Friday, February 25, 2011

Roman Numerals

My secret weapon for teaching Roman numerals...toothpicks!  First, I teach the basics.  I just use our Saxon curriculum, which does a great job of introducing the concept.  I give each student about 10 toothpicks.  (I have them already in baggies, and have been using the same set for years.)  Then, they practice making the numbers that I call out.

I model the numbers on the overhead projector using kabob type sticks.  I let them come up and make the numbers on the overhead with my "big toothpicks" as well. 

Fun, Fun, Fun way to teach Roman numerals!

I'm linking here:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gnome Words

This week in phonics the concept is "ghost letters" (silent letters in words).  However, 7 year olds and ghosts shouldn't mix, so I came up with the idea of "gnome letters/words". With the recent release of Gnomeo & Juliet, this will certainly catch my students' attention!
So I did my best to recreate Gnomeo and Juliet with my cricut using the paper dolls cartridge. 
I placed them on a giant mushroom made from bulletin board paper. 

The students will be on the hunt for "gnome words" this week in their reading and work.  When they find one, they will write it on a round white sticky note and stick it on the mushroom.
I used this same concept for compound words a few weeks ago and it was a huge success. My students were on the hunt for the words all week.  They were also exposed to a lot more compound words than our curriculum provided for.  I'm expecting the same results this week with the "gnome words"!

Here I am with Orly Owl, our classroom take home buddy, at the movies to see Gnomeo and Juliet this weekend.  This is where the idea for "gnome words" hit me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shout Out!

Giving myself a little shout out!  Visit my personal blog: A Fixed Heart!

Everybody Loves Free Stuff!!

I was so excited when I got home today to see my long awaited packed of free stuff from Vistaprint.  I.Love. Free.Stuff.  (As does every other teacher in the free world!) Here's what I got:
I ordered this banner to hang on birthdays.  I wrote in the name with a dry erase marker (& I forgot the 's!).

This hat and shirt came just in time for field day tomorrow!!

 The only catch to this is that you have to pay shipping.  With this order I got a pen, a self inking address stamp, address labels, a banner, a shirt, and a hat.  I paid $15 in shipping for all of it.  Can't beat that!

It's C.O.W. Day!

Classroom Organization Wednesday

I NEVER have enough wall space.  So I've had to get creative with ways to hang things on the wall.  So, for our "Camper of the Week" display I used a string and clothespins to hang their pictures.  I secured the string to the wall with LOTS of blue painters tape (the only adhesive my school allows for the walls).  I hid the tape under the paper doll campers.  You could use this same display for student work as well. 
I'm linking here


Fabulous in First is doing a massive giveaway!! Check it out here!

Reader's Choice

I'm always looking for ways to motivate my students to read.  I duplicated this idea from a website years ago (sorry, I don't remember where). 
I pick 2 books each week to be the Reader's Choice books.  I try to pick 2 books that are levels that represent my general classroom popluation.  You could even do 3 or more books if your reading levels vary greatly.  It's funny that when I forget to post 2 new books the kids are quick to remind me!
After they read the book, they place their picture on their choice.  I used my filing cabinet and used magnets.

It's also funny to me that most of the kids pick "yes" for the books.  Just another way to get them reading!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How I Teach Cursive Handwriting

My primary tool for teaching cursive handwriting is the public television show "It's the Write Time".  I set my dvr to record it (check your local listings).  I transfered the episodes in order onto a vcr tape (so primitive, I know).  The good news is now that I have them on tape, I don't have to transfer them again next year.  The kids absolutely LOVE this series.  It corresponds exactly to the Zaner Bloser handwriting series. Here's a clip:

As the video is playing the students use white boards that I got in the dollar section at Target.  

After we've practice on the whiteboards, and I've made sure they have mastered the letter, they complete the page in their handwriting book.

The first day I introduce cursive, I issue these adorable cursive license that I purchased at Teacher's Clubhouse for $0.99. (scroll down to "cursive license")

I won!

Thanks to Second Grade is Splendid for the amazing Valentine's Day unit that I won!  I highly recommend that you purchase it here!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What page?

It used to get on my last nerve when I would say a page number and 8 students would call out "What page???"  Now I write the page number on the board under this sentence strip, and they have never asked 'what page?' since!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Compound Words

Today we read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to introduce compound words.
As I read, the students were to raise their hands if they heard a compound word. 
Then I posted this organizer on our wall.
I instructed the students to write compound words that they come across in their silent reading time on a sticky note and place it on the cloud.

Then we played a "Compound Match Up" game.  I taped half of a compound word on each students' back.

At my signal, they had to find their compound "partner". 

Then each couple taped their words on the board to introduce the compound word to the class.

Here are the compound words card for you to cut apart and use.

My favorite part is the cloud organizer. The students have been buzzing about compound words all day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

100 Things I Love About Teaching

In honor of the recent 100th Day of School, here's my list of 100 things I love about teaching:

1. little hugs

2. innocent hearts of children

3. bulletin boards

4. Sticky notes

5. being a professional.

6. Connecting with parents at conferences

7. Mailbox magazine

8. Instructor magazine

9. File folders

10. Colored flair pens

11. AR

12. my Brighton lanyard

13. Teacher tote bags

14. Glue sticks

15. Construction paper

16. Little scissors

17. Shirts & vests with apples and other teacher stuff on them (as cheesy as they may be)

18. my large desk calendar

19. Computers

20. Smart boards

21. Recess

22. Rainy day recess

23. Tying shoes

24. Songs to go with every skill

25. Lunch time

26. Breaks when my class goes to specials

27. Cute coffee cups

28. Summer vacation

29. Easter vacation

30. Teacher workdays

31. Getting ahead on lesson plans

32. Actually getting through everything in my lesson plans

33. Jeans days

34. Picture books

35. Graphic organizers

36. The staple & sort feature on the copy machine

37. Walking into the teacher workroom and seeing an empty mailbox

38. Being first in line at the copy machine

39. Rubber stamps with words-like “no name” , “completed together in class”

40. Brand new expo markers

41. U shaped tables

42. Class sets of white boards

43. Teacher stuff in the dollar section at Target

44. Field day

45. Field trips

46. 3 day weekends

47. Christmas presents from my students

48. Calendar math

49. Hanging art from the ceiling

50. Clothespins

51. Brand new pencil sharpeners

52. New school supplies

53. Specials teachers that say “Can I keep them a little longer?”

54. Colored copy paper

55. Sick days

56. When the last child leaves from carline

57. Parties

58. Student birthdays

59. Goodies in the teacher workroom

60. An empty “to be graded” tray

61. The day after report cards are completed

62. The beginning of a new unit

63. Comfy, cute flats

64. Teacher socks

65. The first day of school

66. The last day of school

67. Getting home at 4 o’clock

68. Timers

69. Filing cabinets

70. Label makers

71. Free books for my classroom library

72. Themed classrooms

73. Sentence strips

74. Velcro

75. Erasable pens

76. Cap erasers

77. Clipboards

78. NEVER having to go to work on the weekend

79. Blue painters tape for the walls

80. Bulletin board borders

81. Staplers

82. Personalized notepads

83. Baskets to organize everything

84. Magnetic white boards

85. Snack time

86. Really good stuff catalog

87. Out of uniform days

88. Special assemblies

89. Fundraiser contests

90. Kid art drawn just for me that says “I love Mrs. Hughes”

91. Cofffeeee

92. Story time on the floor

93. No emails in my inbox

94. Days with no discipline notes sent home

95. Finding great ideas BEFORE I teach the unit, not right after we finish it

96. Eating lunch with the winning group of students

97. Laminating everything

98. Overhead projectors

99. Educational videos

100. Knowing that everyday I make a difference in the life of a child.

I encourage you to make your 100 things list! It was a great way for me to reconnect with all the things I love about teaching!
Grab my button and link up!

The Little Pot

I've been reading about "The Bucket Fillers" around on different blogs.  It's such a great idea and it reminded me of a workshop that I went to last year based on the book "The Little Pot" by Dawn Stephens.  It's the same idea as the bucket but it's faith-based using the fruits of the spirit.  Instead of each child having a bucket they have a little clay pot with googly eyes glued on.  It is a precious, precious book.  Here's the link to the author's site.  She has great activities to go along with the book.  There are also ideas to teach faith based values using common picture books.  This site and book is a gem! Check it out!
Here's a link to the Fruit song and coloring sheet.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Boxes

This year for Valentine's Day, my class will be making these boxes.

I've been collecting cereal boxes for the past couple of weeks from my students.  I wrapped them using bulletin board paper since it's thinner. (Though this pic is a sample & I used construction paper.  The bulletin board paper worked much better!)
I used my cricut to cut out the pieces for the panda bear.  I'll give the kids the pieces to glue together themselves.  Of course, the googly eyes make everything cuter!   I decided to use the panda since we just studied them and the kids are basically obsessed with them now.  The panda bear is from the Pagoda cartridge.  Of course, you could have the kids make their own cute animals if you don't have a cricut.  Maybe precut circles to make a pig.  You could teach lines of symmetry as they cut their own hearts. 
I like the idea of the cereal boxes because it's sturdier than the boxes we've made in the past.  I'm thinking having the students do an acrostic poem to glue on the backside of the box. I would love to see your Valentine's ideas!

Friday, February 4, 2011

2nd Grade Scavenger Hunt

I'm on the hunt for 2nd Grade Blogs!  I've found a few great ones out there:

Wouldn't it be great to start our own "2nd Grade Parade"? 
The 1st grade blogs are monopolizing the blogworld!  (Just kidding! I love those 1st grade blogs!  So many great ideas!)

If you know of any other 2nd grade blogs leave me a comment!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Subtraction with Regrouping

Here's a little poem that I use to teach subtraction with regrouping.  I keep it posted on the board and even have the students write it on their homework papers as a reminder when they get home.

More on top
No need to stop

More on the floor
Go next door
Get ten more

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oral Reading Rubric

Here's the rubric I use as the child is reading.  This form is for my purposes only.

Then I transfer the information to this form to go home with the student for parent feedback.  And actually I have since changed the words per minute to 100 as the expectation for the end of 2nd grade.

Handwriting Rubrics

Here are rubrics for manuscript handwriting and cursive handwriting.  They definitely take the guesswork out of grading handwriting!!  I shrink these to about 50% and staple them to the graded paper.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contraction Surgery

Today we performed "surgery" on words to make contractions. It was a blast!

I gave each group a latex glove, a surgical mask made of an index card and rubberbands, and a set of 20 index cards labeled with words.

Then they "operated" and cut the words apart and taped them back together to make the contraction.

The students really connected with what contractions really are through this activity!

(I originally saw this idea on another blog. But for the life of me I could not find whose blog so that I can give the credit where credit is due for this awesome idea! If you know please leave a comment!)