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August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

Woo hoo! I made it through my first week in 2nd grade. All I have to say is "Mmmmmm....I'm LOVIN' it!"

I don't have any new pictures of our week. It was just a little busy.

I never posted any classroom reveal pictures, so my "Five for Friday" are going to be new classroom pics.
Teacher Corner
This is my teacher corner. First of all, I'd like you to notice the sign on my desk, "This classroom runs on Love, Laughter, and LOTS of Diet Mountain Dew." I could not have gotten through this week without it. You might see my teacher toolbox and new word wall on the right side of my desk. Since this picture, I've added 3 new "Masterpieces" from students.
Calendar Corner
As many of you already know, I am "thrifty". I prefer to make something, rather than buy it. The calendar header was made by tracing 4" letters stencils and overlapping them, then drawing B2S symbols on them. I did purchase the calendar a long time ago, laminated it, cut slits near the top black lines, and inserted large paper clips. To change my calendar today all I had to do was slip the apples off and push the fall leaves on. My calendar pieces are laminated post it notes from Carson Dellosa. The other calendar pieces I blogged about here and here.
Job Board
I was inspired by Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics "Just Doin' My Job" classroom jobs. However, the gray wasn't working with my green, so I made my own job board. One of my chattier girls loved being the "Phone Operator" this week, even though she didn't get to answer the phone once.

Math Groups Bulletin Board
Again, I love the way this turned out. I made my own rotation schedule cards. I think my former partner is slightly bothered by the fact that I don't have drawers for the "T", but as I've explained to him twice already that is for "Teacher Time". If I have drawers, they will be over by my small group area. I still need to add names to the groups next week. By the way, I have finally decided what my theme is "polka dotted puppies". I made one cutting apart a Carson Dellosa notepad and tracing it on scrapbook paper. It is hard to see, because of the glare from the lamination, but he is in the upper left hand corner.

Science Eyes
I found these fun glasses in the party favor section at Wal-Mart. These are going to be my "Science Eyes". I can't wait to do the activity with the kids next week. Hopefully, I'll remember to take pictures for next week's Five or Friday.

Have a great 3 day weekend! I personally CAN NOT wait to sleep in tomorrow!
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August 28, 2013

PMA Wednesday - 12th Edition


Welcome to PMA Wednesday!

Today's theme is TEAMWORK! In my school district, our superintendent has a mantra, "All means ALL!" Our approach looks beyond our classroom walls. We are working together to make sure ALL of the students in our grade level are successful, then beyond that we can sign up to have a "buddy" from another grade level. I had a really good relationship with my 3rd grade "buddy" from last year, so I requested the same buddy again this year in 4th. 


Personally, I tend to be a little bit selfish. I was raised by an only child, who although a very loving and giving person, has a tendency to be self-centered.  I strive to find ways to help others. I make an effort to ask others how they are doing. When I start to forget, I try to remember...


Finally, my principal shared this video with us during our B2S inservice. Enjoy!



Happy "HUMP" Day!
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August 27, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - The Name Game

It has been a LONG time since I have linked up with my BBB, Holly. Mostly due to the fact that I haven't tried anything new. Well, since my grade level change, EVERYTHING is new.

Today, I tried one of my favorite 4th grade activities with my 2nd graders. I read them the story, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. "Her name has 13 letters that is half of the letters in the alphabet." 

Next, students had to write their name over and over putting one letter in each box until they filled the grid. Then, they colored their name using a different color for each letter. Once they were finished, they were to look for patterns in their names and their friends' names. Finally, we sorted them and graphed them. [Original idea from TEXTEAMS inservice.]


Today was all about graphing. We also completed our birthday graph. I wrote their name and birthdate on a birthday cake. They decorated it and brought it to me. I asked them to find the correct month. Once there was already a cake next to their month, I asked them to decided if their cake came before or after the other cake. 

I will use both of these graphs to ask questions when we have extra time.

Last, but not least...I tried the Name glyphs yesterday. Today, I backed them with black construction paper and hung them up. I love the way they all look together. 



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August 25, 2013

A Peek at My Week


Tomorrow is the FIRST DAY of SCHOOL!!! I am SO excited! I got to meet my new 2nd graders on Friday. They are so cute! I was especially impressed by their independence. Their parents were making them put away their supplies. When I checked on Saturday, most of it was done correctly. Score!

One activity that we will do this week is a Name Glyph. The original idea comes from Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics. First, I sketched my students name on a sheet of white construction paper (5.5 X 16.5 inches). Next, I traced the letters with a black Sharpie. Students will follow my oral directions to color their name, then I will back their art on black construction paper (6 X 18 inches) and hang them on my VERY blank wall.



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August 21, 2013

New Attitude - PMA Wednesday - 11th Edition


Welcome to PMA Wednesday!

Were you surprised not to see another edition of Training Camp PMA Wednesday? Believe me, I considered it. Monday, we spent 1.5 hours of our staff development discussing the book. Today, we will do more study of the book and its principles. Maybe next week...

This week, the reoccurring theme has been a "new attitude". Sunday, my pastor's sermon was part of a series called "New Beginnings" and the sermon title was "New Attitudes". The keynote speaker at my district staff development day hit on the idea of a "new attitude" several times. Since, I am in the middle of my teacher prep/staff development week, I decided to focus on my "new attitude". 



For those that know me in real life, they know and hopefully recognize that I have had a major attitude shift in the past two years. For those that only know me in the blog world, let me quickly tell you that I was a "Negative Nelly" or a "Debbie Downer" two years ago. I had a tough class and was driving the struggle bus. 

How did I change my attitude? Honestly, I started going to church with my husband. I had always been a believer, but was more of a "CEO" (Christmas and Easter Only). I, also, read Jon Gordon's Energy Bus and got on board. 

How do I plan to maintain my "new attitude"? I try to go to church every Sunday and pray frequently. This summer, I read Training Camp by Jon Gordon, started this weekly linky, and a Pinterest board. But, I constantly have to remind myself to...

Oh snap! I wasn't planning on talking about Training Camp, but look where I went. 

I've pinned a few "attitude" quotes to my Pinterest board, but these two stuck out to me the most.
I choose to be positive.
I live with intention.

I hope your day is filled with beauty, joy, and love. If it isn't, I hope you can find the beauty, joy, and love in it anyway. 

BTW...You may have noticed that my last 3 and only blog posts have been for PMA Wednesday. As I transition to 2nd grade, I am busy learning and preparing. Since, it is brand new to me, I really don't have a lot to share right now. However, if you bear with me, I promise I will have more educational posts soon. 

A final note....I create items for myself to use in my classroom and am glad that you find them useful too. If you haven't shopped or visited my TPT store, everything is either FREE or $1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to everyone who has purchased items from my TPT store during the month of August! Y'all are AWESOME!
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August 14, 2013

PMA Wednesday - Training Camp, Pt. 2 - 10th Edition



Welcome to the 10th Edition of PMA Wednesday!

Last week, I shared with you the formula for success from Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else by Jon Gordon. This was just the introduction to the book. 


The remainder of the book is trans-formative to say the least. Before I share with you the "11 Traits of the Best of the Best", I'd like to say that I do not consider myself "THE BEST". 

As you read this poster or the book, you will say to yourself I do that or I need to do better on this. 

Traits poster available on Jon Gordon's website.

I thought about going through each of the 11 traits and discussing them, but there were two that really made an impact on me. 

#7 The Best overcome their fear. Naming your fear and being honest with yourself is really difficult, but necessary to take the next step in overcoming the fear. As a kid, I was FULL of fear and worry. I remember one day, I was really upset. My dad came upstairs to my room, sat down on the edge of the bed, and delivered his [now infamous] "Drop the Rock" speech. (Before I continue, you need to know three things about my dad;  he was a professor, he believed in God, but not organized religion, and his first name was Ken. The coach in Jon Gordon's fable is named Ken.) He basically said that fear was a rock weighing you down and until you learned to drop the rock and get over your fear, it will continue to weigh you down. Brilliant! What he left out was how to drop the rock. I have since learned that I can "drop the rock" by giving it all to God. 

#9 The Best tap into a greater power than themselves. I will admit sometimes talking about God and religion makes me a little uneasy, especially on an education blog. I teach in a public school, so it makes me uneasy talking about it there too. I believe religion is a very personal issue. I have never been a fan of zealots. I will just say that whatever your belief system or religion, tapping into a power greater than yourself is liberating. Last year, my mantra was "Too blessed to be stressed!". This year, it will be "Give it all to God!"

Have a blessed and positive Wednesday!
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August 7, 2013

PMA Wednesday - Training Camp - 9th Edition



Welcome to PMA Wednesday!

Last month, I received an email from my principal saying that our staff development was going to include Jon Gordon's book, Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else. She purchased 10 copies for our school library, but we were invited to check them out prior to returning August 19th. 


If you've been following my blog for awhile, then you know I am a Jon Gordon fan. The Energy Bus and The Energy Bus for Kids has helped transform my attitude and teaching style.  

Since the book is set during a NFL training camp, I decided to read while I was walking on the treadmill. My husband was concerned for my safety, because I wouldn't be holding on to the handles. However, I slowed it down a little, picked up the book, started reading, and walking. I didn't make it past the introduction before I stopped the treadmill and scooted to my office to get a notepad and a pen. 

Jon Gordon asserts that there is a formula for success. He interviewed "the best of the best". He discovered that excellence is achieved through hard work, focusing on the fundamentals, staying positive, and a desire to succeed and make an impact. 

Hard work is what got me through school. I was never tested for the gifted program, although my brother was tested. I took some Honors classes, but only in English and Social Studies. During my junior year, my AP History teacher told me that if I didn't start participating in class discussions, I would not only get a C in her class, but she would not recommend me for AP Government. Fear of public speaking, landed me in an on-level government class. [Fear caused me to fail, but I am getting ahead of myself. This is in a later chapter for another day.] As an educator, I know this is true. My students, who work harder, achieve more. Those who read more, score higher on their reading standardized test. 

The second component of success is focusing on fundamentals. It seems simple enough. However, as a 4th grade teacher giving the STAAR Reading and Writing test, this was not my focus. I needed my students to come to me already knowing how to read and write, because I had roughly 7 months (with A LOT of interruptions) to perfect their writing into two 26 lined essays and an additional three weeks to hone their reading skills. One of the new buzz words in Texas is adding "rigor", which is the antitheses of the fundamentals. If students don't have the basics, then before we add rigor, we need to address the fundamentals. Hopefully, in my new position, I will get to establish the fundamentals of Math, so they can be successful on the state tests the following year in 3rd grade. This is my goal!

Staying positive isn't easy. I've had to learn the hard way what effect a negative attitude can have ones success. I still struggle with being sarcastic and funny with being a "Negative Nancy" or a "Debbie Downer". This is partly why my husband started sending his PMA Wednesday messages to me, then my team, and why I started my PMA Wednesday blog page and Pinterest board. 

I think we (teachers) all have a desire for our students to succeed. Whether positive or negative, we make an impact every day. Today, I will leave you with my favorite education quote. 


I am spending my Wednesday at an inservice learning about the various components of our district's math program. This is an optional inservice. I chose to go, instead of spending the day in my classroom unpacking. Why? As Jon Gordon writes, "The best commit themselves to new goals and being better than the year before." Have a POSITIVE Wednesday!
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August 5, 2013

Monday Made It 4 Math - August 5th




You know when you go to a party, and it is getting late, but you aren't ready for the party to end. Well, that is how I feel. Summer is ending soon. Although I still have two weeks of vacation remaining, I'll be back at school to start unpacking today. 

This year, I'm going to try to do Guided Math. I bought the book and went to a half day Guided Math inservice. I've been stalking other bloggers and reading how they do it. This week, I started organizing. I used a Wal-Mart gift certificate to pick up some three drawer containers, then I started making drawer labels. 

Differentiation is a BIG buzz word in my district, so this will be perfect. The top blue drawers will contain activities that any of my students are capable of doing. The middle green drawers will be activities for students on-level. The bottom brown drawer will be challenge activities. I have a 4th set of drawers. I was thinking about labeling them "Teacher Time" to help me organize small group work. 


After I created the labels for my drawers, I didn't stop there. I decided I needed to make polka-dotted rotation cards. I put it all together in a new file. You can find it here in my TPT store or click the preview picture below.


Last Monday, I was 1 of 60 Math teachers lucky enough to get a coveted spot at the district Make & Take session. [This was serious business, y'all. 22 teachers were on the wait list. After 5 minutes, they let 3 more people in due to no-shows.] They had stations split up by grade level, all the supplies to make them, and {gasp} access to three laminators. By the end of the day, I had 7 completed stations ready to go. I was able to find one of them available online for free. You can download it and make you own, too.



I've already shared my spray painted buckets. They were a little plain, so I added some super cute ribbon that has all of my colors. (Offray ribbon from Wal-Mart.) Last week, I made some labels. [Hint: Facebook Fan Freebie] Now 3 of the 5 are finished. I needed another roll of ribbon, but it was out of stock at my store. Hopefully, I can find another roll at another location.


Although I will be at school unpacking 3 days this week, I hope I get around to reading more than the 20 MMIs that I did last week. I want to see what you made and be inspired. Thank you Tara for hosting this linky party again this summer.

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August 2, 2013

Currently August - Really?

I have decided that I am NOT going to mourn the end of July, but embrace that it is Currently, August.


Listening to The Chew has become an everyday habit. Hubby and I have lunch and watch. Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz, Mario Batali, and Michael Symon have so much fun. I have made a few of their recipes, but we really watch for the entertainment.

Loving my treadmill, Mario. I made a commitment to myself on July 1st to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that I did every single day, but if I missed a day (totally happened twice), then I made it up by doing an extra 15 minutes the next two days. 32 days later, I have a new habit.

Thinking about prioritizing. I have to admit that I am a workaholic. I've worked all summer on school stuff. Monday, I will go back to school to start unpacking my 44 boxes. With everything that has been happening lately, I need to prioritize, probably means less blogging and/or social media.

Wanting another month of summer. Enough said!

Needing will power. I've done so much better with exercise. Now it is time to tackle my eating habits. This is A LOT harder. I don't like many vegetables or protein. I do like candy and carbs.

My B2S must haves include my Mead student planner. Mine is already filled in, color coded and ready for the new school year.

I love new Crayola markers. I will probably still buy them when I retire. It isn't a new school year until I buy at least 10 boxes of markers and crayons.

My last B2S must have is patience. I usually have a lot of patience, but for some reason, it goes out the window when it comes to B2S. I wanted in my room last week. I get to start unpacking Monday. I want my keys to my new room, so I don't have to keep bugging the front office to get in. My lack of patience is why I own my own laminator. Now I don't have to wait for it to be done at school. So as I get ready to go B2S, I will pack my patience.
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