Friday, December 6, 2013

December already???!

Happy Friday! I don't know if you're as bewildered as I am, but holy cow-- there are less than 3 weeks left before Christmas!!! December sort of snuck up on me, and suddenly there are holiday concerts coming up, crafts that need making, and of course, festive songs to practice!

(All that of course is only a taste of what's keeping me busy; in addition to classroom work, it's also the busiest time of year at my store, CATS R US... all in all, I'm definitely feeling the holiday crunch!)

My class is learning the French version to "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" for our school's holiday concert, and I think it sounds really nice already... despite the fact that we only started practicing yesterday (eep!) I also like the translation of the song-- the French version is "Au royaume du bonhomme hiver"- 'in Jack Frost's kingdom'. It's sweet. The kiddos are picking it up really fast, but it remains to be seen whether we'll attempt any harmony. I'm really hoping to try, as it would make our performance *so* cute. (For those of you who are wondering, it's a really simple harmony, as seen in this video:

We've also got some crafting to do, but luckily our morning work is all laid out for us; my first winter unit is up on tpt, and we're using some of these to start our language activities each day. Although, I've learned that many of my tpt followers have been using these activities as homework; what a great idea! Personally, I like to laminate a set of these, and keep them in a bin for early finishers to work on. They love the chance to use dry erase markers!

If you haven't already seen the unit, check it out!
{Vive l'hiver!} 7 activités de langage pour pratiquer les

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Last chance at the Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale!

I hope you are all keeping warm on this December morning! This is just a quick note for anyone who hasn't taken advantage of the "Cyber Monday (and Tuesday)" sale on TeachersPayTeachers. It's on until midnight tonight! Save on all your favourite resources. Everything in my store is an additional 20% off, on top of the site-wide savings :) 

As holiday excitement fills the air, I've added a fun little activity for you to use with your kiddos. It's a printable game "Qui suis-je?" that is played like the game Guess who. It is so much fun! Best of all, it gets your students reading, asking, and answering questions in French... and having fun! Check it out :)

{Le jeu des lutins: Qui suis-je?} A game to practice askin


Friday, November 29, 2013

Parent-teacher interviews

Many teachers find parent-teacher interviews to be a very stressful time of year. It is a time where you sometimes have to have difficult conversations with parents, and it's easy to get caught up in the anxiety these conversations bring.

This year, I found myself getting a bit nervous as I geared up for interviews (although I am fortunate this year to have very positive feedback to report). And so, I decided to go with a more student-centered approach to interviews. Although many of my students would not be present at the interviews, we decided to prepare a display for parents that would showcase their best work. 

Students were asked to select three pieces of work from the term that they were proud of, and write about it. They made a small label for each piece that explained why they were proud of each piece. 

Then, the fun (and adorable!) part! We made self-portraits on card stock, that I then spent about two hours (!!!) taping into place on each chair. The finished product was well worth the effort...

Parents thought it was fantastic to walk into a class seemingly full of kids (and I admit, I had to do several double-takes the night before interviews, when I was alone in my classroom prepping for interviews!) 

Some of the kids' expressions are downright hilarious, and I found it really interesting to see how they saw themselves (or wanted to present themselves to others!) You can see the three pieces of work laying out on the students' desks, ready for their parents to take a look. 

Overall, this project was so much fun, although a word of warning to anyone wanting to try it-- we did ours on bristol board and they were really floppy, so in the end I had to tape rulers to the back of each portrait to make it rigid. Next time, I would probably recommend using cardboard to make the portraits. 

If you're looking for a fun way to spice up interview night, this is definitely it! 

~ B

Sunday, November 10, 2013

La chasse des mots

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice Sunday! Yesterday we had our first real snowfall, with big fluffy flakes coming down, so it's feeling more and more like winter.

Right now I'm cuddled up with a scarf and a big cup of Earl Grey tea (<3) and I wanted to take a moment to share a fun idea for practicing phonological awareness in your classroom. 

I found this awesome activity last week, and decided that in my classroom it would work best as a shared activity. My students LOVED it!

I prepared a large tree, in this case with the sound "au", and students then went to work finding "au" words to decorate our tree. They looked in books around our classroom, and each time they found an "au" word, they would check the tree to make sure it wasn't already there, and then write it on a leaf, colour it, and stick it up! They worked in small groups (2-3 kids) and it went swimmingly.

The finished tree is not only beautiful on our wall, but also lends itself to so many other fun games, such as counting the leaves, seeing who can explain the meaning of certain words, playing I-spy (I spy a word with four letters...), and even playing twenty questions (does the word start with the letter a?)

I plan to continue this with other sounds as we go throughout the year, and I've also shared the activity with parents as something they can do at home for extra practice.

Have fun, and keep warm!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Bewitching fun!

As Halloween approaches, I thought I would share my plans with you in case anyone is scrambling to find fun and engaging activities to do with their classes!

I have a few things up my sleeve for Thursday, so let's get started!

{Une Recette Magique}

One of my favourite activities to do each Halloween is to make a magic potion with the class. I will be dressed up as a witch, and together we will concoct something ghoulish and delicious :)

We follow a basic recipe for a "lime float" (using lime soda and vanilla ice cream), and optional additions include "spider legs" (chocolate sprinkles), "skeleton teeth" (mini marshmallows), and gummy worms.

As an added touch, I even make special labels for the soda bottle and the ice cream carton to keep everything looking decidedly spooky. Here are some awesome labels I found online, although I usually make my French labels by hand:


As we make this potion, we gather around the carpet like witches around a cauldron, and we use a large bowl on the carpet to make our magical mixture. It's a hoot!

{Un petit cadeau}

I prefer not to hand out lootbags or candy, as I find the children are a bit overwhelmed with treats at this time of year. Instead, I use a trick I spotted a few years back. A supply teacher in the school I was working at (unfortunately I don't remember their name!) gave out "monster fingers", and oh man, what a hit! I now do this every year. All it takes is a trip to Walmart or Dollarama, and for a few dollars you can buy 2 packages of "monster fingers" (sometimes dubbed "vampire fingers").

Then, the best part: have your students grab a book! Each student receives one finger, and they use it as their pointing finger to follow text as they are reading. It is so much fun, and it gives your Halloween treat an educational purpose. The students LOVE it! And I mean L-O-V-E!!!

{Une Activité Spéciale}

Lastly, my students are obsessed with "cootie catchers" or paper fortune tellers. So, I decided to incorporate them into our Halloween celebrations! I made some printable Halloween "cocottes en papier" (also known as "salières en papier"). These fun little games help students practice spelling French colour words, and inside students will find hilarious (okay, some are admittedly a bit cheesy!) jokes. My favourite part: these will encourage students to practice their French reading skills, as well as conversational skills as they play their "cocotte" with a partner.

Check them out here! (They're also available in English on my TpT store!)

{Salières en papier pour l'Halloween!} French "cootie catc

*Happy Halloween!!!*


Monday, October 21, 2013

It's that spooky time of year...

I hope you are all enjoying gearing up for Halloween in your classrooms! We are having so much fun with a variety of spooky activities, and so far one of our favourites is learning the dance to Thriller!

I've always wanted to try this with a class, and since I'm teaching grade 2 this year I thought now was the perfect time to try! I think the Michael Jackson video is just a bit too creepy for my kiddos so instead, we've been watching... wait for it... Michael Catson ;)

Here is the video we've been learning with...

Have fun!!! :)


Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall is here!!!

Fall is here, and that nip is in the air! My students are so excited for this new season, and today we brainstormed a looooong list of everything we love about Fall. Among the most popular picks were trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, jumping in leaf piles, and eating pumpkin pie... the list goes on and on, and I can't say I blame them!

To get my kiddos in the Fall spirit, I've prepared a package of Autumn-themed math activities. These are all really fun activities for practicing math skills, and we tested them out in class last Friday. They were a huge success! I think we'll make "math games Friday" a tradition! :)

Check the activities out here-

{Vive l'automne!} 7 Engaging Games for Practicing Math Ski

~ B

Friday, September 20, 2013

Monarch butterflies

Hello, Friday! As we wrap up our third week of school, my class is also wrapping up our project on monarch butterflies. We had the "Monarchs without borders" kit from the Insectarium in Montréal. What an experience! This is my second time doing the project, and I highly reccommend it to any teachers who haven't tried it.

Not only did it tie nicely into our grade 2 curriculum (growth and changes in animals, and symmetry in math), but it was amazing to see children running into the classroom in the morning, eager to see any changes in the butterfly tent! 

Before I share some pictures of our experience, I also wanted to share a fun craft I tried with my kiddos. A word of warning though, it's a bit tricky for grade 2's to do on their own, so adult assistance is definitely required.

I found this neat idea through pinterest, coming from The Techy Teacher. My kids LOOOVED it! Click on the picture below to be taken to The Techy Teacher's blog post with instructions and a free printable!
caterpillar to butterfly art

And now, enjoy some pictures of our experience!







~ B

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School blowout!

I hope you all are having a fantastic summer! To celebrate back to school, I'm throwing a sale this week in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I've got several back to school units up, so take a look and enjoy the savings!

Most of all, enjoy some sun as you wrap up your summer holidays! :)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Planning a SUPER first week!

One thing that I always have a tough time wrapping my head around, particularly when teaching a new grade level, is that first week of school. Establishing routines and setting the tone for the school year is so important, but I want it to also be fun for my kiddos! I always try to walk a line between setting my expectations out for the students, while also creating a sense of excitement for the year to come.

This is why I've created "Second Grade SUPER-heroes! Character-building activities for back-to-school" (or "La deuxième année c'est SUPER! Activités pour la rentrée en 2e année).
Second Grade SUPER-heroes! Character-building activities fLa deuxième année c'est SUPER! Activités pour la rentrée e
Second Grade SUPER-heroes! Character-building activities fLa deuxième année c'est SUPER! Activités pour la rentrée eLa deuxième année c'est SUPER! Activités pour la rentrée e
These resource packs have activities to build citizenship in your classroom by focusing on the responsible and helpful nature of super-heroes. Students will think about their own strengths and weaknesses, they will do a self-portrait (showing themselves as a super-hero, of course!), and they will think about some scenarios where super-heroes might help others, imagining different ways to be helpful like a super-hero. This resource also includes a visualization/relaxation activity, as well as an idea for a super-hero themed gym class.

I hope they help your first week of school get off to a SUPER start!    


Sunday, July 7, 2013

July already!!!

I can't believe it's already the second week of July! Loving summer vacation, but... Oh my goodness time flies by! "Vacation" is used very loosely, of course... Every day is crammed full with work, and I'm just barely getting to dig into grade 2 planning.

Jumping in, though! I've pre-ordered a kit to start the school year off with a bang... Monarch butterflies will be gracing our classroom and, hopefully, transforming before our very eyes! My plan is to have a whole unit surrounding the butterflies which will incorporate literacy, math, and citizenship, including daily letters from our six-legged friends. You'll see it posted here within the next few weeks! 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who doesn't love games?? (Or free stuff?!)

Today, while tutoring, I got to test out one of the new resources I've made for next year. It was a HUGE success, and I just had to share the source!

There is a fantastic website called Boggles World that has F-R-E-E printable flashcards that are great for practicing reading and vocabulary building... and of course, I used them to play some games with my students.

But seriously, check out these designs! There are dozens of sets, all on different themes. Here's an example of a cute Halloween set:

And, they have cards in French as well... Yarrrr! :)

I printed out a bunch of these sets, printing two copies of each page. I then glued them onto construction paper (bristol board would work great, too), cut them apart into cards, and laminated them. Voila! Instant entertainment.

My students and I used the cards to play Go Fish, and then we shuffled the deck and laid them all face-down on the table for a rousing game of Concentration (Memory). Of course, you could always use them as traditional flash cards, but where's the fun in that? ;) My students could hardly believe they were practicing reading skills as we played.

Happy Playing! 


Calendar Math

Hi y'all! For a long time I've searched for a cumulative calendar center that incorporates math into our daily calendar time. Finally, I came across this pin on pinterest. Inspiration hit... And, I created a French version for my grade 2's in the fall! 

I love that this center incorporates days of the week, greater than/less than, odd/even, telling time, patterning, place value, AND money. Holy cow! 

I think this will give us enough variety to keep calendar time enjoyable well into the year!


Monday, June 17, 2013


Here comes the obligatory introductory post... Hi, my name is Bena. Welcome to my teaching blog!

I'm currently a kindergarten teacher in Ottawa, Ontario, and in September I'll be making the switch to grade 2. I am SO excited!!! I love working with kinders (they are HILARIOUS) but think that I'll fall equally in love with grade 2.

I've been blog-stalking for years now, but have decided to finally take the plunge and start sharing some of the ideas I'm using in my classroom. Before long, you'll realize a few things about me:

1) I'm a bit of a workaholic (I currently work 4 jobs).
2) I'm a perfectionist (I try to do my absolute best at these jobs).
3) I'm an animal lover (we have frogs AND an ant farm as our class pets, and in September we will be raising Monarch butterflies.)

I hope you enjoy reading my ideas, and that you find something you can put to use in your classroom!