Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Snapshots and Contraction Surgery

It's the weekend and I'm loving it!
This Saturday I am linking up with Miss Nelson from

Today I had the privilege to go to two of my kiddo's football games at the REC Department. They reminded me EVERY single day during school week of their game...LOL. I wasn't going to forget even if I tried. :) They are on different teams so I cheered for both. :) I enjoyed it so much. Touchdowns! Interceptions! I loved it! I was one proud teacher. I did get a chance to take a picture with one of my kiddos.

Also, I am linking up with Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays.

This is how I sparked student motivation this week in a 2nd grade classroom!
Check it out!

Contraction Surgery

We had so much fun this week learning about contractions! I went to our school nurse and borrowed a few items for my costume. Let's just say my kiddos loved this lesson! Each student performed contraction surgery and did a great job! Check out these awesome doctors!

Fact Swap

Fact Swap is an awesome game to play for review of weekly story test for my 2nd graders. It's a FREEBIE on TpT and worth getting for any subject. Click HERE to find the it. I use it for reading comprehension. It was my students first time playing the game and they loved it! To begin, each student writes three facts about our weekly story in the top three boxes. Then students walk around the classroom swapping facts. A student must give a fact in order to get one. At the end, each student should have 9 different facts!

Well that's a few tidbits about our week in 2nd grade!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Five for Friday: Must-Have Apps in a 2nd Grade Classroom

Yes! It's time for Five for Friday! Better late than never! :) I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teachings to talk about 5 Apps that I absolutely love and are must-haves for any 2nd grade classroom.

1. Spelling City

This app is wonderful! I put in our weekly spelling and vocabulary words in SpellingCity. The students are able to use this App during language, early finisher activity, and at home. Being in game form, my students love this app! Here is a youtube video featuring great components of SpellingCity.

2. Tellagami

I love this App and as do my students! It is an app that creates and makes animated videos. They even get to make their own avatar. It is great tool to use for students to explain what they have learned and create stories for writing. Check out this youtube video of the Tellagami Project that involved Tech Savvy individuals from around the globe.

3. iDiary

iDiary is a great app for journaling. My students get so excited when it comes to writing if they get to use this App. They can even illustrate pictures within their iDiary. I use it for journaling and also as a ticket out the door to tell me what they learned through the lesson. Here is a youtube video of the great components of iDiary.

 4. iMovie

iMovie is wonderful app with so much potential for any grade level. Our school media specialist, Mrs. Peacock, taught my students today how to use iMovie. My 2nd graders loved it! iMovie is a user-friendly app that create movies. My kiddos want to make movies for everything now. We will definitely use this app for Media Festival Projects. Here is a youtube video on how to make a iMovie.

5. Socrative

Socrative is an app I just discovered this past week. It is a student response system for iPads, cell phones, iPods, laptops, and computers. It even emails you the student reports and saves in an excel spreadsheet. YAY! I can see how the use of this app has the potential of making a classroom paperless. Did I mention it grades the quizzes as well? Check out the youtube video to learn more. My favorite app of all by far!!

Well that's my 5 Must-Have Apps for a 2nd Grade Classroom!
Five for Friday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September the 11th by Honoring Local Heroes

Today is a day that we all will never forget, September the 11th (Patriot Day). What a sensitive subject to tackle with 2nd graders. Being that it is very difficult to find materials that is age appropriate, I want to share with you what I did in my classroom for Patriot Day.

On Tuesday, we watched the Brainpop September the 11th video. Being in a military town, my students were able to quickly make the connection of the importance of their parents serving in the military. Our discussions led to our local heroes,firefighters, police officers, military, and how they keep us safe daily.

The students were so excited when I told them we would be writing letters to our local heroes and making "Hero Snack Baskets" to show our appreciation. Being that I team teach with Mrs. Corbitt from Mrs. Corbitt's Cool Kids, I had the split the letter writing up between classes. Being the reading, writing, and language teacher, it was much easier that way. My homeroom class wrote letters and prepared baskets for the firefighters. Mrs. Corbitt's homeroom class wrote letters and prepared baskets for the police officers. We all wrote letters to the soldiers which will be posted later...those letters will be sent home! :)

First, we wrote out letters and drew pictures for our heroes. I got this cute "Thank You 9/11" packet from Erica from Erica's Ed-Ventures. (The packet is wonderful and worth checking out.) My kiddos did a wonderful job writing letters and drawing pictures.

Their drawings are out of this world!
They really wanted to honor our heroes by doing their best.

Next, we filled our "Hero Snack Baskets" today. I sent a letter home prior to the activity about bringing in snacks for our local heroes. Let's just say our "basket" turned into a crate because our appreciation for our local heroes was amazing. :) We each took a turn signing the "basket," even our principal, assistant principal, and curriculum  coordinator got in on the action.! We completed our book of letters and snack basket before we knew it. Look at the excitement!

Next, we recorded videos on the iPads stating why we are thankful for our local heroes. Check out a few!

Thank You Firefighters
Thank You Police Officers
Last, it was time to deliver our letters and "Hero Snack Baskets" but not before a quick video of appreciation. Check us out! The police officers and fire fighters viewed these and loved them!

After all the kiddos were safely home, Mrs. Corbitt and I made special deliveries to the fire station and police station. We brought all the letters and "Hero Snack Baskets" for our local heroes. The fire station and police station were very appreciative and loved it. Here is a picture of our afternoon visit to the two stations.

September the 11th is a day that will never be forgotten.
We are very fortunate for our heroes that watch over us daily.   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Peek at Last Week: Ending Our Fun Fudge-a-Mania Unit

As I look back at last week, we did accomplish quite a bit. From dictionary skills to writing narratives, we were quite busy.

Last week, we  finished our ELA CCGPS Unit 1 book, Fudge-a-Mania. We learned so many language skills through the use of this book: prefixes, suffixes, nouns, possessive nouns, contractions, and much more!

Here is a peek as we reviewed adjectives through Fudge-a-Mania. Each student worked in the Fudge-a-Mania Character flipbook. They illustrated the character, wrote 3 adjectives to describe the character, and distinguished relations to other characters.

After completing their flipbooks, the students completed the ticket out of the door. Through the use of iPads, students stated the learning goal and what adjectives they used to describe their character (Great way to check for understanding of the concept). The students did a fabulous job!

Last, the students completed their narrative assessment for Unit 1.
Here is a peek at the assessment prompt:
In Fudge-a-mania, Peter is constantly adjusting to unexpected situations that happen with his family.   Write about a sequence of events (including a beginning, middle and end) to describe a personal family experience of which you were a part, being sure to include characters’ actions, thoughts and feelings.
They used graphic organizers, illustrated scenes from their narrative, wrote a rough draft, completed a peer/teacher review, and wrote the final copy. They did such a great job! Here is an example of one of the narratives.

After students completed the narrative, they recorded their narratives on their iPads. They used the app Tellagami to create their own avatar and recordings. Each student was very proud of their finished product. Check out the Tellagami recording below!

The students and I were sad for the ending of the unit of Fudge-a-Mania. We all really enjoyed the book. If you haven't read the book, it's worth reading! Well that's a peek at last week. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Importance of Student Feedback & Classroom Data

As I go through graduate school completely online, I'm constantly checking online to see what I received on my assignment. I love the immediate feedback offered through online learning. Just as I like immediate feedback, my students love to know how they did as well. "Good job" doesn't suffice for our 21st century learners. They want to know what they did a good job on and why. I've set up the following bulletin board in my classroom.
 It offers immediate feedback on different classroom assignments. I use sticky notes to leave commentary on some of the work. The students really love this wall. They told me it's okay if they don't take their work home right away. They're just excited that they made it to "The Wall" as they call it.

Furthermore, data does the talking in every classroom. Data tells when to accelerate or remediate work within all aspects of learning. Why not display classroom data and set classroom goals?  With this bulletin board, I've done just that.

At the beginning of the school year, we set the goals for classroom learning

Classroom Fluency Goal: We will meet our fluency goal on the "Cold Read" each week. Students read a passage for 1 minute and words per minute are calculated after the timer chimes. Our fluency goal goes up each week. This past week's fluency goal was 46 words per minute. How about everyone in class met the goal! YAY! Pushing for the same achievement next week.

Classroom Practice CRCT Comprehension Goal: We will earn an 80% or higher on our Practice CRCT passage each week. Students are to read a story passage and answer 10 comprehension questions about the passage. This is quite a feat for them because going back and looking for the answer seems challenging for some. During week 1, I guided the assessments which boosted the data.  The blue sticky notes states that for viewers. Now the real work begins for my students. We set our expectations high at Taylors Creek and I know we will reach our goals.

After goals are set, we set to doing our best in all aspects of learning. At the end of the week, I highlight the number of students who have met the goal. The students love it and are trying very hard to complete their goals. Each student knows we are depending on each other to reach goals therefore each child tries their best for the team. The Classroom Data board is a great team builder and helps me differentiate instruction. I pull students during morning work who need extra help in a certain skill. Also, another great aspect of the Classroom Data board is who met their goal is anonymous. I only count the students who met the goal and go to highlighting when the students are gone for the day. Well that's how I do student feedback and classroom data! Enjoy! :)  

Dictionary Detectives

Who knew learning about dictionary skills could be so much fun? This 2nd grade class enjoyed being detectives for the day. As every good detective knows, one must use their clues to find what one is looking for. To find their words in the dictionary, my students used their clues (alphabetical order and guide words) like any great detective would do. They found searching for words a challenge at first. However, they soon realized if they used the BIG clue (guide words), they will DISCOVER the word. Lets just say I have some great little detectives because they found ALL of the words. YAY!

My Little Detectives...
Searched for words in the dictionary.
Wrote down the page number.
Wrote down the guide words.
Wrote the definitions.
Illustrated the words.

Such Great Detective Work Going on in 2nd Grade! 

Popping Adjectives

My students were "popping" with joy with this adjective activity. Language skills can be fun, engaging, and interactive. I hooked the students about learning through the use of popcorn. We used our fives senses to brainstorm descriptive words. Yes...we did a little taste testing first. :) After eating the popcorn, thinking of adjectives was a piece of cake for my kiddos. In addition, they constructed popcorn boxes flowing with adjectives that described their popcorn. Their beautiful popcorn boxes add a lovely touch to my circus themed classroom.

Also, it is very important that all students be able to transfer one skill to another subject area. Well my smart cookies wanted to describe their Fudge-a-Mania characters.

They did a terrific job!
Check it out!

All in all, I am "popping" with excitement with all the learning going in my classroom.
My 2nd graders are beyond great!
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