Monday, October 20, 2014

Reading Flap-Ups!

When I started to plan my reading instruction for this week, I knew I wanted to do something different and new.  I love studying spiders to pieces, but after a large unit like that, I wanted to do something a little more independent and reflective.  I knew I wanted my students to work in their reading groups to make and confirm predictions and study the Author's Purpose.  But, how was I going to keep track of what they were working on during reading groups?

That's when I thought of Reading Flap-Ups!  Horrible name, I know!  But, I am about out of creative juices.  I made these 5 flap-ups for us to use this week.  My students were a tad excited about the neon paper... it's the little things, ha!
 My students cut out their flaps, folded, and glued onto a strip of black paper.
 Then, they got busy in their reading groups.  I had already modeled making/confirming predictions, but it's definitely something we will work on all this week.  Today, my students made their predictions...
 And recorded new/interesting words.  They were told to only worry about those two flaps because we will get to the other flaps throughout this week!  Worked like a charm!
 They worked in their little groups all over the room... started with a picture walk, recorded their predictions, and then began to read after discussing.  As they read new/interesting words, they would pause to write those down... then read some more :)
 Well, after it was such a huge hit, I started to think of more uses for these little flap-ups.  They could easily be glued into an interactive notebook...
 Or even for a comprehension check after a read-aloud.
 They are a great way to practice the focus skill and are very versatile!  So, I made about 30 different flap-ups and put them together.  You can find all of these plus more HERE!
I won't use these every week, but I can definitely see them coming in handy throughout the entire year!  And, I'm certain they could even be made into a craftivity... of course my brain thinks like that :))

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Spider Fun!

We are on week 2 of our spider fun!  We've been looking closely for facts and distinguishing facts from opinions...
We wrote factual sentences about spiders on our spider hats!

 And we also sorted fact vs. fiction statements.
This was before I graded, but my students also completed their own sorts for fact vs. fiction!
Our classroom needed some new decor, so we made these fun spiders!
 And used them to write some of our favorite facts about spiders!  
They turned out so cute!
 We have also been working hard to complete our group spider research projects.  Some students are using Educreations on the iPads...
 While others are using Power Point on the computers.  I'm not being super picky about these presentations since they are our very first.  Most of the kids have never used Power Point or a presentation app, so really we are just learning the ropes.  We will be adding lots of details and better sentence structure next go round, but it will take time!!!  For now, if we have a sentence and a picture, we are golden, ha!
For a chance to win this unit and lots of other nonfiction goodies, go HERE!  You have one more day to enter!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Non-Fiction Palooza Giveaway!

October is the time of year when the creepy crawlies come out!!! Kids are fascinated to learn all about these creatures!! It's the perfect time of year to dive into a little Non- Fiction palooza with your crew. A few of us are teaming up to  bring you some our very favorite resources we've created  to help you teach all about bats, owls, and spiders this month!

Check out the amazing packs we're offering up below!

We're keeping this one real easy. You can enter quickly using the Raffeclopter below. We'll each be giving away our packs to a winner and one lucky winner will win them ALL!! The giveaway is open through midnight on Wednesday. We can't wait to see whoooo all our sweet winners will be! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spider Fun!!!

Our spider learning has officially begun!  We spent the week digging into nonfiction texts... asking questions, locating facts/details, looking at nonfiction text features such as labeling, diagrams, and a glossary.  We learned lots of new vocabulary words, did some comparing/contrasting, and even touched on parts of speech!  Needless to say, after reading creepy crawly books everyday, I most definitely had a nightmare about HUGE spiders biting me all over last night.  I guess that was bound to happen at some point... school always leaks into my dreams!

We started the week with our KWL chart.  This was after my first class.  We grouped post-its that were similar, categorized them, and answered questions as we learned more information.
After my 2nd class, my chart was all kinds of FULL!  We didn't answer any questions that we couldn't "prove" yet with our reading.  For example, one of the questions was "Are spiders predators or prey?"  Well, I could have easily told them that they are BOTH predators and prey, but the book we read only touched on spiders as predators, so we left that alone until we learned more later that week.  I loved seeing the little lightbulbs go off as they were reading books independently... like they had all the answers to our many questions!!!  So cute!  We have yet to read about how spiders go to the bathroom... the question that got lots of giggles :))
We noticed that in our nonfiction books, pictures with labels were ALL over the place.  We discussed why authors label, and the importance of looking at all the details in both the text and the pictures.  After that, my students labeled the parts of a spider.  I did something a little different this year... I had my students first cut out the labels and just place the labels where they thought they belonged.  Some of the words we hadn't read about yet... cephalothorax, pedipalps, and jaw.  So, my students had to make predictions based on the words they did know, and the information we had read.  Then, we used new books to help us put the labels in correct spots.  It was so fun watching my kiddos make their guesses and then confirm after new learning!
Love how these kiddos added webs to their spiders!
On Wednesday, it was necessary that we compare spiders to insects because our books were telling us that spiders are in fact NOT INSECTS!  What??!! How can that be??!!  We looked at diagrams of spiders and insects, read some more books, and then completed a Venn Diagram to sort information.
We gathered all of our information onto a class venn diagram.  We left empty sticky notes for when we discover new facts about insects.  We quickly realized that our knowledge of spiders was much greater than insects because we had been learning about spiders all week!
In the midst of learning about spiders, I did also start teaching about nouns.  We used this cute little spider craft to brainstorm eight nouns of our own.  You can get this spider craft free HERE!  "Mrs. Lemons, can I give it eight eyes?"  Sure!  Why not!  
"Mrs. Lemons, can I make it a girl?  And give it a tongue?" Sure!  Why not... enter class-wide announcement "GUYS, MAKE YOUR SPIDERS LOOK HOWEVER YOU WANT!  YOU DON'T HAVE TO ASK ME FOR PERMISSION!" hahahaha!
We finished the week with our Can, Have, Are chart.  They knew so much information that they didn't want to stop!  But, after a week of using sticky notes so much, I ran out, ha!  It's time to head to the store for more!!!
This week we will start our spider-type research.  We are also going to work on all of the sorts that are in my Spider Unit!  But for now, our room is all decked out with our spider learning! 
And, because I love to share my little girl finds with y'all.  You've got to check out Ruby Blue for headbands!  I just found them last week and am in love!  Joelle loves how comfy they are, and I #lovebigbowandicannotlie
Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Introducing the Thousands!

How did I introduce place value to the thousands?  You ask?!  

We started with a new Place Value Pal.  I told the kids our little gang would be adding a new buddy this week, so they were already prepared to give a name!  We took suggestions (Thing, Thor, Thea, Thumb, and Thar) then voted.  Thor won by a LONG shot!  My kids said it's actually very fitting because Thor is strong and powerful, much like the thousands place :))
We practiced building numbers with 4-digits, and talked about the value, expanded form, number words, etc.
 After that I had kids work in partners to make their very own little Thor the Thousand.  This is the first place value pal my students have made.  I did this so my kiddos would have a visual and something to refer back to while studying 4-digit numbers this week.  I wanted them to be excited and eager to make BIG numbers!
We watched this catchy video to start learning how to use commas in numbers.  My kiddos LOVED it!
 Then, I gave each student an index card with the place value lines drawn.  We labeled the thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones.  Each student chose their own number to make (up to 1,999).  We practiced reading our numbers to our partners AND to the class (This helped me know who can read 4-digit numbers immediately... HUGE eye opener!!!).  After all of that we worked on expanded form!  We go very slowly at first because this is all so new!
 After building numbers, making a model, singing a place value song, and making a number it was time to work on identifying numbers with place value blocks.  We used this sheet from Saddle Up For 2nd Grade!
It was a busy, busy day!!!  So far it looks like we will get it, but it may take some time!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

EEKKK!!! Spiders!!!

Do you teach about creepy, crawly creatures in your classroom??!!  I may not teach science, but I sure do love to integrate nonfiction books about animals any and every chance I get.  This will be my 5th year to teach about spiders, and now I'm more excited than ever because I finally have a go-to resource with all of my favorite spider activities!  I take two weeks in October (but really you don't have to do it around Halloween... it just works for us!) and devote those two weeks to SPIDER WEEK(s).  We learn all kinds of interesting facts while also working on identifying details, distinguishing facts from opinions, discussing fiction vs. nonfiction, compiling research, and presenting research about a specific spider type.  We describe, sort, classify, and write our little hearts away!  So, without further talking, I introduce my newest unit... EEKKK!  Spiders
You can find all of the above and lots more HERE!
And, here are the books I just ordered from Amazon to help make our learning a bit more fun!
We have tomorrow off, but I can't wait to get back to the classroom on Tuesday!  This is by far my favorite time of year in the classroom!!!