Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas - Taming Transitions

Yippee!  Time for more Bright Ideas!  

This blog hop cannot come around often enough for me.

My bright idea has to do with time management.  We are responsible for teaching so much to our little learners, and every second counts.  A couple of years ago, I was really struggling with getting everything in.  I just felt that there was not enough time in the day to do it all.   

This forced me to take a hard look at my schedule, and really analyze my day.  I soon realized that one of the places where I was losing time was in my transitions from one lesson to the next.  2-4 minutes here and there, add up over the days, weeks, and months.  In fact, let's just say your transitions take an average of 3 minutes X 5 transitions (roughly).  That is 15 minutes lost in one day.  But, in a school year that equals about 2,665 minutes, or about 44 hours.  That is 7.5 DAYS of lost instructional time! (Data from 

This is when I found Rick Morris' website. I had heard of Rick Morris and Positive Discipline for years, and have used many of his principles successfully in my own classroom. I love his website because he shares a lot of great ideas that you can use right away, and they're free!

But he has one section of his website that is devoted to helping you manage your boring, drawn out transition times, and turn them into snappy, motivating, musical transitions. He has tons of mp3 files that you can download onto your school computer, and start using on Monday. 

I use two musical cues in my classroom.  When I need everyone's attention, I use the NBC theme.  Everyone knows to Stop, Look, and Listen when they hear it.

The other musical cue I use throughout the day is the Mario Brothers' theme song.  It is 50 seconds long.  It cues all my students to gather their materials and gather on the rug in the front of the room.  By the end of the song they must be ready to learn.  They LOVE this song.  It puts everyone in a great mood!  To be really honest, I really would like to find a shorter song because the kids are normally ready before it ends.  But, the kids will just not hear of it.  So, Mario it is.

I hope you will check out Rick's website. It really is chock full of great ideas!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following here on my blog, and on my Facebook page HERE.

For more bright ideas, browse the link up below. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2nd Grade Product Swap and Blog Hop

Happy Sunday Morning!  Welcome to the second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at SecondGrade Math Maniac to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop.  This is where you can enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

I had the good fortune of being paired up with Brianna from The Price of Teaching blog.  I chose her Chevron and Owls Writing Poster Set! 

I chose this out of all the other wonderful items in her store because I believe writing is my weakest area of instruction.  I have been experimenting with running Writer's Workshop, but I cannot say I am 100% comfortable with it yet.  I thought that having a few tools, like anchor charts and routines, would be very helpful in launching me us forward. 

First of all, I love owls and chevron. My behavior management charts are owls and chevron, so I knew this product was going to mesh nicely with what I already had going on.  What I especially love about them is how bright and happy they are.  I am a bright and happy kind of person!

This product contains 3 parts:


This part contains 8 cheerful writing posters.  Brianna's set contained a poster for Brainstorm, Prewrite, Rough Draft, Revise, Edit, Almost Final Copy, Final Copy, Publish.  

I like how Brianna offers the standard posters, as well as some extras that she has found helpful in her room. You choose the ones that will be a part of your students' writing routine. 

You can have them up near your writing board, or Brianna suggests lining them up in order, attaching them, and laminating them to create a clip chart.  This clip chart can easily show what stage each child is in, so that you can plan your writing conferences, and writing sessions, better. 

Next, the set comes with these A.R.M.S. posters

This to me has been the most difficult thing to teach my students. These are the clear revising routines that I really want to work on establishing.  My students need  a lot of guidance as to what it means to look at our writing to improve clarity, flow, detail, and meaning.  These great posters and checklist, will give them the visual scaffolding they need, until they have mastered it on their own.  Brianna suggest hanging the posters once more, or just having them handy for conferences or your writing lessons.

Finally, this set includes

Here Brianna offers 3 great posters to guide students through the editing process. For the blue U poster there are two versions, depending on the goals you have for your students. The first version has U standing for Understanding, and has kids checking to make sure their sentences make sense and have enough detail.  The other version for U focuses on Usage.  Here the students are prompted to check for things like subject-verb agreement. Once again, so many options have been provided in this great pack.

I will be putting all my things together on my prep day before the students come back from Spring Break. I am super excited, and think that this will make a huge difference in my confidence level during our writing block, which will ultimately result in greater student success. Fantastic Work, Brianna!

Both Brianna's store and mine are on sale today!  So go check out this poster pack right now!
Ok, Click the button below to head over to Nicole at Teaching With Style.
Best of luck!

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Spring Cleaning, and a Freebie!

Hi Friends,

Well, I am settling into my new blog design, and feeling the need to clear out, declutter, and simplify my life.  Are you with me? 

How do you do all of this?  Well, you start by clearing out that 10 page long TPT Wishlist, of course!  So, to make that process a bit easier, over 140 great sellers are throwing a 3 day Spring Cleaning Sale!

Some people are starting their sales today!  Learn more about where you can find great sales at the end of this post!

My sale will be going from Saturday, the 29th, to Monday, the 31st! Everything in my store will be 20% off!  Here are some things you might want to check out! 

Click on the links below to learn more: 

1) Super Strategic Readers:  I just finished updating this super-sized file!  It has adorable kid graphics from Melonheadz, Reading Strategy posters, Thinking Stems, and Response Sheets that work with any book, and are differentiated for readers at various levels!  This pack is a must have to get your kids to think strategically when reading, so that they can be successful with the Common Core!

2) Space Themed Differentiated Cards:  End of the year behavior management blues?  Focus on the positive with these differentiated behavior cards. This is just the tool to get your students motivated again, and back on task.  This pack has 7 different card versions, 3 whole class behavior card posters, and all cards are now EDITABLE so you can customize the goals for each individual student, or your whole class!  These are a true lifesaver for me!  My students LOVE them!

3) Count Down to Summer Writing Journal:  I don't know about you, buy my mind is already turning to the End of the Year.  Plan ahead with this great journal that will have your kids happily writing for the whole last month of school.  It has a fillable table of contents, primary and intermediate lines, graphic organizers, a word bank, and fun writing prompts that your kids will love!

4) Counting Coins Made Easy:  Recently revised as well!  I have expanded the content of this popular pack.  This pack is the "ultimate" coin counting resource.  I have been using these materials for over 8 years, and my students are so successful with counting coins that it has become my favorite math unit to teach!  In this pack, I share with you my tips and tricks that make my students coin counting experts.  Also, the new update includes 20 CCSS aligned word problems!  Perfection!

5) Packing Up My Year Memory Books:  I told you I had end-of-the-year-itis!  This ultra-popular end of the year craftivity is available in Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade versions! You, your kids, and their parents will love this fun, sweet momento of their school year!

Here's a little Spring freebie (from something I am working on right now) for making it to the end of this post!
Have a great Friday!

As promised, a list of great stores on sale!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Cleaning: New Blog Design Celebration!

Oh my, it is so nice and shiny in here now.  How did this come about, you ask. A few weeks ago, I won a blog makeover from the wonderful Michelle, at Teach 123.

She put me in contact with the extremely sweet and talented Tenille, from Designs by Tenille.  Isn't she adorable?  Click below to learn more about what Tenille can do for your blog.

A few emails later, and oila!  Tenille has created the blog of my dreams!  I love it, and I hope it makes you smile when you stop by.

To celebrate, I am running some fun flash freebies tonight over on my Facebook page.  Hope you will stop by!  Click below to go to my FB page.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Easy and Quick Intervention Routine for Struggling Decoders

Hi Friends,

Just wanted to take a moment to say I hope you are having a great weekend, and to direct you to a post on how I have been working with a couple of my struggling 1st and 2nd graders in the areas of phonemic awareness and phonics.

Here are a couple of pics!

Learn more about how I use these activities, and find several great FREEBIES over at the Primary Chalkboard!  Click the image below to read more.
See ya!



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