September Word Problems

Aloha friends!  Can you believe it is the end of August! This month has gone by quickly and I have been so busy!  I feel like I am finally in the swing of things and my classroom is running smoothly.  I am able to leave school at a reasonable hour and I have more time to relax and work out after work. 

I have really been fortunate this year to have such a small class size.  Only 17 kids is so nice! It has really given me so much time to meet with each individual student.  I am also able to spend a bit more time this year on Word Problems.  I have been doing one every day and it is still a struggle for many of my students.  Mainly because they can't read the problem.

So each day I use my document camera to project our Word Problem and we have been reading it together.  We have also been acting them out.  It's amazing how much more the kids respond when I get them up and moving.

I have also been referring to our Word Problem posters and some of the students are starting to glance up at them a bit more.


I am also having them circle and write out common words they see such as all together, sum, total, left and difference.


The word problem template that I use has been making them focus more.  I tell each student they have to have at least one box filled and even if they can't write it out exactly they should still tell me how they solved it.  They love to come up and write their answers for the class on the document camera.
My reluctant learners like that we are all working together and sharing our answers.  No one feels pressured that they don't know the answer. With continued practice my students will be pros in no time!

I have just finished my latest pack right on time for the new month!


It is the same format as my other packs with easier beginning of the year 2nd grade skills.  This pack includes addition, subtraction, counting coins and odd and even numbers.  I have also included a few multi-step problems.  Those are still a doozy for many of my kiddos.  This pack is on sale today in my TpT store.

If you are interested in trying this format in your class you can download this freebie in my store as well.


Have you all started back to work yet?  How has your first month, weeks or days been?  I hope your beginning of the year is running smoothly.

Stop back by on Monday for a fun giveaway!






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New Creations

Aloha friends! Just a quick post to share a new item I just listed in my TpT store.


This pack is similar to my Spring Is In The Air pack.  It includes chevron, stripes, diagonal stripes, waves and dots in each of the colors.  50 papers total.  These colors will be great for Fall creations. Head over to my TpT shop to snag these.





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Open House and Surfer Of The Week

Aloha Friday!! I feel like I have been swallowed up by all of my Back To School activities!  This week was extra busy trying to get ready for our Open House.  It is only the 3rd week of school so I didn't have much to display in the classroom.  I did however have my cute Surf Buddies and I put up a Who Am I? bulletin board.  



I have each student write clues about themselves.




Then I take their pictures and I place them above their clues.  They draw a picture to go on top.


I found that cute sign at Target in the Dollar spot and I knew I had to use it.  Parents have to find their child's clues and guess who they are.  They really love it.

The other activity that I started this week was our Surfer Of The Week.  It is basically Student or Star of The Week, but I changed it to fit my theme.

Each week I pick a student randomly on Friday afternoon.  That student receives a note to take home to their family.  Over the weekend they pick 10 items to bring to school to share.  On Monday morning we have a special time for the Surfer to share their items.  I always start the ball rolling so that the class knows what to do.


I brought in my photo albums, pictures of my family and pets, a doll that I have had for years, my sketch book and awards I have saved over the years.  I shared it all and then the students asked me questions about it all.


Then I make a web for the students to refer to.


I give them a letter template and they write letters to the Surfer Of The Week.  






Then I display all the letters for the week.


 At the end of the week I take all of the letters and place them in a piece of construction paper, staple them together and make a book for our special student to take home.  I have done this for many years and I have all the books saved from each class.  I love looking through them each year and so do my students and their families.

It is such a fantastic and fun way to celebrate each student and make them feel special.

I put everything all together this year and have made a little freebie for you.


Just click on the picture to grab it in Google Docs or click {HERE}.

I am sure many of you have your own version of Student of the Week.  I would love to hear what special activities you do for your class.  Leave me a comment below sharing your great ideas. I always enjoy finding new things to try!





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Back To School Tools For Displaying Items In Your Classroom

Aloha friends!  I know many of you are already in school, but some of you are still setting up and getting ready to head back into the classroom.  Don't forget to stock up on all those wish listed items in your TpT store for tomorrow's big sale!!  Since Hawaii is 6 hours later than the east coast the sale will actually begin for me tonight at 7pm.  I already have my purchases lined up and my ink in my printer well stocked!


Every item in my store will be on sale and if you use the code BTS13 then you will get the full 28% off!!

Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite items to have stocked in my classroom year round, but especially at the beginning of the school year.





Do you have a supply of ZOTS on hand?

These little babies make labeling your items so easy!  I started using these for scrapbooking and then discovered how wonderful they were for the classroom.


They come in a roll and are spaced out individually.



It is basically like two sided sticky dots.  Just place the back of your 
item to the Zot and it picks it up off of the roll.


Then position your item how you like it and it sticks.



I also used them to label all my library bins.


Another item that I keep on hand year round are velcro dots.


Velcro Sticky-Back Hook and Loop Fasteners, 0.625 Inches Diameter Coins, Clear, 75 per Pack (91302)


I have velcro attached to my buckets so I can easily take them off and hand them to students.  It also make it easier at the end of the year to take them off and put them away.  I also use them for my job chart, center labels and anything that needs to be changed out consistenly.

Another item that I have found to be a wonderful tool in my classroom are these fantastic magnets.


These are called Neodymium magnets and they are so strong!



Everything on my whiteboards is attached by these awesome little things.  I have tried magnetic tape and regular tape and these are the only things that keep my posters up on my whiteboards. 


Do you see all of those lovely windows?  They don't have any screens on them, they are just louvres.  I am so fortunate to have natural light, fresh air and a gorgeous ocean view, but when that ocean breeze whips through my classroom, EVERYTHING flies off of my white boards.

These magnets are sooo strong.  I just use packing tape to attach them to the back of anything I use on my whiteboards and they stay put!

I have a variety of sizes and shapes of these magnets and I have purchased them all on ebay.  Here is a link to the last type that I ordered.  {Neodymium Magnets}

A word of warning these are very strong!!  You can get your fingers pinched very easily when you try to pull them apart!

My final items are probably ones you already have, but it never hurts to stock up.


Scotch Duct Tape, Love Note, 1.88-Inch by 10-Yard

Tape over those old buckets or items that need a little face lift.



Duck EZ Start Carton Sealing Tape, 1.88 Inches x 60 Yards, 3-Inch Core, Clear (CS-60C)



I can't tell you how many times packing tape has saved me when I need to fix a book, or laminate a small item to display.  

I hope you have discovered something new in this post to help you get ready for the new year.  Have I missed anything? What items are essential for you to get your class ready for the new year?  






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Teacher Week-Classroom Management

Aloha friends!  It is my 2nd week back in school and things are flowing pretty well in my class.  We are still working on our rules and routines and figuring out new procedures as they arise.  The first 3 weeks are pretty slow curriculum wise, but once we have these routines down we will be ready to roll.

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week Day #4-Classroom Management.


Classroom Management is one of the key ingredients to a successful year.  There are so many wonderful and different ideas, tricks and tips and I am excited to share what works in my classroom.

I think many of you have seen pictures of my room so some of these pics might be repeats.

Each morning when my students arrive they mark their lunch and turn in their homework.


I created this simple lunch chart out of a yardstick and the kids quickly move to where they need to be.
It is right by the door and on the opposite side is my basket for homework folders.

They put away their backpacks and write down their homework in their agenda books.  Our books are provided by the school for each child.

Then they begin their morning work.


My rug area is our main meeting place in the classroom.  The students are assigned a spot and I switch it each month. This particular rug has been so helpful to get them on the floor and seated without arguing who sits where.  I received it through a Donor's Choose project.


Each morning for the first few weeks we review our Class Rules.  I just created these posters and they are really easy to see from across the room.  I give lots of positive praise for my kiddos who are demonstrating these rules. 


My clip chart is really the star of my classroom.  This behavior system has been magical in my class. Maybe it's because of the surf theme and the top says Cowabunga!!  When I am waiting for students to get rolling or I notice any negative behaviors I quickly turn to my sweeties who are modeling good behavior and tell them to "Surf Up".  Suddenly everyone seems to be on task and waiting for a chance to surf up.  I usually pick 1-2 kids at different times throughout the day.  

At the end of the day anybody on Cowabunga gets to add a bead to their Award Necklace.



Each student has a necklace to start the year.  They add a bead each time they surf to the top of our chart.  Once they have 5 beads I let them choose a new tag for their necklace.  I have lots of different tags that I have created.  Once kids start adding more tags they get so excited to see how many they can earn.  If you are interested in these tags you can check them out {HERE}.


This year I have really tried to label everything in my classroom and am teaching students that everything has a place.  Their cubbies have their number on them and most have memorized their numbers for this year.



Our book bags for Daily 5 are also numbered.  They place their backpacks here on these hooks.


Our supplies are clearly labeled so they know where everything belongs. 




This year I took the supply buckets off of the tables.  I just couldn't take the kids playing with everything all the time.  I have them keep pencils, scissors and crayons in their toolbox in their desks.
If they need glue they grab a bucket for their table.


I finally created my own Class Job Chart.  I make everyone responsible for a classroom job.  We have been taking the last 15 minutes each day to go over our duties.  I will change the jobs at the end of the month.  That way each child has enough time to learn their job well before moving to a new task.  I will then have them train the new hires at the end of the month.

The final management item that I have been working on is our class Attention getters.  My favorite item for centers is my Music Wand.


It has such a great sound and my students respond instantly to it.

When my wand is not close at hand I use some good old sayings.  The two I am using this year:

Teacher: Macaroni and Cheese
Students: Everybody Freeze

Teacher: Hocus Pocus
Students: Everybody Focus

The teacher down the hall uses this one:
Teacher: Shark Bait
Students: Hoo Ha Ha!



It always makes me smile when I hear it :)

If you have started back already I hope you are getting your class in order and running smoothly.  If you are still on vacation enjoy your time and sleep in for me!

Make sure you stop by and check out all the great posts going on this week over at Blog Hoppin', and if you haven't stopped by our new collaborative blog make sure you do!  We have a great eBook to help you through your first weeks of school!






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