Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chaperone Kits

As I'm getting ready for our field trip tomorrow, I thought I'd pop in to share the chaperone kits I put together for my parents. 


I put Band-Aids, Kleenex, and peppermints in sandwich size Ziploc bags.


On the back of the Chaperone Kit label, I wrote the name of the students who will be in their group, the schedule, and my cell phone number in case of emergencies. 


If you'd like the bag labels, you can download them from here free! Do you make kits for your chaperones? If so, what do you put in them? I'd love new ideas for next year!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Guided Math

I use to have a love/hate relationship with teaching math. Some days I loved it; some days I hated it. It wasn't until I began to incorporate Guided Math into my daily math block that I started to actually look forward to teaching math everyday. I've changed how Guided Math looks in my classroom every year, but this year, it all of sudden has just clicked for me. I've said it before on my blog... I love teaching small groups! It just gives me an opportunity to really get to know my students. Here is a little peek into how I teach Guided Math.



I begin my math block with a 10-15 minute mini-lesson. I typically chose one skill/standard to cover during the week. I either create an anchor chart, work on problem solving using the I Do, We Do, You Do instruction format, or play a quick whole class game.


Here I simply wrote balanced equations on sentence strips. Some were true and some were false. Students had to work in pairs to determine if their equation was correct or not. If it was incorrect, they had to work to make it a true equation. 


After my mini-lesson, students go to math centers. One of the rotations is called instruction time. This is where students work with me in their Guided Math group. This usually lasts about 30-45 minutes. Students are grouped based on pre-assessments that are taken prior to the unit. We begin Guided Math by reviewing the skill we learned during the mini-lesson. After I see that my group is comfortable with the skill, they play a game with their Guided Math group. The lesson above has students arranging the steps to solve a word problem, in order, and using the steps to solve the problem.


Sometimes I have my kiddos record their answers on a recording sheet in a clear plastic pocket protector or we just write on the table with dry erase markers. 


These activities are part of my March Guided Math product. Each skill has a small group lesson and small group game. I've also included recording sheets for the small group game and assessments for each skill that can be used as a pre- and post-test. The small group games can be easily differentiated based on your students' needs.









I hope you're enjoying your Sunday friends!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

St. Patrick's Day

I love taking the time to celebrate holidays in my classroom. Even if that means something simple, I think the kids really appreciate it! 


We created this cute little tear art craft and writing piece the other day. I think tear art is so gosh darn cute! You can find this craft for free here.


On Friday, I plan on doing activities based on the book That's What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting. We will also build a leprechaun trap (STEM integrated) and see who is lucky enough to catch a leprechaun! In the morning, I'm leaving a bag of Trix cereal on my kiddos' tables to get them excited about our day of mischievous fun!


I'm also giving these yummy treat bags to my son's teachers. They work so hard and treat my little man so good! I like to do a little something to show them how much they are appreciated! 


I filled this clear baggie with rainbow Twizzlers (to look like a rainbow) and Rolos (to look like gold). So fun! If you want these tags, head on over to my TPT store to grab them for 50% off through tomorrow night!

How are you planning on celebrating St. Patrick's Day?!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

#onelittleword

#onelittleword is a huge thing at the beginning of a new year. For the past two years, I have chosen a #olw on New Year's Day. Last year my word was focus and this year it is joy. I leave a picture of my one little word on my camera role so that every time I scroll through my pictures, I come across it and am reminded of my goal for this year. I began thinking about how I could use one little word throughout the year to set smaller goals for myself and #onelittleword for the classroom was created. 


I started thinking about bigger themes for the month that I could use to get my kiddos to reflect on and remind them of our weekly goals. After a Google search (ha) I found that besides the typically March holidays, there were also some lesser known things to celebrate this month. 


I printed out my hashtags on lime green Astrobrights paper.


The first word I chose was #read. We were just coming off of Read Across America week and I thought what better way to continue our celebration of reading than to use read as our word for the week.


I told my kiddos that they could write a reflection on a sticky note throughout the week that had to do with reading. We referred back to our word every morning to discuss what that word means to them and set reading goals for the day. I also wrote a note to my kiddos to tell them that we would be starting a new read aloud book! This really helped them get excited! Some of the responses I got were... "reading is getting me smarter" (bless) and "work on our character voices" (all the praise hands for that reading goal). I may or may not continue to keep the word up for a week. I might find that a particular word would be beneficial for just a day. The possibilities are endless, but oh so fun! 

If you would like to try this out in your classroom, you can download it here for free. If you like it, feel free to pin any of the images above and leave me a comment!! I'd love to hear how it works in your classroom!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Comparing Fairy Tales

Comparing different versions of the same fairy tale is probably my favorite literary standard to teach! I think it is so much fun and the kids always love it too! This year I started with Jack and the Beanstalk and integrated comparing fairy tales, understanding the beginning, middle, and end of a story and opinion writing into this one unit. 


It's been a busy, but fun couple of weeks!


First, I began by reading Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg. I just love the illustrations and rich language in this book. (More on that later!) After we read the story, we charted the characters, setting, problem, and solution on our class anchor chart. I used one color sticky notes for this book and the other color is for Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks (the second book). 


After charting the story elements, we climbed the retelling beanstalk to help us remember what happened in the story. The "beanstalk" was made out of bulletin board paper. Super easy, but added novelty to our lesson!

We followed the exact same procedure for Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks by Eric Braun. This is the cutest book and really helps students understand point of view!


To reinforce beginning, middle, and end, students completed this response activity. 



This is another version of a response activity that students can complete. 


After reading both books, and really diving into story elements, we compared and contrasted the books using a Venn Diagram.


We then chose our favorite book and wrote an opinion writing piece to describe what made that book our favorite. The majority of my kiddos chose Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks! Ha!

My teacher heart actually really loves the Steven Kellogg version because of that rich language I mentioned earlier. 


similes


interesting vocabulary

I try to mark the words, and phrases, that I want to point out to my students on a sticky note. This helps me remember my teaching points because well... if I don't write things down, I might forget! Anyone else?! 

If you would like a little cheat sheet for this book to help you remember what words and phases to point out to students, I've got you covered! You can download, for free, my cheat sheet and an interactive notebook printout for students to use when discussing smilies here. You can either have your kiddos write what the simile means under each flap or have them draw a picture.



You can find my Jack and the Beanstalk mini unit here for 50% off through tomorrow!

I also have a Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale study and a Three Little Pigs fairy tale study if you are teaching a comparing fairy tales unit.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Independent Reading Folder

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday! As I get ready to go back to school after a week off, one thing I wanted to prep was new independent reading folders for my students. This idea came from an Instagram story that Jen Jones, from Hello Literacy, did. I just love using social media as PD in pajamas! I knew this was something I wanted to implement right away because I've been having such difficulty getting my students to WANT to reread texts from their book baggies. 


My plan is to grab a bunch of manilla folders, print out labels, and have my students put their reading folder together tomorrow! 


My kiddos will begin by setting a goal of how many times they want to reread their books (they have about 4-5 books in their bags at one time). I'm hoping that by turning repeated reading into a game, it will encourage my kiddos to WANT to reread their books. Here is a little explanation of the how and why...


You can find these labels to create your own folders here. They are free! Happy teaching!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is one of my favorite parts of the day! I just love being able to work with my kiddos in a smaller group setting because I feel like I get to know them better each time I meet with them! To see their growth as a reader definitely makes this teacher heart happy!


This post is all about how to make the most out of that precious small group time you have with your kiddos. Today I'm going to focus on how I use small group time to reinforce phonics and grammar skills. 


To begin my Guided Reading group, I review our weekly spelling focus and go on a word hunt with the kids through our book to find words that match our pattern. I always have examples in mind to guide my students to do this if they are having difficulties. After they find words, we work on building words, using letter tiles, that fit the pattern. In second grade, our big spelling focus is on generalizing spelling patterns and not just memorizing words for a test!

Side Notes:

 -It is so important to preview a text and know your teaching points before giving the text to your students! 
-I don't do this every time I meet with a particular group. We do this activity after students have already read through the book during a previous Guided Reading session.



If there is time, I try to work on grammar skills that we have learned about and practiced during our writing time. If I run out of time, I pull kids when I can to practice these skills. 


Another favorite of mine is working on rearranging sentences! This really helps my kiddos see not only how to produce/create a sentence, but it helps them with that tricky expanding and rearranging standard. 

What is great about practicing these activities in small group first, is that when you place these activities into literacy centers, your kiddos will already know what to do! More time spent reinforcing skills through repetition! This has been especially helpful for my lower readers/writers! 

These activities and more can be found in my March Guided Reading product here. It is 50% off through tonight!