Birthday Bags

Hi everyone. How do you celebrate birthdays in your classroom? I have to admit, I am horrible! Some years I have pencils, some years I have birthday certificates, and some years I have nothing (horrible right?)

My problem…I was never organized. I wouldn’t have something ready for the birthday boy or girl. Once you miss the first birthday or two, it is kind of hard to start giving something out for birthdays. I can’t say, “Sorry Johnny, I didn’t have anything when it was your birthday, but now I have something to give Cindy.” Like I said I AM HORRIBLE!!!

So through my internet travels and reading Facebook and a lot of blogs, I saw people who make birthday bags. OMG why have I never done birthday bags before? What is wrong with me? I am going into my 17th year of teaching and I am learning new things everyday and I love it!

First, I decided to make birthday crowns.
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I left some of the stars black and white so the kids can color them. I usually print two pages of the headband part because some kids have bigger heads than others, like my son. 🙂

You can check out the birthday crowns by clicking the picture below.
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Then, I sat down to make my birthday bags. I included material to make the crown, a birthday certificate, a birthday bookmark, and a sticker. All from the Target’s Dollar Spot. I get into a lot of trouble when I go to the Dollar Spot at Target. Don’t you? 🙂 I ordered birthday pencils, but of course they haven’t arrived yet. 🙁

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After assembling the bags, I wrote each child’s name and birthday on it in Sharpie marker. When I get to school, I have a file folder all set up in my file cabinet for the birthday bags. I am so proud of myself!

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How do you celebrate your kids’ birthdays? Do you give them anything or do anything special? Do You think I should include anything else?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Classroom Reveal

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Hi everyone! I haven’t started school yet so my classroom is not totally finished. We don’t start until Tuesday and the kids come in on Thursday, so I still have a few more days to work on my room.

Here is what my room looked like when I went into school on Tuesday.

The back of my room.
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Of course all of the desks are pushed together into two rows!
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The front of my room with my Smartboard. Unfortunately, it is the only technology I have in my room.
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So, I worked on my room from Tuesday until Thursday and I am STILL NOT FINISHED!! I feel as if my room has thrown up. There are things everywhere!

Here is a picture of my Math Focus Wall. I have the calendar and charts for the students to write number of the day in different ways. My kids write the number of the day using base ten blocks, they create fact families, they write number in words, standard form, and expanded form. The charts also include determining if the number is odd or even and other math routines. I haven’t finished the math wall yet. I’m thinking of including the math vocabulary words here, but I’m not sure yet.
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Here is a picture of the back of my room. The back is divided into science and social studies. I plan to hang up the anchor charts, vocabulary, and student work to go along with each unit.
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This is one of my favorite parts of my room! I am not crafty, so I consider this to be a big accomplishment! I have The Homework Club and my job chart. You can read about how I made the homework club and job chart {Here} on Made It Monday. I also used the oil drip pan to make my schedule, or flow of the day. I still have to stick magnets on the back of the sentence strips, but I had left them at home.
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This is my other favorite part of the room. My kids always gave so much to say to me or their classmates, especially on a Monday. So I decided to create a message wall. I have a metal door and I attached dry erase magnets on the door for kids to write messages on. Then I used velcro to attach four dry erase markers to the door. I plan on gluing pom poms to the top of each marker to use as erasers. For some reason, the picture will not rotate. Sorry!!
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I don’t have a picture of my seating arrangement yet because I am not happy with it! Right now I have 4 groups of 6 desks and 1 group of 8 desks. I have to leave room for the meeting area and the room looks really cluttered. I’m thinking of making 4 groups with 8 desks in each. What do you think? Do you think that 8 second graders sitting together would be too many?

Hopefully, I will have better pictures to share with you during the week. I’m sorry if the pictures are blurry. We were being kicked out of the school at 2:30 on Thursday and of course I was trying to get so pictures! 🙂

Check out some other classroom reveals by clicking the picture below.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!
Rachel

Teaching with Intention: Chapter 2

Hi everyone! Welcome back to our book study on Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.

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Chapter 2 is about beliefs and practices in the classroom. So I stopped and thought about what my beliefs are.

1. I believe that every student should feel safe and be able to take risks. I want every one of my kids to feel like they are in an environment where it is safe to be wrong. I don’t want my kids to feel like they can not ask questions or afraid to give a wrong answer. That’s how I felt when I went to school. As a result, I never participated in class and become very anxious when I was called on.

2. I believe that the students should be working collaboratively and talking with each other. Again, when I went to school we sat in rows and really were not allowed to talk. (Did I mention I went to Catholic school?)

3. I believe that all students’ opinions are important and are valued.

4. I believe that all lessons should be purposeful and engaging.

As I continued to read chapter 2, Debbie mentioned how the next step is to align our beliefs with our classroom practices.

So I stopped again and wondered whether my beliefs and practices match.
Do my kids feel safe and are they able to take risks?
Yes, I think so. I am constantly reminding my students that the most important thing to in class is to try their best. It is always ok to be wrong.

Do my kids work collaboratively and talk with each other?
Yes, my students are always working in groups or turning and talking with partners. It takes a long time to get this started in my class, especially when other grades do not necessarily work in small groups or in partners. Reflecting back, I know that I need to be more patient with my kids.

Do I value all opinions?
In reality…sometimes. There are times when I have an answer that I want but a student is not giving it to me. I have to remember that there are different answers and opinions and not just one wright answer.

Are my lessons engaging and purposeful?
I definitely know that not all of my lessons are always engaging. I try but sometimes as I am looking over the a lesson, I think “This is boring!” Sometimes I change it, but sometimes I am so tired that I don’t. It’s not that I want to bore the kids, but sometimes I just don’t know how to make something more engaging (especially some science and social studies concepts.)

Know I have to sit back and make sure that my beliefs match my practices. I start school next week, so I am planning to make a little checklist or cheat sheet with all of my beliefs. As I go through the day, I plan on making sure that my practices.

Debbie Miller suggests these questions to think about when thinking about what you believe about teaching and learning.
1. How do you go about teaching kids something new?
2. What principles guide you?
3. How do you know if kids are getting it?
4. What do you do when they don’t?

The author also suggests to reflect at the end of the day and write down what you’ve learned. After reflecting for about a month, then it is time to sit down and write your belief statements.

I know as the year goes on and I reflect, I will change and revise my belief statements and I can’t wait!

What are your beliefs and do your beliefs match with your practices? I’d love to know!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I hope to see you next week for chapter 3 of Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller.

Rachel

Monday Made It

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I have been looking at the linky Mondy Made It forever. But let’s face it, I am NOT crafty. So finally, I can say that I made a few things and am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it!!

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After reading about the Homework Club from Lessons with Laughter and 4th Grade Frolics, I decided to give it a try. You can read about Lessons with Laughter’s Homework Club {Here}. I found 4th grade Frolic’s Homework Club product on Teachers pay Teachers. You can find it {Here}.

So I printed and laminated all day long! First I printed and laminated the Homework Club numbers.
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Next I decided that I needed to update my classroom job chart. So I got some yellow ribbon with white polka dots. Then I found the Polka Dot Design Classroom Job Cards by A Spoonful of Creativity. SO CUTE!
I printed and laminated the job cards and then, hold on to your socks…I used a hot glue gun! I hot glued the job cards onto the ribbon.

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I had my mom bring my the huge oil drip pan from Walmart. My mom lives in Pennsylvania but she is always bringing me things from Walmart or the Dollar Tree since I don’t have any close to me.
I decided to use the oil drip pan to make my Homework Club Chart and the Job Chart. I used Duck Tape to section of the the two charts.

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So I guess if I put all three of my little projects together, I get one big project. I’m still trying to decide if I should cover the oil pan or just leave it silver. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Go back to 4th Grade Frolics by clicking the picture below to read other Monday Made Its.

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Teaching with Intention: Chapter 1

Hi everyone. I am linking up with The Primary Gal for our new book study on “Teaching with Intention”, by Debbie Miller.

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All I can say is WOW! Debbie Miller begins Chapter 1 by asking a good question. She asks, “If I were to ask you to close your eyes and envision the perfect classroom scene, what would you see? What would you hear and smell and feel?” Debbie Miller had me thinking about my classroom with her very first line in Chapter 1. I stopped and thought, what do I think the perfect classroom would be like.

The perfect classroom to me is one where the children feel safe, where they are not afraid to take risks. It has a cozy feeling where the kids know they are welcome and look forward to coming into the classroom everyday. It is a noisy place where you can hear conversations going on about what is being learned and where students are engaged. It smells like markers and glue. 🙂

As I continued reading, I compared my class to the third grade class in Ohio. I could see the kids spread out in different areas of the room, some at meeting areas or desks and having conversations about what they were reading. I see a relaxed environment where the kids really take charge of their own learning. My class used to be similar. Before I moved schools and grades two years ago, my school was using Lucy Calkin’s Teacher’s College Reading and Writing program. We had different consultants come in and out of the school. One of my favorites was Colleen Cruz. 🙂 We were trained to have our kids read and discuss. At any point you could walk into my room and hear conversations going on around reading, writing, and math.

Every September, we started with Launching the Reading and Writing Units and the kids were pretty much trained by the time they got to me in third or fourth grade. Oh how I miss this!!

Fast forward to the present. I am now working in a school that kind of works the opposite. Last year was extremely challenging with a new reading program. We started to use ReadyGen with no training. It has a lot of whole class instruction and some small group instruction. It was taking me three days to do a lesson. SO FRUSTRATING!!

So I decided to TC the lessons and they went much better. I made sure to institute Turn and Talk, or partner talk and start small groups. My class was starting to look similar to how it used to be, but still wasn’t the same. The class was still too quiet and had trouble talking for a long period of time.

I start school in two weeks and I am so glad that I have read “Teaching with Intention” because it has reenergized me to get my second graders to how I want them to be. I want them to talk, to take charge of their learning, to be engaged throughout the day, to have productive conversations where they can share their thoughts and opinions and agree or disagree with their peers.

I know that I have to spend a lot more time on routines and getting reading for having conversations in September and October, especially because they have not been introduced to partner talk or group work in previous years. I already have the posters in my head that I am going to create. I plan on creating an anchor chart with conversation prompts such as; I think…because, I agree with…because, I disagree with…because, This makes me think that…, and a few other prompts. I can not wait to begin!

What conversation prompts would you add to my anchor chart? Leave your prompts in the comments. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I hope to see you next week when we discuss chapter 2 of “Teaching with Intention” by Debbie Miller.

Rachel

Wordless Wednesday and a Sale!

Hi everyone.
I’m linking up with Miss Decarbo for Wordless Wednesday. Today’s Wordless Wednesday is a little different. Teachers pay Teachers announced their ONE DAY SALE today. My whole store is 20% off and if you use BOOST when checking out, you will get 28% off! Woot! Woot!

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Here are some products that you can find at my store for 28% off today!
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iPhone Reward Cards

Head back to her blog to check out some other fabulous posts.
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Click the banner below to get your $5 from Educents!
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Educents STEM Bundle

Hi everyone! I am really excited to be teaming up with Educents for their STEM bundle.

Thanks for stopping by to see some great work my kids have been working on during the year.  =)

One topic we have been working on in science class is force and motion. The kids always love this topic. There is really some great material to help you teach force and motion to your kiddos!

Here are two books that I use in my class.
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Here is a great video that I use with my class. My kids love Bill Nye The Science Guy. This video is 23 minutes long. Sometimes we watch the whole video and sometimes we only watch pieces of the video.
 
is a great website that has different games for the kids to play force and motion games and to learn more about force and motion.

My kids enjoy playing with Cootie Catchers, or as I like to call them, Fortune Tellers.
Click below to download the Force and Motion Cootie Catcher.
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 I have also teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you! Loaded with great products to work with your kids on math, science, and some engineering activities!  
My product included will surely be loved by your students!

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 This Educents STEM bundle includes my Force and Motion Interactive Notebook. There are 9 activities on motion, speed, force, gravity, and friction that can be used in small groups, whole class, or for homework. My kids absolutely love interactive notebooks!

You can see my kids in action using some of the pages from The Force and Motion Interactive Notebook.

Things can move fast or slow.
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Things can move in different ways.
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Have your kids design an eight hole miniature golf course and show how the ball travels.
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We have also been working on odd and even in class.
Don’t you just love this book, Even Steven and Odd Todd?
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My kiddos really love watching videos, especially ones that they can sing along with!!
How cute is this video on odd and even??

Another activity that your students will love from The Educents STEM Bundle is The Odd and Even Robots Games.

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Let your students have some fun with odd and even!

This is a bundle of 3 different robot games/activities to help your students understand the concept of odd and even. The first game is an Odd and Even Robot Sort. The second game is called Even and Odd Equations. In this game, the students write equations for the numbers and then determine if the sum is even or odd. The third game/activity is the Even/Odd Robot Poster or Book.

Game 1: Odd and Even Robot Sort
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Game 2: Even/ Odd Equations: Student write equations for the numbers and then determine if the sum is even or odd.

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Game/Activity 3: My Even/Odd Robot Poster or Book
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Bonus!!!
If you buy this STEM bundle using This Link, then you get to choose any free 2 FREE products from my store!
To get your free item, forward your confirmation from Educents and the free item of your choice to rachelh@2ndgraderockstars.com

If you still haven’t signed up for Educents (You must be crazy!) just click below to sign up and receive a $5 credit for a future purchase.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals

Hi everyone. Today I am really excited to be guest posting on Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals. Everyday there will be a new dollar deal that will last for ONLY 3 DAYS. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the deal will only last for 3 days. After that, the product will go up to the original price.

I can’t tell you what it is…you need to go and look for yourself.

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Hmmm…maybe I can give you a hint. It’s a science product. 🙂

When you get to Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals, don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

Click below to see my dollar deal and to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you still haven’t signed up for Educents (You must be crazy!) just click below to sign up and receive a $5 credit for a future purchase.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Wordless Wednesday

Hi everyone.
I’m linking up with Miss Decarbo for Wordless Wednesday.

I am a city girl. I’ve always lived in New York City and am used to seeing buildings and people everywhere. I forget how beautiful the rest of the country is.

I am visiting my brother and his family in Idaho. Here is what he sees from his house. The scenery is so different from what I get to see everyday.

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My question for you: Where have you been where the scenery was so different from where you live?

Head back to her blog to check out some other fabulous posts.
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Click the banner below to get your $5 from Educents!
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Announcing…A new collaborative blog Teacher Steals and Dollar Deals

I am so excited to announce that I am joining forces with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you a new collaborative blog called Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals! With this blog, there will be approximately forty teachers sharing their excellent work in what we are calling a Dollar Steal!

What is a Dollar Steal, you ask?  Each day, one of my bloggy friends will be sharing a post about one of their products.  In their blog post, they will share a link to their product where you can purchase it for only $1.00.  Now here’s the catch, you’ll have to act fast because their sale will only last for THREE days.  After the three days, you can still grab their fabulous product, but it will be at it’s original price.

I would love for you to hop over by clicking the button above and follow our new blog through email or Bloglovin in order to ensure that you catch all of our deals in a timely manner.  We are also giving away a $25 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Certificate.  You can enter by following us!!!

Thank you for joining me on this new and exciting experience.

Rachel