Friday, April 29, 2016

What Memories Were Made in Your Class This Year?

Can you believe it's almost the end of the school year again? I sure can't! Time flies when you're having fun really is true! I have had a wonderful year with my little cuties and I hope you have had one too. 

At the end of the year, I always like to let the kids reflect on their year in 2nd grade. It helps them remember how much fun we all had together and also answers the question of: What did you do in school today? (this year) 

To help organize these memories, I created these memory books to use with my students. (in color and black and white) I hope it might help you wrap up your year with fond memories as well. 

Have a Wonderful End of the School Year and gear up for SUMMER!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Earth Day Hats by Monica~Link up Your Earth Day Products

Monica is a wonderful friend of mine and always has such awesome ideas. Check out her Earth Day hats!  She makes these super simple hats with recycled materials! If you would like to see how and see a video to boot, just click here!

You can check out more Earth Day fun over on her blog by clicking HERE!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Give Your Students a Little Swagger!

In the past, I've used behavior beads as an incentive for my kids. Then, I saw brag tags and really wanted to get them. . . but they are a tad expensive. So, what do you think I did? Of course, I made my own Swag Tags. 
I decided to make them dog tag shaped and bought some ball and chain necklaces to hang the tags on. I searched all around and finally found a good deal for them on Amazon. I bought the 100 pack so I will have enough for the next few years. . . That should get me to retirement age!  Here are the ones I bought:

I store my tags in a divider box and use Post-it Flags (680-EG-ALT) to divide them by topic. I also put them in ABC order so they are easy to find. (I put everything in ABC order!)
Before I hang a tag on a child's necklace, I put their name on it with Sharpie Retractable Ultra Fine Point Permanent Markers, 3 Colored Markers(1735794)
I also put a bead in between the tags so people can admire the accomplishments of my little rock stars.  

I have a spot where the kids hang their swag tags. That way, they have a place to store them at the end of the day, or when they don't want to wear them. Some kids like to leave them hanging and just stop to look at them once in awhile. Others, wear them for awhile, then take them off for lunch, P.E., etc. It's interesting to watch!

My munchkins are absolutely loving these tags. They earn them for working their way up our 'Super Improver' Chart and for all sorts of other accomplishments as well. 
Just click the pic to check out the freebie if you would like to get started with swag tags in your classroom! I've got more, but I need to get the covers done. . . Never enough time in a day!

Happy Easter!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Whole Brain Teaching Love and Linky

Happy February! I hope you are having a 'love'ly school year! 
I am linking up with fellow bloggers in an 'I Teach 2nd' monthly linkup. We will be sharing timely tips, teaching strategies, resources, and some freebies with you. If you like what you see in this blog post, be sure to follow me (or any of the participating bloggers) and check back at the beginning of each month for a new linkup.
Since it is February, I thought I would share what I LOVE most about teaching. I recently started watching videos and reading up about Whole Brain Teaching. I have to say, it has changed my life for so many reasons. Here are a few:
  1. I am having fun teaching. I mean, I can't wait to teach each day. I've always loved it, but it had become a bit of a chore. Not anymore!
  2. My kids are having fun learning. I like to think I always made it fun, but I can really feel the shift in the energy of our room. Kids are actively engaged and busy helping me 'teach' with their partners. So cool!
  3. The kids are really retaining what they've learned.
  4. And the list goes on and on. You HAVE to go to the Whole Brain Teaching website and watch some of the videos for yourself. 
  5. The bad behaviors have dramatically decreased since I've begun using the Scoreboard and class Rules. There's no time for that monkey business! Watch this little clip to see what my favorite class rule is! 
One of my favorite ways to help my kids comprehend what they are reading is called The Crazy Professor Reading Game and the kids LOVE it! This first video is a little guy reading his journal entry about The Kissing Hand. He asked me if it was okay if he used hand gestures (like he does when playing The Crazy Professor Reading Game). This is precious. Check it out!
Here is my whole class reading a story with exaggerated expression and hand gestures. You should hear them answer questions after reading in this way. AMAZING, FUN, and ENGAGING! See for yourself!

Spread the LOVE and SHARE these posts with your friends! 


Monday, January 18, 2016

Simple Technology for Engaged Learning

You know it is sometimes overwhelming with all the apps out there, but sometimes all you need is a camera on a device. 

In math, we are learning about lines, line segments, parallel, intersecting...the whole bit. Our Everyday Math workbook wanted the kids to look around the room for examples of those terms. So, instead, we grabbed our devices and started snapping pictures. The kids then gathered back together to share the real-life items they found that had parallel line segments. Even if we had stopped there, it would've been a good learning experience.

However, we went further with the Seesaw Learning Journal app. 

  1. Kids choose a picture to use.
  2. They upload it to Seesaw.
  3. Then, use a writing/recording tool to explain their learning.
Check this video out:

Find out more about Seesaw by clicking the pic. I know you are going to LOVE it! I sure do...and so do my munchkins!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

We Need to Let Them Play!

Last week, it was actually cold enough for us to get some snow. Of course, the temperature dropped to about 5 degrees and we couldn't go out for recess. Two days later, it was about 34 degrees and we were able to go out. Even though the kids only get 15 minutes for recess, they were still able to create this awesome snowman. It was so fun to watch them and come up with the ideas for their creation. It made me giggle when they were trying to figure out the arms for the snowman...scoopy cups. It's so fun to actually just watch and listen to our kids. They really are neat little people. Have you watched your kids lately? I'd love to hear your stories! Just leave a comment to share!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Favorite Things - Giveaway and Blog Hop 2015

Favorite Things Graphic
Today we are throwing  a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:
I absolutely LOVE the app SeeSaw. It is an online student journal that the kids use to show their learning. I have the kids read their writing on it. That lets me take a closer look at the writing and not have to carry a bunch of papers home. I can also make comments using the talk to text feature, or even record an audio comment for them to listen to. I use it for assessment and I'm able to check for understanding quickly. I can also check on kids who can sometimes slip through the cracks. I had the kids tell me what an adjective is and one little girl recorded that an adjective was "a person, place, or thing." I was able to correct her misunderstanding quickly and then follow up with her the next day at school. Another app I use with SeeSaw, is Shadow Puppet Edu. It is a very basic 'movie-making' app. (It's really a slideshow that you can record your voice over.) It's very easy to use and the kids can use it independently (once you've showed them how.) Below, I tried to show you some of the features and I've even included a couple of videos to show how I've used it.
This video is a little long, but you can get the idea of how awesome this app is in the first minute or two.
This video will show you how the kids used Shadow Puppet Edu to share their books.

  1. Take a picture of each page of the book.
  2. Open the Shadow Puppet Edu app and create a new project.
  3. Choose your pictures in order from the camera roll.
  4. Hit record and read your book. When you are done with that page, you just arrow to the next page until you are finished with the book. 
  5. Then, you can just 'share' your video with SeeSaw and put it in your folder for your teacher to see. (I set my SeeSaw so I have to approve everything that goes on.) So COOL!

I like the saying "Creative minds are never neat," because it give me an excuse! However, even we creatively messy people need to know where things are! I have 6 of these 'small parts organizers' to help me keep organized. I have one with small drawers for my reward cards. There are 2 sets of drawers with medium size drawers for small school supplies like paper clips, staples, Sharpies, Command Hooks, etc. Another one of the organizers has a combination of medium and small drawers for some of the overflow. I keep some of the prizes in these drawers (like the gum for the Hubba Bubba reward.) The large organizers hold shoe box sized boxes. I have a drawer for my label maker and cords, another for tools (yes screwdrivers, razor blades, etc.) I even have a drawer for personal items. This drawer is the best because there is always something you need in there. I have chap stick, eye drops, hair bands, glasses, Aleve, dental floss, an name it, I probably have it! I wish I would've had these a long time ago. 
Oh, and the most important part is you need to put them in ABC order. That way, you can find things once you've put them away. (If you know your ABCs, that is!)

 I just LOVE using my math mysteries with my kiddos and they love reading them too!
It's a fun way to incorporate reading comprehension with math problem solving. One thing I like to do is use different grade level versions with my class. Then, I put the same cover on the outside and no one is the wiser! One part of the class may be doing the third grade book and the other part may be doing the second grade book, but they both have the 2nd (or 3rd) grade cover.
Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!





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Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

Link to link up

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