Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankful Link-Up Day 2

I'm linking up again with Blog Hoppin' for a Week of Thanks!

Today's theme is H - Home Away from Home aka school or the classroom - and how the "yucky" stuff gets overshadowed by the happy stuff that make us thankful to be a teacher!

Just as Kelley did on Bloghopin' I'm going to share 3 things that remind me how much teaching is worth it, because seriously I spend more waking hours in my classroom many days so I need the happy moments!


The AMAZING Whole Brain Learning that happens when the kiddos are SO excited to use gestures to share ideas and answers. This class has really bought into the idea of using gestures to learn. They get so excited to "be the teacher" and there are always smiles & giggles and high energy. Some days when I feel a little down in the morning I get really crazy with my gestures just so that they will too because it always makes me smile!


My grade level team! I work with 2 AMAZING guys on my team. We are the only grade level team that is composed of more than 1 guy (some grades don't have any men at all). My whole life I've gotten along better with guys so this team is a dream! There is no drama, we have fun and still get work done and I'm guaranteed a smile (or 20) any time one of the guys stops in my room to say hi, to grab something, no matter what the reason. I don't know how I survived my first year of teaching without them!


I always gets lots of compliments about my room... how bright & fun it is. How welcoming it is for students, etc. Truth be told SO much of the bright, fun & welcoming is for ME! I LOVE having a place that makes me happy to walk into every morning.

What are you thankful for? Go check out what other teachers are thankful for & link-up!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful Link-up Day 1

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for their first day of the Thankful Link-up!

Today is all about Technology!

I am SO thankful for technology... my first year of teaching I had an elmo document camera that was shared between 7 different classrooms, 4 student computers & a desktop computer for myself.
Now I'm in a school where all classrooms have a promethean board & a document camera that links up to the promethean board. I also have 6 student computers. Although I'd LOVE to have a few iPads to use now & again, I'm so thankful for the technology I do have because I know what it's like to have VERY little technology.

Here are all the things I would miss from my day in the classroom if it weren't for technology...
#1 Morning Message & Number of the day interactively done on the promethean board
#2 Showing videos whether it be for Scholastic News, a Science Lesson or even just for fun during Friday Lunch (my kiddos eat in my room)
#3 Modeling the programs/websites students will use on the classroom computers or in computer lab by using the promethean board.
#4 Modeling an activity or worksheet using the document camera.
#5 My classroom website that I created through weebly which features kiddos blog posts, photos from our class & more!
#6 Blogging & reading blogs... oh the wonders that has done in my classroom!
#7 I'm sure there are SO many more ways we use technology at school that I'm not thinking of right now!

And I have to include my top 3 reasons I am so thankful for technology in my every day life...
#1 My iPhone... I hate to admit it but I don't know how I survived sometimes without a smart phone...
#2 My MacAir... I LOVE being able to create (&share) items for my classroom using my mac.
#3 Pinterest... I mean who doesn't love finding crafts, recipes, classroom ideas & more on pinterest!

How are YOU thankful for Technology in your classroom or in your every day life? Join the link up by clicking the top image in this post or the link here & linking up on Blog Hoppin'

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Liebster Award #2

I am SO excited to have been nominated for the Liebster award for the second year in a row! This year I was nominated by Meg over at Tales and Teacherisms. I'm hopeful that next year I will have too many followers to be nominated for the award since nominations need to have less than 200 followers on their blog!
The Liebster is great to get traffic to newer blogs so great posts that might normally not have many views will get view and then hopefully followers!

Here's the deal with Liebster... I answer 11 questions so you can get to know me a little better, then I choose 11 bloggers to nominate whose blogs I love!

So here are the questions...
1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
Originally this blog was an undergrad assignment I started back in 2009. It was for a reading instruction class and we had to read books and review them, providing resources, activities, etc. The blog then kind of went to the wayside until last year when I was in my 2nd year of teaching and decided to expanded it to a lot more than just book reviews.

2. What 1 word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
SHARING because just about everything I post on my blog I share with my grade level partners and other colleagues and of course by posting I'm sharing with all my cyber-teacher-colleagues!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey that you wished you knew before?
I hate to steal Meg's but I have to agree that link-ups are SUCH a huge way to spread your blog to more readers and I only started linking up in the past year or so. Some of my favs are...

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
Well obviously teaching... haha! But other than that, I'm a runner (hence the blog name) I don't compete much at all anymore but I ran competitively middle school through college and running/working out remains a big part of my lifestyle. I also spend A LOT of my time on the beach (in the summer anyway) because we live a mile from the beach, so that's a big part of my life too.

5. How many hours do you dedicate a week to your blog?
This funny makes me laugh because I was nominated for this award last week and am just now finally writing the post about it. This week is not typical (conferences!) as I spent hardly any time on the blog at all. Normally (during the school year), I spend a few hours between Sunday and Monday night getting 2-3 posts ready for the week. In the summer I try to blog every other day or so.

6. What category of blog post do you enjoy the most?
Also have to steal Meg's here... FREEBIES! I especially love posts where the blogger posts about how they used the freebie in their classroom too because it helps me to envision how I'll use it! (Check out some of my freebies below... I need to update this page to include them all!)

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
Things that either make my kids smile in my room or are super effective in helping them learn or helping them to make smart choices in the classroom.

8. Which post have you written that you are most proud of?
I am really proud of all the Whole Brain Wednesday posts I've been writing over this school year. WBT has become an integral part of my teaching life (as in I probably couldn't survive a day without it!) and I love sharing the strategies with others.

9. Is there any post you've been planning on doing but have been postponing for a while?
Not really. Once in a while I'll start a Whole Brain post and it takes me a few weeks to get back to it because I want to try whatever the strategy is out for a little longer in my classroom, but right now I don't have anything on the back burner.

10. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Connecting with other teachers! It's beyond awesome when a teacher likes my ideas or tells me they are going to use an idea I had in the classroom!

11. What recipe, project or idea on my blog would you most likely try yourself?
I love the Monday Made Its from Meg... like recovered pillows for example... that would be super awesome for my mix-matched & somewhat gross pillows in our classroom library!

Now that you know a little more about me & my blog, here are the nominees...

1. Emily at Munchkins Inc.
2. Sarah at Frampton's Fundamentals
3. Briana at Sun, Sand & Second Grade
4. Kandice at Time Two Teach
5. Amber at Peppy Zesty Teacherista
6. Miss B. at Butterflying Through Teaching
7. The Magic of Teaching
8. Pixie Ann at Growing Little Learners
9. Stella at My Kindergarden Blog
10. Katie at Teaching Voracious Learners
11. Alexis at Laugh Eat Learn

Here are the rules for the nominees...
1. In your post, be sure to link back to your nominator as a shout out & a thank you!
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above)
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice who have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions or ask them to answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator the link to your post, so they can learn more about you... leave it in the comments below!
 And that's it!... so excited to learn more about my nominees!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Sight Words Part 2

Hey everyone, I'm back with a 2nd week of sight word learning through Whole Brain Teaching on Whole Brain Wednesday.
 If you missed last week's post about sight words, I recommend you check it out before reading this post. You can find it here.

Today I'm going to talk about Electronic Superspeed 100 and Electronic Superspeed 1000. How you use these will definitely depend on your grade level as well as level of your students.

Let's talk about Electronic Superspeed 100 first. This powerpoint offers a slide for each of the 100 most common sight words. The slides look like this:

The sentence on the bottom can be used in many ways...

  • Have students share as many sentences with their partner as they can that match the sentence outline.
  • Give an example using the sentence outline, then ask students to come up with NEW sentences using the sight word on the slide.
  • Ask students to use oral writing/brainies to read the sentences.
  • Use to teach parts of speech.
  • Other ideas? - comment below!
The letters and ? on the left side of the slide gives students beginning sounds to rhyme with the sight word. The ? means the students should be able to come up with other beginning sounds that work. I'm sure you can think of MANY ways to use these rhyming words.

Here's another example of an Electronic Superspeed 100 slide:

All of the words are featured on the Superspeed 100 game I discussed last week and in the same order.

Onto Electronic Superspeed 1000.
This slideshow features different levels of excitement... First for words 1-100, here is an example slide:

As you can see, the slides are very basic. After every 10 words, there is a 'zinger' just like in the Superspeed 1000 game I talked about last week:

These first 100 words automatically advance slides every 10 slides, stopping at the zinger. Each level gets a little faster which gets the kiddos all excited, trying to read the sight words as fast as they can.

For the rest of the words, the teacher can advance the slides as slowly (or quickly) as they would like. For words 101-300, there are 2 words per slide. You'll notice yellow is made up of 2 colors. All the words that are multi-syllabic are separated this way. I have noticed the visual separation of the word helps visual learners and struggling readers.

Every 20 words in this section feature a zinger following:

For words 301-600, there are 3 words per slide, with a zinger every 30 words.

For words 601-1000 students go on the Nightmare Rollercoaster!!!!

These slides feature 4 words per slide & roller coaster graphic zingers!

For these words, make the students feel like they're on a roller coaster... go fast through the slides, go slow, go backwards, go forwards... so much fun!!!

Both of these powerpoints are FREE to download off the WBT website after you create a (free) account. You can edit the powerpoints how you'd like... for example: adding slides of words your students are struggling with.
You can also use this powerpoint in SO many ways... turn it into a class competition teams playing reading each other, boys vs. girls, etc. My kiddos LOVE when I pull up Superspeed 1000 on the promethean board and I know your kids will too!!!

How do you teach your students sight words?

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Oughta Know November Blog Hop!

You Oughta Know About Door Decorations!
Welcome November's You Oughta Know Blog Hop hosted by Mrs. McCclain!

Today I will be sharing what You Oughta Know about Door Decorations (here's one I created for the beginning of the year this year)...

My first year of teaching, I only decorated my door 2 times... the beginning of the year and in June during our door decoration competition. Both doors took me quite a long time & as much as I LOVED having my door decorated, I had a million other things to do!

Each year more and more teachers in my building have AMAZING door decorations each month. The most amazing part is VERYYY rarely are any of the teachers decorating the door themselves (except of course for the start of the year). So how do we do it?!?...

Fabulous parents are SO willing to help out in the classroom especially when they can't volunteer during the school day.

So, during open house, we post sign ups that include door decoration months and 2 years in a row, almost every month got filled up!

Here are a few of my favorite doors from last year:

October - one of my kiddo's moms had all my students write their favorite candy on the candy corn cut outs. She also included their names on the bats!

March - One of last year's families LOVED St. Patrick's Day and created a VERY fun door for March!

June - my sister actually helped out with this one (I didn't have anyone sign up for June, which retrospectively made sense since we are only in school for half the month, so this year I combined May/June on the sign up). We had the kiddos create a fish or a turtle to decorate the door. My sister cleverly made tissue paper look like water & seaweed!

And after creating a welcome back door in August...

Here are the great doors this year's families have created for our class... October's door was designed by 2 of my kiddos, I also have a picture of the two of them looking very proud of their awesome creation:

November was created by one of the awesome moms after each kiddo wrote something they were thankful for on their heart. I think the turkey is just the cutest:

I can't wait to see what the other months have in store for my classroom door. The kiddos are always so excited (even if it is their mom or dad who designed it!) to see 'their' door design. The rest of the class always anxiously anticipates the new door, especially when they were asked to do something as a part of the door (i.e. the candy corn & Thanksgiving hearts).

It is amazing how much time is saved having families create the doors. Every single family told me they had fun decorating and they always love to know (or see) the kiddos' reactions. If you have families who would love to support your classroom but can't volunteer during the day, ask if they would be willing to decorate your door for the upcoming months!

What do you do to decorate your classroom door?
Be sure to check out all the other great posts on this blog hop, enjoy!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Five for Friday: Welcome November!

Linking up with Doodlebugs for another Five for Friday!

Mustache you a question survey, data collection & bar graphs are always a hit & the photos are just a hoot!

They make for a pretty great hallway decoration too!

My kiddos are LOVING that our new classroom website has a blog section! I'm choosing kiddos to write solo & collaborative posts about what we do in school during the week. Loving the free weebly education site features! May even have these second graders creating their own websites soon - also through the weebly education site!

We are studying matter in Science and the kiddos LOVED this liquid investigation. I had mystery liquids in cups around the room (hand soap, dish soap, water, milk, glue, etc.) First the kiddos observed with their eyes & drew the liquid, then they smelled the liquid, recording what they smelled. They were then able to use their touch to observe the liquids. Finally, they guessed what they thought the liquid was. They rotated between all the liquids, recording their observations. At the end of the investigation I revealed the identify of the liquids. So fun! Grab yourself a copy of our recording sheet below:

My district has school on Veterans Day so I always try to do something to honor the brave men & women who have and are protecting our freedoms. This year we made star wreathes. Each star had a word we thought of when we heard "Veterans Day" after reading a Scholastic News about Veterans Day & going to our "Poppies & Poetry" Veterans Day assembly. We made this wordle with our words so students had somewhere to refer when creating their wreathes.

Loving the November door one of my families created! Be sure to check out tomorrow's post on Mrs. McClain's Blog Hop to learn all you Oughta Know about door decorations!

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