Saturday, June 30, 2012

ABCs of the Wild West

I have mentioned before that I am going with a "Western" theme this year. I'm so excited about some of the neat things I find at the teacher stores, online and Pinterest! It's going to give my room a cute, fresh look this year!!! My motto last year was " I am NOT spending another dime decorating this room...I spend too much as is!" motto THIS year is, " I spend more time here than at home, might as well make it look cute and inviting!!"

One of the things I RIPPED off my wall this year (partially because I was just SICK of looking at it) is my alphabet cards. We teach cursive in 2nd grade.
 I love it and hate it.
Some kids are ready for it.
Some are not. But isn't that true with ANYTHING!!
Some are still trying to figure out how to print.
Some have print that is a hot mess, but their cursive is like a work of art! Go figure!
I've found that because of the varied levels of development, I have to give them visuals for the manuscript and cursive alphabets. Which means two sets of alphabet cards.
I've shopped.
I've looked.
Nothing caught my eye.

So, I decided I could make my own, print them off on thick cardstock and laminate them. (Come July 23rd that poor laminator is going to be SO overworked!)

I decided I didn't want the 'usual' alphabet. I wanted to expose the kids to different words these letters were in....something that went along with my theme. Well, I got stuck on the letter "D'....didn't want to do the typical "dog" I went on a google search and found Cowboy Bob's Cowboy Dictionary page....THANK YOU Cowboy Bob, whoever you are! Long story short, I now have a 'western theme' alphabet line that shows manuscript AND cursive!! YAY!
Feel free to snag! I have the jpeg version here, if you need pdf, email me....didn't want my font to mess up!!
Later Pardners!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Even more calendar stuff!!!

I said yesterday that I would be posting some more calendar stuff.....and here we go!

*Hundreds Chart- we can use this to cover numbers, highlight patterns and show how you can use a 100s chart with addition or subtraction. This is one of the tools my kiddos REALLY get to rely on and pick up quickly.

*Cut up hundreds chart and place value- While my little darlings usually pick up the patterns on the hundreds chart, can fill it in either in order or out of order, it NEVER ceases to amaze me how when they are given a 'cut up' hundreds chart, it blows their mind on how to fill it out. While researching what other teachers do with their 'calendar' time, I came across this idea and thought, " THIS should help them out with that skill!"....I used it last year, and boy did it help them out!  We also do a lot of place value by building the number with units and rods and putting in a place value frame.

Well, that's about it for my calendar routine. Is anyone else doing anything different with their calendar routine?? I'm always open to changes or additions!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More calendar stuff

Like I said yesterday with my Interactive Calendar post, I do more with calendar than just "calendar". I think there are a lot of skills that can be crammed into  expanded upon in this valuable whole group time and try to cover all my bases!
I told you I would post more of my calendar templates, so here they are: (in no specific order)

1. Money- I usually have an 'amount of the day' the first of the year I tie it to how many days we have been in school. Then when they 'have it' , I start chosing random amounts as our 'amount of the day'.  I created this template with the idea in mind that we would write and then circle the coins needed to make our amount of the day.

2. Weather- We like to graph the weather and talk about the temperature. We also fill in the thermometer. With my 'not as smart as yours' board, I can leave the thermometer filled in and erase or add to depending if today is hotter than or cooler than yesterday!!!

3 We also talk about the phases of the moon and part of our science units have us graphing what phase the moon is in for a month and using that data to predict what phase it will be in on a certain day....a lovely TEK for those of you out there in blog-land that are non-Texan!

4. Time- We show time on an analog clock and then write and read it in a digital format! We practice time starting out with hour and half hour and then get more advanced depending on the skill level of my class!

Tomorrow I will post some more aspects of our 'calendar'. What do you do for your calendar time??

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award!!

Wow! Thanks so much to Ms. Pretzel at "Ms. Pretzel's Super 2nd Graders" for giving me the "One Lovely Blog" award!!

 It's amazing to see how big the community of teacher blogging is getting...and I love that I can find ideas from people all over the country!!!
I'm a HUGE fan of several blogs that have already been 'awarded', but now I get to award it to  15 that I stalk  follow religiously!!!

 The rules of the award, as I understand it are: (And I AM a rule follower)
1 Follow the person that gave you that award.
2 Link back to the person that gave you that award.
3 Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

If you haven't checked out these blogs, I HIGHLY recommend them!!! Lots of creative ladies with tons of great ideas!!!

1.Mrs. Carroll at The First Grade Parade. (She was actually the FIRST blog site I ever her creativity!)

2. Clutter Free Classroom-- am HOOKED on her classroom makeover series right now!!

3. Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher- she CRACKS me up and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her ideas!

4.Mrs. Patton at Mrs. Patton's Page- great 2nd grade blog!

5. Deanna at Mrs. Jump's Class- cute ideas!
6. Amanda at One Extra Degree- love her giveaways!!!

7.Ashleigh at Education Journey- lots of great ideas!!

8. Terri at the Creative Apple- lots of great units!!!

9. Laura at Delightful Daily 5 Cafe- she has some good thoughts on the Daily 5 if you are interested!

10.Miss August at Third Grade Rock Star- another creative teacher!!!

11. Janaye at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes- great ideas!

 12. Working 4 the Classroom- lots of cute things on her blog!!!
13. Jenny B  at Funtastic Fun in First Grade- I've been reading her Daily 5 book study ideas!!
14. Jackie at 3rd Grade's a Charm--- another one I got hooked on thanks to this Daily 5 book study!

and last, but not least, Jess at Rambling about Reading!!!


Interactive Calendar

A few years ago, my school was renovated.
 We were not renovated like OTHER schools in the district. No. (We often joke that we are the 'red headed step-child' of the district....don't get offended, I'm a redhead too, so I can joke about those things...its the rules!)
 Anyway, they(don't you just hate THEY sometimes, whoever 'they' are)  decided in all their brillance they would not add on or demolish any of our exisitng footprint of the building, but use that same footprint to create a 'new' school that would be OH so much better than the last even though its really kinda the same. (Insert sarcasm here). Well, lets just say it turned out less than desirable in MANY aspects.

One of the things we do NOT like is they went to a 'pod' type of plan....meaning the grade levels are in 'pods' (can you say so isolated I never see another grade level all day?) and we also have NO doors. Yep.
Take a second.
Wrap your head around that.
NO doors.
And to add icing on the cake, we share a common entryway into our classrooms, with WIDE opening and our teaching points are BACK TO BACK. Yes....sound travels. Meaning, if my kids are bored with my lessons, they can listen to one of my teaching partner's lessons. (You'd think that'd cut down on me repeating myself, huh? HA!)

Another lovely side effect was they took up the bulk of our wall space with cabinets. Now THAT I am not complaining about. I love my cabinets. They are beautiful. They give me doors to shut all the clutter away. They are very useful. The problem being...I have VERY limited wall space to hang ANYTHING. I do have bulletin boards.
You've seen the pictures.....if not, scroll down to one of my previous posts.
I have 3-  a small, a medium and a large one.
The large one is behind my row of computers. SERIOUSLY?
Like I'm going to use it for word wall (which is what they want us to use it for) and climb over the computers daily to add words? Not convenient!!
That one, I mostly use for student work.
Don't judge...I have a word wall...that will be in a later post!

Well, having limited wall space and limited bulletin boards REALLY makes one think about how they want to use them. They are precious!
After blog stalking many of you,After doing a lot of research, I found that some of you geniuses have a type of 'smart board' that allows you to purchase interactive calendars from Teachers Pay Teachers and other sites.
I'm jealous.
I'm envious.
I'm over it. (Well, not really)
SO, I started researching how I could have an interactive calendar. It's a GENIUS idea. It gives my kiddos something they desperately need. We do a LOT with our, weather, the date (of course), patterns, time, temperature, place value....and anything else I can think of.

Our software that comes with our "not as smart as your" boards, is funky. It works with NOTHING else. Its Q draw (which works with Ben Q pens and our projectors). However, I did find out that you could take pictures, put them in the background (kinda like you'd do in power point), and use the tools of the software to write over it, insert shapes, etc. AND it saves what you've done, and allows you to erase, add to, etc.
SO, this will work for my interactive calendar. To create the backgrounds, I used clipart and power point. I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some power point! Its so much more user friendly than Word!!! It lets me layer things! It lets me use cutesy fonts and doesn't bug me about it!
SO, I created these backgrounds, am inserting them into our software as background and TA-DA!!! I have an interactive calendar. I made a template for each month of the year. I am inserting them here as jpegs so if you want them, you are welcomed to grab them. If you need them in another format, email me and I'd be glad to get them to you!!!
 I'll be posting other aspects of my calendar, time,etc. This is just the calendar where we insert a pattern and write the date in a complete sentence at the bottom. Enjoy!