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!)