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Sunday, February 24, 2013

February Fun!

So as usual things have been busy and I haven't been on blogging.  It's weird, obviously in the summer I have tons of time to blog, but I'm not in my classroom so not much to blog about.  lol  In the fall, I have tons to blog about, but no time.  Oh well.  I do my best.  lol
So this month has been busy as usual.  February is the shortest month and the most jam-packed!  So we started out with 100 Day.  In my school, kindergarten and first grade do a big thing for 100 Day, but that's it.  I still think it's a fun thing, maybe because I taught kindergarten and first grade, so I still do a little something.  The kids have a fun coloring sheet to do when they come in and they have a snack waiting for them: a pretzel rod to be the 1 and two mini donuts (a chocolate and a powdered) to be the 0s to make 100.  We also read 100 Day books as well.
Then we moved on to learning about Abraham Lincoln and Black History Month, which really tie in well with each other.  We had learned a little bit in our social studies book and with Martin Luther King in January so now we are learning more.
Then it was student-led conference week and Valentine's Day, with Valentine's Day falling on the half-day conference day.  So I had conferences all week, a couple a day before and after school, and then it was time to celebrate.  When our long conference day falls on Valentine's Day, I do a breakfast theme for our party.  I bring in a toaster and ask others to bring in toasters and we have eggo toaster waffles with fun toppings (strawberries, blueberries, whip cream, syrup, chocolate sauce).  This year I also asked for pop-tarts and one of my student's aunts also brought in pigs in a blanket which was a HUGE hit.  Then of course milk or orange juice.  Much better to me than having candy and cupcakes in the morning since the students got out at 11:45AM.  While we were toasting things I had the students do a great Valentine ABC hunt and Valentine Linking Verbs hunt from the fabulous Christina Bainbridge.  So the students walked around the classroom and hallway with their clipboards and found the words and followed the directions.  It kept them busy and moving around and learning at the same time!  Not bad for a party.  lol  As the students finished, they went to get food and start eating.  As they finished eating I had them do conversation heart math.  When they finished THAT, then they were able to start going around and pass out their Valentines, which is all they want to do anyway.  It was a nice, low-key party, which is what I like for the last big holiday party.  Halloween is the craziest and then it goes down from there.  We made these Valentine holders during the week as part of Art of the Week to collect the valentines in.



They were an idea from Michaels craft store's online page a few years ago and I make them every year.  I think they are great to hold everything in because they are big and have the handles.  The bags come in a pack of 13 and I use my 40% off coupon to get them.  I go in 2 times so I can use 2 coupons.  In the past I have also put them on my donation letter to the parents as well.  I cut the mouths in the bags beforehand, and made a cardboard tracer for the students to use for their heart faces and then they just match it up to the mouth on the bag and make any creature they want.  Mine is the last one, it's a love bug. :)  I get the fun foam shapes for the students to add to it too.  They love it.
So after the party, it was time to clean up, eat lunch, and do my last 16 conferences.  That's the night we have to be there until 8PM.  It was a good day though.  The kids were great during the day and made me feel loved, we had fun, and the conferences went well.
With all of the extra hours we put in for conference week we always get the next day off and then we had Presidents' Day off as well so it was a nice 4-day weekend.  I baby-sat my niece Josie and worked on 2 more packs for TPT and TN stores.  Then we started learning about George Washington too.  The class this past week did an art of the week on what they would do if they were president and it turned out cute.  I'll take a picture this week once everyone is finished to show you.  It was an idea from The First Grade Parade and I just modified it a bit.
This week we are doing a paper plate craft of the lion and the lamb.  We haven't done it in a couple of years and with March coming on Friday, it works out well to do it this year.  The students predict whether March will come in like a lion or a lamb and they either make a lamb head (with cotton balls) or a lion head (strips of brown paper) as their prediction and then they have to write what they chose and why (as we do Art of the Week as a Work on Writing choice, so we always adding writing into it).
Here is a freebie of the writing paper I made to go with it:
We also have a new evaluation system and a big thing with it is making sure that students are reflecting and assessing themselves on their learning.  This can be a hard thing with 2nd graders.  They did a good job at conferences because I made sure to tell them that they would be sharing their reflections with their parents and me.  This sparked me to create a rubric for them to use during Daily 5 as my team mates and I were talking about it.  At this time of year the students have been doing Daily 5 so long and they start to get spring fever that they don't do as good of a job as they did when it was newer.  There are a lot more people wandering or talking.  My kids do better at this because I bribe them with prize coins for students who do a good job, lol, but I still thought I'd make a rubric for them to use as well.  The rubric contains the statements we wrote on the I-charts for each Daily 5 center.  So if they do everything that we wrote, they earn a 3, if they mostly did it but had some trouble with focus or chattiness, they get a 2, if they are one of the wanderers they get a 1.  I put it in my tpt shop as a freebie if you are interested.  Click on the pic below to take you there.  
Well I hope you have a great weekend and week!  Hopefully I'll be back on soon with pictures of bulletin boards and projects!  :)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

February!!!

Here it is February.  I haven't blogged in a month.  Broke that resolution really fast.  lol  This is why I never make them...
So we went back to school on the 7th, things were busy trying to get back into the swing of things and I didn't take time to blog.  We also have a new evaluation system going on state wide and I had my formal observation the week we got back from break and I had to get ready for that.  Then things started getting down to the wire with us maybe going on strike and I was trying to get a lot of stuff done before that happened because I was going to have turn in my laptop.  Well we did go on strike and I had to say good-bye to my laptop until it was over.  Thank goodness I got an iphone last year so I at least I had a tiny computer to keep up to date on things.  We were on strike 3 days in the January cold.  I don't know if any of you have ever been on strike, this was my first time.  Now it's not something I enjoyed, or would want to do again, but let me tell you I bonded with all of the teachers in my district and I didn't know that would happen.  It was amazing how close we all became.  We also had great support of most of the school families so that was wonderful and helped to lift the spirits too as we were bundled up in 20 degree temperatures.  We were back in school by the Tuesday after MLK Jr. day, so that is when I got my computer back.  We were very lucky it was over by then because it was frigid around here with highs of 11 degrees.  I was happy to be back in school and to have my laptop back, but I was behind on things because of it.  One of those things was my post-observation reflection write-up.  Then I had to have my meeting.  Luckily it all went well.  Also thrown in the mix was NWEA testing that my students had to do!  lol  So now I'm finally caught up on everything and I am able to blog again!!  Hope everything has been going well with you for the last month!
Both of my stores (teachers pay teachers and teacher's notebook) are joining in on the Super Sales that they are both throwing.  Luckily I was able to finish up Unit 4 today for my Treasures packs and those are posted on there too so people can get them on sale if they'd like.  I have tpt set up for 20% off sales and then of course you get the extra percentage off by using the promo code.  I can't wait to get some of the things on my wishlist on sale!

For teacher's notebook, all of my items are on sale for 25% off.  



It really is going to be a SUPER Sunday!!!  I hope everyone has a fantastic day and if you're into the actual game, hope whoever you're rooting for wins.  lol

:)