Sunday, February 15, 2015

Morning Messages: Adjective Edition

This school year I seem to be busier than ever!!! I couldn't believe it when I saw the date on my last blog post!  I'm REALLY looking forward to summer, so I can finally spend some time on my neglected blog.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who continues to stick with me even though my posts are getting farther and farther apart.

Today, I really wanted to share something new I started awhile back.  My district began requiring us to do a daily morning message.  I had done morning messages in the past, but due to time constraints, they didn't always happen regularly.  I really tried to get back into the hang of doing them, and ran into the same problem this year.  My students LOVE doing them, but I was always struggling to find the time to create them and then write them out on chart paper.   I started with a bang and then they fizzled.

Another issue was that I really did not have time in my reading block for both morning message and a separate language lesson on top of all the other Balanced Literacy activities I do daily.  So, I came up with this idea to integrate my language and morning message.  I couldn't be more happier with the results.  Keep in mind that this isn't the only time I teach language.  In the morning message I focus on teaching the content, and then it's integrated into everything I do the rest of the day, especially in writing!
Here is a little peek at what's included:

There are a total of 15 pages designed to teach students all about adjectives.  These activities are so much more than simply filling in blanks. Students can interact with the message by looking for abbreviations, contractions, possessives, proper nouns, pronouns, rhyming words, spelling patterns, and even counting syllables. I simply use my digital camera to display it on my Smart board.   Then, my students can come up and interact with the morning message on the Smart board.  My students love working on morning message, and I am thrilled that so much learning takes place during this simple 15 min. block of time.

This Adjective Edition introduces adjectives to students.  It also discusses comparatives, superlatives, and sensory adjectives.  The Day 5 page is designed to be completed independently.  This is a quick way to assess what they have learned over the week.  It is also a great way for them to interact with the morning message on their own.

This is an example of a Day 5 page.  I really wanted them to have to explain their thinking in their own words.
I am currently working on the Adverb Edition.   This summer I plan to complete the sets for sentences, nouns, and verbs.

As always, I'd love to give it away for free to the first 3 people that leave a comment and their e-mail.  Just a way to show my love to the wonderful teachers that follow my blog.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Objective Headers

When I looked at my last post and realized it was Christmas themed, I realized I was long overdo for a blog post.  This new year has brought a lot of changes for my district, and one of those changes was the requirement to have all objectives posted.  My grade level already had them posted, so we felt like we could check this off our list.  They worked great and I loved that they took up very little space.  This smaller set is editable, so you do have the option of typing your objectives.  I used the bottom portion of a ziploc baggy to make a pocket to slide the objectives in. I simply used double stick tape to attach the baggy to the laminated poster. I started to refer to these posters regularly in the classroom and loved how my students could clearly see what their goals were.  The more we used them, the more I realized it was time to upgrade these posters to a larger size.

This is how the original set looks:

I decided to go ahead and make a larger size and added this to the same resource on TPT.  These are the larger posters.  Now, this set is not editable.  I kept it pretty simple.  I just laminated the posters and use dry erase markers to write the objectives.

I added the Key Vocabulary strips on the side, so that students have easy access to content area vocabulary or even key words I'd like them to remember.  These are also written with dry erase markers, so they can be easily changed.  I used magnets to hold everything on my front board, so I can simply grab it and go when they need to be changed.  Both versions of the headers are included in the same resource, so you can choose the best fit for your classroom.

As always, I'd love to give these headers for free to the first 3 readers to leave a comment with their e-mail.
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Fun...'s been so long since my last post!  I wanted to share just a few things we did over the last week.  It seems like every year I am stumped over which craft I should do for our holiday parent ornament.  Last year, my teacher besties did these super cute ornaments where their students looked like they were stuck in the ornament.  I fell in love with them, but was super nervous about trying them myself.  I'm a major perfectionist, I thought it would make me totally crazy trying to get those pictures just right in the ornament.  To my pleasant surprise, they were SO easy!

I really love how they turned out! I will definitely be doing these every year. 

I also wanted them to have something made entirely by them.  Kid-made ornaments are always the best.  So, we made one of my past faves, the popsicle stick X-mas tree.  They turned out super cute!

I had also purchased photo booth Christmas props on Etsy several years ago, and finally got around to using them.  So glad I did!  They looked really adorable inside their Christmas cards.  I wish I could remember the Etsy shop, but there are so many adorable ones to choose from if you do a search for Christmas Photo Booth Props.

You can get the card printable for free for clicking below.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Arthur's Thanksgiving and more

I am knee deep in papers that need to be graded and I thought it would be far more interesting to write a blog post!  So, I  thought I'd share a few of the activities we did before the Thanksgiving Break.   Next week is sure to spring us into full Christmas mode, so I better post this while I still can!

We always read the book, Arthur's Thanksgiving, and it's always a class favorite! Arthur is in charge of directing his class play, and my students always make so many great connections to it.  I was in the middle of reading the story, when I came up with this spur of the moment idea.  I love kid art, so I thought a directed drawing of Arthur would be super cute.  Our second graders no longer have a separate art class, so I really try to bring art into the curriculum any chance I can! 

I looked at the cover of the book and kind of just went with it.  I just started giving them different steps and hoped for the best!  Their drawings really turned out super cute!  I was pretty impressed and I love how unique they all turned out.  No two are exactly alike! 

If you are interested in the summarizing labels, you can get them below.  
They could be used with any story.

We also worked on these goofy gobblers that turned out super cute.  This is available in my Writing Piece of the Month Resource.  

They also wrote why they are thankful.  They are so sweet! I am so very thankful for such sweet second graders!

This is also available in the same Writing Piece of the Month resource.  I save all of their writing for the year, which includes all of the pieces in the resource I mentioned above.  We put them all together into a writing portfolio at the end of the year.  Their writing makes a perfect keepsake. 

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pie Tasting Fun!

Just a quick post to share a pie tasting activity we did before the Thanksgiving break.  Anytime a lesson involves food, you can bet it will probably be a hit!  This was no exception.  My students had such a blast trying the different types of pie.  It's open-ended, so you can choose any four flavors you'd like.
I chose buttermilk, pumpkin, apple, and cherry.  I stayed away from the pecan, because I have a student with a nut allergy in my classroom.  I pretty much grabbed whatever flavors they had at the grocery store.  I had never even heard of buttermilk...I honestly thought none of my students were going to like it.  I almost didn't grab it.  Imagine my SHOCK when 18 of my little ones chose it!!!

My students insisted that I taste the buttermilk.  I'm not a big pie eater, so I was hoping they wouldn't notice that I didn't try that flavor.  Sure enough one of my little sweeties said..."One of our mighty messages is to try new things, you should try it."  How can you say no to that??? It honestly was pretty good, just SUPER sweet, which explains why they love it so much.

They enjoyed graphing the results for the class, and I don't think they even realized that they were doing math!

This is a FREEBIE in my store, so head on over to grab it.  You can click here.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Leo Lionni Goodies and a FREEBIE

It's been a BUSY, BUSY school year and I apologize for completely neglecting my blog.  I just finished putting together all my Leo Lionni goodies and I just had to share.  I've been meaning to put these together for years, and I finally squeezed in the time to get it done.  My students just finished these activities and really enjoyed learning all about Leo Lionni.

Here's a peek at the finished product:

 I always make anchor charts for each of the stories we read.   Here are a few:


Once my students are familiar with Leo Lionni and his stories, then they are ready to tackle writing their own Leo Lionni story.  I use the FREEBIE below for them to plan their story.
I always write a story along with my class as a shared writing piece.  This is the planning page we completed together:

I'd love to give a copy of my Leo Lionni unit to the first 3 readers that leave a comment below.  Please don't forget to leave your e-mail.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Basics and a Sight Word FREEBIE

This is just a quick post to share an update that I just added to my Guided Reading Goodies resource.  I am a bit of a perfectionist (okay, maybe a lot!).  I decided to make editable versions of the Book Basic Cards that I use for Guided Reading.  I currently have mine handwritten, and my handwriting is pretty much driving me nuts.  If I'm going to take the time to laminate them, then they have to be just right.  The resource still has the whole set of cards that can printed and hand-written, but I just added 4 more cards that are editable.  You can't change any of the headings, but you can fill in all the blanks.  You can even change the levels in the top right corner.

Here is a peek at what they look like.  I use them to guide my Guided Reading lessons.  I have about 11 years worth of handwritten cards that I need to convert over to my new template.  That sounds like a fun project (not so!).  The goal is to have a ring for each level.  I go through so many books a year, there is no way I can remember every single book.  This gives me a basic idea of what the book is about and how I want to lead the discussion.  The real magic happens in those teachable moments that happen while reading.

If you have purchased this resource, please head back to re-download the updated file.

I also wanted to share my latest freebie.  I plan on using activity in my Sight word station.  I usually have my students quiz a buddy on their sight words.  I will have them write down any words they missed on this template.  They will keep this page, so they can continue to practice the words they missed at home.  They can check them off as they master them.  I will do a final little sight work check to ensure they are all mastered.  If they master all of the words on a ring, then they are VICTORIUS!  They will get a punch on the sight word punch card.

In case you aren't familiar with my sight word rings, they look like this:

They are a freebie in my teacher store.  The file says second grade, but they are not just for second grade.  They are the First 300 Fry words.  You can click here to download them at TPT.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guided Reading Goodies and a Sight Word FREEBIE

I have really neglected my poor blog lately.   This school year has kept me extremely busy the last few months.  I really am going to try to stay better connected.  I'm definitely still working on projects even when I'm away from the blog for a bit.

I wanted to share a few of the new resources that I'm using in my reading block that I just couldn't live without.  Everyone that does Guided Reading knows that staying organized is essential, especially when you are trying to manage several reading groups.  Most years I have 5 groups, which is a good number.  This year I have 7 groups, which makes scheduling a bit more challenging.  Some days I'm begging for a free moment, so I can pull another group.

Over the summer, I decided to revamp my Balanced Literacy Binder.  Over the last eleven years, I can say I have tried about every form imaginable for keeping track of my guided reading group notes.  For a long time I loved using labels, but these labels would end up everywhere!  I never seemed to find the time to hunt for the correct page to stick it on.

The forms I'm now using are pictured and explained below.  They are working really well, and I'm beyond happy about that.

Here is a peek at what's included in my binder.  
Click here to check it out on TPT.


I also have another resource that I created this summer that I've fallen in love with.  It is just a simple ring of cards that lists a few reading behaviors to be on the look out for at each level.  It currently includes Fountas and Pinnell levels A-R.  I do have plans to add the remaining levels to the set in the future.
Now for a freebie!!! 
I created sight word cards based on the the first 300 Fry Words.  Our students are responsible for 50 words each six weeks, so each ring contains 50 words.  They make a great sight word station.  I generally have my students see how many they can read in one minute.  It's another great way to build fluency.

Simply click here to head to TPT to download all of the sets in one zip file..

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