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It's Brand New!

Elementary Matters
It's Friday and I have a few things to share about my week! 

1.  New Blog Design! First of all, there's my brand new beautiful blog design that just came live today!  I really liked my old design, but I was due for something new, and this is just what I was looking for  I hope you like it too!

2. He Speaks! I have a little guy in my class that barely speaks much. He's friendly and cooperative, but he just doesn't have a whole lot to say. (I kind of wish that would rub off on a few of the others!) Today I shared this Eye Spy book, and he suddenly came out of his shell.  There are no written words in this book, but it's a great book for learning some new vocabulary based on homophones.  It's an ABC book, and each letter has 4 pictures.  The first three pictures are similar, and the fourth one is the same word, but a different meaning.  The cover shows 3 eyes of some sort of animals, the fourth picture is the eye of a hook, get it?
I always love a book that gets kids to think about words! (Unfortunately, it's out of print, but if you click the book image, it will take you to Amazon where you can get a second hand copy.)

This little guy who hardly says a word, would catch on right away as I turned each page, raising his hand with all sorts of sound effects, ready to tell the whole class which one was which. (Ohhhh!, ooooooo! You've heard it!)  I just wanted to say, "Who are you and what have you done with George?"

3. Got to Have a Gimmick! Today we were using my mini playing cards from Oriental Trading to practice our 2 digit addition and subtraction. They would turn over cards to get 2 digit numbers, then add and subtract the same 2 numbers with partners. (Picture cards and tens were just put to the side. Jokers meant they could pick that digit.) They absolutely love the mini cards as well as the whiteboards and had a blast with their review.  I have a funny feeling if these were plain worksheets, they wouldn't be having as much fun.  The best part?  When their answers didn't match, they were having great conversations trying to figure out whose answer was right! My kids are amazing!

4. Lower Case j! Why do kids have so much trouble figuring out the lower case j? We talked about it, practiced it, and talked some more.  I decided I'd leave this on the board for a couple of weeks so they can stare at it for a while.  Maybe it will sink in through osmosis!

5. Homophones! Speaking of leaving information in front of them to stare at, this is the start of our second homophone wall.  Every time a homophone comes up, I'll list them on the board with a little something to help them remember which is which. My last homophone wall was up for over a month, until I needed my whiteboard for something else. It was sad to erase it, but we quickly started a new one. Whenever a new one comes up, we add it to our board.
 Today I added muscles/ mussels after sharing our school's "Joke of the Day": 
Q. What did one tide pool say to the other tide pool when the tide went out?
A. Show us your mussels!

Other things that happened this week: I stayed up way to late finishing report cards Wednesday night, and got a delayed opening on Thursday morning! I've also been planning for one of my very favorite days:  St. Patrick's Day.  HERE is last year's post with loads of resources I use with my kiddos!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday post.  Be sure to check it out!


  1. I love the new design! Super cute.

    That Eye Spy book looks fantastic! I am going to have to look for it in our local second hand bookstore. Thanks for sharing!

    Caffeine and Lesson Plans

    1. Thanks Mandy! I hadn't picked up that book in a while, I'm glad I did!


  2. Sally - your new blog design is adorable...I love it! Looks like you had a great week.
    Teaching and Much Moore

    1. Thanks, Vicky! Yep, it was a good week, especially after finishing report cards!


  3. Love your new design Sally! I never thought to use jokes to teach homophones, but that's a great idea!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

    1. Thanks, Sara! The homophones/ jokes thing just happened! We share those jokes every day, and with second graders, sometimes they have to be explained to the kiddos!


  4. Found you through the linky! What a great new blog design! Thanks for the tip about the Eye Spy book, I'm going to have to try and get hold of that!

    Butterflying Through Teaching

    1. Thanks so much! That little guy was a hoot about that Eye Spy book!


  5. Thanks for the inspiring post. Loved the book recommendation. I already ordered it from Amazon. I love to use playing cards with my students. Little cards, different shaped cards, large cards...engagement begins and learning happens ;)!

  6. Blog design looks great! Isn't it amazing how some playing cards and a white board make routine practice feel like something special?

    The Math Maniac


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