Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

Riley, Kati, Me, Sarah, & Tim at the beach last summer

Hey, y'all!  I’m so excited to be a part of Meet the Teacher Monday!  I can’t wait to share a little bit about myself and learn A LOT about all of you!  

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Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Debra, and I blog at Mrs. McDaniel’s 2nd Grade Superstars. I’m a mom of 3 grown (or almost grown) kids – a 26 year-old daughter who got married in July AND followed in my footsteps by being an elementary schoolteacher, a 23 year-old daughter who is in the fashion design industry in NYC, and a 20 year-old son who is a sophomore at Auburn University majoring in pre-law (with a 3.81 average!!)! School started last Monday and I have been overtired, underfed, and SUPER excited about my new groups of seconds ever since! I live in Alabama in a small rural community about an hour from Birmingham and boy has this first week been hot!!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my seventh year teaching full-time.  I taught at risk students part-time for two years, ELL students part-time for four years, and then started teaching full-time in the Fall of 2004. I taught 3rd grade one year, and I have been teaching 2nd  grade for the last six years..  I *love* second grade. 

You might not know...

I didn’t begin teaching in the classroom until my oldest child was a sophomore in college (my middle child was a senior in high school and my “baby” was in 8th grade)!  Well, actually I started working with the at-risk students when my oldest daughter was a freshman in high school, and I had volunteered in their classrooms ever since they started in elementary school…but I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree when I turned 40! I began to think about what I had accomplished and how much more I had to “give’ even though my own children didn’t especially want me volunteering in their classes any more…so I went back to school! I had to learn all about taking classes in this technologically advanced age…but I am very competitive…and graduated with a 4.0 average! Not bad for an “old” lady!!

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm most looking forward to a fresh start.  I had a very difficult class last year…lots of discipline problems…several RTI students…many ADHD whose parents refused to give them medication…NO sub wanted to be in my classroom!!  I am excited about my new batch of seconds.  After one week, I can already tell this is an entirely different type of class! They are AWESOME!! I cannot wait to get to school each day!

What do you need to improve?

I want to be a better time manager this year. I tend to get “long-winded”, talk (explain) too much, get sidetracked, and have a hard time getting to “Unit” at the end of each day. I am determined to get it all in this year!

I also want to do Guided Math this year.  I did the Debbie Diller book study this summer, worked on organizing my math materials better, worked on Math “Stations”, and really want to do math this way instead of so much whole group instruction.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

Cannot live without my Elmo and LCD projector!! Don’t know how I taught without it! ;) 

Looking forward to my new Mimio…have it set up and am learning how to use it!!

My Keurig coffee maker in our 2nd grade teacher workroom…I cannot make it through the day without 1, 2, 3 (or more) cups of fresh coffee throughout the day!!

I have to agree with Abby -- books, books, and more books!  I spend a fortune on books!

And last, but certainly not least is my wonderful 2nd grade teamies...could NOT make it through a day without them!!
Me (in the middle) with the 4 best team members ever at my daughter's wedding

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Goin' to the Chapel"

I haven't written very many posts lately, and if you're wondering's because I've been planning a wedding! Yes, a WEDDING!! My oldest daughter Kati (who is a 1st grade teacher) got married Saturday. It was a wonderful weekend and a beautiful wedding. Just thought you might be interested in seeing some of the pictures (or maybe I just like looking at them myself)!

 The Bride and Groom
Sharing Cake
 Ring Bearer
 Bride with some of her students
 Father/Daughter Dance

Mother of Bride (Me) with my friends...I'm the one in the  purple dress 
 Bride and Groom with Pastors
 Bridesmaid Bouquet
 Bride and her Flower Girls
 Once a Teacher. . .Always a Teacher

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday. . .To Me (Hopefully)

It's my birthday this month, and what could be a better present than winning one of Mrs. Tabb's birthday units?! She's having a giveaway over at her blog First Grade Awesomeness, and she's giving away not 1. . .not 2. . .but 3 of her units! Head on over to her blog and check it out! It really is awesome!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Daily Schedule Linky Party

Simply 2nd Resources is having a linky party for everyone to share their daily schedules.

I don't know about you, but I struggle every year with "getting it all in". My daughter teaches 2nd grade in a different system and they are given a complete schedule...which she follows without changes. We are given our PE, Lunch, and "Special" times, but everything else is up to us. I find myself changing things throughout the year to best fit my students' needs and the class "personality". This past year I had a difficult class...several diagnosed ADHD students without behavior plans and VERY SHORT attention spans, so I found myself changing things up throughout the year to keep them focused, actively involved, and "on-task"! This was the schedule I ended up with.

I haven't been given my class list or basic schedule for next year yet. We meet Wednesday to receive them, so when I process everything and get my "first" schedule together for next year I will pass it along.

Can't wait to see everyone else's schedules!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back To School Freebies

I'm in the process of getting things together for back to school...and going CRAZY at the same time planning my oldest daughter's wedding which will take place in 15 days!!! Will I make it? At this point I'm not sure! My classroom is definitely taking a back seat to the wedding! Thank goodness for all my bloggy buddies who are providing me with so many wonderful ideas freebies to use! Once this wedding is over, it's back to work with a vengeance for me!!

So anyway, I thought I would share a few things I use throughout the year to help with behavior, classroom management, and parent communication. I had an unusually large amount of discipline problems in my class last year, so some of these documents were used to keep up with documenting information for RTI (hopefully I won't need to use them with my new group of sweeties!).

I have used the clip chart behavior plan for the last 3 years and really love it! We give a conduct grade, so I am able to use the clip chart to take away points for discipline problems. wherever a student ends up at the end of the day is noted on the weekly (or daily) behavior sheet for parents to sign.  I also keep a quick form on a clipboard at my desk to color in at the end of each day for my gradebook. All students start out with 100 points. At the end of each week I simply total up the points and subtract from their grade the week before. Most of my students end up with A's in conduct, a few end up with B's, and a very, very small amount end up lower than that.  Those are the students who end up in RTI with a specific discipline plan.

Feel free to grab anything you can use! I hope something I have shared will be helpful to someone out there in bloggy land! I will add more things as I have time (after the wedding) and will also be sure to post pictures from "the big event"!

Blank Daily Behavior

Weekly Behavior (9 Weeks)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A New Look and a Thankful Heart!

 Many, many thanks go out to Jena Snowden  of 1st Grade With Miss Snowden for so generously creating my blog's new look! Not only did she create a new background, header, and button for me...but she also set it up and made sure it worked! WOW!! She is awesome! If you haven't checked out her blog, you've really missed a treat! Go check it out...and be sure and tell her Debra sent you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Kathy at First Grade...a la Carte! is having a giveaway that you don't want to miss! Her games are amazing and you will want to check them out on her blog at her TpT store Head on over there before Christmas is over or you'll be left out in the cold!

Kinderglynn Giveaway Galore

Ok, are you sure you have enough room on your computer for all these fantastic things? Anna from Crazy for First Grade, Melissa from Mrs. Freshwater's Class, Erica from Erica Bohrer's First Grade, Michelle Oakes from Fabulous in First, Amanda from One Extra Degree, Cara from The First Grade Parade and  Kinderglynn have teamed up to offer you an amazing amount of fabulous units and games! This is HUGE! Go to Kinderglynn's blog and get your entries now!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Get Your Ticket!!

KindergartenWorks is having a HUGE giveaway. So, how huge? It includes 159 pages of printed material to use year after year and 104 pieces of clipart to create your student calendars to match your class one. They're giving one of these away in a raffle if you share about this post. You need to check it out... do it soon because their giveaway ends Wednesday 6/15/11 at 10 pm EST.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Litle Red Pen Giveaway

It's giveaway time at Third Grade Meanderings! Amanda is celebrating 100 followers and is giving away a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble

AND a copy of this book

So head on over to her blog and check it out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Classroom

As I've been reading Debbie Diller's book Math Work Stations I've been thinking about my classroom setup and how I can improve it in order to facilitate more station activities. I decided to get out my copy of another of Debbie Diller's books Spaces and Places and reread it...and then I am going to rearrange my classroom!!! We have lost 1 (possibly 2) 2nd grade units due to RIF, so my class size will increase from 18 to possibly 23. I definitely need more space! I love my reading loft, but if I can't rearrange and fit it in I will have to take it home :(
So here is my classroom now...and I will post pictures at the end of the summer of the "new and improved" version!
 Small Group Area
 Reading Focus Wall
 Reading Station Choice Board
 Word Wall
 Behavior Rules
 Writing Table
 Math Wall
 Calendar Math Wall
 AR Points Chart
 Computer Area
 Reading Loft
 Classroom Library
 Guided Reading Area/Teacher "Desk"
 View from Doorway
Classroom door...minus "M" in Mrs.!!