Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh me, oh my..

Well, hello and goodbye November. I'm with the rest of you! Where has this month gone? Between storm days, professional development, and holidays, I feel like I haven't been in my classroom. 

Well, I really haven't actually.

I had a professional development today, which was held in the building, and it was related to data teams and PLCs. I won't get into the details. But I will say one thing.

I missed my kids!

They waved to me as they walked by the conference room from special. They hugged me when I was out in the hallway on a break and they were on their way back from lunch. I felt like such a sap.

Anyway, nothing of too much relevance to post about today. Sorry for my MIA-ness and lack of legit posts. I'm not forcing myself to blog, just when I feel like it. So thanks for sticking with me during this prolonged feeling of being uninspired. =)

But hey, how about a currently? Better late than never.

Listening: Can't get enough HIMYM. Thank goodness I can DVR the new ones with my class being on Mondays!
Loving: Am I the only one who loves Christmas music. I turn up the radio just a little louder during the holiday season.
Thinking: The personal life has been looking up lately. =)
Wanting: See ramblings at beginning of post. I want to do what I do best, teach my chick-a-dees!
Needing: So. Much. To. Do.
Music: I don't really play music during transitions or anything, but I do a lot of singing. Not relevant songs about content or anything. No, I just sing directions. Or compliments. Or reminders.

C'mon. "Boys and girls, please focus!" sounds a lot better when sung in an opera voice, no? =)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Second Grade Common Core

Yes, you are in the right place. I am writing about the second grade common core book because yes, I am a third grade teacher, but yes, I have to differentiate a TON to meet the needs of my diverse learners!

In my class, I'm all about assessing and finding out where each student is in terms of meeting a third grade standard. Sometimes, they are at a first grade level. More often than not, they are on a second grade level. I have one or two that are ready to jump right into the third grade stuff. I enjoy collecting second grade resources so that I can scaffold my below level learners with appropriate support.

So with that being said, I was excited that the second grade common core became available, because I think it would be a really helpful resource in my room.

Most states are using the common core at this point. This resource contains worksheets and activities that support both the ELA and Math standards!

So with ALL of that being said, click this link to check out the Second Grade Common Core Workbook. A small sample is available if you'd like to download it & check it out before purchasing!

I'll be back in the next few days with the November Currently. Because if I were to fill it out right now, it would be all about the 10 pounds of assessments that I need to grade, along with the 100 pages I need to read for grad class on Monday. I'll wait until I have more interesting things to fill in the blanks!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Darling, Sandra Dee..

Welp, I'm coming to you live from where Hurricane Sandy is expected to make a direct hit in the next few days. I got the call a few hours ago that I do not have school tomorrow or Tuesday. My first grad class of the block is cancelled tomorrow night. According to the news, it is pretty much inevitable that the power is going to go out, and I am petrified! I'm on the second story of an apartment, so I'm not worried about the rain. I'm a little scared of the wind, but it's not even that! Just worried about having to sit in the dark. I was thinking about traveling home to PA to stay at my dad's until Tuesday, but decided against it. Kind of regretting that now due to the newscasters scaring me!

I know. I am pathetic!

Anyway, I wanted to quickly post [again] about a new product that I posted in my TPT store last week. 

[Is it obvious that I'm trying to keep my mind off of the impending doom?]

In my classroom, we do reading centers. It is kind of like the daily 5, but not really. Each day, the students visit two centers that we have scheduled for them. One of the centers is "Read to Someone." This just involves the group of 3-4 students going to the carpet and reading an assigned story from the reading anthology. [This is really the only way we are integrating the weekly stories this year, and it is for pure convenience purposes.] By the end of the week, each student is assigned to each center once, with the exception of "meet with teacher" centers for the below level groups.

After the students are finished reading, they are expected to discuss what they have read. Last year, I wrote these questions on index cards and put them together with a binder ring. This year, I had to make them a little cuter!

This product includes a set of fiction cards and a set of nonfiction cards. It also includes a few blanks, in case there are more specific questions that you would like your students to discuss. I've also included an optional response sheet, where the students are to choose three of the cards and write their responses. I do not use this in my classroom, but I thought it might be helpful. I plan on splitting the fiction and nonfiction sets in my TPT store in case you'd only like one or the other. 

Maybe tomorrow if I don't end up powerless?

Click HERE to see the product in my TPT store! 
[Clip art is by MareeTrueLove. Loooove her stuff!]

Would you like a free set? Leave me a comment with your email address [I'd really appreciate it if you were a follower!], and let me know how you'd use these cards in your classroom. I'll choose a winner or two sometime tomorrow, pending the power situation! =)

Are any of you being affected by Sandy?
If so, stay safe!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Okay, I need to deviate from the regularly scheduled teaching programming to bring you two of my guilty pleasure blogs that I follow.

Okay, everything that gets posted on here, I hardcore belly laugh. Warning, they are not always appropriate. But for the most part, they are just hilarious. The posts have a title, and within the post is a video gif clip that goes along with it. Okay. I don't think I'm explaining it right. Please just go. You won't be disappointed! Here is a screenshot, but click it for the moving gif. It is so much funnier!

Ya'll know I'm a dog lover. This blog showcases dogs, along with bad deeds and guilty faces. Oh my. Again, I belly laugh. Perfect for a rough day. Again, I stink at explaining things. Go look!

Quick note, I posted a new product to my TPT store yesterday. I use these cards at my partner reading station to enhance discussion and guide focus when they are finished reading. Last year, before my TPT days, I just wrote this questions on index cards. This year, I made them adorbz, laminated, and placed for sale! This is a bundled set, and I will be separating the fiction and nonfiction into separate sets soon. Here is a preview. Click HERE to visit my store and find out more info!

If you purchase, please leave feedback. And if you leave less than a 4.0, please tell me why! Just like students, we can't get better without specific feedback to make our products better.

I'm off to continue watching DWTS and listen to the rain fall here in DE.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Calendar Math

Oh hey! How's it going!

[I'm blogging during the week? Say what?!]

I've read so much about calendar math in the intermediate grades, and I was inspired! [I remember when third grade was still considered more on the elementary side and not intermediate, but I digress.] I wanted to do it. For real! But I came across several road blocks in my quest to calendar math.

Road Block #1: When am I supposed to fit this in?
Road Block #2: Where am I supposed to put all the prompts?

Well, I've navigated through/overcome these road blocks, and I'm doing calendar math! A lot of other blogs that I read have calendar that is way more involved, at least it seems that way. But at this point, I think this is a good jumping off point. I haven't shared this idea with my team yet, because I needed to run it by you guys and test it on my kids first! Anyway, here we go.

First of all, we only do calendar math on Fridays. I wish I could do it everyday, but I'm not sure that's realistic. We go to recess [usually, as it is not scheduled] from 1-1:30. When the students come in from recess, this PDF is projected onto my Smartboard. They are instructed to complete it as drinks/winding down are going on. On the PDF, I write in today's number, part of the fact family triangle, part of a pattern, a time, and a temperature. Students have a blank copy on their desks.

For the past couple of weeks, I've released responsibility to the students. This week will be the first time they do it completely independently. From what I've seen, I think they are going to do a great job! As they are completing it, of course, I circulate to make sure we are on the right track. After they complete it, we quickly go over it using the interactive smart board.

This is only the first calendar math template that I intend to do. As we move through the year, I will replace these elements with new elements. They won't disappear for the rest of the year. But, for example, students will do time/temperature once every few weeks. The empty spot could be taken up by multiplication skills or geometry concepts.

Interested in my first PDF as a freebie? Download here through google docs!
[As always, let me know if it doesn't work!]

UPDATE: Google Docs hates me! I posted the freebie on TPT. Click here to download if you are unable to download from above! =)

So, a few questions for my readers! Please, please, please comment to respond to these questions! I want to make this element of my math instruction as beneficial to my kids as possible!

How do you do calendar math in your classroom?
How would you improve my method of calendar math?
Would a pack of calendar PDFs be useful in your classroom?

I hope everyone is having a good week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Currently.. in a blogging rut!

How lucky am I?! I was reading through my google reader [finally got it down into the double digits!], and up popped Farley's currently. I might actually make it in under 100. I guess it depends how long it takes me to type this post!

[[Ugh, darn you little white box and red underlines that ended up in my currently image!]]

Is anyone else watching the debate? I won't get into politics here, but I already know who I'm voting for. Debates make my head hurt, and I'm not sure why I watch them. I'd much rather be in bed.

I'm loving team teaching! We have our hands full this year. My oh my. But I LOVE our kids. And I love how she & I work together. We have each others' backs, and the kids don't have time to misbehave. It's wonderful! I can only pray that our assignment is the same next year.

I'm so jealous of everyone who is making cute fonts! I want an iPad just to be able to try it out. Sad, but true!

I really shouldn't complain about the weather! Cali has it much worse than we do out here in Delaware. My issue is that my room is hot in the morning, an icebox in the afternoon, then hot in the afternoon. It is hot outside. How in the world do I dress?! I'm all about layering, but geez. I'm patiently waiting for fall so I can open the windows comfortably!

I'm going to PA this weekend! Yay for friend time! It is for one of their baby's first birthday. This is the first baby in our group, so it is exciting for us. I did a Pinterest craft that I'll take a picture of and post sometime this week!

I'm a sucker for books with Spanish excerpts. Most notably Skippy Jon Jones. But this one makes the list, too! =)

I think I needed this currently to get back on the blogging train! I plan on posting about my Pinterest craft, calendar math, and our writing pieces! Stay tuned! =)

Now, go link up and try to get in under the 100 mark!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No, this is not an actual post, but...

is anyone else's Google Reader going bananas? Half of my blogs aren't showing up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Currently September..

Checking in to take part in Farley's monthly linky! It's September, yikes!

Boy Meets World has been on all day, and let's just say that I haven't moved much. I forgot how much I loved this show. I mean, Corey loves the Phillies. 

It just makes sense.

This four day weekend has been lovely. I spent some time with the family and relaxed. Today is my day to finalize my plans for the week and get ready for my first grad class on Thursday. I'm nervous! The "first" of anything is always nerve wracking for me.

Hopefully, I'll get a school related post up this week! I totally respect those of you who have been trucking through the first week of school and posting about it. I'm too tired for all that!

Thanks for reading! I'm going to go spend some time with my google reader. I is totally backlogged. I got it down to 600 by reading the newest posts, but the list keeps growing! I can't bring myself to hit "mark all as read." 


Ay, yi yi. Go link up & add to my google reader list!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Still Alive.. and Sharpening!

For those of you who are interested, I managed to make it through the rest of this week with no other injuries! Phew!

This week has gone so well. Like, unbelievably well. Of course, students are testing the behavior waters, but my friend & I have already hit our stride with team teaching. We are so confidant and totally up for the challenge that we've been given this year! Excited to see where the rest of the year takes us.

So, the day we came back as a staff, we found out that our school switched from Reading Counts to AR. I know what AR is and everything, but does anyone have any secrets or tricks that I should know about? I'd love to know these things up front instead of learning the hard way, if at all possible! =)

Can't wait to get back into the swing of things and post about what we've been up to. Hopefully, I'll remember my camera. If not, you'll get some lovely cellphone pictures!

In other news, this came into my life last week...

Let me start out by saying, pencil sharpeners [of all varieties] are the bane of my existence. I went through three electric ones last year. The boys shoved who knows what into them, and they were never treated gently. And the handheld, personal ones? Don't get me started. They mysterious fell out of desks 12 times a day, and those same boys decided to try to sharpen their mini carrots. Yeah, that happened. So I banned those.

See? I hate pencil sharpeners. When I saw this product from Classroom Friendly Supplies floating around blog land, I knew I had to give it a shot. The worst that could happen would be another deceased or banned pencil sharpener.

Here's my honest assessment.

I opened the box, and it was already put together. I just had to attach it to a surface. I ended up just leaving it free though so it can travel with me around the room. At the moment, it has only been used by teachers!

Now, it does make noise, but it only makes about a tenth of the noise an electric sharpener does. Awesome! I don't let students sharpen pencils during instruction anyway [they trade their dull one for a sharp one], but it will definitely help to cut down on noise during morning work when they are allowed to sharpen.

This puppy is fast! I was really surprised how quick it sharpened a new pencil. I feel like an electric sharpener takes forever now! Less wasted time. Love it. And don't get me started with the perfect point. It sharpens a pencil to PERFECTION! It drives me nuts when my electric sharpener makes a point that you can't write with. Ya with me? With this sharpener, you get a perfect point every time.

The verdict? I'm sold. Totally worth it. And, like I've heard others say, I love that it is made for classrooms by a classroom teacher.

I'm going to introduce it to the kids next week, now that we are getting settled in. I will have to show them, step by step, how to use it. I might even show the video from the website. I'm sure that it'll survive. I'm hoping it'll last the whole school year! Here's the button to Troy's site if you're interested in learning more. I suggest at least checking it out!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day Battle Wounds

I have battle wounds!

I wish I had the energy to post about my first day back with my kids.

I really do.

But right now, all I've got for you is the fact that is looks like I've been beaten up. Hot mess status at the end of the day, people!

Here's the run down.

HUGE paper/cardboard cut on my finger. No clue how it got there.

Toe nail issue. One of my chick-a-dees came charging up to me at recess and kicked my foot in an awkward way. Ouch.

WAAY Frizzy hair. Because I'm team teaching, I have a "duty" in the morning. This week, I'm lucky enough to I have outside morning duty. It was so muggy! We also changed dismissal, so we have to wait outside with our kids until they get picked up. I looked disgusting by 3:40!

And my cute nail polish has mysteriously chipped off of one finger. Wah.

So hopefully, I can stay in one piece the rest of the week, and I'll post something of substance over my four day weekend!

How was your first day of school?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Went into my classroom today. We got SO much done! I didn't take pictures though.


But I plan on getting pictures when it is all done! My friend & I are so excited to be teaching together. We've had to make a few decisions about some procedures that we do differently, but we are both pretty flexible. We go back officially on Monday! Yikes.

On a side note, it was SO hard to wake up early today. Ugh.

Here are the winners of my giveaway!

I am emailing you now to confirm your email addresses. Once I hear back from you, you'll receive your prizes from me & I will pass along your email addresses to the ladies who helped in my giveaway!

Congratulations, and thank you to everyone who entered! I will be posting more freebies in the near future as a thank you to ALL of my followers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Subject Poster Freebie

I wanted to let you know that I uploaded a new freebie to my TPT store! 

I'm toying around with ways that I'd like to display my essential questions in my classroom. Last year, I dedicated a whole bulletin board to them. I would write the EQs on sentence strips and change them out by stapling them. It was in the front of the classroom, and the sentence strips were large, so they were easily viewed by everyone. 

This year, I'm not sure I want to use that bulletin board for that purpose. So I'm trying to think of ways to display this mandatory element in my classroom so that everyone can see it, and also in a way that is easy to maintain.

I made these pages as an option. I was thinking I could maybe enlarge them a bit and laminate so I can erase/rewrite?

[What I reaaaaally wanted to do was get them made on Vistaprint as large car magnets, but that would be a little waaay more than I want to spend. Especially since I've spent so much already!]

So anyway, click the image to see and download the freebie! The PDF includes a sign for Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. If you need something else, shoot me and email, and I'll whip it up for ya!

How do you display essential questions/standards/objectives so that they are easily seen and maintained?

/////////Reminder that my giveaway will end tomorrow at midnight! If I have 250 followers by then [only need 7 more], I will pick a third winner from the comments! Please spread the word if you have a second!/////////

Also-- I'm currently watching E! Investigates: Bullying: Celebs Speak Out. Wow, what a powerful program. If I were already a school counselor in a middle to high school setting, I would use this special as a tool.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I've Got the B2S Blues.

Hey, everyone!

One week until teachers officially report back. Yikes!

And I just heard we don't have a reading specialist anymore. 
She's been moved back into a classroom teacher position.

It's crazy. Teachers work SO hard, and every time we make progress or get ahead, something is taken away from us! The fact that teachers are expected to do more and more with less and less is baffling to me. I'm sure most of you can relate to this in some way!

Hopefully, we have a high enough unit count so that someone can be hired after Sept. 30th. Not banking on it though, as my class list is sitting steady at nineteen.

Anyway, I've been crafting and organizing a lot of the stuff I've purchased over the summer! I would post a picture, but the pile in my living room is straight up embarrassing! Teachers are allowed back in the building [unpaid] this week, so my friend & I are going to go in Thursday for the day to get a little head start. 

I wish I was ambitious enough to go in every day this week, but I'm truly not in the mood. So much nonsense going on in my life right now. I actually can't wait until school and grad classes start so that I have something to focus on.

I'll be back Thursday with the winner[s] of my giveaway and "before" pictures of the classroom!

If you haven't entered, click here and get to it! I'm at 239 followers, and I said that if I get to 250 by the time I announce the winner [Thursday night], I'd pick a third winner!

Good luck to everyone who has started back!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

200+ Giveaway!

Sorry it has taken so long to have this giveaway! I got wrapped up in my blog design tutorials and sleeping. 

Yeah, that's pretty accurate.

Teachers return in a week and a half. Students return in two weeks and a half. Don't want to talk about it!

This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so I hope it comes through for me! Let me know if anything looks off or doesn't work!

[frame/clip art-- MareeTrueLove]

I will be choosing at least TWO winners!

Winner #1 will receive:

All three of my task card sets from my TPT store!

An item from Haley at Following Optimism's TPT store!

A $10 giftcard to Target

Winner #2 will receive:

All three of my task card sets from my TPT store!

A Customizable Back to School PowerPoint from Mrs. G at Teach on a Limb!
[Description: 21 Customizable slides (+3 extras) to use at B2S Night for parents, which includes meet the teacher, classroom philosophy, daily schedule, grades, classroom rules/rewards, etc.]

A $10 giftcard to Starbucks!

I hope this serves as a small thank you to the people who have been following and commenting on my blog for the past year. It is very much appreciated! I can't wait to school is in full swing & I can post some educational stuff! Enter below! [Blogging about the giveaway/my blog isn't a requirement, but it is always appreciated!]

Notice that I said AT LEAST 2 winners. If I make it to 250 before the end of this giveaway [Thursday, right after I get my B2S hair cut!], I will choose a third winner from the comments to win a prize!

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blog Tutorial 4: Customizing your Tabs and Gadget Titles

I'm back with what will be my second to last planned tutorial. I have this one, and then I was going to do a "finishing touches" post. That post will consist of tweaks you can make to your design in blogger and/or photobucket to make it perfect! 

My question to you is: are there any other things that you'd like a tutorial on regarding blog design? Leave a comment or shoot me an email! There are tons of tutorials if you google what you're looking for, but I'm trying to put it into teacher friendly language and use lots of pictures! =)

So, onto this tutorial: Customizing your Tabs and Gadget Titles.

First, I have to give credit to Terri from The Creative Apple! I wanted to customize the tabs on my design about a month ago, and she had just done it. I asked her how to do it, and she emailed me back right away! So thanks, Terri!

The first thing you'll have to do is head over to Gimp or Word to make your tabs! They can be images or words. Now, I only know how to do the words if you have a solid color background, because I'm not sure how to make text with a transparant background. I'm sure it's possible, though!

So, just like you did your header, you need a starter image. Hopefully, you have been looking through and downloading scrapbooking kits [making sure you follow their TOU!] recently!

[For this tutorial, I am going to use an image from Scraps by Missy. Click that link to visit her blog. She has many freebies and kits to purchase!]

Open your image in Gimp using File--> Open as Layer. Scale your layer a little smaller, but make sure that you keep the proportion so that the image stays intact! I'm going to make the width 200, but you can make it however big/small you want. Remember, though, that these will have to sit horizontally on the top of the center of your blog.

The problem now, is that there is a whole bunch of extra space around the frame. Even though it is transparent, it would still take up space. So we are going to get rid of it! Go to Image--> Zealous Crop. This crop will get rid of the extra space, and it will make sure that there is only as much transparent extra space that is needed. The image didn't center for me after that step, and it doesn't matter. It will turn out the same!

You don't have to do this step, but if you need help centering, set guides like we did with the background. Go to Image--> Guides--> New Guide by Percent. Set one vertically, and repeat to set one horizontally.

Now, you can add your text! Many bloggers have tabs on the top of their blog. The most common that I've found are Home, About Me, Freebies, Awards, Resources, and Copyright. You can make a "page" on your blog for whatever you want! For the sake of time, I'll just be making three tabs.

Just as we added text before, click the A in your toolbar and click your image. Type in your page title. I'll start with Home! Remember you can change the font, color, size, spacing, etc! Move your text to the center of your tab by clicking the move button in the toolbar.

You are finished making your first tab! We are ready to make another, but we aren't going to start from scratch! We are going to duplicate what we already have.

You are going to duplicate the WHOLE thing, not just the layer. So go to Image-->Duplicate. A new window will pop up that looks identical to the one that you have just finished! 

[Don't close the first one, we didn't save it yet! Just minimize it.]

Once you have a duplicated image, you only have to customize the text! I'm going to use the same font, a slightly smaller size, and the same color. When you go to change the color, the color that you used in the first tab should be saved. Easy-peasy!

Duplicate and repeat as many times as you'd like, depending on how many tabs you need! I'm going to make three-- home, about me, and resources.

You are ready to save! Just like we did the button, you are going to save each one as an .xcf [in case you'd like to go back in and fix] and export it as a .png [so that we can upload to photobucket and install]. I would name them TAB_home, TAB_about, TAB_resources, etc., just so they are easy to find!

Once they are saved, upload them in photobucket!

Now you'll need to go to your blogger layout. Right below your Header, you will need to add an HTML gadget in the long space. If you want, you can create it anywhere in the layout, and then drag it to that position! [If you have a Pages tab from Blogger already, you need to remove it.] Name it Pages for easy identification.

Here is where the coding comes in. In essence, you will be adding each of your tab images in the order that you want them to be. Each image will be linked to the individual page.

If you would like your tabs centers, put <center> at the beginning of the HTML gadget.

You will need the below code for each tab/image. [Thanks again, Terri!] Copy this into the gadget box as many times as you have images. Where it says YOUR PAGE URL, go to your page and paste the URL there. Where it says YOUR IMAGE URL, go to Photobucket and grab the direct URL.

<a href="
YOUR PAGE URL" mce_href="YOUR PAGE URL"><img src="YOUR IMAGE URL" mce_src="YOUR IMAGE URL" border="0" /></a>

When you're doing this, make sure you make them in the order that you want. You can easily switch them around by cutting and pasting the code. Here is what mine looks like.

Click Save and then Preview your design. They should be in one straight line under your header. You may need to resize if they are too large. You can go back to them in Photobucket, resize them, and fix the direct link, as I've showed you in previous tutorials. Here's the finished tabs on my test blog!


PHEW. That was long! Thankfully, you make your gadget titles in the exact same way using GIMP. You can use the same frame as you did in your tabs or a different one. Up to you! On my blog here, I used a slightly different one. I'm going to use the ones I already have from my actual blog.

Make them and save them in GIMP. You will want them to be pretty small, depending on the width of your side bars. I'd start with 200 or less. I would save them as title_followers, title_labels, etc so that you can easily find them later!

Now, go to blogger and add a new HTML gadget.

Title your gadget so that you know which image it will be. I'm doing the followers one, so I added that title. Then, paste the following code in the box. Where it says YOURIMAGEURL, go to Photobucket and get your direct link code. Paste it there.

<center><img src="YOURIMAGEURL"/></center>

After you save it, drag it directly above its corresponding gadget. This is why you titled it the way that you did.

Click preview, and you should see something like this. You have the new gadget title, your new image, the actual gadget title, and your followers gadget. That is a lot of titles! Even though it looks like that, leave it there for now!

Now, repeat the same exact thing for each gadget that you have! You will have a lot of gadgets on your sidebars, along with a lot of titles. That's okay! Once you're finished adding your images above each gadget, you can go back and delete ALL of the titles. This will create a smoother side bar!

Here is just the followers portion of my test blog, after I deleted the titles!

YAY! You have customized your blog! I'll be back soon with my last planned tutorial. Please comment if you find these tutorials useful! I made a little button in case you want to pin a tutorial for later use. I've also added a new tab on my blog that will have links to all my tutorials. =)