Monday, April 14, 2014

Must-Read Monday {Spring Break Edition}

Finally.  I am on Spring Break.  Finally.  And that, folks, is why this linky is a bit late being posted yesterday.  Mr. Madden and I went to The Masters yesterday (blog post about THAT tomorrow).  It wore me out.  Let's just say I haven't been outdoors that long since the beach last summer.  An outdoor girl I am not.  So, last night, when we go home I crashed.  And, this morning I slept late, showered late (I'm proud I actually did that), and have been slow going.  My entire spring break cannot be like this.  My to-do list is WAY too long for that.  But day one, I'm letting myself relax.

With that said, I'm starting a new book.  A WHAT?  Yep.  A book.  Just for me.  I love summer when I'm able to read several books a week.  I'm hoping to get through a couple this week.  We'll see.

First up.
I read the first two books long ago, but the third book wasn't out yet.  And, well, it's been buried on my to-read list since then.  Since I saw the Divergent movie last week, I'm inspired to dig this one from the pile and jump in!  I've heard of people being disappointed in this one, but I'm hopeful.

I'm not sure what I'll read next.  I really want a "can't-put-it-down" series.  I'm a HUGE suspense fan (think Gone Girl), so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rain Gutter Bookshelves {A Bright Idea}

 Many years ago, I saw these amazing bookshelves made from rain gutters.  I always wanted them in my classroom.  They are PERFECT for that small space under your board that is usually pretty "unusable."  But, I had a different idea...

My students are always wanting to take AR tests on books that I read aloud.  I've always had a great system for books that they read independently, but for read-alouds....not so much.  They never knew how to spell the titles and once one student grabbed the book to test on it, it would be misplaced and other students couldn't find it.

Problem solved!  I had my husband make me two 3 ft. rain gutter bookshelves to go right above our laptop station so that I could place books read aloud in them.  Now, the books are there for all students to see and test on!

It also makes for a great "showcase spot" for themed books, such as an author study.

Here's how I...okay, hubs...made them.  

We bought a 10 foot rain gutter from Lowe's.  We cut it into 3 ft sections.  We chose to spray paint it red to match my room.  We used two endcaps for each gutter and 3 braces.  On the back of each brace, we added velcro.  Heavy duty velcro.  Seriously...the sturdiest velcro you can find.  I found mine in the section with the Command Hooks (industrial strength is best)!  That's it! {Here's the actual link to the tutorial we found on Pinterest and used.}

We put the velcro on the three braces...
and attached it to the wall.  Easy peasy!  One thing that I really love is that it is removable, so if I really need that wall space for something, the shelves can pop right off. 
And then back on! :)
So practical, so easy, so versatile!  How could you see yourself using these in your classroom?

If you enjoyed this bright idea, be sure you are following me on Instagram, Facebook, and TpT.

For more Bright Ideas from 150 bloggers, please browse through the link-up below by choosing the topic/grade level that interests you.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday....Spring Break is Here!

I am all kinds of excited about FINALLY being on Spring Break myself.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed living vicariously through all of your pictures.  But, I'm ready for some relaxation of my own!

Here's a peek at our last week before break...

We worked hard on alliteration this week.  This activity is from our best-selling Poetry Pizzazz pack.  I love this pack because it has craftivities for all kinds of literary devices, while making your entire hall look like SPRING! :)

And, a little funny from our alliteration assessment today...
Beautiful Bottoms???? Gotta love those second grade boys! :)  At least they keep me giggling as I grade!

We're also diving into writing poetry.  There's not much that I love more than children's poetry. <3
As if everyone wasn't excited enough about spring break approaching...we also had a field trip!  We visit our city's downtown area where the students go on a scavenger hunt through downtown, have a picnic lunch at the park, and visit the theater for a play.  It was a wonderful day!

Hubs finally agreed to go with me to see Divergent.  I can't wait to FINALLY read the third book over spring break.  I'm going to do it.  Seriously.

I got a sweet, thoughtful "Easter" gift from a parent today (the blue Alex and Ani) went well with the stack I was wearing today.  I mean, a girl can never be wearing too much arm candy, right??

And guess what?  We're going to the Masters on Sunday!  Maybe one of these new little sundresses will make its appearance there.  I'm so HAPPY that warm weather is finally here and I can live in sundresses again!!!!  So happy, that I'm singing Pharrell as I finish this post! :)

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Must-Read Monday {Writing Series}

As if things weren't going well already today.  It is Monday.  That means no break day for this teacher.  And, it also means rain.  That's right.  It has rained every single Monday all year long.  I am not exaggerating.  Yoga was cancelled.  And, I was nominated "most popular" blogger again.  No, that is NOT a good thing.

Thank goodness for sweet friends like Missy over at Dirt Road Teacher for letting me know that my blog was looking all shades of crazy!  I HATE Photobucket.  If you get a blog designed, ask the designer if they use Photobucket.  If so, run.  RUN!  At least, it was an easy fix this time.  Just shelling out a little cash.  Not like last year where it was CrAzY for weeks!!!!!!!!!!

Whew!  So, now let's talk about books.  We're still reading The Lemonade War (economics tie-in) and Gooney Bird is So Absurd (best poetry read-aloud ever!), so today I'm going to preview what we will be reading.  As soon as they arrive.

Take a look at this fab little series I just discovered.

They're books that teach students (geared for grades 2-5) how to write each genre - letters, fairy tales, silly stories, poems, research reports....yes, please!  Writing is my favorite thing to teach so I'm not sure how I didn't know about these treasures already.  There are even more of them, too - these are just the ones that I ordered.

Just waiting on Amazon to deliver my package of love and then I'll write a little review for you.  Have you tried any of these in your classrooms?  I'd love to know your experience with them, if so!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Must-Read Monday Linky {Roald Dahl}

I'm always on the lookout for a new BIG chapter book read-aloud for my class.  Amazingly, I had never read any of the Roald Dahl books aloud to my class.  I know, I know...classics, right??  #badteacher

Earlier this year, I stumbled across an entire set of Roald Dahl books at Costco and decided to purchase them.  I decided to read The BFG to my students, as I know this is a favorite of some teachers.

At first, I was regretting this decision.  It was just okay at first and all of the made-up words were a bit much for me.  Then, it hooked us.  

By the end of the book, we couldn't wait to see how it ended.  Some of my students even checked out their own copies from the library to follow along.  Don't you love when they do that?? ;)

I *mentioned* that we had a Roald Dahl basket on one of our bookshelves (I added it mid-year after my Costco purchase and it wasn't labeled yet and the students didn't seem to even notice it).  Then one of my students announced that there was only one book in the basket.

Well, well, seems that my littles had quickly developed a love for Roald Dahl.  Some of my higher readers especially are now hooked on reading them!

We finished The BFG on Friday and the students gave it a rousing round of applause at the end.  Melt.My.Heart.  We especially loved the way it ended.  If you haven't tried Roald Dahl with your littles, I would recommend this one as a read-aloud to your group. 

What is your favorite Roald Dahl book?  Is there another one that I should definitely read with second graders?

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Organize Your Desktop

Just a quick post today, as I'm on a one-day roadtrip with the hubs!

Have you seen everyone organizing their desktops with those cute digital templates??  I knew I would have to jump on that trend because as much as I try to keep my files organized, my desktop ends up being a hot mess very quickly!

Here's a look at my desktop right now.

Even though there are a lot of files on there at the moment, it is still organized!  Want to organize yours, with a quick free template?  You can find the one I used in for FREE HERE!

Although, I'm about to switch to THIS adorable spring one!  Hope you can use these to get your life desktop a bit organized, too!

If you've created some desktop organization templates to share with others, leave your link in the comments!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's WINSday!! {Wonderful Worms}

Spring is here!  Does it feel like it where you are?  I sure hope so!  A little sunshine and warmer temps just seems to put everyone in a better mood!

Help bring spring to your classroom with our Wonderful Worms Unit.

It's a perfect follow up to any worm-based novel study, worm unit, spring activity, or Earth Day study.  But, the great thing is that many of the activities can be used independently at any time during the year!

This unit includes the following resources:

1) Bookworm Book Summaries - Students create a 3-D display that includes a book summary and a new book cover design for a book of their choice. (Includes templates and display sign)

2) Hop & Measure Worms - Students practice measuring to the nearest centimeter and inch in this fun math activity. (Includes 20 worm cards, recording page, answer key, and directions)

3) How To Eat Fried Worms Craftivity - Students write their favorite recipe for eating fried worms. (Includes writing page and craftivity template)

4) Word Worms Craftivity - Use this activity to have students expand vocabulary. Many ways to differentiate for all levels.

5) Persuasive Worms - Students write persuasive pieces from a worm's perspective or about worms. (Includes 2 writing prompt options and craftivity template)

6) Worm Poem - An original worm poem to use with students.

7) Worm Pudding Craftivity - Students create a craftivity and write a "how-to" piece after making worm pudding in the classroom. (Includes writing page, craftivity templates, and directions)

8) Worm Terms - Students learn different vocabulary about a worm's body and then draw a diagram labeling these parts.

9) Worm Fact Charts - Students use this chart to show their knowledge of worms (what worms can do, what worms have, and what worms are).

10) Measuring Worms - Students use this chart (along with clay) to practice making worms of varying lengths (in both centimeters and inches).

Go LIKE Teacher's Clubhouse on Facebook and leave a comment on the Giveaway Post there to win this unit!

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