Friday, December 12, 2014

Introduction to Poetry

We are beginning our unit on poetry in reading next week.  We are starting with an overview of the four types of poetry they are expected to know. 

I'm starting with this awesome flipchart that my husband made. It describes each type of poetry and gives an example of each.  (You need to have the ActivInspire software to view this.  It is a flipchart made for use with the Promethean board.)


P.S.:..Please follow my husband's blog.  He has lots of great ideas and information about using technology in education.  Click HERE to go to his site!

As always, I made a small page of notes for the kids to add to their reader's notebooks.  They will refer back to this to quiz a partner and use it to complete a characteristics of poetry sort later.


We are also going to review some of the elements of poetry that I know they learned last year!

I created this notes page that will match our anchor chart.  They will add this to their reader's notebooks to refer back to as we work through questions during the unit.

We will complete a sort over the types of poems we discussed.  Here it is...



 If you want to see the complete unit I used for my 2nd grade class, click HERE for the lesson ideas.
The pages and poems that go with the unit are below.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Writing Strong Leads

My kids really struggled with writing strong leads for their personal narratives.  I found this awesome anchor chart on Pinterest to give them some more ideas of how to write an exciting lead.

I wanted the kids to have those ideas right in front of them as they were writing to remind them to really think about their leads.  I also try to make a smaller version of all of my anchor charts so the kids can add it to their interactive notebooks.  It is great to be able to refer back to the anchor chart at any time.
Here's the version I made to add to the writer's notebooks:


Friday, October 24, 2014


I recently discovered this awesome book for teaching plot.  It is so cute. The class loved this book!

This book is also a great resource to use for teaching writing.
I used this anchor chart about plot that I found on Pinterest:

I always make a small version of our anchor charts for the students to add to their reader's notebooks.  Sometimes I run out of wall space for all of our anchor charts, so it's nice to have it to refer to in the reader's notebook.
 Here's my mini anchor chart:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Studying a Character's Traits and Motivations

Discussing a character's traits is not new to my third graders, but we started by reviewing a list of character traits. 

Then we discussed some traits that we might use to describe ourselves.  After splitting my class into small groups, I handed them a bag of character trait cards.  They had to work together to decide which character trait might be used to describe each of them.

 They had to give evidence to their group about why that character trait could be used to describe them.  Each student used this sentence stem:  A trait that describes me is ___________ because __________. 
Then, each student glued their character trait in their reader's notebooks and wrote the sentence stem.

Here's the character trait cards we used:


The next day I read this book to the class:
This is a super cute story!  It was a hit with the class! It's a good example to show how characters can change throughout a story.
Another day I read aloud:
This is another great read-aloud to show how a character's traits can change throughout the story.  We discussed what the problems and the resolutions were in the story to cause the character to change.
As we read these stories, we filled out a chart to document the traits and evidence from the text. We added this chart to our reader's notebooks.
That's all I have for now!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Leaving Tracks of our Thinking

This week we are working on monitoring comprehension.  I have been modeling how to stop and think about reading and also write about what we are reading.

I used this book:

Strategies That Work
By- Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

This book has a lot of great lessons geared towards 3-5.  I used a lesson called "Following the Inner Conversation."  We used the mentor text: Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting.  I love this book and the kids really enjoyed it too!

After a little modeling, the kids began to keep track of their own thinking on sticky notes.

A few days later, we went back to the text to dig a little deeper.  We did a close reading activity with just a portion of the text. I just took the very last page of the text. I read it aloud to them first as they followed along.   Then, each student used their own copy to read it again on their own and highlight the sentences that were meaningful to them and important to the story. The kids then used sticky notes to write about why the highlighted portions were so meaningful. We added this to our reader's notebooks.

Later, we went back to the text and read it one more time and just thought about why the fish were so important in the story and what would have happened if the fish were not there when the family returned home.  The class wrote their own responses and turned it in for a grade!  I used a rubric to grade the responses.

Here's the Gleam and Glow pages we used!

I used this page as a guide for discussion during the lesson.

Gleam and Glow Discussion Guide

Here's the rubric I used to grade their responses.  (I use this rubric to grade most of our reader's responses.)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

iPad Power with Menus!

Throughout the year in my classroom I introduced many apps to the class.  We used these apps at stations and to create final products for our research and personal writing.  After the class was familiar with the apps, I created some menus so they could choose the app they would like to use and sometimes even the culminating activity they wanted to complete. This was a big hit...especially with the GT group! 
Here are the menus we used and some of the extra resource pages that were helpful in getting their thoughts organized.




Here's one more menu that my husband made. Check out his blog HERE!
Here's a few pages that we used to organize our thoughts before creating the final project.
One more thing!! 
Here's a fun way to use the iPads right away on the first day of school!  I did this last year and it was a big hit! The kids pair up and interview a friend.  They use this page as a guide.  They use the Tellagami app to insert a picture of their friend and record the new facts they learned about them.  We shared them with the whole class when we were complete!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

End of the Year Activities!

I have just enough time to post a few activities that we are using during this crazy end of the year time!

Our school theme this year is "Sweet on Success."  Everything is decorated with that was the inspiration for this activity. 

I'm A 2nd Grade Smartie!
The students wrote some things they learned this year in school to be a "smartie." 

Here's an example I made:

(This download includes pages for - 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade smarties.)

My Bucket List!
We are also thinking about what we want to accomplish next year, so we made a bucket list!  This is a list of goals or activities we want to accomplish next school year.

Here's an example I made for the class to see:
(This download also includes pages for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade bucket lists.)
One last activity...
We read the book, Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.  We talked about our goals for the summer, next school year, and even the future.  We also discussed how to reach those goals.  On this page the kids wrote the places they'll go (their goals) and what they needed to do to get there!

That's all for now!  Have a great end to your school year and a relaxing summer!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Favorite Apps and Activities!

Here's a few FREE apps that we use a lot in class and some ideas of how you can incorporate them into your curriculum!
This app allows you to create slides and add pictures.   You can narrate each slide and create a final presentation!
You can use this app to...
*Create a final research project
*Summarize a story
*Narrate a published story
*Literature Circle final projects
We used this app to record our research on Thanksgiving.  Here's an example!

This app is a favorite in our classroom!  This app lets you create and share a quick animated video called a Gami.
You can use this app to...
*Create a final research project
*Interview a friend (beginning of the year project)
*Summarize a story
*Discuss character traits
*Literature circle final project
We used this app at the beginning of the year as a getting to know you activity. Each student interviewed a friend.  Here's an example!
This app was a huge hit when I introduced it to the class!  We laughed all day when we first used this app! You can take any photo, then draw a line to make a mouth, and record your voice. It makes your object or person talk!  So cute!
You can use this app to...
*Create story summaries
*Discuss character traits
*Create a final research project
*Object poems (make the object of your poem talk!)
*Literature circles final project
We used this app to summarize a familiar story.  Here's an example!
I hope this gave you some ideas for your classroom.  I have a few more ideas on how to incorporate the iPads and other apps into the classroom that I hope to share with you soon, so check back!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Non-Fiction/Fiction Text Features

I'm a little behind on posting to this blog!  I finally found some extra time to post a few things that I used for our non-fiction text features lessons.

Here's a few things that I used to check for understanding.




Click HERE to view a previous post that has more non-fiction text features ideas.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Reports of Problems with Downloads

I have noticed many comments regarding the ability to view and download my files.  All the files are stored in Google Drive and are listed as public. We have tested with different accounts and browsers.  With some browsers, the ability to view may not work, but the download option does work. It may be due to the browser version.  Sorry for any inconvenience, but I'm not sure what else I can do from this side since they are already public files.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Main Idea

We had lots of fun learning about main idea this week!
Here's a few activities that I used.

We used the following notes page to understand main idea and what we can do as reader's to figure out the main idea.
We played a game with these main idea bags. Each bag had three pictures that went together. I split the class into groups. Their job was to write the details (pictures) and the main idea for each bag. 

The groups recorded their answers on this sheet. As an extension, the groups wrote a story on the back that went with their main idea.
As another extension, I gave the groups a blank square to draw another picture that would go with their main idea.
This was fun!  I think the class really enjoyed this activity!
We also practiced finding the main idea and details during a read aloud.  We wrote our main idea and details on this flipbook and added it to our reader's notebooks. 

I created these main idea hamburgers to add to the listen to reading station so the kids wouldn't forget about main idea!