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Sunday, April 28, 2013

You'll Want to Enter THIS! Click on OVER!

I am SUPER EXCITED that I have over 400 followers. (401 to be exact!)
When I started this blog in January of 2012, I thought I would be happy to have a few friends.

But now that I have that big number right behind me all the time, I am over the moon with excitement. Who knew?  And to me YOU are not just followers, I really and truly feel that I have new friends and friends who care and are curious and are loved by me, and who love me too!

To thank all of you for stopping by once in a while, I'm having a giveaway of some pretty nifty stuff. You just don't find this stuff at Target or your local teacher's store. No sireee! You get it right from the source of experts who know what our kids need.

I've divided it into two giveaways so that more people can win. And since you are here reading this. I will also send each winner something of their choice from my store too.

Follow the Rafflecopters below, cross your fingers, your legs, your eyes, and your toes, and just maybe you'll be one of the winners!

April will give one item or your choice from her store.

Fluttering Through First Grade
Christy and Tammy are giving their "Math and Literacy 
for Spring set."

Heather will give one item of your choice from her store.

Jennifer will give her 1st grade "Cha Ching Money Unit."

Bunting Books and Bainbridge
Christina will give you a choice of one of her hallway hunts.

Primary Punch
Deana will give one item of your choice from her store.

Sally will give her "Spring Literacy and Math Game."

Teaching Beginning Spanish Sounds
Doodles and Kreations will give their "English Hot and Cold Vocabulary Cards."

Jennifer will give one item of your choice from her store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep Going! There's another Rafflecopter below!

Conversations in Literacy
Lori will give her "I'm an Expert. How to Writing Unit."

Teachable Moments
Brooke will give her "Roll a Sentence, Spring Edition."

Abby will give  "Comma, Comma, Comma, 
Comma, Comma Chameleon!"

Learning to the Core
Amanda is giving her "Doubles and Near Doubles Pack."

Jennifer from The Energetic Educator is giving her

"KaBlooEy! Kinds of Sentences."

Maribel from  Learning in Wonderland is giving one item of your choice from her store.

Caitlin is going to give away one item of your choice from her store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winners will be picked and notified on Saturday. I hope YOU win!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bedtime Math

All of us good mommies and daddies do our best to read a book to our kids each night. 

But have you ever thought of giving them math problems before they go to bed?

When my kids were little, we had a routine. I would go into their rooms, read them a story, chat, and then tuck them in. Then my husband would come in, sit on the floor outside their bedrooms (in between both rooms) and give them story problems in math for them to figure out. He would just randomly think of things that were age appropriate for them to figure out. I love this bond that he formed with them and it also helped them develop better mental math skills.

Yesterday I came across a pretty nifty website that fits just what my husband did. It's called Bedtime Math

This is a free service that anyone can sign up for. (I am advertising this for free, they aren't paying me to do it!)
You will get an email each day, or you can put an app on your phone too.

They will give you a short story, that is fairly interesting, to read to your children. (You can do this at bedtime, but you can also do it while waiting someplace, or at anytime during the day.)

Then there are 3 levels of questions, a preschool-Kindergarten one, 1st-2nd, and anyone older than that.
(They also provide the answers too!) 

The goal is not to get a right or wrong answer, but to stimulate a discussion of how to find the answers.  I found it really cool and sent it home to my parents today. 

You know many times we feel that parents aren't on board with their child's education, but this just might be a way to help them open the doors of communication with their child.

Here's the question for today. Read it and see what you think.

Hey, there’s a Pink Moon tonight! That is, there’s a full moon, which happens when the Moon is exactly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun (the exact moment was three seconds before we posted this, in fact). But tonight’s moon won’t actually look pink, as much of a bummer as that is. The name refers to the pink moss that grows throughout the northeastern U.S. at this time of year. Long ago Native Americans gave each full moon of the year a specific name to help them track the seasons, and the April full moon was named after this pink spring moss. June’s full moon is called the Strawberry Moon to mark strawberry season, and July’s is called the Full Buck Moon for the new antlers that male deer (bucks) grow over the summer. To top it off, a rare blue moon – two full moons in the same calendar month – can also happen, which totally confuses things. It’s probably easier just to check the calendar for today’s date.
Wee ones (counting on fingers): If it’s 5 PM now and the moon won’t rise until 8 PM where you live, how many hours until you can see today’s full moon?
Little kids: If there’s a full moon on the 2nd day of the month and a second one, a blue moon, on the 31st day, how many days after the first full moon did the second one happen?  Bonus: The March full moon is called the Worm Moon. How many months later is the Harvest Moon (September)?
Big kids: Full moons are actually about 29 1/2 days apart. If we had a full moon on May 3 at 10 pm, at what date and time would the next full moon occur? (Reminder: May has 31 days.)  Bonus: If the moon stayed on that exact schedule, when would the next blue moon happen after that?  (Reminder to get started: June has 30 days, and July has 31 days.)

Wee ones: 3 hours from now.
Little kids: 29 days.  Bonus: 6 months later (March to September).
Big kids: June 2 at 10 am. June 1 is 29 days later, then the extra 12 hours bump it to the next day.  Bonus: End of July. The next full moon will be July 1 at 10 pm, and the one after that will be July 31 at 10 am.
That's all for now! Have a warm and fun weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DJ Inkers Winners . . . was it you?

I'm very excited to announce the winners of my 
DJ Inkers Give Aways. 

Both of you will be hearing from either me or someone
 from DJ Inkers real soon. 

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered. 
I was so happy to work with DJ Inkers to be able to give this to you. They are a fun company to work with. 

Thanks to all of you who participated, my list of followers has now grown to 400! Wooo Hooo!

On to my next give away. I'll be working on it this weekend to get it all set up. I'm so tickled to have so many friends.  

Remember, my husband doesn't think you're real. .  . He just calls you my cyber friends. 

Well fooey on him! I know you're real and I'm glad you come by often and check up on me!

Happy Thursday and Friday to all of you!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Corinna's Desk Dollars and Final Day for Giveaway!

At this time of the year, I really and I mean REALLY need something fresh to get my kids to follow the rules and finish the year strong. 

Corinna Gandara is a great friend to have in your back pocket. She has a very fun blog called Surfin' Through Second Grade.

She can use the word "surfin" in her blog name because she lives in Hawaii! Wouldn't we all like to live there or at least visit once in a lifetime?

She has a program that she uses to teach her kids about money, responsibility and behavior. She calls it Beach Bucks.  You can look at it by clicking on the red link.

She even adjusted it for me, since I don't just happen to have a beach near me! She named a set that others who are Beachless can use. They are called Desk Dollars.

I started using this partially yesterday and it really intrigued my kids! Today we jumped right in with wallets, (actually they are just envelopes!) rules, and fines. My kids are loving it! And I feel like I have control again! Ahhhh! That's a Godsend!

My favorite part is the Bonus Bank that I put on my desk. Anyone who owes a fine, puts their money in that bank, which is separate from the regular bank that my bankers use. (Fines are given for not bringing homework, not coming to the read table with their reading book, fooling around and talking too much, hurting others, etc.) I keep a check list of who has contributed to this Bonus Bank. On Friday, anyone who has NOT contributed to the Bonus Bank by paying any fines, will get to divide that Bank up. Each week will be a different amount of money and different amount of kids to share it with. 

If you're looking for something to hold  you and your class over for these last few months of school, this just might be perfect for you!

Now, if you're still reading this and haven't fallen asleep yet, tomorrow is the final day for my giveaway. Click on those red words right there and enter! I know you want to win. Good luck!


Monday, April 22, 2013

M&M Fractions Thanks Mrs. B

Do your 2nd grade kids "get" fractions?

Do your 2nd grade (or any grade level) kids like to eat M&M's?

(That may seem like a stupid  dumb  silly question, but I did have one who didn't want to eat them!)

I found a great activity from Buzzing with Mrs. B that I know you might want to try.

Why? You might be asking. ..  . .

Well, for one it's using candy, (specifically chocolate) to teach a concept.

Two, it's fun and fairly easy for 2nd graders to understand. 

And Three. . . It's FREE!

You can find it on the TPT page by clicking the word Free above. 

Here's the link for the actual blog page that she talks about this project.

We have been taking our NWEA test all morning so doing this activity was such a great relief and fun too!

If you need something fun and free (You do have to buy the M&M's yourself though, they don't come with the download!) this is a great idea for your kids.

Now, also if you haven't entered my giveaway, please make your way to this post and enter. You have until Wednesday when the winner. . . actually TWO winners will be chosen.


Friday, April 19, 2013

You could WIN a DJ Inkers Download

I'm very excited to share something with you. . . . 

Well, actually I have two things to share with you.

First I have connected with DJ Inkers 
(How could you tell? Look at my blog! I'm addicted!)

I love their clip art and have just created an activity to help my kids (and yours too!) with finding the meanings of words in context. I used their Community Bears to teach this lesson. 

My activity is called Word Meanings in Context. . . 
I know, I know, . . .it's a real creative title!

It's a pretty easy activity to set up. Print, laminate, cut, put into an envelope or what ever storage system you use, attach the cover 
and wa-la! You're all set to use it. 

There are 20 cards for your students to read. There is a recording sheet and answer key provided also. I think you could also use this as a Scoot game or a Wall Scavenger hunt too.
 And then some even cooler more beautifuler news! 
DJ Inkers decided to 
give me a shout out on their web page! 
Talk about making me feel mah-vel-ous!
You can check it out by clicking the link below.
You can buy this activity at my TPT Store

Or. ..  
You could win this set! Someone will be the lucky winner . . 
But wait. . . . . 

There's more!

You can also win the whole download so you can have your own set of Community Bears from DJ Inkers.

That's right! You read that correctly! 

For free!. . . . well, sort of. . . You have to enter to win it. 

But that's the easy part! 

Just fill out the rafflecopter below and fill in the information, and by Wednesday, April 24th I'll pick a winner.

Winner of the DJ Inker Community Bears Download
is Debbie Pierce.

Winner for my download is Stefanie Galvin.

That's all for now. Come back on  Wednesday or Thursday to see who won! And stay tuned . .. . I have another big giveaway coming up to celebrate getting 400 followers soon too. . .
You WON'T want to miss that!


All that RAIN on Books Isn't a Good Thing!

Last night we got a ton of rain! I mean a ton! There are flood warnings out and everything. . . Thank goodness I don't live near a river.

But this morning I came in to school and found that one of my library book tubs had water in it. . . .

What the h. . .. . . ?

Then I noticed the window sill had a huge puddle on it too. . . 

What the h. . . . ?

The kids were all gasping! "What will Mrs. B think? Oh, she is going to be MAAAAAADDDD!"

Can't you just hear their voices? 

I felt so sad for these books. There were 10 of them that were soaked. 

So I did what any good teacher who loves books would do. . . I padded each page with paper towels. Yes, it was time consuming, and yes they look over stuffed now. . .  

Do you know those cellophane covers that some librarians use to cover the books? Well they do a darn good job of holding the water INSIDE them! So I had to cut all of those off to let the books air out. The covers are drying in the library where they have a larger heater to lay them on.

But hopefully in time they will be useable again. . . .

define useable. .. . well, they won't be as nice, but the pages will still be readable and hopefully they will still get some loving!

And as far as the librarian goes. . . she took it in stride. .. what else could she do? She knows I didn't do this on purpose. . . and I know my window was shut when I left. So we'll just wait and see how they turn out when they are finally dry.

If this ever happens to you, maybe you'll be able to give them mouth to mouth, or cpr, or something to bring life back to your books too!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Many Feelings in One Week

First of all. . . . prayers to all who were involved in the Boston Marathon today. I can't imagine the fear of the families who were back home waiting to hear that their loved one was ok or not. I know our own town has a young lady who was there running. She is fine, but what a fear that must have been for the family. 

Second, does anyone else feel like there is no time to blog? I have to make a choice. . . blog, create something, read and share on Facebook, contribute to my family, do some school work, sleep, eat. . . and then I still feel like I've forgotten to do something. . . Oh YEAA! Pay BILLS! Geesh! I knew I forgot to do something this week.

So if it seems like I'm not here much. . . well, I am. . . you just can't see me! But I'm here and I haven't forgotten about YOU!

Last week we had our annual Stars on Stage production. This is where each classroom performs for the families in the evening. There are songs, skits, plays, readings, poetry, and what ever else the teacher comes up with. In the other classrooms there are activities to keep the families interested in being in our building. One room had games called A Minute to Win It, one room had Bingo, one had a dance party, one made book marks, one had a snack and lost and found. (Do your kids not recognize their own things? Do your parents not recognize their own children's things? We have that problem!)

The school is so crowded with families and it's such a good feeling! I love seeing my past students come back for a hug or two!

Another thing that we did last week was visit our third grade students. (Remember that I teach in a k-2 building. The third graders go to a 3-5 building across town.)
In the fall all of the 2nd grade teachers (there are 12 in our district) went to this 3-5 building to give our kids a pep talk before they took the state assessment. We thought that we knew them better than their new teachers and that we could help them remember to concentrate, and remind them of the test taking skills we had taught them. 

Well, it must have worked because the 3rd grade scores were better than the other grades. So as a reward the 12 second grade teachers were released from our classrooms to go back and visit these same students. Meanwhile the current 3rd grade teachers each took one of our classrooms and had a chat with the 2nd graders to fill them in on what their new school would be like next year. It was a great day. I loved seeing most all of my babies! I loved getting hugs from them and listening to what they are into now. I felt like my smile was going to spread right up to my ears. And truthfully it was clear the students felt the exact same way. Talk about a bucket filler!

I'm working on a give away that you will want to come back and see. .  I'm going to celebrate my 400 followers. If you know someone who isn't following me, send them over! I'm soooo close!

P.S. did some figuring with my students today. . . . we have exactly 8 weeks of school left. . . . we do a math drill every day. They know the goal they are trying to reach out for. . . but can they reach it? We will have about 35 school days of taking this math drill left. . . OMG! 35! ONLY 35 days of work left! I better get out of here and get a move on! You must be feeling the same way as me! 

Go on! Get out! Get your work done!


Monday, April 8, 2013

We Were Moving and Grooving Today

Go ahead and call me a softy. . . "SOFTY!"

I couldn't decide who to give my Eggstra Value package to, so I just caved and gave it to everyone who left me the message that I had asked them to. So if you're reading this, you might want to check your email soon. 

If you didn't enter my little contest, you can still pick up 
the Eggstra Value activity at my TPT Store

You can use this game as a Scoot game or part of a center activity. But I set mine up a bit differently today. I wanted to be sure that all my kids had a chance to work with them today. (You know how there are those ornery  lovely students who try to get out of doing their work!) 

This picture shows how I set them up on my counter. (Are you as strapped for space as I am?)
 I taped them to the side of the counter and 
to the top right above them.
 I put them in random order so they had to pay close attention to detail and be sure that they were in the right spot.
I left them up tonight so that those who didn't have a chance to finish could do it tomorrow.

Have you met Deana Kahlenberg from Primary Punch? I have been using her Text Features package. 

It's a wonderful way to help your kids really get to know each text feature. We have been working with these for about a month. There are dominoes, fact cards, and a couple other activities to use to help them learn this skill.

One of the activities has the kids going on a scavenger hunt. I placed the riddle cards around the room. I let the students work with a partner (that I picked). They each had a white board to use as a hard surface to write on. They each had a recording sheet. Together they were supposed to teach each other about the riddle as they were trying to figure out which text feature they were reading about.

It was great to see them working together, moving around the room, and truly learning from each other. Check out some of these pictures. 

 Don't cha just love how daintily they are holding their suckers? Ha ha!

 Can you see that man on his knees? He was repairing my heater, and  my kids didn't even notice him there! 
They were so involved in doing this.

After everyone was finished, we checked them together using my Elmo. My kids were so proud of their results. 
We'll take the actual test tomorrow. 
Then we'll know how much they truly 
learned about Text Features.

For the actual assessment, you can do the same thing, place the test cards around the room (or use a gym if that is available to you). But I think I'm going to show the cards on my Elmo so that I can read it for them while they put their answers on  the test paper at their seats. (we use offices, trifolded cardboards to shield our work so others can't see their answers.)

The last movement that we did for the day was a perfect way to end the day. Deanna also has a pack of activities for April  called Hippity Hop. One of the games is called Think Ink. This is a practice with synonyms. I put a card on each desk. I started the music and the kids had to move around the room. When the music stopped they had to read the card that was on the desk in front of them. It was their job to think of a synonym. Then I pulled 3 names of students. They had to read their card AND give me a synonym for that word. If they could do it correctly, I gave them a reward ticket! Then I'd start the music again, and they just loved moving and jiving around the room. There was a lot of learning going on and a lot of fun too. It would have been a great day to have been surprised with a walk through from my principal!

These pictures don't show them reading, but it does show them loving it!

I highly recommend that you visit Deanna's store and check out all the goodies that she makes.