Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year, New Blog Name... and a Sale!

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas! I know I did =) I'm so excited because I have another entire week off of school. That means I will be organizing, planning, and enjoying time with my little guy. Okay- on to some big news... in case you didn't notice, my blog name has changed! When I first started blogging about a year ago, I came up with the name "Tales From Room 112". I've never been in love with the name but couldn't think of what else I wanted it to be. I knew that I wouldn't be teaching in Room 112 forever so it would have to change eventually. Yesterday, the idea of an open door classroom came into my mind and I just had to have it as my blog name. That's how "The Open Door Classroom" came to be! I was reflecting about blogging and how much I've learned over the past year from fellow bloggers. It is because everyone opens the doors to their classrooms and shares ideas that I've grown as a teacher. This is my hope for all of you- that you will be able to take ideas and inspiration away from my blog because of my "open door classroom." I hope you love the name as much as I do! Here are some great quotes I found yesterday when playing around with my new blog name:

“Whatever we possess becomes of double value when we have the opportunity of sharing it with others.” -Jean-Nicolas Bouilly

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” -George Bernard Shaw

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” -Margaret Fuller

Another big change is coming soon in the next few days- Erin Blecki from Creating and Designing is currently working on a new blog design for me! She sent me the previews a few days ago and they are amazing! I can't wait to get it installed on my blog. It's like an Extreme Blog Makeover =)

I also wanted to tell you that I am having a sale on all of my Common Core posters and Common Core vocabulary cards through January 2nd! I decided to throw a sale for these items because I know that it takes a while to print, laminate, and cut out the cards in these products. Winter break is a great time to do this! You can now enjoy 20% off of these items =)

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Gift Idea for Colleagues

This past weekend, I met my new best friend... Mod Podge! My second grade teammates decided to do a Pinterest-inspired gift exchange this year. It was so much fun looking all over Pinterest for the perfect gift for them. I came across this awesome custom teacher stool and fell in love with the idea.

Hooty's Homeroom: Painted Teacher Stool
Each of my teammates have a theme in their classroom so I decided to design a stool around their theme. Mrs. Mathews has an owl theme, Mrs. Verhoff has a jungle theme, and Mrs. Lee has a star theme. Here are some pics of the finished products!


These were so easy to make! I started with a 24" wood bar stool from Wal-Mart. My husband spray painted them for me and then once they were dry, I began designing the top of the stool. All I used were scrapbooking supplies- paper, stickers, etc. I put a little bit of Mod Podge on the top of the stool and then placed the paper on top. The trick here is to make sure that the paper is totally flat with no bubbles underneath. Make sure to push all of the bubbles out before the Mod Podge dries. Then, cover the top of the paper with Mod Podge- use lots!! It goes on white but will dry completely clear so don't worry. I then worked on the rungs by cutting scrapbook paper and Mod-Podging (is that a word?!) them around the rung. Next, I applied a liberal amount of the Mod Podge on top of the paper. For the last step, I painted stars and flowers on two of the stools, and used pawprint stickers on the last stool. Voila! It was super easy and I love the way they turned out! I am now dying to make one for my classroom, but I bought all of the stools in stock at Wal-Mart so I have to wait for another shipment to come in. I can't wait to make a polka-dot themed stool for my classroom =)
Have a great night everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Came Early! and a Line Plot Freebie

Well Christmas for my class came early this year! Our project on Donors Choose was funded last month and we received all of the items today. It was so exciting to open up all of the boxes in front of the kids and to see their reactions! I love to see them get so jazzed about math manipulatives =) Below is a pic of the items that were donated to our classroom.

We received 2 tubs of double-sided counters, a tub of plastic coins,  2 sets of coin stamps, 2 ink pads, 2 sets of magnetic coins, a tub of dice-in-dice (so cool!), a graphing chart pad, and a Meet the Common Core Math Standards Learning Centers kit. I can't wait to use all of this, especially the dice-in-dice and the CC Learning Centers kit. I actually had a parent volunteer use the Learning Centers kit today with some of my struggling students. The kit has an activity for each standard on a write and wipe board. There are also materials such as coins, counters, clocks, etc. that are provided. I gave my parent volunteer a list of the students who are struggling and the specific standards that they need help on (example: 2.MD.1) and the volunteer pulled them into the hallway towork with them one-on-one. This was super easy because the activities are ready and prepared. It was amazing! Click on the picture below to learn more about this awesome kit.

My other favorite item is this tub of dice-in-dice. I didn't even know these things existed! These dice are great because they can be used for so many different things- practicing math facts, 2-digit addition and subtraction, and much more. Check them out below!

This week in math, we've been learning all about line plots. This is a new standard in second grade so my team had to get pretty creative with how to teach this skill. My teammate, Kristin, found this amazing website to teach your students how to make a line plot. It starts off with a fun game and then gives you different scores to put on a line plot. After you make the line plot, it then generates questions for the kids to answer. They absolutely loved this activity! It was amazing on the Smart board, but would also work well on the student computers in your classroom.

After practicing line plots all week, today the kids worked in groups of four to collect measurement data around the room and turn it into a line plot. They constructed the line plots completely on their own. Here are some pics of my kiddos hard at work:

Measuring items around the room
Recording the measurements on the recording sheet

Using large chart paper and yard sticks to make the line plot

Making the number line at the bottom

Hard at work

The finished products
For this activity, students worked in groups of four. They went around the room and chose 10 items to measure that were less than 12 inches long (I didn't want the range to be too big!). After measuring each item, they had to record it on their group's recording sheet. Next, they turned their measurement data into a line plot using chart paper, yard sticks, and markers. We talked about having a title, unit at the bottom, and even spaces between numbers. Last, the kids had to write 3 questions that could be answered by looking at the line plot and then answer them. We shared these at the end of math today and the kids read their questions to the class and had others answer them. Even though the line plots aren't perfect (we used plenty of fix-it tape!), I kept reminding myself of the importance of "process over product." The process was so meaningful for the kids! If you'd like to download a free copy of the recording sheet (and space for questions on the back), just click on the image below. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Currently!

I'm keeping this short and sweet tonight-- it's time for December's Currently! I am so excited that December is finally here. It's my favorite month for so many reasons. Christmas music, hot chocolate, snow... I could go on and on! Alright, here is my "Currently" for the month:

Be sure to link up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade! Hope you had a great start to the week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Main Idea Madness and Then/Now Freebie

Happy Sunday everyone! I am having such a hard time finding time for everything so I apologize that my posts have been pretty few and far between. I wanted to share a couple of things with you today. First up, I have a FREEBIE for you! This past week, my students learned about how life in the past is different from life today. Two wonderful books for teaching about life in the past are:

Then and Now by Heather Amery
If You Lived 100 Years Ago by Ann McGovern
On Friday, my students did a T-chart partner activity to write and illustrate what life was like in different areas: shops, streets, railways, schools, family rooms, country, beaches, kitchens, garage/smithy, bedrooms, transportation, communication, clothing, games, jobs for women, and jobs for men. The kids worked in groups of two and really had to "synergize" with one another. Here are some pics of my kiddos hard at work =)

I gave my students copies of pages from the books to help with their ideas and illustrations. These turned out really great! I mounted the finished products on construction paper and hung them in the hallway. Check them out!

Don't you just love 2nd grade illustrations? They are too cute! If you'd like to download your FREE copy of these T-charts, just click on the image below. Enjoy!
Next up-- I am so excited to share the "Main Idea Madness" unit that I created. We've been using this unit over the past couple of weeks and it sure is helping! In the past, teaching my students about main idea and details is always a struggle. It is just such a hard concept for them to understand. My favorite part about this unit is that it starts out pretty easy and builds up to more challenging activities. In 2nd grade, students have to be able to identify the main idea of a text as well as the main idea in each paragraph of a multi-paragraph text. Whew! That's hard! After using the activities in this pack, they are beginning to understand =) Woo hoo! This unit is packed with reading passages, graphic organizers, and meaningful activities for your kiddos. If you'd like to check it out, just click on the image below!

Have a great week!