Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Mystery Kitchen... Is it yours?!

For spelling homework, students are sometimes asked to complete one of these Tic-Tac-Toe activities.
Fun, right?
I thought so, so I shared it on my blog awhile ago.
Other teachers have thought it a fun activity, too - yay! - and downloaded it.
How do I know?
Well, one of the squares asks students to send me an email with a typed list of their words.
So, naturally, I included my school email address.
{Which has the word "Kuwait" in it.}
But I forgot to delete it before I uploaded.
Since January, I've gotten about two emails a week from students in I-don't-know-where in the world, listing their spelling words.
I thought this was a funny oversight on my part.
But today, that oversight got even funnier when I received an email with this picture attached:
Now the mystery remains: Whose kitchen is this?!?!
It's funny to me that parents do not second guess as they are typing the email address - "Hmm...Kuwait? That's strange. Oh, well. Send."
- Amanda   

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Black, White & NEON all over!

Just finished two awesome new classroom decoration kits!
I think creating these things is therapeutic for me.
Right now I have a circus theme in our class.
I like it.
Moving to grade three next year, though, I want something a little more bold.
Because grade three is so much more grown-up than grade two.
You know?
Behold, Black, White & Neon:

One pack is a cupcake theme, and one is a stars theme.
Everything you need to fulfill your neon needs!
And on sale :)
Here on TpT and here on TN.

Now, I must learn how to make a preview page of all the slides included in my packs.
But it must be fast.
Because like I said yesterday, I'm a little lazy about those types of things.

- Amanda

Monday, March 25, 2013

Award Updates

Well, I get the Busy Bee award tonight! 
I've been very busy-bee-like updating my K-6 end of year awards.
They were, well, not as pretty as I remembered when I first made them. 
Or maybe it's because I have a clipart/font problem.
Anyway, feel free to browse by clicking the images!
They're only 2 smackaroonies.
{Which is less than a dinar where I'm living and only $2 where I'm from.}

Yes, the preview images on TpT all say "Grade Two." 
...That's because while I worked hard to update each grade file, I am far too lazy to make separate image files for each.
Now I'm off to get the Soundest Sleeper award.
Good night, all!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blah - reports.

You know how when you're writing reports you have really great ideas for everything but those reports? 
You just can't seem to focus on those reports?
Your mind goes blank every time you stare at a child's name on your computer screen?
That's me.

I think I've checked my email a bazillion times.
I've organized the awful mess of a book shelf where things categorized "I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-you-yet" get thrown.
I've read and made comments on some little journal entries.
I took down some work from a bulletin board. 
I put up new work on a bulletin board.
I ate my lunch. 
{I wasn't hungry yet.}
I emailed poor husband to tell him know how distracted I am. 
{He emailed back saying his day is very productive. Thanks, dear.}
So, blogging becomes the next procrastination tool.
{Lucky you - haha!}

And at that, it won't even be educational, this blogging. It's becoming true procrastination now. 

I think I've talked before about the fact that I don't cook.
Very much, anyway.
But I'm trying to learn a few things. Like how when substituting fresh basil in a recipe that calls for dried you simply double the amount. Learned that yesterday.

When I found this recipe yesterday for Lemon Glazed Cookies I had to try them because I'm a major lemon fan,
glazed lemon cookies yum
 and this morning I made these Bacon Maple Cinnamon Rolls because Jeff is a major maple and bacon fan
Bacon Maple Cinnamon Rolls 
and they were both delicious! We don't have real bacon in Kuwait, of course, so we buy a lot of beef bacon. It's not so bad.

Maybe now I can try to read up a little on travel tips for our upcoming trip to Jordan.
Or organize my assessment folders.
Or catch up with someone {anyone!} through email. 
Or organize the classroom library again.
Or clear off my gross teacher desk.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Making Predictions

Ahhh, weekends... they're so wonderful. 
As much as I love them, Jeff and I still decided to go into school today. Ruxin face. (Side note: Anyone else watch The League? 
The League (2009) Poster
It's grimy - very, very grimy {i.e. offensive, boundary-pushing, adult humour} - but it's also hilarious.)
Anyway, I feel ready for the week, so that's great news.

In the last few weeks we have been focusing more on making predictions. It's one of those skills that I feel should be so super easy peasy, but it's surprised me more than once how tough it can be for some wee ones to wrap their heads around. 

I like to do a lot of I Do-We Do-You Do activities in my lessons, because, well, it's just an awesome philosophy... so I showed this simple graphic organizer on our Smart Board, modeled thinking about a book I grabbed randomly from our tiny class library, and the rest is history. Actually, it's more of an ongoing skill, so not really history at all, but you know how it goes. Feel free to grab the Making Predictions recording sheet by clicking below.
- Amanda

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Pass," not "Scoot"

This week we are starting to learn about time. We got past all the "chunks of time" measurement stuff pretty quickly (they do lots of this in grade one here) and we are gearing up for telling time with clocks.
First, I thought a fun little diagnostic activity would help me understand more about my little time-tellers.

Everyone knows the game "Scoot" by now, yes? It's super fun - but a little too fun for my class this week. So instead, we played "Pass." I dug out these soccer time cards (just the clocks) to play the game - I just had to add a Y (Write the date.) and Z card (What time is lunch?).

1. Pass out a card to everyone.
2. Students write A-Z along the side of their page. (Or do this beforehand.)
3. Assign a person to each student to which they will pass the card - they ONLY pass to that person.
4. Say "pass" and have students pass the card in their hand to their passee.
5. With their new card, they write the time that the clock displays beside the proper letter.
6. Continue.

I learned so much about my kids this way: a couple know how to tell time to the hour and half hour perfectly; several know almost nothing about analog clocks, and some need instruction in telling time to the half hour. Now I know where to start and how to group my kids. Voila!

And now it's TIME for lunch :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Freebie poster

Here is just a little something I've been working on today. Pick it up as a little freebie in my TpT or click the picture to find it in Google Docs.
I've also been working a bit on our school yearbook - it's a lot of work but it's fun work :P
Here is one page I created (don't mind the Publisher boxes around each element):
Happy weekend!
- Amanda

Monday, March 4, 2013


I like reading. I used to like it more. Or maybe it's just that I used to have more time for it. This school year, it has been a ginormous struggle for me to actually sit down with a book and read. I'm a busy lady, what can I say? 
But then, I thought, "How can I encourage and expect my grade 2s to read when I barely make time for it myself?" And then I felt majorly ashamed. 
Enter: reading program the second. We call it "Rad Readers" - alike in name, yes, to our "Awesome Readers", because hey, there can't be a shortage of adjectives meaning wonderful, amazing, captivating or super-duper important before that word "reading". So now, I have one of these fancy new things hanging out in our classroom with my name on it!
It works like this: I read a chapter, I get a bead. And, uh, of course, you know, the kids read a book, the kids get a bead.  (I literally JUST introduced this to my students this morning, hence the lack of beads.) So far, I have two. Go me! I'm reading Lonesome Dove, and am actually loving it. It's so far removed from my real life (it's very cattle country in the southern US) and I just love the characters.
Speaking of cowboy books, I've also read and really liked it, too! If you think you might have a penchant for gritty vengeance, cowboy hoopla, or old country hardships, give it a shot. (Even if you don't, maybe you do but just don't realize - which is how it seems to have gone down for me. I guess it's the farm girl still trapped inside me, even after ....oh, 15 years off of the farm!) 
Here's hoping my kids love this little bit of encouragement as much as I do so far! On a similar note, our Awesome Reader program is going swimmingly! I'm so loving how excited the readers get each day. I made a schedule and sent it home to parents with the fluency rubric to, you know, keep all parties involved. Good times!
Happy reading, all!
- Amanda

Friday, March 1, 2013

Digraph craft for "wh"

It was a super short week for us - we had three days off for Kuwait National Day and Liberation Day and the break was nothing short of amazing. Don't get me wrong, I love my class and yeah, Kuwait can be a tad boring, but nothing beats sleeping in and lazing around! Also, because we only had two days of school this week, many {and I mean many!} students did not show up at all - so it was pretty lax. Which means that lesson plans were shuffled right on over to next week. 

So next week we will finally get to making these super cute WHales to celebrate our spelling focus, the wh digraph. I can't take credit for this, though, as I found the idea at this super awesome site, Krokotak
I only made up a quick pattern, which you can grab right HERE.