Friday, May 24, 2013

A (late) Tried-It-Tuesday {FREEBIE} and Classroom Quick Tip Linky Combo!

Today I am doing a double-linky.  First, I am linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her weekly "Tried-It-Tuesday".  With the school days winding down, I am always on the lookout for quick but engaging activities.  I found this great FREEBIE by RaRaDT on nouns, verbs and adjectives. 

This quickie, but goodie has the kids making a flip book and thinking of their own nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  I extended the activity by having the kids write short stories about the different locations, making sure to use the words they came up with in the story they write.
Here are a few shots of how the different students sorted their words for the flipbook.

Now for the second link-up today.  I am linking up with Jean over at Diving Into 2nd Grade for her new Quick Tips Linky.  This is just a great idea.  Obviously, we bloggers are happy to share the great activities we create in our rooms.  But these simple tips and tricks are what really make a classroom tick.
This is my "I'm Busy . . ." light. 
 I got this push light from Dollar Tree {a teacher's BEST friend} and then wrote on the face with a Sharpie.  

Tell me if this sounds familiar:  You are helping a student with a question at your desk.  Other students begin to wander up and get in line to ask their own question.  Pretty soon, half the class is at your desk getting chatty and disruptive, not getting ANY work done. 
Oh, yeah.  I think we've ALL been there.
So begins the reign of my "I'm Busy . . ." light.
I keep this light at my desk.  Whenever a student comes to ask me a question and it seems the answer may take longer than just a few seconds, I push this baby on.  My other students know that when this light is on, they may not come up to my desk at the moment.  Whatever question they have can wait, and they are to contiue working on the rest of the page.  When the light goes off, they can come up for their turn.
It has made a big difference in the disruptions in the room during work time and I've noticed I have more patience for the next student because I didn't spend my time shushing the other kids in line. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Horse Races & Animal Teeth!

It must seem like I'm a walking, talking billboard for Boxcars and One-Eyed Jacks!  Once again, I'm posting about another of their WONDERFUL products.
These are their Stratedice.  There is a wealth of games you can play using these babies.  Today I had my class using them to practice place value to hundreds and multiplication. 
Horse Race
Here's how you play:  Pair your students and give them one tray.  The kids CAREFULLY empy both trays and divide the dice by color.  This game is played like War.  Each student takes two dice and rolls them.  If you are playing Place Value, they arrange the dice into tens and ones.  The student with the biggest (or smallest if you choose) wins that round.  The winning dice go onto the Race Track (the black tray) and the losing dice go to the Barn (the clear tray).
The important thing to remember here, is that the students must learn to verbalize WHY they won. 
For example, the white dice has the number 651.  The blue has 411.  The white dice wins because "6 hundreds are greater than 4 hundreds."
After a few rounds of playing Place Value Horse Race, I had them work on Multiplication.  Here the kids roll two dice and find the product of the two numbers.  The student with the highest number wins.  Remember, they need to verbalize why they win!
Since I'm talking about multiplication, I just HAD to share something that I discovered a couple years ago and have used it to help my students remember their multiplication facts. 
It is called Memorize in Minutes: The Times Tables.  It was written by Alan Walker.  It doesn't have a cutsy cover, so I just made one.  What the author has done is come up with short stories to go along with each fact and it creates a memory hook.  Each number is given an image and those images and words are used in the story.  Here's one of my favorites:
"One evening there was a party for a queen at a big hotel.  The hotel had revolving doors.  When the queen got to the hotel, she was amazed to see the revolving doors.  She had never seen doors like those before.  She pushed the doors and went around and around because it was so much fun.  Soon she became dizzy and felt sick.  She had become a sick queen."
The greatest thing about this is that it's completly FREE!  Get your own copy right here.
Animal Teeth!
I was so excited to try this activity that was created by Yolanda Arnold over at Oceans of First Grade Fun
 I had recently gotten a copy of "What If You Had Animal Teeth" from my Scholastic book order and then came across Ms. Arnold's post.  I thought this would be a great project to do in our final days of school. (Only 3 more days for us!!!!!!)
My kids had so much fun doing this activity and their projects came out AWESOME!
Here is a Vampire Bat and Rattlesnake.

Here is a Beaver and a Crocodile.
This is certainly going to become a regular project in my classroom!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Making Words & Sammies! {Freebie!!!}

With the school days winding down, the kids are getting antsy.  So when that happens, I pull out the Box Cars activities.  Today's fun is called "Word Shapes".  This game has the students rolling letters and trying to build words.  But they need to be strategic!  The slots are shaped for tall, small, and fall letters and the student must think about words they know and if certain consonants can be found at the beginning or the end.  Middle slots should be saved for vowels . . . but not always.

First the students are divided into pairs and given a 30-sided dice with vowels, consonants and four wilds.  We got ours from BoxCars and One-Eyed Jacks but you could also have the kids pull letters from a bag. 

The students take turns rolling (or pulling) and write a letter in the appropriate box, depending on the shape.  Once a letter is placed, it cannot be moved.  The first student to make 3 words, WINS! 

Here's the FREEBIE!

Click on the image below for your very own set of this game.  Just in case you can't get your hands on the 30-sided dice, I also included a set of letter and word cards.  You may want to make the consonants blue, the vowels red, and the wilds green.  I copied the Word Shapes sheet out on colorful paper and laminated.  The students use a dry-erase marker to complete the activity.

And last week, I finally decided how I wanted to use the Sandwich Coasters I found at Dollar Tree (thanks to Krista at The Creative Chalkboard).  I used Avery labels to give each ingredient a money value.  I kept the amounts easy to calculate, for now.
Bread:  25 cents
Ham:  75 cents
Bacon:  75 cents
Swiss Cheese:  50 cents
Cheddar Cheese:  50 cents
Lettuce: 50 cents
Onion:  25 cents
Tomato: 50 cents 

I partnered the class up and gave them a dry-erase board and a set of ingredients and told them they would be working in a sandwich shop today.  To take the sandwich shop idea even further, you may want to provide aprons and food-prep gloves for the class as they make the sandwich!
The rest is simple.  Give the class an "order".  They need to make the sandwich and calculate how much it will be.  Here are a few shots of what my kids were doing to figure out how much each sandwich would cost.


I just LOVED how this group combined prices to make a $1.00 to make adding everything else up easier.

After the kids get comfortable, you could tell them that the customer only has a certain amount of money to spend.  Their job is to come up with sandwich combinations that total that amount. 

That's all for now!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Re-Work It and Oh, Boy! New Stuff!

I'm linking up with Mel at the Frogspot again for her Re-Work It Wednesday linky.  Last week I shared my "Thanksgiving on Thursday" unit.  You can read that post here.  I finally got the updated version posted at my TpT store so be sure to head over there to check it out!
Instead of one of my products, I have decided to re-work my classroom.  I've been teaching in this room for 7 years and I am growing a bit tired of the view.  I'm a BIG follower of Pinterest and I've seen some UBER-CUTE classrooms that are color-coordinated.  So I'm taking the plunge. 
I'm starting with the color scheme.  I recently came across this color combination and fell in love with it: Red and Turquoise!

I found some great decor at Oriental Trading.  Here I have some red chevron chinese lanterns, turquoise polka dot fans, red striped and polka dot pennant banners, turquoise striped and polka dot pennant banners, and red tissue balls.
I also plan to make some curtains that will compliment this new scheme.
Now here is the biggie!  I'm changing over to tables instead of indvidual desks!
I found these 30"x60" work tables at School Outfitters for an incredible price.  A single student desk is half the price of these tables and these will seat up to 6!
Now, I teach 2nd grade, so there are a lot of supplies that come along with the students.  In addition to text books, we also have art boxes, rulers, pencils, glue, scissors, folders, notebooks . . . You know what I'm saying.  I spotted a  great solution on Pinterest: 
Ameriwood 3-Shelf Bookcases, Set of 2 (Mix and Match)
Each table would get its own bookshelf.  These I found at and they come in 4 different colors.  I'm thinking about getting them in white to go along with my color scheme better but I think black will hide the dirt better.  What do you think?
These shelves will hold all of the books and bins of the students sitting at that table.  Every day, there will be a "Table Manager" who will be in charge of handing out books or other supplies.  I'm even considering giving each bookshelf its own pencil sharpener.  These from Classroom Friendly Supplies would work perfectly!
  Firehouse RedCool Blue
  I still plan on keeping my rainbow-colored supply bins for the tops of the tables.  These have been such a time-saver.  Students don't need to dig through their desks to get an important supply and everything is communal.
So that's it!  I'll be posting photos of the new set-up once I get it done!  Perhaps I'll even get the walls painted . . . . Hhmmmmmmmmmm?!?!?!
And of course I made a few purchases from TpT's Teacher Appreciation Sale.  I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin to share what I bought!
My Plant Observation Journal {and other plant activities}
First, I bought Leanne Prince's My Plant Observation Journal {and other activties}.  This will go perfect with my gardening unit.  I just wish I had found it sooner! I could have used it this year! 
2nd Grade Common Core BUNDLE
Next, I bought The Teacher's Cauldron's Second Grade Common Core Bundle. This bundle includes a Common Core gradebook and statements.  This is an amazing set and I hope it will streamline my lesson planning!
Common Core State Standards ELA Pacing Guides for Grades K-5
Third, I visited Charity Preston's store and picked up her Pacing Guides.   The Common Core can be daunting, at times.  I hope this ELA pacing guide will keep me on track next year! 
Revolutionary war bundle by melonheadz
Finally, I just COULDN'T leave without getting something from Melonheadz!  I've had my eye on these for awhile and the prices were just too good to resist!
Link back up with Frog Spot and Blog Hoppin to share your great ideas!

Monday, May 6, 2013

TpT Sale and HELP ME!!!

As a part of Teacher's Appreciation Week, Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 7 & 8!  Use the above promo code to get 10% off your purchases.  If individual shops are also having sales, you could get up to 28% off!  That is a an incredible deal, as many of the products there are amazingly priced already.
I am offering 20% off the items in my store for both days.  So click on the link to the right to head over to TpT to check out my products.
Have you ever had one of those days, where you just want to shoot your computer?  Well, today was my day.  I've noticed that my blog page has not been displaying the "Follow Me" button, or the people following me for about 10-12 days.  I thought something was fishy becuase my number of people following me has completely stalled lately even though my page views are through the roof!  After some research, I've heard that Google is no longer going to be using Google Friend Connect anymore but ALL of the blogs I follow still have these buttons available.
Is there anyone out there who knows what this problem may be and if I can fix it? 
Your help will be much appreciated!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Re-Work It Wednesday Linky

I'm linking up with Mel over at From the Pond for her new linky "Re-Work It Wednesday".  I think this is a really cool idea!  With all the new changes with Common Core, many teachers are going to to want to rework their products to meet the standards.
I've been doing just that!
Last fall, I posted my "Thanksgiving on Thursday" unit.
It was very popular.  But I started to look at it through Common Core eyes and I wanted to make it correlate by adding new activities and seeing if my current activities are in the Common Core. 
So even though I not finished with it, yet, I wanted to share with you the changes that are on the way!

As you can see, I updated the graphics using Melonheadz "Happy Thanksgiving" set. 
 With the new graphics, I was able to provide a color and black and white version to save on printing costs.

I also aligned each activity, and added a few new ones, to the Common Core.  These are only a few of the aligned activities and they are now aligned to the 3rd and 4th grade ELA standards.
As I said above, I don't have this update finished and posted yet, but I do hope to get it done before the end of the month.  If you have already purchased this item from my TpT store, when I get the new one posted, I will send out a notification to download your own updated copy.
Next on the list is my "Officer Buckle and Gloria" and "A Chair for My Mother".

So that's it!  Be sure to head over to Mel's and link up to share your latest re-work!