Sunday, March 30, 2014

2nd Grade Product Swap Blog Hop



Welcome to the second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at SecondGrade Math Maniac to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop.  This is where you can enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

I had the amazing privilege of swapping with Tracey from The Teacher's Chair. First of all, you need to head on over and check out her blog! It is adorable and chock full of great resources and ideas!

I received Tracey's Measuring Cats and Dogs pack. It is perfect as we are preparing to start measurement soon. I always am looking for ways to make measurement engaging and fun and this hit the spot!


Here are a few things I LOVE about this unit:

1. Tracey not only covers measuring but addition and subtraction. This is great as my kiddos ALWAYS need addition and subtraction practice, especially in the context of problem solving.



2. Key Math vocabulary is used consistently throughout the unit. As the students measure the cats, dogs and other fun items they are challenged to compare the items using comparison words.



3. IT IS ADORABLE! Seriously, this unit is so fun! I know my kiddos are going to have a blast measuring the cats, dogs and accessories. All of the activities are highly engaging!



4. It matches up perfectly with common core. Tracey has aligned the problems and activities to go with 2nd grade common core math standards. 

Head on over to Tracey's store, The Teacher's Chair, to grab this AWESOME unit! You won't be disappointed!

Also, don't forget to keep following the hop so you can enter to win 18 fantastic second grade products!


Click the button below to head over to The Price of Teaching. 




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Magic Trash



It's time for another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!!! Lots of awesome teacher bloggers are sharing some great ideas!

Do you ever feel like your classroom won't ever be completely clean? If you're like me, there is always a pencil or crayon on the floor, jacket that fell from its hook, or snack trash on the carpet.

All those crafts and activities can create quite the mess!

In comes one of my favorite classroom "games" - Magic Trash! I can't remember how I learned about this game but if I did, I would hug the person who came up with it because it's that great! I tell the kids that I see a few pieces of "magic trash" on the floor. If they pick up the magic trash, they get a prize. I usually give them an "eagle buck", part of our school's reward system.



My kiddos eat this game up. As soon as I say "Hmmm I see some magic trash" they are down on the ground looking for every speck of dirt. I will wait until ALL of the trash is off the floor until I say who found the magic trash and reward them.

Teacher Secret: Sometimes I don't pick the magic trash until the end of the game. I may even just reward the students that I saw cleaning up the most.

By the end of this game you will have ZERO trash on the floor. A nice clean classroom. :) Pure teacher bliss!

For more Bright Ideas hop on over to Teaching Maddeness to see how Amanda organizes her craftivities.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop

Hey everyone! Today I'm participating in a super fun blog hop! A bunch of teacher bloggers are sharing their best "bright ideas" for the classroom. Be sure to join in on the fun by following the hop!



My bright idea for this week actually is literally "bright"! :)
You know those tap lights that people put in closets or other places? Well they are also great for classroom use!

My coworker, Megan, uses them at her guided reading groups. When she is meeting with a group, she taps the light "on" to tell other students that she is busy and cannot be interrupted. It's a great visual and really teaches the kids that their time in reading group is very important and sacred.

A while back I started using mine during Daily 5 for Read to Someone. I noticed that some of my kiddos had a hard time Checking for Understanding, a simple comprehension strategy where they retell what they just read. In came the tap lights. Each pair that does Read to Someone during a round of Daily 5 gets a tap light. They place the light on the floor in front of them. One partner reads a page of the book. The other partner then taps the light on and says "I just heard you read" and tells the who and the what. I've had the little check bookmarks that Daily 5 recommends but I've found that the tap lights add an element of fun!

I did some searching during my long snow break this week and found more adorable tap lights at Dollar Tree. How cute are star and heart shaped ones?

Here are a few other ideas I've heard of or thought of using tap lights:

Create A Caring Classroom - Use the heart shaped tap light at morning meeting to allow students to share what's on their heart. A great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere where students feel safe and loved.

Phonemic Awareness - Use multiple tap lights for students to show the sounds in words - tap a light for each sound you hear.

Shining Student - Stick a light to your whiteboard/chalkboard/wall. When you're teaching a lesson and a student has a well thought out answer or goes above and beyond in their thinking, have them tap the light on as a special reward.

Math - Students can practice math facts using flashcards. The partner who is flashing the cards and can see the answer turns the light on each time their partner says the correct answer.

Story Retelling - Have different shaped/colored tap lights represent story elements - character, setting, problem, solution, author's message, etc. When reading aloud to your class ask students to raise their hands when they hear about each story element. That student then gets to go push that light on. We've been studying authors as mentors for our writing lately and doing this with post-its but I think my kiddos would love using our lights!

Do you have any other awesome ideas of how to use tap lights in the classroom? Please, please, please share in the comments! I'd love to hear what ideas you have!

If you are looking for more great ideas, continue on to Horizons & Dreams. Have fun finding more bright ideas for your classroom!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Currently: February

It's February? What?!!! I'm a bit confused since I've been off school for the past 4 days due to snow. Here's my currently for this month:


Listening: I'm currently still relaxing in bed and am enjoying the quiet. :)


Loving: Since I've been off school since Tuesday, I have sincerely enjoyed sleeping in. I can't sleep in much these days - 8:00 is about the latest, but it is nice to wake up and not have to rush to be anywhere. Most mornings I've enjoyed some reading or watching TV.

Thinking: My mom's birthday was this week and we are celebrating tonight. My family has a little surprise for her and I can't wait to give it to her. I'll let you in on it later.

Wanting: Mmmmm pancakes. I've been eating healthier lately and working out tons but a girl's still got to indulge. I found the AMAZING recipe for chocolate chip protein pancakes and I've been making it every Saturday and every snow day so far. I love that it has lots of protein as I've found that it helps be eat better for the rest of the day if I eat protein at breakfast. And chocolate chips? Yum! Here's a link to the recipe from teachers_get_fit on instragram. The only unusual ingredient you need is protein powder. I LOVE Jay Robb's brand - it's super yummy and you can find it in the natural section at Kroger. It should be noted that I usually put in about 1/2 cup of almond milk to make the batter thinner.



Needing: I need to catch up on a few school things to get ready for February. I also want to get my students valentines done early so I'm not stressing last minute. I found cute Valentine's pencils in the Target dollar section and am putting a little tag on them that says "you're just write for me". Simple, easy and involves giving the littles any kind of sugar! Score!

2 Truths and a Fib:

TRUTH - I do hold my scissors upside down. I put my fingers in the thumb hole and thumb in the fingers hole. Why? That's still unknown. When I was little my family lived in Germany and I went to a German speaking preschool. We think that I just picked up scissors like that and the nice German teachers thought it was a funny American thing and never corrected me. Ooops! I'm pretty accurate cutting that way though. I can hold scissors the correct way and do in front of my students but it's much easier my way.

TRUTH - I am doing a sprint triathlon in May. 5 lap swim, 9 mile bike, 2 mile run. Why? I'm still figuring out why I'm doing this but mainly as I get healthier I wanted to set some fitness goals for myself. I figured this was a good way to get started and give me an end goal. It's a women only race and is sponsored by the local YMCA where I work out. I'll do a training program in April with certified race coaches. Right now I'm doing the couch to 5k app on the treadmill to train myself to run and I'm biking on the spin bikes at the gym. I'll add the swimming in soon. 



FIB - I don't have a dog but I sure want one! My current living situation doesn't allow pets but someday I know I'll have a doggie of my own!

Go on over and link up your currently with Farley! Have a great Saturday!



Monday, October 21, 2013

My Truth about Fitness



The lovely Denise from Sunny Days is hosting a fun new linky party every Monday. The series is called My Truth Monday and each Monday will focus on a new topic. This week's topic is fitness.


Fitness and I are slowly becoming better friends. Two years ago I joined the local YMCA and started going to classes and LOVED it. I finally felt like I found a place where I could work out where everyone was so kind and encouraging. Sadly a few months after I joined I was in a bad car accident. It was a setback but in the end I think it's given me a healthier outlook on life. After finishing physical therapy for my neck last fall, I began going back to the gym again. I haven't always been consistent but I'm trying to get motivated and keep going. I recently joined a small group weight loss/training group at the Y and I love it! We work out 2 days a week together with an awesome trainer who pushes us to do our best. I'm excited to continue on this journey to a healthier me!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It {Linky Party}

Happy Monday! I'm finally linking up with 4th Grade Folics for Monday Made It. I've made A LOT of things to start off the new school year but sadly I haven't been awesome about taking pictures and blogging about them.



So I have this chair. It's the one I use on the carpet when I'm teaching mini-lessons. I found it my first year at Home Goods on clearance for $25. It's actually a lawn chair and had a crack down one of the arms but I knew it wasn't anything a little wood glue couldn't fix.

After 4 years of being loved, I noticed that the chair was starting to shift. I had already had our wonderful custodian help me tighten the screws one time. Sadly at the end of last year it completely fell apart. Like, one side of the chair just fell off.


My coworkers told me to throw it away and get a new one but I wasn't ready to give up yet! This chair is SO comfortable and I love it! I took it home and put it on my porch.

Yesterday my mom and I decided that we would try to fix it. We looked at it, realized it definitely needed some screws and bolts, but being the blondes that we are had no clue what kind.

So we took the chair to Home Depot, put it in a cart and pushed it inside the store to the hardware aisle. I was laughing the whole way. I'm pretty sure we provided lots of entertainment for everyone at Home Depot.


A nice Home Depot worker came and helped us figure out what exactly we needed. I'm sure he thought we were quite odd, especially when I took a picture and said I was going to blog about it. :)

After we got the right screws and bolts we took the chair home to my parents and fixed it up. There's still one spot that we couldn't find the right screw for but it's much sturdier and stays together. I'm excited to be able to use it again! I will be establishing a no kids sit in it rule. I want it to last me for many more years!


In more teacher related made it, I made a quick pick me up for my team this week. It's been a busy and somewhat stressful start to the school year and I thought we all needed a reminder to keep calm.

I got the lotion from the travel toiletries section of Target. It's called "Melt Away Stress: Lavender & Chamomile Lotion". I love the smell of it! 


I made the little tag, printed it and laminated it before attaching it to the lotion with washi tape.

The best part is, I'm sharing the label with you! Just click here for the download!

Have a great one!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Easy Peasy Whole Brain Scoreboard & Rewards {Freebie}

This is year 2 of my attempt at Whole Brain Teaching. After watching a few Whole Brain videos last summer I was hooked and knew I wanted to try it. Last year I took the plunge and learned a lot as I went. This year I know more but am still learning.

One key part of Whole Brain Teaching is the Scoreboard. Students earn "happy" and "sad" points as a whole class. I call them "Oh Yeah" and "Oh No" points and the kids say oh yeah or oh no when I make a mark. The rule of thumb (that is AMAZING) is to keep the score within +/- 3 points. That way the kiddos aren't winning too easily or losing too much.

To match my new green/blue chevron theme this year I made my own scoreboard. I made a few colors that you can grab here as a freebie.


I laminated my scoreboard so that I can use a dry erase marker on it every day. It hangs with magnets on the chalkboard behind my chair at our meeting area. I find that it's extremely useful when I'm teaching on the carpet (which I do a lot of) and it's not hard to walk over and mark points on when my kiddos are at their desks.

At the end of the day if there are more "Oh Yeah" points the kiddos get a prize. Last year I started with some small prizes and then had the kiddos earn one extra minute of recess for every day they "won". Once they reached 15 minutes we would use them.

This year I decided I really wanted to emphasize the small rewards to start with to really get them motivated and hooked. Through some searching and brainstorming (and looking at what I have in my classroom) I came up with some fun rewards that are very simple. It's key that they are easy, don't cost anything to me, and don't take up a lot of time.

This is such a simple one. I grab one of my coveted Scento Markers and give each student a "smelly circle" on their hand. 

I put my easy button on a desk next to my door and each student gets to push it as they leave for the day. They loved this one!

Turn up the music and dance! I play some fun music (Kidz Bop on Pandora) and let them air guitar and dance their hearts out for a minute.

Simple yet my second graders still like it. 

We use Brain Pop Jr all the time in our classroom. It's so educational and fun! The kids start humming along when they hear the intro music. Since they love it so much I figured, hey why not make it a reward? I let one student pick a favorite video and we all watch on the ipad.

I haven't tried this one yet but I'm pretty sure my kiddos would enjoy it. :)

What simple rewards do you use in your classroom? I'd love to hear in the comments!