Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas in the Classroom

I've been trying to think of a different theme for our party on Friday (only 32 school hours left-but who's counting?).  I wanted to keep it "Jesus" centered but I didn't want to do the whole "Happy Birthday, Jesus", since many classes seem to do that every year.  So I decided to use the Tale of the Three Trees theme.  Here's some of the ideas I've collected so far:

We're going to have breakfast.

Tree shaped pancakes will be perfect.  I'm going to use this method and make them tomorrow night.  Then I'll put the pancakes in the slow cooker to heat them through the morning of the party.

We're also going to have muffins.  I'm going to create these but I'm going to use green paper for the tree look.

We're having apple juice and green grapes to round off the meal.

Green table clothes, plates, and napkins will complete the breakfast.

For our game we're doing a Christmas tree relay:

I can't wait to play this one!

Lastly, we'll watch the The Tale of the Three Trees.

While the kids watch the movie they'll enjoy popcorn in cones. 
I'll use sugar cones to complete the tree effect!

Lastly, we'll make this craft that a co-worker gave us!
(Click on the pic for ordering info)

Merry Christmas from our class to yours!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Digital Reading Log

Here's a video I posted for my students and their parents on how to use the Scholastic Reading Timer App.  It's a great free tool! Check it out!

Blessings to you,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Favorite Thanksgiving Books and a Freebie

My Favorite Thanksgiving Books: Below are venn diagrams to use with Sarah Morton's Day and Samuel Eaton's Day. Enjoy! Sarah Morton's Day Venn Diagram: Sarah Morton's Day Venn Samuel Eaton's Day Venn Diagram: Samuel Eaton's Day Venn

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Make-Up Work FREEBIE

Make-up Work-BAh Humbug-Oops, did I say that out loud?

Here's one simple way I keep it organized.  I made these folders (and laminated it) that I put on the absent child's desk first thing. Their "neighbor" is usually oh, so helpful to make sure all the papers make it into the folder.

I put a note on the inside of the folder that says 
"Please return this folder AND your makeup work by _________________"

The folder is waiting on their desk upon the child's return the next day.

Here's the simple cover sheet just for you!

Makeup Work Folder Cover

Blessings to you,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Prep iPad Literacy Center

I am now the proud owner (term used loosely) of 8 iPads in my classroom and while it's super exciting, it's a little daunting.  I'm the only one at my school who has more than one, so I have a huge responsibility to set the bar.  But, crazy me, I love the challenge!
One of the ways that I've been using the iPads the most, is in centers.
So, I share a no prep center (aren't those the best ones? Just bein' honest!).

Our reading curriculum provides retelling cards.  They're great and necessary, but to put the kids at a center with them just doesn't work.  They're done in 5 seconds flat.  Enter iPad.  Now they have to lay them out in order, practice their retelling, then they get to video each other doing the retelling.   I can  watch each child's video to assess them.  PRESTO, instant, engaging, common core aligned center!

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

President for the Day

Let your students be President for the Day with this website!
(Click on the picture)

Blessings to you,

Friday, October 19, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me (& my class!)

Well, not really! But, you would think it was Christmas by this reaction:

What got them uber-excited???

My class is the proud recipients of 8 iPads!! I didn't waste any time putting them to use!
We took AR tests, watched Brainpop videos on our current topics of study, and used Splashmath for math centers-and that was only Day 1!

Oh, the places we'll go....

Blessings to you,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Noun Town

We have been studying nouns.  One of the best ways that I have found for students to transfer what they have learned is through sticky note response charts.  Anytime the students are in an independent reading time they can add the appropriate sticky notes to the chart.  (I cut the sticky notes in half to help them go further.)

A few of the of rules are: 
1. You may not repeat a sticky note that is already posted. (For example: if the noun "dog" is already posted, you many not also post "dog". Like in the chart below LOL)
2.  If you see a sticky note that you think is placed incorrectly, let Mrs. Hughes know and she will let you know if it is ok to remove it.
3.  You may only add sticky notes to the chart during an independent reading time.  (You may not get up during a whole group instruction time.)

I check the chart daily and if I see a sticky that is not correct, then I explain or ask the whole group why it is incorrect-I use it as a teaching opportunity.  
I had to laugh when I saw the sticky note "bachelorette" placed on the person section.  I may need to check what that child was reading LOL.

Blessings to you,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Graffiti in the Classroom?

I tried my hand at a graffiti table this week in reading groups.  I think this is a genius idea. (Pinterest-inspired, of course!) It takes a little time to set up at the beginning of the week but it's worth it because of the excitement it generates.  But more importantly, my students were completely engaged during our reading group time!

I used bulletin board paper to make 2 "table covers" for my table and used both sides to accommodate all 4 of my reading groups.

The table covers lasted all week.

I programmed it to fit our specific skills for the week.  You can see the r-controlled vowel chart.  As we read our selection the students looked for words that fit the pattern.  It's funny how putting a marker in their hand and letting them "write on the table" was so exciting.

The boxes were set up for practice with context clues.  They wrote the word from the sentence and what they thought it meant in the boxes.

I think part of the thrill was that each student had their own box ready at their seat.

I will definitely utilize "graffiti tables" on a weekly basis!

Blessings to you,

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Motivate Your Students To Do Anything-FREEBIE

I just posted a new product on TPT.  It's an instructional printable of one of the classroom management tools I use in my classroom.  It's a point system that I've used with grades 2-5 and is always a success.  It's one of those tried and true techniques of a seasoned teacher. (That would be me LOL)

So...I want to give it to you for FREE!  All you have to do is like I {Heart} Teaching's {new} Facebook page and become a follower of my TPT store.  That's it!  I'll email you the pdf file.  Leave me a comment below that you liked and followed along with your email address.

You can like the FB page in my sidebar.  And you can follow by clicking the picture below.

I hope you were lucky enough to have the day off like I did today!
*If you don't "do" FB,  just let me know below and I'll send you the pdf anyway :)
This giveaway will close on Friday, 10/12/12.

Blessings to you,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Lock An App on iPad, iPod, or iPhone

Buckle your seat belts, my friends.  I got the official word that I will be receiving 8 iPads for my classroom-EIGHT!! I am more excited than a child on Christmas morning.  This has been a goal of mine for the past year and I can't believe it's finally happening!!  As a result, you will be seeing lots of techy posts on my blog.  I'm learning as I go and I want to share all my new found knowledge, successes, and failures with you. (May my failures be few!).

My first order of business as I prepare for our class iPads is management.  How do I keep my 2nd graders on task so their learning is optimal?
  This "guided access" feature is genius.  (You can also use this same feature on your iPhone to keep your own little ones from calling China!)

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:
Open the app you want to lock.  Triple click the home button and you'll see this screen. Click "Start"
(Have you downloaded the Brainpop and Brainpop Jr. apps?

Step 6:  Enter your passcode to enable the lock.  Anytime a child tries to click the home button and leave the app this "Enter Passcode" box will appear.

Step 7:  The student will see this message if they try to leave the app.

Step 8:  Once you triple click the home button and enter your password you can click "End" to exit the app.

To lock a new app, once you've opened the desired app, just triple click the home button and click "Start" (step 5)
What a great feature to keep our little guys on task!

BTW-I was so excited about my iPads and all the great posts to come that I redesigned my blog! Enjoy!

Blessings to you,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Classroom Management Can Be a Treat!

Have you seen these?

At Wendy's, you get 10 free Frosty coupons for $1.  I picked up about 3 of these treasures.  When my kiddos need some extra encouragement to behave, I announce that I am looking for one and only one mystery student.  It's amazing what they'll do for a frosty.  Even Johnny Cantsitstill is on his best behavior! Let me know how it works for you! 

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Writing Traits: Voice

Today we focused on the writing trait of VOICE.  Here's the anchor chart we used.

Visit my TPT store to purchase this 2nd grade newsletter template for your classroom for only $0.75!

Blessings to you,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Interview with ME!!!

Head on over to to see a teacher feature that they did on me.  So cool!

Here's an excerpt:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dollar Store $core!

We started a spectacular new math curriculum and I'm really loving it.  However, I wasn't loving trying to organize all the manipulatives.  I really despise having to pass out manip's every time we need them. But at the same time my students don't have space in their desks to house them either.  Here's my solution:

I found these chip and dip plastic trays at Dollar tree and I heard the angels sing.  I made 4 trays (1 tray per group) with enough materials for 5 students.  They stack beautifully on top of my cabinet when not in use out of reach from little hands.  Of course, I had to train my students to "not touch" and "one at a time", but it's working like a charm!

Blessings to you,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Patriotic Classroom Tour

Happy New Year!  You know what I mean! LOL  Today was my school's "Classroom Preview" Day. I LOVE CLASSROOM PREVIEW DAY! I love the newness of my classroom.  I love meeting 20 fresh new eager little ones who think I hung the moon.  I love seeing my munchkins from last year and seeing how much they grew over the summer.  It's my favorite day of the school year!!

Our school mascot stopped by my room today during the festivities.  Too cute!

My classroom theme this year is a Patriotic one.  I did this theme 4 years ago during the last election and it worked well to support our studies.  So-on with the tour!

This is my behavior board.  Students will start with a gold "medal" each day and progress through the colors as necessary.

These are the Liberty Bells on each students' cubbies.

I wanted something patriotic for my teams.  But I also wanted something "cutesie" so the red, white and blue zebras, giraffes, elephants, and mice had to do.

Here's the "Homework Hotline".  Students clip their homework to the clothespin with their number on it each morning.  It's been a great tool for me because I can see at a glance who didn't turn in their homework.

These were the "goody bags" for classroom preview day.

This is the rear view.

This is my student of the week display.  I clip their pictures to the clothespins.

This is the welcome board.  Pinterest inspired!

The job display.  The "flames" are labeled with numbers are hot glued to clothespins so I can easily rotate the jobs each week.

This is my AR board.  Each student has an Air Force One.  Each section of the board is marked with points so the students can move and earn prizes.  I'm hoping this format with help students to keep reading after they reach their goal. 

Good Work Board using a great idea I found on Pinterest.  I hot glued a tack to a clothespin so I can easily change the displayed work.

Team Names where I keep track of points each team wins.

Birthday display

View from desk

Nothing fancy, but my reading corner "Mount Readmore"

By the way, have you planned your meals for back to school week?  Visit my home blog for an easy weeknight meal idea-perfect for the days that we're ready to keel over after a busy school day!

Thanks for stopping by!