Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday

It's Therapeutic Thursday with Blog Hoppin' and I'm linking up again! 

I relax by: 

running - I'm currently training for a full marathon (26.2 miles - ahh!), so I typically run 4-5 times per week. I love my running club and couldn't imagine running so many miles by myself. The picture below is after my first half marathon.  

traveling - I LOVE to travel and spend a majority of my free time during the school year and summer traveling to new places. The picture on the top is from a recent trip to Japan. The bottom two pictures are from Lake Tahoe. Yeah, I'm pretty relaxed in that last picture...

ABCs & 123s, 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again. Today's topic: Where I Teach Wednesday! 

Take a look at where I spend my days from August - May. Ocean view from my classroom window! It's not always this blue...

Left: My reading center. I really wish my reading center could be close to my classroom library, but with the way it is set up, it's just not possible. Each day, a different group can choose to read in the reading center. They LOVE sitting on the pillows and beach chair.                   

Right: Classroom library! I saw the children's book bunting idea on Pinterest and I had to make it for my classroom. I used the book jackets from books I previously purchased at Kohl's. You can read about Kohl's current book collection here

Left: Student mailboxes - Every student has his/her own mailbox. This really cuts down on the amount of time passing out papers. Every Friday, my aide files all of the graded papers to be sent home and she puts them in the mailboxes. 

Right: Writing Wall & Publishing Table - We love writer's workshop in 2nd grade. We work through every step in the writing process during all of our writing projects. The publishing table is where I place special paper, book covers, etc. for when it comes time to publish. It is empty now, but will be bursting with publishing supplies in the next few weeks. 

Top: Grab Your Passport! Every student has a passport in class. Passports are stamped for making good choices and excellent student behavior. We study the continents in 2nd grade and they love looking at all of the maps. 

Bottom: Bulletin boards that are changed throughout the year, based on topics we are studying. 

Front of the classroom - SMARTboard 

 I think I've shared enough pictures for one post. Where do you teach every day? 

ABCs & 123s, 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Technology Tip Tuesday. It's Teacher Week!

I love using Skype in my classroom! The possibilities for using this in the classroom are endless. Listed below are ways I use Skype in my classroom every year: 

  • My grandmother speaks with my class about what life was like when she was in 2nd grade. This is perfect at the beginning of the school year, because our first social studies unit is learning about life long ago. We study schools, families, traditions and transportation of the past. My grandmother went to school in a one room school house and my students LOVE listening to her talk about her childhood. 
  • As part of religion class, we Skype with missionaries. The students are very curious to learn about life in a foreign country. They always have great questions to ask! 
  • As part of National Lutheran Schools Week we Skype with a different Lutheran school class every day. The students love connecting with other classes across the country. We tell each other about special activities and our crazy dress days. 
  • We learn about other states! We play "20 Questions" with other classes to figure out where they are located in the United States. I encourage my students to use geography terms we have studied to help them figure out where the other class is located. Some example questions: What state is located to the north of your state? What state is located to the west of your state? We also learn about our state flower, tree, bird and flag so I encourage my students to ask about those identifying factors as well. They love to learn about other states! It's a fun geography lesson. 
  • We take virtual field trips! Last year, we traveled to Indiana to watch a snowstorm. Some of my students have never seen snow! 
  • When we publish a special writing project in writer's workshop we share our finished products with other classes. One of the most important parts of the writing process is sharing. 
The activities listed above are just a few of the ways I use Skype in my classroom. Do you use Skype in your classroom? How do you use Skype to supplement your lessons? 

ABCs & 123s, 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Blog Hoppin'

It's the first week of school and I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Hop on over and check out some great teaching blogs! You're sure to find something you can implement in your classroom right away. 
My must haves this school year are: 

1. My Cricut machine. I'm going to use this a lot this year! I made my own birthday chart to match my Dr. Suess theme.  

2. My SMARTboard! I use my SMARTboard every single day in my classroom. My students love it and so do I. SMART Exchange is a wonderful, wonderful website with interactive SMARTboard lessons for every subject and grade level. 

 3. Dr. Suess items from the Target Dollar Spot. Not everything I purchased is pictured. I stocked up and went a little crazy! I really love the "Cat in the Hat" and "Thing 1 & Thing 2" whiteboards. I added magnets to the back and have them hanging on my desk. 

4. "Getting to Know You" activity for the first day of school. My students loved walking around the room this morning and asking their friends questions. We learned a lot about each other today!

5. Teacher toes! I saw a similar idea on Pinterest that I neglected to pin. (It was for painted fingernails and had a different teacher design on each one.) I got a pedicure this weekend and had my wonderful pedicurist paint pieces of notebook paper complete with an A+! One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing! :) And 2nd graders notice EVERYTHING about your appearance. I thought it would be a fun way to start the school year. 

What are some of your must haves this school year? Be sure to link up or leave a comment.

ABCs & 123s, 


Sunday, August 19, 2012


The room started to shake. Pictures fell off the wall. Glass shattered. Books tumbled off the book case and across the floor. Water splashed out of the fish bowl. I held on to a nearby ledge until the shaking came to a stop. 15 seconds of violent shaking.  It measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. It was terrifying. And it happened last week. 

In the midst of staff meetings, setting up my classroom and Power School training, I decided to head to the California Academy of Sciences for their special educator night. Over 800 educators from the Bay Area were in attendance. Nearly 15 minutes after we walked through the doors the room began to shake and it didn't stop for several seconds. 

If you've watched the news the past few days, you probably haven't heard about a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in San Francisco. And that's because there wasn't one. What I described above is actually a current exhibit at the Academy of Sciences. One of the most popular parts of the exhibit is the Shake House - a replica of a Victorian-era home. While inside the Shake House, visitors view a 10 minute video that describes the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that happened in 1989 and the 7.9-magnitude earthquake of 1906. After the video is finished, visitors walk to the next room where they experience shaking similar to that of both the 1989 and 1906 earthquakes that so violently shook the city. The house is complete with a view of the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square. You can almost imagine yourself in one of those homes as the earthquake struck. 

Both earthquakes devastated the city. During the 1989 earthquake, part of the Bay Bridge collapsed. In 1906, nearly 3,000 people were killed and 500 city blocks were destroyed by fire. 

I've spoken with several people who were living in San Francisco when the earthquake struck in 1989. A coworker's husband was stuck underground aboard BART (the Bay Area's underground transit system) on his way home from work. Others recall getting ready to watch the third game of the World Series, where The San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics were scheduled to play each other. As the warm up was happening, the jolt was broadcast on live television. 

It was interesting to learn about the earthquakes that many San Franciscans still talk about today. I've only experienced a few small earthquakes since moving to the city, but people often say the next "Big One" is just around the corner. 

Today is the first day of a new school year! One of the procedures we are required to teach the students on the first day is what to do during an earthquake. I yell "EARTHQUAKE!" and the students quickly get under their desks. (They love earthquake drills because they get to go under their desks! How often do you get to do that?) In addition to earthquake drills, each student has a red survival kit in his/her cubby. Each kit contains water, food, glow sticks, basic first aid supplies and a blanket. We've never had to use the survival kits, but they are there for us to use in an emergency. 

What are some of the procedures you teach your students on the first day of school? 

ABCs & 123s,