Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Already?? Oh, Well! Five for Friday it is...

When on spring break, as Friday rolls around, it's not necessarily a YAHOO moment!  But Friday does means Five for Friday, so we are linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

More Time to Blog

Click here to read, Let's Take a Dive: Ocean Unit--Part One.  Finally had a chance to blog about our ocean explorations. Part Two from Courtney is still to come!

Time to Create

I spent some time this week creating some new items for my kids--AND you have a chance to win one of them!

First up is a game/center that I have overhauled for use this April.  Earth Day Fact & Opinion: Learning Game & Center.  Included are 48 fact/opinion cards, two game boards (one letter and one legal sized), and student directions for board game and sorting center.

I also discovered that my kids really enjoy checking their work with QR codes.  I recently purchased and prepared some super hero themed QR code inference cards (Fun in 5th Grade) that my kids loved---SO I decided to whip up some Whacky Watches telling time task cards.  I created the watch graphics last summer, and I still had not put them to use.  I created telling time to the five minute and minute versions. I wanted to provide independent work options for all of my students--therefore, I created the minute version to meet the needs of some of my students who are ready to move beyond the second grade standard. The kids will love them!

Lastly, the kids were doing very well with fractions before leaving for spring break, so I created four spring-themed games, Flying High with Fractions.  The games have rectangular and circle shaded models, and they will be used in guided math rotations and math workstation time.  I also wanted to get some students thinking about equivalent fractions for one half, so two of the games meet this need.
Time to Read

Spring break is a perfect time to get some reading done.  I thought about reading something non-school related, but I have had Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Though Children's Literature, K-6 for several months and have been wanting to get started on it.  Can't say enough what a wonderful teaching resource this is.  Lots of lesson ideas, mentor texts, and student samples. I have oodles of Post-Its marking pages.  You can take a look inside at!  I also purchased the nonfiction version, but have not really gotten into it yet. Would love to hear your thoughts if you have read either...


Courtney's Five for Friday!

Here are a few words from Courtney that may ring true in your case as well, when it comes to having time off, "My Five for Friday is basically me getting NOTHING done that I had planned to do this week!"  Ha!  The BREAK part of spring break is really the most important anyway!

Fabulous Finds Friday Linky

We have started up our Fabulous Finds Friday linky again.  We hope you can stop back and link up your fabulous finds next Friday.  Don't have a blog, we would love for you to share your finds in a comment! To learn more, just click our logo. :0)

Now for your chance to WIN!  Three lucky winners will get to choose one of the TpT products shared in this post.  Hurry to enter---giveaway will end Sunday night at 12:00 a.m.  Monday night at 12:00 a.m.  I messed up setting up the giveaway, so I have extended the time.  Please enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to fly on over to read more Five for Fridays!

 All the best to you for a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Let's Take a Dive! Ocean Unit in Review--Part One

Our kids have been studying the ocean habitat, ocean food chains, and animal adaptations.  The following are some activities and resources our students have enjoyed in this cross curricular unit.  This is Part One of our sharing...

Guided Reading 

There are numerous nonfiction text resources related to the ocean.  Here are some of the text I used in guided reading groups.  

Ocean Life by Brenda Z. Guiberson (Scholastic Storia eBook)
Ocean Giants by Kate Waters (Scholastic Storia eBook)
Weird Sea Creatures by Laura Marsh (National Geographic Kids Leveled Reader)
Great Migrations: Whales by Laura Marsh (National Geographic Series)
Splash! A Book About Whales and Dolphins by Melvin & Gilda Berger (Scholastic Storia eBook)

Each group focused on problem solving the meanings of unknown words.  This is a continued focus at all levels and all of the texts provided opportunities to problem solve and make predictions about new words.

Ocean Zones & Ocean Animal Profiles

Students learned about the oceans zones and the special adaptations that animals have to help them survive in each of the zones.  Students also researched an animal and created an ocean animal profile.  You will notice more animals in the sunlight zone, as 90% percent of ocean life is found in this zone.  Students also made ocean zone accordion books.

Scuba Kid Craftivity and Poems

The scuba kids turned out super cute!  Students chose to write a lantern or haiku poem, followed the rules of writing the type of poem chosen, and typed their poem for display on their scuba kids' bellies.

Tessellated School of Fish!

My kids have created tessellating fish in past years, but this year we used a new technique.  Students tore blue paint tape to create stripes on their fish.  These areas resisted watercolor and created white stripes on their tropical fish. The kids loved how they turned out, but the tape was not as easy to remove as I would have liked--had to lay them on the heater to get the tape to remove easily.  Will be trying a different tape next time... :0)

A giant googley eye was the icing on the cake!

Ocean Animal Food Chain Pyramids

Found this idea last year on First Grade Wow! What a great visual to help students understand the food chain concept as it relates to the ocean.  This can be used for any food chain, of course!

Sides--animal illustrations, names of animals, producer or consumer labels.

We have even more great ocean unit ideas and student work to share! Stop back to read more from Courtney!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Must Read Mentor Text Linky: Social Studies with Scholastic News eReaders

Time for Collaboration Cuties' Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week's topic is Social Studies.  Just a quick overview of some great texts for integrating social studies...

Scholastic News  Nonfiction Storia eReaders

As second grade teachers, we try to integrate social studies topics into ELA whenever possible and appropriate.  I recently came across some wonderful Scholastic News eReaders available through Storia.  A wide variety of social studies and science topics are offered, and the texts are perfect for reinforcing how authors use main ideas and key details to organize nonfiction texts. They also contain several nonfiction text features for students to use--table of contents, heading, photographs, glossary (picture), and index.  Lastly, the texts are ideal for independent reading during guided reading rotations (guided reading levels are noted when shopping).  Even though I purchased the readers via Storia, I have linked each text cover to where a preview of is available.

I decided to use What Does the President Do? by Amanda Miller during our intervention groups time.  The text is organized nicely into key details related to the main idea: The president of the United States has many important responsibilities.  Since we had been exploring main idea and key details together, students were asked to read the text independently with a partner and then completed a main idea/key details graphic organizer. You may download the graphic organizer here!

Here are some other titles I have purchased for students to choose from when reading independently.
Scholastic also offers a great series of Scholastic News eReaders related to helping the earth, saving energy, and recycling that I will be using in April.

Fly on over to Collaboration Cuties to check out more must read social studies texts...
All the best for a wonderful week ahead!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Math Centers Linky Party & Student Motivation Saturday

Linking up with Easy Teaching Tools for a three-part Math Centers Linky Party.  Although, I am getting in on this one a bit late...

Math Centers Linky Party
Part 1 -- Topic: Setting Up Math Centers

My kids love math workstations/centers! I have used the same organizational system the last two years, and it works fabulously!

Iris' six-drawer storage systems from Office Max are perfect for math workstations, among other things.  I simply used a utility knife to cut off the little nubs on the sides of the drawers that prevent the drawers from sliding out, as I wanted the drawers to be removable.  Then, I numbered them from 1-12. 

Each of the twelve drawers houses a workstation.  I change workstations out depending on target skills, concepts for review, and/or season/holidays.  

Directing students to particular workstations is a snap with this equally as simple name and number system located on our magnetic white board.  When it's time for workstations, students get the correct drawer, gather any needed materials (stored in tubs above the drawers for easy access), and get to work in a location of choice. Students may also be directed to me for small group work.

At times, I cycle students through the stations, so the next time we meet they move on to the next station.  This system also provides for differentiation, as I switch out centers in drawers and assign stations based on individual students' needs at times.

Why not stop over to Easy Teaching Tools to learn about more ideas for setting up math workstations? :0)

Student Motivation Courtesy of Smile Makers

I know I used to get excited about stickers when I was a kid, but my kids have topped my excitement 10 fold.  I know stickers are a simple and obvious means of student motivation, but whatever works!!  

Recently I was at the dentist's office for my six month cleaning when I noticed his rolls of 2 inch square stickers for little patients.  After gazing upon them when I entered and as I was leaving, I kindly asked if I could snag one from my grandson--the pterodactyl. Yes!  In light of my students' excitement over stickers, I looked on the back to see if there was any order information. I thought they would get a charge out of these jumbo delights. :0)  They were made by Smile Makers, so I hopped online, went a bit crazy, and purchase just a few--HA!  

These goodies hang on dowel rods from command hooks for all the kids to see.  At the end of each week, if students maintain excellent conduct and effort as outlined on our responsibility sheet, they get to choose two stickers.  Needless to say, they look forward to the end of the day on Friday. The Fruit Ninja scratch and sniff, Muppet, and rainbow dolphin/unicorn stickers are favorites.

If you have never checked out Smile Makers online, it's a must!

Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gems by Loreen Leedy!

Just a fun post to share some gems I came across by Loreen Leedy. I have used some of her outstanding picture books before, but I bought a couple new ones (to me)...

This past weekend, I was searching I OFTEN do--looking for some picture books related to fractions (basic) and graphing.  I came across a couple of superb texts by Loreen Leedy that arrived today.  AAAH, another box on my table waiting for me when I got home today--thank goodness for Amazon Prime!  Anyway...

Fraction Action

LOVE this one--presented in chapters.  In chapter one, Fraction Action,  Miss Prim, a horse I think, begins to teach her class about fractions (fraction of a whole).  She draws model and labels them.  Then she asks her kids (various critters) where they have seen fractions in real life---a glass half full, a wallet with three sections, a pie in four slices, etc.  In the second chapter, Get Ready, Get Set, she goes on to talk about fractions of a set and her kids learn to divide marbles into equal sets.  Chapter three, A Fair Share, focuses on sharing items such as an orange and watermelon by cutting the whole into halves and fourths. Lemonade for Sale, chapter four, makes the wonderful connection between fractions and a dollar (four quarters).  At the end, there is a teacher test for the kids that is followed by the answers.  I especially enjoyed the basic presentation of fractions in this text that is ideal for second graders.  Not to mention, the illustrations offer excellent models and opportunities for investigation.  I can't wait to share Fraction Action with my students tomorrow--perfect timing!

The Great Graph Contest

While I have heard of this picture book, I have never had it in my hot little hands.  Now I have!  I so enjoy the pond critter characters as they have a graphing content.  Bar graphs, pictographs, circle graphs (basic), and ven diagrams are the focus--where my friends live, kinds of cookies, patterns of bathing suits,  whether more reptiles or birds hatched, etc.  Fun! Fabulous illustrations--AGAIN! 

After I ordered the books, I remembered that Loreen Leedy has a TpT store.  I flew on over and found some great freebies and items for purchase.

It's a Fluke FREEBIE!

 Perfect to use during our ocean unit! 

Mystery Pix Puzzles: St. Patrick's Day

This goodie will be used in guided math rotations.  The kids have to subtract 100 from each clue and plot and color squares on the grid. More learning fun!

Real Rabbits

I will be using this in guided reading rotations as a "read and reflect" activity.  Includes a great nonfiction passage, writing activity sheets, and a cut and fold activity.

There are oodles of WONDERFUL products in Loreen Leedy's store--many go along with her picture books.  You must check it out, if you haven't already...


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Must Read Mentor Text Linky & St. Patty's Day Freebies!

It's Sunday and time for Collaboration Cuties' Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  Today's topic is math, so I thought I'd share a text to use when exploring money.

The Big Buck Adventure

Lately, I have been using some math texts during guided reading in our "read and reflect" station.  The Big Buck Adventure, by Shelly Gill and Debora Tobola, is a Scholastic Storia ebook that I purchased some time ago.  Since my kids have become "money masters" (as I call them) through our explorations with counting money and problem solving, I decided to include this fun text as a choice for independent reading and reflection. 

Synopsis: An excited little girl tells her story of going to the store to spend her buck of allowance. She journeys through the store hearing and seeing all of the wonderful things she could buy with her dollar. Soon her excitement turns to indecision and she becomes quite overwhelmed with the task of spending her dollar. In the end, she decides to save her dollar.  When her dad asks her if she had any luck--her response is, "I have to laugh as I pocket my buck."

Thanks to Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for the opportunity to link up! Fly on over to learn about more math mentor texts...

St. Patty's Day Freebies

Here are a couple of St. Patty's Day freebies for you to enjoy. Just click on each picture to download in my TpT stores.

Have a wonderful week!