Budding Bloggers Showcase: Mrs. Jones' Desk

Hi, everyone!  I'm Julie, from Mrs. Jones' Desk.  I'm so excited to be here and want to say THANK YOU to Amanda for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and my blog!  I live in WI with my husband and our dog, Millie.  We were just married in June, and have spent the summer enjoying married life.  

This will be my fourth year teaching, and my third school district!  Somehow I've managed to stay in first grade the entire time and absolutely LOVE IT!  I'm starting at a new district this fall so have been busy learning new curriculum and getting settled into my new school.  I made the switch to be a little closer to home and to be in a bigger district.  I'm excited to see what new adventures this position will bring!

I absolutely love reading and love teaching reading even more.  My classroom is largely centered around reading.  I have a library of well over 2,000 books all broken down into categories and organized into their own color-coded and numbered bins.  I think it's safe to say that during an unannounced visit you'd be likely to find my kids reading!  If we're not reading we're having fun in some other way - working in small groups, doing a project, playing a math game, or even dancing!

I've met some of my best friends through teaching and they are definitely my go to on any tough day.  It's so nice to know that they're only a walk down the hall or phone call away!  Them, and Chili's.  It by far my favorite restaurant and my husband and I go there often!  

I've been busy getting my new classroom ready and have been stalking the Target Dollar Spot like crazy for any new and fun teaching resources.  I'm a sucker for all of their bins and other organizing tools.  I can't stand to have things out of place at school {my house is often another story!} and those color-coordinated bins are a lifesaver!  I've got quite the stockpile for any organizing that needs to be done.  But, I am starting to get a little jealous of other rooms that have some kind of color theme and am starting to think the primary colors might need a make-over.  I see some spray painting in my future...

I absolutely strive for my our classroom and everything we do to be built around my students.  I'm constantly re-arranging and re-thinking to make things work best for them, not me.  The irony in my blog title is that last year I actually gave up my teacher desk!  It was taking up too much space so I made do with just a little space of the counter in the corner!  Lately I've been reading up on Whole Brain Teaching and implemented a few techniques into my classroom last year.  I am IN LOVE with it and can't wait to do more this year!  I love it when my kids are engaged and having fun learning!

Thanks for taking time to read this!  I'd love to have you stop over to my blog and become a follower.  I'm hoping to reach 100 followers by the end of the school year and would love for you to be one of them!

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It's a Wrap! {Five for Friday}

This week month has flown by!  Can you believe that October is just around the corner??  Let's take a look at our last full week of September...

1) Thank you for all of the kind words about our Morning Work PowerPoints!  The winner from our WINSday Giveaway is....
Andrea L.
I've already sent you an email, Andrea! :)

2) I LOVED hearing what you all eat for breakfast each morning.  I must say that I am super jealous of some of your dishes!  This girl doesn't have a minute to spare in the mornings, so I always grab a Cliff bar and eat it at school.

It seems like many of you eat Greek yogurt for breakfast.  Have you tried Chobani's Flips?  In the coco loco flavor?  OH.MY.WORD!!  I even got my mom (who supposedly despises Greek yogurt) addicted to it!  Coconut yogurt with almonds and dark chocolate flipped in?  It's like a healthy Almond Joy....I would know....I have one for lunch every.single.day!
3) I've done just a little shopping this week.  We are required to wear our school ID badges this year, so I went on a search for a cute lanyard.  I didn't have any luck at stores in my area, so I hit Etsy. Isn't this one adorable??  I love it and it doesn't clash too bad with my wardrobe. :)

{from Belleadees}

I also continue to add to my Alex&Ani obsession.  This week's addition...
SWOON - I'm adding wraps to my bangles now.  I am SO jealous of those of you who have actual Alex&Ani stores in your town!!!

I also bought some new flats when heading to Target to pick up folders.  I am NOT a flats girl...I love a good wedge (or heel), but it seems that flats are what is in style {insert pouty face}.  If you've seen any cute wedges around, let me know where!!!

4) In the classroom, we've been working away on making inferences.  My questioning/inferring unit should be proofed and ready to go soon.  Here's a peek at us testing out some of the activities...
I tied inferences in with our communities study - double whammy!  Students had to infer whose sack was left behind by using the items in the sacks as clues.  It really showed what they knew about community workers!
After inferring with pictures, we practiced inferring with text.  I tied inferences in with our animal standards for this one!
Students read riddles filled with clues to infer which animals the cards were referring to....some were tricky, but they knew their animals pretty well!
Finally, we inferred with poetry.  I used poems with missing words and/or titles that students had to fill-in after pulling clues from the text.
5) In math, we worked on addition story problems.  We use the CUBES strategy.  I'll share more about this next week, but CUBES stands for:

Circle the numbers
Underline the question
Box key words
Evaluate & make a plan
Solve & check

They REALLY GET this method and USE it!  We even turn it into a chant with motions.  I'll try to get a video of it for next week.  Here's one of our fellows using the strategy to solve a problem...
 We learned all about addition key words and even made these little addition characters to record key words we found in our problems one day...
I can't wait to share this unit with you!  I love teaching {and listening to students explain how they use} different math strategies!

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It's WINSday! {Morning Work}

Morning Work.  It used to be a dreadful thing.  Last minute scrounging for something students could do independently.  So many copies...ohhhhh the copies!  Directions to explain....over and over and over again as the students entered the room at staggered times.

No longer!  Morning Work is heavenly now. :)  I finally buckled down and created Morning Work PowerPoints last year.  That's right - NO MORE COPIES!!

The format remains the same so students know what to do each day.  They walk in, unpack, make their lunch choices, get out their journals and get to work!  Bliss in room 205, I tell ya! ;)

Until recently, our Morning Work PowerPoints were only "PC compatible" but now they can be used with PC or Mac!  Woohoo!!

If you're looking for something to keep your sanity (and copies) intact, while providing common core standards-based practice and review for your kiddos each morning, comment below to win this unit - 180 days worth of 2nd grade morning work!  That's right - you will not need to think about morning work again for the entire year!  And no more mornings waiting in line at the copier, either!

Here's an overview of the skills included for each quarter...

Take a look at some of the feedback from other teachers on this resource...
 Can't wait to win it?  You can purchase it at our shop for $7.99 {for the whole year - yowza...what a deal!}  Just click below!

Do you teach 1st grade instead??  By popular request, we are working on Morning Work PowerPoints for 1st grade that will correlate with common core!  The 1st Quarter ones are up and ready!  Other quarters will be added throughout the 2013-2014 school year.  If you purchase the unit, you will be able to download the rest once they're added!

To enter, comment below and tell me your "go-to" workday breakfast.  The winner will be announced in my next post!  Good luck, bloggy friends!
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Budding Bloggers Showcase: The Blessed OCDiva

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley and I started a little blog called "The Blessed OCDiva" a few months ago. I am sure the name speaks for itself! ha! I have really enjoyed my online journey so far and look forward to keep meeting other awesome teachers!
I live in the great, hot state of Texas! My hubby and I met online!!
(long story...I posted a "shortened" version on my blog for our 3 yr anniversary!)

We are a family of 5!! Doggie parents only right now.
This is how peaceful it always is.......
Ha! This is more like it!

We love to be active and workout, walk the dogs, play disc golf or other sports and just enjoy down time together and with our families. I especially love to create teaching resources and ORGANIZE!

I teach 1st grade! This will be my 6th year teaching! WOWZA! time flies! I have done a bit of 4th grade and a year in 2nd. 1st is where my heart is!

Since I have to teach it all I have come to enjoy every subject. I really like reading though, it is so rewarding to see them come in not reading and leave reading chapter books!!

If you came to my classroom for a visit you would most likely see color, organization, routines, talking, and discussing. I love to incorporate all of those things into the classroom.

Ever have one of these days?
haha I think every once in awhile it gets like this...when I am feeling stressed some things that help me cope and take it in stride are: prayer, my hubby, my doggies, talking to my mom, working out.....I really try to conquer it and tell myself that God will not give me more than I can handle and I can get through it with faith and strength.

One thing I can not live without are my sticky notes! I heart them so much and they keep me so organized!

My teaching style is a little Mary Poppins with a dash of Rambo :) I believe in high expectations and do think that those lil babies are very much capable of it too! I have my spoon full of sugar approach but also think sometimes a spoon full of Cholula sugar is needed :) The kids know my expectations and if given the opportunity, rise to the occasion and accomplish more than they thought they could.  I think hands on and learning cooperatively is very valuable for young learners.

My blogging goal would be to keep up to date throughout the school year. It has been easy in the summer but when things get, well, see above picture....I hope to be able to not let it slack and provide useful information to other teachers. I would love to gain more followers and network with others as well.

I hope I gave you a glimpse into my Blessed OCD world, and I hope to see you around my neck of the blogspace world!
God Bless!

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Reading Strategies: Connecting & Visualizing

What a lovely week!  Maybe, just *MAYBE* we're starting to get into a routine!

We've been working hard on our reading strategies these first few weeks of school - the things that good readers do with their brains while they're reading.

I've decided to *spruce up* this unit and here's a look at some of our new activities:

After learning how to make connections (text to self, text to world, and text to text) we've been making connections with our read-alouds each day.  Some days, we'll write our connections on "links" and form chains.  We've noticed that we've went from making ALL text-to-self connections to making all three types of connections!  Yay!  Score one for the second graders!

We've also been working hard on visualizing.  We've learned that some words help us paint pictures in our minds, while other words do not.  We've had a LOT of practice with this!
I read the Jack Prelutsky poem, "My Neighbor's Dog is Purple" to the students, leaving out the ending.  they wrote words that helped them visualize on the frames of their glasses.  Then, I gave them time to draw a picture of the dog in the poem (on left).  After that, I reread the poem WITH the ending - boy, were they surprised at how their mental image of the dog changed!  They drew the "dog" again on the right side!  Such a fun activity and cute display.
If you need some new activities to practice making connections and visualizing with your kiddos, you can find this new unit at our shop.  Just click on the image below that gives you a peek at all of the goodies included - sorts, signs, displays, assessments....everything you need!
I'm working on several other units for other reading strategies, too!  You can get a first look at them in action in my classroom this week if you follow me on INSTAGRAM.  :)

I've also updated my Nutrition Unit, so if you're looking for resources to teach about the healthy food groups, check it out here.

Here are a couple of other reasons why this week was so awesome...
Yes, I saw Maroon 5 in concert....again...who said you just need to go once per tour??  We took one of our nephews to his first concert since he has such fantastic taste in music.  :)  I won't bore you with ALL of my pictures, but the above snapshot has some of my faves.  I just might be an M5 groupie....if they're in my tri-state area you can bet I'm there!
And, Saturday was spent in Columbia cheering on my Gamecocks with my mom, dad, and another nephew.  There's not much better than college football season at Williams-Brice!

But, when you add Halloween stores opening, that just MAKES my week!  Last year, I knew I wanted to purchase this little swinging girl (which I promptly named Liza Jane...I don't know why I name everything...these things just come to me), but I kept "waiting" and when I went back to get her, she was sold out.   As in OUT....from every store, from the warehouse...nada.  I was so upset.  So, as soon as we saw the Halloween store open this year, I went to get her.  It was love at first sight.  She's going to be the PERFECT addition to my Halloween decor this year!
I love FALL....but, I would love it even more if the weather would stay in the 80s! :)  What would make you love fall even more??

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