Saturday, February 7, 2015

What Have We Been Up To? {Five for Friday}

Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday {on Saturday}. This link-up is perfect for me, because all you have to do is share 5 random things from your week - fits my personality perfectly...RANDOM! :) Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and link up or visit more Five for Friday posts by clicking the button above.

Background Info: I live in Kentucky and in Kentucky we have what we call Snow Days. Well, normally we do. But we have had forecast after forecast after forecast for snow and have gotten NONE! This is a good thing for those of us who like to get out on time in May, but for those of us needing a snow day (snuggle on the couch in our PJs day), our snow dances have NOT been working. With that being said, snow days are always such a controversy in our county. The parents, teachers, and kiddos know all about it, so I like to turn that little slice of hometown drama into an awesome opinion writing piece. So we have been working hard at this authentic piece of writing that the students can really relate to. You can see the prompt below and it can be found in my January Common Core Writing Activities in my TpT Store. You can also see a complete Q&A Blog Post about my Common Core Writing Activities {HERE}.

We have also started a new novel study this week. We began The Mouse and the Motorcycle. This is such a cute book! I remember reading it as a child and it was always one of my favorites! On Thursday, we read Chapter 1 and then completed some comprehension questions and a graphic organizer that goes along with the chapter. The comprehension questions focus on basic recall, while the graphic organizer encourages the students to dig deeper and use text-based evidence to respond. You can see a little snippet below and my Mouse and the Motorcycle Unit can also be found in my TpT Store.

We also spent this week finishing up some science experiments. We made edible rocks, excavated rocks, exploded volcanos, and much more in this science unit! The kiddos had a blast!

Wow, you guys, I have gotten some incredible feedback on my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time! I even had a fellow teacher tell me that they used my Perfect Paragraphs even in the 4th grade! I just love the way that these guide the students in creating a quality paragraph with an introduction, three details, and a concluding statement. The unique way that these paragraph prompts are laid out is the key, in my opinion, for helping young writers to get their details out FIRST, then come back and add an introduction and a concluding statement AFTER they write their details. As you all well know, students want to get right to the good stuff and this layout allows them to do so. You can check them out in my store {HERE}. I have a pack for every month in the school year so far and will be creating for March through June/July as well. 

I also listened to your requests and have added an extra, matching publishing page for those students who may get lengthy with their writing. I also have added a rubric for each paragraph upon request. I hope you guys enjoy! I will be going back to my previous packs and adding in the extra publishing page and the rubrics as soon as I can find the time! :)

You can see I have our Perfect Paragraphs all copied into packets for the entire month of February! You can check out my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time in my TpT store by clicking the picture below. I always include two seasonal and two generic prompts that can be used year-round.

Last, but not least, I have added a new math center to our rotations. My Addition and Subtraction QR Codes - SO. MUCH. FUN! These are self-checking task cards that utilize QR codes to make them super engaging for the kiddos. Included are 4 different sets of task cards - Addition Without Regrouping, Subtraction Without Regrouping, Addition With Regrouping, and Subtraction With Regrouping. I have added this to my rotation of centers, because now that we're finished with the Addition and Subtraction to 1,000 unit, I don't want the kiddos to forget what they've learned! All you need is ONE iPod, iPad, or iPhone with a free QR scanner app and you're all set. You can see how they work in the pics below or check them out in my TpT store {HERE}.

 4 Different Sets of Self-Checking Task Cards

Solve the problem on the task card. Then use an iPod, iPad, or iPhone with a free QR scanner app to scan the QR code.

 Check your work with the answer that is displayed on your device! So much fun! The kiddos just love it! :)

So there you have it! A little peek into our week! A little writing, reading, math, and science and a LOT of fun! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Hello all and Happy New Year to you! My sweet blogging friends and I have some exciting news for you! We are hosting a HUGE giveaway on the Owl-ways Be Inspired Blog where we are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Yes, that's right - $100! It's super easy to enter and win! Head on over to Owl-ways Be Inspired or click the image below and enter to win! But COME BACK because there's more! I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY too! See below!

Many of the other Owls are also giving away something on their own blogs as well, myself included! I'm giving away a $20 gift card to Amazon and my Winter ELA Printables pack from my TPT store in the Rafflecopter below! You can use the $20 gift card to Amazon to order all the fun winter-themed books you need to go along with my ELA Printables! How fun!

Take a closer look at a couple of my Winter ELA Printables included in the pack below...

Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway starts now and ends January 3rd on both 2nd Grade Stuff AND Owl-ways Be Inspired. Good luck! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Thanksgiving Fun!

In honor of #ThrowBackThursday which has fully taken over all forms of social media, I'm throwing back to an old post from last year where I shared a fun Thanksgiving activity that was so awesome, we are repeating it again this year! Original post can be found below...

*** Original Post Starts Here ***

First, we begin by reading Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano.  You could also read A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting.  Both involve turkeys that don't want to be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.  There are several other picture books out there, but these are two of my favorites.  Click the links below to purchase them from

After reading one of these picture books, we discuss the plot, point of view, and problem/solution.  There are several graphic organizers in my Thanksgiving ELA Printables pack to use when reading either of these books.  
*** Edited to Add ***
This year we will be reading both books above and comparing/contrasting the story elements in each book using my printables below.

After completing one of the graphic organizers from my pack (there are several that will work), we begin to brainstorm how it would feel if we were a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.  We talk about how we would solve our problem.  The students are assigned the following writing prompt from my November Common Core Writing Unit.  They have to write a letter to try and persuade families to NOT eat turkey for Thanksgiving and provide reasons that support their opinion.

They will have to support their opinion using the following graphic organizers, also included in the unit.

And finally, they will publish their Opinion Piece on differentiated publishing paper, also included in the unit.

You can find all this and more in my November Common Core Writing Pack.  

I hope this fun, seasonal activity helps you tame down the teacher burnout too!  :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Round-Up

Several months ago, a group of bloggers decided to get together and start posting some simple, yet effective Bright Ideas. In these posts, there were no products, no links, no advertising. We just wanted to share nice and easy, simple to implement, Bright Ideas. For the month of November, we are rounding-up some of our old Bright Ideas posts so that you can take a peek at them again and hopefully browse the link-up below to find some more Bright Ideas that you can use NOW in your classroom! We hope you enjoy this round-up of Bright Ideas!

My most popular Bright Ideas post was my post about managing your turn-in tray using clothespins! It was a simple idea, yet one that so many people fell in love with! It's now my #3 most popular blog post on 2nd Grade Stuff. You can go back and read the original post {HERE} or click on the picture below.

My next Bright Idea that was a sure hit was my post about organizing all the never-ending amounts of PAPER in your classroom - How to Avoid Stacks of Paper. This post was one of the most pinned on Pinterest on my entire blog! You can go back and read the original post {HERE} or click the picture below.

I hope you've enjoyed this Round-Up of Bright Ideas and maybe you have found something that you can take back to your classroom and implement immediately! If not, check out MORE Bright Ideas by browsing the links below for thousands of our most popular posts. Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Take a Peek Inside "Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time"

I've had several requests for examples of my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time in action. The example I'm sharing below is a paragraph that we just finished up from my October Edition. As with any writing, the most important thing for a teacher to do is model, model, model. So this is the Perfect Paragraph that we created together as a class while I modeled the process for the students.

My Perfect Paragraph packs come with paragraph templates that are aligned to the Common Core, so the students will be writing Narrative, Opinion, and Informative/Explanatory paragraphs. In each monthly pack, I include 4 paragraph templates, 2 that are seasonal and 2 that are completely generic and can be used at any time of the year. You can check them out below and more will be coming each month throughout the year!

The Perfect Paragraph displayed below is a Narrative paragraph called "A Bad Dream". It was so fun to create this Perfect Paragraph with my students! See the details below.

Narrative: Step One
The first step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to brainstorm. This is the fun part where the students can come up with many different ideas or details before they actually begin writing. This is what we came up with as a class together while I modeled brainstorming and choosing ONE event for the narrative paragraph.
Narrative: Step Two
The next step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to write three details. While some may find this confusing to begin in the middle, I think it's super important to write this way as a beginner. The details are the most important part of the paragraph and they're the easiest to write for the students, because the details contain all the good stuff! :)
Narrative: Step Three
The third step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to write the introduction and the closing statement. I encourage teaching in this order so that your students can see the details first, then choose a good introduction to those details, as well as a good closing for those details. I personally think it's easier for the students to complete the introduction and closing AFTER writing the details. Take a look below.
Narrative: Step Four
The next step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to put it all together! This is where your students will combine their introduction, details, and closing statements in the correct order! Finally you have a cohesive paragraph! A crucial part of this step is modeling the order in which the sentences should be written. I also remind the students about indenting and spacing in between sentences although I still have the few that try to start each sentence on a new line. :)
Narrative: Step Five
The final step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to share and discuss. This is where your students will peer-edit each others' paragraphs. This is an important part of the writing process and it also hits those Speaking and Listening Common Core Standards as well! I encourage my students to think together, discuss their thoughts, and develop a plan. You can see what the students decided were my strengths and weaknesses below. The next step is to revise and edit. And then you're done!
I hope this example helps some of you who were wondering exactly what my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time were all about! I appreciate all the support and feedback you all have left on these packs. I plan to continue making the Perfect Paragraphs for each month following the same format. I chose not to switch up the formatting too much (aside from fonts, borders, and clipart) purposely so that your students become familiar with the format and have a good visual for when you begin to move away from the template. Leave me any questions in the comments and I would be happy to answer! Y'all have a great weekend! :)

P.S. I also have an AWESOME giveaway going on right now on my Facebook Page. THREE winners will get to choose ANY one of my November resources from my TPT store. Hop on over and enter to win!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teaching in the One iPad Classroom: Part 1

Many schools and districts across the U.S. are moving towards more of a digital approach to teaching and learning. With that being said, many of us are making the transition very slowly, perhaps one iPad at a time. So I had a sweet blogger friend, Nicole from Teaching with Style, ask me for some advice on teaching with one iPad in the classroom. She wanted to know what apps she needed and how to use them with her iPad for instruction. So here you go Nicole and anyone else who is wondering how to teach in a one iPad classroom!

First, you will need some way to stream or mirror your iPad to your computer which is hopefully connected to your Promethean Board or Smart Board. Nicole was fortunate enough to receive an Apple TV to mirror her iPad. My school uses a program very similar called AirServer. It can be found for download {HERE}. Please note that you must pay for the license, but you can download a 7-day free trial to check it out. It basically does the same thing an Apple TV would do, but through your computer that is connected to your board. Your class will be able to see what's on your iPad on your board.

Once you have decided on a way to stream or mirror your iPad's contents, you will swipe up from the bottom of your iPad and choose one of the two options seen below depending on if you're using AirServer or Apple TV.

Next, you will need two different apps. There are many out there, but these are the two that I have found the easiest to use. You will need the Dropbox app and the Notability app. You can download them from the App Store straight to your iPad. Dropbox is an online storage system where you will drop documents that you will need to access on your iPad. You will put the documents into Dropbox using the Dropbox website. Dropbox is free unless you want to upgrade to a bigger storage capacity.

Next you will find the document you want to open in the Dropbox app on your iPad, then click the icon to open the file in the Notability app. See the pictures below.

Once you do the actions above, you will have to import the document into the Notability app next. It will prompt you with the screens below. Just choose "Create New Note" and then click "OK" to import the entire document (all pages) into the app.

If you see it in the list, you've done it correctly! Just tap the document to open it up and scroll through the pages.

If you imported a multi-page document, the first thing you will want to do is find the page you want to write, type, or highlight on. You can do this (more quickly than scrolling) by clicking on the icon in the top right corner to see thumbnails of all the pages in your document. Just touch the page you want to use and it appears!

Once you have found the page, you can touch the icon again to turn the thumbnails off so that the whole page is visible. Then you can have fun playing with the toolbar at the top of the screen for different options. If you choose the pencil, you can write, change colors, change strokes, the thickness of the stroke, etc. If you want to type, you can click the lowercase t icon and choose different fonts, colors, sizes, etc. I often type on the page, because it's difficult to write with neat handwriting on the iPad, even with a stylus. You can see an example of handwriting a few pics down. If you choose the highlighter, you can change colors and width. This is GREAT for marking up text or finding text-based evidence in passages! You can erase by choosing the eraser tool and dragging over what you want to erase. There are lots of options. Just explore them and play around with it to find what you want!

Helpful Tip: If you choose to write on the iPad like the picture shows below, I HIGHLY recommend using a stylus. You can purchase them for around $5-10 at most stores now. You will also want to use the screen by dragging the icon shown in the picture below so that you can rest your palm on the bottom portion of the page while you write. Sliding the screen up makes certain that you don't accidentally write at the bottom or scroll the pages using your palm on accident as you're writing at the top. It will make sense when you play around with it! You will move the screen down as you write further down on the page.

So there you have it - a brief introduction to utilizing technology in a one iPad classroom! I hope this has been helpful. I will be back next week with another idea using the same two apps shown above! So stay tuned! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm Back from Fall Break... with a FREEBIE!

This past week was Fall Break for us and I can't tell you how much our family enjoyed it! We didn't go anywhere {purposely}. We just enjoyed sleeping in, being lazy, watching movies, playing outside, and doing, well, not a whole lot really! Just what we had planned!

If you read my last post, you know I took a small break for a little while from blogging, creating, and social media, but I'm back! And I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to offer you a fun little FREEBIE! Don't you agree?

I know many of you haven't reached Fall Break status yet, but if you have, you know that your students will be DYING to tell you ALL the things they did over Fall Break. Well, how about we turn all those fun stories into an authentic piece of writing that meets the standards while killing two birds with one stone. Sound good? I think so!

{Click the image above or click HERE to download for FREE}

I created this fun little Fall Break Writing FREEBIE for you and your students. It contains a narrative writing prompt, a graphic organizer, and publishing papers (with both primary and intermediate lines). I hope you enjoy this little writing activity. If you do, please be so kind as to leave me some sweet feedback in my TPT Store. Please feel free to pin it and share the link to download with your friends! I'll be posting it to my Facebook Page as well!

I also have these other fun, fall products if you're interested! Click on each picture to take you to that listing in my TPT Store.

Enjoy! Happy Fall y'all! :)