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Earth Day

Happy Aloha Friday!!

It's been a long, busy, fun week in my classroom.  We have done tons of writing, reading and art this week.

We started off the week discussing Earth Day.  We watched some great videos and read a few books.
Check out this POST to see what they were.

We discussed lots of ideas on how we can help the Earth every day.

This was a great info graphic that I used to start a discussion. (Courtesy of  BMW Manhattan)

I then had my students write 5 things they could do each day to help the Earth.  We have been working on informational paragraphs, so this fit right in.

We then put it all together and created these cute little guys.

This particular class is very artsy and loved making them!

If you would like this template you can download it HERE.

I think this is such an important topic to discuss at any time of year.  Especially here on our little island.

I hope your week was fun and eventful as well, and that you have a fantastic Earth Day weekend!!

Woven Easter Baskets

Aloha friends!! I hope you are having an awesome week getting ready for Spring and Easter!

This week we only have 4 days of school.  Friday is a holiday here  (Good Friday) so we are finishing up our Easter goodies this week.

I posted a picture of our Easter Baskets we were making on Instagram and I had a lot of requests on how to make them.

It's pretty easy, it just takes time and patience!

The materials you will need are:

-Yarn-About 4 skeins for a class of 20
-Easter Basket Template
-Tagboard or Stiff Paper

Here is a quick video to show you how to make them, along with a picture tutorial.

Click on Template to Download in Google Docs

Weave Over and Under
Leave about 1/2 an inch at the top

Glue on a ribbon border and handle

Fill with Easter Goodies!

My class loved making these and are going to be so happy to see them filled with goodies when they come in tomorrow!!

Have fun making these and let me know how they come out!!

The One and Only Ivan

Aloha friends!  Happy Springtime!  I have just finished my Spring Break and am headed into the 4th and final quarter of school.  So much to do in so little time!! It should be fun though.

In my last post I shared a list of Favorite Second Grade Read Alouds.  One of the books on that list was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

I decided to read it to my class and they really loved it.  I honestly didn't know anything about the book, but decided to give it a read.  I happened to mention to my boyfriend that the kids were just loving it and what it was about.  He told me that Ivan was a real gorilla and he had seen him many times growing up at the local mall near him in Washington.  I had no idea that it was based on a true story! 

We finished the book on Friday and then I discussed with the kids that it was based on real events. When I told them my boyfriend had really seen him they thought that was the amazing! I found a few videos and shared them both with my students.  The first is a bit sad and tells how poor Ivan was all alone in his cage for over 20 years!

The kids and I discussed how his real life was similar to the book and how it was different.  I then showed them the following video that tells about the book and Ivan's real life and his move to Zoo Atlanta.  

My class loved hearing about Ivan's adventures in the zoo and what a sweet creature he really was.  I checked in our library and it didn't have the picture book edition so I just ordered it from Amazon.

I can't wait to add it to our class library.  They will be thrilled about it.  We have just finished up our unit on Opinion Writing as well and I wanted to tie this in.  I came up with this template and thought they would enjoy writing about Ivan or Ruby.

Just click on the picture to download it in Google Docs.  I can't wait to see what they come up with in their writing, which by the way has really improved over the past quarter.

I'm sure some of you already know this story and the background details, but it was really interesting for my class and I to discover so much about Ivan and his story.

If you haven't already checked out my last post on favorite Read Alouds, click on the picture below to take you there.

Favorite Second Grade Read Alouds

Aloha friends!  I hope you are all surviving these last few weeks before Spring Break.  I just have this week left and then it's time to sleep in, drink lots of coffee, surf and play for a week.

My class this year is moving right along and they are ready for a much needed break as well.  These days it can get a bit rowdy in class and I seem to lose their attention way to often.

One of the best strategies to get my class back in tune is to just gather them on the carpet and read to them.  It always calms them down and they look forward to our stories so much.  I read to them everyday, but somedays we have a quick 10 minute story break on top of the usual time.

We just finished reading The Boxcar Children which is a longtime favorite and I realized I didn't know what to read next.  Many of my favorite books seem to have disappeared over the years and I wasn't finding anything in my personal library that we hadn't read.

I decided to survey some second grade teachers on Facebook and ask them what their favorite read alouds were.  Here are the top 40+ Favorite Read Alouds that readers suggested:

You can see that favorite authors such as Roald Dahl, Kate DiCamillo and Beverly Cleary continually pop up.  Kids and adults seem to adore these books.

If you would like a copy of this list just click on the picture to download it in Google Docs.

I also created a list on Amazon that I plan to continue adding titles.  You can read reviews and decide which stories might be right for your class.  Click on the link or the picture above to check it out.

Are your favorite books included on this list?  If not leave a comment below to share some new titles that I may have missed.  Happy Reading!!

Becoming A Millionaire Teacher?

Aloha Friends!  I feel like a bit of a stranger since I haven't written a blog post in so long.  With our fast paced lifestyles these days, who has time to write, let alone read blogs, lol!

Most of my posts are about teaching and improving our classroom strategies and environments.  We strive to be the best teachers that we can be.  Goodness knows we set out to change the lives of our students and not to become millionaires.  However, as I approach the next phase of my adulthood, I realize that I really should have learned how to care for myself more and invest in my future, not just for me but for my own children.

As a teacher there's not a lot of wiggle room for investing and now as a single mom of two teenage girls, I find it to be even less so.

Recently I came across this book by Andrew Hallman after hearing many of my blogging/teacher cohorts rave about him at the Teachers Pay Teachers conference.

I figured I would give it a read and see what he had to say and what I could do to start investing in my future.  Andrew Hallman is/was a high school teacher who learned how to invest in the market and became a debt free millionire in his late 30's. 

Let me just say the first two chapters really got me thinking about how I spend money.  I realized that if I were to really separate my needs and wants that it would be possible to sock away a little extra each month.  I think I am pretty thrifty, but it really gives some sound advice about making bigger purchases like cars and home appliances.

The rest of the book really takes you through the process of teaching you about investing in the stock market and what you should be looking for.

I know, I know....Stock Market?  Yeah, that makes me nervous too!  Honestly all of that is totally foreign to me and it makes me want to run the other way.  But, if you take the time to go through it and see what you CAN do, then it's not so scary.

I am by no means an expert now, but I realized I have been letting a financial company invest in my 403b each month and not really questioning the mutual funds they have chosen for me.  In the book Mr. Hallman reviews the difference between a mutual fund and an index fund.  There is a big difference. Right away I looked at my latest financial statement and realized what I have invested is not growing much.  It's time to meet with my financial guy and really get down to business.

Another big takeaway from the book is that you need to start investing ASAP!  There is a huge difference in compound interest when you start investing in your 20's than when you start investing at say age 48 (like me). Take a look at this example from the book:

So imagine you are investing $100 a month instead of a year.  That's a lot more to retire on than what I can possibly put away in the next 12 years before I plan to retire.

However, it does help me to invest in my daughters' futures and to help them learn to invest now in their teen years!

In the beginning of the book the author discusses how many of us were never taught in school how to invest and handle our finances.  It is such an important thing for all of us to know.  My parents didn't teach me to invest, but told me to pay my bills and save for a rainy day.  

If you are a newbie to investing, this book is a pretty easy read to help you get started, or at least thinking about how you can delve into your own investment portfolio.

I plan to meet with my financial advisor soon and use some of my new found knowledge to invest more wisely.

Are you on your way to millionaire status or at least a comfortable retirement?  How did you learn to invest? Did you teach yourself? Please share your wisdom for all of us to learn!!

Cyber Sale on TpT

Aloha friends!! I hope you had a fabulous weekend of food, fun, family and friends.  I am still working off my Thanksgiving meal. All the leftovers aren't helping though!

Are you ready for the holidays in your classroom or in need of some seasonal resources? Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale.  You can get up to 28% off on all of your purchases.

Just in time to grab some of these fun items.

Load up your cart now with all of your favorite items and don't forget to enter Code:CYBER2016
when you check out.

In the spirit of the season, I am giving away FOUR $10 gift cards to help you get even more of a discount!!

Just head over to my Facebook page to enter.   I will pick the winners on Sunday evening.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!!

November Crafts

Aloha!!!  The month of November is upon us and we have been having a great time with some simple but fun crafts.

We started the month with some colorful leaf drawings.  I was inspired by a Pinterest find from Art Projects For Kids.

I gave the kids some leaves to look at and we talked about the symmetry.  They sketched out their leaves and traced with a sharpie.

They filled in each section with a design using crayons.

Then they painted each a section a different color.  I let them use whatever colors they wanted to, so it was a bit brighter than your usual fall colors.  But I thought they turned out beautifully!

We also made some Thankful Turkeys.  The students traced a circle for the body, 4 feathers and they drew out the head and feet with some guidance from me.  They came out pretty cute as well.

This week we learned about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag.  We read both articles in our Scholastic News showing what it was like in 1620 for both of them.

My students really loved the video on the Wampanoag way of life.  You could have heard a pin drop as they watched it.  So I decided to have them make a wetu. 

 1- 1 1/2 x 18 inch strip for the base
 4- 1x12 inch strips for the dome
 2-3 sheets of tan colored paper

Just glue all the pieces together to make the dome.  Then tear and paste the light colored paper in layers.

Once it is dry, use a brown crayon to draw lines for the bark. Don't forget to cut a hole for the door.

My class really did a great job with these and they are dying to take them home to share with their families.

I hope you are enjoying this crazy month with some fun activities of your own!  Tomorrow is our annual Turkey Trot and we are making No Bake Pumpkin Pie in the afternoon.  It should be an awesome day!

Mahalo for stopping by and I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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