Friday, October 31, 2014

Ahhhh Halloween - Err, I mean Storybook Festival...

Today was a whirlwind of activity! 
We started with a Storybook Festival and there was a Wizard of Oz party for outstanding readers, and Art with Ms. Donna, and we were finishing Pumpkin writing (hello weekend work) and getting in Math before heading to our Success Celebration and party.
Whew! Willie and I are exhausted!
Some highlights...

Happy Halloween to me!

Happy Halloween to Willie!

After Target I will be grading these!

So many more kids liked pumpkin seeds this year than last!

They had some great adjectives!

Happy and a Safe Halloween to all. I mean, Storybook Day! ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


We've just begun learning about contractions and isn't it a beautiful thing when a Thinking Map just pops in perfectly to a lesson? 

When I first learned about Thinking Maps, the Bridge Map was the most intimidating because I wasn't sure how this grade level would do with them and the thinking that is associated with the Bridge. 

Once I got over my trepidation I found that opportunities to use the Bridge Map and boundless in 2nd grade!

What's the Matter? Oobleck!

Oh learning about matter is so much fun! And, it's a hot mess, too!  Between melting crayons and creating this solid-ish, liquid-ish goo we have certainly gotten down and messy with learning - but that's the fun of it , too!

Today we learned that liquids don't always act like liquid. I bet the kids went home talking about this one!

If anyone wants to try it, it is definitely a memorable experiment and Scientific American has great info on it. Click here to see what they have for you to try at home...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Learning to Keyboard

Our 2nd graders are learning to keyboard! We started the year trying out a school-wide program and it didn't work out. Lots of bugs in the system and lots of frustration for kids and teachers - and probably administration, too. So we scrapped it!

Because now we are trying some great (free!!!!) resources that families can try at home, also!
Click here to read about my prior post about great, FREE typing sites online.

The kids love, love, love the BBC site. It has a goat with a fancy British accent and guides the students more than our old program did!

This was our best day yet in computer lab and we love it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Changing States of Matter

We have been learning about matter and all about the characteristics of solids, liquids and gases. Today, we learned about the changing states of matter. 

We learned that matter can change but, the students went bananas when they could SEE that heat is an energy that can change matter!

ELD - Taking It Off The Map!

I am so impressed with the students in my ELD group this year. Today we complete a Bridge Map (Thinking Map) about the different homes that the Native American tribes had and then we "Took it off the map" and did some writing! 

Wow! These students did an excellent job determining what they knew from the Bridge Map and why it was important to know it!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

I LOVE fall! 

Mostly because the books are so fantastic (and wearing boots, scarves and sweaters makes me happy, too). But seriously, the stories that are available this time of year are the best.

We read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves and it follows the general theme of the other There Was an Old Lady books.  I held off on the last couple pages and had the students visualize and predict what she'd sneeze out and then illustrate it!

The kids are doing so great with visualization this year! Super proud of them!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Studies Weekly - Native Americans

My students just love learning about social studies! For the last two weeks we have been learning all about the various Native American tribes in North America. We took a break from our writing and Thinking Maps and geographic maps to do a quick activity.

My students learned how some Native Americans drew on buffalo skins to relay stories. OH MY GOODNESS! They did such an amazing job! I read these the other night and were blown away by their short stories!


Inspired by Primary Graffiti.....

Good things happen when you do your homework!

Going Batty!

Our classroom has been humming with excitement this week as we learn all about bats! I just love, love, love Gail Gibbons book, Bats and the kids were in awe as the learned so much about these little nocturnal creatures.

Today we compared Halloweeny-type bats to real bats and then wrote lots and lots of bats facts. The part I loved best though - the part I always love - are the students' drawings. They drew a bat diagram and then labeled it. 

Tomorrow, we begin writing - I can't wait to read these reports!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Sending love across the nation to teachers - SLANT!
I participated in my first SLANT box exchange in September and I just received my box from the awesome Dawn in San Diego!

First off, let me just say that those who LOVE teaching like Dawn and I do find it really hard to find balance in our lives and she was an understanding ear when I filled her in on some issues I'm having - we had a moment ;)

Click here to check out Dawn's blog!

On to the goodies... 
I was so excited to get my box in the mail - it's just like Christmas!

Opening it was even better!

It contains the sweetest note in the note pad, some super cute binder clips, a super pretty scarf for fall, the most gorgeous peacock duct tape you've ever seen and .... treats for Willie! See - a soul sister - she picked up on my obsession with Willie from across the miles. 
I appreciate all of it - especially knowing the time that went into it - all the while trying to achieve balance!

Thanks, Dawn!

And thanks Lessons With Coffee for organizing such a fun exchange!

Teachers, if you're interested in SLANT click here to check out Lessons With Coffee and learn all about it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pen Pals

This year we have Pen Pals! We are really excited to get to know our new North Carolinian friends! First though, we are learning about parts of a friendly letter and practicing putting a letter together in the correct format.

The Brace Map was the perfect Thinking Map for this!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Smile for the camera...

We will be embarking on a fun new activity in class - photography!

For those of you who've suffered through some blurry iPhone pics you'll be happy to know I'm trying to learn how to use my new Canon Rebel T5i! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Meanwhile, the kids are getting in on the action! 
We have a color printer in the room now and we are going to use our iPads to take some great photographs this year! 

The kiddos are going to learn a bit about taking pictures and we'll have some great evidence of learning by the end of the year!

I have a feeling Willie is going to be the subject of a lot of videos and photos!
He cannot wait!