Friday, April 29, 2011

Fun New Tool!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mother's Day Project Linky Party

In the Teacher's Lounge is having a Mother's Day Project Linky Party. Participate here:

I have my kids color and cut out these adorable teapots.
The lid pulls out to reveal a sweet poem.

Then on the back of the teapot, I tape a package of tea.
This is the resource where I found it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Classroom!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's the most useful thing on your supply list?

Our school secretary just passed out our school supply list to check it for next year. It will be sent home in the last report card for the year. **What is the single most useful item that you have on your supply list.** SHARE YOUR GREAT IDEAS!

I think the most useful item on our second grade list are the Ziploc bags with zippers. We request both sizes (gallon and quart) and use them for so many things like flashcards, book bags, center materials....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Listening Center Linky Party

Primary inspired is having a listening center linky party. I use my listening center when I do guided reading. Each group listens to either the story of the week or one of my books on CD and then completes some sort of response activity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Funniest Moment

I can think of many funny moments in my classroom that crack me up, but one of the funniest moments happened as we were making words one day. We had just started, so one of the first little words we made was bed. I like to review parts of speech when making words so I asked the students whether bed was a noun or a verb. One of my little boys raised his hand and stated that bed is a verb. My quick response was "where is the action in bed?" All I can say is that it's a good thing I teach second graders.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Whisper Phones - Feedback Needed!!!

With a grant, I purchased a class set of whisper phones. I had noticed them in a teacher catalog, and I thought, at the time, that whoever created them was a genius. I had the old-fashioned kind made from PVC Pipe, but the Whisper Phones were far superior because the students wouldn't have to hold onto them and could read to themselves without disturbing anyone.

Old Style:

New Whisper Phones

At first I was delighted with the Whisper Phones. They each came in their own pouch, so I numbered them and put one in each student's seat sack. However, my enthusiasm quickly passed, as the students tried to use them. The Whisper Phones go around the back of the head, and the boom (where they talk through) is supposed to be in front of the kids' mouths. The problem is that the boom easily becomes detached from the holder as the kids adjust them to line up with their mouths or to sit more comfortably around their heads. The worst part is that the kids cannot reattach the boom to the holder themselves, and I have to say that I found it very difficult myself to get them to snap into place. I was spending so much time running around the room snapping booms back on, that it just became ridiculous. So, long story...but I boxed them up and put them away. Occasionally, I get them back out and try to rethink them. I have considered glueing the booms in place, but then the students wouldn't be able to adjust them to their varying head sizes. I tried to write the company, but they never responded to me. Every once in a while I check the site to see if they have made any design changes. I notice that they now have a hand-held version. I would be very interested to hear from any one else who has used these phones and how they have worked for you.

Check out Whisper Phones here:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inexpensive Chart Stands

There is really no need to buy those expensive chart stands. Instead I buy garment racks at Walmart. They have a variety of finishes and styles. The two that I have bought are under ten dollars. But they also have chrome styles that look more like the professional teaching chart stands. In order to hang the pockets charts, I just go to the dollar store and buy shower clips. I am able to hang a pocket chart on both sides to make it multi-purposeful. For the chart stand in the picture, I had my husband cut it down to size so that my students could reach their unfinished work pockets on one side and see their jobs on the other.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Omg! One More Thing I Love.

My Very Favorite Things!!!

(Linky Party through
1.  Oh how I love to decorate.  I wish I could build a new house every 5 years and pick out everything new.  My favorite TV station is HGTV, particularly, Property Ladder and Designed to Sell.  If I weren't a teacher, I would love to be a house stager.

2. I love technology.  I love my Smartboard, my Elmo, and...oh thank God for flat irons!  My new favorite thing is my flip video camera...and I really want an ipad!

3. I love flowers.

4.  I love ebay.  It's such a thrill to bid on something and win!  I get the best deals on ebay.  I bought my little flip camera from ebay for so little!
5.  I know I'm not alone, but I love American Idol.  Currently, I am in two pools for American Idol.  One is with my fellow teachers online through  

6.  I love Greek yogurt.  Oikos honey yogurt is sooooo good!

7.  I love my life, my husband, my kids...and I am ever so thankful for my blessings!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tattle Tale Book

Tattling was driving me crazy, so I created the Tattle Tale Book. It saves so much time, and it encourages the kids to express themselves in writing. Plus, they love to have a personal written response from me. I have saved all my Tattle Tale Books over the past ten years, and some of the entries are so funny I wonder if they wouldn't be fun to publish.

Download cover and inside page here (created in Word so just change my name to yours):

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Space!

Do your kids ever complain that their neighbor is copying from them. Mine do, so I came up with my "My Space" idea. All I did was get two manila folders, taped them together in the middle, put a design on them @@@@My Space@@@@@@, and then laminated them so that I could use them again and again. Every student has one in their seat sack so if they ever feel the need for a little private time they are allowed to get them out. Of course, I also use them when they are doing a test to keep them honest.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cute Cubes!

I found these really cute square ottomans at T. J. Maxx for $20.00 each.  The kids sit on them (sometimes lay over them) to shop for books for their book bins.  I think they were intended for a college dorm room, but they really work well in my classroom because they promote a feeling of a little "home comfort" without taking up to much space. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beat the Clock

My kids love these Beat the Clock books from Lakeshore Learning Materials.  I got them with a grant and have one for every student.  For math, I teach a math lesson using my Smartboard, and then the students have some sort of practice and/or assessment afterwards.  Early finishers are allowed to get a Beat the Clock book which have either addition or subtraction facts.  The students start the timer and then solve away.  After they establish the first time, then the challenge is to beat the clock.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love Those Pocket Charts!

Let lunch count take care of itself with this 2-column pocket chart.  It can accommodate 30 students.  I put a "hot" lunch icon at the top of one column and a "cold" lunch icon on top of the other column.  When the students come in the morning, they put their id cards either on the hot lunch side or cold lunch.  I can easily see who's having what without having to the poll the kids.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm always looking for ways to motivate my students.  My latest brainstorm had me bidding all over ebay to collect these little charms.  I successfully bid on little plastic feet, stars, and keys which came in 7 different colors.  I also got little silver plated hands and smiling suns.  Most of the charms came from China and took about two weeks to arrive.  The kids can earn the charms for a variety of reasons both academic and behavior. Then, on the last day of school, they will take their charms and string them on glow-in-the dark vinyl string.  They will go home on that day proudly displaying their accomplishments around their neck.  Underneath the pocket chart, I have a poster which shows what each charm represents.  You may have noticed the ticket in each of the pockets, but I will save that for another blog!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carpet Time!

Every summer I try to work on one pet peeve that I have in my classroom.  So, last summer I decided to work on creating a more productive carpet time in my room.  Carpet time is that time when I bring my students up to do their jobs.  My kids are not really aware, but while they are doing their jobs they are learning graphing, place value, problem solving, vocabulary, time, money, patterns, etc.  My problem, however, was how do I make everyone accountable for that learning and not just the student with the job.  The kids that didn't have jobs were fussing about who was touching who or who was not in the right spot.  I started searching online for a carpet that had grids or circles or some way that the students could have their own real estate, but these carpets were out of sight especially since the money would come out of my pocket!  Then I found this blue carpet at Walmart, which measures 9 x 12 ft.  To make the grid, I got two 2 x 4's  (to make straight lines) and red craft paint and just painted the lines after I measured and marked them with a little masking tape.  I also used a little carpet tape to hold it down securely on the open end opposite the wall.  So far it has worked beautifully.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Power Point Presentations at TPT

Here is a sampling of power points that I have created and can be seen more completely at Teachers Pay Teachers:

Blooming with Adjectives

To help my students remember that adjectives are describing words, I had them create this garden of spring flowers.  I gave them bright green background paper, tissue paper, and green construction paper.  On the leaves of their flowers, they wrote to adjectives that described themselves.  It was just what we needed to jumpstart spring.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Classroom Rules

Whenever I visit another teacher's classroom, I always check out their classroom rules.  This year I found this cute video on youtube and adapted them as my classroom rules.  Occasionally I play the video for the kids to remind them of our rules.  What are your rules for the classroom? 
Youtube link:

What's your favorite classroom read aloud?

What is your favorite read-aloud for second graders?  I am always looking for new material.   A couple of my favorites are Stuart's Cape andStuart Goes to School by Sara Pennypacker.  Stuart is a quirky little boy who worries about everything. These two books are so funny and engaging.  I would love to hear about your favorites!!!