Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas is coming!

I have so many little things to post about what we're working on for Christmas, but those will have to wait! I thought instead that I would post the scripts for the Readers Theater shows that my students are currently working on. I adapted them from various online plot summaries and links about each story. Readers Theater is such a valuable way to work on Fluency and accuracy. I can't wait to see their performances!

I will post the elf writing activity and Christmas ornaments that we're working on soon!
Hope you're having a wonderful Christmas season so far!

Teaching the Ten Commandments

As a second grade teacher, teaching at a Catholic school, I am in charge of preparing my students and all the other elementary students who have yet to receive for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. I have found that it is surprisingly difficult at times to find materials to teach the Ten Commandments. Explaining what Adultery and coveting a neighbor's wife or goods to seven and eight year olds has its moments of extreme confusion!

I can't even begin to express the amount of times, my students have looked at me with those confused eyes or just thrown up their hands, yelling, "I don't get it!"  After looking into it for awhile and asking others for advice, I concluded that the only way to truly explain the ten commandments to such a young crowd is to put into a second grade meaning.

However, this second grade understanding can be hard to phrase correctly. As a result I thought that I would share the translations a former teacher at my school left me with.

I have inputed them into the following graphic organizers.

My second graders spend a week learning two commandments a day. We look at the actual commandment and attempt to understand what it means to us by using the second grade translation. We then use the graphic organizer to create a classroom set. We illustrate each commandment with an image that represents our understanding of it. I hang them on the wall next to  index cards where the students each write "why they think that its important to follow the commandments."

I attached the link below. I hope this resource can help second grade teachers in other places too!

All About Me

Sorry everyone for the lack of posts these last few weeks. My house had a little set back with Internet and its been a little difficult getting everything done at Starbucks. But I'm back! and I'm posting about an amazing activity my second graders did at the beginning of the school year.

This past August I had a whole group of brand new kids enter both my class and the school. They hadn't been part of the 1st grade community and as a result my class had some difficulty getting along at first. What better way to learn about each other than to start with a writing project?! I seriously wish I had done this last year. They turned out so cute! and they really helped build a new and stronger classroom community.

My All about Me project had students write all about themselves and then present their work to their class. I used it as our introductory unit to both each other and to the Writing Process. I also used it as a way to work on following directions.

We started the project by learning to divide a pre-made head and shoulders, up using lines to create the symmetry of a face. I instructed them on where and how to draw cartoon looking eyes and where a nose, eyebrows and mouth would appear when dividing a face. This gave them structure to their drawings, while at the same time allowing for creativity as to exactly how they chose to color and draw each facial feature. Approaching the art this way offered me a great way to immediately assess who struggled with following simple directions.

The students were taught about what it means to brainstorm. We brainstormed all about what others might want to learn about ourselves. We then worked on Pre-writing, Revising, Rewriting and Publishing. It took us over a week to create their writings, but they turned out really good for a beginning of the year project.

After writing we held a classroom gallery walk and then the students presented their work to their classmates during our weekly class meeting.

Following the presentations, students were grouped in fours to play a game. With a timer and a simple four square foldable, groups had to write as much as they could remember from the presentations about about the individuals from a different group within 5 minutes. We played the game a few times, switching groups. My students loved it! They learned so much about each other. (and I learned so much about them too!)

Here are some of the finished pieces. I had a super hard time choosing which ones to post. I loved them all!