Memorial Day and More!

Yippee! Another Friday down and just a few left until summer! We can do this! Welcome to another Five for Friday link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

The first thing you may notice is that my blog got a huge makeover! I was beyond excited to see it go live yesterday! The whole process was much faster than I ever thought possible... thanks to my amazing blog designer, Kassie. 

 I'll be working on a little celebration post once school is out!

The Brainstormers came to visit our school! Students write creative stories and the Brainstormers group turn it into a play and act it out. One of my student's stories was featured. We were all surprised so it was REALLY exciting!

Her hilarious story was called Dad and the Big Bad Bees! It was actually a personal narrative about hero Dad saving the day when a bee was stuck in her bathing suit! 
We laughed until we cried.

I finished up the very last of the DRA tests for the year! Many of my students were tested at a level 40- which is good and bad. Good for growth in reading, but bad because they had several pages of summarizing and written responses to complete. It took FOREVER to get through all 28 students.

The big question during testing time is what are the rest of the students doing? Well, they read a collection of magazines and it kept them engaged and quiet. I used to love Highlights as a kid. Do you remember them?

  They also worked on this close read activity by Primarily Speaking all by themselves.

Tornadoes are so fascinating to learn about. 
The class loved it! 
The grand finale this week was learning about the true meaning of Memorial Day and showing our patriotism! We listened to patriotic songs, watched  educational videos, read a Scholastic News Magazine about Betsy Ross and made these windsocks!

To make the windsock project, just take one large piece of construction and glue a half sheet on top of it. My teaching partner traced some stars on a master and photocopied them. To make it more educational, I whipped up some vocabulary words, so we also had a good lesson on these terms. 

Before rolling and stapling, we glued some streamers to the back. They went home with a piece of yarn attached at the top on opposite sides of the tube. 

Maybe you can use this project idea for Tuesday or even save it in your files or Pinterest Board for next year!
 You can click {here} to download and print the words if you like.

 Do you have some exciting plans for the holiday weekend? I am looking forward to getting a few things done like a hair appointment, planting flowers and other important things like shopping for end of the year stuff. Sometimes it's good to stay around home too!
Whatever your plans may be for the holiday weekend, I hope it is a GREAT one!

Head on over to Doodle Bugs to read what other bloggers are sharing!

Volunteer Gift Ideas and FREE Printable Tags

Hello everyone!
I'm just popping in to let you know that I am blogging over at Primary Powers today!
I'm sharing some SUPER ideas for volunteer appreciation gifts and this little FREEBIE I think you will LOVE!

Click {here} to head on over!

Classroom Organization: Storing Paper

It drives me nuts when I go to pull out some paper and half of the stack comes out along with it. A while ago, I saw a great tip for storing paper in a filing crate. Of course, I did nothing with that idea until I started organizing my office space at home this weekend.

 I had this small file tub I ordered from The Container Store and discovered that one ream of paper fits inside perfectly (with a little wiggle room)! 

The perfect Astrobrights rainbow! 

Goodbye crumpled paper! 
I will also set up a bin just for cardstock and another for white copy paper.

Hope you can use this idea for your next organizing project!


Reading A-Z: Projectable Books!

Do you use Reading A-Z in the classroom? I do, but honestly, I have not been using all that the program has to offer...until NOW! A few weeks back a trainer came to our building to tell us about some of their new features and that's when I discovered PROJECTABLE books! We did one whole-group reading lesson and it was so much fun!

This time of year, I start pulling out my bag of tricks to keep students engaged and focused. One thing that works every time is something new and exciting on the SMART Board. If you are not familiar with the technology features in RAZ, here is a little tutorial so you can try it out!

Log in to your account and open the Teacher Corner tab. Under the TECHNOLOGY heading you will find all of the info you need. Click on PROJECTABLES to read all about the tools and features.

Search for a book as you normally would, either by title, topic or level. Scroll down the page to look for the link.

We are getting ready for a field trip to go see the new Disney Nature movie, Monkey Kingdom, so this book on gorillas was perfect for our lesson! The interactive tools allow you type in text, highlight text, draw and add stickers.

Before reading, we typed in facts that we thought we already knew about gorillas. During reading, we used some of the stickers for annotating. They are not a perfect match for our close reading activities, but we made them work! After reading, we will summarize what we learned. The students will also get a small pocketbook of this story to reread and bring home to share with their parents. 

Reading A-Z also has full lessons and many printable resources for vocabulary work and comprehension, not to mention lots of fun booklets.

 If you have a chance, try out the projectable stories and browse around a bit. 
You will be glad you did! 

Five for Friday! A Peek at our Week in Second Grade

I can't believe how much activity we crammed into one week! It's going to be hard to choose just five things for this link up for Five for Friday! Where to start?

Well, the most exciting thing was Teacher Appreciation Week of course! Every day was full of surprises from the boss, our families and the PTO. One of my favorite special treats was a candy buffet!

They had all of my favorite sweets. Licorice Bits, Riesens, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Swedish Fish... it was Heavenly! We got to fill up a bag with whatever we wanted. 
What a fancy display! There were even rhinestones around the jars! 

This was a favorite too for obvious reasons! 
Such a cute card!

It was really nice outside this week so we took advantage of that with like TWO recesses a day! The students had fun while getting in touch with nature. They picked dandelions and filled the holes in the playground tables with them. They are creative Kiddos after my own heart! We also went on a scavenger hunt with our kindergarten buddy class. 

In math, we worked on creating line plots. This was a fun dice activity we did from Teach to Tell. It's called Lucky Number Roll! I especially love the recording sheet. It really gets the kids thinking! 

Another exciting thing was making our Mother's Day project! We worked really hard on our lunch bag scrapbooks to make them a very special gift for Mom!

We also wrote about all of the ways we have grown this year on this cute watering can craft! This is our last bulletin board for the year! 

We still have a month of school left, but today I started taking some displays down, cleaning and organizing. 
The next few Five for Fridays will just fly by! 

  I am glad that some of my extracurriculars are coming to a close so I can get focused on the end of the year with my class. As if I'm not busy enough... I am also the head coach of our Science Olympiad team. Tomorrow 16 of our shining stars in 4th and 5th grade will compete against 80 other schools in our county Science Olympiad Tournament. It's a HUGE deal for us and we have trained intensely all year for this one meet. Today we got fired up with a pizza party and did a banner parade through the school as everyone cheered the team on. Wish us luck!

 Let me tell you, this was SOME WEEK! 
Thanks for stopping by to see a little snippet!

Link up your Five for Friday blog post or read about what others have been up to at Doodle Bugs Teaching

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and  Mother's Day!!!

Mother's Day Gifts: Gettin' Scrappy!

It's always such a good feeling to have a big project done and sent home! Today we put the finishing touches on our Mother's Day crafts! The kiddos absolutely loved making their lunch bag scrapbooks and I have to say it all went VERY well! Every class in our second grade did this project but each teacher picked out different papers and scrappy doodads. All of them are ADORABLE! Come take a peek and see how they turned out!

 It's not likely that you can whip this up in a day, but if you are on the lookout for a NEW Mother's Day gift idea for next year, you may want to save this post or Pin some images to your boards! This post may also be helpful to my friends who have purchased this item as you start your scrappin' too!

The first step was to get the bags folded ahead of time. This year, I took a shortcut and stapled the books instead of tying the spine with ribbon. Then, I photocopied the patterns onto the12 x 12 paper (trimmed to letter size). I saved the extra scraps for inside recess projects!

I let the students select all of their papers. We did this one at a time while the rest of the class was working on writing. I set the papers up in piles according to color scheme so they would not be completely mismatched and clashy. 

I did not cut out a single pattern this year. The kiddos did it all themselves. They did a great job staying on the lines.

We did this project in baby steps throughout the week so I could keep teaching. It was a nice pace and did not disrupt our day much at all.

As each piece was cut, we just slipped it into a baggie. The baggies stayed on the students' desks all week until assembly day. 

Once everything was cut out, we started with designing the cover. I really like the way some students used rainbow lettering. It balanced out any creatively crazy color choices they made along the way!

Then we had a mini-lesson! 
Just a dot, not a lot! 
We started gluing down our background frames and all of the white papers from the baggie onto the frames. It worked out great to do this whole class with step by step directions.

I had put together an example of my own at the same time so I could show the students what each piece should look like. 

The next day, we worked on the four pull out pocket pages. The kiddos wrote the sweetest things about their mom and drew some really cute pictures of special times together. She is going to LOVE these pages. I'm so glad I added them this year! 

My sweet retired friend offered to help in the classroom! She helped supervise the students' selection of decorating items so they didn't get carried away and add too much. I kept teaching and the students kept working until it was their turn. We picked sticks to be fair!

I am just thrilled with how stinkin' cute they turned out! The kids were just beaming with pride!

In keeping with the lunch bag theme, we added flower cut-outs to the front of a larger brown bag to use as a gift bag.

There is a poem and directions sheet for mom so she knows how to finish the scrapbook at home. That went in the bag too. 
I just folded over the top and stapled it. 
Piece of cake!

 Whenever I do a project like this I always try to make a note to self to make it even better...The one thing I might have changed was my choice in papers. They were a little BUSY for my taste. Next year, I will try solid brights or chevron. Fewer choices might make paper selection faster and simpler too.

If you like, you can find the scrapbook project and all of the patterns to make one {here}.

 I hope you enjoyed this little photo tutorial of our project in the making!
 It was a big hit in the classroom.
 I think it will be on Mother's Day too!


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