Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smile Makers

I teach in a Title I school with a large percentage of ELL students. While there are many challenges about teaching in this type of environment (and I've taught in both Title I and non-Title I schools), I do love it. I love the students, and that is something I feel passionate about - Title schools need passionate people! A lot of times when I'm dealing with frustrations, I have to remind myself that it isn't the students at all. A lot of times it's figuring out a way to work with other adults and follow through with communication, and that is a very good skill to know, regardless of the profession or what environment you are working in. These kids come from backgrounds that many of us will never know or understand, and school is their safe place. It is our job to provide a positive, structured atmosphere and to expect what others will not out of these kids. 

Anyway, off my soapbox now. :-) One strategy for working with ELL students is to label the classroom. In the past, I've had to create my own labels - type them, laminate them, cut them, and hot glue or tape them, all around the classroom. This year, thanks to SmileMakers, I received labeling stickers that are reusable! I love this product, and it makes it so easy to label the classroom. The lettering is large, so students can see from a distance, and it is easily readable with a nice, clear font. Additionally, the labels have not only the word, but they have a picture also. So perfect for ELL and emergent readers!!! The coolest thing is that the pack came with a large selection, and then I could pick which labels I wanted to use! The rest I've put in my closet for another year. :-)

Click the picture below if you'd like to order a set of these labels, or click HERE.

SmileMakers has a great teacher reward program, and they have a nice selection of top quality classroom products. They have a nice deal going right now, only until September 27. To receive 10% off, no minimum order, use code: SMILE25  and click HERE, or click the picture below!

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Phonemic Segmentation Cards

Wow it's been a busy school year thus far! I hope you all are off to a great start. I have been so thankful and impressed by the power of Pinterest, other teacher blogs, and Teachers Pay Teachers. We have worked so hard, and our 2nd grade hallway looks absolutely fabulous thanks a bunch to ideas found on Pinterest! 

Oh the Places You'll Go - Goal Writing

Back to School Student Glyphs

Best Part of Me Writing

All About Me Pennants

In Our Classroom Poster - Class Rules
In other news, I've created a new TpT product: Phonemic Segmentation Cards. Almost all of my products come from a need/necessity in my own classroom, so the coolest thing is that every product has been kid tested and teacher approved! These cards were developed for use in my guided reading groups, but you could really use them any time.  This is the first year in a loooong time that I've had such a high group of emergent readers in 2nd grade, so I feel like I've been learning a LOT about pre-emergent and emergent readers - something I haven't really dealt with in quite a while, even when I was looping and teaching 1st grade also! I enjoy learning, so that's a plus. :-) I feel like Jan Richardson (the author), my kindergarten teacher friends, and the title I reading teacher have kind of been my go to gurus this year! Thank goodness for these awesome ladies! 

Anyway, my sweet little pre-emergent/emergent readers are struggling to segment words, so that is why I created these cards. Students can use these to practice phonemic segmentation. The dots underneath each sound are provided to guide students to put their finger and touch and say each sound. After saying each sound, students will then blend the sounds together to read the word. These cards are designed to help students practice 1:1 correspondence with segmenting sounds. These cards can be used in a variety of ways: parent volunteers, guided reading, literacy centers, flashcards, etc... I copied these cards, laminated, and put them on a ring to have my students work on segmenting during guided reading. Please let me know if you have any questions! Hope these cards are helpful for your students who are working on sounds during guided reading or any other time!

To download these cards, click HERE or click the picture below:

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Monday, September 2, 2013

"Autumn" by Emily Dickinson - a 2nd grade poetry mini unit aligned with CCSS

It's a brand new school year, and I'm so excited to have some time to make some fresh lesson plans aligned with Common Core! I've had a nice start to the school year, and I hope you have too. 

I just posted a new mini-unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. This unit uses the exemplar text, "Autumn". "Autumn" is a poem by Emily Dickinson, and it is the perfect poem to use right now at the beginning of the school year. The text can also be found on the CCCSS website in Appendix B. :-)

Included, you will find the following items and resources in my mini-unit:

-Lesson plan ideas (3 days)
-Assessment: written text dependent question
-Poem typed for displaying on screen (text is also found in Appendix B of the CCSS)
-Building Background picture
-Vocabulary slides to teach 4 key words
-Poetry analysis graphic organizer
-Visualizing sheet to draw/write visualization
-Class book outline for students to analyze the text

To purchase and download the zipped file, please go to my TpT store or click HERE. You can also click the picture below:

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Giant Back to School TpT Sale

And a brand new year has started! This weekend is the annual ginormous TpT Back to School Sale, so don't miss out! It runs from August 18-August 19 (Sunday and Monday). Click on the picture below to head over to my store, or click HERE. Don't forget to use the promo code: BTS13 at checkout to receive 28% off all items. :-) 

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Find Someone Who - Back to School Edition

Wow, the summer blew by. What a busy summer it's been! I had all these grandiose plans for working on some TpT units, and alas, it just didn't happen. Oh well! I'm now starting to think about school again, *gasp*! Anyway, I'm hoping to get some school stuff done for the beginning of the year, and I will hopefully be posting more regularly again soon!

Awhile back I posted a Find Someone Who activity for the end of the year, just before summer break. Today I created one for the beginning of the year! Anyone who knows me knows I love using this cooperative learning structure, as you can use it for just about everything, and it keeps students accountable and gets them talking and interacting with each other (very important for any class, but especially when I have such a high ELL population). 

For this activity, simply download and print a copy for every student in the class. This is a great (and simple) back to school activity for team building and breaking the ice for the students. Students will walk around the room, meet their fellow classmates, and talk to them to find out if they fit any of the categories or boxes. Then, if a student finds another student who fits, he/she will have the other student sign his/her name or initials in the box. The goal is to fill the sheet with names. When done, the teacher can go over them all together. this could then lead into a graphing activity or further discussion. Enjoy this free download by clicking HERE or clicking the picture below. Have a great start to your school year! :-) 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Opinion Writing

I am on a writing kick I've noticed. However, I really feel like the students have done a great job with writing this year, and I feel like they really understand the writing process. We've amped up the amount of writing the kiddos are doing in all subject areas, and it shows. Makes a teacher proud! :-)

Anyway, we've informally done opinion writing all year, but we started a formal unit on it just recently. Here is the anchor chart we made for opinion writing:

I'm excited to see how their writing turns out. They were allowed to write about whatever topic they chose. More pictures to come later! 

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Owl Moon and Descriptive Writing

Happy Monday! We recently finished a unit in shared reading using the book Owl Moon. This book is such a great book for helping students practice visualizing, helping them to use and apply context clues, and helping them to identify descriptive words. 

With common core, we are integrating even more writing. My students had to read the story and visualize what was happening at different point within the story. They then drew a quick pic of what they were visualizing and wrote a sentence to describe their quick pics. Then, we close read the story to find out more information about our text dependent questions. We had a book talk to discuss the story and to choose lines from the book that really spoke to us and that were powerful to the story. My students had awesome thoughts, and it's always so cool to see them analyzing a book at such a young age! 

After reading the book, we then went back and close read again to find examples of descriptive words. The students worked together to find examples and to create a list of descriptive words. There were a ton in this book! We talked about how those descriptive words can help readers paint a picture in their heads and that they help readers to use their 5 senses to imagine that they were there in the book. I found an awesome owl craftivity on Amy Lemons' TpT website that was free (check it out HERE), and I printed it on cardstock. I then traced the body of the owl on lined paper and made enough copies for each child. The students then took what they learned about descriptive writing to write Who Am I riddles. They had to write about themselves using descriptive words, and then they were able to put together the owl craftivity and color it. I then stapled it on top of their writing, and hung them on the back bulletin board. The kiddos love reading them during Daily 5 time to try to figure out whose is whose!  See the pictures below! :-) The kiddos did a super job, and we will continue to work on using descriptive words in our writing!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Animal Research Revisited

Well, as some of you have noticed, I took a mini-hiatus from blogging and TpT. There really wasn't any particular reason, I just was enjoying some me time I guess. The hubby started a new position a few months ago, and he has his nights and weekends free now (this was quite a rarity in days of past), so we have just been nesting and enjoying spending time together, eating dinner together every night, and taking walks each evening! Anyway, I had a reader actually e-mail me to check on me and see if everything was ok since I hadn't blogged in a while. I thought that was so sweet, and it's nice to know that people are out there reading my posts, so thank you Tabitha!

Well, I think I had posted a while back about my animal research project informational writing unit that I had on TpT (go here to check it out). This unit was made out of necessity, as my own kiddos were working on this during writing a while ago. I just realized the other day that I never posted pics, so here they are!

The kiddos did a terrific job. It's so fun to see them take a piece of writing through the writing process and to see the final results! 

Anyway, have a terrific weekend, and now that I'm officially back, be expecting more posts next week!
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah the day of love has arrived. :-) I'm happy to say that our class parties were done with a couple days ago due to parent-teacher conferences this week. That is enough of a Valentine's gift in and of itself!!!

One of the things we've really been working on with Common Core ELA is having students justify their answers and thinking. It's been fun seeing how well our students are doing with this. The kids are really growing and maturing in their thinking, and they are truly rising to the occasion. So much so, that justifying their answers has kind of carried over into everything else, and the students are now in a bit of a habit! Take a look at this cute drawing one of my students made for me:
How sweet is it that he not only said he loves me and called me the best teacher - instant A - ha, but he explained his answer and said WHY I'm the best ever (because I SOMETIMES fix problems - gotta love that)! Love that justifications are carrying over into everyday explanations. :-)
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Simplest of Things

Well, we've finally finished up our units on double digit addition and subtraction with regrouping (a HUGE part of 2nd grade math) - YAY! Here is one of our math anchor charts:

Common core has actually made teaching regrouping just that much easier, as students are really delving deep and making their own understanding and connections. I love having "math talks" in the classroom and hearing students explain their thinking and reasoning. We are always discussing various strategies, and it's fun to see students hear other kids and how they may have solved a problem in a different way. 

Anyway, we've started our unit on place value to 1,000, and our lesson yesterday was focused on having students find number patterns and skip count by 5's, 10's, and 100's. At the end of our lesson time, we played a little game. First, I had a 5's/10's/100's spinner on the board. 

After having a kiddo come up and spin the spinner, I would make up a number pattern based on what the spinner showed. The students would then have to either continue the number pattern or find the missing number. They would write their answer in shaving cream on their desk, and then they'd discuss with a partner and justify their answers (love that my 2nd graders are using that word and know what it means!). 

 Such a simple activity I know, but it was motivating, fun, engaging, and it got the students talking and discussing. Sometimes we as teachers need to remember that it can be the simplest of things that can be the most effective. :-)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TpT - SUNDAY SUPER SALE and Referral

So Teachers Pay Teachers has been quite a ride for me. I have been a part of this website for about a year now, and I am absolutely AMAZED at the growth my store has had. I started out very very small, and it's just blown up from there. I was shocked to receive my check in the mail this last quarter (first time to get an actual check instead of a PayPal deposit - when it's over $500 you get a check to save on the PayPal percentage), as it was enough to pay half of our house taxes for the year!!! How awesome is that??!! And all from just sharing resources I've created for my own classroom that I'm already doing anyway. I absolutely love that people are using the resources I've created and are implementing them and seeing success. That is a truly great feeling. I love sharing anyway, and TpT has been an avenue for me to do that and to make a little extra "stipend" money on the side. I would highly recommend any of you who've been thinking about joining and just haven't yet to take the plunge. Click HERE or click the link below or the picture below to sign up and start selling!!! It does take a little bit of time to build your store, but once you do, you'll be amazed at how fast it grows each quarter.

Speaking of TpT, they are having a Sunday Super Sale to coincide with Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3, 2013. Be sure to visit my store on Sunday, and you will be able to able to get 28% off anything in my entire store! The promo code is: SUPER. Click HERE or click the picture below to take a look around my store! :-)

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ack Where Has the Year Gone???

I can't believe it's already almost February. Where in the world has the year gone??? I hope you've all had a great start to 2013 and to the Spring semester. We've kind of hit the ground running, and it's been busy busy busy! :-) We're already gearing up for conferences in a few weeks. I'm sure you've all seen this on Pinterest and "around", but I love this:
I plan on making a copy for parents to hand out at conferences. What a powerful visual to help parents understand why we teachers ask students to read for 20 minutes a night!!!
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