Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Classroom

I'd like to give you a little peek into my classroom. Come on in!
I love how my classroom turned out this year! I was planning to go with light blue and black for my colors, but I waited too long and those colors were gone. Dark blue was still available, though. With the yellow accents, I think it looks great! Our mascot is the owl, so I do have a few owl items throughout, and I plan to make some cute hanging owls when I get the time.
You may have noticed that I have a lot of computers. That's because my classroom is actually a computer lab. A few years ago my principal decided that instead of having teachers individually bring their students into the computer lab to work on projects, she would have a technology specialist position. That's me! I work on integrating writing and technology skills with all students at my school and I love it!
We use CHAMPS school-wide for classroom management and behavior expectations. This year I made CHAMPS and Voice Level cards to post for student reference. I used to just write them on the white board, and they often got erased. This will save me time, and it looks so much nicer! I have them on the white board with magnets, so I can still write to make additions or changes for certain activities as needed.

If you're interested, I have an editable version of my CHAMPS and Voice Level cards available in my TPT store HERE.

Thank you to Courtney from Swimming into Second for a link-up!

Thank you for coming along on a tour of my classroom. 
What do you like best about your classroom this year?


Graphics & Font by: The Brown Bag Teacher and Kimberly Geswein Fonts

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Teacher Essentials

The first day of school was Monday. There's so much positive energy in my school that I know it's going to be a great year!

I've learned that keeping a few personal items on hand in my classroom will make my school life even better. They are my teacher essentials!

First of all, I just had to have...
Lesportsac has been coming out with a line of It's a Small World inspired bags. They're pricey, but I just couldn't resist this one. It's the perfect size for my laptop, iPad, class folders, and stacks of papers. Isn't the elephant charm so cute?

I like a clean classroom that smells fresh! Airwick and Swiffers are a must for me. I change out the Airwick scents with the seasons, and my students always comment about how my room smells good (and so does my principal). 

It's nice to have snacks and lunch supplies on hand. 
Forgetting a spoon or fork is the worst! 

Now that I have my essentials, I'm ready for a great school year! 
What are your teacher essentials?


Graphics & Fonts by: Emily Wean and Kimberly Geswein

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sale Time!

I love shopping, especially when there's a sale!
TPT is gearing up for an amazing sale that starts Sunday.
Everything in MY TPT STORE will be on sale August 18th & 19th.
Woo Hoo! Now is a great time to hop on over and add to your wishlist!
Use the promo code BTS13 at checkout for a total discount of 28%.
I can't wait to buy everything on my wishlist!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Summertime Strawberries

I just love fresh summer fruit! The best strawberries I've ever had are just a few miles away at a little weekend farmer's market. Forget grocery store strawberries. I can't eat them anymore! These strawberries are soooooo sweet and juicy. 
I don't even need to dip them in chocolate!

Last year, my second grade students had a lot of fun 
writing their opinions about the best fruit to eat with this 

The graphic organizers were great for 
helping my students organize their ideas.

What's your favorite fruit?


Background: Dots of Fun! by Tammy Ferrell 

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Favorite Second Grade Read-Alouds

I've spent most of my teaching career in second and third grade. One of my favorite things to do each day is to read aloud chapter books to my students. I want to share a few of my very favorite second grade read-alouds with you. 

I always like to start the school year off with:

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne

This is the first book in the Magic Tree House series and it really captures my students' attention right away. I pretty much have every Magic Tree House book in my classroom library and a few sets for reading groups. My students love them!

Many of them are just starting to read chapter books in second grade, and I think Magic Tree House books are a great place to start. The author is really consistent with her development of  Jack and Annie (the main characters). These characters are great for comparing and contrasting and making personal connections.

The next book I like to read is:
The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron

This book is so funny! Each chapter is a stand-alone story, but the whole book still flows together nicely. There's a lot of humor in this book with situations that kids can relate to. I especially love the father's character.

This book is realistic fiction, so it's great to compare to Dinosaurs Before Dark, which is fantasy. Not only that, in this book there are two brothers. Their relationship can be compared to the brother/sister relationship of Jack and Annie. 

One of my all-time favorites is:
The Puppy Sister by S.E. Hinton

I love this book so much! It's not being published right now, but there are a bazillion copies available for resale on Amazon. Cheap. Buy it. You won't regret it!

This story is told from the puppy's point-of-view. She doesn't realize that she's a dog at first. When she does find out, she decides that if she has to grow up, she might as well grow up to be a human...and she does! I'm a softie. I ALWAYS tear up when I read the Christmas morning chapter. I have to bite the inside of my cheek to keep reading. The relationship between the puppy/girl and her "brother" is a major focus and one that many students can relate to.

I read this next book toward the end of second grade or at the beginning of third grade:
Martin's Mice by Dick King Smith

It's just so good! Martin is a farm kitten who isn't like the other cats. He thinks mice are cute and he can't stand the idea of eating them. However, he is a cat. He has instincts. One day he accidentally catches a mouse and decides to keep it as a "pet". 

Every year my students beg me to read more of this story when I finish a chapter. It's definitely a higher-level book than the others with more challenging vocabulary, so that's why I read it at the end of second grade.

I like to have hardback copies of most of my read-alouds. I also buy several paperback copies for my classroom library because some student really like to read along with me. When those run out, students check copies out from the school library and some even have their parents buy their own copies!

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about some of my favorite read-alouds for second grade. Maybe you have discovered a book or two to share with your students this year. Stay tuned for my favorite third grade books.

What are some of your favorite read-alouds?


Monday, August 5, 2013

Terrific Teacher Lunch Ideas #1

I can't believe it's almost time for school again! This summer, I've really enjoyed eating what I want, when I want, and even going out for lunch now and then.

 As teachers, we are often so busy that we don't have a lot of time for lunch. I like to plan ahead each weekend for simple and tasty lunches, and I make sure to include some yummy snacks too.

One of my favorites is chicken salad.
I buy precooked chicken from the deli at Alberston's to save time. I just LOVE the mayo with olive oil! It's so delicious!
The amount of mayo/yogurt to add depends on how moist you like your chicken salad. 
 Once I tried using just the yogurt to save calories. It just wasn't as rich and creamy as I like it, so now I always add the mayonaise.
These tasty gluten free bagel chips are crisp and mildly sweet. I buy a big bag of clementines every week for lunches and snacks. 
I've got to have my morning and afternoon snack. I get grouchy if I'm hungry! These are quick snacks to grab between classes or on my prep period. 

I hope you enjoyed my teacher lunch and snack ideas. Stay tuned for more ideas to come!

Do you have any great lunch or snack ideas to share? I've love to hear about them!