Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 5 of vacation

Those of you that are still going strong this morning - I admire you! I don't know how you get back up on Tuesay after Memorial Day and teach.

Who Would Win?: Tarantula vs. ScorpionMy last week was pretty good. I posted earlier about the books I was going to read. I also gave each student a book. Well, not each student. I had about 6 of Jerry Pallotta's Who Would Win books. I thought they would go fast, but I didn't realize! I had two boys who told me all the "good" books were gone, so they didn't want a book at all.

We also watched Toy Story 2. I couldn't get the sound to work very good, which turned out to be a good thing, because they were all very quiet so they could hear :) 

We had a game day - I got out my Legos, my blocks, my connecting blocks, and all the games I had - Connect 4, Candy Land, Trouble - and then let 6 students on computers for 15 minutes at a time. They enjoyed that, too, and (yeah!) got along!! {little funny aside - I joined IXL math for the last month on their freebie try-out plan. Two of my boys, for their 15 minutes on computers - which was do whatever you want - did IXL math. You goofs!}
And the big finale was our school wide fun day outside. As usual, my kids got along in the morning as we rotated around centers and competed in fun and funny games. But the afternoon because a little more testy. I told them it was fun day for me too so there was no fighting, no whining, no tattling. Ha!
I'm going to take some relaxing, not any school work time (except blog-stalking, which really, that doesn't count, does it??). Well, until next Monday, when I'm going to a Kim Sutton workshop. Very excited about that!
Happy Summer to everyone that is already out!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher is hosting a linky party called:

 She asks us to share the great and not so great.
My first not-so-great is I don't take pictures at school, so I don't have those to share with you. :)

What I'm happy about:
HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) Reading Response Sheets I tried some different things in my guided reading and I liked how they turned out. I tried HOTS from Anna Brantley

 and liked how those went. I also tried parts of Hilary Lewis' Book Clubs
Book Clubs Made Easyand again, liked how those went. I think just doing something different, maybe once a month, instead of the structured format of our reading series was a nice change-up for the kids. And threw them off, in a good way, so they have to think a little differently.

I had one little sweetie this year that had been in the class next door last year. Yikes, didn't want him - ha, got him. But his parents told me it was a better year, and I feel like it was, too. Not perfect, but able to connect with him and it made a difference in behavior.

Math was better this year. My centers were more structured and I thought out what I wanted the students to do and review, instead of just having games out to keep them busy while I worked with my small group.

Finding all these wonderful blogs, especially 2nd grade teachers, and Teachers Pay Teachers. I have used many activities that I feel like are a fun way to teach my students.

Not so happy about:
Still want to work on Math and Guided Reading. Want to get better and better at both. During math, it seems I have a couple sweeties who say, "I don't get it." (most frustrating words to me!) Want to continue to find new and different ways to explain things to them.
And Guided Reading - our district has a pretty rigid guideline on what to do - but I want to get better at reaching all my students - challenging the higher kids and pushing the lower kids.

Finally, behavior - at times just wore me out. I want to let more things just roll off my back. I want to find a way to let all my students know that I care about them.  I want to find ways to make sure I don't get sucked into a cycle that spirals down, down, down. And I want to work hard to not see the child as only their behavior.

OK, yuck, that makes it sound like it was terrible. Not really. I had some sweet, sweet, sweeties. And this is the first year I almost started crying when they said good-bye.

I am done for the year, and I'm ready for some good sleeping in, which Did Not Happen this morning - woke up at 4am, which is way too early!

Happy Memorial Weekend

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last week

In years past, the last week of school, we've had Monday and Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. This week we are going until Thursday! Yikes!

My afternoons are taken care of -
Monday - 2nd grade fun day (ha, it's supposed to be at least 90!
Tuesday - Movie day - I'm going to let the kids pick a movie - G rated of course.
Wednesday - Making Amy Lemons' Dirt Puddin' (unfortunately without the "work" - graphic organizers - just no time) and having a game day.
Thursday - all school Fun Day - again supposed to be at least 90 - but it should be fun.

So, for the mornings - I love books, I love to read - so we're reading! (Poor little babies!)

Monday - Stripes -
Product Detailsdoing something from Sunny Days' Stripes unit I downloaded (not sure what yet :)

Tuesday - The Relatives Came
Product Details- love this story. Reminds me of visiting my grandparents. Don't know what I'll do with this.

Wednesday - Last Day Blues -
Product Details

I read First Day Jitters on the first day of school. This is a fun book - and after I read it, I'm going to have them write and draw about what I'm going to be doing this summer. Should be interesting to "hear" what they have to say.
Hope your last few days are good ones! Sara

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The countdown continues - 4 more days! I know some people are off, out, relaxing. More power to you - I'll be joining you soon. 
I mentioned in a previous post that we do a reading series (Journeys) and we finished 2 weeks ago, so this past week, I had a little more freedom.
I purchased Deanna Jump's Insect unit and also Creepy Crawly Fun by Monica Schroeder. I used bits from both and then did some of my own. I used lots of Deanna's information with my kiddos. I did the Creepy Crawly Fun's Insect Diner from Monica - we wet sponges with honey water and set them outside to see what critters would come. None did :(  Good opportunity to talk about scientists trying more than one time and brainstorm ways to alter the experiment. We tried again the next morning, putting the sponges in the shade by some trees. It worked! Fun for the kids. We also watched Reading Rainbow's The Life Cycle of a Honeybee. They were so engrossed in this. The only talking were "Wows" and "Oh." Terrific!
After we watched the video and I read a book about bees, we drew a bee and then they added information they had learned about bees.

I used several books from Ann Heinrichs' Nature's Friends series. I got these from our Public Library (the school library wouldn't let me check out any books since it is almost the end of the school year.) Unfortunately, it appears they must be out of print - Amazon only sells it from other sellers.
Product Details
I had bought some air dry clay and I was going to have the kids make a Mother's Day something, but they were doing clay in art and time got away from me. So I still had the clay - and I decided to have them make their own insects. They had to include the 3 body parts and the insect had to have 6 legs. Turned pretty cool, especially for a Friday afternoon project. If I think about it, I'll take pictures.

I had 4 kids gone on Friday and one left at noon. I already know one kiddos is going to be gone at least on Monday and Tuesday. Just interesting.

OK - that's all for right now. We have a new high school (that my daughter will be going to next year) and they are doing tours today - so hub-bub and I are going to go have a look-see. Have a terrific weekend! Sara

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good Reads

Mrs. Stanford is having a Good Reads Linky Party - What a great idea! I love to read!

I have a couple of professional books I like. The first is:
cover of The First Six Weeks of School
A friend gave this to me at the end of the year last year - I read it and tried to implement some of the ideas. I'm hoping to implement more this year. They also have a website with a blog that has ideas if you don't want to buy the book - Responsive Classroom. Anyway, obviously lots of ideas for the first of the school year and creating a good classroom environment.

Another I like is:

Very short chapters with specific ideas on how to get the most from your students. It was a little overwhelming to me at first, so I picked 5 ideas and tried them over the year. They really do make a difference. The first idea he teaches is "No Opt Out." Everyone has to participate; if you ask and they don't or won't answer, find someone who will and then come back to the first kiddo. I've tried this and they know I'll come back to them, so they listen for the answer.
And last...

I went to a workshop that an associate of Debbie Diller's did and it really changed the way I had my classroom arranged. I turned it 90 degress and it has just made a world of difference. I need to reread it and see if I want to make any changes before next school year.
So those are my suggestions. What books are on your summer reading list?
 Mrs. Stanford's Class

Monday, May 14, 2012

Newbie Blog Hopping

The Caffeinated Classroom is having a blog-hopping party for any newbies! A great way to "meet" other new-to-the-blog world teachers. Hop over there for links to other great teachers' blogs.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Bucket List

With only 9 days of school left, of course my mind must wander to: what in the world will I do with all my free time? There's a linky party for that!
Summer Bucket List
So what am I going to do?
First off, hit the books - plan some lessons for next school year - and do some professional development reading. Kim Sutton is going to be in town, and I'd love to go to her workshop - but it is the day before my daughter is leaving for Europe. Bad timing :(
And laminate, cut and organize all the stuff I bought at the Teacher Appreciation sale!

I want to refurnish our dining room table. The old finish is wearing off in places and it just needs some TLC.

This little corner of my backyard. I'd like to take the bush out - it is growing suckers all over the place! And you can't see, but we have an olive tree on the right and some of the roots are sticking up. I need to widen the area that has ground cover under it so I don't have to try to mow around the roots. So just some prettying-up over here.

Hub-bub and I are going to Angel Fire for a weekend while our daughter is gone. I told him I just want to go somewhere and do NOTHING! So that's the plan.

And finally, is everyone saying this? I want to sleep. I am exhausted, at the end, no energy, etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, those are some of the things on my summer bucket list. How about you? Link up at Miss Kindergarten.

Happy Mother's Day! Sara

Friday, May 11, 2012

Techno help

The 3am Teacher must be just the nicest person in the world! She is offering technology help to all us little bloggers who are winging it. She asks, what would you like to know how to do?
OK, this is the craziest little thing, but I'd like to know how to get a cute little button instead of my cute little dog's picture whenever I comment on a blog. I love my cute little dog, but really, this isn't a dog blog :)
And like the author of We are all special - I'd like to know how to use the cute background on these linky parties - like she has that looks like this:

And another perhaps semi-goofy thing: I'd like to know how to do is to add an email something so if some great day somebody actually wanted to email, well, they could!
So there you have it - now I'm going to link up with 3am teacher and see what she can teach me!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Spent yesterday (Wednesday) evening cutting and printing. Now I need to do some Thank Yous! Oh, my goodness, what wonderful things people gave away from their TpT stores. If any of you read my blog, Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

After this week, I have one full week left and then four days. Oh My Goodness. (I think I said that in my last post :)
In my district, we have a reading series that we have to follow. This is the last week for that. (We are reading a fun story called, "Now and Ben" about Ben Franklin and his inventions, many of which we still use.)
Anyway, I'm excited to do something different. I plan to do a unit about insects. I'm using material from several different people: Deanna Jump, Monica Schroeder, Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits, and Made for 1st Grade. I'm planning to spend a week on it - we'll see how much I can get done!

Every year since I've been teaching 2nd grade, we've done a talent show. We brain storm ideas of talents 2nd graders might have. I ask them to pick something they might do for the class. Sometimes I have to have discussions (sometimes Lengthy discussions!) with a child to explain why they can't, oh say, ride a horse at school. {Do you have a horse? Neither do I. How are you going to show that talent, then?}
Anyway, for some of the kids, it is really a chance to shine. All of them have a talent; it's just that for some it might be a bit hidden.
I wish I had started this during this week, but even though I didn't, I'm going to go ahead and do it. It will make next week and the next week tight, but oh, well.

I have pretty much planned the next two weeks. I'm trying to balance having fun, we all want to be done and not being embarrassed if the principal walks in. Do you know what I mean?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bad Sara

When I started my blog a couple months ago, I had the goal to write at least once, and hopefully twice a week. I missed last week. It was a computer issue. I have an iPad, so that's where I do most of my "stalking," but I don't like to write my blog on there. So I have to wrestle the computer away from my teenager. When I was able to do that on Sunday, I spent the time downloading
Freebies! (from TpT stores)
Did anyone else go completely crazy on this?  I downloaded almost everything from the K-2 people - there were a couple kindergarten things I just couldn't see me using at all. And then I thought to myself, I teach 2nd grade, maybe there are some 3-6 freebies I might use. And sure enough there were.

I haven't even had time to really go through everything I downloaded. Hopefully there is nothing that I will use in the next few weeks.

When I got done doing all that, (now on to Monday!), I shopped at the TpT sale. Oh My Goodness! $77 worth - and that's including the sale, the TpT discount and using $5 or so of points. Got several things that had been on my wishlist for a while. Several things I'm hoping to use in math next year.

How many days do you have left? I have 12 - yikes! One part of me is saying - yahoo! so ready for a break. I have one little stinker, I mean sweetie, that is really giving me a run for my money. The other side of me is saying - I have one assessment to give, and some activities I want to do and time is a ticking.

I hope some people downloaded my Bump Plus games. I didn't get any comments, and it makes me realize how important it is to add a comment when someone shares something you really like or will use. I did get some new followers - that's always nice.  

So, how many days do you have left? Are you counting? :)