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Book Trailer Update!

My students have been at it again....letting me know what I need to do to do my job well.  (I love English- to do to do)

For some strange reason--- their papers I needed to edit somehow went missing when they put them on my desk.  I just can't explain it!!! :)

So to remedy this situation- we came up with the book trailer checklist.  It is the entire book trailer process on a sheet of paper that they keep up with- and helps me keep eyes on it all.  They keep everything in a folder and when it comes time that I need to edit something- they put it in a box--- in that neat folder- on my desk.  It's the little things I tell you.  You can have the greatest idea-- but if it's not organized---start writing the epitaph instead!

I simply cut the 3 ring piece of the page protector off and hot glued it to a file folder.  I moved all of the book trailer resources into a binder--so things are better to be positioned to be neat in tidy!

Now, keeping with the theme of organization we updated the way we organize completed book trailers and QR codes.  I love books--- but sadly do not have every single book those book eaters read--so the label on the back of the book only idea fails.  Again, their brilliant minds came up with a photo album.  Here we are able to again neatly keep ALL of the book trailer books in ONE place. This is all updated in the book trailer instruction pack.  The form is editable and you can copy and paste everything directly into the PDF.  WOOO!
photo album cover and label sizes for the file boxes

Second only to a long bath, nothing soothes me more than online shopping and seeing a package at my door.  #firstworldproblems.  A fellow graduate, teacher, student, friend, introduced me to Stitch Fix.  Essentially you tell this company what you like to wear, your sizes, and $20 and a personal stylist picks items out for you and ships them to your house.  You choose what items you like and mail the others back in a pre-paid postage envelope.  If you buy ANYTHING the $20 goes directly to the price of the item- if you buy all 5 items you get 25% off your order.  I was a little nervous- but boy did they turn up!!!  Everything fit perfectly!!!  I loved each item and the prices are VERY reasonable.  They will ship to your house automatically depending on how much you need a fix!!!  If my mom is reading this she is shaking her head.  What she doesn't know is that she's going to get a gift card to this for her birthday!  :)

Check it out!  You won't be sorry!

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If you click on this link-- this broke, but precious teacher gets $25 for her next fix!!! :)

Momma Didn't Raise No Fool

I love my students so much.  I love my students so much it hurts sometimes.  I love my students so much that I feel like I would be FAILING them as a teacher if I did not pull a few April Fool's jokes on them.  I have 7 and 8 year old's-- so I have to bit a teensy tiny bit sensitive, but they have the best humors so I plan on seeing how much I can get away with.

Here is what is rolling around in my head thus far....

*. The ol' swap your teacher routine.  Kids come in to see one of my gorgeous team teachers in my room acting as if she owns the place--- and I do the same in hers.  We'll teach each other's class for an awkward amount of time--until a break or something, switch, and then business as usual, acting as if nothing happened.  
*--- or--- I will have another one of those gorgeous teachers come in and tell them that I'm out sick either first of the day or after lunch, but didn't have enough time for a substitute, give them piles of workbooks, and tell them "we trust you to be on your own for the rest of the day," and walk out.  I'll rush in a few minutes later...

* tell students that they will have a change to win an ipad.  Put an empty ipad box up and in it have an eye pad!  

* Give them the classic following directions sheet...

* Teach a lesson with my mouth moving but no sound coming out.  Animation/emotion/arm flailing is key.

*  Continually switch their desks around throughout the day--- just a few students at a time.

*  I have my planning at the end of the day-- so when students get back they pack up and clean up the floor.  I am going to hot glue a few pencils, markers, crayons etc. to the floor under their desk and demand they clean up their mess.

*  I am going to send a few to the principals office for no reason.  I'm going to do it to my smartest and most well behaved students---who can keep a steady face--- and give them a note with an errand or something to do and tell them to come back acting like they are really upset after 5 minutes.  

*  Closed for renovations sign on the bathroom

*  We're going on a field trip at the end of the day- it's amazing and I can guarantee that it is not just a regular field trip place.  It is special, unique, and pretty awesome.  Your house!!!

*  No day in my world would be complete without a snack. Cookies for everybody--- it's just such a shame that the frosting was a little toothpaste!  

*  Analyze Rossini's "Meow" -watch the video and then write a response.  Talk to them about being a good audience and definitely not laughing like the audience in that video does.

*.  The principal comes in at the end of the day and tells me that I have been fired and that today is my last day. I get a bit dramatic--- however the spirit leads--- and then... look up... "APRIL FOOLS"

Check Out Our World!

We just finished an our economic standards in 2nd grade.  I'm amazed at how much students have to know in the 2nd grade!  Instead of tossing out some worksheets with the terms that they needed to know- I collaborated with my fabulous teammate Kelly Rister, to create a unit.  We decided that if we are going to learn about the economy--- we might as well give students some ownership and allow them to research a country of  their choosing and use that as a springboard for our activities.  We used our unit as a springboard for so many activities and were as always--- so impressed with our students.

First, students got online and checked out World Book online to decide what country they wanted to investigate.  They chose 3 and then I narrowed it down-based on what the other classes did.  They then got on the following sites and filled in a graphic organizer with some information about their country.  After they gathered the information they created brochures about their country and looked on-line and in books for pictures.  

-World Book Online-
Many school districts and libraries have access to World Book Online.  This is an INCREDIBLE resource for research made easy for students.
Click on the World Book icon on the right.
Click on “Kid’s” (purple balloon) à “Compare Places”à Compare Countries
Scroll through countries using the arrows on the right and left.  Click on a country.  On the left there will be contents.  “Explore____” will have quick facts.  View Article will open in a new window and contain informational text, pictures, and videos about the country.
To close out of the country click the small red ‘x’ in the content box. 
-National Geographic-
Scroll and click on countries.  This is not an exhaustive list, but great if you do not have access to World Book or other print resources.
-CIA Factbook-
Click  “Please select a country to view” and select your country. 
Click on economics. Use this for the imports, exports, and resources  for the Country Report Notes handout.
This is also great for students who want to study their country in greater depth.  

I took pictures of their faces and they attached it to the country they were researching.  It was a freakishly cute functional visual. 

While they were researching, we had students as homework look around their home and find where items were made. We created a living bar graph, charted the data, and then made a pie graph. There are endless possibilities of what you could do with this data depending on the age level.  

As students share their reports, look at populations, land area, and where their products are made- this simulation helps them experience the amount of space compared to the amount of people.. Lay out the papers on the floor and have them stand on them, move around.  Continue to take the paper away and make sure they have at least 1 foot on it. Share out on the experience after- make connections as this leads as a great springboard for population, production, economies, etc.

1.   US- 89 (12 sheets of ppr)
2.   Mexico- 157 (7 sheets of ppr) 
3.   China- 372 (3 sheets of ppr)
4.    Japan- 864 (1.5 sheets of ppr)
5.   India- 1,056 (1 sheet of ppr)
# of ppl per sq mile: based upon a classroom of approx. 20 students.
Additional population information by country:

We loved the conversations that came out of this week!  It is amazing what happens when you put students in the driver seat-- and you sit back to facilitate. This unit is easily adaptable to so many skill and ability levels and disciplines.  I'd

This unit can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers with complete instructions and every resource/material you need to complete it. 

I am currently finishing up the home stretch of grad school. !!!WOOOOOO!!! The end is in sight---finally--- but every task feels like climbing Everest. So to break it up and provide some fun for the kids I had one of my best friends come in be mystery read er and then teach my lambs the soul train line.

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Actual Size- a morning of measurement

We learned today-- it is okay to compare.  :) Today we used Steve Jenkins's book Actual Size to compare measurement between our hand and a gorilla's.  I LOVE Steve Jenkins books- he is so creative in his perspective of looking at non-fiction and his books can be a launching point for so many standards across many disciplines.  He is really well known for "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?" My students really love his newest book "The Beetle Book" which is amazing for classification, measurement, descriptions, sorting, details, imagery, to name a few. 

I copied the gorilla hand from the book onto 11x17 paper.  I wanted to keep it 'actual size' though reducing it to an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet would have been much easier.  :)  In second grade a standard is to compare different measurements.2. MD.A.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.

I had students draw their hand inside of the gorillas and begin measuring it from different lengths to compare measurement.  They used both inches and centimeters and then found the difference between their hand and the gorillas. i.e "The gorilla's middle finder to the bottom of his palm is 12 inches and mine is 7 inches. The difference is 5 inches." "The gorillas thumb is 5 1/2 in. and my thumb is 4.5 inches.  The gorilla's thumb is 1 in. bigger than my thumb"

We created a word bank on the board so they could be precise with what they were describing-- because if not... they would have just been giving me the finger a lot!!!  For students that were quick I had them total the length of the gorillas fingers and find the difference with their total finger length. Same for knuckles.  It was great for differentiation because students could go at their own pace and you could easily modify how and what they measure.  For younger students they could easily do with with cubes, paper clips, etc.

After they were winding down on measurement I asked them if the ruler alone can describe the size difference in their hands.  At first they didn't get it, so I had 2 students come up.  I gave one a really thin piece of paper and another one a big piece--- both of the same length.  I asked if that was the same length-- so they are the same?  They caught on and said "NOOOOO they are different sizes"  Insert lesson on area.

I rummaged under my desk, aka Mary Poppin's carpet bag, and found Valentines candy hearts that we didn't use.  As a table they found out how many candy hearts fit into the gorilla hand, and then had them to the same individually.  This also posed as an excellent springboard for arrays and multiplication.  They found the difference in area (in candy hearts) between the gorillas hand and theirs.

"The area of the gorillas hand is_____ candy hearts.  The area of my hand is ______ candy hearts.  The difference in areas is _____ candy hearts."

After they got done they shared in groups and then on the carpet. The book has a TON of other animals to compare with and get different measurements from.  You could use this book to count with standard/nonstandard units, multiplication, ratios, proportions, area, mass, volume, weight, comparing different animals in writing, habitats, adaptations, etc.

I'm signing off until Spring Break!!! PARTY FINGERS!  HAPPY DANCE! DANCE PARTY! 

Tomorrow I am going to see one of my all time favorite artists-- the one and only Billy Joel! WWOOOOOOOOOOOO!  With that I'm going to leave you with the song my high school boyfriend asked me to the Senior Ball with in front of our entire choir.  (we were really hip at Woods Cross High :)) 

Breaking Stalin's Nose book trailer

Here is the newest book trailer we created as a class.  We read Breaking Stalin's Nose as a read aloud in a matter of 2 weeks.  The story is set over a 24 hour time period and is very suspenseful.  The writing style really gets students talking/thinking as they have to really decipher what is really happening.  With all that is happening in our world today, it really positions them to critically think for themselves.  They were in disbelief when the book ended, so much so that we now have to write a letter to Mr. Yelchin.  Writing is power.  :) 

It also played well off of reading Soldier Bear-- as they now realize why the dog's name was Stalin. 

Measurement Olympics

Today I combined with my teaching buddy and our classes competed in the “The Measurement Olympics.”  I work with some INCREDIBLE ladies and it is jsut so fun to collaborate.  

We went outside and students had to take part in different activities- discus throw with paper plates, shot put with a cotton ball, long jump, high jump, javelin with a straw.  Students measured their distances, we compared them within our class and then with the other 2nd grade class.  We held a ceremony and gave really fancy printed medals as their awards

We set up 5 rotations outside and divided the class into groups.
At each station we had a cone and then a starting line made out of masking tape.
The tools for each--- really only a cotton ball, a few straws, and yard/sticks or measuring tape.
 For the long jump students held a straw in their hand and used that as a marker for their measurement.

For the high jump we ended up putting up a strip of tape as measurement and had students jump with a piece of tape in their hand and hit the column.
Students kept clipboards with their sheets and a pencil.  We rotated clockwise through all 5 stations.  Each station took approximately 10-15 minutes for 7-8 students to get through.

We then came back to class, shared out about their experience, and compared our numbers between girls, then boys, then together.  After I got together with the other teacher and combined our two scores (I think her kids cheated a bit though:) )

  Here are the files we used for our 
class rankings and their
 Olympic measurement data.

Google docs doesn't allow me to use my cutesy fonts.... so change those at your leisure!  

We had a medal ceremony in which we set up a stool and 2 different sized chairs to students to stand on as they received their awards.  We had the Olympic theme song playing in the background and a picture of the rings on the board.  Student were awarded a paper medal and a free homework pass.

The kids loved getting outside and I loved them working/having a great time and allowing them to be independent.  Plus it's just nice to be with another teacher for part of the day to share in the ridiculous things our precious angels say.

Enjoy your weekend!  I am training for a half marathon-- note... I HATE running--- and doing 7 miles tomorrow after having Mexican food no less than 3 times this week.  Prayers!  :)

Simple Machine Scavenger Hunt

For the last week we have been studying simple machines.  

As a class, we discussed what simple meant and then what a machine was.  We wrote them up on the board then watched the brainpop jr. on simple machines.  After we watched it we discussed their new findings and they began to notice simple machines in our class and outside school connections.

I had students put together these mini-books--- which who knew cutting and folding could be so difficult.  Here these kids can make book trailers practically in their sleep and yet the act of cutting a horizontal line almost cost me my salvation.  

Mini Book Freebie-- Click here!  

I once again hit up the librarian and we did a gallery walk around the room for them to first read and investigate what simple machines are.  They had to write what/how that specific simple machine did for us and draw pictures of examples.  We did the first as a class, then I put on the timer, music, and let them go!  Each of the 5 stations had different books or print outs about that specific simple machine.

We came back to the carpet and they shared with 2 partners what they learned. As a class we shared out our definitions for each simple machine.

  I then told them to get their jackets, clipboards, mini-book, and a pencil because we were going on a scavenger hunt.  We walked around the school and took pictures on the iPads of simple machines that we found.  In their mini booklets they wrote examples in the boxes of what they found.  If they ran out of space (which many did) they wrote them on the back.  They were simple astounded how many machines they use every day!

Lever, Wheel & Axle, Wedge, Pulley

Wheel & Axle, Lever


Incline Plane(s)


The next day, we used the educreations app, which is like an interactive whiteboard to circle the simple machine(s), name it, and state why.  The kids loved taking turns to record, draw, and write on the iPad.  I love them explaining why they know what they know! 

You could use the app and a scavenger hunt for- shapes, solids, letters, angles.

My First Currently

My buddy and pal Elizabeth Hall over at Kickin' It In Kindergarten has been guiding my steps as a new blogger!  I was so naive at how many options there are to connect and simply how much you have to know!!!  Yesterday she told me... you must do this Linky.  I of course had no clue what she was talking about and like all good students had to google it!!!  So here I am... posting my first... and definitely not last in the blogger world!  

I also want to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to Michelle from the 3 am teacher for designing my blog.  I think she is a full time designer, part time prophet.  I was so nervous about the design and the first thing she game up with was nothing short of BRILLIANT and she totally nailed it.  I cannot rave enough about her professionalism, creativity, and just friendly nature.  She really helped this new blogger get her sea bearings and for that I am ever indebted!!! Please go check out her GORGEOUS graphics and designs.

My school district was just given the gift of a snow day, so I am now going to go snuggle up with my friends, watch the Oscars, and work on a bigger blog post for this week that involves our recent country/economic reports!  

Enjoy your Sunday evening!!!