Monday, February 24, 2014

a february vacation update and a daily 5 freebie :)

Well everyone, its been just about forever since we've last posted. As you're all very much aware, life in the classroom around this time of year is just plain crazy. There's just so much to do and so little time. Plusssss this past week was February Vacation. Stacy spent some time with family in New York and had a wonderful time! :)

Friday after work I [Colleen] came home and was so motivated to get so much done over vacation... however... funny story: that motivation just continued to decrease throughout the week. I think the below picture is a pretty accurate depiction of why....
Can I get an amen?

Here's 10 things I did/made over break. Stick with me till the end, I promise I did some  2nd grade stuff in the process of sleeping and enjoying some time off!

1. Hired some youth groupers to correct papers for me. YUPPP. they're awesome.
they were paid in love, hugs and deep appreciation. <3
2. Drank some coffee with some beautiful friends....
3. Made these sweet potato creations [basically on repeat all week].... they're perfection. Here's where I found it.
Nailed it, pinterest!
4. Started this amazing book called Crash The Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. If the idea of hearing God's voice above all others resonates with you, go get this book ASAP. It's incredible.
5. Went to young adult small group on Wednesday night and made deli-flat individual pizzas. That was a strike of pure brilliance if ya ask me. (This post so far looks like all I do is read and eat..)
6. Went on a super long walk and soaked in all the stinkin vitamin D I could. Dear Punxsutawney Phil.... really? come on man... I'm way over this winter.
7. Listened to this awesome sermon while I walked and scraped ice off my driveway.
8. Baked some oatmeal breakfast muffins with my friend Emily. Found here...
....another strike of pure genius. These are great to take to work if you need something quick and healthy to grab (far too early) in the morning :) ps- add coconut..... sooo yummy!
9. Went ice skating.... Did some triple axle double toe loop twistys... ya know... :) I mean it's kinda casual but you can just call me Michelle Kwan....
Slash I may or may not have had to hold onto these guys. But only at first because I got the hang of it pretty quick. Champion status. 
10. Woke up every morning and told myself I should go to work and get things done....
.... and then didn't go. No picture to document that one, sorry....

But I did think a whole lot about Daily 5 centers in my classroom. As you may have read before here or here, this year has been a struggle with finding a way to do centers that works for my kiddos. I think I'm finally getting somewhere good. I've taken lots of ideas from lots of amazing bloggers and combined it with great advice I've gotten from those within my building. Here's what I started with...
But I realized that though it was working for many of my students it wasn't working well for all of my students. It's a little too sophisticated for some of my friends with all the choice involved. But it was a good effort. I used what I learned and made some changes... Here's what I've got now.
Now we move in 3 rotations each day. The center cards don't change but the name cards do each day. The kids are grouped together but not by reading groups. With this way of doing things I just call a different group each 15 minutes (and pray that I don't call people during their computer time because that's pretty much instantaneous water works). That way if their group is called they just leave the center they are currently at and come up to the table to meet me. We're on a 2 day rotation and I think it's working a lot better already.

Now getting onto the freebie! Thanks for sticking with me :)
I've also really enjoyed adding in some reflection to our Daily 5 time. At the end, all the students return to their seats and we fill out our station checklist (inspired by this amazing educator- who also just got a new blog design which is beautiful). On the front the students color in the stations that they went to that day and on the back we write sentences about 1 thing we are proud of and a goal for tomorrow. I love hearing the students share out about this at the end and support one another in both their proud moments AND "still working on" goals. It is something really special to see them clap for and congratulate each other with genuine hearts. 

Click on the pictures to be directed to the google drive doc. Or just click here
I copy them back to back.

Last thing...
(You're a CHAMP for hangin in there all the way to this point)
 There's a sale going on at TpT this week! Check out our store and be sure to stock up your carts!

Ps- any teachers out there have any requests for new Fundations sets for Stacy and I to create? We'd love to know what you're looking for and hear from those of you who have been using our sets in your classrooms! Leave some comments below! 

Happy week back from vacation, all.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A FABULOUS Five for Friday!

Hi Friends!  We hope that you all enjoyed your week!  We are breathing a little easier now that it's Friday!  Today we are linking up with Doodle Bugs to share what we were up to this week!
 Five for Friday
 So, we really can't complain TOO much about our week because we had an exciting SNOW DAY on Wednesday!  I'm pretty sure the entire state of Massachusetts shut down once again.  My son and I spent a very lazy day watching movies and making Snow Ice Cream for the very first time!  It was so much fun!  I only wish that we had a jar of hot fudge and a can of whipped cream to top off our creation!  Unfortunately, I was too lazy chicken to brave the elements to pick some up at the grocery store.
 Speaking of snow, here is a cute picture of Colleen's class braving the elements at recess this week!  Nothing stops us New Englanders from giving our kids some much-needed exercise during the week!  Kids, throw on your snow pants!  We're going outside!!
 On the other hand, we stayed nice and warm in the Reading Room practicing 'y' as a vowel and 'y' as a suffix this week in our phonics program.  I was so excited to finally take the "Mirror Mirror on the Wall" card game off the shelf to play!  Thank goodness my mother is a habitual coffee drinker as she donated a trash bag of coffee cans to house some of our games.  All the cans neatly line a shelf which make it easy to grab and for teachers to borrow.  If you haven't downloaded this FREEBIE yet, grab it today!
If you are looking for a really fun read aloud next week to celebrate friendship and Valentine's Day,  Colleen and I highly recommend one of our favorite books by mother-daughter team Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton (yes....THE Julie Andrews).  The Very Fairy Princess shares how love and imagination can go a long way towards solving problems, even on Valentine's Day.  This bundle includes two Reading Response letters (boy or girl) and a fun comprehension game that aligns with standards:
RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text. 
RL. 2.1 Ask and answer questions such as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Finally, if you are looking for some fabulous ways to promote literacy and increase parent involvement in your classroom or school, our collaborative blog buddies at Adventures in Literacy Land  are sharing some dynamic ideas to improve the home-school-community connection!  

Enjoy your weekend, friends!