Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Must Read Monday!

Must-Read Monday Linky
Hop over to Teaching Maddeness and join the Literature Link-up

Check Out What My Librarian Shared With Me!

I love that my librarian is willing to share her excitement when she finds a new book.  On Friday, as I was walking through the library, she stopped me to share a fun, new book she came across.  What a fun book!  We stood there reading it and came up with all the fun possibilities it could be used for right on the spot.  Good thing too, because she unexpectedly had a Kinder lesson that day and so she used it.  She shared it and introduced onomatopoeia.  If only you could hear those little mini-students chanting, "onomatopoeia, onomatopoeia."
This book is so stinkin' cute.  Now why didn't I realize that one word could be a whole book!  What a smart author!  No -- literally.  The only word used is "moo."  The author just used it with different punctuation and added it to various illustrations.  The kids loved going through and reading it together.  I thought what a great way to introduce using expression and how punctuation works.  You can check it out at Amazon by clicking the book.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Funday 2/23

What should I be working on right now?

Well it definitely is not this.  But who could resist a cute, quick, little Linky party?  This girl---that's who.  So I came across this party as I opened up my laptop to begin concentrating on lesson plans.  A couple of my favorite bloggers, Molly and Deirdre of A Burst of First and Lucky To Be In First, began this linky today and I just couldn't resist the opportunity to procrastinate on those plans just a bit longer.  Plus, look at their cute button.  I want a melonheadz design of me!!  

Alright, so here's how it works: 
Your post can be as long or short as you want.  Just share something fun.  Link your post up and be sure to link back to their blogs.  Then visit three others and leave some love.  Simple, huh?

One weekend a month, my hubby has drill for the Navy Reserves and therefore I am left to my own accord (we usually are inseparable on weekends).  For some reason, I have it in my mind to go out and shop, eat, and hang out doing all my favorite things but always seem to end up relaxing at home.  Hmmm...maybe a problem.  Anywho, today I spent time doing a few of my faves all at the same time:
My 16 year old and I are the only ones home so we stopped by my favorite pizzeria and grabbed some yumminess.  Mine is the Mediterranean.  Had the Twilight Saga marathon playing on the big screen as I indulged in some Insurgent reading, blog hopping, and mental attempts to begin my planning session. All in a days fun for me!  Let's hope next Sunday Funday proceeds with some more interesting events.

How about you?  What fun do you guys indulge yourself in?  Stop by and link up.  You can even click the cutie pie button above.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Grateful Linky with Southern Fried Teachin'

My new bloggy friend, Angela has posted her first Linky and I'm excited to join her.  She is giving us the opportunity to share what we are grateful for at the moment.  Stop on by at Southern Fried Teachin' and join us in this uplifting party.

Thank you Angela, for giving me a moment to think about what I am grateful for.  We usually save this sentiment for holiday season but sometimes we need to stop the chaos and reflect to remind us how lucky we are.

It's Friday...It's Friday...It's Friday! Five for Friday (Feb. 21st)

This week has been soooooo looooooong!  I think we figured out why it felt that way for has been a while since we had a full 5-days-with-kids week.  So all week long I was a day off.  I am so ready for the weekend!  Linking up with Doodle Bugs once again for...

Can we please get a trademark animal to represent Friday?  Sort of like this guy who took over Wednesdays: 
Hmmm!  What could it be?  Any ideas?

Alright fellow 2nd grade many of you are departmentalized/team teaching?  I have taught 2nd for 7 years now and never had a team that wanted to pair up to teach.  Most of them are like me and feel pretty possessive protective of their precious friends.  Well this year, my team is even and at mid-year, we decided to team teach Science & Social Studies.  Woah baby!  Why have I not tried this before?  Oh-yeah -- I'm "protective." really has taken a load off of my shoulders in the planning department.  It is SO much easier to be able to just focus on one subject while planning & I chose SCIENCE.  I really, really enjoy teaching this subject because of all of the exploration!  There are so many "a-ha" moments.  One of my favorites is teaching ---~the~~water~~cycle~--- (to the tune of my favorite Water Cycle song).  We have an online resource we use for Science in my district that is called StemScopes.  It has a really good Water Cycle song but the one I found last year is my favorite.  It is from the Have Fun Teaching guys.  If you haven't heard it, you have to take a listen by clicking the picture.  Your kiddos will love it and they probably all will sing along in no time.  Last year, my kids were singing it quietly as they took their assessment.  **WARNING: you will be singing the song for a few weeks after your unit is finished.  It is THAT catchy.**  I shared it with my family and all of the them were humming/singing it here and there for days afterward.  Ha!  
In Reading we began talking about figuring out the Theme of a story.  This is another favorite of mine because it really requires students to infer.  I have always taught this concept by having them think of the heart of a story or the lesson to carry inside our hearts.  As we began our week, a colleague of mine came to me because she felt we were teaching it wrong.  Our curriculum wanted us to also add in fables and morals and she couldn't figure out how to distinguish between both.  So now I'm questioning my approach.   How do you guys teach Theme?  Here is my anchor chart that I created by putting some other ones I found on Pinterest.  
Here is my anchor chart that I created by putting some other ones I found on Pinterest.  

Have ya'll seen those Pinterest Fail pictures where people have attempted a Pinterest idea and it didn't quite work?  I usually have done pretty well with my Pinterest attempts.  I also choose carefully and know my creative limits.  But here is a classroom idea I thought would be great and it started out well but now I have decided it is a big, fat, FAIL.
They obviously can't erase with them anymore.  The lids get misplace CONSTANTLY because they can't stick into the end.  And all of my dry erase boards and pockets are getting scratches from them trying to still use them.  UGH!

Lacey, my student teacher on the other hand, had a wonderful idea she brought into the classroom.  I have a Ticket Out The Door chart that I use for a quick assessment at the end of the day.  She however brought in this cutie and then she gives them small index cards cut in half.  She projects a ppt slide that has a question on it.  Sometimes the question is just a fun personal question like: What is your favorite part of school?  But other times she has had a question from the lesson.  I thought it was another great way to do a quick assessment.  I prefer my sticky notes because they put it on their number and therefore there is no need for names and I can glance at it quickly, but the kids seem to like the jar better.  I'm not sure why.

I have a VERY sweet mother of one of my boys who always has something for me.  Sometimes it is lunch from Panera/Chick-fi-a or sometimes it is something small.  I have received lotion, hand sanitizer, coffee mugs, etc.  Yesterday she came in as a Mystery Reader and brought along these beautiful tulips which is one of my favorite flowers.  They remind me of my grandmother who loved them.  She was my inspiration to be a teacher.  She always told me that the best grade to teach was 2nd and if I ever taught 2nd I would know why.  She was right.  What a great unexpected reminder of her and what a thoughtful family to be able to make me smile so often.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Must Read Monday (err...Thursday?) LINKY

Must-Read Monday Linky
I'm linking up with Teaching Maddeness -- a little late to the party but here none the less!  I like to see it as me making an entrance-- just a tad late.  I just found this wonderful linky and am SO excited!

Admission: I'm a book nerd.  Reading is such a huge part of my world and I love to emphasize to my kiddos how much I L-O-V-E it!  Now I can share it with my blogging world!  There is nothing better than passing on the love of reading to a bunch of young minds.  I strive to find that hidden passion inside every last one of them.

This week we finished one of my favorite read-alouds:

A former colleague of mine introduced me to this hilarious read.  Every time I have shared this book with my 2nd graders, they have loved it!  The characters are very interesting, to say the least.  They are really fun to analyze and what happens to them really makes the kids giggle.

So if you're a self-addmitted book nerd like me, stop by and link up at Teaching Maddeness and share a   "Must Read" too.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Five for Fri-turday??? (Feb. 10-14)

Busy Come, Busy Go!

Whew!  This has been one busy, busy week!  & to tell you the truth, we only had students through Thursday.  Did I mention it was busy!!  I want to retire that word for a while.  Let's start from the top:

Forgotten, Surprise, & Cancelled Parent Conferences, Oh my:  

On Monday, we had a 7:45am parent/teacher conference scheduled.  On Friday of the week before, Mrs. Newton (my S.T.) and I discussed needing to be at the school a little earlier than normal so we could set up for the kiddos and then be prepared for the conference.  And so we did.  But when 7:45 rolled around we waited, and waited, and waited.  NO SHOW!  Ugh.  The main reason I do not usually schedule "before school" conferences.  I have had that happen to me so often.  I do have to say that I received and email later that day apologizing.  But on Tuesday afternoon it was a different story.  I told Lacey that we had a little break because we didn't have another morning one until next week but SURPRISE...after we made our way to the classroom around 7:40ish on Wednesday, the phone rings with a voice that tells us our conference is in the office.  Wait, what?  What conference?  It's a good thing I had all the Data Portfolios ready to go.  & of course the ever so famous cancelled conference that left us with a huge gap between end of school and a LATE, LATE conference.  I'm not sure if we got all we should have in that nice little down time.  Needless to say, we only have one more week left with all that conference madness.  On the positive side of this whole hoolabaloo, this is the first time I am inviting students into the conference to share his/her Data Portfolio and it is going AMAZINGLY!  The kiddos are doing such a great job sharing and coming up with goals for the rest of the year.  I love how they are connecting the dots between their work in class and progress towards moving on.  Parents are giving me wonderful feedback about this approach.  I am in TX which is NOT Common Core, but I love the ideas out there about creating the data portfolio and helping students be accountable. How about you fellow teachers out there?  Do parent conferences drive you bonkers?  Any further suggestions for personal data portfolios?

Creative Juices Flowin'

  Creating is sooooo relaxing for me!  So Wednesday night after all the crazy first half of the week, I was excited to sit down to create my valentines for my kiddos.  So there I was with all sorts of ribbon and some JUMBO, colorful paperclips I found at Target a few weeks back.  They came out so cool! & I wish I would have taken a pic of all of them together so you could see the variety but...I forgot!  Ugh.  I added a Homework Coupon that I created and viola...V-day Bookmarks!  Here is a snapshot of the extra one I had left:

Money, money, money...MONEY!

Since it was a Student Holiday on Friday, we had our Vday party on Thursday.  It wasn't until the last part of the day, but we had fun incorporating some different Vday stuff into the day.  Since we are currently working with money, my S.T. decided to have students earn quarters throughout the day and use their earnings to buy decorations for their Valentine Bags.  Then we opened up the store and they purchased what they wanted.  There were lots of great conversations about coin amounts, costs, making change, and even subtraction.
The store was open for business at the end of the day.

Bring On the Party!

Our Homeroom Parent is in charge of our festivities and my room mom ROX!! She if fabulous.  For our Holiday Party, I shared with her some Minute-2-Win-It ideas and we had a blast so she brought the fun back.  We had M2WI V-day style.  
I couldn't show the silly pics of the kiddos trying to get that cookie from their forehead to their mouth because my cute, little smiley (from Emerald at IfYouMustacheIHeartTeaching) would cover up the cookie so I used my room mom's demonstration pic instead.  I'm sure she'll appreciate that.  Teehee!  At the end of the party, Mrs. Newton and I decided to have a Cookie Face face-off.  You already know who the victor was.  I'm surprised the kids and I didn't begin running celebration laps around the room, the excitement was so big.  All I can say is that when it comes to those Berry Oreos, I can make my face do amazing things to get it from my forehead to my mouth.
If your read my previous post, you read how much I love to surprise my loved ones.  Well, my hubby surprised me this time.  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he was giving me for V-day.  He dropped a hint earlier in the week but it just didn't spark anything.  So after I surprised him with my jar full of goodies and movie, he runs out of the room and back in with a piece of paper in his hand.  "Mine isn't as fancy as yours," he says.  & taadaa!

He's taking me to see Robin Thicke!!  Every year we gear up for the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show.  There are so many great concerts.  Last year we saw The Zac Brown Band.  This year, there are so many other great artists, we might just be out there a few times.  I can't wait!  My hubby is the best!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Feelin' Lucky In Love

I'm Linking Up for Love

Hop on over & join up with Lucky to Be in First!  We are celebrating feelings of love with a fun Linky Party.  Here's what I'm currently in love with...

I couldn't ask for a better BFF!  He is the only one I want to continue living & loving life with.  We laugh, talk, snuggle, advise, wonder, explore, question, indulge, pray, listen, inquire, and learn with each other daily.   I'm SO in love with this man!

I have had a love affair with reading since I was a little girl.  I remember my grandmother having to take me to the public library several times a week because I would finish books so quickly.  Sometimes with our busy schedule I forget how much I love falling into a book and just imagining that story.  To me it is better than getting into a TV show and having to wait for the next week's episode because all you have to do is pick it back up.  The only thing that stinks is when it is over and you want to find another one to keep the fun going.  Gone Girl was awesome!  Divergent was too!  I am now downloading the rest of that series.  Reading for fun is my LOVE interest!!

Look at those BIG kids!  They are getting so big so quickly.  They are turning into such wonderful, intelligent, unique individuals.  It is so neat to see how that happens.  My hubby took out the good camera for Homecoming week this year and got some really great pics of them.  I absolutely love how he captured each one in a different way.

Ok so I am having a new LOVE affair with my blog.  I'm learning how amazing it is to be able to write  (at least weekly) and share with others.  I know that I am just a seedling in this whole community but I think I am growing by the minute.  What a wonderful world of technology that we use to create new passions for sharing with so many people world-wide.

Don't you just love those unconditional LOVE faces!?  These two fellows are so full of love for each of us every single day.  They were sitting right next to each other and so my hubby snapped a shot of each.  Their real names are Kobe and Archie but they are seriously Two Peas In A Pod.  We let Archie visit my mom for a couple of weeks and Kobe had some serious withdrawl like symptoms.  He missed his side-kick.  Awww---puppy love!

I never thought I would ever say that I am in LOVE with some piece of technology...but pair this little baby with my above mentioned Blog Lovin' and you now have "computer love" (in my best Zap & Rogers tune).  I also really love the desktop organizer I got from Heather at MoritzFineDesigns.  I LOVE my efforts to be organized.  It makes me look like I somewhat know what I'm doing. Ha!

Ok - so I've always (I mean ALWAYS) used Mr. Sketch for my chart markers in class.  As I was "back-to-school-shopping" this year, I found these babies.  I didn't know what a find I found.  I L-O-V-E these tools.  They write so smoothly and create such vivid anchor charts.  Yeah, they don't have the wonderful aroma therapy I got with Sketch markers, but I still have those sitting near by so I can take a whiff if the need arrises.

Shhh!!  One of my favorite things to do is shop for others and find a way to surprise them.  For the past couple of years, my hubby has made sure to get the girls a cute little V-day gift or two.  I guess he sees it as taking care of us girls on these Love Days.  But for those same two years, the boys have complained that they don't get a special gift for V-day.  It comes up A LOT!  So this year I decided to take on the boys as my job.  Of course, since they are sport-playing teenagers, the best bet was candy and gift cards for food (seriously they eat EVERYTHING).  I was going to hang it on their bedroom doors for a surprise when they wake up tomorrow.  The big bag is my hubby's surprise.  We went to see The Best Man Holiday back in December and we both LOVED it!  He also LOVES candies and goodies.  So much so that he has his own personal stash in our bedroom under his side table.  I found this cool cookie jar that I though would be perfect for him to keep his stash of goodies inside.  So I filled it with some of his faves and I plan on setting it out tomorrow morning when he's in the shower.  TeeHee!  Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky love!

Your up!  What are you Lucy In Love with this time of year?  Stop by and link up.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five For Friday Linky Party (Feb. 7)

Keeping It Going

I'm keeping it moving, ya'll.  I'm trying to keep this weekly goal going by linking up with Doodle Bugs for their weekly linky.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Newton (our student teacher) had to go to her class so we decided to play catch up.  LOOOONG ago (more like 2 weeks) we wrapped up our "Objects In the Sky" focus in Science.  We had so much fun exploring the patterns of the sun and the moon.  We planned to do the ever-so-famous- idea of making Oreos into the 8 phases just to wrap it up with one last bit of fun.  Unfortunately, we ended up completely off schedule because of the Winter Weather Storm of 2014.  So the 3 packages of Oreos sat on the corner of my desk for several days.  The kiddos were so good about not asking us over and over again if/when we were going to do it, so I decided to get it done while she was MIA.  It went well.  This group is so easy to work with when we jump off course for a bit.  You know you've had those years when the schedule gets changed, they go crazy and can't take it well.  They completely enjoyed it and we were able to do the activity in less than 20 minutes.

Hey 2nd Grade teachers out there...let me see a show of hands of those of you who blow out a sigh of relief when your class finally seems to get that 2/3-digit subtraction strategy!!  I have been so worried all week long because it just didn't seem like it was ever going to click.  I think I get a serious bout of stress tension when I see that unit coming up on the calendar.  This year, I attacked that concept from all sides: base-ten blocks, songs, dances, rhymes, anchor charts, algorithms, problem solving, drawing, etc.  On Thursday, I was beginning a lesson of 3-digit subtraction with regrouping tens.  I was really nervous because I had a list of about 7 babies who seemed to still be struggling with 2-digit subtraction.  I'm not sure what happened but for some reason, they got it!!  Let's just hope it sticks.  Practice, practice, practice is the name of the game.
Woke up on Thursday morning to our 14 year old complaining about having to go out and wait at the bus stop in the snow.  SNOW??  Surely not here in Houston should I have heard the word snow.  Especially after those 2 "snow"-less days we had off last week and the week before.  I didn't believe him, of course (he is the one middle child that keeps up going).  Then I heard my hubby yelling for me as he went to start his car.  I ran to see what the fuss was and this is what I find:
It was the best pic I could get as I drove out of the driveway
There was snow (or really, really, small pellets of ice) all over the roofs of houses, cars and grass!  Figures that when it really does snow, we all head out to work/school.  It did bring about some excitement, though.  
Here's the pic my hubby grabbed when he left
We survived!!  My 2nd graders survived 100 days of school.  We decided to make a change and celebrate our accomplishment on the 101st day of school. And we are doing it SURVIVOR style!  I LOVE Survivor.  It's one of my guilty pleasures.  One day I'll admit to all of them.  Anyway, I found this great packet on TeachersNotebook with a way of celebrating the 100th day by paying homage to the long-running reality show.  It was so much fun last year that I could not pass up the opportunity to do it again.  I'm tweaking it a little to go along with our 101st day celebration, but I'm sure it will have the same effect.  Tomorrow, we will draw buffs (or florescent colored bandanas) to determine our teams.  Then they will create a team name and flag.  Then it is time for competition!!  Check out the packet HERE and join in the fun.  I also added some other great ideas found around Pinterest and my ever increasing habit of blog hopping.  We are hanging balloons with activities by the 100 101 to pop throughout the day.  They have the streamer hanging doorway and my favorite is the idea of creating an aged picture using the "Aging Booth" app.  I played with it last night and here are a few of the shots my hubby and I got.


The kids shot are HILARIOUS!!  I got them printed out and I'm going to put them on a poster board grid with a "Guess Who" title.  Then I'm going to let the kids figure out who is who.  I can hardly wait for them to see themselves at 101years old. 

What I'm sitting next to at the moment:

This is a picture of my hubby.  His brother lives in Reno, NV.  They have been spending the last couple of nights on FaceTime.  He has a new nephew so originally it began as a way to introduce us to the new baby.  The next thing I knew, they decided to take a walk down memory lane.  Both of them got out photo albums and began yelling, "hey look, do you remember this one?"  It was funny.  It really makes you think about how we connect to friends and family now a days.  I thought it was ironic to see the old-school way of keeping photos being shared with our new, modern technology.  Very cool!