Friday, April 27, 2012

Character Traits using Literature

Whew, TGIF! I had a rough week with my kids and ironically we have started our Character Traits unit. I'm not sure why we save this in our district until the end of the year because so many kids would benefit from it sooner. I have enjoyed it a lot more this year because we have done more read and respond with it. Here's a look at what we've done so far.
Here is our 'Hall of Fame' and 'Wall of Shame' chart. Around the chart are 16 vocabulary cards with various traits we are studying.  The sentence strips have the trait written on it with a color picture of the book that exhibited that trait.
We read the book Kate Shelly and the Midnight Express. My class loved it! Kate really demonstrated the character trait of determination and bravery. There is a picture of the book cover on that sentence strip, too.
Here is our 'Wall of Shame' characters - so far. These are some of my most favorite books!

Here is a foldable we made comparing and contrasting what Elbert did in Elbert's bad word vs. what we would do. Notice the Angel and Devil in the picture.
This was a great place to write a brief summary of the story.

Funny, this was the common reaction of my students yet I don't believe they would all pretend like they didn't hear that bad word!

Here is our 'Most Wanted' posters. They are about Camilla Capybara. They include a description of her crime, whereabouts, and reward for her capture. She was obviously a shameful character!

 All of these items can be found in my Character Trait unit. Click below to head on over and get a copy for yourself. 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Animal Unit, continued.....

We are smack in the middle of our animal unit, yippee! Now that our testing is over for the year we can actually spend adequate time on all subjects. I always feel like science is shaved and trimmed - and it's the kids' favorite.

So, here is a look at how things have been going so far.

Guided response questions to review the animal classes. The kids loved our version of 'Fact or Fake?' using these handy Popsicle sticks. It worked so well because the ones that were fake we talked about how to turn the statements into facts.

A goldfish tank array integrating multiplication and our animal unit! The poster there is a poem explaining how the fish got caught.

Close up - notice the pirate ship!

Paper plate animal class wheel. The underneath flaps are illustrations of an animal from that class.

Bird and amphibian.


Outside of flaps have definitions on them. We created anchor charts as a class over the last week to help us finish our plate wheels. 

We have a lot left to do but I wanted to share what we had done so far! If you'd like to get a copy of this unit check it out below.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Math, math, math!

As a group we do a lot of collaborative planning. My job is primarily to come up with where we are going in math and which strategies we will be using. One thing that we decided on as a grade level two years ago was the need for isolating math vocabulary. It has made such a difference for our kids. Here are some resources I use to teach math vocabulary.

 Here is a website that is interactive and perfect for a smart board. It illustrates a TON of math words. It has options for practice with some words. The kids love it and we consult this resource a lot on Mondays when we are beginning a new unit. This is a great start, but it's not enough. We also have a math word wall in our classroom. On it we put math words that we are exposed to during Fantastic Five and our math series.

Here is a product I made to help teach math words. It would be appropriate for 2nd or 3rd grade students.

Now that we are approaching the end of the year we have some time in our math pacing guide to do some reviewing. I made this resource as a review of the topics we have covered in math this year. It is the ABC'S of math. Each letter is basically a heading for some practice problems. It's not anything too fancy but will be a good guide for me the last two weeks of school. It will also let me get back into my cabinet and get out the favored games for each topic. My plan is to use the binding machine and put them together like a book. I hope the kids will keep them and consult them some on rainy days this summer!

Leave me a comment and your email address and I'll give a copy of our book to the first person to respond.

Click the picture of the book to head on over to my TpT store to grab a copy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Multiplication using The Ants Go Marching

Whew - we are right in the middle of our multiplication unit. The kids are pumped about their ice cream sundaes they are working to earn. My chart is hung up right on the door so everyone passing by in the hall can see it.You can read more about that here.

I've been busy busy trying to help the kids understand arrays. They get the facts and are pretty good at skip counting but they still don't quite get the arrays. Well I love poetry and music so I fused together some ideas toh help fix this. So, here it is!

 Instead of ants this packet features flies buzzing and bears marching. This line repeats over and over in each stanza.
The bears go marching one by five, hurrah, hurrah
In search of snacks that are alive, hurrah, hurrah..
The first number changes in each stanza so the kids are building arrays. They are forced to analyze how many groups of five and how many in total.

Here is a picture of the recording sheet and the manipulative circles. We used Teddy Grams as our manipulative. At this point the poem had been read through the third stanza.  

Close up of the manipulative circles. 

 Here is the fourth stanza. I wrote this poem myself and the kids LOVED it! :) If you are interested in this match packet please click here.

The bears go marching four by five, hurrah, hurrah
In search of snacks that are alive, hurrah, hurrah.
And now there is a thunderous roar,
Coming from the forest floor.
Using attitude, being rude, hunting food.
 Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

I will give this one away as a freebie. Just be sure you follow my store and leave me a comment on my blog with your email address.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mother's Day Poems

I'm super excited about the upcoming holiday. This is my second mother's day as a mother and it's so much more meaningful for me now. I decided this year to incorporate the holiday with our poetry unit that we do in April. I created a packet of poems and have posted it at Teachers Pay Teachers. You can find it here.

Our plan is to create these poetry books. There are two thinking sheets and 7 poem templates. We will work on it during our writing block the next two weeks. In May we are going to celebrate the end of our poetry unit by inviting our moms into the room for a 'Mother's Day Tea.' We will have refreshments, share our work, and I'm going to make a slideshow for the mom's. I'm super excited!

Here is the beginnings of our project. We started with Haikus and a circle map. They are my favorite! 
Planning and counting syllables.

More planning. This is the 'sloppy copy.' We transposed the following day.

A Portrait of my Mom. Love how the hair curls!

Do I spot a future artist for Scrappin' Doodles?

Click the picture above to go and get a copy of this mother's day book! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Multiplication Freebie

Wow! Spring break is over, but not for me! Unfortunately my son was sick today so I got to stay home with him. I really didn't mind - he cuddled up with me and was not going ninety to nothing like he normally is.

When I return to school, tomorrow hopefully, we will begin our unit on multiplication. In 2nd grade our students have to learn the concept of arrays and repeated addition. They are normally pretty good at this. This year we are going to piggy back on some ideas I have seen here on Pinterest and ProTeacher and encourage multiplication mastery.

Our end of the year is really a time for review but everyone knows the motivation is gone after spring break so hopefully this spark will be the difference maker for our students. We have been working on multiplication a little here and there. For the most part my students know the 1's, 2's, and 10's really well. Most have also mastered the 11's, but when you mix all the facts together it gets jumbled for them. Basically we are going to build a Sundae based on the math facts they have mastered. Our grade level tweaked this idea for what we needed. No 7, 8, or 12. We'll save that for third grade teachers!

As we do assessments and the students pass we will stamp that fact beside their name. I'm fortunate at my school to have a poster machine so this will be a poster on my door for everyone to see. We will celebrate with the ice cream party some time in May. We are planning to take about 3 or 4 weeks to do this. 

Anyway to get our minds rolling with those 2's we will be playing Bump. All you need for this game is a deck of cards with the face cards removed and counters.

Be sure you click on the pictures to head on over to my TpT store to claim these freebies.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Behavior Management Freebie

I am enjoying my wonderful spring break - finally! I have been busy tweaking this and that and wanted to share something that I have been using. I'll have to post pictures later, but the document is here.

 I got a new student last week that comes with a lot of emotional baggage (like so many that we have nowadays!) Anyway, we put him onto a behavior plan so he could start his time off right at our school. I do think it's helping. We did two days with it before the break and he seemed to grasp the system and really respond to the rewards.

 Here is a little about it. I saw this idea on pinterest. My assistant principal who is lovely also saw it and we molded our minds together to make this one. Here is her original pin that she created. I'm not sure which blog she modeled it after, but here is her pin.

 Well what I found after using this card is that I didn't want to set a number for him because schedules vary from day to day and there are some days he won't have the opportunity to earn as many as others. I am totally for this system but there are so many different adults in and out during the school day that I felt like saying get 10 or get 15 was unfair. So I made this system for us and it seems to be helping.

I have it color coded in place of the numbers. My thinking is that every three punches he will get a reward of his choice. We have discussed what it is that he would like and there is an array of goodies. I have a few small little 'toys' that he can play with. I put a digital timer in there and he seems to have no problem giving them up when the time is over. ( I say toys but they are merely oil and water mixers that have food coloring in them!)

So basically every three punches he gets a prize. I made another card that will progress to every four punches. There is a final page that is every five punches. My hope is that when we get to five we can transition off of this system.

I have a hole puncher (crazy, I know!) on my lanyard that I wear around my neck. It's noisy sometimes but it makes it so convenient to use. I love this system better than the paper contract where you keep score or do smiley faces.

The student has this single card on a ring. I put the ring on his belt loop or jacket zipper. At the end of the day it goes home with him so his mom can sign the back.

I really think the color helps because he can see how many more squares he needs punched before he gets a prize. The numbers was good but he was disappointed if he did not get a target number. This is going to focus more on the instant classroom rewards we offer vs. the big prize at the end of the day.

Oh, and by the way. I had to explain this system to my other students so they would not feel that jealously. They have done well. I basically leveled with them and many have decided to help out during this transitional time in our classroom. They really do rise to the occasion! :)

Don't forget to click the picture to head over to my TpT to pick this up for free.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Coming Soon... Animal Unit

I have been on spring break for 48 hours but I have been busy trying to get my animal unit set. We will begin it probably the week after we come back. In second grade we have to focus a lot on knowing the major animal classes, excluding insects. That's strange that we don't teach insects - but we don't! :) Anyway, I am almost done with my unit but I wanted to share a tidbit. It's an animal 'I have, Who Has?' game that reviews a lot of the vocabulary that we will be using throughout this unit. I predict we will have to play it toward the end because there are a lot of meaty word here. But I know they will be able to do it! Enjoy.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Smorgasbord before Spring Break - Tall Tales and Word Problems!

Spring break has started for us, THANK GOD! I needed this time to rest and relax. It's been a very busy couple of weeks. Here is a snap shot of a few things we did this past week.

The finished Paul Bunyan tall tales. The turned out so cute! They are just the right length on our classroom clothesline that hangs from the ceiling.

Side view of the Paul Bunyan's. You can find a post about my tall tale unit here. Still have a few to give away. 

From social studies to math - we have started writing our own word problems for problem of the day. You can read about my guided math block and how I use word problems here.
This picture shows the problem of the day basket. It includes setting cards, number cards, and recording papers.

You can get a copy of the word problem unit here.

A finished product! It's even a multi step problem.

My kids have loved solving each others problems for problem of the day. 

How do you incorporate word problems into your classroom?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tall Tale Genre Study and Giveaway

Ahh.... I am finally done with our district map testing. I'm so relieved because I feel like I can go back to teaching in a more relaxed mode. We started our newest genre study. I love genre studies! The kids do so much better when you isolate skills. It's seem so simple sometimes, yet in education I feel like we can over complicate things! Am I the only one who feels that way? Anyway, here is a look at what our unit contains and what we will be doing.

 I started by changing our focus books to all Tall Tales. I didn't really tell anyone what genre the new books were. These books are read alouds I do during the week. If the students finish early with work they often go and grab a book from here. It's like a mini library. A few students noticed the new books but not everyone.
 The next thing I did was introduce the word tall tale. We did a consensogram. I was pleased that I had most students honestly answer this. They really did not know very much about tall tales. That's okay - we are just starting out! I think this is a big struggle in elementary school. Everyone wants to be an expert the first day.
 While my students were doing some independent reading I changed out the vocabulary cards and focus chart on our spotlight wall. We then read the story of Pecos Bill. We talked about these different elements and the kids even wanted to keep a tally of the hyperboles that occurred in that story. I hung up our consensogram but will be adding our tally chart of hyperboles to this wall.

Here is Pecos Bill's horse. Some versions call this horse Widow Maker and some call his horse Lightning. I  like the name Widow Maker because it gives you a chance to teach a new word! The speech bubble is a summary of the story. We made a list of major events on an is, can, has anchor chart. Then, the students wrote their summaries of the Tall Tale. 

 Here is a Paul Bunyan summary. I got the idea of Pinterest to make his body long. I used clip art from Scrappin Doodles. I didn't print the kids copies in color but I told them to outline and add their own color. They turned out cute!

 The body part of Paul Bunyan is a summary of the story of Paul Bunyan. We used an ABC graphic organizer to record important events. Then, the kids worked on them. I have a clothesline in my room and am going to stay after tomorrow to hang all of these little fellas up! I can't wait. :)

All of the resources above can be bought in my tall tale genre study unit. I will give away three to the first three people that leave me a comment with their email address!

This unit does include Johnny Appleseed and Davey Crockett. As a disclaimer they are included in our standards and we often discuss how the oral history of Tall Tales has caused two real life people to find their names on the tall tale list.

 How do you teach tall tales?  Am I missing a great activity that I should add next year?