Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Neighbor's Dog is Purple - Visualizing

We just finished up Visualizing in our classroom.  We didn't spend too much time on it since my second graders seemed to grasp the concept pretty well.  And of course they enjoy sharing the fun images they create in their minds!  One of the activities I had my kiddos do was to draw their mental images after reading My Neighbor's Dog is Purple by Jack Prelutsky.  If you haven't heard it, you need to find it.  I actually found the idea online last year and of course it's on Pinterest.  It's such a fun poem that is PERFECT for the visualizing strategy.

First, we read the poem together (minus the last two lines).  Then we read back over it and underlined the words that stuck out and helped our mental images.

Then I had my students draw the mental images they had about the poem.  After independent reading, we came back together to add the last two lines to the poem.  My kiddos went crazy when they heard the last two lines... it completely changed their mental image!

I had my students go back to their page and create their NEW mental image after hearing the ending to the poem.  Here are a few examples of my students' work:


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hubby's 30th Birthday!

Good thing I'm not 30 yet (hee, hee)!  No... but really... I'm not thirty, my husband is!  His birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day this year!  If you ask me, that stinks.  You kind of get cheated out of a real birthday celebration.

Anyway, we couldn't go all out for his big 30th birthday this year because of Thanksgiving.  But one of his friends and I surprised him with a weekend trip to Nashville a few weeks ago... he LOVES country music.  It was A LOT of fun!

We also went out the night before his birthday with some friends.  Then I made sure to make Thanksgiving Day a little extra special since it was also his birthday.  I found this great idea on Pinterest so I created my own version with Blow Pops.

I had some balloons inflated and put them up around our house.  And I bought a fancy shmancy cake!  I never do that!  I usually just make one.  His favorite is red velvet.  I LOVE all things chocolate and cake.... except for red velvet.  Eww.  But it's his favorite and his family's favorite so it worked out... for them at least :).

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Man, did it make it hard going back to school after that long weekend though.  I am really counting down the days until Christmas break now! :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Monday Made It... Finally

I am linking up with Tara's Monthly Monday Made It for November.  Finally.

Project #1 Mantle Decor

I of course got inspiration for this on Pinterest.  I bought the glasses and candles at the dollar store, popcorn kernels at the grocery store, and the leaves at a local craft store.  I already had the twine.

It was super easy to make.  I put some popcorn kernels in the glasses, then placed a candle in each one. Then I filled the glasses with more popcorn kernels to cover the sides of the candles.  I used the twine to tie each the letters around the glasses.  I figure I can use the glasses for pretty much any holiday!

Project #2 Thanksgiving Wreath

Once again I got inspiration from Pinterest for this wreath.  It came out OK, but I want to make a better one next year.  I wanted it to be bigger, it looks a little small... but oh well.  I used foam board, leaves, a wooden letter, paint, and my hot glue gun.

Project 3# Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Mmmm.  I've made this before, but want to share to the recipe with you all.
I found the original recipe here.

1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion (although I've made it without)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese (also made without)
3 cups chopped, lightly steamed broccoli

Simmer chicken broth and diced onion for 15 min in a small covered saucepan.  During this time, heat milk in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Heat the butter in a separate saucepan.  Add the flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook together for 2 minutes while stirring.  Add warmed milk and continue to stir on medium heat for 8 minutes or until soup starts to thicken.  Add warmed chicken broth, continue to stir.  Add cheese and stir until well blended.  Add chopped steamed broccoli.  Viola!  You can eat immediately or let it thicken up.  Yum!

Be sure to link up with 4th Grade Frolics or at least go check out November's projects!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brain Breaks!

What am I doing on a Saturday night you ask?  Blogging.  That's what I'm doing this fine Saturday night.  The hubby is at a softball tournament (in November!) so I'm catching up on my housework and blogging duties.

This year I started using Brain Breaks in my classroom and I love them!  More importantly my students LOVE them!  I made my Brain Break sticks this summer and wrote about them a little bit here.

I used craft sticks and painted half of the front and back of each one with green paint.  After they dried, I taped the words on each one.  Pretty easy.  I have them stored in a cup in my classroom.  Any time that my students need a break, have been sitting too long, or we have a few extra minutes I grab a stick from our Brain Breaks cup.  Once we complete it, I put it back in the cup upside down (hence the paint on one end).  That way we aren't picking the same Brain Break over and over.

There are a lot of Brain Break ideas out there.  I am borrowing some ideas and using some of my own.  These are the ones I have:
Line Up In Order
10 Jumping Jacks
Jog In Place
Three High-Fives
I Spy
10 Cherry Pickers
The Wave
Spin 3 Times
Hot Potato
Dance Party
Wax Museum
Hot Foot
Seat Switch
Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

My students' favorites by far are Dance Party and Seat Switch.  For Dance Party I just play a song from my Kidz Bop CD and my students can dance around the classroom.  Of course there's usually one or two students who just don't feel comfortable dancing.  When we pick Seat Switch I call out "Seat Switch" and the students get up and find another student's seat to sit in, kind of like musical chairs.  We do it about three times.

Here are some pictures of my students in action!  Excuse the freaky blurred faces, I want to protect my kiddos' identities.

Wax Museum
Dance Party
Hot Potato
The Wave
Seat Switch


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted, Did You?

I have to start this post by admitting I've been a horrible blogger this last month.  Yep.  Worst blogger ever... right here!  Ugh... I've just had some serious stressors this year and it's only November!

Anyways, yes I did vote today.  Did you?  Did your kiddos "vote"?  I think it's definitely fun to teach about voting during an election year.  I didn't spend a ton of time discussing voting, but I do want to share what I did in my classroom.  I know, not too much help now but I like to share!

We watched a short video on BrainPop about voting.  My school has a subscription, but I think this video was actually a free one.  If you don't know about BrainPop, you are missing out!  The kids LOVE these videos!

 I read aloud the three above books, Duck for President, Grace for President, and My Teacher for President.  I read them to my students on different days and we discussed why each character would or would not make a good president.   I got this idea from The First Grade Parade.

After some good discussion, my students voted which "character" would be the best President.  I really liked the ballot Mrs. Carroll had, so I made one that was similar.

Of course I had one student vote for Duck... not a surprise coming from this student.  There were also a few students that voted for Grace.  They seemed to really like Grace.  The majority voted for "My Teacher."

My school participates in KidsVote, so my students also voted on school items in the computer lab.

OK, back to watching the election results.
I promise to be a better blogger this month! :)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Parent Conferences {freebie}

That's right, it's parent and teacher conference time!  At my school district, we have Fall and Spring conferences.  And this year we have two nights of conferences a week apart.  I had my first night of conferences last night and then the next one is next Thursday.  I went ahead and prepared all of my conference notes ahead of time and so I'm already ready for next week's.

I've always sat at my reading table, sitting across from parents during our conference.  But I've heard from many how that's a bit of a no-no.  So this year I prepared one of my student tables for our conferences.  I laid a cheapy tablecloth over it and had all of my files right there.  See the picture below!

I think it worked out really well for my conferences last night.  It makes the environment a little more comfortable for parents and shows I'm not across the table being against them, but having a discussion WITH them about their child.

Anyway, I made a few reading handouts that I sent home with parents during conferences.  They are "Help your Child Become A Better Reader" handouts for fiction books as well as nonfiction books.  The idea is not mine, I've seen a variety of them out there.  But I wanted to make my own to go with the type of comprehension questions I work on with my students during reading groups.  Feel free to grab yourself a copy!  If you do, I'd love to hear from you!

Have I said how much I LOVE teaching second grade reading groups?!?  They CAN read already! And they get it!  Well... most of them.  I get to actually have book talks and ask tough questions that make my kiddos think!  LOVE it!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reading Is Thinking!

As part of my First 20 Days of Reader's Workshop at the beginning of the year, I did a lesson on "Reading is Thinking."  You can read more about how I do the First 20 Days in my classroom here and here.

We talked about how we are always thinking about books before, during, and after reading.  I modeled my thinking during a read aloud and had my students share their thinking.  Afterwards, I had my students complete the Reading is Thinking page to show the thinking they did as they completed their Independent Reading.

Here are some examples of their work!

I loved this one! They sure to do like those Magic School Bus books!

We put it on our Reader's Workshop bulletin board!
We are now discussing Metacognition in our class where we are reviewing "Reading is Thinking."  I saw the "Reading Salad" idea on Pinterest (which linked back here) and thought it might be something worth trying.

This is not my picture.  Here is the source.
We did that today.  I made it interesting by asking my kiddos if they liked salad, which surprising they all raised their hands.  Hmm, I didn't eat salad until I was about 16... is that weird?  Or they could be fabricating their little hearts out as seven year olds sometimes do. :)  Anyway, we talked about what kinds of things they like on their salad... olives, dressing, cheese, eggs, tomatoes.  The Reading Salad idea uses lettuce and tomatoes.  I then did a read aloud and we stopped before, during, and after our reading to share thinking aloud.  As students shared their thinking, I added "tomatoes" to our salad bowl!  I think the kids really enjoyed it!  I'll try to post a pic in the next few days.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Made It #4

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolic's Monthly Monday Made It!  I do not have a lot of projects to share this time around like my summer Monday Made Its!

Last night I made Puzzle Boards for my students to use when putting together puzzles.  We don't have a free choice time or game time during class, but when we have indoor recess the students are allowed to play board games.  I also have puzzles in the classroom, but haven't let the students use them yet because we haven't talked about the "rules", and I knew I wanted to make these boards.

I got the idea from a colleague I used to work with at my previous district.  I bought foam poster board from Wal-Mart, it was actually one of the tri-fold science boards because that's all they had.  I used white duct tape my hubby had and some shelf liner I had yet to use.  Getting the tri-fold board allowed me to make several puzzle boards, small and large, so I'm glad I got it.

Shelf Liner

I cut the liner to fit the board

I taped the edges with duct tape

I also used duct tape on the back

Viola! It keeps the puzzle pieces from sliding around
and gives the students an area to keep all the pieces!

Be sure to check out all of the other great projects for Monday Made It!!