Monday, September 29, 2014

A little planning ahead

It is not like me to plan so far ahead but today's post is about Mother's Day.  ???  Let me explain... Every year our grade level does a beautiful and memorable Mother's Day Tea.  You can read my post about last year's tea here.  I won't get into the specifics of it again but this year I created Monthly Themed Journal Pages to use for my Mother's Day Gift.  This requires some planning ahead because each month (starting in September) I take the student's picture and put it in the book.  The students also write each month about things they did with mom.  This month I took a picture of the students on the first day of school to put into the frame and tomorrow I will have them write about some memories they shared with mom in September.  I love seeing the mom's faces when they see how much their child is grown in the monthly pictures.  Even more shocking is to see how much the students grow in their writing. I don't edit or help them with the writing in any way so to see them go from a couple of words or a few misspelled sentences to one or more well constructed paragraphs is satisfying.

As I was making these themed Journal Pages, I decided not to limit the journal pages to only the school year but included all the months of the year.  You can find these in my Teachers Pay Teachers store or by clicking the image below. 

How would you use these in your classroom? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It wouldn't be September without a little Johnny Appleseed.

Every year I like to spend a few days on this American Pioneer, Johnny Appleseed.  He is a historical figure that the students LOVE to learn about. I think it's because he walks such a fine line somewhere between one of America's pioneers and the tooth fairy.  We read both the biography of John Chapman and the Tall Tales of Johnny Appleseed and I know all the kids want to believe that he really does sleep with bears and wrestle giant fish.
Last year we focused on Johnny Appleseed, the story teller. We wrote some tall tales of our own. This was a lot of fun and you can read all about it by clicking here. 
This year I'm focusing on Johnny Appleseed but exploring the true history behind him.  I have a great set of biographies that are at the perfect reading level for second grade. I ordered them from Scholastic a couple of years ago and they have been so useful (especially later in the year when we write cereal box biography reports).  

Here is our set of biographies.  There are six of each so I will do the reading part of this activity in guided reading groups.

After reading the biography the students complete these four pages. The first page is where the students draw a picture of our dear old Johnny.  The next three pages is where they answer, who?what? and where? There is just enough space for two or three sentence answers which is all I think many of the newly second graders can handle this early in the year.  
You can download my Johnny Appleseed Stand Up Writing Project by visiting my TpT Store.

What are some of your fun Johnny Appleseed activities? I would love to hear in the comments below :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Currently" what I am up to.

It's September 3rd and the night before SCHOOL STARTS.  Why on earth am I awake when I should be resting my brain and body for tomorrow??  This is my first time linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade.   Here it is.

Listening:  "Chopped" is my night time show. It's perfect because it's the kind of show that I can let "watch me."  I don't have to follow any kind of story line drama. It plays in the background while I do school work, clean up the house, or ultimately drift asleep.  I started watching it last fall when my infant son was waking for his night time feedings. It was ALWAYS playing in the wee hours of the morning when I needed something to keep me from falling asleep.  

Loving:  Don't get me wrong, I love summer. However, Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. As soon as September 1st hits, I am all about the Country Apple, Pumpkin, and Harvest scents. It makes me feel good.

Thinking: Tomorrow is the first day of school with my students and also the first day of school for my oldest daughter.  I know I have a busy day ahead and that at 6am when my alarm (or 10 month old son) wakes me up I am going to regret being up this late. 

Wanting: I wish with all my heart that there was a way for me to be in two places at once because tomorrow is my oldest daughter's first day of Kindergarten. It is her first day riding the bus and going to full day big kid school.  I want to be there so badly to see her off.  It is also my first day with my students so taking the day off wasn't really a possibility.  Well, on the upside my husband no doubt will videotape every second of the walk to the bus stop, her getting on the bus, and the bus pulling away. He is very thorough at documenting moments. I'm thankful for that. 

Needing: I know I'm not the only one needing more hours in the day but let me present my case to you and I think you will agree that more time is something I need.  My day is full, jam packed, bursting with activity from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep. I have three young children. So in addition to being a teacher I am a cook, maid, driver, grocery shopper, entertainer, bath giver, story time reader (my FAVORITE time of day),  and a monster under the bed exterminator.  My day is full but most of all I remember that my heart is full too :)  I love every second of my crazy life.

3 Trips:  Number one on here is Vegas. It has nothing to do with the TpT conference, although that would be fun to attend one day. The reason I chose Vegas is because in October my sisters and I are meeting in Vegas for a long weekend to celebrate a 40th birthday!!! (Not mine...I'm the youngest of the three sisters and I always take an opportunity to point that out ;)  
Number two is Greece.  I have been to Greece more times than I can think of right now. My family is from there and as a kid we spent a minimum 6 weeks there every summer. I recognize that I am one lucky duck to have ties to the most beautiful place I've been. 
Number three is Alaska. I have always wanted to go. It seems so majestic and large.  I imagine the air is really crisp and has a fresh smell to it.  I have to check it out one day.