End of the Year Activity

Thursday, May 28, 2015 No comments

Let's Plan A Vacation - Summer Fun with Budgeting

This was one of my absolute favorite activities when I taught 4th grade. I'm super bummed that I couldn't use it this year in my 2nd grade classroom, but I think it's a bit too challenging for most 2nd grade kiddos. I'm still thinking of ways I can change and adapt this for little learners. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to share reviews and photos from other teachers who used this product in their classroom.
My dear friend at Fancy Free in 4th did this project with her learners this year and here's what she said...

Fancy Free in 4th
I had them do the project individually. I passed out a packet of all of the prices for the food/travel/events to them and went on YouTube to show them the activities.  The were so excited to see what Busch Gardens was and the Kennedy Space center too! Seeing a little commercial for each of the entertainment options made their decisions more difficult but it also made the experience seem more real to them. 

I checked their math everyday and gave them a grade based on their computation. 

I was able to spot their errors really quickly but for those who really struggled, I paired with a partner to work it out on whiteboards. It took us about 4-5 days. We did the post card part of it and they addressed them to the principal. I didn't have time to do the journal entries because I wanted them up for open house. The students really loved and were excited about the project! I had about 5 students go over budget and they had to go back and rework things. I had a few very frugal students too. Some of the students struggled with showing work on such a small spot so they used graph paper to help them line up their decimals. 

Overall, it was a wonderful cumulating activity to close out our decimals unit. I loved the real world component to it. The students reflected on how having lots of money is fun but it is tricky to manage. It reinforced math and an important life skill!

Whether you're still in school or you stash this away for next year this will surely be a hit in your classroom. Click Here to visit my TPT store and get your copy of this project today! 

If you're still in school, I wish you all the best as you wrap up your year! If your'e already on vacation, enjoy!

Stitch Fix Giveaway!

Thursday, May 21, 2015 No comments

Whether you're a Stitch Fix user or you're considering registering for your first fix, this is the post for you. I have just received my 4th fix and I am absolutely LOVING it! I've teamed up with some awesome teacher friends to bring you a $100 Stitch Fix Gift Card - and the best news is...you have just about a million ways to enter. Follow the links below to secure a spot (or several) in the raffle. 

If you're new to Stitch Fix, take a look at some of my older posts. Here I explain how it works and I feature some of my favorite pieces that I got in my 2nd fix. Check this post to see my favorite pieces from my 3rd fix. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Butterfly Study

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 No comments

In 2nd Grade we study butterflies as one of our science units. We had some really engaging activities that accompanied our Butterfly Unit this year that I'd love to share with you! Check them out...

Butterfly Day

This entire thing was creating by a group of parent volunteers and few years ago when her son was in 2nd grade. These awesome parents put 6 stations together that the kiddos rotated through for 2 hours. Luckily for us, we continue to get parent volunteers each year to keep this event happening. Even if you cannot do all of these activities you can always pick and choose what will work best for your classroom. 

Station 1 - Butterfly Popsicle Stick Craft

This craft was so much fun for the kiddos. As you can see in the picture above, your creation starts as a caterpillar and then can change into a butterfly. 

Here's What You Need:
  • 10 popsicle sticks
  • 5 small pom poms
  • masking tape
  • green pipe-cleaners
  • small craft eyes
I found the original instructions here. Check it out for a detailed set of instructions. 

Station 2 - Butterfly Scavenger Hunt

At this station students were "hunting" for butterflies that were hidden all over the front of our school. Students had a recording sheet where they could record their findings. It was especially fun because each butterfly was labeled with a teacher's name, so on the recording sheet the students would write the teacher's name next to the butterfly pattern they found. 

Station 3 - Caterpillar Scavenger Hunt

At this station students practiced map skills. Included in our Butterfly Day packet was a map of the area where the caterpillars were hidden. When students located caterpillars, they were to mark their map with an X. The goal was to find all of the caterpillars -the kids didn't know ahead of time, but there were 60 little creepy crawlers hidden in the landscaping!

Station 4 - Butterfly Snack Craft

This station was probably the favorite because there was a snack involved! Students started by decorating their clothespin. Once that was done they clipped their snack bag in half. 

Then parents allowed students to choose which snacks they wanted to use to fill their bags.

Here's What You Need:
  • clothespins
  • Zip Loc baggies
  • various snacks 
  • pipe-cleaners for antennas

Station 5 - Eat Like A Butterfly

Do your students like Minute to Win-It games? Then they're going to love this stations. Students pretended they were butterflies using their proboscis to "eat" fruit.

Students used drinking straws to move fruit from the table to the plate by sucking the fruit with the straw.

Station 6 - Butterfly Movie & Quiz

At this station students watched a short butterfly video and completed a quiz.
Some fantastic butterfly videos can be found online, here are some that I have found:

Monarch Migration

This project takes a bit more time and preparation. In the fall we began our project with Journey North called Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration. Students decorated small butterflies that we then mailed to Mexico to symbolize the Monarch Butterfly's journey south. 

We have just received our butterfly package back from Mexico as it symbolizes the Monarch's journey back north. The students were excited to see that we received butterflies from all over North America. This was a bit confusing at first, but once we discussed the distance that these butterflies travel they were able to understand why they might not make it back to their exact home. 

Be sure to check out the Monarch Butterfly Journey North website for tons of resources you can use in the classroom during your butterfly study! 

Raising Butterflies

We are excited to be raising 20 butterflies in our 2nd grade classroom. All materials needed for this project were ordered through Carolina Biological Supply Company.

When the caterpillars arrived we (the teachers) organized them in their new habitats. Each student received their very own caterpillar. We spent time making observations and naming our critters. 

Follow Me

Make sure you follow my Butterfly Study Pinterest board so you can keep up with all things butterflies.

Liebester Award

Sunday, May 3, 2015 2 comments
I'm so excited to have been nominated for a Liebester Award. If you aren't sure what a Liebester Award is let me explain. It's an Award to honor newer bloggers (with less than 200 followers) who have great content. It's a great way to link up, meet other bloggers and share a little about themselves! I was nominated by Yukari from A Pinch of Kinder and Jessica from A Passion Driven Teacher.

Part of the Liebster Award is sharing more about yourself and introducing your followers to other great blogs. Here goes nothing. 

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

I started my blog last winter (January 2014). I had taken my first teaching job in a VERY rural area and I knew no one. This was also the winter in Missouri where we had an insane winter - 12 snow days at my school! In my free time I grew an unhealthy obsession with all things teacher online. I found tons of amazing blogs, Instagram accounts and TPT sellers and I decided I'd give it a try myself.

2. What one word sums up your blog and why?


I try to depict what a real classroom looks like on a daily basis. We have melt downs and crackers crunched into the carpet and the occasional pencil flying through the room. Teaching is HARD. It's not all fun and games. Somedays are great and somedays aren't the best. I hope to inspire teachers with real life ways resources to make it through this crazy profession.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey wished you knew before?

I feel like I learn something knew every day! Nothing monumental yet. Check back in a few years ;)

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?

Being a new teacher (I'm in my 2nd year of teaching now) I feel like I devote ALL free time to teacher-y things. I really love creating things for TPT. 

Other than teacher-y things, I love spending time with friends at the wineries or exploring all the things St. Louis has to offer. 

5. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog?

I don't set a number of hours to spend on the blog - it really depends on my work load and what I've got going on with homework. I'm currently working on my Masters in Educational Technology - that takes up A LOT of my time. Once I finish up my degree I'd like to get into a routine with the blog. We'll see what actually happens.

6. What category of blog posts do you most enjoy?

I love to write blog posts where I can show off the great things my students are doing in the classroom. As a newer teacher I feel like I am always trying new things and over half of them never work the way I want them too. I love sharing my success stories from the classroom. 

7. Which post have you written that you are most proud of?

I really love my post where I share my online portfolio. My online portfolio was something that I poured myself into during my job search. I hope that with this post I can help other teachers find the job of their dreams. 

You can read the full post here.

8. Is there a post that you have been planning to do, but have been postponing for a while now?

I would really love to write about my transition from a 4th grade teacher to a 2nd grade teacher. 

9. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

My favorite part of blogging would be meeting all of the other amazing and inspirational teachers out there. I never would have imagined there would have been a network of this many teachers online. I'm so happy to have made great friends and connections through blogging. 

10. Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?

I love how Kristin from School and The City organizes her Word Study. We both use Words Their Way. I'm hoping for a MAJOR overhaul this summer. I'm attending a 2 day professional development workshop on taking Words Their Way to the next level. I plan to combine what I learn with Kristin's schedule to make the best learning schedule for my kiddos next year. 

Now for my nominations! 

Check out these awesome bloggers:

Layla from Fancy Free in 4th
Steph from Simple Insights

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:

1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out". (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)

2. Answer the 10 questions (the ones I answered above).

3. Nominate 5-11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above. 

4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated. Then provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept. 

5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/she can learn more about you as well! 

Currently: May

Saturday, May 2, 2015 5 comments
I cannot believe it is already May! Another year in the classroom has flown by! This is my 2nd year teaching, but first year in 2nd grade. Looking back I have learned so much this year and I cannot wait to start reflecting and planning for next year. I'm very excited to be in the same grade, room and building again - moving classrooms just isn't my thing.

I've linked up again with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for another fun CURRENTLY post. You can head over to her blog to read what tons of other great teacher bloggers are up to lately.

Listening - So I'm sitting out on the back patio enjoying our nice St. Louis weather when I hear my dogs barking. Of course I look down at my computer for one minute and the next thing I know they're gone. While I'm trying to chase them through the neighborhood I see them with other neighborhood dogs and I hear myself yell "ignore the bad behaviors, get over here". Clearly I've said that a few too many times this week. You know you're starting to lose your mind when you accidentally talk to your pets like they're your students. 

Meet Cooper and Bella. Also note that Cooper is not allowed on the furniture, any surprise that he ran away? He's not much of a rule follower. 

Loving - We are down to 14 days left people! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's going to be so nice to get out so early this year, last year we had 12 snow days! 

Each day I am posting a picture from the classroom for my Instagram countdown. To see the rest of the countdown follow me [@ATrendyTeacher].

Thinking - I think I mentioned it in my last CURRENTLY post, which obviously shows my true procrastination, but I've got to get working on my Summer School plans. I'm teaching an enrichment course called Lego Landmarks. I will have 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students for 2 hours a day. We will spend each day of our 3 week program researching landmarks and then creating them with Legos. I've got the basic outline down, but now I need to start pulling resources and materials. 

Wanting - A pedicure. I mean seriously, who doesn't love a good pedicure?!

Needing - Have to work on next week's plans too! We had the craziest week in 2nd grade! Between Butterfly Day (a half day of butterfly stations run by parent volunteers) and our Field Trip to the Butterfly House my teammates and I were exhausted! Each day we'd sit down to work on plans and before we knew it, it was 3:40 and time to pick up the kids from specials and our planbooks remained empty. Ever happen to you?

Summer - I'm so looking forward to this summer. We're starting off with a week in Destin, FL with the family. Then I'm off to 3 weeks at Summer School. After that I've got big plans to conquer mile-long to do lists for school. After one year in 2nd grade I'm ready to make some changes for the upcoming school year. Finally, I'm hoping to run my first 5k. I just got started on my Couch to 5K app and I'm loving it so far. Here's to hoping I can stick with it!
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