Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Counting Down to the End of the Year!

I don't know about you all, but as much as I love my class... I'm so ready for this school year to be over!  This is the time of year when I tend to go into "panic mode".  There's so much to do, and so little time to get it all done!  Does your "to do" list sound anything like this?  Let's see... end-of-year fluency and math assessments, writing samples, entering scores into the computer (40 question test times 32 student), report cards, student cum files and all the paperwork that goes along with that, and cleaning and organizing my classroom.  On top of all that, we've got a field trip to a swimming pool next week, I've got a step-son graduating from high school (with a big graduation party here at our house), and we are also putting on a class play!  Needless to say, things are a little cRaZy!!!  I know I'm not alone here, so I'd love to hear from you all and how you're dealing with this end-of-year madness? 

On the bright side, once everything is done in my classroom, I can relax and enjoy the summer at home with my three little ones!  My kids are 8, 4, and 2, and this will be the first summer I have not worked summer school in years!  I can't wait!  I am so looking forward to SLEEPING IN (as much as my kids will let me), trips to the park, days at the beach, and a few little family getaways!  I'm also very excited to be able to spend more time blogging and working on my TpT store! 

So... just to let you know that I've actually been productive these past few weeks... here are a few pics from my classroom! 

Our Eric Carle inspired collage projects!  This took over a week of sketching, painting, and cutting, but I'm so happy with how they turned out! 

Working on our Mother's Day projects!

All ready for Open House. 

Working on our Pocketful of Poems unit.  We brainstorm ideas and write our "rough draft" in our student journals first!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Second Grade Memories - A Layered Flip Book

I thought I'd share another crafty idea with you while we're all in end-of-the-year project mode!  Layered flip books are another one of my favorite little projects to make for Open House.  They're easy to make and fun to read!  The key is making each page one inch longer than the previous page, so that the finished product looks like this:

I used to make these all the time, but the tricky part was cutting the pages to fit!  I love the look of the rainbow colored flip book (on the right), but the one with titles (bottom right) is also a lot of fun!  My students are working on these layered books right now.  I've already copied and cut the pages, and I've been handing out only one page at a time.  We take time to brainstorm ideas for each page, and I usually write a few examples on the board before I let them go at it on their own.  My students have been keeping their completed pages in their class work folder (in their desk), to work on them when they have extra time.  When we've completed all the pages, I will show them how to assemble them in order, and then whip around the room with my handy stapler and voila!  A lovely memory book for the end of the school year! 

To make things easier for you, I've created a ready made memory flip book for Second Grade here (this unit also includes a traditional, full-size memory book template).  I've also created one for First Grade, which you can grab here, as well as  a traditional, full sized memory book for First Grade here, if you want something simple!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Making Lemonade out of State Testing

State testing time is here!  We began our first official test day today, and I'm proud to say that we all survived.  Getting 32 students to take an hour long test independently is no cake walk.  But... they did their best, and that's all I can ask for, right?  One testing day down, only five more to go.  We can DO this! 

One of the things I like about our two weeks of testing is that we have some time in the afternoons to work on special projects.  Our Open House is coming up in less than three weeks, so I've made a to-do list of projects to have completed by then.

Open House To-Do List:

  1. Animal Research Report and Diorama:  We started researching our animals in the computer lab this week, and most students were also able to find books about their animals from the library.  The rest of their project is to be done at home.  I'm not giving regular homework these next few weeks, so they all have plenty of time to work on their projects.  If you didn't already grab my freebie Animal Research Report Poster, you can grab it here  You can also grab my Animal Diorama and Research Report Project Pack which has everything you need to do this project with your students!  You can hop on over to TpT and grab that here
  2. Poetry Books:  We are still finishing up our poetry lessons from April!  We are in the revising and rewriting phase, but we're on our way!  The students have completed several Acrostic Poems, an All About Me Poem, Cinquain, Haiku, and a Five Senses Poem!  These lessons and printables are all included in my Pocketful of Poems Unit, which you can find here
  3. Eric Carle Art Project:  This project is a big one, and takes several days to complete, but I've done it for the past two years with my classes and I'm always so thrilled with the results.  We will be making our own collages in the style of Eric Carle.  This means we'll be painting different colors on paper, and then cutting the paper to make a collage.  For inspiraction, I've been reading lots of different Eric Carle books over the past month.  We're keeping track of our stories on a chart, so the students can think about each story and the different kinds of pictures that were in it.  I think the overall class favorite so far is The Grouchy Ladybug, ("Hey YOU, wanna fight?"  My kiddos LOVE that part!  Ha ha!)  I'll be posting about this project soon as well.  It's a big one, but so much fun and so worth all the mess! 
  4. Second Grade Memories Layered Flip Book:  This little project is so much fun to make.  It's a memory book where the pages are cut in different lengths so that each page gets bigger by one inch.  This makes it fun to flip from page to page!  I'll be making a post of this one soon!  I've also got this little project available on TpT, and like everything else in my store - it's on SALE for 20% off until tomorrow night!  You can find this memory flip book here
I have some other things on my list of to-do's -- like taking their pictures for an "I wish"  bulletin board display.  I discovered this idea on Pinterest last year, and it turned out so great!  I'll be doing it again, and I'll be sharing it on here as well. 

Until then, have a fabulous week and be sure to check out TpT for their Teacher Appreciation Day SALE going on today and tomorrow!  My entire store is on sale 20% off, and I have a BRAND NEW surprise product on sale for 50% off that would be a great way to wrap up the school year in your literacy centers!  Check it out HERE!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Teaching Special Thinkers Giveaway!

I'm super excited to be a part of my very fist giveaway!  Gabrielle at Teaching Special Thinkers is having a "Final Countdown Giveaway" to help you pumped up for summertime!  It's jam-packed with over 50 products for grades K-2!  There's also a separate prize for grades 3-6, and one for Special Education!    Just scroll down a bit to find the RAFFLE COPTER so you can enter to win!  Woohoo! 

Be sure to check it out!  You don't want to miss out on all these awesome prizes!  

I've donated my "Springtime Fun" unit to this giveaway - you might remember it from last month! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway