Monday, October 28, 2013

iTune Out Drugs

Every year, we have a "Red Ribbon Week" Door Contest.  In the past, I've had students send in a baby picture and post them on my door with a sign that says, "Born to be Drug Free."  I'm happy to report that I'm changing things up a bit because I found a really cute idea on Pinterest.  (Click here to see the blog.

I'm excited to start my "Drug Free" conversation tomorrow and have the students fill out an iPod with one reason they will tune out drugs.  I'll post a picture of the final product at the end of the week.  

The Wonderful World of Typos

If there was only such a thing as "The Wonderful World of Typos."  I promise I do try to proof each and every item I publish.  However, there have been a few times recently that I was using one of my own creations and noticed that dreaded typo!  I hate, absolutely HATE, typos!  I truly apologize to anyone that has purchased an item and noticed a typo.  As soon as I notice it, I immediately correct it and send out an updated version on TPT.  However, if you notice one before me, then please don't hesitate to contact me and let me know.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Schema, Schema, Schema

        I recently had the pleasure of watching my reading coach, Mrs. Raffo, teach my students about schema.  She taught a phenomenal lesson using a graphic organizer and a nonfiction book about pumpkins.  The students and I were truly amazed by her talent!

      Fast forward to today when I had the opportunity to use this same graphic organizer with my students while reading a story about prairie dogs from our reading series. (2nd Grade Wonders Reading Series-Unit 2, Week 3) Every student was thoroughly engaged while searching for text evidence. I loved it!  I emphasized that we ONLY had to use complete sentences while writing our "Burning Questions."

*** I promise I really do have better handwriting than this!  Although it was an engaging lesson, I was in a bit of a time crunch because the students were not in school yesterday.  Too much to teach and not enough time!

Click here to grab your FREE copy of this graphic organizer.

My reading coach had a great idea to place this graphic organizer in a weekly literacy center.  Add a piece of informational text each week and you're all set!  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spooky Science Experiment

One of my best friends, Natalie, came across this neat science experiment on a third grade blog.  (Click here to see the blog post.)  This was the perfect experiment to complete with our unit of matter.  Natalie is always thinking of fun "hands on" experiments, where I tend to stick to discussions and worksheets. She bought her students fun Halloween themed gummy candy, where as I just grabbed some plain jane gummy bears from my stash at home.  Yes, I admit that I want to be a student in Natalie's class. 


- Each student was given a ruler and magnifying glass.  (Yet again- Natalie came to the rescue with a class set of magnifying glasses!)

- Students wrote their initials on the cup with a Sharpee.

- Students were called up one by one to our sink.  They dropped their gummy bear in the cup, added just enough water to cover it, and placed it in the blue basket.  Afterwards, I moved the blue basket up to the top of a book shelf.  I wanted them to be surprised the next day!

- My students waited 24 hours before examining the bears on the second day.

- I gave each student a napkin on the second day.  I dumped the water out of each cup before giving them the gummy bear.  They dumped the gummy bear out on their napkin and made observations.

Day 1- Gummy Bears

Day 2- Gummy Bears

Anti-Bullying Month

Check out these great books that help
teach students about bullies.



Halloween Books

Check out some of my favorite
picture books to read on Halloween.  



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween "Fact" Families

I always enjoy teaching my students about Fact Families.  I share the story about fact families with as much expression as I can possibly come up with.  Every year, my students watch me with such curiosity as I talk about these families.  It goes a little something like this....

* Be prepared- it's long and a little cheesy! 

* Feel free to skip to the end to check out a Halloween bulletin board idea and a FREEBIE.

"Girls and boys, did you know there is a family of numbers that live in a house?  Yes, that's right!  They live in a two-story house and have some pretty weird rules.  (At this point, I draw a very basic two-story house and a roof.)  

Inside this house lives three numbers.  There is a baby, mama, and BIG PAPA.  Big Papa is the BIGGEST number in the house.  (At this point, I hold my arms above my head and make it look like I'm flexing my muscles.  This gesture represents BIG PAPA. I know it's corny, but it works!  Later in the year, whenever a student is stuck on a subtraction problem, I simply hold my arms up and they immediately remember "BIG PAPA.")

Well, in this house, when the three numbers are upstairs, they are ONLY allowed to create addition sentences.  After all, they are numbers and that's what they like to do best.  Well, the "Big Papa" is very nice.  He says to the other two family members, "You go first.  I insist."  (At this point, I draw a plus sign in the upstairs window. Then, I write two addition sentences and point out that the "Big Papa" is last in the number sentences.)

Well, when they travel downstairs, those numbers are ONLY allowed to do subtraction problems.  After all, they are numbers and that's what they like to do best.  "Big Papa" gets a little bossy and always insists on going first.  (I add the subtraction sign in the window and write two subtraction problems.)  

Guess what?  These family members are NEVER allowed to leave their house AND they are NEVER allowed to have any visitors.  (I explain that other numbers will NEVER be apart of those number sentences.)"

I also explain that they are a family.  That means those numbers are related, just like the people in their families are related.

After this animated story, I use three different numbers and model four more number sentences (two addition, two subtraction) without the house.  

This year, I took it a step further and had them create fact families on candy corns.  First, they wrote their fact family with a pencil. After I checked over it, they traced it with a black crayon and colored in the candy corn.  Last, the students picked out a piece of yellow or orange construction paper, glued their candy corn on it, and cut it out with a small border. 

Halloween Fun

Purple Bat Wearing Witches Hat

Happy "Early" Halloween!

Are you looking for a fun, easy, and festive Halloween craft?  This activity takes between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.  My students have been creating these hanging jack-o-lanterns for as long as I can remember.  The students absolutely LOVE creating them!

Supplies needed for each student:
-large sheet of orange construction paper
-green strip (used to create handle)
- 1/2 sheet of black construction paper
- glue stick
- scissors

* The teacher will need a stapler.


1.  Students fold the orange construction paper in half lengthwise.  (the hotdog fold)

2.  Starting at the "fold", the students cut down from the crease to almost the end of the paper.  (I tell them to leave about an inch at the bottom.)

3.  Students continue to cut about one inch apart across the length of the orange paper.

4.  Unfold and Viola!  You will see the "body" of the hanging jack-o-lantern.

5.  Draw eyes, nose, and mouth on black construction paper.  Cut and glue on the orange pumpkin.

6.  Gently bend orange paper into the shape of the lantern until the paper overlaps.  Teacher should staple the pumpkin together at the top and bottom where it overlaps.

7.  Students write names on green strip of paper and either glue or staple it at the top of the pumpkin as a handle.

8.  Hang them up for everyone to see!

The TPT Adventure Continues

Hello to one and all!

I've decided to make it official and pay for a premium membership at TPT.  My latest and greatest stats are......

25 paid items (This equals $24.50 in profit.)

Yahooooo! Every time I receive an email that someone purchased an item..... well, I just can't help but smile.

I just finished creating a 28 page "Study Pack" for Chapter 3 in our Go Math! Second Grade textbook.  

Click here to check it out.

I'm off to create another Study Pack (Unit 2, Week 2) for my new reading series.  

Until next time......

Sunday, October 6, 2013

StoryTown- oh- StoryTown

Many moons ago, we adopted the StoryTown reading series. I poured my heart and soul into creating resources for each week's lessons and always felt good sharing my creations with others.  However, we are no longer using StoryTown and I've really struggled as to what to do with my website and resources.  

For now, I've decided to leave my PowerPoints and interactive links.  However, I'm in the process of taking down the worksheets that I've created because I can adapt them to the reading series I'm using now.  Plus, let's be honest- some of those worksheets need a face lift.  haha!

I will try to work quickly to post them on TPT.  Please consider following me on my TPT store.  (See link on the right side of the screen.)

Until next time.....

One week at a time....

I'm so excited that I've actually sold items in my TPT store.  It's been two weeks and I've sold eight items.  TPT actually takes a percentage of what I sell and charges me, the seller, a "transaction fee" for each purchase.  That means I've earned $7.20.  I'm still debating whether I should upgrade my membership.  If I pay to upgrade, then I will make more of a profit.  Decisions, decisions......

My new motto in this wonderful world of blogging & selling is "Take it one week at a time."  I recently uploaded a Study Pack for the entire first unit in my reading series because I was creating it week by week during the first unit.  My goal for the weekend was to create another study pack for the second unit.  As my weekend comes to a close, I have to ask myself, "What was I thinking?"  

Although, on a positive note, I did create TWO different study guides for the first week in the second unit.  Click here to check it out.  I will use one of the worksheets with my entire class as a "test prep" activity.  I will use the other one as a "reteach" activity with my struggling readers.

On another positive note, I had many "fans" email me this week inquiring about my StoryTown resources on my school website.  It truly makes my day when I receive emails filled with such appreciation.  I had plans to take it down for a couple of different reasons.  I'm now rethinking this and will keep everyone posted of how I plan to resolve this issue. 

Until next time......