Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday Freebie!!

Every Monday morning, the kids get to write in their weekly journal.  Sometimes I have them write about what they did over the weekend, or I give them a prompt to write about.  Since we have a "Rockstar" theme in our class this year, I used a rockstar type font.  Here is the journal we use:

And here are the covers for the other months:

Hopefully you can use this in your classroom!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Clearly...I'm a "Teacher Week" slacker! But I'm making up for it now! :)

Ok, so I haven't posted since Monday, and that means I missed Teacher Talk Tuesday & Where It All Goes Down Wednesday.  But, I'm making up for my missing posts now!  So here it goes...

Teacher Talk Tuesday 

For all you new teachers out there:
Make sure to communicate with your parents.  I think that's all parents really to be in the loop as to what is going on while their children are at school.  Make a weekly newsletter, create a class website, send home a weekly behavior note, etc.  Whenever you communicate info without parents having to ask, the less stressful your school year will be.

Get as much as you can ready over the summer.  Trust me, I LOVE my summer vacation!  But I spend a lot of it preparing for the upcoming school year.  With two kids at home, I can't get to school as early as I'd like or stay as late as I'd like, so I make up for it by doing a lot over the summer.

Be organized!  It takes a lot of initial effort to be organized, but you will thank yourself later.  I have a huge file cabinet, and in it, I keep a file folder for every unit or chapter that I teach.  I keep the master copies, projects, project examples, & rubrics inside (only the things I'm actually going to use).  Then, during the school year, when it comes time for that unit, I make all the copies at once and store them in my literature organizer.  That way I have everything ready for the entire unit, and I'm not spending all my prep time at the copy machine.

And lastly, but most importantly, remember that you do have a life outside of school!  Take time for yourself and enjoy it outside of your classroom once in a while. :)

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday

Here is a peek at my classroom for 2011 - 2012...

Three For Thursday
My Favorite Font
My Favorite Blog
I love SO many blogs, but I really enjoy this one:

My Favorite Online Resource (most definitely)

Forgive me for posting pretty much everything in one night, but my first week back at school has made me so exhausted!!  And now it's time to get some shut-eye!  Adios blogging buddies!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Me, Jonathan, Jacie, TJ

Tell us a little something about you...

I am a wife to my wonderful husband, TJ.  We'll be married for 10 years in October!  We have two great kids, Jonathan and Jacie.  Jonathan just started second grade and Jacie, kindergarten.  I've only been blogging since this past summer, although I've had a class website since 2003.  I love technology and enjoy every opportunity I get to search for ideas for my classroom.  I also love sharing, thus the reason I started this blog.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my eighth year teaching, and it's my eighth year teaching second grade.  Actually, it should've been my ninth, but I took a year off to stay home with my kids.  I taught in Oswego, IL for 4 years, but then took a job in Ottawa, IL to be closer to home with the fam and all.  I seriously just love teaching second grade.  I could probably teach first or third, but my heart lies with second graders.  It's like a transition year, and I love helping the kids make that transition.

You might not know...

I love snowmobiling!!  It's one of my absolute favorite things to do.  We usually make the trek up to the UP Michigan 3 or 4 times a year.  I love racing through the trails and trying to keep up with my husband and and my dad! I'm actually pretty good at it! ;)

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I always love meeting my new class each year.  Every summer I get this giant burst of energy to try and find new ideas and activities to try in my classroom.  With Pinterest and all these awesome teacher blogs I've been following, I have found so many new things that I can't wait to try! 

What do you need to improve?

I wish that I could implement the Daily 5 and CAFE.  But, in my district, we use Harcourt Storytown.  The past couple of years, however, I have incorporated it somewhat, because I do a lot of the read-to-self strategies.  I honestly wish that I could implement the entire program, but at this point, it's out of my hands.

What teaching supplies can you not live without?

My literature organizer.  I swear, I could NOT live without this.  It keeps me SO organized.  I can copy things way in advance, and I can always find what I'm looking for.  It's the best system I ever started using in my classroom!  I actually have two of them!

I used to always use masking tape to attach posters and stuff to my classroom walls.  That is, until I found Stikki Clips!  I love them!  They are so easy to use and reuse.  They literally last forever.  And my posters NEVER fall off the walls anymore. 

I know this seems a little old school, but I still love me some Print Shop.  I'm a pro and have been since high school, lol.  I use it to make my weekly newsletter as well as signs and posters for my classroom.  Love it!

And last, but not least, I couldn't live without my Mr. Sketch markers.  The fat ones are nice and bold for my anchor charts.  But, I love the skinny ones too.  I use them when grading daily work and tests.  I also like going around and putting smelly stars and smileys on my kids' papers.  And they love getting smelly stars drawn on their hands once in a while too.  It's a great incentive and doesn't cost a thing!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time for Blog Hoppin'

Stop on over at Blog Hoppin' to participate in Teacher Week 2011 and join a brand new blog!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Math Game Labels {an addition to my previous post}

I can't believe I forgot to include the files for the math game labels in my last post.  So, here they are!  Today was my first day of school, and it was a great day!  I'm so excited for the new year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Math Games Galore

Ever wonder what to do with the kids who always finish early??  Well, during math time, my students get to play math games.  When they finish their independent work, I look over their papers to check for understanding.  When I know they've got it, I assign them a partner, and they play math games.  The partner group chooses the game they would like to play for the remainder of math time.  The kids enjoy playing math games.  It really is an incentive that makes them work hard and use their time wisely.

I use a pocket chart that has 10 slots (I think it was originally made to hold cd's).  Each slot has a label on the front, a card with the directions, and a baggy with the materials inside.  Each baggy is labeled with the game name as well.  With this organization, the kids can quickly choose a game and return it to the correct spot.

Click on the pictures below to view/save the game directions.  You will need basic math manipulatives like dice, counters, unifix cubes, and so on to get started.  I always demonstrate how to play all the games at the beginning of the year.

   Here are the cards that I use, too.  I like them because they have "counters" right on the cards for your concrete learners.  You will have to print or copy lots of these to make full decks for each game.  Notice that some games only need 0-9 cards (like Two-Digit Big Man) and some will use the 10 card.  I wrote the game name on the back of each card (yes, very tedious work).  But, it keeps the games more organized it the end. 

And that's it!  Now your students have something fun (and educational...even though they don't realize it) to do when they're finished with math!