Teaching since Fall 2001 – 3rd year in 2nd grade

Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Setting up for the Year


This is the front of my room. The colored baskets have my library. Colored pencils, and dry erase markers are in the plastic containers on the top. The magazine holders have the student dictionaries, their dry erase boards, and their sight word lists. They will also store their guided reading books here.


This area is my presentation station. Since I prefer to work on my laptop, it is set up so I can start presentations for the Promethean board. The document camera will go here, along with the charging station for the Ipads, and storage for my student response system.


These are the beginnings of the anchor charts for the beginning of school. The bottom ones ask 

  • How do you want Ms. Herbert to treat you?
  • How should students treat each other?
  • How should students treat Ms. Herbert
  • What should happen when someone breaks our rules?

The top ones say

  • In the cafeteria we ….
  • At the bathrooms we …
  • In the hallway we ….
  • A friend …. 

The students are going to write their thoughts on construction paper stars, and stick them on the charts using repositionable glue. I learned about this at a Bilingual/ESL workshop last week. Great for making colorful, child generated anchor charts.  Our class contract will be made by summarizing the  information on the bottom charts and the friend one on stars. Those will be glued on the contract and the kids sign it. I’m looking for some glitter glue pens or something similar for them to sign with. Then we will laminate it.


Here is my math wall – I’m waiting to get my Calendar Math box to finish setting it up. The 100 chart has problem solving questions on the reverse side that is out now. I plan on doing this out of order – otherwise the answer will be obvious.  I will have pictures of our data walls and small group areas next week. 

Number Form Centers





I created a  work station that reviews word form, expanded notation, standard form, and building models in numbers up to 1,200. The students can check their work using the QR Codes on each card. Print the cards on card stock, laminate, then cut apart. Click on the picture or the link below to go to the google doc.


QR Spelling/Word Center

English: Child using QR codes in Derby Museum ...

English: Child using QR codes in Derby Museum supervised by parent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My team and I are going to use QR codes in a spelling center this year. Each spelling list is typed up in color-coded. Red = verb, blue = nouns, green = adjectives, orange = adverb all other words will be in black. In some cases the word has more than one meaning, those words we printed out more than once with differing QR codes. The words will be laminated then cut out. Students will use a pocket chart to put the words in sentences. Blanks will be provided for students to add their own words. Sight words will also be added to the center. After 6 to 9 weeks the first sets of words will be rotated out. The QR codes will take students to a short video that displays the word pronounces it, defines it, uses it in a sentence, and repeats the word. I’ve provided links to week 2 through week 6 below. It starts with week two because the numbering goes with our bell work packet, and we aren’t giving a spelling list the first week. Week six is as far as I’ve gotten. I will post more as I finish the units.

I haven’t talked to my team yet, but I’m thinking that we introduce the words in the center of the week before they are the spelling list. That gives the students a chance to get familiar with the words and their usage.

Week 02

Week 03

Week 04

Week 05

Week 06

Enhanced by Zemanta

It has been a long time

I’m going to be honest. I had a really bad year last year. I dropped the blog because of the stress and fear I would post something I would later regret. I was also struggling with what to post about.

There are the politics that affect teaching, especially here in Texas. Then there are the ongoing protests of parents against all the testing being forced down our students throats. Those things are important.

I could also post just about lesson plans that I create. Or I could have a more narrow focus on tech lesson plans.

I have decided that I will post about all 3.

Storytime on Line

Storyline On Line is a great site. Various actors read picture books for children. The problem in my classroom, is that my students us Ipads. The site runs on adobe flash, so won’t show on the Ipads. I found the Storyline On Line’s Youtube Channel. Those videos do play easily on my Ipads.

So on Monday, I’m going to add specific stories for Storyline to my listening center rotation.
Storyline Screenshot



Last year I used Linoit with my 2nd graders. It was very easy and they loved it. I started by creating an account at http://linoit.com Then I downloaded the app to my class Ipads and set up the account on each ipad.

I would give them a topic that we were going to study. The students in their groups would create sticky notes about the topic. The kids loved how they would type something in on their ipads and it would appear on the website displayed on the board. My tables were assigned colors and would use their color on their sticky notes.

Sometimes I let them go on for several minutes creating a huge number of stickies. I would use this as a parking lot type board, making sure to answer their questions as we explored the topic. Other times I would sort them into different thinking maps as we went. In that case they would give me their answer verbally and get permission to put it up.

I haven’t used Linoit yet this year, yet. I’m glad a friend e-mailed me asking me to do a post about using Linoit. I think we will use it next week.

Enhanced by Zemanta

When the Teacher is Dysgraphic

I received several @tweets from an education major wanting to know about teaching with dysgraphia.

Some background on me.

4 out 5 1st cousins on Dad’s side were diagnosed with dyslexia/dysgraphia in university. I’m convinced my father was also dyslexic. Several reasons – reading was laborious for him and he wrote everything in all caps with a very prescribed slant.

Unlike my cousins and sister, I was tested a couple of times in public school. Each time the verdict was the same – my reading level was through the roof, so there was no way I could have any type of learning disability.  I was lazy and not trying. In Junior High my math grade went from A’s to D’s and F’s. During a parent meeting, my parents found out that we were having to copy boards of notes because the school ran out of paper.  (This led to my Dad’s Great Paper Drive – I’ll have to write about that later). The teacher felt that something was wrong with my vision and suggested a more through exam than I had had to that point.

I went to University of Houston. I was examined by several students. One of them picked up on something beyond my astigmatism, which was also diagnosed. I’m not left or right sided. I ended up some type of medical study. In the history they found several things that put together can spell trouble

  1. I never crawled. I bear walked with my rear in the air and moving the same hand and foot at the same time.
  2. When I walked I moved the same hand and foot instead of opposite, this made me very clumsy and drove my Dad (former Marine) nuts.
  3. I’m not left or right handed – but should be more of a right hander than a lefty,
  4. Until 3rd grade I would write left handed till I reached the middle of my body, then I would switch hands.
  5. My 3rd grade “teacher” forced me physically to write left handed.  (She actually documented this in my cum file)
  6. My hands lack strength probably because of my atopic dermatitis which left them raw (looked like a chemical burn). Also if I held a pencil hard enough to write with it the skin would fissure/break and I would bleed.  I remember being punished in several different grades for turning in work with blood stains. Thing was there was no way for me to write without bleeding, if my skin was in the middle of a flare up. To this day I avoid buying tops that have buttons, because getting those little buttons through the holes hurts and sometimes the skin will fissure.
The official collegiate logo/symbol of the Uni...

The official collegiate logo/symbol of the University of Houston. This also served as the university’s athletics logo prior to 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people at U of  H said the sloppiness of my writing was due to the cross over/skin problems. I got some physical therapy that helped with some things, but not all. Again my reading level (now at above 12th grade and I was in 7th or 8th) meant that an LD diagnoses was “impossible”. The good news I stopped tripping over my feet and my hands didn’t ache so much. Squishy pencil holders let me hold the pencil/pen firmly without fissuring my skin.  Honestly the U of  H people kept me from thinking I was totally nuts. Because adults at school were telling that my reality wasn’t real. That I was capable of things I knew I couldn’t do, like write in a straight line without a guide.

I was finally diagnosed in University (Southwestern University). I wrote an essay test in complete mirror image. It was the first time I did that. I have to give my professor credit. He let me read it to him and graded it that way.  Now the experts were saying how did you get through HS without this being noticed. I had some accommodations after the diagnoses.    COMPUTERS come to the rescue.  Computers let thoughts go around the short circuit between my hands and my brain.

Now for bros402 and others. How do I deal with this in the classroom. Please note I’m not that severe of a dysgraphic. My writing looks sloppy and child like. If I’m stressed, I’ll write in mirror image. If I’m distracted, sometimes I’ll pick up a pen with my right hand and write near perfectly.

  1. I’m honest and open about it. I have dysgraphic  which means even when I try very hard my writing can be sloppy or backwards. Added benefit is it makes it clear that dysgraphia and dyslexia does not mean there is a cognitive problem.  I’ve had dyslexic students look at me and say. “You mean I can be smart even though I’m dyslexic?
  2. If at all possible use a projector/IWB/keyboard and type.
  3. When having to handwrite on the IWB use the grid to help line things up.
  4. Practice Practice Practice. I actually practice handwriting with my kids. I use the same page and do the same exercise. Otherwise I avoid handwriting anything (even my grocery list is on my Iphone and Ipad)  and my writing regresses.
  5. Have the kids write the problems on the board.
  6. Type everything you are going to hand out – it looks more professional
  7. Talk to the experts on your campus they know about the newest research.
  8. The only app that I have found that helps me with dysgraphia  is Splashtop. That way I don’t have to carry around the slate and a keyboard to move around the room an use my Promethean. I can do everything I can on a slate and use the Ipad’s keyboard to type.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tag Cloud