Always shine by using all your talents and skills!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WISH LIST! Do you have one?

Do you have a Classroom or Teacher Wish List?  (can we ask for a limitless budget or for a pick what you want day at the School Speciality warehouse?)  Joking and dreaming aside, do you let your parents know what your classroom needs are or share your wishes with them at Open House or Back to School Night? 

On my website , I have a link with my Classroom Wish List.  This year I will be updating it to add the following items:  Post-It Flags, Composition Books, Scented Markers, Ink Pads, Copy Paper,  Colored Gel Pens, Medium 1 5/8 inch Binder Clips,  X-ACTO School Pro Electric Sharpener.

Our school has very generous and giving parents.  Each year I am blessed to have a couple parents who grant my wish. They randomly suprise me by leaving a package of Expos on my desk or a suprise in my mailbox!  I hope the same for all of you!

SMILES and feel free to comment with your wishes!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Additional Guided Reading Tools to Share With You!

Maniac Monday or Marvelous Monday-which one is it for you?  For me, a tad of both!  Just a reminder, today is the 2nd to the last day of June-I know, like you needed to be reminded, right?
Today I would like to share with you to more Guided Reading tools that I use with my 2nd Graders.  The first is my 5 Day Guided Reading Plan (I cannot take credit for creating the plan).  I have used this since I implemented Guided Reading (over 10 years ago).  It has been a mainstay in my Guided Reading binder!  The boxes are big enough to write and note comments, suggestions, strategies, interventions, group names, and texts to use!  In the side margins, I also write additional ideas (for instance if I need to additionally monitor one specific students volume or a student's reading rate, etc).  This, by far, is the most effective plan I have found for my needs and my wonderful and growing readers!  Here it is:  5 Day Guided Reading Plan

Do your students know what kind of readers they are?  Do you know your reading style?  Are you a Racing Rabbit, Slightly Confused Turtle, Smart Fox, or a Reflective Owl? Does it matter what you are reading? Do your students reflect on what type of readers they are either before, during, or after they read?  After your have a shared reading or a read-aloud, do you reflect on how you read?  When I have a Guided Reading group or even when  work with one student, I discuss reading styles with them.  I have them tell me what type they feel they are; I feel when my students are able to self-critique their reading styles, I am equipping them to become more reflective, strategic, active, and independent readers. Here it is:  What Kind of Reader are You?   

Have a MARVELOUS Monday! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two More Guided Reading Tools!

Happy Thursday...yikes, a few more days and it is August!  Have you been working around the clock in your classroom or are you avoiding your classroom because you fear it will become your second home?

I have been making steady progress in my library and Guided Reading/reading support area.  I'd like to share two tools with you that my students love to use when they are reading (in small group, independently, partner reading or whole group reading).  The first is a reading guide.  This is made from a plastic page protector.  I just took several assorted colored plastic page protectors and cut them in 1 inch strips.  I made sure that the page protector was shut so I had a Reading Guide that would be able to slide down the page and also fold under the following page.  My 2nd Graders love these!  Some had a favorite color, others had me choose a color for them-the element of surprise!  As they read the slide the guide down the page.  Students can use them as a "highlighter" by having the guide go across/over the words or use the guide under the line of words to help their eyes track the words across the line and sentences.

The other tool is a heart pointer!  All students should "heart" reading, right????  My 2nd graders use these as a pointer to help them track their words and stay on the line. I also use these to have them answer my questions.  For instance, point to a word that is a key vocabulary term; point to a word that has a digraph in it; point to a word that has two syllables! 

Hopefully, in the next two weeks my Guided Reading supplies, tools, and materials will be all organized!  More to come, Blog friends!

Heart pointer and reading guide (sorry the
pictue is not the best quality)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lining Up Tips and Strategies to Incoporate CCSS

I am in the thick of the summer school, the home stretch is about to begin-next week to be exact!  In my district summer school is 6 weeks long; today is day 23rd day!  I must say, the students are doing extremely well and enjoying all of their classes.
For my 2nd and 3rd sessions of class we need to use the technology lab; this means, we need to practice lining up quietly and safely; yes safely, many of us seem to have on hyper throttle shoes!  This means I get the wonderful opportunity to reach into my lining up strategies bag and pull out some wonderful ways to line up!
Here are some I use:
  • Lining up by the amount of syllables in their first or last names
  • Lining up by even and odd amount of letters in first or last names
  • Lining up by their favorite ice cream topping
  • Lining up by the amount of vowels in their first or last names
  • Lining up by their birthday month
  • Lining up by the amount of people in their family
  • Lining up by their shoe size
  • Lining up by their eye color
  • Lining up after they have told me the answer to a math fact
  • Lining up after they have told me a synonym or antonym to a word I give them
  • Lining up after they tell me 3 verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.
  • Lining up after they spell a spelling word
  • Lining up after they tell me 5, 10, 100 more than the number I give them
  • Lining up after they tell me a city in WI
  • Lining up after they tell me a set of homophones
  • Lining up after they tell me two rhyming words with the word I give them.
  • Lining up after they tell me an asking, telling, command, or an expression sentence
  • Lining up after they tell me a fact family statement or a turn around fact and its answer
  • Lining up after they tell me a double fact and its answer
What tips/techniques/methods do you use?  Please share!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Am "Rollin with Happiness"...I Got My Trucker Buddy Information!

Happy Tuesday!  Today is supposed to be cooler- 89 degrees for a high!  I LOVE SUMMER so my lips are sealed-no complaining here!  How is the weather by you?  Two thumbs up or will you be singing like a song bird when fall arrives?
On another train of thought, I received my Trucker Buddy contact information; I am ECSTATIC!  I have already emailed him and await his response.  We have to decide if we want to correspond via Blogging, Emailing, Snail Mail, post cards, or all of these! I also have to decide how I want to display or correspondences in my classroom.  (on a map, using a timeline, etc.)
I can't wait to share our correspondences with you.  I am hoping we get to meet him and see his truck!
Our Trucker Buddy is from Iowa!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Organizing Guided Reading Materials

This morning- yes on a Saturday- I went to school to tackle my Guided Reading Table.  The table was there, but another person walking into the room would have sworn I did not have one; it was that overwhelmed with materials that I needed to reorganize, sift through, and revamp!  This year I am going to have a much smaller class for Literacy (I am teaching 1st and 2nd Grade Science, Math, Social Studies, Technology, and Health).  I will only have 7 2nd graders for Guided Reading so I need to really examine how I am going to do Guided Reading groups and what my Literacy block is going to look like (I know,  I have less than a summer to have this ironed out). I did come across two items that I thought I would share with you that were really helpful last year and will be heavily used this year again.  The first is a Reading Strategies Bookmark  Each student had one that he/she could use and we would talk about the strategies they were using to make them successful 2nd Grade readers!  The second one, Reading and Thinking Strategies Bookmark, assists the reader with word attack skills!  It helps answer the question, What do I do if I can't read a word?  (on the prior link scroll down 3/4 of the page to find the bookmarks).  At the end of the year, I allowed my 2nd Graders to keep them; hopefully they would be friendly reminders to read over the summer!  Once I have my Guided Reading area and Classroom Library done, I will share some pictures with you!  SMILES!!!                       

Friday, July 20, 2012

Parent and Child Questionnaire!

Happy Friendship Day!  I am beginning to look through my Beginning of the Year/Getting Ready File.  I am sifting and sorting through many activities I use to get to know my wonderful students and their awesome families!  (making connections to students/families is key to healthy home/school relationships)  At the beginning of the year I send out a Parent and Child Questionnaire!  It is part of my All About 2nd Grade Pack!  Here are a few of the questions:  What are your child's strengths?  What are four words you would use to describe your child?  How does your child feel about reading and what does he or she like to read?
I find this questionnaire very informative and extremely helpful!  At the end of the year I look through these and reflect upon what has happened through the year and wonder if the parent would answer the questions with the same answer!    Click Here  to get a copy!  You can modify it to fit your needs and student families!
I will be posting other documents and activities that I use at the beginning of the year to get to know my awesome and inspiring families!   SMILES to you, my Blogger Friends!   

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tagxedo-A+ site and helps meet CCSS

Happy Wednesday- for Northeast WI it is a SUPERB DAY; WE GOT SOMETING WE DESPERATELY NEEDED AND MISSED- RAIN!!!!  (we hope to never take it for granted again)

I found a "souped up" version of Wordle- Tagxedo; have you used this site?  This site shows the almost limitless possibilities of what one can do with one's projects and designs.  The extra edge it has on Wordle is that one can choose a shape that one wants his/her project to look like- a heart, rose, bus, foot, hand, peace sign, tree, pumpkin, etc.  What about having your students make a Word Cloud for Halloween or for your One can make a design and iron it on a shirt or a teaching bag, your weather unit, or for President's Day?  How about making a Tagxedo with spelling or vocabulary words or as a brainstorm or an illustration to accompany an Informational/Informing Writing?  One can even use them to compare and contrast different opinions about a certain subject or topic!  If one has his/her students complete a Tagxedo on Martin Luther King Jr. using the Martin Luther King Jr. shape, the students can discuss why they choose the words they did and how his/her words are similar/different than a peers?  Perhaps one can make a Tagxedo of antonyms, synonyms, or use the hand shape to make a HIGH 5 list of singular and plural nouns or adjectives!  DON'T forget to have students present their Word Clouds, do an audio recording and snap a picture of them with their creation!  Yet, another site to help reach the Common Core Standards! (my favorites list of Common Core sites is growing at a rapid pace)

Here is a Tagxedo I made!  It is composed
of words that can be used instead of "said"
 when students are writing stories!
Here is the link:  Word Cloud with Styles             

Monday, July 16, 2012

1/2 Way Through July and MORE!!!

It is July 16th-yes I know you did not want to be reminded- but I can scarcely believe that we are 1/2 way through July and the summer!  The stores are starting to put out Back to School displays, racks of top line and fashion fit clothes are being rolled into the store aisles, and school supplies are overfilling the bins!  Today I was going to plung into my classroom library area and reorganize my chapter books and Guided Reading materials, but it is supposed to be 99 degrees here, so that means my classroom will top that by at least 5 degrees!  Can teachers melt???   Does your school have air conditioning?  Ours does not...perhaps this summer's higher than normal temps will change that! 
On another note, I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE SO MANY NEW FOLLOWERS!  I hope my followers count continues to grow!  I hope to hit 50 before the 1st day of school-crossing my fingers and toes on that!!! :>)   Soon, I hope to start a TPT account!  If you have a TPT account, what do you recommend for prospective account members?

On yet another note, I registered for my Trucker Buddy!  I am so eager to hear who my 2nd Graders will be buddies with!  I hope we will be able to meet him or her!  They seem to be getting many registrations forms this summer so they said it might take awhile to hear back from them!  In the meantime, I am picturing in my head where I might put the notes, postcards, and letters we get back from him/her.  Have you ever had a Trucker Buddy?


Banner You Are The Author Of Your Your Story
Do you use inspirational and motivational banners in your classroom? 
 I found this one to be compelling and thought provoking!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

ReadWriteThink- A Must Visit and Bookmark Site!

It is the 15th of July- yep it still is after I double check the calendar; I am not sure why this summer is moving by exceptionally fast.  Is it for you?
Today I'd like to share with you a must visit site:  readwritethink student-interactives My 2nd graders love this site and tomorrow I will be showing it to my summer school Tech Buddy students!  The link above will bring you to the student interactive portion of the site.  It has numerous A+ interactives for students to complete!  Also a bonus, the grades that the interactives are intended for are also posted next to the activity!  That will save you time when you are scrolling through the activities and trying to decide which interactives are best suited for your students!  A little side note, on the top of the Student Interactive page, make sure to click on All Student Interactives to get the entire list of activities!
Here are a couple of our favorites:
Make an Acrostic Poem!
Make a comic!


They could also make a timeline CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TIMELINE

ENJOY this site; please let me know what activities you enjoy or play to use with your students!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Clip, Rip, Return, Cut, and Save!

BUDGETS, SPENDING CUTS, DOWNSIZES- need I say  type more.   Here are a few ways our school and staff try to stay ahead with all the "push backs, blocks, and detours in our paths."
  • Return printer ink cartridges
  • Collect and send in Box Tops
  • Collect and send in milk caps
  • Collect and send in Campbells' soup labels
  • Shop at stores that offer teacher discounts- School House (a business 20 miles away from our school), JoAnn's Fabrics, Barnes & Noble, Dell, Office Depot,  and School Specialty (shopping at second hand stores- Goodwill, etc is always a treat for teachers)
  • Hold numerous fundraisers-Booyah sale, fruit sale, Produce Stand, rummage sales, magazine sales, and cookbook sales, etc
  • REUSE, REUSE, REUSE- making copies on used paper, using soup cans for pencil holders, using plastic table cloths for wall paper, using water bottles for shakers/Word Work/number games, using Wipes containers to hold supplies, etc.
Without a doubt, one needs to be creative and think "out of the box" to stay within one's budget.  Teachers and educators definitely are amazing people who are challenged to carve many paths along their teaching journey; but we accept the challenge and leave many trails!  BRAVO TEACHERS!

Box Tops for Education

Here is a fantastic fundraising site:  Click Here!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Make Me A Quiz!

For the past three days I have had my Summer School Explore, Create, and Publish students working on a quiz for me.  They used Word to create a quiz that had 5+ questions about them for me to take.  They needed to use all the features of Word I taught them and integrate in any skills they were taught-font changes, Word Art, backgrounds, borders, frames, etc.  I WAS HIGHLY IMPRESSED with their results!  Their questions really put me to the "test."  A few even wanted to "grade" my quiz; the smiled the entire time they saw me print my answer and silently giggled when they saw me print the incorrect answer.  I was given two chances to get the question right, then they gave me the answer!  Many students wanted to do more than one!  By the way, my highest score was 3/5 (considering I don't know them very well, I would consider that an average grade ;)

Here are two samples; unfortunately we do not have access to a colored printer.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Resources to help meet CCSS!

Well...I did it again; went school supplies shopping!  SO IRRESISTIBLE!!  There is a School Store in Green Bay; and everyone in NE Wisconsin knows about it!  In fact, it is as visited as frequently for most of us as the grocery store is!  (seriously). I love the Daily Warm-Ups!  It is broken into sections like Numbers and Operations, Geometry and Measurement, Graphing and Data, etc.  It is almost a perfect match to meet the Math Common Core Standards and how they standards are grouped!  IT IS AN AWESOME RESOURCE! 
Of course, I had to pick up mini sentence strips!  I am going to use these to make laminated number lines and and for math fact practice!  In particular, for the Math Fact Scoot!  I print numbered math facts and numbered number sentences/equations on the sentence strips, and then laminate them (integrating many different types- 3+_=11, 11=5+__,  4=12-8, etc!  My students love playing Scoot and I love watching them have fun and learning at the same time!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Common Core and Steve Jenkins- A+ Nonfiction Author!

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated an impressive collection of picture books for young readers; he is a phenomenal children's author and my 2nd Graders fell in love with his books (so did I).  In fact, some of them even ordered his books when they saw them in Scholastic or asked their parents to go on to Amazon to buy his books!  What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? Jenkins' books are captivating, inventive, gorgeous, playful, engaging, and most of all informative.  Jenkins' books definitely can be used to meet the Reading Standards for Informational Text for Grade 2. 

Here are a few of our TOP PICKS:

 Do you have favorite nonfiction and informative texts that you will be using to meet the Information Text Reading Standards?  If so, please share them.  Or, let me know if you purchase a book of his and how you felt about it! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Differently- Abled

I just saw this on Facebook and I needed to share it with you!  Anyone who has Autism has Autism but Autism does not have them!  I have worked with and have done ABA Therapy with many children who have Autism and they are all truly gifted and abled in so many different ways!  They true abilities sometimes do not shine until we expose them to a wide array of activities- music, technology, models, kits, currency, designing, etc.  One boy I worked with had severe Autism, nonverbal, and also identified has having severe cognitive impairments.  One of the teachers I was working with give him an IPAD to use, but did not show him how to use it or what to do with it!  Within a few weeks he had mastered the functions of the IPAD and was even tapping into ITUNES, downloading free apps, etc.  TRULY Remarkable!  Without a doubt, I believe each one of us has a wealth of talent or unique gifts that just need to be opened!  But, even better, shared with others!  Please feel free to PIN this or share with others!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Sunday Common Core Sweet Surprise!

I thought today's Church service and a Heritage Players Performance at Heritage Hill State Park (in Green Bay, WI) were two amazing gifts and blessings.  But, then I came home and stumbled upon a third surprise (Yippee).  Another website that is loaded with many fun, interactive and engaging games that will meet many of the Math Common Core Standards!  (I forgot that I already had this site on my website, so it was like visiting with a friend one has not seen in ages-pure sweetness).  Here is the link to another Awesome Site 
Here are a few games that would definitely assist in practicing the 2nd Grade Common Core Standards (place value in particular):  Place the Penguin  and  Lifeguards and Scooter .  I hope they add a little sweetness to your day too!   

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dollar Tree Finds!

So I had some time- 30 minutes before the movie I wanted to see started; I decided to walk down the mall strip and see what Dollar Tree had in its school selection!  (needless to say I didn't think I would need a basket- yah right trying to balance all those supplies without making a major scene is an ultimate teacher challenge).  I ended up stamp pads, playing cards-great for math games (highest/lowest number, place value games, addition/subtraction war, sums of ten, double facts, etc.), erasable clocks and schedules, word strips, play-do, posters, and wipe off charts!  I had to stop the movie was starting in less than 10 minutes and I needed to bring my "classroom goodies" to my car!  Target is next (they have great Dollar bins).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ready to Unpack- Unpack the Common Core State Standards!

 Ready to unpack-not your groceries or camping gear, but the Common Core Standards.  North Carolina has unpacked the standards to help teachers in our understanding of the Common Core State Standards.  Both Math and English Language Arts Standards are unpacked.  It has each grade listed separately as well as graphic organizers and a glossary of terms!  When one click's on one's grade level under Math or English Language Arts one will get a PDF document with the standard and then the standard unpacked.  Sample questions and activities are listed as well as ideas on how to implement the standard!  Here is the link:  Unpack the CCSS

Happy Unpacking!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Math Games that Match Common Core State Standards!

I think I found a Common Core Math Game Jackpot!  These games will add a "wealth" of added practice, fun, enhancement, and learning opportunities for my students!  What I really like (double..ok triple like) is that all the games are directly correlated with the Common Core Standards and are very "addictive" and fun to play!  On these three games: SumSense Addition and SumSense Subtraction  and  SpeedGrid Addition one can set a timer and the amount of problems one wants to do,  All of these games can be played on  the SmartBoard!   These two I know for sure I am going to class hits:  I'm Thinking of a Number and Add Two Dice.  (I can see my students' faces bursting with excitement already!)

Here is the link for K-2 Number Resources.   Here are the two other links that are "Gold Links"
Domino Sort!
K-5 Measurement and K-5 Geometry

I have already played about 15 of the games; I still have many more awaiting me to click on them.  But, the movie, Madagascar 3 is calling my name!

Happy 4th of July!!!
Time Problems

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I love this time of year in our classrooms; our floors are shiny and one can see one's reflection in the floor!!!  THEY are incredibly clean and sharp looking (bummer they could not stay this way).  Now, it's time to arrange, change, move, and reorganize desks, bookcases, shelves, carts, tables, etc.  Last year I did a total makeover in my classroom (put up table cloths for "wallpaper" and switched my reading and math areas).  Right now, I am still in the "what will work best this year" phase.  One thing I have started was taking off all my taped labels on book bins/baskets and using ring clips to hold the signs on to the baskets (works much better and is easy to change/take off).  Will you be doing a makeover on your classroom?  Any major changes or updates?  I'd love to hear about them!   ENJOY your day...I will be; it's going to be 93+ here!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Teacher Tipster and Common Core

HAPPY MONDAY and JULY 2nd! (yes, already...yikes).  Yet again I am starting another "work" (it's never work for's a calling and passion)  week searching for Common Core resources, tools, ideas, tips, sites, etc.  I came upon, Teacher Tipster on YouTube.  Do you use Teacher Tipster?  What are your thoughts on his videos?  I have watched three so far:  3 D Shapes and Skip Counting by 2 and the 3rd Odd and Even.  I do a similar chant/song for even and odd numbers :  1, 3, 5, 7,  9 odd numbers are fine; 0,2, 4, 6, 8 even numbers are great!  My 2nd Graders pick up that jingle immediately and use it to assist in understanding if a number is even or odd.  Please let me know if you use Teacher Tipster and/or if you have other songs/videos by him you would recommend!  SMILES!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Teaching to Learn!

 BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY in Pulaski, WI!  91 degrees!  I took a rode trip about an hour away and went to a wonderful and BUSY place- the beach; a.k.a THE HOT SPOT!!!  Not only was I able to read (my collection of must read summer books is extensive) but also reflect upon this past year!  The 2011-12 school year was like no other!  I was blessed with 19 students- eager, curious, spontaneous, and dedicated!  They pushed me to step out of my teaching box each  day and learn along with them.  They taught me just as equally as I taught them!  (learning one can never get in a HOW TO TEACH book).  I am going to miss this class dearly!  They truly inspired me each day; 7 and 8 year old children are amazing teachers!
One of my favorite Proverbs!!