Friday, August 23

First Week Survivor! + Freebie

Hooray! I survived my first full week!

We were busy. We had some great days and some not-as-great days. We're working on it!

I decided after 2 not-so-great days to give Whole Brain Teaching a try. I struggle with getting a handful of students to look and listen when I'm talking. So, Thursday I taught the kids Class? Yes! and Hands and Eyes!. We used Thursday to practice those 2 techniques, but I realized at the end of the day that I should have introduced the points that day too. I introduced those today.

(Note: I am not an expert in Whole Brain Teaching. I have not taken any trainings. I have not read any books. I have only watched Youtube videos, read blogs, and tried to use those as my examples. If you have any tips or tricks to share, I would love your advice.)

I decided we are going to try to earn a celebration. If the kids can end the day with more smiley faces than frown faces on 10 days, we'll celebrate. I have some little plastic figures I was given that we'll decorate to look like monsters with glue, glitter, fuzzies, googly eyes, etc. Unfortunately, today we did not end the day with more smiley faces.

Maybe Monday will be better. This last Monday was awesome, so I have high hopes!

This week was a week of learning how to do things in second grade. Most of what we did was whole group to learn the processes. We worked hard on handwriting too. It needs a lot of work in my room! We are also working hard on writing complete sentences.

Learning our new Math series has been the hardest instructional part of the week. I have used Everyday Math all 7 years I have taught, so this year will be a learning year for me. Now we have Math Expressions. So far I like it! The teaching manual will be glued to my side, probably, and in my take home bag every day after school.

One of our whole group Spelling activities we practiced together this week was putting our Spelling words in ABC order. I know you probably don't have the same Spelling list that I do, but maybe you can use the activity anyway. It's all short vowel sound words that the kids cut, glue, and write. Grab it if you can use it!


Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a great week!
Please leave a comment if you decided to download the freebie. Thanks!


Sunday, August 18

I Made the Switch... Advice?


I'm updating this post to participate in Swimming into Second's Show Off Your Space party
I love peeking in at other people's classrooms. You should stop by!


The kids came back last Wednesday. Boy, were those 3 days exhausting! I forget how much energy it takes. I also forget what the kids are like when they come to second grade. Sure makes me miss my {now} third graders.


We stayed busy this week. We took first day and birthday board pictures. We created Learning Notebook covers, communication folder covers, and colored a picture to personalize the fronts of our book boxes.


I usually read Officer Buckle and Gloria to introduce our classroom rules. I also usually read Chrysanthemum. They're both such great books. I also read Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade during our daily read aloud time.


We started our Pathways whole group review lessons. We'll start Spelling next week, but Screech already made it up on the word wall. He looks out for words whose spellings don't match their sounds, like the word of. It sounds like /uv/ but is spelled o-f. That's a Screech word that will eventually go up on the word wall. We also keep word family charts. Since we don't have any bulletin boards in our classrooms, I put those up on the cabinet doors.

lunch sign up... This year we have 3 choices.

We also started our new Math curriculum. It's been slow going because of the different vocabulary. I taught lesson 1, then had to reteach it the next day because the kids struggled so much.


Then on Friday I switched out my desks for tables! I'm nervous and excited about it. I've never had tables before. I bought the little plastic shoebox containers to hold their supply boxes and the long black baskets to hold pencils.

Do you have any table advice for me? Anything I need to think about?


These are our zebra finches. Last year I had Mona and Lisa, but Lisa died shortly after arriving. Mona needed a friend. Luckily, my teacher neighbor's birds had babies, so Leah {because of Leonardo Da Vinci} joined her a few weeks ago.

Hope you have a fabulous week preparing for your new kiddos!
Good luck to those who are starting this week!


Tuesday, August 13

Classroom Digs

Meet the Teacher night went well tonight. All but three kiddos came. It's so exciting for them to come and see their new classroom, hallway, and desk. Because it was a long day, I just snapped a few photos quickly on my way out. I'll probably add some photos tomorrow of some areas I already noticed I forgot to take pictures of, like the word wall.


teacher area and student laptops


class library


mailbox and tomorrow's lunch choices


helper "board" and cubbies


front meeting area and listening area


door, birds, and "stuck" poster

Tomorrow's our first day of school. I'm excited to get the year rolling! It helps that I love my room more this year than ever before. :o)

I love peeking in at other people's classrooms. Stop by Blog Hoppin' when you get a chance this week.



Monday, August 12

Meet the Teacher

Saturdays are my chance to sleep in and lounge in the morning. I prefer to wake up and not have to pop out of bed right away. Sometimes I lay there and read for awhile. Sometimes I lay and flip through blogs. Other times I might play an app or watch a TV show. Last Saturday I drew.

I made a mini-ME.
Isn't she fabulous?

I used suggestions {sort of} from the blog Teaching in the Tongass. Her minis are WAY cuter than mine. You should check them out. You can even pay for her to make one for you in her TPT store. They are so cute!

First I drew a little picture of ME on the back of an index card. Then I took a picture of it with my iPad.

I used my Sketchbook app. First I imported the photo in as a layer and changed it to 50% {or less} opacity. Then I added another layer and traced my sketch with a thin black line. Finally I added another layer and colored in the mini-ME. I made sure my black line layer was on top so it didn't look all smudgy.

I accessed it on my laptop through photo stream and made sure the background was clear through Word. Now I have a mini-ME and I think she's fantastic. I was surprised by how easy she was to create.

Now you know what I look like. Back to the burning question...

Who is Mrs. Jones?

one. I am a second grade teacher. My school is pre-K through 5th grade. I have two feather pets in my classroom. This will be my 8th year as a teacher. My classroom theme is monsters. The color scheme is green and blue.

two. I live in the Sunflower State. I have a small, but close, family. Both my parents are only children. That's right, no aunts, uncles, or first cousins.

three. I'm not a morning person. I always set 2 alarms (about 15-20 minutes apart) in the morning.

four. I love Lifesaver mints. I would have an unending supply if possible.

five. I tend to buy cute, little notebooks like other people buy purses or shoes or clothes.

six. I tend to be cold most the time... I should probably invest in Kleenex stock.

seven. I prefer the radio or Pandora; my husband prefers talk radio or podcasts.

eight. Neither of us like tomatoes.

nine. I embarrass easily and tend to be shy... until you get to know me. Then it's a whole 'nother story.

ten. I grew up in the country with fields all around and neighbors a mile away. Then I married a city kid. I will always be a country girl at heart.

Tomorrow is 'Meet the Teacher' night at our school where the kids get to come, see their new classroom, and put their supplies away. Today is 'Meet the Teacher' over at Blog Hoppin'. Hop on over and meet some new teachers!



Saturday, August 10

B2S Blogger Exchange


I'm so glad I decided to participate in the Blogger Exchange organized by Covered in Glitter and Glue and Adventures of Ms. Smith. It is so fun getting to know another teacher/blogger around the country.


My new blog buddy is Dianne from Hopelessly Devoted. We found out after receiving our packages that we have a lot in common. Isn't that fun?

Our classroom colors are pretty much the same (blue, green, and black). We have some interests in common (technology and organization). We both have class pets (she has guinea pigs and I have zebra finches). I bet we would be friends in real life. :o)


I loved walking into the workroom at school and seeing the pink package sitting on the counter. I immediately knew it was my blogger exchange package. I love getting real mail! Getting cute, fun packages is even better!


I had to open it immediately! I was so excited I almost made myself late to our afternoon meeting.


I'm excited to try my first Scentos! I missed out on the clearance deals that a lot of bloggers hit at Michaels. Sticky notes are always a hit. They're a teacher must-have! Dianne also put some drink goodies in my box, a gift card to Starbucks and come Crystal Light. Yum. There's a super cute stick pencil that will be fun to write with. My favorite is the scarf, though. Somehow Dianne must've known that I love wearing scarves!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dianne, for taking the time to put together the perfect box for me! I loved it!

If you don't know Dianne yet, stop by her blog and say Hello. I know she'd love for you to stop by!

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, August 6

2013-14 Schedule

I'm very interested to see all your classrooms and schedules this year, so I'm glad Simply 2nd Resources  is hosting this party.


I actually start back tomorrow, so the schedule I am sharing is a preliminary this-is-how-I-think-it-is schedule.

I think you can click on it to make it bigger. 

Last year we did Reading in the morning and Math in the afternoon, so that will be a big switch this year. Does anyone have any thoughts on which time of day is better for either subject?

This last weekend I spent a couple of days with my sweet friend upstate. It was a sweet surprise for her her. She's moving into a room of a teacher who taught for 20-some years but is in the hospital, so she can't box it up herself. It was a big job. Then my main target was her reading area and class library book shelf. I was so glad to spend the days with her.


Last night we had a huge storm. It's been raining like crazy lately. Luckily we didn't have water in the basement like many people we talked to. Storms are supposed to continue this week.


Today I stepped in to my classroom for a couple hours after tree clean-up. I also brought our feathered friend back to school. The teacher next door also has zebra finches. Her finches had babies, so one of those new birdies joined our little Mona. I think Mona's being a bully though. She was picking on the new friend today. Hmm... I wonder if they should be separated.



Saturday, August 3

Saturday Snapshots

It's been a busy week.

Last weekend we spent several days with our dear sweet friend whose father just passed. So sad. Doesn't her little niece just look like she's chatting away in this photo? Love it!


Immediately after coming home, my momma came over and helped us paint the bottom half of the basement walls. (We had to repair ALL of them because of water damage.) It's so wonderful to see the downstairs starting to look more like normal again. Next step will be the flooring.

That is a not so flattering photo of me! :o)

I spent some time this week creating some gifts for some dear sweet teachers. One of them is a first year teacher, so I felt I needed to show her some extra love!



I also packed and sent my Blogger Exchange package. I'm super excited to see all the posts that appear in the bloggy world once everyone starts receiving their packages. I noticed on Instagram that a lot of people sent their packages within the last couple days.

I report back to school on Wednesday, so I've tried going in to my classroom for an hour or two each day. Trying to check things off my to-do list left and right. It's coming right along and I'm excited to do a reveal post when it's all finished.


Hubs and I don't go on enough date nights, which is silly because we don't have any kids. Last night we I got dressed up and we found a cute little pizza place we'd never been to before in this cute little square I've never explored before. Then we walked over to a little ice cream shop practically next door. We decided to rent a movie instead of going to the theatre. Fun, fun!


This weekend will be busy. We're celebrating Hubs' birthday today. {He's going to be 34.} Tomorrow I'm going to visit my friend in the top picture again. She's starting 4th grade this year and has barely gotten into her classroom because of her father passing and being gone for that. I'm going to help her get organized and ready before she has to report on Monday. Yikes!

Have a great weekend, bloggy friends. Link up with Miss Nelson if you have the chance! She's a fabulous host!



Thursday, August 1

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Does anyone else start singing the popular song from Sound of Music {in your head, of course} when they hear that phrase? I do. "Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."

Today I'm linking up with the Ladies Across the Hall to share some of my back-to-school favorites.


Writing utensils. A must. My favorite pencils are these Paper Mate ones with the side clicker. I usually get pretty colors that match my classroom theme, though. My favorite pens are Sharpie pens, in assorted colors, of course.


Laminator. I didn't fully appreciate it when I originally received it as a birthday gift years ago. I think Hubs used it more than me. Not anymore. That thing is housed at home during the summer and at school during the school year. I use it weekly. Sometimes you just can't wait for the school laminating aide to get to your items.


Glue gun. So far this year I have used this to glue the ribbon bookmarks to the back of our future poetry journals. Today I used it glue the erasers {pom poms} to the end of our dry erase markers. Otherwise I use it for some crafts that just won't stay together.


Sticky notes. This year I plan on sticky-note-ing it up in room 30. I read Strategies That Work this summer with a few colleagues, so look out!


Label maker. I use this to label our mailboxes, our cubbies, and our behavior chart clips, among other things. It's so useful!


Link up and share some of your favorite back-to-school products.

Thanks for hosting ladies!