Well I didn't publish a blog post last weekend for week #4 because honestly...all I would have done was complain because I'm tired and grumpy. And that's all I am going to say about weeks #4 and #5.

So, on to something fun. This week a group of my second grade blog buddies are starting a monthly "Meet the Teacher" teacher feature post. We are starting off with Jackie Wheeler from Neat, Sweet, and Hard to Beat.

I will let Jackie introduce herself!

"I have been teaching for over 5 years in Fairfax County, Virginia!  I was born and raised here and attending FCPS schools myself.  Most of my experience is in the primary grades but I will admit teaching 2nd grade is my favorite!  I love teaching and creating engaging lessons is my passion.  I believe that learning should be hands-on, meaningful, engaging, and collaborative! We can't learn alone, we learn the most when we work with others! Believe me, my classroom sure isn't the quietest one on the hall because we are constantly up moving, learning and interacting!"

"Outside of school I am a wife to a wonderful guy and a mom to our new baby girl born in May of 2015! I love working out, spending time outside, and being with my family."

"I got the name for my blog because it is teachers that are neat, sweet and hard to beat! Teachers make this world go round! Teachers are the most caring, creative and kind people I know!"

Jackie is also featuring a product from her store that is marked down through midnight tomorrow (9/27) night! Read all about it and click the image to find it in her store.

This or That Cards

Using these cards students can interact with other students to find out more about their classmates. Each card has two choices for students to pick from and topics include sports, school subjects, school specials, colors, foods, animals, pets, and many more! I have also included directions for using these cards with a whole group or you can change it up and use these cards in small group. 
Not only is this a great activity for building a strong class community but you can also take these cards out when working on persuasive writing. Students can pick a card and write about the reasons why they would choose one over the other.

I hope you all have a lovely week, & Happy Fall y'all!!

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Hola!! Greetings from sunny northeast Texas. The weather has cooled down into the 80's for a few days, and it has actually been coolish in the mornings. Yay!!!

How is your school year progressing? Mine is moving along. There are negatives, but there are also a lot of positives. The biggest challenge has been that my classes are very crowded. I know a lot of people have classes this size (25 & 26), but I find it to be difficult with second graders. However, I'm going to make it work. No complaining here. You know why I'm not going to complain? Because I have a J-O-B. That's why.

The second biggest challenge has been...traffic! OMG. If you live in or are familiar with the Dallas area, I have one thing to say. 635 SUCKS!! If you live in a different metropolitan area, just change out the "635" with whatever freeway is the bain of your existence and you will know what I'm talking about. This past Friday, an eighteen wheeler overturned and HAZMAT had to be brought in. My buddy Mary and I commute together, she was driving, and we took an alternate route. Well, so did every other person in the free world, and it took us 45 minutes to move about two miles. Ridiculous! I'm going to move my departure time back about ten minutes tomorrow and see if that helps.
Funny traffic sign: Road closed so your excused from work today!
Okay....on to school stuff. We actually accomplished a few things this week.

1. Centers sort of happened. The children didn't move (remember > crowded class = nowhere to move to), so the centers moved to the students. I popped some activities into some tubs and they moved around the room. I actually got the chance to sit with one group and work one-on-one.

Here is one of the tub activities: The kiddos enjoyed rolling the dice (I used those funny shaped ones so they would be able to generate larger numbers) to practice composing and decomposing numbers. - Freebie Alert!- Click on the picture below to get this activity.

We were able to set up our science journals this week and discussed making observations and collecting data. We did the tried but true "How many drops of water will fit on a penny?" activity (which I naturally failed to take pictures of). This is a great activity for teaching making predictions, making observations, and collecting data. They really enjoyed it. Here are a few pics:

We drew pictures of ourselves as scientists and then worked together to draw, label, and describe the activity. We also collected data for five trials. I tried to discuss how scientists draw conclusions from analyzing data, but this confused them a little. We will continue doing this type of activity, and eventually they will get it.

We also had a science discussion which was very helpful to me. I was able to gauge their interests and get an idea of what they know about science. We did this by rolling the "Science Dice" (also a FREEBIE - just click the picture!).

These two questions were my favorite, which also leads to my weekly funny:
1. Can you name a famous scientist? Survey says: Harry Potter!
2. If you were a scientist what would you do? Survey Says: Make potions!!

Y'all have a great week!

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It's been a week. Let me explain.

Sunday: Washer machine breaks down and finally dies.

Monday: Oversleep. Had to haul @$$ to get to work. I drive 85 miles to my school, so timing is everything. I literally skidded through my classroom door at 8:00 am (We pick up students at 7:40. Thank goodness form Shelby, my student teacher). Air conditioner at home starts acting funny. It still cooled, but who could sleep with all the racket going on?

Tuesday: Spouse calls air conditioner guy who promises he will be there that day....
Water pipe under kitchen sink breaks. Spouse nearly self combusts.

Wednesday: Air conditioner guy finally shows & fixes the AC. Ahhhh...peaceful sleep. INTERNET DIES! O.M.G!!! Two students quietly vomit on their textbooks.

Thursday: New washer installed. Yay!!! I can now wear comfortable underwear. Phone guy brings new router, internet is back, and all is well.

Friday: Outside water faucet breaks, pickup tire has to be replaced, and spouse discovers that pickup truck has something wrong with front end.

All week: Throughout this whole mess, spouse is having tractor break-down issues and is dealing with painful lupus flair up.

Monday + Tuesday + Wednesday + Thursday + Friday = GSS (Grumpy Spouse Syndrome)

Ever had a week like that? Oh my. If I had gotten drunk or if someone in my family had been sent to prison, I could have written an awesome country & western song. (Don't get irritated country music fans...you know there is a song about writing a country song with those very elements.)

But on to other news. I was originally going to write about math centers for this week. What was I thinking? I guess I was running on a first week of school cuteness, overly ambitious & enthusiastic lesson-planning fueled high. I quickly came too and faced an ugly reality: My attempt at centers was a cluster.

What happens to us over the summer? How do we forget that our classes will in all probability be over-crowded and we will have "that kid" in your class? I think I'll blame it on Pinterest! All those glossy depictions of a higher standard of teaching and learning (I stole that phrase from Spongebob) going on clouded my vision and fooled me into thinking that I would enter my room and get started straight away with meaningful learning. Don't get me wrong. It will happen, I just started too soon.

Those angels show up the first week, and for the most part are on their best behavior. The ones that need it have their meds (or at least they are finishing the final week of their refill), and "that kid" is actually being really pleasant. And I think "Hey this is going to be awesome! They are all on board and I've connected with That Kid! I'm going to get started with this and that and whatever, and one day my class will look like a pinterest worthy pin."

funny memes teachers

Then...week two and...reality. Refills ran out and true personalities emerged. I figured out which kid is mean, which kid cries too much, and which kid runs his household (because this kid thinks he runs my room). We had to practice lining up four or five times every single time we went anywhere. We had to practice walking in the room and sitting down quietly four or five times. Every. Single. Time. And this was daily. Once they figured out I wasn't playing, then something new cropped up. But you know what? I will win! It is my way or no way and we will have school.

Now please don't think I'm a Debbie Downer. I love, love, love teaching. The older my own children get, the more I enjoy the littles. I just really wonder why I step out of reality every back to school season. You know, my favorite time of the school year is when you get to that point (usually mid-year) when you actually begin to see growth. So, I guess the moral of my little tale is...time and patience... no one can be on a permanent honeymoon. At some point, you have to come home and the real work has to begin.

Weekly Highlights:
1. Seeing a former student's daughter in the classroom next door!!
2. Seeing all my former second graders that are fifth graders now! Wow!
3. Having younger siblings of former students in my class and knowing their parents feel comfortable that their child is in my class. Repeat customers says alot.
4. Knowing that my school is providing stability for many of our kids and that their families may be staying in the neighborhood (many of the students live in apartments that can be kind of rough) because of our school and the atmosphere that we have created for them.

Weekly Funny:
Remember my mention of "That Kid"? I'll call him TK.
Setting: First fire drill of the year. TK decides to slide down the stair rail.
Me: "TK, why did you do that?"
TK: "I don't know."
Me: "If that had been a real fire situation...blah, blah, blah...."
TK: "If that had been a real fire, I would have made it downstairs faster."

I had to laugh.

Y'all have a fabulous labor day, and a wonderful week.

Coming Up: 3 Down, 33 to go....and who knows what else!

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