April 6, 2017

Book Madness

My 2nd grade students loved Book Madness! I watched my Instagram blow up with teachers doing this, and I wanted to join the bandwagon. We had a blast listening to our stories. I got the banner from Second Grade Sizzle and the tournament headings from Brown Bag Teacher. Both FREE!  A wonderful teacher created the book headings and opinion writing template. I had to switch out a couple of books, but it was easy to do. Leave me a comment and I will email them to you.
I wanted to do my Book Madness the same time with NCAA's March Madness. It's easy to read picture books for this tournament. It's best you start creating your list at the beginning of the school year with chapter books if you want to start with Sweet 16. You can start with eight books for the Elite 8. My Book Madness was easier to coincide with March Madness since I used picture books.
Students votes counted as points. So, the book with the most points won the tourney.  My second graders loved the suspense as to which book had the most points.  The book that won by one point was the Buzzer Beater Book!
Here's a tip: I found my books online and decided to save my voice. There are many great read alouds on www.youtube.com and www.storylineonline.net
I did read the champion book aloud on my own!
Book Champion...(drumroll)...Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems!

January 6, 2017

Colorful Snowflake Art

Here is a quick and easy snowflake art by Art Projects for Kids.  We first painted our backgrounds using watercolors. While students were painting I went around sprinkling kosher salt. You want to sprinkle the salt on before the paint dries.  If the paint does dry before you can get to student number ten just brush it down with a wet paintbrush and sprinkle the salt.  It actually made the colors blend beautifully! The website created this art for cards. I just used regular water color paper and had the kids cut out snowflakes with coffee filters.  

You want to wait for the paint to dry and then wipe the salt off the paper.  The salt gives off a nice texture look for the background. Glue the snowflakes on any edges of the paper making sure some of it is not on the actual paper and snip the excess off. 

Love how some of my kiddos cut their snowflakes to look like planets. 
Hhhmmm...maybe we can do that next time with galactic paint! 


September 4, 2016

Move Over Raskog

I love Ikea, but don't get me wrong. Every time I check for those popular Raskogs, they are always NOT IN STOCK! That's a big ouch for this teacher (I get frustration in me)!
I have completely revamped my classroom into a flexible/alternative seating this school year (more on that in a later post).  I removed my reading kidney shaped table to make more room for flexible type seating arrangements in my classroom. I realized a Raskog could be very handy in housing all of my guided reading materials. 
But back to my dilemma...no Raskogs available AND you can't order one online from Ikea. Well, yes you can, but you will pay double for one on other sites if you are that desperate. 
I was! 
I browsed Amazon for a utility cart when I came across this beauty.  Ordered, delivered in two days, and it took me about ten minutes to put together. Took it to school and was able to put all of my guided reading supplies in it! I am in LOVE!  I was desperate and dished an extra $10 to get this. And it was worth it (I justify it by saving gas and the wheels on this locks).
 It rolls around easily from carpet to tile. I love the deep bin at the bottom that houses students' guided reading composition books. I can take the book bins out of each shelf easily.  
There is plenty of room! 
Click HERE to get one for yourself!


May 19, 2016

Jump Around!!!

Recently, my coworkers and I have been on Fitbit's Workweek Hustle Challenges (we received Fitbits as Mother's Day gifts).  I wondered how one of my coworkers was getting her 20k+ steps a day in. She told me about her trampoline. She let me borrow it the other day and WOW! It's so awesome to have in the classroom! I hop on it when I get a chance to add more steps towards my daily step goal. The best part is my students LOVE it as well!   

I purchased one by inMotion on Amazon (click on link) for under $30! My coworker found hers at Aldi's for under $25.  The Aldi version was a spring type trampoline, and I noticed that it did make a creaky sound as soon as a student jumped on it. 

I love the one I purchased on Amazon. This one comes with band tension resistance springs. 

It's a quiet jump which helps during Read to Self in our Daily 5 or when students are working on individual work.  I did set up some rules to keep students safe and prevent bickering on who has a turn. Anyone can jump whenever the trampoline is free. They cannot jump when someone is speaking, during tests, or when we enter the classroom from recess or specials. They are allowed 35 consecutive jumps per subject. For instance, when I am finished with any mini-lesson and students begin their independent practice, students may jump when the trampoline is free. They are not allowed to line up or stand around the trampoline when someone is jumping. When a student is ready to jump they MUST step on and step off the trampoline. NO JUMPING ON OR OFF OF IT.  Their feet may catch the safety pad that surrounds the trampoline.

This has helped get their wiggles out on rainy days. It also helped them refocus on their tasks. And it's a fun quiet way of getting their exercise in!  

I ended up purchasing two more trampolines! Two for the classroom and one for me at home! 

Happy Jumping! 


March 3, 2016

Ever Wondered About These Scoop Rockers?

My colleague obtained these chairs that look like baby car seats for her first grade classroom. At first, I thought they might be too small for my second graders. I always wondered if my students could fit in it.  They are called Scoop Rockers and she found them for about $5 at Aldi Grocery Store.  I have heard that you might be able to catch them at Wal-Mart, too.

 My students loved them! I added them to my classroom as another alternative to my flexible seating for Daily 5. My second graders seem comfortable enough to sit in them for their Read-to-Self.

This kid found a way to get himself all comfortable!

Here's a closer look at their label so you can track them down.  I think these scoop rockers works well with 2nd grade and below.  You might want to get a few to try in any higher grades after 2nd. 
 It's a hit for my second graders! 


November 19, 2015

Standing Desks on a Budget or even FREE!

A Stand2Learn standing desk and stool. 
(Courtesy of Stand2Learn)

I really want to try those STANDING DESKS I keep reading about in educational journals and blogs. I was researching how to do a flexible seating arrangement in my classroom when I came across this concept about standing desks. I looked online to purchase one of those cool tables with a fancy pendulum footrest and realized that I didn't have the funds for one. 
My principal suggested that I can save a "whole lotta" money by simply raising the legs of my students' desks! Um...why didn't I think of that? I raised the legs of a couple of student desks I had in the classroom. AND...my kids love it! They love doing their work in the standing stations! 
Granted, this will only work maybe up to third grade as desks can go only so high.  
Ok...ok...you might have beat me to the punch, but I just found out about this wonderful easy way to get them for free! So, I am spreading the love to those who want to try out standing desks! 
You're welcome! 
A few of my students like to sit in the high stool while working. 

 They use a stepper for the whole one leg up thingy that comes when you actually purchase a standing desk...oh, yes, the pendulum footrest...that thingy. We found that a step stool does the same thing. 

Move two desks together and you have a four top! Wala!

October 23, 2015

I Never Met A Pumpkin I Didn't Like

Here's a quick and easy pumpkin bulletin board for ya! I actually stole the idea from a great teacher friend of mine. I looked on Pinterest for the How To.  I found KinderCraze and her link for a free pumpkin template. I used clear contact paper and had the students fill in the pumpkins with colorful tissue paper I cut up into squares (they cut out their own pumpkins). Then lined the top with more clear contact paper. For the vines, I just squeezed colorful tissue paper and added die cut leaves. Our hallway is decorated with tons of Fall colors. And of course, I needed to add more darker colors to add that pop! Plus, it ties in when my tree by my door. Students will take them home for Thanksgiving Break so that they can hang them on their windows. 

Happy Fall Y'all!