Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: My Abuelita

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

Today I'm sharing a book that we use as a mentor text for writing. It is fabulous for teaching figurative languages, specifically similes and metaphors... My Abuelita by Tony Johnston Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

In addition to the beautiful language, the style of illustrations make the pages come alive...

see what I  mean?...

Reading Level:
Grade Level Equivalent 2.6
(This is the only level I could find, if anyone else can find another leveling system, let me know!)

Resources for teaching...

Web Resources:

Vocabulary: What's great about this book is although MANY Spanish words are used, the narrator defines the words immediately after using them.
A few words you may want to preteach:  limber, robust, jalopy, audience

Before Reading: Ask students how they think the illustrations were made. They are so unique that they practically scream out to talk about them! Show the video above to get kiddos excited about the illustrations and excited to hear the story.

During Reading: This story lends itself to working on predictions. I had my kiddos make a prediction about what they think Abuelita's job is (during the whole story she's getting ready for work, but you don't find out what she is until the last page). This story gives students opportunities to adjust their prediction as the story goes on.

After Reading: Have students try to come up with metaphors to describe themselves or someone they know or about an object. I give my kiddos a little help with sentence frames such as: _____ is as white as _______ or _______ is as round as __________. Be sure to remind kiddos to be kind if they are writing about someone.

Think about buying this book, especially if you teach about metaphors/similes or about family!

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Five for Friday: Parent Night Edition

Hey everyone! I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for a Parent Night Edition of Five for Friday...

Not only was this week our Open House/Parent Night, but we also started MAP testing, talk about a lot going on! Of course right as we've reached our stamina in almost all of our Daily 5 choices... oh well! So today, I'm going to share some of the fun stuff we did to make Parent Night a success!

I had the kiddos write a letter to their parents to leave at their seats for their parents to see. I encouraged the parents to write back to their kiddo so they'd have a message to read this morning. I wrote back to the kiddos whose parents weren't able to make it.

I found this idea somewhere (probably on pinterest) and just LOVED IT! It went along so well with our "Reaching New Heights" giraffes in the hallway. The kiddos wrote things they've loved so far in 2nd grade or things they're excited to learn about/do in 2nd grade. I think I'm going to leave these up in the room for a while!

We have to give a "presentation" as part of parent night. I worked hard to make mine cutsie this year because I knew it would make me happier and more able to relax while I was giving the presentation. By the 2nd round presentation I felt a lot better plus I had a few kiddos come with their parents and they helped me out with the Whole Brain part of the presentation :)

I was VERY strict with how the kiddos book bins & supply bins needed to look when they left my room yesterday because we wanted to impress our parents... plus I may have a "staying organized" issue haha!

If you haven't watched this video (I originally found it on upworthy), you should! I wanted to play it for the parents before my presentation but with all the issues I had with my videos on my presentation, I didn't even attempt it :(

Well I won't lie, Parent Night isn't something I mind checking off the year's list... I will admit it makes me nervous to talk for 15 minutes straight (x2 because there are 2 sessions offered) in front of adults...

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Answer In Hand

It's been a few weeks since I've posted a WBT Wednesday post and for that I apologize! Today will be quick!

I want to teach you about "Answer in Hand" which is one of my FAVORITE ways for kiddos to answer in unison about something. It's also SUPER easy to teach kiddos & they LOVE it!

So here's what you do...
Ask a question that has a 1-3 word answer & ask your kiddos to blow the answer into their hand (I've had to model a small little pfffft into my hand to prevent sillies with some classes) & hold their hand (closed into a fist to hold in their answer) when they're ready.
I think will say "3, 2, 1 release!" and the kiddos will all shout out the answer in unison while opening up their hand.
Obviously, this is not too effective if it is a long answer but it is so great when we are working on reviews, math facts, etc.

Here's a great video of a classroom using "Answer in Hand" at about 50 seconds. She doesn't count down, but of course as with all WBT strategies, make them your own :) I found counting down helped because it got my kiddos ready to say their answer, which was more difficult just saying "release"

Super short post I know, but something is better than nothing which has unfortunately been the case in WBT Wednesday World lately :)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: The Wednesday Suprise

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

I'm sure many of you have read The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting, but I'd love to share how I used this story with my students a couple weeks ago.

If you haven't read it, it is a wonderful story about a birthday surprise the young girl Anna and her grandmother have planned for her father's birthday.

They work on the surprise while grandma babysits on Wednesday nights.

I won't ruin it for you if you've never read it, but for obvious reason it's a GREAT book to use for questioning as it elicits many curious questions, the most obvious being: what is the surprise!?

Reading Level:
DRA 18
Guided Reading K
Lexile 540L

I used this book for a questioning lesson. I had previously introduced and modeled asking questions during a think aloud mini lesson where I read a few pages from another book, asking questions as I went. I also created an anchor chart to help support students in answer questions during reading.

When I read this story, I stopped to model twice in the early pages of the story, asking questions during my think aloud. I think stopped at previously selected places in the book and asked students to turn and talk to a partner (teach, okay in my WBT room) then, stop and jot their question on a sticky note. We did this 3 times throughout the story. At the end of the book, I asked kiddos to choose their best question and stick it to our questioning anchor chart we had made during a previous lesson.

We then went back the next day to see if we could answer our questions. We sorted our questions by "Right There" Answers, "Inference"/"Book & Brain" Answers and "Unanswerable" I have since made a nicer chart for students to sort their stickies onto (which I keep neglecting to take a picture of), and this photo is from a sort for a different book, but you get the idea...

I also made sure with each lesson on questioning to encourage students to ask questions while they participate in Read to Self. I gave each student stickies to do so during the following days. After 2 Read to Self sessions, and an individual conference with most students, I collected their "best 2" Read to Self question and sorted them out for my self to see if kiddos weren't asking questions, were asking thin questions or were asking thick questions. I had about half and half as far as thick/thin go as well as many students who were asking a combination of both. I simply stuck the sticky notes to a tri-folded piece of construction paper for my own visual of where my class was. Again, like the above chart, not so pretty, but effective for my purposes!

I hope these simple to implement ideas might help you to teach questioning or that I have introduced you to a great read aloud :)

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday 9.19

I can't believe we've reached the end of week 4 of school! I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for yet another Five for Friday!

We did some of Amy Lemon's Place Value Math Centers this week. The kiddos had a blast with it!

Let's Compare Numbers!

Compare Numbers!

Go get a copy of these math centers in Amy Lemons' TPT store here.

Along with the fabulous Math Centers from Amy Lemons, we used my TPT place value products...

Mystery Pictures (on 100 charts)

Place Value Puzzles
I loved how well they worked together to solve these!

Go get these games in my TPT store using the links above!

I was so proud of my kiddos this week that managed to get themselves a pink card for level 2 on our super improver wall! They were too cute "I'm a rookie now!"

One of my grade level partners who does not consider himself very good with technology AT ALL came up with an idea for our Daily 5 rotations on our promethean boards. I added the number circles to coincide with our kiddos' classroom numbers (versus having the write their initials to choose). We haven't quite got the hang of moving our numbers quickly yet, but I'm loving the visual and hoping that we get there!

I've been working on my WBT presentations for my district that will be at the end of this month and then mid-October. The deal with me being able to go to the conference during the last week of school was that I would present what I learned when I came back. It's an optional PD for teachers in my district (as well as any surrounding area teachers). I was worried I'd get a very small response, but it looks like there will be at least 20 teachers there and they still have a week to respond. Hopefully I'll have some good stuff to post here after the presentations :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Little Bloggy Catch Up

This past week was a tad crazy... so I kind of neglected my blog! However, there was so much going on that I HAD to do a Funday Sunday post to share all the great fun we had learning this week!

I am so proud of my kiddos! We are up to 15 minutes of stamina for Read to Self & Word Work as well as 12 minutes of stamina in Work on Writing and 8 minutes in Read to Someone.

I chose to introduce each choice (except listen to reading) within the first 2 weeks and work on building the stamina of each. Once Work on Writing is up to 15 the kiddos will get to choose between the 2 of them. They won't have full choice until all 5 choices are up to 15 minutes though.

In reading, we worked all week on asking questions while reading. We read The Dot & The Wednesday Surprise, stopping & jotting questions on sticky notes.  Kiddos' exit ticket was picking their "best question" and sticking it to our anchor chart. We then went back the next day to talk about which questions were answered "right there" in the book, could be answered with inferences & which couldn't be answered. We also tried applying this strategy during read to self... all definitely still a work in progress :)

We did a mix of fun activities during math this week... We did a lot of hands on manipulative work, specifically in figuring out if a number was even or odd at the end of last week and beginning of this week.

We played our first I have, who has? game - this was a free place value game I found.

We attempted "interactive journals" for the first time! (My first time too & I'm enjoying creating foldables for this coming week & our next unit too which I plan to share!) 

We launched Social Studies this week with a fun craftivity. We made these last year too and the kiddos enjoyed it just as much this year too. The "levels" are Me, My Town, My State, My Country, My Continent, My World. Will post this craft as a freebie soon!

I hope your week was as fun filled with learning as ours was!

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