Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Our Student Author Celebration - Red Carpet Readers

Second grade writers evolve so much during the school year! They go from writing brief summaries to full blown stories with dialogue and moving plots. It's important to acknowledge and celebrate that growth with my littles and their families! That's why I began a tradition in my classroom ...

Each May, my students become author stars for a day! The day is focused on making them feel special and proud of their accomplishments. Here is how I do that:

1. They get all dressed up ... at least those who's parents can get them out of the athletic gear for a day. :)

2. Setting the scene is SUPER important! I glam it up! There is a "red carpet" made of red stars with each name written in sparkles, a silver curtain, table clothes, and centerpieces. Plus, you can't forget the cookies and juice for them to share with their guests!

3. Each Red Carpet Reader tells the group a little about themselves. You know, because we're all dying to know more about these celebrity writers! I suggest they say hello in the native language of their guests. Sometimes they even wear cultural clothes "to make their guests feel welcome"!

4. After the presentations, it's finally time to share their writing portfolios with their special guests! This is the final draft of every piece of writing from the entire year.

It's important to make sure ad administrator is available in case a students doesn't have a "special guest"!
You can see how special this is to everyone in the room!! Both the parents AND the students are beaming with pride! This my favorite celebration of the school year!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How to help parents understand Common Core - FREEBIE!

Is it really conference time already? How is that even possible?!
And only 52 days until Christmas ... just saying! EEK!

Anyway, this year I really wanted to create a resource that would help parents get a better understanding of what reading looks like in my classroom now that we're fully invested in the Common Core standards. I think about what reading was like when I was in school and realize it is completely different! If that's what my parents are envisioning, they probably feel helpless when it comes to working with their child at home.

I decided to make 3 new resources. The first is simply explaining how 2nd grade readers have changed since we were in school. The next 2 are tips on building reading comprehension skills and writing skills at home.

 You can grab them for FREE here!
I hope you find these helpful!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Camp Read-A-Lot: A Genre Classroom Campout

Welcome to Camp Read-A-Lot!
Just imagine their excitement when you tell your class that you're going camping ... in the classroom! My planning team and I love to do this at the beginning of each year. It's a fun way to get the kids familiar with the different genres. If you decide a classroom campout is in your future, there's a freebie at the end of this post!

At the poetry station, students read a few poems and talk about how poems make them feel. Then, they read a rhyming poem about s'mores and fill in the blanks with rhyming words. Finally, it's snack time! I like to dip marshmallows in melted chocolate and crushed up graham crackers.
At the fables station, They read various fables and talk about the elements of a fable. The students use some of these fables and this flipbook as they work: Fables and Flipbooks

At the Realistic Fiction station, we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The students use what they've learned about realistic fiction to decide of that story fits. Finally, use a fill-in-the-blanks story to write their own realistic fiction story about a camping adventure. (Hint: Freebie!)

The final station is the Fairy Tale station. This is by far the station that gets the most laughs! First, the students learn about the genre. Then, they fill in a fairy tale adlib. It's hilarious!! My teacher partner found it, but I can't figure out where - most likely Pinterest! :)
Check out some pics from our day!


Freebie Time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 Life Lessons Your Students Will Learn From Kid Kids Club

1. Empathy is not only noticing how someone is feeling, but also changing the way you act to be sensitive to their feelings.
In an elementary classroom, this is a vital lesson to teach your students. Many elementary students are still in the "me centered" world mostly because no one has ever challenged them to step out. I use a wonderful book as an introduction. It walks a little girl through learning what empathy is and shows her trying it out in real life scenarios.

2. You can make a difference in this great big world.
Kids often think they're too small to make an impact. I talk about the ripple effect that random act of kindness can have. We talk about how our small act of kindness (like helping a friend pick up their dropped lunch) can ripple and move from person to person.

3. Random Acts of Kindness, whether big or small, change the world.
Kindness is important. We learn that you can show kindness through smiling at another student as they pass in the hall or asking a friend how their day is going. You can also plan out your kindness on a larger scale such as collecting stuffed animals and books for kids in foster care. All of these acts of kindness are equally important!

4. When we work together, we can make a bigger difference.
This is shown through missions such as having a canned food drive or writing letters to a fire station thanking them for working on Thanksgiving. We talk about how one can or one letter would be nice, but 25 cans or 25 letters is even better!

5. Helping someone else helps you too!
This is the final and most important lesson!  Kind Kids Club helps my students to build a sense of community and purpose. After experiencing how wonderful it feels to help another person, I notice this becoming the norm in our classroom. The kids start noticing each other's feelings and helping one another.

Check out this post about setting up Kind Kids Club in your room!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My New Favorite Body Break

Anyone else have a class that's obsessed with "Watch Me" - Silento? My kids want to sing it and dance the dances all the time ... and at all the wrong times. So, when I saw this new video of a gym teacher turning the song into a cardio workout, I knew it needed to be our new brain break! We've been squeezing this one in at least once a week!

Check it out!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Scientists at Work! Static Electricity!

In our Forces and Motion unit. My students are having a great time learning about pushes, pulls, gravity, and magnetism, but I think their favorite has been static electricity! Here is what our static electricity 2 day unit looked like...

1. Make static electricity! I had the BEST candidate for this one!

2. Make an empty pop can roll across the table without touching it! What?! Somehow I had no idea you could do this and it was SO cool to watch the reaction that my class had! We learned some more about static electricity and what is causing the force.

3. It was time for the students to put their scientist hats on and do some experimenting. Partners worked together using my lab report template to follow the Scientific Process.

Can 2nd Graders really follow the scientific process on their own with minimal guidance from their teacher? (This was the question I asked myself over and over!) The answer is YES and they did a great job! I will say that we had already written a lab report together as guided practice - a very important step to them gaining their independence. Here are some pictures of the students testing their hypotheses ...

What great little scientists! If you're interested in my lab report template, you can find it at my TPT store. Here's a peek at the front cover!

This report covers each section of the scientific process:
1. Question
2. Hypothesis
3. Materials
4. Procedures
5. Data
6. Results
7. Conclusion