Friday, March 14, 2014

All About ROCKS!

A couple months ago, my 2nd graders studied and learned all about ROCKS! I just wanted to share some of the activities and printables we used. I found that my students were very successful with these so I have bundled them up for TpT. Here is a preview...

You can get the complete bundle of activities and printables HERE! 

It really is a ROCKin' collection. :) Perfect addition to your current Rocks Unit! Ideal for grades 1st-3rd. Includes 5 printables focusing on observational skills, 3 ready to go station activities, and a 2 page Rocks assessment. 

All you need is some eager geologists and a collection of rocks!


Sunday, March 9, 2014


Our Open House was this past Thursday. Usually it is a pretty hectic week preparing for the big night, but it was especially crazy this year! We had an "ice day" on Monday and missed school. So on Tuesday, we got busy and finished up (and started!) our Open House projects. The kids always look forward to showing off their work.

I actually remembered to get pictures this year! Here are a few from our hallway...

Each student wrote an acrostic poem about being Lucky. Wish my paper rainbow was a little longer but it played the part. :)

 Remember our Biography Presentations? Here are their pics that linked to their video!  We used the app AURASMA. Super cool.

The parents logged in to our Aurasma account to view their child's video. 


Another neat thing we did....we had the kids create a self portrait using only construction paper. They then wrote a secret thank you message to their parents using a QR code. Parents used the i-nigma app or other QR reader to scan and see their child's message.
 I thought they turned out super cute! We started them on Wednesday and everyone had theirs completed by Thursday night!

 I love how they really capture the kids' personalities.

 We taped them on to their chairs and set them in the hallway. Parents had to guess which QR kid was their own!


Once the students came in with their parents, they picked up their Tour checklist. I create a checklist and the student is the Tour Guide. This works great so that the parents see everything we have to show them! It is also nice for the kids to take ownership of their classroom. They were so proud to show their parents around!

We made All About Me books, which we finished in the nick of time! They were displayed on their desks as well as their FasttMath report, Journal and Science Notebook.

We also had a class-created PowerPoint going throughout the evening. Didn't get a picture of it but each child made a acrostic poem all about them. 

And a very last minute, seriously, last minute idea...

Each child decorated one word to complete the phrase, "BE..."

We hung them on our vines to remind us throughout the days, weeks, and year what we would like to BE. This goes along with our school's ONE WORD theme this year too. Many kids were able to decorate their one word for the year and others selected a different word to focus on.

Turned out pretty neat.

Open House was a success that literally came together just minutes before. 

Here is a fun video of the class cleaning the classroom before dismissal!

The classroom looked spotless. Thanks everyone!


Each year, our amazing school hosts a Chili Cook-Off. The staff puts it on for the whole community and it is definitely one of the kids' most favorite events!

Each teacher and team makes a pot of chili and designs a booth based on a theme of choice. This year was a no-brainer for us. With the popularity of the new Disney film, we chose FROZEN! Check out some of our pics!

 We created this little snowman out of butcher paper and covered it over exercise balls from our Motor Lab.

 We found an image on Pinterest with the quote, "Some People are worth Melting for." My talented team member changed it to say "CHILI" :)

We covered the walls of our hallway in aqua butcher paper and stapled up some white paper in mountain shapes. To create the frozen winter effect, we hung lights and snowflakes from the ceiling!

AND....YES...this is a sleigh, just like from the movie! And it is NOT made out of's styrofoam! We had a super talented dad of one of our students make it for us. It was amazing! He also built the huge screen you see behind it so we could project a picture of the Ice Castle to complete the look.

Here is a shot of most of the booth area. Looked beautiful with all of the lights.

To make the sign, we printed off each letter from the logo, painted over with some glitter and glued on some foam board. (Thanks, mom, for helping with this!) Then we hung some crystal ornaments that my mom had from the sign. 

Check out our OLAF!! 

Here is our SVEN setting up right before the event started!

My amazing 2nd grade team as...
 Olaf, Anna, Sven and Elsa

 Did I mention there are trophies?! The students use voting tickets to vote for the team with the Best Theme and the Best Tasting Chili.  Our chili was quite tasty but we were clearly going for the best theme....

AND WE WON!! Here we are with our trophy!

It was the first time our 2nd grade team had won in the nine years we have had Chili Cook-Off. I have an entirely NEW team too so it was so neat to have us pull together and win!

It was definitely a lot of work that we could not have done without the help of our Parents! Our 2nd grade parent who helped with our booth decor and our OWN parents! My mom made my Anna costume and my team member's mom made her Olaf costume!

 Myla was super excited to finally meet "Elsa"!!

Such a fun night!!

We are already looking forward to next year's 10th Annual Chili Cook-Off!!

Biography Presentations!

Going back in time about a month to recap some of our latest highlights!

We have been learning about Famous Americans and their accomplishments this nine weeks. After learning about Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, Robert Fulton (he invented the steamboat!) and Helen Keller, each student chose a Famous American to research. They would need to create a timeline of their life and give a 3-5 minute oral presentation. Oh, and the best part? They would get to dress up like their American! I was blown away by their "costumes" this year!

Here is our letter home to parents that we sent after we explained the project to the kids.

The kids were so excited to get started. Most of the work was done in class. They brought in 8-10 events from their research to make their timeline. We gave them 3 options: poster, Prezi, or Kidspiration. Since our classroom set of computers and Macs were limited, I was worried they would all choose one of the technology options. But it all worked out. We had every computer and iPad in use but there was a good size group who chose to make a poster.

 Working hard...

It took the kids four 90 minute class periods to complete their research and timelines. They each had a timeline rubric to refer to that I explained on our first day. 

When they were finished, they had a checklist to complete to ensure they had all the requirements!

Here are a few of the Poster Timelines!

I wish I could show the kids' Prezis, which is like a glorified PowerPoint, but actually way cooler, but they created and saved them with their own account. I plan to add them to their portfolios on Google Drive.

After timelines were complete, the kids prepared their oral presentation. I let them use notecards  to prepare their speech, which they thought was pretty cool. I didn't want them to have to memorize their speech but I didn't want them to read it straight from the cards either. This took some practice. We asked the parents to help with this part at home. :)

By the 4th day, most of my class were wrapping up their oral presentations. Some had even timed themselves on the iPad to make sure they met the time limit. I decided to pair them up to present to each other and give feedback, and we called it a "Peer Review." They loved this!

Here is one of their Peer Review sheets. :)

On the day of presentations I welcomed some Famous Americans in my classroom! There were 12 that presented the first day. :)

Aren't they amazing??

A few close ups...

 Milton Hershey

George Washington

Amelia Earhart

Robert E. Lee


Molly Pitcher

Albert Einstein!

I was super impressed with the kids' presentations! They are uploaded to each child's personal portfolio so their parents can view them anytime. 

For Open House, which I will share about in a separate post, we created an "aura" using the app, Aurasma. Parents were able to hover their iPad or smartphone over their child's picture which links directly to their presentation video. Super cool. Gotta love technology!!

Overall, it was a great project for the kids. They really learned so much about their Famous American and being able to share that knowledge at this age is so important.