#ISWAYR–Week 3

So if you’re just joining this blog thread, I’ve posted about the first two week so summer reading here and here.  This makes the third installment, and it’s been fun to watch all the books I’ve been able to log so far.  There is much more of a variety that I’ve noticed in my lists this year compared to past years (2011, 2013, 2014), including many more picture books than previously–probably because I’m now teaching a primary grade, as well as have two kiddos of my own at home with whom to share great titles! (By the way, I just came across this post again, from a few years ago that I thought was interesting…)

Ok, so this week, this is what I (or we, if it’s a picture book!) read (oh, and in some cases finished):

One of my goal this summer was to start collecting read alouds to share with my new 1st graders, and this week’s books had many that I will add to my school year TBR pile.  So many good ones, though, I’m not sure we’ll have time to do anything else but sit on the rug together and READ!  Oh, well, I guess there are worse things we could spend our time doing, huh??

Oh, and one more thing.  Last week I shared how my TBR pile had shrunk and was only half as tall as the week before, but alas then I took another trip to the library.  And this happened:

Not a surprise for a book nerd, though, I guess, right??  Luckily there’s a vacation in my very near future and I will have even more just-sit-around-and-read-time!

What have you been reading?  What do you suggest I add to my pile? Have you read anything on my list?:)

 

#ISWAYR–Take 2

Last week I finally decided to update my reading progress after I had had actual time to sit and digest some really good books.  I changed the typical meme It’s MONDAY What are You Reading to SUMMER and jumped in.  My favorite picture was the one where my TBR pile was up to my knees! Remember?  As of last night (when I finished a book in a half hour!), my pile is half as tall.  LOVE seeing the progress.

 

So, to update you, this week this is what we read…

This year I have more picture books in my piles than I usually do.  Partly because since I’m in primary again I need to try out some new titles for my class this fall, partly because picture books are awesome, partly because I have had many great ones recommended to me lately, and also partly because they are quick.:)

When I was at the Scholastic Reading Summit a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded (by Colby Sharp) of a book I had meant to read, but hadn’t yet.  And since I had first been introduced to it, it had become a Caldecott winner and so there was another reason why I needed to enjoy it.  It was kind of a long story, but Colby told a great story of how his class does its own Mock Caldecott unit, where they vote for their favorite, and they were SURE that this book should win.  And then it did!  He even shared a heartfelt video from the winning illustrator herself, Sophie Blackall.  I was already sold on the book, but this just added to my interest.

And in case you don’t know, that book was Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.

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What a joy to be able to read a book with that shiny gold sticker!!

This one was instantly a hit with my kiddos, and somehow it was a story I had never heard!  I guess I had never been a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, so perhaps that’s why, but whatever the reason, this was a great story to learn.  And of course, the pictures were BEAUTIFUL.  I think that’s possibly what I liked the best: the story and the illustrations were equally magical, making for a beloved book that we will surely return to again and again.  This book was made to be reread over and over and over.

And so on today’s list of to-dos: another trip to the library to see what new treasures we can find!

What have you been reading? How tall is your TBR pile??:)

 

It’s Summer, What are You Reading?

Yep.  It’s that time again.  Summertime!  And of course, as a teacher, it means I have time to READ!!  Ok, I am reading all the time, but this is prime sit-and-read-a-whole-book-in-one-sitting time!  So, I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading with you, and then I’d love to hear from you about what you’d suggest!

What I’ve read…

What I’m reading…

In my TBR pile…

Is there anyone who ever has time to read everything in their TBR pile?  I have the problem that mine keeps getting taller (from great suggestions) before it gets shorter (by me finishing something)!  It is totally silly, but at this point it’s up to my knees! See?

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Oh, wait–you probably want to see the spines…here’s another version (sans me!):

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Bets on how long it’ll take?  I’m sure there’s a great math opportunity in there somewhere, but I’ll save that for another day!

Ok, now it’s your turn! What are you reading?  What do you suggest I read?:)

 

Lego Organization: From a Builder’s Perspective

For my son’s 7th birthday I promised him a “new” room.  He had grown out of his “big boy” transportation room (which was really just a more grown-up version of his nursery), and needed something that could last a few more years as he got older.  As may 7YOs, he was TOTALLY into Lego, and it seemed a likely theme that would work for now, as well as for many more years.  I knew that if I made sure the background was neutral and the “changeable” stuff was where the Lego came in, that would also ensure that he’d have longer before it was dated.

Well, lucky for us me, I had just painted my living room/kitchen in a fabulous gray color that is pretty close to the color of Lego base plates, and had almost a gallon leftover!  This was the foundation we needed!  The walls were quickly gray and then I worked to figure out bedding, curtains, arts, etc.  I was hoping to sew most of it, but who knew that Lego doesn’t have fabric?  Well maybe somewhere and it sells for hundreds of dollars a yard, but I could not find any in the traditional fabric stores around me, or anywhere I could think of online.  It ended up being a blessing in disguise, however, because we ended up finding options that were far more basic, and which allowed me to be a little crafty.

We landed on this bedding, and I found the pillows (and some other ideas we didn’t end up using) here.   It is reversible, too, so I think right now it’s even turned over the other way.

For art, we had many ideas, but only ended up using a few of the ones we started with.  One was pretty basic, and is just paper, made to look like Lego 2x2s, and the other stuff we added is not Lego-related, but is instead kid-made art from my master builder’s work at school.  Made it even more special!

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We used record album frames because they’re cheap and the size shape!  Just paper, with paper glued on top.:)

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Every year our art classes do a project through Art to Remember, and parents can buy all sorts of “stuff” with their kid’s artwork on it.  We have ornaments and magnets and other things, but decided to use the original pieces as room art.  There are two empty ones because he has 4th and 5th grade to go!  (And yes, I realized they are neither perfectly-spaced or entirely-straight, but for now it’s working pretty well!  (That’s the closet wall)

Ok, so that’s all well and good, right, but I know you’re asking “so where’s the Lego organization part?” Well, ok, I promise it’s coming, but first I must sneak in a little bit of info (that you may have already figured out), and that is the fact that my 7YO just turned 9.  (We are a little slow to finish things around here! LOL)

Part of our problem was that the Lego organization was the project that required the most work and planning in order to complete.  We had ideas for adding a window seat with cubbies, that would allow for block storage as well as a place to play.  We did LOADS of research, and finally decided upon buying pre-made shelves that we turned on their sides so they’d fit under the window.  The detail that took me FOREVER to figure out, though, was that there is a vent right in the middle of the floor under the window.  We didn’t want to cover it up, and couldn’t decide how to deal with it.  Somehow, 2 years into it, I figured out that just adding legs to the cubbies would raise them above the vent, as well as making them the right height for the window seat we wanted.  A couple of coats of black paint (to match the other furniture in the room) and voila!  Win/win.  Well except that he waited on it for 2 whole years.:)

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Again, though, as we like to find the positive in all things, the two years he has spent collecting and building with Legos actually helped us in completing this project because of the knowledge he’d gained and the opinions he had on how he wanted his Legos organized.

Oh, and those two years also afforded him time to collect thousands and thousands of tiny bricks and so many specialty pieces I can’t even begin to tell you how many there are (most of his Legos come in sets, which contain loads of really specific blocks).  And those thousands of blocks have been living in a giant under-the-bed sweater box like this:

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which meant that our first job was to pull out every. single. piece. and figure out what we were working with.  After that, we could decide what kinds of containers we needed to put them all away again.  This step honestly took two full 8-hr days to complete.  And it was mostly me working on it.  Yep, the kids were there to start us out, but they quickly had much less energy (or excitement??) for it than me.  I was bothered by this for a minute, seeing as it seemed like it was more for me than for my master builder, but I think it was just too big of a job for kids to be able to finish.  They couldn’t exactly see my vision for the end-product anyway, and so this detail-oriented part was ok for me to finish on my own.  The introvert in me kind of likes that sometimes anyway.:)

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I spent much of last week surrounded by lots of little boxes and piles of different kinds of Lego bricks.

In the time when I was doing my first round of research for how to organize our blocks, I found many examples of how moms had used IKEA products, and honestly they were all very nice looking.  And probably very expensive.  But, they also didn’t look very user friendly.  Most were organized by color…which I’m pretty sure is not how most kiddos build (or at least not mine….seems more like something a mom would do for herself, not for her kid.  Regardless of how other families did it, though, that method was not going to work for our mounds of Lego bricks). I mentioned that those 2 years gave my builder time to really understand himself and his preferences and this was great as we sorted through them all.  So I started by asking him what he thought we should do, and he agreed that color didn’t make sense, and that instead, we should do it by type or size of block.

After those 2 days of sorting, an afternoon of planning for containers and then shopping (we ended up choosing Sterilite containers that I found for a steal at Big Lots), gave us what we thought ended up looking great and being REALLY user-friendly.  I have been told by my kiddo that it is working really well, and I would agree, since every piece has it’s place now.

And the best part is that there are labels on each box, that art both specific to our Lego pieces and our names for them.  Yep, there’s a box for “slanty” Legos, and one that says “holey” and well as once that just says “special,” which he uses for particular pieces he’s pulled out for a project and isn’t ready to put back in their appropriate box yet.

Oh, wait, and the top has a dual-purpose, too: it’s both for building and for reading.  We added two base plates to the top of the middle (attached with velcro), and I made pillows to cover the whole thing for when they’re not being used from a sheet I already had, and a tutorial I found here.

We are so happy with our final product, and it’s a part of our house that gets used (and cleaned up up!) every day.:)

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Rm. 202 Kids Take Over–Read Aloud Take 2

I am so excited with what’s happening in our room with Read Aloud lately.  The level of excitement, confidence and pride that is present because of all of these super 2nd grade readers sharing their skills is definitely impressive.  Some kiddos have even signed up more than once on the calendar!!

The only thing I have to say that makes me really sad is that there are couple of kiddos who only have pictures (rather than videos) because my devices were not cooperating on those days.  I HATE that, because everyone of them has done a SUPER job, and you’ll miss them.  Just take my word–every read aloud has been A. Maz. Ing.

Gotta share that chart that she used, too. :)  It needs some edits (so please look past the typos:) ), but it was such a great idea that she came up with on her own.  She was very prepared for her lesson.:)

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Please take a minute to leave a comment for our brave, super talented, 2nd grade readers! Way to go, Rm. 202 kiddos!

Second Grade Writing Warm-Ups: Week of May 9-13, 2016

This week I used our warm-ups as a means to throw in odds and ends, as well as connect to what we were doing in Writing (which is usually where our questions come from).  And one of our WWUs even served double-duty by leading to a math conversation.  They thought I was pretty clever when I brought that one up.  Ok, so I thought it was clever.  Maybe they didn’t so much care….LOL  Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts on our work this week!:)

Monday

There’s not much to say about this one except it’s something kiddos need to know, and we’re about to start writing lots of “You’re a great friend because…” messages and it will NOT be ok if everyone says YOUR instead.

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Tuesday

Ava read the book A Chocolate Moose for Dinner to us on Monday, and we heard lots of words that sounded the same, but meant different things.  We worked to find some more that we could talk about.  We continued to find examples to add to this chart all throughout the week in different texts we encountered.

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Wednesday

We are continuing to work on writing like scientists and exploring plants and pollinators in pretty much all of our day; reading ,writing, and science are all connecting right now in a marvelous way.  This warm-up was to help us think of what we’d learned so far, as well as to emphasize the idea that scientists write in a very specific (and different) way depending on what they are studying.  You’ll notice we also discussed how many words can be made from the same base.   Oh, and I may have spelled some of those green words incorrectly.  I apologize if that’s the case.

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Friday

We were WAY over due for a writing celebration for our past fiction unit in Writing, so I had a quick survey for them as their warm-up on Friday.  This is the one that turned into a great math conversation about graphs and data collection.

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Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of May 9-13, 2016

This week was relatively normal, but somehow I only have 3 warm-ups to share.Enjoy! Please comment when you’re finished reading and let us know what you think!

Monday

Yep, we’re still working on subtraction around here.  It’s kind of an all-the-time thing because as soon as you abandon it for longer than a few days everyone forgets how to do it!  This time I gave them the answer and the strategy and had them analyze it for me.  We had a great conversation about why this problem was most efficiently solved by making an easier problem (rather than say, the traditional algorithm or splitting and using a number line to model it) because the second number was close to a hundred.  This made it SUPER easy to subtract in just two easy steps.

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Friday

Um, yeah…not really sure what happened that our warm-ups are just from Monday and Friday.  We must have been really busy this week.  Hope I remember what we did so I can tell you about it here. LOL

Friday we actually had a bonus math warm-up because our Writing Warm-Up led us to figuring out some math and making a graph.  And yes, I ran out of paper.  We improvised.:)

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We are also still working on multiplication, including writing an equation and drawing a model.  This one was cool, because as often happens, kiddos thought of a model that I hadn’t: showing the repeated addition on a number line.  This was a great conversation about which number meant what in the problem (the number of groups vs. the number in the group), and we also talked about how you could flip the problem around and have the same answer.

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