Monday, July 29, 2013

Liebster Award and Nominations

My friend Jessica over at 3rd Grade Things nominated me for a Liebster Award! I love to blog but haven't really branched out into the blogging community, so now is my chance! This award is given to "up and coming" bloggers who have less than 200 followers (yeah, I've got 1! haha)

In order to accept, I must
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me (check the above link or look for her cute little owl button on the right side of my page)
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about myself.
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
6. Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them so they can restart the process!

So, in order of appearance on the checklist:
1. Click the link above or look for Jessica's cute little owl button on the right side of my page to see her awesome new blog that has great idea for more than just 3rd grade!

2. This is the hard one for me; I'm so awkward at making new friends! But here goes:

+Miss D'Amore at The Second Grade Safari has a cute blog with lots of craftivities for little hands to make! She posted a comment on another blog I follow, so I clicked her link, and I was super impressed with some of her idea!

+ The anonymous teacher at 4th Grade in Ya Face has some cute bulletin board ideas, even though my kiddos aren't quite old enough for them, but what I really loved (and why I pinned her to my 'school' board months ago) is her Volume Song she wrote for "Call Me Maybe." It's CUTE.

+  Another Second Grade blog I love is Teacherific. I've pinned some of her stuff before (like her math anchor charts!) and I love her take on the Daily 5.

This fabulous teacher at Confessions of a Primary Teacher has a ton of organizational tools. (Can I just say that I love her anchor charts, too! Are we seeing a pattern?)

+ Brittany and Melissa at Frugal in First have lots of freebies and even more great ideas. I love their Gus the Plus and Linus the Minus anchor charts!

3. My questions/answers from Jessica:

1. What is your most memorable "Kids Say the Darndest Things!" moment from your classroom? 
I actually have a list of these so I can look back and laugh when I need a pick-me-up. My very first year teaching all students in the county were required to write a report and present it orally for a grade. Members from a group that donated a lot of money to the school system visited some of the classrooms to listen to the reports. Of course that day I had one of those visitors in my class, and one of mine ended his report about dinosaurs with, "Now remember, if the dinosaurs ever do come back, you have to watch out for the little ones. They bite!" Everyone laughed and I made sure I mentioned loud enough for our visitors to hear me tell the student that I noticed his ad-libbing at the end! 
2. What is your favorite thing to do during the summer? 
I would say, "the internet" but for the last two years it's been specifically "Pin things on my Pinterest boards." :-) Check it out!
3. If you could go on a shopping spree for your classroom at no cost to you - which store would you go to? (You can only pick one!) 
Only one!?!? If it's at no cost, then Lakeshore Learning! They have such great workstation activities and dependable, sturdy resources. I only shop there when they're have a great sale and I can get free shipping, so to actually set foot in one of their stores and not have to worry about cost would probably be my heaven!
4. If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be? 
I love love love my school! Third time's a charm, right? To make it even better, I wish that it was built in a way that I would get to see more of what's going on in different grade levels more often. We are all in separate "wings" and I don't ever take enough time to go visit the Kindergarten and 4th/5th grade hallways. The trip is always worth it, though! 
5. Where did you graduate from college?
I graduated Roanoke College in 2007. Go Maroons! I wanted to be close enough to attend my home church on Sundays, but still far enough away to get the feel of living on my own. 
6. What is your favorite food? 
Chicken! Right now my favorite is Bojangles' Supreme chicken strips.
7. Who lives in your household with you? (Count your fur babies if you have any!) 
My husband and I have two beautiful miniature schnauzer pups, Tobias (black) and Elsie (white).
8. If you could spend the day with anyone - past or present - who would it be? 
I would love to spend a day with Apostle Paul... after his conversion of course, and preferably on day he wasn't in prison or being chased by an angry mob! I love reading the letters he sent to the new churches as recorded in the New Testament, and I think he was such a confident, well-spoken man who truly had a heart for God. He was humble, self-sacrificing, and inspiring to many people back then, as well as today, and I'd love to chat with him about his influence in the world.
9. Who is your favorite author? 
Tied right now between Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon... and Knuffle Bunny are two of my favorites of his) and Kevin Henkes (I not-so-secretly want to name my firstborn child Chrysanthemum if it were a girl!)
10. How long and what grades have you taught? 
This year will be my fourth year in 2nd grade. Before coming back to my home county, I taught a self-contained SPED (Emotional Disabilities) class of students K-5 for three years.
11. What is your favorite thing to blog about, or to read blogs about? 
I love getting new ideas to make things, and I love sharing things that I've made.

4. My 11 facts:
I just have to say, "Wow. 11 is a big number."

-When I was really little I loved my dog, Arnie, and my older sister convinced me I could become a Black Lab (like him) when I grew up. I cried the day I realized I couldn't.
-After my first day of Kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I spent many moments sitting in my classrooms throughout the years, visualizing what I would do differently if it were my room.
-Most of my friends today are people I've been friends with since middle school. I have zero friends from college. The rest are from work and/or church.
-Honestly, college wasn't that great for me. A lot of people say it's the best time of your life, but all I could think while I was there was "If this is as good as it gets, then my life is going to be terrible!" Luckily, it got better!
-I am the Children's Programs Director at my church, which means I plan all of the kid/youth events. VBS is my favorite! I also teach the teenagers' Sunday School class and love to poke my head in youth group on Wednesday nights... they hate when I play Devil's Advocate!
-My husband and I moved up to northern Virginia for his job. We stayed 6 months and I hated it. Sometimes, now, I wish we could go back. I feel like I "failed" that part of my life and I'd like a do-over.
-I am one of those teachers that a lot of other teachers secretly hate because of my control issues. I have no problem staying late and putting in extra time to make sure everything is perfect. I hate to admit that I'm an over-achiever. Even the janitor at school makes fun of me for it.
-I have a craft blog, Creator's Masterpiece where I post crafty things I make.
-The last 4 facts I'll throw into one paragraph:
My husband and I breed miniature schnauzers. We had the best-behaved child/dog, Sophie, and her most adorable mate, Alex, and decided they would make beautiful, smart puppies. (btw, we were right!) She had her 3rd litter the day after Christmas this past year, and one of the pups got stuck and the ER vet accidentally ripped something inside of her while getting him out and she died a couple of days later. Then, 8 of the 9 puppies died throughout the week, although we were bottle feeding them every 2 hours (luckily my husband and I were both off work, as well as my little sister, for the first couple of weeks). Unluckily, our male, Alex, was hit by a car exactly 1 week after Sophie died. I was SO mad at him for getting in the road- not a habit of his- but with Sophie gone I guess he had nobody to tell him not to do it! We decided to keep the one dog that did survive. We named him Tobias, which means "the goodness of God." We feel so blessed that he lived; it made the transition from Sophie and Alex much easier than it would've been. All of that happened the last week of December, and in February we bought Elsie, a white female. She is SUPER hyper compared to Toby's relaxed attitude, but they both bring joy into our lives and I can't even remember what it's like to not have them around. If they grow up to be healthy and well-behaved, we will probably try our hand at breeding again.

5. 11 questions for my nominees:
1. Why did you originally create your blog?
2. What do you enjoy most about teaching?
3. Do you have any pets?
4. What is one teaching supply you can't live without?
5. What's the best advice you've ever received?
6. If you could pick any grade level to teach, would you switch?
7. How much time to you generally spend lesson-planning?
8. What's your favorite book?
9. What's the best advice would you offer to a first year teacher?
10. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
11. If you were the captain of a pirate ship and your crew was made up of one type of animal, what animal would you want them to be?

6. Consider it done!

I hope you enjoyed this autobiography I seemed to have written, haha! And I definitely hope you go check out my nominees' blogs! 

Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back-to-School Wreaths

Today (well, it's already 1:30 a.m. so technically yesterday!) I made 3 new wreaths in the hopes of finding the perfect fit for my classroom this year. The pictures aren't very good (thanks to an iphone camera and an old house) but I love all of them! I haven't decided which one I'll use yet, or what I'll do with the other two. For more specific directions you can check out my craft blog, but here they are.

Wreath 1: My WM only had one grapevine wreath, so here's what I came up with.

Wreath 2: I used school-bus ribbon to wrap a styrofoam wreath for this design.

Wreath 3: This wreath base is made from pencils glued to dowel rods, with some simple yet adorable decorations to give it an eye-catching appeal.

I love making crafty things, and have a couple more wreaths sitting on my dining room table (not my craft room table?!?) waiting for a little more imagination so they can be finished. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Calendar Time Follow-Along

Last year I created a math board for my calendar time that included many skills I wanted to review with my kiddos throughout the year. I noticed some kids maintained their level of knowledge from month to month, whereas others seemed to lose information. To combat this problem this year (and know exactly what skills need extra practice) I created a follow-along (You can find it at my TpT Store) for my students to complete each morning. I had the pages copied, cut in half, and put in notepads so each day the kids could simply tear-off the page and either turn it in for my review, or put it in File 13 after going over it together ;-).

The skills to review include: writing the date in word and digital format, writing numbers in numerical and word form, identifying place value, odd/even, greater/less than, creating tallies, and counting money. There is also a space available to review another skill (ex. addition problems, fact families, word problems). 

Directions: Make copies for each student to complete each day before or during calendar time. After a few days of guided instructions students will be able to complete independently!
I've also included a sample walk-through of what you might say each day to encourage independent thinking. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Whole Class Journals

I created a set of 24 writing prompts for Whole-Class Journals (on my My TPT STORE) for only $3.00. Each topic can be glued to the front cover of a one-subject notebook so the whole class can have a turn writing their responses. I'm going to use mine as "I'm Done" work, but I included a parent letter so they can be sent home for homework, as well. I'm super excited about the kids having a place to write their ideas and can read their friends' work, while keeping all of their writings in organized books. There are prompts for opinion/persuasive writing, informational/explanatory writing, and narrative writings. I'm looking forward to implementing these in my class this year!

Update: Here are a few pictures of mine! I printed them on regular paper and used contact paper to attach them to the notebooks I found on sale at Walmart for 17 cents! SUPER EASY!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Few New Things

My husband and I were wasting time waiting for a movie, so we stopped in Michaels' Craft Store. They sometimes have some things different than the Joann's I prefer, but what caught my eye was their back-to-school stuff. I was able to get all of the things below (stickers, sentence strips, nametags, cubby labels, etc.) for a dollar each. And they aren't the usual dollar-crap things, either! 
 I also got $4 worth of foam shapes to put in a math workstation... either geometry sorts or patterns.
 And I found this cute little book for $2. It's an 8 page wipe-off boards of money activities, which will be great in a money workstation. Kids love anything to do with markers!
 They had their school stuff "buy 2 get 1 free" so I went ahead and stocked up on pencils and erasers for Dr. Seuss day (next March!)
 And on another note, my lego molds finally came in the mail! I'm super excited to make lego crayons with these! What 2nd grader would not want a lego-man crayon!?! Pictures once I make them, for sure!

Harcourt Storytown Study Guide

I finally finished our reading study guide for the 2nd grade stories in Harcourt Storytown. I skipped all of the Reader's Theatre stories, since we don't do those, and plan on putting them in a booklet to hand out on Business Day. I've also made a set that says "refrigerator copy" at the top, and those will go home on colored paper weekly with my kiddos to remind them. Each study guide contains our spelling list for the week, our focus skill, the story page numbers, as well as the vocabulary. We decided this year, first semester, to use the high-frequency words as vocab., since a LOT of our little ones struggled with it last year and those are the words that go with the story. Second semester, we are only using the words that are in the book. Having so many sets of words that aren't even in the story was confusing, we found. Hopefully this will help things go a little smoother. All of my graphics are from I posted it at my TPT Store for only $1.00!

Spelling Tic Tac Toe

Hey there! I spent last week as Elementary Chaplain at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Virginia, but am back home and refreshed and reading to start creating more useful things for my classroom!

Yesterday I created a new set of 6 Tic-Tac-Toe boards for my students to use to complete their spelling homework. On Friday mornings, they will turn in the board with 3 activities completed, along with their words written 3 times each. This will hopefully prevent the "but spelling is SO boring!" complaints I received last year, from both my kids and their parents. I love giving my students choices, so they feel like they have some control over their learning. All of the activities are helpful in enhancing student learning, so the only "bad" choice they can make is to not do it. The boards are available for download from My Teachers Pay Teachers site for only $2.00. Here is a smaller version of one of the six:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teacher's Toolbox

If you've been on the "education" tab of pinterest lately, you've no doubt seen this great idea in about 50 million different ways. (Yes, that's a slight exaggeration... let's say I'm rounding up to the nearest 50 million, but anyway, they're EVERYWHERE!) I was in Lowe's a couple of weeks ago looking for something completely different, when I happened to stroll down the toolkit aisle. I found this for less than $20, grabbed a can of red spray paint, and voila!

I used scrapbook paper from Creative Memories to line the front of each drawer, and used packaging tape to attach them so that there would be a pocket for labels.

I used clear labels {folded-over packaging tape} to write what each drawer contained (no worries, they aren't labeled in the picture but every single drawer was filled before I finished!) so I can change out as necessary. I would also rather print up some labels in a cute font, since I have man-like handwriting. It was a nice side-project, though, and didn't take but about 3-hours of work (mostly attaching the paper to the drawers) from start to finish.

Welcome to Asking for Seconds!

My name is Valerie and I'm ready to start my 7th year as a primary educator. I love finding fun things for my Seconds to do (that go along with what we're studying, of course!) and wanted a place to archive my projects and ideas for the future.

I live in Virginia which has chosen to NOT adopt Common Core just yet, so the activities I post may be suitable for another grade level.

All of the work shown on this blog is that of my own, unless otherwise stated. Feel free to use my ideas and adjust them to meet the needs of your kiddos, but please give credit where credit is due. A lot of my ideas come from Pinterest and some great teachers at Teachers Pay Teachers but I try to always give my 'take' on things to make them my own.

Last but not least, I love love love receiving comments from others, so if you tried something and liked it, let me know!