Friday, May 23, 2014

Ready but not ready for Summer

So today marks 19 days to go... in some ways that feels like a lot of days to get through... like when I have to repeat my directions 85 hundred times but feels like not enough time AT ALL when I realize that 19 minus 4 days at the WBT conference minus Challenge Day (field day) minus end of the year field trip minus the couple afternoons that will be spent at meetings minus the last day of school (bc it just doesn't count).... equals.... 11(ish) days of instruction left with my kiddos! Ahhh... I still have an entire math lesson to teach, yikes!

Anywho... I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday...


The exercise balls are here and inflated! Mrs. R was NOT kidding when she said she had to do LOTS of modeling with them for her kiddos. I already have 2 kiddos who lost theirs for the week because they decided to "dribble" theirs around during packup... oy vey! But on the plus side, it is easy to see how much it is helping the kiddos I chose to test them out!


We released our butterflies this week. The kiddos were so excited! It was amazing how quickly these creatures went from little teeny tiny caterpillars to beautiful butterflies!


Terrible picture, but we tie dyed shirts this week to wear on Challenge Day which is our school's version of field day. Every class does some kind of shirt so they all match. The whole second grade team decided on tie dye. I let my kiddos tie them up but myself, my sister and a mom volunteer handled the dye. I was a little nervous what 7 and 8 year old hands might do with dye that just so happens to be very permanent!


We decorated our door for the end of the year. It didn't look like much like an ocean until we got the fish and turtles up.


On Thursday with 20 days left of the school year, my kiddos each wrote about what they hope to do in the remaining 20 days. It goes along with an ice cream cone count down I have outside my door. I got both of these in Just Wild About Teaching's freebie here.

Have a great weekend!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

5 5 5 Weeks to Go!

This week has been very long and I just realized this morning that there are 5 weeks left of school and I'm out 4 of the 5 days the last week for the Whole Brain Teaching National Conference. So naturally I seriously am starting to stress out!!! (haha)

But anyway, I'm linking up with 5 for Friday on Doodlebug's Teaching.


If you didn't already check out part 2 of our visit to Mrs. R's room to see her fantastic Daily 5 routines, go check it out here. Mrs. R is seriously awesome!


My first ever rafflecopter giveaway came to an end on Monday. Go check out the blogs of the winners on the winners revealed post here.


I didn't get to share this awesome cup one of my students gave me for Teacher Appreciation last week, so here it is! It has my name on the other side, so darn cute. And had $100 (yes that says $100) giftcard to Education Works... I almost FELL OVER!

I plan on using some of the giftcard to buy some of these awesome stamper sets for Word Work next year!


We've been working on fractions and I found a few fun (and free) fraction games for the kiddos to do. One game was a fraction memory/match-up game. You can find it here. The other was St. Patrick's Day themed, but the kiddos barely noticed. You can find it here.

We also made fraction books from Amy Lemons. Find it here.


My kiddos have been going wild the past 2 days because we've had some butterflies emerge from their chrysalises.  It's so hard to take a picture with the screen in the way.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Daily Five Visit Part 2

As you may have already read, my grade level partners and I visited my former across-the-hall-neighbor and one of my favorite teacher friends Mrs. R. last week to see how she runs Daily 5. Click the picture below to check out part 1 of my post which talks about how Mrs. R runs her Daily 5 rotations and what the kiddos do during each rotation.

Today's post will share all the other goodies I learned in Mrs. R's room such as launching Daily 5. I have 7 take-aways in part 2 of our visit to Mrs. R's visit.

[one] I have felt TERRIFIED to lose basically all my wall-space to the i-posters that are anchor charts for each of the Daily 5 choices plus the CAFE strategies, etc. However, Mrs. R. being so very awesome, created the anchor charts during each Daily 5 launch lesson, but when the kiddos met their stamina goal, she replaced the big anchor chart with these small print-outs... Still available for the kiddo's reference, but since they had mastered the stamina and knew what it should look like, it didn't need to be so big and take up so much space.

[two] I loved Mrs. R's visuals for each of the launch lessons for Daily 5. One of the first lessons the Two Sisters say you should teach when launching the Daily 5 is 3 Ways to Read a Book. Mrs. R's version of this lesson created an awesome visual... she's so crafty!

[three] You can probably see in the picture above, the edge of Mrs. R's IPICK good fit books poster, so cute with the visual of the flower, picking a flower... gosh I just love everything Mrs. R. does! I also like her stamina chart better than many I've seen that usually look like a temperature gauge. Mrs. R's room is filled with so many cute teacher-made posters, I love it because the kids are usually involved in lessons that lead to teacher-made anchor charts/posters as opposed to printed out or purchased posters.

[four] Another GREAT anchor chart Mrs. R has was one she made during the shoe lesson the Two Sisters share in the Daily Five book to introduce how to pick a good fit book. The lesson goes along with IPICK good fit books. Disclaimer... Mrs. R would want me to share that the high-healed shoe is NOT hers ;) The picture isn't the greatest, but I loved this visual since I think the shoe lesson is such a cool way for kiddos to think about what a good fit book is. You'll also notice her EEKK! poster for Read to Someone.

[five] In my classroom I use a what? and why? for each of my lessons. I stole borrowed this idea from Mrs. R last year and am actually still using her old what? why? magnets when she printed new ones to match her room better. She uses what? to write very briefly what students will do. I use what? as more of an objective, i.e. you will be able to choose a right fit book. I'm not exactly sure at what point of the lesson Mrs. R uses her why? sticker but I use it [when I remember] as a closure or to set a purpose. Either way our focus is usually why do we need to learn this or why is this important. So anyway, after all that back-story, I LOVED seeing this poster Mrs. R made to go along with the what? why? system for each of the Daily 5 choices. I really should make one of these for the rest of the year because it would be relevant to my kiddos since they are used to what? and why? in my room!

[six] When I read the Daily 5 book, I felt terrible for leveling my books and being sure my kiddos knew which levels were appropriate for them. However, I felt much better when I saw that Mrs. R has her books leveled by colors. She taught all the lessons about choosing books and believes that those are still very important, but she has found it easier for the kiddos to be able to quickly choose books to read and color coding was the way she went about this.

[seven] Mrs. R uses extra time during Daily 5 rotations to hold writing conferences. Although I don't forsee myself using Daily 5 time like this, because I have WAY more time allowed in my schedule for writing, I LOVED her system for when kiddos need a conference and plan to use something like this next year during writer's workshop! So simple, yet I never would have come up with it on my own!

Well that's all for today! I can't wait to work with Mrs. R over the summer to create a reader's log/notebook and hopefully some other Daily 5 (and Whole Brain Teaching) goodies! My grade level team and I were so grateful that she opened her classroom to us we truly learned SO MUCH :) Be on the lookout for our brainstorming of Daily 5 and WBT over the summer!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Giveaway winners... Revealed!

I am excited to announce the winners of my first rafflecopter giveaway! I didn't get as many entries as I had hoped, but I was excited to gain some awesome new followers of my blog, facebook page and TPT store :) and I'm equally as excited to be able to share some of my TPT products with the lucky winners! The winners were randomly selected through Rafflecopter!

The "grand prize" winner is Sara from Frampton's Fundamentals, she will get to choose any 3 TPT products from my store!

The "second place" prize goes to Tula from Primary School Library Diva, she will get to choose any 2 TPT products from my store

Finally, the "third place" prize goes to Emily from Munchkins Inc., she will get to choose any TPT product from my store!

Thank you to ALL who entered. To the winners, I will contact you this evening about how to acquire your winnings :)

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Giveaway... 1 Day Left

Don't miss my TPT Store product giveaway! The giveaway ends at midnight, so be sure to get your entries in! Winners will be revealed tomorrow. Click below to go enter!!!

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Five isn't enough & Giveaway!

Linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching Five for Friday, but feeling like 5 isn't enough to retell my crazy crazy week, but I'll try!


If you haven't already, you should check out my giveaway! I'm giving away your choice of products from my TPT store if you win! You have through the weekend to enter, the winner will be announced on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My grade level visited my former school this week to learn more about Daily 5 from one of my favorite teacher friends! If you didn't get to see the post earlier this week, it's a worthwhile read. Mrs. R is a phenomenal teacher and we learned so much that I plan on having a part 2 post about our visit.


I read about gonoodle from a few bloggers last week, and tried it with my kiddos this week. They are IN LOVE with it and absolutely OBSESSED with reaching the different levels for our character. It has been a nice motivator... we'll do a gonoodle brain break if we can (fill in the blank). It also was perfect for indoor recess Thursday when it was rainy.


We did a fun shapes activity with food! I did it last year without much organization other than naming each food shape and sorting in different ways. This year I found a table that organized by shape, but we ended up editing the different columns with whiteout, I plan on making a nicer version for next year so if you like this activity be on the lookout for that freebie!


This week was a "craft" week. We did a cute mother's day ice cream cone book... you can find it free from Primary Circus here.

 I also had a second reading and craft event, read about our first one here. We read Not Norman A Goldfish Story and did this cute fishbowl craft. We had high school friends to help us again, so it wasn't too much work for me :)


Check out this cute Teacher Appreciation week cupcake the PTO gave us! They also provided breakfast Monday, lunch Friday as well as a little treat each of the other days, so sweet :)

Have a wonderful weekend, I hope you all felt appreciated this week!
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our Daily 5 Visit

Remember when I shared how excited I was about visiting my former across-the-hall-neighbor so my teammates and I could see how she runs the Daily 5?!? Well the day finally came :) and it was as great as I anticipated! This post is pretty long, but what we saw was pretty awesome and worthy of a long post :)

So my former across-the-hall-neighbor, Mrs. R, has most of my class from last year (9 or 10) plus students I had either in student teaching or during our enrichment block last year so it was super special for me to be able to see them today! I pretty much got tackled upon entry! You'd never know it by how engaged they are in this picture though...

A little background on Mrs. R's room... She is a whole-brainer (she's who introduced it to me!), she is all about a student centered classroom where the students are the teachers and are in charge of their learning. She MODELS MODELS MODELS as any good teacher should so that everything runs ultra-smooth. It was clear the kiddos know EXACTLY what is expected of them at all times. Due to the district Mrs. R works in, she is required to do guided reading, so she does not use the true CAFE conferencing model, however she uses a CAFE board and each of her reading groups is aware of exactly what strategy they are working on when they are reading. Oh, and she clearly knows kiddos need to move... check out her exercise ball chairs! My grade level partners LOVED the exercise balls!

Mrs. R runs Daily 5 with a mini-lesson to start followed by student-led rotations. They do 3-5 rotations depending on how much time they have, but Mrs. R told us that most days it's 3 rotations. Mrs. R's other reading lesson(s) happens in the morning.
This leads me to take-away #1... make Daily 5 YOURS. Although the book gives a wonderful model of how to run Daily 5, when it comes down to it, you need to run it how it works for you. After talking with Mrs. R. and reflecting, I think it's so easy, when trying something new in the classroom, to get caught up in trying to do SO much that you end up overwhelmed, untrue to yourself and it stops being fun. This leads me to...

Take-away #2... I don't need to have my kiddos check in with me for the rest of eternity when they go to Daily 5 rotations, especially if I'm not doing a mini-lesson between rotations. Mrs. R started the year having the kiddos tell her where they were going and checking in to ask how it went between each rotation, but now since they are so well "trained," a timer goes off and the kiddos know they have one minute to clean up, make their next choice and get started. As they finish cleaning up, they walk over to this AMAZING rotation board, that Mr. R made for Mrs. R (what a great hubby), and select their next rotation.

Okay, so onto the rotations... during each rotation Mrs. R meets with a color coded reading group. They were working on taking notes from non-fiction texts for their animal reports. Mrs. R modeled for each of these groups, and then let them work on their own while she checked in with other students and during one rotation met with students who needed a writing conference. Her kiddos are also working on summarizing non-fiction text (also to help with those animal reports) so each group's colored star is next to summarizing. At other points in the year, each star could be on a different skill as each group might be working on something different

Onto what the other kiddos are doing during rotations... Read to Self seems simple enough, but, sometimes you need a way to hold kiddos accountable.

Mrs. R has tried 2 different reading response journals this year and hasn't found a perfect fit for her kiddos. Take-away #3, Mrs. R & I have some work to do to come up with an idea for next year! I did really like the sticky note idea, but it definitely needs a lot of modeling and kiddos all need a specific goal so they know what to use the stickys for and don't waste them!

Onto the Daily 5 I'm terrified to open up for my kiddos... Read to Someone. I was so impressed by these kiddos reading to each other. The pairs I chatted with had chosen to read Charlotte's Web together, which is a book the whole class is reading and responding to. They knew exactly what chapters they needed to be working on and made sure to tell me they could work together on their response journal but they couldn't copy each other's answers. Take-away #4 With enough modeling and practice, Read to Someone isn't so scary!

Take-away #5 Read to Someone has way more potential once you see in action. I also really liked the response sheet Mrs. R has the kiddos fill out when their story is done.

Take-away #6 I'm putting tags like these on my kiddos writer's notebooks next year! So helpful to organize topics, points from writing lessons and their writing.

Word Work was so much fun in Mrs. R's class that I wished I could take part!

She also has a great organizational system for all these supplies, take-away #7 the grade level partners and I are thinking we need some drawers like these in our rooms!

In case you can't tell, we learned A LOT in Mrs. R's room today! The kiddos did a great job teaching us exactly what they should be doing during each rotation and of course Mrs. R was super helpful! I have a bunch of other pictures and ideas that I took from Mrs. R's room today, and I promise to share them in a post in the near future, but for now I figured I'd just stick to the Daily 5 rotations in her room.

Before you go... click below to enter my giveaway (your choice of TPT products from my store)! And go check out my TPT Store for the last day of the site-wide teacher appreciation sale!

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