Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Day of School Activities

I'd love to hear what activities you do with your students on the first day of school. 
Link up below with one of your favorite activities or share your plans for the whole day. 
This year I created a small book for the first day/week of second grade. My students will write about themselves, the school, the classroom, and me (the teacher). I will use it to asses their writing. I also created an end of the year book (So Long Second Grade) with similar ideas. I will use that book at the end of the year to hopefully show them how much their writing has improved.
If you would like to check out the two books click here for the Welcome to Second Grade book and here for the So Long Second Grade book.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter Writing

Letter writing is a big part of second grade. I decided this year I am going to have my students write letters and actually mail them...they get so excited when the get a response in the mail. I typed up a little note to the parents and asked them to share a few names and address of friends and family. I even asked for some donations of stamps, we'll see what I get.  If they don't want to share addresses, I will just send the letters home and the parents can mail them. 
I also keep a map up in my room all year and we mark different places that we read and learn about. I'm hoping we get a few letters from around the country and the world to help us with our geography.

If there are any second grade teachers that would like to do pen-pals with us, please e-mail me or comment below and we can get in touch. 
I'm located in Northern California.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Let's See your Writing Centers and Ideas

   As I prepare to go back to school here in just 3 weeks...can't believe summer is almost over summer to do list isn't even half way completed yet... I am really looking for some help and ideas for teaching writing.
I teach 2nd grade and when it comes to teaching math and reading I'm pretty good to go, but I have always struggled with how best to teach writing. My district doesn't really have a set writing program...I have an old Step Up To Writing binder that was left behind by the last teacher, and I have just started reading through it today. I also read No More I'm Done by Jennifer Jacobson and really liked a lot that she had to offer. If you haven't read it yet, it's great.  I find myself going through each year teaching random writing lessons and struggling to keep it all together. After reading No More I'm Done, now I struggle with the idea of letting the kids choose their topic or choosing one for them.

   I know you all have so many amazing ideas and I would love to hear them...or if you know of someone else who has a great idea please link it up below or leave a comment.  I'm looking for ideas on how you teach writing as a whole, not just individual writing lessons, and I'd also love to see what some of your writing centers look like. My writing center is a work in progress, this will be my first year having one...I will post pics when I finish it next week.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fraction Match Up

Went to Lakeshore Learning today to get some borders for my room.  I saw this great fraction game as I was walking out, but there was no way I was going to pay $24.95 for it. So I created my own version of it! And I am so happy with it...hope my kids enjoy it too.  

Click on the preview of it below to download the game...enjoy!

- Megan

100th Day Activity

TBA is celebrating their 100th day in the blogger world with a linky party full of great 100th day activities! Click here to join!

Here is an activity I did with my class this past year and they loved it! I got the idea from a blog or Proteacher...The idea is not my own, but I did create it in my own way. If this book is your idea please tell me so I can give you credit.  Anyways, Its a little book called "I Wish I Had 100..."  The students write and illustrate about different things they would want to have 100 of, and then on the last page they write about something they would never want 100 of. We started the book in the morning filling in their ideas and then they worked on the illustrations throughout the day as they finished their other work...a few of my students actually drew 100 of the different items in their the end of the day they loved getting to read their books to the class...more ideas to come when we get closer to the 100th day of school...I can't think that far ahead when it's still summer.

Just any of you have your class bring in collections of 100 items? I remember doing it when I was younger and I loved it. Gathering the items with my mom and bringing it to school, I just don't remember what we did with them when we got to school....haha...I'd love to do it with my students if I could come up with some meaningful activities...please post a comment and share what you do or any ideas you have.

Ok, click on the large 100 to download the book! 


Same Sound Task Cards

In the first few weeks of school, I spend a lot of time reviewing the phonics skills my students learned in first grade. I've noticed in years past that the students often remember the basics, but forget the knowing that there is more than one spelling for long vowel and other special vowel words. 
They usually just need a little reminder to get the juices flowing.

I love using task cards in my class. I have used them as a whole group "scoot" activity, for partners, and individual work. The best part about task cards is that I can get a quick assessment of my students abilities on any given topic.

How to use Task Cards:

1. Whole Group Scoot: Each student gets one card. Depending on the concept, I give them a minute or two to answer the question. Then I say scoot and they move to the next number and work on that problem(This does take a little practice). The students love any chance to move around. One year I had a problem with lice, so I sometimes have the students stay in their seat and just "Pass" the cards. At the end I collect all the cards and then go over them one by one whole group. Students correct with a pen or marker and then I can see what they know.

2. Partner Scoot: Same as above, I just have the students work with partners. I do this when I don't have 25 cards or when a concept is difficult (usually math concepts).

3. Individual: I put a sticker on the back of the card where the answer is, and the students use clothes pins to choose an answer, by placing the clip on the answer they think is correct. Then they flip over their cards and self-check their answers by seeing if the clothes pin lines up with the sticker. I usually do this once we have already used the set of cards whole group.

I usually print two sets of cards. One for whole group/partner scoot and one for individual practice.  

Here are some "same sound task cards" I just created...please let me know if you find any mistakes...its almost 1am and I have been up with my little guy since 6 this morning. I usually number them, but forgot, so I will just write numbers on them before I laminate them.  I also suggest printing task cards on cardstock for durability. 

Click the apple to download the task cards.

Off to bed I go....can't believe I almost have 100 followers...I may just have to do a little giveaway soon!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daily Schedule

Joining the linky party over at Simple 2nd Resources...

My schedule is always very busy...We have a very short day and a lot to cram in...I teach second grade.

Here is my Daily Schedule (I am a major planner...every minute of every day always has to be planned ahead.)

8:10 - Final Bell
8:20-9:20 - Writing Workshop
             - Mini Lesson (writing skills/strategies, etc.)
             - Quiet Ten (everyone writes including me)
             - Writing Time: editing, writing, publishing
9:20 - 9:35 - RECESS
9:40-10:00 - Board Math
10:00 - 10:10 - Math Fact Lessons or math review game/activity
10:10 - 11:10 - Math Workshop
        Three twenty minute rotations
            - Work With Teacher...lesson
            - Game/Activity (reviewing yesterdays new concept)
            - Worksheet Practice - review of skills
11: 10 - 12:00 LUNCH
12:10 - 12:45 - Theme, ELA Skills, etc.
12:45 - 1:45 Daily 5
1:45 - 2:05 - Go over hw, pack up, read aloud

I thought I would also share my lesson plan template...I have always used a lesson plan book, but it has never kept me organized...I always end up with little notes written everywhere and papers in piles between the pages...In May, I decided to try a template on my laptop (since I bring it to school every day anyways to use with my Smartboard). I loved it...I've already got all my blank templates saved on my comp for this year so I can start planning ahead as needed.  If you would like to see or use the template click on the image of it below. I'd be willing to share it with anyone, just e-mail me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

If You Were A Plus Sign...and linky party

I am sharing a new math project I created today and would love for you to use it. If you have a blog of your own please join the link party and share a math activity you do using literature...Please mention and link my blog to the post. If you don't have a blog please leave a comment sharing your ideas...Thanks and Enjoy!

One of my goals this year is to incorporate more reading and activities into my math instruction.  One of the first math skills we start with in second grade is addition. 

I just love reading the book If You Were A Plus Sign written by Trisha Speed Shaskan. Each page in the book starts with "If you were a plus sign...", and then goes on to explain one of the key features of the plus sign in an addition problem, such as you would make a sum or you would help put things together, etc.

My plan with the book is to read and discuss it with my class when we start reviewing addition the first week of school. Then revisiting it a few days later when we go over adding doubles. I created blank pages with each of the key features Trisha talks about.  My students will create their own rewritten version of the story using addition doubles facts to come up with a word problem and number sentence to go with each plus sign feature. My plan is to have students work in partners or groups to create their rewritten story. The packet includes a cover page, 6 plus sign feature pages, and a back page for students to write all the doubles facts.  Click on the picture below to download it. I will also let each set of partners/group choose which doubles fact they will use on their page. 

(ok for some reason I can't get pics to upload so click here to download the packet...and I will try to figure it out soon.)

Don't worry if you have never read the book or don't have a copy of students can still create a class book of their own. 

Now it's your turn to share....Please join the linky party and mention my blog!

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Word Work in My Class

Daily Word Work Activities:
Monday - Word Work 4 Times Each (click on the picture to download the activity)

Tuesday - Word Work Sentences (one of the teachers at my school gave me this great idea!) (click on the picture to download the activity)

Wednesday - Friday - Spelling Games (I have been working all summer to make spelling practice games)

 Here is an example of one of my games, I will post more soon!

(click on the picture to download the activity)

Keep Reading to learn more about how my class is structured and assessed  during spelling time.

I use Daily 5 as a guide for structuring my reading workshop. One of the daily choices for students is Word Work, where the students work independently to practice the weekly spelling words, vocabulary, or high frequency words...whatever it is you choose to use in your class. 

Our district uses Open Court for ELA instruction, so I use the spelling words that go with that program...I will also be having my students work with high frequency words that they still struggle with. I will assess all the students and then each student will use their own misspelled words to create a list of weekly words.  To read more about how I will be assessing my students individualy on high frequency words, check out Beth Newingham's Scholastic Blog...she is amazing! This is my first year using the high frequency word assessments and student generated lists, and I am really excited about it.

So, every week my students will have 10 spelling words, plus the next five words from their own high frequency word lists...I am really hoping to have a parent volunteer come in on Fridays to assess each student on their 5 high frequency words, I am not sure how I will make it work without parent help...I will not be giving spelling tests on the weekly word list. I hope this makes sense, if you have any questions or suggestion please feel free to share them!

- Megan

Favorite Fonts

I love fun fonts! I just had to join the linky party over at Finally In First. Here are just a few of my favorites...I had trouble just picking a few. Now...I'm off to check out the other blogs linked up and ready to download new fonts...hope I find some good free ones.

- Megan

Look What I Made!

I am doing a little western/farm/cowboy theme in my class this year. Nothing over the top, I just wanted a theme to use for my newsletter, AR board, Library, etc. I couldn't find any nameplates I liked, but I found an adorable digital scrapbook set at The western set I got was designed by Mindy Terasawa, and is so adorable. I can see this theme getting a bit carried away, but I am going to try and have a little self control.  I am just having so much fun with it.

I made these nameplates..I love them even though they will use up all my ink to print...oh well! If you want a set of your own, click on the picture and download them at Google Docs. I'm so excited to use them!

Every year my school does a back to school BBQ the night before school starts. The kids get to find out who their new teacher will be and see their classroom. This year I'm going to have a little welcome gift on each students desk...just some pencils, erasers, I made these cute tags to tie to each gift. I hope my students love them as much as I do. Check them out at Google Docs.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Grade 2.0 with Mrs.Adcock Giveaway

Head on over to Grade 2.0 with Mrs. Adcock and help her celebrate 100 followers. She is giving away a gift card to Target. What teacher doesn't love Target!?

Happy 4th of July!
I'm off to spend the weekend with my family!

First Day Supplies

   Mrs. Kincaid is hosting a linky party, come join! She is looking for ideas to help organize the supplies students bring in the first day of school.
   At my school we send home a supply "wish list" with each student at the end of the year. For example, myself and the other second grade teachers wrote a letter and created a list of items we would like each student to bring in. Our list went home with the first graders (who will be in our classes next year). In our letter we wrote that all supplies being donated were going to be "community" supplies and shared within the class. Even though my students have desks and their own supply boxes (if they bring one from home) I store supplies in a tub in the middle of the cluster of desks. Any supplies I give to students go in the tub and are shared. If they bring in supplies for themselves they keep them in their desks or backpacks.

  One of the best ways I have found to organize all other things is with numbers. Instead of writing students names on things, I put a number and assign each student a number. At our school we have a lot of families that come and go throughout the year. When students leave and new ones come I don't have to get new supplies or classroom materials, I just give them a number. I make a set of 25 of everything so I am always prepared for a new student to arrive.   

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