Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Learning With Mrs. Parker

Learning With Mrs. Parker is having a Back to School Giveaway!  The lucky winner will receive a cd Get Up by Mark D. Pencil and a $1500 giftcard to iTunes.  Head on over to her blog to enter.

Learning with Mrs Parker

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Make Your Own Games

I see so many wonderful teachers creating their own games and I have often wondered how they do it.  I recently decided to google game board templates.  I was excited by what I found!  I found several templates that you can create in Word here.  I also found another link for blank ones here.  Now if only I can find the time to actually make some of my own game boards to go with our reading series!  So I am curious, if you make your own board games, what do you use to make them in?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Centers in a Bag

I recently came across a site called Centers in a Bag.  Lisa has all kinds of cute pre-made centers that you can purchase.  She is doing preorders until the end of the month for a great price.  Check out her site.  You might see something great to use in your classroom.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Classroom Light Filters

One of our 3rd grade teachers recently got some classroom light filters for her class.  I was so amazed by how these made such a calming effect on the harsh fluorescent lights that I decided to get a set for my classroom too. I am so glad that I did.  They were super easy to put up.  They have little magnets and stick right on top and fully cover the lights.
I got a set of 4 in Tranquil Blue from Amazon.  I had meant to take some pictures but kept forgetting all week, but at least you will get the idea from this picture.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Google Rocks!

Well I successfully began my 15th year of teaching and have a great group of kids!  I have already gotten a few requests from parents to text them if I need to contact them.  While I believe that parent and teacher communication is very important, I am not very keen on giving out my personal phone number to parents.  In addition it happens to be against school policy to use personal cell phones for school use.  So I have been looking into a few options on the internet.  I came across, but it appears to only provide sending a text.  There was no way get a response.   Then I came across Google Voice.  This feature of Google is very cool!  With Google Voice I can send a message through my computer to a cell phone.  It gave me a new phone number and even set up voice mail for me.  I tested it out and it was very easy to use.  I think using Google Voice will satisfy the parents that want to be notified by text, and I don't have to give out any personal info.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Love and Logic

Well I made it today!  All 22 of my sweet 2nd graders came in ready for an awesome school year!!  After I dropped my class off at PE, I thought it would be a good time to swing by and pick up some audio books to listen to on my commute to and from work.  I decided on this one.

Last year our school did a book study on Love and Logic for Teachers.  It was a great book and I highly recommend it. Towards the end of the year our school also purchased many more of the Love and Logic audio books.  I began listening to Calming the Chaos on my way to get my daughter today.  I'm really glad that I did!  So far it is great too!  The beginning of the school year can be so hectic, and my driving time gives me a little time to reflect.  Plus listening to this audio book also gives me a great refresher on the book I read last year. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

KNIGHT Folders Are Ready!

I am counting down the hours until my new class of 22 students arrive on Monday.  I am excited to have all of their KNIGHT Folders all ready to pass out!  
I recently had another post about my KNIGHT Folders.  Here is the follow up to that post.  The 2nd and 3rd grade teams felt like it was Christmas Day when we learned that our Nicky Folders had arrived.  We quickly began putting them together.  Here's how mine turned out!

This is the front cover.  All I had to do was slip a  sheet of paper  in here.

On the left I placed a label for important papers from/to school.  Above that, I placed an Avery PocketTab with Lunch Money/Notes From Home.    To the right is What's Happening.
 On a side note, I had been contemplating how I was going to make the traditional zipper pouch work.  At first I was just going to use one of the page protectors, but then I got home that day and in the mail there was a sample of 5 Avery PocketTabs.  These are the coolest things that I have come across (besides these folders)!  They have a removable adhesive and stick right on.  I priced these and found that Amazon had the best price 5 for $3.99.  I decided to order enough for my class.

Back of What's Happening - Our Class Newsletter and our Spelling List.

Activities to do to study our Spelling Words and Daily Behavior from the Clip Chart.

I copy off the Daily Behavior front and back, then we have our Monthly Nightly Reading Log.

Next we have our list of Genres to go along with Nightly Reading.  Finally we have Work to Keep at Home.

On the back we decided to slip in a copy of our School Expectations.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Which Key Is It?

How can these
and these
help you in the classroom?

Well... I recently colored coded all of my classroom keys.  I put a little dot of nail polish on each of my keys.  I put the same color of dot on the cabinet etc. that the key fit.  Now I don't have to go searching for which key goes with what.  I quickly look through my keys and match up the correct colors and can open up anything locked much quicker!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Registration Day!

Yesterday was my first day back at work.  It was also registration day.  I have 20 of my 22 students accounted for.  Over all it was a great day and I am excited to get this group of kids!!
Here are 2 pictures I took with my phone.

Welcome Back bulletin board in the hall.

My registration table with a cute Welcome note to parents that I found on PT that originated at 2nd grade locker room along with some cookies.  I also had a wishing well and all of their packets.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clip Chart

Wow I can't believe it's back to work for me today!  I have registration first thing in the morning and then staff meetings in the afternoon.  For a portion of those  meetings, I along with some other colleagues will be presenting a school wide implementation of the clip chart to our entire staff.  Many of us in our building implemented the clip chart last year with great success.  This year charts have been purchased and everyone in our building will be using the clip chart.  To help our staff, I wanted to give them a few resources that I will pass along.

The first resource I wanted to share was an awesome Clip Chart Check List from Mrs. Bainbridge's Blog.  If you download this monthly tracker it will allow you to type in your students names.  The teacher or a student can mark the color each child earned at the end of each day.

Click here to see my daily record that students use in their KNIGHT Folders!
Clip Chart eBook[1] Here is the eBook on implementing the clip chart. If you have no idea of what this is about read this! It will take about 20 minutes to read and you will be glad you did it!

  Clip Chart Parent Letter Here is a Parent Letter that I send out right away, so that parents are also aware of our classroom management.

  EP Expectations Our school is also implementing school wide expectations, formerly known as rules.  These are the expectations we will enforce at our school.  MMOB stands for Mind My Own Business.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Teacher's Survival Kit

I recently got a free bag with a Clinique purchase.  I was sitting there the other day and suddenly it hit me.  "This bag would be perfect to put in all of my lotion, lip stuff, nail file, brush, etc."  I am usually a super organized person, but when it came to things like that, I really just had most of it scattered here and there in drawers.  I don't know why I never thought of this one before especially after teaching for 14 years.  It's perfect and holds everything in one spot.

It's funny how the littlest things can make our life so much easier!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Snitch to the Sneetch

So I was recently looking at all of the great ideas on Pinterest, when I came across a variation of a Tattle Box called Snitch to the Sneetch by Miss Hunt's Teacher Resources.  I loved this idea and decided to make my own Sneetch Box.  I used one of my daughter's shoe boxes, then covered it with scrap book paper, glued on the words and pictures, and my dear hubby cut a slot in the top!  I think it looks really cute and I can't wait to introduce this box to my class.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making Pictures for Pocket Charts

I came across the neatest idea that will help save so much time making pocket chart cards with your students pictures and names.  Click here to see In The Teacher's Lounge for a tutorial.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Calling all 2nd Grade Teachers!

Have you heard, there is a new blog just for 2nd grade teachers!  If you are not already following this blog, take a look at it!  Some really talented ladies have come together and created Me and My Gang for 2nd grade teachers to share and collaborate.  It's also a great place to see other 2nd grade blogs out there.  Take a look!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Like many other teachers, I use organizational folders for my class to help communication from home to school.  Our school mascot is the Knights.  So one of my dearest friends came up with the acronym Keeping Necessary Information and Goals Handy for Terrific Students.

In the past I had been using a 1 inch binder.  This year I am going to use poly folders.  The 2nd and 3rd grade teams at my school have ordered Nicky Folders.  These have got to be just about the coolest folders we have ever come across.  They already have built in pockets, so there is no need for getting page protectors etc.
I have made some labels using Avery 5126 Shipping Labels that I will stick on the front.  I then usually use standard labels on the other pockets to include Important Papers, Daily Behavior, Nightly Reading, Spelling, and Work to Keep at Home.  I also think that I will need another label to place all of the current events going on and call it What's Happening.  I will put Our Monthly Calendar, Cafeteria Menu, and current Newsletter here.  In the past I also had used a zipper pouch, but I'm not quite sure how I am going to do that one.  I may just use some velcro on the top of the first pocket and place a label that says Lunch Money etc.  I haven't actually gotten my hands on these awesome little folders yet, so I'm waiting to see how everything is going to come together on these.

Here are the KNIGHT Rules
Knight Rules

KNIGHT Binder Contract

Here is an example of what my labels will look like on the front of each KNIGHT Book.


Keeping Necessary Information and Goals Handy for Terrific Students

Mrs. Au’s 2nd Grade

If time allows, I'll try to post a picture of one once I get these folders completed!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Study Ladder

I recently came across a new site for students called Study Ladder.  I got into the program and it appears to be really great.  It has activities all across different curriculum's for each grade level.  It also has interactive activities for a white-board.  The best part is that it is currently free!  Click on the picture below to check out Study Ladder.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Word Study Games

All summer long I have really focused on stepping up the way I teach math.  I read Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations and have made a ton of activities for my math stations.  Now that my math is all prepared and ready to go, I have been spending some time making sure my Literacy Stations will be just as engaging for my students.

Beth Newingham is just about one of the most inspiring teachers that I can think of.  When I taught 3rd grade I was a top stalker of her website.  I recently came across a post on her blog about Word Study.  She has many games that you can download and make.  These will go perfect with my Word Work Station.

Click here to see her post about Word Study activities.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Matt Damon Speaks up for Teachers!

Just wanted to share this video that Matt Damon spoke about recently. It is awesome!!


I just wanted to do a shout out to one very talented lady, Amy Lemons!  She is just about one of the sweetest people you could come by!  Just reading her blog will absolutely inspire you!!!  I spend a great deal of my time these days chasing a two and a half year old daughter and don't get very long pockets of time to work on projects.  Recently I asked Amy if she could make me some Literacy Station Cards.  They turned out so cute!  If you are not a follower of Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons you should really look into her blog.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Setting up my classroom

Last week was the first week we could begin working in our rooms.  I worked my little tail off last week trying to get my classroom ready so I could go out of town with my hubby and daughter this week.  Registration is August 11th, and school starts on August 15th here.  I am almost ready!!
I gave up a teacher desk about 3 years ago.  This is my area.  In the right corner I put most if what I need.  Behind my table is our popcorn word wall, Bucket Fillers, and our Job Board.  I will also put up our classroom expectations and our clip chart here too.

Bucket fillers and my Hollywood Job Board.

The classroom library.  I was very excited to get new baskets from Dollar Tree.  These were bigger and perfect for holding story books.

This will be the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) board for Reading and Math. 

Here is our calendar and meeting area.  I'm also excited to have this big metal locking cabinet.  All classroom teachers in my building each got one of these.  I will put my document camera and laptop here.  We were also lucky to get our InFocus machines mounted this summer with wiring behind the cabinet to hook everything up.  I will attach my Mimio to the wall and be all set to use my technology.

View of the back wall and student desks.

I will have my math and literacy stations listed here on the pocket chart.  I'm a little nervous about this area, as we have been told that the sink and bathroom which is through this door, will be remodeled in August.  Yikes!!

This is my homeworkopoly board.  I will also house my math stations in the cubbies here. 

Here is our computer station.  I also have degrees, daily schedule, and Star of the Week on this wall.

Here is a view right inside my door.  I have my student cubbies here and some of my favorite books in the bookshelf.

Look who popped in today!  This is the area for daily attendance.

Now that I got most of everything set up, here is my darling daughter posing for a picture on our trip.  Next week it's back to work for me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cool Timer

A while back I remember seeing a post from Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons about using Cool Timer.  It's a timer that you can download on your computer and display with your Infocus machine for the whole class to see at a glance.  I am very excited to give this timer a try!  I used to be very good with time, but in the last few years it has become a struggle to make sure that we have picked up and are ready to get out the door in time.  I also think this will be great for transitions.  It will help all of us be accountable and better time managers.  Click on the picture to download Cool Timer.