Saturday, July 28, 2012

fruit snacks and a freebie

Do you have a favorite activity for the beginning of the year? A few favorites?

Second Grade Sparkle is having a linky party for favorite back to school activities.

Second Grade Sparkle

The first day of school can be tough, especially for the littles. They are excited and just a little scared. They may or may not be with they friends they wanted in their class. They are used to sleeping later and being able to have a snack whenever they want.

Sometime in the middle of the morning I like to give the kids a fruit snack.


There are strings attached! Each snack has a question taped to it. One at a time the kids read and answer the question. This activity serves several purposes.

The kids get a snack.

We all get to learn a little bit about each other.

It also gives me an small opportunity to see the kids as readers and their level of comfort in reading & sharing. I stand behind each student as they read their question in case they need a little help with the words. Right away I can get a sense of how they read or whether or not they tend to be shy. Sure, I will already know their end of first grade reading levels, but this just adds to that bit of information.

I let the kids eat their fruit snack as soon as they are done with their question as long as they are quiet and still listening.

I have a list of 24 questions for you that I have used in the past. If you have more than 24 students, just print the sheet twice and repeat some of the questions. Don't forget one for yourself to start the activity. Click the owl to get the questions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Do you limbo?

Yeah, me neither.

I can't bend that way.

At our school we are in a big ol' game of limbo! The outcome is still undecided. We could make it under this fiery bar or we can fall!

Our principal decided to move back to her home state. We found this out a few weeks before school ended. Now, recently, we found out that our assistant principal is going to another school.

Oh, and our office manager retired.

We also ended the year with many teacher openings.


Getting a new principal can be scary. Combine that with getting a new assistant principal too can be super scary.

Then again, this can be new and exciting! Our school was suffering from some h.u.g.e morale issues and this can be be just what is needed to turn some frowns upside down.

We will soon see.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

monkey see, monkey do

Normally, I don't step foot back into our school until August. When the office staff returns from their month break on August 1st is the time when I feel the need to shove some furniture around.

Never July.

Until last week my friend, Suzanne, texted me and said the rooms in our area were done being cleaned and she went in to move some furniture. Then I couldn't get it out of my head.


I gave in.

Monday morning, on a whim I decided to go in for just a couple of hours until the public library opened because Heather wanted to go to the library.

The carpets have been shampooed, the walls washed, the tile waxed, and the furniture shoved to one side of the room.

I took some before pictures standing at my door, then at the sink. These two pictures side by side make my room look kinda big.

It's not.

More like kinda tiny.

You can see my little helper (and her oatmeal breakfast).

Did I mention there was no air? It was h.o.t!

Here are a few after photos standing in the same places. I am moving back into the room I had for two years before my brief interlude in 4th grade, so I pretty much knew where I wanted the furniture to go.

I do have a small table with the Mac on it that I didn't have before, so my guided reading area is proving to be problematic. Remember? Tiny room. So I experimented switching out my kidney table with a smaller rectangular table for guided reading.

What?! I know. That's primary teacher blasphemy!

I didn't move the kidney table out of my room just yet. I was feeling wishy washy about getting rid of it. I couldn't figure out why this was such a hard decision to make until it dawned on me that I have taught for 16 years with a kidney table for reading. It is just a part of teaching.

Well, I'm 99.9% sure that my 17th year of teaching will not include a kidney table. Plus, I can always get it back if I need it.

My intention was to leave after two hours, but after I took these parting shots, the air came on and it wasn't entirely miserable. So we moved the desks into groups and did a little more work for a couple more hours. It's looking more like a classroom.

I'm going with a new theme this year, so I have some crafting to do to get ready for it. I'll show you more pictures later.

In August.