Thursday, May 21, 2015

Area Activities

This week has been 100 kinds of exhausting.  The fact that I am blogging right now is practically a miracle... it helps that I'm relaxing on the couch, feet propped up, wrapped in a comfy blanket, and in my jammies at the moment!  This time of year brings so much "busy-ness"... end of the year testing, student placement meetings, making to-dos for next year... all while wrangling a classroom full of wild cats, ha!

This year in math I decided to continue introducing new concepts until the bitter end.  For some reason my scope and sequence got all wonky and I have no time for a review week.  Maybe it was all those snow days... or my trip to the Congo... either way we are still trudging along!  We've been having lots of fun learning about area!

My kids LOVED making their area robots!  These kinds of things are PERFECT because they take up quite a bit of time and you can always go back and add more details if you finish too early ;)

Now this activity didn't take as long as I'd hoped, but it was still a lot of fun.  Plus going out to the hallway to work was definitely a nice change of pace :)
My students recorded the area of each shape in their math spirals.
Then I had a student come up and teach the class how they found the area of each shape.  Built in bonus... only students who are SUPER quiet and still get to be the teachers ;)
This activity was definitely a score because it took up a large chunk of time!!  I've been cleaning out my classroom, reorganizing cabinets, and changing out bulletin boards so keeping them occupied helps me out a ton!!!  And, as one kid put it "This is awesome because we don't even have to write our names on our paper!"  #bless #whatevermakesyouhappy
 Each name was so unique!  I just loved looking at  what they came up with :)
And that's that!  We have 8 full days and 2 half days left... Will it ever end??!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Robert Munsch Week!

This week is Robert Munsch week in 2nd Grade at my school!  I look forward to this week every single year.  One of the best parts is hearing my kids say "Oh, I've read this book before" but then once they hear Robert Munsch read his stories their opinion of the story completely changes!  

Our copy machine is down {and it has been for a week now... sigh} so we are doing another installment of "My Week Without the Workroom" only this time I didn't mean for it to happen.  I kinda had no other choice.

We read Stephanie's Ponytail and wrote about the story after making this sweet little craft from Amanda Madden.
 Some of them had a hayday moving their ponytails around to match the book :)

 We also read Aaron's Hair... because everyone loves to giggle when the hair makes its way to someone's behind :)  We just freehanded Aaron this year and used sticky notes for the Problem/Solution.  Normally I use the template from my Robert Munsch unit, but this worked also!
 Some of them were such a mess but they showed the personalities of my students :)
Other than that I have started a classroom purge... threw away tons of files, got rid of old resource books, and am in the midst of organizing books and cabinets!  It's time to get things under control after 5 years in the same classroom!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Whales, Whales, and More Whales!

This is my third year to focus on whales during one of our nonfiction units of study.  After reading Abby's posts HERE I knew I had to incorporate whales into our year somehow.  The end of the year lends itself to the perfect time...we are wrapping things up, able to be a little more independent, and focusing on lessons that keep our students engaged and interested.  And, every single year my students absolutely adore learning about whales.  There are so many great videos online, tons of nonfiction books, and oodles of websites that your kids can browse... just google "whales for kids" and you'll be hooked!  I didn't change things up too much from the years past, but I did add a few technology pieces so that we could integrate media literacy into our week.

After we made our 3D whales with speech bubbles we used ChatterKid to communicate nonfiction statements about whales.
 We used EduCreations to make an online book about whales.  We focused on making a front cover, table of contents, and labeling.  This app allows students to record themselves which is great for presentations!
 My students have really grown to love drawing.  At the beginning of the year it was like pulling teeth trying to get them to add details... now they want to spend hours coloring... ummmm #youhave15minuteskid
 I just love everything about kid art and writing!!!  You can grab the Whale Writing Paper HERE
 They were so stoked when I pulled out this orca craft on Friday!  You could have heard a pin drop while they were making these!!!  We used this to integrate math with ocean-themed multiplication problems.
 And they look so cute on my board!!!  You can get the whale craft in THIS unit.  The word problems can be found HERE.
That just about sums it up!  Lots of activities on repeat from years past!  Hey, if they work... why recreate the wheel, right??!!

Don't forget... you can save BIG TIME right now!  Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

Did you know??  Have you heard??  This week is Teacher Appreciation Week!  I don't know if you teach in a school where they lavish the gifts upon you or if your efforts are totally ignored, but I want you to know that YOU ARE APPRECIATED!  

If I'm going to be honest I wouldn't even know it was Teacher Appreciation Week if I wasn't a teacher or didn't follow teaching blogs/websites.  And, I feel like many parents are probably in the same boat.  It's not that they don't appreciate you, it's more than likely because nobody communicated it with them!  So, add it to your newsletter and staple it to your kids' foreheads because 

YOU DESERVE A TREAT!!!  Whether it be a gift, meal, or note... I hope that someone takes the time to tell you how much you mean to them!!!

Here's what I put together for Joelle's teacher this week.  I decided to do three pretty good-sized gifts rather than a small gift each day.  Having only one child at home and in school definitely helps the gifting budget!  I found all of the tags in one easy download HERE!
Wednesday:  Cup full of highlighters, sharpies, and pens
Thursday (her teacher will be out on Friday):  2 Books, Post-it Notes and a Chickfila Gift Card

Here's a better look at the shirt I bought for her teacher.  Of course, I gifted one to myself also ;)  At least I appreciate myself, right??!!  Ha!
 I wanted to show my team a little love so I put these cups with Mr. Sketch markers and Reese's together for them.  I pretty much give cups for every occasion because one cannot have too many insulated cups.  Can I get an Amen??!!

 Cups:  Amazon
Mr. Sketch Markers:  Amazon
Gift Tags:  Skip to My Lou
I'm also treating my team to Jason's Deli for lunch one day because everyone deserves to have a night off from making their lunch!!!

If nothing else, at least shop for yourself a little.  Get stocked up and ready for next year, grab yourself some goodies to save your sanity for the end of this year, or just load up that cart with everything from your wishlist!  
I truly hope you have a fantastic week!  Maybe all of our students will be perfect angels for us ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Well Hello!

Long time no talk, friends!  These past couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind!!  Last week we spent 7 days away from our *very comfortable* home to travel to the DRC.  We filed paperwork in efforts to speed up our adoption process as well as spent 3 1/2 days with one of our sweet little guys.  (Yes, we are adopting 2... we only got to see 1.  It's a long long long story... I'll save that for another post at another time)  Anyways, I've been disconnected for quite some time.  I was prepping to be out for a week... then I was gone... now I'm back and am drowning in grading, DRA testing, answering emails, and getting caught up in the classroom.  I won't even mention the 60+ hours of traveling and the jet-lag!  All the stress was worth it because for 3 1/2 days my mommy heart was full!
He's precious and perfect in every single way.  We are back home now and figuring out how to "do life" without having him by our side.  It's difficult, but we are keeping busy and putting our faith in an Almighty God who is in complete and total control!

Before I left for a week my class spent a week digging into one of our favorite novels... Tornado.  It's a class favorite every year!  This year I tried to a few new things with it.  We focused a lot on vocabulary, comprehension, and making inferences.  Our favorite thing was making a little comprehension booklet to go along with our reading!

You can find that booklet and lots more to go with the novel HERE!  (Comprehension questions, vocabulary quizzes, inferring pages, etc.)
We also used this cute little tornado from Cara Carroll to make a self-to-text connection!
My students started learning about multiplication while I was out last week.  I was worried, but for the most part they understand the concept really well.  I was blessed with a great sub who did a lot of teaching in my place!!!  This week we have focused on arrays, arrays, and more arrays!

We started the week modeling arrays in our math spirals.  Give the kids paint dotters and you will be the best thing ever!
Once we were a little more knowledgeable about arrays we did our annual "I Spy Arrays" activity.  This is a freebie that can be found HERE!
We also made our Array Flapbooks.  Each student chose which type of array they wanted to make.  Giving them small choices like which markers to use, choosing their multiplication sentences, and what their arrays are made of give them so much more ownership of their assignment!
 I was running low on steam and ideas, so we got the paint dotters out again today!  I gave each student two number stickers that they had to use to make a multiplication sentence.  Then, they used the paint dotters to make an array that matched their equation.  Afterwards they had to create a word problem to match their equation and array.  We read the word problems aloud and had to match the array with the correct word problem!

We have also been working on arrays and multiplication during small group time.  We matched multiplication sentences to arrays, used white boards to draw arrays, and completed a quick assessment!
Phew!  I'm ready to move on from arrays at this point, ha!

In my spare time I have been prepping our 3-digit math stations that we will start in a couple of weeks.  I want to spend our last few weeks of school really nailing down our regrouping skills.  It's something they struggle with every year in 3rd grade, so I'm bound and determined to review it until I'm blue in the face!  I decided to go black/white this time.  Can you tell I'm running low on colored paper??  I pretty much have green, blue, yellow, and orange left!
 This little laminator saves my sanity almost every single week.  I keep one at home and one at school.  There's nothing more I hate than cutting out lamination from our school laminator... the large sheets, the wasted lamination, the peeling!!!  I have never had problems with either of my laminators! I have THIS one and THIS one!  They both work equally well!
You can check all of my triple-digit stations out HERE!

Now I'm off for some much needed R&R!  Goodnight, friends!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Surviving Until Summer!

Hey y'all!  I was computer-less for a few days which left my hands feeling rather lonely, ha!  Thankfully I got a replacement charger today and am not back to business :)

I'm linking up with Katie and Michelle to let you know what I'm doing to survive until summer in my classroom and at home!

First, I'll start in the classroom!  As much as I'd love to save some time and just use no-prep lessons this time of year, I just can't do that to my kiddos.  Their active bodies and short attention spans need so much more than a worksheet this time of year.  I'm actually spending more time trying to put together meaningful lessons than normal because I've got to keep them engaged and focused!  For the past two weeks my students spent lots of time writing different types of poetry... they loved getting to be little poets every single day, and I loved reading their individual poetry!

These Bio Poems were just what we needed to get to know each other a little better!

 Using ice cream for our simile poems was perfect because what kid doesn't love a little sugar?  We were able to review similes and brainstorm lots of new ideas!  Need to survive without pulling your hair out??  Use high-interest topics!

 Anytime I can bring food or drinks into the classroom it definitely helps provide motivation!  OH, and it serves as a behavior incentive!  If I have to feed my students daily to survive until summer, I'll do it!
 I can't even begin to tell you how much easier it was to write our 5 Senses Poem because we actually tasted the lemonade while writing!

 Another thing we do a lot, but especially this time of year is work in partners while writing.  Working together, having conversations, and getting ideas from one another helps to spur my students on :)  And, sometimes, you just need a little help when writing a limerick!  These were challenging to write, but the partners were able to help each other out!

I will have a sub for probably the worst week of school... state testing week.  My sub will have to be with my class during lunch, specials, and all throughout the day because the upper grades will be testing all day.  Well, in order to keep my sanity and hers, I spent a lot of time prepping every little thing she will need.  I know that my students will be wound up and quick to misbehave, so I jam-packed their week with lots of learning and activities.  Any downtime at this point in the year could be a overplanning is key!
 My last little almost-summer suggestion is to keep pencils to yourself, ha!  I am the only one who has the power to sharpen and pass out pencils... this saves us tons of pencils and I have plenty to last for the rest of the year.  Glue, expo markers, and highlighters on the other hand... apparently we eat those instead of work ;)
In my personal life I spend lots of time cheering this little Hot Shot on during soccer games!  She's quite the soccer star and I love watching her dominate!  This time of year also brings lots of family dates, birthday parties, evening walks, and outdoor activities!
To keep myself busy... because I just don't have enough to do ;)... I have been shopping for the bedroom of my littlest boy.  I spent this weekend putting it together, and am so happy with how it turned out!  You can see more of it HERE plus get a little adoption update from my husband!
 Make sure you link up and share what you do to make it through :)