Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock!

This week we've been practicing telling time.  We started off by making this amazing little cutie:

This is a freebie that I found through Pinterest from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher.  We practiced telling time for a few days using this craft and it seemed to really make it click that you count by fives to tell time.  I phased it out so they wouldn't be dependent on using this, then we played some fun games that I had whipped up.

We played a little board game I made up using these AH-MAZ-ING board game cliparts from Krista Wallden's store TPT.  Have you seen these?!  You should definitely check these out.  Click on the picture below to head to see these at TPT.

The board game I made basically involved kids reading clocks to tell the time.  

We also played a quiz-quiz-trade for telling time, as well as go fish for the same.

Yesterday and today we practiced telling time before and after the hour and this is proving to be a little trickier for my kiddos.  Today we created flapbooks to practice this.

This is what it looked like from the front.

Here's the inside.

Monday I'm going to have everyone set their flapbooks out and we'll all walk around and record answers from each other's flapbooks without peeking.  

To get your hands on these fun games and flapbook, check out my What Time is it? packet on TPT.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Do you Daily 5?

Now I know a lot of teachers are jumping on the Daily 5 bandwagon and I'm here to say, if you haven't yet, what is the hold up?  Amy Lemons from Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons was discussing this on her Facebook page the other day and it inspired me to do this blog post.  

Let me start with the source:

When I first started, I had only read this.  It has everything you need to get started.

Next, I read this:

Until I read this I was a little like a fish out of water when it came to conferences and planning what to do with my small groups.

I very much recommend both of these books.  I'm not one to purchase books - I prefer borrowing - but these are worth the money.

To sum up the whole kit and caboodle, The Daily 5 is a way to format the way your day looks.  You do mini-lessons followed by your students doing one of these 5 choices: read to self, read to someone, work on writing, word work, or listen to reading.    

This format, how you give children choice and build stamina and interest in becoming a better reader or writer, is amazing.  I totally believe in it and I feel like it's the best thing that has ever happened to my ELA teaching.  Here are a few pictures of my kids hard at work.

Read to Self (I let my kids sit wherever during their choice.)

Read to Someone

Word Work with Play-Do
(They can either write in it.)

(Or they can create the letters.  We focus on Fry Words.  A lot of my 2nd graders are practicing 3rd grade Fry words on account of mastering 2nd grade words.)

 Writing in shaving cream - they LOVE this.  I actually had to restrict it to one person doing it at a time because it's all anyone ever wanted to do.

Listening to Reading - Tumblebooks (which my building subscribes to) is my best friend when it comes to listening to reading.

No work on writing pictures for some reason.  

But isn't it so cute?  And not only are they so cute at work, but they are truly into it!  

This is a picture from an earlier post on how my classroom looks.

This is how I set up my Daily 5 anchor charts and Cafe Menu.  If you do the Cafe and are looking for a menu, check out my freebie menu at my TPT store.

Do you do the Daily 5?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

You are appreciated!

Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us and in honor of all of us teachers, I am throwing a sale!  Come by my store this week anytime between Monday and Thursday for 20% off anything you fall in love with.  As a bonus, if you haven't seen yet, TPT will be offering an additional discount of 10% off on Tuesday and Wednesday.  To get the 10%, you'll have to enter the code seen on this picture:

So come by my shop sometime and check it out.  If I have time this week I'll post some of the awesome products I've purchased that you might want to grab while on sale this week.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Money, Money, Money, Money! Plus a Freebie!

We have been practicing counting coins lately and we've had a lot of fun with it!  I whipped up a couple of games because who wants to do tons of boring worksheets to learn how to count money?  No one, that's who.

One game my kids had a lot of fun with involved them using playing cards and money to create different amounts.  On their turn, they flipped over two cards and made a number with it, such as 57.  Then they used coins to figure out how to show that amount in cents.  Such a simple idea for a game, but they were totally into it!

We played a lot more games with coins all week and they are now rockstars at counting money!  I'm so proud!

If you're looking to spice up your money unit with some fun games, you can find this game plus several more, along with recording sheets at TPT.  Just click on the picture below:

I'm giving away part of this packet (a coin value flapbook), too!  Just click on the picture to get it for free!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I'm really embarassed about how long it's been since last I blogged, but oh, well.  What are you gonna do?  

Anywho. . . 

Last year I did a week long project where we wrote biographies of each other in our class, to practice writing expositories for our last district common assessment.  One of the major benefits of being a teacher of the same grade year after year is that I can make better what I've done before.  I tweaked what we did last year with biographies and am in the middle of doing this project again, even better than before.  

Here's my revamped version if you want to check it out at TPT.  Just click on the picture below: 

Last year I gave students a list of questions on a small piece of paper for them to interview each other with.  This year I revamped it into a set of questions that they could cut out as little cards to interview with.  I think it helped them have a bit more room to record each other's answers on and it felt more fun than a typical "worksheet".  

Another difference from last year to this year is that last year we wrote the biographies as a long paragraph and this year I'm letting them either write a long paragraph or a multi-paragraph essay, for those kiddos that are ready for that next step.  Since I teach second, I really focus on writing complete sentences and using them in 5-sentence paragraphs but some of my kids just have so much more to say in their writing than the standard 5 sentences.  So to differentiate, I am doing both.  I actually modeled planning both versions to everyone and let them choose which version to use.  I even let them change their mind if they got into their planning and realized that they had too much or too little for the planning they started with.

One other change is that I'm going to let them choose to either write their biography on traditional lined paper, with a spot for a picture of their subject OR they can write it as a little booklet.  I wonder how many will choose what.  I'm betting a lot will want to do the booklets but we'll see.

I don't know how you go through writing projects like this but I've modeled each step of the way with my own biography about our interim principal.  I had him come in to be interviewed while my students listened.  I am really lucky to have a document camera, Smartboard and projector, so I showed how I took quick notes under the document camera.  If you don't have a document camera, you should hit your boss up for real.  

The next day I took my interview notes and my planning page (basically a web) and showed how to pick out details to plan my paragraph.  I also demonstrated how to plan for a multi-paragraph piece using another graphic organizer.

The next day I used my iPad to take a picture of each planning page and put that picture in a Smart Notebook document so I could have it right on the screen while I wrote my rough draft.  I modeled writing my single paragraph writing for the whole class but for this part, I only showed the people who had planned for a multi-paragraph how to take their planning and turn it into their rough draft with the multiple paragraphs.

So far, so good.  I'm really excited to see how these rough drafts turn into their final pieces.  If I can be a good little blogger, I'll take pictures and post them on a later post but I make no promises.  

Do you ever write biographies with your kids?  What other expository writing do you do with your class?