summer background

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Updating Your Blog List & a Freebie

This first part is for all my fellow bloggers.

Are your blog lists up to date? Is every one that you are following showing up in your lists of blogs you follow? Do you know how to be sure that everyone is there? I would love to show you just in case you weren't aware that you could update this list.

Here are the steps:
  1. Go to your Layout page
  2. Find the gadget that says My Blog List
  3. Click on the link that says Add to List
  4. Then click on Blogs I Follow.
  5. Select All, Add, then Save
That's it. Now when you look at your blog anyone who has a new post (that you follow) will have their link show up. This is a great way to share your friends with other friends. 

I don't know about you, but that's how I roll!!! I go to one person's blog, read it, then try to leave a comment because that's the polite thing to do. Then I look at their list of blogs they follow and I go to someone else's. You know, Share the Love!

Speaking of sharing the love, have you seen these yet?

They are my blingiest thing I have ever made! (Thanks to Glitter Meets Glue!) Making nonsense words is so important for preschoolers, kinders, and first graders.

Here's the best part. . . . 
It's FREE! 

Go grab it here, then don't forget to leave me some kind words. I hope you love it.


Friday, January 24, 2014

After School Programs and a Give Away

It seems like we are always trying to find ways to get parents involved. It's not always the easiest thing to do is it? 

One of the things that I think is deterring parents from coming in is our locked door policy. Of course they can still come in, but it isn't as easy when they have to ring a buzzer and be allowed in by the secretary. I know we are trying to be safe, but are we also keeping parents out?

Last year we started having once a month meetings that parents could attend. We tried to find a good time that was convenient to their schedule. So we called it "Ask the Teacher" and we hold it right after school lets out for about 25 - 30 minutes. We provided child care and let them know the topic ahead of time. These meetings are proving to help some of our parents. We get less than 20 each time and usually it is different parents. We select the topic and give them some information on it. Last night we shared math. So we gave a perspective of what 2nd graders are learning, but also touched on Kinder and First too. After we are finished we let the parents ask or share about math or any other topic. We usually try to give them something for coming. Last night they got a small white board, marker and two magnets. We told them that kids need to draw pictures to explain their math work. Then they need to be able to explain the actions they used to find the answers. So the white boards were perfect. 

We also tried having breakfast meetings where the parents could come in when they dropped off their child for school in the morning. These were run by our counselor and principal since we were teaching. It did get some parents to come in. 
I'd love to hear what some of you do to keep them coming in to help or learn.

We know that children just don't get enough time to read and enjoy reading at home. So this week we started a new program. We call it "Relax and Read." We invited only 2nd graders (and their siblings if they are in our building.) These kids get a snack (one of the main reasons they want to come!!!!) and then they go to the library to just relax and read. They can read to themselves, a partner or a teacher. We even have some high school and middle school students who want to come and read with them. If it is needed we can also pull a couple kids to work on some of their essential skills for this marking period. 

These pictures show some of the kids doing just what the title says they should be doing.

 There's even a competition to see who reads more books. They have a chart to put a sticker on when they finish a story. The computers are also available to take Accelerated Reader tests if they want to.

If you have purchased my Valentine Contractions, you'll want to go back and grab the update. I added in some more contractions and answer keys. If you haven't bought it yet, but would, you can click here to see it in my store. 

We are in the middle of a super cold week AGAIN! No school today for many schools in the area because our wind chill dipped down to -28. Dang! That's cold!

In honor of this cold spell, I want to warm your heart and give a set of these away. Leave me a comment and your email address and I'll have my husband pick a random number on Saturday around 9:00 PM EST.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spelling Around the Room

Spelling! I know it's a very important and as a kid, I loved it. 
But through the years, I believe that there just are kids who are spellers and those who are NOT!

We don't use a spelling book or series. So I purchased a  Differentiated Spelling Lists from Surfin Through Second.  I absolutely love them. Corinna has 2 lists for each week. I give the first list to everyone on Mondays. If anyone passes 80% or better, then I give them the 2nd list to study all week for the test on Friday. Those who didn't pass the first test will study that for the test on Friday.

So how do I help them practice these words? Corinna has several activities that are included in her product. Usually we pair up with a partner. I put both lists of words on the Elmo. One person sits with their back to the screen while the partner who can see the words, asks them to spell them. Then they switch places and do the words with the other player. My kids like this and as I walk around I can hear lots of good practice going on. Who needs papers to do spelling on all the time?!!!

In the beginning of the year one of the activities we did was to find rhyming words for a couple of the spelling words. As a class we would make a list and hang it in the room. It didn't matter if it was spelled differently as long as it rhymed.

This week I had the kids do the writing as a group. There were five sheets of paper with a different spelling word on it. Some from each list. This week happens to be the long I sound. The groups were given about 5 minutes to brainstorm words to rhyme with the main word. 

Then they rotated to a new word. They had to read the written words first then think of any other words that would fit. They were not allowed to write a word that was already there.

We continued switching until they had visited each word. As they got to the end, it was harder to come up with a word that wasn't already written.

My kids loved this. I love how they are so focused as a team to find new words!

When they were finished we put them all on the board in front of the room. We read each one and decided if it actually DID rhyme or if it should be crossed off. 

I know my kids enjoyed this for many reasons. It was different, we were moving around a lot, they were in charge of their actions, and they loved working together. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bulletin Board Idea

I hate boring bulletin boards and I must say I have seen some cute ones on a lot of blogs. So this week we only had two days. . . Yup that's what I said 2. We went to school on Thursday and Friday. Monday and Tuesday the wind chill was -40 degrees. On Wednesday the buses wouldn't run because they use diesel fuel and when it's that cold it turns to gel. (I didn't know that!) So they played around with the buses all day on Wednesday and sure enough we were ready to roll on Thursday. 

But what do you do with a 2 day week? No spelling test, don't want to start any units. . . . so let's play! 

This is my listening center. 
I try to change the books with the seasons or holidays.
This is a tree map that we will do this week. I have the snowmen part laminated so I can use it every year. Then I just add the paper beneath it so that the kids can write the words in that will answer What snowmen have, can, and are.

 On Friday we made Negative/Postive or Symmetrical Winter hats. It's a lot of fun and it really shows you who gets this process and who needs more help. 

 These symmetrical hats help my littles see how to do some serious problem solving. Trying to make something look negative and positive isn't easy for everyone. 

My principal happened to walk in just to see how we were doing and I loved that she mentioned how they were Symmetrical. Well, of course they are. So we got some fun out of math!


Does anyone remember the Trumpet Book Club? 
At the beginning of their existence they had the best books!
It's just too cool of a picture from Lois Ehlerts book to get rid of!

Do any of you take the Northwest Educational Assessment? It is sometimes called MAPS  or NWEA.
We take it and the charts and graphs part always stumps my kids. So I made up a few that are similar to some that I've seen on their test. 
It is now available in my store and I really think it will help your kids to think differently and to see the patterns that help you solve problems.

You can click on any of these pictures to take you to my store to see more about this product!

I have a full week of school this week. I better get on to my lesson planning!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Pictures, In Case You Were Curious What it Looks Like!!!!

Many of you have pictures like this out your window. . . so if you're bored of snow pictures, you have my permission to move on!

For any of you who don't get snow, these pictures are for YOU!

 This is my road that I live on. You can see how deep the banks are on the left. 
We haven't had this much snow in a long time!
 These two pictures are of the amount of snow on my roof. If we get much more snow, then we worry about  the weight of all that snow on our little house!

 We live on a corner lot with a wooded park across the road. 
The sun has been shining yesterday and today. 
So it really makes that cold snow sparkle and shine.
This picture looks out on to my deck with the park across the street.  I was taking pictures every few hours during the storm. It was interesting to see that bench get more piled on as the night got longer.

This last picture shows how fun it is to stay inside and drink hot chocolate from my Christmas present
. . . a Keurig! Love that machine!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby It's REALLY Cold Outside-Freebie

In your state, 
life may be quite a bit different from ours. 

We are bracing for a storm that will be put in the books. 
They are saying, "It's one for the books!"
"We have never been this cold before!"
"We have never seen this 
much snow in one storm!"
"The store shelves are emptying!" (They are!)

I live in southwest Michigan. We get a lot of  lake effect snow from Lake Michigan. They say we could get up to 18 more inches. We already have about 10 right now. Not only will it snow, but it will be windy and that snow will drift.

Then the second part of that storm is the wind chill. They say that we could dip down to -35 to -40 degrees. Yup, you read that right, 

"minus 35 to minus 40 degrees below ZERO!"

Those temps are just too dangerous for anyone to be out in, much less have students waiting for buses or walking to school in. 

They say this could be in effect for Monday AND Tuesday. BRRRRR! That's a whole lot of cold!

(Do you sometimes wonder who "THEY" are?)

(In this case it's the weather people!)

So to help your kids keep warm, I made them some new mittens and hats!

Just kidding, I didn't make them. . . Ashley Hughes did. Do you know Ashley? She is from The School Supply Addict. She has a lot of cool clip art and papers. You should check her out sometime!

In the fall I made a nonsense word product that did very well. If you're like me, you just can not use pumpkins in the middle of the winter. So if you picked those up and don't want to use them anymore, you better grab these for free!  They'll last as long as winter lasts in your area. 

Just click on the picture above to go to my store to get yourself a set of these. Now be a good doobie and don't forget to leave me some of your thoughts! I love to hear what others think. 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Prefix Winners + a Surprise!

Congratulations to all of you! 

You will also be getting a surprise! 

I know. . . I love surprises too!

Hot off the presses. . . . . 

This set compliments the Prefix set that they won. . . It is for sale in my store right now. If you're not a winner, you might want to go check it out at my TPT store. 

I will be contacting the winners and sending both sets out to them. Thanks to all who entered!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Giveaway of 2014

Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but this family celebrates pretty lamely. . . . 
is that even a word?

We played Euchre. . . a huge game this family loves. Then we went to my son's house and played 31. Another fun game where you can win money. . . who doesn't like to win money? After that we played a card game called Golf. It's very quick and easy and keeps our family into some FUN stuff!

I just wanted to remind you that there is still time to enter my giveaway for my prefix practice.

Just click here to go to the rafflecopter to enter. You have until Midnight tonight. So hurry, enter, and cross your fingers to see if you can be my first winner of 2014. . . 

There will be a surprise for those 3 people who win this. . . 

shhhhhh! I'm not telling yet what that surprise is.