Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made-It #3 for Me with a Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be back for Monday Made-It!  All the other blogs and Pinterest have given me lots of inspiration this summer.  So, first I'd like to share what I made for school.

This creation was inspired by a post I found last year at Teaching My Friends.  I had been playing around with the idea of creating a "menu" type of board for writing using the six-traits by doing something similar to the CAFE menu that I use for reading (click on The Cafe Book below for more info).

I wanted to have one column for each of the six traits that I could post the strategies I had taught so far under and had played around with trying to come up with a clever acronym but didn't have much luck.  So, when I found the picture below, I was so excited!  This is just what I was trying to do.

VOICES is such a great acronym for writing.  I've been planning on implementing this for the upcoming school year, so this week I made some headings that I can use to create my very own VOICES board like the one above.  Thank you Nancy at Teaching My Friends for the great idea.

There is one heading for each trait of writing with an "I can" statement to define the trait in student friendly language.  Plus, they each have a cute owl just for fun! :) Click on any of the pictures below to get a copy in my Teacher's Notebook store.

I plan on using these headings very similarly to how I use the CAFE board headings.  Just like the bulletin board picture above, I will put them at the top of a bulletin board and as I introduce a new writing strategy, I will post it underneath the appropriate trait heading.  I have seen how much the CAFE board has helped my students take control of their learning as readers by being able to choose goals and name strategies they use as they share with the class.  I'm confident that this board will also help kids see the connections between reading and writing even more than they already do.'s the giveaway.  The first 3 people to comment and tell me how you would use a VOICES board in your room will get the VOICES headings for free so you can have your own VOICES bulletin board! 

Now...for what I made for home.  A canvas painted with the words Faith, Hope, Love.  I painted it a lime green color (3 coats).  Then, I typed the words in a font I liked, printed it out on cardstock, and then cut them out.  Since I couldn't find an outline type of font I liked, I had to use a regular font and cut out the letters.  I traced them onto the scrapbook paper and cut those out.  Finally, I glued them onto the canvas, created a bird for the corner, and put modge podge over the whole thing.

Those are my Monday Made-Its!  Don't forget to check out the VOICES headings and link up at Fourth Grade Frolics.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Turn Up the Music!

Another linky party!  Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness had a linky party about music you use in the classroom at the end of June but I just found it the other day.  So, I'm linking up now!

I love using music in the classroom, whether it's an actual song I turn on the c.d. player or just a little transition jingle that I make up on the spot.  One of my favorite clean up songs is called "Oh My Goodness Look at This Mess" by Sweet Honey on the Rock.  If you have never heard of them, check it out by clicking on the picture below.  It is such fun song and a nice change to the classic, "Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere...."

Another great song on that same album is called "Still the Same Me."  It's all about how we all have our ups and downs but we it's what's on the inside that counts.  This one is a great song to use at the beginning of the year.  Click below to preview it.  Same picture as above, but this one is the entire album.  You can preview all of the songs.  Part or all of these lyrics would be ideal to type up and print out for your students to read over and over in their song books.  Click on the link to see my previous post about song books and for a freebie.

I also love the Dr. Jean c.d's for fun brain breaks and to end our day.  My students love "Gumball" from the Sing to Learn c.d.  It's a silly song about putting a penny in the gum slot of a gum ball machine.  Each verse has students trade a new sound for the beginning sounds of the words. Unfortunately, there isn't a song preview for this one but you can click on the picture to read more about the c.d. and purchase from Amazon.

We also like to end our day with Dr. Jean.  As the kids are lining up to go in the hallway and get their things, I play "We had a good day" by Dr. Jean from the Kiss Your Brain c.d.  It's a fun and calm way to end the day, and second graders love waving to each other (even when they're still just standing in line).

Again, you can't preview the individual c.d. but I guarantee that you won't be disappointed with any of it.  I use numerous tracks on both these c.d.'s all the time.

I could go on and on...but I'll stop.  

What are some of your favorite songs to use in the classroom?  Don't forget to link up too.  It's not too late. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

Even though I technically started blogging in May 2011, I feel like I'm still a newbie because I didn't start seriously thinking more about my blog and trying to post more regularly until this summer.  I'm linking up with Janis at Grade Three is the Place For Me for her Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop.

  I love the idea of helping each other out when we're new to blogging so feel free to comment, follow me, and link up to the blog hop as well.

1.  What State You are In - Wisconsin
2.  Your Current Teaching Position - 2nd grade
3.  Your teaching experience - 5 years total, 2 years in first grade and 3 years in second grade
4.  When you started blogging- created blog May 2011, seriously started blogging summer 2012
5.  Share a blogging tip/blogging resource- Blogging Tips Linky Party from last summer at Teaching Blog Addict

Feel free to hop on over and check out the other awesome new blogs out there.  Don't forget to become a Happy Literacy follower before you go! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Kissing Hand, Self Portrait Books and Names Linky

We don't start back with students until after Labor Day, so it is a bit of a stretch for me to be ready to plan out my first week.  But, Molly's linky party over at Psyched to Be in 2nd was a good reason for me to get thinking about it.

In the past when I taught first grade, I always read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn on the first day.
You can check it out by clicking on the picture below.

Then I gave my kids this poem printed on white card stock.  They traced their hands on a piece of construction paper (tan, brown, etc.), cut it out, and glued it to the right side of the poem sheet.  This is a great way to get a quick glimpse of fine motor skills, too.  Finally, they used two thumb prints (using red ink pads I found at the dollar store) to form a heart in the middle of their hand.   They got to take this home at the end of the first day.

By second grade, however, 99% of my students have already done The Kissing Hand activities at least once in kindergarten or first grade.  So, I have switched things up a bit.  Here are a couple of activities I plan on using again this year.

1.  Self-Portrait Books  -  Last year I used the first activity from Super Paper Bag Books (Scholastic) as a first week activity during writer's workshop.

The kids get to create a book about themselves, there's some writing but not a ton to help them ease into things, and they get to do some art when they are done writing to make their book look like them.  After we finished the books, I had one child share their book each day during our morning meeting (more about morning meeting in this post).  They also make a cute display in the classroom or hallway.  Click on the picture above to check out the book from Scholastic.  You can actually see this activity in the preview pages on Amazon.  I have also used some other activities from the book throughout the school year.

2.  Our Special Names Activity-  Another favorite first day read aloud is Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  

I read the book aloud and we discuss how each of our names are special (named after grandparent, special meaning, etc.)  Then, I cut out the letters for each students name with our school's die-cut machine.  I give them their letters and they glue them down on a strip of construction paper.  Finally, I tell them to make their names look as special as we already know they are!  I let them use markers, beads, yarn, glitter, etc.  Their decorated names also made a really cute get to know you bulletin board display.  They loved this last year!

3.  Along with the Chrysanthemum read aloud and discussion about our names, during word work I put the following poem in a pocket chart on sentence strips.  

Everybody has a name,
Some are different,
Some the same.
Some are short, some are long.
All are right, none are wrong.
My name is _______,
It's special to me.
It's exactly who I want to be.

I write each child's name on an index card.  I hold up a name for the whole class to read.  Then, that student puts his/her name in the pocket chart and we read the poem.  That child gets to read the line - My name is ____.  We do a handful of kids each day until everyone has had a turn.

4.  Finally, I have not done this next activity yet but I am going to do it this year.  It looks so cute! And, what a great way to build self-esteem.  Where did I find this adorable idea you ask?  Pinterest of course!  The pin only leads to a Flickr picture, so there's no further explanation to go along with it and I can't link to the original source.

Do you have a favorite first day/week activity to share?  Please leave a comment and explain! :)
Don't forget to link up too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Morning Meeting Part 1: Greetings

In a previous post, I talked briefly about morning meeting: the different components and how I create my morning messages.  To read more, click here.  Today let's focus on the first part of a morning meeting, the greeting.  Research shows that certain parts of the brain are activated more when kids hear their own names aloud than when they hear someone else's name.  And, I can't find the exact stat, but the percentage of children who go an entire day without hearing their name said aloud is alarming.  Why should we care?  The greeting in a morning meeting allows children who could otherwise go unnoticed to feel important and hear their name said aloud at least once that day.  Children who don't get the attention at home that they so desperately need and want are able to feel a sense of belonging because someone greets them by name.

Ok sorry...that's just my little plug for greetings during morning meeting and for paying close attention to those kiddos that often can fly under the radar.

One book that I have found lots of helpful greetings in is 99 Activities and Greetings. It includes ideas for grades K-5 and even organizes them by what time of year it would be best to introduce them (beginning, middle, end).  Click on the picture to check it out!

So, here are a few of my students favorite greetings that we use throughout the year.  And, each year I switch up which greetings I introduce to them to keep things interesting.  We always start morning meeting sitting in a circle.

1.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom -
       Many kids have been exposed to this book by second grade, and if not, I read it aloud to give them a context.  The greeting goes to a rhythm we create with claps and slaps.  So, sitting criss-cross in a circle, we begin by gently and quietly slapping our legs 2x and then clapping 2x (slap, slap, clap, clap). While repeating this pattern, we chant:
Chicka chicka boom boom,
(slap)    (slap)   (clap)  (clap)

Look who's here, in our room
(slap)       (slap)   (clap)   (clap)

__________ (child says his/her first name)
(slap)    (slap)   (clap)  

"Good morning, ________"
(clap)  (slap)   (slap)  (clap)  (clap)

      This continues all the way around the circle until everyone has had a turn.  We often end this greeting by saying, "Chicka chicka boom boom, look who's here, in our room, we are!"

2.  Choice Greeting-
      There are different versions of this greeting that I have used.  The only difference is that the choices are different.  Sometimes I use handshake or high-five for the choices and sometimes I use a "butterfly shake" or "salmon shake" for the choices.

      How it goes-  Child 1 turns to the kid next to him/her in the circle and says, "Good morning, _____ (be sure they say each other's names).  Child 2 says good morning, ___ back.  Child 1 asks, "Would you like a salmon shake or a butterfly shake?"  Child 2 responds and that's what they do.  This continues all the way around the circle.

      Butterfly shake: Students both use their right hands.  Spreading the thumb away from other fingers, they interlock hands by thumbs and wiggle the other fingers like butterfly wings.  Sorry I don't have a pic right now.
     Salmon shake:  Students put their right fore-arms on each others' arms side by side and flop their hands on the other person's arm, like a fish tail flopping back and forth.

3.  Knock-knock-
Child 1: turns to his/her neighbor and gently "knocks" on Child 2's shoulder saying, "Knock knock." 
Child 2: "Who's there?"
Child 1: says his/her first name (i.e. Jack)
Child 2: asks, "Jack who?"
Child 1: Jack ____ (says last name i.e. Smith)
whole class: "Good morning, Jack Smith"

Continue around circle until everyone has had a turn.  Last year was the first year I used this greeting and my students absolutely loved it!  Who doesn't love a good knock knock joke? ;)

I would love for you to share a favorite greeting you use with your students in the comments!!

More to come on morning up: activities.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday (I) Made-It

I finally made it for another Monday Made-It linky party with Fourth Grade Frolics!  Previously I posted that I was working on making some headings and strategy cards for the Daily Cafe menu that goes along with Daily Five.  Well, they're done!  Since The Sisters (authors of Daily Five and The Cafe Book) introduced the CAFE menu to their kids by comparing it to a menu that you choose from when you go to a restaurant, I decided it would be really fun and cute to make some headings and strategy cards with a coffee shop theme.  At the beginning of the year, I introduce the CAFE menu to my kids with a similar explanation.  I add that a lot of times, when adults have book clubs, they like to meet in fun cafes or coffee shops to talk about what they read and enjoy a fun treat like a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  We compare that to what we will do all year in second together about books!   So, here are the headings and strategy cards!

For those of you that prefer to have yourself or your students write the strategy on the cards and possibly add an illustration, I have also included blank strategy cards for each category (comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expand vocabulary).  These blank cards have the corresponding background pattern and coffee mug to match the heading card.

Click on any of the pictures below to get them from my Teacher's Notebook store!

Heading cards

If you would like to have Cafe board headings and strategy cards in different colors/themes than you see here, please leave me a note in the comments.  I would love to create more if people are interested.

Along with my school project, I also made a little something for my home....inspired by Pinterest of course.  First, I saw these adorable frames called Organic Blooms that are only available through professional photographers and are a bit pricey.  So, I saw this pin that suggested making a knock-off version from a wood plaque and mode podge.

So, I went to Michaels to find a wood plaque because I couldn't find them at Hobby Lobby in fun shapes like the pin suggested.  For less than $3, I made my own version of those adorable frames.

I had to sand the plaque a bit before I painted it.  Then, I added three coats of Caribbean aqua.  To attach the photo I used double-sided tape.  I still need to add modge podge to seal it, but I'm not sure if I should use gloss or matte, so I'm putting that off.

That's it. My Monday Made-It.  

Feel free to follow my blog to see what I make for next week. :)

You can head over to Fourth Grade Frolics by clicking on the pic below to check out other Monday Made-Its too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Songs for Shared Reading and a Freebie

Every year I do some variation of a poetry or song book for word work with my students.  I use a lot of song lyrics or poems that we turn into songs for shared reading.  I write them on chart paper, add some drawings, and laminate them.  We read/sing them together during word work.  I usually follow this routine:  On Monday, I read/sing it aloud the first time, then I use a pointer and ask kids to join me.  The third read-through I call on a student to come use the pointer and lead the class as we read/sing altogether.

We usually re-visit the poem each day for a week incorporating different activities such as: highlighting rhyming words with highlight tape, looking for words in a certain word family, circling sight words, searching for words with certain spelling patterns (i.e. consonant-vowel-consonant words), tuning into interesting words and figuring out meaning together, etc.

Either on Tuesday or Wednesday, I hand out a copy of the poem/lyrics to each student that is already 3-hole punched.  They illustrate it and add it to their song book.  I usually just use the 10-cent 3-prong folders you can get when all of the school supplies are on sale.  I like to give every student the same color folder so it's easy to find and I can just say, "Get out your green song book" and everyone knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Here is a cover I made for their song books.  You can get your free copy by clicking on the picture below.

One of my favorite songs to use for working on digraphs and blends is Zip-ah-dee Doo Dah.  First I just teach them the song as normal.  Then, I show them a card with a blend or digraph and we replace the beginning sounds in the words with that blend.  For example, if we are working on /th/ as in think, we sing,
Thip-ah-dee Thoo Than, Thip-ah-dee Aye
My oh my what a wonderful day,
Plenty of sunshine coming my way,
Thip-ah-dee Thoo Than, Thip-ah-dee Aye
and so on...

The kids love it!  They always ask me if we can sing that song and pick a card to change the sounds.
I give them a copy of the lyrics so they can do this activity individually at word work during Daily Five.  Click here for a copy of the song lyrics to print.

How do you use songs with your students?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Great Give-aways and What I'm Working On!

I want to share 3 great give-aways that I found today while blog hopping.  The first is at Teacherific for a $25 gift card to Target.  Click on the picture below to check it out.

Another giveaway is at Teaching Joys for reaching 25 followers.  Click on the picture below to check it out.

Finally, Delighted in Second is having a give away for reaching 100 followers.  Find out more by clicking on the picture below.'s what I'm working on.  Many of you have marked my Coffee Shop Cafe Signs as a favorite on my Teacher's Notebook store.  So, I've decided to create a packet with similar headings and reading strategy cards that are ready to print and put up on your CAFE board.  If you have downloaded them and liked them, please go back and leave some positive feedback.  Stay tuned for the completed packet soon...

Feel free to follow me so you know when it's complete! :)

Happy Monday!