Always shine by using all your talents and skills!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Trucker Buddy!!

Are you looking for authentic writing ideas or for a penpal?  How about a Trucker Buddy?  I have had a Trucker Buddy write to my class.  My students were able to track were he went and we plotted his routes on a map!  We also learned about transporting goods, geography and hot trucking places/diners/stop, safe ways to handle shipping goods, and where goods are shipped and why!  My 2nd Graders were able to learn about semis and the challenges one is faced when driving a semi!  Our Trucker Buddy was going to bring the semi to school, but ended up with truck issues the day of his visit :(   He did send us pencils, postcards, and minitrucks!  IT WAS A TRUCKING WRITING EXPERIENCE!!!!  This year I plan to sign up again and blog about our experiences and travels with our Trucker Buddy!  Perhaps I will even invite our entire school to sign up; wow, would that be a HAUL!!!  CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
                     Here is a video testimonal about the Trucker Buddy Program

Thursday, June 28, 2012

1 Sentence to Describe Your Grade!

95 degrees today and over 100 with the humidty and heat index!! LOVING IT!!! (I long all winter long for this weather).  Weather and temps. aside, I decided to go on Proteacher and read what other First and Second Grade Teachers were posting and discussing.  I came upon one teacher's request:  How would you describe your grade in one sentence!  Here's is what she had and wanted to revise:
K beginning (basic) reading and writing and number sense
1 beyond ABC and 123...reading, writing and arithmetic
2 Foundation is set, Let's learn something new!

Here is my idea for 2nd Grade:  Expand upon foundation and build to new academic, social and emotional heights

Do you have one to share?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Common Core Planning

So I am still thinking, analyzing, planning, and OVER OBESSING about the Common Core Standards; is anyone else?  I was eager to see what other districts/or teachers in 2nd Grade have done in regards to planning out their year to make sure they are covering all the Standards!  I came across this Planning Guide
-WOW!!!  Thank you to Charlotte Mecklenburg School District and the 2nd Grade teachers for sharing and providing this!

Fuse Bead Fun!

We are in our 8th day of class and my students are falling in love with Fuse Beads!  Many have now purchased their own and are creating fantastic projects at ome too!  These could be integrated into Art and Math- patterns, shapes, color choice, etc.  They also could be use to supplement a animal research project.  or procedureal writing! The possibilities are wide open!!!  (I'm eager to see the results of one of my student's projects- a 3d chair).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2nd Grade News

Happy Tuesday!!  I am in the process of revising, changing, and updating many of my 2nd Grade documents, my website, parent letter, etc.  This fall I will be teaching 1st and 2nd Grade (for math, Social Studies, Technology, Science, and Health).  I am eager and excited, yet nervous.  I have taught 2nd Grade for the past 10.5 years and have never taught a multi-age class (we are going to call it SAFE-Second and First Education).  One of the items that is on top of my list of MUST DO:  my 2nd Grade News-also known as my weekly parent letter.  I hope to be able to make it 1st and 2nd Grade parent and student friendly, helpful, and informational!  Here is a 2nd Grade News that I sent home this past year and would look forward to hearing about any suggestions and tips you may have on how to revise and edit it.    Furthermore, do you send home a weekly letter?  Do you find all your parents read it?  Do you also send it via email or post it on your website?  Please let me know....smiles!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

These are a hit!

 One week of summer school can now be check off; the first week flew right by just as fast as the temperature soared to the 90's.  My students- 2nd-4th grade have amazing talent and skills.  I'm in awe of how quickly they catch on to whatever is presented to them.  My two technology classes are surging with wonderful progress and creative projects being completed and printed.  They love PowerPoint- adding transitions, photos, clipart, voice, sound effects, clever backgrounds and unique slides are just the few things that they have become young masters at!  The girls enjoy making posters, signs, word searches, and Wordles/CloudArt.  Everyone seems to like to check in with the animals at the zoo; they are in love with the penguins!!  This week we will make digital stories, pop-up books, and storyboards!  Here is My website  Click on websites and check out the sites I have posted!  Let me know what you think or if you have suggestions more other noteworthy sites!  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Inspiring Picture Book!

I just read an inspiring and touching story about Ella Kate Ewing was born in 1872. In summary, Ella Kate started out small, but she just kept on growing; Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to run from the world and pressures of teasing and societies view of what is "normal."   Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her tall dreams and desires!  Without a doubt, I am going to use Ella Kate's example to help my 2nd Graders learn how to embrace all their gifts, talents, unique characteristics and differences!  Hopefully, it will help my classroom community ties become even stronger as we appreciate all that makes us different and original!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Common Core, Understanding of Number, Ten Frames, and Dot Cards!

As I digest the Common Core Math Standards I begin to realize that I need to increase my repertoire of activities and lessons to understand numbers less than ten in terms of their relationship to ten, and to build a sound knowledge of the basic addition and subtraction facts for ten, which are an integral part of mental calculation.  Without a doubt, my 2nd Graders understanding of numbers beyond ten will only become stronger and assist us in double/triple digit subtraction and addition, understanding expanded form, place value, and decomposing and composing numbers.  Ten Frames and Dot Games are two items I will be using more this year (especially with my 1st Graders) to allow my students to soar to even higher heights in their math knowledge and understanding!  Ten Frames and Dot Cards

Types of Communities!

 Last year I did not teach types of communities effectively!  Many of my students mixed up the terms- Urban, Suburb, Rural (I must admit, I don't remember learning these terms/vocab words in 2nd Grade) and could only describe 2-3 features of each type of community.  I tried to connect their neighborhood to each type of community, which helped, but was not enough.  We also tried Venn Diagrams, took virtual tours through each community, and discussed which  type of community we like the best and why!  This year, I will add more projects/hands-on activities so my 2nd Graders can connect better with types of communities.  This past weekend I took my camera and went on a community hunt!  I took many pictures of features of suburbs and rural communities.  I have yet to do urban.  Hopefully using pictures in a variety of activities will assist learning connections and understanding of communities!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Common Core Myths vs Facts

I must be on a Common Core Binge...can't seem to get enough of it....  I was on the CCS website and found this Myth vs Facts  very interesting.   Also, this site UEN    from Utah Education Network has wonderful information and two PowerPoints to assist one in understanding the Common Core Standards!  Did I increase CCS appetite?


Happy Thursday!!!  Have you ever wanted to edit pictures by adding voice and/or sound effects?  If so, check out Blabberize  One can add pictures (anything from animals, to one's students, to things in the classroom, etc and then record sounds with the pictures.  I have done this with my classroom and they truly think it is a HOOT!  I thought maybe this fall I could take pictures of nutritious food and add a voice caption explaining why one should eat that fruit or perhaps take a picture of the continents and add a voice caption explaining something about that continent.  The possibilities are blabberizing :D

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Common Core Resources!

Happy 1st Day of Summer!!  I have been spending a majority of my time understanding and finding resources to teach the Common Core!  I came upon a fantastic website: Common Core Resources
It has many resources, activities, etc. for each grade and all the standards!  WHAT A GREAT HELP!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today we made Wordles in Summer School:  Create, Explore, and Publish.  The students loved theirs!  Here was my demo.  
Here is the link: My Wordle

Leveled Books!

 I am always searching for wonderful and fantastic leveled books for my 2nd Graders!
I use three Fantastic Sites: 


 Book Wizard

 A-Z Leveled Books    

They are wonderful resources!  Do you have others you would like to share?


Monday, June 18, 2012

1st Day of Summer School!

Summer school begins today!  I am teaching for 6 weeks-hooray for Summer School!  I will be teaching two technology (very beginning) classes and Fuse Bead Fun!  This will be my 5th summer (I believe) teaching Fuse Bead Fun and my first for the two technology courses!  I am very excited and will post pictures of the creations and blog about our tech experiences! 

...Side note- thank goodness our power came back would make an in interesting first day with most of our village experiencing a power outage!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Great Site!

A story map
 I came across a fantastic site while on Pinterest (by the way...another great site itself).  do2learn  It is a site that has numerous and an abundance of resources to help students who might be struggling with an academic area or skill.  For example, it has printable tracing pages, picture cards, graphic organizers, visual discrimination tools, and on and on!  WHAT a wonderful tool! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I am so excited!  I have took a technology leap; in fact, I took two!  I have added a  Live Signature and a  Common Core Widget.  Thank you to Teacher Blog Addict for the links and the other bloggers who posted their tutorials and helpful step by step directions!  Hopefully, by the end of the summer my blog will be as creative, attractive, and helpful as so many other wonderful and amazing blogs!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Handwriting Paper

I had the pleasuring of browsing through tips/tricks of the trade to make or design handwriting paper.  Low and behold, I came upon a site that already hand many viewable and printable handwriting paper choices :-D
As a bonus, the site also has sheets one can print that has the colored lines too and other handwriting applications! I am sure there are many other sites that offer handwriting paper, but this was a early search hit surprise!  THANK YOU DONNA YOUNG!
Handwriting Paper

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A-Z Brainstorm

I am knee deep in files, organizers, and paperwork!  I came across an organizer I thought I offer to share with you!  It is an A-Z Brainstorm graphic organizer.  One can use to as a pre-lesson inventory to find out what students know about a topic or as a final review.  Students need to print something in each square about the topic or the lesson!  I have used these throughout the year and the students enjoyed using the form!  (sometimes they world work in pairs or trios).
Here is a pix.
Let me know if you would like a copy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deck of Cards!

Cards, cards, and more decks of cards.  I think I have the most sets of playing cards of all the teachers at my school.  I use them for grouping students, math games (Addition/Subtraction War, Highest and Lowest Number,  place value, Guess my Number, etc.) and now found a way to use them with Literacy (thanks to  Raki’s Rad Resources).  One can use a deck of cards to make words using a Playing Card Code.  Depending upon one's grade level, one can modify this activity to suit one's students' levels.  If you have any other ways you use playing cards please post them!
Playing Card Code

Advice From A Tree!

I loved this- so simple, yet so meaningful!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Word Search Fun!

Are you compiling ideas for the first week of school- Get To Know You Activities?  Each year I create a word search with each one of my students' names on it.  I also include my name and then challenge my students to find my name first.  Later on in the year, in the tech lab, my students create their own word search.  Students love finding everyone's name and are amazed whose names they find first.  I always hear, "I found my name."

Monday, June 11, 2012


Today I went through my "beginning of the year folder."  I came across something I did this year that I thought I'd share the link to:  CLOCK BUDDIES!  It is great for setting up "appointments" between 2 students.  Have students find partners for each hour.  Each student then prints his/her partner's name on that hour.  Make sure the students do not have name repeats and that everyone has a partner on each hour!  I use this plus name sticks, letters in first name, letters in last name, favorite lunch, etc. for pairing students!  Click Here

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summary Sheet

All year I worked on having my 2nd Graders being able to accurately and descriptively retell a selection that they read.  I also created this sheet as a way for them to identify three key words in the selection and then write a summary of what they read.  With modeling and several exercises doing retells and summaries, my 2nd Graders were able to make great progress and also identify how they improved from the beginning of the year.

If you would like a copy, please let me know!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Are you looking for teaching tips or ideas?  Do you keep note of valuable and useful suggestions to make your teaching year even better and more successful than the previous year?
Check out this site:  I LOVE THAT TEACHING IDEA!   I found it earlier this week and it is priceless treasure.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Reading A-Z

FRIDAY!!!!  I thought I'd share one of my favorite websites with you!  Reading A-Z  This particularly site has leveled readers, alphabet, comprehension, and fluency checks.  It also leveled printable poetry books and retelling rubrics!  This is a site which is definitely on top of my bookmarks and I use to supplement my entire literacy program.  ENJOY and let me know what you like best on the site!has


Thursday, June 7, 2012

PILLOWS-Laundry time!

One of the biggest hits in my classroom this year-DIRT time (daily independent reading time).  My 2nd graders loved to read!  Plus, they adored my pillows and had their favorite picks!  Thank goodness for Goodwill!  I bought many of my pillows there, washed them and hauled them in.  Now, I am hauling them out and re-washing!  Hopefully, my incoming class will want something to make the DIRT time even more pleasurable too.  I eagerly await to see which ones are their favorites! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rescued Cats!

Today we were delighted to have three visitors!  We had a student's mom and their 2 rescued cats visit us.
Mrs. Treankler discussed with us what a rescued cat is and why people abandon their cats/animals.  She also talked about the high importance of taking care of ones animals if they choose to have them!  All my 2nd Graders loved our visitors and were anxious to pet and cuddle with them!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Florida Center for Reading Research

Have you used this site:  click here
If not, don't let today go by without checking it out!  It has so many wonderful literacy activities for grades K-5.  All the 2nd grade literacy centers idea fit right into my curriculum!  BEST OF ALL, the center activities are engaging and hands-on!  If you check it out, leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts and opinions on the site!

Friday, June 1, 2012

1 mile run

Today we ran 1 mile at the middle school!  Each month we have been running 1 minute more than the previous month.  Thus, in September we started with 1 minute, October was 2 and all the way today- 1 MILE :)  WE DID VERY WELL!  Almost everyone finished without have to walk for too long of a stretch!