Saturday, September 27, 2014

We Have Tests Today! YAYYYYYYY!!!!!

It's all in the mindset. 
I start the year early trying to make tests sound like a fun thing - almost a treat! Kids buy in quick because they are anxious to show me what they know and excitement is contagious! We set the temperature in the class, yes? 
I don't think other teachers believe how happy my kids get about testing - but they do. Gotta love 7 year olds!
This morning I'm trying to psych myself up the same way!
Hello test!
I'm field testing the new National Board Certification process while I start my certification for real. I figure it helps the Board see what works and what doesn't and it gives me an idea of what to expect when I take the test soon - the 'real' one - the big enchilada, this is the big game, the one that counts, test.
Yay, tests!
Saturday morning tests! Yay yay!!

Want more information on field testing? CLICK HERE!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ELD - End of Week 1

So our first ELD week comes to a close! Holy Moly! These kids should be hired by Parker Bros!

I love how this one included a square to send someone back to the beginning! These will be used with the game cards they made earlier in the week.

Most are still working on finishing the instructions for their History and Time games but since we have our first Student of the Month assembly tomorrow, it'll have to wait til Monday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's like Christmas!

Wow! Thank you Donors Choose, donors and Google! 

We love the new non-fiction books! 

Now when we delve into non-fiction, my students have so many books to choose from! 

We can compare sources on so many different topics!

We also got to learn how to use our amazing Story Cubes, place value dice and 12 sided double dice!

My kids are certain they are playing games - don't tell them they are really learning a lot!

ELD Time!

ELD is so much fun! It's a great chance to get to know the other 2nd graders because I have kids from each of our four 2nd grade classes for ELD.

This week we studied vocabulary, did a Thinking Map and wrote about an important event in our history and today we started making our very own social studies game! 

My awesome 22 are doing some close reading with their social studies magazine and then making some game cards. Some of the questions and answers they came up with are FANTASTIC!

I'm seriously impressed!

Tomorrow we'll work on creating a game board, we will talk about rules and write some instructions! 

Then.... maybe we'll let another ELD class play our game!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Holy Moly! Willie Says...


Willie wants you to know that we had THREE Donors Choose projects when we woke and by the time I had taken roll all three were COMPLETELY funded by Google! 
One of the projects was a special Willie project for hay, guinea pig books, and food so kids can learn about guinea pigs and their care. Eventually they'll write their own book! Willie is  very, very excited!

Another project was for nonfiction books! With Common Core there is a huge focus on nonfiction and now our library has a lot of options! Plus, my students love, love, love nonfiction books!

Another project was for all kinds of dice! Storytelling dice. Place value dice.  Twelve sided double dice!!!! The kids are having so much fun, while learning a lot at the same time!

Willie LOVES Google (and so does Mrs. Dixon)! 

Collectively Collective Nouns are Coming Along

Ok. Well. I feel like we've made it through nouns, common and proper. We made it. They rocked it. Now.  Continuing with nouns...
 Collective nouns were a bear! A tribe of bears? A gaggle of bears? A pack of bears? Swarm? It was a rough one. 
Lots of reteach later, we tackled a Two-Fer. Collective Nouns AND the Bridge Map! 
I asked them to vote on how many they could do -completely- on their own. I got a range from 18 to 4. So we compromised on 10 but I'd secretly be happy with 5.
Here are just a couple...

RF: ___ is a collective nouns for a group of ___

Donors Choose

We have THREE brand new Donors Choose projects up!
Remember - for every $5 you donate you get 1 hour of volunteer time.  AND - use the code "INSPIRE" when you check out and your donation (and hours) are DOUBLED!!!! 
You can find our projects using this link...
When you get to that page choose "project requests" to see our current projects! Remember -you get hours AND it's tax deductable!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Willie Wants to Know...

Did you remember book orders are due tomorrow? Parents - you can also order online - there's a link under the Class Blog tab at the top!

Patriot's Day

Each year addressing Patriot's Day with the little ones has been challenging. You don't want to go too deep into it and lose them or worse - frighten them - and you want to make sure they know how important the day is. It's a balancing act.

Enter The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. He was also doing a balancing act. We read the book and discussed briefly why the Towers aren't there anymore and I was surprised to learn many had already seen films and videos about 9/11.

We moved on to perspective and studied the illustrations more deeply, then the kids had at it.
They did so great with this really difficult art concept!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Ok. Nouns are tough this year. I'm not sure why but we are struggling a bit with the concept of proper and common nouns. Last week was ALL about PPT - and they know a noun is a person, place or thing, but they are not seeing the difference between any old teacher and proper Mrs. Dixon. So we've been working on it. A lot.

We've done word sorts. Proper noun Tree Maps. Double Bubble maps comparing common and proper. We've done drawings. Worksheets. And then, there was the flapbook.

For some unknown reason (kismet)  I sent the flapbook to print and when I went to the office to get it, the printer had printed the flapbook on ENORMOUS cardstock. Instant group work!

I gave each kiddo an old TIME for Kids magazine to find common and proper nouns. They they worked in groups of 3-4 and these Smart Cookies...
  1. considered
  2. cut 
  3. collaborated
  4. discussed
  5. glued
  6. shared

We aren't, all of us, THERE yet - but we are on.our.way!!!

"D" is for....Dixon! But also for DOUBLES!

This week we took off on an activity I saw in one of my Amy Lemon's packets - but I had the kids construct everything-! They did an AMAZING job! Especially AMAZINGGGGGG when you consider most had never cut the center out of anything. Ever. In all time. 

They started by drawing a big D on cardstock using a Sharpie. Then they had to cut it out, including the center (whaaaaa?!) Yeah. They rocked it.

After, they had to write as many doubles facts as they knew with a Sharpie. Wait. WHAAAAT? Yep. Permanent marker. You gotta be committed and certain if you're using a Sharpie!

Finally, they brought them to life when they added a little personality with limbs and eyes! 


They are dancing above them all day - blowing with the AC!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend Excitement

This is how Willie spent the weekend
 - watching football with Mr. Dixon and me. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Future Jewelry Designer

I love my beautiful necklace. She promises to give me a discount when she's a famous, exclusive jewelry designer! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mr Potato Head

I have a feeling we'll be getting our feet tomorrow ;)

Engineering for Greatness

So the last few days we were able to squeeze in spend some time learning about what engineers do. Oh my goodness - there are so many kinds of engineers! We brainstormed and researched about the process of designing and engineering and came up with some steps.

We watched a fantastic video on PBS kids about a packaging engineer for Method products and then read a super adorable book, If I Built a Car - the illustrations are awesome!

Then, in table groups, we set to looking at all kinds of vehicles to think about the purpose of each feature and think about what features we would include in a vehicle we designed. 

On our own we sketched our vehicles, then labeled our diagrams. Then, we drew a final prototype and then wrote about why we included the things we included, who would use it, where...

Soon we will be using materials from a recent DonorsChoose project to sculpt our cars and paint them.

Kids are totally into this and so engaged! 

Update 9/15...
Kids are working on their AMAZING cars!