Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classroom Digs!

Holy Moly! It has been quite a few months since we have been on here! Sorry, dear blog friends, we have missed you! I will start with a couple updates, pictures of my classroom and a freebie!

Well, Emily and I (Lauren) have exciting news -- we are looping partners!! Emily will be in first grade this year and loop up to second next year and I will be in second this year and head down to first next year and loop with my kiddos to second. We are very excited and trying to stay very organized! I am so lucky to be able to work so closely with such a great teacher and share ideas. Secondly, my best friend is getting married this weekend. It will be a big, fat Greek wedding! AND I just put a bid in on a house. Fingers crossed that the inspection goes well tomorrow and then I will sign on the dotted line -- phew a lot has happened in a short amount of time!

Now, here are some pictures of my work in progress classroom (who am I kidding -- it is always a work in progress, ha!). We go back Monday and students start on Wednesday. Let me say -- thank goodness for pinterest, Schoolgirl Style and 2nd Grade Shenanigans as some of my designs were tweaked or came from there! (: I will have to take a better picture of my new bookshelf that my dad made me this summer -- in loveeee!

Reading Area Rock Stars with my new bookshelf! (Thanks, Dad!)

Another view of my reading area

I can focus board and bulletin board for student work (clothes line inspired)

Doorway area (ps. got the cute stick on polka dots from Targets clearance area!)

Word wall and guided area

We are no longer able to hang things from the ceiling, so my table numbers are on my chair - easy fix!
My window -- had to get my poof balls in some place!
Have a great week,
Lauren (:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

News Channel 5 meteorologist and Lauren's class!

Hi Everyone! It's a snowy Tuesday here in Ohio...and speaking of weather - meteorologist Jason Nicholas from News Channel 5 came to my classroom today to talk about weather! My students performed a weather rap that they made up on their own! So adorable and I just had to quickly share! Here's the link:
Weather Video!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Techie Thursday

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope everyone survived the chaos of class parties and loved every minute of the big smiles all over your students faces!

Lauren and I love incorporating technology into our classrooms, so we decided we are going to try and do Techie Thursdays.  We want to share with you resources we have found and are excited for you all to give us new techie things to try as well! 

Any teacher who teaches the little ones knows how hard it can be for your students to find specific websites during computer time.  I was sometimes always getting interrupted during my guided reading groups by students who could not find what they were looking for at the computers.  Then I learned about a fantastic website called symbaloo! This is a FREE website where you can create a web mix that uses picture icons to show bookmarks of different websites.  This was the perfect solution to my problem! You can create your own page or use one that is already made.  Once you have made your web mix or found one that works for you, you can set it as the homepage on your student computers.  It is super easy to set up and navigate.  

And because I just couldn't help myself I have one more techie resource for ya.  Have you guys ever heard of Class Dojo??  Who ever thought of this is pure genius!  It is a FREE behavior management system that teachers can use in their classroom to track positive and negative behaviors.  Each child gets their own avatar with a fun little monster they can choose.  When students are showing positive behavior you can go in and give them a point and with negative behavior you take a point away.  I have found this tool most effective when I am teaching small groups and my other students are working independently.  I will keep our class page up on the projector and am able to give or take away points from the class dojo app on my phone.  When a child is on task I will click their avatar and give them a point based on their positive behavior.  A chime goes off and the students avatar and positive behavior pop up on the screen.  If a student is showing a negative behavior then another noise occurs and it shows up on the screen.  I love that it is instant feedback to the kids.  I swear they all immediately stop what they are doing to look and see if they got a point given to them or taken away.  The ones who got a point taken away, quickly get back on task so they can earn their points back.  I love that I do not have to interrupt my small group or call over any of my students to talk with them about their misbehavior.  Another awesome feature of Class Dojo is that parents can sign up and get notifications of their child's behavior.  Some of them have even started using the tool at home!

The best part about these resources is that they are free and everyone loves a freebie.  Check them out and see if they would work for your classroom! 

TGTIF! (thank goodness tomorrow is Friday ☺)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tell me something GOOD and inference freebie!

It is a windy mess up here in Cleveland! I thought my car might blow over before I could make it home..but I wanted to link up with Rowdy in First Grade for her Tell Me Something Good Linky. I always love some uplifting happiness, especially on Monday's! Don't ya'll?

Something good at home: I just booked a mini-getaway to FLORIDA with my 3 best friends in March. It will be a short weekend getaway, but ahhh sand, sun, warmth....those three words are making me melt right now! I can't even wait!

Something good at school: My kiddos are understanding how to make an inference. To help them even more with this, I created this quick Detective Inference Pocket Book. We are reading mystery books in guided  reading this week, and students are putting on their detective hats and writing down clues. They will infer, based on their clues, and solve the mystery! I am going to staple it and make it look like a little pocket book that they can carry around and whip out their pencil whenever they sniff out a clue. You can find this lil freebie HERE!

Monday, February 4, 2013

We have a WINNER!!, hallway management and class pet!

It is Monday, ya'll. I hope your week has started off just peachy! First, I want to announce the winner of the 20+ giveaway! Katie from Smiles from 2nd Grade! Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered!

Next, I wanted to share a little something I do with my kiddos to help when we are walking through the halls. We have been getting some pretty great compliments from others lately about how quiet we are and that is because I trick them into thinking while we are walking rather than talking! Before we leave the classroom, we talk about what challenge we are going to do as we walk to our special. A few favorites are: beat the teacher, abc and coming up with words.

  • Beat the teacher: We decide on a number we should count by (2,5,10, etc.) and students have to count by that number the entire way through the hall. If they are talking, I tell them I know they can't be counting. When we arrive at our destination, they tell me their number they stopped at and try to beat my number that I was able to count to while we were walking (I tell them after that have all told me their numbers!). Many of them are able to beat me which they get a kick out of.
  • ABC: I have students try to say the ABC's backwards; this is a tricky one for me, too!
  • Coming up with words: We will say a word like "snowflake," and students will try to come up with as many mini words plucking letters from the word.
I can't tell you how much this has helped with walking through the halls AND they are learning! Win-win!

Lastly, we got a class pet! She does not have a name, yet, but my students turned in job applications to be our class Vet Tech for the week and will take care of the fish. Oh my word, their job applications were adorable! My favorite is "I have much knowledge of taking care of fish." They took it so seriously and I could not be more proud!

Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Guided reading: getting organized and a freebie!

Hey everyone, Emily here!  Lauren has been so amazing and on the ball with her awesome units and classroom ideas she’s posting and I think it’s about time I stepped up my game!  So here we go! 

In Ohio we have a new monster lingering over our heads the 3rd grade guarantee.  Anyone else a little terrified of this monster??    If you don’t know about the 3rd grade guarantee, it basically states that if a child does not pass the expected reading level at the beginning of 3rd grade, then they will be held back a year. Talk about pressure! I have 7 students in my room who are on IEPs, most of which mainly struggle in reading and not to mention all the other 1st graders you are trying to keep on track.  I know so many of you out there feel the same pain I do!

To make sure I am devoting as much instructional time to my kiddos during guided reading as I can, I need it to be organized and focused.  I have found so many awesome things in the blogging world that I used to help me, but also have created a few things of my own and thought I would share!

Here is how I organize my groups for a two week period.  I try to see 3 groups a day, 20 minutes each.  I rotate my schedule so one week I see a Mon, Wed, Fri and the next I see them Tues, Thurs. My lowest groups of students who are on IEPs will work on reading with my intervention tutor daily, so even when I don’t see them they are still getting extra support. 

Once I have chosen the book I am going to use for that group for the whole week I pull out the vocab, comprehension strategy we are working on, and phonics skill.  I organize my lessons like this.

This also gives me a place to take notes about students.

The last thing I wanted to share was my goal sheet I have for each kiddo.  When I take a running record at the end of each quarter to determine their new reading level, I plug all the information into this and then come up with one or two specific goals that we will really work on the next quarter. 

I share these goals with parents using pages from this awesome guided reading packet I found on Sarah's first grade snippets blog.  She has it as a free download on her TPT store here.  I have gotten some great feed back from parents, because they feel like they know what to work on at home when they are reading with their child.  I also make sure that parents know their child’s reading level (Guided Reading A-Z and DRA level) so that they know what kinds of books to look for at home.  I show them how to use the Scholastic Book Wizard tool on www.scholastic.com to search by reading levels so that they can find specific titles that are good fit books. 

If you would like you can pick up these guided reading resources in my TPT store here

Does anyone else have guided reading tips??  I am always looking for great ways to help my students grow as readers!

Touchdown: Linky, Giveaway and THANK YOU!

I am not sure the snow in Cleveland is ever going to stop! Oh my goodness! I don't think I will leave the house all day today (which I can say doesn't sound too bad!).

We have linked up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently Linky Party! It looks like quite the fun fiesta!

Now, on to a giveaway! We are so excited that we have 20+ followers now that we have decided to do a giveaway to a lucky follower! You will get your choice of one item from Lauren's TPT store! Good luck and thank you for following (leave your email and what product you would like in the comment, please!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Last, but not least, quick THANK YOU to Elizabeth at Live It, Love it, Learn it for her shout out! 

Now, maybe I should go sledding or something to try to enjoy this snow rather than wish I was on a beach (;

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Linky Superbowl Party SALE! Score!

Happy Thursday!! We are linking up with Keepin' It Kool in KinderLand for a Super Bowl Party Sale! Score! I have to admit, my little second graders are almost all cheering on the 49ers. One even believes in them so much that he is putting a sleep over on the line with his friend. If they win, he will keep the sleepover, if they lose, the sleepover is off. Too cute  (:

Now, on to the fun part -- SALE! I love a good sale. Our products will be up to 28% off this Super Bowl Sunday. This includes:

Our Valentine Unit, found here!

It's a Wonderful Life Mini Writing and Poem Book Unit, found here!

Penguin Research and Plot Unit, found here!

Verb Word Wall: Action, Linking and Helping, found here!

 Good luck to the Ravens and 49ers (and good luck to us TPT shoppers, too on finding some great deals)!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

HIGH and low link up party!

We are linking up with Teacher to the Core for her HIGH and low's from the month of January! Everyday I try to find a positive and reflect and remember that -- I almost feel like you kind of have to because there is always so much that happens in a day!

My high of the month is that my students did SO WELL with a main idea/detail lesson that was observed for the new rigor/relevance framework. I was so proud of their excitement, being on task and just really "getting" the lesson. Did I mention this was in front of 9 other adults?! They ROCKED!

Okay...I just have to share one other quick high from this month. I had blogged about it earlier this week, but Girls on the Run training this past weekend was so inspiring and heart warming and it just makes me feel so happy inside to be able to be a positive person in their life. Check out Girls on the Run story here!

Now, on to the low. My low would have to be not having enough time in the day! There have been a few days this month that I went day by day with making my copies and things for the day (I am really trying to stay a week ahead this year!). My working out goal has really gone down the drain, too. I was doing so good those first few weeks, then life catches up and something falls behind, aka working out for me. I need to get myself back on the workout train. Choo-choo! (:

Here's to February!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Party Planning FREEBIE, Valentine's Unit and Girls on the Run!

Hope your Monday is off to a great start! Just a quick little post -- first of all, we are all healthy in my classroom! Thank GOODNESS! We are still keeping Lysol in business though (; Second, have ya'll heard of Girls on the Run? Our school is starting it this year and I am an assistant coach. Our training session was yesterday and let me tell you -- what a great organization. I can't wait to start and help enrich and bring positivity to young girls, especially at such a crucial age.

Alright....I wanted to give a little freebie. We have started common core this year, and the "W" questions (who, what, where, when, why) are a part of them. I wanted to do something other than just a normal worksheet, so ta-da! Here is a plan a party worksheet with all of the "W" questions incorporated! Love having standards and fun together! I may have my students design their own invitations to their "party" or do an extension writing activity. I tell them that in order to be fair, everyone in the class needs to come to the party (including ME!). Get this freebie here!

I also uploaded a Valentine's Day unit. It is packed with language arts activities, craftivities and things that can be center work, too. Take a peek! I have also linked up with Sunny Days in Second Grade Show and Tell

Friday, January 25, 2013

Penguins, MLK and bridesmaid dress shopping!!

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you had a wonderful week! It was a great week, despite having a Lysol party multiple times a day in my classroom! The new stomach virus hit hard this week. We are cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and trying to all stay healthy.

Before I give a quick update from this week - - I just had to share that my best friend is getting married this summer! She is having a Greek wedding and I can't even wait. I already told her that I will be buying cheap plates so we can truly have a big Greek wedding (with the dancing and plate throwing/breaking and all -- I swear I saw this on the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- right?!). We went bridesmaid dress shopping and let me tell you all, I am IN LOVE with the dress! It is the perfect shade of magenta and just fits great. I love when things work out the way they are meant to!

Okay, back to school -- this week was a whirlwind with some kiddos out sick, so we did some review of concepts. We finished our penguin research and made these cute penguins from my penguin unit located here.

We also made our Martin Luther King Nobel Peace Prize main idea/details craft. If you missed this  freebie, hopefully you can use it for next year.

I am off to bed! I need to catch up on some much needed sleep. I will be working on a Valentine's Unit and Social Studies Unit in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned! 

Enjoy your weekend! (:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Upcoming week, last week and a MLK and reading FREEBIE!!!

Hope ya'll  survived the first week back and got some relaxation this weekend! Last week, in second grade, we worked on cultures, animal habitats, antonyms and New Year Resolutions. It is so adorable to see some of their responses. My favorites are when they say they want to stop picking on their sibling!  They are so honest about their resolutions! Too stinkin' cute!

I wanted to post a couple freebies and talk about plans for this upcoming week! I hope you can use them in your classroom!  The first one is a reading and tasks freebie. I laminate the reading questions and tasks and put these in a bucket and attach popsicle sticks to them. They are great for down time, challenging students and centers.

Located here: Freebies

For this upcoming week, we are going to be focusing on homonyms and homophones, MLK and penguin researching!

For homophones, we will be creating a pair of pears tree (picture from my class last year!). There are lots of cute books on homonyms and homophones and I really the one by Brian Cleary.

We will be doing some activities throughout the week to learn more about Martin Luther King. We will watch the brainpop video on him as well as listen to the stories on bookflix. I will be creating a super easy wixie for my students to complete after listening to one of the stories on bookflix. I will take a picture of it once it is done....but, I did just add a FREEBIE!!!! for MLK. It is a writing craftivity and students will be writing and then making the Nobel Peace Prize! I hope you can use it in your classroom this week :) PS. Don't mind my nails in the one picture! I really need to paint them, ha!

Lastly, my students will be starting their penguin research project. Students simply adore penguins (me, too!) and I can't wait to see how excited they will be when they find out what they're researching. I also have a penguin unit on TPT that you may find useful located here. 

Have a great week (:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting to know us!

Hey everyone! Emily here (and Lauren at the end of this post!). Thanks for stopping by our new blog!  We are so excited to be working on this together and to get the opportunity to share new ideas with each of you as well as learn some ourselves.  Before my first official post about classroom happenings, I thought I would introduce you to where it all takes place… everyone loves a little classroom tour! When I started teaching 3 years ago, I could not come up with a classroom theme that I loved so instead I decided to do some mixing and matching with pops of bright colors.  This so called theme stuck and has really worked for me and my 1st graders ever since.  I think every teacher wants their students to feel warm and welcome when they enter the door each day.  I love looking to fellow teachers to see how they create that classroom environment and how I can use that inspiration to create my own ideas.  And of course you gotta love TPT where many things on the walls in my classroom come from. Anyways, enough rambling… check out where my first graders call their home at school!

I (Lauren) wanted to give a sneak peek inside my classroom, too! I must say first, I absolutely adore Emily's room and think it is so bright and friendly! I do not have a "theme" either (I am thinking I might attempt polka dots and stripes next year -- hopeful thinking!), but think my room expresses who I am and is a place where a lot of learning, love and happiness takes place each day. I am very blessed to be doing the best job in the world. When I was in second grade, I came home and told my parents I would be a second grade teacher one day. I LOVE that my dream has come true! :)

Last, but not least -- here's me (: