Thursday, February 28, 2013

March Currently & St. Patrick's Day Themed Activities

March is finally here and that means we have another fun themed holiday to celebrate!  I always love doing activities that can bring in some holiday cheer!  March reminds us Illinoinians that the spring weather is almost here! There's so much to look forward to this month with St. Patrick's Day themed activities, birthday's to celebrate (mine included!), spring break,  and the beginning of our third trimester of the school year!   This week I've linked up with "Oh, Boy Fourth Grade" for the *March Currently!*  I love this concept of sharing your personal fun diary with others! 

In lieu of St. Patrick's Day, I have created several different math activities that touch on different concepts and skills that we have learned about so far in 2nd grade!  It always amazes me how adding some cute looking graphics to students' work can make the learning experience that much more engaging!  

I hope you enjoy these fun St. Patrick's Day math themed activities! The activities are geared towards 2nd grade, but may also work for your gifted 1st graders or struggling 3rd graders. The concepts and skills included in this package are a review of skills that students have learned in 2nd grade. 

There are St. Patrick's Day themed worksheets, as well as games students can play with a partner, and activities for students to cut and glue their responses. 

The activities include:
* Counting by 5's (early skill that needs to be mastered to help with money skills and telling time skills) 
*Basic addition facts (Making 10, doubles facts, doubles +1)
*Telling time to the nearest 5 minutes
*Telling time using half past, quarter past, quarter till 
* Odd and even double digit numbers 
*Adding and subtracting with double digit numbers
* Money activities using change up to $1.00
* Story problems with double digit by double digit numbers and money. 

These activities can be great for math centers, for your EARLY FINISHERS, or can be used for your current unit of study! 
What math units are you currently working on?

Click on the picture below to purchase these activities! 

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Freebie Friday! Sending Home a Positive Note to Parents with a Focus on Effort!

Are you looking for ways to increase effort and motivation during guided reading? I am often working with struggling readers who are looking for some sort of extrinsic reward for doing their work during guided reading. (In my head I'm saying, "Are these kiddos crazy? Can't they just cooperate and be proud of their work for the day? Why do they think they need to get something every time they do their work?")

And then it hits me; they're just kids and they want to feel appreciated for their work. This can be time consuming on our end, constantly rewarding them with some tangible item. It also rarely sends students off with an intrinsic feeling of accomplishment.  Extrinsic rewards have their time and place, but ultimately helping our students build a sense of self-worth for their hard work is most important. 

While we set high expectations and guidelines for what students' behavior should look like and we want them to show pride in their work, sometimes just "playing school" isn't enough.

I have been trying to find a balance of how to keep some students motivated, engaged, and most importantly proud of their work for trying their best.  Sometimes our most struggling learners have a hard time staying engaged or motivated if they don't "get anything for it."  

Some of our struggling readers are looking for a little more reinforcement and praise for their efforts. I created these 'Good News' tickets for students to earn as a way to show them how proud I am of their hard work and effort during guided reading.  

A note, such as this, gives students the instant gratification that they are looking for, a sense of accomplishment, and confidence! It's a great way for students to share something their proud of with their parents.  

Positive messages at home can be very powerful. They can also encourage our students to try their best more often.  The more positive experiences they have, the more they will intrinsically want to get better and be up for the challenge and try harder each day! 

I try to hand them out to at least one student each day in each of my guided reading groups to show them I appreciate their hard work and effort. 

Ultimately, we want our students to feel proud of their hard work. And sometimes, just giving them this reinforcement helps them internalize it!

                                 Click on the image to get your own free download! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

TIC-TAC-TOE Reading Comprehension Response/Prompts

Wow, I can’t believe how far along we are in the school year!  As our little 2nd graders continue to blossom as readers we have been looking for new ways to help students think more deeply about their reading.  I have created comprehension prompting cards along with several different TIC-TAC-TOE response sheets to help students broaden their critical thinking skills during reading.  

Sample Prompt Cards 

TIC-TAC-TOE Reading Response (Comes with three different boards)
The TIC-TAC-TOE boards can be used for discussion questions about the books you're reading in guided reading or you can use them during a Think Aloud.  
The higher level questions focus on: 
* Connections
* Characters
* Plot
* Theme
There are three different TIC-TAC-TOE boards with all different questions for each of the above categories. Try this activity to help your students make meaningful connections to their reading.  Students will begin to have a new understanding for reading and broaden their thinking processes about books!  

Students will be able to think more deeply about text, understand more about a book’s characteristics, and enjoy reading for it’s literary value. Click here to get your very own copy of these interactive reading prompts!

I would love to hear how these prompt cards or TIC-TAC-TOE boards are working in your classrooms! 

All questioning skills are adapted from Guided Reading and Writers Grades 3-6 By Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"How To" Writing Center Activity

Carrie and I had our weekly "table talk" collaboration time this week and our main focus was literacy centers.  We worked together to figure out new engaging activities to help students continue to stay motivated and engaged while we are teaching guided reading. We strategized and came up with several new things for each of our centers and we wanted to share our first new writing activity with you.  Students have been given various writing choices during their writing centers and have been practicing writing for real purposes.  Some writing activities that the students already do are:

*Make lists (shopping, birthdays, holidays, etc)
*Writing a letter to a friend/family member/teacher
*Writing poetry
*Writing narratives (special occasions, pets, vacations, weekends, etc)
*Writing make believe stories with B-M-E

We are now adding a choice of writing "How To" books.  This type of writing experience provides students with a certain structure and format and uses transition words in a natural writing setting.  Some of your more struggling writers might benefit from this type of writing practice because of the sequential steps needed to elaborate on the topic.

This Freebee includes 3 pages of "How To" writing ideas along with a graphic organizer page for students to draw a picture of their "How To" topic, a word bank with transition words, and a space to write down the steps. At the bottom of the page there is a writing checklist for students to check their work before they turn it in. You can cut out all of the different HOW TO topics and put them on a ring, put them in a box, or post them on chart paper.  Students can then choose which "How To" Book idea best relates to them! 

Click here! to get a copy of your own "How To" writing ideas for your centers!