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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Following Directions-easy version

I revamped the Lesson in Following Directions because it was  little too wordy for my seconds even in January when I tried it. Tomorrow we are doing "Step-Up" for our students. Each grade level will go meet the teachers for the next grade level for next year. We have some cool ideas going, and I wanted to send the message that you must read the directions carefully (as well as see who can read well enough to follow directions). So, here's what I'm doing...

Click here for a copy.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Three Marvelous, Three Parent Contact

I'm linking up to  Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher's Linky Party. I read about it at Buzzing with Ms. B's blogspot. Ms. B cracks me up...three yays and three boos. I decided I'll base mine on my Clip Chart...clip all the way up to "Marvelous!" or all the way down to "Parent Contact"--"you have a choice each day" has been my mantra this year.

The first "Marvelous" is actually blogging. I have learned so much and it has really been awesome. My students have gotten so much more awesomeness this year because I can peruse all these fabulous ideas, choose the ones that work for/with me, and ShaZAM! Marvelous Mrs. S. strikes again! ;)

The second "Marvelous" is actually two...the Clip Chart and the Volume Control Levels we used this year. Behavior has been so much sweeter this year with these two awesome tools!

My third "Marvelous" is continuing to work with my teamie across the hall. One of my teamies is retiring, another is moving on up to fourth grade, and the third one is moving down the hall to the classroom of the retiree. We will have four second grade teachers next year, so a teamie from my years in third will be joining us in second. It looks like we will once again have an amazing team. :) I will miss the two leaving terribly, though! we really, really have to Parent Contact? I mean, I can go all day without this one...well, if I must! First, I am going to cull and organize materials in my classroom. I get so involved with my students that "stuff" just seems to "pile up." I, too, wanted to do the "Classroom Organization" thingee...that's on my summer to-do list.

My second Parent Contact has to do with consistence and the Volume Control Levels. We started off the year fabulously. It sort of slipped my mind these past three or four weeks. My students (and consequently, I) have gotten louder and louder. >:(

Third Parent Contact--hmmmm--too many students. That's a Parent Contact for whomever "they" are... :D I stand by my professional opinion that 18 is the absolute maximum number of students a second grade class should have. It's just so much easier to give each of those children the one-on-one attention they need for optimum (well, maybe not excellent optimum, but you get my drift) growth. I've always believed that the child's age should dictate the teacher-student ratio. Seven- and eight-year-olds should have a 1:7 or 1:8 ratio. However, in the real world, 18 is the best it has gotten for me in my 23 years teaching...except for the year I taught 20 second graders with an assistant! That was heavenly!

I am excited about getting some R&R this summer after cleaning and organizing my classroom, my house, and my basement. First things first, ya know!

God bless you each and every one!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Field Day 2012

Field Day was today. Whew! It was a busy afternoon. My little friends won second place. They have grown so much this year! I can hardly bear to let them go...but off they must travel. These are the sweet days. I'm so excited about their progress and maturity which is really shining brightly now. I am always sad to see them go in a way. In a way, I am anxious for some R&R! I know they will go far and do well. Now, to plan the last 8 days of school! WOW! I have so many things I want to finish with them next week so we can just enjoy our time together the last three days of school.... The days are just flying!

How are your days going lately? Speedily or slowly? Inquiring minds want to know! ;)

Another Awesome Day!

Today was another awesome day in the classroom! Hallelujah! I am sooo excited about how much my friends have grown this year. Their writing is awesome and amazing (my favorite words lately). :)

Check out these photos!

Here are some photos from the "What's Hatching, Chick?" unit I bought and blogged about yesterday.... At the top, we have Chicks & Salsa with a tri-fold review. Next, under the chick's legs is our Egg-Hatching Observation Journal. Finally, at the bottom is a Chicks tree map which supported my students in writing three (count 'em...1, 2, 3!!) paragraphs! YIPPEEE!!

Here is Amelia Bedelia. I traced her using the Promethean board, and then brought her home and colored her in with my darling hubby. Next, I hung her in the hallway outside our EIP teacher's door. She shares her wall space with us! :) Finally, I gave my teamies a different color of sticky note to write "multiple meaning words" on with explanations of how Amelia Bedelia gets everything balled up. We had a blast reading about Amelia Bedelia. You should read her if you teach second grade in Georgia with multiple meaning words as a standard. The children will laugh & learn! :D

Here is my Contraction Surgery activity posted in the hallway. I had some really cool band-aid stickers. I hope I can find some more for next year. Be looking, friends, and if you find some please let me know where you found them. They were cute and engaging for my students! ;)

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yesterday... :*(

Yesterday was probably my least favorite day ever teaching. We had four baby chicks die (crying profusely) and three try to hatch but not succeed. This is the worst hatch I've ever had...only 22 eggs out of 83. The first year, we had 27 out of 35 hatch. The second year, we had 35 out of 44 or 48, can't remember. Last year, we had about 48 out of 66 hatch. I won't go into the gory details Don't read the italicized part if you have a weak stomach...two of our babies had their insides hanging out and two weren't able to walk. I am not sure what happened, but I think the hens might have been older. Then my hubby and I checked our setting hen this afternoon and she'd left her nest...with three dying chicks (also with their insides hanging out)...I've had enough death! :*( I know all about survival of the fittest and all that, but it's still hard to see.

  You can start back reading now. I feel better to get that out. Thanks for reading/not reading! ;) Anyway, a bad morning could have turned out worse. My husband came to the school to get the eggs that didn't hatch as well as the babies who were injured. He's a country boy, hunter, deer meat provider, and took care of the babies for me. Poor babies.  I'm a country girl, too, but I guess girls are just supposed to nurture, not kill. One of my teamies said I'm not really a "chicken" lady because I can't handle that. She's absolutely right! To top it all off, there was a little bit of other drama (which went totally over my head at the time), and a buddy came in with her "feathers flying" ready to flog someone. The peace of Jesus just floated along with me. Drama was non-existent for me, considering those poor babies!

     Well, toward the end of the day, my buddy had me a little concerned about our "egg hatching" endeavors. Yes, there are bad things that happen, but getting to witness new life is something amazing my students will never forget. I do this for them! She thought maybe we wouldn't be able to incubate eggs next year. Our AP came down three times to check on us. His visits sort of unnerved my buddy.

   I was so discombobulated yesterday morning that a teammate took my students to her room for half an hour so I could collect myself. The first time, the children were actually in the other classroom while I removed chicken items and collected myself. The second time, the children were back in the classroom, reading away. The third time, we were writing all about our chickens using items from the wonderful "What's Hatching, Chick?" by Christie and found at her First Grade Fever TpT store. 

    Fast Forward to today...

    Thank You, Jesus!! Today was heavenly! My students had their work awaiting them when they arrived and got right down to business. They completed the "Chicks & Salsa" activity from yesterday, completed their chick tree map organizers, and wrote three paragraph essays!! YES!! So, my wonderful principal comes in to do a 5-by-5 and she was very impressed with our TREE MAP! Hallelujah!

    She mentioned "Thinking Maps" in April, so we're having six hours of Professional Learning time with a Thinking Maps rep. I bought the "What's Hatching, Chick?" unit on March 24, so I had no idea that was a "tree map." I just thought "What a cool organizer!" I will have my students write three paragraphs instead of three sentences! When I researched Thinking Maps and realized what a tree map is, I was ecstatic that I already had one prepared and waiting to use!

     Awesome and amazing my friends were today! I had about six students with their three paragraphs almost finished when Mrs. W walked in and she was impressed. She just learned about Thinking Maps and was very excited to share them with us, but very clear that she didn't want to "force" more work on us. Ha! They will make our lives so much easier! I am thrilled and look forward to using these even more!

    I have the book Chicks & Salsa, which I love so dearly that I've read it to my students several times. We completed the cute little tri-fold about the book and the Craftivity from "What's Hatching, Chick?"  I put the ones finished on white construction paper for the hall. I told my friends that we will complete our three paragraphs to hang at the bottom of the long sheet of construction paper. I brought out the candy for bribes I'm not above a bribe, it's war against illiteracy, right? and didn't even need it! The two boys who finished their writing were so proud that the candy was not needed. Of course, I'll probably give them a delayed reward tomorrow, just to hype up the enthusiasm again...maybe. ;) I'll post pictures tomorrow, when we've finished some more and my wall looks fabulous! :D Have a Terrific Tuesday!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Linking up with Mrs. Farley at Oh Boy Third Grade for Currently May. This is my son's birth month, so it's a favorite of mine for two reasons...his birth and school's out this month! :D
God bless you every one!