Surviving to Summer Linky Party

Hiiiii!  Long time no see/hear from me! Unless you follow me on instagram (queenof1stjungle) or facebook.  This time of year is NUTSO and throw being 8 1/2 months pregnant on top of it.... you may see why I need to remind myself about that precious break we get!

Michelle from Fabulous in First and I decided it would be SO fun to have this be a weekly linky party until the end of the year.  Sometimes as teachers we work so hard that we forget we are humans and need breaks!  So our intention with this post is to talk about what we are doing for ourselves outside the classroom AND to inside the classroom to hold on to that little bit of sanity we have left :) 

So read my post (duh) and grab the above image to link up with us at the bottom of my post or Michelle's.

So here is my list of what is helping me now that Spring Fever has hit....


1. Embracing the sunshine and fresh air.  Surely all your snow has melted?? RIGHT?  My kids are maniacs about their bikes so we are getting outside as much as possible! 

2.  BEACH- We are blessed enough to live about ten minutes from the beach.  Blessed is definitely the operative word!  There is something about the sound of the ocean that truly settles my soul.  All my problems are washed away by the sound and smell of salt water!

3.  This guy-  I mean who wouldn't be in a good mood with this guy around.  Have you met my puppy Hank?  He is the absolute bestest dog ever, just please don't ask him if he is a Weimaraner.  It hurts his feelings a little bit! Ha  (He's actually a Silver Lab- part of the Chocolate family and not many people have heard of his kind). 

4. Fresh Flowers-  I keep them everywhere.  I have to.  When I need to be inside, they help me feel as if I am not!  These centers will be finished tomorrow night, please check my FB for updates!


1.  Neon.  If it is important- I print it on neon paper... otherwise it is just not seen!  Since I switched to doing my newsletter on bright color I am receiving less and less notes with questions.  Not that I don't love answering the questions, but this is such a timesaver! 

2. TPT Units.  Seriously- why reinvent the wheel.   My Busy Teacher packet and Stephanie's Weather is Wild unit are saving my behind this month. 

3. COOL Science experiments.  I am all about authentic purposes for writing.  My students were writing lab reports for our Lucy Calkins Units of Study.  This week my kids wrote out the steps to this Rainbow Cloud Experiment from A Day in First Grade. We then invited a class of Kinders to our room to duplicate the experiment.  We had a BLAST! 

4. And last but not least a tip.  School supplies never cease to amaze me.  I turn around and they are GONE.  I went and bought my LAST (I swear it) haul of pencils and erasers.  I labeled them and bribed my kids with a GoNoodle party to see who can keep up with their supplies the longest. Fingers crossed this does the trick!

Now- your turn!  I can't wait to hear what you are up to these last couple of months! 

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites (Chapter 4)

I hope I haven't been holding too many of you up by posting this part of the book study after school!  I thought February was a world wind...then the first week of March hit me like a Mac Truck!

I am SO excited to be reading the book Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites with y'all.  The biggest reason I love it?  I feel that everything that I know is being affirmed.  A couple of years ago I taught in a district where assessment and data become EVERYTHING.  We lost sight of what in my opinion is one of the most important parts of teaching: quality, first time instruction!

This chapter is all about GAMES! One game that I love using with my students is I have, Who has.  I threw together this quick two digit addition with regrouping game for my class last night. 

Why I prefer this over pencil/paper? My students didn't make careless errors. They were invested! They wanted to win!

I gave each student a card. They had one minute to solve the problem, and then I started the clock.  Our first round, we completed went through the 24 problems in 6:00.  We traded cards and tried three more times.  I promised them a prize if we could get below 3 minutes.  Our last round of playing- they finished in 2:36.  I call that a WIN!  We reviewed, we listened, and we worked together as a team!  

Our prize?  5 minutes on GoNoodle! And of course they thought Mrs. King hung the moon!

Last year, I DESPISED teaching measurement.  I was still in my first year teaching 2nd and relied way too heavily on the book. My teaching was uninspired to say the least.  This year I texted Amy and asked for HELP!  She told me about Measurement Olympics!  

My kids were SO engaged, and their learning was so purposeful!

Another game that I use a TON is Numbered Heads Together.  This game is actually a Kagan Structure.  I was blessed to go to a week long training in Orlando, Florida.  I never could have imagined how much this training would impact my teaching.  I learned how to engage all my students and hold them accountable at the same time!  Numbered Heads Together is a jeopardy like game that is fantastic for review!

SOOOOO.... when I boil it down...this is how I feel I am doing.  I really want to come up with some fun, engaging ideas for my students to practice their math facts.  I still have five or so kids on their fingers and it drives me nuts!

If you would like to join in the linky, please use the slide below on your blog and link up at the bottom of this post! I can't wait to head to your blog and read your ideas!

If you stuck with me all the way to the end, here is a surprise for you! The addition game I played today is a freebie that you can snag by clicking on the picture!

Please add your post below!