Monday, December 19, 2011

2nd Graders Experience Narnia First-Hand!

After Thanksgiving all of the 2nd grade teachers began reading C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to their classes. There are 17 chapters in the book so we were able to read 1-2 chapters per day for 3 weeks.  At the end of the 3 weeks, on our last day before Christmas break, we went to see a live musical performance of "Narnia" performed by Kids Who Care.

The students were very excited!
Since this book is beyond a 2nd grade level, we spent a lot of time discussing what was happening in the book and retelling the chapters as we went along. This was a great opportunity to use the Daily Cafe Strategies (Retelling, Back up and Reread, Check for understanding, etc)  Several of the students had seen the movie and wanted to tell what would happen next, but they were good about waiting to tell.

We made wardrobe pictures of Narnia:

We made wardrobe pictures by folding the sides of 12 x 18 brown construction paper toward the center and decorating the outside to look like doors. On the inside we used, white, light blue, or dark blue paper to make a wintry Narnia scene complete with a lamp post (I cut these out for them)  and iridescent glitter. They look beautiful in our hall!
My daughter plays a Dryad (tree spirit) in the play
If you live in the DFW area, it's not too late to see this wonderful show. Tickets are available HERE.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hop on Over to A Teacher's Treasure for this Great Giveaway!

Check out this great giveaway from A Teacher's Treasure!

A $20 Gift Card to Amazon!

Use it to buy yourself or loved ones something special for the holidays!

Here is what you need to do to win this Giveaway!!!!
You have up to 4 chances to win!

1. Become a follower of her blog &  Facebook Fan Page
 Leave a comment  saying that you became a follower. 

2. Post about this giveaway & link to her blog and Facebook Fan Page
 Leave a comment with the links to both.

3. Post about this giveaway via Twitter or Facebook 
Leave a comment with the links to both.

4. Follow her TpT store!

Giveaway ends on Thursday, December 15th 
Just in time for the holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Don't Miss this Great Deal on Heelys!

I LOVE my Heelys! I wear them every Friday to school (without the wheels), but at home I love to "heel" around the house.  Here is a great deal that starts Friday November 25th and lasts until Monday November 28th:

  • Buy any pair of Heelys or HX2s & get second pair for $25 
  • buy a Nano and get any pair of shoes for $25
  • free ground shipping on all orders.

The Frugal Teacher LOVES  the old school look of the "Edge".
Heelys HX2s have a second wheel!

Nano by Heelys - what kid wouldn't want this?
The Four-Day Deal is only available online at the Heelys Shop ( and is only valid from Friday November 25 through Monday November 28, 2011. 
This offer is for US customers only.

Log on to for products, videos and how to guides. Follow Heelys on Facebook -, Twitter - and YouTube -
*All opinions are my own. No compensation received for this post. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The POWER of Pinterest and a Useful Writing Process Tool

A funny thing happened today. I was looking around my "stats" page just to see where most of my blog traffic is coming from.  I was NOT surprised to see that the majority of my traffic is coming from Pinterest! Over the past few months a lot of teachers have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. It's a great place to share and keep a visual record of all the great ideas out there!  One of the sources listed on the stats page was a blog I have never visited: In No Simple Language. There was a post about Pinterest and all of the cool things this blogger has discovered there. One of the "cool" things was this:
This was one of my first "pins" on Pinterest. It has been really useful this year because I have incorporated blogging into our classroom writing process. I have kids at all stages of the writing process so this is really helpful for us to see where everyone is. When they get to "publish", this tool helps me manage the 3 computer stations we have the room.  You gotta love the POWER of Pinterest!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Global Classroom Project Map

I just created this Global Classroom Project map on the wall outside our room. We are hoping to add more schools from other countries soon! 

Hoping to add a lot more stars!

So far we have one international contact - A cupcake greeting  from Mrs. Harrison's class in Belfast, Northern Ireland!  

Our contacts in the U.S. include students sharing on Edmodo in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York.  We are also working on a seasons project with a school on Long Island, NY and a Voice Thread project with a school in Ohio!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Student Blogger: I Like the Daily 5

Our clas does Daily5 like read to seelf , word work , work on writing,  listen to  reading , and read to someone. But  what I like the most is word work. On word work we have all kinds of stuff like benclaroos, playdoh, and rainbow spelling words. But what I like to do on word work is magnetic letters. You get tostik the letters on the side of your desk.  It is so much fun!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

THIS is the what the Daily 5 looks like and sounds like

After 7 weeks of hard work, our Daily 5 routine is established and working very nicely. Today I recorded the students while they were working. They did not know I was going to do this so some of them were surprised to see me holding a camera. As you can see, even though they noticed the camera they were able to go right back to work because they were so focused. We call it "In The ZONE".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thinking About Going Back to School?

I am a true believer of life-long learning and will be earning my master's degree sometime in the very near future.  If you are thinking about going to college for the first time or going back to complete your degree, here is a great Groupon to help prepare! This deal is for $45 for $100 worth of online-test preparation courses from BenchPrep, an educational network that's been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, etc. The courses cover standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE and MCAT, but approach them in an innovative and interactive way, and content can be accessed via computer, iPhone, Android or iPad. Lesson plans can also be downloaded to a smartphone to facilitate on-the-go learning without an Internet connection. Courses are $99.99, so one Groupon will get you one course.

This is an exclusive deal that begins at midnight October 10th and runs for 24 hours. The banner below will not give you access until midnight October 10th.

Up to 90% off top rated local fun!

*The Frugal Teacher is a Groupon affiliate

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Classroom Blogging 101

One of my goals this year was to get all of my 2nd graders blogging. In theory it sounds wonderful, but logistically it can be a little tricky with only 2 classroom computers and 30 minutes in the computer lab per week.

Luckily we have 2 COWS (computer on wheels) available for checkout so I got them for 2 days. The students were very excited about using the laptops, but some had never used them before. It took some of them a little time to get used to the mouse pad and other features. Also, most of them are not familiar with the QWERTY keyboard so typing was painfully slow. On the second day everyone got logged on to the blog at much quicker and we were able to practice posting and commenting.  Our class blog is password protected for now, but I am hoping to open it up to some of the classrooms we will be working with on the Global Classroom Project.
18 students on laptops = 1 busy teacher!
Two weeks later my students are eagerly writing about fall and Halloween. Their favorite prompt is "Plan a Halloween party". They have embraced the writing process and look forward to our conference time together. After all of the revising and editing is done, they get to create a new blog post! I have added some teachers and administrators at our school as "guests" so they can leave comments. The students love getting feedback from their former teachers and the principal!
Having only 2 classroom computers has worked out fine since everyone is  in different stages of the writing process.  We will check out the C.O.W.S every few weeks, but it takes a lot of time to set up, log on, etc....

Sometimes the teacher shares her computer ;-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to Make a Texas Flag Folder

We made this cute folder to hold all of the products from our Texas unit.

Materials needed:
12 x 18 construction paper: Blue and White
4 1/2 x 12 construction paper: red
1 white star cutout
glue and stapler

1. Glue the red piece to the RIGHT side of the white paper and fold in half on the vertical line of symmetry
2.  Fold the blue paper in half on the horizontal line of symmetry AND on the vertical line of symmetry

3.  Place the white/red paper inside the folded blue paper

4.  Fold in half like a  folder and glue star onto blue field.
5.  Staple blue edges together to make a 4 pocket flag folder! (staples not pictured)

The Daily 5 in Action!

Mrs. Morgan's Superstars have been working very hard since the first day of school learning how to be independent learners.  The Daily 5 includes:
Read to Self
Word Work
Work on Writing
Listen to Reading
Read to Someone
So far we have been working on the first 3 and how to do these things independently while Mrs. Morgan works with students one-on-one or in groups.
This student is doing a great job following along with his finger.

This student is "In the Zone"

Learning spellings words AND the QWERTY keyboard with Spell Texting! (Thanks Teacher Tipster!)

Word Work with Bendaroos!
Choosing the right spot helps make Read to Self more successful!

Texas Boys Choir Sings at The Modern

My son is a member of the Texas Boys Choir. This past weekend they sang at The Modern Museum of Art.  They are working very hard preparing for a big trip to Argentina in the spring.  Here is a rough video of rehearsing for the program:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rat Traps!

We recently learned that the state tree of Texas is the pecan tree.   We also read a story in our reader about pecans called “A Nutty State”.  Seeing the pictures of the pecans reminded me of a recipe for a yummy treat called Rat Traps.  Click HERE for the recipe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On Wednesday September 21, 2011 we will be celebrating The International Day of Peace by having a hallway celebration after announcements.  Students will participate in making a school-wide peace train that will stretch around the halls of our school.  Classes will discuss ways that we can be a more peaceful place by creating  posters to hang in the hall. Penny Haight, our school counselor, shared this video to show to our students to promote reflection and discussion.
Let's be the change...

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Life Cycle of a Snowman

In 2nd grade we are learning about the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas.  What better way to learn about this than to have a snowman visit our school and melt away throughout the day? The students really enjoyed watching him change but were a little sad when we "cooked" him into gas ;-)

Click HERE for instructions and recording sheet.

Fill balloons with water  - small, medium, and large - and place in  bowls with the tied  side down so  it will create a  flat surface.  Lay something on top of the  balloons to create a flat surface on top. Once frozen, remove balloon and stack balls using salt to help them adhere to each other. Cut out decorations with felt and stick to ice.

Students recorded the changes throughout the day .

We also kept a data chart with the water measurements  - as the snowman got smaller, the water got deeper!

Poor Frosty ;-(

The final stage
Frosty enters the atmosphere as a gaseous memory of a fantastic day!
**Check out this awesome sequencing activity page 
created by Lauren Lynes!

***Brooke Gravett has also created this wonderful instruction and recording product on her TpT store. Click HERE to download.

Photography:  Ginny Limer - my awesome curtain partner!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Celebrating Diversity

I would like to welcome my first guest blogger, Dan Gilbert of Primrose Schools. Please enjoy his article about celebrating diversity: 

Celebrating Diversity with Your Children

“We live in a diverse world. By teaching children to appreciate other cultures from an early age, you will help them develop compassion and seek out shared values,” said Dr. Mary Zurn, vice president of education for Primrose Schools. When considering the concept of diversity and all of the nuances and complexities that come with it, it may seem difficult to impart the lessons of tolerance and acceptance to your children. However, Primrose Schools suggests that by instead focusing on the unique cultural and historical differences between races, you can make teaching preschool children and older children about diversity a fun and loose exercise.

A child’s idea of the world is very minute and grounded, and they primarily think of normal people as those they see on a regular day-to-day basis. These people include their family, school, and those around their neighborhood. An interesting way to teach children about the wonderful diversity of the world is to explain different cultures to them through irregular means. Global music is one good example, as is sports and even the multitude of wildlife around them. This will not only foster a grounded cultural understanding, but they will be intrigued and willing to learn more about their global community.

Teaching children about cultural diversity is one of the most important lessons you can impart to them. It not only helps your children build character, but they will learn to appreciate differences in culture (including your own). In addition to this, a well-rounded education in diversity will help children grow to be a compassionate, accepting adult, who respects and values the differences in other people.

If you are still looking for tips on explaining diversity to young children, use one or all of these following suggestions. These suggestions will help you celebrate diverse cultures in the classroom or at home:

Explain and Share Your Family History

To understand others, one must first understand themselves. An interesting quote that helps drive this point home is "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it," by the late Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana. Explain pictures of individual members of your family to children and talk about their rich cultural heritages. Keep in mind that Children are often intrigued by stories, so share a small tidbit of information about each person so that it will stick more fervently in their budding minds.

Listen to Cultural Music

Another unique way of sharing your family's cultural history is by playing music from your culture. By either playing music from your family's country of origin, region of the United States, or music you sang yourself as a child, you impart to them the wisdom of a time long ago. This will not only bring a historical relevance to your relationship, but make a child eager to learn more. Once this exercise is finished, follow up by asking your child to point out the differences and similarities between different types of music.

Read Books

It's safe to say that reading to your child is one of the best ways to stimulate their minds and get them interested in the world around them. The rich characters and storylines can lead to very in depth discussions on culture and race as a whole. Some suggestions:

• Todd Parr:
It's Okay to Be Different
• Shane Derolf: The Crayon Box That Talked

Make Up Your Own Suggestions

Continue searching for various opportunities for your child to meet and interact with children from different ethnic backgrounds. These real life interactions will stick with your child for the rest of their lives, and will mark an important starting point for their cultural journey.

Tip: These suggestions can easily be applied to classroom exercises as well if you are a teacher. Your students can bring in pictures or tell stories they know about their family history. All of the other suggestions can be done as a class. This would be a good way for children to interact amongst a diverse group.