First up - congrats to my two MPM School Supply gift certificate winners!
You will receive an email shortly.  For everyone else, you can get 10% off your order at MPM just by clicking this link: 

I've been loving reading through all the posts in DeAnne's Picture Book linky, so I decided to join in!

At the beginning of the year, I always set up my expectations.  

To teach behavior, I like to read How Do Dinosaurs Go To School by Jane Yolen.

And for setting up the Daily 5 and reader's workshop, I always read The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram.

I'm also going to read a lot of tropical-themed books to go with my classroom theme and to help my students learn more about the ocean.  I've created a book study to go with The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.  

I created vocabulary activities, a literacy center, graphic organizers, writing prompts, and art projects.  They are even aligned to 2nd grade common core standards! 
There are some fun writing and craft projects included:

What books do you plan on reading next school year?
I decided to take the plunge and work hard this year to become a Whole Brain Teaching Certified Teacher! I joined up with a summer book club over at Whole Brain Teaching Book Club.  To be certified, you need to produce several online writings that cover different aspects of WBT.  This can be done either on the WBT forums or on a blog.  So, with the help of my amazing blog designing friend Tessa, I created a new blog!

To celebrate my new blog and my leap into all things WBT, I'm having a giveaway!  The awesome people over at MPM School Supplies generously donated TWO $25 give certificates for two lucky winners.  To enter, use the rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I've been out of school for the last couple of weeks, just relaxing with my family, hosting some visitors, and working on house projects.  It feels good to have time to do all the things that have gone on the back burner this year!  I've even squeezed in a couple hikes with the kiddos!

The last couple of weeks of school, I made some fun summer themed reading centers for my students to do at our Word Work rotation during reading center time.  I'm the type of teacher who likes to keep routines and our schedule as close to normal as possible during the last week of school.  I know this makes more work for me as I have to stay late to do report cards and pack up my room, but I really feel that this is what's best for kids.  I get frustrated when teachers say they are only babysitting and watch tons of movies that last week.  What's the point of even going to school then?  *Off my soap box, thanks for listening to my rant! :)

Here are the centers I made:

I made 4 centers for 2nd grade.  Could be used as review in 3rd grade or as challenge in 1st grade, as well.  



 Reflexive Pronouns

Arranging Sentences

If you are still in school and looking for some extra activities, these would be great.  I go back to school on August 1st, so I will use them at the beginning of the year, too.  As always, homeschool, summer school, or year-round schools could use these as well.

Check these out on Teachers Pay Teachers {here}

Happy Summer!

Now that I am in summer mode, I loaded up my kindle with some must read teacher books.  First on my list is Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle.  I chose this book first because it's only $7.99 as a kindle download, and also because I dabbled in WBT this year and wanted to learn more.  There is a summer book club going on over at

I love that all of the materials for WBT are free over at their website,  Materials that other teachers create are also free over at Teachers Pay Teachers.  You might remember that I created a set of the rules to reflect my multicultural classroom back in this blog post in November.

On to the Book Study!

Chapter 1 of the book was all about who created WBT and who uses WBT.  Not only is this good management for your entire classroom, but it is a great way to diffuse those power struggles with your challenging kids.  I used to work at a pretty rough school and sometimes I would come home so angry.  Angry for not receiving enough support from admin, angry for not being able to do everything that was mandated each day, angry that I couldn't reach each and every one of my 33 students.  I was exhausted and fed up.  Instead of leaving the teaching profession, my family and I moved to Hawaii (well, some other reasons factored in, as well).  At my new school, I could start over and try new things to become a better teacher.  One of these new things was Whole Brain Teaching.  I loved that it is focused on fun.  I loved that it was quick paced and got every student involved.  After going a year of dabbling in the techniques and trying it out as I also learned a new grade level, new standards, new curriculum, and a new school system, I am ready to go full out next year.  I am so excited to learn more about WBT and to see it translate into good teaching and learning in the classroom!

In chapter 2, Biffle tells us the First Great law of Whole Brian Teaching: "The longer we talk, the more students we lose."  I am GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) certified and the GLAD model of sheltered instruction says that students need 2 minutes of processing for every 10 minutes of instruction.  They call this a 10/2.  After 10 minutes, have students turn and talk about what they just learned to a neighbor.  WBT uses this same approach, it just creates a much more structured routine for doing this, a routine that every student can follow and know the expectation to.

Another technique of WBT that crosses over with GLAD is the use of TPR (Total Physical Response). TPR is the idea that by assigning movement to learning new vocabulary or language  students will remember the term better.  Since WBT assigns movement with the different rules and routines, I knew that my students would be engaged and learning much more than if I were to just tell them my expectations and leave it at that.

Have you ever felt like me?  Angry and beaten down?  If so, WBT might be the boost your classroom needs!  Join me as I read the book and follow the book study!

To continue following along with the book study, I have created a WBT-only blog at Whole Brain Teaching With Style, and all other WBT posts will be over there! :)

Remember in the fall when I got together with my great friends Nicole (Rowdy in Room 300), Tessa (Tales From Outside the Classroom), and Ashley (Teacher's Treasure Chest)?  We gave away some items for free for people who signed up.  You only had to follow all of our blogs and you got a 100 page ultimate freebie from us! We wanted a fun and different way to thank our followers.  Well, we decided to do it again and we recruited some more of our best blogger friends!

You can receive ALL of this!

To receive the Swimming into Summer items, all you need to do is follow ALL of our blogs and come back here and fill out our form at the bottom of my post.  That's it!  You can enter now through Sunday, June 9th.  We'll start sending them out on Monday, June 10th.  You can go to each blog, by clicking on each button below.
Rowdy in Room 300
A day in first grade
It's LMN Tree
My (Not So) Elementary Life
A Teeny Tiny Teacher
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Sunny Days in Second
Mrs Wheelers First Grade
Remember, all you need to do to get all of these is just follow each blog and enter using this form.  Even if you're already out of school, you can use these next year! :)
Hurry up though! The giveaway will only run through Sunday, June  9th. So sign up now and we will begin sending out the products next Monday!

Thanks for being a follower!