Monday, January 13, 2014

Stickin' It to the New Year {with Sticky Notes & Inferencing}

Well, the new year is here along with many pros and cons to start off 2014. This is how my back to school year began...

1. Got to spend some much needed time with my parents and sisters.  Santa brought us an Uh-maze-ing gift we'll get to enjoy this coming August: #omgPRO!

2. Formal Observation first thing Monday morning after not being in the routine of school for a total of 16 days: #areyoukiddingmeCON {or at least for now until after I have my post conference... hopefully I can change this to a 'PRO'}.

3. Had my VERY FIRST 2-Hour Delay since moving to North Carolina: #snoozePRO!

4. Entire smart board calendar crashed and burned, leaving me with nothing but page clipart, no links, no text...nada.  It like, physically hurt: #noIdidn'tbackupCON

5. Scored a new desk chair for my office at 40% off: #couponqueenPRO!

6. The Golden Globes are on Sunday: #glamorousPRO!

7. There is someone or something living in the ceiling of my bedroom.  The boys and I woke up to some sort of scratching sound Saturday morning, and I have not been upstairs since.   A professional will be coming next week to assess the situation.  In the meantime, I'll be sleeping with one eye open: #mega,scary,creepy,crawly, CON.

8. Updated and REORGANIZED all the apps on our class iPads: #ittookforeverPRO

Find how you can do the same to yours HERE

9. Found this snazzy little magazine holder at TJ for $20!  I, of course, had to jazz it up with some scrapbook paper and Mod Podge.  :)  Finally, my home inspirations are not taking over every table in every room of my home: #organizedyetcraftyPRO

10. I've been trying to savor devouring these mint chocolate chip cookies from Fresh Market for the past three days.  They are one of the best and most addicting cookies I've ever eaten: #numnumnumnumPRO  #nextbiggestlosercontestantCON

2014 is to turning out to be the year to keep me on my toes.  Let's hope the coming weeks have more PROS than CONS.  With National  Board Certification coming up, I need all the PROS I can get!!!

Aside from the above CONS, the first week back to school was fun and pretty stress free.  My little ones adjusted back better than I expected, and we were able to get the ball rolling with ease.

Something we did to review by myself reading, was "Posting our Thinking."  Sometimes when students read, they tend to not use their full thinking abilities and drift off into fantasy daydreaming land.  It happens to the best of us, but with our Middle of the Year Reading MCLASS assessments coming up next week, I wanted to refresh and get students back into the reading groove. {Cue: Justin Timberlake's 'Let the Groove Get In'!}

There are many things that can get students excited about silent reading, but one of the simplest and "no planning" things is a POST IT!  We use this poster/ anchor chart in our classroom to help us make connections and build comprehension during read to self time. Students also have this same poster inside of the Daily 5 folder so they can refer to it whenever possible.  It's kid friendly and they love writing and responding to other sticky notes they come across while reading.  We did this as a review in small group and I loved reading what the kids jotted down as part of their thinking.

You can find this resource here!

We of course made some new years resolutions to kick off 2014.  With the Olympics coming up, I thought it would be fun to relate resolutions to being an Olympic athlete.  We discussed the origins of the Olympic Games and the difference between the summer and winter events.  

We developed our own resolutions we had for school, home, and the world.  Students created themselves as an Olympian and wrote their goals on three gold medals.  **When we do this again, I think I'll change the medals to  gold, silver, and bronze, and have the students order their goals according to the medal colors of what they wish to accomplish first, second, and third.  Literally had this thought in the shower Friday night at midnight.  My brain needs an "off" button ASAP...

Our Olympians:

Our jerseys contained Last Name, Second Grade, School
We revisited inferencing this week and started off with Shel Silverstein's Poem, "Snowball!"  Oh boy is it a cutie.  I had the students analyze this poem with a partner and illustrate each stanza modeling their inferences {one square = one stanza}.  I could hear them LOLing from across the room!  Listening to their discussions of "what he really means is..." was fantastic, especially after being away from school for two+ weeks!  Ok, add this to the PRO list.

Poem Illustrations:

Even though we have yet to experience a snow DAY first hand, we read about some people who had.  "Snow Day," was so cute and the kids looooooved it--the story was so fun and the illustrations were even cuter!  There was a little terrier in it, so of course I'm going to feel strongly about it... :)

Before we read, we brainstormed some things we could do in the snow.  We made a little diagram to show what we could do ONLY when there was snow present, and things that are good for a snow day, but could also be done at other times (example: playing cards, drinking hot chocolate, etc.)  We checked for understanding by crossing off  the activities as we read.  

To practice inferencing, we revisited our CASE FILE envelopes we used during our Author's Purpose Unit.  Students analyzed pieces of evidence from the character's snow day {that wasn't included in the story}, and inferred what they did based on those pieces of evidence.  Students also had to give a time in which that activity could be done.  On the back, groups made a timeline of the activities according to AM and PM times.  I loved hearing them discuss the difference between AM and PM and what you would be doing 12 hours from then (someone said they could bake cookies at 3AM and an uproar came from their group mates about being asleep at 3AM--up-roaring is ok as long as it has a purpose :)). 

Next Week is Snowman Week! Woo-hoo!!!  Let's hope all of our snow talk ignites some snow showers here, too :)  Bring on the Polar "Snow" Vortex!!


  1. I love ALL your ideas! I try to incorporate as much of them as I can. I also noticed that we have the same reading curriculum so it makes my life easier. :)

  2. YAY!!! That makes me so happy :) I don't center my plans and our actives around the story for the week so much, as I try and pull things from different areas so the little ones are getting as much as they can out of that week! I hope I can continue to help :)