Monday, September 30, 2013

Alex's Lemonade Stand

Ever just jump on an idea and it turned out great?

I am one lucky teacher! It all started with my Teacher Neighbor and a Sweet Bee in my class.

Every year during the month of September a bunch of my Facebook friends change their pictures to reflect a very gold theme!

Last year, I read the story of Alex Scott. It made my melancholy. Sad that this little girl had to die from such an awful disease, but wow what  a fighter she was! Honestly I didn't really get into the whole "Let's sell Lemonade". It wasn't affecting me right?....
A lot has changed in a year! This year my teacher neighbor says "Hey, I'm doing a Lemonade Stand, do you want in?"(She has been the teacher of a little girl with Cancer, and won)
 I was thinking "OK, sure, sure, whatever"....  but then this Sweet Bee tells me his story.
 Last December he lost his little brother to cancer. His two year brother had leukemia, "the orange ribbon kind" , as I was told. He was still grieving the loss of his brother, so is his family. So then I go up to my Teacher Neighbor (TN) and say "Hey TN, about that Lemonade Stand...." Next thing you know we are buying Lemonade by the gallons, stocking up! The kids start to get into it! Notes are going home school wide for a Lemonade Stand that will help fight Childhood Cancer "One Cup at a Time"...then the B I G day arrives, we have two Lemonade stands in the school! (I forgot to take pictures, but not my TN, I borrowed these from her...)

This is my TN's class in the downstairs foyer, my kiddos were upstairs selling Lemonade to the older grades!

The kids made signs to help the cause!

The whole school showed up to help! Our two classes raised over $650. We were excited!
Did I mention my TN is more driven than anyone I know. She says, "Oh don't forget we have ANOTHER Lemonade Stand this Saturday at a local area Chik-fil-A"

I actually VOLUNTEERED, I even got my son's Scout troop to send some help! What another great day! On this day we raised over $700.
The Backdrop

Scouts from Troop 268

Our School really showed up to support!

The Queen Bee all ready to sell!
If you were like me, never really heard of all this GOLD in September, or just too afraid to get involved....STOP and reconsider, 90% of the proceeds actually go for Childhood Cancer Research! Isn't it about time we do something fun and positive to help our children out! As a 1990's Nike commercial once said..."JUST DO IT!" It is so rewarding to know you did something in September, and you are going to make it even better next year! (Well, that is my goal!)

Check out Alex's Lemonade Stand! You will be glad you did!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The PROOF is in the Journal of Course!

This summer I spent so much time on finding ideas that I wanted to use to make my lessons stronger, my classroom more organized and my teaching more powerful! I really feel it paid off. I found, or maybe it was my Fabulous Teacher Friend next door, either way it this works, a great resource for my Reading Interactive Journals, but I call mine Reading Response Journals(RRJ). I found it on TpT of course!
Each new standard I teach I spend the beginning of the lesson adding to their RRJ.

Here we are working on Text Connections
We spend some time writing, coloring, and gluing the standard into our RRJ. We then have a quick mini-lesson highlighting the skill.   The next few days we use this as a reference or an anchor to our learning. It has really helped us stay focused on our task, plus it is a fun way to show proof of what we covered in Second Grade. The parents love it, and so do I!
Here we are learning and having fun:
Did I mention that I love the fact that the CCSS standards and strands are listed on the skill...I love it when others make my job easier!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Making a square peg fit into the CCSS hole!

Is it me or is the fact that our text books are not aligned with the Common Core State Standards driving you nuts too!?
Our fabulous team of Second Grade teachers came up with a great order to teach the CCSS in. However our Math series does not agree, so I feel like I am fighting the system! We even went through and decided on which lessons worked with each standard. I was  flipping from chapter to chapter to teach OA2.1, so for NBT2.1 I got smarter...I did this last year, so why do I feel like I keep reinventing the wheel? I'm going to blame it on short term memory blocks, or ADD or something of that nature!  I remembered that I cut out the things I liked from that dreaded Go Math! series and put it in our interactive Math here we go starting with NBT2.1...I spend the first 15 minutes using hands on tools and we construct and deconstruct numbers...then we dive into our Math Journals to provide the evidence of our learning for the lesson.

We found the page with the definition of Place Value. We started there!

We then continued on with the lesson, and I had the kids practice this skill with four problems. They glued down those answers.
 The next day we use our evidence page as a reference when we work with Math tools, or if we learn a new game that demonstrated this skill! The kids really like showing proof of their learning, and it helps me stay on track!
See you soon with a post on my RRJs (Reading Response Journals)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Most Important Rule

Where was I? Oh yes, that 10 day instructional unit for my Master's Program. As I continue with this journey I have feeling my posts will be centered around it.
Here is one of the ideas I used to help build classroom procedures. We made a list the day before of the most important rules we have in our classroom.
They were really easy to identify, well that is what I thought. I only have three rules:
Be Ready. (To listen and to learn)
Be Respectful. (Treat others the way you want to be treated)
Be Responsible. (Make Good Choices)

 My class, if I haven't mentioned it 20 times before, is the BEST class ever! They realized that we have many rules, unwritten and talked about!
We have a "Blurt Chart", we have  "S.H.I. N.E" poster, we talk about how to be a friend to others.
So for this writing activity I ended up telling them to choose five rules that they think are the Most Important to them. Perhaps it was something they needed to work on, or maybe they think the rest of the class might need help with. (Thanks to Jamie Rector for creating this writing prompt for the Common Core.)
Now see how my kids put their ideas down on paper:
On the right is her brainstorming sheet. On the left is her draft.


We spent a few days BEFORE we actually started writing. As a class we brainstormed then they used a recording sheet for their ideas, THEN they drafted their ideas.
Can you tell we really worked hard on class community?
Hee Hee Hee, love the no blurting!

I was impressed with this Sweet Bee!

I am sure with responses like these our classroom is going to be GREAT this year!
Shine = Sit up, Hands in lap , In your own spot, No noise, Eyes on the speaker. Thank you Teachers pay Teachers!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's BUGGING you? And a Master's Degree too...

     Many of you know I am currently beginning my Master's in  Education. My very first class had me making a 10 day unit. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and actually use this unit in my real life. Many of my fellow students were posting (it's an on-line degree program) about their 10 day instructional unit on chemical reactions, the Pythagorean  theory or phonemic awareness. Not this girl, nope, really no academics involved!(Well, sort of) I did mine on the beginning of school. How to be a good student! How to be a friend! How to be a role model! (you get the idea)
I wanted to really focus on creating  a calm classroom environment. A place where the children can come and learn and get to work. I wanted them to know that school can be a fun place, a safe place and above all a place to take risks without fear of being ridiculed. We made all the Anchor charts I pinned on Pinterest, we read all the books about anti-bullying, we made friends for life, these past first two weeks of school! I made sure my 10 day instructional unit for my Grad school included lots of technology and hands-on activities that 2nd graders love! I hope I get an A on my unit, because it has done wonders in my classroom. I feel that this year my class has already 'gelled' into a great group. They are so polite, and very work conscious. Can't wait to start my next class in my Master's Program. It's on writing within the reading block!(AS if!)

So here is a tiny peek into the first few weeks of school,

We started with a Craftivity!
As you can see they had to trace a bug body. I made sure their bugs were of the BEE persuasion!

This was the second week of school. I am impressed with their cutting skills!
They really took their time.

For this project they had to create a BEE and address what others do that really BUGS them!
I did a quick model of what bugs me...
Not sure if you can read my list! I have a few issues!

Then they really got creative and wrote out a few of their issues....
Love the part when I give too much homework, the funny is that at this point I hadn't given out ANY homework!

You have to know who she sits next to, to appreciate her comment!

I told this sweet bee, it bugs me when her bus is late too!

This kid is a riot! His mom is a teacher too, can you tell?

This is a huge issue I guess, people talking when I am!
 Wait until you see their next little writing activity, I have the best class this year!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Taste of our School

Welcome back to school!

We have been back for two weeks now, but BEFORE Meet the Teacher I took a walking tour of our school. I wanted to steal gather ideas to use in my room this year. So I grabbed my camera phone and took a few pictures of my friends' classrooms!
We will start in Kindergarten, here is a new to our school teacher, her room is as cute as she is!

Here is a SUPER HUGE fan...can you guess where she went to school?

Sock Monkeys were in two different classrooms this year, they are so cute....

Second grade has gone to the dog....

I love this Rock n Roll theme too....

We have so many creative teachers in our school...take a look at this one....

She has no windows in her classroom so she created one...cute cute cute!!!
Then I sneaked over to the 5th grade hallway and captured these:

Oh I'm not done yet!

I have to come back to this Peaceful Classroom once she gets her Yoga Balls in...that will be a treat!
You haven't seen anything yet...check this crafty teacher out!
This is her Welcome Sign

 This is what greets you as you walk in the front door!

Real live Turtles too!

It is so de-cluttered and calm in this room! Can I move in?
No tour would be complete with out visiting a PIRATE room....

Here are a few others to gawk at!

Here is a splash of color.........................

And just simple red, black and white.....

.......................................and last but not least is my fabulous neighbor
She is the queen of organization on our school! (Glad she is next door...I think?)

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my school! I need to go back and see how we all look now that we have been 'living' here for two weeks already!
I really would like to showcase not only their decorating abilities , but their fabulous teaching talents...ah another post for another time!