Friday, March 1, 2013

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE!

I'm loving this weekly link up with Doodle Bugs! 

1. We've been working really hard on inflectional endings for the past week. We started with our scavenger hunt and they have made a lot of progress. One student came up to me and said, "Look! Cutting is in this sentence. The author had to double the t before adding 'ing' because it's a short vowel word and only has one consonant!" I know they really get it when they are pointing out the phonics rules in their daily reading! 

2. We're having fun with non-fiction text features in reading. This week we focused on photographs, headings, captions, charts and diagrams. What better way to learn about these text features than by reading a lot of non-fiction? They are searching for specific features in the pictures below. Call it a scavenger hunt and you can't go wrong!

3. We finished our miracles unit in religion and each student wrote his/her own acrostic poem. You can pick up a free template here. I love using acrostic poems at the end of a unit. You can read more about my love for these poems here

4. We've been doing a lot of revising and proofreading in writing workshop. A pocket thesaurus and dictionary is what every writer needs!

5. I was The Cat in the Hat for Read Across America Day. We had a fun time celebrating the wonderful books of Dr. Suess. 

Be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs and tell us about your week! 


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let Them Write on Their Desks!

Do you want to add instant fun to any lesson? Let your students write on their desks! 

One of my favorite activities in 2nd grade was when our teacher let us "write" on our desks with shaving cream. We practiced math problems, spelling words and parts of speech. Something about not doing it with pencil and paper was exhilarating, exciting and loads of fun. I haven't let this year's class use the shaving cream on their desks (just yet), but they've been having tons of fun writing on their desks with dry erase markers. I've seen the idea floating around the internet for awhile now and I knew I had to give it a try with my own class. 

My students couldn't believe I was actually telling, prompting and encouraging them to write on their desks. You can use baby wipes or wet paper towels to quickly and easily wipe the marker off the desks. No traces of marker are left behind!

Before we did this the first time I explained that the markers were very special. They could only write on their desks with these specific markers and only when I told them it was okay. 

I walked the basket around the room and each child chose a marker while his/her eyes were closed. I didn't want any fighting about the colors - "But I-I-I-I (whiny voice) wanted green!" I told them up front that complainers would not be allowed to participate. Guess what? There were no complaints at all. I run a pretty tight ship! :) 

We've been working really hard on two digit addition and subtraction - with and without regrouping. Sometimes they forget to look at the symbol and other times they borrow when they don't need to. I thought this would be a fun way to review these types of math problems. It saves on paper too. I do teach in San Francisco after all, so I'm always looking for ways to go green in the classroom! 

We've also been working on different ways to show a number - expanded form, place value, base ten blocks, etc. There are so many ways to represent a single number. 

If you haven't done this in your classroom yet - what are you waiting for? 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Hall Pass Link Up

I'm linking up with Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for a fun Hall Pass link up! I've already used a few tips from other teachers in my classroom the past week. 

P is for Product - I only have one freebie up on Teachers Pay Teachers right now, but I'm working on updating some units to upload. I'll share one of my favorite purchases so far - A Cupcake for the Teacher's Presidents' Day Craftivities. I purchased the templates last year and was planning on using them again this year. (Check out the crafts - they are super cute. I have my students complete a research project to accompany the crafts.) I was pleasantly surprised when I received a notification that the packet was updated. The new graphic organizers have been put to good use in our George Washington and Abraham Lincoln research centers. You can see them in action below. My students are loving research time. The clipart is adorable and the girls in my class all squealed "awwwwww!" as soon as I showed them where we would be recording facts about the two presidents. 

A is for Area - Two of my favorite areas in my classroom are the main library and the reading center. I have the students divided by reading groups and we use a clothespin system to keep track of who gets to read in the reading center each day. A few years ago my class voted to name the bear Sushi. They love sitting in the beach chair with him, curled up with a good book. 

S is for Signal - We do a lot of transitions to the Jeopardy "Think" song. My students know when the music is over they need to be ready for the next activity. I catch them humming the tune all the time and I think it's hysterical! I also use the simple "1,2,3 Eyes on Me," - "1,2 Eyes on You!" And, you can't forget the bell! When they hear the bell, they know to stop what they are doing and listen. Sometimes I accidentally hit it when I'm putting something on my desk and they all turn to look at me. They are trained and know what to do for every signal I use in my classroom. 

My friend over at Woods & Company designed the adorable picture above that greets my students when they turn in their homework every morning. It matches my Dr. Suess classroom theme perfectly! 

S is for Sanity - I run to keep my sanity. No matter how many papers need to be graded or lesson plans need to be written, you can almost always find me taking a run every day. The picture below was taken on my Saturday run this past weekend. 

Tell me more about your classroom! 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Swimming in a Sea of Hearts

Remember my post about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative last fall? Our hallways were overtaken with mosquitos. Now - we're swimming in a sea of hearts! Every year, we pick a few different people or organizations to benefit from our weekly chapel offerings. For the past few months we've been collecting our chapel offerings for a former student and his family. He suffered a terrible fall off the side of a cliff last summer and his family is working hard to make his house handicap accessible. 

For every $10 that is brought in we add a small heart to the wall. The students LOVE to see hearts being added each week. We're very close to reaching our goal of $6,000!

If you want to motivate your students and encourage them to meet a goal - show them their progress! They will most certainly rise to the occasion.