Friday, August 31, 2012

New Student Writing

It's the third week of school and I got a new student.  Sigh.  It was bound to happen.  I had a few students drop right before school started and was down to seventeen.  I know, all you teachers out there with 32 students are gasping right now.  I've been very fortunate to have the numbers I've had since I began teaching.  I had sixteen kiddos my first year!

Anyway, now I'm up to eighteen.  I have to tell you that I'm OCD about certain things.  I assign my students numbers for the year, as I'm sure many of you do.  They get their numbers by an alphabetical list.  So my students with a last name that starts with B is number 1.  Well, I had my room all set up, names organized alphabetically, numbers assigned, name tags done.  Then I had a student drop the first week.  So everything related to number 12 in my room was vacant.  No big deal, right?  Except that I really hate that.  Now I have a student mailbox that's empty.  I have a random book box labeled 12.. empty.  Coat hook, empty.  Number 12 on my class checklists... empty.  And then when you get a new student, you can never fit them in and redo student numbers.  You just have to put them at the end of your list even though their last name starts with a C.  Anyone else have this problem or am I over obsessing?

Back to my new student.  She started today.  Of course, I found out just on Wednesday.  You never want to hear that the secretary has some news for you because you know it's a new student.  I was telling my hubby that I really wished her last name was something between K/L so I could fit her in my list as number 12.  This never happens.  But to my amazement, her last name starts with K and twelve is her assigned number.  How freaking awesome is that?!  Or am I just weird that I wanted that to happen so bad??  My husband just doesn't get it.

Here's an activity I did with my kids yesterday to prepare them for our new student.  I had them each complete a page to make into a book for our new friend.  That way, she could read about her new classmates.  I whipped up the page real quick so it's nothing fancy but you can download it here if you want.  Read some of the pages below (I blurred the names), some of them were super cute!

I thought they came out pretty good.  They wrote a little bit about themselves and a lot of them wrote about being friends with her.  I stapled them all together, slapped a cover on it and had the book laying on her desk this morning.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tarra and Bella - Friendship Read Aloud

So I was really planning on posting about Curriculum Night since it is tomorrow for my district.  But of course, I forgot my camera and wasn't able to take pictures of the activity my students did to prepare for it.  So I will push that aside and post about it in the next few days.

But I think I owe you all a post, anyhow.  Today I read Tarra & Bella to my students.

 It was kind of just a spur of the moment read aloud, although we are talking about friends and friendships in class with it being the beginning of the year.  A friend I used to teach with gave me the book as a gift a few years ago and I can't believe I had never heard of it before.  It's such a CUTE book and it's a true story!  It's the story of an elephant and a dog that are best friends!  How adorable, right?!  When I showed my students the cover, they asked if it was a true story and when I said yes, they were amazed and couldn't wait to hear it.  When I read it to them, there were even some "awe's."  After we read it, I showed them the video of the story that was aired on CBS News.  It's basically the same as the book, but the students loved actually seeing the elephant and dog in the video.

Check out the video here!

Such a cute story!  The dog has actually died since the book and video came out.  It's included in the link above.  I just kept that from my kiddos, I didn't want them getting sad!  If you haven't read it... you need to!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Crayon Box That Talked

Today we did a super cute activity that I want to share!  It went so well with my new group of kiddos!  Maybe because they're second graders and I'm not used to them being somewhat independent.  Hmm. 

Have you ever read The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf?

It's a short cute story about a girl who buys a box of crayons that say mean things about each other.  She takes them home and uses them together to create a picture.  Get it?  She had to use them all together to make the picture.

So I took that idea and ran with it!  We discussed that how the crayons all needed to pitch in to create the picture or it wouldn't have been possible.  We talked about how as a class there are a lot of times where we need to work together, and when they're in small groups they need to work together to complete activities.

I then put my students in four groups of 4-5.  I gave each student in a group a different color crayon.  Some groups got different colors than other groups.  Then I passed out a white piece of construction/poster paper.  Their job was to work together to decide what to draw with the colors they had, then to actually draw the picture being sure it flowed together.

Take a look.........

And the finished products.........

A ship, duh!  Look, they even drew the holes for cannons and a swordfish statue on the front of the ship.  And they added fireworks!

A simple house on a hill.  This group spent a lot of time helping each other figure out how to draw what they wanted.

Scenery picture complete with flowers and a tree swing.  That would be a "bluebird" in the sky... read below for the story!

This group had some tough colors to work with.  It took them awhile to decide on what to draw but a person was a perfect choice.

I was AMAZED at how great they worked together.  I've been doing this activity at the beginning of the year for five years now and it never went so smoothly!  And their pictures came out great!  They also had great conversations about what to draw and how they could help each other.  AND there was even a hilarious conversation in one group about a kickball blue bird that someone drew.  One of my students drew a bluebird in their picture and another group member said.... with a completely straight face.... "what is that? that does not look like a blue bird.  what is it supposed to be?"  And the rest of the group was cracking up!!  He just kept on making comments about the "bluebird."  But his face remained completely serious.  I don't know, maybe you had to be there!  My eyes were watering because I was laughing so hard and the best part was that it just showed how all the students were having a great time!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Classroom Tour

I'm not going to lie... I have been the worst blogger ever lately!!  It's been a week since my last post!  I seem to always be in denial forget how crazy tiring the beginning of the school year is!  I must have been dreaming when I started my blog this summer thinking I would have the same blogging habits once school started.  BUT I think that once I get the first few weeks out of the way, I'll get back on track with my blogging.  I've been doing some great activities with my kids and I started Reader's and Writer's Workshop in my classroom so I have lots to share, I just need to organize it all!

Last week, I finally took some photos of my classroom as my camera was dying.  I wanted to get some better ones before I officially posted my classroom tour but oh well.  I figure I can just add some more as I go along.  So, I'm linking up with my friend Brigid from Brigid's Daily Lesson Log for her Classroom Tours Linky Party.

Classroom Helpers

My Writer's Workshop bulletin board, with Writer's Eye posters already up.  Under the bulletin board, I have a small table that holds my phone, Lesson Plan Binder, and other items that I use daily.  Next to the table is my materials organizer that holds all of the papers and things that I need each day of the week.

Star Student bulletin board.  I will be putting up the poster that students fill out, and then they bring photos to put on the photograph board.

Cute sign that my teammate from last year made me.

Behind the curtain is open shelving that stores extra school supplies from students and  anything else that I  need to hide!  I meant to take a picture, but I forgot!

Transportation Chart - we finally put up our clothespins, but they weren't up when I took the picture!

These are my students' mailboxes.  On top is our "turn in basket."

Next to the mailboxes, I have a bunch of shelving which is awesome, but it's  all out in the open.  This is also where students hang their backpacks.

Next to the backpack hooks is an extra table.  This year, we get a TA in our classrooms during our Reading block to help with Guided Reading and interventions.  So this is where my TA will work with my kiddos.

This is our gathering area.  I have a Smartboard on the wall.

My chair and easel.

This is the reading area in my classroom.

Book baskets!

My hubby painted that table! :)

Our Book Hospital!

A sign I have displayed in the reading area.

READ letters, this is not their permanent home - as you can see the D doesn't stand up straight!

These are student "browsing boxes."  They are empty right now because I haven't taught the students how to choose books yet and place them in their boxes.

Pillows and cushions for independent reading time!

Leveled books for independent reading time.

This thing stores a lot of different things - table tubs with folders/notebooks, community supplies like markers, crayons, glue, and scissors, and math manipulatives!

Math/calendar/schedule area.  Our lunch choice board is also on the left.

My "area."  I do not have a traditional teacher desk.  All my necessities are on the shelves behind the table.  This is also where I do my Guided Reading groups.

All my stuff!

View from my desk/table.

Beautiful flowers my hubby sent me on the first day of school!  Isn't he the best!!
So there it is!  I've survived my first five days of second grade!!  I can definitely tell that my kiddos are getting more comfortable with me and their new classroom, because they are testing the rules and procedures a little.  They are always pretty great the first few days because they are too shy and scared to open up!

Be sure to check out other classroom tours by visiting Brigid's blog!


Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School Freebies

I have been so t-i-r-e-d!!  I can't believe it's been almost a whole week since my last post!  I've been SO busy working in my classroom and attending meetings.  I thought I had plenty of time to finish up some last minute things today, but I was in and out of a few meetings that took me away from my classroom. I can't believe how tired I am and I haven't even had a classroom full of students!  They come tomorrow!!  Of course I am ready enough for tomorrow.  I'll be fine.  I probably even over planned, just in case.  I just like being prepared.  I'm keeping this post short because I'm tired and I still need to type up a few things for tomorrow.  But I wanted to include a few things that I'll be using with my kids for their first day of school!

As Morning Work, my students will be decorating these cardboard picture frames that I bought at Michaels!  I will also be taking a picture of each student to put in the frame, and will hopefully be hanging them on our classroom door!

The Chrysanthemum and First Day Jitters pages are from the lovely Amy Lemons from Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons.  These were included in her Back to School Reading Activity pack - a freebie!!!

I got this cutie from Create Teach Share, it was a freebie!!  I plan on sending it home tomorrow for the students to complete and bring back Wednesday.  On Wednesday, everyone will get to share aloud to the class!

I will be reading this book - super cute!  It's about how all of the kids have a special talent but Jack thinks he doesn't have a talent!  Then we'll talk about everyone's talent and the students will do some writing about their special talent!

Finally something that I didn't steal or borrow original!  I posted this awhile ago, but I'll do it again since the school year has started!  It's a Find Someone Who activity that I made for the first week.  Students will have to find other students that fit each description and write their name in each box.  I plan on using this later in the week, unless I run out of things to do tomorrow!  Click here to download it!

OK, that's it for now!!  Hopefully I'll be back in a day or two to let you know how I survived my first day of Second Grade!