Monday, September 30, 2013

This Funny Thing Happened...I Finally Blogged!!

So I’m a teensy bit embarrassed to say it has been just over a month since I blogged! Seriously, I almost made it through the entire month of September without a blog post!!
Isn’t it crazy how life just sometimes gets in the way?

We’ve been back in school for 3 1/2 weeks but with PLC mornings every other Wednesday {2 hours of me outside of my classroom with a sub in my room} and MAPS testing, my students aren’t as familiar with routines and procedures as they have been in years past. We’re heading into our 5th week of school {4th full week} tomorrow and it will be the first week that I will have 5 uninterrupted days with my students. Is that crazy or is that crazy?

My new group is very cute but very exhausting, and I know it has a lot to do with how out of whack our schedule has been ever since school started. I am really hoping this week helps them get our routines down. I know for my sanity that I need it to!

While fall has officially taken over my house {there is something pumpkin or cinnamon scented in just about every room of our house}, we’ve yet to get too into fall at school. We’re just getting out of Back to School mode, actually. We just had Back to School Night this past Thursday and barely got into Johnny Appleseed and apples. I’m looking forward to settling in and doing some of my favorite fall projects and activities with my kiddos.

Since it’s been so long since I posted I’d figure I’d just do a picture smorgasbord for you…


We started off the year with activities from my Back to School Books MEGA Pack.  One of the activities we completed was the Bystander activity from The Juice Box Bully. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Most students in schools are neither the bully nor the victim in most bullying situations, they are bystanders.  Bystanders are students {or people} or who see bullying behavior and do nothing to stop it or report it. 

We did roll playing activities in class with bystander situations and wrote and signed a class pledge.  Then, each student made their own juice box and a more specific bystander pledge.  Our pledges are hanging in the hallway which is a great location for me to refer to them when we’re heading to the lunchroom and recess.
We also read The Recess Queen and talked about positive and appropriate recess behavior. I turned the center activity from my MEGA/Bully Book Pack into a “Read the Room” activity and the students recorded whether or not different situations were positive or negative playground behavior.


Then we sorted them on the board to check our answers and talk in depth about each situation.


{I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to review making tallies!}


We’ve been reviewing types of sentences and incomplete sentences, mostly pulling from Amy’s “Strengthen Your Sentences” pack.  I whipped up a power point to use with our interactive projector.  My kiddos are loving the “markers” and we’re getting really good at using them {they’re pretty tough at first!}

We’re also knee-deep in character descriptions.  We’ve been focusing on the appearance of a character before we dive into character traits.  I’ve been loving Lindsey’s “You’re Quite a Character” unit which is superb. Amazingly, I don’t have any pictures of it in action but I promise it’s an awesome buy if you do any sort of character analysis with your little readers!


Part of our morning work one morning was to describe the appearance of this adorable pup I posted to the white board.  This is about 3 days into our appearance of characters unit and I was really impressed with their progress.  Using printables from Lindsey’s pack we also analyzed Miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp from “Miss Nelson is Missing” and Tina from “Smelly Socks”.

We took character description a step further with our first story from our basal, “Arthur’s Reading Race”:


The “inside” description took some guidance but we’re getting there!


We’ve also been reviewing common nouns before we head into their more specific forms.  I learned early on that it makes my life a little easier {and their day a lot more fun} if I get these kiddos up and moving.  I taped pictures of various nouns around the room and they wrote the word on the picture in the correct category.



In math, we’ve been working on Part/Part/Part Whole in addition and subtraction facts. Lots of hands-on practice with connecting cubes and mats.



We got in a little Johnny Appleseed with the help from BrainPop Jr. and one of my faves, Alisha. You know, Miss Bubbly Blonde herself.  We did lots of fun activities from her Johnny Appleseed unit, and we even used her apple themed noun freebie.



1-photo (9)

And finally, we got our room ready for Back to School Night…



We do torn paper portraits every year and they always turn out adorable.  Everyone stops in our classroom to tell the students how much they love them! For Back to School Night we added clues and the parents had to guess which portrait was their child.



We also signed this freebie I made for Owlways Be Inspired and then I posted their pictures all around this. This display is on a bulleting board along our doorway so it’s the first thing students see every morning. What a sweet reminder!

So that’s what we’ve been up to our first few weeks of 2nd Grade! Hopefully now that the Back to School rush has died down a little while, I might actually have some time to get some posts up!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous school year so far. And if you’re just getting by like I a currently’re not alone…keep on trucking. It’ll get easier!


  1. Thanks for sharing all of your great pics! I loved them all. Hope this week brings you the structure and consistency you need to get back on track with your kiddos! We just finished day 30 and I still feel out of sorts!

    An Apple a Day in First Grade

  2. Halle!!!! LOVVVVVVVED this post!!! FAB pics!! And those packs are soooo fab!!!
    And...the schedule thing is NUTS!!! In some ways I'm jealous that you have coverage to have your PLC two hours...we are required to do two hours each week but have only a 30 mn common prep time, so the rest of the two hours is on our "own" coverage. HOWEVER, prepping for a sub is ANNOYING, so on the other hand I'm not so jealous...
    Smiles - Lisa
    Growing Firsties

  3. I LOVE THIS BLOG POST! You sure made up for lost time. There's such a plethora ideas here, I had to read it several times just to take it all in. Great, great ideas but probably the one that jumped out at me was your torn paper portraits. They are amazing. Would you care to do a tutorial for another blog post sometime soon with the "how to" of the project? Like, did kids trace a face shape first with pencil? Or any other directions you give them? I've done torn pumpkins for October, but your portraits are so much more incredible! Love all your ideas!

  4. Wow! What a crazy schedule you have started with this year. I'm so glad you will have a full 5 days this week :) I'm sure that will make a world of difference. All of your activities for back to school have been amazing! I especially love your Arthur anchor chart of inside/outside descriptions :)
    Happy October!
    Fun in Room 4B

  5. I love those paper portraits, and that Arthur chart is adorable! Wish I could draw like you!



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