Sunday, 30 August 2015

Classroom Reveal

Hi Everyone,
I am soooooooooo excited!!!!!!!! 
Tomorrow is the first day of school and my class is actually READY! 

You have to understand where I'm coming from. 
In the last 5 years, I have moved schools, moved classrooms, changed grades, AND changed themes. 

This is the first time I had minimal classroom prep (if that's even a possibility). 

So here it is! My bright and colorful classroom!!!!

I kept the same theme as last year and tweaked a few odds and ends. 

As you can see, I love three things:


Everything I mean everything has a place and a home. 

Everything and I mean everything is colorful and bright.

AND I have minimal furniture which equals maximum space!

So let's get on with the tour shall we?!?! 

First stop my Word Wall! This is a MUST in any first or second grade classroom and I am lucky enough to have a magnetic Word Wall to boot! 

Next stop, my focus wall!


Here is where students will find the calendar, place value chart, number chart (they refer to that A LOT) schedule, math word wall, anchor charts, sound posters, and well some snapshots of our classroom happenings!

 I also have a pocket chart set up for word families and blends. I will put those up as we review them in the coming weeks. 

REVIEW is a must in September! 

Storage is key and I like to have everything in a labelled basket. 

I got rid of 3 bookcases in order to maximize space. I prefer having tables to allow students to have different work spaces available. In turn, that means that most of my books remain in storage and I change the baskets accordingly.

I also love being able to walk around the room without bumping into everything! 

Finally, having a large space for students to gather for whole group instruction and to move around in during brain breaks is really important to me.

This is the direction in which the students face. The Smartboard at the center of it all, a bulletin board to display work (our Back to School Silly Poems are going up there!), and our data wall. 

I chose to use only one bulletin board to display student work because I love to use the string to hang their work AND we have designated bulletin boards in the hallways too!

Showcasing their work is so important and I do so as much as possible!

The data wall will be used to display class progress in math facts and reading levels. 

As you can see, there is ample space for student gatherings and movement!
There are also two work spaces available (which come in handy).

On the far left you'll find my Theme Word Wall pocket chart. Right now it's filled with Back to School Words! I like to separate the word walls so that students get to move around during writer's workshop AND so that one area of the room doesn't get too crowded. 

The piece below the Smartboard is from Ikea (most teachers probably know this - we know the catalogue by heart!). I store scrap paper and cleaning products in the blue bins.

The following areas are at two opposite ends of the room but are both important!

 I LOOOOOOOVE my hexagonal table. It is constantly being used!
I also love my big windows and nice shelves.

I place the students in pairs for book baskets (according to reading levels of course) because I just don't want to clutter those awesome shelves! We get so much light and open space because of them and I like to keep them as clear as possible!

Of course I have a little designated corner for myself too! 

My desk and my picture wall. Had to add a few personal touches after all. 

I hope you enjoyed my little tour. Be sure to travel with Today, in Second Grade again!

Until next time...

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Friendship and Teamwork

Hey Sweet Friends, 
I'm here to share all about a unit I did a few years back. I chose to do it during Black History Month, but it can easily be completed at any time of the year. 

It's a great way to build a positive community in your classroom during Back to School. 

The premise of this unit is to encourage students to embrace each others differences and accept one another for who they are. It teaches them to be a good friend and to work well with one another.

I start off by reading the book TEAMMATES by Peter Golenbock.

Then we talk about how we should treat others and 
have a serious discussion about respect and kindness.

Then, the students take part in a few fun and simple activities about friendship. 
These activities are fun because many require the students to think about their own friends.
This helps make the experience more personal and meaningful.



Once the students have completed the activities. They write their definition of friendship and/or teamwork and make a craftivity of themselves with a friend. 


Of course, this unit can be completed in any order and the students can write about any topic you choose. It is a great way to promote positive relationships and demonstrate that building each other up is important! A great Back to School activity!

You can check out my Teammates Pack HERE or by clicking on the pictures below!

Until next time...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

When Reptiles INVADE the Classroom

Hello Everyone,
I'd like to tell you all about the time I volunteered my classroom for an activity where a bunch of reptiles took over my classroom. Basically, that's what happened. Really.

As you can see in the photograph above, they made themselves quite at home. 
Much to my dismay I might add.

Anyone who knows me, knows how OCD I am in the classroom. 
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the class (after the other second grade class had already had their visit) to see Wallie and Dweezle wandering around FREELY.

Yes, Wallie and Dweezle were their names. Cute I know. Not so cute once you got to know them.
Just saying.

Here we have Dweezle. 
Dweezle liked walking into walls and getting tangled up in computer wires.
He was such a delight. 

Below, we have his friend Wallie.
Wallie didn't say much. He didn't do much either.
I rather liked Wallie actually.

Then we met this guy.
Although we had a quick encounter together, I never got his name.
He never called either.

He wasn't the friendliest Snapping Turtle I've come across but the kiddies liked him.

I DID appreciate the fact that he did in fact leave me with all ten fingers.
Such a thoughtful little guy.

All jokes aside. This was a wonderful experience for the students. I really recommend it especially if you're working on a reptile or, in our case,  dinosaur theme

(Was the closest we could find to a T-REX on short notice)

The kiddie asked great questions, met many interesting creatures, 
and learned a whole bunch of interesting facts.

And if I can overlook the minor mess and the fact that reptiles (shudder) 
were wandering around my classroom, anyone can.  Seriously. 

The students were engaged. 
It was educational. It was different. It was fun.

Thanks Reptizoo for a wonderful experience!

Until next time...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Organizing & Storing Centers

Hey Friends, 
I'm back again with some simple tips on organizing and storing your centers!
It's quick, it's easy, it's cheap, and it takes up minimal space!

I chose some of my math centers as models!

First, I take each centre and place it in a medium reusable bag. 

If a centre requires smaller pieces, I like to place them in a small reusable bag and then place THAT in the medium bag. Keeps things neater and ensures that no important pieces go missing.

I like to ask students to record answers for only one or two examples. I don't need to see all their answers. I get a good idea of what they know and can do with observations and 
a small sample of their work. 

I number the bags and always place them in order after use. This ensures that we are organized and ready to go for the next time. Saves a lot of time.

I place all the medium bags in a large reusable bag (these happen to be my favorite things - I use them for everything). Then, I place the large bag in a bin (in this case my math centers bin). 

Centers require a lot of prep work: color printing, cutting, laminating. It's important to organize and store them well so that we can use them effectively for years to come! 

I spent many hours prepping these math centers last year and because of my easy and organized storage, I can simply pull out what I need and be ready for the next lesson in minutes!

I understand that reusable bags have a cost and are not entirely environmentally friendly, however if you purchase them from a local dollar store they are cost effective and if you take good care of them, they will last for years! 

Happy Organizing! (I know it makes me happy) hehehe

Until next time...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Five for Friday

Hey Everyone,
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for some Five for Friday Fun!

1. LEECQ Math Workshop

I spent one of my last weeks of vacation at a MATH CONFERENCE. YES! A MATH CONFERENCE. And, Guess What?!?! It was worth every minute!!!

I cannot wait to blog all about it!!!! 
You know those Ah, Ha moments?! 
Well we had several at this amazing conference.

Here is a picture of our digs for the week!
Needless to say, we had the party room!

It always helps when you learn great things at a workshop and the accommodations are awesome!!!


This actually happened quite a while ago. But it DID happen and it made me Happy, Happy!


3. Pups

I like animals.  I like dogs a lot.
I also kinda like that Harley (that's the doberman) and I share a colorist. 
We both have some killer ombre going on.


4. Doodles

Do you doodle? 
I get my kiddies who need to fidget or draw during group instruction.
I was that kiddie and I am that adult. 

Here is one of my masterpieces from the Math Conference.
I was still listening, I still learned. In fact, I learn more this way...

With the kiddies who doodle during instruction, I ask questions frequently. More often than not, they are on the ball and know exactly what's going on. 

5. Math Centers, Math Word Wall & Games 

I have brought up math quite a bit in this post. So here you go... I'll bring it up again! 

If you haven't checked out my Math Centers for the Year Bundle, take a look. I have 9 more center packs (36 more centers in all) to add so you can grab it right now for a discount price. 
It's a growing bundle!

They are the perfect addition for my centers!

I'll be finishing up those math centers in the near future and am working on a NO PREP pack to go along with it (great for homework or extra practice). 

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Until next time...

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Meet the Teacher Night

Hi Friends, 
With Back to School fast approaching so is Meet the Teacher Night!
It's so important to provide parents with as much information as possible.

They need to know what is expected of the students, what you are teaching and how, and most importantly how to contact you. 

This year I will be providing each parent with an information folder. This way they can keep all of the classroom information organized in one place. As I mentioned, I try to provide as much information as possible so that I don't have to answer questions all throughout the year. 

Of course questions do arise and I'm happy to answer them, but this ensures that this is not the only thing I have to do each day! 

This is what I plan to include in the Parent Folder.

My friend Valerie, over at All Students Can Shine, had the great idea of making magnets with her information on it. So I decided to do the same! "Dontcha" just loooooove social media and blogging! 
I get the best ideas from my peers!!! 

This ensures that the parents have the school phone number and my email at easy reach!

 I also include a Welcome Back Letter where I share my excitement of starting a new year and being able to work together. I stress the importance of working as a team from the beginning and advise parents that they can contact me anytime!

I also have a sheet that includes some "housekeeping." 
Just a little info about our class and school procedures and routines. 

Then I share Curriculum Information. This is important and I also include how we reach our goals. 

I discuss the programs we use, assessment strategies, and expectations for Grade 2.
I have samples of workbooks, centers, rubrics (which I also give parents), and Smartboard applications to share with them. I like to give them the experience their children have. 

I also make sure to have all of my technology accounts set up for students prior to the first day of school and Meet the Teacher Night. This way, I can provide parents with usernames and passwords. 
I also like to start everything on the first day to encourage consistency. 

Finally, I allow parents some space to write notes!

I like to place the magnet in a little card slot. 
It looks neat and professional. 
It's a simple process.

First, place the card in the middle and draw four lines at the corners. Make sure to draw the lines away from the edge as it'll be easier to place the magnet in if it's a tighter space. 

Then, use a craft knife to cut slits where you drew the lines. 

Finally, slide the magnet or card into the slot!

I made the magnets over at vistaprint! There are so many options and you can also make other treats for the parents, students, staff, and even a little something for yourself if you'd like!

You can grab a FREE EDITABLE copy of my Parent Folder RIGHT HERE!

Wishing you all a GREAT Meet the Teacher Night and Back to School Season!
Until Next time...