Friday, February 28, 2014

{Almost} March Five for Friday!

It is a beautiful and sunny Friday! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday! 

Last week my second graders and I took a field trip to the beautiful Heceta Head beach and light house. My students' long-term STEM project is guided at exploring our local beach natural resources. I feel so blessed to have the beach so close to my home and school! 

Students collected sand, shells, and other things on the beach. We took them back to school to sort them. Students used their science notebooks to write down how they sorted their beach-found objects. It was a great way to enjoy the sunny weather. 

The next day, my second graders and I made this inquiry chart. We discussed what we "know" about the beach (misconceptions and all) and what we wonder about the beach. I will use the "wonder" questions to guide some of our beach research. 

Math this month has been taken over by skip counting and multiplication! My kids love the change of pace in math, and have been doing quite well! I had a parent volunteer help me make this skip-counting banner. It is a celebration of our new math unit. It looks great in our classroom, and my second graders love to find new patterns that they see in the banner. 

March is here (okay, almost)! This month brings Spring Break, sunshine, rain, rainbows, and leprechauns. My students made these sweet rainbows that went along with our prefix and suffix unit. You can read more about this HERE

I also am excited about creating this St. Patrick's Day ELA unit (shameless plug...Oops!). It is my first like it, and I am so looking forward to using these printables in my classroom to practice 2nd grade language standards... Plus, it was so much fun to make! I learned a lot about leprechauns along the way! Check it out {HERE}

Did you link-up for Five for Friday? What have you been up to this week??

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spring into March: Rainbows & Leprechauns

The sun is slowly making more appearances, reminding my students and I that spring is just around the corner. I love driving home and seeing a rainbow or two after a rain shower. With a little help from Pinterest, and looking up to the sky for inspiration, my students made some rainbows of their own! 

My second graders have been taking a closer look at prefixes. We have been learning the meanings behind common prefixes and attaching them to root words in order to create a new word. 

After introducing common prefixes and their meanings, I gave each table group a bag full of root word cards and prefix cards. Students read the root words and matched them to a prefix to create a new word. 

Class discussions helped decide if the new word made sense, and if it truly was a word. 

Since my students work in groups of four, each student took one of the four prefix cards and used the prefix to make a rainbow of prefixes. Students used the words they just created, or used examples of their own. 

As requested by Heather (thank you!) click {HERE} to download the free printables to this prefix craft. I included a cloud printable, definition of  prefix, prefix cards, and root word cards. Enjoy! 

I can't wait to hang these up and add some color in the classroom! 

With March only a day away, I wanted a way for my students to practice ELA standards, especially language standards, with a St. Patrick's Day theme. I was excited to create my new St. Patrick's Day ELA printables. All you need to do is print them, and they're ready to go! No prep! 

Check out this pack, and others on TPT {HERE}... My entire store is 28% off! 

What special activities do you have your students do in March?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Detailed Observational Drawings in Science- Scaffolding Beautiful Art

When a lesson turns out beautifully, there's a need to share! 

I just launched the beginning of our 2nd grade STEM project. My lovely 2nd graders are learning all about the beach and integrating it with science and math. We have a big field trip around the corner! In order to meet our field trip's objective, my kiddos need to know how to draw detailed pictures and make detailed observations in their science journals... Now that's hard work, *sigh*

After one lesson, my students were drawing the most beautiful detailed flowers! Read on to find out how...

I explained to my students that with a field trip coming up, they will need to be able to make detailed drawings of what they see in their science notebooks. We will see a lot of nature on our field trip, so we will need to be able to capture exactly what we see!

I showed them a photo of a flower and told them all about Sam, a fictitious student who learned how to make detailed drawings. 

Sam was told to make draw the flower he saw, so he drew this...

My students' reactions were so cute! I heard, "He should try a little harder" and, "That's interesting." Haha, future teachers! 

I had students turn-and-talk to discuss what Sam could do to improve his drawing, then called on students to share with the class. 

I told the kids Sam heard the same comments, then drew a second draft...

But, his drawing still didn't have enough detail! Again, my students did a turn-and-talk to discuss what he can improve on, and what details he was missing. We discuss shapes, and texture, symmetry, and shading. The vocabulary was just amazing!

I showed my students the final drawing...

Now, it was time for my students to go to work. I handed my second grade students a square piece of paper and watched as they drew the flower in complete silence! 

Their drawings were so beautiful! 

I think we're ready for our field trip! 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Presidents' Day Fun in 2nd Grade!

With Valentin's Day and Presidents' Day around the corner, there are so many thematic activities you can do with your students that integrate math and literacy!
 I can't let a Presidents' Day go by without a literacy tribute to one of America's greatest presidents... 
Abraham Lincoln! 

My second graders read some books about Abraham Lincoln, as well as an online quick video for kids. We learned that Honest Abe kept important papers, like speeches and letters, in his tall hat. 

After reading about Abe Lincoln, we discussed and wrote about what we would keep under our hats! Students wrote a paragraph, making sure to have a strong starter sentence, about what they would keep in their hat and reasons why. My students did a fantastic job and loved the writing prompt!

Several years ago, I worked with an amazing second grade teacher who did a similar activity with her students. Since seeing her cute bulletin board, I have done the same activity with my second graders. I would love to pass on the activity to you as a faithful Facebook follower freebie! I do hope you enjoy making this craftivity with your students! 

I must say, I have neglected my Facebook page for awhile! I'm promising myself, and most importantly my fans, that I will post be posting great ideas much more frequently, as well as updating my Facebook Fan Freebie seasonally! 

Click Here to be take to my Facebook page to snag your FAN FREEBIE!

How do you celebrate Presidents' Day?


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow Day = Prepping for Valentine's Day Centers and Craftivities!

Are you ready for Valentine's Day? 
Leave it to a snow day to get me ready for next week's holiday! 

It doesn't snow at the coast too often! I measured 5" on my porch and there was actually snow on the beach! I took these two days off to finish some ELA Valentine centers and a fun Valentine craftivity for my students to complete next week! 

First, I finished this little guy! Of course I've been working on him FOREVER! I just needed extra time to get him prepped to put on TPT. He's a card holder for all my students' Valentines!

 I'm so excited to have my 2nd graders complete this craftivity! Before I show them my example, I'm giving them a directions sheet for them to follow. The directions are open-ended, so students can create a variation of robots. Students also need to know a few Common Core Standards in order to complete the project. It just doesn't feel right to have my students complete a project without linking it to a standard or two... I want to keep my kiddos learning and applying their standards!

I also finished my 2nd grade Valentine ELA centers! This was quite the task! There are six Common Core Aligned centers in all! 

I printed the instruction sheets and glued them onto vanilla envelopes for easy storage. 

No center would be complete without cute printables to go with them! To organize these, I placed them all in plastic baggies. I'm all for easy storage! Now, my centers are all ready to go! 

While I was working, my little girl was by my side. She is still sleeping now! I guess I tuckered her out with all of my work on the computer :)

If you're looking for Valentine ELA centers or a Common Core Aligned Valentine craftivity to complete with your students, click on the links below to be taken to my TPT store and snatch these babies up!

What is your favorite Valentine activity to do with your students?


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Get out of the Classroom & Engage Students in Authentic Writing

Thank you for hopping by to check out more Bright Ideas!

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you're confined by classroom walls! 
If only it were a field trip day! 

Why not bring the field trip to your school and take your kids outside for some authentic writing opportunities{and yes, you can easily connect this to Common Core}!? 

What You Need:
  • Paint chips in a variety of colors {FREE!}
  • An outdoor area for students to roam
  • Science or writing journals

When writing and making observations, it is critical for students to pay attention to details. As a teacher, you can use the outdoors to teach students how to use their five senses to explore the world around them and use these five senses in their writing. 

Is the stem of a plant really green? Is a flower just purple? Or, can we use more detail to describe what we see? Use paint chips to help students see the details and color around them!

Read On to discovery some fun science and literacy activities to use with paint chips...

Bring students outside, and have them take a look around and describe the nature they see. Have students explore a piece of nature that captures their eye. Have them pay attention to the colors and use paint chips to find a color that matches. 

Use the paint chip to inspire detail in writing. Is the blade of grass you're observing green, or does it have a spectrum or colors within it? Have students describe all the colors they see in a small piece of nature.

Hand students a stack of paint chips and have them search for as many objects as they can that match those colors. 

Rename the paint chip. Read the name on the paint chip. Does the color need a new name to match the nature you found that matches it? Maybe 'Red as Love' should be 'Speck of Crab Red.' 

Use the name on the paint chip to inspire descriptive writing about your piece of nature, a poem, or an imaginative story.

Use the paint chip color's name as a metaphor for your piece of nature. 

Practice labeling. Label an object only using the names of colors on the paint chips. You will find that objects in nature have many, many colors in them.

What other science and literacy ideas can you think of using paint chips? I would love to hear your ideas! 

Hop on over to the Extra Energetic Educator and read some wonderful ideas about classroom management and attention getters! 

Or, look at the links below and find some inspiring ideas to read about...

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