Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How the Teaching Blog Circle Helped Me Get Ready for Third

Well hello there!
Call it overwhelmed.
Call it excitement.
Call it my mind going in a million directions.
I've been bloggy MIA since May and it's because I found out...
My hand was up to volunteer before I knew what was coming out of my mouth!
Next, I found myself in a bit of panic mode...I couldn't even think of blogging.
Am I ready for third grade?
Would I like the curriculum?
What IS the curriculum?
Would I miss teaching the littles?
Would I have the energy to create all new goodies for third grade?
What about the......TESTING????

A little R&R as well as some beach time and I am feeling myself being revved up again. I'm planning, pinning and creating all things third grade - all the while thinking of my new students that I had the honor of meeting during our school's traditional "Moving Up Day." {Oh, those cute little faces!!!!}

Another huge motivator to me has been YOU ALL.  That's right - with some downtime, I was able to spend time reading your blogs and marveling at your energy and never-ending dedication.  Lucky for me, I found so many of your blogs in the Teaching Blog Circle! I took a little time to give the page a makeover, too.  Now you will find it broken up into grade levels.  Come take a peek! {Click Here or Below}

If you are not linked up, please join in!  I was thrilled to find out that you can link your INSTAGRAM accounts, too! No blog needed!

Feel like sharing the love with some friends? Grab the picture above and send it to some friends...encourage them to link up here, too! {come Valentine's Day, we'll turn this into a sweet game-stay tuned!}

So, how am I going to keep sharing and blogging in the midst of all the newness of third grade? I just had to create something to keep me on's what I came up with:

Each month, I'll be blogging no matter what the mayhem, to let you hear my musings as well as milestones.  I invite you to share your own! 

I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU EACH MONTH, FRIENDS! Hope to see you sometime in August for our first Linky!

Have a great day and don't forget to head to The Teaching Blog Circle so you can stalk find some fantastic teachers!!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mother's Day Unit and Superpower Tumblers Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

I expect that everyone is feeling a bit more chipper now that the days are getting longer and the snow is gone (I hope!!)

This time of year always feels like stepping in a rocket about to fly at warp speed.  No sooner do we slumber out of the snow pants and indoor recess, than we head full throttle into end-of-year assessments, activities, placements, celebrations report cards, packing....
Does anyone else feel this way?
How does it sneak up on me year after year?

In all the craziness, we always make time to stop and celebrate mom. <3

Last year, I was part of Teachers Notebook Video Expo.  I had such a great time presenting my Luau-Themed Mother's Day Unit, and I loved working with TN creators Debbie and Steve!  

Part of this process was to create a video tutorial for each part of the unit.  I had never done that before (eek!) but it was a great learning process for me. 

I'd love to give you a peek of what's inside, but FIRST I have some giveaway news...take a look at these goodies I have for you today...the complete packet, plus TWO super cute drink tumblers to give (or keep!!).

Let's take a look at what's inside of this packet.  This packet can be used as a complete unit OR pieces can be pulled out to create really sweet gifts for mom (or that special lady in a child's life). 

I like to decorate my room Luau style (thank you dollar store in spring time!).  The kids present their moms with a flower lei (that they can create) and then they take turns reading their biographies aloud.  

Oh!! For even more sweetness, I have two special chairs placed in front of the room. Mom (or special lady) sits right up front as her kiddie is reading about her.

First up, we have "The Interview."  Moms will wonder what the kiddies are up to when you send home this interview.  I like to send this home on a Monday.  I give the kids a week to work on it.  It becomes part of their ELA homework. If you plan on having your students write a Mother's Day Biography (also included in this unit), this interview is perfect!

I like to review or teach similes to my students at this time as well.  Their biographies really come to life when they include similes about mom in their writing.  Teacher guides tell you how to present the activities and there are several practice sheets for your kids to use.  To brighten up your pocket chart, there is also some cute clip art for practicing similes!

Do you love using mentor texts as much as I do?  This packet has 4 great ones to incorporate in to your ELA block.  These texts are just fantastic for modeling adjectives and descriptive language. I've included some plans and ideas for how to use them in your classroom, too!  You will be thrilled at all of the sweet adjectives that your students will be using to describe their mommies (think of how the mommies will feel!).

The kids love this part of the project.  After using a mentor text to teach personality and physical traits, they have the chance to create a diagram of their mom...complete with traits! I like to use this as the cover of the biography, but it makes a really cute stand-alone project. 

One of my favorite all time movie lines comes from "Forrest Gump."  When Forrest says, "Me and Jenny go together like peas and carrots..." C'mon! Just the sweetest!
Your kids will love learning how to write these metaphors and mom will just swoon when she is told that she is loved more than peanut butter loves jelly! I like to use these at the end of the writing piece.

I've also included some writing templates as well as Luau craft activities to pull this special celebration together. 

My videos have some craft tutorials in order to help you out...well, at least they may be good for a giggle! 

Would you like to win a copy of this unit? How about two tumblers to go with it? Perhaps one to raffle off at your celebration and one to keep for yourself?  

The giveaway will run during my spring break! When I return, I will announce the winner!  Good luck everyone and happy SPRING!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2nd Grade Product Swap & Blog Hop

Welcome to the second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at Second Grade Math Maniac {Click Here! to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop.  This is where you can enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

Before I begin, I have to send some big {{{Hugs}}} and thanks to Jessica from Literacy Spark for putting this fantastic hop together! I am looking forward to doing some hopping myself!  You've lined up some great bloggers with fantastic products!

I was super excited to be reviewing a product from Julie over at Second Grade Style! This year, we started using the Investigations Math program, which is VERY heavy on the word problems.  My kids have had plenty of practice solving problems, so Julie's packet for creating problems was a perfect and refreshing change. 

Before beginning, I explained to my class what a "Product Swap" is! They LOVED the idea of teachers sharing like this! It kinda blew their minds that students somewhere else were using a packet that I made while we were using another teacher's product! They wanted to know if Julie and her class would see their work!  They worked super hard as I took lots of pictures! 

In these first few pictures you will see her Story Problem Book Mat.  This is how the kids stayed organized (Yay! Organized Kids!) as they worked on their story problems.  I wanted them to do one addition problem and one subtraction problem, so I copied the equations onto different colored card stock. Julie has included a TON of cute "Objects" that the kids can use for their problems. They are all kid-friendly and high-interest too!

Everything began face down on the mat.  I had the kids work in tables.  It turned out great because we ended up with 4 different word problem books filled with all sorts of problems! They are on my book display shelf right now!  I have a feeling that they will be read over and over again during Independent Reading time...and how great will that be?? Kids reading and processing math stories just for fun!

So it went like this:
The kids flipped a number sentence card and then flipped an object card.  
Then they got to work on their story problem!

What I really love about this product is that the kids have the opportunity to show their work in 2 different ways.  Perfect, because that is exactly where most of my kids are right now...although they are moving on to more advanced strategies such as "partial sums" and "open number line," many of them still rely on using the Base 10 block illustrations to check their work. Take a look at them go!!!

My kids (and I!!!) really enjoyed this activity. In fact, they even wanted to become pen pals with Julie's class!  I know your kids will love this be sure to grab it in Julie's store {Click Here!}

Remember to enter the rafflecopter at the end for a chance to win everyone's fantastic items!

For that, you'll have to stop by Julie's Blog! :)

Click the button below to head over to Second Grade Style for a review of my product!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Saddle Up and Grab a Great Writing Tip on Be My Guest Sunday!

Hello there everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying a little extra sunlight on this first day of daylight savings! The two little ladies and I were out with their BFFLs* last night at the Imagine Dragons concert. (*That's what those of us in the know call Best Friends For Life...and by "in the know," I mean just recently for myself, so don't be so impressed).  The "spring ahead" rule really messed with all of us today, but it's never to late to have a GUEST drop by!

Oh, if I only lived in Texas, I would love to visit Marcy's classroom!  I can't get enough of her cute, hands-on ideas.  You can check them out for yourself over at Saddle Up for 2nd Grade!

Be careful! Don't get lost in all of those cute activities!  We are lucky to have Marcy here with us today, where she shares a quick and effective way for handling students who like to think of their teacher as a walking dictionary.

If I had a dime, a nickel, or even a penny for every time I heard the words, "How do you spell........" I would probably be basking in the warm Hawaiian sun right now.  And of course, it's a real treat when that catch phrase becomes contagious and every little being in your classroom needs something spelled AT THE SAME TIME.  I swear, at this point in my teaching career, I can simultaneously tie someone's shoe, tell someone that yes, they can go to the bathroom, and spell a word across the room. It's an art, people...and I know you can relate.

Marcy has a quick tip that will have you yelling, "Yehawwwww!" (On the inside, of course! You won't want to interrupt your busy writers while they are hard at work!)  You'll want to take a peek at this post before you head back to work...I know that this is a strategy I will be putting into practice immediately!

Hey ya'll! Its Marcy from Saddle Up For 2nd Grade. 
I am very excited to be your guest blogger today! A big thanks goes out to Tracey for allowing me to participate! Today I'm going to share with you a quick writing tip. Does anyone else love to teach writing but really stresses out about it? (insert hand raise here!) That would be me! Every year it is always one of my top goals to work on writing more. I loved it as a child and still do. This group I have this year, not so much. One of my biggest pet peeves when teaching writing is when your in the middle of a lesson or trying to help a student and you hear five other students say "Mrs. Bernethy", how do you spell….this drives me CRAZY! To limit the 5000 "Mrs.Bernethy, how do I spell…" during writing time I use a post it note to control the issue. When we begin our writing lesson for the day, I lay a post it note on each child's desk. If they need help spelling a word, I simply walk by, write the word on the post it and move on.
Another reason why I love this is that it gives other students a chance to help out. Now when I hear "Mrs.Bernethy, how do I spell…" their neighbor might say I know, and then they write the word on the post it. I love it when this happens! When we are done with writing for the day, they place their post it in our writer's notebooks to use the next day.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who uses this little technique but it has been a huge time saver for me during my writing block and I hope that it can help you too. 

Thanks Marcy! It was great having you as a guest today!  Have a great week!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Be My Guest Sunday with Diamond Mom and Amelia Bedelia!

Hi everyone! I am really so excited to be presenting my next guest to you.  This little lady and I go back to the beginning of our blogging days (not too long ago, but we were there together from the start!)  Let me tell you a little bit about my friend Charlene from the Diamond Mom's Treasury.

I find Charlene to be fascinating! Not only is she a veteran teacher with great ideas for her classroom, her energy is boundless!  When not teaching, you can find Charlene co-directing the Pacifca Ukes ukulele group. {If I lived closer, she'd be my teacher!!}  If she's not doing that, you can also find her  geocaching!  Yeah, I didn't know how much fun that could be either, until Charlene's blog sent me to the link!

Today, Charlene is presenting how to use one of my favorite series in the classroom.  I am a long-time lover of Amelia Bedelia! She gets the kids to laugh their little selves silly and draws them right in to her tales! If you are teaching idioms in your classroom, or would like to in the future, this post is for you!

Charlene even has a little freebie for you straight from her Treasury of Resources! Let's not wait a second longer...Here's Charlene!

Amelia Bedelia and Idioms
Hi everyone. I am Charlene aka Diamond Mom from Diamond Mom's Treasury and I 
am very excited to be able to be a guest blogger for Tracey today. She was one of the 
first teacher bloggers I connected with when I began this journey just over a year ago. 
I love to read about what she is doing in her classroom. I am happy to be able to share 
something that has been happening in my classroom.
Thanks for inviting me, Tracey!
Have you ever found an activity or unit that you try that just takes off on it's own path? 
I have many times. It always amazes me when an idea that starts out as a teachable 
moment or a small idea takes on a mind of its own and blossoms into a larger study.
Our current bloom is idioms. What started as an introduction to Amelia Bedelia for a 
couple of literal learners, has turned into a fantastic learning experience. It has become 
rich with language and writing opportunities. It has so engaged my students, that they 
are driving their families nuts by catching every idiom or figurative speech that is spoken. Sometimes I have to call for a time out so that we can actually focus on the topics being 
studied. Not that I mind, though. It is always rewarding to see the kids have fun with 
something that they are studying.

We did many different activities 
with idioms, and then we decided 
to make an idiom booklet of our 
own for Hundreds Day. You can 
read more about it here. This book
 is now on display in the classroom 
and it is a popular read for free 
reading time.
I teach a grade 2/3 class and I wanted to find some books that would capture their 
interest and be appropriate for reading groups. I scored with Amelia Bedelia. There 
are some I Can Read versions that are great for my struggling readers, some of the 
regular editions that are suitable for my stronger grade 2s and my weaker grade 3s, 
and now the new chapter books that work with my stronger readers.
Right now, everyone is reading about Amelia Bedelia. This is a first!
What I enjoy most about having the same characters, is that we can really look closely 
at them as we meet them in different stories. Everyone is familiar with Amelia Bedelia 
and Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.
Now they are meeting Amelia Bedelia's parents in the chapter books because they are 
stories about her when she was a little girl. They love making connections as they read 
about her adventures.
Herman Parish (nephew of Peggy Parish) has done a wonderful job with these books. 
He also has some new I Can Read books about Amelia Bedelia as a young child. They 
are sure to be a hit as well.

 I had so much teaching about idioms,
 that I decided to create my own activities
 so that we could continue to use them 
throughout the year. Here is my newest 
creation. I hope you like it. Click on the
image to get a free sample. If you like it,
the full version is available in my TpT store.
Well, this has been fun. I hope you enjoy sharing idioms and the adventures of 
Amelia Bedelia with your students as much I did. I would love to hear your stories 
as well.