Friday, February 22, 2013

The latest “scoop”

Well, it was a crazy Friday, as usual. It all started out with a two-hour delay due to some early morning sleet, but we jumped right in and began our weekly assessments. After a full day of assessments, we had our weekly “Fun Friday” activity. This week, we had a chippy taste test. I recently saw a television commercial for Lay’s promoting three new potato chip flavors. Well, with the two-delay I figured it was a great opportunity to stop and grab all three flavors. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. After seven different stops, I was able to find and purchase all three flavors for our classroom taste test.


I figured the easiest way to give the students a chance to taste all three flavors would be to section off a paper plate and mark it A, B, and C. I created a simple ballot for the students to mark their selection. (see below)

I promoted each flavor by giving them a auditory description.

Flavor A: Cheesy Garlic Bread (a mild cheese and garlic taste)

Flavor B: Sriracha (a chili pepper taste)

Flavor C: Chicken & Waffles (fried chicken and sweet syrup taste)

After all the samples were passed out. (each student got two chips to taste for each flavor) The taste test began. It was quite funny to watch them and listen to their descriptions of the three chip varieties.



The results were tallied and the winner by a landslide was Sriracha. The students loved the taste and raved about the chili pepper flavor. Our second place winner was Cheesy Garlic Bread. The students who liked this said they “love” to eat garlic bread. They said the taste was very mild and yummy. Our third place winner was Chicken and Waffles. Most of the students said at first it was good then they got a weird taste in their mouth. Hmmmmmmmmm


Well, the voters from Mrs. Freshwater’s Class have spoken and our vote will be for Lay’s to add “SRIRACHA” to their vast array of flavors already available. We want to wish all three contestants “good luck” on their pursuit to win a million bucks. (Wow, think of all the smelly markers, dry erase boards, and etc we could buy to stock our classroom.)

Have a great weekend!!!

Always, Melissa

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Behaviors and Rewards Galore

I have had so many requests about how I use my clip chart and my behavior reward catalog in my classroom. Here you go…

Since this is my first year in a classroom, I had to really think about how I was going to start out the year. I have a firm belief that for “proper classroom management” you start firm! You can always ease up. If you start out easy, it is sometimes “impossible” to re-gain control. (Basically, you spend your entire year trying to gain control of a classroom you truly never had control over in the first place!) On day one, I set my classroom rules in place and have never looked back. I opted to implement a classroom clip system in my room. (I love it!! I will NEVER use anything but the clip system.) I have bright colors and polka dots in my room so I created my own “version” of the clip system.


Here is a picture of my classroom “clip system” I simply printed off my clip chart onto chart stock, attach a matching piece of place cardstock and sent through the lamination machine.


Here is an up close picture of my “clips” I spray painted clothes pins and attached wooden circles with “glittered numbers”.


I try to stay in contact with my parents and have a daily/weekly agenda that goes home every night. This enables them to stay in contact with me, monitor their child’s daily behavior and see what’s happening during the week or what may be coming up. Since I have a groovy 60’s theme in my room this year, I put a colored peace sticker in my student’s agendas nightly. This allows the students to be held accountable for their daily classroom behavior and keeps my parents informed. If a student is on yellow, orange or red, I do write the infraction(s) down so my parents know exactly what happened. If a student gets in trouble in another class, I simply write where the infraction occurred.  Once agendas have been completed and put away in their daily “peace” binder, I reward my students for their behavior. Anyone on “green” gets one sticker for their behavior incentive chart anyone on blue, purple, or pink gets two stickers, and top of the chart, gets three stickers. The students place the stickers on their incentive charts which hang on their locker.

Here are two versions of the locker reward charts.



Once they have filled their entire chart, they can redeem the filled chart for a “prize” from our prize binder.



Inside is filled with clear poly sleeves containing prizes from my Classroom Behavior Catalog 

prize binder

This has been the “best” system ever. I know many people utilize this type of reward system and their are many version on the web and pinterest. I saw the original idea this summer on Sarah Cooley’s site “First Grade At Last”. At the time, she didn’t offer her cute behavior system so I created my own. Here is a glimpse of the catalog I use for my prizes.


Snap Shot of two of the cute posters for the poly sleeves.


Here is a glimpse of the certificates that can be printed and given to the students. I have included certificates for every “reward”.


By POPULAR Demand, reward cards have been added to the catalog. Simply print these onto cardstock and cut. Students can grab their card and keep it till they choose to redeem. I have included a back piece so you can label with student’s name, date of reward and date or redemption.


This has been a “GREAT” year so far. My kiddos work very hard to move their clip up everyday and are very proud of their hard work. All of my kids now take “ownership” of their infractions and I have noticed many of the beginning infractions have diminished.

LOVE LOVE LOVE my classroom management tool and prize packet.

Hope you do too!!

Please feel free to pin. If you have any questions, please send me an email.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love, Hearts, and a Mustache Party Oh My!!!!

Well, today was the day I couldn’t wait for. I got to give my “sweeties” their Valentine’s. I couldn’t wait to get out of bed this morning and get to school. I blogged about my wild crayon adventure in a previous post. {Click Here} Even though it was a bit time consuming, trust me… Seeing their faces was worth every bit of it.

{What’s a little time when you “color” someone’s world?}

I bagged them in clear cello bags and added a cute tag. Since this is my “first” official year in a classroom, I decided that “you’ve made my year more colorful” fit perfectly!!!

val tag val cray

We made these adorable Valentine Boxes. I got the idea from Mrs. Morrow at Mrs. Morrow’s Kindergarten. I tweaked her cutie patootie boxes by adding a “marbleized heart” and a “glitter” mustache.  I really loved how these turned out and they were super simple to make.

Untitledval box heartsThe marbleized heart idea came from The Muffin Tree. I gathered all the supplies. (shaving cream, food coloring, popsicle sticks, aluminum pans, cookie sheets, plastic table clothes, and scrappers (I used heavy duty cardstock)

heart ivStep One: Put some shaving cream into pan. 


Step Two: Add a few drops of food coloring. (We worked on fair share a fair share project so this was a great time to partner the students up. They each took turns adding colors.)


Step Three: Using popsicle sticks, students ran them up and down, across, and etc to get a swirl effect.


Step Four: Sorry no picture. Students placed their paper into the “shaving cream” mixture, patted it down, and then pulled it out. (Yuck right!!)


Step Five: Now for the magic. Simply scrap off the excess shaving cream.


Step Six: Gorgeous Marbleized Paper.


We let the papers dry overnight then we traced and cut out a “heart” image and glued them down onto a foam heart.

val ii

These were so fun! It was a bit messy. Make sure to cover your tables, desks, work areas with plastic table clothes. I will definitely be doing this again in the future. I am already thinking about Spring and Fall.

Well, I could stop there. When I stopped at Mrs. Morrow’s I saw the precious “flower” bouquets and I adored them. I knew I had to make them for my parents. I gathered all the supplies. (scrapbook paper, chenille stems, straws, heart punch, plastic cups, and tissue paper)


I forgot to take a picture, but one of my parents took this. A little smashed but you get the idea. Traveling on the bus home can be detrimental to flowers. (LOL)


Here is another picture. This one looks like it may have traveled better!! We also made cards for our “precious” Valentine’s (see right side of photo).

bouquet ii

After our “Valentine Exchange”. Alright all I can say is overwhelmed and completely speechless with the plethora of gifts, candy, etc. I was showered with today. Here is a snippet of a few things from my “groovy” kids. I should have taken a picture of my desk too. All I can say is “truly blessed’.

 val party

We headed down to our “party” One of my parents made these cute invitations for the kids.


We made mustache shirts. We all adorned “fake” mustaches on our lips. Well, some of my kiddos got a little mustache crazy and had them everywhere. I had visions of my kids in the future as parents. 


We played a “cool” mustache game and even had a photo booth.

We feasted on heart shaped pizza, Jell-O, and took home some “sweet” Valentine mix. We had “mustache” theme water bottles and straws. Let me just saw my parents thought of everything. Not sure how many different ways you can say amazing, but they always throw awesome parties.


Mustache & Red Lip Straw Combo (20) - Die Cut Mustaches (10) and Lips (10) - photo prop party decoration punch cutout card stock

mustache water

Sorry for the “LONG” post but I wanted to share my amazing day with you. I tried to take pictures, but I know I missed a few things along the way. If you have any questions or need anything clarified~ just send me a note.

Hope you had a fabulous day with your “sweethearts”!! I know I did. Now it’s off to bed with visions of love, hearts, and mustaches dance in my head.

Sweet Dreams!!

Always, Melissa

P.S. Feel free to pin any images from this post!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Do you use a reading series??

Do you use a reading series or create your own lessons using picture books? My district adopted the Scott Foreman Series several years ago. I like having the series available at my fingertips, but still feel I need to spend some time creating different activities for my students to help reinforce the weekly skills and to review past skills taught. Since I am new to 2nd grade, I have been working diligently to create supplemental packets for the series. I have been slowly adding to my packets with each unit. (Eventually, I will go back and revise all of the units so they contain the same activities, assessments, centers, etc.)

If you are looking for activities to utilize during your Daily 5 sessions or for extra reinforcement. These packets would be ideal for you! The beginning of each packet contains images for you to print and laminate to use on your “Reading Focus” Wall.


To get a glimpse of the vast array of activities included check out the thumbnails for each unit at my TpT store.

Here are the units that I have completed and you can snag them up by clicking on the picture(s) below:

Unit 1

2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 1.1 Iris & Walter Activities Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 1.2 Exploring Space Activiti2nd Gr Reading St Unit 1.3 Henry & Mudge & The Starry Nigh2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 1.4 A Walk in the Desert Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 1.5 The Strongest One Activi

Unit 2

2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 2.1 Tara & Tiree Activities Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 2.2 Ronald Morgan Activities Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 2.3 Turtle's Race with Beave2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 2.4 Bremen Town Musicians Ac2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 2.5 A Turkey for Thanksgivin

Unit 3

2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 3.1 Pearl and Wagner Activit2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 3.2 Dear Juno Activities Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 3.3 Anansi Goes Fishing Acti2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 3.4 Rosa and Blanca Activiti2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 3.5 A Weed is a flower Activ

Unit 4

2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 4.1 The Quilt Activities Packet2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 4.2 Life Cycle of a Pumpkin 2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 4.3 FROGS Supplemental Activ2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 4.4 I Like Where I Am Activity Pack2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 4.5 Helen Keller & the Big S

Unit 5

2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 5.1 Firefighters! Supplement2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 5.2 One Dark Night Supplemen2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 5.3 Bad Dog, Dodger! Supplem2nd Reading Street Unit 5.4 Horace & Morris but mostly Dol2nd Grade Reading Street Unit 5.5 The Signmaker's Assistan

Feel Free to Pin!!!!!

Hope this helps free some time for you and helps to activate learning in your classroom. I know these packets have definitely been very beneficial for me this year. As I stated above each packet has gotten a little more detailed and newer activities have been included. My favorite packet to date is “One Dark Night”!!! Let me know what you think!!!

I have also been trying to reinforce the weekly comprehension strategy by implementing the B3C. Have you checked out my packet?


It has been a true lifesaver. I have a mom that glue all the sheets to a bag for me. I am finished for the remainder of the year. This has been a great way to help my students learn and understand the weekly strategies that correlate with the stories, but this could definitely be used for any story or even book reports.

Always, Melissa

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