Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lovin' me some clip charts!

You might think I’m crazy for starting a new behavior system this far into the year, but that’s just what I did.  See, I had a student teacher, so I wanted to just keep it simple and do what I’ve always done instead of figure out how to do something new.   I recently took my class back (which was wonderful!) and decided it was time to try a clip chart out.

I’ve seen clip charts all over Pinterest and I actually accidentally bought one when I was buying some cute table signs to go with my classroom color scheme.  And now my class (which is admittedly a pretty dang good class already) is acting like a bunch of angels!

Click {HERE} to check out the pack I got the clip chart from.

Click {HERE} to read an explanation of how to use this.

I do use this in conjunction of BIST, if you’re familiar with that.

Spiders + Native Americans = Fun!

There is something to be said about getting the scissors and creating things when you’re talking about 8 year olds.  The engagement level goes right up.  Today we made a few things that I was pretty excited about.

First I did one of Amy Lemon’s (Step into 2nd Grade) super cute and, as a bonus, free, activities.  We created spiders and wrote poems about them. This was perfect because we’ve been learning parts of speech, well, all year, it seems and these poems involve using verbs and adjectives.  Here are a few examples of my students’ work:

If you want to snatch this up, head to Amy’s TPT store {HERE}.

The thing we did later in the day wasn’t quite as cute but it was fun for my kids.  I whipped up a flipbook Venn diagram for Woodland and Plains Indians to go along with our Native American unit.  We’ve watched a few United Streaming videos about the Woodland Indians and the Plains Indians, created an anchor chart (I gotta say, that anchor chart is ugly as sin.) and discussed the characteristics at length, so I thought I’d see what the kids could do as far as comparisons. 

If you do a unit over Native Americans my unit on TPT might be helpful to you.  You can check it out {HERE}.  

If any of you want the Venn diagram flipbook for free, please just leave a comment and I’ll link it to this blog post so you can download it. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Today was the first day of conferences. It went very well, but I. Am. Exhausted.

The end.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stars and Stairs

In the last post I shared this reflection page from Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis.    

I thought I’d share a little bit about stars and stairs.  It’s a really simple idea (from Jan Chappuis) but I think it seems like it has the potential to be really effective.  That’s why I introduced it to my students to this concept Monday. (I went on an Assessment Training Institute recently.  Can you tell?)

This is the anchor chart I made while I explained stars and stairs to my kids. 

Today I used this while I graded assessments.  For example, one of my students got a star for knowing why we need rules but stairs for understanding majority rules.   I just drew both the star and the stairs and wrote the notes next to them.

Do you have any fun tricks for encouraging learning?

Adjectives and Place Value

You ever have those days that feel as if you’ll never be able to accomplish anything of importance?  Well, today felt a lot like that to me.  But then, low and behold, we got things done.  We buckled down and pounded out some good work.

We had an assembly for Red Ribbon Week (do you celebrate Red Ribbon Week?), then we made cards for my principal who had an awful motorcycle accident (prayers would be very appreciated) and then I had kids complete this reflection page for conferences:
This reflection page is from Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis.  I just made it a little cuter. :)
Click the picture if you want to grab this (for free!).

Anyways, once we finally got to real work, we had some fun.  During ELA we’ve been focusing on adjectives.  Pinterest inspired me to try out this little guy:

My kids really enjoyed this activity.  First I had them complete a web about themselves, with adjectives.  Then they created the adjective guys using those adjectives.

In math we’re learning about place value so today we used playing cards to create numbers.  They drew three numbers and made both the biggest and the smallest numbers they could with those numbers.  It’s funny how “in” to math kids get when you add cards to the mix.  Call it a game and it’s like magic.

If you’d like this and other fun place value activities, click {HERE} for my place value activities pack.  It’s got a ton of fun ideas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Visualizing and Fables

This quarter we're focusing on both visualizing and fables (among many other things, as English Language Arts so often goes).  So today I introduced both of these and made a cute anchor chart for each.  I don't have a lot to share, but I did take pictures of both anchor charts and decided to share because I'm just a little bit proud of the writing.  I saw this style on someone else's chart that I can't remember, so sorry that I can't give proper credit.  Anyway, without further ado, here they are:



The spacing isn't perfect on the visualizing and the wording isn't exactly top notch on the fables one as the kids helped me create that one, but oh, well.  :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm throwing a sale!

Tomorrow I'm starting my Native American unit that I blogged about {HERE}.  I'm really excited about this unit, so I'm going to throw a sale.  Today and tomorrow my Native American pack will be on sale for 20% off!  Click on the picture to take advantage of the sale!
 Native Americans from Seize the Day with Second Grade
While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and put everything on sale.  Here are a few things you can snatch up.  Click on the pictures you're interested in.
 Economics unit with tons of fun activities! 

Some fun states of matter activities!
Place Value Activities 

 $4.75 - Nouns, Verbs, Sentences and Paragraphs

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Singing Songs

Last year several staff-members from our building went to PD with Tim Rasinski.  He’s huge on building reading fluency and one thing he suggests is singing songs.  So since then I’ve had fun finding songs for my second graders to sing each day.  I put together some that I found for Halloween.  If you want to grab them up for free, just click {HERE} or on the picture below.

 Here are some of the songs.

If you download the file you’ll see the website I found the songs at.

Do you have any fun fall songs you’re singing with your class?

Native Americans

Yesterday I was one of those huge nerds that work super late on a Friday.  When I was walking to my car that was in the middle of an empty parking lot I was inventing a new meaning of the phrase "walk of shame".  But I did accomplish something that gave me a pretty nice sense of satisfaction.  I updated/revamped my personal unit for Native Americans.  A while back I created units (and by units I mean rough day-by-day plans) for all of my Social Studies, Science and Math units.  Each year I use them again and add/edit a little, but this year we got a new "textbook" which is an online textbook from Success Net Plus.  As a side note, I'm really excited about having this as a new resource but I'm feeling a little bit of a learning curve because their little PD introduction to the product wasn't as helpful as one would hope.  Anyway. . . I updated my unit to include this new resource and just revamped the whole thing.  
I'm kind of a create units kick because of chapter 2 in Never Work Harder than your Students, which we're reading for my school's book club for teachers.  It's ok.  It's somewhat useful, somewhat repetetive, a teeny condescending at times.  We'll see how the rest goes.

So. . . back to Native Americans.  Monday we're starting off by reading Scholastic News about Columbus Day.  I know.  It's a week late but we were wrapping up Life Cycles stuff for the end of the quarter.  And better, late than never, right?  Plus I felt like it's kind of a perfect way to launch into this unit and then I can let Thanksgiving tie the unit up with a perfect little bow.  :)  I'm excited.  Can you tell?  

We're also going to watch BrainpopJr's video on Columbus Day (which is free, so you can watch it even if your district doesn't subscribe) and, if we have time we'll watch another video from United Streaming titled Holiday Facts & Fun: Columbus Day.  It might sound a little video-y, but I love letting my students watch videos for Social Studies & Science both.  They are so much more engaging than the standard textbook (another reason to be excited for our online textbook!).

Speaking of videos we'll watch several more videos from United Streaming throughout the unit.  In my district the focus for second grade is Woodland and Plains Indians.  In addition to videos, I plan on doing some group activities, creating tortilla teepees (or maybe cupcake teepees), and doing the cute things I've whipped up in my Native Americans pack which is on TPT.  Here are some of the things we'll do:

Get these activities for your classroom by clicking {HERE} or on the picture below.


I'm thinking, too, of doing some craftivities, but I haven't figured out what to do yet.  I'm going to do some searching on Pinterest and TPT. If you find anything cute online, leave the link to it in the comment, please.  I'd love that.  
What fun activities do you do for Native Americans?  What fun things do you do for Thanksgiving?

Just in case you're wondering where I got all the cute clip art and fonts from for my Native American things, here are the credits:

Clip art by:
 Tales from Outside the Classroom
Fonts by:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Life Cycles

This week we wrapped up our life cycles unit.  This is a really fun unit for the kids because we watch butterflies go through most of their life cycle.  A little bummer this year, though - only one of our caterpillars actually made it to being a butterfly.  Here is that lucky guy:

To review the life cycle of chickens we made foldable pyramids like so (fold on the lines, cut on the dashed lines):

Then, on the inside of the pyramids students drew and labeled the life cycle of chickens.  They turned out really cute and I was surprised by how my kids didn't struggle with constructing the pyramids.  

So fun!