Thursday, February 16, 2012

First {Social Studies} Lesson

I am excited to say that this upcoming Tuesday-Thursday will be my first time teaching a 2nd grade classroom Geography! I will make sure to take pictures of what we did, but here is the plan so far!

I will definitely keep you updated with how it went (and pictures)!
Happy Mapping!
{Ms. S}

{Previous Learning}
Review of the globe and continents
Learned about the equator and hemispheres

Lesson Rationale: To equip children with the knowledge to transfer information from globes to maps and understand that these tools are representations of spatial information.  The children should be able to locate the city, state, country, and continent they live in.

State Content Standards: The purpose of maps and globes and other geographic tools and technology to display and record spacial information. People develop mental maps of places to organize spatial information. 

Content Objectives (Established Goals) (Label objectives C1, C2, C3…)
C1 – Students will be able to use maps to identify where they live.
C2 – Students will be able to locate places by using simple maps.
C3 – Students will understand that maps are drawings that are viewed from above.
C4 – Students will be able to recognize, locate, and represent the outline of Minnesota.
C5 – Students will be able to recall the state capital and the city they live in.

Academic Language Objectives (Label objectives L1, L2, L3…)
L1 – Map:
Students will be able to explain the use and functions of maps. Students will be able to compare maps to globes.  Students will be able to use the word “maps” to explain why people used and continue to use maps today. Students will use previous vocabulary such as, continents, oceans, globe, states, boundaries, hemispheres, and the equator to explain the word.

Formative Assessment (Process)
The students will be given a notecard at the beginning and end of our lesson that ask three questions about where they live in the world. These questions are:
What continent do you live on?
What country do you live in?
What state do you live in?
What city do you live in?
By giving this assessment, the teachers will be able to identify what the students learned throughout the lesson.

Provisions for Individual Differences
For writing assistence the student will draw a picture or verbalize their thoughts.

“Name the State” worksheet (
Minnesota Maps
Me on the Map
“Me on the Map” worksheets


Code (C1, C2 or L1, L2)

{Day 1: Tuesday}

Learning Activities (What and How)

Purpose (Why)



C1, L1

CI, C2, C3, C4, L1
Launch – Start by singing the Continent song until all the children are present.
Ask the students what they were learning about when Ms. Parker introduced the song. (continents, globes, the world, land vs. ocean, equator, hemispheres) Write on the sheet of paper their answers and keep encouraging for more ideas.
“Wow, you guys sure know a lot about the world. Let’s see what else you know. We are going to pass out pieces of paper with a different colored star on it.  If you have a blue star on your piece of paper, you are going to be with Miss Kayla.  If you have a red star, you will be with Miss Kim and if you have a green star you will be with Miss Kylie.  Make sure you hold on to your piece of paper until you get to your group, because it is your ticket into your group.”
Pass out pieces of paper to all the children. (Break into three groups around the room).

Ask the children to answer the three questions by writing their answers on a piece of paper. (IEP student can draw or verbalize their answers).
Emphasize that not knowing is okay.
Collect the pieces of paper.
Introduce the maps and ask “What does this look like?”
“How is this different than a globe?” “Have you ever used a map” (describe why we would use a map rather than a globe)
ASK “Can anyone point to the United States?”
Show map of the United States, “Here is a close up the United States.” “Have you ever seen this map before?” “Tell me something about this map. Do you guys notice anything?” (point out different states.) “Have you ever visited any of these states” (If time allows, have partners discuss the map)
Investigation of states (role play)
Split groups into partners and ask them to investigate the close up pictures of the states to help identify which states they are (Handouts attached).

Ask the children what new states they learned about or any new information they learned in their groups.
Mention that tomorrow we will investigate more about our own state.
Read a book on the carpet for pairs who finish early.

To review content from previous lesson

Organization of groups to further interaction

Access PK

Access PK

Using visuals

Keep students engaged as they finish at different times.

                {Day 2: Wednesday}


C1, C4, L1

C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, L1
“What did you learn about maps yesterday?” (have students share)
Ask students thumbs up or thumbs down if they can identify Minnesota.
Point out random states and ask if this is Minnesota. (yes or no answers)
Give students “ticket” to get into small groups and ask what one thing they know about Minnesota. (same as previous day).

In small groups, have students write down one thing they know about Minnesota. (share with group members).
Show map of Minnesota and ask what the capital is and if they know anything about it.
Ask if they recognize anything on the Minnesota map and of its surrounding areas.
After discussion, put the map away and ask them what they remember about Minnesota and its characterisitcs such as it’s capital, boundaries, and the Mississippi River.
 They will be asked to draw the boundaries of Minnesota and its characteristics. (offer guidance and resources).
If time, ask the children if there is anything else they want to add to the map of Minnesota.

Come back into large group and share the small group’s maps with the large group.
Have the students discuss what they have learned. “Turn to your partner and discuss one thing you learned today.”

To review content from previous lesson

Testing PK

Transition into small groups

Assess PK

Involving everyone and gauging what they know.


Access PK

Social interactions
Recalling information.

  {Day 3: Thursday}



C1, C2, C3, L1

C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, L1

C1, C2, C3,C4, C5, L1
Read Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
Give students “tickets” into group. These questions will be the same as the first day questions.

In small groups, they will write down their answers to the questions.
The students will be handed the “Me on the Map” packets and go through them together as a group.
Students will be able to work as a group to identify and recognize different aspects of the map.

Come back as a group and make a list of everything they learned throughout the past three days. (write on the big board in large group).
“Wow you have learned so much about geography of the world and of Minnesota!”

Intentional collaboration to create a meaningful experience for the children and incorporate literacy.

Transition and asessment of understanding of information


Sharing and comparing prior and current knowledge.

Wrap up

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Healthy} Lunches and Snacks

One of the hardest things for me is to eat healthy even though there are treats, candy, etc. around me. I have to repeat to myself, "Kids have a higher metabolism than you Kim, DO NOT THINK ABOUT IT!" Especially when I am busy, I seem to snack more or chose those easy to grab drive-thru foods (Can anyone say McDonald's!?)...and not to mention, I don't work out when I have a million and one things on my to-do list!

Here are some great (easy to pack) lunches and snacks!
Happy Eating!

{Ms. S}

Turkey and Green Apple Sandwich
I never really thought about doing this, but it makes so much sense! Sweet and salty all wrapped into one! Plus it is super low calorie with turkey, and no cheese. Opt for a wrap or wheat bread for an extra healthy kick. Family Circle online always has great ideas for a healthy life for you and your kids! :) 

Chicken Chili Crock Pot Sytle
This looks like such a tasty, healthy, and easy recipe you can make at night for dinner--and there will be leftovers for lunch! There are a total of 10 servings in the whole recipe--Bonus! Only 200 calories? I'm running to the grocery store for these ingredients ASAP! You can never go wrong with visiting Skinny Taste
P.s. Check out this Taco friends and I made this! To-Die-For! Tastes just like the original!

I'm a sucker for a good pasta salad. Here is an awesome recipe with black beans and barley--great amount of fiber that will kick those mid-afternoon cravings! Super fresh with the tomatoes, reminds me of a summer picnic :) There is always tasty recipes like this on

Finding out I should stay clear of gluten has been an adventure for me! I have been trying new things, and it is turning out to be very easy! One of the things that I have fallen in love with is Spaghetti Squash. It does take time to make, but the squash makes a lot and you can store it in the fridge/freezer for later lunches or dinners. You can get the squash at Target and grocery stores for around $1-2, so super cheap! All you do is microwave (or bake if you are patient) for 10 minutes, and then scrape the squash like a pumpkin--VIOLA! Spaghetti Squash! (here are the full instruction on The Quick and Dirty Dirty) I like to add some marinara squash to mine, but I have heard people using Olive Oil/Parmesan cheese or Alfredo! Test some things out, and let me know if you find a great recipe! You can just reheat for 1-2 minutes, and you have a perfect lunch! 

3:30 all of the kids are gone, you are lesson planning and you hear that....RUMBLE! You are hungry and need somethign quick to eat so you can get back to work, well here are some great options for on-the-go snacks!

These chocolate dusted almonds are decadent! They kick my hunger and chocolate cravings all at once! A 1/4 cup is around 150 calories, and it will definitely keep you satisfied! I buy a huge container of them from Sam's Club and it lasts forever! 

Being a gluten-free girl myself, I live for Larabars! They are so tasty, and you don't even realize you are eating dates! I usually only eat half of a bar for a snack, just to take the edge off. The bars run from 200-230 calories. My favorite flavors are: chocolate chip cookie dough, brownie, and peanut butter cookie! Trust me, they really do taste as good as they sound! 

Remember how I said I was a sweet-salty nut? Well here is another example! I am obsessed with Kettle Corn popcorn, especially this Jolly Time brand! It is so buttery, yet sweet. This would be a great snack if you are meeting casually with other teachers, or just taking a "personal break." 

I'll admit, when I saw these in the store I almost screamed with joy! How wonderful is this!? No having to peeling those dang pomegranates, and I don't have to use my fingers and stain EVERYTHING! These are a little expensive, but they are a great "treat" for a special day or a bonus! ;) 

Hummus and carrots are such a tasty snack that is easy and very healthy! You get all of the carrots nutrition, while still getting those health benefits of hummus (like the omega-3 fatty acids--great for your heart!). Easy to eat and enjoy...just make sure you aren't in a quiet meeting, those dang carrots are loud!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

{Seating} Chart

You thought seating charts were only for weddings, right?? WRONG! All teachers experience the pain, struggle, and headache of designing the perfect seating chart. I was mortified when I was observing in a classroom and I noticed a kid in the back acting out and walking to the front of the room becuase he couldn't SEE the board! The teacher just kept yelling for him to sit down, be quiet, or be respectful...of course he was acting out, he couldn't see! Making sure you know if your students have attention problems or bad eye sight is an important aspect. No one knows your students better than you do, so make sure you are adjusting throughout the year!

We are some tips that will sure to make your task a little bit easier. {sighhh}
Happy seating!

{Ms. S}

First and foremost this website, Instant Classroom, is an a-mazing resource! Not only does it have a "random name generator" for class time, but you can create your seating chart! This means no more going through pages & pages of scrap paper to find the perfect arrangement! There is a "scramble names" button if you want it to be random, or you can move around the kids yourself! Better yet? They have a group maker! Seriously...what does this little website NOT have!? You can even use this website on your iPad.  Definitely check it out!
Here is another great website from Scholastic with different table sizes and furniture models to plan your perfect classroom! 

Another great way to do seating charts is with post-its! You can either use a piece of paper with the shapes of your desks, or a paper plate if you have tables (picture below!). I find that the "tabs" post-its are the best, because they are small and don't take up the whole page! This is a great way to move around kids and adjust throughout the process if needed! 

Lastly, there is always the wonderful, accessible software--Microsoft! It is super easy to create a classroom with the clipart and shapes tool. If you have an odd shape room, this is the perfect way to manipulate yourself, instead of a program! You can also color coordinate your tables with the program, which is always helpful for a forgetful person :) This way it is saved onto your computer, and you can change whenever need be. 

Do you have any other techniques that work!? Please Share! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

{Technology} Integration

Computer, iPads, SmartBoards....these are just a few of the technologies that are being integrated into our classrooms (if we are lucky). It is such a blessing (and maybe a curse?) to have the opportunity to give children the opportunities to learn with these things! Making sure that we are using these technologies in effective manners is crucial! 
I have found so many great resources, and I felt like sharing! There are some that are only for SmartBoards, while others are printouts or online games! 

Happy Surfing!
{Ms. S} 

Funschool is a great online website that has games, printables, and interactive activities! They have every age and subject you would need! I definitely recommend checking it out!
I have used this game, cliffhanger, with my 4th grade reading buddy. She LOVED it (which seems like an understatement). It is like hangman, but the 21st century version!  Even the site looks fun, doesn't it!?

Super Teacher Worksheets is exactly what it says...a website full of great printable worksheets! From math worksheets to mini-books. It is a great resource to remember when you are stuck in a rut for, "what can I do for ______." They even have brainteasers, which would be great for small groups or learning centers! 

Another great website for online games and printables is ABCya! I have used this, and it is super easy to use. I used the gadget "make your own word find" for my 1st grade reading buddy. It was perfect, because I used words from the book we were reading (like character names). You can even name your word find, which the kids always find exciting to see their own name! Also, alphabet bingo (SmartBoard!) is great!

Other great websites: 

This has a great interactive book called "Five Hungry Crocodiles." If you have a struggling reader, this keeps them engaged and check for comprehension! Perfect for K-2! 

SmartBoard activities galore! You can use it on your computer too! Caution, sometimes this site acts funny...which always frazzles me! :) 

Awesome website! There is a system that you can subscribe to: "Maggie Partners receive an inbox every Tuesday morning with timely and engaging  material ready to download and share with students." I can just imagine how much fun that would be during morning meeting to get the email! 

Best {Lessons} on the World Wide Web

I don't know about you, but I am obsessed with searching others' websites for ideas, strategies, and most of all--lessons! It is amazing to see what people think of, and how they execute different/difficult subjects! Here are some of my favorite websites that really help me to plan my lessons.
Remember: Differentiation is key in a classroom, so please make sure to make read over, tweak, and execute the lessons that is best for your classroom! I cringe to think that people just print off lessons and try to do them, without thinking about their own classroom! I know everyone reading this is top-notch so I am not worried about this crowd :)

Happy Lesson Planning!
{Ms. S}

One of the cutest activities that I have seen popped up on my pinterest page (you can follow me on my webpage)! I obviously followed the picture, and found this great blog: Swamp Frog First Graders! First of all, creating a year round "name" for her class is adorable and fun for the kids! This activity, contraction surgery is freakin' adorbs! Check it out!

Lesson Plan SOS has great ideas: everything from 'constitution day' to 'back to school' activities!
This post about 'Parents Night' is so inspiring and has great ideas! How cute to ask for them to donate supplies, instead of pressuring families that may not have the resources to buy supplies!

Miss Third Grade has a great blog all about her 3rd grade classroom. She is a young teacher, and very creative! Her ideas are to-the-point, and she gives great printables! Here is a great post about fractions.

Here is a website that has me in complete awe. Pete's PowerPoint Station has every subject you would ever need! He gives you teacher PowerPoints, kids activities, and lesson plans...WOW! What a lifesaver!

Have you ever thought, "these kids need to get outside and move!"? Well, PE Central is a great website that has physical education lesson plans! I found this website really helpful when I had to make lessons for undergrad Kinesiology class! There are also great lessons on "body awareness" and "integration" that will be perfect to incorporate into your class lessons! 
(Here is a lesson that really stuck out to me--Who doesn't love Dr. Suess!?) 

Another site that has adorable activities is Miss Kindergarten! She always has multiple-step activities, which is very helpful! I love this gingerbread activity, because it incorporates math, a picurebook, her smart-board, their own drawing and writing! Not to mention, such cute lesson! This is a definite must-check out! 

Penny {Pinching}

Feeling a little overwhelmed with everything you need to buy? I know I am! Getting a classroom ready, buying supplies for activities, and spending a little bit of moola on is always a struggle!

I have found so many great ideas for the cheap-o inside of me, I thought I would share!

Happy Saving!
{Ms. S}

"The Lemonade Stand" gave this great idea about spraying water mist to have the children quiet down...I really want to try and see if this actually works with squirmy children ;)
I got this creative idea from"Quirky Momma" . It is a simple, inexpensive math activity! (Make sure your school allows you to bring in food to the classroom...Minneapolis School District does not allow this, so maybe I will be able to use it someday!) 
Melting down broken crayons into bigger ones....genius! These are one of the things that I think to myself, "Well.. Duh! Such a great idea!" We always have "stubs" that no children want (or are able) to use... so "Infarrantly Creative" gives us the perfect step-by-step on how to create these crayons! 
GLITTER! Everyone has a love-hate relationship with this material! So beautiful, yet so messy. Well... here is a great website with homemade glitter! It is out of tin-foil, and its so easy. "Planet Pals"also has a ton of other home-made materials, it is a definite go-to website!
How many markers does your classroom go through? I remember my first student teaching placement (in a preschool), and the amount of markers we went through was incredible! So this is from "Finding my Marbles," a perfect tip to make water paint out of old markers...again SO easy and FREE! 
Want to spruce up your classroom? Create a class calendar? Well this is a perfect, cheap, and easy to make chalkboard recipe! Thanks to the "The CSI Project" I found this adorable pink chalkboard craft! Definitely making this soon! 

If you have any other ideas...please comment with your tips and go-to crafts :) 

Dressing the {part}

One of the hardest thing for my peers and I is dressing like a teacher, while still feeling hip, pretty, and comfortable. We are constantly sitting on the floor, bending over, reaching around--obviously things are bond to "fall out of place!" We have been told multiple times to "cover your chest and butt." For me, the whole "chest"  part is hard, since I heavy ;) I have realized that any shirt can be worn with a great cami! Finding one that is long enough (can be tucked in) and that can be adjusted to cover up "the goods" is very important! I found mine at Kohl's (information below), but I think finding the best one for you is the most important! Try different ones on, move around the dressing room (no matter how silly you feel!), and find the best one! Finding a cheap line is even better, because they always seem to get stained rather quickly.

I have found some great lines of great top and bottoms that are chic, beautiful and appropriate! Another difficult part are: shoes! I want shoes that are comfortable, durable, and cheap!

Here are my suggestions....Enjoy! 

One of my favorite collections is Lauren Conrad at Kohl's Department Store! Always classy and moderately priced (no one can argue with Kohl's coupons!) Here are some of my favorite things available now: 

I'm loving the sheer shoulders and sleeves! 
Who doesn't love the embellishments on this classic sweater?

Rhinestoned buttons add the perfect amount of bling!
This sweater is soft, comfy, and classic. Pair this with a great pair of boots for a chic outfit! 
Last year was the year-of-the-black-blazer...this year? Pastels and details! Pump up your ordinary jackets with this adorbs scalloped blazer! 
I'm obsessed with the color blocking and pleating! Throw on a blazer or cardigan and it's perfect for school...going out for happy hour after work? This dress is a perfect for both!
Can you say, "perfect parent-teacher conference outfit?!" So elegant and comfortable! The ruffles really add a feeling youth!

You can find all of these and MANY more here: 
If you're browsing around, also check out Jennifer Lopez and Rock&Republic's new lines! Jennifer Lopez is more chic, yet flashy  
R&R is a great collection for young "going out" clothes...and who can forget their AMAZING jeans!?
Here is my favorite cami that I mentioned earlier (yes, it is in the junior section...but I still love it): 

Here are some great shoes that are perfect for our work days! 
Piperlime is a perfect online store that offers free shipping and returns (YAY!)
Steve Madden always seems to have the best boots! They are always comfortable and durable. These are one of my favorite (I have a very similar pair!). These boots are adorable when tucked into straight legged jeans, leggings, or jeans (if your school allows that!). 
Playground duty? No Problem! These boots are SO warm! I had Sorel boots growing up, and I can honestly say I am so excited they are back in style! 
Who doesn't love comfy flats?? I know I wear them almost every day during the spring/summer months! One thing that I always look for in flat is scrunched backs (like on the shoe above...see how they kind of "fold?"). This tells me that they won't rip up the back of my ankels, and they will move with my feet fluidly! P.s. the bow? to die for! 
The sorority girl in me loves Sperry's! I can't help but love that casual-chic boat look! I just found these Sperry's in coral, and I must say they are on my "To Buy" list for this spring season! 

All of these shoes featured can be found on Piperlime: 
P.S. They also have great clothing! 
P.S.S. Rachel Zoe contributes to this site with her "picks!" So neat to see what she likes, because we all know she has fabulous fashion sense! 

If you are one of the few brave, confident, and strong women who wear heels during your school day, here are some a-mazing wedges! Taking the classic oxford look and adding some great height! 
I'm loving this infinity scarf! The finges are so hippie-chic! These are perfect accessories to your outfit! 
Both the wedges and the scarf are from, LuLu*s. They always have great shoes and clothing!  

Finally, here are some other great websites with fabulous clothing and shoes at affordable prices!
P.S. They have a great deal for teachers! 15% off full priced clothing, teacher appreciation nights, and more! Sign up online here.