Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Gift of Math

Hello all-

After all of the merry-ness of yesterday it is a full out, unapologetic pajama day today.  The rainy weather hitting the east coast just makes my PJs that much of a better choice. 

I was cleaning off the old Canon and realized there are so many pictures I haven't shared with you.  One such event is "The Gift of Math".  It is a festive bulletin board that I use for those students who are done in five minutes when you planned 20 and to review the different skills we have already learned this year.  

The display consists of a paper Christmas tree that I attach ornaments and lights to.  It looks like this.....

Oh so festive, isn't it?
Here is a Hanukkah present
Around the tree there are 6 presents that I made using Disney Scrapbook paper that I found at Michael's.  I made these presents a few years ago and laminated them for durability.  However, I had to change some of the presents to align with the new Math Common Core but that was an easy fix.  

The scrapbook paper looks like wrapping paper and I used
scraps to make ribbon.

The back of each present has a multi-step Math problem that reviews skills that we have already learned so far in the year.  Most of the problems require the application of more than one skill and in many cases my students refer back to their Math binder to review their notes on the different topics.  This helps to keep all the Math skills alive all year long.  I incorporate many activities like this to allow my kids time to review the skills so that we are never putting past skills away in the deepest parts of their brains.

Here are some examples of the questions behind the present.

I try to include teachers from the building,
this one is about my blogging buddy Kelly!
I love to create festive thematic activities for my kids (and me) even in fifth grade!  Hope you had a very happy holiday!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grinch Day Technology Glitch

The other day Kelly and I joined our classes together for "Grinch Day".  

With Kelly teaching 2nd grade and having 1/2 of her 1st grade class last year we had to come up with a whole new day of activities.  Particularly if we wanted to avoid the dreaded 
                              "We did this last year".

So after a week of e-mailing, texting, pinning, and chatting about our ideas during recess we had a plan.  The plan involved me creating a 42 page SMART Board day to anchor our lesson, read the story, and show some video clips.  If I do say so myself, it was pretty cool.

Two days prior to this lesson my mounted projector was acting a little weird.  The tech was notified and then it stopped.  (Can you sense where this is going?)

Fast forward to Grinch Day where Kelly's students arrive and I have 43 students in the room awaiting a great day filled with Merry/Grinchy activities.  I turn the projector on and...



                                             -flashing red lights!


My projector light bulb blew.  I had no way of conducting the days lessons and had 43 kids staring at me.  The tech guy, a nice guy who is thoroughly overstretched by our district, was nowhere to be found.  When the custodian called he said he couldn't be to my room until much later in the day.  We have no spare bulbs (though I requested them many times) and no one has ever been taught how to change the bulb. 

So I did what any resourceful teacher with 43 kids would have done-took matters into my own hands.  With 43 kids watching (and Kelly snapping pictures) I stole a projector bulb from the computer lab.  I climbed up on chairs and desks (in my Grinch Day attire-complete with PJ pants) and started taking apart my mounted projector.  Within a few minutes I had figured out how to take out the old bulb, replace a new one, and put my projector back together.  

Notice how annoyed I look in this picture. 

Just a normal day for a teacher .
Thoroughly stressed out and annoyed, Grinch Day was ready to begin. 

Anyone ever have any serious technology glitches that you had to solve yourself-PLEASE SHARE!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Merry Thanksgiving?

Hello Buddies-

A bit late, but better late than never!

This year Kelly and I have been forced to down size our Thanksgiving celebration.  (Thanks Federal and State Government). So this year, we had a turkey sandwich luncheon.

I saw this on Pinterest and we had to try it. 

It's a Turkey Sandwich

The kids sat with their Reading Buddies and had lunch together.  Parent volunteers made turkey sandwiches and cut them round.  The kids had a variety of healthy items to make their turkey sandwich look like a turkey.  Pretzel sticks, carrot sticks, and celery sticks were all used for the feathers.

Raisins were used for the eyes and cheese was used for the beak.  Lastly, fruit by the foot strips were used for the waddle.  

It's not the turkey feast we are used to, but it was pretty adorable!

Your buddies, 
Damien and Kelly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We Won an Award


We are award winners.  We were nominated by The Realistic Teacher and Literacy Sundae for the Liebster Award. Thanks for the love guys!

Step #1: Is share 11 random facts about ourselves. Here we go:

1-Kelly and I live around the block from each other. 

2-This year our classrooms were moved to separate sides of the building and although this seems miner, IT IS KILLING US!

3-Christmas is my favorite holiday and I start playing Christmas music right after Halloween.

4-Kelly is completely responsible for my Harry Potter themed classroom.  It was her idea my second year of teaching and was one of the best choices EVER!

5-Favorite TV shows: Mine is Glee and Kelly's is Dance Moms

6-Our favorite place to go out is The Melting Pot.  Cheese and Chocolate Fondue, not to mention Sangria.  A GREAT combo!

7-One of us has 2 kids and one of us has 2 dogs. 

8-Our teaching styles are very similar and we are hoping that one day we will be teaching the same grade level. 

9-We met when Kelly borrowed my new teacher scissors and didn't return them for a day or two.  

10-Although reluctant to change grades, Kelly is now loving teaching second grade!

11-I took a baking class this summer and have been baking up a storm since then. 

Step #2: answer 11 questions: 
1. What is your favorite smell?
Kelly- Pine trees

2. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
Damien- Tickets to Disney World
Kelly- House on Lake George

3. Do you have, and what is, your end of day routine?
Damien-School: Talk to my teacher buddies  Home: Lay in bed with a few shows from Tivo
Kelly-School: Tell joke of the day after kids line up.  Home: Blog hop until I can't see straight

4. What is your favorite TV Show?
Damien- Glee
Kelly- Dance Moms

5. Do you have pets?
Damien- Yes- 2 dogs, Copper a retriever mix and Tucker a Hound mix
Kelly- Yes, a dog named Shadow, a black lab. 

6. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Damien- Thanksgiving night as the family played Scene It!
Kelly- Can't remember

7. What is your favorite book to read to your students?
Damien- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Kelly- Franny K. Stein Lunch Walks Among us by: Jim Benton

8. Why did you start blogging?
Damien and Kelly: Kelly found TPT and the blogging world and we thought it would be a next great step to start our own. 

9. What is your favorite type of weather?
Damien- I love the fall, but here in Jersey its about 4 days between summer and winter weather.  
Kelly: 60 and no humidity (does Jersey even have that kind of weather)

10. Are you a "list maker"?
Damien- YES! Can't remember a damn thing if I don't write it down and I take great satisfaction on crossing things off my list. 
Kelly: Yes!

11. Do you workout, go to the gym, exercise in general?
Damien- Whenever I want to torture myself.  
Kelly: Sometimes.

Here are the blogs I am nominating: 
A Great Title
Fifth Grade Follies
Every New Beginning
Confessions of a Fourth Grade Teacher
Liv To Teach
Mrs. Quimby Reads
Mrs. White's 5th Grade class

Have a Happy Day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cyber Monday SALE!

Hello Buddies-

We hope you ate up on Thursday...

Shopped 'til you dropped on Friday...

And are now ready for your fingers to do the work.

We are participating in TPTs Cyber Monday sale. Our entire store is 20% off combined with the percentage that TPT is generously giving off of items and you can save 28%!

Out TPT Store an be found HERE: Reading Buddies on TPT

It's time to empty out those carts and clear those wish lists. 

Happy Shopping!
Damien and Kelly 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading Buddies How-to-Guide

Hello Buddies-

Happy Saturday! Kelly and I spent some time today finishing up a product that we have been working on for a while.  A How-To-Guide for our Reading Buddies program.  Kelly and I have been doing Reading Buddies for years, it's actually one of the reasons we have become so close.  

Reading Buddies pairs up a student in my fifth grade class and a student in her second grade class for a year long reading partnership.  The students share books together, read to each other, are read to, and participate in many reading activities and celebrations.  

The guide can be found at our TPT Store: Reading Buddies How-To-Guide

Our TPT Store Freebie is also part of the guide and can be found hereReading Buddy Questionnaire

This is the PERFECT time of year to start Reading Buddies.  Below are some pictures from THIS Friday when Kelly and I got together to introduce our kids to their buddies.

Learning a bit about our new friend using the questionnaire

Working together!

Working in beanbags on the carpet!

Wishing you all the best for the upcoming week!
-Damien and Kelly

Thursday, November 15, 2012

99th and 100th follower GIVEAWAY!

Hello Buddies-

We are almost at our 100th follower-CRAZY!  We are looking to give away 2 free items from our TPT store to celebrate the milestone.

If you are our 100th follower- YOU WIN!  All you have to do is please leave a comment below, with your name, e-mail address, and the 2 free products you would like. 

ADDENDUM:  WE ARE ADDING TO OUR 100th FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!  If you are our 99th follower we will give you 1 free item from our TPT store.  

You can visit our TPT store here:
Reading Buddies TPT Store

Thanks so much for your continued support. 

Kelly and Damien 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trunk or Treat

Hello buddies- 

Tomorrow is our first day back to school since October 23rd due to the destruction of Sandy.  We weren't able to celebrate Halloween because we were in the midst of the storm and although minimal considering the chaos and destruction Sandy brought, but quite a bummer for our kids.  

So today, we had our first ever Trunk or Treat event. Have you ever heard of trunk or treating?  Basically you trick or treat but in a safe location and from the trunk of people's cars. We opened up our fields, parked our cars together (Kelly and I trunk shared) and decorated our trunks with Halloween decor. 

It was a BLAST having the kids trick (or trunk) or treat to people they knew.  Kelly and I loved seeing the kids, especially after our unexpected break. It was a blast and hopefully a tradition for our school.

Awaiting the arrival of our Trunk or Treaters.  Notice my lounging Harry Potter
Handing out candy to one of my favorite "goblins".
Some Trunk or Treaters from Kelly's class

Remember- look at our last post to see the GIVEAWAY we are participating in. It's a biggie!

Damien and Kelly

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another Giveaway!

Hello Buddies-

We had so much fun participating in Rockin' Teacher Materials giveaway that we (actually Kelly) decided to join in another giveaway. 

We are participating in...

We are giving away our "The Lorax" SMART Board product and are part of Prize Pack #5

Hop on over using the following link: Classroom Compulsion

It's a GREAT giveaway (we even entered to win some of the other wonderful products available).

Best Wishes Buddies!
-Damien and Kelly

Monday, November 5, 2012

More than a school...a community

I am writing this post after a week that has been unbelievable. I am sure that many of are unaware that Kelly and I live in Middletown, NJ. A shore town for sure. A few days ago Hurricane Sandy left us without heat or power but left us safe. As the storm passed, and information began to poor in, we heard that some of our colleagues were in worse shape. Two of my fifth grade colleagues had their house flooded and one was likely to lose her home of the past 20+ years. A second grade colleague and her newborn baby were now homeless. 

Being who we are we sprang into action. Over the past few days I have been reminded of why I LOVE my school, my community, and my colleagues. As I spent one morning removing soaked memories from a basement with my co-teacher, spent one afternoon packing a kitchen with a first grade teacher across the hall, and emptied paper boxes at my powerless school with my principal I know these are people you can count on for more than a much needed bathroom break. I am reminded that we are more than a school, but a community. We take care of each other and pitch in whenever and wherever. Teachers in work boots, with shovels, and with a mission. Spending days off because of an emergency working hard to help those in need. 

When I left my home in an area that only suffered power loss and headed to my colleagues house I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Homes have been destroyed. House condemned. Families left homeless. The devastation is something out of a disaster movie. 

Over the past week I have witnessed:
-storm winds like no other
-hours of darkness
-homes destroyed
-the National Guard coming to my home town
-boardwalks destroyed
-water everywhere
-roads closed 

But I have witnessed so much more:
-a community helping its neighbors
-food donations from people who have little to begin with
-people from out of state traveling in to help
-utility workers leaving their homes to help others
-friends working together
-families supporting each other

School is closed until the 13th due to the devastation. Tomorrow I will be at another super teacher's house trying to help them clean up and rebuild. Tuesday our teachers will be at the closed school without power opening it as a collection site for those in need. 

Small tasks, but it is something. 
Stay safe!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Rockin' Give-A-Way

Hello Buddies!

We have partnered up with Rockin' Teacher Materials for a...well, ROCKIN' give-a-way. 

There are a TON of great activities up for you to win, including our Every Vote Counts Author Voting product which would be great now that election time is amongst us.  

You can enter to win here Rockin' Teacher Materials Blog

You can view our Every Vote Counts Product by visiting our Teachers Pay Teachers store here: The Reading Buddies on TPT

Enter soon before time runs out and GOOD LUCK!
-Damien and Kelly

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Haunted Classroom

I saw this on Pinterest and LOVED it. I couldn't wait to get it up on my classroom door. Well, we have had MAJOR computer problems which meant no "real" work to do so I spent my prep wrapping my mummy.

Currently thinking of adding a speech bubble that reads "5th grade is hard...I want my mummy!"


Monday, October 15, 2012

Linkin' up for a ROCKIN freebie

Hi all-

We are lining up with ROCKIN' Teaching Materials for a massive giveaway.

We will be donating our Every Vote Counts product (perfect for the upcoming election) for the giveaway.

You can check it out at our TPT store. Every Vote Counts.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Franny K. Stein is in the house

Franny K. Stein mad scientist ROCKS!
Well I worried all summer about what chapter books I would read to my second grade class that would make them love READING.  You see in first grade it's a no brainer because every first grader loves Junie B. Jones.  Anyway I can't tell you how over the moon my entire class is about reading Franny K.  The only problem is that they have all gone to the library or bought books in the series so it is hard to do predictions but who cares!  I have boys reading during indoor recess because they can't wait to read the end of the book!!  I have to say this character traits chart has helped in the motivation, so of course each student made their own flip book like in story one.

I truly encourage all second grade teachers to use this as a read aloud most of the books have a good author's message.  The best part is that I show the book on my  projected screen because eventhough it is a chapter book each page has pictures also.  So what are you waiting for go buy Franny K. Stein by Jim Benton.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Math Anchor Charts

I absolutely love my Math anchor charts. Sometimes I forget the color of my classroom walls because they are covered with Math and ELA anchor charts.

I hang these near my Math word wall so that when looking for the proper Math terms the kids also have a place to look for some lesson reminders.

We also copy them in our Math binder so the kids have them at home as well.

Thought I'd share what we've been up to so far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is anyone else tired?

Maybe it's just me, but I am EXHAUSTED!

Today was officially the 16th day of school and I already feel lilke I have been hit my a mac-truck.

Between beginning of the year assessments (we give way to many), trying to dive into my curriculum (too much material), and trying to make my little Hogwart-ians excited about learning (remember that?)-I'm just so tired!

Add to it graduate work, lesson planning, after school events, mentoring, some resemblance of a home life(only some), two serious emotional slaps in the face (one from school and one from home that involved one less four-legged family member-SO SAD!) and I am ready for BED!  Some one wake me for Christmas!

How are all my buddies holding up?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bucket Seat Final Product

So here it is... This is how my bucket seats came out. Unfortunately, even with extra care from the kids they aren't holding up to well. The paint is scratching BIG TIME. If anyone has some tips, feel free to send them my way.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Question Rules

Each year I start my ELA(that's some common core for ya) with a question rules lesson. I read Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook, a book I LOVE about bringing reading alive. I give them a question, literal comprehension, to answer. We go over the question rules...

#1 use the characters names
#2 restate the question
#3 answer the questions-all parts
#4 provide details- go back in the book
#5 is it your best effort.

This sets the stage for the year. Any time I grade the work I simply write QR#2 and etc.

The student copy this into their reading notebook and have color printed copies everywhere: homework planner, take home folder, pencil box; you get the picture.

Have a great weekend buddies!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bringing in Some *Magic*...

...Wands that is!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I wanted to make them and that meant I HAD to figure out a way to incorporate them into my classroom (a bunch of magic wands really wouldn't fit my home decor).

I decided to use them as a reward as my students are always admiring the wands I have purchased at Harry Potter World in Orlando and use as pointers for my lessons.  I use a Clip Up behavior chart and the wands are available for any students who reached OUTSTANDING 10 times.

The wands are a HUGE motivator as we have only been in school 9 days and I already had an adorable curly haired boy tell me which wand was "calling his name".  I told him to keep up the OUTSTANDING behavior and he would be able to choose his.

The wands are dowel rods, hot glue, and beads.  So easy but FANTASTIC!

Starting point

Using hot glue and beads for texture

Molding the glue to design handles
Finished Products

Wands displayed in my classroom

I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way they came out and so do my colleagues and my kids.  These were easy to make and could be as complicated or simple as desired.  

Can't wait until the first WAND CEREMONY!
Swish and Flick!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pictures, pictures, pictures

So I am finally posting pictures of my new room, please keep in mind we have only been back to school for 7 days.  Anyway I am trying to adjust to my new grade, schedule and curriculum!  Love 2nd and I am used to my new, smaller room.  My decorating inspiration is from the famous School Girl Style website.  The guide lines are simple stick with three colors, bulletin boards should all be the same paper.  Everything in my room is blue and green with a splash of white.  All my baskets, pencil holders labels are green and blue.  What a difference this tip made in my room.  School Girl Style website got so famous she actually quit teaching first grade to dedicate all of her time to her decorating classrooms.  You should really check out her website it is spectacular.

A view of my room from the door.

A view from the front of the room.

My closet with baskets to hold lunchboxes.  Close the curtains and the organized clutter is gone!

This is my favorite addition to my classroom.  Two shower curtains that I bought at a discount store.
My windows covered in blue celephone with a blue fish net.  Snack baskets and mailboxes are under the window.

Here is my smart board, word wall and student book boxes on the floor.  There is a clear window up high so I covered it with blue celophane, seaweed and Big Al fish.  Love, love, love!

Yes, I have a sink which I decorated with an ocean scene purchased from the party store. 

The tooth fairy is in the house.  I copied this idea from my favorite site, The Glyph Girls!  This was not for sale just on her blog so I made my own.  When students lose a tooth they take a tooth out of the pocket, write thier name and hang on the door.  Love her!


My birthday chart which I love from my favorite site, TPT.

My cafe board and guided reading table which is not in the picture.

Calendar, behavior chart.  My favortie part is Nemo it says "Behavior is your choice.  Choose carefully".  The fish bowls are my job chart.  Each student has a fish with thier name on it.