Saturday, March 31, 2012

Months of the Year

Just a quick little share... The other day I finished up a Math center for our time/calendar unit dealing with the months of the year. It bugs me when students only know the months from rote learning a song and can't order them out of sequence, so hopefully this will help with. Click the image to download.

Not sure why I thought circles would be a good idea at the time. Anyway, something different from the usual center cards for my little friends!
- Amanda

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look! They really ARE creative!

This year I've been a bit....discouraged about teaching Art. I LOVE teaching Art, but all of our great projects have been turning out a bit...messy. Here are a few drippy monsters that look so cute! 

Next time I'll have to work on my creativity and take photos in better lighting! haha
- Amanda

Monday, March 26, 2012

Art Attack

The other day I did a little painting project with my twos inspired by smART Class. We are introducing primary and secondary colours through mixing, so I decided to give the "Drippy Monsters" a whirl.
This little guy is still missing some body parts, but I hope to have time to add them this week. We used blobs of primary colours in the middle of the paper and straws to blow the paint toward the edges to create an organic shape. We will use construction paper to finish off the body. If you're interested, take a look at the link above for some really cute ideas you can show your class.
And this is how my pretty blue nail polish looked after the paint - a bit of a mess! {Isn't that a great colour, though?!}
I made a super quick blending colours worksheet to go with the lesson:
Pretty simple, but click the picture to download if you wish.
Good night!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The King and Queen of -ing

I was just reading Mrs. Bremer's blog and found a great literacy center idea to match our recent work with the -ing word ending. She used a crown template from Mrs. Johnson's First Grade that is so handy. Since the six girls in my classroom are total girly-girls, I decided to go one step further and create a Queen of -ing crown. Here's what I came up with:

Can you guess whose clip art I've used? Yep, that's the right, my go-to creator and dear friend, Michelle, the 3AM Teacher. Click the images to download the template.

I definitely recommend you go check out the two great bloggers above. I am the newest follower of both ladies and have already found some fantastic ideas!

Happy Friday!
- Amanda

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Go check this out...

One of my favourite bloggers is having a giveaway! Run on over to The 3AM Teacher to see what she is offering. If you don't already follow her, you will not be disappointed. Trust me. {Or did you not notice that I use her clip art in basically Everything I create? haha}

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Love Centers

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I thought I would make a poster for my students to refer to before/during/after center time that focuses on the expectations during this time. I hope it will save about five minutes every day!

I can't decide which one I like more. I probably could have made five or six different options but figured it wasn't necessary haha. 
Disclaimer: I have not been able to print either one so I have no idea how they look on paper...our printer is broken. I am so sad! We actually have two printers {one was a "free gift" when we bought the new laptop}, so you'd think this wouldn't be a problem. As it turns out the new laptop DVD drive is broken {it was not connected properly when manufactured} and the old laptop was once dropped {I'm not going to say whose fault that was...} so it doesn't work either. We just haven't gone to HP to get it fixed yet, nor have I looked online for the software install instead. 

Click the images to download!

- Amanda

Oooh! A shiny new button!

Today school was cancelled for a dust storm - yay! I decided to tackle a bloggy to-do: the making of a button. It was a bit frustrating because the first online tutorial I used had the wrong code so it didn't work. I couldn't figure it out. Until I went to Oikology 101 where I read this blog and was set straight.
Ta-da! I really just wanted something simple and I think I achieved that. I definitely wish it was a little bigger, but I had some issues with that {the issues being I don't know how to do any of this stuff, really... I would like most to learn how to have the frame outline stand alone - not in the white box.} Anyway, love the frame? So do I! You can find it on the wonderful Michelle's blog HERE.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Plural Posters

Our Spelling dictation words this week are focusing on plurals. I'm a bit worried about introducing this concept with ELL learners, so I thought I'd make some posters to help guide them. I'll use these with a center activity that I can ask my EA to help out with. Big thanks to Michelle, the 3 AM Teacher, and Nikki at Melonheadz Illustrating, and Mel at From the Pond for the great graphics!

Click either of the images for the link to these free posters.

- Amanda

Thursday, March 15, 2012

blogging pays off again!

Quite luckily, I read through Heather's blog about dealing with tattle tales the other night. This is a problem I deal with daily. I admit, it is partly my fault. Since September I have taught my students that they need to ask a teacher when they have a problem because I noticed SO MANY of them just turned around and smacked the offender. Like all.the.time! It seemed a bit absurd to me, until I found out that some - let me stress, NOT all - students are treated this way by their parents. {I do have some wonderfully supportive parents.} This might be a good time to mention that I try VERY hard to keep school-home communication positive because I am terrified of becoming the cause for violence at home. So I tell students, "I want to help you solve your problems! Please come to me. I am here for you." You know the conversation:

"What happens when someone pushes you?" 
"I push him/her back." 
"And then what happens?"
"He/she pushes me."
"Yes, and then?"
"I push him back."
"Hmmmm. Do you see what is starting here?"
"Yes, miss."

Honestly, I just found it so much easier to teach my students problem solving methods when it's one on one and when I can talk outright with all of those involved. But today, I guess I was just feeling busy with the usual million things to get done, and when a student came to me to say, "Blah Blah said a bad word for me," I decided I need these students to be a little less dependent and a lot more proactive. Enter Heather's Heart! {Seriously, go read her blog about this now. It was SO helpful.}

Our students need to stand up for themselves. They need to be accountable for their actions. They need to feel a sense of responsibility for their own feelings and those of others. They need to KNOW that how they feel really matters. They need to have strategies to deal with problems on their own so that they might feel less reliant on adult intervention. {Because let's not forget, some kids don't like to talk about problems and certainly not with adults.}

"I want you to go back to your friend that made the mistake and I want you to stand up tall. Then, using your strong voice, the one that says 'hey, I really mean this,' you need to tell the person that hurt you how you feel: I do not like the way you are treating me/the things you are saying to me. And then that person, when they are making smart choices, needs to look at you and respond with this: I understand and I am sorry." I definitely made sure to emphasize that a "strong voice" is not a loud/mean/scary/totallyintimidating/crazy voice!

We practiced. {This may have been a mistake on my part because for about ten minutes afterward I had kids walking around deliberately saying "bad" words in Arabic so they could "practice." An oversight, for sure!} When something like this happens, my next step is to make sure that I go to the student that made the mistake, talk about why it happened and help that student to think of some smarter choices that could have been made. As Heather mentions, teaching students this strategy is not an overnight success - not even close. It takes time, it takes repeated conversations about personal responsibility, and a TON of modelling and guiding.  It's my next big tackle in 2C! Thanks to Heather for introducing me to this strategy. Thanks up to the moon!

- Amanda

Monday, March 12, 2012

Linky Party!

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a linky party for K-2 bloggers. I know there are about a million that I should be following, it's just a matter of finding them! What better way to get acquainted than at a party?
Link up if you have a K-2 blog to share, or just click the image to find the party page and a bunch of great new blogs to browse.

Happy stalking!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Star of the Week

Today I had a new student join my class and I am so proud of my "originals" haha. The group did a really wonderful job of explaining all of the different incentive programs I use daily to encourage everyone and by the end of the day I feel like he just fit right in. Fantastic day!

There are two things I want to share today...
First up, the old "Star of the Week" routine. I thought earlier in the year about eliminating this "position" from my classroom - the students didn't seem to really care about it. Instead, I created "Star of the Week" reflection pages. I know, I can hear you yawning from here. Here are a couple samples:

I'm sure it's self-explanatory, but the rhyme reads: "Grade two helps me learn and grow! Here is something I now know." On the top is a note for families. Easy peasy. Click the images if you would like a copy. Here is how I use it as a display:
{I had to ask the Arabic teacher if I could steal part of her bulletin board! There are only two in my room and the other is dedicated to our clock display for the time unit...} I LOVE that this student brought in a baby picture of himself {he looks the exact same!} AND that he wrote about the three states of water for what he has learned in grade two. I'm getting through to them - hurrah! On the top, I use a sign I printed from Technology Rocks. Seriously that the kids are all really excited about: "You Rock because..." I think it has renewed the "Star of the Week" ideal and I'm happy about that.

Next up, the latest whole-class incentive program. Last time, I made a paper birthday cake with twenty candles on it. Every time the class was working well {listening, contributing to discussion, walking in a straight line - yep, something we have to practice daily. It's tedious but they are getting it!} I would "light" a candle. It took a LONG time but we finally had our "birthday party" a couple weeks ago. You can read about it here. This time, I decided to cater more specifically to the boys in my classroom since the girls I have are actually the sweetest students ever. I made this and laminated the pieces: 
I just tape on the matching black patch as I did the birthday candles. They have three spaces covered after two days! When they are filled we will enjoy a class soccer game. How do you present whole-class incentives? I'll be looking for the next great idea after this one!

Take care, all!

I can't forget to send out a HUMONGOUS THANK YOU to my new followers! It's so nice to see people reading my blogs :) Thanks for the support!

- Amanda

Friday, March 9, 2012

Some great new fonts!

From dafont:

Dreams (This one reminds me a little of Dr. Seuss, so I thought it fitting considering the time of year!)

Can never have too many, right? 
- Amanda

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I am so not techy! I have been sharing all of these documents {or so I thought} but I just found out that they were all locked and only I could download them. So not the point! Thank you, Barbara, for bringing that to my attention! Happy downloading, all, and thanks for stopping by. Here's hoping I don't make that mistake again...

- Amanda

Monday, March 5, 2012

Penguin Clocks

Today we made penguin clocks and they are super cute! So cute, in fact, that when one student saw my sample lying on my desk yesterday, I thought she was going to lose her mind with excitement. Hilarious! I used a blank clock template from DLTK and copied  it two per page on card stock. I traced a really simple penguin pattern onto black paper for my students and had them colour the hour and minute hand arrows to match our bulletin board display. Voila! {Bet you can't guess which one is the sample...haha.}
If you'd like the .jpeg of the clock, just click that image. Please know that the original is from DLTK, I just put two per page!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I just couldn't help it

Michelle's newest clip art package is soooo adorable. It features the characters of Kevin Henkes and a few other fun accessories. The best part? She's offering it up for FREE! For free, I say! Love her. You can find it {and other great products} at her TpT Store {but only until Saturday at midnight - can I get a time zone check, please? Anyone? Ha!} and view a lot of her other great freebies on her blog.

As I was saying, I couldn't resist making a little worksheet for our literacy work with Chrysanthemum, a beginning of the year favourite for many teachers, I do believe. I opted for a more simple story map, as it was a pretty big surprise when I met this year's class and realized they were far far lower than I had anticipated. This seems like a better way to launch reading comprehension...

Just click the images above if you'd like a copy for yourself! {Err...for your class.}
Until next time...

- Amanda

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Time for Soccer!

We started our unit on time this week. So far so good! My class seems to have some great prior knowledge, so that's helpful. We used the flippy books from Christina Bainbridge, which served as a great little intro. I also made a great clock display using the Floor Clock that Lory at Fun For First shared awhile back and it looks so great! You can download the same one HERE. {Was in a bit of a rush so no photo! Another day.}

I also made some soccer themed matching cards for a center this week. I have a lot of boys in my class and most of them are crazy for soccer! So I thought these would do some good in terms of motivation... They've been a hit with the first group, so yay!

There is a whole bunch of them. If you'd like, download the set here! Of course, can't forget to show some love for the wonderful clip artists, The 3AM Teacher and Nikki at Melonheadz Illustrating. I'm quite sure I wouldn't want to make so much stuff if it wasn't for their kind sharing and so cute designs. Tha's all.

Good evening!

- Amanda