Sunday, February 24, 2013

Writing about reading: Borrowing "Big Idea Books" from Penny Kittle's "Book Love"

Borrowing "Big Idea Books" from Penny Kittle's "Book Love"


  Earlier this year, I joined a Facebook book club for Penny Kittle's Book Love.  It was an amazing experience (and remains so, I realized, for it is still up and running with Penny commenting and educators still posting - the learning continues!).  All of us were inspired by Penny's ideas and her passionate commitment to developing and enriching her students' reading lives.  And, like so many others, I've tried to put her wisdom to work in my own classroom in as many ways as possible.
Among my take aways from Book Love was Penny's "Big Idea Books" - which she describes this way:
"I see possibilities humming beneath reading workshop.  My students make choices and read alone, but are connected within the classroom and throughout time to central themes in literature.  The books they are reading cover a wide of subjects and purposes but share common qualities.  "I created something I call "Big Idea Books" to make those connections more obvious to students. (pg. 117)
     Like Penny, I believe that it's important for my kids to write about the thinking they do through their reading. And I, too, was inspired by the way in which Nancie Atwell (In The Middle)  and Linda Reif (Inside the Writer's Readers Notebook) used this type of writing about reading to enrich their students' reading experiences.  My students keep reading journals and write to me once a week - it's been a wonderful way in which to converse about and ruminate over characters, themes, life lessons, author's craft, and so on.  But, I really liked the way in which Penny's "Big Ideas Books" form the basis of what she calls "a multi-year conversation" - one that remains in the classroom for other students, this year and in the years to come, which they can can pick up, read through, be inspired by, and be provoked into deeper thought by.
     After puzzling over how I might adapt this idea to fit the needs of my sixth graders who need more scaffolding and structure than Penny's high school students, I came up with a version to experiment with.  I purchased composition books, labeled them with some of the themes Penny suggests for her students, and then introduced my kids to the idea last week.  Here is the "strategy template" which each student has pasted into their Reading Journal to refer to:

And here is the mini-lesson chart we created to help my kids plan their writing:

We used our first read aloud of the year, Priscilla Cummings "The Red Kayak", to model responses - I find that my sixth graders rally need concrete examples as springboards to their thinking, and having that first shared book is a great boon when it comes to this.
Since I am also trying to tie everything I do to the Common Core standards, these responses and the discussions that follow address the following standards very nicely, I think:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

All weekend I have been hearing from students who have new "Big Ideas" they want to write about and which were not in the list I had provided (leadership and life changes were two that were proposed), and I'm taking this as a good sign - that they are engaged and excited about this new learning adventure.  Let's see what tomorrow brings, when we read and share from our journals!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Presidents' Day Opinion Writing

Ever notice how many car dealerships extend Presidents' Day throughout the whole month of February?  Well, that's what I do in the classroom!

February is incredibly busy, and I want to give the presidents the amount of time they're worth!  

I've been teaching the children about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  
We've spent a couple of days talking about the strengths and qualities of both presidents. 

Here is one of the Writing Common Core Standards for Second Grade:  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and,also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Check out Elementary Matters to find this freebie on opinion writing we'll be using to address this Common Core standard.
Happy Presidents' Month!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Subtraction Centers for St. Patrick's - Five Different Strategies

Subtraction Centers for St. Patrick's - Five Different Strategies

Newest Packet for St. Patrick's Day!
Five Subtraction Center Games 
Common Core 
K.OA.2 and K.OA.5
Five different subtraction center games which can be mixed and matched for endless combinations.
49 pages with an adorable St. Patrick's Day theme.
*Center Sign and/or Center Folder Cover
*Teacher’s directions
*Student’s directions
*Center Game Cards
*Student worksheet, great for assessment
There is a colorful version and a black/white version to save money on colored ink.
*Send the black and white version home for weekly homework practice!

Five Different Strategies
Subtraction of Zero
Subtraction - Doubles
Subtraction - Doubles Plus One
Subtraction "One Less"
Subtraction "Two Less"

All Common Core Listed for Your Lesson Planning!
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!

K.OA.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
K.OA.5 Fluently add and subtract within 5.

First Grade 
1.OA.6 Add and subtract within 20.

2nd Grade 
2.OA.2 Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental
strategies. By end of second grade know from memory all
sums of two one-digit numbers.

Blends and Digraphs Time!

Blends and Digraphs Chart

I have updated the Blends and Digraphs resource!  This is the updated version.  Just click the picture above to be taken to this resource or click here!   I included a color and a black and white chart for you!

Blends and Digraphs Chart
Blends and Digraphs Chart 1

Blends and Digraphs Chart

My Blends and Digraphs Set 2 has also been updated.  Click the picture or click here to see this resource!  This set also includes a color chart and black and white chart too!

Blends and Digraphs Chart
Blends and Digraphs Chart 2

 Do your students struggle with blends and digraphs?  Do they try to pronounce each sound individually rather than push them together?  

I know my students struggle with them!  Especially my RtI students.  They just have a hard time connecting the letters to the sound.  I had a chart with blends and pictures on it, but wasn't entirely happy with it.  So I made one, okay two, that work better.  

I like to say a word- snow- and have students identify the beginning sounds and then connect that beginning sound with the picture on the chart- snake.  This activity makes a better connection with students when they can make auditory and visual connections.

A great way, besides the activity above and the posters, to make those connections is to play I Have Who Has? with students.  It's a fun way to practice those connections with the pictures and the sounds.  
I Have Who Has blends and digraphs activity
I Have Who Has Blends and Digraphs Set 1

blends and digraphs activity
I Have Who Has Blends and Digraphs Set 2
These blends and digraphs are common core aligned, specifically to first grade:
   First Grade RFS.1.2
Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables and sounds (phonemes).
b. Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including consonant blends.
c.  Isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in spoken single-syllable words.

But I also find them useful for students who are advanced in kindergarten and students who are struggling in second and even third.  I will be using them with my RtI (Response to Intervention) students.  They will be having a good time playing the game, all the while strengthening their blends and digraphs skills!  

The blends and digraphs posters can be printed, laminated, and hung up in the classroom for students to refer to.  Or even better, print a copy for each student that needs one, place them in a plastic sleeve and they can be kept in their reader's notebook or in their desk.  :)

If blends and digraphs are something your students need to strengthen or learn, click right here for the first set .  Or click here to see the second set.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Spinners for All Your Spinning Needs . . . and a F...

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Spinners for All Your Spinning Needs . . . and a F...: You can spice up your reading with this comprehension spinner that will spice up your guided reading, read to someone, all sorts of things!

You can also see where you can get some awesome spinners to keep you from using the old 'pencil and paper clip' trick!

Click the pic to pick some up for only $2.99!

                                    Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rockin' Teacher Materials: February Fun and a Freebie Too!

Rockin' Teacher Materials: February Fun and a Freebie Too!: Is it a Happy Valentine's Eve?! Are you gearing up for party day tomorrow? I know my kids have been doing the party dance ALL WEEK! 

If you want to have a little fun and still teach the Common Core, check out my Valentine Math Mysteries!I have them for {1st}, {2nd}, {3rd}, and {4th} grades.

If you teach addition or multiplication, grab up this Fun '{You Stole My Heart}' Freebie! Included in this pack are game boards for addition facts to 18, multiplication facts to 6 x 6, and multiplication fearsome facts and squares.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Checking Over Our Tests

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Checking Over Our Tests: I would like for you to see how spelling is set up in my classroom, and I would like to share with you the way I give my spelling and dictation tests. Head on over to read more and                
                             see the videos!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Classroom Freebies: Words Families Under Construction

 These word family pages are awesome and I love using them with my kiddos. These pages are great for them, especially at the beginning of 2nd Grade. {or in 1st Grade!} I love using them with write on/wipe off pouches and dry erase markers. They are also great with magnets and cookie sheets, as well as rubber stamps. Go ahead, pick up your own {free packet} now!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love Bug Letter Writing and Craft!

We are just finishing up our letter writing just in time for Valentine's Day.  According to the Common Core Standards, students must be able to use commas in the greeting and closings of letters (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.2b Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.). We decided to assess this with a super cute craft!

Isn't he a cutie?  Meet the Love Bug letter!

Students chose one person to write to that they really loved. Students wrote a rough draft and brought it to the teacher to edit.  I took a grade right then and there.  We grade on a 3 (mastered), 2 (progressing) or a 1 (limited progress).  Students with all 3 commons (date, greeting, closing) earned a 3.  Students with  2 commas earned a 2, and students with 1 or less comma earned a 1.  Simple!

Then students wrote the final draft and created this little guy!

They will take them home on Valentine's Day and give it to the person they love. Aww!  

It was a pretty quick project- about 1 day for the letter and 1 day for the craft.

If you would like a copy it is in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for only $3.00!

I will be giving away 4 total copies. 

To enter in the giveaway please click here to visit my blog.

Hop on over to my Facebook page for 2 ADDITIONAL opportunities to win!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Non-Fiction Book Report

Hi everyone! Ashley here from The Resource Room Teacher!

Today I wanted to share with you my Non-Fiction Book Report that is aligned to the Common Core! I am currently using this book report with my 3rd graders, and I can't wait to see the results!
This book report includes:
- A letter to the parents with sign & return form
- Detailed directions to send home
- "My Non-Fiction Book Report" packet
- Grading Rubric
- CCSS Alignment for grades 2, 3, & 4!

Here is how it aligns to the CCSS:

In this book report, your students will:
- Read a non-fiction book of their choice.
- Identify the main topic and interesting details.
- Identify and find non-fiction text features (captions, glossary, index, etc.)
- Provide their opinions and prior knowledge of the topic.
- Create a mini-poster to represent the information presented in their non-fiction book.

Head on over to my TPT Store or my TeachersNotebook Store to check it out! =)

Happy teaching, everyone!

2nd Grade Common Core ELA Rubrics

If you have wondered what I have been up to this past few weeks when there was a lack of posts, it was the creation of this little beauty right here.  I am talking about  HOURS of work!  But, I am hoping that this will help keep me and all of you other second grade teachers on track out there!  Hopefully I have saved some of you a lot of work!

In this packet, there is a rubric for each 2nd grade standard and substandard, a checking sheet to keep track of assignments and grades.  And, I was even thinking about it....if you are one to keep track of how many times you introduce and reintroduce a skill, the tracking page would help with that, too!  

Those of you in other grades, is there a need for this for you too?  Is it something I should get to work on?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Z's Tooth & Free EDM Learning Targets

Rockin' Teacher Materials: Z's Tooth & Free EDM Learning Targets  I have combined my Everyday Math Learning Targets into one pack for the entire year of 1st grade and into one pack for the entire year of 2nd grade. I'm almost done with the 3rd grade too. Since I combined the packs, I'm offering the first unit for each grade level for free. Just click the pics to check out your own pack!

1st Grade Learning Targets Freebie

2nd Grade Learning Targets Freebie


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Classroom Freebies: Parents Love Data Binders...You Will Too!

Feedback that parents receive from our data binders that go home each week is invaluable. The kids love seeing their scores each week too so they can graph their progress  each week.

It's awesome to see the growth in the kids throughout the year too. When I needed to pull some data for my growth reports, it was so easy because everything is in one place. Head on over to see how I'm using these binders in my room and get a {free pack} to get started!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Aligning nonfiction reading with the CCSS: Topic based book clubs

We are deep into our nonfiction unit study in Reading Workshop.  Here is the way in which I've experimented with weaving the CCSS into this unit through book clubs:

My kids seem to be really enjoying this unit - who knew that reading nonfiction could be fun, too!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Using Apostrophes in Contractions

This quarter we are studying using contractions and correctly placing the apostrophe.  We have done tons and tons of activities!!!

We have sang songs

Played games
Sorted words
and created a foldable as a formative assessment with a checklist for students to make sure they were on the right track!

Want to read more and get some freebies?  ALL of the printables are free!  Make sure to hop on over to my blog to check it out!  Click here!