Sunday, January 25, 2015

Get Ready for Groundhog!

Have you started prepping for Groundhog Day yet? That's on my agenda for next week's planning. Some years, the day just sneaks up on me and Phil never even crosses my mind until February 1st! I do have my groundhog shadow puppet project ready to go but that's about it, so tomorrow I have a date at prep with my February binder! I spent a large part of the weekend working on some new things to add my unit to incorporate more informational text and vocabulary work. I'm really excited to share these with you.  If you are looking for some more resources to add to your groundhog fun, you may like these too!

Remember my post about the informational text passages for MLK Day? Well, my class rocked out the reading and annotating and they loved it! Because the written portion was a new skill, they needed quite a bit of support to organize their thoughts for the constructed response, so we will keep at it with our next unit! 

An Underground Home is a reading passage meant to be read and reread independently. This time, the students are also going to create their own diagram of a burrow (like a cutaway). They will have to look back at the text to label their drawing to show rooms and tunnels. I think they will LOVE this! 

This will also give them a focus for purposeful annotation in the margins. Setting the purpose by discussing the end product of the culminating drawing and writing activities will give the class a heads-up about what to look for in the text as they read alone.

The pages follow the same format as the MLK set, only with different text-based tasks of course!

To read the full and detailed description, you can view this item {here}. It's a mini-pack right now, so it's only $1.50!

In addition to some great read-alouds and educational videos, I use the activities in this unit. There's a little bit of something for all subjects so it's a very nice way to theme the day or week.

I was on a computer marathon to also finish an expansion to this unit. It now includes more nonfiction passages, some vocabulary work and some printables with real photographs. There's a strange glitch at my store with the thumnails right now, so I'll show you the update here:

If you are interested in any of these fun activities and projects, you can read more {here}. If you have this packet, be sure to download your update.

We are going to have a blast with the...How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?... tongue twister too! That's a favorite brain break and always good for a laugh!

What do you have in the works for Groundhog fun? I'm not sure I'll do the groundhog pudding cups again this year. They were too darn hard to open but they sure were cute. I need a new treat idea. if you have one let me know! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Primary Powers: Winter Math Activity FREEBIE!

Hello Everyone! Today I am blogging over at Primary Powers! I have a cute little penguin-themed math center to share with you! 

Head on over to read more about it! 
Your class will LOVE it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wacky, Tacky the Penguin Fun!

We've been have a wacky, very tacky, time of it with Tacky the Penguin this past week! You may remember our fun from last year...Well, we're back at it again not just because it's such an awesomely funny story, but because each year, grades 2+ in our district have several genre units we are required to teach. Our second grade units are about teaching tolerance through fantasy stories and then a nonfiction unit follows on that same topic too. In the fall, we use Stellaluna and then do a nonfiction unit on bats. It works out beautifully and the students love the variety of activities during our units that we throw in as "extras"!  The story is OFF LIMITS as a read-aloud in any other grade as a district policy so unless the students have the book at home, it is exciting and new to them which is great! What is NOT in the genre unit on Tacky is everything I have to share with you here! 

One important thing we do is to work on vocabulary for the story. This year, I posted vocabulary cards as an around the room activity and then hung them on the whiteboard on display for the week. 

We also made these cute Tacky friends and hung them up. Each shirt and bow tie pattern was copied on scrapbook paper. 

Each child in the grade has a copy of the book, so we can do repeated readings and work on fluency. We had great fun with character voices for the songs and chants! 

We did a lot of comprehension work in a packet that I created for the children. Here we sequenced the events and wrote about character traits.

The class completed a variety of graphic organizers similar to Venn Diagrams and Thinking (tree) Maps because that is a school improvement goal. The other pages have story questions similar to those asked on the DRA test.

Then there were plenty of things we did just for fun! We invented a new companion for Tacky and also wrote about some other tricks that Tacky might be good at! The students loved sharing their tricks with the others at their table group.

When it was time for a brain break, we picked from these cards. The class favorites were the penguin march through the hall and singing some really DREADFUL songs together with a strong country twang. The class thought this was just the best!

On Friday, we had a Wacky Tacky Day. The students dressed in their worst mismatched attire and accessories!

I wasn't quite as tacky as the kiddos who really got into it... but I wore some totally crazy floral leggings and borrowed a tuxedo shirt and bow tie from my son's closet. I pretended to be Perfect who is starting to appreciate the benefit of letting loose every now and then! 

The kiddos were also allowed to bring their companions to school!

A few hunters joined us too.

In the afternoon, the students watched the documentary/movie,  March of the Penguins, which they absolutely loved! It is a great intro to the nonfiction unit on penguins as the second half of the genre unit begins.

Our Tacky week and wacky day were such a blast! If you are interested in the penguin crafts, worksheets or activities, you can find them in my Tacky the Penguin Unit .

It would be so tacky for me to show how much fun we've been having without inviting you all! 
You can have a Wacky Tacky Day in your room too!
 Just send home this little note!
 Click on the picture to download a copy!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

MLK Close Reading Passage and TDQs

Whew! Who would ever take a week to create one lesson for Dr. King Day? That would be me! I wanted this new close reading mini-unit to be just perfect for my class because I plan to make many more for our themes and major units of study. I am working to increase the rigor within our current reading program by supplementing with lots of close reading lessons and activities. I am very happy with how this brand new pack turned out! It took many revisions to perfectly adjust the wording to reach my lexile target for text complexity so it is just the right amount of challenge for my kiddos but not overwhelming or frustrating for them.

Do you like his speech bubble? Hehe!

We have been doing these types of activities with informational text all year but this one is a little different in its layout and expectations. We will start by doing it whole-group so I can model for the class. Once the students know a predictable format that should be followed, they will be able to read, annotate and respond more independently for future close reading activities like this.

I also created a rubric/checklist based on a 2 point scale for the culminating constructed response item. It helps to have a quick and easy way to communicate progress to parents.  

Here's a little peek at the item:

It's a hot bargain at just $1.20 right now! It will make for a great reading/writing lesson to integrate with social studies for MLK Day or Black History Month. To read more, you can see the full description {here}. I hope you like it! 

Did you enjoy your day off? If every day was a Saturday, I could be so productive! I'm beat, so I'm calling it quits for now. I'll be back tomorrow to share some fun highlights from last week and a little freebie too.
 Try to stop by!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Math Fact Fluency Scoots

I worked this weekend on creating some more fun scoots to add to our math block that will get the kiddos moving more during the day. They really need it!

If your kiddos are stuck inside too, you may like a scoot activity. Here are my littles playing the superhero freebie I shared at Primary Powers a few months ago.

I used this as an around the room activity. Notice the blank boxes where she skipped around...The students have to hunt for the task cards a bit. They are placed around the room on tables, desks and taped up here and there. 

You can grab that freebie {here} if you missed it!

These are our new math fact fluency scoots.
 More for other skills are in the works!

This one is not new, but it is available too!

Don't they look fun? I think my class will love them! Each one has 30 cards, a recording sheet and a self-checking answer key to keep in the tub. After the scoot activity, they can be used as any task cards for a center or for those speedy finishers!

Hope you like them! If you do, you can grab them up on sale for a short time! Just click on the pictures to see them at my store.

Have a great start to your week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Reindeer Help Wanted Project

Happy Friday all! How was the first week of 2015? I never did get that snow day I wished for, but that's OK. I didn't really need a break just yet... I am keeping with my new year goal today of FOCUS and am sticking to my plan for holiday rewinds and highlights I neglected to post! This picture shows what might just be my favorite December bulletin board project of all time! It's too cute not to share even if Christmas is now a distant memory for us all! 

The reindeer help project was inspired by a funny poem by Timothy Tocher called Help Wanted. It's about Santa's reindeer moving on, growing old and having some trouble getting along. In summary, Santa needs a new team!

After reading, we brainstormed ideas for how we would write a help wanted ad for a search for new reindeer candidates. We extended it to include possibilities for other positions that may be needed at the North Pole. 

We used this sheet to do the writing:

 The students came up with some really funny and clever ideas. 
My favorites were the job of reindeer therapist and the poop scooper!

The reindeer toppers you see were created using some adorable clipart from Teaching in the Tongass. I enlarged it to create the project pieces and copied them on tan cardstock. The students colored the antlers and hooves, then we glittered up the noses and bows. 

The class loved it, I loved it and I hope you will love it too! 

You can grab the writing paper and the directions with links {here}.

Maybe file it away or Pin these images for safekeeping until next December! 

What's on your to do list for the weekend? Even though I stocked up for the polar vortex apocolypse, I hope to be able to FINALLY go out of the house for errands since it's supposed to warm up to a whoppin' 20 degrees! That's a huge difference from the wind chills of almost 20 below that we had this week! Brr...

By the way, does anyone know of a job position for me that is somewhere warm and sunny
I might even work for carrots at this point!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thank you Notes from the Spoiled Teacher

Hoping for a cold/snow day off tomorrow reminded me that I never posted very much about Christmas or the weeks before vacation. After running out the door all excited on that last day of school, I really did not even want to think about school for a good, long while! We had such a great December with so many cute activities though, so I want to rewind a little here before going forward with more January stuff! First... let's talk about presents! Let me tell you friends, this teacher is spoiled rotten. I received so many beautiful gifts this year and the best class gift EVER which I will show you too! Wait until you see the surprise my room parents planned! 

This year, I found some spectacular stationery at Office Max and I typed my thank you notes.

I know it's not as personal to type them, but each one was individualized and I think they turned out so pretty! It saved quite a bit of time and it cost about half of what I would spend on thank you notes that look half way decent.

Want to know why I had so many to write? Look at what my dear room parents made for me! 

It's a gorgeous wreath FULL of gift cards to all of my favorite places! I just thought that was the sweetest idea!  Of course, I also got lots of darling things that the kiddos picked out for me by themselves and I really cherish those! 

So if ever you have to organize a gift for someone from a group of people, that was a super idea. If you want to save your hand from cramping while writing out thank you notes, maybe you'll want to give the stationery idea a try too! 

Another super gift I got was a planting kit. We are growing an Amaryllis and working in some fantastic science lessons along the way! I will be back to tell you about that soon.

Thanks for crossing your fingers for that snow day!
 A long weekend would be just so perfect!

Have a happy end to your week!

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