Sunday, August 25, 2013

Special Delivery

   I wanted to end our week with a BANG and have my kiddos excited to come back to school on Monday. So they were so excited when our vice principal came through the door during our read aloud with this...

   As you can see many of my kiddos were excited and some were a little scared. We started by looking at the shipping box which had a bunch of Live Animal stickers on it, holes all over the box, and a return label from Antarctica. I just happened to have an anchor chart (my kiddos didn't even question the coincidence) where we made predictions as to what was in the box. My kiddos then went back to their chairs and began working on a recording sheet.

   This little cutie drew a picture of his prediction in the matching Live Animal shipping box. He was hoping it was a puppy. As a class we used clues on the shipping box and wrote them on the recording sheet; from Antarctica, animal, and wild. My kiddos then used their schema and clues from the box to come up with a new prediction as to what was in the box. As a whole class we wrote our new guesses back on our anchor chart.
   Please disregard the spelling of snow leopard. By this time we were 45 minutes into our lesson, my kiddos were so excited they were all over the place, and I swear the August heat in my classroom was 150 degrees and playing with my brain. I was amazed at how much their predictions changed and it reflected the three clues we discovered. Now the fun part. Time to open the package!!!
   Can you just handle the cuteness?!? They swore they heard sounds coming from the box. After we got back in our circle it was time for Ms. White to cut open the box. We found this first...

   It was a letter sealed in a manila envelope with a sticker on the outside from the World Animal Organization. The label matched the same label as the outside of the shipping box. My kiddos were so silent you could hear a pin drop as I read the enclosed letter from "Dr. Joe." We learned that he had sent us a special animal that we were in charge of taking care of. He even mentioned that each of my kiddos could take it home every weekend and write about their adventures together. We pulled out a small animal carrier, opened the door, and found a baby...
   For the life of me I cannot find one picture that I took with the cute little penguin! It was probably because my kiddos were ohhhhing and ahhhhing over the little guy. We also noticed in his carrier that he had several penguin books, a penguin puzzle, and a writing journal for each kiddo to take home. Before we ended our lesson (and had the difficult task of choosing who he went home with first) we decided to vote on his name. It came down to Flipper, Happy Feet, and Fluffy. My kiddos wrote their choice on a ballot and we tallied them all up. And the winner was......
   It was so fun to watch my kiddos tell all the kids out on the playground what had just been delivered to our classroom. I am pretty sure they went home excited to share our activity and ready to come back on Monday to hear about Happy Feet's weekend adventures!
   You can get this take home writing unit in my TPT store. All the labels for the shipping box are provided, mock letters, various writing journal pages, anchor chart pieces, recording sheets, pictures of my lesson, lesson ideas, and more are included. Click on the image below to go to my store.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our First Week in Review

   WOW! This first week back has flown by. Thank goodness because I think my classroom kiddos have passed some germs to my three month kid-free body zone. I woke up this morning with a slight fever and sore throat. BOO!
   At least we had a great start to the school year. After learning about math tools vs. toys we learned about the importance of cooperative groups. Almost everything my teammates and I do are in a cooperative group setting. It is important to us for our kiddos to learn how to share and properly communicate with one another. We practiced our cooperative group skills with Amy Lemons Silent Puzzles. Our kiddos worked in groups to try and put a puzzle together without talking. After a few stops and getting frustrated at their peers for talking, my kiddos got into the groove of working together without making sounds. I was so amazed how some of them even came up with hand signals instead of talking.
Silent Puzzles
look and listen to how silent they are
   My kiddos also learned about mathematicians this week. We made cute little boy and girl mathematicians and wrote what they do in a talking bubble (also from Amy Lemons). My teammates and I hung-up all of our second grade mathematicians as you walk down the elementary hall. They all turned out so cute!
   The first week was all about learning procedures and routines too. After learning about our classroom Peace Place my kiddos learned about the talking stick. We discussed how Native Americans used talking sticks in their tribes when communicating. My kiddos got to make their own talking sticks to take home. We role-played various scenarios of when we would need to use the talking stick. 
   My teammates and I were also excited to begin introducing the 7 Habits and Leader in Me. We taught our kiddos how to shake hands and say good morning when walking in the door. We also introduced our Leadership Data Notebooks. (you can read about them here) Before introducing habit one next week we exposed our kiddos to the meaning of habits, paradigms, and principles through plus/delta anchor charts, various read aloud, and hands on activities. I decided to create a leadership wall right outside of our classroom door to hang-up all of our activities and crafts we plan on making.
Our habits +/delta anchor chart
(each of the kids at the top have a letter on them to spell LEADERS)
   We ended the week with a special delivery. More to come tomorrow about what was in the box!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day Jitters...I Think Not!

   When I woke up this morning with the best nights sleep in weeks I was kind of nervous I was not nervous to start the new school year. My kiddos are AMAZING! It is just day one, but they are all so sweet and polite. It helps if you have some jitter juice to make all those nerves go away!
   The one thing I always realize the first day of school is how long procedures, routines, and expectations take. I swear my voice is so rasp from talking so much today. I have not talked so much in forever, although my husband would beg to differ. When we finally got to the real teaching today I was so excited to use Amy Lemons Let's Get Started {Beginning of the Year Activities} pack. Today my kiddos got to play and explore with different math tools we will use this year. They wrote on their recording sheets what they thought the tools would be used for.
 Base Ten Pieces
 Unfix Cubes
 Pattern Blocks

Clocks, dice, and coins
   Tomorrow we will review these math tools and then complete Amy's tools vs. toys sort. Well last nights great sleep better carry over tonight because this teachers tired!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School TPT Sale

   It's here! The Teachers pay Teachers Back to School sale. To help celebrate my wonderful Back to School night on Friday meeting all my new kiddos my whole TPT store will be on sale for two days. Click on the image below (thank you The 3AM Teacher) to go to my store and use the promo code to get an extra percentage off.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Classroom Pictures

   I was a little stressed when I walked into my classroom this morning after receiving four new students on Friday and planning the first two weeks of activities with my teammates, but after a full days work in my classroom I am ready!!! I think. I took as many pictures as I could before they kicked me out of the building.
 This is a look into my room from my classroom door.
 This is the view from my desk.
This is the view from my guided reading table.
So let's start the tour by my desk...
    I am so excited to put my new i-Pad in that drawer that was purchased this summer on my Donor's Choose account. The blank drawer will "hopefully" be for another i-Pad that is on my account.
    I HATE having things on my desk. So this is what it looks like during the school year too with the addition of my plan book. To the right of my computer monitor is my Substitute binder and above my keyboard is my chevron marker and pencil/pen/scissor cans from Target dollar spot. You can see the top of my cubbies which holds my homework and finished work baskets and my bathroom passes. There is a blue and pink hand sanitizer bottle that my kiddos will put on their desk to show me that they are in the bathroom. They will put a little squirt in their hands when they come back...just in case!!!
    My new Lakeshore rolling easel. Another Craigslist find this summer for $40. To the right is my filing cabinet which is turned. I will use this magnetic surface as my AR check-in. There are four computer clipart pictures at the top and each of the circles has a kiddos name. My kiddos will move their circle under the computer when they are ready to AR test. When they are done, they will move their circle back down and let the kiddos know below them that it is their turn. This worked WONDERS for my kiddos last year. No fighting over computers.
   Here are my whiteboard baskets for each of my colored tables. Each basket has whiteboards, dry erase markers, and erasers (AKA face scrubbers from Dollar Tree). The black basket in the back is holding all of my sight word game bags.
   The white rolling cart holds extra community supplies; crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, and scissors.
   My best purchase over the summer. My new 30 slot cubbies. If you didn't read my earlier post this summer I found this beauty on Craigslist for $100. LOVE!!!
   To the left of my cubbies on the wall is my Math Focus Wall.
 Number of the Day, place value pocket chart, and week calendar with weather
Here is a look from the side of my Promethean board.
      This is where we do the majority of our learning. That is my large carpet (Donor's Choose purchase) all my kiddos mingle on and our Promethean board. I am lucky that mine can move up and down so that's why it is really low right now. Below the Promethean board is my Literacy & Math Take Home bags. You can read about them here and get them in my TPT store. I cannot wait for my kiddos to start taking them home! To the left of my Promethean board is my Comprehension Beanie Babies and reading tools.
    The second yellow sign is where I write what comprehension strategy we are working on. We use this during our Walk to Read block and writing block.
    These are reading tools my kiddos can use while they read to self or read to someone. I have fluency phones (Lakeshore Learning), various pointers, big book glasses, and reading buddies.
   Here is one of my favorite parts of my classroom library. I have a lot of books!!! But I LOVE books and think you can never have too many. I want my kiddos to feel like they are in a bookstore and have so many choices. Each of my books is labeled with AR level and a sticker to show which bin they belong in. Each bin is labeled with the matching sticker and is themed. I spent a lot of time organizing my library two years ago and it has made my classroom life so much easier.
   This is my Literacy Focus Wall. In the middle of the green pocket charts is where I plan on hanging my anchor charts we make. Each of the pocket charts will hold our spelling words and vocabulary words we are learning.
   To the left of my Literacy Wall is my new Science Focus Wall. I did not have a science wall last year and I am so excited to have one this year as we are planning to do a lot of science/non-fiction writing.
    Under my Science Focus Wall is my Calming Spot.
 And my Calming Basket. You can read about them here to get your own.
   Here is my second favorite spot in my classroom. My Writing Center. On the top cupboard shelves are my "Do You Have a Writer's Eye?" posters and our second grade NO Excuse words in the two blue pocket charts. On the counter I have just the basics for the beginning of the year. A small white pull-out drawer of red pens and highlighters, black sorting shelves holding colored construction paper, and two black baskets which will hold Etch-e-sketches and fancy paper. Each week I will put themed/holiday items out, stickers, stamps, etc. I also have writing resources below the counter and my writing center table.
    To the left of my writing center is where my kiddos hang-up their jackets and backpacks. Here is all of their Walk to Read bags.
    Right next to the kiddos hooks is my behavior corner. This is my behavior stoplight and our Peace Place with Talking Stick.
   My kiddos will get to make their own talking stick the first week of school.
Here is the wall to the right when you walk in my classroom door.
 You can read and get my Leadership Lanyards and Data Notebooks by clicking on the images below.
 Here are my word work activities and games. I switch them out every two weeks.
    My kiddos can use these clipboards, sentence and lap whiteboards, and markers with the word work activities.
    Here is my Listen to Reading shelves. The top shelf has CD players, headphones, and books with CDs. And the bottom shelf holds all six of my Leapfrog Tags (Donor's Choose purchase).
    This is the cart I am going to use to hold all of the writing notebooks and folders for my teammates kiddos. We are switching kids again this year for writing.
   In each of the picture frames is a subject and I will write the objective on the glass each morning with a dry erase marker. Above the yellow pocket chart is where I will write the date, our schedule is in the pocket chart, and the weeks Special schedule is below.

    To the left of my objective's is my F.A.C.E. Wall that we will use during Walk to Read and writing.
    This is behind my guided reading and math table. On the whiteboard is my Decoding Beanie Babies and the shelf houses all of my word work games. The four colored bins on top of the shelf will hold the materials for each of my guided math groups.
    To the left of my word work shelves is all of the buckets for Bucket Fillers. The grey chevron cup holds all of our papers to Fill a Bucket.
   Here is my mobile math cart that I purchased at Target this summer. I love that I can move it around the room to wherever my kiddos need it. Right now it is sitting under my F.A.C.E. wall. The top shelf is holding all of the choices for Math with Someone. The second shelf is holding all of our math books for kiddos to read when they are working on Math with Self. And the last shelf is holding all of the bins and recording sheets for Math Work.
 Math with Self
  Number of the Day recording sheet for Math with Self.
Math with Someone games
Math Work
Math Writing story problem pieces and recording sheets when journal pages are completed.
My word wall. Each consonant is a tree and vowels are owls.

   And to finish my classroom tour my kiddos At Home Reading necklaces. Every time my kiddos return their reading log I track their time. Each kiddo gets one bead on their necklace for every 100 minutes read at home. I found last year that my kiddos would read more than 20 minutes a night so they could get more beads. They get to take them home at the end of the year. These are from Oriental Trading Company.

    I wanted to end with outside my classroom. Because the 7 Habits symbol is a tree I made two whimsical trees to hold my kiddos work. I plan on changing out the colors of the circles (leaves) when the seasons change.
 Here is where my kiddos will hang their work.
   And I wanted to share my awesome teammates boards outside their doors too. Teamie One's theme is the jungle so she made a palm tree keeping with the 7 Habits theme.
These cute little monkey clips will hold her kiddos work.
   And here is Teamie Two's tree. Her classroom theme is owls. I love how elegant, but simple her tree is. 
Her kiddos work will be hung from these little owl clips.
   WOW!!! Classroom overload, but I hope you enjoyed taking a journey through my room as much as I had putting it all together.