Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Link Up! Show Us Your Read Alouds!

Hi, All! I am linking up with Tracey at The Teacher's Chair for a link up about Back to School Read Alouds!!  I am super excited to get back to school and meet my new kiddos and dig right into learning! On the first day of school, I read Wemberly Worried to the class.  We have a class discussion about things that we have been worried about and we add our worries on chart paper.  I then have the students complete their first writing sample for me, in which they complete "I feel worried when..." and then they can draw a picture to go along with it.  I have the students cut these out and then we hang them up as our first activity!  This is a great way to see what worries the kiddos and it helps me assess their first day of school writing!  The kids love the story (some have heard it, some have not)!  They also feel more comfortable sharing their worries because they can relate to Wemberly in the story.  You can grab my back to school Wemberly packet here!

I also plan to read My Mouth is a Volcano during the first week of school.  It deals with interrupting and yelling out.  I love the idea of using this to hopefully deter some of the yelling out!  I find that stories and their messages usually stick with most students!  You can grab that here!  The hair-less face looks kind of funny, but I swear it looks super cute when the students draw in the hair and personalize it!!

I am interested to see what everyone else reads!!
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Another Liebster Nomination!!!!!!!

This is fabulous!!!! I just received more good news!!! Allison over at Stuckey in Second ever so kindly nominated me for my 2nd Liebster Award nomination!!!! She is so sweet! We met on a Facebook Freebie Hop last weekend and she is the absolute best!! Make sure you stop by her blog and check her out on Facebook!

Since this is my 2nd nomination, I have already nominated some super awesome blogs (see blog below).  Below are my answers to Allison's questions.

1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
My favorite subject to teach is writing! I have a BS in math and an M.Ed in Mathematics in Education, but I really enjoy teaching my students how to write.  More specifically, I love creative writing!

2. Do you have children of your own?
I have a fur-baby of my own! I have a 13 week old Goldendoodle named Gansett! He’s a love!

3. What is one thing in your class you could not do without?
I could NOT do without my electric pencil sharpener (and my little cherubs ofcourse)!

4. How much schoolwork do you do at home on a nightly basis?
I try not to bring a lot home, but it doesn’t always happen.  I do about 2-3 hours at home.  Usually it’s making new units or researching, so most of it HAS to be done, but it’s what I love!

5. What time do you get to school in the morning?
I get to school at 6:30, but the students don’t come until 7:45.  The early bird gets the copier!

6. How long do you stay afterschool on the average day?
Usually, I’ll stay until about 3-3:30 because I live farther away and will hit a TON of traffic if I leave later(Kids leave at 2:15).

7. Favorite kind of coffee?
I don’t drink coffee (yes, I know, I’m insane)! I love hot cocoa and tea though!

8. What is your favorite time of year to teach? 
I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching during the holiday season! I am fortunate enough to work in a district that still lets us celebrate Christmas, so the Elf of the Shelf plays a big part of our holiday season, in our learning, writing, and fun!

9. What is your favorite field trip to take your students on?
I love taking my kids to our pen pal picnic in June! We write all year back and forth to other 2nd graders at other schools, and we finally get the chance to meet them face to face!

10. What grade do you teach?
I teach 2nd grade, and it is where my heart belongs!

Thanks again, Allison!! You're the best!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Link Up with Advice!

Hi, All! 
I am super excited about the traffic and new followers that I have had from yesterday's Hop!  I hope you all have enjoyed what you've read so far!  Today I am linking up with Flying Into First Grade for her "Let's Get Acquainted" Linky Party!  This link up is all about giving advice to new teachers.  I still consider myself a new teacher since I am only entering my 3rd year teaching.  However, I have had a lot of help the last two years from some very seasoned teachers!  Since this my first year is still so close and fresh in my memory, I figured I could help out in the advice department!! I hope I can help in some way!

 a comfortable pair of shoes! You will be on your feet ALL day! I tried to wear heels and cute shoes my first year, but that did NOT last long.  I wear Danskos a lot, or comfy flats and boots most of the time.  Once you find a pair that won’t give you blisters, or a sore back, or sore knees, buy another of the same pair!

save everything! You never know when you are going to need that agenda from a faculty meeting, or a paper proving you were at that professional development.  I hoard all papers like these and keep them in labeled folders in my classroom.  Once the school year is over, they come home to my filing cabinet.  My district lost records of a retiring teacher, which was proof that she worked in the district long enough to retire.  Luckily, she had saved all of her pay stubs for the last 30 years, and that was her proof.

be afraid to ask for help or admit that you do not know or understand something.  I know as the “new” teacher, you don’t want to seem like you don’t know what you’re doing, but let’s face it, none of us know everything. 

an organizational system that works for you. Pinterest will be your best friend for this.  It took me my first two years before I decided on a system that worked for me, which you can grab for free here!

copies before everyone comes into school (at the crack of dawn) or when everyone has left.  Trying to get copies made will be one of your biggest stressors if you don’t do this!  There WILL be a line.  There WILL be a jam.  There WILL be some light flashing. There WILL be no more toner!  Get it done early, late, and in advance!

Flexible!  I have found that even though you are the teacher, and you have the students a majority of the time, you still need to be flexible.  Sometimes the schedule needs to change.  Sometimes the speech therapist is absent and needs to fit in their services a different day, which interferes with your math lesson.  Sometimes there is a fire drill and you didn’t get to read that story or do that activity.  I have found that going with the flow and being flexible with your classroom and other teachers is the best way to not stress.  Some things are out of our control, and we just need to embrace that and go with it!  In the end, your students will be getting what they need, and you will be fine!

I hope this was some sore of help!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good Morning, All!! I am here to tell you all about the wonderful FREEBIES you can grab at the Blog Hop that is going on today and tomorrow only!!!!!! You can start the hop here at Tori's Teaching Tips on Facebook!  Find the Blog Hop tab and get started!!! Be sure to "Like" all of the pages and show some appreciation when you download the freebie!!  There are tons of great pages, people, and freebies! I snagged every single one of them! I'll be using up all of my printer ink and laminating sheets, that's for sure!  Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter at the bottom for your chance to win more This is such a great way for bloggers, teachers, Facebookers, and fans to get together and share ideas! I am so glad that this was set up!!!  Now go grab those freebies!!!!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Throw Back Thursday!

July is almost over!! So in honor of school about a month away and throw back Thursday, I figured I'd post one of my favorite doors.  I changed up the idea that I found on Pinterest (Gotta love Pinterest)!  I used it half way through the year during my first year, and then last year, I decided it was how I wanted to start the first day of school.  Before my new little cherubs entered their new classroom, we stood outside and we read the door!  I explained to them that in my classroom, they could be anything that they wanted to, all that they had to do was try.  I am starting this school year off the same way.  The set that I made is on my school computer, so I decided to make a new one which you can grab HERE!  My plan is to print them out (like I did for the one above) and spray adhesive them to cute scrapbook paper, like some bright chevron or paisley prints, and then laminate them!  This is an after summer school project!  I'll be putting pictures up in a new post when I am done with it and I put it up on my door (Probably 3rd week in August, since that's when I can get into my room)!  What do you use to inspire your students on the first day of school??

I might be crazy, but I can't wait to get back to school and meet my new little cherubs!

Check back soon for a new post on Wemberly Worried, which is being given away over at Super Sparkly In Second. Be sure to follow me on here for an extra entry on her give away!!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Liebster Award!!!!!

Hello everyone!!!

I came home from summer school this afternoon to the most wonderful news!!! Portia from Tidbits From Ms. Pitts was super awesome and nominated me for the Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is an award for new and up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  This is such an honor, especially because I am so new to the blogging world (even though I have been following teacher blogs for YEARS)!  This nomination has made my day!! 
Here are the rules that I need to follow: 
1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me.....check!
2. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator.
3.  Share 11 random facts about myself.
4.  Create 11 questions for my nominees.
5.  Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 
6.  Contact my nominees to let them know that I nominated them.
Ms. Pitt's Questions:
1. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in the 1st grade.  My amazing teacher, Mrs. Meuse, was my inspiration.  I love children, I love learning, and I wanted to be able to instill a love and excitement for learning into others, oh and have a BLAST while doing so!

This is Mrs. Meuse, my inspiration!
2. What are a few of your favorite TV shows?
My husband and I love Duck Dynasty! I also love watching Big Brother, Awkward, any Real House Wives, and anything HGTV! 
3. How are you spending your summer break?
I am spending the first part of my summer break teaching iPads to 7th-9th graders (big age difference, but it's so much fun)!  This is my second summer doing so.  After that's over, I will be heading to St. Thomas with my husband and our friends to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary!
4. What educational websites or apps do you like for your students to utilize?
I cannot wait for my students to use these computer programs XtraMathFootsteps to Brilliance, Padlet (Formerly Wallwisher), and Moby Max.  I also have a classroom iPad now, so I cannot wait to use Tools4Students, Sock Puppets, Comic Touch, and Max Journal.  Those are just to name a few.  There are a ton of great websites and amazing apps with fun learning games for the kids!!
5. Where are your favorite places to shop?
I LOVE Amazon, TjMax, Marshalls, The Loft, the Dollar Tree, Target, and Staples!
6. What is your pet peeve?
My pet peeve in school is when students are searching in their crayon boxes for something for an insane amount of time! That noise of all of the crayons, markers, and pencils all moving around simple just irks me!  Another pet peeve I have is when people walk on the wrong side of the stairway/hallway/side of the mall walk way! Is it just me? Haha
7. What makes the state you live in a great place to visit?
Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics....need I say more?  Ha! I don't really watch sports all that much, but it seemed like the right answer! I love Massachusetts. I was born and raised right outside of Boston, which has such a rich history!  The whole state is full of history and stories to teach the students and to take them to see places in person!  I am BOSTON STRONG!
8. What is your favorite subject to teach? Why?
I am a huge fan of writing! I love teaching students about writing and how to let their creativity shine through in what they write!  I love teaching creative writing, more specifically!  I have a B.S in Math as well as an M.Ed. in Mathematics Education, so I love teaching math too, but writing was something I struggled with as a child.  I had a tough time getting my thoughts out onto the paper, so I think that's why I enjoy teaching it more!
9. What's one new thing you are going to implement this new school year? Why?
I am going to implement interactive notebooks this year!  I plan on having 2, one for math and one for E.L.A.! I am oooober excited about starting this!! I have a friend who teaches 7th grade, and he uses them for his history classroom, so I started researching it!  I love the idea of having everything in one place and having the handouts and foldouts in there as well for them to look back in while working. Wish me luck!! ****(If anyone uses these for 2nd grade, please let me know! I am looking for suggestions!)
10. How do you manage grading papers where you are not left with stacks upon stacks?
I do a lot of grading, but I correct homework while the students are doing morning work and after I have completed the attendance/notes etc.  For the most part for math, we correct it together.  Some days there seems to be more papers than others, but I keep up with is as the day goes.  I also have a few students each year that are little teachers, and they love to use the purple pen to help correct simple papers!  They love giving the giant "C" on papers that are all correct!  I also have to credit my wonderful husband for helping with the correcting and putting stickers on papers! He's the best!
11. What random act of kindness have done in 2013?
I try to complete random acts of kindness all of the time.  Sometimes life gets in the way, but it's something that can be done if you put your mind to it.  While waiting for my car to warm up during a snowstorm after school, I cleared off a coworkers car! I also paid for the person behind me at Dunkin Donuts on Valentine's Day.  Most of my random acts of kindness occur in the classroom though!

11 Random Facts About Me:
1.  I love Country Music!
2.  I  have a serious obsession with Michael Jackson.
3.  I wish I wasn't tone deaf, so I could compete on American Idol (I even have a song picked out)!
4.  The first thing I look at when I look at people are their feet (strange, I know).
5.  I love eating pickles and cheez-its together (delicious combination, don't knock it 'til you try it)!
6.  I am a capri-sun junkie! I swear, I should still be a child!
7.  My favorite color is pink.
8.  I talk to myself like nobody's business.
9. I carry my grandmother's ashes in my purse so she's always with me (my friends think it's creepy)!
10.  I get aggrivated when people say the word often while pronouncing the t. AHH!
11.  I sometimes plan my wardrobe based on clothing styles I see on Pinterest!

That was so much fun!!! Now for my nominees!
And the nominees are...

Questions for Nominees:
1.  What is your most favorite school/office supply?
2.  What has been your most favorite activity/craft?
3.  Where do you find your teaching resources?
4.  What are your top 5 favorite blogs?
5.  Do you have a Pinterest account or TPT store? (Leave the link!)
6.  If you could be given any one thing to help improve your teaching, what would it be?
7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
8.  What is the last book that you have read?
9.  What are your favorite T.V. shows?
10.  What do you do in your free time?
11.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Having a Ball While Learning!

Back in February, I embarked on my first Donor's Choose project! I had thought for some time as to what I needed in my classroom that I would not be able to access myself.  This year's class was very, VERY, energetic and so I decided to put my year's worth of research into action.  I decided that I wanted to ask for ball chairs to replace the regular chairs in my classroom.  Think I'm crazy yet?...A lot of people did!  I had read research articles, blogs from other teachers, and watched videos of the ball chairs in action before making my decision to give it a try!  I am always looking for new and innovative ideas for my classroom, and this is something I truly felt passionate about!  It only took ONE week, 17 wonderful donors, and the support of my husband, parents, and family to reach $938!  My students and I were completely ecstatic!

I started out the ball chairs in my room with only a handful of students.  I gave it to the students that I thought would benefit most from the new chairs.  We established "Rules for Safe Sitting" and did a lot of modeling before the small group was able to use them.  Within the first few days, I saw HUGE improvements in their stamina to sit, or how I like to call it, they had "less ants in their pants!"  After the ball chairs were given to the rest of the class (with the help of a wonderful student that helped blow them up with the pump) the real observations began!

When you are trying to balance, both sides of your brain need to work together to allow you to balance.  When both sides are working together, it causes you to focus more!  Some of the improvements I saw were posture (which produced neater handwriting), stamina for reading, writing, and learning, less getting up out of their seats, and an increase in focus!  All of the students absolutely LOVED the ball chairs and were sad to hear that they were not going to have them in 3rd grade (I am the only whole-class in my district with ball chairs).

The students knew that if they were not sitting appropriately, that they were given a warning, and then after, they were given a regular "boring" chair for the rest of the day.  I did have the occasional fall off, but it happened with regular chairs too.  Some students would bounce to high, but then were given a motion to slow it down.  Most students adhered to the rules and everything worked out great!  I cannot wait to use them in September!!! Thank you Donor's Choose, my family, and anonymous donors that helped make my dream become a reality!  You are all a part of a game changing process in Room 202!

If anyone has any questions about the ball chairs, please feel free to ask!! =)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Blog Lovin'!!

*Side note- Follow me on Blog Lovin' by clicking here! =)


Fun Day, Awards, and Last Day...Oh My!

Hello, All!
Now that school (and my M.Ed~ Yay!) has come to an end, I am going to try to keep up with this blog and see if this is something I can do!  I think I can, I think I can!

The last month of school was crazy hectic!  We had MAPs testing, Fun Day, Class Awards, and then the last day (sigh..).  We had a ton of fun jam packed into such a short time!  Let's start with Fun Day!  I LOVE Fun Day!  The kiddos get to be kids, step away from the testing, and let loose!  We have all sorts of activities, complete with a bouncy house/obstacle course.  It was such a great day! We had slush, cookies, and had tons of fun!  I can't wait until next year already!

 I created these super cute t's for my babies to wear for Fun Day and the last day of school from *here. *Our classroom theme is owls...That's a whole entirely different post for a different day, which will be coming soon!

Oh, and here's me in my Fun Day gear! Love the sun glasses from Claire's (and they were only $5)!

Moving onto the last day of school... Yes, I cried.  This is a day that I feel comes way too quickly.  It snuck up on me last year, so I swore I'd be ready this year!  I started packing up and putting things away that I did not need in April!  Everyone thought I was crazy, but my system worked! I was all ready to go and had everything put away except for necessities before the last week of school!  The kids were great helpers with this!  Even though a few of my students drove me crazy and gave me grey hair (I've told them this countless times), I knew I was going to miss them dearly.  I formed a lot of great relationships and bonds with my students this year, causing for an emotional day!  I wanted to give my kiddos a great send-off, so we had an awards ceremony with the FABULOUS candy awards from Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits!  These awards made my life so easy! All I had to do was print, laminate, fill out, and tape the candy!  She is so creative, so make sure that you browse through her blog!  I also wrote the kids a sentimental letter (the tears started here) and gave them freeze pops to take home and freeze.  The children were appreciative (doesn't always happen) and were full of thanks!
These are what I put together!  For a better look, check out Reagan's blog linked above!
"2nd Grade was cool because you were in my class!"  The penguin was my husband's idea!

Even though the year was challenging, had it's ups, downs, and in-betweens, it was a wonderful and VERY successful year!  We got through all of the 2nd grade MA and CC standards, and some 3rd grade ones, too!  The children transformed into mathematicians, scientists, explorers, authors, illustrators, and great friends.  I will miss them all, but they'll just be across the hall!  I can't wait to meet my next class, the class of 2024!
That's all she wrote!  It looks so bare and depressing. =(

*Check back soon for more posts on my ball chairs, behavior management, and back to school (yes, I said it, back to school! I can't wait!)!