Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Special Thank You!

Today I visited Heather's Peacocks and Penguins blog and was thrilled with what I read. You may remember her Rubric Linky Party, which also included a contest for the cutest rubric. I entered my Kindergarten Beginning Writing Rubric.

I won a $25 Amazon gift card for cutest rubric!!! I'm SO excited!! Thank you, Heather!!

On another note, here are the further adventures of Flat Stanley.

 Here are 2 of our Stanleys (one was made into a girl) at a Diner in New Jersey.

Another of our New Jersey Stanleys in a pile of leaves before the hurricane hits.

Thank you to my friends in New Jersey for helping us with this!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday, Flat Stanley, and Facebook!

I am so glad it's Friday! For some reason, this week really tired me. Maybe it was starting the week with a field trip that did it. Anyway, I definitely need the weekend to relax so I'll be ready for my students next week!

Several Flat Stanleys have safely made it to their destinations! We now have Stanleys in New Mexico, New Jersey, Kentucky, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland! My class was so excited to see the pictures some of our recipients sent!

 Stanley in NM

 Stanley in NJ (with the very 1st friend I ever had!)

 Stanley in KY

 Stanley in MA

Many of the recipients are from my Facebook friends list since all of the children didn't have an address where we could send Stanley. So, many of the Stanley posts will be on my blog's Facebook page. If you haven't "liked" that page yet, please do! All of my blog entries post there, and you can read other Stanley updates. I've heard he will be going to some interesting places during his travels!

One more thing, Mrs. Lindsey is having a giveaway to celebrate her birthday! She's giving away lots of great activities created by TPT Teachers, including my 3 Level Beginning Writing Rubric Super Pack! Click here to enter!

Have a great weekend! Feel free to leave comments below!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rafflecopter, Rubrics, and a Reading Freebie!

Corinna at O"FISH"ally a First Grader is having a 100 Follower Rafflecopter Giveaway! She has 58 items to give away, and will choose the winners on Sunday, October 28! Please visit her blog to enter!

Tomorrow (10/22/12) our class goes on it's first field trip of the year! We are going to see a play based on the Skippyjohn Jones books. Field trips have always been stressful for me since I always worry about keeping the children together. However, I'm hoping a 2nd grade field trip will be less stressful than Kindergarten field trips. My class is very excited about it, and my son, who is also a 2nd grader at my school will be going with his class too!

After bundling my Kindergarten Beginning Writing Rubric with smaller printable rubrics for students, I decided to take all 3 of my beginning writing rubrics and bundle them with the student sized rubrics. Now, you can get all 3 rubrics (color and copier friendly) with the student-sized (color and copier friendly) matching rubrics in one pack! I wish I had thought of this when I was still teaching Kindergarten so I could use them myself! 

These are a few examples of how they look. If you want to check out the actual product, click here!

And now for the Reading Freebie! I created this poster based on the "3 Ways to Read a Book" in The Daily 5. I had it made into a larger poster using Vistaprint, and it looks great in my classroom! If you have questions about using my products on Vistaprint, feel free to e-mail me at lorismith51 at gmail dot com.

Click here to get this freebie! Enjoy!

As always, feel free to leave comments below. I just love reading comments from my readers!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flat Stanley, Pumpkins, and Rubrics

Since my class is learning about maps, we are participating in a Flat Stanley project! Each child colored a Stanley (some of them were a little TOO creative for my taste), and we will mail each one to someone far away. Since many students didn't have anyone to send him to, many of my wonderful Facebook friends (some of whom are "real life" friends as well) offered to be the recipients. I'll post pictures and let you know where Stanley ends up very soon!

I posted earlier that we are doing pumpkin investigations in science. So far, we have measured the height and circumference of the pumpkins, and tested whether they would sink or float. When each group put their pumpkins into the water, they were astonished! I realized later that I hadn't taken pictures. I'm very sorry I didn't because the looks on their faces when they saw the pumpkins float was priceless! 

We are also researching and writing about pumpkins, which has been fun. We started by making this chart, and posting what we already knew about pumpkins. Then, we went to do research, and added new learning and misconceptions to the chart.

Our chart with what we already know about pumpkins.

My "Smarties" hard at work on their pumpkin research!

We haven't completed the reports yet, but I know they will be great!

This is an activity from the Clutter-Free Classroom. You can find it here.

And now for the rubrics part! Heather at Peacocks and Penguins is having a rubric linky party! I thought I'd share my Kindergarten Beginning Writing Rubric! I know I teach 2nd grade now, but people really seem to love this! I'm so glad people are finding it helpful!

I now have smaller and more copier-friendly versions here. I loved using this when I taught K!


If you'd like to share your experiences with any of these topics, feel free to share below!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Boo'd Again!

Thank you to Melissa at First Grade Smiles  for "booing" me! She has some great Halloween ideas listed, so please check her out!

Here are some of my favorite October activities:

My Ghostly Go Fish game (which can also be played as a memory game) is 20% off until Monday, October 15!

Friendly Ghosts Odd and Even Sort by Marcia Murphy was a fun activity for my class. She includes color and blackline pages so you can make a permanent game, or make copies for a class activity. I made copies and had my class work in groups to sort them on chart paper. They loved working on it, and coloring it afterward! The best thing is that this activity is FREE!

Pumpkin Investigation  by Sunny Days is an activity I plan to do next week. It includes a trifold the students fill out during the investigations, diagram of a pumpkin, information cards, and investigation activity cards. I can't wait to try it out!

Now for the bloggers I'm booing! Please visit their blogs for more great ideas!

If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
1.  Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again:
And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
4.  Link up {here} so that others can find you and read about your October ideas!  And while you are there... check out the other great blogs!

Thank you to Tori at Tori's Teacher Tips for starting this linky party!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Boo'd, Blogs, and Butterflies!

Cynthia over at 2nd Grade Pad is hosting a "You've Been Boo'd" linky party! You simply spotlight a fellow blogger who has more followers than you, about the same number of followers as you, and fewer followers than you. You let them know you have added them, and offer something from your store as their treat! What a great way to reach out to other bloggers!

Welcome to 2nd Grade Pad

So, my choice for the blogger who has more followers is Cynthia from 2nd Grade Pad! I know, she's the one hosting this linky party, but I found her blog because of it and I can't wait to check out more of her blog!

 My choice for the blogger that has about as many followers as I do is Miss Martin from Miss Martin's Classroom! I just found her blog last week, and she has some really great items! The monster directions freebie is so cute!

Last but not least is a blog who has fewer followers than me. However, that may change very soon since she seems to have some fantastic ideas for 4th grade! Head on over to visit Tina at Flamingos and Butterflies! You'll be impressed!

If you are a fellow blogger, please be sure to pass on the "Boo" to 3 blogs you love. Then, link up at the 2nd Grade Pad!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Currently" Trying Something New!

After seeing "Currently" on so many blogs, I decided to try it myself! It's a great way to get your blog out there, and to find new ones as well! This is sponsored by Oh' Boy 4th Grade, so many thanks to her!

Before I post my "Currently," I want to share a couple of sites with you!

First is Creatively Cricket, who is posting her first "Currently" as well. She teaches Pre-K, and it looks like they have lots of fun in her class! Be sure to pay her a visit!

Next is , Scrappy Teaching in FL, who is a 5th grade teacher, and lives in FL like me! Take a look at her site!

Finally, Simple in Second is already giving me great ideas to try in my classroom! Head on over there to check it out!

Okay, here is my very first "Currently!"

Games, Ghosts, and Graphics Linky Parties!

After much hard work, and many formatting issues (which I won't get into now), I created a new game! It is called, "Ghostly Go Fish." It's played like "Go Fish" except students will be reviewing addition facts 11-18.

Alternately, the game could be played like a "Memory" game with students setting the cards up in rows.

I can't wait to try this with my class!

You can purchase "Ghostly Go Fish" by clicking here.

The inspiration for this game came from Mel at Graphics from the Pond, who made these adorable "Little Friendly Ghosts."  She decided to let TPT sellers use the ghosts to create activities, then decided to hold a linky party on her site! Clicking on the image below will take you to other fantastic ideas made by teachers using the "Little Friendly Ghosts."

Oh, here are some giveaways too!

Tori's Teacher Tips is having a giant math giveaway, and a Halloween giveaway too!

Primary Possiblities is celebrating 500 followers with a huge giveaway!

Diving into Learning is having giveaways all week!

First Grade Fairytales is celebrating 200 followers with a $25 TPT gift certificate!

Be sure to check them out!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Class, Clips, and Coupons!

I have such an incredible class this year! They are just what I needed to enjoy teaching again! With that said, I thought I'd share what I'm doing for classroom management this year.

For years, I went with the usual "Treasure Box." That was fine, but it does get to be expensive if you don't have parents to donate prizes for it. Besides that, as a parent I always cringe when I see my son bringing home yet another piece of junk that he will soon tire of, and will end up in the endless piles of junk on his bedroom floor.

Then, over the summer when I was looking for all kinds of 2nd Grade ideas, I came upon this idea of using coupons from Mel D. at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations:

The coupons were made by Mel D., and you can find them here. I purchased the drawers and put one in front to display them so the children can easily find and return the coupons. 

Before I explain about the coupons, I should tell you how they are earned! :) I use this lovely chart created by Sandy Fiorini:

The children start each day on "Ready to Learn." Then, they can either move their clip up or down throughout the day according to behavior. If they reach the top, they get a "jewel" to stick on their clip. If they reach the bottom, their parents are notified. The color each child is on at the end of the day is indicated to parents in the daily folder, which includes the color code and what each one means (oops, I'll post a picture of that soon).

By the end of the week, if they are on "Ready to Learn" or higher everyday (one "slip up" day is allowed), they get to choose a coupon to use next week. How do they keep track of coupons without losing them? I'm glad you asked! :)

This is a regular behavior pocket chart that I had used years ago. It had layers of labels from years of use. I wanted to use it, but it looked horrible. Then, the idea came to me! I took some ribbon I had left over from another classroom decor project (I had to be color coordinated!) and stapled it across the pockets. I printed the children's names on clear labels, and put them on. Add a couple of cut-outs to go with my theme, and there is a perfect place for coupon storage! It is easily accessible to the children for when they earn or cash  in coupons, and it looks nice!

So far with my class this year, everyone has earned a coupon each week! I'm so proud of them! Also, they absolutely love the coupons! Their favorites are "Stinky Feet" - wear no shoes in the classroom, "Dibs on the Computer" - 20 minutes of computer time on Friday, "Feeling Sleepy?" - wear your pajamas to school, "Furry Friend" - bring a stuffed animal to school (it gets put away if there are problems), and "Friendly Lunch" - choose 1 friend and sit with that person at the end of the cafeteria table by yourselves.

As a whole class, I reinforce positive behavior by giving pom poms in our class bucket. Our children are familiar with the "fill your bucket" concept, so this fits perfectly. I choose certain times throughout the day (ex: lining up and walking to lunch) or sometimes give them out randomly when the class is making good choices. When the bucket is full, they will earn one of various parties (popcorn, cupcake, ice cream). 

This is the label I put on the small bucket I found for $1 at Target. If you like it, you can get the label here.

Feel free to share your ideas for classroom management! I'd love to hear about them!