Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday with freebies (7.22)

I'm linking up again with Mrs. Jump for Book Talk Tuesday.

Today I'll be sharing Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptol. It is an African Cinderella Tale.

One of my favorite reading units is Fairy Tales. We read a bunch of different Cinderella stories and compare and contrast the stories in a variety of ways. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is one of my favorites for a few reasons. First are the beautiful life-like illustrations and secondly, it teaches a wonderful lesson about being kind and thoughtful.

In this story, there are 2 sisters: Nyasha and Manyara. Nyasha is kind and loving whereas Manyara is opposite from Nyasha in every way. She is bad-tempered and unkind. Manyara is often unkind to Manyara, but Manyara does not complain to their father and instead tends to her garden and befriends a snake named Nyoka. When the family hears that the kind is searching for a wife, the family plans a journey to meet him in hopes he will take one of the daughters as his wife.

On the journy, Nyoka transforms into various forms. Manyara is rude and selfish when confronted by Nyoka's forms, whereas Nyasha is kind and self-less. (SPOILER ALERT) In a surprise ending, Nyoka ends up being the king himself, and rewards Nyasha's kindness by taking her as his wife. The contrast of the two sisters shows that good things happen when you are kind.

Reading Level: DRA 30
                 Guided Reading N
                 Lexile 720L


Web Resources:
  • Scholastic Lesson: Go here for lesson ideas, including cross-curricular connections
  • Reading Rainbow: Watch the Reading Rainbow episode of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
  • Literature Guide: This link has before/during/after questions and various activities to go along with the book
Vocabulary: Here are some words you may want to pre-teach... ignored, considerate, acknowledge, transfixed, proclaimed, bountiful, garments, enclosure, grieve, silhouetted, commotion, hysterically, millet, grove, plumed, chamber

*When there are so many vocabulary words important to the reading of a story, I like to do a jig-saw. I make groups of 4-5 students and give them 2 vocabulary words. They fill out the vocabulary 4-square (below as a freebie) together. Then, I rotate the groups so that 1 member of each of the original groups is in each of the new groups. The group members then each "teach" their 2 words to the other group members. I try to have the starting and ending groups prepared ahead of time, because otherwise the switch to jig-saw can be chaotic and wastes time.*

Before Reading:
  • Do the vocabulary jig-saw described above so students have at least a basic understanding of some of the difficult words in the story.
  • Talk about where this fairy tale originates to give students some background knowledge.

During Reading:
  • If you've taught fairy tale elements (see my post on fairy tales here) have students hold up a stop sign when they hear a fairy tale element in the story. We kept track of which stories had which elements throughout our entire Fairy Tale unit.
  • Have students compare and contrast the 2 sisters while reading. Keep track of the observations they make about the sisters by using a chart paper t-chart or have the kiddos each get a copy like the one below (another freebie) and keep track on clip boards throughout the reading.

After Reading:
  • Have students compare/contrast Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters with the Classic Cinderella (or other Cinderella story). 
    • This can be as simple as using a Venn Diagram. 
      • Students can work in small groups, partnerships or independently. 
    • If time is limited you can also have students write 1 way the stories are alike and 1 way they are different as an "exit ticket." 

Thanks for stopping by for today's book talk, if you love teaching Fairy Tales as much as I do, this is a must-have for your Fairy Tale collection!
Tune into my blog tomorrow for Whole Brain Wednesday!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday: Summer Goodies!

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday with some fun stuff I've been working on for next year & summer fun!

I'm so excited to have 20 weeks worth of morning work ready for my second graders next year. They are in my TPT store split into 2 sets, weeks 1-10 and weeks 11-20. I hope to have the rest of the year done soon too! They are both on sale until Sunday at midnight $7 $5 each.

While we're on the topic of morning work, I'd love to share my love/hate relationship with morning work & would LOVE to hear how you feel about morning work.
My experience with morning work is this... the same kiddos always get to school early and/or on time and the same kids always get to school on the last bus/late. I think have the kiddos that eat breakfast at school and need to be reminded "take a bite then write" for at least half of the year and never seem to get quite all of their morning work done.
I try to stay on a tight schedule, starting our morning meeting shortly after morning announcements... but there lies my issue with morning work...
I LOVE it because it can be meaningful reinforcement of what students are already learning, offers time to work on grammar, parts of speech, and all those other 'little' things you're always trying to fit into the rest of the day...
However I HATE it because it's always the SAME kiddos who aren't finishing their morning work because they get to school late, can't eat and work at the same time, etc. And too often it's those kiddos who NEED that reinforcement that morning work allows for.
I'm thinking this year, as our first Daily 5 rotations, kiddos who aren't done with morning work will have to finish it before making their first rotation choice.
Anyway, that's just me... what's your opinion on morning work?

If you missed this week's Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday, go check out the 2 ways you can use "Switch" when students are teaching their partner.

I hate to post to yet another one of this week's posts, but Mrs. Jump's Book Talk Tuesday is another favorite linky of mine and if you haven't heard of Gail Gibbons for fabulous nonfiction literature, you should check out my post about How a House is Built and also check out Gail Gibbons' other fabulous nonfiction selections!

I had a "puppy day" this week while my hubby was at a turf conference. Our dog Bogey as you may know is a turf dog which means he goes to work with my hubby on the golf course every day. Since he wasn't running around on the course all day, he got to spend time with me at the pond... I think he had fun though :)

One more summer fun moment for this post... last week I saw Bruno Mars in concert and had a great time with one of my best friends (who I see wayyy too little of!) He seriously puts on a FABULOUS show (despite being so very far away)!!! ANDDD tonight I'm off to Justin Timberlake with the hubby! The 2 sets of tickets were birthday presents (back in February) and I've been waiting patiently (okay, not so patiently) for the concerts to arrive!!!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: High Five Switch

Today's Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday will be quick. I will be discussing using "Switch" during "Teach, Okay." If you're unfamiliar with "Teach, Okay" read up on it in this post from last year.

Switch is used to help your talkers (you know the kiddos who do ALL the talking in their group and always have an answer without doing much thinking) practice listening and have your listeners (the kiddos who always let the other group members do all the talking) practice talking.

I did a post about "switch" last year. In that post I describe the all-class switch. This switch involves the teacher deciding when partners should switch listening and speaking turns. The teacher reaches up like she is pulling a giant light switch and says "switch" the students copy the gesture, say "switch" then rotate listener/talker. To read more about this switch, check out last year's post.

During the WBT National Conference, we learned about the high five switch. During this type of switching, partners have a very specific question to answer, something to teach their partner, etc. When they are done teaching, answering the question, etc. they high five each other and switch roles. You can make this even more involved by having the speaker act as the teacher, getting their partner's attention using class, yes as well as using gestures which the listener mirrors. When the partners high five the new speaker now uses class, yes and gestures while the listener mirrors the gestures. Having the kiddos take the role of the teacher as well as using gestures makes it very easy for the teacher to see who is engaged while she walks around listening into students' conversations.

Check out this video from the WBT Conference with 2 of the trainers modeling the high five switch...


I plan to use both types of switch in my room this year. While the students are getting used to teach, okay and gestures, we will probably do the whole-class switch but as the students get more comfortable, I will teach the high five switch, giving students more independence and control of their learning.

Be sure to tune in next week for another Whole Brain Wednesday!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Update & Book Talk Tuesday

So excited to link up with Mrs. Jump again for Book Talk Tuesday!

But before I get started... 2 quick updates...

#1 If you didn't check out Whole Brain Wednesday last week, go check it out here... part 2 of *gasp* losing the clip chart! Trust me, this was SUCH a hard thing for me to do, but I can't wait to see the positive effect in my room this year *fingers crossed*

#2 I am SO excited to have finished my [first 10 weeks of second grade] Morning Work Journal. Now that I have the format, the rest of the year will be following closely behind as well as a 1st grade version!
The journal includes number sense, editing, parts of speech & more! It can also be used in 1st and 3rd grade classrooms depending on your level of students. I'll talk more about my love/hate relationship with morning work on Five for Friday this week, in case you're interested!

It's discounted this week $7... $5!, so go check it out and be on the look out for the rest of the year & a year-long bundle!

Now onto Book Talk Tuesday... This week I've decided to share How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons.

I will admit this was not my favorite book to read aloud, however it is a part of our Gail Gibbons author study for nonfiction writing and I was BEYOND pleasantly surprised at the student writing that exploded after reading this together.

If you haven't read any Gail Gibbons books before she has LOADS of nonfiction books that are illustrated. For this reason, her books are great mentor texts to model how students can write and illustrate nonfiction pieces rather than thinking they need to use photographs as is the case in most nonfiction books.

How a House is Built goes through the steps that various workers take in order to build a house from the ground up. It is very informative and a few of my kiddos were excited because they had recently had a house built and they remembered the names of some of the contractors.

Reading Level: DRA 24
                         Guided Reading: M
                         Lexile: 570L


Web Resources:
  •  Meet the Author: Reading Rockets interview with Gail Gibbons
  • Monthly Lessons: This resources doesn't have this book specifically but it has 12 other Gail Gibbons books with great lesson ideas/activities.
  • More activities: This resources also does not reference this book specifically but it has many other Gail Gibbons books with great lesson ideas/activities.
  • How to build a house: This lesson focuses on students understanding the process of building a house and uses How a House is Built within the lesson plan.
Vocabulary: There are TONS of vocabulary words to choose from such as surveyor, operators, carpenter, etc. I would suggest pre-reading and choosing 5-10 words to focus on since this book is very content-heavy.

Before Reading: Create a KWL and have students identify what they know and want to learn about houses being built. Students can create their own like the one I created below, click for a copy.

During Reading: Have students identify nonfiction text features while you read aloud. Ask them what they notice about these text features compared to within a typical nonfiction text. Talk about how a book can be nonfiction even if it does not have real photographs. Nonfiction texts always having photographs is a common misconception students have about nonfiction.

After Reading: Have students write their own "how to" piece. To differentiate for different levels of writers, have students choose how many steps their piece will have by cutting out the procedure/order words from the below worksheet, pasting them down, then writing out the step. This allows for lower students to write a piece with simply first, next, then and last while high flyers can use words multiple times in addition to words such as after that, later, second, third, etc. Students can then rewrite or type their piece to publish it.

I hope you consider using this book and other Gail Gibbons books to spark students into writing nonfiction pieces. This particular book make my kiddos write really great How To pieces. I helped with the "research" part, finding loads of nonfiction texts on the topics they requested but they did the reading, organizing and writing... it was very impressive for my 2nd graders :)

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WBT Wednesday! Lose the Clip Chart Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this post last week, go read it here!

Part 2 of losing the clip chart is all about the Super Improvers Wall!

With a Super Improvers Wall, you don't need to tell a kiddo to move their clip down, because instead they will be trying to IMPROVE academically or on a negative behavior... all POSITIVE reinforcement and no negative, hooray!
So what exactly is the Super Improvers Wall (or Super Improvers Team)?
It is a way to help students become intrinsically motivated to improve both behaviorally & academically! (like I said, all positive!)

Every super improver wall has 10 levels... such as the levels used on the WBT website and by Kate over at EduKate and Inspire:

Or something to fit your classroom theme such as the candy theme I'm going to try this year:

Or here's the sports theme Super Improvers Wall I made for my grade level partners:

Keep reading to get either of these themed walls/teams for free!

Okay so #1... a color coded 10 level theme.
(If you're going to use these throughout a building or across a grade level, it's nice for everyone to have the same color scheme to kiddos can talk about their improvements with kiddos not in their class)

Now #2, each kiddo has their name on a colored piece of paper that coordinates with their color level. So for example, everyone in my class will start out on a white piece of paper because they will be "bubblegum" or in my grade level partner's classes they will start out on white paper as "fans." Since I haven't set this up yet in my room (trying to enjoy July & stay out of there!) here is a great example of the beginning of the year from Kate (again) over at EduKate and Inspire.

So how do kiddos change the color of their card & move up in levels???

That brings us to #3, kiddos earn stars for making improvements (hence the name Super Improvers). When a kiddo earns 10 stars they move up a level. Meaning, they take home their star-filled card and get a new card with their name on it, in the SAME PLACE it already was on the Super Improvers wall... see yet another example from Kate (geesh I think I need to thank her for her awesome post when I'm done here!)

I really like that they stay in the same place all year no matter what color they are. It takes away the feeling I know kiddos have about clip charts that "Oh I'm always below everyone" or on the other side "Ooooh I'm always above everyone."
It also is powerful that kiddos are competing against THEMSELVES, not each other!!!

Okay so... to review:
#1 There are 10 levels to the Super Improver Wall/Team
#2 Each kiddo's name is on the color coordinating with the level they are on.
#3 Kiddos need to earn 10 stars to move up a level.

Got it? Okay. So now you may be asking how do kiddos earn a star? Well, that's up to you as a teacher... For me, I'll start the year with a couple class goals... improvements on following class rules such as Rule #1 Follow Directions Quickly & Rule #2 Raise Your Hand for Permission to Speak (check out my post on WBT rules here & go here to get my WBT rule & procedure cards). Then I'll probably add in that making personal improvements on our addition facts can earn a star.

Throughout the year, class goals can change &&& (best part) you can make INDIVIDUAL GOALS for certain kiddos (after all, the whole point is INDIVIDUAL improvements)...

Perhaps you have a child who cannot keep their hands to themselves... you tell them they will have a *special* goal to keep their hands to themselves, if they can make improvements on that, they get a star! Or maybe your class goal has moved beyond not shouting out, but you still have a kiddo who shouts out constantly... make that their *special goal*

The individual goal setting is my FAVORITE piece of the Super Improver Wall! I can't wait to manage behaviors in a POSITIVE way!!! However, I am promising myself here and now that I will not have individual goals for EVERY kiddo, because that just seems very overwhelming to manage!

So here are some ideas for how kiddos can earn stars either as a class or individually:
  • Improving...
    • following certain classroom rules
    • math facts
    • spelling certain words
    • handwriting
    • blurting
    • challenging oneself (i.e. not saying "I can't do it!")
    • rug behavior
    • partner-work behavior
    • length/meaningfulness of journal entries
    • moving safely in the room
    • the list goes on, and on, and on! 
I will definitely be posting more about the Super Improver Wall as the year goes on! I wanted to use it last year but didn't feel I completely understood how it worked. Feel free to leave comments with questions (I will email you back so you definitely see my response!) There is a lot more you can do with the Super Improver Wall too, such as take pictures at certain levels and of course there's the whole "picture on the wall forever" that happens if a kiddo reaches the top level, but we have many more Wednesdays for that!

In the meantime, thanks for sticking it out through this entire post, please click the images below to get a free copy of either of the Super Improver Wall Levels I featured in this post!

Candy Theme

Sports Theme

A final shout out to Kate over at EduKate and Inspire for her "help" with this post! Go check out her blog, she is also a 2nd grade blogger & a "Whole Brainer"

You can also check out the Whole Brain Teaching Website to learn more about the Super Improvers Wall

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday & 2 For Tuesday

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump for Book Talk Tuesday

& I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday. Scroll down for the 50% off products!

For book talk this week, I chose When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach

This is an adorable book about a boy is going to just die of boredom on the typical "errands with mom" kind of day... 

but then, this day of errands becomes special because stores everywhere are giving away dinosaurs! He doesn't get a sticker at the doctors, he gets a real life, full size dinosaur! 
Of course, the little boy wants to go on ALL the errands originally planned, while mom is trying to cut their day short before they get too many free dinosaurs. What will they do with the dinosaurs? Can the little boy convince mom to keep them? Find out in When Dinosaurs Came with Everything.

Awards: E.B. White Read Aloud Award
Reading Level: DRA 24
                          Guided Reading M
                          Lexile 380L

Web Resources:
  • Teaching Ideas: Here are some discussion questions and other ideas to use with this book.
  • Lesson Ideas: Check out this site for more ideas including nonfiction connections.
  • Printables: Here are some dino printables if you choose to make a nonfiction connection when reading this book.
Vocabulary: errand, protested, glared
Watch this video of Anita Archer doing explicit vocabulary instruction. She's awesome and as long as you plan your lesson out with pre-made sentences (like she appears to have in this video) this is a scientifically research based method for teaching vocabulary!


Before Reading:
  • Watch the Anita Archer vocabulary video above and consider using a similar method to preteach vocabulary before this lesson.
  • Teach about inferences using the Great Garbage Mystery. You can find information about it in the book Comprehension Connection and on this blog post from Simply Sweet Teaching. Students will use what they've learned about inferring to infer during reading.

During Reading:
  •  Ask students to make inferences about how the mom is feeling in various pictures (her face lends itself to inferences!)
  • Ask students to infer why the boy says he wants a shot at the doctor's office.
After Reading:
  •  Character Change: Ask students to tell how the mom changes using proof from the text. Use this freebie from me for students to record their answers.
  • Have students write a "back story" explaining why free dinosaurs were being given away on that day. Do this as a guided writing to start the story then have students finish it if you have youngers. Use this dino paper freebie for their writing!

  • Ask students to answer in their journal: Would you want a dino? Why or why not?

Onto 2 for Tuesday!

Grab these 2 products at 50% off for the rest of the week!

Calendar Mega-Bundle! $20 $10!
84 pages, every month, birthday & holiday cards for every month. Fits into a calendar pocket chart! Be sure to check out the preview file before you buy as it shows every month!

Back To School Activities $5 $2.50!
Not that anyone is ready for back to school yet, but in case you're thinking about what you may do for fun activities to start the year, this product offers 3 different activities to start of the school year right!
Well that is all for now, tune in tomorrow for Whole Brain Wednesday!

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