Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Skippyjon Jones

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump's class for book talk Tuesday!

Have you met Skippyjon Jones? He's a cat who thinks he's a Chiwawa. My second graders fall in LOVE with Skippy every year and want to hear the other Skippy books read aloud too!

Skippy has a huge imagination and goes on an adventure in his first story where he is a sword fighter "el Skipitto" and fights the bad bumble-beeto.

Beware that reading these books aloud can be tough. There are lots of silly words as well as Spanish words. So be sure you've read the story to yourself (or maybe practiced it on your kiddos at home if you have any) before you read it to your class.

Reading Level:
Guided Reading: M


Web Resources:
  • Curriculum Guide: Check out these teaching suggestions and  classroom activities
  • Teacher Resources: Go to Judy Schachner's teacher resource page here, you'll find free printables and more
  • Mini Language Study: Check out this lesson with a language learning objective
 Here are some Spanish words you may want to make sure your kiddos know before reading: gracias, loco, fiesta, pinata, adios, amigo, fijoles
You can also find a list of Spanish words used in the theater version of this story with their definitions here.

Before Reading:
  • Make a list of Spanish words students in the class know. If you have Spanish speakers, take a picture walk, then ask them to share words they think their classmates should know.
  •  Take a picture walk and make predictions with your class.

During Reading:
  • Teach about context clues... use context clues to figure out what the Spanish words in the story mean.
  • Teach about cause and effect... Skippy tends to get into trouble in his stories... what causes him to get into trouble in these stories?

After Reading:
  •  Have students decide if Skippy's closet is magical or if he has a big imagination. Have them use details in the pictures to prove what they think.
  • Ask students to create a new adventure for Skippy. My kiddos did this a couple years ago after we read 3 or 4 Skippy books together and they absolutely LOVED it!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday & Freebie Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday & Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday!

So as I promised myself I still have yet to step in my classroom in July... and with July being almost over I think I will leave July successfully completing that goal! [unless of course it rains because then I won't be able to help myself but spend the day in my classroom]
HOWEVER, this promise to myself has not in any way shape or form prevented me from doing work for my classroom. This week I worked on a few [eventually to-be TPT products] things for my classroom as well as completed some TPT products. This brings me both to #1 & the freebies

I'm a fan of the chalkboard type look lately. I know it takes a lot of ink, which is why I'm not going completely chalkboard themed this year, but I made these fun schedule cards & numbers in chalkboard theme that you can grab for free just by clicking below!

I also created these tags for my students' writing & work folders. No names on them yet because my list is in my classroom and I promised myself no July classroom time & PowerSchool isn't updated yet to this year's lists... so I'll wait a week for that!
If anyone knows how I can make these available & editable for other teachers but still follow the rules & regulations of fonts/clip art I've purchased & used here, I'd love to learn how!

I have my first set of First Grade Morning Work available in my TPT store. It covers the first 10 weeks of school and has been checked out by a couple first grade teachers I know who gave it the stamp of approval. It's discounted through next Friday!

While organizing my files for next year I found a TPT product I had started & abandoned. I decided to pick it back up and finish it... This product provides tons of addition and subtraction flash cards. The addition cards go up through adds to 20 facts and the subtraction facts go from 0-12 facts. You can also print them back to back with the fact & answer on the back. It's discounted until next Friday, so go check it out!

And lastly... I'm trying to get my Whole Brain Wednesday off the ground, so please go check out this week's post all about Brainies!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend :)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Brainies!

Today I'll be talking about Brainies!

What are brainies? Well, they used to be called Brain Toys but are now referred to by the Whole Brain Teaching founder Chris Biffle as Brainies.

The Brainies cover 3 categories: critical thinking, grammar, punctuation & specials.
Each brainy is a gesture that stands for something under one of these categories.

Here's a graphic with ALL the brainies. You can find it & 196 additional pages of information about brainies FOR free at www.wholebrainteaching.com the download is called The Brainy Game.

There are so many brainies! I'm going to talk about some that I used this past year in my class and how we used them. I plan on using many more this year and more often. I tend to refer to the use of these as "Oral Writing." I'm sure I didn't come up with it, but it's what I've adopted because it really is a wonderful way for students to practice skills aloud/in gestures that they will use when writing.

Here are some ways we used Brainies last year...

When we said the date:

The student who was picked to do the calendar would use the Brainies to share the date with the class. Then, while the student was flipping over the calendar number card, the class would say the date aloud while using Brainy gestures.

When we talked about our reading:
 We used the because clapper a lot when discussing literature to prove our thought, opinion, answer. This gesture will be included in my T.A.P. rubric next year which is used for answering questions about reading and stands for: Turn it Around (gesture*hold one hand flat, with pointer finger make a circle above hand), Answer it (gesture*hold one hand flat, pretend to write on flat hand), Prove it (old gesture*hold one hand flat, stamp down with other hand... new Brainy gesture*because clapper). I think using the because clapper will reinforce that when students use a because clapper they are further explaining or proving their answer.

We also used Brainies when comparing and contrasting:

We do a lot of comparing and contrasting, and using these gestures, helped my kiddos remember that compare meant they were alike and contrast meant they were different.

Some of the brainies I'd like to use this year are...

For example:




Quotation Marks:

Detail Adder (this gesture asks students to add more details to their answer):

Topic Sentence:


Help Me (this gesture gives students a simple way to ask for help when they need it especially when answering a question aloud or working with a partner):

Complete Sentence Please (this gives the teacher a gesture to remind students to speak in a complete sentence):

I am excited to use all of these Brainies this year with my students. I have found over the last year and a half using WBT that when there is a gesture associated with learning, students retain the knowledge much more easily and have more fun! I think using a lot of these brainies will be a great way for students to practice their writing orally. If they can use gestures, speak in complete sentences, add details to answers aloud they can do the same in writing.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Whole Brain Wednesday and will consider using some Brainies in your classroom this year!

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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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