Monday, April 24, 2017

Life Cycles

Spring is in full swing and that means so is our life cycle unit! Life cycles is my favorite science unit of the year! We have so much to cover, so I rely on engaging text, fun crafts, and BrainPop Jr. to help my kiddos make connections to the content!


Let's start with insects...


I begin insect week by making a KWL chart, watching BrainPop Jr. on insects, and reading Fly Guy Presents: Insects. Throughout the week, I like to read books by National Geographic Kids on different insects. The insects I focus on are butterflies, ants, and bees. I like the book about the butterfly migration because it helps explain another aspect of the Monarch butterfly life cycle. The book A Butterfly is Patient is also a great book to use when teaching about the butterfly life cycle. I plan on reading that book tomorrow since our caterpillars have all just formed their chrysalises. 


The book Puppy to Dog is a great book for teaching about the life cycle of a mammal. It is two books in one. If you start from the back of the book, you can read from kitten to cat. My Book of Life Cycles has many different life cycles included. My kids like this book because of the variety of animals mentioned. They love to compare different animal life cycles!


A life cycle unit isn't complete without a week long plant investigation! I like to read A Seed is Sleepy, A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds, From Seed to Plant, and National Geographic Kids Seed to Plant


I also like to keep materials consistent each week, so my students know what to expect. This helps them stay organized. For each life cycle, we complete a flip book to help us describe each stage in the life cycle. I also keep a life cycle poster hanging on our science wall for students to refer back to. You can find National Geographic Kids Frogs! here.




With our plant unit, in addition to learning about the life cycle, we also plant lima bean seeds and observe their growth. 


You can find my life cycle units in my TPT store. The unit pictured above is a freebie! If you download the life cycle of a dog, it will give you a good look at what the other units include! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Weekly Recap

Boy oh boy... it has been a busy week! I'm feeling the end of the year rush to get everything in before I have to say goodbye to my sweet second graders. Anyone else?! Today I'm sharing a few Insta posts from a couple of weeks ago...


In my class, we have green marker checkers. This is how it looks in my class... I select a few students who have shown mastery on a skill and those students become peer coaches. I try to choose different students each time, so that every student has an opportunity to share their strength. These students either help me check independent work, or coach their peer through an assignment as I work with other groups of kids. For example, in math, I give a quick independent assignment after my mini lesson and before students go to their math center. I select students who can help check the assignment and help others who have questions. 


I have used this book recently to help me plan my reading mini lessons. The Reading Strategies Book has great ideas for every grade level!


We used my Letter Writing with a Fairy Tale Twist mini unit when studying letter writing and fairy tales. I just love singing the parts of a letter to the tune of head, shoulders, knees, and toes. This handout really helped my students connect the song to how we set up a letter!

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend and a happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Weekly Recap

Happy Easter! I hope y'all had a wonderful Easter spending time with family and friends! I'm popping in to share a weekly recap in case you missed it.


I shared this resource that I use on a weekly basis while planning my lessons. This Common Core flip chart by Mentoring Minds has many great ideas!


My little man so enjoyed his Easter Basket. I was able to get most of the items from Target or Walgreens. The book, Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs?, I ordered off Amazon. 


Did you watch the Masters last weekend?! What a great finish! Little man got this book, Badges, Egg Salad, and Green Jackets, as a gift last year. It has great information! 


This past week in math we've been working on 2- and 3-dimensional shapes. I had students build shapes using marshmallows and toothpicks, based on attributes that I called out loud, as a review for our test. They loved it and I loved the conversations I overheard while they were trying to figure out what shape matched my descriptions! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Gifts

It's Thursday, so you know what that means... It's Friday Eve y'all! I'm stopping by today to share a few teacher and student quick/inexpensive gifts for Easter.


I really enjoy giving my little man's teachers a small, themed gift each month. This is just a little something to show how much we appreciate them. I filled snack size bags with chocolate eggs and attached a "you are an "egg"cellent teacher tag to it.


For students and coworkers, I filled snack size bags with peeps. They turned out so cute!

If you're interested in these tags, stop by my TPT shop to pick them up for 50% off through tonight!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Weekly Recap

Happy Sunday friends! I'm fresh off my Spring Break vacation and wanted to drop by for a little weekly recap, Spring Break edition, in case you missed my Instagram posts this week. 


One thing I was especially excited about was having the time to read a book for pleasure! It's the little things am I right?! Nicholas Sparks is my go to author for beach reads! The Best of Me, like most of his other books, did not disappoint. I literally could not put it down! The ending wasn't what I was expecting, but I've recovered. Ha!


Little man had to have his share of beach reads too! You Are My Baby is a cute book that is like two books in one. There is a larger section of the book made up of pages that show the adult ocean animal and a smaller section of the book pages that shows the baby that belongs to each animal. My little one just loves finger puppet books. Little Fish is the second one he has and I plan on buying more in the future. I bought Seashore Baby because of the lift flaps. Little man loves to lift the flaps! Under the Sea is a fun book with textures to touch. I loved this book because it has real pictures. The last book I purchases was Good Night Beach. We always read before bedtime and I thought this book would be the perfect ending to a perfect day at the beach!


The best part of my vacation was who I spent it with! I love my little family beyond words! I hope you are able to enjoy a relaxing Sunday spent with family and friends! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Themes #onelittleword

The beginning of a new month is always an exciting time! A new month, for me, is a time to set new goals and try new things. I began using #onelittleword in my classroom last month (If you missed that post you can find it here.). I was blown away with the reflections and connections my students made to our weekly word. My kiddos looked forward to their word of the week and were excited every Monday to see what our new word would be. So I'm back to share what words I'll be using this month in my classroom! 


This month's themes make me happy! April makes me think of renewal and growth!


I also chose to include some words that have prefixes and suffixes because we will be focusing on those this month in reading. 



If you want to try out #onelittleword in your classroom, you can download it here. Let me know how it goes! 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Weekly Recap

Happy Saturday! In case you missed any of my Insta Posts recently... here is a quick recap!


After reading Rosie Revere Engineer, we read a nonfiction text about Amelia Earhart. We determined the main topic of each chapter and ended the week by determining the main idea of the entire text. My kiddos determined the main idea of the text by identifying Amelia Earhart's legacy. We used the sentence starter "Amelia Earhart is most famous for..." to help us. They wrote this sentence on a strip of paper made to look like a banner that flies behind an airplane. We then made airplanes using a clothespin and popsicle sticks. The idea for the airplanes came from Amy Lemons at Step Into Second Grade and the nonfiction reader came from Rooted in Reading March. You can grab the airplane banner printable here.


Everyday I end the day with a read aloud. Reading aloud to my students is one of my favorite things to do in the classroom. It also helps them to settle down before the craziness of dismissal begins. Right now we are reading The Boxcar Children. My kiddos have really enjoyed this book so far. It has made for really great discussions! 


Another way I like to end my day is by writing a quick to do list on a Post-It of the top three, or four, things I need to accomplish the next day. Keeping short lists has helped me prioritize my day and keep me from feeling overwhelmed! I use Post-Its because, besides loving them so, I can stick it right to my table and throw it away at the end of the day. If you haven't tried this, you should! Let me know how it goes for you! 

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!