Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I LOVE Teaching Science

Friends~I have been wondering for years why my daughter loves bugs, insects, frogs, sharks, basically anything gross. (I am not a big fan of touching any of that stuff!)  This girl of mine will grab a worm, bait a hook, and then pull a fish off all wearing lip gloss and a sparkly ring.  I just didn't get it for a long time but I think I have figured it out.  
I love teaching science!  I am constantly collecting science models, pictures, making them do experiments with me and such.  We have hatched butterflies, tadpoles, & praying mantis.  We have exploded things with baking soda and played with magnets.  I am always up to something when it comes to science.  Even on vacation my fascination with teaching about sharks has now been pinned to my son.  Check out his souvenir. 
Yep, I totally let him buy a shark in a bottle.  One because he is totally into gross too and loves sharks.  Two because I have an super fun shark unit that I teach!  
(It is going to be AWESOME in a center!)  

I am just learning about a new site called Educents.  It is like Groupon for teachers.  I am telling is amazing!  There are so many great deals for your classroom.  I was browsing along today and came across this Magic School Bus deal and now I am brainstorming ways I can make it happen for my up and coming kiddos.  Check it out below! 
(Click the picture and scroll down for full details.)
With Common Core it is so very important to connect your science into your literature block and Magic School Bus books are a great way to do that.  I did a post that listed some of my favorite books and activities for teaching science with the common core.  You can check it out here!

There are only 5 days left on this deal!  So I am off to see if I can use my classroom budget on this goodie!  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find. Worry Stones!

Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find.  Worry Stones!  I found them at a gem mining shop.  At first, I saw them as a bit of a joke.  You see, my hubby and his mom are notorious worriers and I picked up a few to pass out to them.  I thought they would get a kick out of the stones.  I also grabbed 3 for the ladies I sit with at the ballpark.  I figured that they would come in handy when our girls were up to bat!
Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find.  Worry Stones! From The Schroeder Page photo of
I gave them a shot right away...
I found out quickly that the stones ROCK!  We all sat side by side rubbing these babies all the way to winning the championship after 16 hours at the ballpark.  
The girls received their trophies at 11:30 pm.
They went undefeated and played together like champs.  
Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find.  Worry Stones! From The Schroeder Page photo of
Of course, I carry my worry stone wherever I go!  
I guess, I am superstitious now!

The next day, while we were all resting and sleeping in, I started thinking about the stones and how they helped me to stay calm during some pretty intense softball.  I decided that I was going to play on this idea of the worry stone for back to school.  

So,  off I went searching online for some stones and I totally found the coolest worry stones!  They have saying like courage and peace signs.  Perfect for my Peace, Love, and 2nd Grade theme! 
I ordered a set from this site. 
They were pretty cheap and I was able to pick the ones that worked for my kiddos! These are some of the ones I grabbed.  My plan is to call them Power Rocks!  Rocks that give you the power to be brave and have focus at school.  I am placing these in a jar up front for my kiddos to grab if they need one.  
Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find.  Worry Stones! From The Schroeder Page photo of
Then I decided that my students might need one of their own on the first day of school.  You know when they are feeling nervous or scared.  
I decided to have a Power Rock at each seat when they come in with this little poem.  I ordered a set of 18 mm cupid red decorative oval glass gems from Hobby Lobby.  They have a flat side that is perfect for rubbing!  
Friends~I have to share with you a really neat find.  Worry Stones! From The Schroeder Page photo of

I am going to pass them out with this poem!
Give the poem a click to grab a copy for your kiddos! 

 Worry Stones free pdf poster From The Schroeder Page photo of
I am really excited about my Power Rocks.  I am thinking that they are going to be great for test anxiety, silent reading, focus issues and lots more.  
How do you help your kiddos feel comfortable during Back to School?


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way!

Friends~ My Class is Diggin it Linky is under way! I am getting in the back to school spirit with Cristina Bainbridge over at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge to show you what my room 331 really digs in her My Class is Diggin IT Linky!!
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way!, photo of
First, without a doubt room 331 totally digs Roscoe Riley Books!  They get a huge kick out of Roscoe's shenanigans and the fact that he always starts out in time out.  They gobbled up these books like crazy!  I even created some Novel Studies for them because they became so popular in class. (Thanks Mrs. Lewis for introducing us!)  You can click the book below to check out one of my studies.  
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Roscoe Riley, photo of

Second, just like Mrs. Bainbridge's class, my kiddos love Smencils.  It was a favorite in the writing center.  Any student that earns a 25/25 on their Whiz Quiz this year will get to use a Smencil on their next quiz. (The Whiz Quiz is our weekly spelling and review quiz.) 
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Smencils, photo of
They also love smelly markers that we now call "smarkers." 
 Mr. Sketch are my very favorites! 
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Mr. Sketch
Alright, they also LOVE smelly stickers!  
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Smelly Stickers
My kiddos really dig our subscription to National Geographic Kids!
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! National Geographic Kids, photo
My class flipped over our Moc Iditarod.  In fact, I just saw a copy of an article written about it in our local Harrisburg Magazine!

Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Moc Iditarod Harrisburg Magazine, photo of
I am so proud of our team and how we all worked together to make this day possible for our kiddos!  

My students also LOVE singing and chanting in the classroom.  Their very favorite song is Prove It from my Singing is Learning Collection.  Check them out below!

My 2nd grade friends really enjoyed our Touch Points during our Daily 5 time. It allows them to be more independent during center time. 
Friends~My Class is Diggin IT Linky is Under Way! Talk Points, photo of
The list goes on!  I can't get into my classroom until August so I am going from memory!  
Thanks to Christina for putting this together.  It is a great way for us to reflect on what make learning meaningful and fun in previous years.  


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My First Day in _____ Grade FREEBIE!

Friend~I just put this 10 page My First Day in ______ Grade Freebie together for my kiddos.  I wanted them to have ways to record some of the special events that happen on the first day like lunch and recess:) 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Grab a free copy of the file and enjoy this simple draw and write activity.  It is perfect for a time capsule project.  Just click the image below.
FREE PDF copy of My First Day in _____ Grade FREEBIE! from The Schroeder Page Photo of

Be sure to follow The Schroeder Page on Blog Lovin'!
Also sign up for The Schroeder Page News to grab a link to some Singing is Learning Music!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Classroom Management and Organization Tips Made Easy!

Classroom Management and Organization Tips Made Easy!
Friends~Fall training is just around the corner.  Meaning: I am going to get a new class of kiddos that I must shape and mold into independent learners.  I actually love this time of year.  It is like having a blank slate and with each lesson you can watch your class become more and more independent in their learning.  

One of the ways I begin this training is with a discussion about courage.  Many moons ago I ran across a sign that read: Courage is doing what's right when others are doing wrong.  That simple says has shaped my training and allowed my students the independence they needed to run our classroom. 

We even create a KWL about courage and my students explore the idea of having courage at school.  Check out the photo below!  I even came across the poster that inspired me at Education Express yesterday!  The pencils pictured below are from Oriental Trading.  I ordered a set and plan on passing them out as a reward for students that go home and teach their family about courage.
Classroom Management. courage, photo
The book Courage above by Bernard Waber is an awesome resource that tells the story of courage in all areas of life.  Like fire fighters rescuing people to sleeping without a nightlight. I want my students to know that even saying your are sorry when you make a mistake or following the rules is a way of showing courage.  Click below to purchase the book:) 
Beyond Flipping Cards:Courage book from The Schroeder Page
My students will be making a class book about courage the first day.  Download a FREE copy of the template for you class! 
Classroom Management Courage free acrostic poem PDF from The Schroeder Page, photo
You can read more about teaching courage and training your students to be independent learners in my 106 page file Beyond Flipping Cards.  Just click the link below and be sure to download the preview because you will see a video preview of the file.  
Please note that not all activities are in the video.
Classroom Management Tips Beyond Flipping Cards from The Schroeder Page on Teachers Pay Teachers photo of


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is my go to book right now.  I am feeling the back to school dragon breathing down my neck.  In fact, I had a small taste of professional development this past week and we dove into this book. 

Last school year, I was invited to join a leadership cohort group that my county put together.  I have to say that our sessions have been the best professional development that I have had in a long time. One of the exciting things about this group is that we are combined with all grades level teachers and subject areas.  I have been able to meet some great new friends and we have shared lots of fantastic classroom ideas. I spent last week sitting and collaborating with a middle school health teacher and an ELA middle school teacher.  We had so much fun sharing ideas and resources.   

One of our assignments was to read the following book: 
Best Practice Bringing Standards to Life in America's Classrooms.  By Steven Zemelman, Havey Smokey Daniels and Arthur Hyde

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now, photo
I read this book in chunks over the summer and during our PD we discussed The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching. Some of the standards hit home with me and I knew that I was using them daily in my classroom but others were a bit of a stretch.  That being said I easily set goals for myself on how I could incorporate those standards into my teaching for the new year. 

Here are the standards~I highlighted the ones I want to work on this school year. 
Gradual Release of Responsibility: In this standard, teachers do a lot of modeling, allowing students to try with the teacher's support, and then on their own. (I do this everyday in large and small groups in my classroom.)  

Classroom Workshop: In this standard, children guide their learning through topic choice in books and writing.  They also collaborate with each other and the teacher to discuss their learning. (I love workshop!  I also teach math workshop and writer's workshop.)

Strategic Thinking: This standard teaches students to monitor their own thinking, sensory images, ask questions, and draw inferences.
(This was an standard that I spent last year really focusing on with my students.  My students are great thinkers because the recognize that their thinking supports their learning.)

Collaborative Activity: In this standard, students learn to work together in groups to support their learning.  Each student learns to participate in order for the group to complete an assignment.  
(I want to make sure that my collaborative activities are not just group work.  I want all students to have an active role in the group.) 

Integrative Units: Represent to Learn: In this standard, teachers take a theme or topic and stretches it across the curriculum in the classroom. (This is how I teach!  I love making connections with my students in all areas of the classroom.)

Representing to Learn: This standard allows students to represent their learning through writing, drawing, acting out, and presenting.  
(We focused lots last school year on speaking and listening skills in class.) 

Formative Reflection and Assessment: This standard allows teachers to assess in a more informal way such as portfolios and anecdotal notes.  (I have to admit that assessments are not my favorite.  I did start using Data Notebooks with my class this past year and the results were amazing.  My students charted their own progress in reading and spelling.  My parents loved them and I am hoping to revamp them to make them even better this school year.) 

I wanted to share a really neat collaborative activity that we used in our cohort called a Written Discussion.  It is really simple but it packs a huge punch for learning.  All you need is a sheet of paper and a pencil for each student.  
We first discussed the standard Representing to Learn.  We had a silent discussion with our table groups by writing our thinking on the standard for 2 minutes.  After the 2 minutes we passed the paper.  Our instructor gave us a minute to read what was written and then we responded to what was written on the page.  We continued this until everyone had responded on everyone's paper. 
Check out our thinking below! 

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now Written Conversation Example, photo of
It was really neat to read everyone's thinking on the standard.  I  am excited to use this in my classroom this year!  I know my students will enjoy drawing pictures and words to represent how they feel about a topic.  Grab a FREE copy below!

Friends~The 7 Structures of Best Practice Teaching is My Go to Book Right Now  and a Free PDF of my Written Conversation template, photo of


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friends~Do you want to hear The True Story of Magic e?

Friends~Do you want to hear The True Story of Magic e? 
I have to admit I am a phonics junkie!  For some bizarre reason I love teaching phonics.  I love when my students start to see patterns in words and when they catch letters not following the rules.  
Teach Junkie Creative Ideas

It is like passing on the secret code of reading.  When I taught first grade my class rocked The Phonics Dance and I still use it at the beginning of the year in 2nd grade.  We also pull the chunks out every week with our spelling words.  
 Check out our hunks and chunks below.  

Friends~Do you want to hear The True Story of Magic e? and The Phonics Dance photo

Along with loving The Phonics Dance,  I have a crush on Magic e!
My kiddos learn very quickly on their Whiz Quiz they better know how to give e his magic!

In fact, I am going to grant the the power of Magic e with this spell.
  Click to grab a free copy for your class over on my
Just click below!

Friends~Do you want to hear The True Story of Magic e? and The Magic E Spell, photo

Check out this adorable mini book I put together for my class this coming year!  They are going to get a huge kick out of it! 

We are also going to make Magic e crowns to use when we are out and about practicing in Magic e centers. I can't wait to see them working around the room with these on!  I am pretty sure they will never forget Magic e's power!
The Tue Story of Magic e Crown directions, photo

We are even going to munch on Gummy Stars from Oh Nuts!
Click below to order!

I am so excited about how this all came out.  I have created a file with centers for my students practice Magic e's power in while wearing their crowns. They will be using Magic e flip and read cards.  They will swat words with my Magic e Big Book Swat and create a fun class book with real and nonsense Magic e words.  
Check out these fun Magic e Wands that I will be using with both the spell and the big book center below!
Click below to grab these centers and more below!

The True Story of Magic e Center Preview, photo of


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Everything is better with AQUA!

Friends~Everything is better with AQUA!  We love swimming, sprinklers, Slip and Slides and AQUA Beads!  We have also had tons of rain in NC so I have been looking for some inside learning fun.  
My kiddos love Science so these experiments I found were perfect.
 Lily spent some time with Aqua Science this morning while Ian was at golf camp.  She experimented with some Aqua Beads that we picked up at Education Express. (Head over and grab a set today.) They are so much fun and Education Express has loads of kits to choose from!
  The kit we grabbed was a Mini Play and See kit.  It came in a cute box with a handle.  I am thinking perfect birthday gift!
Experiment #1

Lily made a little bear with the beads.  I am pretty sure when Ian gets home he will jump on the turtle. 
 It was really simple to set up.  
First, you add the beads to the container and choose your template.
Next, you add your tray on top of the template                  
matching up the tabs.  
Your kiddos can then start color matching beads to create 
different pictures.  
Lily was really excited to be able to create her own images too.  
I loved that her fine motor skills were put to work.  
Those beads are super tiny! 

Experiment #2

We also played with some Gravity Goo!
This is a video I found on You Tube!  

Below is the kit we used.  I picked it up at World Market but you can grab all kinds of sets on Amazon.  
Here is a picture of Lily experimenting! 
It was pretty awesome.  As soon as you started pouring the solution it turns into a goo with little clumps in it.  It started forming strings after about 2 minutes of pouring.   
This is a great substance to experiment with when talking about Matter

The hardest part was waiting the 30 minutes after mixing to check out the gravity part! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chickens Have New Meaning!

Friends~Since moving to North Carolina, my family and friends have been visiting a park called Dan Nicholas.  It is a fantastic place with trails, paddle boats, fishing, gem mining, miniature golf and so much more.  I did however forget to mention that they have chickens.  I guess that is because I never thought much of them until this summer.  

(If you are in North Carolina this summer, you have to check this place out.  The best part is that it it super affordable and fun!)

It all started in their small animal area where you can view birds and farm animals.  You can even pet a goat and a donkey.  We usually head through this area right before gem mining.  Well on our past visit, I heard Lily my daughter calling my name so I rushed over to see what she was so excited about.  And, there they were. The Chickens!  We have seen them many time but this time was different.  Why? 

 Well, Lily and I had been reading a novel called Prarie Evers by Ellen Airgood.  It is the sweetest book about how a young teen learns to deal with change and makes a very special friend. The chickens, well they are part of her journey too.  She begins raising them when she moves to her families' farm. 

 I know for sure if our subdivision would allow it- Lily would be begging to raise chickens just like Prarie!  
Thank goodness for the HOA!

So there you have it!  TEXT to WORLD Connection made right there in the same park we have been going to for years.  I love how good literature can stick with a reader and carry over into everyday life.  Lily and I both recommend this book! 

Click the image below to read a sample chapter from the book!
You can even gather some information about the author.  
She even gives a small interview via radio!

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