Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday!

What a crazy, busy, exhausting, rewarding, and fun week! Whew! There's been a lot going on this week so I'm excited to share my Five for Friday from Doodle Bugs Teaching linky!

1. We created a class ABC book of collective nouns. It turned out absolutely adorable! This is the first year that I've taught collective nouns (it's new in the Common Core standards) and I think it's now one of my favorite parts of speech to teach. Who knew that a group of bees can be called an "erst of bees" or that a group of peacocks is an "ostentation of peacocks"?! My kiddos were cracking up hearing all these different collective noun names for groups of animals =)

2. I finally finished all of my paperwork to renew my teaching license! I'm not sure what it's like in your state, but here in Ohio it is quite a process. I'm sooo relieved to have it all completed and in the mail!
3. We've been working on 3-digit addition so we played Addition Scoot to practice! I'm going to be honest here and admit that I'd never played "Scoot" before and I had to look up the directions! My students really loved playing the game and it was a great way to get my "active" kiddos up and moving!
4. Over the past three weeks, my students have each been researching a famous person. I purchased  One Extra Degree's unit called Wax Museum Biographies and it is by far my favorite purchase ever! This week we started practicing our speeches and planning our costumes. It made for a VERY busy week but it all got done!
4. The Wax Museum!!! Today, my students "became" their famous person and pretended to be a statue in a wax museum. The entire second grade participated and we held the museum in the gym. Each student dressed up as their person and prepared a speech to give about them. When someone stepped on their "push" button, they came to life and gave their speech. It was absolutely precious! Listening to my students deliver their speeches made me so proud of all of their hard work. I had tears in my eyes listening to them deliver their speeches so confidently! Below is a pic of us in the gym when it was all said and done!
What a week! I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Acting Out Adverbs!

In the new common core standards, second graders have to be able to use adverbs correctly in their writing. To be honest, I've never taught adverbs before and was a little worried until I found this little gem of a book:

If You Were An Adverb by Michael Dahl
Not only did this book explain adverbs in terms that my kiddos could understand, but it also had some fun follow-up activities at the end. After reading the book, my kids shared some of the adverbs that they heard in the book and we wrote them on a chart.

When the chart was finished, we tried out one of the activities in the back of the book. It was such a blast! The game is basically played like charades- one student goes in the hallway while you tell the rest of the class what the adverb is (example: gracefully). When the student comes back in, he/she calls on one volunteer at a time to act out a verb (the guesser gets to choose the verb they want the volunteer to act out). The volunteer acts out the verb but has to do it using the "mystery" adverb. So for example, if they call on a friend and tell them to dance, the volunteer has to dance gracefully. The guesser has to try and guess which adverb is being acted out. My kids had such a great time playing this game- they BEGGED me to play it the next day during our morning meeting time. It was a fun way to get the kids up and moving and learning at the same time! =)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Words of Advice Wednesday Linky!

It's time for the Word of Advice Wednesday Linky! I got so many great ideas from all of you the last time I hosted this linky, so thank you! Remember, to participate, all you have to do is link up a blog post about an issue that you would like some advice on. Please try to keep the issues teaching/school/student related! After linking up, please visit the person before you and the person after you and do the following:

1. Read their blog post about an issue that they're having.
2. Think of some meaningful advice that you can give them.
3. Write your advice in the comments section of their post.
4. Feel good knowing that you have helped a fellow teacher! =)

Here is my issue this week- please help...

Now that my kiddos are starting to read longer chapter books (yay!), it is becoming more difficult to manage their guided reading homework each night. When I meet with their guided reading group, we talk about the previous reading assignment and then I assign the next chapter or two for them to read before we meet again. The kids are supposed to be finishing up this reading for their 15 minutes of reading homework each night, but many of the kids are forgetting to read. Then, when it's time to discuss the chapter during guided reading, they have no idea what it is about because they didn't read it. Ahhhh!!! I always have to send the entire group back to their seats to reread the chapter and the bring them back again a few minutes later to discuss. I feel like this is such a waste of instructional time, but I'm not quite sure what else to do to help remind them to complete their reading assignment.

This is where I need your help-- what do you do to make sure that your kids are reading their assigned chapters? Do you do a quick "check-in" the day before you meet with their group? Do you have them reread the chapter before calling them up each time? Please help me out with some ideas- thank you!

Alright, now it's your turn to link up. What do you need some advice on this week?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Autobiography Writing Unit

My kids finished up their autobiography writing unit last week and I couldn't be happier with how their books turned out! They absolutely loved making these books all about themselves =) We started the unit off by reading different autobiographies and discussing what made them interesting. I then introduced the book that they would be writing called "An Autobiography of Me!" Any time they get to publish their writing in a book form, they are so motivated to write.

We started by filling out the planning page and then I modeled how to turn their ideas on the planning page into complete sentences in the book. Each book has a table of contents, blank photo boxes on each page, and a caption box for each picture. We also took time to review the different parts of a non-fiction book including the table of contents, headings, captions, photos, etc. I let my students choose whether they wanted to illustrate a picture on each page or whether they wanted to bring in real photographs of themselves. I would say about 90% of my class opted to bring in photographs. It was adorable to see them as babies!

These books turned out great and were a fun way to learn about autobiographies, non-fiction text features, and writing. If you'd like to check out more about this unit, you can click on the picture below to read more about my "It's All About ME! {A Mini Autiobiography Writing Unit}" on TpT. It includes the planning page, student booklet, autobiography poster, and an editable teacher autiobiography book!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Words of Advice Wednesday! {A Weekly Linky}

I am very excited to start hosting a weekly linky party on my blog called Words of Advice Wednesday! Each Wednesday, you will be able to link up a blog post about an issue that you would like some advice on. Please try to keep the issues teaching/school/student related! After linking up, please visit the person before you and the person after you and do the following:

1. Read their blog post about an issue that they're having.
2. Think of some meaningful advice that you can give them.
3. Write your advice in the comments section of their post.
4. Feel good knowing that you have helped a fellow teacher! =)

I came up with this idea one day when I was browsing through teaching blogs and thinking, "Wow, everyone seems to have it so together!" It got me thinking about how much I've learned from teachers sharing what's working in their classrooms, but how great it would be to get advice from other teachers on things that aren't going so well in our own classrooms? Everyone has such wonderful ideas, so why not share the love?!

Some possible issues that you may want advice about include: organization issues (how do others organize their guided reading binders), whole school related issues (how do you keep the cafeteria noise level down?), student issues (how do you motivate a student who isn't easily motivated?), etc, etc, etc. As teachers, I'm sure we ALL have things that we would love advice on!

Alright, I'll go first... here is my issue:

The turn-in basket. It is a MESS. After 7 years of teaching, you would think that I would've developed some sort of system for collecting and organizing papers that are turned in. Just looking at this basket (next to my desk) gives me anxiety. I keep thinking to myself, "There's got to be a better way!" but I honestly just have no idea. I would love your advice or tips on how to keep your finished work basket manageable. Do you take the papers out each day and grade? (ha!) Do you use some sort of organizing folders for each student to turn their work in? Please share your ideas because I would love to figure out a way to make collecting work more manageable!

Okay, now it's your turn! What do you need advice on? Link up your blog posts and get ready to receive some great ideas!