27 July 2015

Monday Made it: Silhouette Print & Cut

It's time for another Monday Made It with Fourth Grade Frolics! Head over to her blog by clicking her button to link up and check out more fantastic "made its"! ( I only have 1 this week...but it's a good one!)

Fourth Grade Frolics

I love my Silhouette Cameo. I use it for so many different things. I think most of its use goes towards my classroom, and today's project was no different. I needed to make minute displays for my clock, and I had a great frame I wanted to use from A Little Peace of Africa. But...I certainly did not want to cut them out. It would've taken forever! This is when I thought of my Silhouette. 

I made a short screen video of how I used Powerpoint to build the graphic I wanted and then by saving the image as a picture, I was able to upload it to my Silhouette, print it out on my printer, and then have the machine cut it for me. It was so easy and they turned out great! You can check out the video below, and then you can follow up with a few finishing pictures below the video.

It was so easy, and the numbers turned out so good. I can't wait to hang them up tomorrow! Since I have to report to work anyways, that shouldn't be a problem. Have a great week!

20 July 2015

Teacher Tool Box: Monday Made It!

My Monday Made It has definitely kicked into overdrive as I prepare for this coming year. I go back on Friday! Agh! Where did my summer go??? So, let's not waste anymore of it, shall we?

Last Monday, I periscoped how to make seat crates. I had posted a picture of my teacher tool box prior to that and had been asked how I made it. Well, like the seat crates, it was really a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I could customize it exactly how I wanted. So, I thought I would do the same thing with my tool box. If you missed the periscope, you can still catch it until tomorrow morning. I couldn't seem to get the video to transfer, so I made a screen shot video that explains how to make your own labels. You can check it out below.

Last year I bought an acrylic pencil dispenser, and it was a DISASTER. The knobs came off and it ended up cracking. So, I decided to go back to the tried and true pencil cups. I made the labels on my Silhouette Cameo. (Sorry for the dark picture!)

I also made some label for my supply buckets. I made them the exact way I would make them for my teacher toolbox, only with different dimensions.

My classroom is really starting to come together, and I can't wait to see the finished product! Stay tuned!

17 July 2015

Blogging at Resources with Altitude

I finally uploaded my first blog post over at Resources with Altitude, a collaborative blog by Colorado teachers. Click on the picture below to go check it out!

16 July 2015

Learn Like a Pirate: 21st Century Skills

Our LLAP book study is rapidly coming to a close, but it will be just in time to start the school year! I've got so many ideas swimming around in my head right now, and I can't wait to implement *most* of them in my room this upcoming school year.

Today's talk is all about 21st century skills. I'm sure most of us aren't new to 21st century skills, but I know that I immediately think of problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, even though I know it extends far beyond these. Here's the scary part...my students are being taught to be a 21st century student by a teacher who definitely wasn't taught to be a 21st century student back in the day. Solarz even talks about how teachers "told [us] what to think about". Isn't it crazy how much the world has changed?

In LLAP, Solarz actually gives us insights into 34 different skills in 11 overarching categories that he wants his students to practice in his class. I won't delve into to all of them, but I do want to give you a snippet into some of my favorites that I am confident could be a focus in a second grade classroom.

Communication and Collaboration
  • assume shared responsibility for collaborative work without dominating or letting others do all the work
  • realize a group can accomplish more than an individual
  • listen to and strongly consider the ideas of others
  • be sensitive to the needs of your peers and do what you can to help them
Initiative and Self-Direction
  • be resilient if your risk-taking isn't successful. Don't worry what others think.
  • Know when risks are not worth taking
  • View failure as an opportunity to learn (my favorite one!)
  • stay focused on your task without distraction
  • if you can't figure out something, ask someone for help
Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak
  • be humble, not a know-it-all
  • be able to laugh at situations and yourself
  • be able to turn embarrassment into laughter (I think we ALL need this one!)
One more thing I want to touch on is the importance of reflection. Solarz stresses that students "need to learn how to analyze themselves and each other, identify weak areas, and make plans to improve." His class as a whole sets goals, and then they set individual goals. This is something they devote time to every week, and he even has a step-by-step process that they follow. If you get a chance, you should definitely check it out.

And don't forget to check out the other bloggers for more insights into this chapter. It was a BIG one, so I can't wait to read their thoughts!

Happy Thursday!

14 July 2015

Crate Seats: A How To with Live, Laugh, Love Second

(Update 07/16/15: I was able to upload my Periscope video to You Tube! Scroll all the way to the bottom to see the video of how I made the seats.)

Since the whole Periscope-craze has taken off, I've noticed that there are certain types of broadcasts that I prefer over others...and that is a how to. Did you catch Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd's broadcast about organizing your fonts and clip art? GENIUS!!! Try to catch it before it expires. I also enjoyed Amanda from Patterson in Primary's broadcast about how to use Chatter Pix and other apps in the classroom. Ashley from Teaching in Bronco Country showed her viewers how to play Sight Word Jenga. Loved it!

You can see them common thread there, right?

So I decided I would try to do the same thing-a how-to of sorts. And I immediately thought of the crate seats I made this weekend. I remember being worried about how hard it would be, and then I was amazed at how easy it was. So what better how-to to share than this???

If you caught it live, yay! And thank you for watching. I unfortunately forgot to save it to my phone, but I promised directions on my blog, so here we go!


crates (I used Sterlite from Walmart; $3.47)
crafting foam (purchased 2.5 yds from Joann's Fabrics, but you can also used a foam mattress topper found at Walmart; $20; enough to make 6 seats)
plywood (Lowe's, 4'x8' sheet cut into 12.75"x15.5" pieces; $12; enough to make 21 seats)
duct tape
fabric (at least 1/2 yd per seat)
staple gun
felt squares (Hobby Lobby; $0.25 each)
hot glue gun
tacky spray (optional)

Step 1: (Note: Measurements can change depending on which kind of crate you use, so always measure the inside of the crate where you want the wood to actually sit.) Use the duct tape to wrap the raw edges of your wood. You could sand them, but I preferred this method. (Don't worry about having to have a saw to cut that big "ole piece of wood. Lowe's will do it for you. Some Lowe's charge for cuts, so look out for that. Tell them you're a teacher, and they're for your room. That helped me!)

Step 2: Trace the edge of the wood onto the foam and cut out. I cut 2 pieces to use for each seat.

Step 3: Here's where the optional tacky spray comes in. I used it to stick my 2 pieces of foam together first, and then I sprayed the wood and stuck the foam on top of it. I just thought it made everything a bit more sturdy. But-you do NOT have to use it.

Step 4: Place the seat upside down on your fabric. (I sprayed a bit of tacky spray on the foam before I placed it on my fabric.) I cut 1/2 yard of fabric for one seat, and I still trimmed off about 1/4 of the piece I had. This picture is before I trimmed the excess.

Step 5: Start folding the fabric like it's a present, and staple it down using your staple gun. Go all the way around, making sure to cover the foam.

Step 6: Using about 12-14" piece of ribbon, make a loop and staple to the side of the seat. Make sure it's long enough to actually use as a handle. 

Step 7: Cover the staples using one of two methods. On my first seat, I used duct tape to cover the staples. However, the next morning I noticed that the tape was falling off. I sprayed tacky glue on it, and now it's sticking fine. Another method is to cover the staples and exposed wood using felt squares.  I simply hot glued the squares to the bottom on the seat, being careful to get all the edges.

And that's it! I think it took me about 15 minutes in real time to make each seat-from the edging to the foam and fabric cutting, and stapling. I got faster each time. I could not believe how easy it was.

(Here's the video I was able to upload!!!)

I linked up for Made it Monday, even though it's a little late. I made my seats this weekend, but wanted to wait until I could Periscope about it before posting this. But this was too easy of a project not to share! You can also join in over at Fourth Grade Frolics.

Thanks again to those of you who watch my Periscope of this Back to School craft. I would love to see any seats you make! Make sure and tag me on Instagram at @livelaughlovesecond. Let me know if you have any questions, and have a great week!

10 July 2015

Five for Friday: July 10th

Agh! My summer is rapidly coming to a close, and I'm trying to cram in as much fun as I can before I go back on JULY 24TH!!! It seems like it gets earlier and earlier each year. But this year is especially different for me because I'm starting at a new school! I'm so excited to start that I actually can't wait to go back. Crazy, right???

But before I get ahead of myself, let's see what I've been up to this week! I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday. Click on the button below to join in!

I've been reusing as many of my old decorations and supplies as possible. I've had these dish pans since I started teaching, and they were going to have the same use of holding my seasonal books, but I wanted to update them. Did you know that you could take permanent marker off using Expos? Someone had once told me you could do it to get Sharpie marks off of desks, so I tried on these buckets. It wiped right off! I'll have to show you the updated buckets later!

It's time again for Blog Hoppin's 2nd Annual Scavenger Hunt. I have been on the prowl for anything I consider "easy" to make sure I get as close as I can to the 90 point total before I have to really dig in. I especially love how my family notices things I'm looking for, too! Never heard of it??? You can find out more by clicking on the button below.

Blog Hoppin

I found this amazing canvas at TJ Maxx, and I immediately fell in love with it. I knew it would look great in the upstairs landing where we keep all of E's toys. It would be a great anchor decoration, right? Except after about a week, I kept looking at it thinking something was wrong. Yup..."turns" is spelled wrong! #ughhhhhh

I'm taking part in the TpT Seller Challenge, and the last challenge was for us to make our masterpiece. Well...this is it! You can read all about it and win a free copy for you and a friend by clicking HERE.

I saved my favorite for last. This is my new teacher toolbox! I ordered the box off of Amazon, and I made the labels on our long drive to Kansas City. I am in love with it!!! I'm going to try to link up for Monday Made It and give a quick explanation of how I did it. It was super easy!

Well, that was it a nutshell for me. Hope you're having a great summer!

09 July 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Make Your Masterpiece

I have been having so much fun completing the TpT Seller Challenge! It has really caused me to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to making products and reaching out to other teachers for help and support. 

This past week's challenge was for us to "Make Our Masterpiece". Well, I thought back to my "Dare to Dream" goal, and I knew I wanted to focus on using materials I had already made for my class. I mean, what better product is there than one I've already tried and had success with in my room? 

Unfortunately for my class, my GREAT IDEAS usually happen in the wee hours of the morning before school, so they got the quick, not so eye-catching product. To be honest, I don't think they ever cared if what we were doing was beautifully printed on bright cardstock and laminated. They were more interested in if it was going to be FUN, and I was more interested in if it was going to be PURPOSEFUL. 

So, that is how my Masterpiece was born. It originated 2 years aho as an early morning idea for review for my classes. We were reaching the end of the unit where we would soon shift into experimentation and less on direct instruction of key vocabulary and concepts. So, I turned what could have been a mundane review into a fun "I have, Who has?" game.

I had seen something similar using math concepts, and I thought I would give it a go. I used our force and motion vocabulary, examples of different forces and speeds, and even threw in the Scientific Method, since we had embedded it into the unit. 

Ohemgee...the kids went bonkers. They LOVED it. They kept wanting to play it over and over. They learned how to properly respond when they thought an error was made and how to support each other. It was amazing.

So, what better than to turn it into a masterpiece???

I love the way it turned out, and I can't wait to use it with my new students next year. Click HERE to check it out on TpT, where I'm marking it down to only $1 through Sunday night. Any comments are appreciated!

Here are some preview pages to give you a peek! The pack includes black and white cards and color cards and an answer page. The pack does have an option to include the Scientific Method, but you certainly do not have to! And there are editable cards included in the .zip file to make any additional cards you might want.

Also, I want to give a special shout-out to Christa at The Sweet Life of Second Grade for looking it over for me and giving me feedback. I also got to take a peek at her masterpiece, which was amazing! Go check it out by clicking on her button below. (And enter to win a copy of her masterpiece, too!)

Sweet Life of Second Grade

But first...would you like to win a free copy for you AND a friend? Enter in the Rafflecopter below. When a winner is selected, he or she will be able to choose a friend to receive a copy, as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the epic conclusion to the TpT Seller Challenge: Follow Frenzy!

Learn Like A Pirate: Active Learning

It's time for another chapter of Learn Like a Pirate! I was late to the game last week, but you can check out my post HERE, where you will also find this great FREEBIE I made to go with the discussion about classroom jobs. Chapter 5 was definitely my favorite, so make sure and check it out!
When I'm thinking about what to blog about the reading, I really like to focus on what stood out most to me when I was reading. You know...that thing that when you read it you immediately text someone who will think it's just as amazing as you? 

So, maybe you don't do it at 1:39am like I do, but my teacher friend Shari is not surprised by this.  

But before I get to the story behind the text, I want to focus on something significant in this chapter. Solarz spends a great deal of time discussing Science Fairs. I'll be honest when I say that I thought Science Fairs were dead. Or optional. Or at least that's the way it was at my kids' school. If you wanted to you could, but it was to be completed at home on your own time with these vague instructions. And don't even bother asking questions because if you didn't understand the instructions, maybe you just shouldn't do anything at all for the Science Fair.

Sound familiar?

But, hey-I'm not going to put all the blame on the schools. I have 3 kids of my own, and seriously, the last thing I want to do after being at school all day is work on a science project. Ugh. Seriously.

So this is where LLAP comes into play. Solarz asks a serious question:

Aren't science fairs one of the best ways to do this? Solarz says that students become much more invested in the learning process when they are given time to explore interests of their own. Science fairs allow students to do just this and put the focus on science.

Here's the key (and the beginning of the connection to the middle of the night text):

The ENTIRE PROJECT must be done in school.

That's it. Pretty simple, right? And I'm pretty sure parents would appreciate it.

Of course, Solarz helps by supplying most of the needed materials and helps students collect data. Not to mention, additional help is always available from classmates. 

But this will take time away from instruction!!!

Only if you let it. Solarz allows students to work on projects before and after school and at recess. All the "paperwork" is done as a class, and he walks the students through a few steps each day and allows them some time to work.

But what if the students aren't working???

Solarz has deadlines to keep all the students on track. But, he also emphasizes that since they are in charge of choosing their projects, they are even more motivated to learn and more engaged. 

Now, remember that text to Shari? I told her that Solarz said that students lose ownership when they take work home. Think of how many times you have "helped" your own child. I know for a fact that I dominate projects at home. I am so guilty of taking ownership away from my boys. I thought it was better for them and quicker for me. Now I realize I wasn't really doing my kids a favor. In fact, I now realize it was an injustice to them. But talk about some serious mom guilt. Isn't it my JOB to help my kids? 

Well, instead of dwelling on that, I'm going to focus on the fact that Solarz also says that student skills will be able to mature because parents aren't there. Now-am I saying to be completely hands-off when it comes to homework or home projects? Absolutely not! But-I think it's time we-and especially I-start to understand that allowing kids to lead their own learning and make mistakes is valuable to the learning process. 

I also want to point out that Solarz is still there to oversee the entire process and give feedback to the students. But-I think the real truth lies in what students are able to do independently without the interference of adults. I can't wait to try it!

Well, lots of you are in Vegas, and I hope you're having a blast! I'm sitting here at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City listening to the sounds of kids sleeping after a hard day of playing.

And I would not want to be anywhere else. :)

PS: Don't forget to check out the blogs below for more insight into this chapter.