Thursday, January 4, 2018

Character and Story Mountain Song

Happy 2018 y'all! Wow 2018?! I just can't process that yet. Super fast check in tonight! 
 We are hitting the ground running over in 3rd grade and diving deep into character development, analysis, comparisons, and how our stories are like mountains. If you use Units of Study then this will align for you as well during that unit! 
Even though it was created for third grade, it really could be used in multiple grade levels-even if taught in sections. :)
I also created this anchor chart so they can track these things throughout their read alouds. 
Ms. Jumonville used sticky notes to track. They were reading "Because of Winn Dixie" for this mentor text. 
The song correlates with the poster as well to help reinforce the concepts. 

 At this point I have gotten over the embarrassment of singing-maybe from so many years of first grade or maybe just because I don't care because I am having so much fun creating and sharing. So with that said, feel free to use the download with your kids so you don't have to sing, or use it to model and then sing along! The link below will take you to the audio file and downloadable lyrics as seen here. 

You can also visit FB to listen to the song audio file before downloading below.
 (it was too big to load here)

Click HERE to go to TPT and download your FREE tune and lyrics! (make sure to download "supporting" document if you want the lyrics as a pdf) 

Don't forget to ask those deep questions about characters and challenge the kids to find a character they identify with! 


Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Goods on Government-teaching levels of government

Another 2nd grade focused post coming at you! However, hopefully other grade levels can take something away from it as well!
TEKS covered: 2.12A, 2.12B, 2.12C, 2.12D, 2.13A, 2.13D

Learning about government can be overwhelming for little ones, hey maybe even for adults too, but it does have importance! How can you make it engaging and bring it down to a level that is easy to grasp?

Well hopefully we did that for our sweet second graders when the teachers taught this unit. We taught this unit over the course of 3 weeks and it did not integrate into reading because we were teaching fairy tales at the time so we had to be strategic with this particular unit and how we used our time for it.

Here is a quick glimpse of how I envisioned we break it down within those few weeks.

So if you read the last post I did about natural hazards/disasters, I said I typically will give my teachers an example/answer key/skeleton of any anchor charts I envision for a unit. This helps me to see if I need to tweak it at all, get feedback, and helps make their life a bit easier.

Right below you will see the smartboard I created that matches the kids brochure they were filling out as they learned about each level of government. That way the teacher had an option to integrate technology as well as make it large for everyone to follow along easier.


Directly above is an example of an anchor chart and answer key I created for the teachers to use as well if they wanted it. It also included some essential questions that align to the TEKS. So basically this chart is built on throughout the unit NOT all in one day!!

Grab the Smartboard download HERE (both versions included)

***The anchor chart above is not setup in the printable resource as a typical 8.5x11 size since it is designed to be printed large. You may want to preview on print screen, test print, or adjust printer settings before you print for youself as an anchor chart.***

We chunked the unit by teaching each level of government and then tying it all together at the end.
This chart is intended to be printed on a plotter aka poster maker. We are very blessed to have one so I was able to print off the skeleton of the chart and the teachers can laminate to use each year still utilizing the "make it with the kids" approach. It just gives them guidance.

So here is what the kids used as their interactive journal for the unit-the brochure!
This was also filled out throughout the unit. Some teachers elected the kids to glue it in their interactive notebooks and pulled it out when they needed it or took it up at the end of each learning time and handed it back out when they were completing the next section. 

You will notice I made them little pictures of each person to glue down, however, after completing it I decided not to include those in the download because well, if you don't live in Texas you won't have the same officials and eventually when the president changes I would have to go back and redo the whole resource. Sorry I just don't have that kind of time haha.
You can easily download pictures of your officials and make them small with multiple to a page.

So in order to make this easy I have included the TEXAS version of all you see AND a generic version (for those not in TX but teach levels of government). So when you download just make sure to pay attention to which pages you are printing :) 


Hopefully this helped you in some way and makes teaching government a tad easier and fun! Please don't hesitate to ask questions-sometimes I leave things out unintentionally because, well, my brain.is.tired.and.I.am.human. :)

Head over to take a peek and see if you'd like to add this resource to your teaching files!
Click HERE


IT IS ON SALE for the FIRST 48 HOURS!!! 


Have a BLESSED week! 

"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."
Psalm 119:114



Friday, December 29, 2017

Discovering Natural Hazards with 2nd grade


This post is geared towards my Texas teachers! However, any teacher might take away some kind of nugget of info you might find useful! 

Here in the Lone Star State, depending on where exactly you are located, you can experience a small array of natural disasters. We don't have them all (thank goodness) but we have seen hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and  small earthquakes (although not as prevalent as some places).
Again, depending on where you are living does somewhat determine which of those you may have experience with. I mean we do take up a huge chunk of land area in the lower USA. 

We are required to teach natural hazards/disasters in second grade so while trying to plan with the 2nd grade team I wanted to steer them in more of an inquiry based learning for this unit. We didn't have just an abundance of time for this unit (imagine that right?) and it also did not integrate with reading nicely (traditional literature was happening at the moment). 

The first step was gathering some resources for the kids to look through, use, read, etc. I made each teacher a tub of books from the literacy library that included, but not limited to, some of these types of titles. 
 
We also have other resources we can pull from as well other than just books on campus. There are always online resources to scour ahead of time and pull out what is appropriate for your grade level (2nd grade in this case). 
Now these were not the only hazards we learned about. We stuck to the TEKS and out unit plans outlined by the district and that included: tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, and we also briefly touched on tsunamis. 

Since this was being taught over the course of 3 weeks I created an anchor chart outline they could use and build on as they discussed and learned. I wanted it to include the key essential questions outlined in the TEKS and our unit plans. I am a very visual person myself so when I am brainstorming for the teachers I also like to include an example for them to be able to see what I am envisioning and they can give me feedback as needed too! So this is the outline and example of what  I saw them utilizing with the kids as the main class recording device. 


So here is somewhat of a break down of what I envisioned throughout the unit. 
*Break kids into 5 different groups (one natural disaster per group).

*Facilitate some time for the kids to ask questions among the group about the particular disaster they are assigned.

*Each group can get some books (or use IPADs or other electronic devices with online resources) that pertains to their designated topic and start looking for maybe some of the key questions from the anchor chart or just collaborating with a few new facts from the text or pictures they are discovering. 

Now how you go about getting that information back to the whole group from each small group is up to you. It can be determined by how long you have each day, how long your unit is, preference as the teacher, etc. This is definitely not intended to be done in one day..mainly small chunks of time as you build on  the info. 

Some ideas may be:
-gather whole class back together after pre-determined time allotted to search books, ask questions, look for answers (that may take multiple days of smaller chunks of time)

-have each group provide any info they learned that can answer those questions on the anchor chart and discuss as a whole group

-do one natural hazard a day

-work through one whole column with multiple disasters a day

-small groups make posters to represent the info they did find to answer the anchor chart questions (they may not find it all and that is okay) then do a gallery walk where each group gets to learn about the others, then take it to the large anchor chart another day

-give the kids in the small group the sticky notes to go through and answer the questions from the large anchor chart and they can fill out as much as they learned from their research and then as a class you can go back and fill in the spots they were unsure of or needed guidance

-you can also put up pictures of a locations around the world that experience various hazards to facilitate discussion and questions

-show pictures of places BEFORE a natural disaster occurred and then an AFTER picture to discuss and maybe help lend some answers to the questions on the chart

-content WRITING would fit nicely into this unit as well
EX: Would you live in a location a ____________ can occur frequently? Why or why not?


So you can see there are a ton of ways to be able to facilitate some discovery and learning on this topic and probably a lot more I am not thinking of currently. 

You may also have some time to watch some video clips for the kids to get more of an understanding as needed. If you have access to Discovery Education you can find some videos aligned to the topic and narrow it down by K-2. BrainPop Jr. also has a video on "Fast Land Changes" that might be helpful as well! 

Here are some examples from the teachers anchor charts! You can see some shared the pen and some chose to write what the kids said, both totally okay! 







 Hopefully this little post gave you some new ideas or even maybe just was the tip of the iceberg for you that will help you launch a natural hazard unit in your classroom that spawns many other ideas I didn't even list!

**TEKS Covered: 2.7A, 2.7B, 2.7C

Have a BLESSED week! 
"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God."
Hebrews 4:16 



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Easy recycled/reused Christmas Decor

Do you ever get a Christmas card that is just too pretty to throw away? I mean cards in general now days are not always cheap. I have actually received cards other than Christmas (birthday, Easter, etc) that are beautiful and I try to keep what I can but let's be real, I don't like a lot of "stuff'" and try to purge as much as possible. However, for those extra special cards that are just too good to toss I decided to use as an easy DIY project.


I made this particular one for Christmas. But you could use any kind of card front depending on the theme or look you are wanting to achieve.



What you will need:
-front of a used card (I just pull off the back to keep the front)
-scrapbook paper
-frame of your own size and choosing
-scissors

It really is as easy as it looks in the picture! Once you decide your size and if you will use matting or scrapbook paper all you do is put it together! Seriously, easy right? And you get to reuse/recycle those beautiful cards! I mean it could easily be a gift as well! Put your own spin on it!

Here are some other examples of fronts of cards I have saved and just waiting for the right moment to create something.
See? Too pretty to toss!



Have a BLESSED night!! 
"But the Lord watches over all who honor and trust his kindness." - Psalms 33:18












Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Bites Episode 3-The Hallo-Wiener

Howdy ya'll! So I am a smidge behind on blogging so I am kind of doing a catch-up session here for Book Bites Episode 3.

If you are just now discovering my little blog and have no idea what Book Bites is then head over to the overview HERE to get a background of this little venture. You can also view the overview video HERE

Now onto Episode 3! 
The Hallo-Wiener  
by: Dav Pilkey 


** The video will have more detailed information about all these ideas below- this is just a quick sneak peek**


Overview: Oscar is short, like all dachshunds, and other dogs make fun of him. On Halloween he takes more ridicule than ever in his hot-dog costume, but one brave act makes him a hero.

Teaching points: (if you choose) bullying, character feelings 

Sticky notes: I do not have specific stopping points for this read aloud this time.I really wanted this seasonal one to be more of an enjoyment read with maybe some follow up fun activities.
Grab the Mini Integrated Unit HERE

Here's a peek at what is included: 

-Dog template to create craft

-Give Oscar a new costume

-2 Story element activities
-Retell/BME
-Book review
-Text to Self Connections
-DIY Word Family Sort
-Trick or Treat (true or false)
-Create your own Trick or Treat
-Verb practice
-Verb cards
-Story element cards
-2 Odd/Even sort
-Count by 5's cut/paste
-Count by 2's cut/paste
-On/off the decade practice
-Place Value


Here is an example of on of the activities! 


Access the full Episode 3 HERE

Want just the read aloud? Go listen and watch HERE


Don't forget to follow me on Facebook to get notifications of when new Book Bites Episodes are happening! You can also access all of them on my YouTube channel!

Have a BLESSED week!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Scooping Up Reading Craftivity

Well hello there!
I feel like it has been awhile since I "for real" blogged. What's "for real" blogging? Well other than a quick check in on my Facebook blog page or Instagram and actually sitting down and typing a full post is "real blogging." I have SO many ideas I have written down to blog about but it truly is finding the time and sometimes the motivation to gather it all and focus to put it into words. But that's why I have my idea notebook! So I don't forget and hopefully will eventually get around to it! 

For tonight though this will be short and SWEET. Most importantly though, SWEET!! 
Do you like reading? 
Do you like ice cream?
Do you like a reason to throw a party?
Then this little FREEBIE is for YOU! Well for your kids, but you will reap the tasty benefits too! 

Here is the low down:
This little reflection craft can be used at the end of teaching different types of reading strategies. For example, we used this at the end of 2nd grade Lucy Calkins Reading Units of Study Unit 1 Session 4 “Readers Read in Longer Phrases Scooping Up Snap Words”. After teaching various ways and strategies that can be used while reading, second grade held a “Scooping up Reading” party. The kids reviewed the strategies that have been taught and created the ice cream craft. Then they got to celebrate with some ice cream scooping! (they also offered sorbet as an option for dairy              allergies)
This provides a fun way to wrap up or practice what they have been taught.

 Go grab the freebie HERE

Thank you so much to the 2nd grade ELA team for helping me bring this idea to life! Ya'll it's hard going from having your own classroom and babies to do these things with, to not having the direct opportunity to do so. Thankfully I work with some really awesome teachers throughout the grades that allow me to continue to still be ME and offer up ideas and create things for their little ones to do and try. We work hard and take our jobs building those minds seriously, but we also know how to have some fun!! 

Have a BLESSED week!! 
"I am the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end, says the Lord God." Revelations 1:8

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

No More "What's Due?" Manage the paper monster!



How do you manage your classroom work and objectives? I am sure if your classroom is anything in the form of a normal classroom you have a lot going on throughout the week. Things can start piling up if you do not have some kind of a system in place. Even if a majority of what you do is in Interactive Notebooks, Seesaw, etc you can still get bogged down with what needs to be checked. Well I have tried various different things over the years and finally have settled on my newest technique. I have tweaked it and have seen such good results. And I promise you even 1st graders can manage it! 

The To-Do board! 
I have posted in the past about my kids having the chance to earn Fun Friday. After they accomplish all of their goals for the week they can earn that extra time to just be a kid and have some fun. I mean we work so hard during the week! 

On my back wall I have two empty cabinet fronts (prime real estate ya know?). I made picture icons of the objectives they would typically be faced with throughout the week as well as icons for what to do with the assignments when complete. I mean who just craves hearing..."I'm done!" What do I do with this? Where do I put it?" Well I can tell you I do not haha...I really want to foster independence and problem solving skills within those 4 walls. 
(I would have offered the icons as a freebie but it is tailored to what we do specifically, you would need to take pictures for your own icons-sorry!) 

Now we had a lot rolling this week so it looks kind of overwhelming to the naked eye lol...but my little owls have been trained on this and can execute it pretty well now days.


I put any assignment we have started and needs to be finished by Friday on the left side. On the right side I put the picture icon for where or what they need to do with it so they do not have to ask. 

"Corner of desk"- this tells me non-verbally I am done and you can come check my work. Most of these assignments/work was done in their interactive notebooks or folders where we didn't have to have extra copies made and waste paper or bury them in worksheets. 

"File"- I have made a file system at the front of the room with all their numbers on a file folder. They can slip their finished work in their and on Thursday and Friday morning I will check it.


"Picture of Me" - they can hand deliver it or also put it out on desk so I can come snatch it at my convenience. I don't typically use this one often but will when it is something I want right away.

"Work folder"- everyone every week has to have this out before starting Fun Friday. I do have some try to slip through the cracks each week and "say" they are done ;) ya know what I mean Vern?

The numbers next to the assignment are the magic numbers for the kids whose items I have not checked or have turned in. Once it is done I get to erase it off the board. I can tell you they love seeing their number go away. This is also helpful for some of my friends who are still learning to read. They know their number by heart already and the picture icons are obviously super fast to see as well! 


Here are some up close looks:



I really can't tell you how efficient this has made our weeks, and I love being able to see them turn around without me having to really say anything and check the to-do board on their own and Get 'Er Done! 

 I hope it sparked your interest if you are looking to streamline paper/assignment management in your classroom! 

Have a BLESSED week!!!