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!
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