Thursday, January 31, 2013

Send a HUG this February!

 Friends~Happy February!  I am busting with excitement about my newest creation!  Send a HUG!  Room 331 will be sending life size hugs to someone special in their families this month.  We have begun our graphing unit in math and I have been looking for ways to spruce this unit up.  Check out just how cute these are going to turn out!

I had my kiddos lay down on the floor and trace their heads, arms, and bodies.  We then cut them out and used construction paper to make the faces.  

So perfect for a Cultural Diversity display too!
We then wrote letters to a special person in our family and glued it to the body.  
You can grab a FREE copy of my letter by clicking the image below!

We will also be measuring our HUG SPAN with candy hearts, Hersey Kisses, inches, centimeters and yards.  
My kiddos will be creating a line plot from the ranges of our HUG SPANS and also a bar graph using their eye colors.  
You can preview the file by clicking the image below!
The measurement and graphing activities are aligned with the Common Core State Standard 2.MD.  
There is even a special BONUS activity at the end of this file:)  

We will also be reading the book A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross. 
It is the sweetest story of all different kinds of hugs.  
You can purchase a copy of the book to use with your class by clicking below.  

Check out my How to Make a Heart video.  My kiddos will be making a heart to put in the hands of their HUGS! 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Guided Reading Nonfiction Text Feature FREEBIE!

Friends~I am so darn happy!  I finally finished my running records and I can now get back to my guided reading groups. favorite part of the day!  
We started our Sled Dog study to build up to our BIG Balto/Iditarod unit in February! My groups will all be working in the book MUSH Sled Dogs of the Iditarod by Joe Funk.
You can order it from Amazon by clicking the book below.

I knew that this book was going to be pretty challenging for many of my readers so I wanted make sure that they could all be successful. 

I decided that I would focus on nonfiction text features and we would pick apart the first chapter and read together.  

Check out my kiddos working! 

Here is the sheet we used to guide us! We went on the text feature hunt first and shaded in the boxes on the bottom to show what text features were present in chapter 1.  

We then read over the text features together and I passed out post its.  My students then began reading 2 pages at a time and recorded their thinking on the post its.  We shared and discussed after each read.  I am so proud of how they tackled this book!  Plus we learned about 2 of the coolest sled dogs, Diesel and Guiness!

You can grab a FREE copy of my Non Fiction Text Feature Graphic Organizer by clicking the image below! 

We even learned about a new text feature on page 13 called an Insert.  A picture in a picture!

Leave a comment and tell me about how you teach nonfiction text features in Guided Reading Groups!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hachiko Waits...How things fall into place!

Friends~If anyone ever thought the saying, "Things happen for a reason." was not a true statement they for sure have never been a teacher!  
We dismissed school on Friday at 9:30 AM for ice and our make up Saturday School (From our last NO SNOW DAY) was cancelled. Now the whole week had been a mess because of having the Friday before off and then Monday for MLK.  We had training on Tuesday so my class did not come back until this past Wednesday.  I was out on Tuesday and then we had class on Thursday.  Bam!  Early dismissal!  After my class left,  I took a look at my plan book and it was a DISASTER!  I had bumped and moved so much I had to take it home to figure out what in the world we needed to get finished next week. I have a HUGE unit planned for February and I needed to get January wrapped up!  

I did get home by 11:00 and was snuggled up on the couch with my Lily and Ian by 11:30. Can you say SMILE!  I had a big one on all day:)  My kiddos and I were flipping through our NETFLIX trying to find a good family move and we came across Hachi.  It looked like it was right up our alley so we snuggled in to watch.  
WARNING: If you are a crier during movies get a box of tissues. This is the sweetest story of a dog and his master.  
I cried like a baby!  

The movie is based off a true story about a dog named Hachiko from Japan who walked to the train station with his master and then went home everyday.  In the evening, he came back to the train station to meet his master.  It is a try story of loyalty!  I won't ruin the movie for you but the dog continues this routine even after his master dies and the people of the train station takes him in.  

After drying my eyes I knew I was on a mission to find out more about this story because ..things happen for a reason!  I am teaching the true story of BALTO next month!  This story would make fantastic connections for my class.  You can read more about my Balto unit by clicking below.  There is even a freebie to get you started!

Another side note-I got a call later in the afternoon from someone I had contacted about coming to talk with our classes about Sled Dogs.  Guess what?  She is coming and she is going to bring her 2 huskies for the students to meet.  She is actually heading to Alaska this month to sled so she will have lots of stories and pictures to share.  
See...things happen for a reason!

I started researching the story with Ian over my shoulder.  He loves to give his 2 cents!  He told me if I found a book about it my class could make one of those circle things with Balto.  A Venn Diagram! 

I found this news clip about Hachiko and the statue but the best part was I found 2 different books for my guided reading groups!
Just click the books to read and see a preview.
Hachiko Waits is a chapter book I will be using with my higher readers.  It is really neat because it has a section telling how to pronounce the Japanese words  from the text.    

Sometimes I feel like a conductor.  Building suspense all month by introducing the theme little by little.  

Teachers make things happen for their students!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doodle Cast Pro for Your iPad

Friends~I am so very excited!  Our class just ordered our classroom iPad.  My parents, friends, and family all pitched in to make it possible.  I have been having so much fun with the one I got for Christmas.   I know we are going to have some major fun in class.

I have been searching the net to find apps for my classroom and I came across one that I totally LOVE!  It is called Doodle Cast Pro.  It is a really exciting app that I can create presentations on and also teach my students how to create presentations on . 
Watch this video below to find out just how easy it is! 

It actually records your voice as your draw and then you can upload the video to your email, Dropbox, YouTube, and Photos.  

Check out this simple cast that I made for my students to use during Math Workshop.  
I headed over to our Math Center Baskets and I took pictures of some Penguin Base Ten cards that my students have been using.  They LOVE to sort them and organize them. I quickly took a snap shot of them with my iPad and uploaded them to Doodle Cast Pro.  I then demonstrated how to read the card and then record the number in other ways.
I am thinking this would make an awesome assessment tool!

You can check it out by clicking the image below.  The possibilities are endless!
 It is a paid app but it is a must have for the classroom!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Polar Bear LapBook FREEBIE!

Friends~I was just welcomed into the world of LapBooks by my teamie Mrs. Thompson!  That women is a foldable genius!  I am so excited to show you what she helped me create today!  We took my Polar Bear Unit and turned it into a LapBook.  Really, we shrunk pages, folded them, cut them and glued them into this beautiful assessment tool!  I am so excited to see my students put this baby together using all that they have learned about Polar Bears!  

Click the HERE  to grab a FREE copy of my Lapbook!  

I am so excited!  My kiddos will be filling in a CAN HAVE ARE Chart and coloring in a map showing where the Polar Bears Live.  They will create a Venn Diagram on the back and also write child friendly definitions for vocabulary words.   They will create a flip book of what Polar Bears eat and make a diagram of their skin and blubber.  All the while, I will be doing Then Blubber Glove Experiment with small groups.  They will then record their learning from the experiment in the center of their LabBook. 

Holy Moly!  I am HOOKED!  I can't wait to get these grooving with my kiddos on Saturday.  Yes, I said Saturday!  We have a make up day due to our NO Snow Day last Friday.  At lease I know that there will be lots of good learning going on in room 331!
I'm off to make a grading rubric for this LapBook!  
If you download please leave a comment:)  

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
You can check out more of my Polar Bear Fun by clicking the image below!  Be sure to download the preview.  It will give you a video tutorial all about the file.  


Monday, January 21, 2013

Air Zooka Fun

Friends~ I am coming off an amazing weekend!  First, we had a fake snow day on Friday. was cancelled and we had NO snow!  Now, I have to make that day up on Saturday but it was worth it.  I loved hanging with my kiddos and friends!  We did lunch and shopped:)  

On Saturday morning we headed off to Savannah, GA for my birthday!  My husband planned the trip.  The weather was perfect and so were Lily and Ian:)  We met up with my Brother Paul and his wife Sarah.  We also went on our very first GHOST Tour!  It was so much fun:)  Check out how my Ian looks like my brother!

We ended our weekend with some fun shopping today and a horse and buggy tour!  There is so much history there!  We need a whole other weekend to see even half of what Savannah has to offer!  This was one of my favorite parts!  Tybee Island!  Feet in the Sand!

After all the family, sand, and touring fun we got our shopping on.  Glen and the kiddos bought me this fun bracelet for my birthday day!
  Love it!  

My kiddos on the other had feel they may have found the coolest toy ever in Savannah! 

 Check out the AIR ZOOKA!
Click the Image Below! 

It is this crazy air shooter.  You pull back on the plastic liner and it will shoot a puff of air 20-40 feet!  We played with it a ton in the store.  Glen shot Lily when she was reading a book and her hair flew straight up!  
The only bad news is I did not buy it!!!!! AND I took NO pictures.  Seriously????  
I am totally regretting the no picture thing but I am thinking that I will be ordering one of these guys for school.  
I am thinking FORCE and MOTION people!  

I have a feeling that I am going to be adding to this unit very soon with the AIRZOOKA!
Click the Image below to preview my Force and Motion Packet! 

I leave you with this crazy video of my boy digging on Tybee Beach in JANUARY!  


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Common Core Must Have!

Friends~I am going to let you in on a little secret.  It really isn't my secret.  My old Teamie Mrs. Mccumbee showed it to me when I went down to present Smartboard Bootcamp at her school!  It is the Common Core Standards and Strategies Flip Chart.  It totally ROCKS!  It is at my side all day long.

I have the 2nd grade one and I love how easy it is to use and flip through.  I can find all of my standards and more.  It comes with quick ideas to teach standards or create lessons based on their suggestions.  The vocabulary chart allows me to easily make sure that I am using the terms that my students need to be successful with a unit.

I did take a sharpie and added more specific codes so that I could get to the standards a bit faster.  

I went in and also wrote in the "Pacing Guide" the district gave us so that I can be sure I am on track. 

You have to check these out!  Your school and grade level NEED these flip charts:)  

Now on to what I have been up to!

My kiddos have taken their benchmarks and we have been working on specific standards from the Common Core that they struggled with.  One of which was Literacy. L 2.2 A and B
Basically, capitalizing proper nouns and using commas in letters.  

I have busted out the Letter Writing Center for writing and we watched this fun video.  They love when I use an accent! 

I also have been having my students practice writing leads into stories using journal prompts.  This gives them great practice at using their Voice in writing as well as practicing their capitals and punctuation.
I like that they are short and sweet!  I can quickly walk around and read their work.  I then use a Smelly Marker that we now call Smarkers to write comments.  
I also have been adding comments and reminders to the desks of my repeat offenders.  
They think it is cool when they get a comment but really it is a great reminder for when they write next time!  
Check out some of their leads below!

I am so proud at how they have progressed with this standard.  I just know they are going to do an amazing job on their next benchmark!

I also wanted to thank everyone that participated in the Bloggin Buddies Flash Dive Give Away!  To say thank you I am joining in with my buddy Hilary over at Rocking Teacher Materials and giving away a $5 or under product from my TPT Store to anyone that emails me! So head over and check out some of my fun products like: My World Around Me  or Roll a Story
This giveaway will end on: 
January 15, at 11:59 pm, EST 
Once you find one of my products that you like- just shoot me an email at with WINNER in the subject line and I will send it to you!
Again...Thank YOU!


Monday, January 14, 2013

100 Day T Shirt Collections!

Friends~The 100th Day of school is approaching.  It is a fantastic accomplishment for both teacher and students!  I really like to put my own swing on this special day by making 100 Day T Shirt Collections.  My students bring in  new or old t shirts just before the 100 day and I decorate them using base ten blocks and fabric stamp pads.  I even use a cube for the dot on the exclamation mark!

I then get my decorating centers set up.  I copy off the next page and mount each card on constructions paper.  I laminate so that I can use the cards year after year.  I place the supplies needed for each stations in baskets.  The items I use are fabric stamps, fabric markers, base ten stamps,  money stamps, and any other stamps I have laying around.

I love how creative the t shirts get.  The students really make them their own and they make a perfect keepsake from this special day in class! 
Check them out in action!

 Crayola's fabric markers are perfect.  They come in the prettiest colors and work great! 
I also add some idea lists for my students to use in decorating.  You can download a free copy of my 100 Day Decorating List by clicking the image below!
Check out more of my Hip, Hip Hooray! 100 Day T shirt Collections packet!  This packet will walk you through setting up your 100 Day decorating centers and also give you fun filled book activities.  
Just click the image below to read more about it! 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Journey with BALTO!

Friends~You all know that when I "DO" a book- we never just read it.  Sometimes I am even known to get a bit out of control when it comes to bringing a story to life for my students.  Well, I'm back at it!  In February, room 331 will be embarking on The Great Serum Race!  The story of the bravest dog ever Balto!

Now when my Lily was little the Disney version of Balto was one of her very favorites.  We even had it on VHS.  Now we have moved to DVD and we still watch it.  I stumbled across the book The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto.  Click the image below to order:)


I knew that this story was going to be the backbone for my winter lessons in February!  The story of Balto actually took place in the month of January but the Iditarod Race will be run in March this year so February was the perfect month to introduce it.  
I worked to align my lessons with the CCSS  RIT 2.3
General: Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
Now I am still growing this unit but I had to show you what I am up to so far!

First, this summer I found these dog tags at Walmart.  I picked them up with no plan in mind and now they are going to fit perfectly when we reenact the Iditarod as a grade level.  We are planning to have our classes go through the same towns that Balto did with parent volunteers as mushers.  The kiddos will of course be the sled dogs.  (MORE ON THIS LATER)

I also ordered a class set of the Balto Books for my kiddos to use. I can't wait to see them sprawled all over the room gobbling up this story!

We also got our Bulletin Board ready too!  So far we have only added a drawing of the state of Alaska and mapped the Iditarod.  As we learn facts about the journey we will be adding to this board.

Here are some other books that I  will be using to lead the students through the journey.  The chapter book I plan to use as a read aloud!

I also found in the Scholastic Arrow Book order this month the book: 

A grabbed a set of 6 with bonus points for guided reading groups.  

Scholastic also has an awesome section to explore with your class on the Iditarod. 
 Check it out by clicking the image below! 

Don't miss this video of how my students will experience life as a sled dog while listening to commands from a musher! 

You can download a FREE copy of my Sled Dogs by clicking the image below!

If you are looking for something new for these up and coming winter months check out more of  of my Balto fun by clicking the image below and then downloading the preview file.  
You will get a video preview of all of my activities!

I am so excited to continue to grow this this story!  Stay tuned for more BALTO FUN!