Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SUPER SPELLERS

Since this is my first year in a regular ed room, I have been trying many new things in my room. One of the things I noticed very early on in the year was the deficit many of my students were having with their weekly spelling words. Oh My Word at the beginning my tests were atrocious. ( I dreaded grading the horrid tests!) I knew I had to do something to help my kiddos master their words, but also master the skill that we were working on. I came up with a game plan. Luckily, this plan has been successful. I have seen a huge improvement in grades. I actually enjoy grading the tests now! Strike that, but I do look forward to seeing how much my kiddos have improved over the last few months!!!

Monday: Introduce skill (This is usually done via smartboard. P.S. I love pinterest and my bloggy buddies. You guys have been wonderful sharing powerpoints and ideas) and complete workbook activity.

Tuesday: Review skill (dry erase game/activity) and complete workbook activity

Wednesday: Complete ABC Order (5 words each) and Word Scramble (Available in my Reading Street Supplemental Packets)

Thursday: Complete ABC Order (all words) and SPARKLE Game

Friday: Assessment Day

I also have sterilite drawers with spelling activities. In my supplemental packets, I have word lists that I print and put into a bin. For more details on my spelling activities head on over to my blog posts titled Spectacular Spelling.

Another key component has been the “spelling City” activities for our indoor recess. This has helped my struggling kiddos tremendously. They “love” choosing a spelling stick daily. (This helps keep the games/activities change daily. You never know what the game/activity will be!)

Our “ top” favorite activities are

Sentence Unscramble

Which Spelling City activities do your kiddos love?????

Always

Melissa

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Moving Right Along

Have you ever had one of those days when you said, “Okay I have had enough! God you can stop now”! From the moment that I woke up it seemed like it was one thing after another. I am hoping that I can crawl into my bed tonight and thank the man upstairs that the day is finally over. Maybe it is just this entire week that I have been dreading. The one year anniversary of my sweet friend Daphne’s death is on Wednesday.
Daphne
Daphne and her dog PeeJ
bc girl melonheadz colored
My sweet friend, there is not a day that I don’t carry you in my heart! I hear your voice of reason, but I still don’t listen!! I would do anything to hear one of your lectures. I still remember our last conversation like it was yesterday. (Did you have to be spot on about everything!) Till we meet again my sweet Daffy Duck – I love you and miss you dearly.
To say the least getting motivated to complete the units and mini units has been quite hard. I finally posted all of my Scott Foresman Reading Street Supplemental Packets for Units 1-4. You can head on over to my TPT store and snag up these useful packets. I utilize the packets for my Reading Focus Wall, Spelling Activities, Comprehension, and etc.
They have been a huge lifesaver for me this year being new to 2nd grade. I am finally getting my tippy toes to touch the ground. I have gotten into a weekly routine of copying, grading, planning, etc. It only took me 5 months, but I feel like I have gotten into a pretty good groove.
I have begun my supplemental packets for Unit 5 & 6 and then will be moving on to create first grade packets (by popular demand). Okay there people I put it in black and white!!! No worries. I will begin creating Unit 4 and then move on to 5 before backtracking to Units 1-3. (You may all stop blowing up my emails with requests!!! Even though I am quite flattered and touched by your “sweet” pleas and poems.
Did you enter my giveaway for the Classroom Friendly Supply Pencil Sharpener???? Don’t delay, enter today. <—(Click Link)
Contest runs thru Monday February 4th.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Sharpener Surprise

I recently blogged about my newest purchase for my classroom. Okay I have to admit I am constantly buying something (I have many addictions ranging for anything smelly to sterilite containers) but honestly this is by far my “newest” craze.
I have cutie patootie cylinders in my room for my sharp and dull pencils. I love that kids know they need to simply drop their dull pencil in the container and pick up a freshly sharpened pencil. At the beginning of the year I purchased some small pencil sharpeners at Walmart and they did the trick for a little while. (Okay I’ll be honest they were very finicky and did not like holiday pencils. Grrrrrr!!!!)
Well, after reading several reviews, I knew I had to give this baby a try. I headed over to the site and bit the bullet. I ordered a set of three. (Shared one with one of my sweet friends in my building!!)
After teaching my kiddos the proper steps. All I have to say is this pencil sharpener from classroom friendly supplies is MAGICAL!!!!
It’s Quiet, It’s Quick, and It words on my “cheap” holiday pencils!!!
Simply Stated:
It is the “best” Pencil Sharpener EVER!!!!!
Midnight Black
I am super excited to announce I will be giving away one of these babies!!!!! 
 Head on over now for your chance to win!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
GOOD LUCK
Melissa
Contest runs for 1 week. A winner will be chosen and notified on Monday February 4th

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Feeling the LOVE

I am not quite sure what crazy ideas go through my head as I surf through pinterest. Oh My Oh My… I really need someone to stand behind me and shout, “Forget it, You have no clue what you are getting into!” Well, I pinned this adorable idea last year from The Rainbow Room.

 

I loved the idea and knew immediately I wanted to make them from my kiddos for Valentine’s Day.

Well, I gathered all of the necessary supplies

Alphabet Ice Cube Trays

Crayons (A Ton!!! I had a collection drive at school. A great time to ask, after x-mas so many teachers buy their kiddos new crayons for x-mas what to do with the broken crayons… Donate them to that crazy pinterest inspired teacher!)

Disposable Pans or OLD Cookie Sheet (The wax will run over)

and I set off to create. I thought I was being quite “smart” by making a list /tally of each letter quantity that I would need. Trust me this saved me tons of time. I finalized my list and every time I finished a “batch, I would add a tally next to that letter! This definitely saved me a lot of time and I didn’t waste any of my precious “peeled” crayons by making un necessary letters.

During one weekend, I was melting crayons like a fool. It is quite simple to do… Here are the directions I followed from One Charming Party

My first batch………… YUCK!!!! I think I was a bit too impatient and needed to just “chillax” and give the crayons time to dry. (Once I let the crayons set and harden, I was melting and creating like a wild woman!!)

Luckily, my son was sick and sleep most of the weekend. It wasn’t until he began feeling better that he said “what is that smell”? Needless, to say I didn’t even realize that my entire house {which usually smells like cake or vanilla} began to take on the smell of “waxy crayon”. Not that intriguing… To be honest it is quite stinky! (Note: Burn a candle –something strong to over power the smell of waxy crayon- Cinnamon works wonderful!!! Vanilla or cake batter is just not strong enough!)

After many hours of breaking crayons into little pieces, melting, drying, and popping them out of the molds “carefully” , I finished my classroom Valentine’s!!!

I am inLove_edited-1 with how these came out and can’t wait to give them to my kiddos on 2-14!!!!!

Now I need to come up with a “cute” saying to attach to my tags. Taking a poll… Which one do you like???? I do have one favorite, but curious as to what you guys think….

Here are a few that I was thinking about

Valentine, You “color” my world!

Valentine, You “melt” my heart”!

You’ve made my world more “colorful”!

For “crayon” out loud! Won’t you be my valentine.

You’ve made my year so colorful! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby, It’s Cold Outside….

Well, old man winter decided to pay us a brief visit and brought us some frigid temperatures. It is FREEZING outside!! Due to the inclement weather, we have been having two-hour delays. Although, I love the “extra” time in the morning to scurry around my house and getting a few odds and ends accomplished, I do not like trying to “fit” everything into my school day. I feel like I am rushing through my lessons and activities. I come home from a two-hour delay schedule more exhausted then more normal day… Anyone else feel like this??? I know I need to cut/shorten my lessons/activities, but I feel as though I am not giving them the whole “enchilada”.

Well, on a brighter note I finally introduced our “new”pencil sharpeners to the class.

Yes, these are the amazing sharpeners seen all over pinterest and teacher blogs!! They are in stock and ready to ship.

Midnight BlackFirehouse RedGroovy Green

Can I say, “Oh My Word… Where have you been all year?” This is the BEST pencil sharpener I have ever in my entire life used. Believe me when I tell you every review or comment about this outstanding device is TRUE!!!

I am actually headed over to the site as we speak to order a few more. This little babies come in a few different colors to coordinate with your room d├ęcor. I personally have a fetish with anything “black” so I ordered black for my room.  I wonder how many ways I can say “LOVE THIS”.

FACEBOOK LINK FIXED (I HOPE)

Head on over to my FACEBOOK Page to snag up the link for a 5% off coupon. You will not go wrong with this amazing device. (I think I may order a few extra for my sweet teacher friends for gifts!)

Well, since it has been pretty frightful outside, we have been spending some “extra” time in the classroom for indoor recess. What are some things you like to do with your kiddos who are stuck indoors for recess? Lately, we have been using “Spelling City” to occupy our time and enrich our minds. My kiddos are obsessed with Hang Mouse. To keep things exciting, I created a few “Spelling City Sticks” I simply wrote the names of various spelling city activities/games. I have my teacher’s assistant pull a stick and that’s the game/activity we play during recess time.

Today, we played Word-O-Rama (compound words) Okay I think I had more fun watching my kiddos laugh and smile and work together in their teams then they did with this game. The adorable Penguin game show host made me smile and the catchy music had everyone moving and grooving in their seat.

Word-O-Rama!

The main objective of Word-O-Rama is to identify words by their definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or by their context within a sentence.  I placed my students into four different groups. When it was their turn, they had to work together to “figure” out the answer. We kept a running tally on the board and the winning team got to go get a “long” drink from the water fountain. (I try to do various prizes some tangible some not! This keeps my kiddos always on their toes because they “never” know what I have up my sleeve.)

Do you use Spelling City in your classroom? What are your favorite activities/games?

Do you encourage your kiddos to use at home?

How do you promote for home use?

Look forward to hearing your ideas!!

Stay Warm my frosty friends!

Always, Melissa

Facebook Link Mrs. Freshwater's Class

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Spectacular Spelling

Do you have kiddos who struggle with weekly spelling words? I have been trying to implement many different strategies to help my kiddos all throughout the year. One key element has been introducing them to Spelling City. All I can say is my kiddos “love” it. They beg me to play Hang Mouse and Word O’Rama. By implementing Spelling City into my weekly computer time and center activities, my kiddos have improved their overall spelling scores.

Do you use Spelling City in your room?? What are your favorite activities??

Another key spelling booster has been Rachelle Smith’s 1-2-3 SPELL with me!

I love love love this packet she has put together. There are 15 different activities to choose from and form ranging from 10-20 spelling words. I picked 6 different activities and added them into sterilite drawers. (Okay, I admit I have a slight addiction to sterilite drawers. My kiddos know that when they have completed their work and have “free” time they can either read or go over to one of the drawers and grab an activity.

Here is a picture of my “spelling” drawers. I put copies of the weekly spelling list in the green basket on the left. (Mailbox basket holds papers that need to be put into the mailboxes to go home.)

spelling

Here is an up close picture of my labels. I can post them if anyone is interested. I simply printed the labels and added a glitter background to add some “sparkle”.

 labels

While shopping at my favorite teacher’s store(Imperial Teacher’s Store) I saw these adorable rainbow pencils.They are “perfect” for the rainbow writing activity in Rachelle’s packet. (My kiddos “LOVE” this activity it has definitely been a HIT. I think the “cool” pencil helps.)

rainbow

Here is an up close look at the pencil tip.rainbowII

Always,

Melissa

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hap Hap Happy New Year!!!

Woooo Hooo!! It’s a New Year in Mrs. Freshwater’s Class.

NY_Elements19NY_Elements10NY_Elements18

I was super excited to get back to my “normal” routine. Sorry, I am OCD and need a schedule and a routine. My downtime Saturday and Sunday. (Cozy Pj’s, some LMN, pinterest and ebay.)

I couldn’t wait to wait back into my room. So fresh and clean. Oh I almost forget I covered my shelves. (Hoping to keep the dust down a bit.)

Have you seen this “sweet” packet from Amy Lemons. All I have to say is she has been a true inspiration to me. So very kind, giving even during all of the challenges she faced during 2012, but she hasn’t let any of them stop her. All I can say is I owe her a HUGE “Thank You” for helping make my transition to 2nd grade an easier one. If you haven’t checked out her blog or TPT store head on over. Her stuff is absolutely AMAZING!!!!

This packet is way too cute. I printed off the stuff for the hats and New Year “hour by hour” incentive.

We worked out our hats for our Morning Bell Ringer. I think they came out pretty cute!!

UntitledEmma

For the hour by hour incentive my kiddos couldn’t wait. They were so excited!! I am so happy I opted for the hour blowers. Every hour I had them blow them one time for “extra” excitement.

Sorry neighbors. (I don’t think they liked me and my hour by hour noise making, but the kiddos sure did have a blast!!)

NY_Elements13

Here is the break down:

9:00 Free Drawing Time (My kiddos love to draw!! I opened up the art bins and let them go for 15 minutes)

10:00 Everyone gets a new eraser! (Who doesn’t like something new? I found these in the Target Dollar Spot!)

11:00 Sit by a friend! (Since this was during their lunch I added in “at lunch”!)

12:00 Free Reading Time (DEAR TIME)

1:00 Sit on the floor! (They grabbed their clipboards and had a ball with this “surprise”.)

2:00 Stickers for Everyone! (I gave away scratch n’ sniff stickers- I have to admit I am obsessed with anything smelly!)

3:00 Practice Spelling Words- I’m so sneaky. I opened this and gave them all a new spelling list and a rainbow writing paper to take home.

In the afternoon, we read

Squirrel's New Year's Resolution

It was the “perfect” story to lead into our next project from Jenaya a.k.a The Lesson Plan Divas.  This “adorable” New Year’s Craftivity caught my eye on pinterest.

Oh My Word!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how these New Year Resolutions came out!!!

Of course I only printed off a few pages at home (decided to save on my personal ink) got to school just to discover our internet was down. (grrrrr!)

Oh well, I had a head template from a previous activity and it worked out just as cute.

NYRemma

NYR

NYRI

NYRwall

It was great to be back to my routine! I loved seeing my kiddos and enjoyed hearing about their “holiday” adventures. (They have the cutest stories ever.)

Coming Soon (By popular demand and request) Wowzer, you guys sure did blow up my email Wednesday and Thursday.

We will be starting a new story on Monday so watch for more details about how I implement the B3C in my room.

Please note: this idea was seen originally blogged by Cara Carroll on her adorable blog the First Grade Parade.

B3C

Always, Melissa

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spending the day brown bagging it!

I am spending my last day of winter break prepping for the next few weeks. Although I am ready to go back. I am a creature of habit. I love my daily routine of working M-F and having my weekends to chill. Yes, even people with major OCD have to chill. Having several days off drives me stir crazy. I used to love to run, run, run, how many stores can I hit in a weekend? How many activities, parties, etc. does my son have to be at? Well, once my son began driving that sort of ceased, and how many black skirts or cardigans can one person own? Throughout the last few years, I take comfort in spending my free time at home trying to find some peace and relaxation with an occasional shopping trip here and there. Question: Have you ever stopped going shopping and added up how much money you save??? Oh my oh my I was astonished how quickly I could add zeros to my bank account and keep them there simply by not going to WHBM or TJ Maxx every weekend.

My last day of break will be spent prepping…

I have gathered all of the tools I need (I think)

Glue Sticks

Brown Lunch Bags

Copy paper

Ink for my printer (grrr I need stock in HP)

Paper Cutter

SureCut Scrapbooking Paper Trimmer 12

My drink of choice this week

I am ready to roll. I am prepping my Brown Bag Book clubs for the Month of January.

I have mapped out the stories for the next few weeks and have printed off the appropriate graphic organizers from my B3C packet.

B3C

BBBC1BBBCiv

This will definitely save some time. (Okay maybe not for me, but after having bags look like they have gone through the glue factory or look like they are years old, I feel this is the easiest way to ensure all of my kiddos have the entire graphic organizer “neatly” glued in place.  Although many teachers choose to let their kiddos glue the graphic organizer onto the bag. I seemed to have had half ripped organizers, crumpled bags, bags that have been glued together, etc. Which has equaled a real HOT MESS during our B3C time.  This may be a good idea for a homeroom helper mom. Send home the necessary supplies and let them glue away. I am planning on binding my bags with an XL binding clip that I have labeled using my new Dymo labeler.

XL Binder Clips (Labeled with Skill i.e. author’s purpose, cause & effect, etc.)

Dymo Labelwriter (This thing is an organizers dream!!)

Now all I have to do is send out a B3C helper treat letter for parents to sign up to send in (donate) a weekly snack for 2013.

Goldfish crackers, Cheese-its, Pretzels, Cheese Balls, Popcorn, etc.

Off to cut, glue, and clip…

How are you spending the last day or days of your break?

Always, Melissa

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

It’s is hard to believe that it is 2013 already. As I reflect on the last few years all I have to say is time seems to be rushing by way too quickly. Please slow down. Although 2012, was a year of celebration (my baby graduated high school) it was also a year of many challenges. I am hoping that 2013 is a much better year and it is filled with tons of things to celebrate and cherish. In my last post I talked about how I can’t wait to get back to the classroom. I have been spending most of my break, cleaning out cabinets and re-organizing my “CRAP”. I know many people would laugh at the thought of me organizing my stuff, but I have a fetish with the target dollar and tend to buy buy buy. It’s only a buck right. I am always begging my son to let me run in for just a few minutes to see if they may have replenished their stock. He is so sweet, he just simply rolls his eyes (hmmm wonder where he got that trait from) and replies “I would rather you walked in Laughing out loud. “ Always has something funny to say. Who knew I was raising a comedian a.k.a smart butt.

On top of cleaning and getting rid of unwanted items, I have been working on my 2nd Grade Scott Foresman 2nd Grade Reading Street Supplemental Packets. I started these packets in August and have been slowly finishing them as I use them. I have a couple “sweet” teacher friends who are a few weeks ahead of me so I have been trying to work ahead of schedule and complete them. So far I have Unit 4.1 and Unit 4.2 completed and hoping to get 4.3-4.5 loaded by Saturday.

Here is a peak of Unit 4.2 Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

LCPLCPi

LCPiiLCPiv

These units have everything you need for your reading focus wall as well as numerous supplemental activities to utilize with your kiddos during Daily 5. Here is a glimpse of some of the activities in each of the units

· Spelling Word Cards

· Spelling Word List (to distribute)

· Amazing word cards and definitions

· Selection word cards and definitions

· ABC Order Activity

· Word Search

· Vowel Activity

· Sentence Word

· Vowel word find in sentences

· Comprehension Skill  graphic organizer

· ABC order

· Scrambled up words

· Grammar activity

· Grammar sort activity

· High frequency word cards

· Comprehension Activity

· Spelling Test with sentence (option)

· Look back and Write

· Sequential Order

· Writing Craftivity

Hope you find these packets are a great timesaver and useful in your classroom.

Always

Melissa

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