Sunday, October 28, 2012

Is it too early for Turkeys?

Friends~ Is it too early to share about turkeys?  Probably but I just can't help myself!  I have had turkeys on the brain for at least a week.  I really wanted to get you all set for the month of November so I started early.  I am totally going to share all of my Thanksgiving and turkey fun right now.  You know us teachers...we have to be a head of the game or we get eaten alive.

I am beginning the month of November with my All About Turkey unit: Turkey-Fied.  Just the name cracks me up!  Check out the preview below.

I also contacted a turkey farm and they are coming to do a presentation all about the life cycle of a turkey.  Totally hit that Science standard:)  Check out the place below.

Farmer Lee was so awesome!  He is even going to let us head out to the farm early to take some pictures and videos for the kiddos to see.  He is also going to let one of our teachers pardon a turkey!  Can you believe that?????

It is going to go perfect with our Turkey Voting in the Pardon Me section of Turkey-Fied! 

After learning ALL ABOUT TURKEYS we are going to jump into the  history of Thanksgiving with The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgleish.  It is a wonderful story that teaches about the journey, the ship, the new land, and survival.

I remember finding this book when I was teaching first grade.  It is a very meaty book and knew that my firsties could not sit through it.  So I decided to use it to reenact the journey on the Mayflower.    I read the book and stop in certain sections to play the video.  The video walks you through the parts that my students help with.  Their tickets are marked with images to tell them who needs to come up.  Such as a picture of corn when it is time to look for corn.  Watch below.

You can find everything that you need for this special day in my The Thanksgiving Story: An Unforgettable Journey! Like directions to make these adorable log books for the ships!

 Just click below! 
Be sure to download the preview to see what this unit is all about!   

While we are journeying on the Mayflower we are also making Turkey Soup!  This is my twist on a Thanksgiving Feast at school.  It is pretty simple.  I have my class bring in simple ingredients like corn, carrots, potatoes, and onions.  I ask a parent to provide the broth and another to provide the meat.  We place the broth and meat in a crockpot and right away in the morning we start adding the other ingredients.  It cooks all day and we add minute rice at the end.  It makes a yummy soup to enjoy with your kiddos after your long journey.  We also make butter in class.  It is such a hoot to watch them shake whipping cream up and down over and over!  They are always amazed when the butter forms.
Grab a FREE copy of my Butter Chant below! 

Included in this file you also get my book study for Thanksgiving at the Tappletons'.  
Be sure to download the preview to grab a few pages from this file free!

Thanks to those who made it to the end of this blog post!  I know I rambled on forever but I am so thrilled how these units came out.  I really think that this November is going to be amazing for my students and your's too!  Enjoy the rest of the Sunday!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Friends~All good things must come to an end!  We completed our nonfiction unit on spiders this week.  I never thought that I would be sad to see them go!  I think my kiddos are going to miss those creepy guys too!  We of course went out with a bang!  We totally molted in class!  Check out our experiment below!

I know you know how to do this!  
You only need one ingredient...
Have you guest our molting secret?

My class totally loved it!  When we got out the magnifying glasses they could see that the glue made an exact replica of their finger prints. The best part was this experiment tied in with one of our fiction books Diary of a Spider!  You can see more of this file by watching the video preview below.

 I don't think they will ever forget molting in second grade.  Several of my parents have told me during conference week that their kiddos have come home and taught them all about spiders through our many experiments.  I am all smiles!

Download a free copy of my molting recording sheet by clicking below!  

Below are both of my Spider units!  Be sure to head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to check them out.  Just click the images below.

While you are there please become a follower of my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  You will get updates when I add new products and sales.  This weekend my store is on sale celebrating all of my new store followers!

So if you already follow my store-THANK YOU! 
If you follow it today -THANK YOU!  
It has been an amazing journey!                   

First, Second, Third -

You also can jump in to the Rocking Teacher Materials GIVEAWAY!  It is HUGE and there is only 1 day left.  You can win up to $170 in files including my Let's Learn All About Spiders!  Click below to check it out! Head over and get yourself signed up!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Writing with Rocket!

Friends~We are so lucky at my school to have the most AMAZING librarian.  Not only does she support us teachers but she also totally inspires our students.  I know this on both ends!  Not only does she introduce my 2nd graders to great books but my own kiddos Lily and Ian are constantly talking about books she shares with them.

This post was inspired by her and my little guy Ian.  

Once upon a time Ian came home and told me all about this book called Rocket Learns to Read by Tad Hills.  He heard it in the library.

Then our librarian told me that Ian had reminded her that when Tad's new book came in she would get it to read to them.  That book is called Rocket Writes a Story!  He talked about it for days after hearing it and I was super excited to see it at our school book fair and I bought it for Ian even though I had to pay hardcover price!

You can watch a reading of Rocket Writes a Story below! 
Forgive me if I look is conference week:) 

Now I bought this book and Ian was all smiles but I have to admit that we did not get to reading it until days later.  There I was all snuggled up with Ian in bed and reading all about Rocket and after a few minutes I was in LOVE!  First of all he is super cute but best of all this book totally walks you through generating inspirations to write about.  Creating word trees and making friends.  Ian told me after we were done that I could lay the book on the floor by his bed and I asked him if I could borrow it for my class.  He was happy to share and today I shared this story with my class and we made word trees!

We had so much fun!  My kiddos folded green paper in half and then tore the edges to look like a tree.  We added a trunk and then added Yellow Bird's words to the front.  My students then added words that inspire them to write on the front of the tree.   They wrote a story using the words on the tree inside.  They turned out so cute!

We also went down to the library and hung them outside as a surprise for our librarian.  I can't wait to hear what she thinks tomorrow!

I put together a mini unit for the book Rocket Writes a Story and you can download a few pages as freebies.  There are even directions for making the Word Trees and the templates I used included.
Just click the image below!  


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Primary Science: Spider Life Cycle

Primary Science: Spider Life Cycle
Friends!  I have spent another day at the ballpark and it was soooo totally worth it!  My Lily Kay and her team won their first ever AA Bracket softball tournament.  It was a 2 day tournament and the first day did not go so well.  Today was a different story!  They were amazing!  It was so much fun to watch.  Lily hit a triple in the first game and then in the championship game she hit in the winning run in extra innings.  I can't tell you how nervous I am every time she gets up to hit but today was almost too much to watch!  I am so glad I was able to keep my head out of my hands!  She totally crushed it!  I don't want to forget to mention the fact that she is a dang good catcher too!  Loving when that team clicks!  The are such a great bunch of girls, coaches and parents!  Even Ian has a gang of little brothers that he hangs with at the field.  They were cheering their big sisters on in the last game and it was too cute!

They are all pinked up for Breast Cancer Awareness!  

Softball seems like my part time job sometimes but it is totally worth all the traveling and practicing! 

Now back to my real job!  Teaching!!!  We are still learning ALL ABOUT SPIDERS in Room 331!  On Friday we focused on the life cycle of a spider in preparation for our field trip to the Charlotte Nature Museum.  We had read about and watched video clips of the spider's life cycle but I really wanted my students to get down and dirty with it!  So I decided to propose a challenge.  I gave my class 3 items and asked them to recreate the life cycle from what they had learned from our past lessons.  It was amazing to see their thought process!  Check out the video below!
I lust love how they turned out.  Each one is very different but they did a great job of displaying the life cycle.  Below you will see the spider web, spider confetti (Spiderlings) and a plastic spider.  My students placed the items into the 4 sections and labeled the life cycle. 
1. Egg Sack
2. Spiderlings
3. Ballooning
4. Adult  
Primary Science: Spider Life Cycle, The Schroeder Page
We also did an experiment on how spiders sense vibrations in their webs.  I grabbed a ball of black yarn and had my students sit in a circle.  The each told a spider fact that they had learned and passed the ball of yarn around while holding on to a piece.  Soon we had a huge web.  I then had my class close their eyes and tossed rubber insects into the web.  They raised their hands to show they felt the vibration!
Primary Science: Spider Life Cycle, The Schroeder Page
Here is another bit of fun news!  My BLOGGIN Budddy Hilary Lewis from Rocking Teacher Materials is running a HUGE Give Away over on her blog and you can win up to $170 of fantastic files from you favorite sellers!  Be sure to check it out...especially because my Let's Learn All About Spiders is one of the prizes!  Click our Bloggin Buddy image below to get your self signed up to win!

You also can preview my file by watching the video below and be sure to head over to download the preview file to grab 3 freebies!

Hope your Sunday was as great as mine!  


Friday, October 19, 2012

Our Indiana Buddies!

Friend~Not only has the blog world been amazing for me but my students are so benefiting from all it has to offer:)  One of their very favorite things is their new online Buddies in Indiana.  We have paired up with Mrs. Lewis from Rocking Teacher Materials and her class of 2nd graders.  We are just getting started but we have tons planned from virtual buddy reading to writing snail mail to each other 

We are just getting started and it took us 2 sessions for everyone to meet.  (We only meet for about 20 minutes.)  We have a standing date at 9:30 a.m. every Friday morning.  You should see the excitement on my student's faces where they hear the Skype ring tone on the computer going off:)  Here are a few pics of our first meeting and introductions.  We called the students up one by one and they met their Indian Buddy!  We also shared songs and our classroom favorites.  The cool thing is we are both using The Daily Five and also Spelling City!  So we had lots of favorites in common.   If you do not use Spelling City with your class be sure to check out the video below.

Here are some shots of our first meeting!  All I needed was Skype, a webcam, and a mic.  We use our smartboard but Mrs. Lewis doesn't have one:(  So she uses her computer.  Either way it works great!

I also have been working like crazy to bring more activities into my Writing Center for my kiddos.  They are loving all of the different options and I adore all that they are doing.  This week I introduced my Roll a Story.   I have a fantastic parent volunteer that comes every Thursday and she works to put together lots of my newly made centers.  This week she got our Roll a Story going.  Look how cute it turned out.  

My students visit this center and grab the basket of story dice and a folder.  I added the directions to the front and the sheets inside.  They simple pick 6 story starter dice.  They can choose from story starters, characters, settings, and actions.  There are even editing dice for them to use at the end to check over their story.  They record their dice with words and pictures in the order they will appear in their story and the next sheet is a basic writing sheet with a place for a picture and words.
You can download a free sample of the sheets by clicking the image below!

Happy Friday!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spider Research!

Friends~In 2nd grade this year we are really focusing on adding nonfiction to our guided reading and small group lessons.  This week we focused on the Common Core 2.RIT.5.  
Know and use various text features and 2.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects.   

My class first visited the computer lab and researched different types of spiders. We discussed how the computer articles that we were reading were also a nonfiction text.  We noted similarities to nonfiction books that we have read.   After they had collected various bits of information on their specific spiders they then came into the classroom where I had raided the library of nonfiction spider books.  Below you can download the research page my students started with.  I book marked websites for my students to visit to make searching a bit easier! 

We discussed the different text features that would help them with their research such as diagrams and subheading.  We then broke into small groups to begin researching.  I walked through the groups helping with using the index and glossaries.  It was amazing watching them gobble up the information. 

We then took our research and put together a project to show what we learned about spiders.  My kiddos loved making their own diagram about their specific spider.  They labeled the body parts and also added fun facts.  They then took their fact sheets and created a paragraph all about their spiders.  

They always think it is nutty that I won't let them use scissors when they create but I think their products come out better when they tear.  This gal is labeling her Bird Dropping Spider...yep it is called that because it look like bird poo!  Notice the white and black details. 

Check out our hallway display!  One of my students said that if anyone had arachnophobia, they should not come down the 2nd grade hallway!  

Be sure to check out my Let's Learn All About Spiders!  It is perfect for the month of October and a fun way to bring some creepy learning into your classroom! 


Monday, October 15, 2012

EEEK! Spiders!

Friends~Today in room 331 we will dive into the world of Spiders.  I am so excited for my kiddos because they are just coming off the world of bats and I know this is going to totally rock their little scientific worlds.  They are just gobbling up research and nonfiction books.  I thought I might share a few of the things that I set the stage with to bring the Arachnid world to life for my students.

The first thing I do is print out vocabulary words for spiders and lots of real photos of spiders from the web.  I cut, mount, and laminate to scatter through my Science Center and the rest of the classroom.  I love to tuck these little treasures all over because you never know when you are going to need a spider word or photo:)

I then head off and drape my classroom in spiderwebs from the Halloween section.  It is fun to stick some plastic spiders and some vocabulary words in the webs too.  I also try to make some different web types like the triangular web or the orb web for my students to see.  
Click below to view some of the different webs!

I also am adding these Vocabulary Boxes to my Buddy Reading Center this week.  My students love to read in pairs and this sheet will keep them on track while they are hunting for new vocabulary words about spiders.
 Click the image do download a FREE copy for Spiders by Gail Gibbons.  

We will also learn about the life cycle of a spider and how the babies "Balloon."  Which means that create their own little parachutes and glide away.  My "plan" is to have my students try to create parachute spiders with plastic spiders, string, plastic bags and small pieces of tissue paper.  We shall see how this goes.  I think it will be a fun trial and error assignment.  I will keep you posted on how it goes:)

You can check out more of my Spider fun in my Let's Learn All About Spiders!  Be sure to click the image below to view my preview and download another freebie or 2:)  It is 48 pages of Spider FUN!