7.18.2014

Creative Clips Summer VIP

Have you seen this?! Are you a member yet?!


Ms. Krista Wallden is hosting an amazing Summer VIP Membership club--

Creative Clips Summer VIP Members will get:

- 10 Creative Clips Digital Weekly Newsletters with tips, updates and a summary of each week’s goodies
- Advance notice of two major summer sale dates
- Many samples of new types and styles of clipart before other sellers!
- Mini Sets of clipart and a variety of isolated images that will not be available in her store until after summer
- A full-set of clipart valued at $4.50 as a Back-to-School Summer Send-Off Gift (specific set will be included)
- Creative Clips printables which may include thank you notes, classroom labels, bookmarks, etc. that will jumpstart your school year with go-to goodies!
- Opportunity to provide specific feedback through exclusive surveys and polls to make sure Creative Clips is offering you everything you need/want!

WHAT?! Please tell me you are a member! This is amazing! 

I love her newsletters each week. Learning from other teachers/bloggers about tips and tricks that work for them is super inspiring for me!

With that being said I was inspired to revamp one of my most popular Back 2 School TPT {Freebies}




Click {here} for your copy!

And if you are a clip art lover/hoarder like me, make sure to sign up to be one of Krista's VIP members! I am certain she will inspire you, too!


7.17.2014

EOY: Camp Week!


Every year our wonderful 1st grade teachers plan a super fun A-Z (26-day) countdown to the last day of school.


Maybe teachers in your school do this, too! Each day corresponds with a letter and a special activity that begins with that letter. For example, K day is King day and all of the boys in 1st grade are treated like Kings. They make crowns and everything! But then with Q day comes around the girls in 1st grade are Queens for the day... with crowns and everything :)

So my sweet 2nd graders began asking me if we were going to do an A-Z countdown.... like way back in March they asked me this! 

I reminded them of how special they felt each day when they were in 1st grade doing all of those fun activities and we talked about how it wouldn't be very fair (or as much fun!) if we did the same thing in 2nd grade. So I promised them we would do something different. 

The past 2 years I have done a 10 day countdown and although my kids love it, I wanted to do something a little bigger this year. 

So I took to Pinterest and TPT.... and after some searching I decided on CAMP WEEK!

I convinced my 2nd grade teacher teammates to do it with me so our whole grade level would be doing fun things together. And boy am I glad they were willing to join in... this ended up being quite the fun experience with a LOT of prep!




This is what our circle table looked like on Day 1.

We had writing journals ready (bright green cover), math journals ready (red cover), Camp Helm Memory Bags ready for names and decorating, and mini flashlights awaiting batteries from home. 

My students brought:
* one snack item (to be added with everyone else's snack item for a Friendship mix)
* one AA battery for their flashlight (which they got to keep at the end of the week!)
* and a pillow from home to stay at school all week (for reading by the campfire, of course!) 
* Letters from home :)



Each day we focused on one school rule--this was my big plan to keep everyone on track those last weeks of school :)

Day One was: Safety Always

We discussed what it looked like at Camp Helm and I showed them their special lanyards that they would be working to earn beads for (see last picture below...). 

We then constructed our Campfire--some students made rocks, some made logs, and we all made hand-print flames. 

2 weeks prior to Camp Week I sent home a letter explaining all the fun that was to come... and asked parents to write a letter to their student for each day of camp... like letters they might actually receive if they were away at camp for a whole week.  Parents wrote their student's name and the day of camp that each letter should be opened. I passed out the mail each day and students took their flashlights and letters around the room to read. I also found a YouTube video of a real crackling campfire to play for them to help set the "mood" :)

I snuck a peak over shoulders to read parts of the letters and can I just tell you that these parents wrote the most creative, sweet, fun, loving letters I have EVER read! I literally teared up daily! They wrote about how much they missed their student--how much their pets missed them--how they couldn't wait to come and pick them up from camp--gave them reminders (brush your teeth...watch out for bears!)--and said "I love you" lots!

After we read our mail then we made Friendship Mix and enjoyed it as our snack. 


In the afternoon we answered a camping themed question (ex. Can you set up a tent) from Andrea's pack and then completed a few pages of her math journal activities.

We ended the day reflecting and writing in their camp journal. This became quite the review of important literacy skills we learned throughout the year! They reminded each other to start with a main idea, use transitional words, add interesting words and details, and to remember capitals and periods!

Everyone had a chance to share their journal writing around the campfire.

At the end of Day One everyone got their first bead (pink) except for one little guy who really struggled to keep all chair legs on the ground at all times... don't worry! He was very concerned that he didn't earn his Safety Bead and worked extra hard to earn it on Day 2!

The rest of the week was pretty similar each day with campfire reading, mail from home, Friendship Mix, Math Journals, Writing Journals, lanyards... and FUN!

On the last day we made s'mores with marshmallow fluff. Have you ever used that stuff before??? It goes from fluff to runny, sticky, goodness in a snap!


Field Day happened to land on Day 2--extra fun at Camp Helm, let me tell you!

Our end of the year community hiking field trip landed on Day 4 (slightly planned). We hiked around the trails of our school's neighborhood in search of producers, consumers, and decomposers. Each student carried a special notebook with them to draw examples of each as they spotted them!

When we got back to school we made a 2nd grade mural to show all of the organisms in our community. It turned out so super AMAZING!

Overall, Camp Week was AMAZING! Teachers were stopping by all week wishing they were at Camp Helm wondering what was on the agenda for today.

Best of all, my students LOVED it! They told me over and over that this was the best week of school ever! Many even told me that they wanted to stay at Camp Helm overnight! :) Sweet, huh?

I loved Camp Helm! I would do it again in a heart beat! But... during Camp Helm week I found out that next year I am moving up to 3rd grade!! I am super excited (and really nervous!) but that also means I can't do Camp Helm again....hmmmmmmm.... what should I do next year??

1.24.2014

Civics + National Boards

This year is literally zipping by for me. I am in full National Board-mode and have no intention of stopping until my Assessment Center Test is completed!

I am working away on Entry 2--Social Studies and had time to make it into a freebie for you :) 

We started a few weeks ago by talking about:
1. What is a community?
2. What are the three types of communities? How are they alike and different?
3. What is a community helper? How are they important to our community as a system?



And now we are moving on to the civics end of things. We started today with:
1. What is a law? Why are they important?
2. What is pedestrian safety?
3. How are laws created and enforced?

This led us to the three branches of government. This is not a focus skill for 2nd graders, but I felt it was important for me to introduce each "branch" to my kiddos, and they really enjoyed it!




Click the pictures to download your own copy for free :)

12.08.2013

Classroom Volunteer Gifts

I love my classroom volunteers! They support both my students and myself in so many ways every single day! This year I am lucky to have a classroom volunteer every day (parents and grandparents)! I even have 3 Art Docents (also parent volunteers) signed up this year... some classrooms have no volunteers!

I wanted to send a little Thank You Christmas gift to each volunteer. I searched Pinterest :) and this is what I came up with.


That is a bottle of the foamy Bath and Body Works hand soap with a tag that reads:

Hands
Down

you are the
best
classroom 
volunteer 
around!

Click the picture to download a free copy of the tags!

11.30.2013

It's almost here...Cyber Monday!

So this year I planned on avoiding the Black Friday madness... then many stores decided to open Thursday night (Grey Thursday?) and my husband talked me into going out. What for? The StarWars blue ray box set... yes... we finally found it at the second store we went to, but the line was waaaaaay too long for a one-item purchase!

So we went home (after I rummaged through Bath and Body Works!) and I got online. I was pleasantly surprised at all of the online Black Friday Deals! That got me even more excited for the upcoming TPT cyber Monday deals!


I have been adding items to my cart for over a week! I am so so excited! 

All items in my store with be 28% off--don't forget the Promo Code: CYBER!

Here are some of my most popular winter products!

$2.00 = regular price


$3.00 = regular price


$4.00 = regular price
**I am working on updating this product to include an Array-hunt game 
and more real-life story problems that involve using arrays.


Always free :)



10.20.2013

Columbus Wrap Up

My students and I had a lot of fun learning all about Christopher Columbus this past week.

First, we watched a quick video from Discovery Education that highlighted Columbus and what he is known for. 


Next, because we have been working very hard on complete sentences, after we completed this chart, each student chose one statement to write about Columbus...and I taught them how to draw a ship!


Then, we read a Scholastic Weekly Reader magazine dedicated to Mr. Columbus. Each student in my class has a subscription to the Scholastic Weekly Reader. We LOVE our magazines! They are filled with fun facts, current events, and TONS of non-fiction text features!!!

In our magazine we learned that one of the treasures Columbus took home with him was pineapple! Interesting, right!?  One of my wonderful parent volunteers comes once a month to bake something with the birthday kids for that month so I found a pineapple sponge cake recipe for them to make us!

While the birthday kids are learning about measurement, following directions, and baking safety, the rest of us are reading the recipe and predicting what the final product will look like!

I was a little worried that my 2nd graders wouldn't enjoy pineapple cake, but they LOVED it!!! Well, all but one little guy loved it :)



Next month I will add in a data collection piece and create a graph that shows who loved it and who didn't so much.

I had sooooo many kiddos tell me how excited they were to have the recipe so they could go home and have mom make it :)

Last week was a really great week! I don't think they will ever forget that Columbus treasured pineapple!

This week we are having our Halloween celebration at school and the following week is Fall Conferences. 


Pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting at the Helm house this weekend!


Thanksgiving is just around the corner! What better way to get your kiddos to practice their math facts but to put them on a Thanksgiving Placemat?! Be sure to check out this {FREEBIE} at my store:






10.04.2013

Vowel Posters

Happy Friday! Oh, this weekend couldn't have come soon enough! My husband was out of town for three days this week on a fishing trip for work... why doesn't teaching come with perks like that?! :) Oh right, we get every holiday off... and summer... :) But I still missed him, and it made the week seem so much longer!

Well, all of my reading stations are allllllmost up and running. 

We have been doing RTS, RTSo, LTR, and Work on Writing... we have spent some extra time on these four rotations because that RTSo station is just so hard to keep at a whisper level.  And I am determined to make stations work this year... so I am putting in my time to set expectations!

As I began introducing the Word Work station this week I realized I needed some vowel posters. Most of my 2nd graders know their vowel "lickety-split!" as one of my sweet little girls would say.

But for the few who are still working on this, I felt posters would be helpful.

I couldn't quite find the ones I wanted on TPT, so I created my own!






Click on the pictures or {here} to download your free copy!

What do you think? Helpful?