Sunday, June 23, 2013

Harvest Has Begun

As you may know, I live in one of the
"fly over states"
and we have begun harvesting the wheat in our fields.
It is an all day job and then some. I will leave in the morning around 8:00 and be back home around 11:00 or 12:00 midnight. We cut as much wheat as we can in a day and it makes for long hours of going up and down fields but I wouldn't change it for anything.
With that being said, I probably won't be on the computer blog hopping or writing many posts for these next two weeks. I come home very tired and smelly. I shower and go right to bed to wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
I LOVE these two weeks in the summer.
Here is a picture of us last year working in the fields. I drive the combine that harvests the wheat so I can't make any mistakes.
I am in the middle.

This is one of my favorite pictures of us. I hope everyone has a fabulous week.
Take Care.
Until Next Time,
          Happy Blogging

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday ~ Quarterly Parties

I am so excited about joining First Grade Parade's Throwback Thursday Linky
I don't have a very long list of archives so I hope that I can find something that might interest other bloggers in blogland.
I have already been thinking about my Classroom Management with my quarterly parties for next year since I will be moving to another building.  Since it is summer, I have not been able to meet with my new teammates yet so I am not sure what they have organized already for our grade level. I am very excited about sharing my idea with the quarterly parties and I hope that they will like it too.

So here is my original post from October 28, 2012.   Enjoy!!
***********************************************************************************************I I can not believe how fast
has flown. I have so many things to post so I am hoping to keep them in order so not to confuse people each day. The end of our first quarter of school was October 10. It has been so much fun working with my set of "SMARTIES" this year. They are such a great group of students but some need some work on learning how to be responsible and respectful to others. They are great with me in the classroom but when they leave my room, a few think the rules don't apply to them anymore. I am sure that some of the teachers and parents out there know what I am talking about. Anyway, our second grade team decided last year that we would have Quarterly Parties for those students that showed responsibility and respect throughout the school day, including the bus rides to school and home. Here were the requirements for them making it to the party.
· Homework was completed (80%) for the whole quarter.
· 80% behavior in the classroom and specials.
· NO office referrals
· In class assignments were turned in on time and done to the best of their ability.
What a difference we saw with homework being turned in, behavior in specials improving and no office referrals. SO on October 10, 2012 we had our first quarterly party of the year.

Out of my 17 students that I have in class, only 3 of my students could not participate in the activities. It is a hard thing to have them miss this fun day (and sometimes it is hard on the parents too) but on the other hand it is a good life lesson. They need to learn that there are consequences for the actions that they choose. I will tell you that two of the students who missed the party this last time are on track to make it to the next party. They are both working really hard at getting their homework turned in. :) So anyway, that is how we decide who gets to come and who does not. On with the show!!!

As the students come into the classroom, the music from ToyStory was playing in the background. Some of the students dressed up as cowgirls and cowboys for the day and others wore their normal clothes which was perfectly fine. As we started our day, the students made their own cowboy hats. They cut them out and decorated them and then we fit them around their heads with cut sentence strips. They looked adorable on them.

As the students come into the classroom, the music from ToyStory was playing in the background. Some of the students dressed up as cowgirls and cowboys for the day and others wore their normal clothes which was perfectly fine. As we started our day, the students made their own cowboy hats. They cut them out and decorated them and then we fit them around their heads with cut sentence strips. They looked adorable on them.

After we were done making our hats (about 30 minutes), we headed outside for the hoedown activities. We had three stations that the children would participate in:

1) Barrel Racing
2) Steer Roping
3) Hay Hauling

Each station was about 30 minutes long. We were at the Barrel Racing first. Each student was able to pick the color horse they wanted to ride. I was the official time keeper. I showed the students how to go around the barrels and how to follow the spray painted lines so that they did not get any points taken off their time for going the wrong way. What fun! The student with the fastest time won a belt buckle from Pretty Prairie's Largest Night Rodeo. Here are some fun pics of the students.

This is me giving instructions for the barrel racing.

Isaiah was the winner of the Barrel Racing.
After that event, we went to Roping Steers. This was fun to watch because none of my students this year have ever swung a lasso before. Last year, I had a couple of boys who did very well and helped the other students learn how to do it. It was a learning experience for them all this year.

Angel was the only student who roped the steer!
The last station that we had was the Hay Hauling activities. I put my class into two teams and they had to move the hay bales from one side to the other side. It was kind of like a relay race. They had so much fun cheering each other on.

We were busy, busy, busy that morning. The students went to lunch. After lunch, we started making our homemade Rootbeer. That was a lot of fun and a little eerie. These are my teammates. They made the homemade rootbeer and I took the pictures. It was very good and the dry ice made it even better. The kids loved it.

After making the rootbeer, we had to let it brew for about 30 minutes so the students moved all the desks and put down their sleeping bags or blankets and pillows and we began watching the movie "Toy Story 2". The kids were so ready to relax and eat some popcorn. They so deserved this day.

We are now working on the second quarter of school and last year we did a quarterly party with The Polar Express. This year we decided not to do that because kindergarten and first grade did the movie. We are working on having a quarterly party with a Grinch Theme. We are so excited about that. If you have any ideas or know of a site that has great ideas, pass it along to me. We already have an adult costume for picture taking. Can't wait!!

What do you do to encourage your students to do their homework or to be good citizens outside your classroom? I was going to try and do a Linky Party but after reading the information about it, I'm not sure I understand how to do it yet. So if anyone would like to email me how to do a Linky that would be easy to understand, that would be fabulous. Thanks so much!
If you would like to link up with a Throwback from the past, go to First Grade Parade and share.  Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. We all love hearing from other teachers. J
Until Next Time,
         Happy Blogging

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Work on Writing & Journaling

What an evening!

We had a thunderstorm come through last night, which is a good thing because we need rain, but it's not that great when you realize that the rain is coming into your house through your roof. 


We haven't had hard rain in over two years because of the drought so we didn't realize that our roof was needing assistance until last night. Good thing it was only the south side of our house. I don't think I could have found anymore totes or tubes to use to catch the rain. Anyone else getting any surprises from their homes this summer?

Today I am linking up with Lory's Page for her Summer Blog Party ~

Work on Writing & Journaling. 

I am in desperate need of help in this area. WRITING is not one of my strong teaching points.  With our schedules the last couple of years, we have only been giving 30 minutes of writing time and it is usually at the end of the day. Well, you know as good as I do that if it's at the end of the day, you don't get that whole 30 minute block of time because you have to wrap up your day with your students;
hand out homework assignments,
write in their agenda books,
get their home reading books for the evening,
hand out notes from the office, 
and so on. 
We were not allowed to have writing instruction during our reading block. 

This next year is the first year that they are putting writing instruction into the reading block.  This is how it is broken up:
9:05-10:05 Decoding
10:05-11:00 Lang. Comp & Writing
I guess what they are doing is taking that 30 minutes and putting it into our reading block. (short 5 minutes)
Sooooooooooo I am on the hunt to find information about how other teachers implement work on writing into their Daily 5 time.  I'm assuming that they are going to be wanting us to teach the writing process during this time and I am not sure how this is all going to fit in there.  I am excited about having writing in my reading block but nervous that I may have to take something out of my reading block that I love doing. Any suggestions out there in blogland would be greatly appreciated.
About journaling ~ My students do receive a journal at the beginning of the year for writing. Our journals are homemade with the writing process at the beginning of it and a sight word list included with many pages of lined paper with a small box at the top for drawing a picture. We used it off and on depending on what activity we were doing at that time of the year. some of the students writings were on topics of choice but other assignments had a topic that they needed to follow. The students really did enjoy writing in their journals but we just didn't get to it like we should have. As I said before, this is the area that I need more help in than any other. I am not ashamed to say it.
So if you read my post PLEASE give me some suggestions or a link to a blog that you may know that could help me become a better writing instructor.
Many thanks ahead of time.
Until Next time,
       Happy Blogging

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ten Pin Linky Party ~ Pinterest Ideas

I am linking up with Just Reed for her Ten Pin Linky Party. Simply link up your 10 favorite pinterst pins for the topic of the week and share.

This week she is focusing on Classroom Decorations.
Here are my 10.
1. This is my wish for my teacher/teaching area for this year. No Clutter! Neat and Clean.

2.  I moved building this year and my new room does not have carpet. I love the thought of using Bath Mats for the students to sit on.

3. I would LOVE to make this Hallway pass board. It would be a cute addition this year.
4. These seat crates are such a great idea. Will I have time to make them this summer? Only time will tell.
5. I have 4 frames that I want to fill with Inspirational Sayings. Here is one that I am going to use.
6. I already have the letters for READ that I put up on my wall last year but I love the idea of adding ribbons and backboards to them. Great for my Classroom Library area.
7. Love this idea for my National Geographic that we get each month. I always save one or two copies to put into the classroom library. I love how organized this looks.
8. I decided to use this color scheme for my classroom this year. I am also thinking about putting the birds in there also along with my butterflies. I love the blue and green together.
9. For the last 12 years, I have had carpet in my classroom. This next year, I do not. I am very worried about the noise level of the chairs and desks but I came across this art teacher and his wonderful idea that he came up with. I will be cutting felt squares for a while.
And last but not least, #10.  I really like how cute and inviting this word work area is. I have a door that joins the other 2nd grade classroom and I'm thinking I may add this to that door.
Well, if you like what you see, click on the picture and pin it to your pinterest boards. AND if you like this idea, go to Just Reed and link up with her linky party.

Until Next Time,
          Happy Blogging

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five For Friday (June 14)

Happy Friday Everyone! It has been a busy day of working in my new classroom today so now that I am home sitting, I decided to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday.

Last week I linked up and blogged about what I was going to do this coming week. (You can click here if you would like to read it before going on.)  Now we are going to see if I got done what I said I was going to do.  J 
Drum Roll Please ..........
1. I decided I was going to take on re-doing our patio chairs.
Well, I accomplished a little bit (I mean a little bit) of this project. (You never really realize how long something is going to take until you start working on it.) I spend one and a half hours ripping the seams out of the back material of the chair so that I would know how much to cut but also how to sew it back up again.

This piece turned out pretty good. I need to make sure the next one is a little tighter before putting the screws through the material.
Once I got the back on, I decided that I would continue with the seat part. I began ripping the seams out of that too but then thought MAYBE the piece is the same size as the back of the chair. So I went over to the other piece and laid it down on top and did an estimate (just like we do with our students) without ripping the rest of the seams and decided, YES, it should be the same size.  BIG MISTAKE!!!  I sewed it all and went to put the chair bottom on and it was 2 inches too short. 
As a person who sews, I should have known better but I wanted to get this one chair DONE.  Now I only have a back to the chair done and I need more material.  Shopping I will go on Monday.
2.  Find the leak in the pool ~ Did not get that found yet but my neighbor who is 5 years old, has really enjoyed swimming in our pool because she can stand up and play without floaties. My children also got in on the fun with her.
3.  Monday and Friday were my days to go to school to decide my theme for my classroom and to organize the closet. I finished working on three of my bulletin boards. Two of them are a light blue color and the top bulletin board is a light green.
4.  Also today I decided to work on my cubbies. I bought some contact paper, cut it the right size and stuck it on. I only had one cubby hole that was hard because the teacher before me must have stored glue bottles in there because there was a spill and no one cleaned it up

so I had to scrape and scrub to get the dried glue up. UGH!  I even had to go find a band aid in another teacher's room because I cut my finger with the tool I was using. The final product turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.
5.  Continuing to read Debbie Miller's Reading With Meaning! I am really enjoying her book and I'm going back to reread September and October chapters so that I can start planning my lessons for comprehension.
We shall see what next week bring's. Hopefully harvest will start. That will keep me very busy for about two weeks.
 Until Next Time,
          Happy Blogging

Monday, June 10, 2013

Daily 5 & Book Organization

I am excited to be linking up with Lory  Evan's Summer Linky Party

about revising and tweaking our Daily 5 and Math Work Stations a bit for this coming school year. This is very exciting because I love both books and love how my classroom flows because of these two wonderful authors. So here we go:
Our district requires each teacher to have 30 minutes of Reading and Conferencing each day.  We are supposed to do 15 minutes of a read aloud and 15 minutes of children reading by themselves. Well, you know as well as I do that that is not enough time for children to read by themselves and get enough practice in.  I changed my schedule a little bit and planned my 15 minute read aloud during my Reading Block and that freed up 30 minutes so that children can read while I confer with 3-4 students. With that information, you have probably realized that I do not have Read to Self during our Daily 5 time.  It just did not work with my schedule.

This is how I started my year off with Read to Self:
The students were allowed to pick two books that they would keep with them for the week. I did explain to them that they needed to make sure that they could read these books and that they were something that they wanted to read. (This is a lesson in itself. J) These were the books that they would practice their Stamina with. They would keep these in their seat sacks for the time being and we would meet at the Classroom Library to make our Anchor Chart and discuss what Read to Self looks like, feels like, and sounds like. We would then get our books out of our seat sacks and I would show each student where they would be sitting for Read to Self time. Once everyone was seated, I would start the timer to see how long they could read. It only took 1 minute before someone was talking to someone or asking for my help. (Just an FYI, our first grade teachers did not focus on Stamina so this was a new thing for these students.)
I rang the bell that I use in my classroom as the signal to gather back at the Classroom Library. We would discuss what happened and we would reread our Anchor Chart together. I would send the students back out to their spots again to see if we could beat the 1 minute time and we didn't.  L
I rang the bell again and the students would meet me at the Classroom Library. We would graph our stamina and that would be our lesson for the 30 minutes of Reading and Conferencing. (Just an FYI again, I did not meet with students for the first month of school for conferencing during this time. I was being an example and reading myself.)  It took us until the middle of September to be able to read for 20 minutes without any interruptions. It made me a little nervous about not meeting with students but it paid off at the end.  Look at these readers reading away in my classroom.  I loved this time of my day!
In 2 of these pictures, you can see our Stamina graph. I kept it hanging at our Classroom Library the whole year.
Each week the students would pick two new books to work on and we would continue to build our stamina during Reading and Conferencing.
I have been working on my Classroom Library for about three years now.  Each year our local bookstore has a big sale and you can buy a Walmart bag of books for $10.00 and believe me, I stuff as many books as I can into one bag.  I have many different bins with different labels. Here are a few:
Clifford Books                                            
Author Books                                                          
Dr. Seuss Books
Fairy Tales & Movies
Poems & Song Books
Frog and Toad
Fancy Nancy
Sea Animals
Reptiles and Amphibians
Golden Books
Disney Books
Boy Books
Girl Books
Curious George Books
Beginner/Easy Readers
Middle of the Road Readers
Junie B. Jones Chapter Books
Magic Treehouse Chapter Books
Scooby Doo Chapter Books
Horrible Harry Chapter Books
I have many other book bins too and some of them I need to reorganize because their are too many books in them.
Here are a few pics of my Classroom Library:
If you look closely, I have books on the book shelf but I also have books
on the floor in book bins and on the table beside the reading couch.

Here are more of my books labeled. You can also see the end of the book bin
on the other side of these shelfs. That book bins has 8 compartments for books.

I added this because my students loved it. This was the reading couch. The
helpers of the day (which were two) could read on the couch for the day.
The students could also use the pillows for Read to Self time.

I do have another book shelf beside the entance to the classroom but I don't have a picture of it.

WOW!! This was a long post but I hope you found it useful. I am looking forward to reading other teachers posts and seeing how they began their Daily 5 journey last year.

Until Next Time, 
          Happy Blogging

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five For Friday

Happy Friday Everyone!
I am sitting in my home right now enjoying some quiet time. My husband and daughter are at work and my son is swimming at my sister-in-laws pond. I decided that I would try and find that leak that we have in our pool but I am having a hard time finding it without the snorkel and face mask. I think I need to wait until my son comes back with those items.
So I decided to link up with Doodlebugs for her
I have not participated in her Linky Party before so hopefully I am not too off base with this.  I am going to post the five things that I plan to get done next week.
1. Change the material for the patio chairs outside OR at least try to do this.
I bought our patio table and chairs from Craig's List very cheap.
This is the material that I am going to use for the chairs.
2.  Find that leak in the pool.
It's only about 1/4 full of water. My 5 year old neighbor is loving it because
she can swim and touch the bottom of the pool.
3.  Read some books and make some quizzes for Book Adventure.
These are just a few books I will be reading.
4.  Continue reading Debbie Miller's new edition of Reading With Meaning.
5.  Decide on the color of paint (the theme of my classroom) that I want to make my bulletin boards for my work day on Monday in my new classroom.

I'm not sure who this room belongs to but I love the colors. (I save the pictures and forget
to write where they came from. I need to be more careful with that.)

That's not a long list, right? We shall see if we accomplish it. So what do you have planned for your week?
Anyway, I am in need of some blogging help!  I was following Mrs. Stanford's videos on how to make a
and it's not turning out like it should.  If you look on the side of my page you will see my picture but it is kind of blurry and my HTML is not in the box.  Any suggestions from my awesome blog friends out there of what I am doing wrong. I have redone it three times, each time following her advice on what to do. Any help would be appreciated.
Until Next Time,
         Happy Blogging