11 February 2014

Snow Day and FREEBIE!

Today was the first of two snow days for those of us in the Atlanta area. For my county, we already had Thursday and Friday, Monday and Tuesday off due to furlough days, so I'm enjoying a little extended vacation!

Last Friday, was working on updating some of my math tubs.
Laminating for days.

I introduced fractions to my kiddos on Monday (Oh my - was that just yesterday?). We talked about what they already knew, watched a BrainPOP, Jr. video, and learned that fractions are pieces of a whole, but must be equal pieces. 

The kiddos practiced by deciding if circles and rectangles had been partitioned equally or not. I LOVE our interactive notebooks. Seriously, ah-mazing! These pages are part of my Fraction Mini-Unit.
My sample pages.

Kiddos hard at work sorting, and color-coding (which was their idea).

Since you've made it through to the end of this post you deserve a reward! You can grab these two pages for FREE! I just set up my fan freebies on Facebook (which took like hours - don't even get me started). I should have just uploaded them here using Google Docs like I normally do. Oh well, I definitely learned something new! ENJOY! Don't forget, if you like these FREE pages, you might want to check out the rest of the mini-unit here or by clicking the picture below!


10 February 2014

Management Monday - New Student Packets

Button Credits: KG Fonts, Hello Fonts, Melonheadz, Creative Clips
Wow! Today has been a really crazy day! I don't know about you, but I really dislike getting new students. I don't actually dislike the new students, I just dislike the process of getting the newbie caught up to speed on all the little routines and procedures that we spent so much time practicing at the beginning of the year. Go ahead, judge away. But at the heart of it, you're not a fan either!

Anyway, right after morning meeting in walks my principal for an unannounced formal observation  which honestly, doesn't phase me. However, in the middle of it, I was given a 10-minute warning that I'd be getting a new student. Fast forward a few minutes, and in walks my new student, her mom, and I stop the lesson, try to get her settled in as quickly as possible, and get back to the lesson.

Fortunately, my extremely talkative class, was very quiet, and I was able to do introductions (could her name have been any more complicated for me to say?) and we were able to get back on track rather quickly. Overall, the observation was perfectly fine from my perspective.

Then, we come back from lunch, and there are three men removing the falling-off-the-wall cabinets, which means that there was stuff EVERYWHERE. I had already taken most of stuff out of the cabinets, but hadn't gotten to a few things. Talk about a mess. Makes my OCD brain just go crazy. What can I do though? Just deal, I guess.

Here's how they looked on Friday...
If you look at the top left, you can see how they're sagging.

Looking at these pictures, I'm embarrassed to even post them, but seriously, this is what happens when you're told to empty the cabinets.

Oy, that mess!

Literally coming apart at the seams.

Yes, I know paper is heavy. You'd think the cabinets would be able to handle it.

Oh, look at that table!

Not good. 

Here's how they looked as we walked in from lunch.
It's a good thing there's not an exit near this area. The fire marshall would go CRAZY!

Well, I suppose the cabinets aren't falling anymore.

This is disgusting. Like stomach hurts, can't.even.deal.

Anyway, I managed to get my kiddos inside, and to the carpet without being run over by men with cabinets. We got through our math lesson in one piece, albeit, with some yelling very loud teaching over drills and hammers.

I feel completely exhausted. That brings me to today's management strategy: New Student packets.

I saw on Pinterest some time ago, ziploc bags that have everything you might need for a new student. This has seriously been a life-saver so many times. I know everything that a new student and/or I might need to get us started quickly without too much of a disruption.

Instead of using a ziploc bag though, I use a folder that will end up becoming the new student's Take Home Folder. Here's what's included:

  • Take Home Folder
  • Take Home Folder Cover Sheet
  • Student Info Sheet
  • Class Blog Permission Form
  • Letter from the Room Parent
  • Transportation Information
  • Text Notification Sign-Up (See my post about Remind 101)
  • ABCs of Our Classroom
  • Parent Roadmap
  • Meet the Teacher
  • 3 Popsicle Sticks (2 for bathroom, 1 for my name jar)
  • 2 clothes pins (1 for lunch choice, 1 for behavior clip chart)
Smattering of papers included.

Here's how it looks when I have them stored. I simply take out the clothespins and popsicles sticks, write the student's name on them, and I'm good to go!

To this list of "always" items, I add in things that are appropriate depending on the time of the year. For example, I'm not included anything about supplies, wish list, or the scrapbook page, as those things really only apply for the beginning of the year. You say, "what? no school supplies?" Nope...we use community supplies, and I was given a little background on the student, and I know her mom wouldn't be able to afford them, so I don't want to make an already stressful situation worse.

I will send home a current monthly calendar (I always have a few extras), and our weekly homework packet since it's only Monday.

Well, crazy Monday...dunzo! Bright note? School was canceled from tomorrow, and Wednesday, and we already had furlough days on Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. That's right, I don't have school until February 19th! 

If you don't have new student packets, make them. NOW.  I promise the time you spend to prepare and have things ready to go, will make your life so much easier later. You know, when your principal is observing Writer's Workshop, and a new student arrives!

06 February 2014

Book Talk Thursday - Folktales Part 2

In last week's Book Talk, I shared some of the books I use to teach folktales. Instead of sharing new books this week, I wanted to share how we're using different versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in our class!

Each student received a copy of this chart, which you can download here or click the picture! I made an anchor chart with all of the same information. Each day, we've read a different version of the story, and then filled in the chart. My students will glue their finished chart into their Reader's Notebook.
I love that for the moral, my students wrote what was most meaningful to them! Seriously, does it get any better?

This sweet kiddo's birthday was today, and wanted to make sure I shared her work!

Here's what my anchor chart looks like! I totally forgot a space for solution, but it worked out ok, because I wouldn't have had enough room. Oh well. Such is life.

On Friday, students will choose two of the four versions to compare and contrast! I can't wait to hear their conversations, and see which version they liked best!

Happy Teaching!

03 February 2014

Management Monday - Remind 101

Button Credits: KG Fonts, Hello Fonts, Melonheadz, Creative Clips
Communicating with parents is one of the most crucial aspects of classroom management. Wait, what? That's right, keeping parents informed will not only help them, but it will help you and your students stay organized and in the know!

That being said, sometimes keeping parents in the loop with all that is going on at school is sometimes time-consuming. I don't always have time to type up a note, reminder, letter, or whatever, make copies, cut them in half, and manage to remember to actually give them to students to take home. And, let's not even talk about whether or not the note makes it out of the black hole called backpacks.

Anyway, at the beginning of this year, I started using Remind 101 - seriously, AMAZING! I set up my account before the school year even began, and when my parents came for Sneak-a-Peek, they were able to subscribe.

So, how does it work? Teachers create their account, are given class codes, a random phone number, and then set up as many or as few "classes" as necessary. There is a class-specific code that parents use to subscribe to messages specific to the needs of that class. For example, I only teach one group of students, so I only created one class for parents to subscribe. If I was a middle school math teacher, however, I might have 7 different math periods, and therefore, 7 different class codes.

Messaging is one-way only, and with randomly generated phone numbers, my personal number is kept snug as a bug!

As you can see, I simply named this year's group "2nd Grade 13-14." Parents LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! I have gotten nothing but rave reviews because, well, text messaging is easy.

One of my favorite features is that I can schedule my texts to send at a later date. Great for when I'm thinking of something on Monday, that won't happen until later in the week. I set it up while I'm thinking about, and I don't have to try to remember later on.

Another great feature? Remind 101, has all of my texts I've sent throughout the year, which is great should I ever need to prove that I've done something (or not)! Hopefully, you don't ever have that problem!

Choose to send to your entire class, a subset of a class, or multiple classes you teach. I can send from my computer or via the app I have downloaded on my phone. Pure awesomeness!

Do you use Remind 101? I'd love to know how it's working for you and your class!

01 February 2014

Lessons from the Heart

I'm so excited to share with you a wonderful {FREE} lesson idea!

I can't even believe it, but January 24th, was my district's 100th day of school! Crazy! To help my class celebrate the 100th day of school, and Valentine's Day, I challenged my students to perform 100 acts of kindness by Valentine's Day!

Students kept track of their acts of kindness by writing what they did on a heart. I printed the hearts on red, pink, and purple construction paper, instead of having them color/decorate, however, you could choose either option.

I hope you enjoy this fun, and rewarding activity as much as I am! We are in the midst of our acts of kindness, and I can't wait to see how many hearts we can fill up by Valentine's Day!

If you decide to use this lesson in your class, I'd love to hear how it worked with your students, and even see pictures of your completed bulletin board or display!

What's better than one free lesson? Why, 16 of course! Myself and 15 other fabulous bloggers put together a "Lessons from the Heart" eBook, in which you'll find some really fantastic resources, and amazing blogs! Just click the link below to get the eBook!

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