IT'S A TRAP!!! Instagram :)

Alright, Bloggy Friends. You've convinced me! I have a personal Instagram account that I've had for almost a year, and I had ZERO intentions of creating a teacher Instagram account. It just seemed like one more thing to do. But I've succumbed to peer pressure. I just saw all the fun everyone was having and had to join in!
My username is: hippohoorayforsecondgrade if you want to come along for the ride. If you are an Instagrammer, leave your username in the comments so I can follow you :)

Here's one of the pics I posted today:
We were using Google Docs to quiz kids on their understanding of figurative language. Kids think it's fun, and I love how all the data is sent to me in a convenient spread sheet.

Side Note: Does anyone know if/how I can link my personal account and my teacher account? I don't really want to be logging in and out to switch accounts.



FIVE, WINNERS, and Classroom Pics!

Sorry I'm late to the party... The hubs and I took Sly to a minor league hockey game last night (so fun!!) and then the weather was so beautiful today that we were doing yard work and playing outside all day. I think my excuses are justified :)

Thanks to Doodlebugs Teaching and Teaching Maddeness for coordinating these linkies every week.
Here's what we've been up to in the classroom!

1. Poetry Continued
This week we learned about some of the kinds of figurative language. Figurative language is so fun to learn about, but I'm really focusing on why poets use it: to help the reader visualize and use their senses to respond to a poem. We learned about onomatopoeias, alliteration, assonance, idioms, and personification. One activity we did was each student wrote an alliteration using the first letter of their name. They turned out so cute that I hung them up in the hallway :)
That's quite the jungle gym!
"Equivalent"... Yes! Someone's paying attention in math!
This one got a little long, but she was so proud of herself!
Next week we will be focusing on metaphors and similes, as well as using our reading comprehension strategies when we read poetry.

2. MAP Testing... Groan...
We had our first Spring MAP test yesterday. I always petition to do the Math test first because I think it's the least stressful and brain-power-sucking. I spotted this awesome pin (originally from Bulletin Board Ideas) and created my own "iKnow" for my second graders and the MAP test.
Close up
It's supposed to look like an iPad/iPod/iPhone, but the silver Sharpie I was using was on its last leg. It turned out super cute though, and the bunnies really connected to it!
Here we are on Test Day! I was a bundle of NERVES! In my district, teachers are evaluated based on kids meeting their target growth (among other things), and I'm excited (and a bit relieved) to say that all but one student made their target growth! I had one little love beat her goal by 10 RIT points! Yessss!!! 1 test down, 2 to go... :/

3. Leap Frog Learners!
We did this super fun measuring, data collecting, and graphing activity called Leap Frog Learners.
Here we are in action!
 You can read more about it here! I also promised to give a few copies away, and so the winners are...
Watch your emails, ladies! :)

4. Animal Research Reports!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that my Studentreasures kit came in, and my press date is May 14th! YIKES! We started by choosing our animals. The library aides at my school are A-MAZE-ING!!! and they help me run this dog-and-pony show every year. They set up 5 tables: mammals, birds, fish, insects, and reptiles & amphibians on the same table. This year they also pulled some animals that don't fit in these groups (scorpions, crabs, earthworms, kangaroos, etc.) to give the kids even more options. I swear, they pulled 200+ animal books! Then students spend 3-5 minutes at each table to explore their options. Even though it takes a lot of time, I love doing it this way so that I don't end up with a book of all mammals. Some of the animals I got this year: tiger, elephant, hummingbird, mustang, salamander, and a tick. Oh yes, you read that right. Someone's doing a tick. EW.

Someone else is doing a hippo. You'd think I'd be ecstatic about that one, but I'm not. (Said in a whiney voice) I ALWAYS DO THE HIPPO!!! I usually model the process with a hippo since I have a unhealthy obsession with them. We started to prewrite on Friday, and I modeled with a wolf. Lame :( When I modeled with a hippo, I would say, "Oh look. It says right here, 'Hippos can't swim. They actually bounce along the river bottom.'" when it really might not say that in the book. I just know that  little nugget of info. I was bumbling fool when I was modeling the prewriting process with the wolf... :/

5. The Ducks are Back!
This is really a big deal, folks! Every year a mama duck lays her eggs underneath the same platform on the playground. The custodians block it off so the ducks stay safe, and every recess we have to shoo the kiddos away so as to not scare the mama away.

Lastly, here are my three favorite spaces in my classroom, courtesy of Latoya at Flying into First.

This is my calendar and carpet area. I love the "big, brown chair." I got it at Salvation Army for $10 when I first started teaching. I was shopping with my mom, and she actually bargained on the price and got it for $5 off! What I love most about it is how low it is to the ground. I feel like I'm still at the students' level even though I'm sitting in the chair. I also love the black side table. It was one of my "Monday Made It" projects from this summer. I bought it at Walmart for $12 and assembled it, then I put pink and gray argyle duct tape around the edge to spice it up!
This is where I store all my math manipulatives. I love how organized and easily accessible they are for students. In the folder slots, my students keep their writer's workshop folders and cursive handwriting books. On the top shelf are my extra supplies: crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, etc.
Lastly, this is where I keep all of the papers my students need: handwriting paper, recycled copy paper, spelling pretest and test papers, graphic organizers for writer's workshop. The paper organizer on the top is where my students turn in their classwork. They organize it for me: Daily 5 work, math, spelling, writing, and then the basket on the top is the "catch all" for things that don't belong in any of the cubbies below. I'm not a very organized person, so if I can get the bunnies to organize for me, it makes my life a lot easier!
Well I'm off to link up and catch up on all the blogs posts I've missed over the last two days! Good night! :)


Leap Frog Learners: A Measuring and Data Collecting & Analysis Activity

I use the EveryDay Math program in my classroom, and I feel like there just isn't enough graphing and data analysis incorporated in the program. Every Wednesday I have a shortened math time due to art class, so I don't have time to teach a full lesson. The last few weeks I've been using this day as my "Data Day." This week we tried out my new product: Leap Frog Learners!
I put my students into groups of four to work cooperatively to leap like a frog and measure the lengths of the leaps in inches. Each student had a job: Jumper, Measurer, Judge and Marker. The Jumper jumps (clearly), the Measurer measures the jump, the Judge makes sure the jumper's toes don't cross the starting line, and the Marker puts a chip or some other sort of marker down to mark the end of the jump.  To help students keep track of who-does-what, I created name badges to wear around their necks and a chart that shows the rotation of the jobs. This helped TREMENDOUSLY to keep the bickering to a minimum :)

After everyone jumped, we worked together to complete a tally chart.
Then students completed a graph and answered some analysis questions based on the data.
I've also included a practice sheet that I used as homework, but you could use it for extra practice or a math center.
I am SUPER excited about this product, and I'd love to give a few copies away! Leave a comment below including your email address by midnight tomorrow (Friday, April 26th). I'll randomly choose a few winners on Saturday. I'm also putting this activity on sale in my TPT store until Sunday if you just can't wait to pick it up!



Lovin' Bloglovin'!

Hello Friends!

A while ago I heard the sad, sad news that Google Reader is being retired. I usually follow blogs using my Blogger home page, but I also used Google Reader to see if some of my favorite bloggers had posted and I missed it. But what about those of you who are reading this right now, but you're not a blogger? NOW WHAT?! Don't fret, pretty people! Molly, from Lucky to Be in First shed the light for me on a solution: Bloglovin'!

Basically, Bloglovin' can import your blog list from Google Reader. You will also get a daily email with all the new posts for the day. Additionally, there is a super fun, FREE app you can download. Click HERE to read Molly's in-depth post!

I noticed on Molly's blog that she had a button for followers to click so that they can follower her blog on Bloglovin', and I wanted one too! I didn't see on Bloglovin's homepage how to do this, so I did a quick search. To save my bloggy friends some time, if you click HERE, you can get your own widget to put the button on your blog. It literally took me less than two minutes to install the widget!

Farewell, Google Reader. You will be missed :(


Science Mentor Texts Linky

Saw this super fun linky over at Collaboration Cuties and just had to join in!
We are starting our Animals unit in science this week, and I wanted to share one of my favorite animal books:
Here a quick review:

This was a toss up between another one of Ruth Heller's books, Chickens Aren't the Only Ones. What I love about Ruth Heller's books is that she writes in a way that captivates children. Her writing has a catchy rhythm and rhyme. It is easy for kids to understand, but also uses science terms (like oviparous). My one word is "funformational." Yep, I made that word up :) This book is fun for kids AND informational! Win Win!

What are some of your favorite books you use to teach science? Or animal life cycles... since I'm teaching that for the next three weeks :) Head on over and link up!


A Peek at My Week

Hello sweet friends! Is it just me, or was this the longest. week. EVER?!?! Here's a peek as to what we've been up to this week!

Today started off on a positive note for me. We had a staff meeting and the superintendent came to pass out the monthly "You Rock" awards. One of my teammies nominated me for the award! It was a little embarrassing because I don't like everyone staring at me, but it still made me feel all warm and fuzzy :) Then the TAG (Talented and Gifted) teacher gave me a hippo cookie cutter!!! I think everyone will be getting hippo cookies next week!

1. It Weighs a Ton!

To wrap up our Measurement unit, we have been learning about weight. I have a hard time teaching this skill in the past because it's difficult to help kids to realize how much is an ounce, pound, gram, kilogram... And then it dawned on me:
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade
DUHHH!!! I had this HUGE bag of rice in my closet (because doesn't everyone have rice in their closets at school?), so I weighed out an ounce, pound, and kilogram, put them into Ziplock bags and passed them around the circle. Last year I ordered a set of gram weights with my budget money, so I passed those around as well.
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade
I love this food scale I ordered. Sorry, I don't know where it's from, but it works like a dream. Much better than that stupid spring scale! And yes, we're weighing one of my hippo figurines as well as a Brewers Racing Sausage Bobble Head... among other things not seen in this pic :)

2. Poetry! Fun for You and Fun for Me!

Unless you've been under a rock for the past few weeks (or years...), you know that April is the primo month for poetry. We've spent this week learning what all poems have and what some poems have. I seriously LOVE my anchor chart!
Amazing poetry anchor chart that lists the elements of poetry. All poems have... Some poems have...
We've spent this week learning about the elements of poetry, including rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. Next week we will learn about all the kinds of figurative language. SO FUN! If you want to read more about how I teach my students to write poetry, click HERE!

3. DIY Whisper Phones!

We also talked about how poems are meant to be read aloud. The hubs made these whisper phones for me a few years ago, which came in very handy during Read to Self this week:
Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Using DIY whisper phones to read poetry.
Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Using DIY whisper phones to read poetry.
It only took him an hour to whip up 6 of these little guys, and the total cost was less than $10! All you need are a few elbow PVC pipe (found in the plumbing section of a home improvement store), and the purple glue.  Then I cute-ed them up with some pattered duct tape :)
Check out these super easy, super cute DIY whisper phones!

4. Progress Reports? Check!

My school grades on trimesters. Yay for me that I only have to do report cards 3 times a year! But that also means I have to do progress reports 3 times a year as well. So I don't know it's a positive or negative, as I went from 4 grading sessions to 6... Progress reports are easier than report cards though because I can either give an S (satisfactory) or an N (needs improvement) for each subject area plus social development and work habits. I usually write 1-2 sentences (or more for those Ns) in each box.

While it is extra work, I do like that every six weeks parents get a report about how their children are doing. I think it keeps the lines of communication open between families and me, and there are very few surprises as to how their kids are doing in school. Progress reports went out yesterday, and I was able to crank them out in one night :)

5. Adventure to Fitness!

My BBB Jean at Diving into 2nd Grade has been whispering in my ear for months about this. After almost 2 straight weeks of indoor recess due to massive amounts of rain, I finally signed up for a FREE account for Adventure to Fitness. WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR??? Seriously, they LOVE it!!!
Not only do the bunnies get in a  work out, but they also learn educational facts about the topic. This week we did the Greek, Egyptian, and the Volcano videos. I even had kiddos from other classes asking to join us. I think at one point there were 40+ kids in my room. My teammie said that her kids were coming back sweating LOL! And to prove that it really works, check out this little love's face after running in "Mega Mode!"
LOL she was cracking me up!!!
Happy Weekend!!


Easy Easel Fix

This is my whiteboard easel:
I love it! The only problem is that I can't hang a spiraled chart paper tablet from it. There is a clip at the top, but I'm not strong enough to open it and shove the chart paper tablet underneath at the same time. I could tear off the sheets one at a time and put the individual sheets under the clip, but I like to keep them all in the spiral until I'm ready to hang them up. I've tried to just rest the tablet on the ledge, but it's so top-heavy that it usually falls off and whacks me in the head. While I'm teaching... The bunnies think that's real funny... I don't agree...

Last year I asked my custodian to drill holes in the clip part and attach those big rings that are found on pocket chart holders. Those worked for a while, but I didn't like how bulky it looked. You might be able to see the drill holes in the photo above.

It only took me 7 years, but I finally discovered a solution!
Are you tired of being attacked by your chart paper? Here is a life changing, simple tip to keep your chart paper standing on your easel!

Take the cover of the chart paper tablet (which is made of a thicker paper, almost like tagboard) and fold it up about 3-4 inches.

Then slide the cover flap underneath the clip.
Are you tired of being attacked by your chart paper? Here is a life changing, simple tip to keep your chart paper standing on your easel!
Voila! It's super snug and can still rest on the bottom ledge! When it's time to turn the page, just flip it over the top of the easel.
Are you tired of being attacked by your chart paper? Here is a life changing, simple tip to keep your chart paper standing on your easel!
Hope my little tip helps and saves you years of being attacked by your chart paper :)

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