Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing Poetry

Now that we have published our All-About books, we are moving on to Poetry.  I love teaching this unit, and the kids love the freedom they have as they write poetry. 

I use the poetry lessons from Lucy Calkin's Units of Study.

I created a few things to use during this unit that would go with the units of study lessons...just to make my life a little easier.

We started off with just talking about topics for poems.  To make it easy, we looked around the classroom and used objects in the room that we see everyday.  Lucy has a GREAT lesson over this in the book! I have the students add things to their list and glue the list into the writer's notebook.

After some practice, I gave each student an object from the classroom  to observe.  They wrote their "scientist" notes about the object.  They later translated the "scientist's" notes into "poet's" notes.  I was amazed at how creative they were...and we were just getting started with  this unit!

The page above had an example for them to look back at as they started their own notes.  Most of the student's found this page very helpful and wanted to use it to help them plan their future poems, so I made another page without the example so they could use that in their future poetry planning. 

As we move through the unit, I am creating an anchor chart to list what we do as poets.  I wanted them to have this to refer to as they write.  I made the anchor chart into a small notes page, which they added to their writer's notebooks.
During the unit, the kids will learn how to turn some of their story ideas into poems.  We will create an anchor with the steps and add the anchor chart notes to the writer's notebooks.
We practice the strategy using the page below.
I am  planning to have each student publish a poetry book, not just one poem.  They are VERY excited about this.  As they choose the poems they want to publish in their book, they will use this checklist.
Published poems will be graded using the rubric below.
My plan is to add their favorite poems to the Book Creator app to create our own class book of poems.  They are so excited about this!

 Book Creator


Friday, April 19, 2013

Research Fun!

We do a small research activity every 9 weeks and this time I wanted to make it a little more fun. I incorporated two iPad apps that the students used to create a final project.  They had a great time and it was simple! I did a VERY quick tutorial of how to use the apps... and they were on their own. 

I split the class into small groups to research a president.  Each student in the group was responsible for using the internet or books to find an IMPORTANT fact about their president and paraphrase that information. (This is something that we have worked on before.) 
We used these websites:
(you need a subscription to use this site)
Each group used this form to paraphrase their facts and sketch a picture to go with it.
These are the apps we used to create our final project.
Type Drawing
To create the final project:
1. We inserted a picture of the assigned president into Type Drawing. (I added these pictures to the camera roll ahead of time.)
2. The students typed in their facts.
3. They changed font, color, size, etc.
4. They added their facts to the president picture.
1. We inserted the final Type Drawing picture into the Fotobabble app.
2.  Students took turns narrating their presidential facts.
3.  We played the final projects in class.
4. We added the final projects to our classroom blog for parents to see!
Here are a few of the finished projects!
(click the president's name to listen to the fotobabble.)
I used this rubric to grade the group research projects:

The class had a great time with this and I really enjoyed the final projects!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Literature Circles

I have a few of my reading groups that are really ready to be more independent.  Right now they are meeting with me and then meeting as a book club group, but I really want them to have a specific goal and activity they can do without a lot of direction from me.  I also wanted them to really get into the text and have some deep discussions. 

I have done a little research on literature circles, but I have changed some things to customize it so it will work better for my 2nd graders.  Here's what I came up with:

Literature Circle Jobs:

View the pages below to see what each job is responsible for and the pages they will complete and discuss during their group meeting.

Discussion Director:

Word Detective:
Character Captain:
Thinking About My Thinking (Journal Page):
You can download all of these pages HERE.
As I was researching, I came across a great site by Laura Candler with a lot of information on literature circles. The site includes helpful videos and a few free dowloads.  My favorite downloads were the question starters for group discussion as well as the guidelines and rules for polite conversation. 
Click HERE to visit her site!
Here are a couple other sites with some free literature circle downloads: