Sunday, October 20, 2013

Candy Corn Commotion!

I told my students that there is a rule in my classroom:  we can't talk about Halloween until October 1st.  So after many weeks of the kids asking me how many days it was until Halloween in September and my response being, it's still September, I am not talking about Halloween yet...they walked in October 1st, a student saw the date and they all started asking me, How many days until Halloween?!

Bless their little hearts. I know they are just really excited, but 31 days of asking how many days it is until Halloween.  I just direct them to the calendar now...count the days! :)

So I have the decorations up in the classroom and I have been gradually putting Halloween centers in the mix for Literacy and Math.  After seeing the following pin on Pinterest, I decided I was going to throw some candy corn into the mix for math this week.

This pin has just been pinned 194 times from my board, but I know it is super popular!  It got me thinking...

I decided that I would use the fact family candy corns as an art project, but I want to give the students some practice first.  So I made these Candy Corn Fact Family dry erase centers:

I made 15 of these candy corns and while we are doing Guided Math groups this week, the kids will work on practicing fact families with their partners during their games rotation.  There is just something fun about doing fact families on candy corns instead of fact triangles.  If you are interested in them, I put them in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop for only $3 these next two weeks!

Then I think at the end of the week we will make the candy corn craftivity.  I used the cute black and white template from the clipart set that I used for the math center candy corns and this is what the kiddos are going to make:

I think they will love them!  I put them as a freebie in my store if you are interested in them...

They are bilingual in the sense that one says "name" and one says "nombre," but use them how you want.  We are studying nouns right now and I thought it would be cool to do noun candy corns where the students have to write a person, a place, and a thing.  There are a lot of ideas!

I hope to link up later this week and report back on how it all went.  I hope to have some pictures of the kids in action for you all!  

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What in the What?

It has been over a month since I posted.  I am rectifying that situation right now.  I started thinking that no one was missing this little side project of mine and literally in the last week, I have had five friends at school ask me why I haven't blogged and a few new followers on Facebook.  

So I am back!  I have a goal to try to post at least twice a week and I really hope everyone can give me feedback of what they would like to hear about.

In our district we have been very slow to get to Common Core.  We are all at different stages of the game, but at least at my building I can say that we are very dedicated to really learn it and to learn how it can reach our students.  Last Friday we had an in-service and learned a lot about reading for information (yea Abbie).  

I know that we are supposed to be pairing nonfiction and fiction texts each week.  So in honor of our new theme, I tried to do just that.

This is just the start of our new thematic unit (plants and life cycles) so I hope to find authentic literature to pair with our non-fiction text book.

Since this is our real first taste of non-fiction I wanted to teach the elements of non-fictional texts.  So not to overwhelm my kiddos, I am going to stick with a couple of elements everyday for this week and next week.

I am pretty proud of the kids - especially when my favorite part of teaching happens...wait for it.  The connection!  This was the mini-lesson for our reading workshop time today, so after we learned about these elements the students set off to read their own self-selected texts.  The students were so excited to find labels (rótulas) in their non-fiction books!!  I love it!

Do you have any cool ideas to help the kids get into non-fiction or exploring informational texts?  I really want to know!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Week in Review and Keepin' it Balanced

The first week back is over and done and this week my kiddos are workin' it like they have been in second grade for months.  I am loving it (really, I am), but here it is Tuesday night and I am finally doing a post about last week.  How do you all do it?  I love, love blogging, but...I love naps.  Sweet naps.  Then there is the idea that I said I wasn't going to bring work home and what did I do on my three-day weekend?  Lesson plans.  Sigh.  I really hope I can find a sweet balance this year and be the teacher who can do it all!!!  Any advice is appreciated!

So back to the topic at hand:  the first week of school!  I can't believe how easily I forget where these babies begin each year - these big first graders held their own this week, but at the same time I can't wait until October when they just know what to do without question (routines, etc.).  Just look at their cute faces...

We started off making our foam pieces to hang in the classroom.  I love having the students making them and creating the sense of community once they are hung.  I told the kiddos that when we hang them someone could walk into our classroom and see, wow, this is Alexandra's classroom or this is Omar's classroom...They say who belongs in this classroom!

We jumped into reading workshop right away.  Reading workshop in my classroom is a mixture of Debbie Miller and The Sisters.  Until all the routines are introduced the students are restricted to browsing baskets for the first few days.  These baskets have school-themed books and the kiddos bring one basket to their desks and they read for however amount of time.  I introduced the idea of stamina the first day and we have been working at it. Truthfully, we made it to 7 minutes, 14 seconds the first day and I totally credit their first grade teachers for it!  We made it to 11 minutes, 11 seconds by the end of the week...I am a super-proud mama-teacher!

In math we explored our math tools so that we could be ready to jump into our math series the second week of school.  I got this idea from Amy Lemons, but I needed to adapt it for my second grader needs and of course make it in Spanish.  My students didn't do too badly on it -- some of them needed help understanding what each tool was used for, but I can say for the first day of school, I was impressed!  You can grab this page in Spanish for FREE, here!

We ended the first day back by doing some Jitter Juice fun from Abby Mullin's Super in Second Grade pack!  All of the second grade classes got together to 'sing' the poem (yeah, I made a tune to it), but my kiddos got to make the actual Jitter Juice!  My students had to guess what kind of ingredients went into making the juice and then finally got to try it.  The majority of the students loved it...but surprisingly enough some didn't.

Phew!  That was our first week in a nutshell.  It was exhausting and I was falling asleep on the couch every night, but week two is going well so far.  I love jumping into the curriculum and starting the meaty stuff and I think the kiddos do too.  I have been taking a lot of pictures so I will try to be back later in the week so share more of the happenings in our second grade classroom!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backpack Night and School Supplies

Today was my first day back to school with my kiddos.  I think it went well overall, but I am one exhausted teacher.  I took tons of pics today:  I told my kiddos, I love taking pictures, so I am always going to have a camera out.  They were used to it by math time!

Although school is back in session, tonight's post isn't about today, but about two days ago:  Backpack Night!  Our school holds "Backpack Night" two days before school starts; this is a time for the students to come in and meet their teachers and drop off supplies so that the first day of school they aren't trying to lug in all of their tissues and Clorox Wipes.  I love that we do this because it makes for a much easier first day over all.  

I decided to make the kiddos a little treat and left it on their desks for our first meeting.  Do you know how many people I had to say, "Do you get it?  EmPEZar un año nuevo?  Like, pez and emPEZar?"  I would get a little chuckle and they would move on...oh well, I think they came out super cute and I had kids ripping the bags open while their parents unpacked their backpacks.

I originally got the idea from First Grade with a Twist and then Krista at Second Grade Superkids redid them for her staff for her first day.

This is what the desks looked like at the end of the night - which lead to an afternoon of putting supplies away the next day (at least all the tissues, Clorox wipes, baggies, etc.)  We dove into the kids' school supplies this morning.

I promise to be back later this week with a recap of our first few days...and a freebie!  What has been your favorite part of this week so far?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five for Fraturday and Saturday Snapshots

Yes, my Five for Friday turned into a Five for Fraturday as I type at 1 a.m...and as long it is Saturday, I have to do Saturday Snapshots!  I go back to school (teacher institute days) on Monday and I don't know how I am going to get out of this sleep schedule!!

So I have been M.I.A this week, but it has been crazy full of getting my classroom ready, trying to spend some extra summer family time, and dealing with contract negotiations with my union and our district.

{uno - family time}

We took Grace to her first baseball game on Monday.  Just a local baseball team (Kane County Cougars - who are a Cubs team, woot!), but she loved it!  I told Hubby there was no way I was spending $6 for one of those foam fingers, but Grace saw everyone with one and kept on trying to grab theirs or kept asking for one...I gave in.  When she threw it on the ground and stepped on it 5 minutes later, I knew it was money well spent.

{dos - piggies}

I got my piggies done finally!  My friend and I have a before school tradition (it is our second year doing this, is it a tradition yet?) of getting pedicures and doing lunch.  My mama watched Grace during her nap time (it was her first time back watching Grace) and I got some good 'me time.'  I totally bite my nails (I so wish I didn't) so I know I would never be able to do the one accent color nail on my hands, so I did it on my toes.  I don't know if it is lame, but I love my piggies!

{tres - printer love}

Our printer hasn't worked all last school year and it was horrible.  I was having save my files on a flashdrive and take it to Office Max to print every time I needed color prints and it really stunk!  So I was ready to take a $50 print order in and I asked Hubby if we could just get a printer instead.  He agreed and we brought this little baby home.  We got an awesome deal on it...and the best part of all?  I can sit my little behind on my couch with my laptop and print from the office at the same!!!

{cuatro - contract negotiations}

Our district is going through contract negotiations right now...can you say STRESS?  I won't go into all the details, but all the teachers (and their families, along with supportive community members) met at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night to show support for our teachers and it was pretty cool.  I don't know if it changed anyone's minds, but it was heartwarming seeing everyone come together.  Hubby and Grace came to show their support.  I puffy heart them!!!

{cinco - sound wall}

My classroom is coming together finally and I am getting excited!  I moved to upstairs to a smaller classroom this year so putting my classroom together this summer has been very frustrating (I am not a fan of change!)  Thing is after I got over the idea of moving, the room has really been coming together. I hope to have some pictures for everyone this weekend, but here is a sneak peek of my sound wall.  I love how it came out: the pocket charts are going to make it way more interactive than it has been in the past.

So that is how my week has been going...

Feel free to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday or...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sale Day! Sale Day!

In case you haven't heard...there is a sale going on!!!

I am giving 20% off in my store and then TpT is giving another 10% off..which comes out to 28% total. I already got some things off my wishlist and I {think} I am going back for more!  I can't help it!  Just remember when you go over to Teachers Pay Teachers to use the code BTS13 when you checkout to get the full sale!

I have been working like crazy all night on some new items for my store - like I said before it is an addiction!!  Is there a program out there for this...hmmm, I digress.  Do you want to see some of my goodies?!?!

First up are my Spanish Addition Math Journal Prompts:

I really want to do more with math journaling this year, so I started off making these addition math prompts for my kiddos.  I think they could work k-2 (some being too difficult for kinder and some being too easy for 2nd -- but this will help for differentiation).  My plan is to work on some for subtraction and multiplication this weekend (in English and Spanish), so stay tuned!

Click here to explore them some more:

Then my labor of love:  my dice games.  I have been working on these for a couple of weeks and I am so excited to use them in my classroom!

Here they are in Spanish

Here they are in English

I am super-excited to use them for the games station for my Math Workshop groups.  I even thought that I would make them available to my early finishers to work on so that I don't always have to have extra worksheets available to them.  Laminate the game boards and you have an everlasting activity!

Another idea I got for my Math Workshop centers were these Spin and Graph games.  I think these are perfect for K-2 Classrooms.  I made them in Spanish and English!

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Click here for Spanish.  Click here for English.

Ooh!  I also made some little goodies like these robot ten-frame cards and superhero ten-frame cards.  They are too cute!!
Click here for the robot ten-frame cards.  Click here for the superhero ten-frame cards.

Phew that is it!  When you are over at Gracieface Learning, grab these freebie number sense posters! 

 I will be back tomorrow with a showcase of some ELA and Spanish Language Arts items!  Have fun shopping!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Freebie Friday!

So have you heard about the little sale that is coming up?!?!

Thank You Michelle at 3AM Teacher for the logo!!

I am putting everything in my store at 20% off and then TpT is adding 10% off (which comes out to be 28% total)!  I am so excited because this is my first sale!

That being said, I have been working, working on my products.  I swear it is an addiction!  I have been making a lot of math centers and activities and getting them ready in mt Teachers Pay Teachers store:  Gracieface Learning.

So, I decided to link up with Teaching Blog Addict and join Freebie Friday to give everyone a taster of what I have been working on:

I am excited about these little posters.  They are chevron bilingual (in English and Spanish) number sense posters from numbers 1-10!

Head over to Gracieface Learning to grab these freebies and have a look around.  I will be back tomorrow to show everything I have been working on!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week: Taming the Wild!

Well, I didn't keep up with Teacher Week like I had it is Thursday and I am just getting my second post of the week done.  The days before school starts are slipping by so quickly and I am just now realizing it!

Oh well, today's topic is classroom management, so I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' to talk a little bit how classroom management goes in my classroom.

Last year I started using Class Dojo in my classroom and I love it!  It is an online class management system and best of all -- it is FREE!

So this is a screenshot of my students' page from last year.  I had a superhero theme and the site allows you to upload your own clipart (love that!).  I have this set up at a computer in the classroom and it is so simple to use.

The students can get points for positive things (great ideas, being kind, working together, etc.) and negative things (hitting, stealing, being dangerous, etc.).  To get or lose a point, the students just have to click on their names and click what they get a point for.

What is nice about the behaviors, is that they are editable.  So if you have something important in your classroom you can make it a positive or a negative point.  The added bonus to being editable, at least to me, is that I can edit the behaviors to be in Spanish!  I love that!

All I have to do is say, "Emma, Amixam, and Gael, I really like how you are working together, go give yourselves a point for teamwork."  And the students take care of it.  (I know what some might be thinking -- I haven't had any problems with dishonesty, they are really good kids).  If I had an awesome lesson and everyone was on task, I can give everyone a point with one button, too!

We have a color system to go along with Class Dojo.  I won't go in so many details, but it follows the clip chart idea.  I think my students should end the day with at least 3 points - they are on green.  Those who have 4-6 points are a little above my expectations and they are on blue.  Those who have 7 or more points have just had an awesome day and they are on purple.  When they are on purple they get an award ribbon sticker (those simple ones from Target's Dollar Spot) and an "You Rock" ticket.  What is an "You Rock" Ticket?  Well...

In my class, we do "You Rock" tickets for individual behavior.  I made business cards at Vistaprint and cut them up to make mini tickets for my students.  

My kids can get these for getting seven or more points on Class Dojo, for returning things on time, for getting a compliment in the hallway, etc.  These are a pretty big deal to get and my kids feel awesome for having them.  On the 15th every month we have a class store and my kiddos use these to buy items.

I don't have a picture of my store, but I took a pic of my store sign I use:

I made this also at Vistaprint (I love them!).  A quick translation is:  

5 tickets - A prize from the small prize box
10 tickets - A pencil and an eraser
15 tickets - A prize from the big prize box
20 tickets - A coupon to sit next to a friend for the day
25 - Lunch with Mrs. Stears and a friend (in the classroom)
30 - Lunch and a movie with Mrs. Stears and two friends (in the classroom)

I am still amazed how my students will save their tickets so that they can eat lunch with me.  I am really honored when they do that.  Seriously, I would be all over the skateboard erasers before eating with me!!!  I love my students!

Then the last thing I do is Brownie Points. I know that this is all over Pinterest and in many classrooms, but I use it as my whole class incentive.  

The students can get a brownie point for good behavior at an assembly or a good note from a substitute teacher; if we get a compliment in the hallway we can also get a point.  
When the board is filled the kids get a brownie party (aka, eating brownies while watching a Magic School Bus movie).  We usually get 2 or 3 parties a year and the kids love it!

Wow!  That was a long post - if you made it all the way through it -- I puffy heart you!

Tomorrow's topic is Teacher Tips and Tricks - I am going to have to think about that one...hmmm!

What are you using in your classroom that works for classroom management?