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!!