Sunday, October 30, 2011

Anchors Away!

TBA is hosting an Anchors Away linky party this week!

Before the fun starts, I wanted to share how I make my Anchor Charts now. Last month, I blogged (here) about my frustration with my lack of artistic skills when it comes to creating anchor charts and how I learned to make them on my computer! Major excitement on my part!! I was asked if I could explain how I create I'll give it my best shot:

I use The Print Shop 2.0 for Mac

I start by creating a new poster:
I usually have the program help me design my poster, but you can also choose to create it on your own or have the program design it for you.

Once I've gone through all the steps, I am then able to mess around with different fonts, clipart and borders in The Print Shop. I'm getting very creative!

When I go to print the poster, I choose a larger poster size. I usually use 2x2 sheets (which is 4 sheets of paper) for my anchor charts, but I have also used 3x3 (6 sheets of paper) for really big posters.

Also, at the bottom of the print screen, if you click on PDF, you can save the enlarged poster as a PDF. This way, I can print it at school and not use my own paper/ink!

Once I've printed the poster, I trim the edges and mount it on posterboard for durability. They are awesome! I look forward to sharing my anchor charts with you all this week! a freebie, here is my poster on the elements of a friendly letter from my TpT store.

I hope this helps! Happy Anchoring!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hurry! Time's Almost Up!

I just joined the Holly Bloggy Christmas Exchange. And you can too! But, you only have until October 31st to join the fun. I can't wait to get something for my secret pal (and to see what I get in return!) Click below to learn more:

Annd you have until 11:59 tonight to enter the first Holly Bloggy Giveaway! Go over to Sarah's blog at Kentucky Kindergarten Korner to enter to win a teacher banner from Whimzy Creations.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who doesn't love a giveaway?

Hop on over to Erin's blog at Eberhart's Explorers for a great giveaway! She has teamed up with A Teeny Tiny Teacher and First Grade Blue Skies to give away a Target gift-card, TpT items and a Scrappin Doodles gift-card. Go check it out!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Favorite Read-Alouds Linky Party

Courtney, over at Swimming Into Second, is having a Favorite Read Alouds Linky Party. We all know how I love linky parties!! I could go on forever with all the books I like to read aloud in my class. Here are some of my absolute favorites:

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley is a student favorite, especially with the boys. It's about a boy and girl writing a story together. The girl wants their story to be all about princesses and the boy wants it to be "cool" and about motorcycles. The students laugh soo hard as the boy and girl argue about the plot of the story they are writing. It's a great book to show point of view as well.

Chris Van Allsburg is my favorite favorite favorite author! His books tend to be a little challenging for my young ones, but The Polar Express is a great read aloud in December. The vivid language that the author uses completely catches the students' attention. It is a longer read aloud, but the students are completely enthralled. It also gets me really excited about the holiday season!

Kevin Henkes is the perfect author for second-grade read alouds. He writes about issues that 7 and 8-year olds can relate to, but he goes about it in an amusing way. So cute!

Now that I've shared my favorites, go link up with Courtney to share yours!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Erin Condren Coupon Code!

I've heard lots and lots about Erin Condren products on various blogs. I decided to check her out! One Kings Lane just had a sale on giftcards - I got $100 worth of gift cards for $50. Then I found a coupon code from (lame, I know) for 15% off. Just enter the code "STYLEWATCH" to receive the sale price. So excited to get my Life Planner!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Polka Dotted Freebies!!

I have a new obsession with polka dots. A major, crazy obsessive obsession. It's outta control. So I thought I would share with you! I downloaded these polka dot frames for free from Karen Cox on TpT and my classroom has been converted to full on polka dots! Okay, it's not that bad. But definitely go check out her product - they're awesome!

Here are some ways that I've started to use them in my classroom (and I've included some freebies from my TPT store!)

This is my "Where are We?" (click the link for your freebie!) poster that hangs on my classroom door. I have many, many students who are in and out of my classroom throughout the day. My line leader changes the 'where are we' circle to where we are at the moment. This way, if a student comes back and our class isn't in the room, they know where to find us.

Next, I made a new Book Nooks poster. Learn more about my Book Nooks here. My old one used clothespins and they were just too heavy. So I decided to make a....can you guess?...polka dotted one! This one is just wayyy more colorful too! I love it! Click here to get the freebie!

And, lastly, I made new book basket tags for my classroom. I'm so excited to have ones that all match. The tags are color-coded (i.e. leveled books are black, author baskets are orange, genre baskets are red, etc.). I chose to keep my non-fiction book labels (on the top shelf) because they had pictures on them, which I felt was helpful for some of my second graders. Here's a picture of my whole library and then a close-up.

Now, I just need matching baskets!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday...

Ok, I actually hate that song but it popped into my head when I started thinking about this post and wa-la! I have a title.

Friday is my favorite day of the week! Why? Well, there's the obvious - it's the end of the week, but I do my favorite activities on Friday. Read on to find out!

1. Friday Journals
During Writer's Workshop, my students write in their Friday Journals. We start by brainstorming what we learned during the week. The students then write a letter to their parents (or other family member) explaining what we did in class that week. The students practice writing letters and also recall what we learned.
The students then take them home over the weekend and I ask that the parents write a letter in response to their child. It's a great remedy for the question, "what did you learn in school today?" I also love seeing the interaction between the child and parent. Here are some photos:

At the beginning of the year, the students start off by writing 3 sentences and asking one question. By the end of the year, they are writing full pages, front and back! Go second graders! :)

The students paste a letter from me on the first page, which explains the project to parents and then gives them examples of what to write. Here's the template for free!

If the students bring their Friday Journal back on Monday with a parent response, they receive a sticker on the cover of their journal. By the end of the year, the cover looks really cool and the parents have a special keepsake.

2. Fun Friday
My students earn Fun Friday as a reward at the end of every week. We start the week with 20 minutes in our minute box. If the class makes good choices as a whole (walking quiet in the hall, etc), they earn minutes. If they are having trouble making good choices, they lose minutes. We usually end the week with about 25 minutes. If a student has finished all their work, they get to choose from a variety of educational activities.

This is the chart for the students to choose an activity. I'll add more activities as the year goes on.

My favorite part of this activity is watching the students interact cooperatively with each other. It definitely helps them open up more with each other.

3. Dress Down Day!
I find that I am a better, more relaxed teacher when I wear jeans and sneakers. Is that just me??

I joined the linky party over at Clutter-Free Classroom!


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