Spread Some Love

Tomorrow is February and we all know what that means!!!... Love is in the air!!!


At my school, our staff does February Secret Pals.... kind of like Secret Santa but for Valentine's Day. It's just a fun way to keep each other motivated, and it's super fun to give and receive cute little items in your box each day!


For one week, we spread some love to our secret pals by placing five small items in their box, one for each day of the week. On Friday, you get to find out who your secret pal is and thank them! It definitely adds some fun to the week, and it's always exciting to sneak around and spoil your secret pal. :) 


Here is the form we use to organize secret pals and give each other ideas of what to get one another.



You can get a copy of it HERE if you'd like. (If you want the Word Doc to edit it, just leave me your email and let me know :)


I know we spend so much of our time with our students and put all of our hearts into the kiddos and our classrooms....I think it's so important to celebrate each other too! After all, we're in this together, right? :-)


Does your staff do anything fun for Valentine's Day!?!


xoxoxo

Today...

Today...


One of my sweet little kiddies threw a rock at another kiddo's head. (Don't worry- no one was seriously injured.)


and...


Another one of my darling angels clogged the toilet in the boy's bathroom with too much toilet paper. We had to have a class talk about the appropriate amount of toilet paper to use (demonstration with a roll of toilet paper in all!) That was fun!


:-)


Therefore, 

this week! 


Anything exciting happen for you today!?!

Tag! You're it!!!

Latricia at Wild About Second Grade, Stacy at Second Grade Paradise, Julia at Loving and Learning in Pre-K, and Haley at Following Optimism in 2nd Grade tagged me!






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This game of tag has been going around the bloggy teacher world over the weekend so I am excited to participate! Thanks girls! :-)


Here are the rules:


1. Post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the tagger sent for you in their post, and create 12 new questions for the people you tag.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them.


Here are 12 facts about me (this is going to be hard...)


1. I don't eat very healthy (I wish I did... :-/ ). My favorite is Taco Bell. I know, so bad...
2. I love shows like Law & Order and Criminal Minds.
3. I have been married for almost four years.
4. We live down the street (less than a mile) from my in-laws (love them!!!).
5. I am a big Chargers/Padre fan... I know, I know...
6. I am scared of reptiles- like lizards and snakes. Yuck!!!
7. We have annual zoo passes.
8. I am a sucker for reality TV.
9. I can't sleep in past 8am.
10. I get my lunch and outfit for the next day ready the night before.
11. I got married at the same place my principal did! 
12. I love living in Southern California because this is what I did over the weekend:




Sat in my backyard with the puppies, blogging and planning and catching up on homework. It was 81 degrees out! The neighbors were in their pool! Love it!!!


Here are my answers to Latricia's questions.


1. My favorite hobby is playing with my dogs and spending time with family.... Is that a hobby?!? Between work and school and everything else, I find myself with little time for anything else. :)
2. I have no children yet.
3. My most embarrassing teaching moment was when the superintendent came to visit my classroom.... on a Friday afternoon... with ONLY 30 minutes of school left! What did he expect!?! We were all doing "Free Choice Friday" and playing working hard on educational standards-based games activities. I didn't even have my shoes on!!! Very. Embarrassing! I was surprised I got my job back the next school year...
4. It depends on what season it is- winter is usually professional development books and school books and research articles :-(, and summer is full of girlie novels and beach reads :) Love summertime!!!
5. Harry Potter- definitely! :)
6. My favorite meal is anything homemade...I don't really cook, so when I get to eat a homemade meal I am happy! :) 
7. If I could visit anywhere, I would love to go back to Napili Kai in Hawaii. We went there for our honeymoon and it was incredible!!!


8. If I could go back in time and meet one person, I would love to go back and spend more time with my grandma. :)
9. The last movie I saw in the theater was Crazy Stupid Love. It was GREAT!!!


10. I am always on time. I freak out if I am going to be late!!! Yikes!
11. One person I admire is my teaching partner, who teaches right next door to me! I have learned so much from her about being a great teacher and friend. :)
12. My favorite kind of music is anything. I'm not really picky. My favorite album on my iPod right now is Colbie Callat- All of You.




Here are the answer's to Stacy's questions:


1. I have been blogging for about a month now. I'm a newbie blogger. :) I initially started blogging to document the amazing year I'm having and the great kiddos I have this year...like a virtual journal.  
2. Favorite ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough from Baskin Robbins.
3. Lisa at Stories from Second is my blogging addition, plus many others!!! I am always excited to read her posts and have gotten some amazing ideas from her! 


Stories From Second


4. Favorite Pinterest find:


I just love this- and it's so true!


5. Most memorable freebie was Lisa's Double Digit Addition & Subtraction Scoot. This is where I first learned about the "Scoot" around the room activity and fell in LOVE with it! 
6. Worst experience as a teacher would be: When kids throw up in the classroom, not knowing if I was going to get my job back each year, and difficult parents.  
7. Best experience as a teacher would be seeing my kiddos smiling faces every morning (I have an awesome class this year!!!). Seeing the lightbulb go on is priceless.  
8. I became a teacher to make a difference (cheesy, I know...) 
9. Besides blogging, I am obsessed with corgis! :-) I have 3!




10. I feel the best when I'm at home. 
11. I met Chris Harrison from the Bachelor once! 
12. I can't live without reality TV (Bachelor, Teen Mom, Real Housewives)!!!


Here are my answer's to Julia's questions:


1. My favorite subject to teach is writing.
2. I do have a SMARTBoard in my classroom and LOVE it!
3. I don't use songs as often as I would like to in my classroom. :-(
4. I am married to my prince charming. 
5. I am not picky and listen to all sorts of music. (See Latrcia's #12) 
6. This is my fifth year teaching. Two years in 4th and 3 years in 2nd. 
7. One of my resolutions is to continue going to the gym at least twice a week. So far, so good :)
8. If I wasn't teaching, I would be a zookeeper- I've always wanted to be a zookeeper and work with animals at the zoo. :) Strange, huh? (I'm pretty sure being a teacher is very similar to being a zookeeper, though ;-)
9. I get my inspiration for creating stuff from all of the other amazing teacher bloggers out there- no TPT store yet, though. 
10. My all time favorite TV show is Friends. I have all ten seasons on DVD. 
11. I have three corgi dogs. :) :) :)
12. I think Pinterest would be a good recipe finder. Although I rarely ever cook- that was another one of my resolutions (so far, not so good on that one...). And my "Recipe" board on Pinterest consists of one dessert recipe. Very sad...  


Here are my answers to Haley's questions:


1. My favorite place to eat is Sun Tacos- a little Mexican food place by our house. Yum! :)
2. My favorite accessory is my wedding ring... I don't wear much jewelry. 
3. My favorite game to play is Sequence. 
4. I love to spend time with my family and when I'm not blog stalking.
5. I always pack my lunch. I learned my lesson one day when I forgot my lunch and had to have the driest, rock-hard chicken nuggets in my life!
6. I love to read books anywhere- a paper book or on my iPad. 
7. No such thing as morning announcements here, we are on a tight schedule and we are writing within 5 minutes of the bell ringing!
8. I love the car that I have- Toyota Rav4... I call it the Ravasaurus!
9. I'm even- 10 boys and 10 girlies.
10. Biggest indulgence is Taco Bell.  
11. Dog person for sure! 
12. My big plans for the summer are clean out the garage and relax at home, my favorite thing to do!!!


And here are my questions (I'll make this as easy as possible :)


1. Dogs or cats?
2. Sweet or sour?
3. FRIENDS or Seinfeld?
4. Morning person or night owl?
5. Coke or Pepsi?
6. High heels or flip flops?
7. Run or walk?
8. Chocolate or vanilla?
9. Summer or winter?
10. Plain or Peanut M&Ms?
11. Jeans or dress?
12. Swim in a pool or bounce on a trampoline?


And here are the people I've tagged:


Lisa at Live Laugh and Love to Learn
LaKeta at The Polka Dotted Desk
Emily at Second Grade Silliness
Lisa at Stories From Second
Sara at Smiling in Second
Miss DeCarbo at Second Grade Sugar and Spice
Ms. Smith at Adventures of Ms. Smith
Ginger at Ginger Snaps
The Bubblegum Tree
Traci at Dragonflies in First
Christina at Live. Laugh. Teach.
Heather at Heather's Heart 


If you made it to the end of this, thanks for reading! Hi Mom!!!


Tag!!! Hope you have a great Monday!

Digital Learning Day!

Did you know February 1st is Digital Learning Day!?!?! How exciting!!!


In honor of Digital Learning Day, I thought I would link up with Cara at Teaching...My Calling and share one thing I do with technology in my classroom. You can find the linky party here and check out some amazing ideas from incredible teachers!


We are lucky enough to have a class set of iPod Touches. LOVE them!!! I have the kiddies publish their writing, and then they are able to read their writing and their friend's writing in iBooks.


Here's how we do this:


1. I have the kids type their writing into Notes on the iPods. Then they email me the completed note.




2. I copy the text from the email and paste it into a Pages document.


3. I export the document as an ePub file and save the ePub file to my desktop so I can find it.




4. I open iTunes and drag the ePub file into iTunes.


5. When I sync the iPods, I make sure the kids' books are checked to synced to the iBook library.


6. Voila! The kids can read their writing, and read their friend's writing (which they love!!!). They are now published authors!


7. They can also highlight words, phrases, or sentences, write on virtual "sticky notes", and look up unknown words instantly.


You can read an Apple article here on using Pages to create ePub documents. Apple is also coming out with iAuthor soon, which will make it much easier to create, publish, and read books in iBooks.


Have a great week!!! :-)

My Favorite Followers (All of them!)


I am so flattered and so honored to receive the Favorite Follower Award from one of my great bloggy friends Lisa at Stories from Second (amazing!!!).


Stories From Second


Lisa- you are probably one of the reasons I continued to blog after I started... your comments and support have been so supportive and encouraging. More than you know! I always know that someone (besides my mom...) will read my rantings and stories and have something nice to say, thanks to you! :) Thank you!!! Sooo... am I allowed to pass the award back to you...?!? Because I adore you and you're definitely one of my most favorit-est followers!!! :-)


I would also love to pass it on to Ms. Smith at Adventures of Ms. Smith who always leaves such sweet comments!!!! (And I LOVE reading her blog too!)


and


Tammy at Forever in First who makes me feel like what I've posted is so great. :)



Thank you ladies!!!


It's crazy how excited I am when I see someone has commented or replied to a post!!! I appreciate all of the comments and support from all of you amazing teachers out there!!! If I could, I would list every single person's name who has ever left me a comment. Thank you! :-)


Thank goodness it's the weekend! I've got lots of planning, prepping, chores, and studying to do! Have a great one!!! :-)

What Makes Me Grouchy

Today we started our pre-writes for our next round of friendly letters. We are writing about what makes us grouchy. We read the story The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (love love love!!!). 


And then we started to brainstorm things that make us grouchy. 


Of course, (of course) one of the kids mentioned that picking up his dog's poop makes him grouchy. Sooooooo, we decided to think of a synonym for "poop", because we definitely wouldn't feel comfortable saying that word in front of the principal or the kindergartners! And we always really want try our hardest to be school-appropriate! One of my sweet little friends wanted to help out, and chimed in, "My dad told me a synonym for poop! Crap!!!" Wonderful. Now I have a classroom full of four seven year old (boys) who are laughing hysterically, ten who want to laugh but know it's wrong (girls), and six who have no idea what's going on (boys). 

After much discussion, we decided an appropriate word would be do-do (see below). (I'm glad my principal didn't pop on for a visit at that exact moment....!)


"When I have to pick up my dog's stinky do-do." (Love the picture :)

This was my favorite:



"It makes me grouchy when somebody tells me what to do, something that makes me grouchy is when my friend be's mean to me, and something that makes me really grouchy is when we all don't get along." Very sweet. 

I have my kiddos draw their three points before they even get to the prewrite. There's also lots of discussion, lots of talking, lots of oral language development. 

What do you do to get your kids ready to write??? :)

Tomorrow is Friday! Yipeee!!!

Penguin Wrap Up

Holy butterballs!!! (Yes- one of my students really shouted that out in a middle of a graphing lesson today!)- What a day!


We started the day with one of my turkeys sweet little kiddies complaining how "boooorrrrrrreeeeddddd" he was (I get it- they're seven. They're kids.) And it may have been because of the lack of sleep, or the million things on my to-do list that are not getting done, or that my stress level that is up to here, or it may have been because of the fact that I put my underwear on inside out today (on accident- I was that tired... I didn't even notice until lunchtime), but I just about lost it. I yelled kindly explained to him that I, and all other teachers, work very, very hard to make their lessons fun and exciting and engaging, and that we care so much about them. I then continued to ask him if he wanted me to cry. (Probably not the most professional thing to do, but whatever.) Because that's what I was about to do. Cry. Because I really do work hard and his comment was just not what I wanted or needed to hear at that moment. 


This all went down before 8am. The good news is, all of the other kids felt sorry for me that I was about to start crying so they were really nice to me for the rest of the day. ;) 


On a brighter note, we wrapped up our penguin unit! We finished our friendly letters, and here are some of my favorite quotes: 


"Penguins can't fly but they're birds and I feel sad that they can't fly." Me too, me too. Those poor penguins.


"I wish you and me could see one. That would be cool. And you know what would be real cool is that you could touch an emperor penguin and it bites you." Nice. These are supposed to be friendly letters. Geez. 

I also found a GREAT free app for our iPod touches called Pocket Penguins. 


I found the app at a great blog, Monkeying Around with Technology. You can read her post here!

The app was developed by the California Academy of Sciences and offers live views of its colony of African Penguins 24 hours a day. You can use three different cameras in the exhibit, including an underwater camera, and "watch for natural behaviors including courting, establishing and defending territories, and collecting nest materials. The next time a couple produces and begins incubating eggs, biologists plan to deploy a nest cam to share the egg incubation and chick rearing process." Check out the website here.  

I was a bit skeptical at first, but it turned out to be AMAZING!!! Here is a screen shot of the penguins:


Those are real penguins waddling around, jumping in the water, having some fun. The kids LOVED seeing this. And it's much cheaper (and less stressful!) than a field trip to Sea World. We even got to watch a live feeding with the keeper who told all of these amazing facts about the penguins! The kids were so engaged and loved every second of it.



I had the kiddies fill out an observation form while they observed the penguins. Here are a few:





Bored my you-know-what!!! 

Check!


Make it through rainy day schedule- CHECK!

Make it through an IEP meeting after school- CHECK!

Make it through my first night back at class- CHECK! 

What did you check off of your list today??? :-) 

Giraffes Can't Dance

I L-O-V-E the story Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. 



It is basically a story about a giraffe who isn't so great at dancing, but discovers it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks, as long as you are having fun and happy. My favorite line from the book is "Sometimes when you're different, you just need a different song." 


Some of my kids came up with the following themes for the story: 


"It's okay if you're different."
"As long as you are having fun that's all that matters." 
"We are all different and that's what makes us special." 


So I was super excited when I found an accompanying project here at an AMAZING art blog, Deep Space Sparkle. You can check it out the blog here:

Deep Space Sparkle

We created dancing giraffes!!! (Sorry about the poor quality of the picture ):  



First, we did a directed draw and created the giraffes, colored them, and outlined them with black Sharpies. 


Then we painted the backgrounds. 



The part I dislike the most tricky part was cutting all of the giraffes out. I do this for the kiddies since I know they might hack them to pieces have trouble with the cutting. I mean, look at this one.... really friend!?!?!



If you have a parent volunteer, they could help you with this!


Then we glue the giraffes to the background and voila! Gorgeous dancing giraffes. 


Of course we did writing to accompany the art, and we wrote about what makes us unique (and I forgot to take pictures of this). 


Some of my favorites: 


"I am unique because I hate mustard, and that's okay because not everyone has to like mustard." 


"I am unique because I can dance really great."


"I am unique because I have a pretty skin color not like anyone else's." 


"I unique because my whales are my favorite animal." 


And yes, all of the giraffes turned out just as unique as the kiddos. Check these out! 




Have a great Sunday!!!! :-) 

Cuteness

I think I've mentioned before I have an amazing group of students this year! They seriously have the biggest hearts I've ever seen in seven year olds! I'm pretty sure they genuinely care about each other. I try to remember every second of this, because we all know not all classes are like this. This blog has been a great way for me to do that, and keep an unofficial record of all the awesome things I am lucky enough to be a part of during the day.


For example,


one of my kiddies (who has some emotional issues) was very upset mom had to drop him off and leave for the day- I'm talking screaming and crying (so loud that we couldn't really hear anything). :-( Not one of my students gave him a funny look. Not one of them complained or got annoyed. Not one of them thought anything different or bad about about him. They just walked by and give him a pat on the back and said things like, "It's okay" or "I wish my mom could stay too." Seriously, completely unprovoked, this is what they said. And not just one of them. This was like four or five of them. How could you not have a good day after witnessing that...?!?! 


Of course, then these conversations occur, and I am wondering (as sweet as they are) WHAT?!?!?


Student A (frowning and very clearly distraught): I have the hiccups.
Me: Oh no,  honey. Go get a drink of water. They'll go away soon.
Student B (to Student A, after they've walked away): Do you know can die from hiccups!?!?!
Student A: What!?!?!
Student B: Yeah...
Student A (running up to me): Am I going to die from the hiccups!?!??!!?! (very worried, as though these might be her last moments. Her life was probably flashing before her eyes...)
Me: No sweetie, the hiccups will not kill you. I promise.


:)


In other news, I'm working on getting my very first unit posted on TpT. (I guess I need to finish it first, right)- I'm on it today! It's a Love Monster Antonym Activity pack with some great activities for your kiddies to practice antonyms.


There are also some great giveaways going on! Check out:


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and


Second Grade Sugar and Spice


Have a WONDERFUL WEEKEND!!! :-)
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