Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fall

   Can you believe that November is on Friday??? I know I have said that the last couple of posts, but holy smokes I feel like the autumn season is flying by. Thank goodness for the gorgeous Colorado scenery and weather the last couple of weeks. I have taken time to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of autumn with my own kiddos over the last week. We went to the pumpkin patch with my family. The hubby was working, but was with us in text-message and picture spirit! We were so excited that he took the day off yesterday to go to "Boo at the Zoo" with us.
 My two kiddos with my Family
 Caden & Ashton
 Searching for the perfect pumpkin. The boys wanted orange, green, and white pumpkins. 
 Taking all of our pumpkin patch finds and decorating our home. Yes, we still have very green grass. My hubby is crazy about his yard!!!

Caden has decided he is a little too "old" to dress-up so Ashton was the only one in a costume. BOO!!! My babies are growing up. 
Ashton at "Boo at the Zoo" dressed as Hedwick, the snowy owl, from Harry Potter. 
   This past week was such a success for my classroom kiddos. We began our Daily 5 Math rotations independently. I was so proud of the ability of my kiddos to complete all of their rotations by themselves. Here is a peek at some of the pictures of my kiddos working on their own...

   In writing my kiddos took all the facts we have learned the last two weeks about bats and put it into an expository writing. We were introduced to explaining sentences last week so now we can write an 8 sentence paragraph. Most of my kiddos did a great job keep their details and explaining sentences on topic and matching. Because we do not have art as a special this year we are incorporating the art standards into our classroom crafts. Our kiddos go to choose to watercolor with "warm" or "cool" colors to make their background. And then in the foreground we painted our hands to make black or brown bats, added goggle eyes, and teeth. Here are a couple of finished pieces...
 Our writing pages lift up at the top to read the rest of the story on the back

   In Walk to Read my kiddos were finally introduced to Listen to Reading. I introduced them to all of the Leapfrog Tags I have on our shelves, the Nook, and the iPads. They were so quiet and listening as if no one was around them. I do not know how they were listening so intently because I felt as if I was going crazy listening to eight different voices and stories on the Tag pens, the screeching of bats on the iPad, and the Monster Truck vrooming on the Nook. I am thinking headphones are the next item to put on my Donor's Choose account!

   This week we will have our highly anticipated Mega Bat Party and Fall Festival. NO sweets on Halloween...only fruit and dip. The whole day of Halloween will be dedicated to BATS! We will also be working on inferring skills. Here is a peak at our anchor chart...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Going Batty & Math Centers

   Have I mentioned before how much I love teaching writing? Well I do and this past weeks unit is one of my favorite to teach...BATS! My teammates and I are combining science and social studies into our writing blocks so this past week our kiddos built their background knowledge of bats to write a Cinquain Poem. Here is a peek at some of our work...
Our vocabulary words & picture cards with an anchor chart of Bats "can", "have", "are"

 Using a T-chart to distinguish between mega and micro bats.
 Our noun, verb, and adjective chart to help aid us in writing our Cinquains
Writing our Cinquain Poems on bat templates and cutting out
   We will spend this upcoming week writing an expository piece based on all of the facts we learned last week about bats. The kiddos will be introduced to explaining sentences to help upgrade their paragraphs to eight sentences. YIPEE!!!
   My kiddos were so excited on Friday during our math block. Mostly in part because we begin our Daily 5 Math rotations on Monday, but also because I placed my Halloween centers into our math work bins. Here is a look spending one last day building our stamina with partners before they will be come independent machines on Monday.
 Candy Corn Place Value Puzzles
 Harvest Apple Numeral Sorting
 Monster Number Name Sorting
 Spider Odd & Even Sort
 Haunted Fact Family Houses
 Batty Place Value
Ghostly Graphing
   As I look through my plans for the week I cannot believe that November begins next week. Time to finish my Thanksgiving centers!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Columbus Day Sale

   Happy Sunday! I just wanted to pass along that my entire TPT store and some of my favorite bloggers stores are on sale the next two days to celebrate the Columbus holiday. Click on the image below to be taken to my store. HAPPY SHOPPING!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Making Connections and Monster Literacy Bins

   You know that feeling back in college when you completed a 100 page paper on the impact of American economics on the world market (at least those were my papers in my undergrad program)? That is the sense of relief I felt yesterday morning after a week full of conferences. I had 100% of my families attend before, after, or even between school to discuss their kiddos goals! Heck ya! Most of my kiddos even helped conduct half of the conference by using their Leadership Data Notebooks to share their goals and progression of growth. So proud of my kiddos communication skills!!! Our goal is that each of them will conduct the WHOLE conference in the spring.
   This past week in my Walk to Read rotations we have been practicing our October comprehension strategy of Making Connections. We use the beanie baby strategies so it is perfect that Spinnner Spider is our visual for the month. To be introduced to Spinner's strategy my kiddos made their own spider webs. We punched holes around the outside of a paper plate and used black string to "connect" the holes together to make a web. Then my kiddos placed a little plastic spider ring onto their web. Each time we discuss the three types of connections my kiddos will place a Spinner Spider onto their plate.
   This week we used the story Where's My Mummy? to make text-to-self connections. We stopped periodically throughout the book to write some connections my kiddos were making on sticky notes and placed on our Making Connections anchor chart. The best part is when my kiddos made their own mummies out of toilet paper. They turned out so cute!

This upcoming week we will use the story Are You My Mother? to make text-to-text connections. 
   With our comp day yesterday I prepped my Halloween Math bins and new Monster Literacy bins. Here is a look at how I organize everything in the bins to make it simple for my kiddos to have everything they need in one spot. 
    I use the .99 bins from Target. They are so durable and easy to open for the littlest of hands. I place numbers on the outside of all of my bins on both sides. That way my kiddos can place them back onto our word work or math cart shelves anyway and others will still see the bin number.
   On the inside of each bin I place all of the recording sheets for the activity in a plastic sleeve with a matching number to the bin at the top of the sleeve. That way my kiddos can make sure they have the correct directions to the activities in the bin. All directions are at the top of my recording sheets for the bins activities. This is a short vowel word sort from my Monsters Unit. I found cute little monster bins in the $1 section at Target that I am using for my kiddos to match their word monster into. They then record their word on the recording sheet. My kiddos were introduced to these games during their word work rotation last week in Walk to Read so they will have a little background knowledge as to how to play. You can get both my Halloween Math bins and Monster Literacy bins by clicking on the images below. Plus, everything in my store is on sale for the Columbus holiday weekend!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

9 Days Counting & This Upcoming Week

   With conferences this upcoming week I prepared this weekend the perfect with the boys! I did also work on some math and literacy centers for November. My classroom kiddos have been having such a blast practicing their stamina with our math work bins. They have become experts the last couple of days and can complete these bins independently. Can I get an AMEN! We are 9 days out from implementing Daily 5 Math full-force in second grade. Here is a look at my little mathematicians hard at work play this past week with my Apples Math Centers available in my TPT store.
 Graphing with Halloween erasers
 Matching addition and subtraction equation apples to there apple answers
 Matching analog time to digital time to the hour and half-hour
 Matching expanded notation apples to there numeral
 Sorting numerals by odd or even
Grabbing a small handful of apples and graphing.
   I am so proud of these kiddos! They are LOVIN math, which is making me love math. We have 90 minutes of math each day and I have been hearing this last week moans and groans when I say that it is time to clean-up. They want to keep learning. Our plan this week is to continue building our math writing stamina, with my math journals and word problem stories, and math work skills. Our goal by next Monday is to be moving on to Math with Someone and Math Technology.
   Our writing block is working really well this year too. As I have mentioned before my teammates and I have included science and social studies into this block as well. Last week our kiddos worked really hard to incorporate what they learned about the pumpkin life cycle into an expository writing piece. This week we will learn how the seasons and weather impact living things. After an autumn read aloud we will introduce our kiddos to facts vs. opinions and hit our opinion writing standard. Our goal is to write "Why Autumn is the Best Season". Here is a look at the anchor chart we will use to introduce fact and opinion...
and a sneak peak at our craft for Friday...
   This is a tree template that our kiddos will color and cut-out the middle. Kiddos will then rip autumn colored paper to create "leaves" and place in a baggie. We will tape the baggie to the back of the tree template and glue a blue piece of paper to the back. When dry the leaves will "fall" from the trees when tipped back and forth like a snow globe.
   With only four days of school this week I am unsure if we will have any kiddos make it to the writing center, but if they do they will get a spooky surprise with these little Halloween critters. These are also the same creepy crawlers that I will throw into our math work graphing bin when I place my Halloween Math Centers into our bins next week.
Have a great Monday!!!