Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Monster Movies!

Recently on Instagram, I posted one of my new favorite projects for the month of October, Monster Movies!

Last year, I had my students create monster videos, using the app Chatterpix. At the time, my students were struggling with character traits, and chatterpix lended itself perfectly to helping my students create monsters with clear and specific character traits. However, this year's class is struggling more with basic story plot, specifically with understanding the difference between beginning, middle and end. So as any teacher would do, we made a new type of movie! 

We used the app Stop Motion Studio to create short monster movies with a clear beginning, middle and end! Students designed their stories and created simple Story boards. They then filmed them, making sure to barely move their monsters while they took the pictures! When all was done, they presented them to the class, making sure to point out the clear Beginning, Middle and End. Here you can see a picture of how they created their monster studios!

This app is incredible and so easy to use! I recommend it to everyone! I love that my little Second graders could use it in seconds! Check out three of our final videos below! They're super short but super cute! 

The Dance Off

The Great Escape

Soccer Friends 

I love how in that last one, the one monster gets hurt while playing soccer and his friend helps him up! So adorable! Definitely going to be using this app more this year!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Another Year! Another Start!

Brag Tags, Bulletin Boards and Back to School goodies!! 
My Writing Wall, Birthday Board, Art Boxes and Class Library!  
       Happy Sunday! As we get ready to start our fifth week, I can't believe how much we've done! Boy, have we been busy! I finally had a chance to post, so get ready for a long one!

Spotted this year in Second grade is not only a brand new class of students but a freshly made Back to School bulletin board!!! This year I went with the ladybug theme for my board. I hand cut and glued 25 ladybugs on neon pink paper and cut out a fun saying using my cricut.  Although its not in this picture, each lady bug now has a student's name written in silver sharpie on the center black strip. The board is bright and extra cheerful!

I also took the time to update my birthday board, create fun new labels for my student art boxes and to switch my typical AR board to a BRAG tag board! That's right! I finally jumped on board (Pun intended! lol!) with BRAG tags!

Brag tag Board! 

Brag Tags

My friend, Isobel, came up with an amazing way to twist Brag tags to best fit our school, so that we can keep our traditional behavior system while still offering them as positive incentives for hard work! If you've read my blog before, you'll know that my school focuses on encouraging student reading, mastery of learning material and growth mindset each year by utilizing technology and celebration! Students in the past have received stickers for books that they've read, class dance breaks for learning, and lunch with the teacher for hard work, effort and overall kindness to others.

So with Isobel's amazing idea, we're taking our traditional AR boards and turning them into celebration boards, using brag tags. Students receive indivudal brag tags for reading AR books, passing levels in our differentiated software (ST MATH and LEXIA), caring for others, learning from their mistakes and extra hard work and effort! Everyone in the class at the same time will receive tags for mastering tricky material, finishing up fun projects, learning our prayers, and getting compliments from other teachers or admin! They will also be getting beads they can add to their tag necklaces for winning pod points. We'll be keeping our traditional behavior system but utilizing brag tags as a way to celebrate master and offer that extra positive incentive. I'm excited to see how it goes!

Bulletin Boards

My classroom has an endless amount of bulletin boards. This year, in addition to taping student work onto cabinets, doors, and windows,  I will be utilizing two boards for student work. The first board is nearly the same from last year, except that I added those adorable pencil clips from the Dollar Spot at Target! Here you can see them holding up one of my favorite Back to School activities: "I am excited to "BEE" in Second Grade." The cute bee craft is from Rhonda Baldacchino on TPT. However, I changed the paper he's holding! 

The Second bulletin board currently has my favorite new Back to School activity, using Emojis! I printed off some adorable clipart from Teachers Resource Force and had students cut out the face parts and glue them on yellow paper plates! They then had to write a sentence about Second grade during the first week. On the back of the plates they wrote reasons for those feelings. I didn't know what to expect when we started the project, but I couldn't have been more excited for how it turned out! Don't they all look so cute! 

Back to School Goodies

The last thing I wanted to share today is my Back to School goodies! I love sending my students and coworkers off on the first day of school with a cheesy but fun treat! I absolutely love making them and I really think it helps me show how truly thankful I am to get to spend a school year with them! In the past, I've sent my students home with packets of teddy grahams that say, " I am beary excited to have you in my class" but this year I sent my amazing fiancé to the store to get them and they were ALL gone! He went to four stores and finally just came home with Animals crackers! So he and I put our heads together and came up with an even cheesier tag! We added tons of animal puns to tell my students that "I'm WILD about having them in my class!"

Here you can see a picture of how they turned out! You can also see the highlighters that I gave to my co-workers! We're writing our WCEA document this year and figured we could all use another highlighter! I attached cute little tags with a little blue ribbon and dropped them in their school mailboxes! And because you managed to read all the way down to bottom of this crazy long post, I've posted these tags for free in my TPT store! I hope you enjoy them! 

Thanks so much for Reading! 

First Day of School 2016! 


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cursive Monsters!

There is something about the end of the year that always gets me so behind with blogging! I think its the First Communion preparation, end of the year testing and constant events that keeps me buzzing around! I'm definitely going to have to do some catch up posts this summer!


But for now... check out these silly cursive monsters that we created during our end off the year rotations last week! As you can see, students used cursive and symmetry to create unique monsters! It's a great way to practice writing your name but can be used for any word! In the past we've made Cursive Vocabulary Monsters and had our monsters shouting out the definitions of our words! No matter what form, my kids just love them! In case you want to try them, I've listed the steps below.

Step 1: Fold one piece of computer paper "hot dog" style in half.

Step 2: Use a pencil to write your name as big as you can above the folded line in cursive.

Step 3: Sharpie your name and refold the paper.

Step 4: Take folded paper to the window and use a pencil to trace your cursive word on the back.

Step 5: Sharpie this new side, so that you have two symmetrical sides!

Step 6: Open it up, color it and add some fun eyes and/or embellishments!

There you have it! A cursive monster! Super easy and they all turn out so different. You can see the yellow monster below was written on the wrong side and still looks awesome! They're just a fun way to practice those handwriting skills, and keep the creative juices flowing as the year winds down! :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

An Introduction to Multiplication

Each year around Christmas time, my little Second graders begin begging me to learn multiplication!

It's funny to me... but Multiplication to them is seen as this big scary topic that makes you a Third grader. Because they're so excited to learn and challenge themselves, I love giving them an introduction to multiplication. It likewise allows me to continue challenging my higher performing students throughout the year in small groups, while giving my other students who are still struggling with 3 digit addition and subtraction a little taste of third grade confidence.

I always start my very first day with multiplication by using m&m's. Using Candy as a manipulative for Math makes the lesson seem more exciting! And because I rarely use food in the classroom, it makes it special too!

This year because I have five students who are allergic to nuts, I also used skittles!

Students use the m&m's and skittles to create "groups of". They write down the mutliplication problems that coincide with the candy they created. We slowly learn that multiplication is equal groups and that there is a relationship between multiplication facts with the same numbers. For example, 3 groups of 5 and 5 groups of 3 equal the same amount of candy pieces. Here you can see a picture of one of my student's work stations.

Students tend to catch on extremely quickly when multiplication is presented this way. I lead them through about 6 or 7 problems together and then let them play around with the candy, making their own math problems! The discovery aspect helps solidify their learning. They write the ones they find on the white board in front of the classroom and we clap for all the awesome work they've discovered at the end of class.

The next day, we use colorful beads and our fun whiteboards to continue discovering multiplication. I found these amazing ping pong boards in the "dollar spot" at Target one day and used them for fun paddle white boards. Again I lead them through a few problems, making sure to introduce them to the multiplication rules of 0 and 1. I then again let them explore.


By using fun manipulatives and materials and by making multiplication into a discovery, it becomes fun and manageable. Students can immediately feel successful and excited to keep learning. It also gets them excited to start learning Division! 

I love how this student used his white board to beg me to keep learning! Gotta love 2nd grade spelling too! ;)