Monday, December 1, 2014

Currently: December

I can’t believe it is already December! I am linking up with Farley's Currently.  


I thoroughly enjoyed my week off for Thanksgiving break, but it is back to the grind today.  To make my morning better, I am listening to a little Christmas music before I leave for school.  I am in love with the Pentatonix’s Christmas album.  I am always amazed by acapella groups.  I am loving that my husband and I put up our tree yesterday.  I love coming down the stairs to the twinkling lights. It’s our first Christmas together as husband and wife, so it’s a little more special than usual.  I keep thinking about all of the activities I need and want to cram into the next 15 school days.  We will be doing Holidays Around the World and preparing for our winter performance, along with teaching all the regular stuff. Even though we just had a week off for Thanksgiving, I am already looking forward to Winter Break.  I am wanting to plan a little getaway for my husband and I during that time.  Next week we have Parent-Teacher conferences, so I am needing to get prepared for those.  This month, I will be encouraging my students to show kindness to each other, at home, and around school.  A kindness elf will be arriving in our classroom today.  Each day he will bring a mission of kindness for my kids to complete.  I am really looking forward to these activities.


I hope everyone has an awesome week back.  Don’t forget to hit up the Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can save 28% at most stores (including mine) by entering the code: TPTCyber.  I plan to stock up for upcoming units.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Scoop: October 12th


Happy Sunday! I hope you are enjoying your weekend…I know I am. I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop.


Have to:
I was able to get ahead on my lesson planning, so I actually have a Sunday to enjoy without those looming over me. We finally have access to an online program called i-Ready, so I need to find time for my students to take the initial placement test.  I am loving that our school has decided to follow Jan Richardson’s Next Step in Guided Reading plans for guided reading this year.  I need to plan some phonics extensions for my two lowest groups.  As is the case every Sunday, I still need to grade the spelling and math tests that I gave this week.  

Hope to:
I have neglected our laundry this week, so I hope to get caught up on it today.  I also hope to win both of my Fantasy Football match-ups this week….it hasn’t happened yet this season. 

Happy to:
I am loving my new routine of going to the gym before work each morning.  It is such a great way to start my day, and I can see some results!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five for Friday: October 10th


 I think it is a miracle that I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday on a Friday for two weeks in a row.  With the full harvest moon, my week was a little crazy.  I am so thankful it is the weekend! 
We are continuing our unit about Thinking Like a Scientist. This week we focused on magnets. The conversations my students were having about the magnets attracting and repelling were amazing. I love to hear my little second graders using academic language with each other.
We started the week with an exploration activity from Kristen Smith’s Force and Motion unit. I placed bags if items at each table, and my students predicted which items would be magnetic and which would be non-magnetic. After the predictions were made, they were able to test with a magnet. They were all amazed that a pipe cleaner is magnetic.

The next day we focused on the push and pull of magnets due to the poles. First, we read about magnetic force in a ScienceA-Z book. (If you love ReadingA-Z, you'll love their science resources too). 

After reading, my students explored the push and pull of magnets. Some students discovered how to make the magnets jump. Others discovered that the magnetic force could work through their hand.

I loved watching how engaged and amazed they all were.
To further the discussion about magnets repelling and attracting, I used an idea from Kids Science Experiments where I attached magnets to the tops of toy cars. My students took turns controlling the cars with magnets. They loved it!


In math, we are jumping into adding with regrouping. We focus on multiple methods at our school, so we began with building the addition problems with base ten blocks. 

This really helped solidify the idea of addition and regrouping ten ones for a ten. My students worked together to practice this on the second day. They worked great and helped each other understand the problems.


Then we moved on to drawing the addition problems. My students are great at drawing numbers in base ten form, but drawing the addition problems and regrouping step took a lot of explicit instruction. It helped that they had the hands-on experience already.
 

I am working on increasing the use of academic language in student discourse and writing, so math journals have become a big part of our classroom. I often have students find the error in a procedure and explain what was wrong in words. The journal responses for addition with regrouping were great.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Sunday Scoop: October 5th



It’s Sunday, so I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop. 

Last week, I had hoped to blog at least two times in a week.  Thanks to Farley’s Currently and Five for Friday, I was able to meet that goal.  I am striving to post at least two times again this week.  I spent yesterday visiting four families, and it was amazing!  I hope to visit all of my families before report card conferences in December.  It’s been a great way to get to know my students and their families.  I think I will have a lot more parent involvement because of these visits. I need to get to work on my guided reading lesson plans so that I can spend the rest of the day watching football with my husband and his brother who is in town for the weekend. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday

It’s Friday, and I am actually linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday on a Friday.  It was a long, hot week, so this weekend is well
Last week we marked the end of our first theme (Getting to Know You) with a publishing celebration.  Parents were invited to come hear the class share their writing. 
My students were able to select from two writings: The Story of My Name and My Family is Special.  I had 15 out of 26 families show up and bring food that represented their culture.  It was a memorable day!

We have been busy little scientists this week.  We started our second theme (Thinking Like a Scientist) and have been learning about the three states of matter.  My students are loving all of the hands-on experiments.  The mini explosions (from Kristen Smith’s A Science Unit on Making Predictions) were a huge hit!  

The kids were amazed to see that gas was created when the vinegar hit the baking soda.  This was a great demonstration of a chemical change.
We started off the week with The Great Ice Race (from Rachel Lamb’s Marvelous Matter Activities for Little Scientists).  On Monday, the students were trying to get their ice to melt the fastest.  


Then we discussed which methods were effective and which were not.  On Tuesday, they were trying to keep their ice solid the longest.  It was adorable to see some of their methods.  The winning duo just put their ice on the desk, sat back, and read books.

We created a Matter Museum (also from Rachel's unit) in our classroom. My students were given a ziploc bag to take home and fill with a solid, liquid, or gas.  
There was lots of water and rocks in our museum along with ice cream, milk, masa, a fork, plastic jewels, a piece of paper, and soda. After my students shared their item, we classified each item and described its characteristics. 

Guided reading rotations are finally in full swing.  I was at school until after 6 pm tonight making copies of Reading A-Z books for each of my 5 groups.  I still need to finish the lesson plans for each group.  I can’t wait to see the progress my kiddos make after a few more weeks of our rotations.  I love seeing my students reading with our reading buddies.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently…and a Treat

I am linking up with Farley for this month’s Currently.  I am so happy that it is October because it means that fall is in full swing.  I love everything about fall…football, cooler weather, sweaters,  apples, and pumpkin everything. 

Listening: Every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday there is football on TV at our house.  None of my fantasy players are playing in tonight’s game and it’s a blowout, so I’m not too focused on it.

Loving: My school is encouraging all teachers to do home visits this year.  I was a little nervous for my first one, but it was so worth the time. I went to visit two of my students’ families at their homes today, and it was an amazing experience.  I feel like I know so much more about each student and their families.  I can’t wait to do more.

Thinking: I have a Halloween costume ready for work, but I still need to decide what to wear for Halloween with my husband.  I better decide before everything is sold out.

Wanting: I love doing guided reading, but having to download, print, copy, fold, and staple books for 5 different groups gets really old.  I wish my school would purchase leveled libraries for us to use in guided reading, but until then I am relying on Reading A-Z.

Needing: I have an extremely active group of boys this year who struggle to sit for any period of time on the rug.  I have been researching fidgets all week, but they are so expensive.  I saw a few DIY fidgets on Pinterest, so that may be the way to go.  Has anyone tried to make their own fidgets? Or found cheap fidgets to buy?
Treat: 
Click on the image to download a great resource for helping students write Halloween narratives.  Students can choose cards for the characters, setting, and problem.  This helps students who struggle to brainstorm the story elements when writing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

First Sunday Scoop of Fall


Happy fall!  I spent my morning decorating our house for fall/Halloween and now I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for Sunday Scoop. 

I love how short and sweet their 3, 2, 1 template is since it allows me to quickly write a post once a week.  I hope to write at least two other posts this week.  I have been taking lots of pictures of the stuff happening in my classroom, but haven’t found the time to write about it yet. I hope everyone has a great week.  I need to get to work on my lesson plans.


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