If you're like me, you need to maximize your instructional time! We barely have time in our schedule for bathroom breaks and it just seems like we can't fit it all in. When my friends are eating snack we are using precious class time, now don't get me wrong....I feel that snack is important! You can teach them if they are hungry. It's just that snack time has turned into social time.

My team and I were talking about fact fluency and how to fit in time for practicing math facts and then I had a great idea. We need to take snack time and make it productive and fun! I made this slide to let them know it was practice time. I had all our flash cards ready in one basket. We also had to discuss practice and eating at the same time! I put a progress bar on the bottom of the slide. It is set for 10 minutes, so at the end of the 10 minutes all snacks are done and flash cards need to be put away.  Would like the powerpoint slide? Just click on the picture!

They absolutely loved our first Snacks and Facts day! When I asked how they thought it went, everyone said, "Can we do it again tomorrow!" I think that means it was a huge hit!

Teaching math can be hard these days! I have quite a few friends struggling with addition and subtraction with regrouping. I felt like we were getting two-digit and then we had to go to three digit and we got stuck.

Since we do not teach the standard algorithm in second grade, I teach all the strategies and students choose which strategy works for them. One of my go to strategies is the open number line. I love teaching this! I tell students a little story about the three bears, Papa Bear makes big hops, Mama Bear makes medium hops and Baby Bear makes little hops. Kids just love this, and it helps them remember how to count along the number line.

Here's a cute little freebie to help you teach this skill. Click the pic to snap it up!

One of the things I love about teaching is that I have the opportunity to make a fresh start every single year. What other professions offer this? I love that I can reflect on the previous year and make changes to things that didn't work. Or keep things that went great. If I had a rough year with my class, I know I am getting a whole new group with different personalities and behaviors. The awesome thing is our students get a fresh start as well. I have had quite a few students that had trouble in previous years but I was able to click with them and they had a great year.
At the beginning of every school year, I like to set some goals for myself. I reflect on what I would like to accomplish in my class with my teaching. Also, professional learning I would like to complete and I think about some personal goals. The first step in reaching goals is to actually write them down! By writing your goals down, you can hold yourself accountable and celebrate those goals that you achieve. I made these sheets to help me do exactly this!

You can get yours too! For free, just click the pic:
I included some great posters for you as well:

My wish is that you reach your goals and have a great school year!

One thing I do over the summer is get organized! Something that has been on my list for awhile is a family emergency binder....I realized that I pay all our bills and if anything happened to me, my husband would have no idea how to get into our accounts. I went on Pinterest (of course!) and all the emergency binders out there just didn't work for me. So I made my own! Even though this is not teaching related at all, I thought I would share it here,

A few tips:
This file is editable in powerpoint, so after you download it you will need open it in powerpoint to edit. You can delete any pages you won't need. I got all our important documents and information together before starting to put it together. I also got some page protectors to hold birth certificates and other important documents. 

Another really important thing to consider before you put this together is where you will keep it. A fire-proof safe is really the best place. But if you don't have a safe, then put it in a secure location. If mine was not in a safe I think I would not use the cover. That way it would not be evident what it was if someone came across it.  
Click the picture to get your copy!
I hope this helps you get a little more organized!

It's a huge deal to kids when they get to start learning their multiplication facts! It is the number one thing my second graders said they want to learn next year. After many years teaching third grade, I have learned a few tips and tricks to help students master those facts. 

I know this has been around a long time, but I still love the Multiplication Sundae. I give students a copy of the chart (below) and put it in a page protector in their agendas. When they pass a test, they color in the next step on the chart. We celebrate after most students have mastered their facts by having an Ice Cream Party.  Click the picture to get my FREE chart!
 I started making multiplication lanyards a few years ago and they work so well. I give each child a lanyard and the first set of facts. They choose which fact they want to concentrate that day and have it on top. Then when they are walking around the school or in class, people will stop them and ask them that fact. I love it when we are filing into music or art and the specials teacher stops each one to ask them their fact. It works awesome. Also, when I want to quickly practice with a student, they just bring their lanyard to me and pull out their cards.  Click the picture to download my FREE fact practice packet!
 Kids love computers so I've complied the best FREE and PAID websites for practice. My absolute favorite is Reflex but it is pretty expensive. They have educator grants, which is how I have been able to have my students get access to this awesome site. They are not accepting grant applications right now, but I would keep checking back Reflex Math Grants for when they open up the application process again.  If you download the picture you can click the links:
Kids love to play games, it just makes learning more fun! Whole class games like Around the World have been around forever. I have invented a great twist to this game called King of the Mountain. I have one student stand on something like a milk crate. That person starts out as King (or Queen) of the Mountain. Then the class lines up to challenge that person to become King of the Mountain. It is a fast paced game that kids just love!
Get your King of the Mountain power point here:
i know there are probably a ton more fun ways to practice multiplication facts. These are just a few of my favorites!

I am really getting ready for summer already....it can't get here fast enough! One reason I love summer is time to read. I usually don't have time during the school year, as you can probably relate! In anticipation of summer, I have started getting my summer reading list ready. So here's what I will be reading:

Ron Clark's newest book The Essential 55 comes out April 30th, I can't wait to get this one! We all can learn something from Ron Clark.

If you are a fan of Gerry Brooks like I am, you'll love this book Go See the Principal! I have been following all his videos and think he's hilarious! This book is also due out at the end of April.
                                      Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches

I grew up watching Mister Rogers, his gentle mannerisms and outlook on life and children was exceptional. This new book The World According to Mister Rogers will just be a feel good, lift you up book. This one is due out May 14th.
The last book is Educated, A Memoir. Just reading the book jacket of this book will hook you into reading it! The author writes about her life and escape from rural Idaho, where her father isolated his whole family. She never saw the inside of a classroom until she was seventeen years old! I can't wait to read this one!
What will you be reading this summer??
Can we talk about Hall Passes? I just can't even begin to think about how germy those things are! I have a thing about lanyard passes because they are so long they get wet and whatever else.....so I really wanted to get some ideas together that are an alternative to lanyards. Here are three of my favorites. They are sanitary and easy to implement. No more germs!

The first one that I love is from Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris. She puts those tap on lights by the door and students tap the light before they leave the classroom. With this method, you can make sure only one boy and one girl are in the bathroom at a time.
The second one is such a great idea! It comes from ABC's with Mrs. B. Students put the hand sanitizer on their desk before they leave the classroom. Then at the very least they remember to clean their hands when they return! Her labels are freebies as well.
In my school, students should have a pass when they leave the classroom. So I found clear badges  that clip onto students' shirts. Since they are not expensive (I found mine at office depot). I change them out frequently!
I have them hanging on a side of a filing cabinet near the door. This has worked out great this year!

You can grab your free template here! It is editable too, just add your name. Be sure to download first, then you can type in the name field.
What is your favorite way for students to check out of the classroom? 

We've been working on the skill of point of view in reading this week. In second grade, students just need to acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters but when searching for resources I had a really hard time! Most of the resources ask students to name the point of point; first person, third person etc. So I had to get creative and make a few things myself.

We read a TON of great books to discuss point of view! Here are just a few of my favorites:
For each one we used an anchor chart that focused on the how the character acted, what he/she said, thought and felt. I had students put post it notes on the chart so I could keep using it for different stories. During the reading and interacting with the stories, we wore "point of view glasses". When we were wearing the glasses we could "see" through the eyes of the character. My students loved the glasses! We decorated then and used them for several days. I shared the printable for you to use below:
Click the picture to get your FREE printable glasses!
After students were comfortable talking about the point of view in shared books, I had them focus on point of view in the books they are reading in their book boxes. I gave them several different graphic organizer choices, and we glued them into our Reading Notebooks.
By the end of the week, students really had a great grasp of the skill. I could easily go back into their notebooks and see how they made connections to the mini lesson.

I hope you enjoy the freebies and it helps you teach this important skill!

I know I have said it before but I love Valentine's Day! Everyone can in my class can participate and it is just a nice day to show we love and care for each other. 

One thing I do is have my students start off the day complimenting their classmates. I have them pass out compliments and put them in each other's Valentine bags before they pass out their cards. Then, when they are looking at their cards, they can read all the nice things friends have said about them.

                                Click the pic to get your freebie:
I usually don't have my students make a box or bag at home. I  like having them make one in class. These Dollar Store bags are cheap and easy. You can make them out of gift bags or brown bags work just as well. You can get see how I made these here. I love how cute they are!

Need some great freebies? These awesome resource should fill your day with fun!

                                                 click to download your copy:
I can't wait for next week! I hope your day is filled with love from your students and not too much candy....

This week my school is participating in The Great Kindness Challenge. What a great way to kick off the month of February! I love this month.....first of all it's my birthday month. Second of all, I love Valentine's Day. In the classroom, it is one holiday that most kids can celebrate because it is pretty much all inclusive and not religious. But I also love reminding kids about kindness and how to make our world a kinder place. 

The Great Kindness Challenge has a great website if your school/class would like to participate. You can think small or big! And if you are looking for some kindness ideas for your classroom, I have a great little freebie. This calendar will give your students lots of ideas for the month. Complete kindness activities up until Valentine's Day or all month: 
Click the picture to get the calendar!

And of course we will read books this month. There are so many great books to read but here are a few of my favorites:

I will have to post some pictures of our good deeds. I hope your February is kind:)

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