Thursday, December 6, 2012

Smart Board Interactive Websites!

Okay so this is going to be a really short post, but I was very excited to share some news. All of the teachers at my school are getting smart boards! I am busy looking into great resources to use in my classroom with my smart board. I just wanted to share some of what I found and if you have any suggestions for more ideas feel free to post. BTW all of the sites are FREE!

I am very excited to use this as a classroom management system. Class Dojo is this awesome site that lets you create little icons for each of your students and during class you can give points to students to reward them for being helpful, participating, doing well with partners, etc. You can also take away points for negative behaviors. I LOVE that parents can also log on at any time to see how their child is doing. I'm planning on using it to reward students once they reach a certain amount of points.

I'm also looking at working on nouns, verbs, and adjectives soon and I found this game that I thought would be great to play as a class. It's called Noun Dunk. I think they kids would be excited about getting up to play the game. It's fun to check out if you have the time!

The last one that I think I'll have to try out is mainly for science. I've used it before hooked up through my Document Camera (through the computer), but being able to create the static electricity and do the different experiments by actually touching the balloons together on the screen would be a ton of fun! The main website has tons of science interactive demonstrations where the students need to move items to create reactions. The site is called Engineering Interact and I recommend it!

One more goodie that I want to share has to do with place value. It's like Pacman, but with place value! Looks like a super fun game that we could play together and then I could have them practice on their own on laptops! It's called Place Value Eaters!

I hope you enjoyed all of the goodies! I am very excited for a smart board and excited to let the kids use their hands with this technology for learning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful Updates!

Thankfully I'm finally finding some time to blog! I even had time to decorate my door! I'm feeling so grateful for the teachers who have helped me; at Welborn and other schools! 

Like the door decorations were things that a retired teacher from Onaga gave my mom to give to me! I've also had a chance to work together with teachers to collaborate ideas for teaching and behavior.

Word Work

I created this "game" for a new word work station to practice compound words that "anyone" :) could make! I just wrote on both sides of popsicle sticks (writing to one side or the other depending if it was to be the first or last part of the compound word) and students will have the chance to pull sticks to make words and will write their created words onto a notecard to turn in (for that accountable piece).

Math Anchor Charts

I am working very hard to continue to use anchor charts this year and I've seen a real difference in the class. Even if I take down or move the chart, the students will still look there like they can read the words somehow!

I already had my money identification anchor charts posted (though I may need to review/ refresh those soon!), I made some recently for word problems and strategies for solving. We also reviewed even/odd numbers this week so I made a mini anchor chart for that!

My plan is to try to develop more anchor charts for reading. We already use songs for learning digraphs, vowel sounds and compound words, but perhaps I should post the songs or some rules. Any thoughts or suggestions?


I am very happy to announce that our school has taken on a school-wide behavior initiative called "Welborn Bucks." I was able to be a part of the committee that got the program started and so far I've had a lot of success with it-- I've even used it as a replacement for some of the other strategies I've been using (it was time to adjust anyway!). The school has a system set up that if students earn 100 Welborn Bucks they can buy a "dress down pass." I also love that any teacher can give the dollars to any student in the school.

They can earn Welborn Bucks for following the guidelines: I am peaceful. I am a learner.

So I am giving bucks out during class and giving them for successful formative and summative tests/quizzes. The students love their bucks-- and I'm loving them too! I can't copy them fast enough!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gateway Game

Wow I've gotten busy! Here is a new classroom management strategy that I'm using my classroom to have students monitoring themselves and others' behavior.

The Gateway Game

Our school made a big push last year to address gateway behavior. Gateway behavior is those behaviors that aren't huge displays of disrespect, but minor things like eye rolling, sighing, or tapping their feet and they can lead to bigger gateway behaviors like cussing, talking back, or shoving others. These are the kind of behaviors that lead to trouble.

I like to explain it to the kids with an analogy. A puppy!

We start by talking about what a puppy is like, particularly how puppies try to get out of fences.  Then I ask if the puppy is safe when they get out and of course the class says no because there are cars and other animals or the puppy could get lost.  That's when I tell the class that my job is to make sure the fence is strong.

Then we talk about how the fence can get holes in it when people start doing little behaviors that aren't very safe.  This is where I use the marker to draw holes in my fence and the students share out gateway behaviors that would cause that hole.  I have this on the front board and have reminded the students that I will add to the holes if I see any new behaviors that are causing holes and letting my puppy out!

The scoreboard in my room is changed every week with me vs. the class. If they do gateway behavior, I get a point. If they do responsible, caring, helpful, or respectful things, they get a point. At the end of the day we see who has the most tally marks.  The yellow page below is our overall score for the month. At the end of the month is the class beats me, we'll have a big celebration. Then, the competition will restart for next month!
Sometimes I know that kids may do little behaviors like tapping their feet without really thinking about it. I like to give students a fair chance so I have two reminders that I say to students if I notice them doing a minor gateway behavior. They are "are you okay?" and "Don't let my puppy out!"

The cutest thing ever is when the students catch each other doing gateway and they whisper "you're going to let her puppy out!" :)

I just started this last week, but it's been very successful so far! Feel free to leave any comments or questions!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Double Trouble Mysteries!

I'm overdue for an update so I thought I'd catch everyone up on what we've been up to and where we're going!


We've just finished up working on our doubles facts and working with money (although we will certainly continue reviewing and practicing those skills). We had a magic doubling pot and have practiced using graph paper to work on our doubling facts.
We're now moving into geometry! We're working on shapes and symmetry-- hopefully the next post will have some of those pictures :)

Continue to work on those skills at home and we'll continue at school!

We are preparing for the end of the first quarter and our summative test for math is coming up on October 8th and grade cards come out on October 10th!

Reading and Writing

In addition to practicing writing complete sentences (with a naming and telling part and with end punctuation), we just started looking at mystery writing last week and now we are working on creating our own mysteries in our Daily 5 reading groups.

We've been reading The Mystery of the Missing Moon and we completed this graphic organizer to organize the story.

Tomorrow we will be watching a Scooby Doo mystery while using the same graphic organizer to understand the format of a mystery story.

For the rest of this week we will be working on creating a mystery in our leveled reading groups (with my guidance).  I'm hoping to have the groups read their mystery to the rest of the class by Friday-- we will go to Monday if need be!

This was our first week doing full-out reading groups! Today was our first day and it went great! I'm very excited and hopeful to get math groups started shortly as well.

We are preparing for our main summative test for reading on October 3rd.


I wish I had more pictures of us doing science, but I don't right now-- I will be sure to get some up for our next post as well as some social studies pictures!

In reading, we've been learning about the phases of the moon. In our National Geographic curriculum, we've been studying rocks, minerals and soil and are preparing for a rocks test on October 2nd and a soil test on October 5th.


I was a part of the Welborn kickball team. I can't say that we won any games, but I was able to rediscover my skills :)

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Classroom Management and Routines

In addition to using the safe pocket system (mentioned in an earlier post), I'm using positive reinforcement systems in my classroom that emphasize good character traits and following directions.

Class Rules
We only have one real rule in our classroom and that is that it's never okay to be hurtful or disruptive (from the BIST philosophy). Then, we came up with ideas about what it would look like to be hurtful or disruptive and we added several examples of what following the rules looks like in class. Those definitions are for being non-disruptive: Use inside voices, no extra noise, and listen when others talk.  Our definitions for not being hurtful are to keep your body to yourself and use kind words.

I also had all of the students sign the poster in a kind of "ceremony" where they add to agree to try their best to follow our rules.

We also have coming to attention rules as you can see in the picture! We also use clapping and a bell for variety sake :)

The Peace Table

I haven't had the chance to fully explain how this works to our 2nd grade class yet, but I am hoping to this week. I used this a lot in 4th grade last year and I think that it teaches some valuable problem-solving skills for kids.

How it works:

If two students are having a problem, one of them will invite the other to the peace table (or if I see that there is a problem, I will suggest they go to the peace table).  At the peace table, there is a form that the two fill out. They hold the bear when they have something to say and then pass the bear to the other person when they are finished talking.

After the two fill out the sheet, they have to come to peace with one another before they're ready to rejoin our class. Once they feel ready, they will turn in the page to me and let me know that they've made peace. (Teachers: Email me if you'd like a copy of the sheet. I'll have to scan it!)

Class Rewards

I like to have a lot of raffles in my class that give students a chance to be rewarded for doing the right thing and for being kind and caring.  That is why I have the lunch bunch raffle (using the safe pocket system mentioned in a prior post). If their kangaroo ends up in their own pocket at the end of the day, that means they've made safe choices and they will get a raffle ticket into the pot. Every Friday I draw 5 names.

During math time I do something similar, but instead I do it daily (the afternoon time is very tiring for kiddos). I give tickets for following directions and at the end of the day I do a candy raffle for one piece of candy (like a sucker).

Our big class reward is not a raffle, but uses beads. Every table group has a cup on their desk and during each instructional time, they can earn beads for coming to attention, participation and effort.  If the class earns 40 beads at the end of the day, we get a tally mark. Five marks and we get a reward! Last time we had no shoe day in class, but the class voted and this time we will be getting ice cream! Two marks down; three to go!

Another big reward for students is having jobs. I just got them started this past week, but I think they're a hit! I try to rotate them so if someone didn't get a job last week, they'll get one next week. I've had some requests for a pet monitor.... but I think I'll pass for now. I've had bad luck with pets!

Important dates:

  • Thursday, Sept. 6- Math MAP testing
  • Friday, Sept. 7-Spelling test, Reading logs due
  • Wednesday, Sept. 12- Family Advocacy in the afternoon
  • Thursday, September 13- No school for students, family advocacy day all day (check your child's backpack for the sign up sheet!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

1st week of school

So ideally I would've posted some pictures from the first week of school at the end of the first week (instead of the end of the second week), but since I'm still getting back into school mode, blogging hasn't been my first priority right now! Anyway here are some pictures of some of the activities we did the first week and I'll recap for what we've started this week as well.


One of the things we really hit the first week of school was how to ask for help and when it is okay to talk.  A book that really goes along with this idea is My Mouth is a Volcano! It's a very cute story about a boy named Louis who can't help but blurt out when an idea comes to his head. After we read the book, we did some brainstorming about what we can do when we think we might "erupt." We used some of the ideas from the book and also had some ideas of our own for dealing with those overwhelming ideas that want to erupt out!

I had all of the volcanos up for Back to School night and I think I'll keep them up for at least another week or so. It works as a nice reminder to just be able to point if someone is having a problem erupting that day :)


We have already done our first writing project. We did a word inventory the first week so that we could see how many words they could think of in 10 minutes and we also did a self-portrait.  I do this three times a year because I think it's very exciting to see the growth happening academically and developmentally. I will be sure to share these with parents at conferences.

Also, we wrote our first story about our summer. Those will be added to a portfolio so that students and parents can see how much they improve throughout the year.

In addition to practice writing, we are working on practicing using the right language when responding to questions.  Right now for our read aloud book, we are reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid (by popular demand!) and we are working on using academic language when responding. I will add to this list throughout the year (I just didn't want to overwhelm anyone right now!)


I don't have any exciting pictures to post yet. Right now in math we're mainly reviewing a lot of concepts like using a number line, hundreds chart, skip counting, and representing numbers.  

I will say that we are notebooking in reading, math, and science this year. What I like about notebooking is that students have a chance to look back at their practice work (like graphic organizers and worksheets) to study for tests. In math, it's a good place for them to see how to work out certain problems and reflect on focus questions.

In reading, our notebooking is more about vocabulary, phonics and comprehension skills (like summarizing, retelling, main idea).

In science, our notebooking is used to organize important vocabulary and ideas to prepare for tests and for reflecting later.  I will post resource links for students to use the National Geographic curriculum on this website as soon as I get access codes! The National Geographic Curriculum is great!

For parents:  This will also explain why you won't be getting a lot of worksheets coming home. Usually we will go over the answers together (so students can make corrections) and then they'll glue it into their notebooks. I will however start sending home some weekly homework on Mondays that should be sent back on Fridays. (My thinking is that it is less likely that the students will lose a stapled packet--individual sheets of homework sent home on random nights can be hard for them to remember). I hope we can work together to keep helping these 2nd graders :)

Upcoming dates:

Tomorrow, August 24- Reading logs due, Spelling test (words should be written in their planner)
Tuesday, August 28- I will be testing students' reading level all day. Please make sure they don't miss!
Friday, August 31-Reading logs due, Reading test (over the unit) and spelling test
Monday, September 3- No School!

Friday, August 10, 2012


This post will mainly be pictures. I got my classroom all set up and I just wanted to show it off because I think it turned out pretty nice!


 <------- After!

Some highlights of the room include:  

A very organized classroom library, sorted either by author or genre. And I was inspired by Ms. Chambers, our reading intervention teacher, to add scrap book paper to the back of the shelves to really make the library look great!

Also reading related, I will be doing the Daily 5 this year! I have signs all around the room also for where they have their listening center, word work, etc., but I also have this posted up on the board so students can choose which station they want to go to next by moving their magnet or clip (haven't decided what I'll use yet) to that card-- and it lets me hold them accountable :) I'm very excited to get that started as soon as possible in my classroom! Just as soon as all of the first days of school routines get finished!

I saw this idea on pinterest (of course!) to use a hanging shoe rack for centers. So I am using the top (that 2nd graders can't reach) for my teaching supplies and then I will put math activities for early finishers below that and then I have a sign that says word work and I've started to label the pockets with different activities that students can choose from for word work in the Daily 5.


I'm very excited about my math and calendar area. I have a rolling calendar (not pictured) that will be in front of this bulletin board during calendar. The colored folders are for my centers for my leveled reading groups. The number chart, days of the week, place value chart and piggy bank chart are all just a part of calendar time! I also have all of the students' math manipulatives in containers that are labeled off to the side--perfect for a "math recess." I have Mrs. Mills to thank for inspiring me with all of her container-ing! It makes the room look so neat! I'm excited to do calendar again!


One thing I am really focusing on this year is procedures. I wanted to make sure I posted more of my expectations so here is one for entering the room that I made.

One hello to your teacher
To your seat direct(ly)
Three sharp pencils in your desk
Forward with your morning work!

I have other posters too, but they're not nearly as cute :)


I hope you've enjoyed taking a look at my 2nd grade classroom! I am hoping for another wonderful year!  

I had such a nice moment today when I had my students out at recess when one of my more challenging students came and gave me a bear hug. It's just nice to know that even though sometimes teachers may butt heads with students, deep down the students know that it's because you care. I hope that I will get to have many more moments like that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Safe Pocket System

Hello everyone! This will likely be a short post because Mr. Kietzman and I are closing on our new house today :) I have a lot of things packed up already, but I wanted to show the new classroom management system I'm thinking I will end up starting the year with.

First off, I should say that I am VERY excited to be teaching primary for many reasons, but one reason is certainly because I get to make my classroom 10 times cuter! I am going with a zoo animal theme this year-- for name plates, calendar, birthdays, notes, etc. So it seemed appropriate that I would have a classroom management system to match that.

In addition to using the BIST program (which I love! And I'm going to a 5-day conference next week about), I needed to adopt a classroom management program that worked as positive reinforcement as well.
The original idea for this is from Fairy Dust Teaching, but I've adapted it to work for me.

It's called the Safe Pocket System.  And like the name might suggest.. it involves kangaroos!  The first day of school I am going to explain to the students that their families are trusting me to help keep them safe, just like a kangaroo keeps her joey safe in her pouch.

I will then show the kids that they each have their own kangaroo stick (names will be added once I have a roster) that will start each school day in their own pouch (which they will decorate).  If they can end the day with their kangaroo in their own pouch, then they will get a raffle ticket to be in the lunch bunch (have lunch with me and other lunch bunch classmates on that Friday).

Here's how it works:  I will have the words: Helpful, careful, responsible, respectful, and patient written on the board where all of our pouches are.  If students are not acting helpful, responsible, etc, then they have to move their kangaroo to my pouch so I can help them be safe (in addition to moving to the safe seat which is  a part of BIST). When/if I catch the student being careful, patient, etc., then they will get to move their kangaroo back into their pouch.  I really like the idea because it lets students have the chance to redeem themselves AND rewards students who show good character traits.

I can't go into school to set up my bulletin board right now, but I think it's going to be great--let me know what you think of the idea and let me know if you have any suggestions to helping the system run more smoothly.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Directions

I am back from Ireland and I'm working on packing up for our move, but as always I am trying hard to work on my teaching! My resources and planning are taking a new direction because I've been told that I will be teaching 2nd grade next year! With that in mind, I've mainly been looking for easy printables to get started and I've found some really great blogs that have helped like: Mrs. Heeren's Happenings and Serenade to Second Grade. Here are some of the things that I found from their sites that I have printed out to use in my primary classroom!

I thought that this was a great way to have a class reward system--I'm sure that it could work at any grade level, but I thought that it would work especially well for primary grades (2nd grade!).  This resource was from Mrs. Heeren's Happenings.

She included the printable which you can get here.  She also includes an alternative called cookie compliments AND has mystery rewards included in the printable too!  I think I will be starting with this at the beginning year for my whole class reward system.

This was a great resource from Rowdy in Room 300. Since I'll be doing primary grades, I also thought that I should have a better way to track individual progress throughout the day. I love that these kind of charts also allow students to move up rather than just being a consequence. I also really like that this chart is compact! I will most likely change systems as the year goes on (as one system starts to lose effectiveness, sometimes a little mix up is good!).

The printable for all of the cards is here.

I also found this other resource on Mrs. Heeren's Happenings to go along with any students who end the day on red--which means a parent contact. The link for this form to be filled out for parents is here.

I hope you've enjoyed the links! I am very excited to get things rolling for my primary classroom!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ideas, not yet creations

Since I am off to Ireland on Friday and working on packing for our move to our new house, this post is more of a list of things that I hope to make as soon as I get back from my trip or maybe just before I go (some of them will be easier to make than others).

Reading Groups

First here is a blog with some wonderful ideas for word work using a modified daily 5 (she does the daily 3 for 5th grade). I'm interested in using the daily 5 in my classroom next year. I'm not sure how to modify it for 4th grade yet, but this daily 3 blog may led to more ideas. I was particularly interested in the word work post.

I haven't heard of all of these options, but I will do more reading to find out!  That is the first project I plan to accomplish right before or right after my trip!


Now this is something that I would think I can handle making before we go. One area that I really want to hit a lot harder next year is grammar. I plan on changing the sticks to match spelling words for students as well as high-frequency words-- as the end of the year I am hoping to even add adverbs and proper nouns! 


I am planning on creating these early in the year next year because my kiddos certainly needed a refresher before they were ready to move on to the big money problems.  I think this could be great for many age groups (maybe not 5th and 6th), but a good review and practice.

I will probably need to adapt quite a bit of these activities to be school/age appropriate (some are religious). The original source is from here

I hope this gets some of your idea gears turning! Hopefully I will be feverishly working-- it's just hard to get going knowing that I will be leaving for Ireland in 3 days! I'll post when I get home; perhaps even with some pictures from Ireland :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bus-y Frank-ie!

I normally don't have time--or enough things created-- to post twice in one week, but I've really kicked it into high gear!  I think I'm probably working extra hard because next week I know that I will be busy packing to go visit my sister and new nephew in Ireland :) I'll be gone for a week, but will surely have more posts when I get back!

In addition to pinning like crazy on pinterest--you should probably be following me :D, I have also been making lots of things!

Indoor Recess

 Many of my indoor recess games didn't survive the year--including my Bopit! (I know! I thought those things were indestructible!)-- so I decided to try to prepare more things for this coming year's recess!

I made this Musical Twister game in college using fabric, felt, markers and a hot glue gun! I originally had a different spinner, but it wasn't heavy duty enough. That's why I've made new spinners! I'm hoping cardboard should be sturdy enough... time will tell!

My original storage box was an unused pizza box that I decorated, but I may need to upgrade to something plastic--we'll see what I come up with!

I'm glad I was able to touch up the marker and make new spinners because the kids LOVED playing musical twister last year :)


I saw this idea on pinterest-- to have students fill out a chart when they do not turn in homework.  Here are some pictures of what I've come up with and here is a link if you want to have a copy for your classroom. Just click here.

I am still debating if I want to do weekly packets for students or have homework sent home each night. I tried both last year, but ended up doing weekly packets because students seemed to turn it in more regularly...

Any suggestions?

Classroom Library

As I hinted in the last post, I have started working on creating labels for my classroom library. I know that's not really that exciting, but I found a good template for typing out labels for a library or for addresses or whatever! You can download it here!

It a FREE download (you just have to sign up and yadda yadda, but no charge!). It is a very slick program with an easy download that you can keep forever on your computer!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Get Busy!

Bling side!

I have been very busy lately! In addition to preparing to move to our new home in Shawnee, KS, I am trying to keep up with all my goals and planning for next school year! Here are some examples of what I've come up with so far.. 

Tame side :)
I recently acquired a bunch of plywood that I am going to have my dad saw in half so that I can make clipboards for my class next year-- pictures to come once I've made those too!

This may have been a bit early, but I figured I'll need some kind of cute container to store all of my new homemade clipboards in!

I didn't have many fun paint colors..... but I did have glitter!!


This isn't totally done (I couldn't find any brads!), but I want to do more space science this year so I wanted to create a visual way for students to see that the Earth orbits the sun and the moon orbits the Earth. It also says the distance between on the white part in between. I'll attach brads when I get some and then it will be complete! All it took was some crayons, paper plates and brads :)

Things to come

I bought a bunch of really cute labels so I can label the books in my library--once I type up a format on word I'll share it so anyone else labeling books for their library can already have the template!

I'm planning on making more things tomorrow to post so this one may be a little short, but I'll have more things soon!

Resource Alert!!

There isn't a picture I can link to put it on pinterest, but this is a site with lots of BLANK school templates for newsletters, borders, school menus, lots of things! And FREE! Just click here