Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's a Second Grade Thing!

I am so excited to team up with some of my second grade bloggy friends to bring you a brand new, collaborative Pinterest board!
Click on the image to go to the board!
The purpose of this board is to share some of our spectacular second grade teaching ideas and resources with our followers. Here are some of the amazing bloggers participating:

To kick off our new board, we are giving away a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers! WOO HOO!!! Check out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We are SO excited to be connecting with our amazing readers on Pinterest! See ya over there!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Idea: Organizing Guided Reading Notes

Hi friends! I'm super excited to link up with so many amazing bloggers for the Bright Ideas Link Up!
Today I want to share how I organize my guided reading notes and paperwork. I used a pretty binder for eight years, but I like to have a scoring/anecdotal note sheet for each student, and flipping back and forth between +/-20 papers was not working for me. AT ALL. So last year, my school's reading teacher gave me this:
Can you tell my folder is loved? <3
This folder system is AMAZING! Basically, it's four 2-pocket student folders that have been folded backwards. The front cover/back cover is one folder that has been cut in half. Then she used the binding machine in the copy room to assemble it.
Let's take a peek inside, shall we?
In the first pocket is where I keep my log of dates when I meet with my groups and running record progress form. On the outside of the pocket, I made a schedule of which group I'm taking each day and when. I put the schedule on a sticky note, so it can be changed easily when needed. I like to map out when I'm taking my groups so that I don't waste precious minutes trying to figure out who I haven't met with in a while. It also works great for my students because I tell them what days I'm taking their groups (and they get mad if I miss their group! Haha!) In my district, I'm required to meet with below-level students every day, on level students 3 times a week, and above level 1-2 times a week. All of my kids are currently reading at or above grade level (L/21 or higher), so that helps with my scheduling. I am still taking my on-level group every day, because some of them were below grade level when the year started. I meet with my M's 3 times a week, and everyone else 2 times. I was even able to make time in my schedule to do my weekly fluency progress monitoring. It works out well that I only have 5 groups this trimester :)
A close up of my first pocket. The sticky note on the left tells me which group I'm taking and when. The one on the right tells me who is in each group (although I pretty much have in memorized!)
The next 5 pockets are for the groups, one pocket per group. I put them in order based on their level. There is a sticky note on each pocket with the names of the kids in the group. Then inside the pocket, I have each student's scoring/notes sheet, as well as my group lesson plan sheet. Sometimes if we don't finish the book during one session, I'll also put my copy in the pocket to remind me that we need to finish it.
Close Up
Each student has their own scoring/notes sheet because it makes my life easier at progress report and report card time. I can also easily move students from one group to another... just move their sheet to the new pocket! When I'm meeting with a group, I will pull their sheets out of the pocket and lay them out in front of me. It makes it easier to move from one student to another.
This is what my space looks like when I'm working with a group. Super easy to switch from student to student!
In the last pocket,  I have guided reading teaching "cheat sheets,"district guided reading and running record expectations, and extra copies of my note taking sheets and lesson plan sheets.

I love this folder system so much, I begged asked my reading teacher politely for another one to store all my progress monitoring and reading intervention materials.
I am going to change out the binding coil to a bigger one :)
I actually just found out you can purchase these kinds of folders, although I don't know what they're technically called, where to get them, or how much. But if you buy a bunch of folders during the Back to School sales, you could easily put something like this together for less than $1. And if you need more folders, just use a bigger coil.

Thanks for stopping by! I would love for you to stop by my Instagram and Facebook to keep up with more of my bright ideas! And don't forget to check out more awesome ideas... links below!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tori's Tiny Miracles Fundraiser

Today I want to share with you a special fundraiser that I am a part of: Tori’s Tiny Miracles Fundraiser! Tori is a teacher, blogger (Tori’s Teacher Tips), Teachers Pay Teachers seller, and most importantly a mom of 2 little miracles. Both of Tori’s children were born premature: Michael, born at 28 weeks and weighing only 2 pounds, 6 ounces, and most recently, baby Mason, born at 28 weeks and weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces. Michael is now a happy and healthy six year old! Baby Mason is only 2 months old and very close to being released from the hospital. To read more about Tori's story, check out her blog.

Aside from all the emotional ups and downs of having a NICU baby, Tori's family is facing some very large hospital expenses. Together, almost 50 TPT creators/bloggers came together to show our support for our friend! We put together FIVE affordable bundles with a spring, summer, or end of the year theme: Kindergarten, First, Second & Third {Spring}, Second & Third {End of the Year}, and Clipart. The proceeds from these bundles listed in this store will go directly to Tori’s family to help offset the medical bills and living expenses they have while they are caring for their newest miracle. Check out each bundle below:

This bundle has 13 products to get you from now to the end of the year!

This product includes ten packets to enhance your teaching this spring!

This bundle includes eight products for 2nd and 3rd to use this spring!

This bundle includes eight products for 2nd and 3rd to get you to the end of the year!

This bundle includes 10 clipart sets you can use for your spring and summer projects!
Exclusive Jungle Clipart for Baby Mason by Melonheadz Illustrating
(this set is ONLY available through this fundraiser!)

As a thank you for supporting her family, Tori has also put a freebie in the fundraiser store. Please make sure you download it while you're visiting.

Thank you so much for your support!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Second Grade Swap!

Welcome to the second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at Second Grade Math Maniac to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop.  This is where you can enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

I was so fortunate to be paired with the amazing Nicole at Teaching with Style. Did you know the girl lives in Hawaii?! SO JEALOUS!!!

I tried out and reviewed her Mighty Magnets unit!

First off, this unit comes in both color and black and white. I found that super helpful because I printed the black and white version for student copies but showed the color version on my SMARTBoard! 

Secondly, I really loved the versatility of this product! I use interactive notebooks in science, so I'm always cautious when I buy science units because many of them don't work for my teaching style. Nicole's unit has foldables and flapbooks included in addition to whole page worksheets, so you can customize and adapt it to fit your needs. This unit worked perfectly with my notebooks, but if you're not a notebooker (is that a word?), you can use it too!

Another aspect Nicole includes is a very detailed list of supplies you will need. I was lucky to have had most of what I needed already in my supply closet, but if you don't, she gives you a list of what you need and where you can find it. It will save you a ton of time!

OK, let's take a peek at what's inside!
We started with this magnets KWHL chart:
I was surprised to see how much vocab background the bunnies already had :)  And they had great ideas for how they could learn more about magnets! Thankfully, Nicole's unit had me covered!
Our first experiment we conducted was the Magnetic/Nonmagnetic experiment...
And I learned something too... apparently true brass isn't attracted to magnets! So that brass fastener is a FAKE! LOL!
We used this experiment to discover that...
So cute!!! Don't you love how she turned the horse shoe magnets into letters?
Next we learned about magnetic poles. We used Nicole's Scientific Method flap book to collect and analyze data, but if you don't use notebooks, she also includes lined paper for each step you can use to make a packet.
Writing our questions...
Testing whether poles attract or repel using bar magnets.
I ran out of bar magnets so we used these giant horse shoe magnets too!
After the experiment, we used this page to recap what we learned.
Here's an example of one student's notebook pages:
I had my students color the poles so they could visually see that opposite poles attract and same poles repel. 
There's another experiment in this pack where you test the strength of magnetic fields. Students try to see if magnets work through water, paper, glass, and more! I managed to sneak this video of a bunny testing whether the magnet can attract the paperclip through the top of his desk:

And here's where the pics end because I forgot to bring my phone to school on Friday! Have you ever done that??? I felt like I left one of my legs at home LOL! But this unit also includes super awesome vocabulary cards and a vocab journal. There are some more experiments that we haven't gotten to yet, including testing the strength of a magnet and the Earth's magnetic field. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it all because my magnet unit also has an electricity component, and while I could spend the next three weeks learning about magnets and conducting experiments, my curriculum won't have it!

Lastly, Nicole included several reading and writing activities to bring in all subject areas. My higher kids (third grade reading level and above) were able to complete them on their own, and my on-level kids could complete them with a partner. I thought the reading passages and comprehension questions were very rigorous and thought-provoking. I put them into one of my reading stations for the week.

Wowsers! That was a long post. So to wrap it all up.... should you buy this? YES!!! This unit has EVERYTHING you need for your students to discover and understand magnets! It is so comprehensive and thorough, but what I liked most was its versatility. You can check it out in Nicole's store HERE, or continue through the blog hop and cross your fingers and toes that you will win the giveaway at the end of the hop :) 

Next up... the sweet Ashley at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd. Click on the button to head over to her blog :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Summarizing Literary Texts (with a Freebie!)

We've been up to our ears these past few weeks with traditional literature (and LOVING it!), and this week we have been working on summarizing and writing a summary of literary texts. I'm a huge fan of my anchor chart:
I think the triangle is what I like most. I love how my students can visually see the differences in size and sentences when telling the topic, main idea, summary, and retelling the story.

I'm sure most of you have seen the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" organizer for summarizing. I also included "Finally," which I can't claim as an original thought. I'm pretty sure I saw it on Pinterest last year. What I like about including "Finally" is that it gives you the option to add a final detail to wrap it all up. I snapped the above pic before I was done making the anchor chart. I added parentheses around the word "Finally" to show that it's an option, but you don't always need it.

Example: we practiced summarizing with Stone Soup and Town House Country Mouse. With Stone Soup, we needed the "Finally," but with Town Mouse Country Mouse, we didn't.

Here's the graphic organizer I used:
Click the pic to get a copy :)
What I like most about it is the lines at the bottom to write the summary. The first day, we read Stone Soup, filled in the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally)" together and orally "wrote" our summary. The second day, I read Town Mouse, Country Mouse to the bunnies and they filled in the top portion with a partner. I was going to have them write the summary with their partner, but they gave me that "Whaaaaaa?????" look, so we wrote it together and the bunnies copied it down.  At first I was a little discouraged that my students couldn't take the info in the graphic organizer and write a 2-3 sentence summary, but then I realized we've never done this before, and I need to give them a break! I like that we wrote it together, so my students could see what a quality summary looks like. (Sorry I didn't snap a pic, and I'm too brain fried this Friday to try to remember what it was!)

My plan for next week is to do the same thing we did today (I read aloud, students fill out the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally), and we write the summary together). Then on Tuesday I'll read again and the bunnies will complete the whole page with a partner. I have the book Snow Queen (the inspiration for the movie Frozen, which happens to be Traditional Lit!) on order at the public library, so hopefully it will be in by Tuesday! Then I will use this graphic organizer as homework for my guided reading groups.

These kiddos will be summarizing SUPER STARS by the end of the year, I'm sure of it!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Organizing my Making Words Supplies

I'm going to be honest. Organization is NOT the name of my game... I will NOT be sharing pictures of my pristine teacher work space. Mostly because it doesn't exist. However, I do know where everything is, even though it looks like a tornado whipped across my classroom.

One of my tier 2 interventions is an extra Making Words session for six of my bunnies. Yes, SIX! I was using my magnet letters, but six bunnies diving into one box to get their letters was not a pretty sight. It was frustrating to see how long it was taking them to get their letters (totally not their fault). The last straw was when we ran out of letters. We made a "w" with two "v"s, an "h" with an "l" and "n." The bunnies were so sweet and flexible when they had to use the make-shift letters, but I couldn't let this keep happening.

I went to Walmart and bought seven coupon organizers for $1.97 each.
I did find some at the Dollar Store and some super cute ones in the Dollar Spot at Target, but they only had six pockets, and I wanted more pockets. These non-cute Walmart ones had 12 pockets.

I had parent helpers do all the rest. First they copied seven sets of 1-inch by 1-inch letters onto blue and red construction paper. I did two of each consonant (except there are three r's, s's, and t's) and three of each vowel. The letters were laminated and cut out. Then they labeled the organizers and sorted the letters.

Each letter has a number on the back so that if it gets separated from its home, we know which organizer to put it belongs to.

And here's the finished product!

We had a little chat about NOT turning the organizers upside down so all the letters fall out. I would estimate that getting out supplies took half the time. And they were SUPER excited about it! This set up took up so much less space than the magnets and the magnet boards. I'm so happy with how this turned out! 

Now where to store the letters when we're not using them? Luckily for me, I have an extra (or twelve) baskets that holds them perfectly!

I only have 5-7 minutes a day for my Making Words intervention, and I know this new organizational system will make this time go so much smoother!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Swap 'til You Drop!

I've teamed up with 17 other bloggy friends to bring you this super fun product swap!
Make sure you read my entire post, because there's some exciting news at the end!

I was lucky enough to swap products with My Second Sense, and let me tell ya, she's got some AMAZING stuff in her store! It was so hard to pick just one product!!! But knowing that opinion writing was up next in my writing curriculum, I just had to choose...
This unit really has EVERYTHING you need for your kiddos to write opinion pieces! We started by reviewing what "opinions" are and practiced forming opinions on various topics. Tania's unit has excellent resources for this. She's included questions such as, "Which holiday is the best?"or "Which chore do you prefer?" and "Which season is most fun?" and possible answers for them to choose from. With their partners, my students picked an option and defended it with a reason or two why. I'm fairly certain everyone said that spring/summer is their favorite season after all this cold and snow we've had this winter! We did all of this orally so they could practice formulating opinions.

Next we used this gem:
I love this brainstorming sheet! We spent our whole workshop time one day thinking of our favorites. What I love most is that they can come back to this in the future to choose a topic to write about!

OK, now it's time to choose a topic and begin prewriting. I first modeled the prewriting process by writing about my favorite fast food restaurant: Culver's. If you don't have a Culver's near you, I am SO sorry! The best part about this was I had a few very passionate McDonald's fans who were arguing with me the whole time about how I was wrong! AWESOME!!! Those bunnies are DEFINITELY ready for opinion writing! Here are a few of our prewriting pages:

Here's my #1 McDonald's guy. He was DETERMINED to prove me wrong! 
Next it was time to draft. My favorite part about Tania's unit is that she has a list 12 different opinion sentence starters: In my opinion; The best part about ______; One reason why I like ________; I gave each of my kiddos a copy of this page to keep in their writing folders. It really helped them to write complete sentences and to make their piece cohesive. Here we are drafting:
The unit comes with this drafting paper. It was a great way to keep the kids organized and to make sure that they weren't forgetting anything from their prewriting sheet.
Now it's time to revise and edit. Tania includes a great editing checklist to help the kids make sure they have everything they need before they conference with me. I also introduced peer editing during this process, and the bunnies LOVED it! Here we are revising and editing:
The blue sheet is Tania's editing checklist

Using our 2nd grade dictionaries to check spelling!
Now it's time to publish! Tania has included a variety of papers to use for publishing; however, after Winter Break, I give my kids the option to type or hand-write their final copies, and approximately 99.99999% of the bunnies always choose to type :) Here are some of our final copies:

This little love and I share a passion for Noodles & Company. She drew that soda machine on her page just for me!

Whew! That was a long post! Sorry about that, but it had to be done... this unit is jam-packed with awesomeness, and I wanted to make sure you saw it all! Make sure you head over to Tania's blog as well; she's reviewing my Main Idea Mania pack. 

GUESS WHAT?! We've all decided to give away copies of our swapped products!

Now, here are the details for the giveaways!
1. Start anywhere on the map below.
2. Stop by each blog and read about the products swapped between each set of bloggers.
3. Enter to win the resources that are featured by each blog pair. Each pair of bloggers has the same raffle, so you only have to enter on one of the two blogs.While you are at each blog, if you are not already a follower, sign on to follow!
4. The raffles are open until midnight March 15th.


      A Burst of First
Lucky to Be in First        First Grade Smiles
Second Grade Perks         
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!     

The Tutu Teacher   Happy Teacher Heaven
Meet Miss Parker   

Here's the Rafflecopter to win Share Your Opinion and Main Idea Mania:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!