HELLO?! Is Anyone Home???

My apologizes for the hiatus over the past few weeks, but I know you understand... It's back to school season after all! We had a PD day today, three more next week (with Open House next Wednesday), and then the bunnies come back on Tuesday, September 3rd! Ready or not, they're coming!!!

Am I ready? No, but I feel like I'm in a good place. I've only spent one full day in my classroom (yesterday) because I'm too cheap to spend the money to send my kids to day care. So I've been going in a few hours here and there when the hubs gets home from work or on weekends. Actually, I'm quite surprised with how productive I've been. It probably helps that my teammies aren't there when I am, or else I'm sure we'd all turn into Chatty Cathys! My goal is to go in one more time, so that hopefully everything is ready before the inservice days next week.

Unfortunately I have ZERO pics to share with you (although I have posted a few on my Instagram), but don't you worry. I will for sure have a big classroom reveal post coming up... probably next week. To make up my absence to you, I wanted to share with you a couple of freebies I made!

You frog and owl lovers are in luck! My teammies have decided that those are themes they are using this year. So I made these Writing Process Posters:

Click on the pictures above to download. I suggest you print on card stock and laminate. There are two steps on each pages, so you'll have to cut them in half.

Of course I made myself a hippo set, so if anyone wants those, just shoot me an email. I am using the posters as a Status of the Class board. I forgot to take a picture of how they look in my room, but I hung them on the side of a file cabinet. Then I made magnets with each of my students' names, and they will move their name every time they move to the next step during Writer's Workshop.


Meet the Teacher

Yay it's TEACHER WEEK!!! Thanks Blog Hoppin'!
1.  I love my family!
2. I love my job! It is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I also LOVE my teammates!
3. I play ice hockey. Yep, this teacher and mama is one tough chick!
I've been playing for 20 years (oh man, I feel really old now...). I only have a few battle scars (a broken knee cap and a dislocated shoulder), but that won't keep this girl down!

4. I used to work at a 19th century living history museum when I was in college. I wore a dress, cooked over a wood stove, and participated in domestic crafts of the time period, all while talking to visitors who came through the authentic buildings.

5. It was at the museum where I relearned how to crochet. I have a very small children's hat making business called Baby Ella Millinery. Here is one of my most favorite things I've made:
5. I have an amazing sense of direction, and I can navigate through cities I've never been in. I love looking at maps.

6. But, don't ask me to drive. I am usually asleep within 15 minutes.

7. I am a perfectionist, almost to my own detriment. If something is off, even by a millimeter, I will fixate on it and practically start twitching. My teammates think it's funny, but they know if they just let me sit at the computer, nobody will get hurt :)

8. On the flip side, I am a paper queen. I have piles and piles of papers everywhere. I do know where everything is though. The beginning of the year will be the ONLY time that my desk will be clean.
9. I may appear to be a mess on the outside, but I've got it all together on the inside! I am a planner. I am always thinking 3 steps ahead of what I'm currently doing. I love solving logistical problems; it's like a big puzzle for me. I think I'm the only one who gets excited when it's time to sign up to be on the master schedule team :)

10. I have an unhealthy obsession with hippos, hence the blog name. Observe:
11.... because I can and I want to:
I love to be goofy!

Hey, at least I know how to have a good time :)


Five for Friday: August 9th


Actually it was back last week, but as usual, I'm late to the party. Not today though :)

I'm lovin' the new button!

1. I'm sure you haven't heard a thing about this Educents MEGA deal (that's me being funny and sarcastic).
My friends and I keep going on and on about it because it's seriously AMAZING!! 26 products (worth over $200) for $29.99. $29.99!!! Yes I have this, and yes I LOVE this!!! Click here if you want to read my blog post about it, and click here to go to the bundle on Educents. You have less than 3 days to pick this up, and once it's gone, IT'S GONE! You don't want to miss out, do you? DO YOU?! :)

2. I posted the first quarter of my 2nd grade formative math assessments the other day:
Click here if you want to read about it; click here if you want to see it in my TPT store. Someone asked if I'm planning on doing the rest of the year, and the answer is... YES! In fact, I'm currently working on the 2nd quarter :) I did a little giveaway, and the winner is...... Deanne Marie! Check your email, Deanne! If you didn't win, you can grab the assessments in my TPT store. They're 20% off until tonight!

3. Yesterday was my son's birthday. He is now a big FOUR year old. Makes this mama sad that he's getting so big. Here are some pics from our day yesterday:

We covered his bedroom floor with balloons!
We went to the zoo in the morning with friends!
When Papa got home from work, we went mini golfing!

Then we went out to dinner and had cupcakes for dessert!
4. We are going to the Wisconsin State Fair today! State Fair is AMAZING! We usually go on my son's birthday, but the hubs had to work yesterday. Here are some pics from when we went last Saturday:
Selfie on the Sky Glider
Our view from the Sky Glider
You gotta take a ride on the Giant Yellow Slide!
Roller coaster ride
I don't do tea cups...
5. I was having a hard time coming up with the last one so I'll leave you with this...

This is my baby girl, who is currently pretending to be a monster while I write this post. She is growling at me and trying to scare me. Are ya scared? :)



It's time for another installment of Throwback Thursday!
Here's an easy, FREE, and fun way to incorporate current events in your classroom.

Originally posted November 8, 2012
When we updated our Social Studies curriculum a few years ago, a new requirement was to incorporate current events into the classroom year-round. I wasn't sure how I was going to do this, as current events really don't fit with the rest of my units. I was feeling a little hungry that day, so I created "What's the Scoop?"!

"What's the Scoop?" is an EASY way to incorporate current events and public speaking in your classroom! Every week, a student is the Class Reporter. This is actually one of my classroom jobs. The student receives three ice cream scoops on Monday to work on at home. S/he watches the news or reads news on the Internet or newspaper to find three headlines from the week to write in his/her own words. On Friday, the student brings the scoops back (hopefully cut out!) and shares them with the class. Here's what the bulletin board looks like:
So what do you have to do to set this up? Not much! I cut a triangle out of brown construction paper and then drew criss-cross lines on it with a brown marker, then laminated it. This cone is actually four years old and still looks GREAT! No fading!! Then just make three copies of the ice cream scoop. I do one white (vanilla), one pink (strawberry), and one yellow (chocolate? LOL!). I attach the direction sheet to the top of the scoops so the parents know what to do. Then, just send it home Monday and wait for it to come back on Friday! You'll need 5-10 minutes for the reporter to share, but you don't really have to do anything; maybe just clarify or give more info if necessary. I'm telling you, SO EASY!!! You can pick up a FREE copy at my TpT store by clicking on the picture below.
And speaking of my TpT store, my Thanksgiving I Have, Who Has has sold FOUR copies!!!! Four exclamation marks for that bad boy LOL! I can't tell you how over-the-moon excited I am about this! My coworkers must think I'm crazy because I give them a daily update of my sales. I kind of feel sorry for them. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. 

OK, I'm done now. Have a great night!!
I love how excited I was that I sold FOUR WHOLE COPIES of that "I Have, Who Has?" game. In fact, I almost deleted that last paragraph for this repost, but then this wouldn't be a legit Throwback Thursday. I should really update that file before next Thanksgiving :)

MIGHTY MATH! 2nd Grade CCSS Weekly Math Assessments

I cannot begin to describe how EXCITED I am to share my latest project with you! This has actually been in the making for the last six months, as I've tried it out and tweaked it in my own classroom. My self-diagnosed ADD wasn't helping either.

I use the EveryDay Math program, and six months ago I was a hot, frazzled mess. I had aligned many of the Math Boxes (daily spiral review practice) to the skills I assess on my report card, and the plan was to use them as formative assessments. I would record my students' performances and pull small groups for enrichment or reteaching. Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, I was having a hard time keeping up with recording in my grade book part. When I see a giant stack of Math Journals staring at me, hoping I'd grade them, I will find something, anything to do instead. I tried to grade Math Boxes on the spot, but that was hard too, because I always had 5+ students waiting in line to be checked off (and of course, chatting up a storm with each other) plus 5 more kiddos asking for help. Independent work time was a nightmare!

It was then that I came up with this idea:

Mighty Math is a set of weekly formative assessments that I use to evaluate progress towards the second grade Common Core State Standards. All ten of the 2nd grade math CCSS are included on the assessments, although I split three of them in two (addition & subtraction facts, larger addition & subtraction problems, and time & money), bringing it to a total of 13 problems each week. There are nine two-sided assessments that will get you through the first quarter of school. Here's week 1!
How I Use These Assessments in My Class:
Every week, I have a shortened math period (50 minutes, as opposed to 75) due to my specials schedule. This is my Mighty Math Day. Students first complete their Mighty Math assessment. When they finish, they work independently on unfinished Math Journal pages from the previous week or Compass Learning Odyssey (a differentiated math website that aligns to their MAP scores). During this independent work time, I will pull groups of students who struggled with specific skills on the previous week's Mighty Math. So, for example, if I noticed that five students had trouble mixing up the hour and minute hand when telling time, I will pull them for more practice. We will review the problem, see if we can find the mistake, and practice telling time with Judy clocks or other supplies I have.
Here's one of my bunnies from last year, plugging away on his Mighty Math!
Besides the assessments, answer keys and three options for recording sheets for your grade book are included. I have personally used all of these recording sheets, and I must say, they are AMAZING! I have never felt more knowledgeable about my students' strengths and weaknesses. I am 110% confident in the grades I give my students as well as my ability to speak about my students to administrators and parents. Check them out!
This one I use to quickly see which skills were successful and which ones need reteaching.
Each student has one of these sheets. Each CCSS has its own box, and I am quickly able to see their strengths and weaknesses, as well as jot notes about the student's performance.
I'd love to give away a copy! If you would like to win a copy, enter the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you just can't wait, you can pick up a copy at my TPT shop. It's 20% off through Friday.

On to Quarter 2!

Pssst! You might want to head over to my Facebook page as well :)

Currently... August?!

Really? August?! I'm in denial. 

Thanks, Farley, for putting on this fun party! :)

Thank goodness for DVR because I was looking for something to watch last night and realized Project Runway started two weeks ago! I would've been sad if I missed those episodes. I am catching up, and I must say, I'm pretty excited Kate is back. I am also glad they ditched the "teams" theme from last season.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I went on a whirlwind girls' trip on Tuesday! We went to the Container Store, IKEA, The Cheesecake Factory (and it so happened to be National Cheesecake Day when we were there! Half-priced cheesecake!!!), and Marshall's. Almost everything I bought was for my classroom. 

I got a new teacher chair for the carpet. My old one was a $10 Salvation Army score, and for the last four years, it's been propped up on a wooden block because on of the legs was broken. I didn't want to part with it, though. One of my *must haves* for a teacher chair is that it must be low to the ground. MUST! I don't like feeling like I'm perched on a pedestal while all of my subjects students are staring up at me. High enough so that everyone can see the pictures of the read aloud, but low enough so I am accessible and that I still feel part of the group.

Here's the chair!
The only problem with it is that it leans far back, so I bought a pillow at Marshall's to prop me up :)  It's perfect!

I saw on a blog, Facebook, Instagram... I don't know, SOMEWHERE! where a teacher put her horseshoe table next to her teacher desk. That way she could be at her desk AND work with kids at the same time. I rarely sit at my desk during the day, unless I'm typing on the SMARTBoard, but I liked the idea of having everything at my fingertips when working with my kids. I'm also the girl who carries supplies around the room and then forgets where she puts it, so if I only have one place for my supplies, then I only have one place to keep organized. The problem? My current desk (which is just a computer desk. Got rid of my big teacher desk four years ago.) is too big. I needed a desk that was 24 inches long by 20 inches deep. Tiny. But good for me, so that papers don't pile up. Surprise, surprise... they don't make desks that small. IKEA must have something, right? Well they did!
It's actually 27 inches by 19 inches, but what's an extra 3 inches? The exciting part is that it has a DRAWER! My old computer desk didn't have a drawer. Room for more junk! I'm not sure if my plan to put this right next to my horseshoe table will work, but I'm going to try!

I also bought 2 of these:
 Lastly got these super cute green rugs with blue squares on them. Maybe 2 feet by 2 feet? Sorry but I can't find them online to show you. They will be perfect for Read to Self! $2 each!!! Can't go wrong!

Moving on... I need to start going to bed earlier. I've been going to bed around midnight every night for no real reason. Then my kids get up at 6:00AM. I'm running on empty. Plus this isn't going to work when school starts up in a few short weeks.

I want to lose some weight. I probably put on 7 pounds during my husband-in-the-hospital debacle. It's just easier to hit the McDonald's or Culver's drive throughs. And the cheese curds get me every time... I've started running again, and I play hockey 1-2 times a week, but what I really need to do is start eating healthier. Because none of my clothes fit. Or at least the cute ones. And I'm not buying new fat clothes.

Sly will be FOUR YEARS OLD next week!! I can't believe it! Makes this mama sad :( He is having a pirate birthday party, and I need to start getting all the themed cuteness ready. I do have a Pinterest board, if that counts for anything...

Back to School Must Haves
1. My teacher friends! LOVE the ladies (and gents... but I hardly see them down in the K-2 red wing) that I work with. We are friends both in and outside of school. When you're setting up your room and not sure where to put a table, you just call in the troops and they tell you what to do. Seriously. I am so blessed to work with the people I work with. So many times you hear about teachers who are just in it for themselves. Like it's some kind of competition. Not for this girl! 
2. My teacher planner. I don't have an Erin Condren planner because I have a specific lesson plan template that my district requires me to use, and there isn't enough room in those teeny boxes. I'm still finalizing my schedule, but I'll be sure to share my planner with you once it's done. I am super excited for it!!
3. Cough drops. I'm always hoarse by the third day of school because of all the routine and procedure explaining I'm doing. Sometimes I get tired of hearing the sound of my own voice! Cough drops (or anything to suck on, really) help make that better.

One last thing! Don't forget about THE STEAL OF THE SUMMER!!!
Click on the pic to check it out on Educents!
PHEW that was a LONG one! I'm off to check out what others are CURRENTLY doing :)
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