Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daily 5 signs

I made these signs for my classroom but thought I would upload them for anyone else that wants to use them. I also have CAFE strategy cards but I'm having trouble getting them to upload correctly into Google images. I'll post those as soon as I figure it out. Just click on the imagine and it will take you to the document.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Love......

There are many things that I love. Right now I'm very excited to say that I LOVE the blog......

This is an incredible resource for teachers. You'll have to check it out! I have been offered the amazing opportunity by the creators of this blog to be a guest author! I am extremely excited to begin blogging with the gang to share all of the wonderful adventures and ideas that come my way in second grade! Come on over and check out all of the amazingnness that this blog has to offer!

Serving Up Success in Second Grade!

I came across this idea last year from somewhere on the web. Of course this was before my Pinterest addiction and now I can't find it anywhere! The kiddos and I sat down and brainstormed traits that we would need to possess in order to have a successful year. We talked about kindness, trustworthiness, caring, honesty, perseverance, etc. I showed them a few examples of recipes so they could get an idea of what a recipe entails; how an ingredients list looks, types of measurements, and recipe directions. Next, they wrote their own recipe for success. When they were through, I dressed each kiddo up to look like a chef and snapped a picture. I displayed the pictures and recipes together and, voila! I now have a great back to school bulletin board!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just What I Needed!!

Sometimes life has a way of giving you what you need right when you need it. I was looking on the web tonight for math games and activities that my students could do during math rotations. After 5 minutes on Pinterest (that's a record for me!) I came across Mrs. Clapp's Blog Serenade to Second grade

Yay!!!  I immediately downloaded all of her math games and will put them together this weekend. I mean how totally cute are these game labels, and the organization; I love the simplicity! Nothing too bulky to store and lots of fun options for the kiddos! Thank you Mrs. Clapp for saving me hours of work!

Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Winner Is........

Ms. Rachel from Ms. Rachel's Room! Congratulations Rachel and thank you to everyone who entered my Back to School Giveaway! Here is a video of my random drawing.....if only I could be as high tech as some of you with the automatic number generator!

Please keep visiting my blog! I love sharing ideas and hearing from you all. My blog wasn't allowing me to comment prior to today, but I figured it out, so comment away and I'll get back to ya!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Simple and Pretty Darn Cute!

I have received many questions about the purpose of these balloons other than the obvious- they make the classroom look really cute! Our school has a Meet the Teacher night before school starts. This is an informal hour of time that parents bring their students to school to find their spot, meet the teacher, pick up materials, and get familiar with the room before school officially begins. If you look closely at the balloons, you will see that each one has a student's name written on it. I use them so that the students can quickly locate their seat when they come in the room. They also serve as little welcome gifts that the students take with them when they leave for the night. I order the balloons from Fry's (our Kroger grocery store) the morning of Meet the Teacher Night and then pick them up a few hours before students arrive. Simple, fun, and a great way to welcome kids to second grade!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"I need to go to the bathroom!"

How many times have you heard that phrase right in the middle of a lesson? Or worse yet, you're rockin' a lesson, the kids are into it, participation is high and they're on a roll. You call on an eager hand raiser thinking they have a great comment to add to the discussion and instead, you get the dreaded question that brings everything to a halt. "Can I go to the bathroom?"  Ugh.

In my early years of teaching I didn't have a system for letting kids use the bathroom. I just assumed that they would be honest and go when they needed to. Instead, I had kids trying to go to meet up with friends, to get out of working, and every other imaginable reason. Now, I spend a significant amount of time training my kids to go only during work times, recess, or lunch. Plus, I use the magical bathroom tokens.
These are poker chips that I spray painted to match the colors of my room. If you aren't obsessed with having everything matchy-matchy like me, you can use unpainted chips. Each child gets 4 tokens a week. They may use these tokens during working times to use the bathroom. The catch is that they only get 4 so they have to use them wisely. Kids who have 3 or 4 left on Friday get 2 punches on their punch card.  If they have 1 or 2 left, they get one punch. I encourage my kids to use the bathroom for "free" during recess and lunch so that they don't have to use their tokens. Every token has the child's number on it so that I can return them on Monday. It has been the BEST bathroom system and has eliminated unnecessary trips to the BR which means more time for learning!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School Giveaway!

Today was my first day BTS and I'm still ALIVE!!! Actually, it was a very successful and rewarding day. At the beginning of every year I'm always thankful for the Whole Brain Teaching management approach. If you're not familiar, you will have to check it out here and I will post more about it another day!

On to the point of THIS blog......

In honor of my first day back, I will be hosting my very first blog GIVEAWAY!!! That's right! You can win a $20 gift card to Target!!!

You know you've been eyeing items in the dollar section. Just think of how many you can buy with 20 big ones! (okay, I know, that's an obvious one!) Here's how to enter........

  • Become a new follower of my blog (if you became a follower today before this post, it still counts! Just make sure you leave a comment!)
  • Grab my button and put it on your blog
  • Add me to your blogroll
  • Blog about this giveaway!
  • Pin something of mine from this blog onto your Pinterest boards
Leave one comment for each entry to let me know how you entered and I will announce the big winner on August 15th. Good Luck!!!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's Finished!!!

We had Meet the Teacher night Friday and it was a huge success! I always love having time before the first day of school to meet my new kiddos and parents. Everyone was thrilled with the classroom and very eager to start school on Monday. I managed to snap some pictures of my room before the first students walked in. I love how the room came together!

This is the view of the tables with the balloons, notebooks, and other items the kids pick up at meet the teacher night. The balloons have the student's names written on them.

These are pictures of my classroom library. I have a very large library! The bulletin board will be used for our monthly author study.

My butterfly garden and seating in front of the garden.

Calendar and meeting area with new crate seats!

Monarch of the Week Bulletin Board

CAFE and Daily 5 Board

Another nook in my library that I'll use for my music learning lab

Birthday board, book box shelves and learning lab chart.

Reading table and teacher area. Interesting word boardis in the background.

Homeworkopoly and shelf for homework binders.

Word wall and sink area. The colors are really washed out!

School starts tomorrow. I have no idea where the summer went; but I'm ready to start another fantastic year in second grade!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cute and Organized!

Today I finished my Daily 5 book box display. I have always wanted to use book boxes but couldn't justify the expense of magazine file boxes. The cheapest I've seen them was $2.50 each. Times that by 26 kiddos and well, you get the idea. So you can imagine my excitement when I found these cuties in the Target dollar spot. Yay!! I picked up 30 of them and ran back to school eager to put them in their chosen spots. I decided to organize them all in a pattern because it's prettier that way and I love me a pretty display! BUT, you all know what happens as soon as the kiddos get a hold of them. They will be shoved back onto the shelf in any old order. To keep them in their place I labeled the shelf with an identical name tag that's on the book box. Now all the kiddos have to do is find their name and my pretty display will stay all year long!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Birthday Fun!

I figure I would post twice today due to my foreseen absence from the blog world at some point this year. Yesterday I finished my birthday board. I am very proud of this board considering it is 100% MY IDEA! That doesn't happen very often folks. I am queen of stalking other teachers on the Internet and stealing their ideas. Now I do have to put a disclaimer out there. I didn't search FOREVER on this one like I normally do. So there could quite possibly be another birthday board somewhere similar to mine. For now I will claim it as my own (it makes me feel better!)

Are you ready?

Once again my camera (and the glare from the shiny bags) don't do the actual product any justice. Basically I used dollar store bags (3 for a dollar at Dollar Tree), curly cue present decorations (4 for a dollar) and sparkly foam letters (Walmart- $5 a bag but I've used these for tons of projects!) on the front of the bags for the months. Then I took some leftover foam bookmarks that I had and made gift bag tags. On the tags (the pics don't show this well) I used small foam letters to put on the names of the birthday kids on each tag. I hot glued the whole mess up and stepped back to admire my work. Please don't tell me if it's not as cute as I think it is!

Busy as a Beaver!!!

I love Back to School time! It gives me a chance to start fresh and complete fun projects to cutesy up my room. I told you about the adorable crate seats that I found on Pinterest. Well here is my finished product thanks to the hard work of my mom and husband! Once we had the wood cut these seriously took us 30 minutes to put together.

My camera washed out the colors. The one on the left is pink and green striped and the one on the right is the same fabric only blue and green striped. The butterfly fabric matches my chair pockets.

I love how these turned out and they were super easy! I could see these in a playroom or a child's bedroom. They bonus is they double as storage which I was in dire need of in my classroom! Here's what you need:

  • Crate- Target has cute colors right now for $3 (it must be the file folder kind with the lip)
  • Foam- This can be the expensive part if you're not careful. I used a 50% off coupon at Joann's and paid $15 which was enough for 6.
  • Plywood- My wood working husband already had this on hand so no cost to me.
  • Fabric- About a half yard per seat.
  • Ribbon- $1.97 at Walmart. One roll for 3 seats.
  • Spray Glue- I think I spent 3 or 4 dollars at Walmart.
Directions: Measure the plywood and cut so that it will sit inside on the lip. Cut the foam using the same measurements (use an electric knife- so fast!). Spray the glue onto the plywood and place your foam on top. Let this sit to dry for about 30 minutes. Wrap the fabric around the foam covered board, pull tight and staple to the back with a staple gun. We wrapped the corners like we would a present. Once you have the fabric on, measure a piece of ribbon to go around the cushion and staple it into the back. Make sure the ribbon is not too loose, but loose enough to get your hand under it so that you can easily pull the cushion off of the crate when you need to. Voila! That's it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My First DIY

Today I was in Walmart for the billionth time in the last few weeks trying to find inexpensive trays for work that kids turn in. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that was the right dimensions in a price range that I will willing to pay (mind you, much like many other teachers out there right now, I have already dropped at least $300-$500 on my room this summer). So, I began the long walk up to the front of the store when these babies caught my eye....

The wheels immediately began turning, and priced at 2 for 95 cents, I decided that I had nothing to lose. I bought four and ran home to raid my collection of fabric, ribbon and stickers.

I threw this one together in about 5 minutes. It doesn't seem the most durable, but in my defense I only had one stick left in my glue gun. 

The options are endless to these and you can use leftover fabric from your bulletin boards to have everything matchy-matchy. I plan on making the four I bought, use two of them now and store the other two until I need them. We'll see how long they hold up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Projects Galore!

The other day I told you about my new love affair with Well, I now have approximately 25 projects that I'm working on for school, all ideas from Pinterest! I am making these cute little storage seats....

These adorable birthday balloons......

and, this new behavior chart.....

I'm super excited to get all of my little projects done and into my room. Pictures of my room and finished projects will be coming very soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm Back!

Wow has it been awhile!! I know that I PROMISED to keep the blog up to date...that was in January.

I love blogging. The problem is that it's "all or nothing" with me. My goal this year is not to take an all or nothing approach and just blog as I see fit. I am super excited about the upcoming school year and all that I am cooking up for the new batch of kiddos. I don't know if any of you have found yet, but I have literally spent hours on here finding new ideas for next year. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the new and improved and hopefully continually updated world of Monarch Madness!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Holy Wackiness!

We had a great time on the 100th day of School. The kids showed up in their true form! We love Wacky Tacky Day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Accelerated Math

Accelerated Math is a program that we use at PDS to supplement our math curriculum. The kids work at their own pace and level to complete a series of practice exercises and tests. They are then graded by the computer via scan card and the computer determines the next series of objectives for each student to work on. The great thing about Accelerated Math is the abundance of reports and useful features for the teacher. I can see immediately who is not understanding certain concepts and I can print out custom support for the students who need it. Meanwhile, the students who understand quickly are able to progress without being help up for reteaching. It is individualized instruction at it's best and a great way to have students practice math skills. I have already started AM with a small group of students, but last week I introduced it to the whole class. The reason that I wait until after Christmas is because it can be a management nightmare. Kids are in all different places, it is reading intensive, and it requires kids to be able to bubble in a scan card and scan it independently. I am anticipating some bumps along the way, but hopefully the program will be running smoothly in no time!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gingerbread Houses!

Happy New Year! My New Year's Resolution for school is to update the blog at least once a week. I know that I have said this before, but now it's a resolution so I have to do it ;)

With that being said, here is a cute slideshow of the kids decorating gingerbread houses before the break.