Anchor Charts for the Beginning of the Year

Well we are  finally settled into our second grade little classroom! The days are productive and enjoyable, small groups for reading and math are in full sail, and I... well, I finally have some time to blog.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you have probably already seen all these anchor charts.  I am a a BIG believer in the power of anchor charts as a "first time learning" tool and an anchor for ongoing reference.
If you want to learn more about anchor charting, these are the resources I have read and learned from:

Click on the picture to get from Amazon

Click on the Picture to get from Amazon

The authors of these two amazing books, also have a super blog, that I check regularly for fantastic ideas, you can go there by clicking HERE!

Of course you also need anchor chart paper and Scentos markers. My favorite scent comes from the brown marker... it smells like ooey gooey cinnamon buns. Yum!

Click on the picture to get from Amazon
Click on the picture to get from Amazon.

So let me show you and tell you the why, how, and when of the following anchor charts.

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is a super powerful idea by Carol Dweck in her book "Mindset the New Psychology of Success."   I felt it was important to show my students that we can approach our goals with two different mindsets. A growth mindset, and a fixed mindset.  I don't think, my students have ever heard about this concept before. In order to make things relatable I made the following anchor chart the day after:

Well I figured that my students know about Cam Newton. {We are in NC, go Panthers!} Every single time, anyone feels like giving up on something, I ask them: Is that what Cam would do? Just in case you are wondering, I found this picture online.
Plain all Google images. 
I posted this anchor chart in one of the teacher Facebook groups. Most of the teachers thought the idea was genius... they just had to use another athlete.


Let me just tell you that this anchor chart is NOT my idea. This anchor chart came from this top-notchness of a book:

Click on the Picture to get from Amazon.

Goal setting, strategies, and really approaching needs to make my readers more aware... that's what I am all about. After  creating this anchor chart, I have met my students individually to check on the type of strategies that they need to work on in order to advance on their reading journey
I also made this form (also inspired by The Reading Strategies Book) in order to give my students something to hold on to when they are practicing their strategies without teacher support:

You  can download this form by clicking HERE!

My students keep this form in their reading strategies/tools folder and they refer to it constantly. I leave them notes when I confer with them, and they give themselves a check mark every time they use  the strategies successfully.

Now, this anchor chart I simply wanted to share with you. It is not something that necessarily has to be done at the beginning of the year, but it is good reference since my second graders have to be proficient in asking and answering questions with who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Y'all I am the "Just Right" books police I swear! This year, I am determined, more than ever, to help my students become life-long readers. So this lesson, took place at the very beginning of our Daily 5 routines. I made this flow map showing my students the steps in choosing just right books. After the lesson, I have made sure to double check on their reading choices. Even though, I do not want to limit my students' reading choices, I am teaching them to find the right fit when it comes to books!


A number of years ago I read the BEST book on writer's workshop by far.

Click on the picture to get from Amazon

I never forgot how the author talks about her visiting a classroom and seeing the kids' drafts full of red marks. She was very surprised and taken by the fact that the red marks came from the students own editing pens. And here we go back to the idea of learning from each other and helping each other be better.  So one of the first lessons that I did with my 2nd grade authors this year started with this anchor chart:

I also provide a small cup full of  ink pens. For the past two rounds of Daily 5 stations, I have asked my students to write a piece, THEN find and editing partner and edit together.

This week, this was one of the pieces produced by my students. I mean really. Happy teacher heart. I have the best job in the world.


Oh word problems! We will certainly tackle you this year. And it all begins with teaching our students an assortment of strategies to problem solve.

I am not a math person. I have written before about my 6th grade math teacher and how she ruined it for me. I go back to those years, and I so desperately want to do math the right way for my students and my own boys.

OK friends, this is all for now. I have to get going since my sweet Nico will start middle school on Monday and I need to go shopping.
Until next time!

Apple BUILD stations in 2nd Grade

Hey everyone!
I am SO loving 2nd grade. I must confess that I was a bit hesitant about this change just simply because I thought that I had to learn to orchestrate a new "happy balance" for me and my family.

Among other things, I am finding the math curriculum so very interesting and fun to teach. With the month of September quickly approaching, I decided to create my very first set of BUILDstations for 2nd grade.

I have been doing BUILD stations during my guided math block for a number of years and I have learned that it allows me and my students, the opportunity to practice and extend our math skills in different areas.
On a daily basis I have about 60 minutes of math in my schedule. This is how my guided block is divided:

There is a math mini-lesson that lasts about 15 minutes, and then the students have 45 minutes to work on their BUILDstations. During those 45 minutes I pull three small groups that I see for 15 minutes each.
The students work on ONE station a day. If they finish their station for the day, they can make a choice. The choices include but are not limited to:
Computer/iPad games
Work on another station
Finish work from another station
Work on a previously made math packet
You can always assign your own choices!

I do a round of BUILD stations per five days… sometimes they last a bit longer.  If I see that my students are far behind in completing their assignments for a particular round, I extend the round to 6 or 7 days to give them the extra time they need!  I hope that this BUILD structure, and the activities in this product,  will help you save time while tackling important math concepts.
So what are the BUILD stations and  what goes in each basket?

What goes in there?
Buddy Games
Scoot games, task cards, board games, QR codes. In this basket I target Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Using Manipulatives
Activities using coins, connective cubes, base ten blocks, counters, shapes, clocks, etc. In this basket I target geometry and measurement.
Independent Work
Printables that seek to target, assess, reinforce, or extend many grade level concepts.
Learning about Numbers
Scoot games, cut and paste, task cards, work baggies, etc. In this basket I target number sense.
Doing Math
Word problem interactive notebook pages with  grade level activities.
Math Seeds, Brain Pop Jr., ABC ya, Illuminations, KHAN Academy.

Teaching Tip!
 For any skills/concept: Before you put out stations for students to do independently, make sure that you have taken the time to do whole group and small group; lessons with them!

 BUILD contract tickets are provided for each round of stations. This way, my students can keep track of their own progress!

Now  take a look at the activities inside this great pack! This set of stations has 15 hands-on and engaging stations that should last you the whole month! You can take a peek at the hole pack by just looking at the following chart:

Place value partner games...

Geometry riddles:

Odd and even apple sort mathtivity:

Coin recognition and values, and graphing:

More place value:

Expanded form:

Adding tens, which should be review from first grade:

Scarecrow geometry mathtivity:

There are also tons of printables and many more activities! You may click HERE to get from my TPT store.
I hope you enjoyed this post and give the BUILD structure a try.
Until next time!

7 Things to Do When Moving to a New Grade Level

Happy August!!
How many of you are starting school this week? Or at least allowed to go into your classroom and get things done?
Let me tell ya!
For me it was a race against the clock because I had to set everything up in about 3 days, right before meet the teacher night. I am fortunate to have great and supportive friends who are willing to lend me a hand in moments of need!
Goodness gracious! It was a silly time of stress. You know how it is. We worry over the small stuff, when we know better that HE will take care of it for us. Silly me!!

So one of the reasons  why I was a bit nervous about not having enough time to get things done, had to do with the fact that I was switching grade levels. But I figured that while I was still on summer break, I could finish up some things when the boys when to bed. I work really hard at leaving work at work and bring as little to my home as possible... but sometimes (like the brutal beginning of the year) you have no choice. These are some of the things that I am SO glad I did at home, it has saved me tons of time and sanity!


Boy oh boy but oh boy! This one is a biggie.
My BFF Marie from The Literacy Spot is moving back into the classroom (to 2nd grade!) after spending many years as a literacy coach, Reading Recovery teacher, and literacy consultant. In one of our nerdy conversations, we discussed about the complexity of each standard and how to build proficiency, we must teach our students an array of strategies. A year or so ago, we did a book study with Colleen from Literacy Loving Gals on The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. In my opinion (not that you are asking) this book is the most perfect resource for an awesome PLC.
So anyways,
We took each standard and selected the strategies from Serravallo's book for literature and informational text. And made this:

Click HERE to download the Literature standards and strategies for 2nd grade!

And Marie worked on the informational text ones:

You can click HERE to download!


What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of your classroom? For me it is the word ZEN.
Yes, you read that right. 
I want my classroom to be calm but yet with high expectations.
I want  my students to trust me and their environment.
I want them to collaborate with no constraints.
My classroom this year is very small, but yet full of color and happy!


My classroom library is the soul of my classroom. I wrote about it HERE. I visited yard sales, The Goodwill,  learned a lot about bumping it up a notch, and gave my classroom library the makeover of a lifetime.


My new team has been so supportive. They have shared so much.  They have listened so much.  I am so grateful for their friendship. Truly, thank you.


I am an animal of habit. I thrive amidst structure and organization.
But holy smokes changing schedules?
Lord have mercy. On my soul. Really.
I am still getting used to having itinerants at a different time.
I made my own lesson plan book and bought the BEST calendar/planner/organizer ever! This Bloom  Planner has it all to be more focused and goal oriented. I highly recommend it!


Like birthday little gifts:

Click HERE to download.


Like your focus wall:

Or your favorite 2nd grade TPT sellers.
In this respect, I need some help! Who are your favorite 2nd grade TPT sellers?

And learn the nitty-gritty of writing: (Click on the pictures to get from Amazon)

And Math!

I have yet to learn so much more, but this is for now!
I'll see you all later in the week, let me catch the end of the bachelorette. I'm so glad JoJo picked Jordan!