Friday, July 5, 2019

Cactus Themed Brag Tags

So I'm a self proclaimed "Clip Art Addict!" I could easily have 1,000 sets of clip art on my computer right now. As I was making brag tags for my second grade classroom next year I ran across these cute cactus graphics I own from Creative Clips. I knew immediately that I wanted to use these! 

If you're looking to add some to your collection, they are available for download in the Brag Tags folder of the Resource section @ the Teaching Oasis!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Smiley Themed Brag Tags

Yesterday was my "blogaversary", I've had this blog for 8 whole years now! It also happened to be my mother's birthday so my husband and I spent the day with her... shopping and eating at her favorite restaurant. I even bought a new dress, did you know that Loft gives a 15% discount to teachers with your badge? I never knew! 

I snagged some new graphics from Creative Clips and decided so make some new brag tags. I've been implementing them in my classroom for 3 years and I'm looking forward to using them next school year as well. Be on the lookout for new brag tag designs this summer, I've got an entire to do list!

If you're looking to add some to your collection, they are available for download in the Brag Tags folder of the Resource section @ the Teaching Oasis!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Next Step Forward in Guided Reading: Essentials

After reflecting on my first year back in 2nd grade, I realized that my guided reading instruction needs improvement. This past school year I focused on guided math and I'm feeling pretty confident about that so now is the perfect time to take a look at reading. 

I'll be sharing my takeaways from the following chapters from Jan Richardson's Next Step Forward in Guided Reading:
Chapter 1: Guided Reading Essentials
Chapter 4: Early Readers Levels D-I (DRA Levels 6-16)
Chapter 5: Transitional Readers Level J-P (DRA Levels 18-38)
Chapter 7: Moving Forward with Comprehension Instruction 

This post will focus on Chapter 1: Guided Reading Essentials.
**Shared Reading is the whole class mini lesson, JR suggests limiting this time to 10-15 minutes. Traditionally our shared reading block is usually 30 minutes long. Until I can see my master schedule, I'm not sure how I will structure this time yet. 
**She has a timeline for teaching routines and procedures for reading workshop that spans 6 weeks. 
Week 1- students work in small groups for 10 minutes a day on easy independent "tub activities." These can include books, puzzles, journals, Legos, coloring books. These tubs will eventually be replaced by literacy activities as you teach students to be independent learners.  
Week 2- introduce a literacy activity to each of the groups, while other groups are in tubs 
Week 3- introduce a 2nd literacy activity to each of the groups, lengthen time to 15 minutes
Week 4- introduce a 3rd literacy activity to each group, lengthen time to 20 minutes
Week 5- introduce a 4th literacy activity to each group, students should be able to work 30-45 minutes without direct supervision
Week 6- all students should be working independently with purposeful literacy experiences, tubs should no longer be required At my former school, teachers were required to be in guided reading groups by the second week of school and my biggest complaint has been that students could not work independently and I spent more time correcting behavior than instructing. While I'm not sure I'll take 6 entire weeks, I will be taking several weeks to build stamina. I usually have a list of Daily Literacy Tasks on the board for students to complete while I met with guided reading groups, on Fridays the students completed READ (Read to Self, Engage, At Seat, Daily Writing) Rotations while I pulled reading skill groups. Engage consisted of reading puzzles and games, At Seat consisted of literacy menus. 

**Book Boxes/Bags (as a literacy activity), JR recommends students have a personal box or bag that contains a variety of books for independent reading. She says to include books students have read during guided reading and other easy books they can read without support. This allows them to develop fluency and practice strategies on easy, familiar texts. This past year we sent the previous weeks' guided reading book home with the students, with the expectation that they were reading it at home... they weren't and I stopped sending home books the 4th quarter. I like this idea much better, that way I know students are rereading the books. 

**Other Literacy Activity Suggestions: buddy reading, writing, readers theater, poems and songs, word study and spelling, word wall, listening to recorded stories, oral retelling, computer, research. I'll probably do something similar to what I did last year. Using the READS acronym, Read to Self, Engage, At Seat, Daily Writing, Skill Practice and embed some of these options into those stations. 

What literacy activities do your students complete while you're working with guided reading groups?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Plum Paper and Erin Condren Products

So I'm Plum Paper's newest fan! I purchased my teacher planner from them and then decided to order a Notebook too. I loved the idea of a Parent Teacher Conference book, so I ordered a 7x9 (8.5x11 is available too) personalized notebook. Instead of lined pages, I clicked on the Lifestyle format and chose Meeting Notebook. 
This book has 49 pages (f/b) of meeting pages. You could easily use this for team meetings, PLC meetings or any other meeting you might have. I'm choosing to use it strictly for parent conferences. With that many meeting pages, it could last 2-3 school years.
I also snagged a few things from Erin Condren as well. I told you in my last post that the EC interchangeable covers also fit my PP planner, I saw this one and knew I had to have it too!

I purchased these colorful circles to mark important dates on my yearly spread.  
I purchased these to snap into my planner on the current week. 

I purchased a set of personalized stationary. I chose to get the Happy Birthday set. It came with 20 folded (flat is also an option) cards with my name already inside them. I could have personalized a message in all of them but chose not to. I got to pick the color envelopes I wanted and it also came with envelope seals. I thought these would be perfect to give to my colleagues during the school year.

What are your favorite Plum Paper and Erin Condren products? 

National Donut Day

National Donut Day was Friday, June 7th and I knew I wanted to celebrate with my students. I decided to take the awards I usually give on the last day of school, redesign them. 
Then we had an awards ceremony that morning. After I gave out the awards, the students at donuts and worked on the following activities. 
The students had a blast, this is something I definitely want to do next year!
Hallway Display

Classroom Door

Table Decor from Hobby Lobby

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New School New Planner

The Hawk and I
12 years ago I had the honor of opening up one of my county's newest elementary school. Next year, I'll get that opportunity again. So after 8 years as a Coal Miner, I'm going to be a Hawk! 

The years I wasn't using, I've used Erin Condren Lesson Planners. This year, I heard some EC fans say they had switched to Plum Paper. Biggest perk, it's very customizable! I've was having some issues being patient and went ahead and ordered a PP Teacher Planner since the EC Planner wasn't set to be released for a few more weeks (it's been released now). Can I tell you how much I LOVE my new planner!

The hardest part was choosing a cover, they have so many to choose from!
Each month has this on the left and a notes page on the right. 

Each month spread already has the holidays included. 

After each month spread is another notes page. I chose to "disperse" a To Do list to each month. That was $3 total.
The Teacher Lesson Planners come with a My Class Section. You can see what's included in that section here

Each TLP also comes with a checklist section. 

I chose to add a tabbed Notes section for $2.25. I forsee a lot of note taking in my future.
I also love that you can choose your lesson page layout, I went with Option 2 so I could have a weekend section to activities in. Option 3 is the typical layout and Option 1 has the days vertically as opposed to horizontally. You can check out the options here. The lesson pages are included with each monthly spread.
My husband purchased me an EC Gift Card before I decided to go with PP, I read somewhere that the EC Covers fit the PP Planners and sure enough... they do! So when I get tired of the Chevron, I'll cut it off and add my EC Cover. 
If you've never purchased from Plum Paper and want to create an account and give it a try, email me at or leave a comment and I'll send you over a referral coupon for 10% off!

I just ordered a Parent Conference Notebook for next year as well... I'll post about when it comes!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Addition and Subtraction (w/wo Regrouping)

Guided Math Lesson
When I taught 2nd grade before, I absolutely loathed teaching addition and subtraction with regrouping, and to be honest... I didn't do good job of it either! However, after teaching 3rd grade for seven years, I saw just how important that foundation was for students. So when I found I was going back to 2nd grade I knew I had to get it right this time.
Guided Math Kit
In October I had the honor of attending a Guided Math Conference ( and it changed my life!  Included in the registration was the Guided Math Grade 2 Unit 4 Kit. Fast forward to February and I'm finally starting to plan for my regrouping unit when I remembered the kit, I hadn't even opened it yet... and when I did, it was magical! (see video from website below)

It included...
  • Teacher Guide w/19 Lessons (I only needed to teach 1-15 to cover my state standards)
  • Warm Up Poster
  • Card Sets (write and wipe)
  • Storage Tote
I had everything I needed to thoroughly teach this concept!

The strategies included were...

Mental Math- Add the Tens

Mental Math- Add/Subtract the Tens (blocks)

Mental Math- Adding on a 120 Chart

Regrouping Blocks- Build It Trade It

Column Regrouping

Regrouping Blocks- Trade Down to Subtract

Number Line Addition and Subtraction

My students have done an amazing job and based on formative and summative assessments, they truly understand the concept. Below are links to the materials I used during this unit:
One purchase I will be making this summer is the Guided Math Grade 2 Unit 3 Kit. We spend an extensive amount of time covering basic addition and subtraction strategies at the beginning of the year and I can see how this kit would be very beneficial. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2nd Grade Classroom Resources

My Students Engaged in Quiz Quiz Trade
It's been a busy couple of months! Spring Break was this week and I just finished shopping at the outlets in Williamsburg and eating my weight in crab legs at Captain Georges! I've finally had some time to upload some of the resources I've created since coming back to 2nd grade. You can find all these files in the Teaching Oasis Google Drive in their respective folders. 

Fraction Sundae (I've blogged about this before,

Student creating a plant out of Wikki Stix

Student completing Fact Sheet
Create a Plant Project
Plant and Animal Adaptations Reproducible
Weather Quiz Quiz Trade (Engagement Strategy) 

Social Studies
American Indians Quiz Quiz Trade (Engagement Strategy)
Famous Americans Reproducible

Energy Bus Read Aloud

Energy Bus Booklet
Language Arts
Butterfly Life Cycle Writing Prompt
What if You Had Animal Parts Writing Journal
Energy Bus Booklet
Nonfiction Sorting Cards

Student Learning about the "Platinum Rule"
Talking Chips (Engagement Strategy)
Platinum Rule Reproducible

Monthly Resources
S'more Time 2nd Grade (end of the year)