Saturday, May 31, 2014

Audio Poetry Gallery & QR Code Countdown to Summer!

Audio Poetry Gallery

My kids love anything that has to do with scanning QR Codes, and they REALLY got into poetry this year.  Back in April, we were working on reading poetry with fluency according to punctuation and organization and with expression appropriate to the poem's content.  We also used our school's iPads to record our readings.  Their readings were fabulous, and I was trying to come up with a creative way they could share them beyond just our classroom.  The Audio Poetry Gallery was born!  Students self-selected poems of interest, practiced reading multiple times with and without a partner, and recorded their poems using a free iPad app.  Students also created illustrations to accompany their poems, showing the picture they saw in their minds when reading the poem.  Feel free to download the student guide sheets here!

Some logistics for the teacher: I had my students email their recording files to me, and I saved them to my Google Drive.  Then I created a link to share their audio in Google Drive, copied and pasted each link into QR Code Generator, and saved each code to a folder.  Finally, I inserted each code into a Publisher document (can do in this in any word processing program), sized to fit the gallery sheet, and printed the codes for the kids to cut out and glue on their gallery sheets.

The best part was the sharing!  All of the classes in our building were invited to come and listen in our gallery.  My second graders buddied up with kindergarteners to assist them, and the rest of the classes were free to visit any time they like.  They just needed to bring iPads and headphones!

Forgot to mention the standards addressed with this project, if you were wondering: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.5 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.10. 

Countdown to Summer with QR Codes!

Courtney saw a great idea online--using QR codes for a countdown to summer.  Since we have a Muppet them, I created character countdown cards with QR codes.  Courtney created bees and hives to go along with their classroom bee theme.  The kids are super-charged about scanning a code each day! Only two codes left to scan...

Here are some of the incentives Courtney and I included: root beer floats, no shoes in the classroom, listen to music while we work, extra recess, hat day, Storyline Online, make a key chain/bag pull, make a snack recipe (tripling recipe--great math connection), scratch art, reading outside, bring a game to play day, watching a movie and popcorn (last day), etc.

Have a superb end to your year!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Traits Tuesday: Presentation with Storybook Maker by Merge Mobile, Inc.

Welcome back for our second Traits Tuesday Linky in May! Hoping we have some readers to link up or leave a comment sharing their ideas, resources, experiences, etc... Click our link below to find out more about our linky.

Writing Traits
Word Choice
Sentence Fluency

Presentation: Using Storybook Maker to Publish Nonfiction Books

My second graders have been on a wonderful collaborative research and writing journey that ended with the publication of their writing using iPads and the Storybook Maker app. At the time of purchase, it was reasonably priced at $2.99.

About the App:

In it's essence, this is a publishing app for kids.  Kids can...
  • enter and manipulate text (color, size, font).
  • import pictures (any pictures that can be saved on the iPad with the ability to crop and size).
  • style borders and backgrounds (oodles of preset solid and patterned backgrounds and borders to choose from).
  • add preset objects (clipart/graphics in the apps graphics library).
  • draw (with ability to adjust type tool and color).
  • narrate their creations (record and play back function).
  • submit their creations to the Storymaker library, save to be read in the app on the device, email a PDF version, or print to a compatible printer).
  • manipulate and size anything.
  • go crazy creating!

Here are just a few pages from my students' creations!

Storybook Maker is a user-friendly means of presenting writing, and the kids LOVED using it! I recommend this app for any age, really! 

Why not link up or share a comment with your ideas for teaching the traits of good writing??

An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, May 5, 2014

Traits Tuesday Linky!: Using National Geographic Kids Readers as Mentor Texts

We are rekindling our Traits Tuesday Linky! Click our logo to learn all about it! Simply, share your writing ideas, resources, mentor texts, successes, student work, and MORE related to helping your students become authors.  ANYTHING GOES!  We would love for you to hop on board---we all have a school year full of goodies to share!  Don't have a blog, you can share in a comment!

Writing Traits
Sentence Fluency
Word Choice

Organization and Fluency
Using National Geographic Kids Readers

My students embarked on a wonderful research and writing journey some time ago, and the fruits of their labor have been amazing.  I will be sharing more details and student work in a future post...

In a nutshell, students have collaboratively researched and written informational animal texts.  For now, I would like to share how we used National Geographic Kids readers.

Bold Beginnings

As we know, bold beginnings, grabbing our reader's attention, or hooking the reader (whatever you want to call it) is essential.  To learn how authors achieve this goal in informational texts, we turned to various texts from our classroom library--ultimately we found National Geographic Kids readers to be effective, as they received the most votes from students.  

We explored how four different authors began their books related to the same topic, discussed their level of effectiveness (in comparison to the requirements we generated on our anchor chart), and then brought it to a vote. We did this with several topics.  Why were National Geographic kid readers a favorite?  The kids especially liked the creative questions, how the authors made them think, and how some used a riddle format.

Here are a few we found to have bold beginnings. 

The kids' beginnings turned out to be fabulous!  Samples will be shared soon...

Creative Headings

We went through a similar process in analyzing how different authors use headings.  AGAIN, Nat Geo Kid readers came out on top for their creativity and getting the reader to think about each main idea.  

Quickly, here are some of the headings my kids came up with for the various main ideas in their books--Fur Style (spider monkey's appearance), The Stripe Type (zebra's appearance), Oh, Baby! (snowy owlets), What's for Dinner? (African lion's diet)...

Student proved that they can lead by example, yet be original!

Sentence Fluency

Ponies was an excellent example of how an author begins sentences in different ways.  This was a great opportunity for the kids to see how what they have learned about using pronouns becomes most important when it is applied in the context of their writing.

We focused on the key details the author shared about foals by charting the varied sentence beginnings. We talked in depth about how important sentence variety is to the reader, specifically citing our own feeling when reading informational texts.  

I am sure you have notice the abundance of rich informational texts being published today---I feel National Geographic Kids readers are among them. Nick Bishop's texts were a close runner up in our votes.

I encourage you to think about using these text to teach the traits of good writing.  I bet you already have a few on hand!

Thanks so much for stopping by!!  Please link up or leave a comment sharing your goodies!

AND don't forget Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Teacher Appreciation sitewide SALE! Visit my store!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fabulous Finds, Traits Tuesday Linky, and Spark Student Motivation Saturdays...

Mornin'!  A few things to share...

Fabulous Finds Friday, a bit late.

Engage New York

Courtney discovered this fabulous site with oodles of resources for building Math and ELA concepts. I have linked to the Second Grade Math and the Second Grade ELA skill units.  Check out the any resources on their site.

K-2 Informational Text Resource

The Everything Guide to Informational Text K-2: Best Texts, Best Practices by Kathy A. Barclay and Laura D. Stewart was recently shared with our staff by our district media specialist.  I ordered a copy and read it in a flash.  What does it have to offer?  Some highlights---The Common Core and Informational Texts, Intentional Teaching and Differentiation, Choosing Stellar Texts, Comprehension Strategies, Lesson Design, and Informational Texts in Units of Study.  To view more complete overview of this resource, click here.  I especially appreciated the annotated bibliography of texts. Worth the money!

Story Cove

In looking for texts and resources for exploring folktales and fables with second graders, I stumbled upon a series of texts and soon discovered there was also a website.  Story Cove's Folktales from Around the Globe is a site full of resources for teachers and online books and activities for kids. There is a fee for subscribing, but much is included and you can preview a book and its resources.  The individual books are also available at at reasonable prices. Books and animations run on iPads as well. Check it out!

Feel free to share your fabulous finds by adding your link. Don't have a blog, please share in a comment!

Hop on Board--Traits Tuesday Linky

We are rekindling our Traits Tuesday Linky this May! Click our logo to learn all about it! Simply, share your writing ideas, resources, mentor texts, successes, student work, and MORE related to helping your students become authors.  ANYTHING GOES!  We would love for you to hop on board---we all have a school year full of goodies to share!  Don't have a blog, you can share in a comment!  Stop back this coming Tuesday, May 6th to join in the sharing! 

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays: Cootie Catchers!
OK, I am no spring chicken and I'm not a senior citizen, but I bet people of all ages have heard or seen a cootie catcher (Chinese fortune teller).  My second graders have, and they LOVE them!  I just recently started providing some math cootie catchers for my students to enjoy.  I found some on Super Teacher Worksheets, BUT they are EVERYWHERE!!  It's obvious why these little buggers are motivating!  Click on this sample I found online I know no pics are necessary, but I did decide to order this gem, The KLUTZ Cootie Catcher Book, for some last day of school fun!

Fly on over to Head Over Heels for Teaching to discover more motivational ideas!

Have a splendid weekend!