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Five Fun Valentine’s Day Books


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I love reading different books around the different holidays.  Here are my Five Fun books to read with your class for Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff – You can never go wrong with a book by Laura Numeroff….

Cover for Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse Book

Love Monster  by Rachel Bright – Super cute story with many craft options on Pinterest.
Cover for Love Monster Book

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Collandro – I love the Old Lady series and love how they have them for different holidays!
Cover for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose Book

A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger – My class loved the original Crankenstein and they now also have a cute valentine book too!
Cover for A Crankenstein Valentine Book

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat – A cute Valentine’s Day book that also can remind students about the importance of being kind.
Cover for Roses are Pink Book

Holiday Activities for the Classroom

Holidays, Math, Reading, Science, Writing

I know how crazy the last few days/week before winter break can be. We are entering crazy times teachers and we need to have as many fun, educational activities in our back pocket ready to go as we can.

So, here are a few things I will be using with my class this week….

Christmas Writing Prompts – This is a FREEBIE in my TPT Store.  It includes two writing prompts that are focused on personal narratives.  Great way to incorporate writing into the holiday excitement.

Candy Cane Science Lab – I did this activity with my class last year and will be starting it this week. We’ve been learning about lab reports during Writing Workshop and this is a fun science experiment to do this time of year. Check out my blog post on it….here

Olive, the Other Reindeer Book Study – This is a cute story and my students love hearing it every year.  This book study is now in my TPT Store. It includes comprehension questions and four different writing prompts. This could be used whole group or as a small group activity.

Christmas Story Problems – We will be starting these today.  I love using holiday story problems as one of my rotations during our daily math time.  The kids love that they are themed and fitting of the season.  The Christmas Story Problems include addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping.

Winter Story Problems – I will actually be using these when we return to school in January, but if your school focuses on winter instead of the specific holidays – these story problems would be great. These can be used whole group, small group, or at a math center.  These winter themed problems focus on ice skating, hot chocolate, snowmen, etc.  Includes addition and subtraction problems.

Hope these activities and ideas help with the last bit of school before break. I’m down to 7.5 days left with students. We can do it teachers!

Five Fun Christmas Books


Please note Amazon affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I love the holidays. In my class, all of my students celebrate Christmas while some celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  So, we read a lot of Christmas and Hanukkah books during read aloud time during the month of December.  Here are Five Fun Christmas Books to use with your class…

The Polar Express – Yes, I know this is a predictable choice, but it’s such a great book. We read it and also watch the movie at our party each year.
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Olive the Other Reindeer – Olive is a dog who decides she must be a reindeer based on the lyrics in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This book goes through how she tries to join Santa’s team. Super cute!
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How Santa Got His Job – A fun story about how Santa realized his true calling…

The Jolly Christmas Postman – I love the Jolly Postman story for teaching about letter writing and the Christmas version revisits many of the same characters. Kids love how it has the letters and things you can pull out from inside.
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How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Another popular choice that had to make the list! Can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss!
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What are your favorite holiday books to read in class?

Elf on the Shelf in the Classroom

For the past few years, we’ve had an elf visit our 2nd grade classroom during the month of December.  Each time my class has come up with a different name for our little friend. We’ve had Sparky, Buddy, Snowy, and this year they decided to name him Gold. The elf always does something funny or naughty, and also always writes a note to our class. In our note, the elf always reminds us of the good choices we should be making.
Below are some of my favorite elf adventures from the past few years…
Our little elf friend came back from the North Pole with a cold or flu.  He had to rest all day, but still had a good spot to keep an eye on everyone’s behavior.

Snowy the Elf decided he wanted to be part of the decorations.  On our tree, we had ornaments with each student’s face on them. Snowy decided to take over.  

Here we have Snowy again. He decided to call no math homework for the night and even cut up all of the homework. The kids couldn’t believe it!

Our elf Sparky loved his name. He loved his name so much that he decided to decorate our room with it.

Here is Buddy the Elf. Poor Buddy was climbing a tower of unifix cubes the day before and fell when he tried to get down.  He had to rest and keep his leg elevated for the day.

Here we have Buddy again. Buddy decided his own behavior was outstanding and brought his own clip for the clip chart. He challenged the whole class to try to clip up that day.

Each week I have a different student who is star student and they fill in and share the poster above. Buddy didn’t want to be left out so he created his own star student poster to share with the class.

Here we have Sparky leaving us some friendly reminders…
I love having the elf visit our classroom. Do you have an elf in your classroom? If so, comment below!

Five Fun Thanksgiving Books


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Here are a few fun Thanksgiving books to throw in during read aloud time!  My students love holiday books and these are five kid-approved picture books!

Turkey Trouble – This one is funny because the turkey tries out many disguises to avoid being eaten!
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There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey – I love the There Was An Old Lady series and this one is a a great one too!!
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10 Fat Turkeys – This is a fun counting and rhyming book.
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Pete the Cat – The First Thanksgiving – Pete the Cat has many fun books and my students love that there is also a Thanksgiving version.
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A Plump and Perky Turkey – In this book, the townspeople try to trick the turkeys into making it easier to catch them for Thanksgiving dinner.
A Plump And Perky Turkey by [Bateman, Teresa]

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving books? Comment below…

Five for Friday – February 17

Holidays, Reading, Writing

Yay for a 3 day weekend!! These weeks have been crazy and Spring Break is still far away, but a 3 day weekend will help for now! I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another week of Five for Friday

I’m loving how hard my kids are working on their book study for the book – I Survived The Great Chicago Fire.  The partnership working on this book are really into it and have had some great insightful answers.  This book study can be found in my TPT store…here
Oh…editing…such a tough skill for second graders. This week to help reinforce the editing skills we’ve been working on (spelling, complete sentences, end marks, capitals, etc) I had my small groups work on editing a story. It’s funny how it’s so much easier for them to edit someone else’s work than catch mistakes in their own…but I guess that’s how it is for everyone!  So…we’ll keep at it…keep practicing and hopefully it’ll start to stick and they’ll be able to apply it soon!
We had a great time at our Valentine’s Party on Tuesday. Check out what we did in my blog post – Valentine’s Day Recap.

Oh conferences…. This coming Tuesday we have our next round of student-led/ parent-teacher conferences! At this conference, we go over each student’s three goals on their Personal Learning Plan (PLP) that are tailored to that child’s specific needs.  I also decided to whip up this little Reading Update sheet as another way to give more info at the conferences.  Some of the kids goals are reading-focused, but some aren’t, so I thought this would be a great way to quickly update parents on all reading areas.

I had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Got some fun and yummy goodies from my students and beautiful flowers from my husband! Hope everyone else had a great Valentine’s Day too!
Enjoy the 3 day weekend!!

Valentine’s Party Recap


I wanted to share our Valentine’s Party with the blogging world. I’ve done the same Minute to Win It Games the last few years and it’s gone amazing! The kids always have fun!

Here are my super cute Valentine’s for the kiddos. I got the tag from Glitter and Glue K-2 on TPT.  They turned out super cute!

My students did the traditional Valentine’s passing of the cards. Here are two of the cutest boxes.  How cute is that mailbox!! So creative!
I found the Minute to Win It Games on Makoodle.  You can find more info…here

I split my students up into 4 teams.  The winning team gets to pick our brain breaks on GoNoodle for the next week. They were very excited to hear the prize! They also came up with some very interesting team names which you’ll see below…

Heart Stack – the students had to create the tallest stack of hearts in one minute.
Candy Corn Stick Up – see who could stand up the most candy corns in one minute
Marshmallow Toss – Who can toss the most marshmallows into the bowl in one minute – this one gets quite messy!
Candy Pick Up – using the chopsticks – kids had to move as much candy as they could from one plate to the other…
Heart Relay – Relay race with conversation hearts
As I mentioned above, the kids were quite creative in coming up with their team names.  Fluffy Pickles ended up winning and will get to pick brain breaks for the next week!
What activities do you do at your Valentine’s Party? Comment below….

Five for Friday – January 6

Holidays, Math, Writing

The new year is finally here! I think I’ve managed to write 2017 correctly all week….which is a big deal lol.  I’m back linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. See what I’ve been up to the past week below….

So how cute are these! Melonheadz made these adorable New Year’s Resolutions sheets and my kiddos did a great job coming up with goals.  They were detailed and made goals that fit them, their interests, and needs. I was proud of how hard they worked on it and it’ll make the perfect bulletin board for the New Year.  Check out Melonheadz freebie here….

We started multiplication this week. This is something the 2nd graders always look forward to and they are waiting and waiting for us to begin this unit.  This was Day 2 of Multiplication. We learned about arrays and the kids used Skittles to make arrays – and of course ate some :-).  
Stay tuned…Sunday I will have a post explaining how I introduce multiplication and a quick game idea.
This week we practiced finding and editing possessive nouns. The kiddos worked in groups on my Grammar Fix It – Apostrophes – Possessives cards.  Now, lazy teacher here – I really should’ve cut these out, but you can leave them together for time saving purposes.  The packet also includes larger cards (8.5×11) and this smaller option that can be cut. Check it out in my TPT store, here.

New Year’s Resolution here. Not too specific – but I need balance and I need to find time to work on me. The gym is calling my name this weekend as is some meal prep! Looking forward to making healthier choices this year (after our staff happy hour today lol).

My parents are Ohio State alum and I got to join them for the Fiesta Bowl last weekend. Even though the game didn’t go as they hoped, we still had a lot of fun and I always love a visit back to Phoenix even if it is a quick one.
Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017!

Candy Cane Experiment

Holidays, Writing

In Writing Workshop, we’re currently working on our second Lucy Calkin’s book called Lab Reports and Science Books. The kids have loved doing experiments and I thought it would be fun to do one as a class that is more holiday themed.  I found this Candy Cane Experiment on Lemon Lime Adventures and we’ve been having a blast working on it!

We are still following the Writing Workshop model for lab reports and are spreading it out over about a week.

On Day 1, we discussed our question, materials, and kids came up with a hypothesis.

On Day 2, we came up with the procedures and students wrote down the steps we would take to complete the experiment.

On Day 3, we conducted the experiment with cold water. The color quickly came off of the candy cane, but the dissolving of the candy cane took a bit. The kids enjoyed watching it throughout the entire process. (I highly recommend clear cups if you do this so the kids can really see everything happening).

On Day 4, we conducted the experiment with hot water. Same results as Day 2, but super fast. The whole candy cane was dissolved in about a half hour when the day before it took over an hour.

On Day 5, we conducted the experiment using vinegar.  The vinegar smelled, which we all agreed on and worked quicker than the cold water, but slower than the hot water.  

Then, on Day 6, we came up with our final results and conclusions tying together the whole experiment.

The kids had a lot of fun and have done an amazing job writing their lab reports. I love seeing the growth that I’ve seen this year while we’ve used Writing Workshop!   In January, we’ll be starting opinion writing!

Elf Adventures – Week #3


Here’s what our class elf Snowy was up to in our final week before winter break….
To see his adventures in week 1– click here.
To see his adventures in week 2 – click here.

Day #8

Today Snowy was feeling better from his illness on Friday and decided to try his hand at decorating our room – with toilet paper.The kids thought it was so funny, but of course asked the question if it was clean toilet paper or used? Lol.

Day #9

Snowy noticed that students were having a hard time listening so he encouraged everyone to clip up to Outstanding like him! My kids were quite surprised he clipped “up” given his toilet papering incident the day before. But a few of them did work hard to clip up!

Day #10

Since I kept forgetting to give the kids the extra candy canes from our candy cane experiment, Snowy to matters into his own hands.  Snowy gave the kids the candy canes, but hid them. So, they had to hunt for the 17 candy canes around the room! We did eventually find them all!

Day #11

Snowy and my teammate’s elf Jingle worked on this one together. They decided since it was the night before a party day that there should be no math homework.  He even cut up the homework they were supposed to do that night!

Day #12

Snowy’s last day with us since we head to break. We decided Snowy was a little jealous that he didn’t have his picture on one of our ornaments. Each ornament on our tree had a picture of a student on it. So, Snowy decided to add his picture to every child’s ornament. A nice way for them to remember him by…
Hope everyone’s enjoyed our elf adventures!