Saturday, July 20, 2013

Second Grade FB Freebie Hop

Hey Second Grade Teacher Friends! Is it just me, or does it seem like there aren't a lot of second grade blogs to follow? Or when you're shopping on TPT, the K-2 products seem too easy, yet the 3-5 stuff is way too hard?

Tori, over at Tori's Teacher Tips, has rounded up some of the best second grade bloggers for a Facebook Freebie hop! Each of us has an *exclusive to Facebook* freebie for you. All you have to do is "like" our Facebook pages to pick it up. When you get to the Facebook page, look for this image:
Click on it and grab your freebie! It's that easy!

Look who's participating!

The easiest way to grab your freebies is to start at Tori's Teacher Tips' Facebook page, as she has all of our links in one convenient place. You'll also notice that she has a Rafflecopter on the page. That's because we all decided to throw in a Winner's Choice from our TPT stores for our Bloglovin' followers as well! That's right! You could win 23 products just for following us on Bloglovin'!!! Here are our Bloglovin' links:

Make sure you head over to our Facebook pages ASAP, because these freebies will only be available THIS WEEKEND! The freebies and giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, July 21st. GOOD LUCK! 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

Wow! While I was vacationing last week I come home to find I've been nominated for the Liebster Award. How fun! I was nominated by these wonderful blogging friends:

Ms. BBZ 
First Grade and Flip Flops 
Owl in a Vowel Tree 
Creating a Thoughtful Classroom 
First Grade Wolves 

The Liebster Award is designed for new bloggers to share about themselves!

 To accept the nomination, I must: 
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them
Lori from Owl in a Vowel Tree asks:

1.    Crunchy or Smooth peanut butter? YES
2. If and when you create things for your classroom, what program do you use? Powerpoint!
3. What is your favorite color combination? It changes frequently, but right now I'm digging coral and teal.
4. What is your most favorite subject to teach? Writing, hands down.
5. What is your favorite restaurant? Yu-Mi Sushi Restaraunt. Their Tokyo Love Story roll is the best thing I've ever eaten.
6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? I'd like to fly so I can save some money on traveling.
7. How long have you been teaching? I taught second grade for 4 years and 1st grade gifted for 2.
8. Did you have another career before becoming a teacher or have you always been a teacher? I've always been a teacher.
9. Who is your favorite adult author? Children's book author? Children's: Patricia Polacco Adult: Jenifer Weiner
10. Do you like scary movies? I do, but I can't sleep so I stay away!
11. What school supply can you just not live without? Sharpies!
From Wallis at First Grade Wolves:

1. Where did you go to college? Ohio State University (Go Bucks!)
2. What is the last movie you saw? Flight
3. What is your favorite product on Teachers Pay Teachers? My favorite product that I've made is: Wacky, Fun and Definitely Silly Poetry Book
My favorite product that I've bought is: Election Fun with Grace and Duck We used this for the election this past year and it was such a great unit!
4. What is the hardest thing about teaching? Lack of professional treatment
5. What are your hobbies? running, drawing, writing, reading, and swimming
6. Are you an indoor person or an outdoor person? I think I'm pretty outdoorsy.
7. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
8. What is something you want to make for your classroom this year? I'm working on classroom decor sets that are unique.
9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Italy
 10. Do you cook?  If so, what is your favorite recipe? Yes, bbq shrimp flatbread pizza!
11. What is your favorite place to shop? CityGirl consignment store
From Ms. BBZ:

1. What is your favorite lesson to teach? I love teaching similes and idioms!
2. What is your perfect "teacher outfit"? A sassy dress, statement necklace or earrings, comfortable shoes.
3. How you spend your Saturdays? Bagels at my favorite bagel shop, writing, and maybe brunch with a friend if I'm lucky!
4. What is your favorite color? It's always changing, but right now I'm digging yellow.
5. What do you eat for breakfast during school? Coffee and Nature's Valley bar. Every. Single. Day. 

From First Grade and Flip Flops:

1. Describe your teaching style in 4 words. Alive, Creative, Entertaining, Authentic
2. What do you like best about your school? The technology that we have available.
3. What is your favourite teaching tool that you could not live without? Books!
4. What is your favourite subject to teach? Why? Writing, because I love turning a non-writer into someone who won't put down their pencil to line up for lunch. There's nothing more rewarding.
5. What advice about teaching could you pass on to a future teacher that you WISH someone had told you? Be sure that you want to commit to it and have another career choice in mind if it's not what you think.
6. What is your nickname? (If you have one?) Or if you didn't have one-- what are the names of your pets and why did you choose those names? My nickname is Bridge, not too exciting!
7. What is your best trait? I'm creative.
8. What is your worst trait? I'm worrisome.
9. If you could be a superhero, what would your name and super power be? I think Hardcore Teacher is a pretty good superhero name! My power could be passing on knowledge with a spell!
10. What era do you wish you could have lived in? Why? The 20's. I'd like to be a short-haired sassy flapper.
11. Who was your favourite teacher in school? Why? Dr. Carrie Schoekelhoff, my literacy professor. She walked the walk and talked the talk. I looked forward to our 8 hour classes every Friday in graduate school!

From Creating a Thoughtful Classroom:

1. What's your favorite thing about teaching? Looking at the progress from the beginning of the year to the end. The funny things kids say is also up there!
2. What's 1 thing you learned about yourself from blogging? I need to be more organized.
3. What's your favorite movie? Mama Mia
4. Where would you go on a dream vacation? Why? Greece, for the views!
5. Name a quote or saying you try to live by. Deserve your Dreams
6. What's the most important quality in a friend? Honesty
7. What's your favorite hobby (non-school related!) Reading
8. What's the most important quality for a teacher to have? Patience
9. What's your favorite meal? Sushi
10. What's your favorite school day snack (coffee, chocolate)? Coffee

11 Random Facts about Me
1. For my own reading, I (almost) solely read nonfiction books.  
2. I like my pizza with pineapple.
3. Sushi is my favorite food.
4. I'm an Ohio State Buckeye.
5. I like to paint.
6. I'm a travel junkie.
7. I LOVE live music.
8.  I've worked on an organic vineyard.
9. I was captain of my high school basketball team.
10. I'm ESOL endorsed, gifted endorsed, and ESE certified
11. As a child, I used to give my brother and sister tickets for good behavior. I also kept a small library in my closet that even had a checkout system.

My Nominations (So Far):
Marcy at Searching for Teacher Balance  I've had a lot of fun following her on instagram and now her new blog! 

My 11 Questions:
1. What college did you go to?
2. What is one of the funniest things a kid has said during class?
3. What's your favorite subject to teach and why?
4. If you could be anything other than a teacher what would you be?
5. What's the last song you played on your itunes/spotify,etc.?
6. What would be your last meal choice?
7. How do you take your coffee?
8. Do you watch the Bachelorette? Who do you predict will win this season?
9. What is your Go-To after a bad day at work?
10. What's the best thing about being a teacher?
11. What is your favorite product on TPT (one you've made and one someone else has made)?        

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

What I'm Reading + Giveaway + Freebie!

The Giveaway:

Winners have been emailed with instructions to send me your mailing address so I can send you your prize! Having a giveaway was fun! I'll be doing more in the future! I have some cute and fun classroom goodies coming from etsy store that will be great for a giveaway! Stay tuned!

I'm linking up with Tales of a Teacherista and sharing "What I'm Reading!
I'm currently reading Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel. I picked this book up at the library because it caught my eye right away. "Creating" is listed at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy hierarchy but there is a reason it's at the top. It can be quite difficult! There's a combination of things that can hold people back when thinking and working creatively. This book is awesome for tackling some of these issues! I'm 5 chapters in and I really like the flow,style and clarity of the book so far. This book has 24 lessons to help combat problems that keep people from creativity. Creating can sometimes make a person feel very vulnerable, overwhelmed, inadequate, etc. People can procrastinate, worry that they aren't good enough, have "writer's block", and give up altogether. I have seen this in my own creative life and in my classroom. 

Creative Anxiety in the Classroom: Sometimes when an activity is unfamiliar or requires creating a new idea or displaying an inventive project, some students shut down. I've seen this take place with a range of behaviors from pouting in a corner, ripping up projects, to complete meltdowns. I think the better we are at monitoring and mastering our own creative anxiety, the better we will be at teaching our students how to cope.

Here's a little story about "Taylor:" Two years ago in my first grade gifted class, we were finishing up our author study of Patricia Polacco. This particular group was extremely high achieving and I was always looking for a way to challenge them to go to the next level. It was Friday (which is usually test day) and I thought to myself, "Why am  I going to give them these 3 bubble reading comprehension test that I'm 'supposed' to give them even though they don't challenge them at all?" I had an 'Aha' moment and I'm so glad I did. I broke the "rules" that Friday and instead of taking our weekly test, we did something different during Reading.

With all of the Patricia Polacco books leaning on the board in the background, I had my students close their eyes. I told them that they were all marketing agents for the best advertising company in the country. Patricia Polacco needed their help. Her books were not selling as much and she wanted to hire them to help her sell her books. Their job was to choose a book to sell and make a large poster advertisement.

{Sidenote: I had already taught them advertising techniques (celebrity endorsement, sales and promotions, repetition, bright colors, etc.) when we were talking about persuasive writing. We studied ads in magazines and talked about how the advertisers got their attention. So they were well versed in advertising before this activity. This freebie for this activity is at the end of this post!}

The students were then put in groups and began to excitedly work on their projects. One of my students, Taylor, who was very bright and science-minded started the project very motivated. He was brainstorming all kinds of ideas (ie: "Should we have the principal recommend the book or the librarian?" "Let's have a buy one get one sale!") I was going from group to group scaffolding their learning and helping them bounce ideas off each other. This all went well.

Next, it was time for the execution of the project. After a thought out plan, posters were passed out and students began piecing together their advertisement. 

Taylor began acting aloof, stressed, nervous. I started to get complaints from the group that he "wasn't helping." I came over to the group to investigate the situation when Taylor screamed "I don't want to get fired! I can't do this! I'm too dumb!" 

I should mention that the threat of being "fired" was not a threat that I had given. Taylor was clearly having creative anxiety. Taylor was just as bright and capable as the next student, but he was keeping himself from being successful. Taylor was usually well-mannered and fairly quiet so his behavior was definitely out of character. 

I worried that perhaps I had put too much pressure and placed too much of a challenge for the class, but after I reflected a bit (and in light of reading this book), I realize that he just needed help managing his creative anxiety. His ideas while brainstorming were solid and great but his preoccupation with "failing" kept him from even trying. 

I counseled with him and listened to him as he told me he thought his ideas were dumb and not as good. I asked him to tell me some of his ideas. He told me and I told him that I thought those were really great! I recommended for him to choose one idea and start with that idea. After he calmed down he said he could do that. His project featured a celebrity endorsement from the principal, and an eye-catching Buy One Get One book for Chicken Sunday.He needed the creative project to be chopped into manageable bits to relieve his anxiety. Maisel covers this strategy in the book, can't wait to learn more! 

As I reflected on this project, I thought this would be a great freebie for my blog readers! You can get it for free here! It's a great culminating event for an author study. Depending on your grade level, you could do it as an independent project or group project. I hope you enjoy! 

How do you help your students (or yourself) combat creative anxiety?
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fourth of July Higher Order Thinking Activities

These Fourth of July Activities will be free for today only on TeachersPayTeachers.

Students will be inventing a new kind of firework with a special effect to entice people to come to their new fireworks store! Perhaps it's a firework that smells like ice cream when it explodes, it could be a firework that looks like Lebron James, or one that sounds like folk music instead of a big bang! Their job is to create new and interesting fireworks that will get people into their store.

Also included is a printable book, graphing activity, and a card for a soldier activity. Hope you enjoy! Get it while it's free!

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Grand Opening Giveaway!

Hello and Welcome to Hardcore Teacher Resources! This blog will have all kinds of information about how to incorporate Higher Order Thinking skills in your classroom! 

What are Higher Order Thinking Skills?
No, higher order thinking does not mean you have to get high. (Although some may argue that). Higher Order Thinking refers to Bloom's Taxonomy theory about learning. Higher Level Thinking requires deeper knowledge and deeper application of knowledge, it includes activities like creating, evaluating, assessing, analyzing, etc. For more details about Bloom's Taxonomy click here. Lower level thinking skills like remembering and recall of information are easier to do and don't require "higher order." 

Higher Order Thinking Buzz Words (including but certainly not limited to):

Why is it important to incorporate Higher Order Thinking skills in our classrooms? 
Students need to be practicing creating and designing at a young age. When they are older and in their jobs, being able to be flexible and creative in solving problems will help them to be a more innovative worker. The next generation is going to have to understand, learn and problem solve in ways that are all very new. If we only teach our children the "old" way (teach, memorize, spit back out, forget) they will not be equipped for the future occupations. Modelling and encouraging your young learners to be resilient, innovative problem solvers will foster a deeper understanding of the content, as well as prepare them for their future. 

Why should you follow this blog?
Often incorporating Higher Order Thinking in the classroom can be very challenging. You can get stuck on a topic and not be able to figure out how take it to the next level. You may have a severe behavior problem in your class that keeps you from being able to do more hands on activities or take things up a notch. Perhaps your principal is a firm believer that students are seen not heard and has a very old-school approach. I intend to discuss these topics, newsworthy education topics, share tips and ideas of how to incorporate higher order thinking with the common core standards, and help you become an even more Hardcore Teacher!
If that sounds up your alley, this blog's for you!  

Want to win this cute Hardcore Teacher necklace?

These necklaces are from my Etsy store. I will be giving away 20 for the Grand Opening of my blog! Please enter the giveaway at the top right of the page for your chance to win!