Sunday, September 15, 2013

Second Grade TEKS

I just wanted to let all my second grade teachers know I have bundled all the TEKs/objectives posters for reading, math, science, writing, and social studies. They are available in my TpT store! Click on the picture for a link to the file.

Transformation


From this...


To this...




I've been SO BUSY I haven't even had a chance to show you guys my room! These were taken the week before school started. There is a little less clutter now, but all the caddies and lockers are full! I feel like I'm just now getting a feel for my kiddos and I have some great kids! I'm looking forward to an awesome year. I've already started district testing and have 2 more tests to get through before I can breathe a little bit and focus 100% on teaching. I always dread the beginning of the year with the testing, trainings, and more testing! Can I get an amen?!?! 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Absent Work Folders-Chevron Backgrounds

Hello friends! I wanted to let you know I have made a set of Absent Folders with Chevron Backgrounds for those of you interested. I LOVE LOVE LOVE using Absent Folders in my classroom.There are 7 different color chevron backgrounds to choose from. Click on the picture to take you to them in my store:) 



 Below is an old post of how I use Absent Folders in my room:

 I spent a long time trying to come up with an easy system when my kids were absent. I feel like I tried everything, and I STILL had a hard time getting work turned in! SO I finally got smart, and created Absent Folders! I'm sure this isn't a new concept to anyone, but it made me so happy to discover them! When a kiddo is absent, the Absent Folder (along with the Absent Work page) is place on their desk. It stays there all day long so any papers I pass out make it in there. When the student returns, they simply take out all the work in the Absent Folder and return the folder to me. 
I made these pages that are glued on top of regular file folders.

Here is a picture of the folder in use on a student's desk! 
Here is a preview of the Absent Work page. This is where all the assignments are written down, and the parent is expected to sign it! 

   All of my kids have classroom jobs, and one job is for a person to put Absent Folders on desks, and fill out the Absent Work page. If more than two kids are absent in one day, I will help that person fill out the Absent Work pages. I've placed copies of my absent work file in my TPT store here. You can get a copy of 8 different file folder covers and the Absent Work page. This is a preview below of the pages! 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Motivation

I'm lacking some SERIOUS motivation, y'all!

All I want to do is this:


And these two amazing kiddos are definitely an awesome distraction:


Then I'm spending any time off on a lunch date/ movie date/ shopping date with this handsome fella:

(excuse the weirdo faces)

So needless to say I've been a little distracted:) I feel like I'm getting all the "summer" out of my system and I'm wandering back to my computer files to create/edit/upgrade units! I'm in the process of working on a communities unit...so hopefully it won't be TOO much longer before I get it finished.

OH and one big thing that HAS been on my mind a teeny weeny bit is my classroom theme next year....I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon with the chevron and polka dots! I'm SUPER excited. I'll probably head to Hobby Lobby soon so I can start browsing fabric and other fun things:) I'm seeing some really cute things on Really Good Stuff that have caught my eye...but I'm trying to decide if it's worth the expense. My room is mostly decorated with primary colors, but I'm really wanting to move into a brighter color scheme. I'll just have to do some more thinking on that one. 



Friday, June 21, 2013

Class Dojo



Class Dojo is something I was introduced to this year. As I said before, I had a REALLY difficult group of kiddos and I felt like my behavior chart just wasn't working. Some years the behavior chart is perfect and produces incredible classroom management. Other years, you need to up your game a little bit:)

I actually heard about Class Dojo from my mom who is also a teacher. Someone told her about it at a training, and she called me one night to let me know what she learned. She knew I was struggling with behavior and I needed something new. After listening and doing some research, I decided to IMMEDIATELY begin Class Dojo in my classroom. So, what is it you ask?

Class Dojo is an online FREE classroom behavior management system. It is based on a point system where students can earn 'positives' and 'negatives.' The amazing thing about it, is that YOU as the teacher can create your own rewards/consequences for students to earn.  Below you can see what your class page will look like.

When I saw a student doing something great, I would let them know they could get a 'positive.' They simply walked up to the computer and gave themselves a point. Another GREAT thing is Class Dojo also has an App, so I could carry my iPad with me EVERYWHERE to let students know they were always earning positives and negatives.  Parents can even download the app to their phones to see their child's behavior each day!

Another great thing about Class Dojo? It AUTOMATICALLY generates a behavior report that is sent to parent's email every Friday.  I didn't have to do a thing. All of my parents participated, and I honestly saw a huge change in several of my kids. I know many of them appreciated getting a report to their email instead of signing a folder every night. If their child received more than 3 negatives in one day, I sent a note home. 



You can create rewards and consequences for your kiddos based on their positives/negatives. I initially gave every student the same Avatar (or monster picture) next to their name. Every time they got 15 positive points, they could change their avatar to whatever they wanted. It was a GREAT motivator (and free for me!). If there was red next to their name (as in WAY too many negatives) they did not get recess that day. That was also a great motivator for my kids to keep those positive points going. 

I know there are also several pinterest boards where teachers have made up different rewards and consequences for earning positives and negatives. If you type in "Class Dojo" in the search box, I'm sure you will see plenty of boards. 

I hope that wasn't too confusing because it really is worth your time to check out! My entire team decided this is the behavior management system we want to use next year. If you want to look at it, click on the avatar below and it will take you to their website!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Using Bins for Organization

So at the end of the year, I tried to think of ways to make next year easier on me! I originally used these bins as shelves in my classroom. While I LOVED having the shelves, my kids were CONSTANTLY knocking them over and spilling everything. (I think the biggest problem was the bins/shelves were not heavy enough)  So I took the shelves apart and put them to a different use.

I made a bin for each month of the year and put all my units in the bin. It was much easier to do than I thought. I just looked at my lesson plans from the past year and pulled units from my file cabinet. I was also able to reflect on this past year and see where I would want to change when I introduce a concept.

If you look at the first picture you can see how I used hanging file folders for each unit. In each pocket there are worksheets/activities/posters/materials/copies, etc for everything I used for that topic/objective. I'm putting the bins on a top shelf in my room. I plan to just reach up and grab the bin for the month.




I'm hoping this will help me next year! I think it will be nice to just pull down a bin and look at what I need to do for the month:) 

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Little Moment of Honesty...

It was a horrible terrible no good very BAD year for me.

I jumped into a new grade level which I had NO IDEA would be so difficult. It felt like I was back in my first year of teaching. Late nights, tons of questions, always one step behind, etc.

I ended up with so many students in my classroom there was no where for anyone to sit. (I literally got 2 new students 2 weeks before school ended) We were tripping all over each other. Testing all of them individually was definitely an overwhelming task!

I decided around February that I was "done" with my classroom theme, my classroom set-up, my organizational skills. I became one of THOSE. Papers piled on top of papers. I would look everywhere for that ONE piece of paper that was due 2 days ago.

There were about 8 pairs of scissors on my table because no one knew who they belonged to. (I don't even want to talk about pencils, crayons, markers) I banished my students from our classroom library because I had to throw away so many damaged books.

I had another adult/aid/teacher's assistant in my room to help monitor a student in my class who was every form of the word DIFFICULT. He could not be alone for 2 seconds. I'm not kidding.

SO that pretty much sums of my lack of blogging motivation. I.was.done. I was so overwhelmed at work that all I did at night was sit on the couch and watch t.v. (this did not help the waistline my friends!) Thinking about school made me cringe.

We've all had years like this, right? I can only think of one other year that was like this one. It almost feels like I had to pay my dues to the "Horrible School Year Club." Membership fee is a good dose of craziness!


Anyways...all that to say I am SOOOOO excited about summer. One of the ABSOLUTE amazing things about our profession is that we get a fresh start every single year. I'm hopeful next year will be outstanding. I'm looking forward to loving on this little blog more, and hopefully I will be able to share ideas and lessons learned from last year. It's time to stand up, dust myself off, put on a little lipstick and move on! Please forgive my absence...here's to new beginnings...and I'll see you soon!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Last Week

April has just FLOWN BY!! I cannot believe May is only 2 days away. This is that time of year where I'm digging, digging, digging to find fun activities to keep my kiddos engaged (and let's face it, keep myself engaged, too).  So here are some things we have been up to..

PLANTS. I bought the Teacher Wife's Plant Activities packet:


My favorite thing from this packet was the Plant Journal. We put lima beans into ziploc bags with a damp paper towel and watched them grow all week long. Each day they drew a picture and made an observation. We stuck the ziploc bags to their lockers as you can see below:



CONTEXT CLUES. I began the week by writing a story with made-up words. I wrote one line at a time, and had my kids guess what I was doing. (After the first sentence I asked them about all the places I could be. Then I added that it was fun, so we started to narrow it down to places that were fun.) In almost every sentence I created a word that didn't exist (they had to read around the word to figure out what the word meant.) They had a lot of fun with this, and laughed A LOT at the silly words. In the example below, I was at Chuckie Cheese. They were able to figure it out by the last line, and then we went back through the story to figure out what the mystery words were. 


After that, they created their own stories with words that didn't exist. I had them share with their groups, then they picked one person from their table to share with the entire class. It was a lot of fun, and I was really surprised at how well they did. The next few days we used context clue cards, practice tests, and cloze activities to continue our work. 

We are wrapping up our measurement unit in math. My kids have had a lot of fun measuring different things around the room, and we are moving on to capacity this week. So that's what we have been up to in my room. I hope you can find some of these tips helpful, and I hope you have a great week!