Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Fraction Quickie

For the last 2 weeks, my class has been diligently working on fractions. We have been slowly working our way through this Fraction Unit that I made to reinforce all the concepts we have been working on. Click on the picture to purchase it from Teacher's Pay Teachers.

Yesterday, we played “I have, Who has” fraction version. Success!! All the students were engaged and enjoying the game. After we played the game, the students were independently working on the workbook pages from our math curriculum. As a whole, I was feeling like my students were understanding fractions. Then it happened I was helping one of my students with one of the questions they were working on that asked them to compare fractions in a variety of ways. The student looks at me and asks “What’s a fraction?” (Insert Homer Simpson voice: Doh!) A gazillion things were running through my head but I was saved by one of my other students that said “What we have been working on all day!” (Oh the things kids say.) Thank goodness they said that because my mind was still trying to come up with the most diplomatic thing to say! Has that ever happened to you? It would appear that I have a little re-teaching to do. As soon as I got home today, I whipped up this quick BINGO game using fractions and a small assessment. I also have this in my store.

I will be doing the assessment first thing tomorrow and pull those students while the rest of the class is playing BINGO. How do you assess your students to ensure that all of them are understanding the concept you are teaching?

Half-way through the week! Yeah!

Happy Wednesday,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Books! Reading Roundup Linky Party

Hello All!

I hope all of you have been enjoying your weekend. I found this wonderful linky party hosted by Mary at Pitner’s Potpourri all about books! Books are one of my biggest weakness! I can’t go through a Barnes and Nobles or Borders without buying at least 1 book. (9 times out of 10 it is for my classroom.) So when I saw this linky party, I knew it would be right up my alley.
All you have to do is post about one professional book, one book strictly for pleasure, and one book that you will be using in your classroom that you have not read yet. Sounds easy, right? Click the picture to go to the orginal post and link up.

Professional Book

I actually have two professional books that I am reading. At my school, we don’t really have a writing program. So in effort to try to fill this void we are starting a book study on Lucy Calkins “Launch a Primary Writing Workshop: Getting Started with Units of Study for Primary Writing, K-2.” We are hoping after reading and discussing this book we will have a better understanding of how to implement writing in our classrooms with the materials we already have. I am also reading a book called “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” by Eric Jensen. I am hoping this book with give me some more insight in supporting my students.

Pleasure Reading

“Delusion in Death” by J.D. Robb. My mom and I have been following this series for years. This is the newest installment in the series. In the past, J.D. Robb’s books have been quick, suspenseful, and mindless. Just what I am looking for after spending a week with 28 2nd graders. I would suggest reading the series in order, however, there are only small parts that are referenced from past books. If you are unable to, you won’t be too lost.

Book to Teach a Skill:

“I Need My Monster” by Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam. I saw this book at Barnes and Nobel over Winter Break this year. A couple of days later, I saw this fabulous idea on Pinterest (of course!) about teaching inference with this book. I knew it was meant to be! All you have to do is read the book without showing the pictures to your students. Then have them draw what they think the main character’s monster looks like. After all of them have finished, you compare what they drew to the picture in the book. I was absolutely excited that I found this wonderful idea. Inference can be so incredibly hard to teach. I was also thinking about having them describe what their monster looks like since we have been working on adjectives the last couple of months. Click here to go to the orginal pin.

Click on any of the pictures of the books to take you to Amazon to buy your very own copy.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five for Friday


Happy Friday! I am linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching to share 5 random things about my week.

1.   I just posted my very first Giveaway!
2.   My students enjoyed a fun hands on math activity. You know that moment when all your students are engaged and working on a task? The noise level was low and you can see how hard they are concentrating? We had one of THOSE moments. It was awesome!

3.   I just paid for my plane ticket to Europe this summer. I am going to Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague for 2 weeks!
4.   I saw this on Pinterest. It made me smile.

5.   I am going up here tomorrow to go snowshoeing. It will be a nice relaxing way to spend my Saturday.

I realized after writing this post I don’t take nearly enough pictures in my classroom. My goal next week is to be better at taking pictures.
Enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Groundhog's Day and a Giveaway

I can’t believe that I am already thinking about February! How are we already at the end of January? I have no idea where the month went.

However I digress; when I was student teaching my fabulous Cooperating Teacher used this adorable activity with our 1st graders. We had the students draw a portrait of themselves on an 11 x 18 piece of construction paper. Then on a piece of black construction paper we traced the picture we had drawn to make the shadow.

Here is my example that I did a couple of years ago. I haven’t done this activity with my 2nd graders this year but I am looking forward to it. I love having them free draw their portraits instead of following a pattern for this activity. Their perception of themselves is hilarious!

Around this year, I also read a book called "The Great Fuzz Frenzy" by Susan Stevens Crummel.

I think this story is about prarie dogs not groundhogs but it is so stinkin' cute that I can't resist. I also whipped up this little graphing and predicting freebie we will be doing next week for Groundhog’s Day. During my planning time today I was actually able to get the graph ready for next week. (Go me!)
Graphics by Scrappin Doodles

It is just waiting for data!

Great news! I am having my very 1st giveaway! We are working on fractions right now. What better way to reinforce fractions than by using M&M's? This activity is a great way to continue to reinforce fractions and graphing. The first 3 people that comment get this activity for free!

I will be doing this activity with my class tomorrow. I will post pictures this weekend.

Have a great Friday!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Tuesday that felt like a Monday

Oi Vey! Monday my school had the day off in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. When my kids came back to school yesterday, you would have thought that it was September all over again. I swear to goodness, my kiddo’s brains fell out over the weekend! Did anyone else feel like this too? On top of that, I’m getting sick. (Blah!) So I went to Pilates and plopped myself in front of the TV to watch The Big Bang Theory. (I love that show! Sheldon always makes me laugh.) Thankfully, today was WAY better!

Despite the continual reminders of the school and class rules, we were able to get a ton done. We have been working on a camouflage unit for the last couple of weeks in reading. This is one of my favorite units. This year I decided to tie in our writing by having my class research and write animal reports. I am not really sure how to go about doing it. I have 28 kids this year and there is just little ol’ me to try to manage, redirect, and support all of them. (Eeek! It makes me tired just thinking about it.) Ideally, each student would be able to type and illustrate their animal reports. However, as soon as we start to write, my little angels turn into spinning dervishes.

This about sums up how I feel about writing...haha.

Over the course of the year, we have been working on our writing stamina but they are still struggling with writing independently. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. How do you teach writing and research projects? Do you let the student’s pick their own topics or do you have topics preselected? How much time do you devote to writing each day? Thank you for all your feedback.

Happy Wednesday!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

100th Day

Hello All!

Lately I have noticed that bloggerland is abuzz with ideas for the 100th Day of School. We started school a little late this year so we still have a little over a month before we reach the 100th day. However, this year my school is 100 years old at the end of month. The local newspaper wrote a short article about our upcoming celebration. I read the article to my kids and they were most amazed at all the things that were different 100 years ago. They especially liked how students used to have to go to the bathroom in outhouses. (Ewwww!!) Thank goodness we don't have to do that anymore.

Have you seen those adorable pictures that Lindsay from the Teacher Wife and Jenn from Finally in First posted of what the students will look like when they are 100? If you haven’t you should check them out. What a great idea! I immediately had my students make a portrait of themselves at 100. I also had them include 10 things they wanted to do before they turned 100. I was so surprised at some of the things they came up with!

I love these!

Ahh...I want to make a difference. That is so sweet.

Didn’t they turn out great? We are going to be opening the school for community members so I figured these would be perfect.

Do you have tomorrow off? I am looking forward to staying in my pajamas for another day. What are you looking forward to?


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Classroom Management with Money and a Freebie

Happy Wednesday fellow educators!

I figured I would kick off my next blog talking about how my management system works. This last fall, I moved to a new school district. My other 2nd grade team members already had a management system set-up using money. Anyone that has ever taught 2nd grade or money knows that this can be a difficult concept. It really depends on the students experience with money. I figure I would give it a go.

Each student can get a total of 4 pennies. Everyday students start on 2 pennies. As the day progress, they can either earn pennies or lose pennies. If they are following directions, on-task, etc. they can earn pennies and if they are not doing these things they can also lose them.

This year I have a whopping 28 kids! (YIKES!) So you can imagine, I run out of pennies quickly. I figured this would be a perfect chance for my students to get practice exchanging money. At the end of each month we have a store. I am not a big fan of treasure boxes so I was really excited when I saw these coupons that Laura Martin from Peace, Love, and First Grade made for her class. I just quickly copied them and attached a value to them. They were a HUGE hit! By far the most popular coupon is the privilege to take off their shoes in the classroom. I would never have thought! Plus, they are easy to store and there are so many things to choose from.

Last week we just started the unit about money. I whipped up this little cheat sheet for them. I made it bookmark size because our math curriculum comes with workbooks. I figured it could be used in two ways: a bookmark and a reference. They loved it! Check it out by clicking here.

Graphics: Ginger Snaps, Fonts: Kevin and Amanda

I also made these money cards with different amounts of money on them. There are a ton of ways that you could use them! Today I passed out the cards and each student wrote a different way to make the same amount on their whiteboards. Then they passed the whiteboard to their neighbor on their left and their neighbor checked their work. My students loved this activity! In all of my excitement, I forgot to take pictures. =( We are going to do this activity again tomorrow so I will post them later.

Fonts: Kevin and Amanda

How is your classroom management system set-up? How do you teach money?


Sunday, January 13, 2013


Welcome to my blog! My name is Krystyn. I am a second grade teacher (for the third year) in Washington. I have been following some wonderful blogs over the last year and it has inspired me to set up my own blog and share the success and trails of my little kiddos. I plan on using this blog to help me connect and collaborate with other educators.

Happy blogging!