Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clock Partners

My students buddy with their clock partners on a daily basis for a variety of reasons.  I love, love, love Clock Buddies.  

Follow these steps to ensure your students correctly fill out the “Clock Partner” form.

1. Copy “Clock Partner” form on BRIGHT color paper.  (You don’t want them to lose it.)

2.  Pass out this paper (along with a clipboard) and tell students to ONLY write their name in the box that says “My Name”.  You think this would be obvious, but not so much.  I also tell them to write their name on the back of the paper.  

3.  Play a little music.  After 20 seconds, stop music and tell children to find the person closest to them and stand back to back.  (If you have an odd number, then you will be partners with someone.  If you get a new student later in the year, then that new student takes your place as a partner.)

3.  At this point, MODEL how to switch papers with their partner.  I write my name next to 1:00 slot on my partner’s paper and my partner writes his name on the 1:00 slot on my paper.  

4.  Tell them to switch papers with their partner (the one they are standing back to back with) and ONLY fill in the 1:00 time slot.  

5.  Walk around and make sure students have filled out the 1:00 box correctly.  (I know this sound silly, but I promise it’s worth it!)

6.  Play music again for 20 seconds.  Stop and tell them to find person closest to them and stand back to back.  Tell them they are NOT allowed to stand next to the same person as last time.  (They will get a new partner each and every time!!!!  They will have 12 different partners when they are finished.)

7.  Once again- MODEL how to CORRECTLY switch papers.  Remind students to ONLY write in the 2:00 box.

8.  Continue until all boxes are filled out. 

********* NOW, I won’t lie.  It does get a little “confusing” a the end.  If they stop and find themselves back to back with someone they have already been partners with, then I tell them to come to the front of the room and stand by the Smart Board.  They are my “Lost & Found” kids.  I painstakingly pair them up one at a time.  Meanwhile, NOBODY is allowed to switch clipboards (aka- papers) until they hear it from me.  It looks like this:  

Bob, Mary, and Joe are standing at the front of the room.  (They have all been partners with each other, so I look at everyone else already standing back to back with a classmate.)

I say, “Who hasn’t been partners with Bob?”  Agatha raises her hand and I say, “Great.  Bob- go stand next to Agatha.”  Meanwhile, Agatha’s partner walks to the front.  HOPEFULLY, I can partner Agatha’s partner with Mary or Joe.  If not, I continue, “Who hasn’t been partners with Mary?”  Theresa raises her hand.  “Great.  Mary- go stand next to Theresa.”  Meanwhile, Theresa’s partner walks to the front.  HOPEFULLY, I can partner Theresa’s partner with Mary, Joe, or Agatha’s partner.  When I finally have everyone partnered together, then I announce, “Okay- switch clipboards and write your names in the ____ (time slot).”

I  recommend it to anyone and everyone.  :-)

At the beginning of the third quarter, I usually do this again and let them choose new partners. 

Common Question:

Do you choose different times at random (get with 1:00 partner/get with 6:00 partner…) or do you go down the line 1:00, 2:00, etc? 

I always choose random times.   Or, sometimes I’ll call on one student and let them pick what time we do.  (They like that one the best.)  If Im leaving plans for a sub, then Ill say- tell them to meet with their 6:00 oclock partner, etc. 

If somebody is absent, then Im partners with that kid. If you’re already partner with a kid- then those two kids become partner.  

I'm partners with Theresa at 1:00.
Mary’s partner is absent.
Now, Theresa and Mary are partners for that day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

You Matter!

I use clear packing tape and adhere this sign to each student’s desk in the top left corner.  

If you don’t have access to a color printer, you can always take it to Staples.  They will print a color copy for $0.42/page.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back to School

Do you ever wonder what to do with all those classroom supplies on the first day of school?  A few years ago, my sweet friend Donna shared her secret to success and it’s been magic ever since!

          The students rotate to three different “centers” on the first day.  You guessed it… of those “centers” is the teacher table.  Let me explain.  I split the students into three groups and each group completes each center.  (about 15 minutes per center)  Read center descriptions below.

1.  Mrs. Lee Center- Students meet me at the kidney-shaped table with their backpacks.  The students take EVERYTHING out of their backpacks and place on the table.  From there, I hold up an example of the supply I want and instruct them where to place it.  There is no more “Where does this go?” or “What I am supposed to do with this?”  Or, my favorite, “I don’t have that.”  (which, in reality means they didn’t know it was actually in their backpack)  It’s such a small group that I’m able to help sort through everything and they actually like helping the person next to them sort through everything.  Plus, I can answer any questions they have about their “stuff.”

2.  All About Me Center- Students stay at their desk and create an “All About Me” banner.  


3.  First Day of Second Grade Center- Students color a simple sign about their first day.  Later, I take a picture of the student holding that sign and use that picture in a yearbook movie I create at the end of the year.  

I also send home a "mini" award at the end of their first day.  I use scotch tape to attach a Starburst to the middle of the star.  (Or, sometimes I’m just lazy and give them the Starburst with the award.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Do you recycle?

I love to recycle!  I actually have three recycling bins in my classroom and three recycling bins at home.  I admit that I'm one of those nutty people that will actually bring home an item that needs to be recycled if there is not a recycling bin near me!

I post these cute recycling signs above each bin.  


Monday, July 28, 2014

Teacher Blogs

I GHEARTG Teacher Blogs!

I love reading blogs.

I ABSOLUTELY love it!  

I currently have 53 blogs bookmarked on my Mac and “Open in Tabs” each and every day!

Reading about all these neat ideas might cause a sudden overwhelming feeling of teacher envy.  (and a sudden desire to go a little PIN crazy on Pinterest)

Or, so I’ve been told…..

Here is list of my top favorite 20 blogs. 
(Random Order)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Parent Donations

I admit this ecard is a little bit of an exaggeration,
but thought it was a great introduction to my next topic.

Class Celebrations and Parent Donations

Gone are the days when I ask each and every child to bring in a treat for a class celebration.  For the last few years, I've sent an email to each family with a small request.  I never want parents to feel obligated to send in a treat.  This method allows each parent to pick and choose when it is a good time to volunteer (if ever) to send in a treat.

The letter below is an example of an email I have sent to the students' parents.  It's amazing how fast parents reply to this email.  Once I have enough donations, I send out another email thanking everyone for their generosity.   Super simple and non-confrontational.  (My favorite part)


We will have a small classroom Halloween celebration THIS Thursday. Please let me know if you would be willing to send in any of the items below.  I want to make sure we don't receive duplicates, so I will reply with a "confirmation email" to verify your donation.

** a bag of apple slices

** Halloween themed-Oreos (or other Halloween type cookies)

** a bag of popcorn (already popped)  (You can buy these at Publix in the Deli section.)

** 16 juice boxes

Once again, please know how much I appreciate any and all donations.  Your generosity will make our  Halloween Party a success!!!

My Best,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Today is Wonderful because.....

Looking for a new student job?  This past year, I incorporated the "Good News Author" as a weekly student job.  Their job was simple.  They had to update our sign on a daily basis.  Just print, laminate, and make sure your students know where the baby wipes and Vis-a-Vis marker is located.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fluency Homework

I feel that five minutes of fluency practice (four days/week) has proven to be very beneficial to my students.  I differentiate my homework by only giving fluency homework to my developing readers.  I collect my fluency graphs every Friday.  I staple a new story to the graph and pass it back on Monday.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Graphing Student Data

Do your students graph their academic progress?  I think a weekly graphing activity gives students valuable insight.  Every Monday morning, my students graph their test scores from Friday's reading test.  At the end of five weeks, they answer some reflection questions.  

(Second Grade- Wonders Reading Series)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

iPad Center

I recently received a new iPad (and case) through a grant I wrote on DonorsChoose. (I absolutely LOVE that website!!!)

I'm always searching for great educational apps that are FREE, appropriate for second grade, and most of all- reinforce a skill I'm teaching in class.  If only I knew how to create my own apps....... 

Anyways, I recently stumbled upon this app. 

Check it out!
It's so AWESOME!!!!

The app will read most of the articles to your students.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missing Homework

Over the years, I have struggled with an appropriate consequence for students that do not complete their nightly homework.  

Let me be the first to say that I do not believe in a lot of homework.  I think it's so important for kids to have a break and still enjoy free time in the afternoons.  I'm also a mom of three young children.  It breaks my heart when my personal children work so hard in school ALL DAY LONG, come home, and then spend most of their evenings completing homework.  I really could go on AND on AND on about homework, but I promise I'll step off my soap box and continue my post about missing homework.  

If a student does not complete his/her nightly homework, then he/she fills out a "Missing Homework" paper and has to pay me $5 of Lobster Loot.  (Read more about that in this post.)  If a child does not have $5 of Lobster Loot, then the child simply owes me that money until he/she has earned it.  If there is an extreme circumstance of a child who does not complete his/her homework on a daily basis, then I would institute a "Silent Lunch" consequence.  (Luckily, I have not had to do that this year.)

Until next time.....

Monday, January 20, 2014

What is Lobster Loot?

Years ago, one of my friends told me about "Maiolo Moola."  It was her version of classroom money.  She ran copies of fake money and inserted her picture in the center. I loved the idea, so I came up with Lobster Loot. (After all, my students are known as "Lee's Lobsters.")

Lobster Loot is our classroom currency.  Students earn this pretend money and spend it on a variety of different rewards.

I keep a basket of Lobster Loot near my desk.  When a student earns money, the student has to.....

- write his/her name on it.
- write the date.
- write the reason he/she earned the Lobster Loot.

Afterwards, the student places it on my desk.  Later in the day, I check over it to make sure the student is telling the truth.  I quickly add my signature and pass it back to the student.  

I tell students to keep their Lobster Loot somewhere safe.  Most students keep it in their pencil box.  Some students keep it in their backpacks.

I do NOT replace lost Lobster Loot. I do NOT accept Lobster Loot unless it has a student name  on it and my signature.  In addition, students are not allowed to share Lobster Loot.

The ONLY time I take away Lobster Loot is if a student doesn't complete his/her nightly homework.  (Check back soon for a post about "missing homework.")

My kiddos thoroughly enjoy earning AND spending Lobster Loot.

Now you might be wondering.....

"How do students earn Lobster Loot?"

A student can earn $1 of Lobster Loot in many ways.

1.  Be chosen as Student of the Week.
2.  Receive PERFECT ATTENDANCE for one week. 
     * The child must be on time and not leave early!
3.  Receive 100% on a Spelling Test.
4.  Bring in 10 BOXTOPS.
5.  Receive 100%  on a Reading Counts Quiz.
6.  Receive three "Cool Compliments" in one week.

* In addition, I give out $1 of Lobster Loot for special treats.

Here is a list of rewards they can spend their money on.  

Pen Privileges (1 Day) $10

Line Leader Privileges (1 day) $15

Lunch with a friend (1 day)  $20

Lunch with a friend (1 week)   $40 

“Free Choice” Seating (1 week) $50

Lunch with Mrs. Lee $75

** Don't forget.......The ONLY way a child will lose Lobster Loot is if the student does not complete his/her nightly homework.  

TPT Update- Time to Celebrate!

I'm so excited to report that I've hit a very BIG milestone this morning in my TPT Adventure.  I'm just a few days away from my four month TPT anniversary and I'm ecstatic to report that I've just earned $1000.  I've sold 557 units and currently have 45 products listed in my store.  I have 74 followers and will throw my FIRST TPT SALE when I reach 100 followers!

Until next time.....

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Show me the MONEY!

We are currently learning about money, so I've compiled a list of digital resources you can use to help your students master the art of counting money.  This list includes websites, FREE apps, and a list of different activities you can do at  (If you do not have a subscription to that FABULOUS website, then you can sign-up for a FREE 30-day trial.  Or, you can practice 20 problems per day for FREE.)

I also wanted to let you know that I now have 45 items in my TPT Store.  Click here to visit my store.  These items include study packs for StoryTownWonders Reading SeriesGo Math! SeriesQR Code Treasure Hunts, and some different Second Grade Science Packs. 
(Human Body, Types of Energy, and Weather)

Once I reach 100 followers, I will throw my first TPT SALE
Please click "Follow Me" on my TPT Store so you will be
notified via email when I post new items. 
Spread the word to all your second grade teacher friends.  

Until next time.....

Friday, January 3, 2014

My BELOVED Chart Paper

Thank you Mrs. Simons for introducing me to the BEST chart paper around.  I started using this manilla chart paper during my final internship and have never stopped.  It's simply amazing!  It's 2x3 feet, very durable (laminated or not), has lines for writing, and makes for great visuals.  See pictures below.  It comes in a pack of 100 and I promise it's worth every penny.