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!
On another note, I've got a couple new items I've been working on lately called 'SWAG Tags' to use for accomplishments in my classroom. I'm trying to pull away from using other prizes and teaching the kids to work toward improving and reaching their own individual goals. I'm going to put the tags on a dog tag chain and keep it so the kids can wear it at school. Don't want it to get lost at home! The kids can then take them home at the end of the year. Here's a FREE pack for you to check out for yourself! 
If you like them, I've got more and would LOVE your suggestions for tags you'd like for your class. Check out the Subjects Pack, too!

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!





Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Link to link up


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Preparing for New Students Throughout the Year

This year, I have an unusually small class which is so nice! However, when you have the smallest class, you will be receiving the new students throughout the year. To help me prepare for the new students to come, I packed up my 'Little Red Reading Bags' (aka seatsacks) with all the goodies my new little munchkins would need to get started at their new school. Some of the items included are:

  • responsibility folder
  • journals
  • lunch stick
  • pencil sharpener
  • behavior chart clip
  • welcome pencil
  • birthday card, sticker, etc.
  • headphones
  • workbooks
  • 'thick' questions ring
  • bookmark . . .and the list goes on. 
As I go through the year, I add other items that will be needed. Of course, everything won't fit in the bag, so I put a list with other items that need to be made/included. I like to have this list because there are several items I need to make on my computer.
I hope you are having a great school year. I can't believe it is November already! Have a great week!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall into Fall with Multiple Meaning Words

When I started thinking of words with multiple meanings, I didn't know what I was in for! The list of words went on and on. Then, I asked my kids to think of words and they came up with a ton more! 

I needed a way to help my kiddos learn to tell the difference between them. I came up with these sentence pairs with cloze sentences. The kids use the context clues and picture cues to help them figure out the meaning of the word.  
'Watch' out! Your kids are going to 'fall' for multiple meaning words!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Who's Who Authors are Fighting for Fiona - Fundraiser

The Who's Who authors are holding a fundraiser for a little girl named Fiona from Indiana.

Three year old Fiona Waller’s only cure is a bone marrow transplant...her medical bills are overwhelming as well. 

Fiona was born with a rare, life threatening immune deficiency which requires her to undergo painful weekly infusions. A bone marrow transplant would replace her defective B-Cells and T-Cells. Karen Waller, Fiona's mom worries that, "the only other option is to continue treatments and wait until she gets sick."
  • The family’s medical insurance requires an $8,000 out of pocket deductible each           January.
  • Fi’s medical bills totaled over $80,000 in the first 6 months.
To help this wonderful family with expenses for this beautiful baby girl, Who's Who is holding a fundraiser to help pay for her medical bills. Our initial goal is to raise enough to pay for the family’s 2016 deductible. Maybe we can even raise enough to pay for the actual bone marrow transplant!

All proceeds from the sale of these educational resource bundles, will go to Fiona and her family. Please check out some of these resources from the links below. You will get some AMAZING resources AND you will be helping out a family in need.

·         To donate directly to Fiona's Fund - 
·         To watch the video -                      
·         To follow Fi's mommy's blog -      


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Flash Drive Fun!

Well, I've been in school now for 4 1/2 weeks, and things are finally starting to settle down...sorta! It doesn't matter how many times you start a new year, it's always BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! I might be getting old or something!

In the middle of the hustle and bustle, I was looking around for a flash drive to load some PDFs for school on. I couldn't find one, so, of course, I googled 'flash drives' instead of getting off the couch. USB Memory Direct popped up. They have some the CUTEST flash drives! I REALLY love this FLIP FLOP
one, but my better judgment thought it would be better to get some with my logo on them. You never know when they will come handy for a giveaway or something! Keep your eyes peeled for one of those coming up soon!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year...or summer, whichever the case may be. Hey, at least it's almost Friday and a long weekend to boot! And...I can still wear my flip flops!

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