Buying Better Books

This weekend we started the task of sorting through our walls of books at home and deciding what we had to keep and which ones we would never open again and could pass on. It's hard to decide because eventually we'll be homeschooling and will need some of those as resources. And my big difficulty was not knowing what types of books my kids will be interested in in the future. Who can predict such things? When going through my children's books I decided to keep the "classics" that were known and loved by me as a child. When the time comes and interest develops, we can always invest in books then. 

I recently found out about another book selling site with good prices. It's called Usborne Books. A friend recommended it to me, and I asked her what made Usborne better than Scholastic. I loved what she said! 

Classroom Sneak Peak!

Only a month overdue, but I finally took some pictures of my 2nd grade classroom make-over! One of the challenges I have with moving up to the next grade level this year is that I'm in the same classroom with a lot of my same students. I really wanted them to have a different experience for second grade than they had last year in first, so I spend *ahem* a lot of money this summer getting new supplies to make it a fun space for us all. Take a look!

Sports Theme Student Binder Covers {FREEBIE!}

I'm so excited to teach 2nd grade next year! I've had the summer to search for ideas and I'm really looking forward to implementing some new things. 

An especially fun part is the DECORATING! Who doesn't love that part of teaching?!? (Stressful, yes. But fun, nonetheless!) I decided to do a sports theme this year, which may surprise you because I hate sports. Haha. But for a classroom, I LOVE the idea of teamwork, which can be totally vamped in the classroom setting. 

Take a look at some things I've been creating and buying (thanks Hubby!) for my students, and for your free download T.E.A.M. Binder Cover.

iPads & Other Technology in the Classroom

Last month, I had the opportunity to take a break from the craziness of going back to work after Christmas Break. I drove up to Buena Park for a seminar by Amber Kowatch about "Making the Best Use of iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology"  in the classroom.

Amber said something that was perhaps my favorite part of the whole seminar. She said,

because the technologically-savvy world we live in is providing more and more access for kids to use it, they're going to be using it whether we think they should or shouldn't. 

And isn't our responsibility as teachers (and parents) to guide them in knowing the appropriate way to do so? 

We didn't teach kids how to hit someone when they're upset, but we did teach them about what the appropriate response to anger is. We are the trainers, and we need to make sure they know what to do with the technology they're using. 

So, without further ado, take a look at some of the great ways you can use technology with teaching your young (and old!) students. 

Reading and Writing with Mobile Devices

Although I have been very busy setting up my house since returning from the honeymoon, I carved out some time to attend a couple lectures on writing in the classroom. Most of the content was geared for upper elementary and older grades, so it wasn't quite as helpful for me, but there was still a lot of great information covered. I especially liked this seminar by Jo-Ann Fox because I always love learning about new apps and seeing how to use them in the classroom. Most of these apps were for a classroom that has iPads for the students to use. You can take a look at the slideshow I created to see what was covered and maybe get some new ideas for yourself, just click the picture below.

Reading and Writing with Mobile Devices Slideshow

Reading and Writing with Mobile Devices

A Kindergarten Perspective on Love

For Valentine's Day, I always ask my students to tell me how they know their parents love each other. I love hearing what they say and thought I'd let you in on what my 5 and 6 year olds notice about how their parents communicate love. Enjoy!

I know my mom and dad love each other because....

"They laugh together."

"They got married."

"They're really happy about getting stuff done at the house."

"They go to bed together."

"They kiss a lot."

"They kiss when they come home."

"They go out on a date."

"They love going on the log ride at Knott's Berry Farm with me."

"When my dad comes they give hugs and kisses."

 

Kids notice how your relationship is going, and although they may squirm and giggle to tell their teacher that their parents kiss and go on dates, I know it brings each one a sense of security to know Mom and Dad are still in love and still care about each other. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Teaching with Technology: Behavior Management

I like technology. I like how it makes my life easier and more organized. I like how many things there are available to us through technology. I also (somewhat begrudgingly) admit that I like how my fiancé has transformed me into a Mac nerd. I may be a little late to the ball game, but I'm enjoying learning more and more about it.

Take a Peek into my Classroom!

The time is here! School starts on Tuesday, and I'm breathing a heavy sigh of relief as I tell you that everything needing to be done by the first day is, in fact, complete. Whoohoo! By the end of last week I was tired, cranky, and stressed (it was not pretty.), but the hours of back-breaking work making binders and chair pockets and laminating cards and updating my teacher website and lesson planning and copying and....well, you get the idea....it all paid off!

First Year, Thirtieth Week: Teaching Edition

This week the kids learned an abbreviated version of the 10 commandments. Overall, they did pretty well with it. You'd be amazed how much their young minds can memorize! We worked on a book about trees for Earth Day and made a cool earth craft with their hand prints on top of a writing prompt about their personal Earth Day promise. I've noticed a significant jump in their ability to write complete sentences independently. They're no longer clinging to asking me how to spell everything. They try to sound things out on their own, and they're doing it quite well! I've been able to read pretty much everyone's sentences.

First Year, Twenty Ninth Week: Teaching Edition

I'm a week behind! I've had a good reason though; now that things have slowed down at work, I've been able to get back into having a love life! ;) Week 29 was a busy one. I felt like I was constantly behind all week. It didn't help that it was the first week back after Spring Break, and the kids were NUTS! I have given up all hope of having a calm classroom at this point. They're just so ready to be done and onto their summer vacation. I don't blame them--I'm feeling the same way!

First Year, Twenty Eighth Week: Teaching Edition

I'm on spring break! That's the good news. The bad news is, my brain has officially turned off, and I can't remember a thing that happened last week! Haha. We'll just have to do some bullet points on this week of the few things that do stick out in my mind. - We made a toilet paper resurrection craft that I found on Pinterest. It was similar to one we did at Christmastime. The kids loved it.

First Year, Twenty Seventh Week: Teaching Edition

Spring Fever has officially set in. The kids are crazy as ever. Monday was an especially hard day. My throat was feeling scratchy and uncomfortable by the end of it. I prayed that it was just from yelling over their noise all day instead of a sign that I was getting sick. Thankfully, it was gone by the next day. My big throw-off moment of the day on Tuesday was when I took my kids up to Music class at the end of the day and the room was dark. No one was in there. I wracked my brain to try and think if someone had told me we weren't having music this week. I came up empty.