Monday, October 29, 2012

Ahoy Matey!

So today was the much anticipated PIRATE DAY!! :)  

I love how baffled the kids are as they arrive in the morning, wondering why all of the 2nd grade teachers are dressed like pirates!  I usually do math after our morning work, but today with all of the excitement, I had to move up my phonics lesson so my super curious kids could find out what it was all about.   So I introduced the Pirates "AR" that say "AAAARGH!"  We came up with a ship full of "ar" words and then the students created a ship of their own and added MORE "ar" words to their ship.  As the week continues, we will talk about more pirates the rebellous pirates "er," "ir," and "ur"... they say "ERR" and then there is the confused pirate "or" that says, "ORRR?!?"  After we discuss each group of pirates we will continue to add more words to both our class and individual ships. I have my wonderful co-worker, Gwen, next door to thank for the idea of having the kids make their individual ships! I will have to take a picture of the completed project after the week is over.   The ship we did today looks similar to this one, only our ship today was the "ar" ship so it is FULL of "ar" words!

With all of my excitement about today, I created a couple of supplemental items for this lesson, well pirate themed, not so much phonics related, yet.  Click on the pictures below to go to my TPT shop to get them for FREE! :)
My kids are in love with the few trivia items that we did today, they were shocked with several of the facts!  I had them work as a team to come up with an answer.  Their team captain wrote it on the board to share their answer.  It was definitely a hit!  I'm excited to finish the rest of them throughout the week.
I can always use something new and refreshing in my centers, or well my kids can.  I can't wait for the kids see the new addition to their centers box tomorrow!  Can you tell we are all about pirates! :)

With all of the pirate madness, I couldn't resist but to make a pirate incentive map to stretch out my pirate theme this week.   Throughout the day, my kids earned coins.  They earned coins for being on the ball, actively participating, following simple directions (seriously, we are in week 10 and some still have major difficulty with this, AAARGH!).  Each time they earned coins, they got to put their coins in the table bucket.  They never questioned what they were for, they were just beyond excited to have a bucket of coins!  At the end of the day some of the kiddos began to notice our "treasure map" located on the wall.  We had a little pirate trivia and then a tie breaker to find the team with the winning number of coins.  The winning team got to pick the card to flip over, on the other side of the question mark was the picture and all of the incentive cards.  The group that won today earned the "read with anyone you want" card.  I love how excited they get over these simple rewards! :)  I can't wait to see how improved their behavior is tomorrow.  Why can't every week be pirate week?!?!  
Without any cards flipped!
The pirate ship in the bottom left flipped over.

What it will look like on Friday after all of the cards have been flipped! 

Tomorrow and Wednesday, we will be finishing up our Halloweeniers! Click here to see a post and a little more info on it.  I can't wait to see the product of some of my creative students.  Below is the example that I made to give the kids a visual of what I expect. 

Isn't Oscarina cute, dressed all the way down to her feet.  The kids L.O.V.E.D. her!  Click on the picture to go to my TPT store to buy it, it's on sale through tomorrow evening.  It includes a suggested lesson plan for writing and art, brainstorming pieces for the writing and a template for the Oscar or Oscarina! :)  Gotta love when we can incorporate multiple standards into one activity!

I also plan to make adjective witch skirts and putting witches brew on REPEAT!  We listened to it twice last week and it is already stuck in my kids heads.  As we came in from recess today they were yelling/singing it at the top of their lungs!  Probably another one of my favorite lessons.... I'm starting to think everything is my favorite lesson...But seriously, Pirate week is my FAVORITE, FAVORITE lesson.... :)

It is hard to believe that this was a year ago.... :(
 Tonight, B and I carved her first pumpkin.  She was not quite sure what to think about it, once she got warmed up to the pumpkin, she thought she needed to eat it! Needless to say, we had fun, it is the biggest joy watching my little pumpkin grow up and explore new things! 

Happy Howloween week! :) 

Kelli :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Update!

So I made a goal to post once a week.... well it has been almost 3 weeks since my last post, oops!  My excuse is that my sweet baby was sick, I got sick, and then it was the end of the 9 weeks.  As all teachers know, the end of the grading week is full of all kinds of hustle and bustle, last minute grading, inputting grades, verifying grades, entering competencies, etc!  Thankfully, about a fourth of the year is over, which means it's almost Thanksgiving and then before we know it, it will be Christmas time! :)

I have been working hard to create a few new things to add to my TPT!  Two of the units are my absolute favorite things to do this time of year.

Verbs!  Verbs! Verbs! I love SUPER VERBS!!!  I have created a TPT unit for a Superhero craftivity, along with a few lesson ideas, anchor chart, and verb charades game! :)  You can click on the link below to check it out in my TPT store, I have it discounted now, too! :)

I also LOVE to read The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey around Halloween.  After we read this story, we brainstorm ideas for writing a story about our own Oscar or Oscarina.
 I created a unit to go along with this story as an extension, it includes a writing piece for students and the template for students to create their own Hallo-Wiener dressed up! :)
Click on the super cute dog below, made specially by MelonHeadz, to head over to the unit in my TPT store.
 As a team, we've made a goal to work on our students basic fact fluency.  To monitor and improve our students fluency for basic addition problems 1-12, I have created a unit includes an explanation to the unit, a parent letter, flash cards, two versions of timed tests, a tutorial for printing multiple pages, and a tracking method with templates.  I am currently on week 2 and I have to admit, my kids L-O-V-E this!  I think it also helps that as they earn their gumball for our tracking, that I also give them an actual gumball to chew on it class.  With a few rules and threats if I find gum ANYWHERE other than their mouth or the trash can! :)  You can click on the picture below to be taken to my TPT store where this unit is available.  I also have a preview available on TPT that shows several of the pages within the unit.
Last weekend, as we started feeling a little better, we headed over to our local pumpkin patch.  We went last year, of course, Berklee was so tiny, she has no recollection of this.  She was IN LOVE with all of the pumpkins, the animals in the petting zoo, the hayride, and well just being outdoors in general.  My only complaint was that it was in the 90's, this weekend it is in  the 50's.  Go figure, that is Texas for you!

She looks too grown up, it's not even funny!

I am so looking forward to this next week, we get to continue our Robert Munsch book study and do a few of Amy Lemon's craftivities from her Teaching with Robert Munsch unit AND we are going to be doing our PIRATE lesson to teach R-CONTROLLED vowels!!! EKKKK, I am a little excited!  Here is a picture of the pirate ships that we list our words on, sorry it is side ways, but you get the point!  Can't wait, can't wait!

Have a happy weekend! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Change is my thing!

Change is always something I have always craved...Not BIG, life altering change, but small subtle change.

I like to try new things, go new places, explore new ideas.  If I don't try to change, I will never know if it is the best. 

In college a small part of my craving for change was satisfied by simple things like constantly rearranging my living room, changing up my wardrobe, rearranging my room, trying different routes to places, going to eat a little hole in the wall places, etc... For me now in my personal life it is changing the flooring in my house from the nasty carpet and cafeteria tile that was in the house when I bought it, to a homier style ceramic tile and carpet. Yet, with this change I always thing of other ways to implement change within my life.

As far as teaching and my classroom goes....

My first year of teaching it was the arrangement of my room.  OH MY GOODNESS, did I ever rearrange my room, I felt as though every time my mentor peaked her head in my room, it was a different arrangement.   I am pretty sure I changed the arrangement of my room, the kids seating arrangement, and all of the other junk educational resources around my room around about 537 times before the first year was over.  My kids became used to it, as did my coworkers! Although, I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy, but I blame a little bit of it on my pregnancy hormones.

Last year, I changed up my approach for classroom management and the way literacy centers were set up.  I went from a "token" economy to the use of the clip chart.  BEST. DECISION. EVER.  I was also introduced to Daily 5, I swear the ladies who came up with the idea for Daily 5 were GENIUS! 

This year, I kept my the idea for the clip chart, but I have added a few things.  I made a TPT (Teacher'sPayTeachers) pack that is a Chevron themed Clip Chart, since I am currently obsessed with chevron print, everything!  I made little certificates for students that reach the "TOP" of the chart, certificates to recognize how many times students made it to the "TOP" of the chart in one month, a parent letter for the system, as well as a behavior sheet for when students are not following the rules and have to clip down.  

I also changed up my literacy centers, again.  After being asked to be one of the grade level representatives for my school, I attended a Balanced Literacy Institute that was put on by our district.  It was through this that I realized some of the Daily 5 rotations were not as meaningful as they could/should be.  I still follow the basic idea behind Daily 5, well not all the mini lessons between the rotations, but the basic 5 choices.  In addition to the 5 choices though I have added a couple others, I have changed word work to spelling and added word study.  This will give students the opportunity to work on more focused skills based in their reading and ability level.   I can proudly say, I have yet to change the arrangement of my room and we are ALMOST through the first quarter.  :) 

It seems as though I am constantly changing the approach to the way I teach things.  It is like I get a great idea..... take off with the idea and mid stream think of something else to add to it!  I've learned that sometimes, not all the time of course, these great ideas are better to write down than to immediately implement within the current lesson. 

Basically this post was all about change.... what got me into posting about this tonight?  Well I decided my blog needed a makeover, the 3rd one since I started this thing!   I L-O-V-E Fall, I love the colors, the smells, the cooler weather, and everything PUMPKIN (yes, I am aware that this is a repeat of what I put in my "currently" post).  Since I love Fall so much, I decided that my blog NEEDED could use a Fallish makeover.

 So here it is and now maybe you understand a little bit about my need for change.  

These make me think that my NEED for change is perfectly normal, however I don't always feel like it is!

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.  Mine will be packed full time with my baby, my family, church, a little bit a lot of  grading papers, and making lesson plans, but FIRST I will start off with a Jewelry party tomorrow! :)


Thursday, October 4, 2012


I always love reading others "Currently" posts.  I've decided to link up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party! :)

It is going to be my goal to blog once a week, even if it's nothing but a quick update about the week!  I think this is an attainable goal, let's see if I can keep up with it! :)

This week has been all kind of hectic.  Monday was a half day of work for me since I had to get a cist removed by my eye.  Unfortunately, Miss B ended up with a fever on Monday night through Tuesday.  Turns out she had an ear infection (only her 3rd ever, so I'm not really complaining).  When I made it back to school on Wednesday, I felt as though I had been gone a week.  I have been playing catch up ever since, I'm exhausted.  Thankfully tomorrow is Friday!

On an exciting note, one of my coworkers helped me set up our MYSTERY crime scene for out TAG (GT) kiddos today after school. I would have been lost without her help or just way more exhausted, you're the best Brittany! I'm pretty darn excited about the MYSTERY and so are the students.  I have been working with 12 first and second graders for about 3 weeks now, preparing them and helping them develop skills to solve our MYSTERY!  Be on the lookout, a post about how the MYSTERY is going will be coming in the near future! :)

I hope everyone has had a great week, it's almost FRIDAY!! :)