Monday, January 19, 2015

All About Those Verbs!

Happy Monday evening, friends!  I just got done prepping a unit for the upcoming weeks and wanted to share with you what's inside!  We will be diving deep into verbs, so here we go...

Y'all know how much I love a good flapbook!  I love organizing information and presenting word sorts in different formats to my kiddos.  
And, I also love using activities like these Verb Hunts to get my kiddos up and moving.  We do several "hunts" a week.  I just tape up the cards around the room and my kiddos visit each card while filling out their recording sheets :)
 Of course, a crafty activity is always necessary :)  We will do these in a couple of weeks to close out our verb unit!
You can check out all of these activities plus some more printables HERE!  Hope you have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Solving Mysteries

I've been blogging about my mystery unit for years now.  This is my 5th year to host Detective Clubs, and I will say that it is a hit each and every year.  

We started this week reading mystery picture books.  I've been collecting these throughout the years, adding to my collection each time our clubs roll around.  I do a read aloud each day and we discuss the elements of a mystery... detectives, criminals, clues, witnesses, suspects, etc.  I also tie in a lot of inferring while reading.

Today I decided to tie mysteries into our writing focus... writing "How-Tos."  Since we have read several mystery books and had a lot of discussions about cracking cases, I had my students write three steps to solving a mystery.  Some of their responses were very detailed and others were straight, to the point.  I definitely have a wide variety of writers in my class!  This was our first independent How-To writing, so we just kept it at the three steps and made sure to use our transitional words.

After my students had written their three steps they were able to make their detective.  The patterns are from my Mystery Unit.

 I keep these books on my board for my students to read during independent reading time.  
 Tomorrow we will start our detective clubs.  I'm starting a little early since next week is a 4-day week.  I made each of my students a Case-File with the following items:
1.  Folder (label HERE)
3.  New Pencil

Of course they will also have a mystery chapter book.  I put my students in detective clubs with 3-5 students.  We use mostly Cam Jansen, Young Cam Jansen, and A-Z Mysteries for our Detective Clubs.  Our literacy library at school has a lot of options for us to choose from.  Click HERE to see the books we used last year.

The Detective Clubs will last between 4-5 days (depending on the length of their book and speed of reading).  They fill out their case files as they are reading.  I will also have some other options for students who finish their book study before others.  While my groups are meeting, I spend most of my time with my struggling readers... helping them read the mystery.  While they are jotting down information I normally go check in with the other groups.  It's worked out really well every year.

And, that's that!  I can't wait to give my kiddos their special case files tomorrow!  It's always a special week in 2nd Grade :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

We Can Tell Time!

Happy Monday, friends!  This morning started out a little rough... Joelle and I stayed in bed until 6:55ish.  We have to leave the house at 7:14.  We ran around like crazy people, but managed to get here on time!  Let's just say it's a casual, ponytail kind of day!

This weekend was cold and rainy, but we did manage to go out to dinner and do lots of relaxing!!!
This week in math we are continuing to tell time.  Texas changed up our standards this year so we are now telling time to the minute.  We started off reviewing time to the five minutes with a little slideshow I made.  I will be adding this to my "It's About Time" unit tonight!  So, if you have purchased it previously, please make sure you redownload later on today!
Each student used a white board to record the time shown, and then we checked it together!  The big clocks on my screen really helped us to be able to see the clocks closely and made counting by fives super easy!
After reviewing, each student made their very own watch from THIS freebie by CreateEducateInspire.  I passed out sticky notes with different times for each student to make.
We did a quick "Find a Friend" activity.  They had to find a watch and read 6 times correctly before joining us back on the carpet.  Then, we discussed AM vs PM.  We went through a typical school-day schedule... talked about when AM changes to PM... discussed AM and PM activities, etc.  So, we covered a lot of concepts with just one simple activity!
My students also worked on a flower for our Garden of Time.  This time I let them choose a time to make.  They also had to write an activity that they do during that time of day.
And now my math bulletin board is updated and looking quite spiffy!
During math stations one of my rotations is to come to the teacher table.  Since telling time can be so difficult we are doing some extension activities during our math group.  I used an old-school time match that I found forever ago, a True/False activity from Cara's time unit, and a flipchart from Promethean Planet.
Hopefully telling time to the minute will go smoothly... I'm pretty nervous, so I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Penguin Research and Presentations!

I must admit that I'm pretty sad our penguin unit is over :(  We have had so much fun reading, learning, watching videos, and researching!!!  Here's a look at the rest of our penguin fun!

I put my students into groups of 2-3 to research penguins.  We used these two websites:
along with several nonfiction books to complete our research.  I allowed my groups to choose which penguins they wanted to research and present.  This definitely helped give them ownership and increased productivity!

Each group had to find out:  Penguin Name, Diet, Size, Habitat, and an Interesting Fact.  I gave them sticky notes to make their notes :)
 After they gathered all information needed they worked on drawing/coloring a picture of their penguin.  I always love how these turn out!
 This was one of my favorites!
After my students finished their writing and drawing it was time to work on presenting!  We used the app called ChatterPix to present.  I'm so thankful for blogs and sharing because Amanda Madden shared this JUST in time earlier this week!  My kids got such a kick out of these!  Love, love, love!!!

 I had prepped the materials to make our penguin hats, but ran out of sentence strips (and was too lazy to cut paper!!).  So, we just used it for a little penguin reflection :)  You can grab that paper HERE.
I'm fairly certain my students use an entire glue bottle every single time they work!  UGH!
Next week we will be inferring like crazy with our mystery unit... which will also be tons of fun!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Classroom Happenings :)

We have officially survived two days back at school.  It's starting to feel somewhat like the norm again... so that's always a plus!  Although I do miss my midday naps and always being up-to-date on social media ;)

Before Christmas I gave my students this winter break challenge from Catherine Reed.  I had about 10 out of 23 complete it, which I thought was a pretty good turnout!  For staying so committed they got to pick a classroom pass and an item from my "treasure"-ish bin.  
We also worked on our New Year's Resolutions with this freebie from A Cupcake for the Teacher.
Here is something similar to the paper we used.  I fixed it up a little when I got to my home computer :)  Click on the picture for the download!
OHHHH, and these waddling wonders have made their way into our classroom again!  My kids are loving every little thing about penguins... and so am I!!!  We started the week with a penguin craft and KWL using sticky notes.
 After watching THIS video we did a little writing about if WE were penguins.  I loved their responses!  This little girl get so excited about every little thing... which is reflected in her writing!
I'm thankful to have some color back on my walls after ripping all of my Christmas stuff down!
Right before the Christmas break the technology department came and installed a Boxlight.. it's an interactive projector.  I'm still getting used to it, and my handwriting isn't beautiful on it, but boy is it cool!  I used it to introduce adjectives today.  My class brainstormed adjectives about penguins and then we "starred" the juicy ones!
I used the penguin hat from my unit as an inspiration for my penguin!
It's been a busy week so far... and I have a feeling the busy-busy-busy will continue as we start our penguin research tomorrow!

For now, it's time for dinner and bedtime routines :)))  Bye Bye, friends!

Monday, January 5, 2015

More on Math Stations!

Well, folks, it's Monday and we are back to the daily grind.  We started telling time and reading about penguins.  We even made a few resolutions for the New Year.  I'd call that a successful Monday... reading, writing, math, and even squeezed in a little snack in the mix.  Because, obviously, I can't make it to the end of the day without eating at least 2 snacks!!

While I was on break I printed my Spin On! math stations.  I'm not going to need these for station materials for a few weeks because we are now completing my It's a Penguin Party math stations.  But, I wanted to have them easily accessible for small groups.  So, I decided to store them in my Math Assessment Binder in sheet protectors.  Now, they are right there ready for me to pull out anytime I need them!
 In the sheet protector I put the directions, spinner, recording sheet, and paperclip!  Done and Done!

 I didn't think it was necessary to use an entire notebook by itself (AKA I didn't have any extra notebooks to spare!)  So, I just slipped all ten stations right after my quick assessments!
 So that's how I'm storing this particular set of stations, but here's a closer look at my storage for that math stations my students use each day.  This rolling cart has been absolutely perfect!  Each drawer holds everything my kiddos need to complete their station.  I even keep the iPads on top so they are easily accessible... it's pretty much a one stop shop kinda thing!
Speaking of iPads... here are the apps we are using for math stations right now :)
 A few months ago I changed my station cards to match the colors on my drawers... this also helped clear up confusion in the classroom!
 Here's a little peek inside of a drawer.  This is a fact fluency station from It's a Penguin Party!  I keep the station directions and any cards needed in a gallon ziploc baggie.  The recording sheets are in Smart Pals so that we don't waste any paper.  When it's time to store the stations I put the recording sheet in the bag with the rest of the materials so that everything is ready for next year!
 Some of you ask how I store my math stations.  Well, everything other than my Spin On! stations are crammed into a filing drawer.  This is real life folks... and it's ugly... and unorganized!  So, I'm not your girl for organizational tips.  I love a good lesson, fun stations, and a cute classroom but I could care less what my cabinets look like on the inside!  I would say this is my New Year's resolution, but chances are it's not changing anytime soon ;)
Have you drank the Math Station Kool-aid yet??!!  I highly suggest you do if you haven't!!!  It's such a fun way to spiral concepts without wasting too much class time!  Want more info... start HERE!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Math Stations

Well, Christmas came... and then it was gone.  Sister grew so much this past year... made me tear up quite a bit when I compared this Christmas to last.  If she continues to grow in 2015 you may have to come pick me off of the floor because I'll be a hot mess next January!  My baby is not so much a baby anymore :(
After Christmas my little family flew up to Colorado for a ski trip.  I'm not really into the cold or snow or negative temperatures, but it was fun to watch Joelle experience it all for the first time!
I would escape the cold every once in a while to "work" (AKA I can't stand being frozen any longer so I'm going to make up an excuse to sit inside!!)  I did manage to make a new set of math stations that I will use for the next few weeks :)  Here's a little peek at "It's a Penguin Party!"
I want my students to think about place value all year long.  So, it makes sense that several of the stations revolve around knowing our numbers a little better...
Comparing Numbers...
Number Order...
Expanded Form and Ordering Numbers...
We wrapped up our shape unit before the break, but I don't want my little ones to forget what we have learned, so it's important that they see shapes next semester as well!

 Adding/Subtracting 10 & 100...
 Word problems...
 And, Fact Fluency...
I'm super pumped to have these printed, laminated, and ready to go for Monday!  I'm not one to work too much over a break, but it is nice to slowly ease back into things :)

You can check out my Penguin stations HERE...
And, I made a set of ten spinner stations that I know my kids will LOVE!  Oh... and there's no cutting involved when it comes to prepping these bad boys so that makes them 100 times better than anything else I've ever made ;)
 Now I'm off to rest for the remainder of the night... afterall, Monday morning is going to come too soon!!!