Friday, June 27, 2014

Five for Friday

We had a pretty awesome week in the Rill house.  

1.  The week started off on a really high note.  K made the competitive dance team at her studio!  We are super excited for her.  That does mean three hours a week at the dance studio.  I guess that will be my grading time as I wait in the lobby.

2.  Tuesday was K's day too.  She performed in her music school's end of the year recital.  She sang "Clairty" by Zed as her teacher accompanied on the guitar.  What an amazing singer, if I do say so myself.

3.  So I started to tackle the pile in my living room.  I spent a few hours and over 600 staples, putting together Reading A to Z books for the fall.  Now I won't have to do it as the kids are sitting around the table waiting for me to start the group.  Not quite sure how many books that is?

4.  Of course, we've had swim practice each morning.  8:00 am is awfully early for this mom, although since I'm just sitting at the pool reading, I'll deal with it.

5.  Beados!  Have you discovered this yet.  We worked on creating some little works of art.  We ran out of beads before being able to finish our minion "beado, beado, beado..."

So this week was a lot about K, which is a good thing!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Into the Ocean with Non-Fiction

One of the first non-fiction books we use at the beginning of the year is Down, Down, Down by Steve Jenkins.  I love this book.  It is a wonderful adventure through the various zones of the ocean from the surface all the way to the Marianas Trench, 35,000 feet below sea level.

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
I was impressed the first time I read this book with the details in the writing and the illustrations.  I learned a lot about those amazing creatures living deep in the lower levels of the ocean.  The children of course are fascinated with all the wild animals and their unique adaptations.

Steven Jenkins uses an abundance of adjectives and descriptions in his travels through the ocean, allowing for great discussions on how adjectives and descriptive phrases add to the understanding and enjoyment of a text. 
It is also a great text for having the children identify supporting details for the main ideas presented in the book.  Each page focuses on a specific level and type of animal or adaptation.  

I've created a packet to accompany this book, which includes various reading and writing activities, aligned to the common core.


Since Steve Jenkins uses such great adjectives, I've also created some cards for a matching game using the comparative and superlative adjectives from the book.  I hope you enjoy it.

This book fits in nicely with any unit on non-fiction texts and also with a back-to-school or end of the year unit on the ocean or beach.  


Friday, June 20, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doddle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  This last week has been, well, un-normal is the best way to describe it.

1.  School officially ended last Friday.  Of course Monday was a teacher work day to pack up our classrooms.  We are allowed to leave bulletin boards up, but I decided I wanted to move things, so of course I took everything down.

Including the word wall above my windows.  My kids were very amused by my standing on the heating system to take them down!

2.   We had our seasonal  check up on our AC and what a shocker!  Our 1986 unit needed to be replaced.  Of course, it only made sense to replace the 1997 furnace with it.  So Wednesday, the hottest day so far this year, the guys came out to put the new ones in.  My husband is totally excited about the app that lets him adjust things from his phone!

Photo: Replacing the old system...and it IS old...1986...yes, that's right...1986...we and the other homeowner predecessors used it for all it was fingers crossed the other unit on the other side of the house lasts as long, it at least until this new one is paid off!! Lol!...Ouch.

Can you guess which is which?

3.  I finished up my packet on Steve Jenkins Down, Down, Down, and uploaded it to Teachers Pay Teachers. This book about the ocean and all the wonderful life in it is part of our non-fiction curriculum for the first quarter.  I have to admit I learned a lot about ocean life the first time I read this book.  And the kids love it too!  Always a plus.  In this packet, I've included some comprehension questions as well as a quick little writing project.  This could easily be part of a larger study of ocean life.

4.  The dance recital is this Saturday, so Wednesday we headed off to dress rehearsal.  Any dance moms out there know rehearsals can be crazy and this was no exception.  Tradition says bad dress rehearsal means a great show.  We'll see....  Here they are performing "Car Wash".

5.  Swim team is in full swing.  Practice at 8:00 in the morning isn't helping the sleeping in much, but she is loving it!

Next week is full on summer!  More fun to come.
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hollywood, Here We Come

Last summer, I decided to go with a theme in my classroom.  Now, I don't go full-out with all kinds
of decorations and decor, but I did want it all to tie together.  After browsing through TPT, Pinterest, etc, I went with a Hollywood theme, bought my graphics (Scrappin Doodles and Melonheadz), and  started creating.

going home posters, and more.  

I also purchased some other sets from TPT to add to what I had.  I must say, I like what I came up with and so did my kiddos.

They especially liked the job chart -- with "Lead Actor" instead of line leader and "Assistant Director" instead of messenger.  I was worried I wouldn't remember the new names, but I did just fine and so did they.

 They also liked the Hollywood themed reward system.  Each day they can earn a sticker for their desk sticker chart (also a freebie).  When they fill the chart, they can earn a coupon.  I love these coupons!! Of course I got the idea from other TPTers and Pinterest.  I redid my coupons so instead of "Bring a Stuffed Animal to School" they could choose "Animal Wrangler" or "Special Effects" instead of show and share.  The coupons were a big hit.  Most popular was "Second Director" which allowed them to sit in my director's chair (a gift from a previous class).  These coupons definitely beat the treasure box!  There is no expense involved on my part and the kids absolutely love earning them.  And I'm sure parents are grateful for not having any more "treasures" come home to add to the collection.

All of these items, plus other Hollywood themed items, are available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I have also bundled many of these items together into a Hollywood Decor Set.

Have you planned your classroom yet?  What theme are you going with?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Meet Me Monday

It's Meet Me Monday over at The Teaching Tribune, so I decided to join the fun.  Here's a few fun facts about me.

Meet some other great blogers through this linky.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I Love Books!

I'm linking up with Deanna Jump's Let's Talk About Books linky.   Ever since I could read I have LOVED to read.  My mom even says I taught my brother to read.  I think that is one reason I became a teacher.  And now, I can't begin to explain how thrilled I am that my daughter LOVES to read too!

We used a lot of books this year in my second grade class, (duh, right?) but one of my favorites was Once Upon a Royal Superbaby byKevin O'Malley.  It is the story of two students who must work together to write a fairy tale.  Of course the boy and girl have different outlooks about what a "good" fairy tale is.  However by the end, they have come together to create an engaging story about a royal superbaby.

Once Upon a Royal Superbaby

My students love this book, boys and girls alike!   The story is full of laugh out loud humor and the illustrations are wonderful.  The kids can easily relate to the student authors struggling with their assignment.  

We use this book to reinforce the idea of different characters' point of view .  The girl in the story wants a fairy tale full of romance and loveliness with a kind, caring queen.  The boy on the other hand, wants a super cool king who rides motorcycles.  How these two points of view come together to solve the problem will leave all  impressed and amused.

On to my own favorite book.  For the last ten years I have been reading and rereading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaladon.  I am in love with these books.  I think I've read the first in the series seven times at least, and the others numerous times as well.  Each time she publishes a new one, (which unfortunately is every three or four years) I need to go back and revisit the books.  Since each one is between 800 and 1100 pages, a refresher on characters and events is mandatory before diving into a new one.

I have been patiently waiting for book number eight to come out since last summer.  The publication date has been pushed back at least three times, so my rereading schedule has been thrown off.  But I should be ready by June 10th.  I will be one happy girl once I get Written in My Hearts Own Blood downloaded to my Nook.

These books are based on the love story between Claire Randall Fraser and Jamie Fraser.  The kicker is Claire was born in the 20th century and Jamie in the 18th century.  Claire travels back two hundred years after walking through standing stones in Scotland and finds herself in the middle of a skirmish between the British redcoats and Scottish raiders and the action just keeps on going.  These two characters have a love that quite literally spans time.   And to top it off, Starz channel is making the books into a TV series.  I now have to convince my husband that we "need" to subscribe to Starz!

One of my biggest hopes as a teacher is that my students grow to become life long readers.  That they always have a book (or two or three) going. And they can't wait to start the next. My hopes were realized by at least one student early in my teaching career.  He started the year knowing fewer than five sight words.  We worked and worked on his reading.  In March, near Dr. Seuss' birthday, he was reading Green Eggs and Ham with a classmate.  Half way through he looked up at me with a look of amazement on his face and exclaimed "I can read!"  That was the trigger he needed.  His reading took off and he ended the year close to being on grade level.  I want all my students to have that excitement, joy, and love of reading.

Dont forget to check out Deanna's blog at Mrs. Jump's Class to find more book recommendations.