Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just call me Alex Trebek!!

I love Alex about you?  I love playing review games with my class and Jeopardy is probably their favorite (and mine!)!!  It's become a staple after a math unit before our tests.  What I really love about it is that I give everyone a whiteboard and they are all answering the question as a review.  I can also see if there are a few kids who need a quick little review on a certain topic.  It is even more fun having an interactive whiteboard in my classroom.

I know this isn't a new idea.  Before I had the technology, I made my own board with a poster board, library pockets, and index cards.  HAHA! :)  Oh the horror... ;)  Well, even though it's not a new idea, I thought it'd be fun to blog about because maybe it's something you've been debating trying or something you knew about but forgot about.  Well, I say...GO FOR IT! :)

What can be even more fun?  Adding a little jeopardy music! :)
Do, do do do do do do, do do do do do-do do do do .... {Insert my best singing voice!}

It really amps the kids up!  They were beyond excited when I told them we were playing it the other day to review for our math test.  You would have thought I told them we were canceling school for the day! ;)

Here is a pic...sorry it's not a very good one!  The kids are all up front answering the question on their whiteboard and then the team will give me their answer.   They do get very competitive.  {Funny Story} One girl on a team chose a question for 10 points when there was still a 20 left...oh did her team get upset.  It was kinda funny/cute, but we had to talk about working as a team and being nice to our classmates!

Here are a few links where you can find templates for game shows.  I just can't say enough great things about them!

Powerpoint Games  (a variety of game show games!!)

I hope you can find something that works for your classroom!!  Have a great week!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Are you ready for some football??

I'm pretty pumped for the Super Bowl!  Too bad my Bears aren't in it...but it's still great fun nonetheless... :)  I've been poking around all the Super Bowl units on tpt and there is a great giveaway going on!  Check out Katie's blog and enter for a chance to win!! :)

How awesome is this!?  Check it out here!  

We're having a few friends over for the big game.  I think we're going to do pizza, wings, chips and a variety of awesome dips, and meatballs.  What are your plans for the big game?! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five for Friday and a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday  I've been wanting to do this for a few weeks, but I've been so bad at taking pictures and have just been wiped!  Friday night comes and I'm ready for bed! :)  Please tell me I'm not alone!  Without further ado...

1.  Arrays!  We had so much fun finishing up our multiplication readiness and creating all different kinds of arrays.  Here my students are playing "Spin an Array" and they just loved it!  You can purchase my All About Arrays {Getting Ready for Multiplication Unit} here!  
Click here for some Array Freebies that are part of the unit!  I hope you enjoy them!

2.  Today was our 100th Day!  WOO HOO!  It was a blast and we did all sorts of fun activities!  I will post more about that this weekend, but I think they're favorite was singing our two 100 Days songs and making a picture with 100 stickers.  They didn't like the 100 exercises for much (100 jumping jacks, running in place for 100 seconds...) :) 

3.  Super Synonyms- This week we focused on synonyms.  The students used the fly swatters to swat the synonym for the word I gave!  They had a blast!

4.  Snow!! We finally got some measurable snow here!  Living in Chicago suburbs- it is absurd that we've had no snow this year!  We didn't get this much snow, only like an inch, but I thought this picture was pretty!

5.  Sometimes I just want to walk around with this sign taped to my forehead.  This week especially for some reason.

Go link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Friday Freebie.  There are some great freebies to link up!  I hope you enjoy the array freebie!!  Have a great weekend!!!!

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giveaway Central!

There are lots of giveaways out there right now!  Here are two amazing ones!  Go check them out if you haven't already!

Happy Bloggy Birthday to Her!!

Congrats on 200 Followers!!

Good luck!  Don't delay- enter today! :)  Hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fly Swatter...What?!

One of my favorite household supplies turned teaching tools are FLY SWATTERS!  Yup- regular, old, cheapy flyswatters!  They are the best and my kids get beyond excited to use them!  They automatically sit still, wait patiently, and pay close attention...they are magic! :)

You can get these anywhere.  Most local stores including I bet Dollar Tree have some flyswatters! :)  Mine are old..I have no clue where I got them.  Here are some ways that I use them in my classroom.

1.  Review vocabulary- I put all the vocab words from the week (sometimes the last few weeks) on the interactive white board.  We give glues and the students need to swat the words.  I make a very simple powerpoint and use word art!

2.  Grammar skills-  Be creative- you can use them for almost anything.  I put up a bunch of words on the board, and then I gave a synonym.  Students had to swat the synonym.  They just giggle like crazy and have a blast!

3.  Math facts-   Put answers on the board.  Call out different math problems and students swat the answer.

If you have enough flyswatters (I am in the process of getting more)  students can do this at their desk for the same practice or even review for a test.  You can have each student cut out squares with vocab words or math answers on their desks and then as you call something out, they swat the answer on their desks!  FANTASTIC!

Do you use flyswatters in your classroom?  Do you have any other ideas?  I'd love to try some new activities!  Hope you had a great Monday Tuesday!  (It felt like Monday all day today... at least that means tomorrow is already Wednesday! )

Monday, January 21, 2013

Multiplication Frenzy with a Freebie!

I hope you are enjoying the day off if you have one!  I thought everyone was off, but I've been reading in "blogworld" that some people have school or even a teacher work day today!  If I was in charge of the world- I'd have every Monday off.  I really needed an extra day to sleep and catch up!

Alright, back to the past week in my classroom.  Despite the fact that my students are still working on mastering addition and subtraction facts until twenty, they are obsessed with multiplication.  We are just finishing up some time with arrays and making equal groups to help prep them for multiplication.  We will do some more multiplication at the end of the year...the arrays were fun while they lasted.  My students were fascinated to see how multiplication is the same as repeated addition!  *Enter the oohs and ahhs here* 

In order to help reinforce the idea of arrays I created a array unit that focuses on multiplication readiness.  Check it out here!!

This unit includes..
-3 array posters
-4 interactive Make An Array Activities (differentiated recording sheets) using math materials you have in your classroom!
-Memory Match-Up
-Scavenger Hunt
-Yummy Arrays (3 recording sheets and ideas for using snacks to make arrays)
-9 varied practice sheets
3 practice sheets focusing on making equal groups

My students absolute favorites were creating their own arrays with stickers, Roll an Array with dice, and SCOOT.  Here is a little freebie from the pack for you!

All I ask is that you become a follower and leave some feedback!  THANK YOU!!

I'm so glad to be off today and glad I finally put the finishing touches on my array packet. entire store is 20% off today and tomorrow!  Go check it out HERE!

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Inauguration today, I will leave you with this thought...

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Love it!!  I'll leave you with this for tonight...SPARKLE!

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Have a Dream...

Those famous words have been heard among my class this week.  We've had a great discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his accomplishments as well as completed a variety of activities.

My favorite book to read is Martin's Big Words.

This book is also a video on Discovery Education which my school has a subscription.  It really brings it to life for my students.  They just love it!  I looked and found several on youtube.  This looks like the same one we watched.

Another of my favorite books is My Brother, Martin.

We completed some activities from Erin Eberhart's MLK free mini unit which is fabulous.  It really gets the kids thinking. Check it out here!

Then, the entire second grade made these cute little I Have a Dream people, and we make a big bulletin board out of them.  They are very old and I don't have a source, I'm sorry!   You could probably make a quick template.

I have a dream...

"to have at least ten kids so their kids can have lots of aunties"

"for my family and friends to get along"

"of being a police officer to help other people and my family"

"that when I grow up I will be a firefighter so that the world can be safe."

"I want people and children to be nicer and not mean to each other"

I always let the students listen to Dr. King's famous speech.  You can find it here on teacher tube.  It's interesting for the students to hear his voice along with the speech and see what it really looked like.

We also had the students reflect on what they learned about Martin and the message that he wanted to share.   This is from an old Mailbox magazine!

Here's my favorite:
"Learning about Dr. King has taught me he's a man of his word.  He taught me to be respectful to everyone."

I really enjoy the conversations that you can have with kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the segregation that occurred.  The students are just shocked and stunned.  It also really upsets them how African Americans had to go to different schools.  It usually really riles them up because we have a very diverse class and they say how they can't imagine our class without everyone!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Acrostic Fun

Do your students like writing poetry?  My students love love love writing acrostic poems.  They've gotten very creative and their phrases and sentences have started to include more details!  Here are some free templates that I made for winter acrostic poems!  I hope you can enjoy them with your class.

I'm linking these up with Freebie Friday!  Pop on over and check out all the other great freebies!!

Freebie Fridays

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tell me Something Good!

I'm linking up with Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade.  I thought this would be a great positive way to start off the week!

Something good at school-  I have a pretty good class this year.  It's nice to be at school and just simply enjoy the children and have fun teaching them.  I feel like we've started to really build a solid welcoming community.  We started Pennies for Patients this week and I just gave a brief little speech about helping kids that are sick and need help.  I emptied the change from my wallet and put it in the box.  Kids started putting money that they had brought for the school store.  It just melted my heart.  They are so excited about finding change around the house and bringing it in.  This just brings a huge smile to my face.  

Something good at home-  We're planning a fun trip with some friends this spring and I'm pretty stoked about that! :)  I love vacations!

Go link up and tell us something good!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making Addition and Subtraction Facts Fun!!

The CCSS state that all second graders should be fluent in addition and subtraction facts to twenty.  We are having a hard time getting our students to master all these facts.  Very few students are practicing at home despite sending notes home and giving students and parents a plethora of activities to make practicing math facts fun.  We are also noticing that students really think they do know their facts fluently.  Here are some fun ways to help your students practice their facts:

Addition and Subtraction Rap and Rock DVDs.  (We got these from our local library!)

I've also seen some video clips I found on youtube:

Here's the add and subtract body part dance:

Flash cards!  Student get with a partner and quiz each other.  They make piles of ones they know and ones they don't know.  I go around and see if I can say them faster than them so show them how fast they need to know them.  Flashcards are their supply list and they can be found at that the dollar store.

Time Tests
We give out time tests each week.  Students have to pass mixed test of easy addition, easy subtraction, hard addition, hard subtraction and mixed tests.  At this point in the year I don't have anyone who has passed all the tests.  Once they pass all the tests they get their picture taken and have it hung on the Math Master Hall of Fame!

Games! Games!  Games!
Bump is a great game where students practice adding three dice.  I have some FREE winter bump mats in my TpT store.  Check them out here.

Some other games to play:
Beat the Calculator
I Have, Who Has...
Game Board Races using flash cards
Memory Match
Check out my Winter Addition Fact Fun if you're looking for some ideas!

These games can all be played with cards:
Addition War
Addition Top- It
Make a Number

Great math websites:

We also send notes home to parents encouraging students to practice their facts at home and providing suggestions.  

Do you have any other ideas for helping students master math facts?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Woo Hoo!!

Congrats to the winners of my first little giveaway!!

Lisa from Growing Firsties


Jessica from Literacy Spark

Please email me ( and let me know what two items you would like from my TpT store!!

Is anyone else just so darn exhausted?  I feel like I can't even function.  My husband (also a teacher) is sleeping on the couch next to me already! Hahaha

I would probably be sleeping but....Dance Moms starts in a few minutes so I've told myself I'm going to get some work done and watch!  Anyone else loves Abby and Dance Moms?!  I know, it's definitely a guilty pleasure...the train wreck I just can't look away from!

Hope you had a great day!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Music while Planning and Giveaway!!

My OLW for the month of January is HAPPINESS.  I want to find the happiness in life all around me. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself a happy person, however, I want to find little joys in each day and just truly embrace and love life as well as everyone around me!  

Today, as I was working on some lesson plans ( see, this post is a little education-related), I was rocking out listening to my iTunes library.  Music just makes me plain happy!  Anyone else??  Here are a few of my favorite songs to jam out to recently.  I hope you enjoy some some of them.  What songs are you loving lately?  I have an iTunes gift card from Christmas and I'd love to get some new jams to rock out to enjoy! :)

Some Nights  By: Fun
Just can't get enough of this song!  Love the rhythm/beat.

Hey Ho! By: The Lumineers

Walk Down This Mountain By:  Bebo Norman
It's a Christian song- might not be your thing, but it's really really good!

On My Own  From:  Les Miserables
(Have you seen the movie?  Loved it!!)

Fly Away By:  Sugarland
I love love love Sugarland!  This is not their most popular, but I LOVE IT!

Dynomite  By: Taio Cruz
I know this isn't new or anything- but I just love it!
Ok, well congratulations if you made it all the way to the end of this post!  I hope that you liked some of my music choices!   I realized these aren't even new songs.  I've been listening to Christmas music for so long, I don't even think I know what is on the radio now!  As you can see, I love a wide variety of music!  I'd love any suggestions!!

Don't forget to about my sale going on until Monday!
Click here to go my store!

Click here to go back to the post where you can win two free items from my store!  All you have to do is be a follower and leave a comment telling me so!

Happy Sunday!! Have a great week!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Back from Break Sale!!

It's time to go back to school, so stock on some new units and activities this weekend!!
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday get 20% of my entire TpT store!!

I have some great units and many freebies, too!  Here are a few newbies I'm very proud of:

Reading Response Activities
Click here!!!
This unit includes:
-24 Fiction Reading Response Cards (Questions and Statements to finish)
-12 Nonfiction Reading Response Cards (Questions and Statements to finish)
-Reading Response BINGO card
-Empty Reading Response BINGO card
-18 Reading Response Sheets and Graphic Organizers

Next, be sure to check out my Sequencing Activities
Click here!!!
This unit includes:
-5 graphic organizers/worksheets to go with any story
-2 cut and glue sequence activities with an inference question
-1 blank cut and glue for students to create their own
(possibly even switch with a partner!)
-6 different sequence writing activities

I'd like to have my first little mini giveaway!  I'd like to give away any two units from my store to two people!  All you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment here telling me you do so!  Then, follow my TpT store and leave another comment here telling me you do so!  (2 comments in all on this post!)  Then, I will pick two lucky random winners on Sunday night!  

Looking for good music to listen to?  Check back tomorrow for some fun tunes! :)  Enjoy the rest of the weekend! :) 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Freebie!!

I'm linking up with TBA for Friday Freebies today!

I know it's a little early, but here is a How to Make a Valentine freebie.  I am almost done creating a huge unit on Sequencing.  It includes many reading and writing activities, and this is a small part of it.  I really hope that you enjoy it.  

I'd love it if you left some love for me here and rated this product! :)  I'm just getting started in the blogging and TpT world after being so incredibly inspired by so many of you!

Check out all the other awesome freebies that are being shared today on TBA!

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend!!! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Books! Books! Books!

There are a few linky parties going on right now that both have to do with BOOKS!  Check out these books and then go join in the fun and link up as well!

Courtney from Swimming into Second is having a linky party about books for boys.  Here are some of the books that the boys in my class seem to enjoy...

They also love Extreme Animal books.  There are tons of them out are few in my classroom library!

They also seem to love books about extreme weather.  Do you see a pattern here?  Haha...

I have some high readers in my class.  They have really taken to Roald Dahl books.  Here are just a few of his awesome books.

Captain Underpants!  They find it hilarious!

To go right along with the above is the new Super Diaper Baby books.  They are just cracking up as they read!

I hope this helps with some of those reluctant readers that you have!  Go link up with Courtney and add some great books to your classroom library!  I'm excited to see what books others have included.  She is even offering an Amazon Gift Card as an incentive!!  WOO HOO!!

Mary, from Pitner's Potpourri is also holding a linky party about books you want to read.  Go check it out!

A professional book that I'd like to read is:
It is about writer's workshop and helping primary students with writing!

Two books that I'd like to read for pleasure:
I've heard Bossypants is really funny! It's already on my Kindle ready to go! 
Wedding night doesn't even come out until May but Sophie Kinsella is like my favorite author ever!  She is hilarious!!  I figure it's good it doesn't even come out until May considering once school starts again, my time to read will become very limited!!

A book I want to use in my classroom is:
Tonya from Tonya's Treats for Teachers mentioned it on her blog and I'm excited to use it!  It has a pattern of Fortunately...Unfortunately... 

I can't wait to add to my reading list and see what everyone else links up with!

Happy Reading!!