Saturday, November 30, 2013

Literary Elements Flip Flap Books and a FREEBIE!

I have been hard at work this Thanksgiving break, making some products for my TPT store and to use in my classroom. I was inspired to make a flip flap book to help my students write about the inferences they are learning to make while reading. I came up with two designs:

This one is a full page and can be glued into a journal or stapled to lined paper.
This one is meant to be folded in half lengthwise.
Making inferences is so difficult for 2nd graders. We worked on it all last week and will continue on through the next three weeks. The reason I was inspired to make some flip flap books was the awesome pack I purchased on TPT from Graphics from the Pond. Click the pic to get it or the link to her blog, which is adorable!
Flip Flap Template Set - Decorative - Great for Interactiv

I was so inspired, that I made a whole set of flip flap books to use as reading response papers with just about any book. These cover the first three RI and RL common core standards for 1st-5th.
Click on the pic to see my new product:
This pack has 7 different literary elements flip flap books with 3 different designs of each. They are simple and easy to use. My students love them and prefer them over traditional graphic organizers. I guess they love any excuse to get those scissors out!

Now for your FREEBIE! I also uploaded the Inferencing Flip Flap Books for free so you can try it with your class. I'm planning to create some subtraction task cards to use with my math centers, so I better get back to work.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Candy Contractions

After searching on TPT for some contraction activities to use with my class next week, I became a little overwhelmed. I didn't find exactly what I wanted and so I decided to whip up a sweet little pack of practice pages with a peppermint candy theme that is perfect for December.
There are five pages that have contractions grouped together by type. This page has contractions that all have "not" in them. I decided to teach one type of contraction each day, and this page will serve as a quick practice kids can do while I work with reading groups. There is also a page that includes QR code cards so kiddos can check their work and make corrections independently. See my previous blog on how I set up a QR code scanning station.
Click here to visit my TPT store and grab this product for your class!
On a personal note, today was one heck of a day. Today and tomorrow are parent-teacher conferences so the kiddos are out of school all week. I had 17 scheduled for today alone! I guess parents wanted to get them over with and get on with their Thanksgiving Break plans. I can't blame them...
However, here in New Mexico, people don't exactly know how to drive in any sort of weather and we had a snowstorm this weekend. When we get some snow, our school districts often opt for a 2 hour delay, which is exactly what happened today. I was up at 5 this morning to get to school by 7 and got the call about the delay. I slightly panicked because my district didn't have a plan about how to deal with conferences during a snow delay. I looked outside and saw that my street was clear and emailed all my parents telling them that I would carry on with conferences as scheduled, but if they felt unsafe about driving, I would reschedule. There was so much confusion amongst parents, teachers and even district officials. Thank goodness each of my families got to school safely and I didn't have to reschedule any. Now, after talking for almost 9 hours straight, my throat hurts. I still have 7 more to do tomorrow so I guess I better retire my voice for the night. It also dawned on me that we have exactly one month until Christmas! Yikes! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Parts of Speech Sort

 My students have been struggling to remember and differentiate between adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and pronouns, and verbs. I decided to create a simple cut and past parts of speech sort for them to work on independently while I work with my reading groups. I also added QR codes and set up a QR code scanning station with my iPad so they can independently check their work. The kids have loved it and I really think it is helping. I just posted it on my TPT store, if you're interested. I made the words simple enough for ending first grade or second grade kiddos.
click here to get it

Here's a picture of one of my students working:

I also set up an iPad scanning station so students could check their work without interrupting my reading groups to ask for an iPad to scan the QR codes. The case I have is very handy for propping up. All the students had to do was hold the QR code behind the iPad and *poof*, the answer showed up on the screen for them. I did check their work later for accuracy. The kids really loved the independence and trust I gave them and really did make me proud.
Well, I better get home and start on dinner. I'm going to be holed up all weekend doing report cards because conferences are Monday and Tuesday! As soon as I'm done with conferences, my Thanksgiving break will start. I have 17 on Monday and I just hope my voice holds out. I'm normally much more prepared and calm than this but I have had so much going on both in school and at home. I just can't wait for my Momma's turkey, my Grandma's gravy and all the wonderful foods I've been craving lately.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

First Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers

I was so excited to get an email from TPT today saying that I sold an item! Even though it is a very small product and is priced low, it is still exciting. I actually convinced the hubby to take a peek at my store and he thought it was cool, and especially liked my profile picture (gag!), which is just my most recent school picture. I do admit that I look fairly rested and tan in that picture (it was taken before kids started in August) and sadly, it is the best I had to work with.

School this week was crazy. I swear the full moon had something to do with the little darlings being no so darling Friday afternoon. I have loads of work to do this weekend including grading, lesson plans, and maybe prepping to write report cards. My daughters are both playing in a soccer tournament this weekend so I have 8 games to attend and somehow get laundry done. Forget cleaning anything in my house. I toted my little bag of papers to the soccer field to grade during warm ups but only made a tiny dent. It was too windy to keep any of the papers down, so I gave up. Now, what am I doing? Blogging.

Even though being a teacher is an all consuming career, I still love it. I love those precious moments when the light bulb turns on for a kid. I still get excited every August for the new batch of darlings to show up. I continue to get a thrill when planning a really cool lesson or unit. I can't see myself doing anything else. Now, I better get to playing teacher to my 8th grader and helping her out with her Algebra. So. Much. Fun.

Monday, November 11, 2013

3 day weekend...I could get used to this!

It is amazing what a girl can accomplish on a three day weekend, especially when the kids had school today and I didn't (I work in a different district). They were quite upset when they found out. My high schooler even offered to clean the house if I'd let her stay home. Ha! Like I'd fall for that one!

I got caught up on all my grading AND all the saved episodes of The Walking Dead. I truly can't explain my fascination with that show, but I should never watch it at night. I also got all the laundry done and even had time to catch up with an old friend over decadent desserts and coffee this afternoon. Best of all I had time to touch up a couple of activities I made for my class to get them ready to sell on TPT. I now have a whopping 3 products in my store! Both are math activities with QR codes, which my students love.
click here to get it

The first is an activity to reinforce looking for tens when adding mentally. Students can write their answers on the recording sheet and then check for accuracy with the QR codes.

click here to get it
The second will help students practicing subtracting with regrouping. Either product can be used as a math center or posted around the room to get students up and moving. I'll be using the first one this week as a review of addition and I plan to use the second one in the next couple of weeks to help my advanced students practice regrouping.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Better Late Than Never?

I just uploaded my first product to TPT! I created my Seller Account a few months ago, but I'll be honest, I was a little intimidated. Where do you start? Some of the products on there are amazing!

I had made a few math activities to use with my class that have QR codes, but I just haven't had time to upload them on TPT. My hubby is visiting family and I had some "free time" this weekend, so I decided to stop being a chicken and jump in. The first item I uploaded is a Halloween freebie, and I know it is a little late, but it's free, so save it for next year, right?

click here to get your freebie
click here to get your freebie
My students just LOVE using QR codes to check their work. As soon as they see they are doing a QR code activity, they get right to work! They simply record their answers and when they are finished, they bring their work to me so I can give them an  iPod to check their answers. I usually use an activity like this as a center. My students know they have to complete their work in the other centers so they can make it to the QR center. It sure beats a worksheet! It is so cute to see them scanning those QR codes and then saying "YES! I got it right!". Immediate feedback is so important, right?

I got the web frames from Graphics From the Pond and the spiders are from Reading Girl XOXO. I plan to create and upload more products like this soon, so check back on my store to see what else I'm up to!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where do I begin?

I'm a busy soccer mom and 2nd grade teacher. I love to teach and I've decided to jump on the blog bandwagon for a few reasons. The main reason is to have an archive of my teaching and a place to collect my ideas and lessons. Second, I sometimes just need to vent, brag about my students, and flat out purge some of the stuff that is constantly filling up my brain. I think my hubby is a little tired of my school talk and I can't blame him after hearing it for the past ten years. So, here goes...

This past week flew by, and thank goodness because I could NOT wait for this three day weekend. In my district, things are heating up between the PED and our school districts because of some major crazy changes they have begun to implement this year. I tend to walk the line between activist and hiding my head in the sand. Lately, I feel that so many things are out of my control, so I have decided for my own sanity, to try to ignore all the politics and just TEACH! What a concept, right? Every year I seem to work harder and harder without raises (yet insurance rates go up), but I still love it. I can't explain it. Maybe it has to do with the inspiration I am bombarded with each day from amazing teacher bloggers I follow, my coworkers, and darling students. Of course, my main inspiration is Teachers Pay Teachers. It has completely changed how I teach. Right around the time my district adopted the CCSS, I discovered TPT. Thank goodness, because our curriculum programs do not align very well with CCSS. I have had to create almost everything I have taught the past two years. If it wasn't for TPT, I'd never spend a minute with my family. Now, all I do is search, download, print and GO! I also love that TPT has given creative and talented teachers a way to make real money for things they would do anyway.

I guess I could go on for days, but I'd better wrap things up. Today is the first Saturday that we haven't had a soccer game, so I have a list a mile long of things to do. My 13 year old daughter has beautiful, long, curly hair and needs a haircut. She is thinking about donating it to Locks of Love like I did this summer. She is a little nervous about it and might chicken out and I need to remember to take pictures!

So, if anyone out there is actually (still) reading this first post, welcome!