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Five for Friday

Hello Friends!

I am so proud of myself this week! I was able to blog more often and stick to my blogging schedule which was huge since I was feeling sick at the beginning of the week.  Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for her linky party. 

Since we don't have school on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, I wanted to get in some MLK activities for my students.  My kids LOVED this awesome kid friendly rap that can be found here. It's called I Celebrate MLK! It did a great job explaining who Martin Luther King was and what he did.  

We studied community workers a few weeks ago and my friend's husband was so gracious enough to agree to come to our school and share about his job with our 2nd graders this week. He works for LAPD and SWAT and is SUPER hard core! You would never guess it because he is so sweet.  He allowed the kids to carry his vest, wear the tear gas mask, passed around the handcuffs, and even allowed some kids to come up and talk on his radio with LAPD headquarters! WOW!!! They were so impressed!

This week we introduced the  "ar" sound. We began by watching a short video on the ar sound that you can find here. It's like a little rap video that goes over words with the "ar" sound. My kids really like it!

Then they went on a word hunt around the room to look for "ar" words. When we are hunting for words in our classroom or just being detectives, naturally we have to get our "smart" glasses on. I got some of these from Target a while back but then I realized that I could just pop out the lens of the 3D glasses from the movie theaters so I use those, too. Free is always good!

My sweet girl in her thinking position

This is the worksheet that they had to fill out. At the bottom of the sheet, students circle 6 words from their hunt and put them in ABC order. This worksheet is from my Houghton Mifflin Language Arts Units

This year I really want to be intentional about slooowing down so that I can see the good things happening all around me. When I rush and hurry, I miss many special moments. Not this day. I was able to stop washing dishes and look out into my living room before bedtime and see my #1 playing Candyland with my #3. LOVE that I slowed down enough to capture this sweet moment. My lovely Isaac is such a great big brother!!!  

Last weekend I got to spend some time with my best friend who was VERY pregnant (blondie in the middle). So much so that she was having contractions all through dinner and then her water broke later that night ... or I should say early the next morning. SHE WAS IN LABOR!!! This excited me SO much because I've NEVER been in labor or had real contractions. I've had 3 children but all of them were planned c-sections and so I don't even know what it's like to go into labor. My bestie says that I'm not missing out. LOL. Anyways, she is SUPER WOMAN because she pushed this 9lbs 10 oz baby out with NO EPIDURAL!!! Yes, she's my bestie and she is AH-MAZING!

Wordless Wednesday

Hi friends!

If you read my post last week you will know that this year I want to become more consistent in my blogging. I wrote myself out a schedule and everything and I feel pretty good about it. I needed to find something that was doable for me and my schedule. This is why when I was reminded about what I've seen on other mommy blogs that I subscribe to, I was ecstatic! It's called "Wordless Wednesday". Alls you do is put a picture up that is pretty much self explanatory and voila! You've got yourself a post! It can be something cute, shocking, funny, or in a teacher's case, a snapshot of a project or something you did in class. AND I may be breaking the rules here a bit, but I'm even gonna say you can post a quick little video or something that needs no explanation. Even though the video may have words, we'll let it slide because it's so cute/amazing/shocking/etc! I would love to do a linky party on this, but I don't know how to start one and have a "link up" button at the bottom of my page. I may have to look up on how to do that BUT for now... it's just me and my little one woman party! :) I am the first one at my party. I am the only one at my party.... But it's ok because maybe you can join me one day. Yes? :)

So here is my picture for today:

A New Product!

OK. I lied. It's not really a "new" product because it's been out for about a month BUT this is the first time that I will post something about it.. so it kinda is new.

I wanted to share about my ELA Houghton Mifflin Theme 4 for second grade. When I began creating these units, I did not know what I was getting myself into. Each unit is 250+ pages and takes HOURS and HOURS of work. I mean, I really do enjoy it... even if it does make me all cross eyed and all in the end. Ha!

My units are designed to be aligned to the common core and to integrate the latest strategies/skills. Here are some things that are included:

- comprehension skills strategies at the end of every story using DOK 2 and 3 (depth of knowledge) questions.
- Thinking Maps and teacher "cheat sheets".
- Activities that connect text to world, text to text, and text to self
- Text dependent questions and activities
- sequencing activities
- writing activities
- phonics skills
-spelling lists
-differentiated activities
- vocabulary activities
- vocabulary cards with realistic pictures


I am really proud of these units not only because I put my sweat and blood into it (not to mention ignoring ALL my mommy and wifey duties, too) but more importantly, I've gotten so many great responses from them! They have been shared at district inservices and teachers and administrators have given me so much kind positive feedback! Isn't that what teaching is all about?? Sharing and creating resources that are useful in our classrooms. That is why I love TPT! It's teachers that create resources who UNDERSTAND what's happening in our classrooms versus someone up in the Dept of Education who may not have an idea of what is truly happening inside the class.

Here are some snapshots of my unit:

Focus wall labels

Vocabulary picture cards

Writing activity

Main Idea/Supporting Details

Bubble map with text dependent characteristics

Thinking Map

*** UPDATE: If you are interested in this Thinking Map (above pic) and MANY more with Depth and Complexity icons, please take a look at my Print and Go Thinking Maps with Depth and Complexity unit. ALL maps come with samples and are EDITABLE so that you can tailor it to the needs of your classroom.  :)

Text to Self and Text to World connections

Comprehension and skills assessment after every story. Common Core standards are listed for each question.

I know... that was a lot to scroll through! Thanks for sticking with me. :) If you know anybody who uses Houghton Mifflin for the ELA curriculum, I would love for you to direct them to my HM Resource if you think they could benefit from it. Trust me, they won't be sorry. :)


2014 and Five for Friday

Annnnnnd I'm back to reality!

I really did not want to come back to reality after the holidays. Like ever! It was a busy one and well, I decided to leave the blogging world for the month of December since I was barely swimming above water. More like drowning deep. Like I'm already drowning and someone throws me a kid to hold (Jim Gaffigan humor). Seriously.

Soooo after taking that off my plate, and after all the parties and all family gatherings, we got to spend some nice and well deserved family time with just We needed that.  My hubby is a pastor and so naturally Christmas time is a busy busy time for the church. I love that, but it's also so very nice when he gets a nice break.

This year I really want to focus on being more consistent with my blog. I've gotten my feet wet with Teachers Pay Teachers  last year and it's been such a blessing! God has blessed me beyond measure. I mean, I'm no Deanna Jump or anything but I did manage to make a bit extra to pay off some debt. But now I'm ready to focus more on my blogging. I HAVE a plan. I THINK it will work. I HOPE it will work. :)

Sooooo I began writing this post on Thursday thinking I would get ahead of the game. Then I got sick. Now it's Saturday night and I'm determined to finish my Five for FRIDAY post AND now my little 3 yr old is calling 'Mamaaaaa!!!" from her bedroom as we speak (waaaaaay past her bedtime!!). Be right back.

(Jeopardy music)

OOOOkkayyyy. I'm back. What was I talking about??? Oh yea... reality and how I'm forced to be in it. Well, my first week back at school was great. I actually thought Monday would be brutal but it wasn't too bad. Kids were quiet ... possibly tired... but I didn't care because..... they were QUI.ET!! :)  YAY!!  If you have been following my post, you will know that this year my kids are great but they are a bit chattier than previous years. I'm using the word "chattier" VERY loosely here. BUT they were QUIET on Monday!!! Small victories. Small victories.

It's still the weekend and so I'm linking up with  Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday

 My kids were QUIET! LOL. They did well on their first day back. Yes, they were most likely sleepy but it was nice. :) We got to add in a little brain break because our brains all need a little break the first week back to work from vacation. They LOVED "What Does The Fox Say?"

My bestie just gave birth TODAY!!!! After years of convincing her hubby of the idea of baby #3 and trying, she conceived and had her healthy baby boy today...right on her hubby's birthday! Isn't God just awesome??!!!  :) EVEN more amazing, she did it all epidural. ALL 9 LBS 10 OZ of his pink plump body!!!! I'm hurting just thinking of it! Anyways, they have nicknamed this little boy Baby Batman and so I just had to make these little onesies for him!

We got a snake over Christmas. I know that it didn't happen this week but I figured since I have not blogged in a while, I can share this. My boys named her Caylee and she is a ball python. I actually don't mind snakes but feeding them is a different story. All I have to say is poor little mouse! :/
Picking up the snake from the breeder

Karis loves the snake!
Dinner.... :/

Every year we ring in the New Year with our friends, east coast time! Not only do my kids begin to melt down if we kept them up until midnight, I just don't think I would make it. So at 9 pm west coast time, we watch the ball drop in NY! :) We blow horns and drink cider and all is good and we are in bed by midnight! Ha!!

These kids have been growing up together for years!

The mommies!

The kiss! Happy New Year!!! 2014!!

For the past 2 years I've done a Jesus Birthday Party for all the kids at Christmas time. We decorate gingerbread houses and all pile into cars looking at Christmas lights. Although this year we did not get around to looking at lights, we did get to do all the other fun stuff. I held a blanket drive to give to the homeless as a way of giving back. After all, it's Jesus' birthday and so how come we get presents??? We can take care of others as our gift to Him!

No party is complete without a birthday cake!

My hubby and I premade all these gingerbread houses out of graham crackers the night before.

Our ping pong table was perfect for all these kids!!

My sweet Karis!

Hope you had a wonderful break and welcome back to reality and to 2014! You will be hearing from me more frequently. Hopefully. LOL!