Friday, December 30, 2011

A Back to School in the New Year Recipe!

It's Friday and I am taking down Christmas decorations and trying to get myself in order from the holidays.  I spent some time on meal planning this morning before our afternoon grocery run. Before I head off the computer I just had to let you all in on a little secret recipe that I enjoyed this week at a friend's house.  A little background.  I love cheese and anything baked or cooked with it!  Plus I am all about something that is easy to put together.  This is totally a first for The Schroeder Page but below I am giving you a recipe that you must go out grab the ingredients for.  It is a perfect cold weather meal!

Baked Cheese Spaghetti
1/2 pound hamburger
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 2/3 c. prepared spaghetti sauce
6 oz of spaghetti noodles
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
4 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 can evaporated milk
1/3 c of water
1 c shredded Velveeta Cheese

Brown hamburger and onion, drain and add sauce.
Boil noodles according to box instructions and add to sauce and burger mixture.
Melt butter, stir in salt and flour.
Slowly add milk and water to make the cheese sauce. 
Then add a layer of the sauce and noodles to the bottom of your baking pan.
Layer cheese and sauce mixture ending in cheese on top.
Bake at 350 15-20 minutes.

This will be served next week at The Schroeder House!  YUMMY!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dear Winter Break...Please slow DOWN!

I borrowed this title from my friend Mrs. Wood!  She posted it on her Facebook page and once I read it I was thrust back into reality.  Break is going way too FAST!  All my sleeping in, snuggling my kiddos, shopping, seeing family and friends will be a memory of the past soon.  I will be back to the craziness that is my life.  Am I dreading it?  Sure a little but I do love my job and miss my classroom♥

My mind is now thinking S C H O O L!  I have to get my thoughts in order so that I can enjoy the rest of my break.  So while my sweet kiddos are tapping away on their DS like presents I am going write and organize my month of January.  Or as much I as can before I run out of steam:)

Starting with...New Years! 
I always begin my month of January by blowing in the new year with my January interactive smartboard calendar.  I simply pass out basic party blowers and we gather around our smartboard.  We add the days that we were on break and blow our horns for each day.  This year we will add January 3 for our first day back from break and honor it with a final BLOW of our party blowers to start our new year off right!  The kiddos love it and randomly during the day we blow our blowers to celebrate lots of things like correct answers, random acts of kindness, rule following and lots more.  It is a great way to get students focused again on how our classroom runs and our routine.  (Remember...they have been on break too!)  JUST BE SURE THEY KNOW THE PROCEDURE OF 1 BLOW ONLY!)  I always warn them that if anyone breaks the rule they will have to put their blower away in their book~bag. I sent the blowers home at the end of the day.  

You can grab a set pretty cheap at Birthday in a Box.  Just click the image above or run to your local $ store to stock up.  I promise you will have your students attention right away!

Next we make our New Year's resolutions for each month.  This is another fun way to use your blowers. Below is the sheet that I use to get started. It is from my Happy Chinese New Year unit.  

I also have my students create a snow globe and present it like a crystal ball.  I have the class create their own image of what will happen in 2012.  They love looking into the future and making predictions. 
My little friend here just wanted some snow in the New Year.  

I also piggy back this New Year activity by introducing the story Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett and begin our study of Chinese New Year.  It is celebrated in January 23rd this year.  Christmas Around the World is always a great way to make connections to how other countries celebrate holidays.  Why not New Years around the world! (Hello...Social Studies through Literacy!  Can you say COMMON CORE!)

You can grab a copy of my Chinese New Year unit by clicking on the image below.  It is filled with ways to introduce the holiday, connect to Daisy Comes Home, a little dragon fun and more.  Your students will be totally engaged the moment they plop into their seats!  

Last, I start my weather unit and begin studying the Water Cycle and SNOW!  My southern students love this because we see so little of it in NC.  Many of them have never seen snow like the snow we have in OHIO.  I always bring in pictures from when I was little with snow drifts taller than me!  This year I ordered instant snow!  I am so excited to see how it works.  I also have added ice cubes to a blender and made a snow like substance.  Maybe this year I will do both so that we can compare the 2 substances.  Below is the link to the snow I ordered.  
I like to use snow to teach the water cycle because I can use MATTER MAN!  Which is just a snowman that we put together with white trash bags and a snowman kit.  Like a hat, scarf, and sticks.  We label the parts of the snowman as it changes into a puddle by the sun.  
It is a fun cooperative learning activity.  I break the class up into groups and each group builds and labels a part of the snowman.  It is so much fun when we put him together and label the water cycle.  You can see our little sun in the background. My snow unit has more fun activities including some with Snow Flake Bentley. 
Well now I feel a bit better!  I guess I am ready for the New Year!  I hope this post did not get your thoughts too far from break.  We still have some time left!  So snuggle up with your family and enjoy some down time! 
(BUT, If you are a bit compulsive like me and still need to surf the net...I would love it if you would give this post a PIN on!) THANKS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anchor Charts to GO!

My Friends!  Do you love anchor charts for reading and writing?  I know I sure do but I will tell you I have a terrible time displaying them.  My wall space is so limited that I often have to put the posters away and I hate to admit they are often forgotten. 

So I decided that I would create an ongoing smartboard lesson that will allow me to always have my charts at my findertips.  I also decided to prink out the pages and create small TO GO books for my students to grab during independent reading & silent reading. Below you can see a few pages from our TO GO Books!

Our TO GO Books!

The image below shows you some of my pages that I have created for the Anchor Chart Smartboard File. 

My favorite of the pages is the Author's Purpose page.  It seems to be such a tricky idea for 2nd graders to get but the PIE page helps a ton!

We also created our own model of PIE using a paper plate.  I love when I am able to make an abstract idea come alive through an art project. 
It really is...As Simple as PIE!
Hope this helps!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Signature Teacher Piece!

 Happy Wednesday Friends!
     I had another fun filled day in 2nd grade but tonight it is chilly and cold!  I have dinner in the oven and the kiddos are playing at a friend's house.  That means I have time to share a little something with ALL of you!  Now if you have been reading my blog you know I love crafty ETSY almost as much as I love The Schroeder Page:)  I am a closet craft-er.  I try really hard and usually do OK but these ETSY friends really know what they are doing!
     Well, while I was looking around for gifts for my children's teachers I came across my new favorite "signature" piece! 
Every teacher NEEDS this ABC Bracelet!  

Meet Amy Volchok the creator of my new favorite BLING!  She is an jewelry artist over at ETSY.  She makes the sweetest pieces and tonight she is going to tell us a bit about her shop.

Click the image to head over and check out this adorable bracelet!

 Amy Says~I have been an artist as long as I can remember.
Wholly self-taught, I now make and sell sterling silver jewelry & copper ornaments.
I have worked in many different media such as papier-mache, painted furniture and quiltmaking.
I also design & construct greeting cards and produce graphic art.

I have been making these sterling silver bracelets for about 7 or 8 years now. The Alphabet/Teacher's Cuffs are just about my best sellers. Each one is made after the order is placed. I stamp the letters into the silver, oxidize it and then bend it into a bracelet shape. If someone would like an inner inscription, I can do that at no extra charge. These are available in my 3/8" wide or my skinny cuff. The skinnies are my own invention!
I wish I was making these when my kiddos were little, but it was only when they got older that I began to have time to explore metalworking. I am always happy to answer questions about my items.

She makes some beautiful copper pieces too.  Click the image above to visit her second site at Copperista!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Word Wizards Fun!

So spelling tests have never been my thing.  I do them because that is what is expected but I have longed for a way to make them have more meaning.  I want my students to be able to demonstrate more than what they memorized.  Then I found Beth Newingham's website and how she runs her spelling tests in her classroom.  I was overwhelmed by how she differentiated for each of her students. (I truly felt like I had failed in the area of spelling .)   I loved the her ideas but knew deep down I did not have enough time in the day to manage all that she does.  I did know that I had to make some changes with my spelling program in my classroom. 

I began by organizing my spelling patterns with my Phonics Dance chunks.  That way, when I introduced a spelling pattern I also introduced the dance that goes along with it.  (If you don't know about The Phonics Dance you have to check it out.)  I often hear teachers say that not all of their students need phonics work in the classroom so they choose not to look into it.  My advice...if you have 1 child that need phonics help you have to add this program.  Even if it is just parts of it.  (I teach 2nd grade, so I do just a brief review.)  But everyday we dance the dance.  It teach phonics, memorization, word attack and also a much needed movement break for ALL of your students. 
Back to spelling, I run 2 lists in my classroom but keep the spelling pattern the same.  I have a regular list that goes along with our Reading Street story and a challenge list.  On Fridays we take out "Whiz Quiz!"  Now this is the fun part!  For some reason just changing the name of the test has made my students look forward to it.  We even sing a song while I pass out the test papers.  Just Whiz Quiz to the tune of The Adams Family.

Whiz Quiz, Oh NO!
Whiz Quiz, Oh Yes!
Whiz Quiz, Whiz Quiz, Whiz Quiz!
We just sing until I pass out the sheets.  
♥I did take Beth's spelling test paper and added some graphics.  I titled it Whiz Quiz!  

My Whiz Quiz is broken up into 3 parts.  Assigned Pattern Words, Word Fun, and Dictated Sentences.
Basically it goes like this:
I have a special folder set up with Whiz Quiz sheets.  I write the words I call, Word Fun skills, and Dictated Sentence.  Next year I will have the Quizzes all set!
Assigned Pattern Words: I call the words like a typical Spelling test.  (I have a volunteer do the Challenge Quiz.)

Word Fun: I play with this a bit.  I call the rest of the words but have the students circle chunks, make words plural, combine words to make compound words, find nouns or verbs in their list.  It is different every week but it is a great review.  
Dictated Sentences: My regular list students get their lists early but my Challenge kiddos do the sentences cold.  I also have them use our Word of the Week in a sentence or write a kid friendly definition.   I also will state a sentence and have them just write the punctuation that goes with it. I have even had the write the subject or predicate too.

After the Quiz we break into 2 groups and introduce the new spelling pattern to the regular list kiddos and my challenge group looks up the definitions and parts of speech for their words.  We then switch and I work with my challenge kiddos.  My regular list works on a spelling sheet.

On Monday I do the BIG announcement...who got a 25/25 and a special Word Wizard Stamp!  You can check out my stamp at Stampoutonline!  I totally ♥ mine!  

I also have those students come up and sign our Word Wizard poster!  
I found the image I use for my Word Wizard Sign on Ladybug Teacher Files .  She has some amazing spelling ideas there!
The wizards are then asked to help the other students correct their papers and add their missed words to their Sight Word Journals.  (These are small composition books that they take to Word Study during our Daily 5 time to practice.)

And it starts all over!  Gosh I feel like I have babbled on!