Sunday, December 27, 2015

January Round Up

Hey everyone!  I'm back with another monthly round up of ideas.  I hope you are able to use a few of them!


Be sure to pin your favorite ideas!


If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am that crazy teacher that enjoys changing out her bulletin board each month.  It's true.  But, with that said, I do like to keep it simple!  At the beginning of each month I have my students complete some thematic writing and create a simple craft to display next to their writing.  Last month, I mentioned that poems are a great way to quickly get some writing up on the board.  So, how about this little combo for January?



You can grab this quick and easy bulletin board project here.  Did I mention that it's free?  :)

P.S. the download actually includes two different poetry templates, so be sure to check it out!


January is the month of new beginnings and fresh starts.  Resolutions are made and most everyone is ready to conquer the new year.  Over the years, I've found that students also enjoy setting goals for the new year.  I like to read this cute little book to help explain this concept to students.


And, this year, I am going to have my students share their goals for the new year in this class book.  Who knows, it might be a great way to remind them of what they set out to accomplish.


You can grab this free class book here.  :)


One of my favorite things about January is learning about polar animals.  The kids enjoy it too.  Haha!  Seriously though, penguins are my all time favorite.

I usually begin by reading aloud a simple text like the one below.  Then, the students complete a can/have/are organizer.  I love this organizer because it's a great way to have students classify information. 


After we read a bit more about penguins, take notes, make anchor charts, and so on, the students show what they know by making this fun little hat.  It's always a fun project that allows the students to show off their knowledge.

Fact and opinion is a great way to encourage students to use their critical thinking skills.  Second graders are typically pretty good at distinguishing between fact and opinion, but asking them to write their own fact and opinion statements can be challenging (and good practice).  This little flap book gives students an opportunity to practice this skill.  


Vocabulary is a big part of any unit of study and these vocabulary flap books are a fun way for students to show their understanding of important penguin words.  They can be worked on throughout the unit, whenever a new word is encountered, or they could be used toward the end of the unit when students have been exposed to all of them.


You may or may not know this, but I am a huge fan of integrating language arts and science. ;)  Interactive readers, like the one below, are a great way to sneak in more nonfiction reading and practice.  This little book tasks students with drawing diagrams, using close reading skills, and more!


You can find all of these activities, and more, in my Penguins unit.  Click here to see it on TPT.


Last month my students worked on expanding their sentences.  We practiced adding who, what, when, where, why, and/or how information to simple sentences to make them stronger and more interesting.  While I plan to encourage them to use this skill in their writing pieces, I also plan to have them practice it a bit more using this booklet.


We've been working on self-monitoring and setting goals lately, so I created each page with a built in means of self-monitoring.  The students can color (or circle) the types of information they add to  each of their simple sentences.  This will help them to be a bit more thoughtful in their approach when expanding each sentence.


You can grab this freebie here.  :)

I hope you are able to use an idea or two.  Thanks for stopping by!

DON'T FORGET IT: PIN IT!




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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Highlights

Oh my goodness.  It's been a few weeks since I've blogged.  I blame December.  It's the craziest month of the year...and also when we do our parent teacher conferences, which makes it even crazier!  I know I'm not alone, right? So, here's a peek at some things we've been up to.

We spent a week reading various versions of the Gingerbread Man.  I don't know why I love this story so much, but I do. The kids always love it too!  We worked on our retelling skills and made some super cute retell hats. I love watching them march out of the building at the end of the day with their silly little hats.  We also worked on our comparing/contrasting skills, and character traits.  Of course, we also snacked on gingerbread cookies while we worked.  Hehe.



This is our class elf, Candy Cane.  Last year, I joined the Elf on the Shelf (in the classroom) bandwagon and I am continuing the tradition this year.  My kids are loving it!  Our elf arrived on December 1, and we've been having fun with him ever since.  This was the kids' favorite elf antic, for sure!


They were so excited to come in and find all the candy canes!


They were even more excited to take one home with them at the end of the day.

One day, our elf brought us this super fun math coloring project from Pink Cat Studio.  The students made one in class and then they also got to take one home.


Ok, that's enough elf talk.  This week, my students finished up their parent gifts.  How cute did these little pots turn out?  You can read all about them here.


We also spent some time reviewing cause and effect.  My Christmas Cause and Effect pack was the perfect fit!  The kids already have Christmas on the brain, and it was great being able to tie that to our learning.
 
The week for Winter Break is always rough. The kids are antsy and lacking focus.  And, let's face it, teachers are tired!  Well, that was my day exactly when I decided to lead my students in a directed drawing of Rudolph.  This idea originally comes from ARTventurous, and it is adorable!


After drawing Rudolph, they traced it with a Sharpie.  Then, they used oil pastels to color it in.  This was our second attempt with the pastels this year, and this time, they got it!  #theynailedit #lasttimenotsomuch

This past weekend, I put together some gifts for my parent volunteers.


I was inspired by this pin.  I filled each mason jar with Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, glued on three buttons, and tied some fabric around the lid to look like a scarf. They are supposed to look snowman-ish (hopefully you picked up on that-haha). Anyhoo, they turned out pretty cute, and they were so easy to make!

Happy holidays everyone!  I will be back soon with another monthly round up of ideas.  Stay tuned!



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