Friday, December 26, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things. . . and a freebie

Let's get started with the freebie! Winter fun, winter freebie!

There have been so many great things going on in our classroom.

There was one year I became so obsessed with penguins in the classroom that I had to make my way to Sea World San Diego just to sit in the Penguin Encounter area and stare at all of the penguins I. . .my students. . .had learned about. This year, however, my obsession wasn't as strong. We had gingerbread going on at the same time and I can't obsess over both.

So to get things started, I introduced my students to the research report. In the past, I've had students write their own reports, but this year I read the Common Core standard very, very carefully--students will participate in SHARED research and writing projects. Great! We were going to do this together and we had so much fun!

Students used iPads to research penguin facts.

Research reports complete and hung on the writing wall.

Using Crayola Model Magic to make penguins.

Painting our penguins. They turned out great!
This year I wrote a grant through Donors Choose to receive art supplies. My grant was funded and we have been having a blast! As you can see in the pictures above, there isn't a ridiculous amount of wasted paint around the penguins. Well, that's been part of the art lessons--how to use the art supplies. We received watercolors, temperas, clay, oil pastels, chalk, colored pencils, markers, and 8-Note bells for music.

I know, this may not sound like a "favorite thing," but it so is! My students can whip out a paragraph as fast as they can tattle on a kid for crowding in line. But not just any paragraph. A paragraph with a topic sentence, details, temporal words, and a conclusion. They are doing so well, I had to think up something to add a little incentive for awesome writing. And that's when the Pirate Award was born. The award actually changes. It can be the Snowman Award, the Gingerbread Award, really the award is based on whatever topic we're writing on. Since the kids have been writing on about 2 topics a week, I had to spice it up. The awards are based on the ideas and creativity put into the writing. As long as I know what it says, I'm excited to read it.

Needless to say, my favorite things are just that because of the enjoyment my students get out of them.

 Teaching Blog Addict Freebie Downloads

Friday, November 7, 2014

Let's Write a Paragraph & A Freebie

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love teaching kids to write. 

This past week I taught my kids the term main topic, which I was having trouble with because I'm used to main idea. The Common Core uses topic instead of idea. I'm getting used to it.

Because they're second graders, I needed to get their attention. And so I did. . . with gift bags. There were only six and I think the kids were confused by who would be getting one. Little did they know there weren't gifts in the bags. Unless you consider knowledge a gift. In that case, they all received the gift of knowledge.
The bags do say Main Idea, but have since been fixed. 

Inside each bag were some picture. We'll call these details. The pictures all had something in common and it was up to the kids to figure this out. We called this the main topic.

Many of the main topics were the same, but some of the kids thought outside of the box and came up with more creative main topics. It was all good to me.

After the group activity, each student was given a worksheet with a graphic organizer on it. From this day forward, they will be seeing this almost daily in my classroom. I find this web to be so useful for so many different subjects.
Much like the gift bag activity, the kids looked at some pictures and had to identify the main topic of the picture. This particular worksheet had the beach as its topic.
Here is the movie theater.
The kids were getting the hang of this whole concept so we used the graphic organizer to begin writing paragraphs. We wrote the first two together then they were given ten extra minutes to add more details to their paragraphs to make them more interesting. They had such a great time and felt so proud of their writing.
Now most of them are writing paragraphs on their own. They are so excited to share. Each time they see me pull out a Main Topic Worksheet, I hear the "Yes!"es throughout the classroom. Once again, mission accomplished!

 Step-by-Step Paragraph Writing Freebie

Monday, November 3, 2014

Holidays Around the Blog & A Gingerbread Freebie

I'm linking up with Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano for a holiday linky party.

This is my favorite time of year. When I think of cold weather, I think of a little brown cookie we call the gingerbread man. I pull out every version of the gingerbread man book I own and try really hard not to read them all at once. There's something about these stories that make my school year complete.
After hearing so many stories, the students become pretty familiar with the structure of this story.
The kids identify the characters, setting, plot, and refrain of the stories. 
After these activities, the kiddos are ready to write their own stories. The repetition of the stories and the refrains make story writing easy and predictable for young writers. The words will just flow, which makes them feel successful.
To encourage writing, I put up the Gingerbread Man Word Wall. Can't spell a word? No problem! Check out the Word Wall :)
You can get the fun here!
Gingerbread Man Math and Literacy Activities
The Gingerbread fun would not be complete without some cookies and gingerbread house making!
Click here for the Freebie!
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Freebie Friday October 24th

I have a thematic word wall in my classroom that my students just love. The word wall includes writing activities to work on independently. Because my students enjoy the activities so much, I thought I'd offer one as a freebie. I hope your kids enjoy it also!

Have a great Friday!

 Freebie FridayTeaching blogs share freebies all the time and at Teaching Blog Addict, we give you the place to find them all in one spot! Be sure to come back each week to see what's new! Find free downloads and teacher resources for kindergarten, first grade ,second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade.

Monday, October 20, 2014

BOLD Beginnings!

Each year I'm dying with excitement to teach Bold Beginnings. It's like I want to just jump right in and skip every other important piece of writing because once I teach kids about Bold Beginnings, their writing becomes amazing! 

So last week my world became complete. I was able to teach my 2nd graders the best thing ever, BOLD BEGINNINGS! Yay! I love it!

OK, rewind. . . I was also really impressed by how well my students picked up on this temporal words activity. 
We put together the temporal word notebook page in out Interactive Notebooks. The students will use it to reference while writing. Right now, the kids are writing a personal narrative after tons of class practice.
Interactive Notebooks, where have you been my whole life?
I just love how the kids have these notes to look  back on. 

OK back to the Bold Beginnings!

It all started with this book.
It's filled with sounds heard throughout a city, which is a great way to introduce onomatopoeia.  

 That's a real life kid page right there.

We put together this notebook page and wrote a Bold Beginning under each flap. The kids had so much fun making the Oo oo! Ah ah! noises of a monkey.

Once we tried out each B.B., we chose a new topic. . . Halloween!

Kids worked in groups to write all four of the B.B.

Here is our collection of Bold Beginnings.

The thing I enjoy most about teaching writing is teaching kids to let go of spelling. 

"Don't worry about your spelling!" I say. And once kids let go, you get some great writing.

More practice. More fun!

Today my students had to apply this new learning to their narratives. Each was able to write four different Bold Beginnings to topics of their choosing. I was so proud of them.
The best part, they had fun writing!

Mission accomplished.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Freebie Friday for October 17th

Happy Friday!

This is an addition to my Interactive Grammar Notebook for the Primary Grades and it's FREE! If you like it, check out the full product at my TpT store. If you haven't tried interactive notebooks, you're missing out! Kids absolutely love them and. . . shhh. . . don't tell. . . they don't know they're learning.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a restful weekend :)

  Freebie FridayTeaching blogs share freebies all the time and at Teaching Blog Addict, we give you the place to find them all in one spot! Be sure to come back each week to see what's new! Find free downloads and teacher resources for kindergarten, first grade ,second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Day of the Dead

I'm linkin' up with Mrs. Jump's Class for Book Talk Tuesday!

I love fall! I love the colors, the weather, and the holidays.
I especially love reading this story to my students.

Day of the Dead, by Tony Johnston,  follows a family getting ready for the Day of the Dead celebration by cooking tamales, baking pan de muertos, and decorating with cempasuchil.

The bright, beautiful pictures draw the children in and the Spanish words keep them interested as  they listen to their teacher either try to read the words or read them with ease, which is amazing to little ones.

After the kiddos hear this story, which introduces them to Dia de los Muertos, they make a vocabulary book and an easy reader to practice reading some new words.

 Following the book making, the students make several different crafts--a calavera, or skull mask, a painted cat skull, la banda, and a tissue paper marigold all of which are seen at a Day of the Dead celebration.

I can't wait to read this book and get started on these projects. I just love the way the classroom brightens up!

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