Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Incorporating Writing into Thanksgiving Activities

As a second grade teacher I think it'd be a crime not to include some sort of Thanksgiving art activity into my lessons, but I know my administrators wouldn't approve of a solely art based project taking up instructional time either. This is how "Turkeys in Disguise" was born!

This resource incorporates creative writing into an art project in the most fun and engaging way. The goal is to save the turkey's from all the hungry people on Thanksgiving by giving them a clever disguise. They must first complete a variety of brainstorming, organizing, and writing activities to plan exactly what they will do before creating their fun turkey costumes. 

Step 1: Brainstorming

Students will come up with  8 ideas of people, animals, or things they can disguise their turkey as. 

Step 2: Organizing Ideas

Students map out exactly what clothing they will create for their turkey. Encourage students to include accessories, jewelry, or props that could go with their turkey friend!

Step 3: My Turkey's Turkey Day Plan

Students create plans for what their turkeys will do with all his/her time off on Thanksgiving while he is under cover. It's so entertaining to read things like "My Firefighter Turkey went to the forrest to eat his sandwich between fires."

Step 4: Paragraph Time

Students get to transform their graphic organizers into paragraphs that they can present to the class with their finished turkeys! Have students write one paragraph about what it's disguise will look like and another about what the turkeys will do on their day off. There are 3 paragraph options for the different levels of readers/writers you may have in your class. The first is a blank page for higher level learners, the second has some sentence starters for students who need a little push, and the third has several fill in the blank sentences for students who struggle with creating their own. These leveled paragraphs are great for differentiating instruction! 

Step 5: Time for your Turkey Disguise!

Students finally get to put all that planning into action! Using their description of how their disguise will look, they can cut out their turkey and get decorating! I had my students use construction paper to create clothes for their turkeys, kind of like clothes for a paper doll, but you can always just have them color the costume on the turkey as well. 

This is an activity they will never forget, and you'll definitely get a kick out of what they create too! Just check out "Nelly the Turkey Nurse!" :) 

BONUS: Black and White Versions of EVERY PAGE included!
Ink is no longer an issue!

When you use this engaging and educational product in your class, please snap a picture and tag me in it on Instagram {link in the sidebar}. I love seeing these turkeys come to life! Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your time off from school, God knows you deserve it! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now? YES!

This week was groundbreaking in my 2nd grade class, and I just had to share why with you! My donors choose project was funded and part of the goodies I ordered was a portable PA system with 2 wireless mics!

Now I know many of you are wondering why anyone would need a PA system for a single classroom?! God knows my voice is loud enough to be heard light years away, so why bother? The answer is in this picture below:

These are two of my students finally sharing their creative writing assignments with the class!! I couldn't believe how the simple change of presentation method made every student want to share their work. I'm talking everyone! Of course those kids who always want to share every single detail of their lives with anyone who'll listen were thrilled, but my shy students who barely speak above a whisper were excited too! And the best part, no more "What'd she say? I can't hear him! Speak up! Use your big voice!" With this little gem the whole class can hear whoever is presenting from the front to the back of the class with ease! 

I've seen such a change in my class in just the week we've had this system, and it couldn't have been easier to set up. The speaker is lightweight and comes already assembled, so all you have to do is put 2 AA batteries in the microphones and turn it on. This is a Pure Acoustics Wireless Portable PA System and it's on sale for $99! The sound quality is fantastic, and it connects to bluetooth too! Also, check out Donors Choose to get donations for this and other classroom supplies you need! Happy teaching! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mega Giveaway Part 2!

It's time for the 2nd round of giveaways on Teachers Pay Teachers Social Marketplace! Quick recap: after reaching 1000 followers, several collaborators on this awesome Facebook page are giving away 6 $25 TPT gift cards.  You know you want one :) This giveaway will only be open through November 5, so enter now!

The 3rd, and final, round of giveaways will be open November 5-7, so check back here for links then! CLICK THIS LINK to enter these giveaways, and be sure to follow Food For Taught on Instagram :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


As some of you may already know, I am a the featured teacher moderator on a the Teachers Pay Teachers Social Marketplace Facebook group. Well as of this week, this group has reached 1000 followers! With news like that we need to celebrate, so some amazing teachers and myself have collaborated to bring y'all 6 different giveaways! That's right, 6 chances to win a 25$ TPT gift card!

Click THIS LINK to enter giveaway 1 and THIS LINK to enter giveaway 2. These giveaways will run from November 1-3, so enter now and stay tuned for the next 2 giveaways November 3-5! Don't forget to follow Food for Taught on Instagram when you enter, and GOOD LUCK! ;)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Double Freebies for Columbus Day!

Today was a great day! I'd love to say it was great because I taught a fantastic, inspiring, life-changing lesson on Columbus, but alas, that would be a lie. Today was great because my school is one of the the lucky ones that has OFF on Columbus Day! Thanks Chris ;) So instead of sailing the ocean blue I sailed the wine aisle of the grocery store and worked on lesson plans binge watched Gilmore Girls.

What made the day even better is that we're starting to see a glimpse of fall weather down here in Louisiana! This combination of glorious happenings has put me in a great mood, so I've decided to have TWO flash freebies this week! Both avaliable until October 15th!

Number 1: As this first nine weeks comes to an and your students' desks are probably in need of a serious clean out-I know mine were! Just put a few of these Desk Fairy Labels and a treat in the desks that are tidy, and like magic, the rest of the desks will be spotless within the hour!

Number 2: This Changes Activity is a great way for students to assess how they have changed already throughout their lives. I love getting a glimpse into their minds to view how they see themselves now compared to how they saw themselves just a few short years ago. This activity goes great with any Social Studies unit on communities and changes, and is a part of my Communities Bundle.

I hope all you other lucky ducks who had today off had a fantastic day as well, and to the rest of my teacher friends who did not, don't worry only 29 teaching days till Thanksgiving break :)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Flash Freebie!

This week's Flash Freebie is a special one featuring a product from my last post. I decided to give away my Banana Fact Family Activity for free until October 7th! Watch your students take on fact families with ease with this engaging and educational activity. My seconds loved how they made our classroom tree look, and I loved how quickly they mastered this important skill. Grab it now!

Liven Up The Reading Corner

During my late night Pinterest sessions I'm always amazed by the size of the bulletin boards in some teachers' classrooms! My largest board is about 3 feet long, which is definitely not big enough to display very much student work. I decided to start displaying my assignments in more creative ways around the room to accommodate my spacing issue. Now my reading corner is bursting with color, and my 2nds love it! 

Instead of fact families on paper, I created these cute little banana fact families. I was shocked at how much more excited my students were to work on their math, and they look adorable hanging from my classroom palm tree. :)

After finishing their tests on Fridays, I usually have a writing or math activity for my students to work on while their classmates finish up. To give this week's assignment a little more pizazz I decided to make these creative writing fish. Students can write down all the things they would do if they were a fish, then cut them out and decorate them. My spelling word pirate ship is finally complete with these little guys jumping all around it!

Pirate cove is home to some more traditional work. Students created paragraphs about the story elements from our weekly text, and this dollar tree valence was the perfect border to add some extra flair! Now when the kiddos are reading in our library they can also enjoy perusing their classmates' work. I wonder what we'll add next week!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Flash Freebie!

Woohoo for more free products! This is the 3rd week of flash freebies, and I'm loving all of the positive feedback. Grab this awesome States of Matter Experiment while you can! It'll be available on my tpt store until September 30th :)

This experiment works two ways:

1. You can actually put out an ice cube and have your students watch and observe it throughout the day as it transforms from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas. They will record their observations in the chart and then complete the writing activity at the end of the day.

2. If you want the lesson to take place in one class period, or just don't have time to conduct the experiment yourself, I have included an alternative worksheet with pictures of the ice in all three states of matter. This way students can still observe the changes in state and complete the observation/results pages of the experiment.

If your students are anything like mine, they'll love this hands on experiment. Be sure to follow Food For Taught on all of my other social media to catch the next flash freebie!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Flash Freebie!

Thank God it's...wait it's still not Friday? This week is definitely dragging for me, but it's had it's high points for sure! My students are really getting the hang of our morning routine and are even starting to lead it themselves. To celebrate this #smallvictory I've decided to post one of the main parts of our morning routine as this week's #flashfreebie!

This number of the day template is the perfect way to slowly introduce and review some of the most important 2nd grade math skills. It only takes about 3 minutes and students catch on surprisingly fast to some of the more advanced concepts. I was shocked when my students starting understanding the expanded form of numbers on the 3rd week of school!

Grab this freebie while you can! It'll be available for FREE for one week until Thursday, September 22nd. Be sure to follow me on instagram/facebook for more freebies, and don't worry, our good friend Friday is just hours away. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Teacher Week 2016

As a new instagramer and blogger, I was thrilled when I found out about Blog Hoppin's teacher week! I knew it'd be a great way to get more involved in the online teacher community, and boy was I right! Basically, you post a picture on Instagram for 5 days in a row based on the theme of that day. I was able to meet so many amazing women and teachers through teacher week. It's amazing that no matter how long you've been teaching or where in world you live, all teachers have something in common. Whether you use the same classroom Pinterest hacks, wear the same teacher dress, or are both slaves to the Target dollar section, there seems to be at least one thing that bonds you to another teacher. I think that's really something special, and it was great to be a part of something that let me connect with even more teacher friends. So without further ado, here's my Teacher Week 2016!

Day 1: Meet Me Monday

Here I was connected with several other teachers with an affinity for Christmas and a good PB&J sandwich. There also seem to be so many other 2nd year teachers. It's nice not feeling like the only new kid on the block!

Day 2: Teaching Tuesday

This is when I shared my favorite lesson of the year: The First Day Jitters. I know I definitely have my fair share of jitters on the first day of a new school year, so being able to share this with my students while calming their nerves too is a great way to bond us together. There are also so many lessons and activities to go along with this book. I personally love the "First Day Feelings" graph so I can sneak a little math lesson in on the first day too. :)

Day 3: Where I Work Wednesday

I loved sharing a few pictures of my pirate-themed classroom with the IG community. I think my favorite spot in the room has got to be our library: Pirate Cove. Students get to set sail on so many different journeys as they explore different worlds through the books they read here. Cheesy I know, but as an elementary teacher I'm allowed a certain amount of cheesiness on my blog, right?

Day 4: Threads Thursday

I remember when I used to stroll into the mall and head straight to Forever 21 to search solely for the latest and trendiest pieces. It's funny how priorities change! Now my top priorities are finding dresses that I can squat and pick up crayons in without flashing a flock of seven year olds. These are two of my favorite teacher outfits that are comfortable and functional, and don't tell anyone but those pants are actually from Forever 21! ;)

Day 5: Friends Friday

My favorite day! I feel so lucky to have some of the best women and teachers I've ever met right down the hall! Jennifer and I decided to take our Friends Friday picture together, especially since we're both TpTers and Instateachers :) Not only do I have a great network of teacher friends at school, I have also made some amazing ones through social media as well! The way I see it you can never have too many teacher friends. Each teacher I meet teaches me something new, and I can't wait to meet even more of you! So don't be shy-feel free to message me whenever on any of my social media to chat, share tips and tricks, or even just to vent about that one student who's going to send you into early retirement. We all have at least one!

This week has been such a blast, and I'm truthfully sad it's over. I hope to continue to connect with more fellow teachers, so be sure to check out my social media links on the sidebar. I hope you enjoyed reading my weeks worth of posts, and I'll see you next year for Teacher Week 2017!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Flash Freebie!

I've decided to start posting a weekly freebie on my TpT store for all of my wonderful followers because hey, who doesn't love free things?? Plus with these #teachersalaries we need all the freebies we can get our hands on. These products will be free for ONE week only, so be sure to grab them! The twist is, you never know what day of the week I'll be posting the flash freebie, so check the blog often! I'll also be posting on Instagram and Facebook so follow me there for even more products and freebies!

This freebie is a story structure graphic organizer that focuses on beginning, middle, and end using pictures. It is one of the most popular pages from my Story Structure Bundle, so I know y'all will enjoy it. Let me know what you think by rating the product on my TpT store, and feel free to leave some feedback on my other social media sites too! 

Have a great weekend, and don't spend too much of it stressing about next week! You've got plenty of time for that Sunday night :)

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Open House 101

Open House always brings me a mixture of excitement and overwhelming fear. Yes I said it, I get scared when I have to talk to parents.

"But how can you be nervous about talking in front of people? You do it all day every day!"

This is usually the reaction I get when I bring this up, but children and parents are NOT THE SAME! Kids think you're the and don't notice if you make 1 (or 1,000) mistakes throughout the day. Parents on the other hand are judging you as soon as they pull in the parking lot, and can you blame them? You are the person who's going to be with their babies more than they will for the next 300 days. The person who's responsible for teaching them anything and everything they need to know to succeed in life and keeping them in one piece while doing it. That's a whole lot of pressure! Now you see why I'm a bundle of nerves this time of year. But fear not, I have some tips to make Open House a breeze.

1. Have two sign in sheets.

This cuts back on the line forming inside your class and lets you get onto your presentation sooner.

2. Have a presentation!

It's easy to get tongue tied, so having a PowerPoint of important information to go through always makes things easier. You can also print the slides out so late parents or no-shows don't miss anything. Don't know where to start? No worries. Here's a completely editable Open House Presentation that will leave those parents informed and impressed.

3. Student Activities!

Parents love to see things their children made for them, so be sure to have at least one on their desks waiting for them. This can be an activity from the first week of school, their all about me books, or an activity done just for this occasion. I like to have my students write their parents an open house letter. It's entertaining and a great way to practice writing throughout the week.

3. Donations!

This is the perfect opportunity to get some more supplies for your classroom without having to spend your whole first paycheck. Having a Donation Station gives parents the chance to choose what they want to contribute to the class while they're still in the back to school mode. Trust me, these extra supplies will come in handy later when you're out of pencils by Christmas!

4. Positivity First!

Children are a reflection of their parents, so when you start off a conversation with a negative like "Ben just can't seem to sit still." it doesn't usually sit well with the parents. Instead start with a positive! "Ben has such charisma in class. He's always there to help a friend and is great at math." Parents will be so tickled at this point that they'll be much more receptive when you tell them any issues you're having.

And just remember, it's only one day a year! In a few short hours it'll be over, so enjoy meeting the parents and showing off your classroom!

All of the resources mentioned above can be found in this Open House Super Bundle. Check it out! :)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

5 Tips to Survive the First Day of School: Teacher Edition

1. Be the early-bird.

Though it's nearly impossible to fall asleep the night before the first day of school, don't let that be your excuse for hitting snooze an extra time or two. Today you want to be "that teacher" who beats the custodian to work and is waiting outside for the building to open like a crazy Black Friday shopper. Some reasons include but are not limited to:
*The Copy Machine: You thought it'd be easy to make a quick copy of that last minute activity you created the night before? Well have fun waiting behind 20 other teachers doing the exact same thing. You want to be first so you can get in and out of that copy room as quickly as possible before the crowd comes and the machine jams or runs out of ink, which it most assuredly will do.

*Set-Up: Do you have pencils? Are they sharpened? Are they on the students' desks? Are papers passed out? Do you have markers for labeling supplies? Is the smart-board working? Did you sign in? Did you go to the bathroom? You'll have to conquer these plus the other million tasks that pop up the morning of, and hopefully you've gotten there early enough to tackle them all.

*Run-Through: Stand in front of your classroom and practice what you're going to say. Out loud. I'm serious. I know this sounds silly, but I can't tell you how much it calms the nerves before you have to do it in front of real students. Even if it's just your greeting or introduction, it'll help you feel more prepared and prevent you from getting tongue tied during the real deal. Getting to school early before anyone else is in the building makes this much less awkward. Trust me.

2. Have an EASY start-up activity.

You're going to have a seemingly endless stream of people filtering in and out of your room for the first half-hour or so. This means you'll have to endure 25 introductions as you meet the tiny humans who you'll spend the next 10 months with and their owners. Not to mention the giant bags of (unlabeled) school supplies that accompany them and that need to find a home in the classroom. Not to worry! Having an easy start up activity that requires little to no instruction is the perfect way to entertain the students who have already come in while getting the rest of them in the door. Crowd favorites include coloring sheets and word searches. Have your weapon of choice printed and already on each student's desk as they walk in. Not only will it keep them busy, it will get them used to getting right to work when they enter the classroom. A win-win!

3. Make a PowerPoint.

Sure there are those teachers who can remember the 7,193 things they need to explain on the first day in the exact order they planned, but this lady is not one of them. When that big brown door closes and it's just you and 25 sets of judging eyes it's easy to have a mini-panic attack and start explaining your pencil routine before you've even said your name. Have no fear, PowerPoint is here! Make a simple presentation to guide you through the day and keep you from getting off track. Each slide can be super basic-even just pictures can help you remember your next move.
Bonus: Creating a PowerPoint also provides visuals to keep students engaged and makes you look uber prepared! Did someone say teacher of the year?? ;)

4. Overplan, and then plan some more.

This is a big one. There's nothing worse than a group of students flying through an activity that should have taken an hour in 15 minutes. With no back-up plan that leaves you with 45 painfully long minutes of dead air that you're expected to fill. What do you do in times like this? You haven't even passed out books yet so "reading silently" isn't an option. Unless you've choreographed a jazzy tap routine to fill dull moments like this, you are out of luck. That's why it's always important to have at least 4 extra activities that you can whip out at a moments notice when you hear the dreaded "I'm done" or it's cousin "What do I do now?" For the first day these don't have to be rigorous activities. Stick with your basic color-by-numbers and get-to-know-me activities. An "All About Me Book" is always a crowd pleaser, and gives you the option of having each student share their book if time is really dragging.

5. Relax.

Right before the ring of that first daunting bell, take a moment to yourself for a few deep breaths. You've got this. You've planned as much as you can for the expected, and are as prepared as you can be for the unexpected. It's time to let go and let God. Remember, those kiddos are just as nervous as you. They aren't going to notice if you veer away from your lesson plan or fumble on a few words. To them, you're a superhero. You're going to be their teacher, mentor, counselor, nurse, and friend. You get to be one of the most influential people in their lives for just one short year, and it all starts today. Enjoy it.