Saturday, March 31, 2012

In 20 Years

I am officially on Spring break! Two whole weeks off to rest and get ready for the home stretch of this school year! :-) I am so excited to catch up... on chores, seeing friends I haven't seen since Christmas, blog stalking, and so much more! 


Here is one of my very favorite art/writing projects we do all year!!! They always turn out adorable and they never fail to get some laughs from the adults!


I got the idea from Patty at Deep Space Sparkle. If you haven't checked out her blog, you SHOULD! It is full of amazing (and doable) art ideas for your classroom (even if you aren't very artistic like me!) She even has them organized by grade level!



Deep Space Sparkle

So...the kids first did their writing about what they would be in 20 years. Here's the template we used:




You can get this at TPT here

Here's a completed one: 



"In 20 years I will be 28 years old. 
I will live in a college dorm.
I will be a police officer 
and I will take bad guys to jail.
I will still love my family and I
will still love meat loaf.
I still won't want to eat spinach.
And most importantly, I will be happy."


The writing always turns out absolutely adorable! 

Then they drew what they would be in 20 years. 




They used an example I purchased from Deep Space Sparkle (from the "Fun with Self Portraits" pack!)

Then they colored it in with markers and outlined their self portraits with a black marker.





We painted the backgrounds, and a parent volunteer mounted them on construction paper and attached their writing. 

We had:




Police officers (love the handcuffs!) 




Race car drivers (love the 'stache! And the braces!!!) 



Marines (so grouchy!)



Ballerinas (adorable!) 




Artists (too cute!)



And football players (not just football players- quarterbacks!) among many other things!


Like I said, these are always a hit, you can keep them up as long as you want (i.e. until the end of the year because you're too lazy to change your bulletin boards LIKE ME!) because they're not holiday-ish (??? not a word! I know) and the kids love creating them!

Check back soon...I'm thinking give away in celebration of Spring break! :-)


Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Peek Inside My Classroom

Open House is over! Yipeeee! I had 14 (out of 21) families show up to celebrate all of my kiddo's hard work. It's always a hassle and super stressful to get the room ready, but I LoVe seeing the kids so excited and so proud to show their families around our classroom. 


And only one more day until my Spring break!!!! I can't wait!!!

Here are a few pictures of my classroom at it's best! :-)

View from the door (sorry about the glare!!!)


Our writing wall

One of the kiddo's desks

Our classroom library
(That rocking chair is a very popular spot! It came with my house! That's right- it was in the house we bought four years ago. I guess they didn't want it....??? I love it! And it gets lots of use!!!)

 Gorgeous flowers a parent brought in for us! And they smell just as good as they are beautiful!

Front of our classroom! (And if Kristin happens to be reading, they definitely have assigned seats on the carpet!!! :)



One of my FaVORitE art projects of the year! What we'll be in 20 years! I'll share more about this in another post! :-) 

I'm excited to share more about the fun projects we've been doing in class! I'll definitely have time for that over Spring break!!! 


Have a great Friday!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

What's in your pants?

Just a heads up- this post has absolutely nothing to do with teaching. But it does have to do with the funny conversations that make teaching such a blast. 


Take, for example, this conversation...


{Taking a spelling practice test}
Me: Number 6 is 'load.' As in, that truck is carrying a big load of bananas. 
Kiddo: Yeah! Like I have a load in my pants!!!
Everyone else: Hahahahahah!
Me: (Trying not to laugh) Um, not exactly...


Or this lovely little conversation... 


LMFAO is apparently very popular right now. Especially for my boy. They kept singing:


"I've got passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it..." 


Over and over and over again. I'm pretty sure (or maybe I'd just like to think) they didn't know exactly what that meant either. Because when I told them stop or else, they asked me why. I told them to ask their parents.  


I kept repeating to myself "Five more days. Five more days. I can do it. I can do it." (Until Spring break! Yipeee!) 


Hope you had a great Monday!!!


:-) 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Student Bloggers

Apparently, I have become so obsessed with blogging that I talked my kiddos into blogging too. :-) Our school website has a platform for us to have a classroom blog, and I was posting about once a month there for our parents. Then, I had a brilliant idea! Why not let the kids take charge and blog!!! So I hyped it up (as only teachers know how to do :) and got my kids all excited about it. Here's a post from last week from one of my kiddos: 

They are also able to add pictures to their blog entry...this little guy added the cutest picture of him and his bug buddy. (Adorable!!!)  


They're allowed to blog as a writing "May Do"... If they've finished all their "Must Dos", they can create a blog entry for our class blog. I created a task card with instructions. It looks like this: 




It's a Pages document... (If you'd like it, please leave a comment and let me know and I'll email it to you! :)


Again, it is so exciting to see kids super excited about writing. They are so motivated to write and show the world what they've done. It's also lead to some great mini lessons on a bunch of different things including narrowing down a topic, staying on topic, and punctuation. Annnddd, I can pull up the stats and show them how many people have viewed our blog- this has lead to graphing lessons and how to read different graphs in math. 


It seems like a win-win for all of us! 


Have a great rest of your Sunday!!!


:-) 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Question Starters {Freebie}

I hope you are having a great weekend! I have a date tonight with my dogs and the DVR! Very exciting!!! (I LoVe relaxing weekends!!!)


Next week, I will (continue) to work with my kids on generating questions. My lower readers have a super difficult time with this, so I created some question starters to remind them how questions start. 


You can grab them at TPT here


If you do download them, please let me know what you think! I am new to this TPT thing and am always looking for feedback and suggestions or ideas!!!


Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the weekend?!?!


Kelly at Buggy for Second has inspired me to do some shopping tomorrow! :)


Have a great one!


:-) 

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Pet Should We Get?

This week has been non-stop prep for Open House. Does everyone stress about Open House or is it just me?!?!? It's silly to worry so much about it, right? It's only an hour, the kids are always excited to show their parents around no matter what, and the parents always love it too. 


My goal this weekend is to not stress about it. (Our Open House is on Wednesday next week...)


Then of course, Spring Break! I can't wait!!!


Anyways, I've been doing my best to incorporate the Common Core standards into my curriculum this year. (Did your district adopt them yet???)


I had this brilliant idea what I thought was a brilliant idea at the time idea walking into school the other morning, and scrambled to make it happen before school started. We were going to do some opinion writing. (Like persuasive writing, but for whatever reason they call it "opinion writing" in the primary grades...)  


The kids were going to writing to this prompt:

In your opinion, what pet should we get?  

And oh boy, did this start some complete and utter chaos buzz and chatter. 


We talked about how an opinion is something that cannot be proved; it's something you think, but not everyone else has to agree. (I've talked about this a million times this year, but it never stuck....It did today, though!) 


And I wanted them to make an informed decision about the pet they choose to write about, so....




I posted QR codes for different websites; some about hamsters as pets, some about beta fish, and some about hermit crabs.


This kids walked around with their iPods and read about each pet. 


And oh my goodness..... I have never seen them so excited about anything in my whole entire life. :-)


They were talking, discussing, excited, arguing, reading, and writing about what pet we should get (Everything a teacher wants to see happening!!!!)




I heard things like:


"We should get a hermit crab because they can hang onto your shirt while you walk around"


and


"We should get a hamster because they're cute and fuzzy and eat vegetables." 


and


"The hermit crabs are really cheap. I'll have my mom buy it for our class!" 


and 


"We shouldn't get a hamster because they're nocturnal so they'll sleep all day and we won't even be able to see it because it'll be sleeping all day."


and


"We should get a hermit crab because you can teach them to do tricks!" (I'm not sure about that!?!?!...but whatever???) 


No one was interested in the fish. Poor fish. Oh well. 


Anyways, it was one of those moments where I just stepped back and wished the principal or superintendent or the secretary or a parent or someone, anyone would come in to see what was going on. No one did, but still. I'm sharing it with you, and you can appreciate the beauty of this, right? :) 


But now, here's my delema. We have to get a class pet. I should've thought this through better. I don't want a class pet. That means I'll have to take care of it. And keep it alive. And I don't have a very great track record of keeping things alive in our classroom. (This does not include kids!!!!) It does include two tadpoles belly up in the tank, 23 very dead flowers that we each planted for mothers day that never made it home, and an ant farm that lasted for about four hours. I'm nervous about this. I think I would be okay with the hermit crabs. They seem easy. I'm not sure about the hamster, though. A little bit they creep me out. (Don't judge me!!!) Something about their resemblance to mice and rats... 


But I wanted to keep the momentum going, so I wasn't about to tell them that we weren't going to get a pet at the end of all this. As Reagan would say, I don't want to be a dream squasher! And if it motivates them to write, then fine. I can live with that. I just hope I can keep the darn pet alive. 


On Monday we'll start the prewrite and continue to persuade, or give our opinion, or whatever it is about what pet we should get. I can't wait to see where this goes. 


My helper thought it was ridiculous that I didn't include corgis as one of our pet choices... 



Anyways, do you have a class pet??? Any suggestions...???? What have I gotten myself into...??? 


Happy weekend!!! 


:-) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Creativity Squashing

An administrator said to me the other day that second grade is around the age where we teachers "squash kids' creativity." He didn't say it in a mean or accusing way at all, but it really made me feel sad. Because it's true. With our 2 1/2 hour devoted language arts block and hour writing block and hour and a half math block (these things are sacred at our school... don't even think about messing with them), there's hardly any time for anything else....(let alone science, social studies, P.E. art, recess, saying good morning to each other, or breathing...)


With our Open House fast approaching, my mind has been going a million miles a minute thinking of all of the projects and fun stuff we need to start finish in a week...! This thought came to me in the middle of the night (do you get ideas in the middle of the night too??? As in, sit up, have an amazing thought or lesson or idea, and jump up to find a piece of paper to write it down on so you don't forget...?).


I want to do a photography art gallery for Open House. 


I sent home a letter to all of the parents asking them to donate one picture frame for their child to use for the project. It can be any shape, size, or color. So far, I've had a hodge podge of frames come in (and I love the hodge podgy-ness of it all :) 


We've been using our iPod Touches to take pictures around our school. Of objects. Not people. We talked about the subject of pictures, quality of pictures, framing, and all that photography-like stuff (that I actually have no idea about). BrainPop has a great video on photography too! (It can help you sound like an expert like I did...)  



We took our pictures (NOT during LA, writing, or math, of course), and used this amazing app called Snapseed to change and manipulate the photos to create "A moment in time." Sweet, right. 


(This is normally a $4.99 app but we got it for free as one of those Starbucks "App of the Week" cards!!!- look out for these! There's some really good apps you can get for free and there's a new one every week) 


Here are two of my favorite photos!!! (100% taken and created by second graders!) 

"A Ladybug" 


"Swinging on the Swings"

All of the kids are going to choose their best photo, and I'll print them out for them. Then we'll put the pictures in our frames and display them at our photo gallery at Open House.

I can't wait to see if how this all comes together. 

You wouldn't even necessarily need iPods to this... this project could be done with a few digital cameras (I've had parents donate old ones), or even disposable cameras. Anything that the kiddos can get their dirty hands on. :-)

And I'm hoping, this will help not squash their creativity. :)

Do you have any good ideas or things you do for Open House!?!? I'd LOVE to hear them!!!!!  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dictionary Skills: Guide Words

I am so excited to be FINISHED with my exam!!! It feels great to check that off The List!!!!


This is what most of my weekend looked like:




(At least I had a helper sleeping on the floor next to me the whole time!)


Next week we will be getting ready for Open House! There's another thing I will be happy to check off my list! I will make sure to post pictures this week of all the fun projects we are working on! :)


I'm am also so excited to get my first real product up on TPT! 


I know my kiddos have a really hard time getting this concept down for the CSTs coming up in May. Hopefully this will help! It comes with three sets of word cards to be categorized under the appropriate guide words, or you can use them as a scoot around the room where the kids search for the words and record the word under the guide words. All three sets come with four paris of guide words and six words that go with each guide word. Each set also has its own recording sheets (for categorizing or for scooting- your choice!).  It's only $1.00 on TPT! You can click HERE to find it. And let me know what you think! (or if there's something else you'd like to see please let me know!)!  


I will give it to the first two people who comment too! :) 


Hope you had a great Monday! (It was a rainy day for us!!!) 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Almost Friday!

What a crazy busy week it's been! With report cards and conferences and you know, teaching 21 seven years olds (who have an insane amount of energy) all day... I am exhausted. And on top of that, I have to take my final comprehensive exams this weekend so I can [finally] graduate in May with my Masters!!! Yippeee! My principal was so wonderful and allowed me to take tomorrow off to work on this 15 page paper I have to write. So I'll be working on that all weekend. 


Thank goodness for good friends and reality T.V. (i.e the Bachelor Finale) because if it wasn't for them, I might not have made it through the week...


Here's a funny conversation I had today:


Student: Mrs. P!!! I am so so excited!!! Guess what I'm having for lunch today!?
Me: Ooooooo!!! What!?
Student: Meat!!!
Me: Meat???
Student: Yeah!
Me: What do mean, meat???
Student: You know, steak!
Me: Oh yum delicious... (Thinking: What the thunder!?!? Steak for lunch??? In your lunch box??? At 11:00 in the morning!?!? This isn't Ruth's Chris!!!... Whatever...)


Anyways, I'll be working hard on this paper all weekend!



                                                                                 Source: google.com via Sandy on Pinterest


I hope to be back to bloggy world and posting and commenting as soon as this is all done! (I can't wait to check it off my list!!!!) I feel like once I'm done with school, I can finally start creating and sharing more stuff with you amazing bloggy friends :)

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

12 on the 12th

I love this idea!!! 





is hosting a 12 on the 12th linky party! 12 pictures from your day on the 12th of the month! I love it! Here are my 12 pictures. :)


This is how my dog looked at me when the alarm went off at 5 am. (Which was really like 4 am!) I'm not gonna lie... I wasn't too happy about the situation either...


This is the iPod I reamed my kids for losing. That's right, as in "NO ONE IS LEAVING THIS CLASSROOM UNTIL SOMEONE FORKS IT OVER!!!" As in, kids are tearing apart the classroom trying to find it. Oh, we found it alright. In my purse. That's right. I had taken it home over the weekend to work on. I realized this, again, right when the room turned into a complete and utter disaster zone. Oh no, this is not the first time I've done this... It should have dawned on me that I really did have it when the kids asked me, "Do you have it in your purse, Mrs. P?" 


We learned how to "Bump" our vocabulary words today with our iPods (even the lost one that was found). This is a great app that kids can use to literally bump their iPods together and exchange pictures and information. We bumped our vocabulary words and talked about them! 


This happened to be one of our vocabulary words- fungus. And one of my cutie pies proceeded to tell us ALL about how his dad has fungus!!! Foot fungus that is!!!! You know, as in athletes foot..!!!!!! TMI, friend, TMI!


We started our fractions unit today! I am so excited to use all of the great stuff I've found on TpT!!!


This is what one of my friends brought in for sharing. An Ultimate Fighting Ring!!! Exciting, right!?!


And these are what I bribed my kids with used to calm my kiddies down after they got excited and wanted to start ultimate fighting on the carpet (the boys that is...). They'll do anything for an animal cracker, include sit quietly and listen to every last word I say. ;-)


This is the copy machine I may have put a few new dents in today from kicking it...


And these are my report cards... ALL finished and ready to go home!!!! Yipeeee! :-) 


This is what we did when I got home because it was so sunny and bright and nice out. We played ball and I sat. This lasted about 5 minutes because I started to think about The List. Of things to do. It's so long.


Speaking of The List, this is what the back of my computer looks like. Post it after post it of things I need to do...


And finally, here's what I'm having for dinner!

Now head on over to Doodle Bugs and link up because I want to hear about everyone else's days! :)

I hope you had a great Monday! :-)