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October 28, 2012

There Poster

Here is a poster to help with the spelling and usage of there.

I didn't write these just made them into the poster form.  I can't for the life of me find who to give credit to, so if you know please tell me.  I also don't know the tune, if there is one, so I just use "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall".  :)  Use whatever works for you.

Click the image to go get it.
Last week was crazy assessment time as we have parent-teacher conferences this coming week...starting the day after Halloween.  Yes, you read that correctly!  Whoever planned that one wasn't playing with a full deck I tell you.

I'm praying that after dealing with the still sugar-high, wacko kids on Thursday I have a few positive things to say to their parents who are probably going to be tired and cranky as well.  It sounds like a win-win situation for us all doesn't it?

Saw this on Third Grade Thoughts blog and had to grab it...

Here's to us all surviving Halloween on a Wednesday!

October 21, 2012

Common Core Giveaway

Heather over at Second Grade Perks is having a giveaway for her HUGE common core pack.  We've just started common core this year so I am really hoping to win.

Go check it out and register to win yourself if you want.  (But remember I'd really, really like to win!)

Second Grade Perks

October 20, 2012

Subject or Predicate Game

Sometimes at the end of the day when we are waiting for the bell to ring, we'll sing songs like the Sentence Song to fill the time productively.  The other day someone picked the Sentence Song to sing and another little dear went and grabbed the Sentence Shazam! game and handed it to me.  That is how much they love it.

They loved it so much that I decided to make a Subject or Predicate Shazam!

You could play this and sing the Subject and Predicate Song to help your little peanuts learn these concepts.

Click the picture to go to my Teacher's Notebook shop

My kiddos requested more shazam! cards for this version because they like them.  Go figure!  You could take out some if need be.

I'll give away a copy of this game to a random commenter.

October 18, 2012

Tricky Too

We are working on this homophone bugger this week.  Do your kiddos struggle with using this guy correctly?  Mine do.

It is practiced all year long in our spelling program and some still don't get it.  It doesn't matter if I beg and plead or cry.  It doesn't matter if I stand on my head or run naked.  Some just don't get it.

But this little chant that is a take off on the their one I shared earlier seems to be helping . . . so far.

I figure if I beat it into them hard enough teach it enough ways they'll have to get it eventually right?!

Click to download
Do you have a magical way to teach too to your students?  If so please share.

October 16, 2012

The Floss Rule for Spelling

Here's a little spelling rule poster freebie.  It's a rule from the Barton Reading program.  Hope you can use it.

Nothing fancy just something my kiddos put in their binder.  They LOVE putting things in that silly contraption.  Maybe it's the clicking noise they can make with it that I love drives me bonkers.

click, click, click

I hear that!  Stop it!

Now last years class would have snickered for hours over the word gas.  This year's class . . . not a peep!

October 14, 2012

My Musical Class

This class is so funny!  I love how they spontaneously burst into song.  It can be a real pick-me-up.

Take Friday for instance.

I wasn't feeling very well.  (well?  good?  I'll never figure those two out!  GRR!)

I've had this cold/sinus thing going on for three weeks now.  Got a prescription antibiotic about midweek but it's not kicked in yet.  So on Friday I felt like doo-doo and thought I'd get a sub.

HA!  With seven subs for preschool through 6th grade (that's 24+ teachers) I had a better chance of getting my tonsils removed on my dining room table.  Top it off with the fact that I don't have a book of sub notes on my special little guy and you can probably guess what happened.

I ended up having the principal sub for me going in and toughing it out.  (I'd probably have better luck with the tonsils again than the principal.  Will your principal sub for you?)

So with jackhammer sinus headache reverberating in my skull and every little noise setting off the jackhammer headache, I set out to teach to the best of my ability.

It wasn't a day I'm overly proud of but I know there are teachers who do less on their best days sadly.

I whispered as much as I could to keep the drilling headache on low and my class thought it was a game.  They love it when I sing so I sang some questions/directions in funny whisper voices.  Game on!

And then, probably because I was just way off a tad off I forgot to sing the "Name on Your Paper" song.  So they began to softly sing it.  It was so cute.  Those angelic voices!  In spite of feeling like something a dog dropped in the backyard or the cat left in the litterbox, I was smiling.  It made my whole day folks.

I thought I'd share this little tune.  I'm not sure if you have your kiddos do the same kind of thing on their papers, but if so you can grab it by clicking on the picture below.  Or maybe you could tweak it to fit your needs.  I have a lot less no name papers because my little peanuts will sing this as they write their names on their papers with or without me. :)

October 12, 2012

A New Fur Friend

Thank you everyone for the warm wishes at the sudden loss of my dear dog Juju.  I miss her every day.  Funny how attached we get to our pets.

Sadly we knew we couldn't bring another dog into our home because our Puggle is such a grouch with other dogs.

Well one Saturday about a month ago, after exercising and breakfast with a friend, I ended up at the local animal shelter.  Just to look mind you.

I mean, while I'd been gone only a couple hours one of my pets could have gotten loose and been picked up by animal control.  They could, at that very moment, be languishing in a kennel wondering why I wasn't rescuing them.  It could happen.  It could.  Admit it.

So on my drive home.  In the opposite direction actually.  But it could have been on the way home . . . if I lived that way.  I stopped to look.

And that's what I did.

Okay, I pet too.  And cooed.  And baby talked.  And spread a lot of love.  And told them all how I wished I could take every single one home.

Yes, I could be a hoarder but I'd be a good one not a bad one.  Just saying.

So last stop was the cat room.  Only because it's on the way out.  Really.  That's the truth.

I like cats and have always wanted one.  But it had to be one with longer hair, pretty eyes, that didn't bite or claw.  Not easy to find let me tell you.  Cats just are usually feisty and occasionally bite or claw.

Oh, yeah, did I mention my husband isn't a big cat lover and I'm quite allergic?

Well, guess what?  You'll never guess.

They had my cat there!

I convinced everyone to give it a go and brought Tobias home.  He is a five year old Maine Coon that in less than a few hours weaseled his way into our family's hearts.  He is also best buds with our 12 year old lab mix.

Every day I take an allergy pill although I'm thinking I may have to go prescription.  But it's worth it.  I'd get a shot if I had to.

He is so mellow.  He doesn't bite or claw even if I rub his belly or play with his paws.  Yes, I can rub his belly.  Rub his fur the wrong way and touch his feet.  You heard that correctly.  Maybe he thinks he's a dog.

Toby seems more than happy and tell us every chance he gets.  We don't know anything about his past but he's very loving, gets a long with dogs, and likes popcorn.  Oh, yeah, he begs for it with the dogs.

The only problem is that Toby likes to sleep on the pillow above my head and groom my hair.  It makes for interesting do's in the morning let me tell you.  What's a girl to do?

October 10, 2012


What a bugger of a word.  Not hard to spell really.  But to get a second grader to use it correctly. . . not easy.

I found a lengthy homophone song or poem somewhere on the internet that naturally I am unable to find now and there was no author listed on what little I had.  Basically the song/poem was too long for my kiddos but this one little snippet stuck with me for a couple reasons.  One it provided spelling practice (yeah, some kids can't remember if it's ei or ie) and two it was simple.

Song/poem?  Who knows.  I have no idea what it was initially intended to be but I say  this little itty bitty part somewhat to the tune of "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall".  My kiddos don't know that.  Or at least no one has said anything . . . yet.

Last year I know one of the kids would have caught it.  The little stinker I'm thinking of caught all those kinds of things.  If it was inappropriate or related to anything potty-mouth, even remotely, he got it and let everyone know it.  I got a kick out of that kid!  Most days anyways.  The other parents probably didn't though.

Wouldn't you know the year I had him my two male guinea pigs were fighting for dominance.  Most of the kids thought they were jumping on each other to play but not that little firecracker!  Oh, no!  He nearly gave a little biology lesson before I gave him the hairy eyeball.

Anyway, this is another little chant thingie that this year's class is famous for spontaneously reciting if they hear me whisper "Does that (insert object) belong to them?"

I whipped up this little sign for my language arts focus wall.

Click to go to download
Hope you can use it.

BTW, if you know the song/poem source please let me know.

October 08, 2012

The Sentence Song

So I got the copy of the sentence song from my school computer.  Remember this is not my original song but I changed maybe two words to make it fit my needs.  The author is Kim Shelley.  (If you know her tell her thanks!)

The kids LOVE this song.  In fact, every year that I've used this song the kids love it.  It's a keeper.

My classes quickly realize how much I love songs, music, and movement and this year's class is no different.  The big difference this year, however, is that this class will just spontaneously break out into song all on their own.

I love it!

It cracks me up!

For example, I'll walk by someone and remind them to write in complete sentences and before you can say "complete what?" the class is singing the sentence song.

How can you not love that?

I'm known for spontaneously breaking into song but I don't recall a class doing it like this.

In fact, a few years ago, the daughter of a fellow teacher that I had in my class once told her mom, "Mrs. Schaff will just start singing out of the blue and not even be embarrassed!"

When the mom told me I laughed so hard.  Then I asked, "Should I be embarrassed?"

Nah, these are little kids.  What do they care?  We all spend to much of our lives being self-conscious, embarrassed, and/or worrying about what other people think.

So if the kids that leave my room remember nothing else, maybe they'll remember to take a chance . . . because you can succeed if you don't try!

Click the picture to download.
Happy singing friends!

October 07, 2012

Sentence or Fragment

Why is it most kids can answer a question in a complete sentence but can't write one?  I think they just get in a hurry.

Well, we are working on complete sentences like crazy.  Knowing how to write complete sentences is crucial for the whole year since I require almost all written answers to be in complete sentences.  (Is that mean of me?  Or do you do that too?)

We started out by learning what a complete sentence is and isn't.  Enter "The Sentence Song" which the kids and I love.  I don't recall where the original came from (not me) but I've tweaked it just a smidge.  (Oh, snap that's on my computer at school so I'll post it later this week.  Sorry.)

Then we played the "Secret Question" game.  Again not my original idea but don't ask me where it came from.  For this you have one student come to the front of the room and whisper a question in his/her ear.  The child then answers in a complete sentence for all to hear.  The rest of the class has to figure out the question you asked based on the child's answer.  FUN!  Divide kids into teams and score points for correct questions if you want.  Some kids have a really hard time with this and some get it no problem.  One of my brightest was dumbfounded.

We also played "Sentence or Fragment Shazam!"  For this game, students draw a card from a container.  I like to use a lunch bag from the Dollar Store.  The student reads the card out loud and tells (in a complete sentence of course) if it is a sentence or a fragment.  If correct, the child keeps the card.  If incorrect, the card gets put back in the bag.  But, dun dun dun...if a shazam! card is drawn all that child's cards go back into the bag.  The winner (if you want) is the child with the most cards at the end.

Click on the picture to download

I don't make this game self-checking because I like the kids to have discussions about why or why not it is or isn't a sentence.  I say prove it a lot to my kiddos.  I very rarely have huge arguments.  But if you want you could number the cards and make an answer key.  Most of my kiddos were quickly able to tell what part was missing which will help this week when we actually learn the terms subject and predicate.

If you can use it please leave me some love.


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