Monday, March 23, 2015

Instagram for the classroom

This past summer when I met up with some of the PA bloggers for lunch, one of the fabulous bloggers, Mr. First Grade, was telling us about how he set up an instagram account for his classroom. Well, since I didn't really start the year till now, I couldn't start this till now.

Gotta say, it's SO much easier than writing out newsletters each week-which I can't keep up with.  And for those of you that do, you.are.amazing!  With all that my district requires for lesson planning, data, etc... plus my "party of 5" at home...  It just doesn't work for me.

I downloaded the app to my iPad.  (it is an iPhone app though, so it's not the "best" looking app on the iPad, but it works just the same!)  I set up our class as a private user.  Only parents will have access and I ask them to email me their user name, if it's something that doesn't let me know who they are.  I just love the privacy!

I just snap various pictures with the iPad throughout the day.  Somedays it's one (maybe none!) others it's a lot!  I upload a pic or 2 (or 3) after school.  Parents get to see us in action.  I spent maybe 5 minutes or less letting them in on the awesomeness that goes on in our classroom.

Here is an example from last month:

*of course, there are those who don't have it.  I don't do anything different for those parents.  As much as I'd love to find a way to include all, you just can't with this.  I'm confident that in the coming years, more parents will have an instagram account than now---AND I'll be able to show them all about it at Back to School Night next year, since I will NOT be out on maternity leave again during that time! ;)  Pictures tell a thousand words....  who wouldn't want to possibly see their babies in action while they are out!

*also, I toyed with the idea of Facebook, but I'm just not a fan with how they change privacy stuff all the time... and my school has it blocked.  Instagram is simple and not blocked.  Something I may consider is setting up a class account for Facebook JUST for pictures from Instagram to be posted there as well.... but, honestly-I just like the simplicity of Instagram to tell our story.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Got Eggs?!?

Well, if you haven't turned the calendar to peek at April yet, you may have not noticed that Easter is 'springing' upon us quite quickly!  We are deep into money in second grade and are needing LOTS and LOTS of change counting practice....

I absolutely LOVE those plastic Easter eggs.  They are SO wonderful to use in the classroom for SO many different things!  Counting change is just perfect.

While I could have hidden the eggs all over the room to begin with, I decided to work up to that eggcitement closer to bunny day.  We started the first session of eggstra-special coin counting with eggs in a basket on our desks.  {I bought a ton of those little baskets years ago at Target in the dollar spot..... and haven't used them till NOW!  See, I did buy them for a reason, right?!}

 I had a recording sheet for the kids to write the amounts that were in each egg.  I have enough space in the boxes for students to draw the coins too {that's only good on the 6 and maybe 8 egg page}  I labelled the eggs with letters instead of numbers, just to eliminate number confusion if I use them for something else in the near future!

We repeated this a second day with different amount.  TIP:  Don't just take all the money out and think of a new amount.  Just add or take away a nickel... or a dime... or add a few pennies to each.  They will not remember how much the egg had the day before.  Trust me.  {Also, make sure you write down how much is in each! ;) }

The third day I mixed it up a little and had all the same eggs in a basket and "hid" the baskets {in plain eyesight} around the room.  Getting up to get the eggs was just what we needed on a Friday of a L.O.N.G. week!

Next week we'll be moving up to 8 and 10 eggs...  maybe.

One last TIP:  Make sure to stress the point of making sure they are putting ALL of the coins back into their eggs so that the next person doesn't get the wrong amount. Check under papers and desks for lost coins!

Click {HERE} for the worksheets to use to count money in your classroom too!  It's always great practice, no matter the age!  {and if your littles aren't ready for money, you could always use pennies to practice counting and just add in how you write a cent sign afterwards!  Bonus!}

I have so many other plans for these little eggs in other subject areas!  Check back soon for a new idea!  What are some ways you use eggs in your classroom??

PS-I'll be updating my first grade Easter Math games soon, as well as having a second grade one too! XOXO

Saturday, February 7, 2015

WHOOOO Doesn't Love an Owl Valentine bag?!

Oh, my word.  Can you believe your eyes!?  A blogpost from little old me?!?!?  I'm back to work--barely above water, yet I have to share this with you.  Since moving to second grade, I could no longer make the adorable penguin valentine bags that we've made in the past in first (click HERE to read and see those)... since, well, they have done it!  So, this week I was on a mission to find something equally adorable.  I had no luck online, so I whipped something up myself.  {You'd think by now that would be my FIRST step...}

First, I have to tell you that Target has patterned lunch bags now!  I've found these dot ones and also blue/green striped ones.  (I may or may not have gone back to my Targets and gotten quite a few of the dot bags to supply me with YEARS more of these bags... I think they make the bags even sweeter)  I THINK they are $1.99 for 40....  You know.  You go to Target for like 1-2 things, and come home with like $200 worth instead....  Thank goodness for the Red card and Cartwheel! :P

Our OWLdorable Owl bags!  Aren't they a 'hoot'?!  My kids love them.

If you'd like to make them for your kids, you can click {HERE}  There's nothing fancy with it.  I had NO time to cute-sy it up for ya.  I traced what I made onto paper and scanned it (really, so I had it on my computer for the future, when I'm looking around my classroom like a madwoman looking for the patterns.... especially right now since I'm in a new room, back from a 4 1/2 month maternity leave... lol)  PS-the eyeballs--the kids drew hearts in their favorite color--there is no template for those!  Gotta have something a little different to make these stand apart from each other! ;)

Happy Valentine's Day friends!  Hope your week is filled with love and happiness!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Progress and a Fabulous FIT giveaway!

Hi everyone!  Me again.  I just wanted to pop on and tell you that I have just finished and uploaded my new Primary Literature Circles for INFORMATIONAL books---INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK style! Click HERE to read about these.  I will have a new blog post about how I introduce these in the near future. {psssst!  Keep reading after checking out some pictures}  Here are a few pics of the pages inside.

 Besides getting these packets done, I've also started back running.  I haven't run in over a year due to injuries last year, then an awful COLD snowy winter... then I was preggo with my huge baby...  But, I wanted to share how much I LOVE my jogging stroller.  It's a MUST HAVE for any mommy, but especially a working, teacher mommy!  I have to admit, I have that mommy guilt.  After school, I rush home to be with my babies.  (well, they aren't all babies anymore-ha!)  When do I find time for myself???  Well, it's hard.  Not going to lie.  BUT, since I've had this awesome jogging stroller, we find time together going on walks, runs, bike and scooter rides!  This stroller is a DREAM to push.  Baby C loves it too.  I can keep up with my 8 year old on his bike, and my 4 year old on his scooter.  We can go through corn mazes with ease.  :P  BUT, best of all.  We can exercise together--by being together!  I can be back out running, not missing the kids.  {Of course, there's nothing wrong with just taking out the little one to escape the madness of the other 2, some times!}

Here's some pics of the stroller with some pretty cute models, if I don't say so myself! ;)

 {This is the type of road we run on}

{Such a smooth ride---puts him to sleep every time!} 

{Happy baby!  PS-always strap your child in strollers and things... we were just sitting and taking pics in the driveway here}

Little bits about the stroller---tires are "air filled" tires--so this is why it is SO incredibly easy to push in any terrain.

If you have a Chicco keyfit infant carseat, you can snap it right in and go!  The handles are adjustable, so for those of you with long legs like mine, you won't be kicking the wheels EVER!  There's a parent tray at the top that fits your phone, a bottle/sippy and a water bottle for yourself.  (as well as has storage underneath--where I keep a few diapers and wipes, JUST in case... ;)  It folds super easy, and can be done while one handed (and holding the baby in the other hand).  And the canopy.  Let's talk about that!  It's amazing!  It has a zipper so you can extend it--to almost completely cover your child, or you can zip it back up and it is more "normal" like others.

 {Canopy also covers the infant seat too, but I didn't get a picture of that for you.  But once your child is out of that seat, or able to sit up, this is perfect.  The canopy goes so far down, that people might not bother your SLEEPING child, if you are out and about!} ;)

 {My 4 year old--not the best pic, but he fits fine in there!}

Now I have some pretty AMAZING news!  I have a stroller to GIVE AWAY to help you start (or continue) to get fit and spend time with your little one!!!!!  You read that right!  This stroller is perfect for any mommy at any stage of baby-hood.  My 4 year old and I ran a 5k using it.  He's probably nearing the end of stroller riding, but he fits comfortably, and it's not too bad to push (well, it's definitely much easier than carrying him!)
{We decked out the stroller for the Glow Run!  It was also a costume run, which is why he's a Doctor!}

This AMAZING giveaway will run through Sunday, November 23rd at midnight.  You don't have to have a little baby to win!  You could be pregnant, or have a friend who needs something like this!  What a Christmas present that would be!  Let's get fit!

Check out the Rafflecopter for your chances to win!!!!!

This is the one you'll win! (you can click on the picture to go to their website to read more technical info about it)

**Continental USA residents only... sorry!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Literature Circles in Primary--Interactive Notebook Style!

Hi there!  I have finally finished a product for my classroom that I had been working on for MONTHS.  Many of you already have used my Literature Circles for Primary kids (both story and informational).  I LOVED doing this with my higher and average first graders.  Yes, FIRST graders!  It's amazing to watch them take charge of their reading and their group.  Read about it {HERE}

One thing I could not stand was the prep work.  Of course I love to make all my products easy to use and very minimal prep... because I make these packets for my classroom and me--first!  Time is precious.  Interactive notebooks are quite the buzz words right now, so I thought I would combine the 2, and came up with a new, easier way to run these groups!

I present to you:  Circle Up!  Primary Literature Circles---Interactive Notebook Style!

Prep work--each student will need a spiral notebook.  You will need a folder or a way to store worksheets for students to grab.  I prefer the folder option.  These will be stored in a magazine organizer/box thing.  On the front will be a laminated example of what their page will look like when they complete it in their notebooks.  If you want students to wear name tags of their jobs, I have that covered too!  This is a pic of my other packet's job names:

This is an updated version for these! {Sorry-tilt head sideways.... I couldn't get this to stay correct...}

That's it!  No creating packets for each book and group, and figuring out how many jobs everyone will have....

You will prepare by having groups made and select books.  But, you can change jobs as you want-and all the students will do is go to their folder and get the paper (or papers) they would need to complete their job!  ALL of the book groups they complete will be done in the SAME notebook!  What you decide to do with the books that are done are up to you.  I prefer to keep them all in there, so that at the end of the year, they will have a great keepsake of their READING.

Check out my packet in my Teachers Pay Teachers store now!  This will definitely be a pack that my second graders will EAT up!  CLICK HERE to see it!

Here are some pics of the inside pages:

**I will be completing a nonfiction companion pack as well as creating this for upper elementary, with more "mature" job role names---in the near future!  Keep an eye out!  Follow me on TPT to get notified (or I will also post on Facebook!).

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