Sunday, December 30, 2012

Math Story Problem Book and a GIVEAWAY!

Hey friends! I hope everyone has had a wonderful and super relaxing break. I've been out since the beginning of December (I LOVE teaching year round!) so I'm the epitomy of relaxed right now. :)

When I first started my blog I posted about my math games, one of my favorite things! Many people asked for a copy of my story problem book. I have actually revised it and made it so much better into a complete pack that will really get your kids writing and solving story problems.

So here it is, my very first product on Teachers Pay Teachers - Math Story Problem Book

I would be so honored if it you would check it out! It's been a long, arduous process but I'm so happy with how it turned out! 

If you had told me a few years ago that I would start a teaching blog and then make products to sell I would NOT have believed you. These past couple years have been such a learning process for me! I am always so pleasantly surprised at how kind and wonderful everyone in the teacher bloggy community is. You guys truly do rock!

Because you rock so much I am going to do a giveaway of the Math Story Problem book. All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter widget below. You can get up to 5 entries. Enter by Friday the 4th at midnight. I'll announce the winner on Saturday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One of the entries is to tell me what your favorite Christmas present was. I would love for you to leave it in a comment as well. Mine was my Kindle Paperwhite. I've been a reading machine ever since I got it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Apps I'm Loving Lately

Hey everyone! Oh how I have missed blogging! I have been so busy! I'm hoping to get more into a balance of blogging more frequently, we'll see how that goes.

This year is rocking my socks off! My kiddos and I sure are having fun as we learn every day. It's kind of a crazy mess as we all figure out common core but it's keeping me on my toes.

I have been loving on some technology lately, due to some very generous parents. I had a family donate 2 ipod touches to my classroom. With my ipad, 2 shuffles that I got from a grant, and now 2 touches I have quite the apple classroom. I have had such a blast getting the touches set up and adding all of my favorite apps. I decided to be very limited in what I put on them, thus making sure my kiddos are really only playing games that are benefiting whatever skills I deem necessary.

Literacy: My kiddos use these apps during Daily 5. I have 3 students at a time using "technology" (1 ipad, 2 ipod touches). I usually do 3 rounds of Daily 5 a day so that means 9 students a day get ipad or itouch time. Each student gets a turn every few days - I keep track of it all on my Daily 5 clipboard.

1. Phonics Tic Tac Toe - Students practice all kinds of phonics skills. This app is so fun and gets in so many skills that my kiddos need to work on like long/short vowels, blends/digraphs and more. 
2. Word Bingo - Practice sight words in a fun way. My kiddos love to earn the "bingo bugs".
3. Same Meaning - Practice synonyms.
4. Same Sound - Practice homophones.
5. Timed Reading - Easy way for the kiddos to practice fluency on their own.
6. SAS Flash Cards - Made by the SAS company (located in my area) you can download tons of flash card decks. I use this as intervention for my kiddos who are practicing our district's sight word sets. They can even self check by listening to the word after they say it.
7. Word Magic - Great phonics practice of vowel pairs and blends.

Math: My kiddos play these apps during my Math Games time which is 3 afternoons a week. I typically will have them work with a partner on the touches and sometimes 2-3 students on the ipad. 

1. Math Bingo - Addition, Subtraction (even multiplication and division for you upper friends).
2. Sushi Monster - Seriously one of my favorite math apps right now. Students have to find the two addends/partners for a sum and feed them to the "monster". As they get better the monster changes which is very motivating if you are an 8 year old. :)
3. Jungle Math Bingo - Just like regular math bingo but with fun jungle music and animals.
4. Freefall Money - Great practice with counting money, identifying values and more.
5. Teaching Number Lines - Basic but a good introduction and practice of number lines.
6. Word Problems - Also basic but I use this one sometimes with my lower math students in math groups.
7. A+ Math Success - Start struggling students on this and in 31 days they will be so much more successful in addition and subtraction.
8. Teach Me First Grade and Teach Me Second Grade - This one technically is Reading and Math together. I originally bought the first grade version last year and had some of my lower students use it frequently. This year they came out with a second grade version. I wish it was a bit more challenging but it is great review and my kiddos love to earn "coins" and buy things from the "store". 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Math Partners

I have always loved teaching math. I'm always trying to make it more interesting and engaging for my kiddos. This year I've implemented official math partners. Instead of doing independent work my kiddos work with their math partners. They are now able to explain their work so much better. As they taught us in college "knowledge is socially constructed". Kids need time to talk, discuss and explain. I have to remind myself that noise is okay - as long as we are all on topic.

I found these cute pb&j cut outs at The Dollar Tree and immediately thought they would be perfect for helping my kiddos remember who their math partner is. I also like being able to say "peanut butters read the problem, jellies write the number sentence" etc.

Dollar Tree should still have these if you want to pick some up. They also had "mouse and cheese" and "frog and lily pad" matching cut outs as well. I may need to think of a use for some of those too! :)

Nonfiction Magazines

We just finished a nonfiction writing piece. We learned how to write a complete nonfiction paragraph and do research. Second graders love to research! They are naturally curious about so many things! We researched bats and owls and also apples and pumpkins. We read nonfiction books about each topic and then also went online and did research there. After compiling a list of facts the kiddos got to work writing their rough drafts. We then revised and edited them before publishing. Then it was on to publishing.

The kiddos worked in pairs to publish their magazines. For example one student wrote about owls and another student wrote about bats. They then put them together to make one magazine and added text features together. Here's how they turned out:

I'm so proud of them! They did an excellent job and turned out really well!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hundreds Board Song

Freebie Fridays

Last June I go to a training on SIOP - Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol. What a mouthful! I learned that using SIOP makes learning accessible to all students, especially students who are learning English as a second language. The training was at another school in the county that is doing very well with SIOP. As a part of the day we were told to go tour/explore the school and take pictures of as many SIOP things that we could. I love seeing other teacher's classrooms - it gives me so many ideas!

One second grade teacher had a poster labeled "Hundreds Board Song" on her wall. I read it and thought it was pretty neat because it helped the kids remember what/when to add and subtract when moving around the Hundreds Board. Later I talked with one of the SIOP coaches and she told me that the teacher actually sings the song with her kids, playing the guitar. She made up the lyrics to go with Beyonce's Irreplaceable. She showed us a video and it was too cute! I couldn't wait to use it with my kiddos!

A big thanks to Patricia Owen from Hodge Road Elementary!

Our very first math unit this quarter was Place Value (Numbers in Base Ten in Common Core speak). We were doing TONS of hundreds board activities so I knew I would have to teach my kiddos the song. They absolutely loved it! I downloaded the instrumental version of "Irreplaceable" on itunes and then wrote the lyrics on chart paper and taught it to my kids. It only took them a few times of practicing to have the words memorized - along with motions to go with it all.

After talking with Patricia and receiving her permission, I have a video to share with you but it's nothing fancy. I took the audio of my kids singing and used imovie to add the lyrics. It's so untechnologically perfect but it'll give you the picture.

Here is a little sheet I made that has the lyrics and a picture that helps the kiddos remember the movements on the hundreds board. Feel free to use it in your classroom! Click HERE to donload it on Google Docs.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Math Games for the New School Year

My Math Games Posts Part 1 and Part 2 are some of my most visited posts on my blog. I love math games! My kiddos last year loved them too! They begged to do Math Games! I knew that I would need to reorganize my games for the new school year. It was one of those items on my to do list that was important but not quite as important as making name tags and planning for the first week.

So it got pushed back until after school started. One afternoon I went through my cart and pulled out the games that we won't use until later in the year and organized. Here's what the cart looks like now:

Our first unit for math is numbers in base ten/place value. So all of my games that are currently out are place value related. Here's what I have out currently:

Swinging Around the 100's and 200's Chart - Free on TPT from Fourth and Ten

Flash Cards - of course. Such an easy bin. I took out the time and money ones and just stuck with addition and subtraction. Dollar Tree has great flash cards.

Race to 100 - Free on TPT from Primary Graffiti

The ever popular Bump from Sunny Days - My kiddos love, love, love this game! For student led conferences last year they had to show their parents how to play one math game - this was a popular choice!

Addition Jenga - Picked up this original Jenga set at the flea market for $3 and then downloaded the free labels from Minds In Bloom. I printed the labels onto adhesive backed paper and then laminated it. Yep, you got that right - they were sticky and laminated! I wasn't sure if you could do that but it worked out great - I wanted the durability of laminating but didn't want to have to tape or glue each strip. 

The kiddos simply build the jenga cube as usual and then when they remove a piece they have to solve it. Simple, yet fun!

Place Value Bulls Eye from What The Teacher Wants - I think this is my personal favorite because it helps the kiddos practice expanded form and because it's so fun! It reminds me of skeeball - who doesn't love skeeball?

Slides and Ladders from First Grade a la Carte - To practice doubles facts! This isn't a place value game but addition is coming up next and this game is simple so I threw it in there. 

Last but certainly not least in my kiddos' eyes is Power Towers - They absolutely love this!  The original idea comes from Teacher Tipster

That's the beginning of the year line up. I've shown my kiddos the games and now we are beginning to practice playing them. They are already excited!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We Like to Move It!

It's already week 5 of the new school year for me! Phew! I'm loving my class!

For the past few weeks I have been teaching them greetings and activities for morning meeting. I've found some new ones thanks to pinterest, TPT, and bloggers. I've especially found a bunch that get us moving!

Here are some of our favorites!

 1. Cha Cha Slide - It's easy to follow, gets the kids moving, and is so much fun!

2. Get Funky - Another easy to follow, line dance type song. It gets stuck in your head easily!

3. Stomp, Stomp Clap

4. Cupid Shuffle - Yep, that's right we're shuffling. I think it's great practice of the ordinal words "left" and "right". So many of my kiddos still get those confused!

5. Jump Up, Bend Down - Haven't tried this one yet but I think it will be a winner!

I've been using these, along with the brain breaks from 3rd Grade Thoughts to keep us moving and thinking. The kids are loving them! Sometimes I'll even get a "Miss R, I think our brains need a break!"
I use my CD player and my projector to show these and it works great!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Marker Management

Today I have a quick management tip to share. I have my students use whiteboards and dry erase markers very frequently in math. I try to be very strict about keeping the boards in their lap, no doodling, following along, etc. But I still have kids who are drawing and rolling their markers on the board or throwing it around in their hands. I was starting to get frustrated last week when I realized that I needed a good motivator to reinforce whiteboard and marker procedures.

My solution is something super simple but effective!

I had some very kind parents donate colored dry erase markers - I'm talking neon, primary and more. All sorts of colors.

 My kiddos each have a black dry erase marker in their pencil boxes. I told them at the beginning of a whiteboard math time that I would be looking to see who was using their board and marker correctly. At the end of math I would pick the one person who I thought did the best job of participating while showing the correct procedures. That person would get to pick a colored marker to use for the next whiteboard math time. They would get to use it for that entire time and at the end they would return it and I would pick someone else to choose a color.

 You would have thought I was giving away a trip to an amusement park - they were so excited!

It's the small things folks! :)

Also be sure to check out my guest post over at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher. Amber is a dear bloggy friend of mine and she has so many great ideas! I posted about how I'm using "math bins" in my classroom.

And for all of you who are gearing up for a new year - I feel for you! I have been back for 4 weeks already. I love meeting my new kiddos but I even more love getting into a routine. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Made It: The Student Tracker Board

I got a lot of comments on my last post about this lovely board I made for my classroom:
Ok so I totally got this idea from Pinterest but I can't find the pin now! Aaaggh! So if you pinned this originally please let me know so I can give you credit!

Here's my quick and easy tutorial!

Materials Needed:
- cookie sheet (I got mine at walmart but you could use a dollar store one too)
- round magnets (again from walmart, they come in a pack of 50)
- hot glue gun and sticks
- pretty ribbon
- cardstock or labels printed with "In the Room" and your destinations
- cardstock printed with numbers or names

1. I printed all my labels. I used publisher to make the circles with numbers and painstakingly cut them out.
2. I glued magnets to the back of each number.
3. I glued a ribbon to the top and then the "In the Room" label.
4. I put all my numbers on the board to make sure I would have enough room for them.
5. I glued the rest of the ribbon and labels to make the remaining sections/destinations.

The awesome thing is I never had to explain this to my kiddos! They saw it and just started moving their numbers down when they left the room. In case you are wondering Mr. H is one of our resource teachers that some of my students see and VI stands for our Visually Impaired department.

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back To School

Yep, I'm already back to school for a new year! In year round we start our new school year in beginning of July. But before you start to feel sorry for me remember that I just had 4 weeks off which is one week longer than my usual 3 weeks. It was fantastic!

I don't even know where to start with this blog - so many ideas, so many great things I've found, phew! Also I took pictures of my classroom at the end of my last workday but they were taken with my phone and are no good. Boo that! So instead I'll share some things I'm loving so far about this year:

1. I'm loving Whole Brain Teaching. Yep I've joined the WBT bandwagon! I did my research over my break and watched a ton of youtube videos. So far it's going great! Class? Yes! is such an easy and quick way to get my kids attention and they are loving the scoreboard. I'm also loving mirror and teach okay. I feel already that my lessons are becoming much more interactive and engaging. The kids are gesturing, talking, and moving. It's awesome! I still feel like I have a lot to learn with WBT but I'm taking it slowly with my comfort level. One of my favorite examples of WBT is this video below. I love how engaged her students are but how it's not a LOUD screaming classroom. I can't handle that!

2. I'm loving the new school supplies. Anyone else have to seriously avoid the back to school section at target and walmart? If I go there I WILL find something and I WILL think of a reason I must have it!
I made this little "Where Am I?" board after seeing it on Pinterest here. Love it! 

3. A little more sleep! My school is starting 45 minutes later this year. While this means my afternoons seem to stretch on a bit more I'm liking the mornings. I'm still getting to school way before I have to be there but I'm getting a bit more sleep and having some quiet time in my classroom in the morning to get things done!

4. Pinterest - Goodness gracious I was pinning it up over break. Even at the beach on vacation! If you aren't following me on Pinterest you should - especially my "Beginning of the Year" board. Lots of great ideas - many that I have already used!

5. Blog world! Seriously YOU all rock! I have found so many awesome ideas from YOU! Also I love the blog comments! Sorry that I definitely not the best blogger ever about posting frequently but thank you to those of you who stick around and share some love!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Open House & Getting Organized

A few weeks ago I had Open House for the upcoming school year. I know it seems early but my "track" has ours early right before we track out. Pinterest inspired me this year to try some new things for Open House. Our Open House is basically a Meet the Teacher night where parents and kids stop by, meet their child's new teacher, check out the classroom and get a supply list/information for the new year.

The weekend before Open House I was a busy bee at home making some things. I made my coworker and I new signs with our names on them. I am in LOVE with the dots on turquoise/paisley decorations. This poster was clipped to my easel and put in the hallway to let parents know which room I am in.

 I saw a glow stick idea on pinterest and made a quick little note to go with it. 

 I was so excited about my wish list/giving tree. I put it up on the door and actually even made it look like a tree. Only problem was NO ONE SAW IT. Since the door was open and people were constantly coming in and out no one really saw the door and I was so slammed meeting parents I didn't have a chance to direct them towards it. I was kind of disappointed in that I didn't think it through but oh well I saved the apples to have out at parent night.

 Here are my student information folders. They contain a letter to the parents, a letter to the students, a supply list and information for the parents to fill out and send back the first week of school.

I also have the parents stop and write a little encouraging note to their child. I call them "shine on notes". I put them on each child's desk on the first day of school. The kids love them!

While I was on the creating kick I decided to work on a few organizational things as well. I use plastic drawers to organize papers. I simply added some paisely border behind them and they look so much cuter!

 And I had to make the teacher toolbox from Create Teach Share. It's perfect since I try not to store these things in my desk drawer since I have to move every 9 weeks.

I can't believe I'm already planning and organizing for the new school year! 

Why I Change Classrooms

A few people have asked why I have to move classrooms every 9 weeks. The answer is that I teach in a year round school. Let me explain:

- I still teach 10 months out of the year but those 10 months are spread out over the year. I do not have a long summer break.
- Typically I teach for 9 weeks and then have 3 weeks off. That means I get a break in each season!
- There are 4 different schedules in our year round system. Each schedule is called a track.
- Only 3 tracks are "in" at a time. There is always one track that is "tracked out". For example - Tracks 1, 3, 4 may be tracked in and track 2 is on break for 3 weeks.
- Because only 3 tracks are in the school building at a time, the school is designed to only fit 3 tracks. This allows there to be more students enrolled in the school than the building's capacity allows.
-In second grade there are 8 teachers/classes but only 6 teachers/classes are tracked in at a time. This is why we have to move - when you are tracked out you do not have a classroom!

It may sound complicated but once you get used to it all it's pretty simple. As a teacher I LOVE teaching year round. I love having breaks in each season. I love having breaks more frequently. It really cuts down on teacher burn out.

One disadvantage is that when I set up my classroom it's only for 9 weeks. I don't put up near as much things on my walls as the typical teacher probably does. At first this bothered me but honestly I like it now. I only put things on the walls that have a purpose. I don't have cutesy bulletin boards but I do put up student work and anchor charts. As year round teachers we also tend to be super organized - because we have to be! We all have 2 large rolling carts that we store our materials in. When it's time to track out the carts are moved to storage. As a grade level we have many items that stay in the rooms so we don't have to move them around.

This is my little cart - full of craft supplies, manipulatives, workbooks, tissues, pencils and SO much more!

I always store my large cart behind my desk because it houses my teacher manuals and resources that I use frequently. In this picture I have containers stacked on top of my cart because I took this right before I tracked out - so I was packing up!

Year round is definitely a different kind of teaching, but I've found that it's just right for me! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nonfiction Writing

We just finished writing biographies about classmates and are diving head first into more nonfiction writing - Informational Texts. Yesterday we discussed a very important word: Research. We made an anchor chart to discuss what research was. For our texts students will write about an animal. We will use 3 sources: nonfiction books, the internet, and an encyclopedia. We also brainstormed sub-topics that to research for our animals. 
 Then I began modeling the informational text writing process myself. My text is going to be about Jaguars. I got to see lots of Jaguars when I traveled to Belize last spring and I think they are pretty cool!
 I have showed the kiddos how to use each source to get notes. I simply take 4 pieces of notebook paper and write one sub-topic at the top of each page. Then whenever I come across a fact that I want to remember I make a bullet and write it down. By the end of yesterday I read information aloud/showed it on the document camera and they were able to tell me facts and what topic each fact should go with.

It's always interesting to hear where they think we should look online for research. Most of them said "Google". While I'm definitely a big fan of googling myself I want them to learn to use information from reliable sources. Our school subscribes to Pebble Go, an online nonfiction listening library, so we used that. I highly recomend Pebble Go as it is an awesome way to expose young children to nonfiction that they will understand. My kids love watching the short "video" of each animal along with listening to the sounds.

Next I showed how to write an opening paragraph and then copy down 3 facts for each topic. My kiddos were shocked at how simple it really was to make their plan! I also had them pick a few key vocabulary words for each page and think about a text feature that would make the page more interesting.

The planning page is available for free on TPT. I recommend copying it onto 11x17 paper as it gives the kiddos more room to write.
Today my assistant and I were very pleased at how engaged my kiddos were during my writing mini-lesson. They loved helping me find facts from my sources, pick the 3 facts to use for my plan and come up with ideas for the title. I'm really excited to see them write their own informational texts!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Long Live the Clip Chart

Behavior. It can make or break any classroom! I don't know everything (major emphasis on that) but I do feel that I've learned quite a bit about behavior/classroom management over the past years. Mainly, stay positive! It works so much better to praise the positive and then watch others try to do the right thing as well.

When I first started teaching I had "elephants" (little elephant post its with the kids names on them) that moved down levels with push pins in a cork board. It was cumbersome and not easy to manage. After that, I made the elephants magnetic and added a "soar" level. My awesome cooperating teacher from when I taught came up with the "soar" level for students to move UP to for doing a great job. My kids loved our new soar level and really got into it!

Then I learned about the clip chart. This was back in the days before Pinterest (can you imagine?) so I read about it in this ebook by Rick Morris. I quickly got to work during one of my track out days and made a clip chart. It works wonderful!

Now I'm on my second clip chart, since the old one took so much wear and I wanted to pretty-fy it up a little. :)

The kids all start on Ready To Learn and from there move their clips up or down. At the end of the day if you are on Great Job you get to stand up on your chair and the whole class does a cheer for you. If you are on Outstanding you get to add a sticker to your clip. My how they love those stickers! It's the simple things folks! I will say that the "jewel" stickers (get them from Micheal's) stay on the clips better than some regular stickers.

If a child moves their clip to consequence then they get a refocus form where they write what they were doing, what they should have been doing and what they will do next time. Then they have to take it home and get it signed and bring it back to me. Sometimes I will choose a different consequence based on the action so that's why I labeled that level consequence. Parent contact is pretty straightforward - I hardly ever have kids get to this level and by this point in the year I usually am not moving many clips down but UP. :)

About halfway through this school year I came across a very good problem - I had kids filling their clips up with stickers on both sides! So thus came about the "Clip Hall of Fame". A child moves their clip to the hall of fame once their clip is completely full. What a reward this is! They get so excited about it! I then will make them a new clip so they can keep on earning stickers.

At the beginning of the year I teach my kids hand motions that I make to tell them to move their clip up or down - a simple pinch of 2 fingers and a thumbs up or thumbs down. To reinforce positive behavior I simply will start some positive behavior dialogue "Wow, Bobby you are doing an excellent job of getting started on your morning work, please go move your clip up!" Before you know it, everyone is getting to work on their morning work as well!

I also have had kids make it to pink/outstanding and I will tell them to move their clip up. They then go to Top of the Chart. After Top of the Chart comes Off the Chart where I will then proudly wear that student's clip. Yes, I usually look like a dork with a clothespin clipped to my shirt, but they love it! Once this year I had a student who was already on Off the Chart when I asked her to move her clip up. So we invented a new level where I go take a picture of their clip with an Administrator and then write them a positive office referral.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Word Work Updates

Every now and then, I feel the need to spice things up for Daily 5, keep the kiddos engaged and interested. During my workdays before track in I hunted all over the lovely blog-o-sphere for new word work ideas. I've always loved this list of ideas from Christina Bainbridge. Definitely worth checking out.

On the far left in the green basket, are our Writing Folders from Really Good Stuff. I love those things. They really help the kids learn the writing process. We don't keep them in our desk because our grade level has to keep the same ones for 2 years before we replace them. So to keep them from the doom of what is often my kiddos' desks they live in the green basket.

Next is one of the new word work choices, ipad words! I found this via a pin on pinterest - Mrs. Gilchrist adapted the iphone idea into a larger ipad. I have a list of "ipad words" that goes with this. The kiddos have to first write the words in alphabetical order in the boxes with a dry erase marker, then they "type" them and hit "send". Seriously, it is the cutest thing for this apple-loving teacher to see. I told my kiddos that I would LOVE to have more ipads and have them using those for word work, but I'm not made of money so we make do. :)
Next up is Boggle Words. Anyone else out there ADDICTED to playing Scramble on their iphone? Me me me! I love this game and have seen Boggle bulletin boards for the classroom. I bought this set of cards by Rachel on TPT. I laminated 4 of the cards, put recording sheets in the folder, and voila challenging word work. I've explained to my kiddos that this choice is a challenge, that even adults find it hard! Therefore, this is not always the best choice for everyone. But I knew my higher readers needed a word work choice that was challenging and I can tell already that they love it. Sometimes we'll do one as a class in between rounds and I'm always shocked by how many words they find!

Bananagrams has always been a popular and favorite choice for word work and I don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I have a spelling list in a sheet protector and the kiddos use the tiles to spell their words and any other words they know. Scrabble Flash is a new one this year by the reccomendation of my coworker, Jim. It's basically like making words except the game self corrects and tells them which words are actually words! I love it! My kiddos can tell you what a stickler I am for quiet during Daily 5 but I do allow for the beeping of this fun game.

I forgot to take a picture of my last choice, Lacing Letters. Basically the letters have holes in them like beads and the kiddos lace their spelling words onto strings. Very kinesthetic. We've had that choice around for a while too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

February in Review

Where has all the time gone? I won't waste your time by telling you all the reasons why I haven't blogged in forever but let's just say February was a crazy month! I'm kind of glad it's over and gone!

More for the sake of myself I'm going to write about some February classroom happenings. It was a busy month with many holidays and things going on.

First up was Valentine's Day. We did SO many fun Valentine's activities! I made my kiddos heart shaped crayons. I had fun making them and bagging them all up cutesy. The kids reaction- "Miss R, what are these?" :) Once I told them they were crayons they were pretty excited though. Oh and it didn't hurt that I threw a homework pass in the bag either. :)
We did the usual sweetheart candy graphing. I realized that while this is fun most of my kiddos have already done this activity in first grade. Next year I think I'm going to try using the heart candies to do some fraction activities.

Also in February was our Inferring Unit. I had so much fun teaching this unit, many thanks to Pinterest! I found this pin about using trash to infer about a person and we did it at the beginning of the unit.
Then we practiced inferring using many great books. Some of my favorites are The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg and Two Bad Ants, also by Chris Van Allsburg. Mandy Gregory also has some great inferring mini-lessons that I use as a guide to help me plan. I also found a fun ipad app, Understanding Inferences, that I used in reading groups.

President's Day! This was my first year to really put some emphasis on President's Day and I'm glad I did. I was able to incorporate it into Social Studies. I used this unit by the First Grade Fanatics on TPT along with this unit by Amy Lemons that had a template to make the Washington Monument. I made a few labels with info about the monument and voila - history in the form of a craft. My kiddos thought it was pretty cool!

And that wraps up February!