What day is it?!

Oh my goodness! These last few days have been a whirlwind and just now am I able to catch a breath. Thursday was my Back to School Night where I got to meet my parents and go over the procedures and such. I have to say that I have such a wonderful group of parents again this year and it makes me REALLY excited to begin the new school year. I had a few parents not show up, which is a bit frustrating since I consider the time when parents can meet their child's teacher and discuss the year ahead very valuable. I just know these are the parents who will stop me on the first day to ask a bunch of questions! But, I do understand that families are finishing up their summer vacations.

Open House on Friday was another great experience since I got to meet my new kiddos! Again, I am blessed with (what appears to be) a great class ;) A few shy ones but I could see them coming out of their shells a bit towards the end. The scavenger hunt went off without a hitch and the kids loved the lollipops I had for them. I even got..."What?! My teacher didn't give me any candy!"...brownie points won ;) All in all it was a great few days but let me tell you...I am tiiiired.

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful Labor Day weekend and good luck to all my teacher friends who are starting their first week of school next week and to those who are already in the full swing of things!

Looking ahead, I do have some fun things in the works for the first week's plans that I can't wait to share with everyone so be sure to check back with that!

Monday Made It {Aug 26, 2013}

*edited Aug 2016

Open House Blow Pops
This week I am preparing for our Back to School Night and Open House with these cute lollipops thanking my students for coming and a little treat before the first day of school. I simply cut out the template (see download below) and taped the the stick of the lollipops! It was such an easy thing to do that not only impressed the parents, but were appreciated by my kiddos. I was forever known as the teacher who gave out candy! :)

These Open House lollipops were a hit by my students! Create these easy treats easily with this example and a FREE printable!

Tips for Printing:
Printing 1 slide per page made them super big so if you're wanting them about the size you see in the picture, choose the option to print 2 slides on 1 page.

Class Jobs
Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!

These classroom job cards got a facelift in 2016, but these older cards are included in the new download! I loved using them with clips instead of writing in the student’s names every week and were easily rotated.

This new version includes a new template, circular cards, and new jobs!


Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!


Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!


Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!

Get BTS prepared with these chevron classroom job cards! New download includes old set and new templates! Check out more on the blog!

Show Off Your Space Linky!

Hi there! Wow, I've been super busy in my classroom this past week with setting up my classroom, PD, and preparing for Back to School Night/Open House and I feel like I haven't had much time to connect with all my blogger friends. BUT...today I am linking up with Swimming into Second and showing off my classroom (yes, again) now that it's all coming together...finally!

So, today I have some organizational things to share with everyone. I'm excited to begin putting into place a lot of the ideas I found from Pinterest!

3M Hooks on Computers
This year I am using 3M hooks on the side of my computer screens to hold two headphones (our school provided headphone splitters so two students can use the computer simultaneously. My classroom has three student computers and one of which I'm using as my teacher computer since we aren’t provided laptops. During reading or math centers I’ll have students buddy up and keeping the headphones on the computer allows the space to stay neat of cords and minimal jumbling.

Book Displays

Something else new in my classroom this year is using a cookbook display to promote the seasonal books or books I’d like students to check out. This also works as a spot for featured teacher-texts that I use as read-alouds throughout the week. Students know how to handle the ‘teacher books’ and should stay in pristine condition for others to use. I don’t typically keep all of my mentor texts in the student library, but ones I want them to re-read or use for an activity are featured using these displays. Such a great find at TJ Maxx!


Clip Chart Hack
If you’re anything like me then you'll love a good clip chart. Whether it’s for behavior or writers workshop I use clips for students to take ownership of their progress throughout the year. For example, when using my writers workshop clip chart (see photo) I use dixie cups that are hot glued to the backs of the posters and again hot glued to the wall to lift the poster off the wall so the clips can easily be moved from one poster to the next. I use the thick laminate for these posters so they’ll last all year long without fraying from the clips’ usage. Such a neat trick and has come in handy! Here are my dixie cups in action! 
Love how they bring my posters off the wall. You can pick up my Writing Process Poster set here or even pick up the newer version (added in 2016) here!

Pick up this newer version of my popular Writing Process Posters that can be used as simple displays or as a clip chart! See how I do it in my classroom up on the blog!


Magnetic Rod For Posters
Finding enough wall space for the many anchor charts us teacher accumulate over the years is tough work. Often times I feel like I’m searching for space to hang everything - especially if it’s worthy to keep up most of the year and with a smart board taking up what used to be a black board I’m left with having to get smart with my board space. One way I display, and keep organized, my anchor charts and other posters is by using a magnetic curtain rod! It fits perfectly on my board and by using clips or paper rings I am able to hang and flip as I need them.

It’s also easy to transport your anchor charts around the room too! I have often used it to work with my students on the rug using my easel then move it to the front of the class once students return to their seats! I also laminate my anchor charts so that they stay preserved for years to come and can easily be written on with dry-erase markers.


Useful Clip Hangers
For posters or other things that need to be interchanged throughout the year like student work, I opt for using these clips to hang onto them. Then, when it’s time to switch them out I can easily take them down without needing staples or worry about how much time it’ll take to do it all.


What nifty tricks do you use in the classroom?! Share in the comments!

Sale!


Just a friendly reminder that tomorrow is the last day to receive 10% off my entire store! That means those who want additional savings after TpT's big Back to School sale will have until tomorrow to shop!

Va 2nd Grade Objectives FREEBIE

Updated!! DOWNLOAD FREEBIE

Tonight I have a FREEBIE to share with all of my Virginia {and 2nd grade teachers} (sorry to everyone else!!). I just created these objective cards that align with the current state standards! This year instead of writing out the objective each day I am going to post these next to my schedule. Plus it'll be a good reminder for me when going over the schedule with the kids...will help keep me on track each day :)

Due to feedback from my amazing followers, I've now included the Oral Language standards and standard 2.5 in Math (oops!).

Objectives: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, History, and Health standards

Hope you can find this helpful!

Classroom Reveal 2013

Yay! The time has finally come where I've been able to set most of my classroom up (with the exception of odds and ends)! I've been really looking forward to sharing my room with everyone and I'm happy with how it's turned out.

...on to the tour
 This is a panoramic view of my room standing near the front door. I have my bathroom and cubbies to the far left. On the door I plan to display my classroom jobs.
Finding how I would/could group my tables was the biggest problem I initially had. Last year I didn't have this large carpet so 99% of my instruction was with my students sitting at their desks. I'm really happy our PTO was able to get  me a new carpet because now I can finally teach with the students on the carpet then back at their seats for guided practice. 


This is my library area. Right now their book boxes have the new textbooks and other items that'll eventually be put inside their desks. I have my CAFE board all set and ready to go! I know my bookcase looks bare right now...once the kids come at Open House they'll put their publishing writing binders there.


This year I have my teacher desk tucked away in the corner of my room. I placed one of the desktops on my desk so it's clear which computer is mine (it also displays on the proboard)

Today I was able to start working on my Back to School Night/Open House items such as getting copies ready!

This is my guided reading area. I love the use of lamps and other lighting (I HATE those classroom ceiling lights)...just makes it feel more homey. I also have my writing center in between the guided reading table and my library. My writing process posters are below the pencil poster :)


Well, that's my room for now...there's still a little bit left to do but I'm happy with how (quickly) it has come together. It's definitely one less thing to stress out about and now I can focus on the next step...Back to School Night!
Since I will be in my classroom setting up all day I wanted to quickly share an idea that I was inspired by from Mrs. Wilson's Class! She posted about using QR codes as a way to give her parents her contact info...umm...genius! I've seen QR codes out there and teachers using them and so I thought I would join the group of techie teachers and create my own code to share this year!

QR HOW-TO
#1: Make your QR code! Visit this link and add your school's address and phone number as well as your work email. I also included the link to my class website where parents have all kinds of resources available to them.

#2: Download the free Remind101 app to your phone. This little guy allows you to send notifications and reminders via text messages to your parents without having to give them your personal phone number! It's perfect for sending reminders about upcoming events, field trips, deadlines, snow days, etc. 
#3: Create a fun display for your parents at Back to School Night/Open House (the best part!). Attach your newly created QR code and phone number/code (Remind101 provides you with a special number and message code) so that your parents can snap and go with your info!

*Your parents will need the free QR Reader app in order to scan your code. They do not need the Remind101 app to receive your reminder messages

What kind of system do you use for the beginning of the school year?

Five For Friday!

So, I'm a little late for this linky but this week has been very busy and I'm excited to share what I've been up to! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share 5 random things from this week.

#1 Got to my classroom!
I was so excited to check my work email and find that special message from the principal letting us know when we can finally get back into our rooms! This week has been a blur but it's nice to get to work and start putting my room together! I can definitely say that being in my second year in 2nd grade makes it so much easier to organize and arrange furniture since I have an idea of how the year will run. I'm definitely feeling a lot more prepared :)

#2 Tried a new restaurant in DC
Since we are planning to move in October Philip and I are taking it upon ourselves to try and enjoy as much of DC food as we can before we leave. Within the last few months so many new restaurants popped up near our place so it's been exciting to discover these little places one by one. The place we ate at this time was Ghibellina on 14th street which is an Italian Gastro Pub and I have to say that their food was amazing. Definitely a place I recommend to anyone visiting the area. But you seriously can't go wrong with anything on 14th St NW! :)

#3 Finished season 1 of Breaking Bad
Obviously we are a bit behind in the obsession of Breaking Bad but with it available on Netflix makes it super easy for us to catch up. Well, catch up a lot! I look forward to seeing how season 2 plays out.

#4 Taking time to slow down
With the school year quickly approaching it's important that I take the time to do fun stuff with the boy since I'm going to become busier and...more tired. He's always so supportive and knows how hard I work (even during the summer!). Tonight we made some yummy oatmeal cookies! 

#5 I reached 100 followers!
I was so excited this week to see that my little blog here reached 100 followers both on Bloglovin' AND Facebook! I'm so proud of this little accomplishment since last year my blog barely got 10 views. This has become my little baby and the support has been amazing! I'm really looking forward to how the year will progress...so, thank you to all of my followers!!!

Teacher Week '13: Tips & Tricks


I have had so much fun during Teacher Week and getting to share and read about all the things teachers are doing to prepare for the new year. Thanks so much Blog Hoppin' for hosting such an amazing event and of course a HUGE thank you to all the bloggers out there participating and sharing their classrooms with us! :)

Today is all about the teacher tips and tricks! Now, I'm only going into my third year teaching so I'm sure a lot of my tips and tricks are not new to anyone but they've been super helpful to me throughout my busy days in second grade. Again, I apologize for no photos since my classroom is still being unpacked and put together (I'm hoping to have my big reveal next week...it's almost done!) but where I can, I'll place some pins I found that'll help give you an idea of what I do in my classroom.

#1 Dixie Cups
I've posted this trick a while back but for those who are looking to raise your clip chart or writing process posters off the wall for clips to be used on them, I swear by these little guys. Raising these posters off the wall, by hot gluing them, helps students move their clips up and down with no problems!

#2 Hot Glue Gun
If you haven't already...buy a glue gun! I used to use that sticky tack stuff (and still do for some stuff) but the problem was...those darn posters would fall down and I'd have to strain myself putting them back up! Ta-da! Hot glue allows you to hang whatever you want (for the whole year!) without damaging the walls of your classroom.

#3 3M Hooks
Another goodie. I now use these guys to hang my curtains (thank you, Pinterest!). I didn't have curtains last year but it makes such a difference...makes your room so homey :) But, you can seriously use 3M hooks for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.


#4 Cover Storage with Fabric!
This is something new I'm doing this year. In our school we have these ugly storage bins that we use to hold materials and I have 2 of them in my classroom. Each year I never really know what to do with them since they don't conveniently fit in any spot. So, this year I'm getting a little more creative and hiding the bins I don't use, or are using for storage for other things, by covering it with fabric and securing it with stick-on velcro. So, my tip would be that if you're looking to hide your storage, then try using fabric!

ALSO...
I will be having a Back to School sale over at my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you're interested in picking up some items! 10% off my entire store! It will be from Aug. 19th-22nd :)

Teacher Week '13: Taming the Wild!

I'm back and linking up (finally!) with Blog Hoppin' once again for Thursday's topic: Taming the Wild! These past couple days have been so busy since I was able to get into my room on Wednesday....I was bummed I couldn't snap any cute photos of my room since it's not in that stage yet...but I am super close! However, I have enjoyed peeking inside the rooms of everyone else!

Anyways, today I wanted to share with you the few things I do in my room and a couple new things I'm looking forward to trying out (photos coming later!).

#1 Clip Chart
I swear by this thing. I first started using the clip chart last year and wasn't quite sure how it was going to go. Then, out of nowhere...everyone was using it so it must have been worth it! But over the course of the year it was amazing to see how well this system worked with the kids (I mean, I've never seen children care so much about a clip before). At this point I'm sure everyone knows how it works but for those who don't, it's essentially a behavior management system that incorporates moving of student's clips up and down depending on certain behaviors. If you don't have one, I definitely recommend trying it this year!

To keep my kids accountable and an easy way to track behavior, especially for those parents who want a daily update about their kid, I made a 'Clip Slip' that goes home each day. As a part of their dismissal routine, my kids have to color in where they ended the day on and I check it before they get their things. Parents have to initial each night so I know they saw it. Worked perfectly last year :)
click to see post and get clip slip


#2 Money Management
Another good tool for behavior management: money. This one was a little difficult for me to keep track of, personally, so I'm looking into how I can be more organized with it. How it works: students earn coins and dollars based on work/effort performance, positive behavior, etc. Money can also be taken away as a consequence for poor behavior, missing homework routinely, etc. The money earned throughout the month can be used in purchasing "rewards" at the class store. I typically have a parent volunteer run the store so I can be busy doing other things around the room.

One thing I am trying new this year is relying less on store items bought/donated by parents. The year started off great but then parents didn't want to donate as cool of toys the rest of the year (I can't really blame them). So, this year I am going to use rewards in the classroom as prize items they can purchase.

#3 Compliment!
The letters of compliment are spelled out on the board and each time the class gets a compliment from other teachers, positive behavior as a class at specials, etc. a letter is flipped over. The class votes on what reward they're working towards (adds the extra incentive) and when all the letters spell compliment they get their class reward. Works very well...

...aaaaand possibly in place of compliment this year I am considering on another idea I found from Pinterest. This incorporates the same concept as compliment but instead of spelling out the word, rewards are already printed and laminated and each time a compliment is earned, a student can color in the tile of a letter from whichever reward they want. The first reward completely spelled out is what the students earned.




...but I'm also trying something new this year. I saw a pin over the summer in which the teacher uses NOISE to control the voice level. NOISE is spelled on the board and each time the voice level gets too loud a letter is taken away. If all the letters are taken, then students have to work silently for the rest of the period, day, etc.



*Update* Va State Standards

It appears (of course) that Virginia decided to add some new standards this year, specifically in Language Arts. So, that means I got to work updating the Va State Standards template I made last year. I don't know about you, but those online standards can be a little difficult, visually, to look at and actually use when writing lesson plans. That's why I decided to take that info and put it in my own little color-coordinated chart. It has helped me locate specific standards with ease!


Hope this becomes as useful to you as it did for me last year!!