It's been a while since I blogged, but I wanted to wait until I actually had something school related to talk about. y'all doin'?

Many of you have probably been back to school for a few weeks or so, while some of you don't start until after Labor Day. But here in Texas, if you teach in a public school, you probably started back with kiddos sometime last week. My district started last Monday.

I have to say, there is some serious cuteness going on in my second grade classes (hopefully I will be able to say that in December). I only teach science and math, so I have two groups with a total of 48 kids. They all came to school in their brand-spanking new uniforms and tennis shoes. They had their super-duper backpacks stuffed full of supplies that weren't on the Hey, I'm good with pencils, paper, hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes.

We started with this  All About Me activity from Creations by Kim Parker. The kids had a great time with it, and naturally I forgot to take pictures....of theirs! Mine turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself

Of course the first days are always hectic, but I eventually got to some good old-fashioned place value. Oh. My. Goodness. What is it about place value that jacks up some kids? I know it is a huge concept that requires lots of time and practice to comprehend, but I wish I had some sort of secret strategy that made the lightbulbs go on. I had a serious panic moment (or two), because the expectations just seem to get higher and higher for the kids (and the teacher for that matter) to perform in a shorter amount of time. Am I the only one that thinks we need to slow down and let kids learn more deeply at a more relaxed pace?  If I hear the word "rigor" one more time, I think I may vomit.

Teach Junkie - 60 Hilarious and True Teacher Confessions

I'm digressing. Back to the panic moment. After perusing the textbook (which sucks by the way), and my district pacing guide (which is bare bones), I decided that I will move forward with more "authentic", (for lack of a better word) activities that align with the TEKS and just spiral in place value through number of the day activities.

Many years ago, a very wise teacher (who I plan to introduce you to at a later date) told me "Hester, you have to be your own publisher." I didn't get it then. I was new to teaching math, so I simply followed the program which was in place at the time. Not to toot my own horn, but my kiddos were very successful that year. But then, that program was also a good one. We have had two adoptions since, and in my opinion neither were, or are, stellar.When I was moved to second grade and encountered all of the bland and boring materials available through traditional adoptions those sage words finally made sense. Here are a few of the activities that I filled in with to try to refresh my little ones' place value memory.

These were assigned as easy activities that also helped the kiddos get back in the groove of having homework.

We also managed to get started with math notebooks. I wanted to include some reference pages for my little ones to start with so that they weren't always asking me how to spell this or that, etc... I have had a lot of success with students using their notebooks as a reference tool. It really promotes independence on the student's part.

Here's one little girl's cover sheet. They were told to just draw and color a math-related picture.

This is the same student's reference pages. I've already seen students open their notebooks to help them write their numbers in expanded form! Yay!!!

This morning math activity has been a lifesaver. It's a two week morning math freebie from Clutter Free Classroom. I'm really thinking that I need to invest in a few more months!

We also took scientist pictures of all the students wearing safety goggles. Check out Shelby, my student teacher. Isn't she cute?

So, that is pretty much my week in a nutshell. It was fast-paced and tiring, so I decided to treat myself to a little goodie on the way home. Have you noticed that Wal Marts are putting ice cream freezers by the cash registers? Well, that was all the encouragement I needed. I bought this little goodie and sat in the silence of my care and enjoyed the moment.

 I thought I'd leave you with some of my favorite moments of the past week.

1. "Bye Mom! I'm going to have a great day because I took my pill!"
2. "Mrs. Hester, I think you are about eighty years old." Same kids as #1.
3. " is delicious!" as student bites into rather unappetizing cafeteria pizza-like roll stuffed full of some sort of gummy cheese.
4. "Mrs. Hester, I promise I am going to pick up his medicine today."
5. "Mrs. Hester, you are going to have your hands full with this one", as she backs out the door and high-tails it to her car.

Have a super-duper week and....
Happy Back to School!

Stay tuned for 2 down, 34 to go...Math Centers!
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Okay, I really am going to post about content...later. I just want to share with you a little bit about what is going on in my little store on Teachers pay Teachers. You know the big sale starts tomorrow, and I promise I'm not trying to cram products down your throat. I just hate for anyone to miss something that they could really use (I really mean that :) ). 

I've created a few back to school products that are geared toward teacher organization. Here's a sampling:

Blue & Gray Peony Planner & Binders is also available in two other themes/colorways. 

Painless Data is fully editable (woohoo), and is intended for tracking student math data. However because editable files are included, these data worksheets would work for any subject and any set of standards! I believe that is what we would call "user friendly". I also am offering a few products that have been standout sellers in my store such as:

My Geoboard Task Cards is a fun product for learning about area, perimeter, two-dimensional shapes, and multiplication. I have had several people tell me that they this product works well with the iPad Geoboard app!

Little people usually start their math school year off with place value and numeration. Here are a few products you might find useful for working with your kiddos:

One last, very important item. Make sure you have given feedback on ALL previous purchases. If you haven't, do so now. Feedback = Bonus Points = Serious Savings! And...don't forget to use the Promo Code BTS15 for an additional 10% discount.

Check out some other stores that are also hosting sales below!

Happy Shopping!!

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Hello all! Happy Saturday (evening)! Today, I'm joining up with Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room for her fun linky party What's Cookin' in Your Class? I moved up this past year with my second graders to third, and now I'm going back to second. I will be teaching only science and math (woohoo!!), and while I've certainly thought about what I want to start off with, I haven't put pencil to paper. I found this linky, and once I started combing through my previous purchases and my products, I began to really focus and plan on what I can use for BOY learning: place value, basic math skills, and learning about scientists. Thanks Tamara, you got me motivated!!

So here goes:

Here are the sellers (links will take you straight to these products)!
and they all fall down
Blair Turner
Anna Brantley
Patty Rutenbar

Here are the seller links:
Blair Turner
Mixing it up in Middle
The Little Ladybug Shop
Kayse Morris
Vickie Plant
FlapJack Educational Resources
Elementary at HEART
The Teacher Wife

I hope you saw something you could use! As I was sorting through my previous purchases and freebie downloads, I got really excited. I had so many items I forgot I even owned. Have you ever done that? 
Don't forget the big sale is coming up this Monday and Tuesday. Most sellers will be discounted, and all sales will be discounted an additional 10% with the promo code BTS15. Also, don't forget to check your previous purchases to make sure you have given feedback. That earns you bonus points, which can add up to some serious free money!

Isn't this sale graphic cute? Many thanks to Deana Kahlenberg from Primary Punch for providing this!! Head over to Tamara's blog by clicking below or at the beginning of the post to read more or to link up yourself. 

 Y'all enjoy the rest of your weekend,
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