Happy Saturday everyone! This week was CRAAAAAAZY! I just looked back today and realized I took pretty much NO pictures this week and we had so much great stuff going on! I haven't linked up with Kacy at Doodle Bugs Teaching in a while, so I'm going to use the photos I have and do a little Five for Friday, Saturday style!


Parent conferences. This is what kept me so busy this week. I really enjoy meeting with parents and talking about their child's progress and how we can work together to make that possible. I met most of my families during our Open House earlier this year, and it was nice to chat again. I also was glad to finally connect with a few families I hadn't yet met. Now that everyone is on the same page, I feel so ready to tackle the year! I created some forms for myself and share a few tips and tricks for making conferences run smoothly. If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking the image below.


Senior night field hockey game. Sigh.... where has the time gone. My beautiful and sweet niece had her last field hockey home game on Thursday night. She might play in college, but high school is finishing and it is bittersweet. We were on such a high after the game because her team played to a 2-2 tie. Which may not sound like much. Except that the field hockey team has not won a game- EVER, in the 4 years she has played. When she started playing, they would lose by MANY goals. But thanks to a wonderful coach and the positive vibes and hard work of her team, they have made a tremendous turn-around. It always so disheartening to watch those girls play their hearts out and lose every time. This was like a win for us!

I absolutely LOVE the new book I found thanks to Amy Lemons and Katie King. I Need My Monster was such a fun book to focus on this week during our reading time. We sequenced events, worked on asking and answering questions, talked about character traits and finished with a little readers theater. My kiddos had SO much fun using different voices for each character, based on what we knew about each monster. Some of the activities we did are in their "Rooted in Reading" resource for October. You can find out more about that {HERE}.

 I was on the lookout for some great apple recipes so I could make something different with my kiddos on Friday. (They've done the applesauce thing a million times.) Each of the second grade teachers created a fall activity to do and we rotated each of the classes through for the day. Students got to do some science exploration with apples - do they sink/float? why do they turn brown?, sorted and weighed acorns and other nuts and graphed their findings, and wrote a haiku about falling leaves. I decided to make apple butter with my crew and it was delicious! This is the recipe I used. (I put it in the crockpot for a few hours, but then transferred it to a burner/pot to heat a little quicker because we only had a short day with conferences on Friday.)

Looking to check out some other second grade bloggers? This month's featured teacher for "Take a Second to Peek into 2nd" is Suzy Palmer from On the Go Teacher Mama. You can click on the image to visit her blog and learn more about her. Suzy has some great tips on her blog and her TPT store is filled with task cards (with a without QR codes) for just about anything you would need! Her Spooktacular Math Centers Bundle is on sale through this weekend - perfect for the spooky happenings that may be going on in your room next week.

Alrighty. That about covers it. My week has been so crazy I'm looking forward to spending the next two days in my jammies planning for next week and catching up on some things. Enjoy the weekend!

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Happy Sunday, friends. FYI - I love my job. Like real, puffy heart, big smile love my job. Friday was our "Spectacular Spiders" day, and with just a little time and some creative thinking, my kiddos had an absolute BLAST while learning. This, folks, is what it's all about. They were engaged, motivated and excited to learn ALL. DAY. LONG - and so was I! Here's a peek at the fun!

Taking a page from the wonderful Hope King's ideas to #setthestage2engage, I sent my kids home with a secret note the night before our spider fun. They were not allowed to open it until they got home. Oh, the excitement!

While my second graders were at home trying to figure out exactly what I was up to... I was in the classroom turning our room into spider central! (All the decorations were either from Party City, The Dollar Tree, or ones I had collected over the years.)

I greeted everyone at the door and had them come inside to get ready for the day. First up - reading the morning message!

Our lab coats are white t-shirts cut up the middle and I made everyone a nametag. (You can click {HERE} to see more about the lab coats.) Our first spider fun was a spider web greeting. One person held the yarn while rolling the ball to another person. By the time everyone was greeted, we had a fun spider web!

I found a cute brain break to do as our morning activity from The Learning Station. It seemed easy at first, but getting those fingers and thumbs to work together was more challenging than everyone thought it would be!

 Then it was time to start the day! I had a Powerpoint ready to go with a slide detailing each task students would complete that day. First up - time to locate, identify and learn about different spider species. I took the info from my spider fact cards {HERE} and added a large clip art picture and real photograph. I had posted these around the room. My scientists' job was to find each spider (using a magnifying glass, of course!), read the info and use what they learned to answer their fact sheet questions.

They were hooked! Some chose to work in partners, while others explored on their own. When everyone was done, we came together at the Scientist Convention and shared what we had learned.
Sharing information was another focus on the day. Our second activity gave students a chance to move around again and talk with others. Each student had a headband with a spider on it. Once they had identified their spider, they were given a card with MORE information about that species. Everyone took a few minutes to read the info to themselves, then the fun began! Students found a partner and read them the information on their spider card. They listened while the other person read their facts, then they worked together to answer true/false questions about their spiders.

We also visited another second grade class and shared our spider facts with a readers theater presentation.

The afternoon began with a review of fact vs opinion. I used a Spider Fact Sort freebie from Amanda Madden to quickly review the two kinds of statements. We did it as a scoot activity, with all the cards in a circle and everyone moving to the next card when I called out "spider scoot!" We read a great book called I'm Trying to Love Spiders, by Bethany Barton.


We used the facts we learned about spiders to make a list of reasons why - or why not! - a spider would make a good pet. Students had to use FACTS (ex. Spiders are hairy; They could get lost as they balloon around the room) not OPINIONS (Spiders are gross.) as their reasons. Everyone chose 3 reasons and we wrote a quick paragraph about out thoughts on having a spider for a pet. We used this adorable spider craftivity from Amy Lemon's and Katie King's October Rooted in Reading resource.

We finished our day with a fun and easy spider snack! Oreos, black licorice, M&Ms and some chocolate frosting was all it took to make these cuties.

Whew! What a day! I was exhausted but we had so much fun! The day's activities gave my kiddos experience with a little research, speaking and listening, writing... and more! If you're interested in looking closer at some spider fun, you can visit my TpT store {HERE}. or check out this BLOG POST.   You can also check out {THIS POST} about how we created a fantastic spider bulletin board to showcase everything we learned about nonfiction text features. That's what we're doing next week!

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Today I'm blogging over at ITeachSecond and sharing my experience with alternative seating in my second grade classroom. Check out the seating choices my students have and how they are working in my room.


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Happy Sunday! It's going to be a 4-day week for us! Well... at least for the kids. Teachers have professional development on Friday (I'm presenting on how to use Reading A-Z and RAZ Kids in the classroom), but without kids it's still kind of like a day off! I have a whole lot of things I want to fit in this week, so let's get started!

This week is fire safety week, so everything fire truck, firefighter and safety related goes in the plans! You can check out a past post of mine with ideas for activities, movement, writing and technology, by clicking the link below. I also have a word search freebie you can grab.

We're starting to dive into nonfiction text features this week and I'm looking forward to using an activity I discovered last year - text mapping.

This was a great way to get my students actively involved in locating and defining text features. I'm going to use the same set of books as I did last year, since we're just getting to the middle of fall here in CT. You can click on the image above to find out more about how I plan to do this.
I also have a class set of books that I picked up a couple years ago from our "Books Are Fun" salespeople.
I think there are actually 6 titles in the fall series. I have 4 or more of each one, so they're perfect for reinforcing text features in small groups. There is a table of contents, glossary, index, headings, bold print, fact boxes.... all the text features we focus on. I know the books are available on Amazon, and I'm pretty sure they were in a Scholastic book club last year, too.
We have moved on to subtraction fact strategies as our math focus. Oh, subtraction... what IS it that makes this concept so hard for some kiddos? I'm planning on using this week to practice, practice, practice subtraction facts! I pulled out my pumpkin math centers to use as one of our rotations this week.
We're going to need all the practice we can get! (You can see the whole Pumpkin Math resource by clicking HERE.)
That's it for now! I'm off for a little family breakfast and then home to settle in on the couch and do some TpT creating. I see spiders in my future...!

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