Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where is Jack the Elf?

Hi Friends! 
I bought an Elf on the Shelf book last year and read it to my first grade class.  The book came with an Elf which we named "Jack."  My first graders really enjoyed the story and couldn't wait to find Jack when they came to school each morning during the month of December. As some of you know, I looped to 2nd grade with my class this year.  Well, Jack arrived yesterday and my kids were so E-X-C-I-T-E-D to see him again!  I was surprised to hear how many details they remembered about Jack.
Here's what I heard the kids saying to each other:

"You can't touch him or he'll lose his magic!"
"He's going to fly back to the North Pole and tell Santa everything you do!"
"He can see you all the time."
"Jack likes to find new places to sit when he comes back every day, so you
have to look for him."
"He's a nice Elf because he tells Santa the good stuff you do and
 just a little bit of the naughty stuff."
This year I decided to make a little booklet for my kids to draw and write about where they find Jack in our classroom each morning.  I thought this would be a great way to work on position words as well.  Here's a picture of booklet.

Yesterday morning we found Jack above the light switch in our classroom.

 This is the first page in our booklet.  I asked the kids to highlight the position word.
I didn't have the kids draw Jack because I knew it would take too much time. 
Instead, I attached a small picture of Jack on the end of a popsicle stick so they
could place Jack where he belongs after reading the sentence.
 This is where we found Jack this morning. 
They can place Jack in the pocket after reading the sentence.
I taped a post-it note to the back of each booklet to store the popsicle stick.  I also
attached the end of the yarn to the back of the booklet so that Jack wouldn't get lost.
Where will Jack be tomorrow?

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Are You Grateful For?

Hi Friends!

What are you grateful for this time of year?  If I had to name my top three, I would say my family and friends, my health, and a teaching job that I love!

Last year I was reading a blog post by my friend Tammy at Forever in First about Gratitude Journals.  She calls them "G" Journals.  You can read her post {Here}.
I was really excited about making "G" Journals for my students so they could draw and write about what they are grateful for.  I thought November would be the perfect month for my students to think about what they are thankful for.

First we brainstormed and made a list of all kinds of things that we are grateful for.  Then I gave each student their very own "G" Journal.  Every school morning during the month of November, I place the "G" Journal on each student's desk.  They draw and write one thing they are grateful for each day.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, their journals are full of thing they are grateful for.   I send the journals home the day before Thanksgiving so they can share their them with their family.

Here are some pictures of my students' Gratitude Journals:




What are you grateful for this time of year?
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Daily Five: Writing & Word Work Activities

Hi Friends!
Today I'd like to share some new activities for the Daily Five
Work on Writing & Word Work.  I taught first grade last year and looped to second grade with the same kids and wanted to change up some of my Daily Five activities.  These activities are NOT the only writing or word work activities we do each day.  I have a 60 minute Writer's Workshop and a 30 minute Word Work block in the morning.  My Daily Five takes place in the afternoon every day of the week EXCEPT Wednesday.

Here are my Work on Writing activities:

On Mondays, students write about their weekend.  I ask them to pick one thing and write about it.

On Tuesdays, students write a letter to our Student of the Week. I collect all the letters and put them together in book form and give it to the Student of the Week to keep. 

On Thursdays, students write in their Science Journals.  I have an object for them to observe that goes along with our theme.  They draw the object and write about it.

On Fridays, students can go to our Writing Center and choose an activity there.

Here's how I store the Work on Writing materials:

Here are my Word Work activities:
On Mondays, students play a game called Roll & Write.
They roll a die, find the word for the number they rolled and write it.  The goal is to roll and write until one of the columns is filled.  That word "Blasts Off."  You continue to roll and write until all the words "Blast Off." 

If you don't like the idea of kids rolling dice on their desks and making lots of noise, you can cut pieces of rubber shelf liner for them to roll on.

On Tuesdays, students write their words with scented markers.  I use Mr. Sketch scented markers.  Walgreens had them on sale for $5.00 a box in August!!   I store each set of markers in a Lock & Lock container.  I got them on QVC. 

On Thursdays, students use magnetic letters to build words.
I bought some heavy duty cookie sheets for this center.  I put the letters they need at the top and they build the words at the bottom.  I used a Sharpie to divide the two areas.  I include a list of words on the cookie sheet.

On Fridays, students work in their Vocabulary Journals.  They pick 2 words from our vocabulary word list for the week.  They write them, use them in a sentence, and then illustrate. 

My students love all of these activities.  I plan to change them up as the year goes on.  I'll share some more in future posts. 
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Share

Hi Friends,
I am LOVING the cool weather her in the Midwest.  I don't know about you, but I am a better teacher when the weather is cool.

Today I'd like to share something new I am doing in my classroom this year.  I'm calling it Book Share.  Book Share is a time for Guest Readers to come and share their favorite picture book with my class.  They can share other reading materials as well.  Guest Readers are encouraged to tell the class how important reading is in their lives and give examples of how they use reading at work and in their personal lives.  I really want my second graders to hear from someone other than me how important reading is and will be in their lives. 

Anyone can be a Guest Reader.  I started my Book Share this year by inviting everyone on staff at my school.  I sent out personal invitations asking anyone interested in being a Guest Reader to sign up.  Later, I plan to invite parents, school administrators, community members and students.  Book Share is done on Friday mornings between 8:30-9:00. 

My second graders were so excited when our first Guest Reader showed up this past Friday.  Our fifth grade teacher, Miss Uzzell, shared her favorite picture book called
My Little Sister Ate a Hare by Bill Grossman.  After reading her favorite book, Miss Uzzell shared her Kindle and explained what kinds of reading materials she has on it.  Many of my students had never seen a Kindle before, so this was a great learning opportunity for them.  Miss Uzzell did an awesome job!!  When she was done, I took a picture of her holding her favorite book for our Book Share Wall.   Here are a few pictures of our first Guest Reader & our Book Share Wall.

Here's Miss Uzzell sharing her Kindle.

This is the Book Share Wall.  I plan to add pictures of all of our Guest Readers.  I thought I took a
picture of the whole bulletin board, but I didn't.  Here's one corner of it:)

I got this t-shirt for joining my local Blackhawk Reading Council.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Science Center

Hi Friends,
I just finished putting together the science center in my classroom and wanted to share a few pictures.  Hope you like it:)

Kids can sit on the tree stumps!

I engraved some pictures and words on the stumps.
I'm no artist, but I tried my best:)
I painted the table with chalkboard paint.  I used liquid chalk markers to write on it.

Our first unit of study will be the Life Cycle of the Butterfly.
The leaf is from IKEA.  I found the little birds clips at The Dollar Tree.

Great advice!

A couple of lab coats will be hung here for students
who want to wear them.

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