Sunday, March 15, 2020

Postcards: Keeping in Touch

The last day I say my students was Thursday. They cancelled school on Friday so teachers could work on Distance Learning Lesson Plans, then by the end of the day the Governor had announced that all schools in Virginia were to be closed for at least 2 weeks. 

I thought it'd be a cute idea to send them a post card to let them know I'm thinking about them. 
I've uploaded a PPT template if you'd like to do the same. Download to your computer. Delete my Bitmojis and add your own or any picture will do. You may need to crop to make sure it fits. 

I then saved mine as a PDF and printed "Actual Size" on "Both Sides" "Flip on the Short Edge" and cut on the light gray line. 

Click here: Postcard Template

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Seuss-tastic Celebration

This year I decided to have a Seuss-tastic Celebration to celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday! In the past Read Across America Week has been centered around Dr. Seuss but with it's rebranding and focus on diverse books throughout the school year, I've condensed my favorite activities into one day. Which actually works out, Tuesday, March 3rd, students in our county have off due to Super Tuesday so we'll celebrate Seuss, have a day off, then get back curriculum on Wednesday.
Our morning will include learning about Dr. Seuss' life. BrainPopJr. had a video and I also found one on YouTube.
I purchased this Research Flipbook from TpT and students will research his life after watching the video clips. While I pull reading groups, students will finish their research booklets and read our classroom collection of Dr. Seuss books.
Students can choose from these prompts during our writing block. During math, my students will be graphing "Truffula Fruits," mini colored marshmallows however there is a Goldfish Math option as well. 
I'm going to read Horton Hears a Who and then students will spend their afternoon making Maps of Whoville. I blogged about them before, click here to read that post. I use the Dr. Seuss Whoville Photo App to create their "Who" personas, I also have the Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat App, click here for that blog post. 

We'll end our day with another read aloud and some birthday treats. I'm leaning towards cupcakes but I've done Dr. Seuss Trail Mix before:
  • Goldfish Colors- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
  • Popcorn- Hop on Pop
  • Mini Colored Marshmallows- Trufulla Fruits, Lorax
  • Teddy Grahams- Barbaloots, Lorax
  • Animal Crackers- If I Ran a Zoo
  • Mini Marshmallows- Tooth Book
All of the resources I've created for this day, plus Seuss Activities I've done in the past can be found at this link: March Resources

Are you celebrating Dr. Seuss in your classroom, what activities do you have planned?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Super Bowl Weekend Kick Off

I've been having classroom Super Bowl Parties for years now. This year it will fall on a county early release day so I won't be able to do all the activities I'm use to doing. I also won't be making my famous Hawaiian Meatballs, our county is getting very strict about food in the classroom <insert sad face>. 
For Morning Circle we'll go over our Game Plan for the day. Then I think I'm going straight into Tackling Teamwork. I'm reading Game Day and using aspects of this Game Day Unit if I have time. 
After the read aloud, we'll complete our Kick Off. Teacher's Clubhouse has this Sports Jersey Glyph I purchased years ago. They recently revamped their entire unit with tons of great activities, The Big Game

We have to break for our quarterly PBIS Awards Assembly but when we come back we'll complete Sportswriter. There is a Teamwork writing in the Game Day Unit as well as Football Writing Prompts in The Big Game Unit that I'll use during this time. 
Since it's an early release day the students will eat lunch in the classroom. Scholastic Bookflix has Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, so we'll watch that while we eat our lunch. 
After Halftime we'll have our Scrimmage. I created a Football Jeopardy Game for students to play in teams. 
I'm using this Super Bowl Prediction Forever Freebie for my students to make their predictions. I shrank it down to four to a page and will use it to make a class graph. My students will also work on this Football Word Search as they snack on a special Super Bowl Trail Mix <a recipe I have yet to come up with>. 

Do you do anything in your classroom to celebrate the Super Bowl?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Winter Language Arts Stations

I've spent the early part of my Winter Vacation creating language stations/centers for my 2nd grade classroom. I've been itching to create and/or blog but school has been so crazy! We found out in November that we were getting a 6th teacher and they needed to be hired by Christmas and ready to start in January. That meant we had to split our classes, so I'm going from 25 students to 21. While I'm sad to see them go, I'm ecstatic about the smaller class size.
I created 6 low prep stations that are aligned to the Virginia 2nd grade standards but most certainly can be used in Common Core classrooms as well. 
Simply print and laminate station directions and task cards,  cut task cards apart, run copies of the recording sheet and store together in a drawer cart or even large zipper bag. 

Click Here to download. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a restful vacation!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Moving Forward with Comprehension

After reflecting on my first year back in 2nd grade, I realized that my guided reading instruction needs improvement. This past school year I focused on guided math and I'm feeling pretty confident about that so now is the perfect time to take a look at reading. 

I'll be sharing my takeaways from the following chapters from Jan Richardson's Next Step Forward in Guided Reading:
Chapter 7: Moving Forward with Comprehension Instruction 

This post will share my take aways from Chapter 7: Moving Forward with Comprehension.

This chapter focuses the comprehension aspect of reading instruction. The Top 12 Comprehension Strategies are shared along with 29 modules to address them. 

  1. Comprehension Monitoring
  2. Retelling
  3. Developing Vocabulary
  4. Asking and Answering Questions
  5. Main Idea and Details
  6. Analyzing Characters
  7. Analyzing  Relationships
  8. Inferring
  9. Summarizing
  10. Evaluating
  11. Using Text Features
  12. Understanding Text Structure

If you haven't visited, you should, she has many free resources to support her books. I also love the Reading Strategies Book from Jennifer Serravallo for comprehension instruction as well.   

I recently started reading groups and quickly realized that I didn't have enough time to do all the parts of Jan Richardson's lesson plan so I had to do some tweaking. Now I'm knee deep in running records to determine each child's instructional reading level. Once that's complete, I hope to jump back into reading groups. 

What resources do you use to teach reading comprehension?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Google Keep... the Gamechanger!

Screenshot of Google Keep on my Computer
When I was going through my Google Certification I remember doing a module on Google Keep. However, at the time, I didn't see the value in the application. 

Then I ran across a Tweet on Twitter where someone was sharing about it. I decided right then, I needed this Google Application in my life! Opening this new school has been an absolute whirlwind! When I tell you I was NOT READY... I was NOT READY! So this came a time when I desperately needed to "get my life togetha". 

A teammate commented that I seem "to be on top of things." I told her it was definitely an illusion cause I most certainly am not, but, I am much more organized with this app. 

I love the fact that I can have it on my phone and on my computer and it updates in real time. When ever I think of something I'm either near my computer or phone so it works out, I add it to a list and keep it moving. I review my lists daily to see what I can check off and what I need to check off. 

Now... I chose to purchase these cute little Google Keep Headers from "a small world called kindergarten" however she has a free set that you could use as well. With the paid set she gives a template to create your own and that's what I did with my Weekly Tasks. I have it "pinned" at the top and each week I check off my weekly tasks as I complete them and then over the weekend, I uncheck them and start all over. 
So if you're looking to get your life organized, I totally recommend this Google App. Do you need the cute little headers? No. But they make me happy when I see them so it was worth it for me!

Classroom Tour 19-20

Back to School Night
Name Bunting in the Hallway (lowkey mad I don't have a bulletin board or strips!)
At Open House I provided parents with the Parent Flipbook I make every year and I gave my students my favorite treats, Cheryl's Cookies! I also provided a communication folder for my students again this year. 
At Back to School Night I provided parents a handbook outlining the policies and procedures of our classroom as well as a learning handbook with study guides I created for all of our standards. 
View from the door. 

Just a few of our anchor charts from the beginning of the year. 
This Promethean Panel is the coolest, I went from having only a projector at my last school to this!

SWAG Tags (Brag Tags)
Small Group Area
View from Small Group Area

We read The Bad Seed and talked about Growth Mindset
Super Improver Wall and Swag Tag Necklaces
Books with a Common Theme
I love the fact that my class is 1:1
Picture Book Baskets, Word Wall

It's taken me a few weeks but I was finally able to take photos of my classroom. I totally underestimated the physical toll opening this new school would have on my body. I've learn to live and manage my chronic pain condition however I can say that every day for the last 19 days I've been in my school... have been filled with pain. Whether it's pain related to my condition or just my feet, legs, lower back pain. I feel like I never sit down and my new school is HUGE teachers are clocking 15,000-18,000 steps a day. I'm hoping things will begin to settle down soon until then, I'm hanging in there!