Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis : a Second Grade study!

This week in honor of Pope Francis and his visit to the United States, we've gone pope crazy! We've been projecting him onto our whiteboard and watching him live all week! On Tuesday, we cheered when he landed in D.C. and watched him meet and shake hands with President Obama.

We then read about his trip to the states, from an amazing freebie provided by Catholic Cutie. We answered fun discussion questions about where they would want to take the pope, and how we can listen to his message and make the world a better place. I loved looking at all the responses my students came up with. One little boy wanted to show him our classroom, while another thought the pope might like to go to Hawaii and relax! 

Yesterday, we watched part of the canonization mass of Saint Junipero Serra and created a fun directed drawing of the pope. Here you can see a simple video of me drawing it step by step! I obviously went much MUCH slower with my kiddos. 

We ended up hanging our drawings alongside our Catholic cutie discussion questions on our second grade board in the faculty room. I love how they all are turned out!! 

Today, we also learned some fun interesting facts about the pope (Did you know he used to own a Harley-Davidsons!? and that he once was a bouncer in a bar!?), while creating cute little pope puppets from Catholic Icing!

My students absolutely loved them. They kept him on their desks all day and talked to him, while they worked. I wish I could have posted a picture of them "buddy reading" with Pope Francis! But here you can see the Pope hanging out with them, while they worked on ST Math during Math rotations today instead! 

Tomorrow, we're going to end our wonderful week with Pope Francis by watching him visit schools in New York! We're also going to do a fun interactive project with our classroom iPads, where students will receive a Pope Francis quote and use their iPads to record what they think that quote means and how we can use that quote to help ourselves grow both in our faith and our relationships with others. I can't wait! 

It's definitely weeks like these that make me so beyond glad to be teaching at a Catholic school! :) 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Big Classroom Reveal!

Hey everyone! As we roll into week four, I am excited to share with you my newly improved Second Grade classroom! After two years with the same bulletin boards and colors in my room, I decided I needed some change! I started by pulling out our school ladder and began by attacking my giant bulletin board. 

At my school, I am blessed with super tall ceilings. They make my classroom feel extremely large and the windows let in awesome natural light. The downside is that one of my bulletin boards is colossal! As you can see in the picture on the left, I have to use a 20 foot ladder to reach the top! Now if you've never done it before, trying to hold paper just right while you staple it and balance on a very tall ladder is absolutely terrifying!! So as you can imagine... I don't get the ladder out all that often. ;)  


But unfortunately this summer... it couldn't be avoided. Although I wanted to keep my school's Mission Tree and my Last Supper board, the paper behind them was beginning to fade. So, I had to pull down the entire board and redo it. In the process, I decided to shorten the tree and condense the Last Supper, so that it would allow for me to move my Writing wall to this side of the classroom. It took me way longer than I expected, but I think it looks awesome with all their work on it! Here, you can see their "Can you Guess the Second Grader?" projects for Back to School night. 

Because I moved my Writing Wall to the West side of my room, I had to also move my Word Wall and Accelerated Reader wall to the other side of the classroom. As you can see, I have tons of bulletin boards. This one here is 30 feet long!
From left to right you'll see my ST Math board, my blue information board, two clotheslines with student work, my Vocabulary/Word Wall, and my All Star Readers board. You can also see my "Back to School Board" above the sink!

Here's a close up of it! I ended up adding my students' names to the soccer balls! The soccer girl in the bulletin board is actually my sister! She's played soccer all her life and currently plays in college. I thought it would be a fun touch! Little did I know though, that my brother would be disappointed that he wasn't included! lol!    

So I of course ended up adding him to my classroom as well! My brother played basketball in college, so I created a basketball themed board above my small group reading table that includes reading posters from Kelly Knighton's tpt store! I'm going to change the posters on this board throughout the year to represent strategies that we will be working on in class.

In this picture below, you can see my view when looking from my reading groups table. I love my little kidney table because it allows for me to see everything! You can see my classroom door, and our classroom cabinets, as well as my back table and every student desk in the room.

On the cabinets is where I hang more student work! Each student makes an "I am poem" during the first two weeks of school. I type them up and add their first day of school picture to them. We laminate them and keep them on the cabinets all year long. Next to their poem is where I hang some of their new work each month! I also hang work on the front cabinets and in the windows of our classroom!

Last but not least... you can see what the front of my classroom looks like. I've divided my whiteboard into three sections. The first is where I keep the "I can" or focused objective that we're currently working on, the date, our progress in ST Math and my reading groups. The second section is used as just a typical white board or can using an apple tv be projected on. And the third section is our Long Term Target board. I write our long term objective for each subject, so that students can see what we're working towards. We reflect on how our learning is progressing and what else we need to do to achieve such mastery.  

Finally, if you look above the board, you are able see one of my favorite additions to my classroom, the vinyl quote of the year! Our school wide theme is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." I learned how to use my cricut this summer and was extremely excited to make this. 

So yes! Sorry about the long post! But I hope you enjoyed getting a sneak peek into my room! I'm looking forward to posting more photos throughout the year of the work we create and the learning and fun that we have!