Whew!  (insert big sigh here)  I cannot believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone... I did a little online shopping yesterday, but I am not one who enjoys those crazy Black Friday crowds.. been there, done that... not for me!

Now it's time to turn our attention to the holidays!  I love Christmas - the lights (I put lights on just about everything that doesn't move at my house... and maybe a few things that do!), the happiness... the SHOPPING!!

Ok, friends.... this blog is going to be B.U.S.Y over the next few days.  I have so much to share with you!  Sales, linky parties, a giveaway and more!  So be sure to check back often - now let's get this party started!

Get your wishlist ready, because Monday and Tuesday are the big Cyber-sale days at Teacher's Pay Teachers!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Second-Grade-Stories
My store, along with tons of others will all be on sale... PLUS if you use the code "cyber" at the check-out, you get an extra 10% off on top of the sale prices!  How cool is that?  You can click on the graphic above to go to my store.

I have already gotten my wishlist organized and plan to do some serious shopping.  If you're looking for some great stores to check out, visit Primary Possibilities' link up - filled with stores offering 20% off (don't forget to add the 10%, too!)
http://primarypossibilities.blogspot.com/2013/11/huge-cyber-monday-and-tuesday-sale-at.html

Ok, I'm off to finish 2 more holiday products by the end o this weekend, and do some planning for next week, and put up my Christmas decorations... wish me luck! 
Time for the weekend - and just 2 1/2 days next week, then Thanksgiving break... whoo-hoo!  I love Thanksgiving... the food, the colors, the family.... it's a great time of year.

This week we started a quickie unit in math on place value through 100.  I was pleased that most of my kiddos already had mastered a great deal of what we did, since much of this is part of my morning meeting smartboard calendar every day.  We count days we've been in school, add money to the piggy bank, do some math review.... suddenly the light bulb went off for some of them when they realized, "Hey!  This is just what we do in the morning!"  Oh yes, your teacher really DOES have a plan for all she does!

Anyway, a favorite math time this week was when we reviewed comparing numbers.  And I have to be honest, I cannot take credit for this.  Although the alligator idea has been around forever, this song from Ron Brown of Intelli-tunes really got them hooked
You can also click (HERE) to download the mp3 and the lyrics.

We started the lesson (after a quick review of how we knew numbers were greater or less) by listening to the song and singing along.  We added hand motions and dramatic effects - they loved it. 

Then we did some practice on the smartboard
 
(You can search for great smartboard lessons on the Smart Exchange)

We also practiced READING the symbols - since some of my kiddos kept wanting to start with the bigger number no matter which side it was on.

Then we partnered up and each pair got a board, marker, eraser, dice and one set of these cards
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ize_mAbVGMYldVZV9QdkdEbjQ/edit?usp=sharing
Each person took a turn rolling the dice and they worked in partners to write the number sentence and put down the correct card in the middle.  Some of my pairs did 2-digit numbers and some did 3-digit.

Finally, a little independent practice - same idea, just by themselves.  I divided them into 3 groups for this so each group had a different way to get their numbers - one group rolled dice again, another group used a deck of cards (face cards removed) and another group used the random number generator on the smartboard.  They used this recording sheet
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ize_mAbVGMYldVZV9QdkdEbjQ/edit?usp=sharing

You can click (HERE) or on either of the pictures above if you'd like the cards and sheet.

All in all, it was a fun way to get a little practice with a familiar skill. 

Well, that's it!  Next week will be all out Thanksgiving and turkeys in my classroom.  I can't believe it's already the end of November!  Where has the year gone?
I did it!  I actually got a Five for Friday post done to link up with Doodlebugs ON Friday! 
http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.com/2013/11/five-for-friday-linky-party-november.html
Wonders never cease!  Only four days this week - and one of them was a curriculum day, so it wasn't a full week of activities.  Here's a peeky at my weeky!
Owls, owls, owls!  We spent the week researching the answer to the questions: "What makes an owl a good hunter?"  We read books, visited websites, looked at a stuffed owl (real one!) and just generally immersed ourselves in all things owl.  Here are some of the books we used.
 
I absolutely LOVE Owl babies, by Martin Waddell.  It is so simple, yet we really got into a close reading discussing the character traits of the 3 baby owls, point of view.... then we talked about expression, tone and phrasing as we read and reread the story for fluency.  My kiddos divided into groups of 4 and each one took a part to read.  They loved it!

After we researched information and took notes, everyone worked to write an informative paragraph about owls as hunters.

 

I was impressed with how much they learned!
Thanksgiving is fast approaching our wonderful art teacher has begun her yearly turkey craft brigade!  She hates to do the same thing twice, but we convinced her they were just so darn cute last year that she HAD to do them this year.  Soooo adorable and easy-peasy!
 
and not to be outdone.... here's a picture my brother-in-law sent me
Yes, they are real.  And I was assured no harm was rendered to the turkeys during their dye job.  You just never know what you're going to see....
 
Today was a professional day for my grade level team to work on curriculum.  My curriculum director shared two videos from the TC Reading and Writing Project.  One was on close reading and the other was about text complexity.  I have to say - they were very helpful and the text complexity one really clarified some of my misconceptions.  I also discovered Achieve the Core - a great resource for model lessons and ideas.  I'm working on getting the links for the videos.  I'll post them as soon as I have them!
 
Everyone who knows my classroom knows I LOVE brain breaks of all kinds.  We do everything from yoga, to energizers, to dance videos.  Here's our new favorite by Koo Koo Kangaroo
You will definitely dance around to this one.  We know ALL the words.  These guys have other great videos, too.  Check them out!  Here's the link to my old post filled with other brain break videos.
 
And now... number five... although I could have put this at number one as far as occupying my thoughts all week... what do you think...
does she look preggers???!!!  That's right people, after a whole lot of google research, I am pretty convinced that this little fishy is expecting!  We have four fish on our classroom tank.... and now it looks like we'll have more - MANY more.... and I'm actually a little concerned that ANOTHER one is one the baby train, too .... this is what happens when the lady at the pet shop is not able to tell if the fish are boys or girls....
 
Has anyone out there ever had a pregnant tropical fish?  What now??  I bought a fry tank, fry food (the babies are called "fry" for those of you who may not have the knowledge I have now).... if I just "let nature take its course" she'll eat the babies, as will the other fish in the tank.... not good if my little 7-year olds are watching.... but if I keep them separate, then I'm going to have a billion little fishies to take care of and that was NOT in the plan....
 
stay tuned....
Hello bloggy friends!  Today is Day 2 of Blog Hoppin's wonderful We are THANK-ful linky party
 
And, as usual, I am late to the party... Soooo... I decided to combine T and H because time-savers are definitely helpful hints!  I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to blog about here.  I'm one of those people who worries that I won't say the right thing.... or that my post will be off base and not what it's supposed to be about... which is half the reason I'm late for this anyway... so here goes!
 
Helpful Hint and Timesaver #1
Stay organized!
Bet that's news to you, isn't it?  I've been teaching for so many years and every year it seems I try a new organizational strategy for something.  These two have stuck around for the long haul so I know they work for me:
In the corner of my room by the rug area is my "basket bin."  It holds all the stuff I need for the week - and then some.  I keep it here because that's the place where I am the most, and it is so much easier to have everything near where I teach, rather than across the room.  Anything I need for the current day goes in the top basket, things for the week in the next one, and so forth.  I clean everything out on Friday... or I try to... at least I clean the top basket... usually...
 
and over by my desk (which, by the way, I love - see it (HERE)
are my file folders that hold all my papers and stuff for current units, often-used templates, etc.  Having everything at my fingertips makes it much easier to find everything.  Or at least to know where it is supposed to be...
 
HH and T #2
Make sure students have a place to put everything
These are my math activity tubs for each week.  (The cute labels are on the other side, trust me.)  I do four activity tubs each week and EVERYTHING needed for that activity is in the tub - dice, pencils, crayons, cubes... anything.  This really cuts down on the transition time needed to get started with an activity.  One person from the group takes the tub to the work spot (each tub has a designated sport to work in that stays the same all the time) and everyone can start working right away.  If I'm going to have 4 students in that group, then I have 4 sets of materials, all in baggies or whatever, ready to go.  This has been a major timesaver for us!
 
 
HH at T #3
Have a lot of what you use the most and keep it easily accessible.

We use dice A LOT during math.  So I need A LOT of them - all kinds.  I used to keep them in plastic bags, or tubs, but last year I decided to put them in this 4-drawer container and keep it out on the counter.  Soooo much easier.  (And the dice mats are GENIOUS!  Students take one to roll the dice on - the dice has to stay on the mat so it keeps them from flying all over the place, and it cuts down on the noise of 24 kids rolling dice at the same time.)
 
This idea of having multiples of what you use most works with everything - I also have 3 or 4 baskets all over the room (which I apparently forgot to take pictures of) filled with pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, post-its and scissors.  I have them strategically placed by where I usually have groups (by the rug, near the back table, next to the counter...)... this way I always have what I need and can take it out in an instant. 




and finally....
HH and T#4
Let yourself indulge once in a while
For me, some DD hot chocolate (the dark variety) and peppermint patties are my weakness.  You need to make time for yourself and enjoy life.  That's what matters.  (And by the way - so many delicious DD hot chocolate flavors came up on google - mint?  white chocolate?  who has these near them??  I am so jealous!)

Well, I hope my blog post was everything you thought it would be.  And I hope I gave you at least one idea that might be helpful.  I'm hoping to be back with more ideas for the linky this week!
 
Hello bloggy friends!  Whew - what a week!  Conferences, early dismissals, Halloween, the day AFTER Halloween... and we're finally here at Sunday.  Good thing I had an extra hour to sleep this morning - I really needed it!

I wanted to share with you some great fun we had on Halloween.  Too late for this year, I know... but pin the pics and save it for next year!  Our 3 second grade classes mixed with each other and rotated through 3 different activities on Halloween morning.  My two teammates collaborated to do an activity with "The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat" and my principal ran an activity about skeletons, complete with a brain break dance of "Dem Bones!'  What a good guy!

My contribution was Ghost Foam.  Yes, that's right... I got the idea for Mr. Science Bob himself and his foamy fountain.  Hmmm.... we could just change that into ghost foam!

We started by brainstorming some alliterative words to create our foamy chant (each group chose a different word to start with - one group ended up with "Mysterious, marvelous mixed-up monsters!" as their chant.  We practiced it a few times and then we were ready to set the ghost foam free.


You had to see their faces!  It was great.  (Maybe not for the other classes in hall who had to endure a few moments of screaming each time this happened!)

After we made the foam (and while my lovely assistants were cleaning up for the next group) we charted what we noticed.
They came up with great words to describe what they saw - and felt - and we really focused on using strong verbs in our "noticings."

This activity was definitely a keeper.  You could make it work for other things besides ghosts.  Visit Science Bob to see more cool ideas, and click HERE to see my post about Science Day last year.

Last week we also had parent conferences, so I FINALLY got our "I am Special" board put up. 

We had read Molly Lou Melon and other books with a theme of "be yourself."  Everyone chose 6 reasons they were special and wrote them on the petals.  Add an adorable photo and some leaves and stems and tah-dah--- super cute! 

We also spent all of last week reading and examining Stellaluna.  I used the most wonderful resource from Linda Kamp - absolutely amazing! 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Stellaluna-A-Common-Core-Book-Study-471747

We talked about character traits, how characters respond to challenges, point of view and summarizing.  This week we'll finish up with story structure and then put together a collage of all we have done.

We also worked on bats of the nonfiction variety - just as an introduction to main idea and details.  They worked soooo hard on their bat writing.
 
Nonfiction is definitely an interest of theirs this year.  Bats, owls, bugs, snakes... fire safety, Veteran's Day... you name it and they want to know about it. 
 
Well, that was last week - now we're getting ready for this week.  Finishing bats, adding some writing for Veteran's Day and starting repeated addition for math.  I have found that I still have a few students who need more practice with math facts, so I created a little "Pumpkin Math" that I'll use both in my intervention groups (supported) an in math centers (independent).
 

 
3 different activities to practice facts - addition and subtraction included.  I wanted to go a bit beyond just plain fact practice, so I included missing numbers, fact families and matching sums and differences.  I like to find different ways for my students to practice skills for review.  What's your favorite way to practice math facts? 
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