Sunday, March 30, 2014

Flash Freebie of My New Baby!

I just finished my new unit - Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, a Novel Study.  I could use some readers and some honest feedback, so I have put it up free until tomorrow evening.  Please give it a read and please leave me some feedback here or on my Facebook page, or via email -

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Time to Fool Some Little Peeps!

April Fools Day in second grade is kind of awful, right?   Second graders get that it is April Fools day,  but they don't get how to really be funny yet.   They try to pull off  HORRIBLE "pranks"  like, pretending to cry and saying,   "My dad got bit by a pit bull and died last night" (not kidding I really had a child use this one last year), screaming, "my hand fell off" (whilst holding their hand inside their sleeve) and last year one of my partner teachers even had a kid slap her in the face and yell, "April Fools"!   I used to dread this day until I read about the Loof Lipra - and learned how to turn the day around on them!

Some seriously genius person made this up and last year I ran with it.   I laughed so hard I almost peed.   So,  I have every intention of repeating it this year.   

The Loof Lirpa (read it backwards)  is an amazingly rare bird that has been sighted in the area.   He or she loves carrots and has a very distinct call.   I wrote this little "newspaper article" about him last year and passed it out to all my kids.   

I let them talk about it for a while and then I sent them out into the yard with carrots. They were calling,  "loof, loof, wheeee, loof, loof, ahhhhh" and tiptoeing around for a long while.    Of course,  a few kids saw him.   They had so much to say about him.   I was cracking up.   The kids who didn't see him were pretty sure they might have seen him flying away... it was great.

Once we were back inside the kids wrote about him,  drew him and wrote cinquain poems about him.

Once they were finished,  I shared MY poem.   

Loof Lirpa
Imaginary, Make-believe
Pranking, Joking, Fooling
April Fools

My kids were MAD at me for a few minutes,  and then we laughed about it for the rest of the day.   Some of my kids even told me it was their favorite activity of the year at the end of the year.

I have shared my "article" on TPT.   It is in PowerPoint so you can edit it as you wish.   I changed the date to this year but I like to make it more specific by putting in our school name and naming the paper after our town.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

End of March Sale!

I am throwing a little end of the month sale through the weekend.   Everything in my store is on sale for 15% off.   Please go check it out!
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Are you a phone photo hoarder too? You NEED this!

I use my iPhone to take pictures,   hundreds and hundreds of pictures.  I post some on Facebook and post some here and message a few to people,   but mostly I just hoard them in my phone.   Then I get a message that my storage is limited and I have to go through the painful process of erasing pictures.   Not fun.   

I am not a great photographer,  but I like have pictures of everyday moments - all the little moments that make up a day, a school year, a life.   Most of my pictures are of my own family (I have a lot of kids) but I make sure to take a lot of classroom pictures too - both for instructional and emotional reasons.    My kids love it but I wasn't that great about printing them because ink and photo paper is so expensive.

But then...I learned about Groovebook on the show Shark Tank one night. It is the coolest app I have on my phone now.     The couple that developed it was trying to get some backing for their product - little photo books they are able to print and ship for $2.99 a piece.   They own a printing company and developed a binding method that allows them to ship very inexpensively.   I don't even remember what happened on the show,  but I went to the app store and added Groovebook that night and I am in LOVE.

You have to sign up for a subscription - which is $2.99 a month.   Then you simply upload up to 100 photos a month into the app and a few weeks later you get a cute little book full of your pictures.   They are printed on pretty thin paper - so not the heirloom quality, but definitely good enough for scrapbooking or the things we use them for in class.  They are perforated and dated above the perforation so you can tear them out or just store them something I love for scrapbooking,  because they all stay organized and dated until you are ready to use them.    The first book is your monthly $2.99,  but you can order as many books as you want a month and they all cost $2.99 - exactly $2.99, - no hidden fees, no taxes, no shipping!!!
I have been ordering a book of my family and one of my class each month for the last couple months.  You don't get to pick your own covers,  but they are different each month (and cute!).   

I post my class photos up around the room and plan to let my kids create second grade scrapbooks at the end of the year.   

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Last Classroom Ever??!!

Have I mentioned this is the last year I will have a classroom?   I am moving to the new STEM Academy in my school district and WE DO NOT HAVE CLASSROOMS.   I am completely a little bit freaked out about it.    We are going to have this amazing state of the art building with learning spaces, amazing technology,  beautiful furniture etc.,  but no traditional classrooms - complete paradigm switch.  We will be a PBL campus and I am super duper pumped up about it.   In fact,   I don't think I have been this excited about teaching ever!   I can hardly wait to get started.   My new team is amazing,  our administrators are the,  the possibilities are seriously endless...   but every once in a while I get a little flicker of sadness about not having my "own" classroom. It's what I know, and change can be hard,  but I know the trade off will be totally worth it,  but right now I am soaking up my last weeks in MY little ol' room!  

This is an simulated image of what it will look like (it is still being built).   I think it is BEAUTIFUL.   I am so excited about the possibilities my students and I will have in this school!   

Here is what we are up to this week!

We are working with everything fractions in math.   I love fractions!   We have been having a blast,  playing games,  making fraction pizzas, playing with Cuisinaire rods and doing activities from Amy Lemon's Become a Fraction Fanatic Pack.
If you haven't purchased this,  you should.   It is fantastic!  Today we wrote about when half is small and when half is huge.   I love to see the way they think!   They wrote things like half is small when you have half a minute to get down the hall and half is huge when you have to wait a half an hour for lunch when you are hungry... I love them.

In social studies we are beginning our study of wants and needs.    I like to introduce it with my Those Shoes unit.   The book is precious and sweet and hits a nerve with kids.   The little boy in the story has outgrown his tennis shoes.   His school counselor gives him a new pair but they have a cartoon character on them from a "little kid" tv show.   He is embarrassed because all the other kids seem to have the same "cool" shoes.    His grandma explains that they can't afford them but takes him out shopping to try and find a deal.   They end up in a resale shop and the boy finds one pair that are too small.   His grandma explains that they can't afford to buy shoes that are too small - they have to spend money on what they NEED. The boy decides to buy the shoes with his own saved money and his grandma buys him some boring snow boots.   What happens next chokes me up!   Go check this book out!

In science, we are still fully engaged in our plant unit.    The students are now creating public service announcements on how to take care of plants and why they are important to our lives.   So cute and sweet.   They are story-boarding away!   We have little green sprouts everywhere!

In reading we are just finishing up Amy Lemons The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo book study!   She did such a fantastic job with this! .   My kids are LOVING Judy Blume right now so we are moving on to Freckle Juice next week and I am currently working on an Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great unit.    I love when they start to fall in love with certain authors.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Socks Have Sprouted....

I have to admit,  this is the first time I have ever heard this statement - but it was 100% true!  We are having a blast with my plant unit.    I always love the plant unit - but this year is extra awesome because we are doing it as a PBL.   Loving it.  We have plants growing everywhere.

We launched the unit by dissecting flowers.

Our socks are sprouting, as part of an experiment.    We put some old (CLEAN) socks over our shoes and went around into the field behind our school and stomped around.

Then we took them off and looked at what was on them.   SEEDS!(and grass a just a couple ants).   

We cut out the part of the socks that were covered with seeds and grass and buried the pieces in soil.   

A few days later we had SPROUTS!

I am anxious what we will see tomorrow!

We also experimented to see what stems do...

You can see what we are doing this week in this packet.

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