Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Freebie

I love books, but I really, really love books that have to do with holidays. I think I love them so much because the kiddos get so into them. I was just talking with my kiddos today about how I was going to share a book that I loved with them when one of my kiddos pointed out that I always love all the books! She was kind of right! There are so many great children's books out there and I love getting to be the first one to introduce them to the kiddos in my class each year.
Today we read Turkey Trouble
 and Katie whipped up a quick cause and effect activity to go with the book. If you would like to grab a copy of the activity just click on the picture below.

We also did a quick activity with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie.
We needed something quick so that we could share with the Kindergarten class.  So we made the old lady on lunch sacks and cut out her mouth.  Then we made the things she ate and retold the story.  After practicing in class with partners we went down to Kindergarten and shared with them.  This was so easy and quick that the kindergartners actually borrowed the activity from their 2nd grade friend and retold it themselves!  Here are a few pics of what some of my kiddos made.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Helpful Hints with Blog Hoppin'

Hello and happy Tuesday!
I was home yesterday with an ear infection and two sinus infections, also know as, my 3 kiddos!  All of them are now on antibiotics and since they are finally feeling better this mama is getting some sleep again!  Thank goodness. It seems that you leave the ability to pull all nighters behind in college!!  It has been a very long time since I was able to stay up all, or most, of the night and still be able to function! :)
So I missed out on Blog Hoppin's Monday linky and am jumping in on Tuesday.
I have been teaching for 13 years, all in 2nd grade and I like to think that every year I find a little way to make my life at school flow a little easier!  Since adding 3 kiddos in 2 &1/2 years I have had to really find ways to streamline my workload at school, because at the end of the day I am ready to be home with my babies!
My first hint is just a word of advice that I have had to learn the hard way!  You DON'T have to to do it all. Just do the best that you can and let go of what you can't get done. Prioritize the things that need to get done and don't worry about the things at the end of the list that are things you just want to get done.  Unless you want to be a ball of stress at all times you need to be able to go home and leave school at school! :) (as often as you can!!!  I know we all have to do some planning at home sometimes!)
Katie and I have posted about this before!  This is our Star of the Day.  Instead of a helper chart we have one Star every day.  They are in charge of helping with anything and everything!  After my first year of teaching and the nightmare of trying to remember to change a job chart I moved to this and never looked back.  Best decision I ever made!  The kiddos don't mind waiting for their turn and are so excited to be the helper for everything that day!

Don't be afraid to use things in unexpected ways!  I found these bookcovers in the clearance section at Target at the beginning of last year. These provided a solution to a problem I have every year!  I have had book boxes, reusable bags from Hyvee, etc and have never found a great solution to keeping books at kiddos desks!  These book covers make great book holders for the backs of student chairs!  I think I only paid something like 35 cents apiece! My kiddos and I loved them so much that I sent them home with them at the end of the year and bought new ones again this year!
Use fabric on bulletin boards!  My first year of teaching I put up paper and was not happy when I realized that changing a bulletin board generally meant that I had to replace the paper too.  I spent some money in buying the fabric but it was such a good investment!  Now my bulletin boards stay up year round and I can easily change what is on them without having to change the background.  It also still looks pretty doggone nice even if it takes me a day or so to put something back up!  You can easily change over a few boards at a time to avoid having a huge expense up front.  Also, make sure that you use JoAnn Fabric coupons!
Spur of the moment sometimes equals great time saving ideas!  I was tired of getting out mats for different math activities and one day realized that I could just have my kiddos draw them on their desks with dry erase marker.  They love to practice spelling on their desks this way so it made sense that this was a perfect fit for math too!  No more searching for the right math mat, just a quick draw and we are ready to go.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Five For Friday

We are linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.

After a rough year last year (the whole grade level!!) both Katie and I are blessed with dream classes.  Out of my 17 kiddos this year, 10 range from 4th-7th grade reading levels, 5 are on grade level, 1 is just slightly below, and one sweet boy needs a ton of TLC.  Since I have so many high fliers I decided to give them an optional homework project each month.  Their parents love the option and some kiddos do them and some don't.  It is so fun to see what they come up with!  I found these over at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and love that I didn't have to recreate the wheel!  If you would like to check them out click here.
So one of my little darlings is really creative and all about these projects.  Here is what she has done so far for September and October....LOVE!!!!
Oh my, this is trouble!!!!!
Okay, for some reason this pictures hates me and refuses to be facing the right way! Grrrrr... However, I'm sure you get the gist of it!  After weeks of really easy math we are finally starting regrouping and our kiddos could not be more excited!  If you could use the mat in your classroom just click on the picture to grab it!
November Activities
We posted earlier about some art projects that we do with our favorite Thanksgiving books.  Here is a class book that we do with The Great Turkey Race.  If you would like to grab it just click on either of the pics!
These are pictures from home not my classroom, but I had to share.  My girls are readers, voracious readers, they seriously can't get enough books.  We take stacks of books in the car, eat with books next to us on the table, sleep with books in our beds, and read books to little brother constantly. Now they have a tent in their room (thanks Grammi and Grumpa!!!) and have discovered flashlights.  Do you know what is cooler than just reading a book??  Reading a book in a tent WITH a flashlight is sooooo much cooler! 
 Side note, we now must read books before bedtime in the tent with flashlights instead of in the rocking chair!  Have you ever tried to read a book with wiggly 2 &1/2 year olds who don't really understand keeping the flashlight on the book??? That is an adventure in itself! :)
The next picture is of a fun activity that our Parents as Teachers lady shared.  (I'm sure it is all over Pinterest too, but I never make it on their so I don't know!!!)  My girls have loved numbers for quite awhile and are now really getting into letters.  
All you need is an empty paper towel tube and some letter stickers.  (After doing this activity I think I would use a PVC pipe, or something similar so that the stickers don't fall off later.)  You write the letters on the tube and then give your kiddo the stickers one at a time and let them stick them on the matching letter.  As we did this we talked about each letter and what sound it made and a word that started with the letter.  We also talked about their special letters (first letter in each of my girls names)  Amazingly enough when they showed their activity to Daddy later they were able to pick out their special letters and also recognize a few letters after only 1 time playing!!!
(Yes, the letter tube did later become a spyglass:)
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Favorite Thanksgiving Books

Happy Tuesday! 
We are loving that it is November and have started having fun with all things Turkey!  Some of our favorite books to use this month are The Great Turkey Race by Steve Metzger and ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey.  
We have really fun art activities that we do with both of these books. 
With The Great Turkey Race we help the turkeys get away from Farmer Kate and Farmer Pete by running faster.  Of course, one of the best things to help a turkey run faster shoes!  Right?  :) 
The kiddos started out by taking their tennis shoes off (a total hit) and putting them on their desks so that they could use them as reference. 

We talked about the size of the turkey's shoes and discussed how to use the space on our paper.
Then they drew the shoes with pencil.  
Next they outlined them with skinny black markers.  These are a staple in our classrooms!!!!! 
Finally they colored them in with crayon or colored pencil.  
The next step is to paint a turkey.  We looked at different books to get an idea of how our turkeys should look. 

Finally, after the turkeys were dry, we glued on the tennis shoes and our turkeys were ready to escape being Thanksgiving dinner! 

With 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving we decided that the best way to convince people to let the turkeys go was to offer them a yummy alternative to a turkey dinner!  We started off by brainstorming as many substitutes for turkey as we could possibly think of.  
Then we drew our turkeys actually holding the item that they are trying to convince people to eat.  We used crayons to color them in because my sweet friends this year tend to rush and get messy with most art projects. Crayon pictures tend to turn out the best for us! 
Finally we added a slogan at the top and wrote a few sentences encouraging others to try the alternate food instead of turkey. These are always fun to hang out in the hallway in November.  When our first grade friends are taking restroom and drink breaks we can always find them checking out the 2nd grade posters!
P.S. This is my sample with marker.  After all our hard work I forgot to take an actual picture of the cuteness that was my student's work!!!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Currently

We are linking up with Farley for her November Currently.
Listening: I am enjoying listening to(and watching) The Amazing Race. Every Sunday we DVR it and then after the kids are in bed my hubby and I watch it together. It is one of 3 shows that we always save to watch together. Every time we watch it we discuss which of the detours we would do and how we would react to some of the situations. We were NOT happy about the team that stole the taxi tonight! :)
Loving: My little boy is 5 months old and I am apparently the funniest person in the world. I make faces at him or tickle his tummy and he laughs like there is no tomorrow. I seriously can't get enough of it!!
Thinking: I CAN NOT seem to fit everything into my day....and that is on a weekend! It is even worse during the week. I feel like an extra 24 hours would let me get a bit more done on my to do list..and maybe some sleep!
Wanting: Sleep, sleep, and more sleep!
Needing: I have a lot of really high kiddos this year and then 2 little friends who need some TLC. I am nearing the end of a round of interventions with them and want to see if they pass them.
A yummy pin: Too Cute Turkey Treat
These might not be the tastiest treat I could find, but I know that my girls would absolutely love making them with me. To me that is way more important!:)
Glitter Words
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Saturday, November 2, 2013


Happy Saturday night! We are so stinkin excited and had to share that we are featured on the TPT Facebook page right now! Here is the link if you want to check it out! TPT Milestones
Sooooo.....Thank you to everyone who reads our blog (sporadic as it has been as we both add kiddos to our families!:)  and who have bought items from us!  We appreciate you more than you will ever know!

Katie & Lisen
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