Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh boy...Instagram

I have NO idea what I'm even getting myself into... but I'm jumping on the Instagram bandwagon for...

Here is my homepage...

Yes, I have THREE followers... I have no idea why because I have two of the same pic! Ugh! I am very new to this whole thing but I will try to upload some new pictures in the next few days and try it out :)

Hopefully by next Tuesday I'll be in business! 

You can follow me HERE
OR search for toristeachertips
on your phone

I am constantly snapping pics and don't have time to blog about everything, so I hope this will be a way to share more with you! :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Totem Poles to celebrate culture!

Hi Everyone!  Boy are the weeks flying by!  How many days are left for you? 
Don't ask me how many as I have no idea!  I actually don't start counting until I can count down with my fingers... this way I can maximize my learning time (hehe... how many of you just rolled your eyes ;)  Yeah, I'm one of those teachers!
I am SOOO excited to share with you a totally terrific totem pole project!  This is a project that my second graders are working on right now in correlation with our Social Studies unit (cultures and customs).
The children first had a homework assignment to discuss with mom/dad/family members what traditions, customs, uniqueness, and heritage they had as a part of their family. This created many interesting conversations at home!
They filled out this paper:
Click above to get a copy.

Then, the children took those ideas and transformed them into pictures to attach to their ToTeM PoLe! 
I had pictures of flags to represent their heritage and they created their own drawings.
We used the cardboard part of a paper towel roll as our base. They could trace a bird head and wings to glue onto the "totem." The pictures represented important things about themselves. Some people included: special meals with family, family trips, flags to represent where their ancestors are from, special collections, family traditions, etc.
I also had stickers and magazines our for the kids to use as their images too.
Once complete, they look so impressive!
Then the children chose the 4 most important items on their totem and wrote more information about those things on their "storyboard." The storyboard has a special place in the center where the totem pole is placed.
Click pic to get a copy!
Finally, the children were able to share their project with the class and we will be placing them on display in the hallway for all to see. It was a great way to culminate our culture unit in a UNIQUE way!
Also, during the unit I did THIS LESSON on cultures and languages.  It is a product I have in my TpT store.  It is a great way to have students experience what it would be like to travel to another country and they get to learn 9 new languages!
Make sure you head over to my FACEBOOK page and enter the quick giveaway that ends tonight! (Sunday night)
As always I LOVE your comments!!
Have a great week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day project and Mother's Day!!

Happy Sunday Friends!  Tomorrow is Earth Day!  What are your plans for the day?
We have been been working a super cute and EASY project!
All you need are these materials:
Coffee filter- largest you can find
green and blue washable markers
spray bottle with water
area to spray
Have your students color the coffee filter with the blue and green markers filling in the whole thing.  The less white the better and the brighter the color the better.
Then spray the filter with water- just a little bit.  The water will absorb the colors together giving it an Earthy look.

We also wrote an Earth Day expository paragraph on how we will help our Earth.  We attached our "Earths" next to the writing and added glitter for the stars (now what kid doesn't love a little bit of glitter!  My class actually said- we get to use glitter?? hehe)
And they turned out like this:

(these are actually pics from last year- haven't snapped a pic of this years just yet :)
Super easy, fun, and a great keepsake!
The count down to Mother's Day is approaching fast!!  I have a fun project for you that is very easy and mom will just LOVE it!!
This is a close up of the front of the card the kids can make for mom.  Everything is included (except construction paper for the card and the stems).  There are many choices of poems and a letter the kids could add to the inside of the card.  There are even two other project ideas included!!
OH- and there is a special surprise for mom when she "picks" the flowers!!


 I have made used this for the past 6 years and the kids have a blast making it and the moms just LOVE it!
And I'd LOVE to give one away!!  Leave a comment with your email below and I will pick a winner on Tuesday night!
Oh and it is on SALE right now!!
20% off!!

Oh and head over to my Facebook page for another chance to win!!
Have a great week!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Around the School #4

I just feel like there a weird vibe in the air.  With the terrible things going on in the world and then today we had severe flooding all throughout our town/county.

They called off school and we had a "rain" day.
I'm hopeful that everything will clear up and we will be back on track!

So onto the goods!
If you've been a follower you know of my monthly posts called "Around the School."  This is where I walk around my school and snap photos of some of my talented co-workers!  You should try this too... I bet you will be amazed at all the happenings in your school!!

You can see my previous 3 Around the School posts at the link just below my header! :)
OR you can follow my "Around the School" Pinterest Board...HERE :)

 Cute plate cut in a spiral to make the "streamer" effect!

 Each child "filled" the egg with a different animal.

I LOVE this one!  Each part of the caterpillar has a type of pasta to represent the butterfly life cycle!!


This is so cute yet easy!!  A "U" for the handle of the umbrella and a half of a paper plate! 

This is total cuteness!  They look amazing hanging in the classroom!

 The rabbit is super cute!!  I've made the flowers when I taught first.. I loved that project!  The kids write the words in crayon and then use water colors to paint over- gives it a cool effect.

 Research project!  The smaller papers were actually created using recycled materials! :)

Cute spring acrostic poem!  You can get it in this pack. :)


Thanks for coming along with me on my walk around the school!

Be on the look out for my next post on my new Mother's Day pack... giveaway too! :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Earth Day At-home project

Hey everyone!  Hope your weekend has been great! :) 
We've been working on a little bit of home improvement...

This room used to be purple.  We are thinking of moving my son into this room.  He was not diggin' the purple :)  
Our house was a wide range of colors when we first bought it...

pink family room
mint green hallways
orange living room
bright blue bedroom
purple bedroom

It's been a joy painting over all those lovely colors :)

Oh and we are FINALLY getting rid of the PINK in the bathroom..

I'm almost embarrassed to show you this!  We are having the tiles sprayed this week.  I'll be sure to post after photos soon! :)

The second graders have been working on a few projects to celebrate Earth Day!  We've also coordinated this with our Science unit on Natural Resources so it was a nice tie in.  Our first project was an at-home assignment.  The children were to find an object (s) that are no longer being used and "save" them from the trash by reusing the object as something new.  It was TOTALLY amazing to see some of the things the children created!  I saw an orange juice container turned into a wallet (no joke!), a pair of jeans turned into a "snake" to stop the draft from the door, and even cereal boxes turned into drawers for storage!  Here are some pictures of a few other things:

Glass Jar- now a picture frame!          

These are M&M wrappers turned into a wallet!

This is a ketchup bottle turned into a bird feeder!

These are water bottles turned into a jump rope!  My personal favorite!  :)

Here is the paper that we sent home with the kids to explain the project:
Click to get a copy

Also, if you want to show your students some examples, you can use THIS.

What is your plan for Earth Day?

Future posts:
More on Earth Day
Double Digit Subtraction (new product!)
Mother's Day
Around the School #4 (April edition)
Stop on back!

Have a great week!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fluency part 2- TONS of ideas!

Hi Everyone!
I'm back for fluency part 2!!
You can read all about part 1 here!

I have to do a quick share of one of my students first.  So I have this little girl in my class this year.  Reading just isn't her thing.  I'm sure you have a student like that too.  
In my class we do Daily 5.  One of the choices is word work.  If I let this girl, she would pick word work every. single. round. of. every. single. day.

Well, just last week she picked Read to Self 8 times in a row!!  I kid you not!!  I nearly fell over when she picked it without my prompting!  Those are the moments when I think.... ok, I got to her...somehow, some way...

victory! :)

So let's jump into fluency... part 2!
This week we have been working on a reader's theater based on one of my favorite books...

Love that penguin!

I start off showing this video of Tacky
and asked the kids to watch for signs of good fluency.

Luckily the woman who reads the book has GREAT fluency so we had a lot to discuss!

Then I passed out the reader's theater script
(click above to get a copy)

Prior to passing out the scripts,  I assigned parts to the students.  I actually split the class in half and each half is doing the exact same script.  They will be performing their reader's theater version for the other half of the class.

We have been working on:
 watching punctuation
reading with expression
projecting our voice
following along in our script
standing still ;)
holding our script without dropping it!

We have been practicing all this week on the Tacky script and we will perform for each other tomorrow.

Next week we will break up into three groups with three different scripts.  They will be getting "big kid" binder scripts...

I will have to post a pic of how cute they look all standing there with their black binders looking all serious. :)

We will be reading scripts from:

The Recess Queen
(It's not the one I use...but it's a good one)

Wemberly Worried
(On TpT- I'd love your feedback!)

Caps for Sale
(There are a WHOLE bunch including this one here!)

We will perform for our first grade friends after about a week of practice.  I can't wait! :)

When I was thinking about this post I made a list of the things I do to encourage fluency... I came up with a bunch and I wanted to share with you...

1.  High Frequency Words-
This is the root of fluency!  Without a good sight word foundation, fluency is difficult.  I use this...
It's a fun way to practice building that sight word background!

2. Re-reading-
 This one is HUGE!
I have a sheet with a letter that I send home.  The sheets are designed so that the child is reading the same book 3 different times and then again at the end with me.  All that extra exposure to the same book builds confidence and fluency.
The sheets look like this:
Read 3 books at a time sheet

Read 1 book at a time sheet

I use books from our reading series as well as printed books from Reading A - Z (I really like their non-fiction books).

3.  Listening to reading-
When I taught first grade, I actually had the kids read an entire book (short level 1 book) on a tape and we created a listening center of all the kids reading.  I hung the books on a clothes line in my room and I used old "walk-mans" and the kids could listen to each other read (it was old school but so fun for the kids to become the listening center!).

I did a similar thing in second grade, except we created a poetry listening center on tape where each child read a poem and all the poems were together on one tape.  Again, they loved listening to each other read.

I actually have a tape recorder just like this picture... and it took me a LONG time to locate one!  It was a great purchase though!!

My plan this year is to record (video) the kids using my iPad and then letting them watch/listen to themselves read.  I think hearing yourself read is so powerful!

We also do these two things during our listen to reading time...

This site is simply AMAZING!!  It is quite costly.  However, I would search your local library or your neighboring libraries as they often have it for free (I actually use it from a library about 30 minutes away from my school).

This is GREAT!!  You can sign up for FREE as long as you have a scholastic account and they give you 10 books free just for starting!  You can use it on your computer, laptop, or iPad (that is how we use it).  Many of the books are read to the children and there are often activities to go along with the books. I actually use my scholastic points to get more books!

4. I've posted about this before...
It has specific word lists that progressively get harder.  The children read the words for 1 minute.  I use this with my parent helpers- and it works!  Oh and it's completely free!

5.  Reading incentives-
Yes I do believe in bribery! ;)
But really, it is motivating and fun!
We will be getting ready to do this one very soon...
It's perfect to do in the spring!

One last thing... teachersclubhouse.com 
has a fun poetry race to build fluency- we haven't tried it yet but it looks very motivating and fun for the students.

Phew! You made it to the end! :)
Thanks for reading... I LOOOOVE your comments so if you are here, and gained an idea (or two!) leave a comment! :)
Oh, and I'll give one of my High Frequency Word packs to one lucky person!
(leave your email!)

Thanks Doodle Bugs for the great linky!