Tuesday, November 3

November's Pick 3

I'm returning to participate in another Pick 3 Pinterest party, except this time, I didn't really follow the  rules... I picked 4. Yep, I'm starting out with a bonus. You can click on any of the pictures to go directly to the website where the idea is found.

I have actually done this first activity before. It is great and the kids are just amazed at how easy the process is. When I made it with my second graders a couple years ago, we added a squeeze of honey to our butter for some added yumminess. It really is delicious. I found these easy to follow steps at Buggy and Buddy.

Since the butter idea isn't new to me, I wanted to find a new Sciency idea to do with my second graders and I found this...

I'm very intrigued by the idea. You will be too if you click on the picture to visit More Than ABC and 123 and see the teacher's final picture. I tried the whole put-dirt-inside-a-pumpkin-to-grow-a-new-pumpkin one year. That was fun. And educational. I just really like the idea of the kids seeing how the food we eat can be used to create new food. According to the teacher's blog, if I start the corn experiment the first week of November (this week), we should have a really great plant growing by Thanksgiving.

It's so important for the kids to practice being thankful and thinking about other people. It's so, so easy to get wrapped up in yourself and your world, especially when you're a kid.

Whether it's writing ideas on turkey feathers or creating a "thankful tree," I like doing some sort of "be thankful" craft or bulletin board. I really like the simplicity of this tree from the DIY Mommy, and it would also be a great classroom decoration.

I can't participate in a Pick 3 without sharing some sort of food idea, so here's an idea I plan on using this year for some of the people that I'm thankful for in my life. 

These cute little turkeys can be found at Clean and Scentsible. I originally pinned them because I thought they would be cute to either make for my second grade team or for Thanksgiving table treats.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving month, and if you have some ideas up your sleeves, consider linking up and sharing. I know I'm excited to see all the other November pins.

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Saturday, October 3

October's Pick 3 from Pinterest

This month, I'm participating in Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching's party, sharing some Pinterest links that might be useful during October.

In my classroom, we always focus on two stories in the latter weeks of October, The Great Ball Game and Stellaluna. I wanted to share activities that I've found on Pinterest that could be used for those stories. Of course, since it's October, I'm also sharing something treat-related.

This particular activity comes from the Teacher by the Beach, formerly known as the Teacher's Cauldron. It's a sequencing activity for Stellaluna. The students cut out the story sentences. They put them in order. Then, they glue them into the accordion book you've already folded together as a class. Finally, they get to draw a picture illustrating that sentence.

Click on the pictures to go to the original pages.
The best part of this activity: you really could apply it to any book. Just type up four sentences that summarize the story. You're ready to go.

Some Pinterest retell runner-ups you might be interested in: candy corn beginning, middle, end story retell and paper sack bat story elements

This activity comes from Mrs. Bumgardner's 1st Grade Class. Both The Great Ball Game and Stellaluna have bat and bird characters, so this would be a great activity to discuss the differences between bats and birds.

You could set this up as a T-chart (I like to color the similarities yellow to point them out), or you could glue them into a Venn diagram. You can click on this sentence to go to a TPT product I found, in case you don't want to type up your own sentences to make a chart. Here is another place where you can find a ready-to-print Venn diagram and phrases.

I love making treats for my teammates, so the first treat I'm sharing is one I love making for teachers. It's super easy. It doesn't take very much time. Most importantly, it's super delicious. You just need pretzels, hugs, candy corn, and an oven at 350 degrees. Only put them in for 3-5 minutes, though. Yum!


The second treat I'm sharing is for the kids. I'll collect the pieces and put them in a little snack baggie. Of course, I'll probably use the cute little thing to go on top of the baggie. I also like how this Simply Second Grade blogger used it for a graphing activity. Yes, please.

Thanks, ladies for hosting! Can't wait to see all the other ideas!
Have a great Saturday!
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Thursday, October 1

October 1-on-1

August, September, October, oh my! The school year sure is going quickly. Soon I'll be chatting with 20 sets of parents, telling them how much I've learned about their students over the first quarter.

Whitney's hosting another 1-on-1 party, an October product on sale for just $1 on the 1st. Around this time of year is when my second graders begin reviewing and learning more about nouns. I created a craft for my kids to do after completing a noun activity.

I love seeing Frank hanging up all over the room when the kids are done. Last year, I also decided to use different colors of Halloween Noun papers, so they would all look that much more unique around the room. Isn't it fun when all the kids have the same pieces but they are able to make it their own rather than everyone doing the exact same thing?! I love it. Does anyone else wonder if maybe the middle Frank looks unhappy because he needs to use the bathroom?

Included in the product are some words that you could have the kids sort, or you could have your kids read through an October book and find the nouns on their own. You can kind of see in the picture above that I had the kids sort the provided words, then they used the four blank strips to write a new word.

Have a happy Thursday! 
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Saturday, September 5

Pick 3 in September

This is a new-to-me party. You pick three of your top Pinterest pins over the past month to share with others. Honestly, I mostly pin school stuff, but occasionally I'll go on a binge of pinning for other things in my life, like a bathroom renovation or a little bit of artistic motivation.  

I have to admit that I am not a consistent Pinterest window-shopper. I come and go, usually dependent on how busy life is at the moment. In preparation for the new school year, though, I certainly did some perusing. Here are 3 of my favorites over the past month: (Please click on all the pictures to visit their original owners and homes.)

I love this "Turn and Talk" sign, created by Renee at The Reading Corner. Every time I see it I really want to make one for my class. I haven't yet, but what a good way to keep those kiddos on track when they're talking to their shoulder partner! It also helps to teach them good conversational skills.


Anytime I see interesting pictures come across Pinterest, I save them in my Writing folder to use as writing prompts. They are engaging. It helps students who struggle to figure out what to write. It encourages creativity. These are some of the interesting pictures I saved over the past month. 

Anytime I see a bulletin board like this, I love it. I pinned another one over the past month. I haven't made a board like this for myself. I think the closest I've come is downloading the words to use to make it. Maybe someday. One of our Computer Lab teachers actually had a similar board in her room last year. It just sends such a positive message to the kiddos, and they sure can use as many positive messages as possible!



I just love doodling. I'm just surrounding by artistic or creative people in my life (and I love it). I also love looking at the scripture doodling that other people have done. Someday maybe I'll get a Bible with large margins, too. I love that it causes you to dwell or reflect on a certain verse or passage while you are doodling. I would imagine that it sticks with you much better than just reading and putting your Bible away. Aren't they such talented artists? 

It's only Saturday. Yay! That means I still have 
two more days in my weekend. Aren't holiday weekends great?

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Friday, September 4

Hip Hip Hooray for Friday!


What a week! Anyone else feeling the same? I could really go for an Arby's orange cream shake!

My recharge this week has been a dark classroom with light praise music playing whenever the kids are out of the room. We've been busy learning as often as we can, though. Take a peek at what we've been up to this week:

We started Spelling this week. Before each Spelling introduction, we remember that in order to be a good speller, you need to hear the sounds. Good spellers know the letters to write for each sound (how to spell the sounds). Then, good spellers make an image of the word in their head.

In Math this week, we worked on doubles and doubles strategies. We also worked with some Math vocabulary, like the words equation and addends. Today, after our AIMSweb Math tests we made an equation chain for the number 10.

Woot! Woot! for Writing Power. Although I've only completed 2 of the writing lessons from that book, I'm already loving it. Earlier this week, we made an invitation in our writing journals to our readers, inviting them to a thinking party. "Come! Think!" Reading is about thinking, after all. We want our readers to laugh when we write about something funny or feel sad if we write about something that makes us sad.

Then, we did a lesson on brainstorming ideas to write about. We talked about how your brain is so small but is so important. Not only does it control everything your body does, it holds all your thoughts, ideas, and memories, too. It's like a pocket. So we drew bean-shaped brains and brainstormed ideas to go in each of our brains' pockets.

Post-Monday, this is basically what my lesson plans become... to-do lists. Anyone else in this same place? Everything is taking WAY longer than planned, so I've been making lists of the most important things that need to get done.

I sure hope things turn around soon. Hopefully, the more normal our routine becomes, the more the kids settle down and our classroom becomes more manageable. I'm not a morning person, so I naturally am able to stay up late, except that I have been so worn out everyday this school year, I can {very unusually} be asleep by 10.

I love this board. It's my best birthday board yet! I hope the kids enjoy it when they come back on Tuesday. I'm just disappointed that it took me until the 13th day of school to get it up. Oh, well.

You'll notice the big space in the top left. I had two new students on Wednesday, and I need to take their pictures still, so January and February are missing.

You should definitely take a moment to share your week, too. I think we can all agree that we thrive on sharing with each other... ideas, encouragement, struggles.

I'm SO thankful for this three-day weekend!
Cheers to that!
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Friday, August 28

ESOL Resources for Any Classroom

Today, on the 8th day of school, I had a sub. I spent all day 45 minutes away in an ESOL PLC. That's another part of my job that I rarely talk about. In my district, I am the official lesson planner for the elementary ESOL paras. I decide what they will do with the kids each day and hope that the paras follow my plans when the kids are pulled out of class.

One of items on our agenda each time we meet for this PLC is to share resources, websites, and apps that might be helpful to other teachers, so my five for Friday will be featuring 5 (or more) of the resources shared this afternoon. Maybe you already know about all of these, but maybe there are some new-to-you resources in my list.

The good thing about ESOL strategies and resources is that they are very helpful for all students, not just the ELLs.

The first one I want to share is an app called News-O-Matic. I think I've actually heard of it before, but I've never really looked at it. It's basically an elementary version of Newsela, the site that takes current events and displays them at different reading levels. There is actually an Elementary Newsela, but that site doesn't go lower than a 3rd grade reading level.

News-O-Matic is a free app if you get the "home" version. There are actually 3 different ones, so you can choose the level that matches your kids. For my classroom, I would probably download the 1-2. I would like to try that app as one of my Listening/Technology center options. I love the idea of my second graders getting knowledge of the world by reading positive or intriguing current events. It's not overwhelming; it only gives 5 articles each day to view. I believe it will even read to you.

You've probably heard of BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., but I had no idea that there is also a BrainPOP ESL. Of course, there's also an app that goes along with this website. This looks like a GREAT resource for all your grammar and language needs. You can see somethings free, just like with the other BrainPOP sites, but to access all the greatness of this site, you'd need to buy a subscription.

ReadWorks.org is another resource that was shared this afternoon. On this site, you can search to find different skill and strategy lessons and informational and literary passages. For those of you that like to use the Close Reading strategy, this would be a great site to get strong passages. Best of all, it's free.

My fourth share is LearnZillion. I actually used some LearnZillion videos I found on Youtube last Spring during our poetry unit. The videos are informational. They have tons and tons of different topics and strategies. I think that its original intent is professional development, but it's worth so much more.

I had no idea that Reading A-Z has an ELL support. Reading A-Z is an amazing resource itself, so I imagine the ELL versions are great too. Online, you can see the different topics covered in each book/lesson. These lessons and books would be great to give to a para/aide to work with students. There are also worksheets and assessments. This resource even has reader's theater scripts to build fluency.

Well, what did you think? Read about anything new you might want to try? Let me know if you have any other great resources. Thanks for dropping by!

Have a GREAT weekend!
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Monday, August 24

Building Back 2 School: Reading Tools

For this week's link-up, I decided to talk about Reading centers in my classroom. Let's start with some organization and resources. I think I'm more organized this year than I ever have been in the past. Woot! Woot!

I have this small shelf next to my small group table. My husband made it for me. Here's how I filled it:

I use the hanging words for spot-the-vowel practice or practice reading words. Next to the hanging words, I blocked off part of my whiteboard:

I also have a table saved for Listening. I love my Listening sign {and table} this year. Each classroom gets three laptops. I usually use those. I have a CD/cassette player, too. You can kind of see in the picture below that I hang my headphones on Command Hooks on the wall behind the table.

Sometimes the kids listen to the basal story of the week or an article about a certain topic related to the story of the week. Sometimes they get to play sight word games on ABCya. Sometimes I download Youtube videos of books or informational clips.

The kids also have a word work station to visit each day. Sometimes they will have to do some sort of Spelling practice that goes with our Spelling curriculum. Other days they do some sort of sight word practice.

My district is a Pathways to Reading district, so that's how my small groups start at the beginning of the year. Once the kids work their way out of the "program," I switch them over to guided reading.

So, that's a little peek into my classroom during Reading centers. Students who aren't meeting with me, doing Word Work, or Listening might be meeting with the para/aide in my room, writing, or reading to themselves or with a buddy. I {sort of} implement Daily 5 in my room rather than centers.

I usually have a rotation schedule rather than letting them choose where to go next, because our Speech/Language, Sped, and Title kiddos are all pulled during this time, so I have certain stations that I prefer for them to miss.

Do your Reading centers look similar? Do you use Daily 5, or some version of it? I really enjoy reading about how other people make their Reading center time work in their classrooms.

I had a great first three days with my kids last week. I hope this week is even better as we slowly transition to a more normal routine. I'm ready for a normal routine! Luckily, we've had some good weather for outside play, and we've just about leveled up on our GoNoodle creature four times.

Have a GREAT week,
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