Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Favorites Linky Party!

October is in the air! To celebrate, Rockin' and I thought we would set up a Linky Party to share out our favorite fall teaching resources!

When you link up, be sure to include:

          • Name of the product
          • Price of the product or if it is Free
          • Grade levels that the product could be used for
I can't wait to see the goodies that you link up!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy FALL Y'all!

Friends~It is my very favorite time of year...FALL!  Bats and spiders and pumpkins galore!  I just started decking out room 331 for the Fall Season with some fun spider webs, giant spiders, pumpkins, and of course a black cauldron and broom.  I can't wait to see my kiddos reaction on Monday!

My Bloggin Buddy Hilary Lewis from Rocking Teacher Materials and I are so excited about all this fall business that we are celebrating with a Bloggin Buddies Fall Sale in our Teachers Pay Teachers Stores.  Click the images below to head over and check out the goods.  Click the flower girl to check out my store and the rocker to see Hilary's!  We will get you set up for the month of October in true Fall style!

Here are some of my very favorite activities for the month of October! 


I love studying bats!  They are really amazing creatures!  Their life cycle fits perfectly into our Common Core Standards for 2nd grade.  I always start with a KWL to tap into prior knowledge and start generating questions about bats.  Last year,  I used rubber bat erasers as a special treat and each student was given a different bat picture when they came in.  They had to research the bat and then create a report using the strategy of showing and not telling to describe their bat.  We presented the reports at the end of the unit and it was so much fun!
Be sure to check out my All About Bat unit to download a free preview!  You will receive a FREE copy of my student's BAT KWL recording sheet! Just click the image below and click download preview  in my TPT store.
You can also preview a video of my Bat Unit Here
 My Bat Unit is on sale this weekend along with the rest of my TPT items! 
 Be sure to stop by and become a follower so that you don't miss out when I start uploading new products for November!

Be sure to check out this echolocation video for a jazzy Echolocation song that your students will absolutely love!

Another favorite is my Holey Pumpkin Day!  I love  studying the life cycle of a pumpkin in class and then spending time carving them with my 2nd graders.  The only problem  I kept running into was that some of my students did not celebrate Halloween so carving Jack O Lanterns was not going to work for them.  So that is how Holey Pumpkin Day was born.  It is still basically the same...we study the life cycle of a pumpkin but on carving day we create fall lanterns by drilling holes in them based on how many seeds are inside each pumpkin.  My kiddos love them and they are a beautiful display for my parents too!
Click the image below to download my preview which includes a video explanation of the file and also a freebie!

Check out my kiddos in action!  This is a great way to get the Dads involved with their power drills!

I cut the tops off early and my students head into a variety of centers before they do any carving.  Above is one of my fantastic DADS running our drilling stations!  I had both of his sons and he came back both years to help out:)

I would love it if you would give any part of this post a pin!  What are some traditions in your classroom for celebrating the season?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Friends~My kiddos are so excited about our Baseball theme!  In fact, one of my little ones said that they could not wait to make unicorns next week!  ie...uniforms!  They are so fun and nutty!  Check out my team bulletin board!  Each classroom has created a team name, colors, and mascots.  We are The Schroeder Gators!  (That is top secret!)  We will be using the glyph below to represent our teams.  They we will tour the hallway and try to figure out what the other classrooms have named their teams!  Below you will see our pennants that we made to represent out team!
My teammate is still working on her side of the board.

 Here is my wreath of many seasons!  I decorate it for different themes, holidays and seasons.  We cut the baseballs out on my Cricut machine!  They are so cute!

We also created our own baseball cards.  Don't tell Mr. Schroeder but I snatched a box of his old cards to share with the class.  They got a huge kick out of looking at the pictures and collecting information and then looking at the stats on the back.  My teammate came up with the glyph idea but I really think they will connect to it from collecting data from the baseball cards.

You can download a free copy of our Glyph  by clicking the image below!  We are using a cutout of a gingerbread man for this.  The students will decorate their ballplayer according to the glyph and then will use the 2nd sheet to tour the other classes.

We also have 2 UNCC baseball players coming next week to speak with our classes about teamwork!  I am really excited for the students to meet these young ballplayers!

If you are looking for a way to bring teamwork into your classroom I would love it if you would take a peek at my Baseball Unit!  Just click the image below.  Be sure to download the preview to receive a few pages for free!

I also just added my 40 page All About Bat unit for the month of October.  It is a perfect play on words with a baseball bat and a flying bat!  Watch the video below to preview the file or click the image to purchase.  (This unit has a free preview download too:)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Baby Cricut!

Friends~I am so excited!  Look what I just got in the mail!  My BABY Cricut!  I am sooo in love!  I have the MAMA at school and I use it all the time.  This Cricut Mini baby is going to be for home fun:)

    It came all packaged up in cuteness!

I was super impressed with the Step by Step guide.  I literally took me only minutes to get this baby out and cutting. 
 The little tab is Velcro so it opens like a wallet!  Perfect for keeping all the steps safe and at your fingertips.  I also like that the steps were numbered so that I could follow them easily and keep them in order.

I had not used the online Cricut Craft Room before so it was a huge treat.  It was amazingly easy to get the software downloaded and my personal craft room set up.  I could search images and place them on my virtual cutting mat.  I also really like the handles that allowed me to re size and move images easily.  I loved that I could layer my mats to stay organized and the copy/paste option allowed me to cut with speed!

I followed all of the steps to make the thank you card that comes with the instructions.  Honestly, it only took a few steps and the paper came with the machine.  Check it out below!  I am totally whipping up a few of these to have on hand!  They would be perfect with seasonal paper and some burlap twine.

I could not help myself once I got started!  We are beginning our unit on Baseball and Teamwork next week at school so I made some fun signs for my teammates!  I think they will be super cute outside our doors!  I only wish I had more paper colors at home.

Believe it or not all of the cuts made on these 2 projects were made with the images that come with the Cricut Mini!  I am so looking forward to FALL and all of the Halloween crafts that this baby will cut for me:)

Baseball and softball runs in the family so I had to try out some self adhesive vinyl cutting too!  Ian and Lily are loving their new helmets.  You can tell Lily will be needing a new one soon but goodness she does play 4-6 games in a weekend!  It has taken a good beating!

Now I am truly a novice at this Cricut business but after only a hours or so of cutting I really feel like I can use this mini cutting machine for some real fun at home and not just for my teaching.  The vinyl lettering was so simple and I can't wait to try out a quote in my house.  It peels right off so I can change them out as needed.

If you are looking for ideas for the home the Cricut's Project Center is filled with tons of easy to follow crafts for your Cricut Mini!   Click the image below to visit and see all the exciting ways that Cricut can change how you craft!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

How do you explain The Common Core to students?

Friends~How do you explain The Common Core to students? 
It has been quite a few days in room 331!   We are still super busy learning the routine in class and also getting to know each other.  We also have hosted several visitors in class starting with my very sweet student teacher and my high school helper.  They are amazing!  We have had several parent volunteers helping with copies and other various clerical fun.  The most interesting to my students however have been the administration visitors.

We are really lucky that our principals have been very open about how we will be evaluated this year and how the procedures will work for the new Common Core.  Basically it is pretty simple, an administrator comes in and does a quick iPad check list and then asks a few students what they are learning.

I was a bit shocked at how quickly this happened.  In fact, I have had 2 walk throughs this week. That means that around 5 of my students have been questioned about their learning.  I know they did great because I took the bull by the horns years ago and made my Learning Objectives Board a job in my classroom.  Each time we start a new subject or skill a student heads up and reads our standards/objectives.  My kiddos know what they are learning but they were not getting why so many outside adults were asking them about it.

I decided that I needed to explain the expectations of The Common Core to my students in a way they could understand.   A way that would make sense and connect with their learning.

Check out our APPLE visual below!  Feel FREE to click the apple to download a copy for 2nd grade and also one to be used with all grades.  

How do you explain The Common Core to students?, photo

It is pretty simple.  I showed my students all of The Common Core Standards that I have cut, mounted, and laminated for our board.  I told them that they needed to learn all of these to move on to 3rd grade.  They were super freaked out about it:)  I told them not to worry because we were going to look at the standards like the apple above.  We were going to take small bites all year until we made it to the core.  When we made it to the core we would know that we had planted all of the seeds they needed to be successful in third grade.

I also reassured them that they were ready and that they started making this apple in first grade:)

I loved watching my students eyes as this all started making sense.  The skills learned in The Common Core build beautifully upon each other.  I really think that this visual allowed my students to see the bigger picture of why they are at school and why we do the things we do in class.  It gave meaning to our daily learning lessons.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Common Core Science Incorporated

Friends~One thing that I love about the Common Core is how easily it is to incorporate it  into various subjects. I love a good theme but I always want my lessons to make connections across the curriculum.  One of my very favorite ways to do this is through Science!  It is so super easy to connect Science lessons to reading. writing and math.  Check out some of the fun I have had in past years making those curriculum connections.   

2.P.1.1 Understand the relationship of vibrating objects and columns of air
I always start off Forces and Motion with a Listening Walk.  Like I said, I like to incorporate other subject areas so I begin with the book The Listening Walk.  It is a great story that gets the students thinking about where sounds come from.  
I use it to incorporate:
 RL2.1 Ask and answer questions from a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.  

We take a listening walk and describe the sounds we hear.  That leads us into our discussion of vibrations.  I use the tuning fork to demonstrate this by having students come up and cover their eyes.  When I tap the tuning fork,  I hold it to one ear and they have to raise their hand to tell which side the fork is on.  They are listening for vibrations.  I also have them observe vibrations using water with the experiment below.  

2.P.2.1 Understand properties of solids and liquids and the changes they undergo
I love teaching Matter Properties and Change!  There are so many ways to incorporate this into your core subjects.  One of the first things that we do is sort matter by it's attributes.  

  This hits one of our math goals 2.G Reason with shapes and their attributes.  

We also look at the 3 forms of water.  
Here is a visual that I use for RI 2.7 Explain how a diagram contributes to and clarifies a text.  

We observe the 3 forms from Ice to Water and write to journal prompts on the specific stages. 
W2.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects such as science experiments.

2.E.1.1   Understand patterns of weather and factors that affect weather
Who doesn't start their weather unit off with The Wind Blew by Eve Bunting?  I love this book because it really gets the students talking about how weather can effect our day!  

RI 2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants us to answer or explain.  
It is great for sequencing too!

We also spend 2 weeks observing and graphing our weather! 
 Hello!  MD2.10 Draw a Bar Graph to represent data! 

Our Cloud Races are always so much fun!  

MD 2.3 Measure and estimate lengths in standard units.

Last but not least: RI 2.10 Read and comprehend informational texts!
This text comes along with our FOSS Inquiry Based Science Kits.

2.L.1.1  Understand animal life cycles
I soooo love this unit!  We studied Frogs last year and it was so much fun!  Bring on some Frogs by Gail Gibbons for RI 2.10 (Informational Text)  I love a good anticipation guide! 

We also work on the life cycle with these cuties!

2.L.2.1  Remember that organisms differ from or are similar to their parents based on the characteristics of the organism.
For this standard I keep it pretty simple.  We compare frogs and tadpoles.  We also compare ourselves to our parents.  They kiddos always get a kick out of this! 

I am so exhausted thinking about all the ways we as teachers make connections across the curriculum.  I am totally sure that I missed some.  The Common Core is pretty new to me so I am just now getting the hang of some of it. I hope this helped you to get thinking about more ways to make some great connections for your students.  

All of the above activities are from my new 80 page Simply Second Grade Science.  It is a year's worth of integrated science lesson fun!  I sure hope you will check it out:)