Oh, Snap! It’s Almost August Linky

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Hi everyone! Welcome to our first link up on Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals. Can you believe that we are getting ready for August?

I am bringing you my Back to School Task Cards. What better way to get to know your new students than with task cards? You can give each student a set of task cards or set it up like a game of Scoot. I love using the Back to School Task Cards as Scoot. It gives the students a chance to move around on the first day of school and gives you the chance the get to know your students.

Back to school Task Cards

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I am also getting ready for back to school with my Number Sense and Place Value Task Card Bundle. I absolutely love task cards and so do my kiddos. This bundle includes 8 different task card sets with 32 cards in each set. I don’t know about you… but I love to use task cards to groups or to play Scoot. I have a tiny, I mean large class. I have to make sure that if I do scoot or other games that I have enough cards to each of my students as they move around the room. This is why I include 32 task cards. Now I don’t have to worry that I am a few cards short and one of my kids are sitting there bored.

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Both the Back to School Task Cards and the Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards Bundle will be on sale for the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

You can check out some other great products below to help you get ready for August!

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Sight Word Bracelets

Hi everyone. I can not believe it already the middle of April. Only ten more weeks of school, but whose really counting? 🙂 Yes, I still have ten more weeks. We go until June 28th!

I don’t know about you, but my kids always need to practice their sight words. They absolutely love to wear the words. It is so cute to see my kiddos running around showing each other the new word of the week. The best part of the sight word bracelets is that it is so easy to differentiate for all of your students. You can give your struggling students one word a week, while your more proficient students can have two words a week. You can differentiate in so many different ways!

I have 3 different sets of the Dolch sight words on sale for $1 for the next 3 days!

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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.

Rachel

Your Curriculum is Just A Tool!!!

Hi everyone. Are you tired of hearing your admin say, “The reading curriculum is just a tool. Use the material anyway you want.”? Really, REALLY!!

How many of you have heard this phrase? Is it true? I’m not sure. We all change the lessons to meet the needs of our children. But what happens when you have to rewrite the whole damn curriculum? I’m sure many of you have done just that. The schools pay all of this money for a curriculum and we have to spend all of our time to create lessons that actually work.

You might be wondering which reading curriculum I am using. Well, I don’t know if you have heard of the awesome Pearson company (I almost feel like they are the Evil Empire!) In NYC, Pearson seems to be in charge of almost all of the curriculum, assessments, and State Exams.

So we are told to use ReadyGen as a tool. So everyday I rewrite the curriculum and teach the skills or lessons how I want to and in the style that will most benefit my kiddos.

I started to teach each lesson focusing on a 15 minute mini-lesson and then small group work (which is definitely not in the program. :() I incorporate the science or social studies text books or articles on the topics. I added in A LOT of writing because there only seems to be response to literature in ReadyGen’s writing component.

How else can I make this curriculum just a tool? I started to make interactive notebooks for the books that we have to use in our lessons. The only part of ReadyGen that is ok are SOME of the trade books used.

Last week we read A Chair for My Mother. I absolutely love this book, but if you follow the curriculum it is boring and basically kills any enjoyment of this wonderful book. So I introduced the interactive notebook for A Chair For My Mother and my kids loved it.

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Then I had my kids design their own comfortable chair. Just take a look at some of the chairs that my kiddos created! 🙂

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Besides designing and building a comfortable chair to go along with the story, “A Chair for My Mother” students also had to write about how they created their chair and why they decided to create that chair.

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My students had so much fun with the interactive notebook, designing their comfortable chairs and their writing assignment.

My students loved using the interactive notebooks so much that I started to create them for the different trade books that we use as part of the 2nd grade ReadyGen curriculum. You can check them out by clicking here.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my rant. 🙂
How do you use your curriculum as just a tool?

Rachel

Spooky Teachers Deals and $1 Steals

Hey everyone. I have to tell you this school year has really been kicking my butt.

Today I am posting over on Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals. All of my Halloween themed math games are on sale for the next 3 days (until October 18th) for only $1!

I don’t know about you, but my school REALLY CELEBRATES October 31st!  I know not everyone celebrates Halloween but my school goes all out, including a huge Halloween party on Saturday.

My last school did not celebrate Halloween, but kids love spooky math games all year long!!  These math games can be played throughout the year and will help your kiddos reinforce their math skills.  When ever I pull out these games, my kids scream!  They just love the friendly ghosts or spooky characters.

For the next 3 days (October 15th through the 18th) I am putting my spooky math games on sale for ONLY $1!

First up are the Spooky Addition and Spooky Multiplication Scoot game. My kids love scooting around the room while practicing their addition or multiplication facts. What kid does not love getting up out of their seat??

In the beginning of the year, I play Monster War with my kids. Aren’t these monsters so cute? My kids love addition war and love beating their partners. Sometimes I use the addition cards while the kids are lining up or while they are using the restroom as a class. It keeps them quiet and keeps instruction going even when we are not in the room. Love It!! 🙂

Have your kids practice their multiplication facts by matching the equations with the haunted house.

Right now I have 6 spooky math games on sale for only $1.

 But grab them fast because they are only on sale through October 18th! After that, the games will go back to regular price.

 What are you waiting for?? Go check out the Spooky Math Games before you miss out on the sale. 

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Can You Guess What I’m Doing?

Hi everyone! Can you guess what I am doing the night before school starts? I’m sure MANY of you are doing the same thing. LAMINATING!!

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I have to be honest, the thought of laminating makes me tired. I really hate laminating. It’s not just the laminating that I hate…It’s the cutting, laminating, and cutting again that I hate!

I know there is a debate over cutting, laminating, and cutting vs. laminating and cutting. Unfortunately for me, I have found that cutting, laminating, and cutting works best and lasts longer.

BOOOOOOOO!!!

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So, it’s the night before school begins and here I am sitting on my floor laminating my reward coupons for my kiddos.
Do you use a reward, or treasure box in your classroom? I used one for years. Finally, I got fed up with looking for things that the kids would like and were not expensive. I would buy some little toys, only to have the toys fall apart quickly.

Last year I decided to throw away my treasure box. Instead, I started to use reward cards. It takes me a lot longer to get ready than the treasure box and my hands hurt by the end of the night, but the reward cards are so much better.

Last year I used the zebra themed reward cards to go along with my jungle theme.

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This year, I have a star theme so I decided to use my iphone reward cards. My kiddos are just going to love these!

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Do you hate cutting, laminating, and cutting as much as I do?

What is your favorite way to reward your kiddos? Do you have a treasure box or use reward cards?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

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

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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What’s In Your Cart? Back to School Linky

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Hi everyone. Can you believe that school is almost here? I have been doing some shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I keep telling my husband, I only need to get a few more things. 🙂 I don’t think he believes me anymore. After 12 years of marriage, I think he has finally wised up (Today is my anniversary!!)

I am linking up with Briana from Sun, Sand & Second Grade to show you what I have in my cart for tomorrows TpT Back to School Sale. Shhhh, don’t tell my husband that I will be shopping AGAIN. I love shopping on TpT, don’t you?

Right now, I have so many things in my cart that my wallet is crying so I definitely need to narrow it down a little.

A definite buy for me is this Maps, Continents, and Communities Packet from Sailing Into Second Grade.

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I also have these 2nd grade word problems in my cart.

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For Close Reading I have this bundle from Sassy, Savvy Simple Teaching.

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I also have tons of clip art in my cart! I think maybe Krista Wallden’s dinosaurs…

My store is also on sale tomorrow and Tuesday for 20% plus TpT’s 10% off with the code BTS14.

Here are some of my favorite products from my store.

I love using reward cards in my classroom. Click here to see the reward cards.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Go back to Sun,Sand & Second Grade to see what others have in their cart.

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A Secret Sale

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Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you know about a secret sale. Shhhh… For today only (Sunday, July 27th 2014), I am offering a sale for my blog and facebook followers.

Buy one get one free (of equal or lesser value.) Email me at RachelH@2ndgraderockstars.com with your purchase that you made and the item you would like for free.

Check out my TpT Store

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Back 2 School: Behavior Mangagement

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Hi everyone! Today I am linking up for the first week of Mrs. D’s Corner and Miss V’s Busy Bees’ Back 2 School Linky.

Today we are talking about behavior management. What teacher hasn’t struggled with behavior management at some point in his or her teaching career?

Have the nightmares started yet? You know the nightmare when you wake up screaming because your class is not listening or out of control.

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I remember being a first year teacher and of course, getting one of the worst classes in the school. Imagine being picked up and moved out of the way by a 2nd grader because you were interfering with their fist fight!! Uh huh, that was quite a year. That year I tried everything I had learned in college, everything that colleagues had suggested. I even tried bribery…that didn’t work either. But we all know that we just can’t give up. I plugged away until the class was somewhat manageable.

Thinking back on my first year, I cringe. I have learned so much through the years about classroom management.

Here are some helpful hints:

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1. One of the most important tips is to set up your rules and routines on the very first day of school. Your kids need to know what is expected and how the day will go. Start by showing students how they will enter the room each morning, go through where students are to put their things, how to line up, go over where the materials are, your job chart, and being called to a meeting area (if you have one.) Remind students how they are to walk in the halls (I’m sure they will have forgotten! 🙂 )

Make a list or plan of your rules and classroom routines so that you don’t forget any! Review the rules and routines constantly until the students know that you mean business. Often times, you will hear a teacher say, “But I went over the rules and we went through the routine. They just don’t get it.” If you don’t constantly reinforce the rules and routines, the kids will walk all over you.

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2. Do not try to be your students’ friend. Don’t get me wrong, I love my students. I joke around with them and we talk about lots of things but there has to be some type of boundaries. I have seen many teachers crash and burn because they want to be seen as “cool” or want to be their students’ friend (Ladies and gents, the same things goes for parents who want to be their child’s friend!!)

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3. Highlighting the positive that you see instead of the negative. Sometimes I don’t even say names, I say something like…”Wow! Someone wearing the color orange is doing a great job on line.” It’s great. All the kids look down to see what color they are wearing. Sometimes I choose something to say that many of the kids have in common, like…”Someone with the letter A in their name is doing awesome in class today.” The whole class sits up straighter. They are just so stinking cute!
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4. BE CONSISTENT!!! I can not say this loud enough. You need to be consistent throughout the entire year. If the answer is no to Johnny, then it should be no to Suzy.

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5. Develop “The Teacher Look.” Come on…you all know the look that I mean. the “look” that stops students (and husbands) dead in their tracks. The look that says, “Oh no you didn’t, you better stop that now!!” I love that look. The teacher look can silence a whole class in a matter of seconds.

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6. Stickers, pencils, and erasers go a long way. (I don’t consider that bribery. Do you?)

Are you still here? Sorry I am talking your ears off. 🙂

I’ve tried many different approaches to behavior management over the years. To be honest with you, different things work with different classes. I started using the Clip Chart about two years ago and my kids loved it. I was really surprised and I know that there are many articles against clip charts. But I say, you have to what you feel comfortable doing. I give my kids a warning (or two) before their clip has to be moved down and I have my kids move their clips up more often.

Last year I started to use my Robot Clip Chart Behavior Management System. I only used it for about month, before school ended. So this year I am starting in September. Both my kids and parents responded well to it. I also stopped using a prize box last year and started using reward cards.

Here is a quick view of the management system.
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I also send a home a weekly report with the students for the parents to sign. Students have a monthly behavior calendar that is used during the month. Each day, the student colors in the color that corresponds to his or her place on the clip chart. At the end of the month, we review the monthly behavior chart and students quickly see how they did during the month. This lends itself to a great graphing activity “How Was I This Month?”

For students who struggle with behavior, they complete a behavior goal sheet.

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The Clip Chart Behavior Management System and all of the reward cards will be 20% until Friday, July 18th.

You can check out the reward cards by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I would love to know what hints or tips you would give others about classroom management. Click the picture below to head back to Mrs. D’s Corner to read what others have to say about behavior management.

Rachel

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