Monday, December 31, 2012

It's All About Penguins & a FREEBIE!

Friends~I hate to break the news to you but WINTER BREAK is almost over!  My mind is whirling about ideas for Back to School in 2013.  My big plan is to wow my kiddos with the exciting world of PENGUINS!  I love teaching this nonfiction theme!  Penguins are silly birds and my students always get super excited at their funny names and antics.

There are so many things that you can do with Penguins- it is always hard choosing!  Here are some of my very favorite activities. 

Before we get rolling with any unit I always print out lots of pictures and vocabulary cards.  
I place them in centers and in pocket charts for my students to view.

I like to start with a KWL and by January I know my kiddos are able to start one of their own.  I pass out the sheet below and my students begin working on the W sections on their own.  We then meet as a group to share what we know and what we want to know.  It is fantastic way to assess prior knowledge. 

Then we jump right in with an anticipation guide for the book Penguins by Gail Gibbons!

Then we head back into our KWL to add some information that we learned.  We will visit our KWL after every lesson for the rest of the week or so to add learned info and to answer our questions.

I also set my centers up with activities that my students can manage by themselves but also keep them focused on the theme! I love to add short sentences for my students to type on our computers.  It is great for keyboarding skills!  They also can illustrate the sentences after they print.

We always do some blubber science!  We learn all about how penguins stay warm in freezing temperatures.  You will never look at blubber the same after THE BLUBBER GLOVE!

Grab a FREE download of my Blubber Glove Directions and ingredient cards to use when you are exploring this activity! Just click the image above!

In Science, we focus on the life cycle of the Emperor Penguin.  It is an amazing cycle!  Watch the video below with your class and fall in love with the fluffy baby chicks!
Be sure to grab a copy of The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins.  It is a fantastic book that will walk your class through the life cycle.  Click the book below to purchase! 

We of course have to act this process out in class.  I start by grabbing my tub of Easter Eggs and filling each one with a picture of baby chick.  I then put them in a nest of construction paper and cover my tables with blue bulletin board paper.  I bust open a few bags of Goldfish Crackers and I am all set.  Insert an excited group of students and we begin.  I pass the eggs out to the girls and the boys always groan!  I then have the girls find a boy partner and pass the egg to them.  The boys smile until I tell the girls to go out to sea (Blue Table TOPS).  They are instructed to eat Goldfish Crackers:)  The boys are then to take their shoes off and balance the eggs on their feet!  It is so darn funny to watch:)  After awhile the mothers come back and take their chicks so the fathers can go to sea and eat.  

It is such a simple activity but it packs lots of information for students about how life cycles are very different. 

Gosh...there is so much more I promise to continue to post all about our Penguin Fun in the month of January!  

You also can read more about my file by clicking the image below!  


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Winter Wonderland of Learning Fun!

Friends~One more day!  That's it for 2012 in room 331.   We have spent the week in a winter wonderland.  We made Snow Bricks to go along with the book The Missing Mitten Mystery.  The bricks end up being the Christmas gift my kiddos take home to their family's.
Take a peek at the process!
It is such a super fun project and the book fits perfectly!
You can check out my lesson by clicking the image below.
We also made Flip Snowmen! We read another one of my very favorite Snowman books called The Biggest, Best Snowman.  I love this book because it retraces the steps of a little girl and her friends making a snowman to show her family that she is big enough.
Check out my SUPER SNOW UNIT by clicking the image below. 
 There is a video preview of the file to download:)

After we read the book, I then ask my students to retrace the steps for building the snowman and we discuss how the little girl's friends helped her.  I then tell them that they will be helping each other build a snowman.  I cut strips of paper into long rectangles and then we fold them so that we get 3 sections
We start with the bottom section first and draw the bottom of the snowman.  Then the fun begins!  I have my students switch places with each other and draw the middle and then switch again to draw the top.  With each switch. I make sure to tell the students to FLIP their work so the next person does not see it.  They also have to make sure that the keep it facing the same way.  It is always a hoot when they get back to their snowmen.  Check out some of them below!

We wrote a How To Build a Snowman on the back.  

We ended the day with an inferring adventure with the book The Snowman.  This is an amazing book about the journey of a snowman at night.  The catch is there are no words...only pictures.  We actually watch the movie and my students sit with their clipboards and watch the images.  They record their thinking on a sheet of paper focusing on questions, connections, and inferences.  At the end of the movie we gather in a circle to discuss our thinking.

Wish me luck tomorrow...It is Polar Express Day!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Lights You Up? & a Freebie!

Friends~Tonight is a short post but I had to tell you about how we ended our day today.  The Christmas Crazies have taken over and I feel like I have put out a ton of fires.  The kiddos are excited and the staff is excited so the whole darn school is a buzz right now.  Very hard to stay focused and follow the rules right?  Well today I needed to take is down a notch and really focus on my very favorite Christmas Story.  It is all about believing!  The story is Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco.  She is an amazing children's author and I can never get enough of her stories.  Well this particular one starts off with the story of Comfort who is being teased at his school and a custodian who takes him under his wing.  The boy becomes a part of the the custodian's family and his friend.  The boy doesn't believe in Santa or in much else.  Patricia brings such magic into this tale and wait until you see the page with the holly pin!  I won't ruin the surprise ending.  Just know that you will finally find out how Santa becomes Santa and how a boy is saved by believing.

Click the image below to read more about the book and you will also find a link to purchase.  

Well,  if you have been reading The Schroeder Page long enough you won't be shocked to know that I can NEVER stop with just reading the book.  Especially one like this.  We talk as a class about what brings light into the boy's life and what lights up our lives.  We then create these adorable Christmas light bulbs.  It is so much fun and so sweet to see what lights them up.   We add a bit of glitter for sparkle.   I twist black bulletin board paper to make the cord and we deck the halls with these babies!

It was so funny to see that a couple of my kiddos actually put the food in the cafeteria!  I think they may have just been a bit hungry:)

The fun does not end there!  We also write thank you letters to our custodians.  It always amazes my kiddos when we make a list of everything that our custodians do for us.  
Click below to download your own FREE copy.  

Please leave a comment if you download this product.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this post and how you plan to use the file:) 

You can find more learning fun for this book in my Welcome Comfort Book Study.  Just give the image a click below. 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Once Upon a Snow Globe & a Freebie!

Friends~We are sooo in the holiday spirit in 2nd grade that it is even carrying over into our recess time.  With one toot of a whistle this Whistle Music Video was made!  The kiddos and their parents loved it.
Speaking of fun!  I just busted out my collection of snow globes for story starters in the Writing Center!  My kiddos love them and their stories are so adorable.  I have been collecting snow globes from the Dollar Store for about a year now.  They are a perfect way to tone down the Christmas Crazies that seem to be happening super early this year.
Here is just some of my collection.  I keep some hidden away for inferring practice in class.  We just started inferring with snow globes and check out what I found at the CVS!  Under 6 bucks too!  It is the same globe but I can change the picture inside!  2 pictures at once.

We also had to share the fun with our Blog Buddies in Indiana.  We took one of our globes and made inferences on index cards.  I took the globe and the cards to UPS and shipped them to our friends.
We got to SKYPE with them on Friday and they told us all about their inferences.  So cool!
Here is my Once Upon a Snow Globe file that I use with my kiddos.  It is filled with writing and inferring.
 Click the inferring cards to download a FREE copy for your classroom!

You can also check out a preview video of the file below!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hoot, Hoot! Its a Locket Give Away!

Friends~It has been forever since I did a give away on my blog and I think December is the perfect time!  My very good friend Valerie is an independent consultant with a new jewelry company called Origami Owl.  I am in love with all of the funky pieces and that each piece has a personal touch.  We had a little gathering after school today and I got to check out the collection. Take a peek below!

The living lockets are so cool because you can personalize them with tons of fun charms and background plates!

The tags are fun because you can add dangles to accent the wording. 
 (If only I could pick my own words!)
Now until the end of December the Living Lockets come with the chain. 
 So, this is a great time to order.  

This is one of the pieces that I bought...don't tell Mr. Schroeder:) 

The plate is in rose and it says Always and the little heart reads Family!  The picture does not do it justice.  I ordered another one but I don't want anyone to figure out their Christmas gifts!  

Starting today December 4, 2012-December 11, 2012 Valerie and Origami Owl will be giving away a medium locket and chain to one lucky winner.  
Here is how you can be that WINNER!

First: You must be a follower of The Schroeder Page
Second: You need to head to Origami Owl and 
Choose 2 charms that you would add to your Living Locket if you won.
Third: email Valerie at and tell her which charms you would choose.  

Fourth: Leave a comment below telling why you love 
Origami Owl!

Good Luck and spread the word about this HOOT-Ful Give Away!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friends~My Singing is Learning is OUT!

Friends~My Singing is Learning is OUT! I am so much more brave as I grow older!  I am a huge believer in singing and chanting in the classroom.  It is a huge part of my management style.  We have a song and a chant for just about everything and if I don't for some very bizarre reason I can bust one out at the drop of a pencil:)  The really funny thing is my son can do it too!  I think it is hereditary.

I have gotten tons of emails over the years for copies of my songs and chants that I have been toying for years with the idea of making some kind of song product or CD.  My Hubby thinks it is NUTS because I can't carry a tune.   I love when he tells me that because I just chuckle inside-that's all I do all day long is sing learning tunes with my class!

This year in class I have really been focusing on encouraging my students to PROVE their thoughts.  The Common Core State Standards focuses so much on having students dig deeper into topics that they must show proof of their learning through their answers.  My kiddos love my newest song below.  Watch the video  and see just how excited they are to PROVE IT!

Here is the really exciting news!  I finally have done it!  I am apologizing right for those of you that may hear me singing and think that I should not but just put your earmuffs on and let you kiddos rock it!

Click the image below to read more about this file!

Friends~My Singing is Learning is OUT!, photo

This is my newest creation.  The best part is you not only get the words to my songs/chants in a cute poster you also get a link to hear the song being sang by my kiddos or ME!

Be on the Floor is a simple chant that I use as my students are heading up front for a large group lesson!  Click the song to download your FREE copy!

Singing is Learning, Free Be on the Floor Rap, photo

At the end of the file you will see this page!  Each CD is linked to the song being sang!   

So AWESOME right???
Singing is Learning Links photo

Well I can top that...I have just released a CD of all of the songs from Singing is Learning!
Grab a copy today by clicking the CD below!

Singing is Learning CD Link photo

Don't let the idea of not being able to carry a tune stop you from bringing musical learning to your classroom!  You will be amazed at how engaged you kiddos will be and I promise the first time you hear them humming a tune during a test to remember a concept you will wear a smile all day long!