Friday, November 29, 2013


I F-I-N-A-L-L-Y finished my Exploring Odd and Even Numbers unit.    My thinking about math has changed so much in the past couple of years that I am finding a lot of things I used to do are not working for me anymore.   One subject area I really never gave much thought or energy to was odd and even numbers.   I used to read Even Steven and Odd Todd,  teach the kids that odd numbers end in 1,3,5,7,9 and even numbers end in 0,2,4,6,8 and do a few worksheets.   I'm not proud of it,  it's just the truth.   I have been reading and working and working and reading...and I have come up with this new little unit,  which actually came out to be rather big.   I am putting it up as a FLASH FREEBIE until tomorrow at 3:00 pm.   If you go and grab it,  please leave me some feedback.   If you find something that you think stinks or I have made a mistake on,  I would love if you would send it to me in an email or leave me a question on TPT instead of leaving negative feedback.   I will use your feedback to help me make a better unit!  Thank you!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Contraction Surgery

Today we did one of my favorite activities - Contraction Surgery. Let's face it - contractions are not that interesting - at least of the grammar variety. But I think this little activity and craftivity help to make it easier for the kids to understand the concept behind contractions.     We have been working on contractions in class and talking about why we use them and how we make them.   Today I explained that when we make we are kind of like surgeons.   We cut out the parts of words that are not needed and "stitch" them back together using an apostrophe.   The kids liked the idea of that. I showed them an example and they were ready to go.  We donned "surgical gear" - aka - dust masks,  science goggles and gloves from the custodian and got to work using my Contraction Hospital packet.   The kids LOVED it.   We used cheapy dollar store band-aids to "stitch" the words back together and write our apostrophes on.   Their "hospitals" were adorable and they had a very hands-on experience that I am hoping they remember for a long time to come!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fabulous Visitor

Our class was so honored to have Jack,  a retired veteran, come and visit our classroom.   Jack was paralyzed in a night jump out of plane four years ago.   His night vision googles came off as he jumped and he was not aware of how close to the ground was.   He has had to learn a whole new way of life.

He came to talk to our second graders for Veterans Day.   He was so amazing.   He told our kids about his military career,  his tours of duty,  his experiences,  his accident,  his super cool wheelchair (the kids were AMAZED by all it could do) and his love our country.   He told the kids that even knowing what he knows now,  he would not have changed a thing,  he was so PROUD of his work to defend our country.   He answered 84,000 questions that ranged from, "Did you get to keep your guns?" to "What do you like to eat?".  

Our kids were so proud to present their donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.  They made over $700 selling Popcorn for Patriots.  Jack explained how much that money would mean to our veterans coming home learning how to live with new disabilities.   It was a great way to celebrate and honor our veterans.   Our kids are now all fired up about writing letters to veterans.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and Fall FREEBIES!

Here are a few freebies from my store!

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Having a SALE!

I am throwing sales at both my TPT and TN stores!   Please go check them out!!!  I have lots of Veterans Day,  Thanksgiving and Christmas items for sale!
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This, this, THIS!

We watched this in a faculty meeting and I can't stop thinking about it!   I believe in the message of this video this with all my heart!  What can we as teachers do to make THIS type of education a reality - where students are respected as individuals,  where creativity is honored,  where students are not expected to simply get from point a to point f by Friday to answer test questions correctly?  I am at the point in my career where if things don't begin to change,  I am ready to bail.   I DO NOT want to bail. I LOVE BEING A TEACHER,   I just hate being a TESTER.    I want to teach kids to be thinkers, dreamers,  global activists!   How do we go about this?  How do we unite?  Anyone with me?
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Freaky Cool Website - Code Writing for Kids!

Today I attended a TCEA conference (techy stuff).   It was great,  and I learned a lot but my favorite part was learning about this really cool website-

Kids can join this site and write their own games!  SERIOUSLY AWESOME.   It was really tricky for me,  as I have never done anything like this.   The "game"  I created was primitive to say the least,  but I was still amazed by it!   And as I was playing,  I was thinking about EXACTLY which of my kids would love it.   I cannot wait to set them free on this.   It has so many possibilities.   Students have to program EVERY SINGLE movement their characters (Sprites) make,  so they have to be very specific,  which directly relates to process writing,  to sequencing,  equations.... I am so excited!  So I wanted to share!   I honestly don't know that much about it,  but I am completely confident my little Einsteins will have some amazing games by the end of the week!    Give it a look!

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Veterans Day FREEBIE - The Poppy Lady!

Do you know this book?
It is beautiful!   It is the story of Moina Michael - the woman who started the tradition of wearing poppies in remembrance of fallen veterans.   The pictures are gorgeous and it gives a very different picture of Veterans Day.   I made some materials to go with it.  You can pick up them up  FREE here.    I hope that you enjoy them!  Please leave some feedback if you check it out.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Popcorn for Patriots!

We were so proud of our second graders this week.   They made over $750 to give to the Wounded Warrior Project for Veterans Day by selling popcorn to the students at our school!   We only have about 630 students so at a $1 a bag,  we went way over the total number of students we actually have!    We have an amazing man and veteran coming in to talk to our students and pick up the donations on November 12th.  Our kids are so excited about it!

Along with our donations,  we will be creating poems and letters for the soldiers using my Veterans Day set on TPT.   We will be hitting both ELA and Social Studies objectives at the same time - BONUS!  (I have improved and changed this file,  so if you purchased it in the past,  please be sure to redownload it!)

How do you celebrate Veterans with your students?

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