Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Back to School Blues

Hey there friends! I hope everyone has had a refreshing and relaxing summer! Is it just me or is this summer positively flying? How is it that next Wednesday is already my first day?! I feel like I've been in my own little bubble pretending I never even had a job in the first place. 

Now that I'm slowly realizing that summer break ends NEXT WEEK, I'm starting to go into full.blown.panic.mode

That's right, August 3rd is my official first day of school at my NEW school and in my NEW grade. As hard as it was to say goodbye to my old classroom, coworkers, and kinders, I am over the moon with excitement to begin my new adventure teaching 2nd grade. 

As I'm sure you can imagine, I have been daydreaming all summer about classroom decor and setup and couldn't wait to get my hands on the keys to my new happy place. Sadly, that dream has been put on hold due to summer camps at my new school. That means I haven't set one foot in my new classroom and won't be able to until FOUR days before school starts. FOUR DAYS! 

To say I feel totally helpless and unprepared would be an understatement. So, in attempt to gain some sort of control over my current situation, I have been hard at work preparing activities for my new students!

I've been looking long and hard at the scope and sequence I have ahead of me, and trying my best to create fun and engaging activities to help my kiddos conquer all that lies ahead. Our ELA curriculum begins with a quick little unit on synonyms and antonyms. 
I really like the idea of beginning with this skill because it will be so beneficial as we start to introduce new vocabulary words. One thing I'm really going to try and focus on with my students is not just KNOWING synonyms but APPLYING them. That means trading out simple, boring words for more colorful ones in their writing. 

To help them get the hang of this concept and start thinking in terms of "shades of meaning", I put together this fun little unit. 

I tried not to focus too much on "practice pages". Instead, I wanted to create a variety of games and activities that could be used in numerous ways (literacy centers, anyone?)

I can't wait to get started in my classroom, and already feel better knowing I have these activities prepared for our first ELA unit. If you would like to check them out in more detail, you can click any of the pictures above to visit my TPT store!

I'll be back again soon with more updates! Good luck to everyone as you prepare for a great new school year!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Little Update...

Hey there, strangers! Remember me? I bet you thought I was long gone. 
Well, not to worry, I am alive and well and so very happy to be back once again to share a little bit of myself with you!
You may be wondering where I've been all this time (almost a year, if you want to get technical). Well friends, this last year has been nothing short of amazing and to tell you about it in detail would take more time than this little blog post can handle. So, I'll give you a tidbit of my year in quick snapshots.

If you've read any of my latest posts, you may know that I got engaged last year. On November 21st, 2015 my sweetie and I tied the knot in the wedding of our dreams. It was such a fun, beautiful, fantastic blur, and I wish I could re-live 4,000 times over again.

Besides getting married, we have been busy moving into a new house, getting a new puppy, going on a honeymoon, and celebrating all of the other amazing life events of our loved ones. Life has been so good to us and those around us lately, and I really did not want to take one second of it fore granted.
So you see, friends, life has pretty dang demanding of my attention lately, and I've been more than happy to oblige. 
Teaching is such an important part of my life, but for so long it has consumed so much of me. As I embarked on this new chapter in my life I pledged that I would live a little more and work a little less. It was really important to me that I enjoyed all of this time and gave it my all. And that's exactly what I did!
Now that things have slowed down and we've caught our breaths, I can finally get back to this little blog of mine and give it the attention it deserves. I admire those of you who are able to balance it all and wish I had a little bit more of that in me. Trust me, your hard work is most definitely noticed. 

So thanks for sticking with me, friends! I promise I will be back very soon to give you a look at what we have been up to in my class as well as fill you in on more life changing events!

Happy teaching!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Let's Get Buggy

Hey there, friends and happy Monday!
I thought I'd start our week off right by sharing a precious story that my students and I read on Friday last week: Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes. Ever heard of it?
If not, allow me to introduce the two of you. You won't regret it. This story was completely new to me, and I'm so glad I found it!
The story is about a young girl, Velma, who is struggling to stand out against the popularity of her older sisters. Velma eventually finds her niche, butterflies, and throughout the book she goes through metamorphosis right before your eyes. The book really is too cute, and such a great introduction to a lesson on character analysis.
My cuties and I had an absolute BLAST reading and discussing this text. Then, I let my friends get into groups and talk about how she changed from the beginning to the end of the story and how this change was similar to the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

We talked about sentence starts such as :
In the beginning, Velma was like a caterpillar because....
In the end, Velma was like a butterfly because...
Their responses were AWESOME and previous to boot. I was one proud teacher of their work.
To pull it all together, we did a fantastic art project. To make the butterflies, I folded white construction paper in half and had my little friends draw half of a butterfly. The best part of this project is that it's totally OK if it's not perfect. Then, I mixed a little black paint and school glue. The kids then traced the outline of their butterflies and made little "windows" on the wings with the paint/glue mixture. Once they dried, we added a little watercolor paint and VOILA! We had ourselves a butterfly!
This book was a great addition to our unit on insects. I loved how engaged my students were in the story. Choosing great mentor texts really makes such an impact on the effectiveness of a lesson.
If you want to snag your own copy of this wonderful text, you can click the picture of the book above or the link on the title.
Hope your week is off to a great start. Happy Monday!