Thursday, December 29, 2011

Money, Money, Money

Anyone else singing the song when they read that title? Ok, good! :)
The other day at Staple's I found this play money and coins in their dollar section. Add to that I was using the "everything in this bag is 15% off" deal and I was super excited! I bought a few packs of each.
Today I felt inspired to create some money themed games for my kiddos. I don't currently have any money games out in my math games except for a set of flashcards. I decided to use one set of the coins to make a kaboom game. All I did was hot glue some coins to popsicle sticks.
I also wrote "Kaboom" on about 5 sticks.

Then all of the sticks went face down into a pringles can that i cut down to size. The game is super easy to play. (There are lots of Kaboom games out there in bloggy land.) Kids play in groups of 2-4. When it's your turn you pull out a stick. You add the coin values and tell the amount. If your partner or group members agree with you, you get to keep the stick. If you pull a Kaboom stick you have to put all of your sticks back in the cup. :(
I added some scrapbook paper and a fancy little label and voila, math game success!

I also made my very first, I made it math game!!! Yay me! It's called Show Me the Money and involves the kids using plastic coins to show how they would "buy" items. I got the idea from the Debbie Diller Math book. I just wanted a prettier recording sheet than the one in her book :)

To download the show me the money recording sheet, click HERE.
To download the show me the money directions, click HERE.

I'm happy to share these as a freebie with everyone but I do love comments and followers. :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Listen to Reading Grant

I am super duper excited to have won my very first grant! I have always thought that grant writing was hard and something I could never do until now. The Lee Brothers Sidekick Foundation gave me a grant to get some materials to use for Listen to Reading during Daily 5. Lee Brothers is a Tae Kwon Do studio that is near school and each year they offer grant money to schools in the area. I decided to apply and was thrilled that my project was accepted.
My main purchase with the grant money was 2 ipod shuffles. I can load books on CD onto these for the kids to listen to. It's better than a Listening Center because the shuffles are mobile and the kiddos can choose their own spot in the classroom. My classroom doesn't really have tons of space for a listening center anyways.

I also got some super cute headphones to go with the shuffles since I don't think that the ones that come with them (that go in your ear) are super sanitary for the kiddos to use and share. I got these from amazon.

I also purchased some books on CD from Scholastic to load onto the shuffles. I'm planning on having a few books on each shuffle and teaching the kids how to skip through the tracks and use Voice Over to find the right track. They're pretty technology savvy so it should work great!

Now I'm browsing and searching for more grants that I could apply for. We'll see what I find!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Elapsed Time Freebie

When we go back in January we'll be jumping right into our Time unit. During my planning days (during track out) I got all kinds of excited planning and making games and activities to use. I made a fun elapsed time game that includes Phineas & Ferb. My kiddos love Phineas & Ferb and I hear lots of quotes and stories about the show. It doesn't hurt that my roommate also loves the show. She works at the YMCA and they used it for one of their track out camp themes.

The game is pretty simple. To play the kiddos need a recording sheet, two dice, and a stack of activity cards. You need to make the dice using either blocks or by printing a die template onto cardstock. On one die put times like 4:00, 8:00, 5:30, etc (based on what your kids can tell time to) and then on the other put periods of time lik
e 1 hour, 2 hours, 30 minutes, etc. The goal of the game is to figure out the ending time. I put little Judy Clocks in each game set for the kiddos to use to help them. The activity cards are purely for fun but I think the kiddos will enjoy connecting an activity with a period of time. I can hear them going "What? It only took Phineas and Ferb 30 minutes to build Swinter?".

Click HERE to go to Google Docs to Download. I hope you enjoy and are able to use this freebie with your kiddos!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My First Award!

Well it's been a while! ;) After Thanksgiving I had one week left and then I tracked out. One of the many benefits of teaching year round but that also meant I was super busy getting ready for track out. So not much time was left for blogging. Or sleeping. But who says teachers need sleep anyways?
I'm so excited because I got my first blog award! Yipeeee! Haley at Following Optimism, gave me the Liebster Award for being an up and coming blog. Yay! Thanks so much Haley!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
  1. copy and paste the award on your blog
  2. thank the giver and link back to them
  3. reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  4. hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers
So, in the spirit of Teacher Blog Love, I'm giving the Liebster award to:

I know that's only 3, so many of the blogs I follow are oldies. If you are a new teacher blogger I would love to check out your blog. Leave me a comment!

I'm hoping to spend some time this week writing some more posts and catching up. I have certainly missed it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I have so many things to be thankful for. This week was just like icing on the Thanksgiving cake (or maybe pie). This morning one little cutie came in with a bag with this in it:
I mean how could you not love a child who gives you that? I beamed.

My favorite part is the stick picture drawing of the child and me he did on the back of the sign. Man I look skinny. :)

The sign sparked the following conversation with another child:

Child: Miss R, I don't know if you're the best teacher.
Me: Why is that?
Child: Well, I've only had 3 teachers.
Me: That's true.
Child: I guess you're the best teacher SO FAR.

We had a blast on Monday making these turkey hats inspired by this pin on Pinterest.

Today was Book Fair Preview Day and our sweet librarian made each teacher a turkey! They were so precious!
This had to be my favorite Thanksgiving craft! The kiddos chose someone they are thankful for and then wrote one reason they are thankful for that person on each leaf. They wrote the most adorable things like "you always tell me you love me" and "you play video games with me". Later we filled the jars with m&m's for the recipients to enjoy.

Of course my assistant and I had to make our own for another teacher on our team. We're one big happy family.

And what day before Thanksgiving at school would be complete without leaf jumping! I showed my kiddos the proper way to make a leaf pile and jump into it the other day and ever since that's all they want to do outside. It's so fun to watch them! We set some ground rules for safety (and I sat closely nearby) but I let them loose. They made a huge line (like 20 kids) and cheered for each person when it was their turn. Afterwards today they also had a "leaf party" where they threw leaves into the air for 5 minutes and then made "leaf angels" on the ground. So precious!

My list of things to be thankful for could go on for a long time. I'm thankful for all of you - thanks for reading and hanging out! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Turkey Time!

Sorry I've been MIA lately, it's been super busy here! Is anyone else ready for Thanksgiving? Turkey Day is my absolute favorite holiday. I rank it above Christmas. I can't wait to wake up on Thanksgiving and watch the parade. :)

We have started a new creative writing project that I am LOVING. My kiddos need practice writing letters so I decided we would make it fun by writing from the perspective of the Turkey. Their job is, as the turkey, to convince people NOT to eat turkey for Thanksgiving. They are coming up with another food that they think should be eaten instead.

We started off by reading Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems. We discussed how the pigeon was trying to get the reader to do something. Then we wrote down the sentence starters that the pigeon used to sound convincing. The kiddos also brainstormed who they could write the letter to and what food they would advertise instead of turkey.

I made a plan using free turkey clip art that Natalie's husband made. It's super cute. Feel free to download your own copy of my plan by clicking here.
Next, we'll use Ashleigh's Turkey Paper (Free on TPT) to write our letters focusing on the parts of a friendly letter. I can't wait to see how these turn out!

How are you getting ready for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thank You Apple!!!!

Yesterday as I walked out to my car after school, I dropped my ipad. I really didn't think much of it then. That was until this morning I opened the case at school and saw that the screen was cracked! It must have hit the corner because that corner was smashed and cracks all came from there. Needless to say I was upset.

The ipad still worked but the only thing holding the screen together was the clear screen cover. :( After talking with our tech contact, she said I would need to take it to the Apple Store.

After school I made a trek to the Apple Store, hoping for some good news. The store was packed but I got an appointment at the Genius Bar. After telling my story to the nice Genius lady, she told me that they would do a one time replacement! WHAT??? I was sooooo excited! They literally gave me a BRAND NEW ipad! I walked out of the store without paying a single dime.

I am so grateful to Apple! They really went above and beyond for me! Since I got my Mac in college I've always been an Apple fan but now I am a customer for life! They really take care of their customers! Apple, thank you for helping this poor (and clumsy) teacher out!

Shaving Cream & Adjective Alphabet

Today in one of my literacy strategy groups I brought out the shaving cream! In this group we have been learning about blends and digraphs. This week we learned about th, ch, wh, and sh. Check out Carl's Corner - I found some great blend/digraph activities there. Naturally I thought it would be fun to practice sh words using SHaving cream!
The kids LOVED writing in the shaving cream. Such a fun sensory activity!

We made a little mess, but it was all worth it!

In Writing, we used Courtney from Swimming into Second's Adjective Alphabet to make a class book.
I gave each student a page with a letter. They got to color in their letter.
Then using a page I made I had them write a few sentences using their adjectives. They turned out great!
I loved seeing their creativity!
I can't wait to pull this out as we talk about adding adjectives to writing. :)

Well, I'm off to enjoy a relaxing and fun weekend! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moving in Math - SCOOT

Need a little something to spice up your math time? Need to get your kiddos moving? SCOOT is the game for you! Scoot is a game that I learned about via Christina Bainbridge. Basically you can break up any worksheet or activity so that the kids move around the classroom in an order. The kids have their own recording sheet (I use this one from Christina) to write their answers on.

An easy way to play Scoot is to write problems on the kids desks with a dry erase marker. I did this one time with basic addition problems. The kids thought I was crazy but it wipes right off with a clorox wipe (another excuse to clean!).

A while ago I made some cards for when we learned about comparing numbers using greater than and less than. I printed the cards on cardstock and laminated them. When it was time to play Scoot I just put the cards on the desks and we were good to go. The kids wrote both numbers on their paper, along with the greater than, less than, or equals sign. As Christina suggests, it's a good idea to first train your kiddos how to move about the room. I usually have one student model the path to follow during Scoot.

My kiddos love Scoot! It's a great way to review and keep the learning going while getting wiggles out. :)

I hope you find this helpful! Click here to get your copy of my Scoot cards.
Note: Numbers 21-24 have smiley faces because they are "free spaces". The recording sheet has 20 spots and I have more kiddos than that so I spread out the free spaces. The kids get to take a break when they are at a smiley face spot.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Happenings

Can I just say PHEW? I think this afternoon teachers everywhere let out a big sigh of relief after the school day was over. I loved today, we had so much fun but PHEW I was tired!

After doing Daily 5 as usual we got to work on our haunted house writing. I am loving this project! Today they added their detail sentences, being sure to have at least one adjective in each sentence. They were so creative. "You will love my pointy spiked furniture." "At night you can sleep in a spooky coffin". I even played some spooky music in the background while they wrote.
Then, my assistant and I decked the room with orange and black. The kids had NO idea what we were doing. It was cute to listen to them try to come up with what we were going to do.

I brought in a pumpkin and we estimated and then counted the number of seeds in it. It was funny watching them put their hands inside the pumpkin - they thought it was so gross. There were many sound effects added. :)

I split the pumpkin seeds up into groups and each group made piles of 10 to see how many seeds they had. They did a quick folded paper activity to show their number in different ways - number, number word, ten sticks and ones, and expanded form.

Then we used base ten blocks to practice regrouping and added up the totals from all of the groups. We are just starting to learn 2 digit addition so this was perfect! Our pumpkin had 457 seeds!

For a fun treat, we made spider cookies using oreo cakesters, twizzlers, frosting, and m and m's.

If the kids weren't excited enough I let them play pin the nose on the pumpkin. This was a dollar store find and it was fun!
When they came back from specials each kiddo had some goodies on their desk. The bag of candy was from a sweet assistant who works with one of my students. She was so kind to make them each a little goody bag! I also made a bag with a Halloween joke book (from the Teacher Wife), vampire teeth (the parents will love me), erasers, and some rings.

I wish I had a picture of what the classroom looked like at the end of the day - it was such a mess! I spent a good 30 minutes simply sweeping, vacuuming, and cleaning up all of our activities. Days like today are exhausting and messy, but well worth it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Teachable Moment + A Freebie!

Today I had an opportunity to go with the teachable moment. We are hard at work on our Haunted House for Sale writing project. Today we talked about the topic sentence and how important it is. I told the kids that if their topic sentence wasn't interesting and exciting, a potential buyer probably would not take the time to read the rest of their ad. We brainstormed some great topic sentence ideas such as "Are you in the market for a new spooky haunt?" or "Enter my hideous haunted house if you dare!". Then I set the kids free to write their own topic sentence based on their haunted house. In the middle of their writing I had a fantastic idea!
I grabbed my "witch" and "zombie" fingers that we have been using as pointers in reading groups and put them on all of my fingers. Then I told the kids that once they finished their topic sentence they needed to bring their paper and sit on the carpet. I took the role of "monster/zombie/witch/ghostly ghoul" and each student had to come up one at a time and read their topic sentence to me. I, the scary creature, then would tell the writer if I was interested in their house our not. If I was interested that meant their topic sentence was great and had lots of details. If I wasn't interested they had to go back and rewrite it or add details until I was interested. They LOVED it. We were all giggling. I made sure to use my best scary voice and say things like "Come here my pretty!" or "Silence Urchins!". We had so much fun and their Topic Sentences were awesome! They really are starting to become dashingly delightful descriptive writers!

In more teachery related news, I have a freebie for you. I made a fun Halloween Family Project for the kiddos to take home next week. I figured with all of the candy they are collecting it would be great to incorporate some graphing and math! I added a few Halloween writing pages I found on TPT but you could also just add some fun Halloween stationery with a simple prompt such as "What did you dress up as on Halloween?". Hope you enjoy! Click here to download your copy. I'm making mine completely optional but it could also be great homework for next week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Classroom This and That

Today I've got a variety of tid-bits from my classroom. I wanted to take some pictures but of course I left my camera at home. So I apologize for the poor cell phone quality pictures.

The awesome writing process tracker pencil chart that has been floating around Pinterest. I knew I had to make one! I can't wait to start using it!

I bought this awesome Haunted House Descriptive Writing Project on TPT and I love it! So far we have brainstormed who would buy a haunted house and what kinds of things they might look for in a house. They had some super creative ideas! Today they made their haunted houses out of construction paper and tomorrow we will start writing our ads.

This is my teacher bulletin board that is right next to my desk. I'm a big fan of the polka dot border. The beach/hammock picture is great to stare at and pretend that I'm there in the middle of a stressful day. :)

Don't you just love our cute fact and opinion owls? We have learned all about facts and opinions and one of our activities was these cuties. The kiddos simply cut the strips and sorted them by fact and opinion before gluing them onto the owls.

My classroom job chart. I use clothespins for EVERYTHING. I have a long list of jobs and each kid gets their own job. We keep the same jobs for 2 weeks. I "pay" the kids Eagle Bucks (part of our school behavior incentive program) on "payday". They know that I pay more for a job well done! Then the kids who get paid the most get to pick their next job first. I told the kids that I want them to do their job well so they get to choose instead of me assigning. It works GREAT! They love the responsibility and it helps me out so much to not worry about some of the little things in the classroom.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Math Games, Part 2

Here are the rest of my math games. Be sure to check out my original post to see how I store my materials.

Game #5: Writing Story Problems - I think that writing story problems is one of those skills that 2nd graders seem to struggle with, so after seeing an idea on pinterest, I created a math game to go with it.
Two students take one story problem book, one flash card, and one object card (index cards with animals, etc on them) to write a story problem. They have to show the math mountain that would go with their flash card. After they write their problem, they turn the page over and solve it TWO ways before writing their answer and label.

Game #6 - How Big and How Low. This is one that another teacher passed onto me. Each pair has a deck of cards. When it's a player's turn they pull 3 cards, placing one card on each place value label. I remove jokers, jacks, queens, and kings for this one. Then the other player does the same with 3 cards on their mat. If the students are playing How Big the player with the largest number wins and takes both player's cards. If the students are playing How Low the player with the smallest number wins and takes both player's cards. The game ends when one player has the entire deck of cards.

Game # 7 - Time's Up - Another fun game from Christina Bainbridge. Though I haven't officially taught telling time, we do it as a part of our daily math routine and the kids love it. This game is great to get them practicing!

Game #8 - Flash Cards - Such an easy and simple game! Just take any flash cards you have laying around and put them in a bucket. I was afraid this wouldn't be a popular choice but it is! I think my kiddos are mostly enjoying the Cars flash cards and the money flash cards.

I have a few more games that aren't pictured that are from our math curriculum, Math Expressions. They are addition/subtraction practice games that I simply put into plastic sleeves so they could be used over and over again.