Thursday, April 26, 2012

Article Freebie!

So my big push this year has been non-fiction.  We have done so many non-fiction related activities, stories, and writing to prepare for the big time... third grade!  I wanted to do something this week and next with some left over "National Geographic" magazines that I had... ok admit it.. you have a stack somewhere in your room too.  I decided to combine my love of those magazines with the Literature Circle idea.  I created 4 recording sheets for each group... one on telling the important facts of the article, one for the group to illustrate their favorite parts of the article (or for your advanced students, they can research further on the computer on things they want to learn more about), one page on writing interesting words and defining them, and finally a page on connections and questions they had as they read the article.  I plan to put the kids in groups of 4 and they are to work together to complete the 4 pages as a TEAM.  Once they finish all 4 pages, they are then going to present their pages to the class.  What a fun way to wrap up the year... of course they love to talk in front of an audience! :)

I would like to offer this article activity pack as a freebie to anyone who is or becomes a follower and leaves a comment with your email address below.  This will EXPIRE on Saturday Evening (4/28).  Thanks for reading!
Magazine/Newspaper Article Activities
Click to see sample at TpT store
Be sure to stop back as I will be sharing a fun Mother's Day project in the next day or two! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Smarty Pants!

So this will be a quick post as it is late and I should totally be sleeping and not on here...BUT... I just wanted to share this cutsey thing that I actually learned about last summer on Proteacher.  If you don't know about this website... get to know it!  It is an amazing resource and a wealth of ideas!  I, however, love to go on in the summer when I have more time to devote to all the great ideas the awesome teachers share on there.  Anyway... today I wanted to share this totally fun idea:

Click picture to get reward cards

I use this as a way to reward the totally "smart" ideas that are shared by my students... the connections they make to other lessons.. the comments that make me say... "YES, you get it!"  They then get to take a the small card out of the pocket to brag at home that says "I'm a smarty pants." Believe me... they love to brag about how they did something great :)

There were talks about putting Smarties candies in the pockets too... which I love that idea, yet our school is a no food/candy school so I was not able to utilize that idea.  See above for the smarty pants label and "reward cards" in case you are interested in making your students smarty pants too! (I used my son's pants that he outgrew... but garage sales or Goodwill would get you a pair in an enexpensive way :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What makes a good blog?

I need to give a quick shout out to Rachael at 

for allowing me to get not one but TWO of her amazing items from her TpT store!  I now get why all the blogs have these "give-a-ways"... its fun and exciting... and you can WIN!

Which leads me to my next question for all the bloggers (and blog readers) out there... what makes a good blog?  What is a must on a blog?  I find myself agonizing over what I should add next to my blog... something that I'm super excited about...yet, I wonder, is it "worthy" enough to put out there?  Will people even care?  I so desperately want a blog that people go to, comment on, ask questions, gain ideas... and I'm just not there yet.  Can I get there?  I guess that is up to you, the reader.

How did you do it?  Please share some tips!  I'd love to hear your stories and ideas on what makes a good blog. TIA!

So off topic but... I just had to share this:
I think I'm seriously in LOVE with how amazing this turned out!  A couple of posts ago I shared the idea of using a coffee filter to make the Earth.  It was SO easy!  Then we glued it to a black piece of construction paper (with their Expository writing on Earth Day) added a tag at the bottom and then the fun part... GLITTER!  They could make stars, galaxies, planets etc. using the glitter.  They look awesome in my hallway.

I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Totem Pole Project

Student Samples

A totally terrific totem pole project!  I am SUPER excited to share an amazing project that my second graders are working on right now in correlation with our Social Studies unit (cultures and customs). 

The children first had a homework assignment to discuss with mom/dad what traditions, customs, uniqueness, and heritage they had as a part of their family.  This created many interesting conversations at home!

Then, the children took those ideas and transformed them into pictures to attach to their ToTeM PoLe!  We used the cardboard part of a paper towel roll as our base.  They could trace a bird head and wings to glue onto the "totem."  The pictures represented important things about themselves.  Some people included: special meals with family, family trips, flags to represent where their ancestors are from, special collections, family traditions, etc.

Some kids attached actual photographs, others just drew or created their own pictures.

After the totem poles were completed, the children then chose 4 most important items on their totem and wrote more information about those things on their "storyboard."  The storyboard has a special place in the center where the totem pole is placed.  

They look awesome on display!

Finally, the children were able to share their project with the class and we will be placing them on display in the hallway for all to see.  It was a great way to culminate our culture unit in a UNIQUE way!  


 I plan to add this project to my TpT Store soon :)  (Ok, not that I am trying to push this item as a "sale."  I do hope that you like it because it is one of my favorite "about me" projects!)  AND it's fun and easy to make!

So happy tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Thanks as always for stopping by and reading! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Lil' Man

So this is my little guy decorating eggs for Easter.  He is 4 and the light of my life!  I had to share a quick funny that he said to me today.
So I was talking to him about a teacher friend who is retiring this year.  He asked, "what is retiring" (he wants to know about anything and everything).  So I said that it is when someone stops doing the job they've been doing.  He then says, "mommy, I'm retiring my lowercase letters."  I said, "what do you mean?" 
He says, "I can't do my lowercase lettes so I'm retiring them."
Ha! If only it were that easy sometimes!

One more share, the we did our Easter hunt flashlight style this year.  My husband had to leave early Easter morning and he was so bummed that he would be missing the Easter bunny hiding the eggs.  It was amazing because   just the day before a teacher friend was telling me that she was doing a flashlight egg hunt with her kids.  Perfect!  While I put my guy in his "jammies" my hubby hid the eggs.  We all got flashlights and he went on a search for his eggs... it was SO fun!  Of course he had to shine the light on every egg twice.  Cuteness!

I hope you all have a flashy Tuesday... and hopefully you won't feel the urge to "retire" anything this week! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flying High!

I wanted to post this absolute FAVORITE project of mine that I do every year!  I have the complete step by step directions and forms available at my TpT STORE.  The kids have a blast making them, I love how they look in the room, and the parents LOVE to save them as a keepsake! :)  Take a minute to check it out!  Happy Sunday!

Teachers Pay Teachers
Go to the project at TpT

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MORE Earth Day and a FREEBIE!

So if you read my previous post I mentioned that I was not able to snap some photos of the Lorax artwork... well I was able to today!  I CAN'T take any credit for this, as our fabulous art teacher made these with the kids but they are to die for I just had to share! 

The Lorax is holding a sign that says, "I speak for the trees!" :)

I also wanted to share this totally amazing project that I can't wait to try.  Again, I didn't create this originally, I found it on a Proteacher Post .  How great, right?  It is made from a coffee filter sprayed with water and painted with glitter!! FUN!


Ok, one last thing... I'm at 20+ followers! Yippee!  I feel like I just hit 10! So it's time again for my every 10 give-a-way! :) There's no random drawing or gimmick... there are just TWO simple things to do: 1. become a follow and 2. leave me a comment with your email address!  Seriously people... why wouldn't you want to follow this AMAZING blog ;)  Ok, I'm done now. Here's the freebie this time:


There are 8 different poems that I use for fluency!  We spent all of last week partner reading the poems adding expression and emotion and then read the poems for the class.  The children had a GREAT time!  Let me know if you would like these great poems.  Thanks as aways for reading and I hope you gathered an idea or two!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Earth Day and Tagged Again!

So I woke up today in the best mood, got ready and my son ready quickly, and we were out the door so smoothly that I was thinking... this is too good to be true.  It was.  Got in the car... dead battery.  Figures!  Luckily, I have good people that helped me get to school and home to jump my car (and my day got better!).  The reason I'm telling you this is because I was going to include some totally cute pics of an Earth day art activity (from the Lorax) but because I had to run out of school quickly to jump my car, I didn't get them taken.  So ... next post!  BUT, I do want to included a different Earth Day project that my students worked on in the last few weeks.  I teamed up with the librarian who helped my students research in books and on the Internet of ways to "go green."  They thought of problems and solutions to help our Earth.  Once all ideas were compiled, the students made pictures to represent these ideas out of recycled material (i.e. bottle tops, newspaper, wallpaper, magazines).  The pictures they made turned out SO cute!  We then scanned them into PowerPoint, added their voices and it became a way to teach the entire school how to Go Green! :)  Here are some examples:

Tagged Again!
Jenny at Luckeyfrog's Lilypad just tagged me.  Here are her questions:

1. Did you take lessons in anything as a kid? I actually took ORGAN lessons.  We had an old organ and my mom wanted me to learn to play.  That was short lived! ;)

2. What is the one book you would recommend to a new teacher? Daily 5 and CAFE... it is an amazing way to organize and teach your reading block time!

3. Who is your very favorite children's book author or illustrator? Author AND illustrator: Jan Brett

4. If you could only listen to one musical artist/group for the rest of your life, who would it be? Wow, toughie... lately I'm loving Adele. 

5. What is your favorite dessert? French Silk Pie...yummy!

6. What is your biggest strength as a teacher? I've really worked on my time management and I think its pretty good. :)

7. What is your favorite piece of clothing? I am so not a fashion person so anything I say here would probably sound silly ;)

8. What is the last thing you bought? Easter eggs to use in my classroom!

9. If someone gave you $500 for your classroom right now, what would you buy? More non-fiction books!

10. What is your favorite vacation spot? My honeymoon was at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and it was BEAUTIFUL!
I'm at 19 followers! Yippee! If you didn't see... I'm doing give-a-ways for every 10 followers so hop on board and get in on the free stuff!  Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

TAG You're It!

Wow, a virtual game of tag... fun and interesting!  I'm VERY NEW to the blogging scene, so I apologize if I've tagged someone who has already been tagged... OR if I've done this wrong.  Thanks to Rachel at

For tagging me!  So here are the rules:
* Post these rules
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)
Here are the questions from Rachel:

1. What is your favorite subject to teach? Reading!  Now that I've found Daily 5 and CAFE I love my reading block even more!
2. What is your most embarrassing moment as a teacher? Hmmm... probably when I goofed on a report card and had to admit to the parent that I transfered all the wrong grades in a section (see "report card blunders" here!)
3. What is the most exciting thing you will do this summer? Get a new roof put on our house! Our house desperately needs it and I'm excited! ;)
4. What is your favorite holiday? I would say Christmas... I love the lights, decorating the tree and Santa! It's now even more fun with my 4 year old who is just starting to "get it!"
5. What is the most important item you use in your classroom? My ELMO!
6. What item would you love to have in your classroom? More storage!
7. What tip would you give to a new teacher? Ask for help.  My biggest philosophy is to beg, borrow and steal!  No use trying to reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done it!
8. How long have you been a teacher? This is my 13th year (yikes!)
9. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing? Wow... Ummm... I think party planning/or crafter (is that a job?) :)
10. How do you celebrate the end of the school year with your kiddos? We take a trip to the Arboretum... its a fun way to end our year and culminate our plant unit.

Whew! That took awhile! Thanks for hanging in there! 
Here are 10 questions for those I tagged:
1. What is your favorite season?
2.  If you could live any where in the world, where would it be and why?
3. What is the most recent book you've read?
4. Team Jacob or Team Edward?
5. What is your favorite part about teaching?
6. Who is your celebrity crush?
7. Name 2 things you can't live without.
8. What is your favorite read aloud?
9. What lead you to the teaching world?
10. Sweet or Salty?
OK, time to tag....

2nd Grade Pad


Mrs. Barnes

Swinging Through Second Grade

Buggy for 2nd Grade

Make sure you look below for my freebie for reaching 10(+) followers!  Just leave your address in a comment below and become a follower!  Thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I need to stop my normally scheduled programing to CELEBRATE!  I now have T E N followers! Yippee!  I said previously that every 10 followers I'd share a freebie... and I'm making good on my promise :)  If you commment, add your address, AND are a follower, I'll send you this TOTALLY fun welcome poem.  My students love to read this on their way into my class :)  Become a follower now so you can take advantage of the every 10 give-a-ways!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Going Green

So the second graders have been working on a few projects to celebrate Earth Day!  We've also coordinated this with our Science unit on Natural Resources so it was a nice tie in.  Our first project was an at-home assignment.  The children were to find an object (s) that are no longer being used and "save" them from the trash by reusing the object as something new.  It was TOTALLY amazing to see some of the things that the children created!  I saw an orange juice container turned into a wallet (no joke!), a pair of jeans turned into a "snake" to stop the draft from the door, and even cereal boxes turned into drawers for storage!  Here are some pictures of a few other things:

Glass Jar- now a picture frame!                                                           M&M wrappers-a wallet!          

This is a ketchup container now a bird feeder!

These are water bottles turned into a jump rope!  My personal favorite!  :)

I hope you enjoy this FUN project!  More Earth Day to come in the next day or two so come on back!