Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mentor Text Link Up -- Social Studies & Giveaway!

It's social studies mentor text link up time with Collaboration Cuties!  I have decided to share a collection of texts that I use with students related to Abraham Lincoln.  Several are read aloud to the entire class, while others are available for independent reading, and one new one has been added to the collection that will be used for small group reading next year.

The texts I have chosen give students at the second grade level an understanding of Abraham Lincoln as a person as well as a president.  Some focus more on his childhood, others focus on his accomplishments, and a couple focus on the inspiration he gave to others and our nation.

After students have "gotten to know" Abraham Lincoln, they complete two graphic organizers.  I have updated the graphic organizers for next year and have formatted them for legal sized paper.  Students always need more room to write. :0)  Feel free to download the graphic organizers! One of the venn diagrams is left blank so there is the option of comparing Abraham Lincoln to any other person (famous or not). I hope you find these materials useful!

Fly on over to Collaboration Cuties to learn about more social studies mentor texts!

AND--Don't forget to enter my birthday GIVEAWAY to win a vocabulator/word builder! This is the very first giveaway on our blog!  I did a previous post about a vocabulator/word builder that I made, and I would like to give one away!  You choose the words, I make it and ship it out to you!! It will be a star version like the one pictured in the post, and will contain multi-colored dyed rice (11" x 4").  It will look just like the one shown, but it will be customized for YOU!  This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so I hope this works!  Enter for your chance to win below...


Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Friday Flashback & a Birthday GIVEAWAY!

This is the first time I am linking up with Teaching Maddeness for a Friday Flashback!  I just have a couple of great things to share from this week...

First, about a month ago, when I was looking through old files for something else, I came upon an oldie-but-goodie measurement activity that had been misfiled.  It was a measurement activity from AIMS Education Foundation (dated 1986) that I used AGES ago when I was student teaching.  How could I have forgotten about this one? Easy--out of site, out of mind! Anyway, I immediately said to myself, This is perfect for my second graders!  As I was looking through the activity, I noticed a note that I had made that read, "adapted for inches".  Well, where was the adaptation I did? Nowhere to be found!  SO I decided to get to work...  Halfway through my work, I thought to myself, I wonder if AIMS Education still has this activity?  SO I searched for it on the internet, and there it was! It was still designed for use with centimeters, so I continued my work.  Although, I still purchase the updated version from their website for $2 (does not include the class graph as in the original version).  Please email me if you are interested in my adapted version using inches.

The activity?

Are You a Square?

The gist: Students measure their height and arms span and compare the measurements to determine if they are a square (height=arm span), tall rectangle (height > arms span), or wide rectangle (arm span > height).  Then each student graphs his or her individual results.  Finally, a class graph is made and evaluated.

I had students work as partners.  To make it possible for students to yield more accurate measurements, I asked one student to lay on the floor while the other marked his/her height/arms span on the floor using a dry erase marker.  Then pairs worked together to measure on the flat surface.  This worked well!

Students really enjoyed this activity because they got to measure THEMSELVES and learned something about themselves.  Students were also amazed to find out that so many kids were tall rectangles.  AND the activity also meets Measurement and Data Common Core Standards for Mathematics.

Secondly, I wanted to share a fabulous find that my students got to begin using this week.  It's a word game called Word Winder. I was recently at a conference, and one of the vendors was the creator of this game, David L. Hoyt.  I immediately saw the benefit of the game for kids of all ages.  I played it with my husband, and it is great fun!

The object of the game is to make a continuous path from one side of the game board to the other, winding words along the way.  The letters of each word must touch in sequence, but can go in numerous directions.  

I introduced the game to students a week or so ago, and they got to begin playing this week. Benefiits of the game:
  • automatically differentiating, as students make words within their capability--some make shorter words and others longer
  • encourages strategy as students can block one another and force the other player to continue his/her path in a different direction
  • one game is never exactly the same as another as the 16 game board pieces are two-sided and can be arranged in many ways
  • provides an unpredictable word work activity for students
  • it's FUN!

 There is also a book that is great to provide as a word work choice as well.

Last, since today is my birthday, I am posting the very first giveaway on our blog!  I did a previous post about a vocabulator/word builder that I made, and I would like to give one away!  You choose the words, I make it and ship it out to you!! It will be a star version like the one pictured in the post, and will contain multi-colored dyed rice.  It will look just like the one shown, but it will be customized for YOU!  This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so I hope this works!  Enter for your chance to win below...

Don't forget to fly on over to Teaching Maddeness to read about some fabulous Friday Flashbacks! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mentor Text Link Up -- The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!

Linking up again with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Link Up!  This week's focus is science, and what better time with Earth Day this week.  I have chosen to share The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle by Nuria Roca (Illustrated by Rosa M. Curto).  

This text is perfect for teaching students about what THEY can do to help reuse, reduce, and recycle as it follows Paul around his community.  Readers take a little "trip" through Paul's home, school, and community to see what everyone is doing to help out. The text also does a great job explaining what happens to garbage after it is thrown away, how paper is recycled, and what it means to compost.  Additional topics/concepts in this text include: landfill, incinerator, waste, reusing materials for crafts, handing things down, conserving water and electricity, reducing the amount of plastic used, water pollution, items that can be recycled, etc. AND there are four activities at the end of the book: making a recycled birdhouse, a recipe for stale-bread pudding, an experiment, and a notebook craft.  

As a class, we list as many things as ways we can think of that Paul, his family, friends, and the community reused, reduced, and recycled.  Then we star all of the things that KIDS can do.  This way students can see the abundance of things THEY can do to help--it really raises their awareness.  We talk about how much POWER they have when it comes for caring for the earth. 

My kids will also be making Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse mobiles this year.  This will be their chance to share what they already do/plan to do in each of the areas.  

If you don't already have this text in your collection, it would be a great one to add!  

Please don't forget to stop fly on over to Collaboration Cuties where you can learn about oodles more science mentor texts. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Be a Superstar Word Builder!

After seeing many "vocabulators" online over the years, I finally decided to make one.  This word tool can be used in many ways... I decided to create one that contained prefixes (re- and un-) and various base/root words.  I filled the container with dyed rice (rainbow colors), foam stars, and star-shaped beads.  I introduced the "vocabulator" to students and they all got a chance to try it out. On a different day, when we had a couple of free moments, I asked if a student would tell the collaborative special education teacher, who comes into our room each day, how it is used.  The student began by saying, "Well, it's a word builder, and you just turn..."  SO, our "vocabulator" had a new name--A WORD BUILDER!

My students simply turn the word builder on its side looking for a prefix and base word that can be put together to make a new word.  I also created some activity sheets for students to use with the word builder in our word work station. I plan to change the prefixes as new ones are introduced as well as replace words when we work with suffixes. 

To learn more about how to make vocabulators, you can visit the following links, Melissa Forney's Vocabulators (PDF) and Fourth Grade Frolics (directions for dying rice).  To purchase a tube like the one shown, visit Melissa Forney's Store.

Finally, to download the word builder activities used by my students, just click here!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Must Read Math Mentor Text & a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Sunday! Time to link up AGAIN with the Collaboration Cuties for their mentor text link up...

How Big is a Foot?  by Rolf Myller is a great text to use when...
  • beginning a unit on measurement
  • helping students understand the difference between non-standard and standard units of measurement
  • introducing the need for standardized units of measure
  • you want to give your students a good laugh related to math

The gist of the story...

The King wants to give the Queen something special for her birthday, but she has everything--everything except a bed (they had not been invented yet). The problem is that the King does not know how big a bed is.  He finally has a bed made, but it is too small. After all, one person's foot is not the same size as another's...  The kids love to see the queen jump into a bed that is too small--and you will too!

On another note--hop on over to Ideas by Jivey to participate in her 300 Follower Giveaway!  You can win oodles of great products, including $10 to spend in my Teachers Pay Teachers store...

Have a fantabulous week! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Whales are how big???

Every year our grade level does an ocean unit, and every year we get to talk about whales.  One thing I have done for a long time is actually measure the lengths of six whales.  The students always love this lesson and it gives them a good idea on how long this great giant creatures actually are.  

One change I made this year is the tools we use to measure.  Up until this year I always had the kids use ruler to measure the whale lengths, and to measure a 100ft. blue whale length with a ruler can be a very daunting task for my kiddos.  But this year, with the implementation of Common Core, we used tools appropriate for measuring these lengths.  Two units I used to help get my students ready to use these measuring tools, were Amy Lemons' I Can Measure! unit, and Tracy Smith's Measuring Length unit.  

In science we learned about whales using a PowerPoint I had created, and then graphed the lengths of 6 specific whales: blue whale, orca whale, beluga whale, sperm whale, right whale, and humpback whale.

We used our school gym to measure the whale lengths because obviously our classroom was just a wee too tiny (like who has a gigantic classroom anyway:).  Students brought in tape measures from home because they felt these were the best tool to measure these great lengths.  I broke the kids up into 6 groups to measure 6 different whales. The used the information from their graphs to know how much length to measure.

I was proud when I saw this.  One of my groups discovered that their tape measure ended at 16 ft so they used a yard stick to continue measuring from that point on the tape measure!

After the kids measured the lengths, I then gave each groups different colored crepe paper to roll out the length measured.  That crepe paper represented the whale lengths.  I then hang the crepe paper in the hallway for all to see how long the whales are.  I always have this up for Open House every year and everyone loves to see how long these wondrous whales really are!

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Time Link Up--Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics

SO glad to have the opportunity to participate in 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made It for the first time!  Just a couple of goodies to share...

Let's see... What month is this? You say the school year is coming to an end?  Well, it has taken me this long to put together something that I have been meaning to for some time now--some simple punctuation posters with examples for my second graders.  I have never been able to find punctuation posters with easy to read text and examples, so I made some... Please feel free to download and share them!

AND, who can't use some INK JOY! Love the PaperMate Ink Joy colored pens, and my kids will too.  I made a little tag to attach to a bundle of pens for each of my students to use for word work and writing.   Not only do these colored pens make me smile, so do the little snail graphics courtesy of Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da! Bundle some PaperMate Ink Joy pens, attach a tag with ribbon, and gift a smile!

 Just click here to download the tag, trim, punch, and bundle up!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

MUST READ Mentor Text Link Up with Collaboration Cuties--Round 2!

It's that time again--time to link up with Stacia and Amanda over at Collaboration Cuties for their AWESOME Mentor Text Link Up!!

Courtney and I are both sharing a text today...

This activity was shared with me many moons ago.  I am sorry to say that I cannot remember who shared it with me and where I was… I do know that this is an activity that must be shared again and again.  Therefore, my name does not appear on this FREEBIE, as I am not taking credit for the idea, but I guess I can take credit for passing this wonderful activity on to others...  I have done this with second, third, and fifth graders. It is appropriate for ANY age! 

Please consider doing this with your students as a Christmas gift, or a Mothers’/Fathers’/ Grandparents’ Day gift.  The comments from parents and grandparents have been heartfelt. Many have commented, “It’s the best gift I have ever gotten.”  You will also be touched by your students’ writings.

To download my notes about this writing activity, and writing pages to go along with it, just click here!

Enjoy this experience with your students—it is one that I will do as long as I am teaching!

I first heard this story when I was taking a differentiation workshop about 6 years ago.  I instantly fell in love with this book and the message it gives. Little Vashi believes that she is not good at drawing so she angrily puts a dot on a piece of paper.  Her teacher tells her to sign it, and was amazed the next day when she walks in and the teacher has framed her "work of art"!  Vashi's confidence begins to thrive and she realizes that she can be good at drawing.

I like to use this book when beginning Writer's Workshop. Even though it talks about art, I relate it to writing in the sense that even though we can't write that much, spell all the words correctly, or think of a topic, we all begin somewhere and eventually we will persevere. 

This is one of those great books that could be used with any subject at any time of the year. But the best part, is that the students love it!

Don't forget to stop over to Collaboration Cuties to fill your teaching bag with some more wonderful mentor text ideas!