Monday, August 8, 2016


My new blog is updated and will share my experiences as a second grade teacher as well as my adventures raising a Boston Terrier puppy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Character Lab Discovery

As I was browsing the web for ways to implement and teach grit and growth mindset in my classroom, I came across this fantastic non-profit called Character Lab. They are designing, testing, and working to build resources for all educators to implement character education in their classrooms.

After listening to the The Key to Success? Grit TedTalk given by Angela Duckworth, >>check it out here<< I have been increasingly intrigued by the direct impact grit has on student achievement in my classroom. .

This leads to me today's findings... Character Lab... >>check it out here<<

I LOVE the idea of everyone working together to find ways to implement character education in our schools; working together to change our society for the better.

Education has such a profound impact on the world. Teachers can change student's lives. Students can change teacher's lives. Imagine a world where we are all working tirelessly to build character in the students that will be the future leaders of our country along with providing a rigorous academic education.

In order to gain a better understanding of the research behind this movement, I've made a list of must read books. I'm reading one book a month and will report back to you! Feel free to join the discussion, just link your blog below and I'll check it out!

December's book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

The time they thought I was still an elementary student...

Okay. So I'm 27.... but I look young. I just didn't realize how young until last year our school-wide composite came back.

Sooooooo the company that puts together school-wide composites made a tiny mistake. Yep, my picture landed alphabetically in the student portion of our school-wide composite, not in the teacher section which leads me to another funny moment with my darling second graders.

Fast forward to this school year. >>>>>>>

We are standing in line near the school-wide composite. This is how the conversation went down.

Student A (very concerned), "Miss W. where is your picture?"

Me, "Oh, I look young and so the people who created that thought I was a student. *I point to my picture among the students* It is okay though because it is a good thing to look young."

Student B (in a serious and comforting voice), "Yep, you're right. That means your youth isn't behind you yet."

#stillgotmyyouth #whenwillitbebehindme #ilovemyjob

Kids are seriously the best. I am so blessed to "have my youth" and LOVE my job. I smile, laugh, and am loved everyday! Have a great week!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Karate Kid

We are in the second week of school and I am really enjoying getting to know my new second graders. One of my students... For his security we will call him A...wanted to share his role in the community (yep started our first social studies unit).

He wrote: I take karate (Visualize a matching illustration of him kicking.)

A, "Look Miss W. I drew myself doing a kick (he told me the specific move as well as demonstrated it, but I've forgotten the name between my pile of paperwork and drive home)"
Me, "Very interesting... You forgot punctuation (always thinking like a teacher)."

Fast forward 20 minutes to dismissal... We are walking to the buses.

A, "Miss W. If you came to my house sometime I could teach you karate moves."
Me, "Oh, that is really nice of you A."
A, "Yeah, and I even have a white striped belt that I earned so when I earn my next belt and you get the moves right you can have my old belt."
Me, "That's very generous of you."
A, "Yep. We can do that with all my belts when I think you've mastered the moves. I could teach you karate."

I'll keep you posted on my karate lessons from an 8 year old. I'm sure I'll be a black belt in no time. 😜 #kidshavethebiggesthearts

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Morning Meeting Basics

Morning meeting is one of my favorite parts of the day. Students have the opportunity to work together, support each other, and become a member of our classroom community. Also, it is a great opportunity to spiral different concepts in a fun way.

In my classroom morning meeting takes place from 9:10-9:30am. Morning meeting has four main components: morning meeting, share, activity, and morning message. I use the Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete as a guide for structuring morning meeting.

Here are some resources I use to help with planning morning meeting greetings and activities:

The First Six Weeks
*This pack includes character education posters, morning meeting activity cards, and morning meeting greeting cards.

*This pack has five Kaboom! game labels ready to print and use. My students LOVE KaBoom! so this is a quick and easy way to spiral concepts. We play KaBoom! money, sight words, addition, and subtraction.

For the share portion of morning meeting I create a daily share schedule. Each child knows the day they get to share (no items, they just share one event). This keeps it easy and students know what to expect. One student is in charge of the share chart and they announce whose turn it is to share and counts questions/comments (each child gets three comments/questions during their share).

Finally, for the morning message portion of the meeting students read the message (written on the white board) and correct errors related to our language skills or word study skills for the week. This year I think I will create the morning messages in power point so that I can edit the document for next year.

Morning meeting is a great way to build classroom culture as well as start the day with a fun learning activity which invests students. If you have any resources you use with morning meeting, link it below so I can check it out!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Morning Work Count

Over the next few weeks I'm going to share some of the strategies I use during the school day. First things first... morning work! When my students arrive, I want every minute to count. Here are the resources/ways I structure the first twenty-five minutes of my day.

Students are coming in at different times from 8:45-9:10am. In this time, they need to get a variety of things accomplished. Here is a list of my second graders morning responsibilities.

1. Hang up coat/back pack
2. Check for notes/homework in morning meeting folder
3. Complete five common core spiraled math problems
4. Read or write (book shop if it is their share day)

At 9:10am, we go over the morning work problems together and students are responsible for checking their work! This holds them accountable without adding additional grading for me to do daily. They enjoy grading their papers and take pride in getting all or most of the problems right. They love the immediate feedback. Here is the resource I use for my morning work. When I taught first grade, I used the first grade level and it was fantastic as well. Both first and second grade editions are rigorous and ready to use!

Daily Math Practice, Grade 2 by Evan Moor
*You can also purchase a PDF version of this resource.

Even though this book is not from our math curriculum, I love how it presents the material in a slightly different way challenging my students to apply their knowledge learned during our math workshop. I find that students are able to make connections to what we have already learned and love solving the challenging problems. The book follows the general sequence of skills introduced in a typical second grade math curriculum and is aligned to the common core standards. I copy enough days for one month at a time. Each student is responsible for keeping track of their monthly morning work packet in their desk. This saves times, keeps their papers organized, and helps eliminate day-to-day copying. I would love to hear how you utilize your morning to make the most of student learning! Leave a link below and I will check it out.

Happy planning!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Academic Learning Schedule

Over the last few years I have found that having a regular, structured schedule everyday is extremely helpful with the culture of my classroom. When students know what to expect in their daily schedule, they are able to focus on rigorous learning standards. As for me, I LOVE schedules. I like to do lists. I like to know what is happening for the day. It makes planning easier, teaching more enjoyable, and the day runs smoothly. So, as I get back into blogging - it has been toooooo long - I thought I would share my academic learning schedule with you! I always enjoy seeing how different teachers get creative with curriculum and find ways to fit everything into a short day. Over the next few weeks, I will post about each element of our school day. More specifically I will be sharing curriculum, management strategies, and other ideas!

8:45-9:10am - Students arrive, eat breakfast, and complete five spiraled, common core math problems. Early finishers go book shopping, finish writing pieces, take AR quizzes, and read silently.

9:10-9:30am - We quickly check their morning work (common core math review), complete calendar, and transition into our classroom morning meeting. Our meeting consists of four elements: greeting, share, activity, and message.

9:30-11:40am - LITERACY BLOCK
  • Reading Workshop {mini lesson, work time/conferencing, share}
  • Word Study
  • Writing Workshop {mini lesson, work time/conferencing, share}
11:40-12:10pm - Lunch

12:10-12:40pm - No new instruction is a time in the day where students practice previous content and skills, receive remediation, or additional instruction based on individual needs.

12:40-1:10pm - Recess

1:10-1:20pm - Drinks/Restroom

1:20-2:00pm - Specials {art, music, physical education, health, library}

2:00-2:45pm - MATH WORKSHOP {mini lesson, work time/conferencing/differentiated stations, share}

2:45-3:15pm - SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES {topic alternates based on long term curriculum plan}

3:15-3:25pm - Students pack up to go home, complete their behavior log, receive papers, complete unfinished work, and earn addition "morning meeting" activity time.

3:25-3:30pm - Dismissal

Let the back to school countdown begin.... {HOW IS IT HALF WAY THROUGH SUMMER!?}

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