Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week One Recap

What a week y'all! I made it through week one of second grade and let me just say I couldn't be happier. I LOVE my kids....let me say it again. I LOVE my kids! I was a little nervous when I got my roster with the combination of all the different ability levels and such, but man they blew me out of the water this week. Now this could be because I am used to wiping tears, tying shoes, and putting out fires all day in Kindergarten, but I like to think that I just have a really great class and they really surpassed my expectations this week.  

This first week was all about routines and procedures, getting to know each other as a class, and getting ourselves organized and back in the groove of things. I loved being able to do partner activities and cute craftivities and just walking around the room to monitor! I wasn't loosing my mind over someone cutting holes in their shirt or sticking a glue stick up their nose (yes these things really happen in Kindergarten...daily). I would hand things out and they would READ the directions TO THEMSELVES and start working. Did I say how much I love second grade yet? Ok enough of that. 

I am going to link up with Five for Friday a day late again because I have so much to fill you in on! Click the picture below to see all the other Five for Friday posts.


This first week we did A LOT of routines, procedures, and practice. It took me pretty much all week to adjust to the new schedule because we are in our rooms for five hours before we move anywhere! I knew it would be hard on the kids, but didn't realize it would be so hard for me to adjust. The kids start asking around 9:00 how long we have until recess and I watch their little hearts break when I say, "We only have three and a half hours left!".  On the positive side, once we hit 12:20 we have recess, lunch, and enrichment and the day is just about over. Here are some things we have been working on during those first five hours of the day! 

I love Amy Lemon's Let's Get Started unit! We started the week with talking about mathematicians and made an anchor chart of things they do and think. Then the kids made their own mathematicians and they turned out so stinkin cute. 

We also talked about math manipulatives being used as tools or toys and the kids did a little exploration with our math manipulatives. You would have thought it was Christmas that morning! 

We did some really fun getting to know each other activities such as students walking around the room getting signatures from other students for questions like "Have you ever been on an airplane?" or "Do you wear glasses?". The kids loved this one but they loved our All About Me bags even more. The students brought five items to share with the class that told about themselves and I loved seeing what each student brought to represent themselves (like a Spongebob crusty crab hat). 

We did this fun Roll and Respond sheet where students worked with partners and rolled the dice to see which question to ask their partner. This was a great activity to see how the students worked in partners and who was able to work together and who was not. 

We read some great first week books like The Name Jar, No David, Never Ride Your Elephant to School, and Bucket Fillers. I loved hearing the kids say "That is not being a bucket filler" to their friends throughout the day. We also did this word building activity from Ashley Schroeder's 2nd Grade Math and ELA workout. That is an awesome unit so if you haven't checked it out you should! 

Whew that was a lot! Now for number two. 


I got my coupon binder and desk fairy coupons up and running in the classroom this week and it is so fun to see my own products being put to use in my classroom! I know to the veterans that sounds crazy, but for me to see a need, create the product, and then put it to use in my own classroom just warms my heart! 

We talked about how to keep our desks neat and tidy and I told the students about the Desk Fairy who only visits clean desks and she leaves glitter and a homework pass behind! The kids would look for glitter every day and were blown away when she finally showed up on Friday.

I LOVE the way my coupon binder turned out! When the kids get five or ten punches on their punch card they get to pick from the coupon binder and these things are like gold already. I was going to make individual coupons to pass out, but my team member showed me her idea of just putting full sheets in a binder and keeping a log of student choices. So much easier than making tiny little coupons and keeping track of them! Both of these items can be found in my TPT store here. Which leads me to number three....


This weekend I became an official Teachers Pay Teachers seller and I am just over the moon about it! I know it will take time and dedication to build up my store and gain followers, but I could not be happier to share my products with other educators. I have been so blessed by the hundreds of products that I have purchased on TPT and I only hope I can bless other teachers by creating quality products for the classroom. Head over  and leave me some love and download the two freebies that are posted now! I will be posting more products as the week goes on. 


I got an e-mail Friday morning from Megan at A Bird in Hand Designs about building my blog design and I am currently sitting at McAlisters listening to some great music pouring over all the options for design! I seriously cannot wait to e-mail her back and see what she comes up with so be on the lookout for a beautiful new blog design!!

And for number five I would just like to leave you with a note of positivity. I started my Masters this week and my professor started class with this quote. I heard this quote probably four times this last week so I think it might be important :) 

"Your students don't care how much you know until you let them know how much you care."

It has been a whirlwind of a week with a new grade level, back to school, joining TPT, new blog design, starting my Masters, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Days of School

I am sitting here in our big comfy chair still in my work clothes at 8:55 PM. The dishes from dinner are still out, and the leftover food is still sitting because I can't find the energy to get up and put it away. Anyone else think your feet hurt worse on Tuesday than on Monday? Wow the exhaustion hits hard the second day! 

I thought I would get on quickly and tell you what we have been up to these first two days of school! Have you ever read Harry Wong's first days of school? It was one of my textbooks in college (that I didn't read...ahem) and it stresses the importance of rules and procedures those first few days. Well these last few days we have been drilling them! I have been using Mrs. Russell's Room's Classroom Management questions freebie to help guide me and remind of the rules and procedures that I want to teach. 

This is an AMAZING resource and has really kept me on track these last few days. Some of it seems silly and repetitive but I would rather repeat myself now than all year I right? 

We have been working on Amy Lemons' Let's get started pack and we talked about being Mathematicians this year and the Math that we already know, and Math that we want to learn. I love these cute little Mathematicians, and after watching Kid President my kids keep saying "Never give up!" which of course warms my heart. We have been reading some great books and had some great discussions. After reading David goes to school we talked about what it looks like to follow the rules vs. not follow the rules, and How Full is Your Bucket was an awesome book to talk about caring for each other. After reading the Name Jar we did a fun little getting to know you activity with each others signatures. 

I am wiped out and have to get some sleep before I start again tomorrow! I also have that headache right between the eyes that is screaming for a Sonic coke tomorrow morning. I am starting my first Masters course tomorrow evening and I may or may not have an entire chapter to read before then....yes I know. I hope you are having an awesome first week of school and let's keep up the positivity! 

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Catch Up and a Freebie

Whoa! That is all I can say....  I blinked and the week was over and school is starting tomorrow! We had a week full of meetings and development and had a very limited time in our classrooms. We got our class rosters about an hour before Meet the Teacher started and we all scrambled trying to get things put in place and ready for our new students to walk through the door. I met most of my students and their parents, and I can already tell it is going to be a fun year! Now for some catch up. 

 I am going to catch up on the Blog Hoppin link up since Thursday and Friday I spent 12 hour days in the classroom getting ready for next week! 

Thursday was the when post, and I previously posted my rough draft of a schedule. We met as a team this week and decided on a schedule for all seven of us! Yes that is a lot of people to coordinate schedules with, but our co-teach kids are all spread out over several rooms so it is in the best interest of the kids being pulled for us to all be doing the same thing at the same time. So here is what we came up with!

I know I know....that is a LONG morning! We do all of our core content in the morning and then when the kids get back from enrichment the time flies by before we go home for the day. 

Now for Friday catch up! 

Friday was about what we love to teach! I think what I love to teach is writing. I just love that writing is something you can see and you can see so much progress throughout the year. I also love that in writing everyone has a voice and everyone can excel. Reading student writing samples also gives you a sneak peek into their little minds and helps you understand how they think. I just love teaching writing!

And on that about a freebie? Follow the blog and leave a comment with your e-mail and I will send you my writing process posters FREE. Below is a picture of the posters and what they look like hung on my writing wall.

Now for some pictures from meet the teacher! 

 I really did have BIG plans for meet the teacher, but I was lacking on execution that day so this is what I got. I made a little folder welcoming the students and their parents and inside I had a checklist, a letter about me, and a student info sheet for them to fill out. I also left the jitter glitter poem on their desks with  glitter to sprinkle under their pillows before the first day of school to help with first day jitters. At the end of the poem I told the kids to look for glitter in my hair because teachers get jitters too! This was not my idea, I found it somewhere else and just made my own.

 And then around 8:45 when all the students were gone and all the supplies were left to be sorted, I snapped a picture of the after. I really love the way my classroom turned out and now that I see student supplies in desks and folders ready to be filled, I am starting to get those first day jitters!

I can't wait to see the learning that takes place in this room this year! Now I'll leave you with a video I plan to show my students on the first day of school. Tomorrow is the first day so say a little prayer for me, and if I can feel my feet when I get home tomorrow night I will post on how our first day goes! Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: organization

Alright I am here for a VERY quick post to continue the Teacher Week with Blog Hoppin. We were in professional development and meetings ALL DAY today and I could not be more ready to fall asleep and not wake up till next week (not gonna happen...I know).

Today is the Why Wednesday, and we are supposed to share organization tips. I have so many tips and tricks I have learned from other teachers around me, Pinterest, and blogs that I have followed since college. One of the tricks I put in place this year was hanging border inside cabinet doors. 

I saw this on pinterest, and it was one of those "Why did I never think of that!?" moments. I hung the command hooks, put binder clips on the border and hung them right up! The border that wouldn't  hang nicely just went into a ziploc and hangs behind to keep it out of the way.

The next organization tip I love is weekly drawer to hold papers, read aloud books, really anything I will be doing with the students that day! 

I started this my first year, and it has been a life saver in keeping me organized for the next week. Next to that you will see my lesson plan binder where I keep my standards, pacing guide, and weekly lesson plans. I keep that on an easel to make it easy to see for myself and for any one that comes in my room! I plan on changing the cover and the format this year but the idea stays the same.

Those are my organization tips! I have tons more I was wanting to show, but I was running low on time and energy trying to get ready for meet the teacher night tomorrow night! Click the button at the top to see the rest of the posts on organization, and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: Where

It's here! The big classroom reveal!! I cannot wait to share my classroom photos and show you all the time, effort, and energy I put into making my room just right for my second graders. I got more hot glue gun burns than I can count, almost fell off a few desks, and worked in zero air conditioning for a few days....But it was so worth it! It feel so good to have it done (we all know it's NEVER all the way done) and to be focusing my energy into planning and meet the teacher night! Click the button below to see the rest of the classrooms that are being revealed on Blog Hoppin. So here goes nothing....

As some of you know, I moved rooms at the end of the summer and had to leave from the school to pack and head to Florida for my wedding the same day. Because of that I threw everything in my room and ran obviously because I could not wait to get my wedding week started! All that to was a hott mess y'all. Here is the before picture.

And after many days and hours of prep work here is the finished product! 

I absolutely love the way it turned out! This is my view from the door and I chose to do cooperative groupings with the desks to encourage group work and partner talks. 

This is my check in station right next to the door. Classroom jobs, Transportation, and homework for the night will be posted here. I plan to keep my attendance binder here and students will drop notes or lunch money in the basket on the table. In the Hall Passes area, students have two pins for bathroom and water breaks and will move a pin over when they leave the room. Once their two pins are moved to the right of the chart they have used all their breaks for the day. 

This is my view from the front of the room and one of my favorite views! I got the idea for the gift bags that spell second grade from the First Grade Parade, Cara Carroll herself. It makes for a really inexpensive way to decorate above cabinets! The two bottom rows are student lockers and the top cabinets are storage. 

 This is my classroom library. The bins are from Dollar Tree and Big Lots and the stools, pillows, and rug are from IKEA.

I love these Reading strategy posters, and I hung my labels on the bins with binder rings so that I can change them out easily if I decide to group my books in a different way.

This is my supply station. I do shared supplies, so this will be here when the kids run out of paper, glue, or crayons. Our think tanks are to the left and this is what the students will work on while I work with my intervention groups. 

 I will share about my library checkout system in another post, and I plan to label each of the books with a Lexile and DRA level for the kids to choose just right books. The last thing we want is kids reading books that are on their frustration level!

Here is my computer area, word wall, and the space above will probably be used for displaying student work samples. The shelf to the left holds table buckets, folders, and will hold textbooks when I receive them (that's textbooks yet...yikes).  

This is my teacher table area and I LOVE it! With the way my schedule works, I will be spending most of my day here in this little corner so I wanted it to be peasant. I hope to add a tall standing lamp in the corner, but for now it holds our writing board behind the table, our Daily 5 anchor charts, and next to that is our CAFE strategy board that will hold all our reading strategies as we learn them. The circles are dry erase circles that are perfect for practicing spelling words and patterns with small groups. The red chair was one I saved from the trash! I covered it with red spray paint I already had and covered the seat with left over fabric. It will make for a comfy seat all day! 

This is the view from the back of the room, and you can see my alphabet, hand painted rocking chair, and focus wall with my TEKS ready to go. I will keep our weekly Spelling, Vocabulary, and math vocab here for reference. I will also keep table points as a daily incentive. 

I love the buckets hanging next to my chart paper! Anchor charts are ready to be made. You can also see my whole brain teaching rules at the bottom of the board that I made to coordinate with my room colors.

 This is where I will display my completed anchor charts for the kids to reference and these are the hand signals I use for the kids to communicate what they need. 

I love my desk area and teacher toolbox! 

This is my math vocab wall where we will add math terminology that we learn through the year, our math stations, and our calendar.

There is my classroom! I hope you enjoyed the pictures and if you have any questions about where things came from just leave a comment below! Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow to continue the Blog Hoppin Teacher linky.