Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Little Fall Never Hurt Anyone...

10 days until I get to see my family for THANKSGIVING!!! I don't know what I'm more excited for: Eating until I enter a turkey and mashed potatoes induced coma, or enduring the hot mess of Black Friday shopping…it's going to be a tight race.

We had an extremely short week this week: No School on Monday in honor of my hubby Veteran's Day, and an early release day Friday for staff development.  Sooooo….we had to make a little bit go a long way this week!

Thanksgiving always seems to come and go so quickly.  I find it hard to focus my time on plans with it being sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas. I always use the same "fall themed" books in November.  Below are some of my go to's:

The Little Yellow Leaf was a book that was recommend to me by my sister in law who loved it.  After checking it out on amazon, I knew I had to have it for the illustrations alone.  The story is about a little, yellow leaf who isn't ready to let go of his tree in the fall!  Super cute, and teaches a great lesson about the importance of friendship, too. :)

The book entails some rather tricky vocabulary for second grade, so I thought about ways to get them more involved in the text while I read it to them.  Determining unknown {vocabulary words} is a skill we practice constantly, but it's an extremely important one for them to really learn, understand, and use in their day to day reading!

I gave each child a vocabulary chart listed with 8 words from the story.  I chose these 8 because I thought these words would be meaningful enough that they would want to use them in their writing (we're having the "let's not use those boring words anymore" conversation daily).  Each child chose a book nook in which to record their thoughts on what each word meant.  If they had NO CLUE what the word might mean, I had them place a ? in the box.

After everyone had recorded their thoughts,  I showed the children picture cards of each word.  After seeing the picture under the word gave them a huge clue as to what the word might mean.  I had a list of the definitions hanging on the wall to help students determine the meaning of each word.

Before reading, I had the students listen for the word that was coming up {located in order on their student chart, and on our large class chart as well}.  When they heard the word, they gave me a THUMBS UP alerting me, we needed to stop, backup, and reread to determine the meaning. After determining which definition matched the word, we reread the sentence omitting the vocabulary word, and replacing it with the definition to check for understanding.  Students then recorded the definition on their chart, along with the CLUE of how they were able to determine the meaning {picture, reading on, schema}. They loved saying, "SCHEMA" all day long after this.  In the past, we've called it prior knowledge, but I figured after the 60th day of school, they were ready for the real deal. :)

It was great for each learner to compare what they knew at the beginning of the lesson to the end--they love competing against themselves!

For independent practice, students wrote a persuasive note using their new vocabulary words PERSUADING the Little Yellow Leaf that it was time to let go!  Their notes were really sweet and I even had a few kiddos write  poems!

Download the resources above HERE!

Later in the week, we read the story, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.  This is another great story for fall!  The Leaf Man travels to different places after getting blown away by the wind.  As he blows away, he transforms into various creatures/ objects associated with fall.

 My first idea was to have my friends create their own Leaf "Creature" and write to tell about his/her adventures.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted something…just something more.  Then I realized,  this book is very similar to inkblots….I'm not sure if any of my kiddos would know what an inkblot was…why not have the kids make their own inkblots….and write to persuade others to see what they see!?

My inkblot thought: Transformers Suit
So of course we did just that.  I started with a simple smart board file of some random inkblots I found online and modeled my think aloud of what they looked like to me and WHY {persuasion example}.  Then they kids split up and wrote their own thoughts on several other inkblot examples.

Students then did a "Hand Up, Pair Up," and compared their thoughts with a friend.  They gave feedback to each other while discussing as to whether or not they saw what their friend saw.  It was so interesting to see their thoughts and ideas!  Was great for all levels of learners since there was no "right or wrong" answer.

We made our inkblots using black washable paint, white paper, and a skinny paintbrush.  I shared with them the goal was "not to make a picture on purpose" but to make random designs and brush strokes, which then would make a totally awesome looking inkblot.  After they were happy with their design, we folded them in half, pressed down firmly so the paint would copy to the other side {making a somewhat symmetrical picture}.  I must say, they really were cool looking!  B even said they looked like the ones he had to take for his own psyche test!  #missionaccomplished

I saved the accompanying persuasive writing prompt for next week.  Students will choose a random inkblot and write what they see.  They will have to persuade us to see what they see by drawing on their friend's inkblot to finish the picture.  I can't wait to see their creativity take action next week!

You can download this activity HERE for FREE!  

Our Turkey Disguises are due next week, when we will present them to the class along with our stories of how they got away.  {FREEBIE here} I'm wondering if any of them will be dressed up as one of the Robertson boys due to our Duck Commander Theme last week.  Only time will tell I suppose!

Try it Out!

Try using magazine holders to house all of your materials for the week!  I used inexpensive magazine holders, school themed scrapbook paper, and the all amazing Mod Podge to create these little beauties.

38 days until Christmas…but who's counting???? ;)


Sunday, November 10, 2013

That's a Fact, JACK!

Finally! It's here! No, not Christmas, but the next best thing...FACT AND OPINION WEEK-woohoo!  

I have been waiting for over a month to use my adorable, precious, can't stand how cute it is, Duck Dynasty Clip Art I purchased from melonheadz awhile back. I have used it in random places here and there, but I wanted to go all out for Fact and Opinion Week, and oh baby did we ever!

To start off the week, we viewed a little PREZI on fact and opinion {if you've never heard of or used PREZI before, please check it out.  It takes a minute to get used to, but it's crazy cool} and introduced our Anchor Chart for the week.  You could pretty much hear a pin drop in the room when I was going over this.  They were in awe of Si, Willy, and Jase and they fact that they were giving them information about our skill for the week.  Maybe I should start wearing a Si mask to school...

We read, "When the Leaf Blew In," and charted facts and opinions while reading.  The students then completed our differentiated, "Where's the Facts, Jack" cut and paste.  The higher level learners had to add an additional sentence to each column.

To bring a little autumn & science into our room, we created a KWL chart on LEAVES!  It was really surprising how much prior knowledge was lacking when it came to this topic.  Each table created their own chart, and shared information with their table mates.   We then posed questions as to what we were hoping to find out about leaves and why they change colors.

To help us out, we watched two short video clips {here and here} on leaves and WHY they change color.  We talked about some unknown vocabulary prior to.  We also used "photosynthesis" as one of our vocabulary words for the week.  They thought they were "so fancy" because they knew a 5 syllable word. :)

To accompany our reading lesson, we read a Science Spin Weekly Reader, Leaf Story.  We read this together as a class and the students reread it with a partner to build fluency.  After reading, we finished off our KWL chart with something they learned from either video clip or their Weekly Reader.

Second graders made their own fact and opinion trees--using one color representing facts, and the other opinions. **Not, Duck Commander themed, but still presh....

Aren't they the cutest helping each other out :)  #meltsmyheart
We used our, "THAT'S A FACT, JACK" and "HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY," fact and opinion cards to identify statements as such.  It was soooooo stinkin' fun hearing them shout, "THAT'S A FACT, JACK!" or "HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!" as I read each statement aloud! We did this at the start of each lesson to help get our brains revved up.  They also LOVED this fun little fact and opinion song.  I have to admit, I was singing it for the rest of the day...
To accompany our weekly story, we worked with a friend to complete one of our Duck Dynasty Fact and Opinion Graphic Organizers.  Students then gave their own opinion on the story and why they felt that way. 

...and then Friday came. Also known as, "Duck Commander Day!"  Students rocked their camo or Duck Dynasty attire to help keep with our theme for our Fun Friday Centers!  And you can bet your duck tail I was rocking my camo pants and pink Duck Commander T-shirt, too!

Here's a look at how our Friday went down...

Meet the Robertsons :)

Differentiated Comprehension Passages

Fact and Opinion Game: Meet Me at the Warehouse!

game pieces :)
I used the bases from Shoots and Ladders along with some packing tape to hold everything in place

Look at that face! I think she was enjoying herself :) :) :)

PROVE IT! Who's the better brother: 

Phil vs. Si   or    Willy vs. Jase
We used the passages from "Meet the Robertsons" to help with justifications

I can relate.... #texttoself

That's a Fact, Jack! Statement Sorting

Students then chose three sentences to alter {if the card stated a fact about Si, change it to an opinion about Si}
We had so much fun with our Duck Dynasty themed activities!  If you would like to use any of the above materials in your classroom, you can download the unit here! Let me know what you think of it and how much your students loved it {which I know they will!}

Try It Out!
Try using a stuffed animal such as this Sock Monkey to promote student participation in your class.  As we read and pause to ask {higher order thinking} questions, I toss this sweet little guy to one of my students to answer the question.  They then pass it to a friend to share their answer.  Try it out and see how many hands will be in the air!  

Our class' "Talking Monkey"

Have a wonderful weekend!