Monday, August 31, 2015

End of Summer Giveaway!

I'm so excited to announce that School Daisies in having the first ever giveaway!

In celebration of the start of the new school year, I'm giving away a sheet of Jamberry nail wraps.  There are certain times of year that I like my nails to look "polished." Back to School is one of them.  Coming out of the summer and not even trying to compete with the sand, ocean water, pool water, gardening, etc my nails always look like they could use a little attention. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!  The winner will be chosen and contacted at the end of the giveaway.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Conversation Task Cards

I have ten days left before I meet my new group of kids.  I'm soaking in every last minute of summer while keeping a part of my mind on planning out those first few days of school.  In years past I've done various ice breaker activities but this year I thought I would do something a little different and get the kids talking to each other.  I want them to have meaningful getting to know you conversations. I plan on using these Conversation Task Cards to get the conversations flowing.

My students are seated in groups of 4 so I will put a stack in the center of their group.  After modeling a few times, they can take turns (such an important concept for them) speaking, listening, and asking each other questions.   These conversation cards can then be used at a later time as a writing center activity.  I will put them on a binder ring and students who visit the writing center can choose a question and respond. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Top Things To Know About Sight Words

Have you ever felt crunched with time during your language arts block and thought, do I really need to review the sight words with my class? Can't I just pass out a list of words and hope for the best?

Here are the top things to know about sight words.

#1  Sight words are also called High Frequency Words. They appear not only in the written language but are most frequently used in spoken language as well. Therefore, by the time a child is school age he has these words in his verbal vocabulary and only needs to make the connection with its print version.

#2  The top 300 sight words make up about 2/3 of the written language.  Think about that. If a child is able to recognize 300 sight words he is 2/3 of the way there to becoming a fluent reader.

#3  Some sight words can be sounded out because they are phonetically regular where others can not and must be memorized as a whole.  Of course there are those sight words that half your class will read and say E-A-S-Y (at, on, it)  but then we throw in those irregular ones like should, though, know and it is suddenly clear why we spend time practicing our sight words.

#4  Recognition of sight words leads to better comprehension.  An advanced reader will read words as a whole.  Try reading this sentence right here but pausing in between each letter and word.  You need to read that several times for it to make sense.  Now try reading an entire article or chapter in that broken manner.

#5  Word Walls are helpful.  Whether you think you have the wall space or not, a primary classroom needs to have a word wall. I can't tell you how often my students refer back to this word wall during their writing throughout all subject areas. Isn't that what we want them to do?!

#6 Sight words make a great center activity.  You don't have to spend direct instruction time every day going over the sight words.  You can work them into a center activity and the students will get their daily practice with the words. I can't tell you how many weeks I need a quick NO PREP word center and quickly put out the week's sight word cards to be put in alphabetical order.

My advanced students will take it a step further and use their sight words in a sentence.

I've also developed these High Frequency Word Practice materials which follow the McGraw-Hill Wonders reading program for second grade. 

At the start of the week I hand them a packet containing all the practice pages for their weekly words (10 words).

 The students practice their sight words by tracing, writing, and reading them in a sentence. Then they cut out the word card on the bottom of the page to practice throughout the week.  

We store them in our homework folders in these plastic pencil cases that I found "el cheapo" for 40 cents each. 
 High Frequency Words

The school year is about to start so here is a Freebie of the first set of words to begin the year.  I also have the complete set of units 1-6 in my TpT store.  

Click the image below to get the complete set of Second Grade High Frequency Words and be set for the year!!!!  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Best Shape To Be

Our class is starting the next math unit on Geometry.  This is one of my favorite units to teach because there are so many fun lessons centered around shapes.
I can't think of a better way to start out the geometry unit than by reading, "The Greedy Triangle" by Marilyn Burns.
This is a cute story about a triangle who is always looking to be something better than he is. "Just one more side, and one more angle" will make him happy. So he thinks...

After reading the story we spent some time making a list of all the shapes that the triangle becomes. We also brainstormed what would be best about being that shape. For example being a rectangle would be the best because you could be a yummy ice cream sandwich.  A hexagon would be best because you could be a trampoline.  We had some trouble coming up with real world shapes for some of them but used our iPads to do a quick google image search and found so many more ideas.

I love being able to tie in Language Arts (especially writing) into Math lessons so I came up with this little writing activity that goes along with our unit on Persuasive/Opinion writing.  It begins like this

"Hello Shapeshifter make me a _________. In my opinion a  ______ is the best shape to be."

The students really had fun with this.  They were able to support their opinion with three reasons/examples and details to support.  
We then made our little shape man to go with our writing.

They add a little life to the hallways....

You can download my Greedy Triangle Craftivity here and if you do it today you get an additional 20% off during the Teachers Are Heroes Sale.
Use Promo code:  HEROES and save 28% on all items in my TPT store.

Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spectacular Secret Santa

During a normal holiday season I have so much to get excited about... Decorating the tree, Christmas light drives, baking cookies, sing alongs, Santa train rides with the kids, and that amazing Balsam Fir scented candle.  This year I had one added thing to get excited about. I participated in the Spectacular Secret Santa!  

I got home one night and found that this had come in the mail. 

I was soooooo excited about this beautifully wrapped package and my daughters (5 and 3 years old) could not understand why this colorful gift wasn't for them.  Sorry kids, it's time for mom to be the surprise(ee) and not the surprise(er).

My Secret Santa (who I never met before) had given me the most perfect gift.  

Yup!! There was Candy Cane ground coffee in there!!!! As well as,  Mr. Sketch scented markers!!!  (Only a teacher can understand how exciting a gift that is).  Also, there was a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag. It's perfect!! 

This Spectacular Secret Santa was a ton of fun and I am happy to have made a new friend who added a bit more excitement to this already exciting time of the year.  Thank you Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd for my special gift.

Merry Christmas to all the Spectacular Secret Santas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Deck The Halls and Classroom Walls

I just got back from my school's second grade Holiday Concert.  My kids have been practicing so hard and they got all dressed up tonight to perform for their friends and families.  Listening to "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Super Santa"  is exactly what I needed to get me into the holiday spirit.

We've been busy in the classroom "Decking our Halls" with all kinds of holiday fun. I am linking up with Amy at Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons to showcase some of the exciting things we've been up to these past few weeks.

In Math we are doing all kinds of fraction practice so I changed up an old favorite of mine, "Fractionpillar" and made it into a strand of Fraction Holiday Lights. The kids got to choose any 8 colored lights and filled out the fraction for each color. 

I needed a second hallway craft for the area that is just at the foot of the stairs going up to my room.  For this we did a very simple triangle reindeer.  A couple of traces and cuts and this reindeer is good to go.  

From my TpT Shop: Two Simple Holiday Crafts

To go with these cute reindeer we read the classic "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" and "The Wild Christmas Reindeer" by Jan Brett.  

When we finished reading both books we did a little Compare and Contrast activity to finish it all up.  These compare and contrast pages are from Detectives Only Book Club by Tiffany Gannon.   

Every year we make something in the classroom that the students can give to their family.  In the past I've done an ornament of some kind but this year we are doing something a little different.  Instead of an ornament we are making calendars.  

The kids illustrated the four seasons in each of the boxes, I laminated them, and attached a 12 month calendar which was a free download one of my coworkers found online.  Voila! I let the kids pick their color background and I had one little guy choose the color "beige, because that's the color of my kitchen where my mom will hang it up." I asked him what the accent color was in his kitchen to liven up the background and he had NO IDEA what I was talking about. Ha :)

Less than 2 weeks until Christmas!!!  

I don't know about you but my little ones at home and at school are starting to be taken over by the excitement.  I found this sign at HomeGoods which for the next two weeks I want to tattoo onto my forehead.  I think it would send a friendly reminder both at school and at home :)
By Santa, I mean this little guy. (His sisters got a kick out of this outfit.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TPT takes NYC

NYC may be one of the closest cities to where I live ( a painless hour and change away) and for some reason I only make it there 2 maybe 3 times a year!!   Well, just last month I had the pleasure of spending my Sunday in the city with some of the most talented and driven people I know.  Bloggers and TpT(ers)  from all parts of the country met for a fabulous weekend in New York City.  I was only able to make it for the Sunday events but I am so excited to have spent the day getting to know this wonderful group.  

With not enough time to grab a cup of coffee my day began with a train ride into the city with Cristin of Elementary Chatter and Maria of Everyone DeServes to Learn.  We had a lot of good laughs as we found our way to the office of BrainPop. 

We chatted over a delicious breakfast (I finally snuck in that cup of coffee).  Then, we were enlightened about all of the wonderful features BrainPop has to offer for our classroom.  I am so excited to start integrating BrainPop into my lessons.  In my classroom, it is perfect for those 5 or 10 minutes of down time when the kids are having their snack. I can reinforce a lesson in a fun way where they don't even realize they are learning.  

Plus, all the kids LOVE this guy...MOBY!

Here are all the wonderful people I met at the BrainPop Brunch.  Chatting with everyone truly was the highlight of my day!

The rest of the day was jam packed with all kinds of fun times.  I think I walked about the distance of  a half marathon the entire day.  This included lunch at Bryant Park.  Look how happy Cristin and I were after discovering the most delicious "Flat Bread" from a street vendor in the park. I know this flat bread had a fancy name and I wish I remember what it was called.  

Then we strolled up to Central Park, making a few sightseeing stops along the way.  

By this point our group had gotten a little smaller. Do we look like we have just walked for 3 hours???  Nah, not at all!! Everyone is smiling :)  

Our final destination was dinner where we loaded up on some well earned Italian Food.   

It was the perfect end to a great day.