February Resources

This is such a busy month with so many holidays and fun activities.  Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Black History Month, Valentine's Day and President's Day! Phew!

Do you have all your resources lined up and ready to roll?  Maybe I can help.

Chinese New Year is on February 8th.  This year is the Year of the Monkey.  According to the Chinese Zodiac I am a monkey.  We are smart, clever. lively and fun.  I'll take it!

Here is a word search you can use with your class for fun.  Just click on it to grab it in my TpT shop.

We will be making these fun Dragons this week for our school's annual Chinese New Year Parade.

I have some Math and Literacy centers that are perfect for this month too.

10 Different Math skills to use during your math stations or centers.

I just finished these fun Literacy Centers!

8 Different skills to use during center or word work time.

I also have my Monthly Word Problems.

Each set comes with 21 word problems covering a variety of second grade skills.

I really enjoy all of the February activities. Now to just find the time and plan it all out!  Hopefully some of these resources can help you get organized for this month!


100 Days of School

Aloha friends!  I hope your week has been moving along nicely.  Today marked the 100th day of school for us.  Time sure is flying by.
On Wednesdays we have a short day which made it the perfect day to celebrate.
We started off the day by sharing our Mystery Bags.
I glued this onto some white craft bags and sent them home on Monday.  The students had to find 100 items to place in the bag and then write 3 clues.  I had the students sit in a circle and share their clues.  We then passed the bags around the circle and tried to guess what each student brought.

The kids really enjoyed sharing and guessing.  
It was a great way to use our senses as well.

Next we had some fun writing about ourselves.
I gave each student a sheet of paper and told them to write their name in the middle.  Then I challenged them to write 100 things about themselves!  I let them sit wherever they wanted and they had a great time chatting with friends and sharing ideas.

I was amazed at how engaged they all were for a full 30 minutes, lol!  They really enjoyed it.  They didn't come close to writing 100 things, but they were happy that they could work on them another time.

I then did some reading.  I shared a few of my favorite 100 day books.
The Wolf's Chicken Stew is one of my favorites and so cute. We read it and then discussed some other items that the wolf might make for the chicks.  I created a template and had the students finish it.
They wrote some really cute answers, but we ran out of time before lunch and I forgot to take pictures!  If you would like a copy of the writing template just click on the picture above to grab it in Google Docs.

After lunch we had some 100 day math activities.  First I shared the recipe for our 100 Day snack.

I sent a note home last week asking for each student to bring in 200 pieces of a small snack item.  Not every child brought something so it was just enough for our class of 21. I set out 10 plates and placed the different items on each one.  I called a few kids back at a time and they counted out their snacks.

All the snacks were quite tasty!  The kids at their seats were keeping busy with 100 ways to make 100.  

Just click on the picture to grab this one too.

These activities took us through our short afternoon quite quickly. 
My second graders have a great concept of place value and hundreds, but it's always fun to reinforce the concepts.  All my kiddos left smiling and although I didn't get 100 hugs, 20 was good enough for me!  

I hope you can use some of these ideas and activities with your class as well.
When is your 100th day of school?


Getting Started With Opinions

Aloha everyone!!  Who has had an awesome 3 days in this 4 day work week?  I tell you time flies when you are having fun and your lesson plans are keeping your class humming!

Last week I started working on Opinion writing.  We began by simply working on Fact vs. Opinions. Most of my kids already knew the difference and could tell me that a fact was true and an opinion was how someone felt.  We had a discussion and made a list of facts and opinions about a variety of topics.

We then did a reading activity.  I decided to work on our color coding strategy to find our text evidence.

We read this together and then I asked them to highlight the first question yellow.  They had to go back into the paragraph and find the answer and highlight it as well.  Then I had them write the full sentence as their answer.  The first one was easy, but I had some kids who had trouble with the second answer.  It was a great way informally assess who needed to work on this skill..

We then did a fun activity where I showed a sentence and they had to write it under fact or opinion.
They didn't have any problem with this one.

Then we got into the writing portion.  My class is doing pretty well with basic paragraphs, but I really wanted to guide them through the process.

I put this up on the board and went through each step.

First I wrote in the middle and had them write their opinion.

Then we went through each of the reasons together.  I didn't move on until each student had completed each sentence.  My quick finishers were right there to help anyone who was struggling.

Finally we talked about a closing sentence.  This is really difficult for so many kids.  They want to write "PE is cool" and end it.  So I added a bit more for them and they just filled in the blank.

Everyone was  successful and they enjoyed sharing their stories with each other.  We will continue to use this format for a few more writing pieces. I plan to also conference with students to help them focus their sentences a bit more.

Writing has always been a tough subject for me to teach, but I have learned that leading my students step by step through the process is the best way for them to learn.  Most of them need lots of examples and ideas before they will venture to write all by themselves.

If you need some extra ideas and activities for Opinion writing check out my Opinion Writing Pack.

I plan to share some other activities that we will be doing in the next few weeks with our opinions.

What is your class working on in writing?  I love hearing everyone's great lessons and ideas on teaching writing.  The more we share the more we learn.


A Healthy New Year

Aloha everyone!  Are you getting back into the swing of things at work?  We started back to school on Wednesday the 6th and it was nice to have the kids for only 3 days to ease back in.

This week we had a PC day on Monday so it was a 4 day week, along with this coming week.  Not so bad.

Along with the start of a new year comes those New Year Goals and resolutions.  I didn't really have any specific goals for school this year, but I think it's important for me to focus on my personal life this year.

Teachers, mothers and women in general are very giving and generous by nature.  When you are all three you tend to give a lot!  This last year was pretty tough trying to balance out all I needed to do for work, my kids and myself.  I seriously thought I could do it all and for the most part I did.

What happens is we tend to forget to take care of ourselves in the midst of taking care of everyone else.  I am so guilty of this.  I want to make sure everyone is happy and I say "Yes" even when I want to say "NO!"

In November and December I was stretched beyond my capacity, but I still did everything that I had promised to do for everyone.  Let's just say I was completely exhausted and unhappy at the end of those months.

So here it is a new year and I have some positive and simple goals for ME.

I have so many ideas and things I want to do this year, but I have to plan it all out to make it work.
I have a simple daily planner that I am using to list everything I NEED to do and other things I might want to do.
I notice that when I plan too much sometimes I either stress myself out and do it all, or I just throw it all out the window.  When I write it down, see it and prepare myself, it is so much easier to do. I leave all of my work at work and I have planned time for me to blog and work on products during certain times and days of the week.

This is the hardest one for me.  I really do want to help everyone, but I have learned how taxing it is on me.  It isn't just friends, it's my daughters too.  I want them to be able to participate in all of their extra curricular activities like any good parent.  My youngest wanted to try out for every musical production available and I learned very quickly that it is tons of time on me!   I was driving to auditions, making costumes and spending hours waiting around for her to finish with dress rehearsals and regular rehearsals.  I told her already that we are cutting back and she was fine with that.  She still loves me and I'm sure will enjoy some much needed down time as well.

This is a huge one for me.  I love working out and that is something I didn't do enough of this last year.  I went for weeks without surfing because I was so busy!! Exercise is like an anti-depressant for me.  I have always been able to find the time, but becoming single and the sole provider for my girls this year, my extra time disappeared.  I may not be able to surf all the time, but I have been getting up early every morning and getting in a quick workout.  Right now I am doing this 30 Day Challenge from Betty Rocker.  

She is awesome and each workout is only 15 minutes! I love that I am getting in a little every day and if I have time to surf during the week or jog even better!

This is another biggie for me that I let slide, especially when I got busy.  I am guilty of eating junk several times a week due to being busy and too lazy to want to cook.  If I plan my meals and buy everything I need we do so well.  It's when I don't that we end up eating junk.  I don't have a weight problem, but clean eating makes me feel so much better.  Since I did The Whole 30 this summer I have adopted more of a Paleo diet.  I have kicked bread and dairy out, but I really need to balance out more fresh veggies and lean meats.  The holidays really got me off track too and I am still working off those few extra pounds around my middle. That doesn't mean I am on a strict diet.  I love eating out and plan to continue to do so with family and friends.

I think all of these are simple and doable for me.  I am taking back what I really should have never let go.  

I lost two dear friends this year to heart attacks.  One was only 38 and the other just turned 50. Both were hard working moms and full time teachers trying to do it all. The statistics show that heart disease is the number one killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. 

I don't want another stressful year, but a happy and healthful one.  Not only for me, but for my daughters, my family and all those little bodies in my classroom who expect me to be ready for anything every single day!

How do you plan on taking care of yourself this year?

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