Monday, March 17, 2014

Searching for Main Idea and Details at the End of the Rainbow!

How was your St. Patrick's Day? Did you remember to wear green? 
If you've been following my blog for awhile, you have probably noticed that I love, love, love the holidays and always find ways to celebrate them academically with my class. This is especially important in a Common Core classroom. 

I love teaching 2nd graders because their minds are so open to legend and make believe. Many of my students believed in leprechauns and have even seen leprechauns! None of them found the gold at the end of the rainbow, but they promised they'd share it with me if they did! 

In true St. Patty's Day fashion, we read about leprechauns. Students read a little expository story I wrote called, The Legend of the Leprechaun. As we read the story together, they highlighted the main ideas and details. 

I use whole-group reading in addition to leveled guided reading and strategy groups so all of my students can be exposed to rich vocabulary and more complex story structure. I have found that even my lowest readers are able to follow along with the group and highlight important information. 

We do a lot of highlighting and visual strategies while reading text in my classroom. I love it because I can see my students' thinking and how they are processing the text. Plus, it prepares my second graders for upper elementary and beyond. 

I have a Rule of 5 when highlighting. Students can only highlight 5 words at a time. This has significantly cut down on kids being highlighter crazy. It drives me nuts when my students highlight an entire paragraph! That is not allowed in my classroom... no, no, no! 

After highlighting, students worked in their table groups to find the main idea and details in the text. I gave each group one post-it and had a recorder write down the main idea after a group discussion. They stuck the post-it on our anchor chart, and read it aloud to the class. 

Almost every group came up with the same main idea. This goes to show that more heads are better than one! Main idea and detail is a hard concept to teach and understand, so working together in small groups has really helped to scaffold this process. Not every student can do main idea and detail independently, but we're getting there!

After we found and discussed the main idea, we worked together to write down key details that we read in the text. My students have been getting really good at referring to the text, and not just making up their own details they think fit. They are used to their teacher saying, "What does the text say?" again and again!

Now, we have a great anchor chart to hang in our classroom to remind us of main idea and detail. My second graders also have new knowledge about leprechauns! So fun! 

How did you celebrate St. Pat's Day??

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Idea: Easy Bathroom Break Management!

Thank you for stopping by to visit my Bright Idea!
It's March, and all the hard work put into procedures have been paying off swimmingly! 
One procedure that has been working like magic is my procedure for bathroom classroom breaks.

If your students are like mine, bathroom breaks are sometimes an excuse to play around. I can't tell you how many times I've sent students to the bathroom, only to hear them down the hallway laughing and doing anything but going to the restroom... Ugh! 

To help eliminate this cringing situation, I have a one boy and one girl at a time bathroom policy. This has made such a difference and has limited the time student spend in the bathroom! 

The best part is, I have a REALLY easy way to monitor who is in the bathroom!

These cute little duckies help me keep track of who is using the bathroom. When a students goes to the bathroom, they take a duck and place it on their desk. 

By doing this, I can quickly spot exactly who I sent to the bathroom, and know if they're back or not. No more having to ask, "Is Johnny back from the bathroom yet?"
When a student comes back from the bathroom, they return the duck to the basket, ready for the next student to use!

My students know the procedure, too! They can quickly glance where I keep the ducks, and if their bathroom pass is missing, they know they need to wait to ask to use the restroom. 

It has made bathroom breaks so easy! I don't have a million students asking me to use the bathroom at once! 

What procedures work best in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you!

Looking for more another Bright Idea? Hop on over to Amy Alvis' CUTE blog, Math, Science, Social Studies... Oh My! and read a great post on organizing math games! Click on her button to be taken to her Bright Idea post! 

Math, Science, Social Studies...Oh, my!

You can also go directly to a Bright Idea post by clicking a link below!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrating Dr. Seuss' Birthday!

Once a year I get all Seussed out for a week! I am always so excited to expose my students to Dr. Seuss books they may not have read before. 

When I tell my kids we're going to read a Dr. Seuss book a day, my students always call out, "Yes, Cat in the Hat" or, "Let's read Green Eggs and Ham!" along with other popular books by the beloved author. When I tell them we're going to read different books, I'm answered with a sigh of disappointment... Until I begin reading! Then, they're all in and so excited to read books by Dr. Seuss they've never heard of before! 
I absolutely adore sharing more obscure Dr. Seuss books with my second graders! 

PLUS, I have an excuse to wear my Dr. Seuss sweatshirt... Oh yeah!!
This week, I'm reading a Dr. Seuss book a day and having my students complete a Common Core reading activity to go along with it. This week, I started with my personal favorite Dr. Seuss book, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

Thidwick is an easy to love character who allows several animals to make a home on his antlers. Thidwick makes a great character to analyze and use to help students understand character traits. 

You can get the graphic organizer I used for this book {HERE} as a FREEBIE. I did change the title to avoid Dr. Seuss copyright issues. 

Before reading the book, my second graders and I reviewed many character traits. While I read the book out loud and showed it on the document camera, students recorded the character traits Thidwick possesses, being sure to include evidence why they think he matches those particular traits. My students are very much used to explaining their thinking, so my students really did well on this reading task! 

I just loved reading their responses and listening to them explain their thinking to each other! Proud teacher moment! 

The Dr. Seuss awesomeness (is that even a word?) didn't stop there! During our reading block, I brought out my set of Dr. Seuss books for students to read and complete reading task cards with. 

I made some task cards last week and I was so excited to share them with my students! They include many of the skills my students have been working on, as well as other skills needed to master 2nd grade Common Core. 

Oh my word! My students just ate this up! Some of the task cards were really challenging, but they powered through them without complaints! I was blown away at how hard they worked! Is this a fluke!?! 

I had to make sure all my Dr. Seuss books got put back into the basket! My students begged me to let them keep the books in their book boxes. When they found out they would be doing this all week, they were okay with letting them go. Hehe!

If you're interested in the reading task cards, you can get them by clicking on the picture below. Even though I used them with my Dr. Seuss book, you can use them with ANY book, fiction or nonfiction! 

Want to win these cards??? The first two people to leave a comment with their email will be sent the cards! 

You can also get these cards by following me on Facebook. I will do another FLASH FREEBIE sometime this week! 


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currently March

March is here! I'm linking up with Farley's Currently to share what I'm up to this month!

Listening- My dog's favorite thing to do is chase her ball and I love hearing her little feet run around the house. 

Loving- Today, my friends and I went to a 'Be Jeweled' benefit. People and small businesses donate jewelry and all proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank. I bought a cute pair of earrings that were quite unique and beautiful!

Thinking- I think that one explains itself!

Wanting- Saving money has never been a strong suit of mine! I am going to discipline myself! I'll be cutting back on my bad shopping and eating out habit! 

Needing- I'll be searching the internet for ideas on how to help with the disappearing pencils in my classroom! 

?????????- What's my question? You'll have to guess, but here's a big hint... It has something to do with traveling :)

What are you up to this March? Head on over to link up...
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