 
On Friday, I was going about my day as usual and went into our staff meeting.  To my surprise the whole school had made a video for me for being nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year.  I was so touched-to think that they put in all that hard work and time (especially at the beginning of the year) to support me.  It brought tears to my eyes.
After school, Crystal called me (she is very sneaky) and said that she heard about the video but didn’t know what it was for.  I told her that they did it for the banquet dinner that was being held on Saturday.  She acted like she didn’t know that it was on Saturday. 
So on Saturday, which I will say all day long my stomach was hurting (nerves).  If you don’t already know, I am not one to be in front of a crowd etc.  So this banquet dinner was really out of my comfort zone.  Anyways, I get a text from one of the Kindergarten teacher (she is very sneaky too) asking me how I was doing etc.  She then asked if I wanted her to text me updates on the K-STATE game and how often did I want updates if so.  She knew that I would be missing the game since I would be at the banquet and she is a big K-STATE fan also. 
Then I get a text from Crystal telling me that she would be watching the 10 o’clock news to watch my acceptance speech.  LOL! 
When my husband and I arrive at the banquet, I first see one of the 6th grade teachers standing there.  I was shocked and then one by one they walked up to me……there was the 6th grade teacher, my principal, Title One Teacher, Title One Aid Teacher, my co-teacher, the sneaky Kindergarten teacher (who couldn’t give me updates on the KSTATE game since she was at the banquet with me J), and Sneaky Crystal (who played it off like she didn’t know about the banquet being on Saturday).  WOW-I was shocked, surprised and extremely TOUCHED!  As I write about them being there for me now….I can’t stop crying.  It meant the world to me that they took time out of their busy lives to be there for me. 
Then that wasn’t even the end of it.  I turned around and there was my mom standing there!!!!  Wow!  My  mother is so very supportive of me and has always been there for me.  The sneaky Kindergarten teacher J had asked me if my mom was coming to the banquet earlier and I told her that she wanted to but I didn’t get enough tickets.  So, she went straight to our principal to see if there was any way to get another ticket.  They were able to get it and she called my mom up to see if she could come up.  My mom was able to rearrange some things at home so she could be there. 
All I can say is that I am so blessed to have friends that are like family to me.  In the end, I didn’t win the Kansas Teacher of the Year, but I have won because I have friends that are like family to me!  Thank you to all of you for being there for me and to all of those that I know couldn’t be there but were supporting me all the way!  I am touched and feel very blessed!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Watter Bottles, Daily 5, and Teacher of the Year...

Water Bottles
So how many of you saw that pin this summer with the water bottle cages on the classroom chair?
I did and I sought out a way to make it happen! The thing is those cages are not I gave up.
I then bought a hanging shoe rack, but after realizing I had absolutely nowhere to hang it...gave up again.
When I saw Kristi's classroom tour, I immediately texted her about where she got the holders in her pictures. The answer...Wal-Mart...a set of 4 for about $2. These are actually cup holders with a hook on the top (I had to snap mine off because I didn't have a bar going across like Kristi) from the automotive department.
Ta-da! My hubby put them all on for me this Saturday. We used two zip-ties on each and tested them with three different water bottles. Seems like they are going to be PERFECT!
Daily 5

We are hard at work on establishing our Daily 5 routines and since I keep forgetting to take pictures during the school day (take a peek at my schedule and you'll forgive me), here's our anchor charts. I love having a "wall of charts" this year...even if it is actually a "whiteboard of charts."

This week, we are going to start Work on Writing and Listen to Reading. My goal is to start my Daily 5 rounds next week. I'm so ready to get into a routine and to start my small group teaching!
Teacher of the Year

I got to see Kristi and a group of my former coworkers on Saturday at the Kansas Teacher of Year banquet. You may remember Kristi was selected district teacher of the year and this was the regional banquet. There were 7 of us who went to surprise her and we were even able to work it out for her mom to come. Kristi was so surprised. The look on her face when her mom came in was priceless. She was not chosen as a finalist, (they obviously made a mistake) but it was neat to see my sweet friend honored at the banquet. She is such an amazing teacher and definitely deserved it!
Have a great week!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cute Little Pigs for Short I

This week in reading we were working on the short vowel i sound.  My co-teacher found this very cute art project at Kiddie Crafts 365 Blog that we decided to have the kids make.  We named the pigs-ICKY IGBY the Pig.  The kids had a blast with it and of course any time you bring out the paints, their eyes get big and they become very excited.  :-)  Although, I will say that I had some of the kids that didn't want their Igby Pig to be Icky.  They decided that they wanted her to stay clean.  Therefore, some of them were ICKY and some were just a clean Igby. 
The kids did a good job on them.  Here they are:

Next week, we are going to be working on l blends.  I have been trying to find a fun way to introduce them, but haven't been able to find much on l blends.  Any ideas?  How do you introduce and teach them? 
I'm also very excited because we will be ready to launch and start our Daily 5 next week.  We have been in training the last few weeks and they are ready to start it up!  YAY!  They have been doing a great job with it!  It has helped because our Kindergarten teachers did it last year with them, so they already knew how it works.  We just had to have a refresher course.  :-)  So, I'm hoping for a successful full week of Daily 5 next week! 
Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday - Thoughts

Every school year, I come up with a theme for our household. Something that--if we all work on it--will hopefully make things run more smoothly and keep us focused on things that are truly important.
I decided to share our 2013-2014 theme with you for this week's...

This quote came from a dear friend of mine. She explained that every morning as she was growing up, when she headed out the door for school, her mom would say, "Think good thoughts!"
You may be thinking...of course we want to think about positive things. However, my friend knew when her mom said this, it was more than that. The phrase referred back to...
"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8
For my family, I decided to challenge my kids to memorize verses 6 and 7 as well because the truths found there will help us think good thoughts.
If we don't worry and take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving, the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ!
What could keep us from thinking good thoughts then?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Schedule Tweaking...

Well, I made it through my first full week last week! That said, I'm oh, so thankful for this Labor Day! I definitely needed the extra day to rest and relax. I spent some time playing volleyball with my kids--in the pool and out of the pool, baking Banana Oatmeal cookies for hubby, and making sure all the laundry was done for the new week.
I also ran out of coffee...this is not good. Those of you who have read our blog very long know that I have a "coffee drink" every morning. You may be thinking...go to the store! Well, I live about 25 minutes from the nearest grocery store and I didn't want to make the trip. I did call the gas station and found out that a small can of coffee would be $6.29. Um, no thank you. I will survive...maybe!

Last week was all about getting used to my schedule...which looks like this on paper:

7:40 Contract time begins
8:00-8:30 Plan time*
8:30-10:00 Reading*
10:00-10:30 Recess*
10:30-11:40 Math
11:40-12:10 Lunch*
12:10-12:40 Writing Workshop*
12:40-1:00 Science/Social Studies
1:00-1:30 MTSS (or RTI if you aren't in Kansas)
1:30-1:50 Kindergarten Music
1:50-2:10 1st Grade Music
2:10-2:30 2nd Grade Music
2:30-3:00 Snack/Story/Pack-Up*
3:00-3:30 Plan time*
3:50 Contract time ends

All those little * mean something, of course, so let me explain...

First plan time from 8:00-8:30 with no secretary (praise the Lord I think we have one now) who is also the nurse means one of those mornings, I spent that plan time in search of ice packs and baking soda paste for two of my little sweeties who were stung by wasps on the playground.

At 8:30, we meet in the gym and say the pledge and have any morning announcements before stopping by our lockers and then heading to class which means I don't have nearly enough time to teach reading. This is something I'm going to see about tweaking...

Recess - Each of us takes one week of recess duty at a time so I haven't had duty yet and I don't this week either. Woohoo! That being said, I think when I have duty it is going to be rough not having that little break!

Lunch is not so much lunch as it is getting ready for music. :-(

Writing Workshop doesn't start on time because of a restroom break after lunch...

Snack/Story/Pack-up should really just be called chaos. I HATE strongly dislike this time of day. I tried reading the story while they are eating their snack, but they are just done and ready to go home so I feel like I'm wasting my breath. However, the reading prevents the talking. Beginning next week (not tomorrow), we are starting Mission Possible Math with our "calendar time" so I am strongly considering moving it to this time of day. The kids will be busy with something they enjoy...we will see.
And then plan time again...which after that crazy afternoon schedule is more like sit and stare at the wall time, trying to get up the energy to think about planning.
As I read back over this, I realize it sounds very...negative. So let me tell you the positives of my new school and schedule.
  1. My new teaching team and I are having a lot of fun together!
  2. Small school - means the "team" includes everyone. Everyone pitches in to help out when needed.
  3. No morning duty (unless someone gets stung by a wasp).
  4. Did I say small school?
  5. Fitting reading AND math into my morning.
  6. You guessed it! Small school!
  7. The morning meeting in the gym... There are only around 60 students in the entire school. It is pretty neat when we are all saying this school pledge:
Today, I will try my best,
to do my best.
I will listen.
I will follow directions.
I will respect the rights of other people.
I can learn.
I will learn.
Say it, and do it!
*Pam and Debbie - Forgive me if I messed it up. I'm still learning!
Sorry, no pictures...that shows how my week went. I will try to do better this week! We have started Read to Self, Word Work, and Read to Someone. We're going to keep practicing them this week before adding our other Daily 5 components. This week we're starting our reading series--2008 Reading Street. I'm so excited about this website I found with LOADS of resources for it!
Have a great week!

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