Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year Sale on TpT!

So I'm participating in my first "sale" on TpT and I am so excited! Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a huge Leap Year Sale tomorrow. Here's how it works: Many of the amazing teacher-authors on TpT are throwing their own sales on Wednesday, February 29th of up to 20% off.  Then when you check out, plug in the Promo Code of L2P9Y to get an additional 10% off. That works out to up to 28% off because you receive another discount on top of the already discounted price!

The sale is only on Wednesday and will be the last big sale until Teacher Appreciation Day in May so really take the leap and discover new teacher-authors, new ideas, and new approaches that will save you a huge amount of time!

You can visit my store by clicking on the picture below: (don't forget to write down the Promo Code!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

2nd Grade Common Core Standards Posters

I am so excited to share my latest creation for my classroom with you... common core standards posters for second grade! These 2nd grade common core posters are unique due to the fact that the standards cards are two-sided: one side is the exact standard written and coded for your records, the other side is the same standard written in "kid-friendly" language so that your students will be able to understand what it is they will be learning. (NOTE: I've taken great care in trying to preserve the meaning of the standard when I changed it into terms that the students can understand. I kept most verbage the same and used synonyms for more challenging words to help second graders understand!)

This document includes ALL standards for Language Arts (reading, writing, language, etc.) and Math. Science and Social Studies are also included, although they are specific to Ohio. Some Science and Social Studies standards may be the same from state to state, although same may differ.

Also included are subject heading cards for your display, information explaining how to read the coding on each card, and directions on how to print and make the cards. Making the cards is very simple-- you just need to print, cut around the solid black line (but DO NOT cut the line in the middle) and then fold in half. One side will be the "teacher" side and the other is the "kid-friendly" side. Just laminate, if you wish, and display in your classroom to make the learning goals more visible to your students!

Check them out... Just click on the picture below to be taken to the link!

I Survived the Landform Maps!

Every year, my students make 3D landform maps of the United States using candy and other types of food. I was a little nervous about it this year because of my large class size (almost 30!) and the fact that there is only one me. Well... I'm proud to say that I survived and my students absolutely loved this project! It was fun and they learned so much at the same time. To make the maps, my students referenced a map in their Social Studies book that showed them where all of the landforms are located in the US. We used hershey kisses for the mountains, mini marshmallows for the hills, brown rice for the desert, green sprinkles for the plains, twizzlers pull-n-peel for the rivers, and goldfish for the oceans. Check out the pictures below!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Growth of a Writing Project

This year, I've really changed the way I organize and run writing workshop in my classroom. For the first time since I started teaching, my students work independently and know exactly what to do during this time. Before this year, I heard a lot of "I don't know what to write about" or "What do I do after I'm finished with my story?" Now, I rarely hear these statements from my kiddos. What is the difference? Two things-- 1) I very explicitly taught the routines of writing workshop at the beginning of the year. I'm talking EXPLICIT. Like what to do when your pencil breaks. Or where to put completed writing pieces in their binders. Things that sound so simple, yet really hold up writing workshop if they aren't known. 2) I compared the writing process to a growth of a flower. This was an idea that our literacy coach introduced to my second grade teaching team. After I introduced the steps of the writing process, my students were able to understand that a written piece takes a lot of work. They now know that to "bloom" their story, they first have to plant the seed (brainstorm), watch it sprout (rough draft), feed and nourish it (edit and revise), and then finally watch it bloom (final copy). Here is a picture of the bulletin board that I have in my classroom explaining this process:

If you'd like to download a free document containing all of the materials on this bulletin board, click here. Happy planting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Conference Question I Hear Every Time...

"What can I do to help my child with their math facts at home?" The dreaded question that I wish I had an answer for because I'm struggling with teaching math facts in my classroom. I have parent teacher conferences tonight and I decided to do some research to find some ways that parents can help their child practice their addition and subtraction facts. Let me tell you-- this was HARD. There are very few ideas besides games that kids can play online. So after looking for a while (okay, way too long) I found these five ideas and compiled them into a list that I plan to give to my parents at conferences. I especially like these games because everyone in the family can play and they are all fun and simple. If students are working on multiplication and division facts, these games can be easily modified to pracice those facts. Plus, most of them could also be played at school to help your students practice their facts. I know I am always looking for new ideas for math facts, so here you go!

5 Games to Practice Math Facts at Home

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaching the Theme of Books

Theme. A five letter word that has proven to be challenging for me over the last couple of days. There are so many different ways to teach the theme of a story. Some people think that theme is a universal word like "honesty" or "cooperation." Others think it is a lesson learned from the story. So which is it? And what is the best way to teach theme?

I decided to create a chart of common book themes in the first column, an explanation of each theme in the middle, and a column for book titles at the end. The kids have really used this chart when discussing theme during our reading workshop. They reference the chart looking especially at the explanation in the middle. For my kiddos, understanding words like "perseverance" and "compassion" can be difficult. The explanations seem to help with this!

Each day during reading workshop, I read a picture book with a different theme. After the book is over, we discuss the theme or lesson learned from the story (I still can't decide between the two- I taught my students that theme can be either!) Once we've decided the theme, I add a picture of the book to the last column. I've found that putting up a picture of the book is more helpful for triggering my students' memories than just writing the title of the book. Plus, adding this miniature picture is always exciting to them for some reason!

Here is a picture of the chart that we created: (we've only added a couple books so far)

I am working on making a list of picture books that go along with each theme. When I am finished with this list, I will share it here on my blog!

Well I can now say that I've posted my first "official" post on my blog... how'd I do?!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Here Goes Nothing!

I've decided to start a blog for several reasons... 1) I want to share what I'm doing in my classroom with others. I've learned so much from other teachers and am hoping to share some of my ideas 2) Hopefully this blog will help me become a more reflective teacher and 3) Who am I kidding? Everyone these days seems to be blogging and I don't want to be behind the times!

So this is my attempt at a classroom blog. I hope you enjoy reading my 'Tales From Room 112'!