...sharing strategies for teaching second graders...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Library Bunnies

My teamie suggested I share my Library Bunnies. She's had Library Frogs for 3 years now. I have Library Bunnies because I found a sale a few years back at K-mart. They had these cute little bunnies in pastels-yellow, green, pink, and blue-left over from Easter on clearance for a nickel each. I bought every bunny they had!

Background info...I knew a Kindergarten teacher who had two little bears..a girl bear and a boy bear. Whenever a child needed to go to the restroom, s/he would just put the bear on his/her desk and be off. No need to disrupt Guided Reading, Math, or Writing. I have two little dogs for restroom.

I had all these bunnies so I pulled out five and told my students that they should place a bunny on their desks when they go to the library so they wouldn't disrupt my small group lessons.

We have specific rules about the library which we discuss. They can check out 2 books, and one must be an AR book on which they test after reading it three times. If they do not pass the test, my friends know they must complete a graphic organizer and retest before returning the book.

Students know they are to control their behavior in the hallway on the way to the library as well as in the library.

They are to take care of their library business as quickly as possible so that others have a turn in the library.

We begin with the leader of the day and travel down the alphabetical list of our students in order to give everyone the opportunity to be first. Students place the bunny on the next person's desk upon returning to class or return it to the shelf. This must be done quietly! Friends who do not need to go to the library just pass the bunny. This way I can focus on small group lessons.  

Sometimes we have a "meeting of the minds" when my friends choose not to follow the rules. It usually takes one student receiving suffering the consequences to encourage the others to do the right thing. :)

Click here Library/Reading Procedures for a copy.


PS: I use plumbing elbows from Home Depot which cost around $3.00 each for Whisper phones. :D

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

:) I Love Second Grade! (:

I have several sweeties who like to draw pictures for me when they should be working finish their work. Today I took a sick day to drive my dad to Emory for his annual aneurysm repair check. My mom hates the drive and is very nervous after an almost fatal car accident in October 2001. keep her calm I brought cards my students had made for her, thanking her for crocheting tobbogans for them. She crocheted a tobbogan for each of my students (and my teamie's) this year as well as the two previous ones. I also had a few of these notes & drawings from my students for her to see and wanted to share them with you. I even sent a copy of the first one to my principal with this in the text:

This is the reason I do what I do...including staying late and spending evenings and weekends getting "stuff" ready! :D Please check out the attached photo and smile! I really needed this right about now, too! ;)

She replied that she loves second grade, too! ;)

Here's a smile for you today! I hope your children love whatever grade you teach. Isn't that why we do this anyway? :D

"Dear Mrs. stapler, do you mind if i help you tech (teach) when i grow up and i don't have school" Do ya think having a student teacher prompted this idea?

I think the top two pictures are the work of the same student. The third one is done by my "artist." Notice the angle of the top/skirt? Someone told me a loooonnnggg time ago that I have a "high butt" whatever that means...and I often have to pull my top down at the back because it gathers around my waist when I sit. How crazy is it that that comment was the first thing I thought of when I saw the skirt picture? :D

The cake is from my teamie's birthday back in December... :D We celebrated allllll month!!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Teacher Tip Linky Party

    Michelle @ Teach123 is having a Teacher Tip Linky Party! She is going to pin ideas on Pinterest. Head on over and help out for the newbies... :D

Whew! We have a teacher work day tomorrow and I have a mega-list...I think it's a mile long! Going to bed early tonight to try and get there at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning and knock out some big projects. Prayers, please!  :D


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kinder-2nd Linky Party

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a linky party!

Come check it out and join the fun! I've already found some new blogs to follow... :D


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Main Idea again...

We didn't get started today, but we will also make an umbrella, label it Main Idea, and add raindrops hanging from the umbrella labeled supporting details. The children write the main idea from a book or something they've written on the back of the Main Idea Umbrella and write a word or phrase on the raindrop for the supporting detail. Follow-up is to write a paragraph using the ideas on their umbrella for posting in the hall. It was funny last year how my students took it a step further...some of them made sunshines to go under their  umbrella and told how they'd need shade at the beach. Some put snowflakes under their umbrella and told about making snowmen, playing in the snow, etc. They probably won't do that this year since we didn't get any snow...(sigh). I just hope all this scaffolding rocks the third grade language teachers' world next year! ;)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Team SCOOT "Main Idea" made it a Marvelous Monday!

Today was marveloso, baby! I took in enough "stuff" to fix up a dozen bags for "Main Idea" work. My students were given Team SCOOT sheets  half-sheets, run front to back (see Team SCOOT post). I used the copier to put the image on one sheet twice, then copied front to back and cut in half. Voila! Two copies for each of my students and my teamie's!

Brown bags were put at each pod of four desks. The children's job as a team was to use whatever was in the bag to agree on a "main theme." I appointed one leader per group to keep my sweet seconds from "grabbing" the bags and destroying something because there were breakable items. I had two incomplete bags (I forgot to get a few items on my mad dash this morning), which I used to explain how to play. The children practiced Team SCOOT once before I put the bags at the pods so they would know what to do. :) 

They "scooted" around the room twice before we went over what was in each bag as a class. They loved this! I told them that this is like finding the main idea in a're looking for "stuff" called "supporting details" to point to what the whole paragraph is talking about or telling. We talked about determining the importance of what we read by thinking about the explicit ideas and looking carefully for implicit ideas as well.

The next step is to put 4 copies of the same paragraph for "Main Idea Team SCOOT" and let them work as a team together again to figure out what the main idea is based on supporting details.

I think I'll have them take turns being the secretary for the group and writing the main idea and at least 3 supporting details at each station. This was such a fun and exciting way for them to learn something that is sometimes difficult for seconds.

I had 12 brown bags in all. I remembered to get out my camera after the first round of SCOOT. I'll try to remember to get pix of the other bags tomorrow.

I am thrilled with the awesome learning going on today...
check out the pix!

Dog-bone, tug toy, water bowl

 Cleaning!-old towel, kid-friendly cleaning solution, duster

Painting!-purple tape, paint stick for stirring, paintbrush, pint of yellow paint (for my rocking chair)...

Cookies!-flour, cookie cutters, salt

Now a question...does anyone else have a time getting your students to keep their desks neat? Check out this picture I took Friday afternoon and put on the Promethean board so they could see exactly what pleases the Desk Fairy! ;D You should see some of their desks today, though! Ouch! :*(

Can it get any plainer than this?!? :D

More "Main Idea" tomorrow...a "craftivity" to practice main idea and supporting details...stay tuned!

Blessings & peace,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Awwww...I'm soooo excited!

Today really was a "Wonderful Wednesday!" Our princiPAL says have a "Wonderful Wednesday!" at the end of announcments most Wednesdays. First, my student teacher was there and taught a lesson for her instructor, whose  Grandmother was my babysitter when I was two and three years old....  Score! X2! 1~I get to clear out some of my clutter while observing my student teacher! 2~she does such an absolutely fabulous job that my students stay with this most of the day continuing the lesson (yes, we have some Math to catch up tomorrow...but it was well worth it!). Wanda said my student teacher is a natural! She truly is a natural! Maybe it's in her blood because her mom is also a teacher. ;)

We did the bubble gum fun activities found at the teacher wife and Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten with a little added to make them tough enough for second grade. We used the activity made by Lindsey, but ramped it up by using her form as a graphic organizer for our phrases and writing complete sentences to create a paragraph on regular paper. The students quickly wrote their "sloppy copies" and, using the Six Traits of Writing, revised and edited for a "published copy." These will be posted under our craftivity along with 2 bar graphs created by students to review bar graphing because my seconds need extra review of the key. They can use a key of 1 for one bar graph, but must use a different number for the key on the second graph. I have found that when they struggle with something they learn better when they are required to "create" something with that concept included. :D

So, busy day leads to chiropractor visit...I <3 Dr. Kathy! She keeps me "in line!" ;) Relaxing and chillin' to the radio on the way home...and surprise! I've been awarded not one, but two blog awards! Thanks to Mrs. Au @ 2nd Grade Rocks!


1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.  Thanks, Mrs. Au!
2. Pass the award on to 5 other Lovely bloggers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you. (Yep, I've been following for quite a while!:)

Here are my five!

1. Cynthia @ 2nd Grade Pad
2. Jamie @ 2nd Grade Stuff
3. Britt @ A Day in the Life of a Classroom Teacher
4. Miss Kranz @ A Day in the Life of Miss Kranz
5. Anna @ a day in the life...

and here are my Top 10! Click here to get the button!

1. Cynthia @ 2nd Grade Pad
2. Jamie @ 2nd Grade Stuff
3. Britt @ A Day in the Life of a Classroom Teacher
4. Miss Kranz @ A Day in the Life of Miss Kranz
5. Anna @ a day in the life...
6. the Van Sickle ladies @ A Teacher at Heart
7. Ms. H. @ A Teacher's Journey in Second Grade
8. Linda @ A Teacher's Touch
9. Pat @ A Time to Share and Create
10. Mrs. Harris @ Adventures of Room 129 (love the music!)

Now I'm done for the night...going to relax in the bath and read! Doesn't that sound yummy? Especially with the hand candy given to me by one of my besties! WOW! What a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Author's PIE, Team SCOOT

We made an author's pie last year to introduce the author's purpose for writing... to persuade, to inform, or to entertain. We hung our pies in the hallway, but used them as a springboard for discussion when we discussed what we were reading and/or writing. I just felt like something was missing with that. So... after seeing Team SCOOT (who did this, by the way?) I thought,  "WOW!" We are going to make our same PIE. Instead of hanging them in the hall, we are going to use them! We will have a discussion of Author's PIE, then students will use the pies they've made to play Team SCOOT. One book will be placed at each group of seats and the students will scoot around to each pod and decide as a group what the author's purpose was in writing the book there. I will probably run the Team SCOOT sheet front to back and have the students go around twice before we discuss their answers. I'll get pictures as soon as we play and add them to this post. I just wanted to share my Team SCOOT page and the idea for my Georgia buddies who teach Author's purpose. :) Click here for Team SCOOT .

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"The Best Endings" & Dr. Seuss

Wow! I've been invited to The Best Endings and written my first post about Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Check it out by clicking on The Best Endings. Thanks, Erika! As much as I love to read, I don't think I read as much as I'd like during the school year. Maybe this will help me keep tabs on how much I actually do read and hopefully, I'll see I do read more than I realize.

I did just finish a youth fiction book called Jericho Walls. It's an awesome read for Black History month. The main character is the daughter of a preacher who sets the deacons straight in a southern town in the'll love it!

On to Dr. Seuss...we had a blast! To start our day, my favorite Wildcat ~other than my hubby who was also a Wildcat!~ came from our high school to read Thidwick to my students.  I made a packet of comprehension activities for my students which also included a bit of math for fun. These weren't finished Friday (did I really think they would be?! DUH!), so we'll continue (and maybe finish) tomorrow. We had Truffula tree snacks (pretzels with cotton candy) and I actually bought enough to share with three other classes on my team. Thankfully, one teamie had made blue jello (One Fish, Two Fish...) for her class so we had just enough left over for the other three classes to have a Dr. Seuss snack as well. :) We read The Lorax in preparation for the movie (of course!) as well as several other Dr. S. books.

To top it all, one of my students' birthday was Friday. She was born on Dr. Seuss's 100th birthday. She was also born on her mom's 20th birthday, which means her mom was born on his 80th birthday. WOW! To be born on Dr. Seuss's birthday and then have your child on his 100th COOL is that? Her mom brought in cupcakes, juice boxes, and goody bags (nice ones, too!) for all! The children loved this.

To finish the day, I showed The Lorax original cartoon movie on the Promethean board using MediaCast. Anyone else have MediaCast at your school? You can show lots using it. It's amazing to me the part technology plays in education today! I took some pictures, but will add them tomorrow as I intend to take more of my students working with their partners completing all their "Seussy" activities! Happy Sunday evening to you all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thrilling Thursday!

More wow today! My sweeties are reading Amelia Bedelia books voraciously! They love, love, love finding the multiple meaning words and get such a kick out of the way Amelia Bedelia gets everything backwards and screwy! I can't believe I've waited this long to get out the Amelia Bedelia books! I'll do them in August and September next year this fall! What kind of multiple meaning word awesomeness will we have in our classrooms by starting that early?!? :D

The children were still so thrilled about the Pigeon that they wanted to write their own pigeon stories! We also watched this pigeon video~I previewed last night~made by a first grade class.

 Sooo much cuteness! Some students chose to try to persuade me to let the pigeon be principal while others said NO WAY! Others came up with their own Don't Let the Pigeon stories. I am beyond thrilled that the pigeon stories have kicked off our persuasive writing with such a bang!

I took the PSA (Problem/Solve/Answer) idea and made smaller versions. Instead of a file folder, I used an 8 x 12 sheet of construction paper, shrunk the info so it would be 1/2 sheet of copy paper for the outside and 1/2 sheet for the inside, and made a couple of examples for the children. They love working with a buddy to solve story problems using their PSA foldable. I am ecstatic that they are working so well together...especially since I now have 23 students! YIKES!

Let's face reality here...the economy dictates that we do what we must, but the optimum situation for 7-8 year olds is definitely 18 or fewer...16 would be even better. It hurts, too, that we have some schools in our county with only 18 in their classes. We, however, can't get another teacher to lower our numbers! Say what?!?!? So, I've been hitting the ground running every single morning, trying to come up with loads of exciting ways to learn (after the 30 minutes of Read to Self time each morning). I remind my students we're building stamina for third grade. They're definitely going to need it!!

I am very thankful to have my student teacher with me on Mondays and Wednesdays. She is with me through April 18! She is required to teach 8 lessons (3 with her instructor observing, the other 5 just to get experience). She has already done such an awesome job! Her presence is a true blessing!

I am also praising GOD for every single one of my bloggy friends. Each an every one of you gives me ideas, understanding that there are others in the trenches with me, laughs to lighten the load, and just plain ol' good feelings when I read about your days. I don't always post a comment, but believe me when I say you all ROCK! I couldn't do it without the inspiration and oomph I get from reading, blog-stalking, borrowing, and chuckling. Thanks bunches!