Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday


Guess what?!  It's time for another Five for Friday post and I've got some fun stuff to share!!  I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Weekly Linky Party!



We had our family pictures taken a couple weeks ago by my sister-in-law and we just got them back this week!  They turned out fantastic and I couldn't wait to get them printed!  In fact I've already ordered my phone case (with this photo) and our Christmas Cards!!  I can't believe I'm already ahead of the game - until it's time to address the cards!



My kiddos, Kylie and Mason, have been asked to be in my brother's wedding on December 27th and they are very excited!  Kylie and I had a little night out this week and went shopping for the flower girl dress.  We also stopped for a bite to eat at her favorite restaurant - Qdoba!  Won't she make a beautiful flower girl?!



I finally got my writing station all set up and ready to roll!  The kids are excited to use the new options!  They most anticipated option is birthday cards!  I found this idea from a friend and loved it - the kids will make a birthday card for a student in our class if it's the week of their birthday.  If a student has a birthday over a non-school day (summer, winter break, etc) then we'll celebrate a little before, after or their 1/2 birthday.



This year for Halloween we left our neighborhood and headed to a friends'.  We enjoyed a yummy dinner and had a great time trick-or-treating with friends!  I was Elsa this year!  The students (and my kiddos) loved the outfit I made to wear!  Mason was Darth Vader and Kylie was Olaf!  It was a pretty cold evening, but the kids came home with a TON of candy!  Happy Halloween!



Friday was a professional development day (morning) and a time to work in your classroom (afternoon).  I have been teaching in my room for 8 weeks and decided I really wanted to be able to access the white board at the front of the room.  I previously had my classroom library at the front left of the room and it was blocking the white board.  So, I took a large chunk of time Friday to flip the front of the classroom and it really makes a lot more sense now!  The reading strategies bulletin board is right by the library!!  I hope the kids enjoy the new space!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reader's Theater Fun

What reading curriculum do you use within your school district?  As you may already know, I'm teaching 2nd grade this year and our district uses StoryTown curriculum.  One thing I love about the 2nd grade curriculum is that every 5th week is a "review" week and we do not have a story.  Instead we have a reader's theater that the students get to perform.  

Our first reader's theater was "Neighborhood News" and the students really enjoyed learning about news casts.  For this first production we performed as an entire class with a couple students choral reading each part.


The students practiced throughout the week, created their own back drops and we performed for one of the Kindergarten classes on Friday.

I was so proud of how well the students worked together, read aloud, practiced and performed!!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Fire Safety Awareness


Two weeks ago we ventured next door to the Fire Station.  We are lucky to be so close and able to take the students over each year for Fire Safety Awareness week!  The kids love watching the video (The Lion King presented fire safety with Pumba & Timon.), learning about the fire equipment, touring a fire truck and "putting out the fire" on the portable trailer.  

It was a great little field trip, but brought up some great questions we all need to think  about with our families.
1) What is your address?  Do your children all know the address of your home?
2) Where is your family meeting spot?
3) Does everyone know how to get out of all of the rooms in your house?
4) Have you been diligent in checking your smoke alarms monthly?

Have you discussed fire safety with your children recently?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Newspaper Puppies


In class we read a Henry and Mudge story a couple weeks ago.  I wanted a cute craft to complete with the kids that would also "serve a purpose!"  So, as usual, I perused Pinterest and was not 100% in love with anything I found.  I did find a cute newspaper puppy that I was able to adapt into a meaningful but fun project for the kids!

I provided the kids with cardboard tracers to create the dog, head, eyes, spots and collar.  They were left to their own devices to create the nose and ears!  I was pretty impressed with how they all turned out!  We had spent some time throughout the week describing Mudge and why he was a good dog for Henry.  So, I carried that over and had the kids write words that described dogs, things they need, things they do, etc. around the border of their project.

The kids had fun, we reviewed a little and they took home an adorable craft!  


Some of them looked more like rabbits than dogs, but hey, that's okay!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Magnet Bling!!


If you've learned anything about me as you've read my blog - it should come as no surprise that I LOVE getting new things for my classroom!  I recently found some gals that make adorable magnets - personalized any way you'd like!  I bought these from Tea and Coffee and just love how they turned out!  I had asked if they could do ocean themed magnets and they quickly sent me a proof to approve.  

I use these magnets (with the student's numbers) on my Ocean Themed Behavior Chart.  The students of course loved the new magnets much better than the boring old circles and squares!

I even ordered a couple of extras that don't have numbers on them to use on my white board!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday


I'm back!
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  It's been a busy week and I'm slowly, but surely figuring out how to manage being mom, teacher, wife, blogger, Jamberry Consultant (**eek!  That's new!!), family chauffeur, house chef, and so much more!!

I'm sure you've been in my shoes (or are currently)!  I'm excited to share what I've been up to this week!  It's been a busy one!



A week ago I decided to take the plunge and sell Jamberry Nail Wraps.  I'd had 2 very successful parties as the hostess, love the products and was able to use my most recent hostess rewards to turn around and purchase my consultant kit.  So it was almost a no-brainer!!  You can find me on Facebook or the web!


If you're interested in learning more, want a FREE sample or want to host a party - contact me TODAY!!  



I survived my first "presentation" to the staff at my school regarding standards based grading and how to keep it all straight!  Check it out here!  It was really quite short - but it felt like an eternity!  



Math Fact Jenga was a hit this week during Flex Math Centers!  The kids were able to play independently within their small groups (without a parent volunteer) and I could focus on the other groups!!



I ran my first race (since March) and it felt amazing!  I ran the Women Run the Cities 5K with a couple girlfriends and then we headed to IHOP for breakfast and off to watch our girls play soccer!  The weather was beautiful - cool and perfect in the morning and warm in the afternoon for a beautiful day of soccer!


It's finally Friday!!  Woohoo!  
I'm off to celebrate the start to the weekend with Pizza & Bingo night at my kids' school and 4 soccer games for my daughter this weekend!  Go CC United Girls Gold 1 Soccer Team!!!


Have an amazing weekend, and if you're in Minnesota, stay warm - I hear it might snow!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I LOVE Jamberrys - Do You?!

So I have to share with you the new adventure I've embarked on!!


Jamberry Nail Wraps!

I'm an Independent Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant and I would love to share my new love with you!  You can shop here - sarahmulheran.jamberrynails.net or visit me on Facebook!

Have you ever tried Jamberry Nail Wraps?  I am WILD about Jamberry Nails and you will be too! Jamberry Nails are an innovative vinyl wrap that adheres to your nail (natural, acrylics, gels) through heat & pressure! They will last up to 2 weeks on your fingers & 6 weeks on your toes! No chipping, smudging or dry time! With over 300 designs, including ones for little girls, PLUS our new lacquer line, there is truly something for everyone!! Don't let expensive or boring manicures rule your nails any longer! Join the Nail Revolution and save time and money while having fabulous nails! 


If you're looking for an easy way to Hostess a party - this is it!  We can set it up to be a Facebook Party with games, free prizes and so much fun!!  Just contact me via my blog or Facebook today!!


Math Interactive Notebooks

We're on a bit of a budget crunch when it comes to printing these days.  So, I've opted to use the notebooks that come with school supplies in the most useful ways I can figure out.  For math, that means "Interactive Notebooks!"  I've been searching around the web for ideas and have found lots of great ones on TpT.  However, these first few weeks I've just used things I've created.


We started the year off with reviewing 1st grade concepts, such as addition, subtraction, partners and totals.  I had the kids use construction paper to make "pockets" for their math facts.  They were able to create their own math flash cards to put in the pockets and it was fun to watch them get creative!



In Math Expressions we learn using "Math Mountains" and so we made some math mountains to remember how we can use them to both add and subtract.

I also came up with a cheesy little song *because I think singing and movement help us remember things* - take a peek at the lyrics...

The total on the top. 
The total on the top.
The big 'ole number is the total on the top!

*While singing the kids hold their hands in a big circle above their heads!
*Sung to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell"


Today in Math Expressions, 2nd grade, Unit 2, Lesson 2 - we learned about 2D shapes.  Specifically, we learned about squares, rectangles and triangles.  The kids enjoyed getting to see the shapes, work with them and then glue them in their notebooks with special "reminders" about each of the shapes and what makes them special.


Do you use Interactive Notebooks?  What is your favorite resource for ideas or do you design them yourself?  Leave me some details in the comments!  I can't wait to hear what you're doing!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Standards-Based Grading!!

If you know me at all, you might already know that I get a little (*okay, maybe a LOT*) excited when it comes to standards-based grading!!  It's actually something I'm quite passionate about in the teaching world!  Our district is moving to a standards-based grading/reporting platform over the next couple of years.  

Yesterday I was asked if I wouldn't mind sharing a few of the things that help me to keep it all organized with our staff during our professional development, 2-hour late start!  I have to say, I was a bit nervous (public speaking to adults is totally different than with kids!!)  Much to my excitement, it went off without a hitch *I think!*  

The first thing that helps to keep me organized is my "Standards Binder" that I always keep at my desk for easy reference.  Our district has done a great job writing the Minnesota State Standards into "I Can" statements as our Learning Targets.


At the start of the year, I wrote out every Learning Target for the 2nd grade standards and had them laminated.  Now they are stored safely in a drawer in my room to easily be changed out as my lessons change.  This provides an easy reference for myself, my students, and anyone that may happen to pop by my room.  While it might look a little overwhelming, it really isn't.  As I mentioned in my presentation today, writing, reading and content areas will typically focus on the same learning target for the week.  I am really only changing out the math learning targets on a daily basis.



The next thing that helps to keep me organized is my quick little "test scoring sheets" that I've created.  It took a little time up front, but when it's done...it's done for years to come!!

I have one of these little sheets for each assessment in our Math Expressions curriculum for 2nd grade.  The grayed out boxes signify the standard that was addressed by that question.  I then mark them with check-marks if the student got the answer correct.  I found it to be an excellent tool when it comes to personalizing learning.  I can see exactly what standards a student (or group of students) is struggling with.  For example, after the Unit 1 test, I found that many of the students still have trouble matching a given word problem to the correct equation.  Now, in my math centers I can reinforce this standard with additional instruction.

I've also done this for our Reading assessments and it proves to be just as valuable when we are meeting in our flex reading groups!  I just love how simple it makes personalizing learning for each of the students in my class.


Last, but not least, I shared about my Reading A to Z Progress Chart.  This year it is required of each teacher K-3 to assess via Reading A to Z Running Records 4 times per year.  I have created columns for each of the months of the year in hopes that I can assess my below grade level students more often.  The darkened area represents the levels students should be at when entering and exiting 2nd grade.  This provides a great visual for myself, my students and the parents!  This chart along with a sample book of the level we want 2nd graders to be reading at can really help parents understand what their child's reading level is.  

All in all, it was a successful little presentation and I think it was well-received!  It generated lots of great questions that got me thinking about how I will continue to assess, both formally and informally in my classroom!

What do you do to keep track of your standards-based grading and assessments?
I love new ideas and am happy to share if you're interested in any of these documents!
Leave your comments, questions and ideas below!