May 29, 2015

Five For Friday: Welcome, Summer!


What a fabulous week it has been! Today I am linking up again with Doodlebugs Teaching to share a little bit about my week. Things are kicking into high gear for the beginning of my summer, and I can't wait for what this summer will bring! Click on the icon above to go read some other posts from this Friday link up!


On last Friday, my teammates threw a beautiful bridal shower for me. We received our first gifts to help us begin setting up our home together. My Mom was able to come from out of town to attend as well! She enjoyed the shower, and then I put her to work helping me pack up my classroom! This shower was just another reminder of what a beautiful and generous work family I have been blessed to work with for the past 7 years.

Arman and I visited my sister and her family on Saturday and Sunday of last weekend. We had a fun time hanging out with Tate and baby sitting him while my sister and brother in law ran some errands. He is just a cutie patootie! I worked really hard on getting him to say "Stephie". To no avail. Oh well, maybe by the end of the summer...


I've gotten all packed up. And there is so much more to say in regards to this photo that I am just not quite ready to get collected into a coherent blog post. I hope to have some time to reflect very soon!


This is my summer reading collection. I visited Barnes & Noble today with some gift cards in hand. I tried to pick a good variety: fantasy, comedy, historical fiction, autobiography, and realistic fiction. Admittedly, I have already read The Good Earth a few times, but I really like it and thought this would be a good summer to do another rereading! I will be starting with The Joy Luck Club today.


I have a problem, I know. But I always like to start my summer with some crafting for school: redo lunch choices, repair/redo pencil cups, and other things. This year, I also updated my TEAM sign with some scrapbooking paper that looks a lot better than the paint job I had on there earlier. I give myself a week to work on these types of projects, and that's it until the week before preplanning! Anyways, I was very jealous of the welcome signs and refreshed bulletin boards I saw going up in some of my coworkers' rooms (it's usually ME doing those prep things, too!) on Wednesday, so I was totally motivated to come home and get all this done! 

Have a great weekend, lovely readers!

May 22, 2015

Five For Friday: School's Out!

Time for a Friday link up where I proceed to brag about it being the end of the year! So, to my non-teacher readers that's just a warning! 
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Wedding guests received our Save The Dates this week! Aren't they fabulous? My amazing fiance designed them and we got them printed on Tiny Prints. 

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On Saturday, I had another recital with a beautifully choreographed pointe piece. I love this shot of our chaine turns from my stage director/ballet teacher/friend, Erika. We danced to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. -Prelude.  

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I bought my kids gift cards for frozen yogurt as their gift from me this year. I usually buy books for them, but they had been book "shopping" in the library discard pile already and many of them made off pretty well. Also, I kind of procrastinated past the point of ordering from Scholastic, and you can't beat those prices!

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This week, we had a box decorating party and following that, I started packing some things up. My kids loved decorating the boxes, which made it easier to see me start packing them, I think! Let's just hope it's not rainy when I'm trying to move or I will have magic marker dripping everywhere!

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These few shots are from our last day of school. I love setting up a beautiful table for their awards. I also post their photo booth photos in the background, which are precious! Also, I love this sweet artwork I got from one of my students. They framed the one with my future name on it! I love seeing that! 

May 21, 2015

Product Spotlight: Luau to Learn

Hawaii is one of those dream destination places. If you have ever been, I am extremely jealous of you and I will just have to keep dreaming of a future time when I can visit there!

I wanted to share some of the great things we are doing in my classroom leading up to our Last Day Luau! At this time of year, now that assessments, samples, and report cards are all done, it is important to keep students engaged in a fun way. We are having so much fun this week: students are still learning, smiling, and (perhaps most importantly) behaving brilliantly! 

Monday: Luka's Quilt
We read half of the story Luka's Quilt before students wrote an advice letter to one of the characters. They did a really nice job of helping them solve their problem! Once the letter writing was finished, we completed the rest of the story. As I read aloud, I used my read aloud guide from the unit to help with my plans for discussion questions. In Math, we learned about symmetry. First, we defined the word and watched a Brainpop video. Then, we found examples of symmetry around us. Following that, I guided students through folding paper in half, cutting shapes, and seeing reflections. After this, students created Tutu's quilt by making cuts on a white piece of paper, and then pasting it on a colored paper. Then, of course, for Luka, they added tissue paper flowers to add color to their quilts. They really enjoyed it and did a fabulous job!

Tuesday: Volcano Information

Tuesday began with students beginning a KWL chart on Volcanoes. Then, they did a close reading and writing response from this TPT unit.  Yes, it is a first grade resource, but we have only just experimented with some close reading now at the end of the year. In Math, students did this fun coloring page to practice their basic facts fluency. And, at the end of the day, we watched The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top!

Wednesday: Too Many Mangos

This is a really sweet book about sharing. I read it aloud to the students, and asked them to think about what they could share with others. In my unit, you will also find instructions for a craft to go along with the writing. For Math, students tried mangos and a few other tropical fruits. We then created bar graphs to show our class' preferences! They really enjoyed trying the yummy fruit! (Sorry no pictures! I forgot!)

Other Stuff:
Centers! The Following Directions Craft and Dictionary Scavenger Hunt are in my unit. Along with an Internet Scavenger Hunt which we completed during our visit to the Computer Lab. It would normally be in our rotation, but the computers all got collected already! 

A Photo Booth for the kiddos! 

Link to my products by clicking on these pictures:

These pictures provide you with a further preview. Notice that there are game explanations, task cards, and a student comprehension book for the Magic Treehouse High Tide In Hawaii:

May 19, 2015

Using Survey Monkey To Collect Parent Feedback

Image result for survey monkey

Have you ever wondered what your students' parents really think about you? Ok, maybe not. Or, maybe you think you already know. I have to admit, I can't help but wonder what is said about 2nd grade by my families as they are sitting around the dinner table, leaving the pickup line, or toiling over homework.

We teachers and parents, despite our shared interest and love for their children, can often have a very formal relationship. This is a good thing! However, we often don't say to each other everything we're thinking, and, let's face it, that's probably a good thing too! 

A few years ago, I began using a quick survey at the end of the year to get parent feedback. Let's face it: many of the decisions I make in the classroom affect them on a daily basis. I want to make sure that these decisions are helpful and important-especially if those things (like writing a newsletter, providing written commentary, or sending home weekly math homework) take up a lot of either of our time! Time is so important, and we all want to spend it in a way we find valuable.

So, I use SurveyMonkey, a free online survey building tool, to survey my parents! I don't make it too long and I don't spend lots of time trying to get feedback on every detail of my classroom. It's easy to create different types of questions, and I always leave a comment box with each one just in case! When it's ready, I send out a quick text message blast with the link, asking for them to take the survey, thanking them for the time, and promising that their feedback is important to me.

Within a few hours, I have already begun receiving helpful feedback. Take a look at this screenshot:

After a few years of feeling stressed out by sending home a weekly newsletter, I moved them to monthly. If I keep receiving feedback like this, I am going to have to rethink this decision I have made!

And how about this one:

This helps me feel good about the time I spend writing commentary and creating higher order opportunities for my students. 

Have you ever used SurveyMonkey in your classroom? Have you got any tips for me?

May 15, 2015

Five For Friday

Whoa! I didn't realize it had been a month since my last Five for Friday post. It's just that time of the year, I guess!
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This week, I wrote a post with my tips for the End of the Year class video AND I actually completed and uploaded the final product today! Whoo hoo! I may have watched the whole thing three or four times already...
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Last weekend we tasted cake! Oh my goodness, the wedding cake is one of my favorite parts of our wedding already. If you are ever in Athens, you must visit Last Resort and have a slice of Cecilia's cake! 

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On Mother's Day Sunday, I was on craft duty at church while the Dads cooked breakfast and the Moms slept in. These were just glass candle holders from the Dollar Tree (see me talking about this idea in this post), tissue paper, and mod podge. They worked out so nicely! Full disclosure: I am a little unsure about whether or not they are a fire hazard when it's all said and done, but the sunlight sure looks pretty streaming through them! 

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This Thursday we had Field Day. Then that afternoon, my cat and I had a recovery party on the couch. I ate Doritos and drank an adult beverage. Or two. It was my best idea all week! SorryI'mNotSorry.

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This afternoon, I stayed a little later at school than I normally would for a Friday. I had to prepare everything for our Three day Luau unit! I decorated the room with lots of stuff from the Dollar Tree, prepped centers and activities, and then prepared the photo booth that the whole 2nd grade will be using. My kiddos are going to be so excited (and hopefully engaged and well behaved)! See my unit (that cold be much longer than 3 days) here

Well, I'm looking forward to a busy weekend and I hope I can get my report cards all completed! Ciao!