Thursday, January 16, 2014

Martin Luther King visits Second Grade

It's almost a 3 day weekend!! Although we just got back from Christmas break, I can't believe how excited I am for the 3 day weekend. To get ready for Martin Luther King Day we embarked on a two week study on peace and Martin Luther King. 

Part of our study included an in-depth look at Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech. We analyzed it like we might a nonfiction article, pulling the main idea out of each section. We then discussed its overall message and purpose. We used garage band to record their voices, reading the speech. We then used iMovie to pair our voice recording with pictures the kids drew of Martin Luther King. Our finished version is below! Hope you enjoy it. 

While we were recording the speech, the students had to be extra extra quiet so as to not be heard in the background. Therefore as a reward for being so awesome, as well as a chance to express themselves, they created these peace collages with watercolors. I pre-cut out a dove from contact paper and my student's stuck attached it to the watercolor paper. They then filled the entire paper with color. We let it dry and then messily glued down tissue paper for added texture. Finally they unpeeled the contact paper so, the white dove would be extra dramatic and bright. They outlined it in sharpie and added flourishes such as crosses, peace signs, stars and hearts and the word, Peace. Each one turned out unique and special. I can't wait to hang them in our classroom windows! 

The dove art idea came from an art blog located here. I slightly changed it, so as to work better with Second Grade, but they still turned out really nicely! 

Finally, we created a simple projects from a template I purchased on teacherspayteachers. We brainstormed as a class different dreams we have for the world today and the kids created these awesome little MLK's. They wrote their own dreams down and we shared them on our Social Studies bulletin board. The rest of them are currently being displayed in our school library. 

Overall, it was an awesome two weeks. Hopefully after this study, they have a somewhat deeper understanding of the Civil Right Movement. I also hope that they have a stronger appreciation for the safe and loving community that their parents and school provide them. Maybe they even have a small memory to help them someday fight for their dreams, and for what is right.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Crowley Christmas

Thanks for being so patient with me this year! Here are the picture worthy activities of December! We did so many fun things in such a short time!

At the beginning of December we read the book, "The Biggest Christmas tree ever" by Steven Kroll. If you've never read it before, it's about two mice who fall in love with the same tree. It's a great book to teach character perspective, which is what we worked on in December. After reading it, my students discussed how everyone thinks their Christmas Tree is the biggest and best and how perspective and point of view plays into your opinions. They then created their own Christmas trees! 

This was my favorite project we did this December. I found these on a website online and just loved them. The directions are here. We learned all about the birth of Jesus and then created these beautiful stain glass nativity scenes. We hung them in our windows so that everyone could enjoy them! 
I love their little hands holding them up to the light. 

We also created an advent chain that we hung in the window too. We learned all about the four weeks of advent and what they stood for. I then handed out three purple and one pink strips of paper to each kid. They had to write four different ways they were going to prepare for the birth of Jesus. We attached all the pieces together and created a chain that hung throughout the three huge windows into my classroom. It reminded us throughout the month to ready our hearts for his coming.

Here you can see the pinecone Christmas trees that we created as one of the two gifts we made our Parents for Christmas. Attached to the tree we tied Diamante poems. You can see an example of one of the ones the kids wrote below.

  The poem was a great  way to review parts of speech! They had to include 2 nouns, 4 adjectives, 6 verbs and one phrase about Christmas time.

The other gift we created was a Christmas cookbook. Each child wrote a recipe for something they love that their parents make them for dinner. It was a complete secret and they had to write the recipe from memory. It was great way to practice writing directions in proper sequence. It was also wonderful to see their interpretation of what their parents did to make them food. We took all of their recipes and bound them into a book that they gave their on Christmas morning. 

Chocolate Cursive! At my new school cursive is taught starting in January of Second grade. My partner teacher, Lisa, and I decided to get out some of those pre-Christmas break wiggles by practicing cursive strokes in chocolate pudding. The kids loved it! What a great Hook to start learning cursive!  

We also worked with adjectives in December. We added them to our writing to paint vivid pictures in our readers' heads and even created our own Christmas Adjective tree to spruce up our classroom for the Holidays. (wink* wink* pun intended!) Each child created their own adjective ornament. 

In the last week of school before break, we had two parties. We celebrated as a class with our room moms and also celebrated with our fifth grade buddies. Our fifth grade buddies helped us make Nutter Butter reindeer while we watched a Christmas song sing-a-long video. Some of them turned out super cute. Unfortunately, most of them were eaten before I had a chance to snap a picture. 

During our class party, our room moms helped us create these adorable donut snowmen too! Who doesn't love eating adorably made Christmas snacks!? Can't wait to make the snowmen again next year! They were delicious :D.

In Math we worked on Multiplication. We used m&m's and cheerios to create arrays and make equal groups to learn multiplication.  

We then created these adorable Christmas lights to practice and memorize our 2's times tables. 

December was such a busy Month! We also celebrated our First Reconciliation! I love getting to be a part of their overall preparation for the sacraments. It's so special! Our school requires that we test their memorization of the Act of Contrition. The picture above shows how nervous they were for it! I found this paper in our turn in box. So adorable! 

Finally, my students worked on Character perspective in the month of December. We culminated our study by creating our own stories. The kids chose to write the story of Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer from either Santa or Rudolph's perspective. We practiced using personal pronouns and adjectives in our writing. When they finished every step of the Writing Process and were ready to "publish" it (Hang it on our wall), they were given the chance to create these cuties to hang with their writing. They made my classroom so festive! 

Hope you and your family had a great Holiday! <3

A look into my Reading Rotations

Below is a lesson that I submitted for a class I'm currently taking. It explains one teacher led rotation. It's a little formal, but I thought that it might be an interesting insight into how I use Reading Rotations and Ipads in my class this year with Blended Learning! Enjoy! 
(Once a day, my students participate in what we call Reading Rotations. Students rotate through 3 stations for 20 minutes each. In one station, students meet with a teacher. Monday through Wednesday the teacher runs guided reading groups with leveled readers. Thursdays and Fridays the teacher leads students in learning new apps on the iPad or in utilizing alternating reading apps including but not limited to “Endless ABC,” “Educreations,” and “Storykit.”
In another station, students are asked to complete what is called the Paper Station. The Paper station likewise alternates throughout the week. Mondays and Tuesdays are worksheets that are designed to assess students’ understanding of a phonics skill. Wednesdays asses parts of speech and and/or sentence structure and Thursdays and Fridays are left for word making manipulatives and Free Choice or prompted Journal Writing.
The Final Station that students participate in each day during this rotation time is the IPad Station. In this station, students are given a choice of taking Accelerated Reading Quizzes, working on RAZ kids or taking pre-determined quizzes on Scootpad. Occasionally I mix it up and require they use a discussion board app like Lino.)
The Lesson below comes from one part of my Teacher station. It shows how I might use the apps “story kit” and “flash cards” to work with my students on reading and writing the past tense of irregularly spelled verbs.
Content Area:  English Language Arts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1d Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
  • SWBAT identify the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs.
  • SWBAT rewrite present tense verbs in the past tense within their own writing.
The learning center I have created utilizes the app Story kit and the app Flash cards. Students will work with a teacher in a small group during Reading Rotations. Focus for the small group instruction lends itself from an earlier whole class led instruction time and attempts to meet students in that group’s needs. This lesson will start with the teacher playing a short game with the students on her teacher iPad using the app, “Flashcards”. The teacher will show the present tense form of a verb. Students will as a group determine the past tense. When they have decided on an answer they will press the app and watch the card flip over to see if they are correct. After playing the game for 4 minutes, students will open the app, “Story kit.” They will create a new book, and title it, “Today and yesterday.”  The teacher will give them a present tense verb. They will create a sentence following the format on page 1, “Today I (present tense verb).“ They will then flip to page 2, and create a new sentence following the format, “Yesterday I (past tense of the verb.) They will complete a total of 8 pages for 4 verbs. They will be given a choice during their Ipad station the following day to illustrate their pages. (To differentiate further within group… teacher will assign different verbs to different students for the story kit portion of the center)
Materials Needed:
  • 1 iPad per student in group (about 4 to 5)
  • One teacher iPad
  • Story kit app on student iPads
  • Flashcards app on Teacher iPads

Assessment/ Review
Teacher will observe the discussion during the flashcards activity, identifying which students in the group quickly come to the answer and which need more time or practice with determining the past tense of irregularly formed verbs. She will record her observations.
Teacher will also observe the students’ created verb books.
Teacher will encourage during a share time for students to swap iPads with others, review and read each other’s “Today and Yesterday” books. 

November 2013

Hey everybody. Sorry I've been so terrible this year about updating my blog. I've been so busy transitioning to a new school, new community and whole new set of school expectations that I've let the blog slip by. My goal for 2014 is to at least update once a month. So here are some of the things we worked on in my classroom in November! Hope you enjoy!

In Math we worked on Subtraction! We started by practicing two digit subtraction and made these adorable turkeys to hang on our cabinets!

We also spent  a ton of time mastering 3 digit subtraction. Here you can see the cornucopia that we created as a class for Thanksgiving. Each student was given a fruit or a vegetable with a 3 digit subtraction problem. They had to solve the problem, and color it. We then placed them in our classroom window with a sign that said, "Thank goodness for Math!" The kids came up with the slogan. They thought it was hilarious. 

In the month of November we also spent a ton of time learning about the pilgrims and Native Americans that lived in our country along time ago. We studied pilgrim society, reading books like, "Samuel Eaton: A day in the life of a pilgrim boy" and "Sarah Morton: A day in the life of a pilgrim girl." We compared our own lives today to their lives back then. The kids made these pilgrims and wrote information they learned about the pilgrim boys and girls on the back of their heads. 

For our November Mass, we created an alter cloth using these leaves. Each child in K-2 wrote something they were thankful for on a paper leaf and then watercolored it. We taped them to a white cloth and laid it on the alter for mass. It was beautiful! 

In class we read the book, "Too Many Turkeys" by Linda White. I just love her! We compared it to her book, "Too Many pumpkins" and discussed how interesting her characters are. The kids especially loved the character Buford, the turkey. We decided to make our own class Buford. For homework, each child took home a feather and decorated it anyway they wanted. We then put them together. I think it turned out really fun!   

 Along with our study of pilgrim society, we also studied Native Americans. We learned about the impact white settlers had on them, and learned that not every Native American tribe is the same. Students split into groups and researched different tribes. They created these posters and made videos about each tribe. You can check out the videos below at the first link. You can also check out a more comprehension explanation of this study at the second link. 

This month in Writing we focused on persuasive writing. Common Core standards require that second graders be able to determine the purpose and reasoning behind a text. As a result we decided to create our own stories persuading readers to eat something other than turkey for Thanksgiving. We learned different ways that writers attempt to persuade their writers and then created our own stories. If you're interested in the resources I used for this project. You can find them here. 

Finally, we learned about Saints! We put on a Saints play and researched the parts we played. The kids learned about "see not think" drawing and drew their saints based off of famous paintings. They then had to work on writing informative pieces about their saints. Each child was given a biographical article on their saint and a trackstar site that they could further research their saint on the classroom iPads. If you're interested in recreating the project, my resources are available here. There are 30 different Saints to choose from and the link to the websites for the Saints. I'm currently trying to make the Saints book into an accessible iBook or Shutterfly book. I'll post information about it when I do. More examples of the project lie below.