Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spelling City Guest Post on Multiple Meaning Words

Sunny Days in SecondI'm thrilled to welcome Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade!  If you've never been to her blog before, you're truly in for a treat!  Today she has some ideas for using Spelling City!

Denise here from Sunny Days in Second Grade.  Thanks so much to my blog buddy Sally for allowing me to guest post today. I've been working closely with Spelling City over the last few months to explore the wealth of resources available to teachers and students. I've been so impressed with everything I've found and I'm thrilled to be able to share some with you today!

Let's focus on raising student's critical thinking and vocabulary by exploring multiple meaning words. Here's a little picture tutorial that will guide you through the free content available to you!






Be sure to check out all of the other great content waiting for you at Spelling City and if you ever have any questions, I'd be happy to help the best I can. Enjoy, my friends!


Thanks to Denise from Sunny Days for sharing these great ideas!  Spelling City can be used many ways, and this is one that is useful for many, many kids at many grade levels! Of course, brain research tells us that if we add fun, the children will be more likely to learn.  Spelling City definitely adds the fun!  Thanks Denise for sharing these ideas!


Tomorrow is the Product Swap!  You may not know what "Product Swap" means right now, but by tomorrow at this time, you'll be busy enjoying ideas of loads of different, quality Teacher Products!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 7 Plus a Freebie

We have reached the end of the Daily 5 Book Study.  Chapter 7 was all about Putting it All Together and Troubleshooting. The recommendation is to launch the "Choice" aspect of Daily 5 well after introducing the 5 components separately, then giving the children plenty of opportunity to practice each part before allowing the choice.  This really makes a lot of sense, since it's so important to teach them the right way to do each choice.  Those first few weeks will be tricky, since I want to focus on doing the parts correctly!

Of course, this all happens with a grain of salt.  My district has very strict guidelines on what we should be doing with the children during our literacy block, and we have a separate writing time which isn't flexible.  Because we have a several reading/ language "have tos", it will be tough to have several focus lessons and several Independent Work times each day.  There's also the challenge of an assigned writing time, which isn't flexible, as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 times that couldn't be used for Daily 5.  

But somehow I'll fit it in.  I can see opportunities for 2, sometimes 3 focus lesson/ Independent Work times daily, which would happen while I teach Reading Groups.  I'll do my best to make it work within my restrictions.  Of course, whichever the children didn't get to one day, they'd start with that on the next day.

Click to Download Freebie
I do like the idea of a daily check in.  I've always done a Status of the Class, (available as a freebie, click HERE or click the image to the left!) in both Independent Reading as well as Independent Writing.  I agree with the sisters, it gives the children more accountability and independence when they know their choice has been written down.  When I use these sheets, I don't just write if the child is reading or writing, I write then name of the book the child is reading or the topic of the child's writing.  (Naturally beginning readers will be reading more than one book per session, but I write the one they start with.)

I'm also planning to use a Daily 5 record sheet for the children to use.   Click HERE (or click the image) to see my record sheets as well as several other related Literacy Center Record Sheets from Teachers pay Teachers.
Click to see more helpful pages at Teachers pay Teachers
I was pleased to see a schedule in the Appendix for "Launching the Daily 5 - The First Five Weeks".  You'd better believe I've already got this bookmarked, and I'll be using it as my bible for the first 5 weeks!

Don't forget to check out the linky below to see more ideas on Chapter 7 of the Daily 5!

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Common Core Standards and Some Resources

My district, like many others, will be starting to implement the Common Core Standards this year.  I've started to explore them.  I'm realizing we won't be able to follow our reading or our math programs quite as much as we used to.  Personally, that makes me quite happy, as I wasn't thrilled with either program.  I see strengths to the programs, but I also see the weaknesses.

I have been searching the web this summer, exploring all the Common Core materials I could find.  I bought the book Common Core Curriculum Maps for English Language Arts, which some bloggers of us will be studying in August.

I recently found THIS from Have Fun Teaching.  There are page sized posters for every standard, both English and Math, for K - 5.  Check it out!

If you're a Pinterest fan, I have a Common Core Pinterest board.

I'm also on a few cooperative boards including:

The latter board is connect to these blogs. (of which I am a contributor)  Be sure to check them out!

Common Core Classrooms

Common Core Kids

And, of course, there's the official Common Core website!  

I'll keep looking for more Common Core resources and sharing them.  Do you know of any good resources for the Common Core Standards?


Tell Me More, Tell Me More

Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons is having a linky party.  You might have noticed I'm a sucker for a good linky party.  This particular one is asking bloggers to tell more about themselves.  It caught my attention because the name of it sounds like the beginning of that song from Grease!  (I'm a big fan of musical theatre!)

So, here are some things about me.
I'm not just a fan of musical theatre, but I'm an experienced actress!  I've been in close to 100 different productions, and had some amazing roles.  My first big role was Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. (It was also my first stage kiss!)  I've also played Connie in A Chorus Line, Lucy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and Sister Amnesia in Nunsense.

Here's a video from when I was in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.  (I'm Lucy in the blue dress... sorry, the sound quality is terrible, but it was a super fun show!)

And from the same show, our finale... this is a great song!



Here are a couple of pictures.. this is my character Sister Mary Amnesia from Nunsense, singing a "duet" with "Sister Mary Annette" called  So You Want to be a Nun?  This show was particularly funny for me, since I went to Catholic school many years ago.  It was very special to me since it was an ensemble cast... only 5 women, and one of them was my daughter.  (She played Sister Leo, the novice who wanted to be the first nun-ballerina.)  Shows with ensemble casts have always been my favorite, since everyone matters, there are no egos.  These casts tend to be particularly close, which makes it even more rewarding.

This last one actually appeared in a blog post not that long ago.  This is Golde from Fiddler on the Roof.  My character had just found out that Yente the matchmaker found a match for my oldest of 5 daughters.  Again, this one is special, since my daughter was in it with me.  She played Hodel, the second daughter who sang the heart wrenching song Far From the Home I Love.
Something else about me:  I was a single mom for 16 of my daughter's 19 years.  This certainly wasn't by choice, but when I look back, there were a lot of advantages to being a single mom of one.  For one thing, it was easy to be involved in theatre, since she loved it too.  Another great thing was that it was easy to travel.  We took a few trips together, but the best were the semi-annual trips we took to Disney. Our first trip was right before she turned 3. (right after her father left)  Then we went again when she was 5.  When her dance troupe went to Disney at age 7, we realized we'd started a tradition.  Now that she's in college, the tradition is broken because we no longer have the same vacations, but we have some fantastic memories. On our last visit, she was old enough to take the "backstage tour", which was awesome.  She also was in "The American Idol Experience", which was also awesome. 

Not really me, but related to me:  My brother David Bondelevitch, also a blogger, recently won his second Emmy!  He won for Sound Designer for the documentary Above the Ashes.  David is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado. (Teaching runs in the family, my parents were both educators, and my sister teaches Family and Consumer Science at a high school!)   David's blog includes loads of topics, but the main focus is film, of course.  (If you ever want to know what movies to see, read his reviews HERE.) Interesting that he and I both lean toward the arts, while our dad was a Phys. Ed. director!  (My sister got the athletic genes!) 
One more thing about me:  I've been dating a man that I've known for over 50 years.  Apparently we took the same carpool to Kindergarten. (He does have far more memories about Catholic School than I have!)  We knew each other through high school, but not well.  He did play football for my father, which is very cool.  (My dad was my hero, and there aren't many people still around that knew him!)  We ran into each other a couple of years ago, and the rest is history.  We're both single parents with kids in college.  I was divorced for a very long time before I could trust a man again.  It's nice to be with someone again, and this guy is a gem!  

Well, this is more about me than anyone would ever want to know!   Hopefully I haven't scared you away!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas in July Extended Through Friday

Unfortunately, the Teachers Pay Teachers website has been down for most of the day today, which was intended to be the day of the big Christmas in July sale!

Now that the site is back up, I've extended the sale through "Boxing Day".  I can't speak for the others having a Christmas in July Sale,  but I'm going for it!

The sale is going on through the 27th on my Teachers Pay Teachers store as well as my Teachers Notebook store.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July!


I've realized tomorrow is Christmas in July!

Back in my younger days, I used to have a traditional Christmas in July party.  I would put up Christmas decorations, have people bring a gift and have a Yankee Swap!  (If you've never had a Yankee Swap, you're in for some fun!)  Back in those days, my theatre friends would get into character and show up at my door in their winter coats, talk about how cold it was outside, and we would wear our holiday sweaters and sweat shirts!  

These days, I just sponsor a linky party and have a sale!  I know, I should have planned this a week ago, but that's the way things are!  Unfortunately for those late night (early morning?) shoppers, Teachers Pay Teachers will be down from midnight to 8 am for maintenance, but the Christmas in July sale will start as soon as the site is back up!  Feel free to join the linky below if you're interested in joining the Christmas in July fun!  (Reminder, be sure to link up with your store, not your blog site!)

Heres a link to my TpT store!  Here's a link to more stores having Christmas in July sales!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Everything Tool Kit

I always like to start the year with lots of learning tools for my students.  I've always bought those fancy name tags for the children's desks that have extra pictures and tools for the children to use.  I keep looking for the perfect name tags, and I can't find them.  Last year I made name tags with plenty of tools. It was kind of a pain, but I made all the parts and cut them all out and put them on the name tags. 
I've always given the children a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 card with the Handwriting Without Tears alphabet on one side, and a number grid from 0 - 120 on the other side.  Those cards were incredibly handy! I'll make those cards again, but I have also made the ultimate tool kit with just about everything I could think of!  

I started with math.  I made a color coded number grid from 0 to 120.  I also made a even/ odd number line as well as a count by tens number line.  I made a place value grid, a money table, a clock, an addition and a subtraction table, a ten frame, and a shapes reference.

For writing, there's a short vowel chart, a long vowel chart, a word bank made from Dolch words and common words for this age, and a list of writing traits.

For reading, there are lists of fiction and non fiction genres, suggestions on choosing books, qualities of fluent readers, and a list of reading strategies and reading skills they'll be working on this year.

For Social Studies, there's a map of North America along with directions and a compass rose, names of the 4 oceans and the seven continents, and a reminder for left and right. There's also a school year calendar (for this year 2012 - 2013) complete with holidays and special days for the year.

For Science, there's a list of vocabulary words, planets, the 5 senses, the science process skills, and a list of healthy habits.

I've put together a sampling of these materials as a freebie. Click THIS LINK to download Freebie.

It took forever to complete all these parts, but it's going to be soooooo worth it! I'm going to have the children cut out the parts and paste them onto individual folders, one for each subject, then I'll laminate them so they can use these tools all year.  I want the children to put them together themselves so they'll be more familiar with the materials and will have some ownership on how they are designed.  I'm thinking I'll color code the folders, so it will be easy to find the tool they need.  For example, when they're working on writing, they'll pull out the red folder.  

I hope you're as excited about these tools as I am.  If you're interested in the full set, Click HERE or click the image to the left.




Freebie Fridays




Saturday, July 21, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 6


We're getting close to the end of our Daily 5 Book Study!  I've been enjoying the pace:  one chapter a week. 

There is so much information in each chapter, I appreciate taking in only one chapter at a time, and giving it time to process before I dig into more! The chapters are short, and I could have probably read several chapters in a day, but this Book Study has forced me to slow down and take one at a time.

Chapter 6 is about the last 2 of the "five":  Work on Writing and Word Work.

I have had extensive training in Writer's Workshop.  My school district goes way back to the days of Donald Graves and his work at the University of New Hampshire with the Writing Process way back in the early 1980s.  Teachers in my district were mentored by Donald Graves, and children in my district were lucky to have him model lessons in classrooms.  


Fast forward 30 years.  Now one of his mentees, Mary Ellen Giacobbe is training teachers in Writer's Workshop.  She has come to our school for all day trainings.  My students have been blessed by having Mrs. Giacobbe model writing lessons with them.  This woman is absolutely amazing!  She truly enjoys working with the children, and inspires them to want to be the best writers they can be.  Besides being in awe of her knowledge of children and Writer's Workshop, her book is one of the best I've found in the area of teaching writing.


Last year, my district was blessed by another mentor in Writing Workshop:  Ralph Fletcher.  He worked mostly with the upper grades, since Mary Ellen Giacobbe had already worked mostly with the primary grades, but he is truly a fascinating person, and it was an inspiring experience to work with him.


As you can see, my district is very much committed to the Writing Process for children.  I can see that my assigned writing time can be a part of my Daily 5, but I'm not so sure I'll be able to separate it as a Daily 5 choice for the children.  I will, however, commit to launching Work on Writing as detailed in the Daily 5 book, with some variations based on my Writing Process background.

Although I've never done Daily 5 before, I've most certainly had my students work on word work independently as well as with partners.  I do include work work as part of my guided reading, which is a great opportunity to introduce new materials and procedures which will later be used as independent word work.  By the time you get to the fifth step of the Daily 5, introducing Word Work to the children, they are quite familiar with the process, the I charts, what it looks like, what it doesn't look like, and building stamina.  Hopefully this step will be the easiest because of all the hard work that came ahead of this.

I've been enjoying reading about the Daily 5 and relating it to my own classroom.  Be sure to check out what these other teachers have had to say about the Daily 5!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me, and a Freebie for You!!

Well, my birthday is just about here.  I was born the day after Disneyland (in California) opened.  (If you look it up, you can figure out my age.)  Trust me, it was a very long time ago.

Today I went to the Apple store at the mall, and bought myself a birthday present... my very own ipad!!  I bought an ipad 3 in black.  It's beautiful!!  I'm still working on how to use it.  I think it will take a while before I'm really handy with it.

I'm definitely open for suggestions on ways to use it in the classroom.

Of course, this all got me thinking about birthdays and my students.  As a second grade teacher, birthdays are pretty important to my students!  I have a little tradition that I've had for years in my classroom.

Rather than giving each student a book for their birthday, I have the children choose a book to give to the class library.  The child gets to bring the book home to share it, and brings the book back when he/she is done to be put into the class collection of books.  The child's name will always live inside the cover of the book, so in a way, the child will always be "a part of my classroom", even long after they're gone.

Trust me, they remember this, and come back to my classroom years later, still remembering the book that is in their honor. As I sort my class library year to year, I peek inside the covers to remember those special people who are still a part of my life.

If you click HERE (or the image), you can download the materials I use for my birthday tradition!

I give them a pencil and a book mark, too.  They get to keep those
forever!



Freebie Fridays

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Few Things Going On!

I have a birthday coming up on Wednesday!  I'm long past the days of celebrating, but I think I'm important enough to treat myself, so I'm buying myself an ipad!  Yes, I know, everyone else has one already, but I'm getting one for myself!

How do you use yours?  Do you have any recommendations for aps?  Should I get black or white?  Can you tell I'm excited?

Another piece of news... even though I don't want to think about getting older, I want to share my "special day" with folks, so I have a few things going on.

My Teachers Pay Teachers site has tons of Literacy activities on sale at half price until Wednesday.  My Teachers Notebook site also has a bunch of Literacy activities on sale at half price until Wednesday.  I wish those ipads were half price, but hopefully I won't be shopping alone!



A few more things you might like:


Is this little guy the cutest?  My blogger friend Hadar at Miss Kindergarten created this, and you can find more about it on her blog or at her TpT store!






Here's another very cute "Back to School" activity by my friend Heidi from My (Not So) Elementary Life.  Go to her TpT page to see her Beach Ball Craftivity!



Melissa from Dilly Dabbles is posting a series of "Back to School" posts, including freebies and linky parties!  Her freebie today is adorable, so be sure to hop on over and check it out!

Still more!  My bloggy friend Tessa from Tales from Outside the Classroom has posted a new It's About Time clock game on her TpT page!

Heidi from Grade School Giggles has a new blog post showing her new Beach and Owl themed Classroom Packs along with some editable Substitute binders as a freebie!

Jen from The Teacher's Cauldron has a Land of Goldilocks Unit hot off the press!  It's adorable, go check it out!

Michelle from Apples and ABC's Adventures has 3 new Sight Word Packets!


Corinna from Surfin Through Second has brand new Differentiated Spelling Lists!


Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles has a new Monsters Back to School Activity Pack.  Again, another adorable product!


Wow, I'm realizing all my blogging friends have been very busy getting ready to go back to school, but I only got out a month ago, so I'm going to bask in the joy of my new ipad.  Of course, I suspect I'll be using that ipad to make back to school stuff very soon!

Don't forget my 50% off "Happy Birthday to Me" Sale at Teachers PayTeachers and Teachers Notebook until Wednesday!



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