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Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Products that I'm Loving!

I Know it's been a while since I've updated on our classroom happenings. This year seems to be flying by faster than ever before. We've been having a great year but I haven't had any time to sort through all the pictures and put a post together. I'm hoping to get it done soon! For now I wanted to stop by and tell you about some great new products that I'm loving right now.

This Differentiated Reading for Comprehension book has been great. It has engaging stories at three levels so that it's easy to use with small groups and differentiate for different abilities. My students have loved the stories and they have done a great job with answering the questions which was definitely a new skill for them when we started these.

I have been using these with my small reading groups but they would work well for whole group instruction as well. Great practice for finding proof within text. I think these would also work great for assessment.

For math these Curriculum Cut-Outs have been the perfect warm-up activity for us!
I punched holes in the cards and put them on these rings. When students come in from recess they grab a ring and take it to their desks, then they get out their white boards and complete the problems.
The cards review a variety of skills that are fun and great practice for us in second grade. My students can't wait to get them out each day. Now our time after recess when some are getting drinks and using the restroom is actually productive and meaningful. You could use these as task cards, early finisher activities, or small group review as well. I am very happy with them.

Both products are from Carson Dellosa, if you would like to see more about them you can see more in these videos

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to be back soon with much more from our classroom!
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Review Disclaimer: I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Pencil Sharpener That Changed Everything - In a Brand New Color!

A few years ago I was going through expensive electric pencil sharpeners like crazy, I had three new sharpeners before Christmas an all of them ended up broken. So I decided I was going to have my students go back to using the good old fashioned crank sharpeners. I started looking for one online an I ended up finding a sharpener that changed all my pencil troubles! Classroom Friendly Supplies sells the BEST sharpeners I have ever found.

They sharpen pencils to the perfect point and they don't chew up the plastic coating on the decorated pencils. My students can use them easily and I haven't had them break once! I even decided to go back to electric sharpeners last year and after two went down within a couple months, I went right back to these and haven't regretted it! I have a blue and a black one in my classroom, my son even took one with him to college!

When I saw the new color I just had to have one! I am in love with the new POPULAR PURPLE!!

It's so pretty! I have been excitedly sharpening away, and my students were so excited to see a new sharpener, they've been using it like crazy. Just like before I haven't been disappointed. It works beautifully!

Want to put an end to pencil sharpening headaches? Go on over to Classroom Friendly Supplies and get one for your classroom. They come in lots of cool colors, sure to match and decor, and they are very economical, so you won't break the bank getting one - or two!

Know a teacher who could use one? These would also make great gifts for the upcoming holidays too!
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Friday, September 4, 2015

What's Your Favorite Subject to Teach?

It's the final day of teacher week over at Blog Hoppin, and we are talking about our favorite subject to teach!

Reading is my very favorite subject to teach - If you want to read more about that you can check out my post on the Blog Hoppin blog today!

I did say I may have 2 favorites. Since becoming a second grade teacher.So I'm sharing my other favorite here!

As a general education teacher I've had the first opportunity in my career to teach science and I have to say I LOVE IT! Maybe almost as much as reading. I know that my students love it, and it's mostly because of the fun hands on lessons we get to do.

Right now we are learning all about the states of matter and Hope Kings unit is amazing! It's filled with engaging activities to help teach all the important details.

From day one I had my students attention when I pulled out a water balloon and a frozen balloon, they've been captivated during science every since! We made these colorful flip books to help us identify the different states of matter and record our vocabulary words.

It has different pictures for them to cut out and glue under the correct heading to identify what state of matter that particular object would be.

Then we took a look at what molecules look like in different states. The person wearing lots of balloons represents solid, the person with a few balloons is liquid, the person with just two balloons is gas. They jump around and watch the molecules move, or not!

They glued fruit loops to the recording sheet to represent how the molecules looked during each state.

I know they are going to be so excited today when they see bottles of soda and pop rocks candy on the science table! I have so much fun prepping for these lessons and can't get enough of the excitement they generate in my students. So science is also my favorite subject, almost right up there with reading!

What is your favorite subject? Come on over to Blog Hoppin and link up with us so we can see what gets you excited about teaching!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Classroom Tour 2015!

It's Wednesday - I get to show you where I spend my week!

I kept the same color scheme for my classroom this year, but I did change a few things around.I'll try to give you as many details and I can, Let's start in the hallway!
These are the student lockers outside our door. I love the silhouette kids in Maria's Classroom and thought it would be a perfect fit for this area that I don't wan to have to climb up to change out. I teach at a Christian school and we have a Bible memory program. Each week students memorize verses, those verses are on the cutouts along the wall. When they memorize the verse they get a heart to color and it goes up next to that verse. The words say "Thy word have I hid in my heart..."

This is the door to our classroom, I made the welcome letters above the door and the 2nd grade sign. To the right is our work display board. I used scrapbook paper and clothes pins to make a quick easy place to display our work.. I got the "Great Job" and "Wow" dots from Dollar Tree.

Here's the view just inside the door...
The whiteboards are new this year, we replaced the old chalkboards and it brighten the room up so much! I've placed all our important reference posters above the board, Alphabet, Numbers to 20,and cursive alphabet. I created all of these last year. You can see under the board I have a gutter used as a books shelf. This year I decided to make some labels so that one end will hold new books, the middle is a place for students to put books they love and want to recommend to others, and the far end holds my favorite books. I'm loving the excitement It's generated already to have someone share a book and place it in the shelf.
One end of the whiteboard is serving as our math focus board and calendar wall. I love having everything magnetic for the calendar.

I've had a few questions about the baskets under my boards, I used these small baskets from dollar tree that have wire handles and binder clipped them to the ledge of the white boards, makes a great place to put magnets, markers, and erasers!

Here's our classroom library, my favorite area in the whole room

I used this board for our CAFE board last year, this year I'm using it more as a focus wall. the white rectangle is labeled "our thinking" and we use it to put all our sticky notes with our thinking about the story we read each week.  Our anchor charts are hanging here and the small pocket chart is used for vocabulary words. The blue small board to the left is for our author and genre study posters.

In the back left corner is my small group/teacher area. You can see on the back of the library book shelves I put hooks to hold our sight word reading cards and fluency phrases. The drawers behind my table are housing all the materials needed for each story in our reading curriculum plus my grammar units. I LOVE this organization system! It has been wonderful. 
In this picture you can see the shelf to the right, it holds my teachers guides, and paper trays for each day of the week where I store all materials for my lessons, the furthest shelf holds our student data binders/learning portfolios and our base ten blocks in the divided containers. 

Along the back wall I have two sets of these cubbies, this set is holding math manipulatives and math tubs. Underneath I have bins for our pillows we use during work time when we work around the classroom. This is helping keep them much more organized this year.

Here you can see the my filing cabinet, I'm using the side to display our bible memory verses. Above that is our birthday poster. To the right of the math cubbies is our student mailboxes and class rules.

The second set of cubbies on the other side of the mailboxes is where I keep our word work tubs and manipulatives. I am not using my teacher desk this year so I put it in the corner and got the stools from Family Dollar to put in front of it, ti makes a perfect work space for working on words. In the back right corner I have a smaller white board that I use to put spelling words on, the kids can also use it practice the words or with the magnetic letters. On either side of the board is our word wall. I laminated colored card stock and used it to make this -LOVE how it's working for us. Above the board we will display our vowel teams as we learn them. 

Between our word wall and our writing center there's the clock and our schedule goes in the pocket chart underneath. The basket on the wall holds all our schedule cards. I covered this table with contact paper and got the stools at Family Dollar. The binders on the table are our writing notebooks. We will display our writing anchor charts here, and the poster with the pencil on it is a part of Amanda Maddens writing notebooks packet, we use it to display the grammar skills we've learned.

Back around the the front of the room, this shelf to the left of the door holds all community supplies we might need. The tubs on the bottom have brooms and cleaning wipes in them, Our pencil sharpeners are on top. The clothes lines are holding pictures of us throughout the year, right now they have a family picture from each student that they brought to share. Above the door is a class poster that last years 2nd graders made it has each of their hand prints on it. To the right of the door we have our class helpers board, passes, and sanitizer/tissue station. The narrow drawers hold extra sanitizer and tissue.

When our door is closed you will see our class pledge and name tags we made on the first day of school.

Here's one last view from the back of the room facing the front! I really love how it all came together, it's functional and organized. I feel like we are making the most of all our space. 

I love looking at other classrooms if you do to head on over to Blog Hoppin and check out all the other teachers sharing their spaces today!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Fun Facts about Me!

It's teacher week 2015 over on Blog Hoppin! I'm joining in on the fun to share ...

1.) I Love my Family! I can not believe that my oldest is off to college this year. He's about 6 hours away in Pennsylvania, and it feels so weird to not see him every day. He is loving it so far and I am so proud of him but it's a big change for this family! Here we are getting him settled into his dorm room a couple of weeks ago.

2.) My daughter and I are enjoying the school year too! She's a senior!! I don't know what I am going to do when she leaves next year. Here we are on the way to school for the first day, Her last first day of high school. Oh how I wish I could slow down time!

3.) My husband and I will be married 20 years this May! I hope we are able to go on a fun trip to celebrate. We haven't ever gone on a vacation without the kids. Our son was born six weeks early, one week after our first anniversary so this vacation has been a long time coming. Where should we go? We'd love some suggestions.
20 years ago

This past Valentine's Day!

4.) I did not finish High School when I was suppose to. I ended up getting my High School Diploma through correspondence courses (before internet was available), and went to college 10 years later after my children were both in school themselves. I am the first in my family to earn a college degree. It was a lot of work but I LOVE teaching, and I'm so glad I went back to school! Here I am with my kids on my graduation day in 2008!

5.) Did I mention how much I LOVE teaching! I'm and organization freak, and totally coordinate my classroom. You will see more on Wednesday but here's a little peak at the organization behind my desk this year.

I am so fortunate to work with an amazing group of people that have a passion for teaching children. I love going to work everyday and watching the children learn and grow. This group of silly second graders has already stolen my heart!

Head on over to Blog Hoppin to catch up with more of your favorite teacher bloggers and see what fun facts they are sharing. Come back tomorrow for some tasty recipes for make ahead meals because we all know how hard cooking is once school starts back. Happy Teacher Week 2015!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Amazon School Lists!

As a parent and a teacher I want my back to school shopping to be as easy as possible. I don't want to confuse parents with a list of vague items they need to find, I can't tell you how many parents I saw standing in the back to school isles this past week reading a list and searching for something they couldn't find or confused by the many options of such items, they had no clue which one was best. As a parent I want to get exactly what the teacher wants my child to have, and I don't want to spend all day in the store trying to decide which one.

Amazon has a great way for teachers to share their lists with parents, that benefits parents as well. No more searching and trying to figure out which one! You can link to exactly what you'd like the kids to show up with, parents can log in and shop, then have the items shipped right to their home. Sounds wonderful to me!

Amazon is inviting educators and parents to try Amazon School Lists, www.amazon.com/schoollists, a convenient way for K-12 teachers to create and share online back-to-school supply lists. From kindergarten to high school, teachers can build their lists on Amazon and share it with parents via e-mail and/or a shared link so they can quickly and easily buy exactly what their student needs for school.

Are you ready to give it a try? Head on over to Amazon and build your class list, share it with parents and you could win one of two $100 Amazon gift cards! Think of all the supplies you could get for your classroom! Once you've created your list come back here and enter the contest using the raffle copter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Keeping Track of Standards, and Chalkboard Cuteness!

We started back to school this week! It was a great start. I am so excited for this year. Today I wanted to share with you a couple of  products that are helping me in the classroom.

If you are using Common Core and you need to track if students are mastering the standards Carson Dellosa has a great tool for you.
This record book will make tracking the standards a breeze. It's laid out in an easy to use format with all the standards at your finger tips. Plenty of room for recording dates and notes. Check out this video to see all the exciting features! 

I am also in love with Carson Dellosa's Chalkboard Decor. The colors are fun and the black just makes them pop out. I put up this board in our hallway with the scalloped boarder and pre-punched letters.
I am going to take pictures of all my students to add up here. I love how it brights up our hallway, and it was so easy to add our school theme with these letters. They are already cut out all I had to do was pick out the ones I needed and put them up.I got lots of complements on the brightness during back to school night.

I am also using the colorful calendar, and love it. The colors are very vibrant and the numbers show up so well. It also came with plenty of special day circles to add to those special dates.
You can watch this video to see more colorful chalkboard decor ideas.

Review Disclaimer:  I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

You can also check out Carson Dellosa on Facebook to keep up to date with their latest products and offers.

I will be back soon with this years classroom reveal. I'm so excited to share! You can also catch me on Blog Hoppin to see 2 of my favorite beginning of the year activities that's got us off to a good start!
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Made it #3

It's Monday again! I'm back to share what I've been working on in my classroom. So here are this weeks made its....
I really wanted a way to put up some personal family photos and quick reminders around my "teacher" area. I didn't want it to take up a lot of space, I have a few frames but I really wanted it up off the counter because I plan on using that for materials this year. I was in Michaels again looking for something when I found these..
Cork squares, they came in packs of four and were on sale for 60% off so I got 8 squares for less than $3! They are perfect for the space I am wanting to use them in. 

I wanted to dress them up to match my classroom so I got scrapbook paper in my colors, and spray adhesive. I cut the paper to fit each square and glued it on.
 The cork came with foam mounting squares which I used to attach them to the wall. Here they are in use!
 One last picture so you can get a better idea of the size. I only have three up right now but I plan to continue the pattern putting all 8 squares under this bulletin board. I am excited to have this place to pin things where I will easily see them!
Simple, functional, makes me happy :)

I had this space above the clock in my classroom that was empty. It's right between two bulletin boards and it looked so blank. I decided to create a poster to put there. So I came up with this....

Here it is in that empty space.
I love the reminder every time I look at the clock! You can click on either of these pictures to download this print free!

Finally for this week I re-decorated my plastic drawers that will hold my science and social studies units. I used scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby and double sided tape to attach it. Since It's just me using the drawers I think it will hold up fine. I created the labels and printed them on business card stickers. I laminated them before sticking them on so I can write on them and wipe it off later if I need to. I know my units keep changing so I like to be able to change the labels easily.
My classroom is really coming together. Looking forward to sharing the finished product soon. Right now I am waiting for a whiteboard to replace my chalkboard, then I can finally finish the front of the room and I'll be ready!

Don't forget to check out all the other awesome ideas over at Tara's Blog
Thanks again for taking the time to stop by!

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