Sunday, April 28, 2013

Instagramin' it Up!

Yes, by now most of you have probably seen the posts floating around about teacher bloggers taking over Instagram! I just could not resist joining in the fun! I am such a visual person and have always used Instagram as a way to share my personal photos with friends and why not share the juicy classroom ones with my blog friends and fam, right?

Plus, each Tuesday we will all have the chance to link up our photos with "What the Teacher Wants" and Apples and ABC's for #teachertalktuesday! (See image below...and click on it to learn more as well as find other bloggers joinin in the festivities!)

I would love for you all to follow me and I look forward to followin' you all to check our your fab images as well! A picture is worth a thousand words, right? You can follow me by searching for username "secondgradesuperkids" on your Instagram or feel free to click on this lil' icon:
I added one photo as a teaser of a little retell activity we did this week...more to come on Tuesday!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013 new position and a new product!

Well for those who have not already heard about it on my facebook page I have accepted a new position as the "Dual Instructional Coach" at my current building! I know you are all probably wondering what this entails (as am I, as it is a new position ;)), but so far I know that I will be working with our dual language and bilingual staff to mentor, model, co-teach, provide feedback and professional development, help new staff members get accustomed to the dual life, etc. I will be working with K-5 classroom teachers along with any involved support staff as well. I am quite excited, as I know this next year there is going be such a huge learning curve for me as well as will provide me with so many opportunities to grow as a teacher and professional! I still intend to share ideas with all of you as my journey continues and will be looking to you all more than ever for new ideas as well! Thank you for your endless support!

That being said, I have a new product!

My students use these posters during whole class lessons, independent retells, oral retells in centers, you name it. They are quite the useful resource for them!

To celebrate my new position with you all (particularly because networking with my blog family has made me the stronger teacher I am today!), I am giving away this product away for free to the first 5 who comment sharing how you would use these posters or even better, who share one of your favorite "story summary" activities you do with your class! (I need to build my K-5 idea bank ;)!) Don't forget to include your email in the comment so that I can send them to you!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writers' Workshop Posters/Anchors

Thought I'd share some of our most useful writing anchor charts with you all tonight gracing the walls of our classroom, as well as a new pack I just got up on TpT which includes the posters I use to guide my students through the writing process!

So first off, here is the chart I have hanging on my cabinets (must utilize all space!) which my students use to highlight their current step in the Writers' Workshop process. We have been working as a class to select ideas for our non-fiction writing as you can see they are all currently working in this step!

This is a anchor chart we have located in our writing area (next to the step posters) which corresponds with each one. My students use this poster as a resource and reminder of what is expected of them at each point in the process. We completed it together at the beginning of the year in both English and Spanish. (The English was in pink...which unfortunately is fading! It may need a facelift.)

This anchor helps the students to remember the key parts of an organized piece of writing. (Yes, it is the ole' familiar hamburger...but it works!)

These anchors share with students some of the "extras" they can add during the publishing stage. For instance, an "about the author", "dedication", "story summary", or "book critiques" may be options for them. Below on the second anchor, we have a list of questions students need to think about in selecting a topic. 

They are:
1. What idea has a lot of importance to me?
2. On what idea can I elaborate more?
3. What idea is going to be the most interesting for my readers?

We use this anchor when sharing our pieces. It includes key phrases students can use in discussing peers' work. There are key phrases to use for "works in progress" as well as "published work".

This punctuation poster is one students utilize a lot during the editing stage. It also serves as a great reminder for them that there is more than one type of sentence they can use in their writing! (PS. This one is modeled after an adorable one I found at First Grade Glitter and Giggles.)

Finally, the kiddos use this one as a tool for adding transition words into their pieces to better organize their writing.

I must say that there are so many more anchors we use that go up and down throughout the year! (Don't we all wish we had more space?) But these are definitely our staples! What are some anchors that are writing "staples" in your classroom?!

If you would like to grab a copy of our Writers' Workshop process posters for your own classroom, feel free to click on the spread below. The pack includes all posters in English, Spanish, or both languages to meet the needs of a variety of classroom settings!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Green Kids!

We just concluded our unit "It's Good to be Green" in which we explored goods, transportation, natural resources, and how we can work together to "be green" and conserve them!

As one of the concluding activities to the unit we spend a week reading a variety of texts related to how to take care of our environment, recycling, saving energy, saving water etc. After reading a text on each of these earth friendly topics my students filled out a reflection page sharing something that they can/plan to do to be "green". 

Then we put them all together with a fancy "green" kid cutout and voila:

Here are some examples up close:

The reflection pages say: 
"Things I can recycle"
"I can save water by..."
I can save energy by..."
"I can take care of my environment by..."

You could have the kids draw a face as I have done, or even glue a photo of each child on the head as well. I have done this is years past too!

The instructions for this activity along with the header and reflection pages are all part of my "It's Good to be Green" unit along with many other activity pages and suggestions to go along with not only caring for our environment, but also, the relationship between our natural resources, goods, and transportation.

Check it out by clicking on the image. the spirit of "Earth Day" coming up in a week the unit will be on sale for 20% off now until Sunday so that you can snag a copy for the special "green" occasion! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'm back...with narratives to share!

Hey all! I know, I know...I have been completely MIA for quite sometime! But it was spring break...and the fam and I headed out on a beautiful, magnificent, relaxing 7 day cruise and my computer was thousands of miles away! Thought I'd share a little bit of the fun with my blog family below :)!

As you can see, Flat Stanley joined in the fun. Our third graders do an activity with him each year, so I brought him along for one of the kiddos to document our adventures!

Needless to say...relaxing is over...and it is back to business here. Thought I'd share a quick lesson with you all tonight that I recently did with my students as a way for them to share their published personal narrative pieces they just finished up! 

So first off, here is an example of one of the finished products. My kiddos had the option to choose an event, place, pasttime, etc. that was important and close to their heart. They created a cover with the title of their piece, illustration, and author name...

then they used the writing paper provided to neatly write their piece! We stapled/glued it all together to create this adorable little masterpiece.

I must admit this piece took quite sometime for the kids to take through the entire writing process, thus, as much as I adore author's chair, I was pretty ready just to knock out the sharing in one day if possible because we have a schedule to stick to!

Thus, I came up with a little "writing museum/post-it activity" that worked just splendidly. Each of my kids received 3 post-its. On two post-its they wrote a "C" in the corner for "cumplido" or compliment. In one they wrote an "M" for mejorar or something that could be improved upon in a piece of writing. 

We discussed how all comments should be helpful not hurtful and constructive as their friends put a lot of time and effort into these pieces and we also brainstormed some ideas for effective comments.

Then I asked the kids to place their writing on their desks and gave them about 15-20 minutes to walk around the room reading their peers' pieces and leaving comments as they thought necessary. I encouraged them to leave post-its on pieces that may not have one yet or that they were really impressed with so that everyone received at least one. They did a really wonderful job with it and made some stellar comments!

Here are some examples:

"compliment - I like how you used a lot of periods."

"improve- I would like you to use more adjectives"

They really got into it...and it gave them an opportunity to share they writing (in a speedy way!) and still receive productive feedback!

Does anyone else have any creative ways for sharing student writing? I'd love to hear them!