A little of this (persuasive writing) and a little of that (time)!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Unfortunately, I've been a bit sick (especially today).  Luckily, my hubster had today off too and was home to help take care of the little guy while I was in bed most of the day.  Good news is I used my down time I finished a new little project I've been working on, but more on that later.  I know this is a little late, but I wanted to share a little bit of what we finished up during this short two day week in my classroom earlier.

We have been using The Applicious Teacher's No Turkey For Thanksgiving Persuasive Writing Craftivity while we work on persuasive writing. 
No Turkey For Thanksgiving Persuasive Writing Craftivity

The kids finished their writing and I could not be happier with how they turned out!  Adorable!

A lot of my kids really got into the topic and really tried to convince their parents to have something else for Thanksgiving this year.  I even got a hilarious email from one of my parents about how hard their child tried to persuade them and that they were really disappointed that they couldn't be convinced.  (As this mom said, "He said he really didn't want to kill a turkey and I told him, "Our turkey is already dead in the freezer." Ha!)  I definitely recommend this unit if you are working on persuasive writing around Thanksgiving next year!

We also worked a bit on timelines and distinguishing a.m & p.m.  We used one of the activities from my Telling Time Unit where you have to determine whether the daily activities take place during a.m. hours or p.m. hours.  You can take a look at that unit here.

So, that was just a little of what we did...

Now, here's a little teaser for what's coming up later this week over on my Facebook page!
(Be sure to like my page so you don't miss anything!)


Great Garbage Mystery { An Inferencing Lesson}

One of my favorite books ever for teaching comprehension strategies in reading is Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor.  She has some wonderful lessons that allow students to use the comprehension strategies in real life and really set the stage for using them while reading!  

Each strategy has an anchor lesson to start with that you can use it to create a really concrete experience for your students.   It really makes the connection to reading so much easier for some kids.  In addition to these anchor lessons, Tanny goes on to provide ideas for lessons using art, music and wordless book- all to get your students ready to use these comprehension strategies in reading!  I don't always have time each year for each lesson before jumping into the strategy use in reading, but I almost always use this lesson when teaching inferring.

Are you teaching inferencing in your reading classroom? The Great Garbage Mystery is an excellent anchor lesson for making inferences! Introduce your students to making inferences in real life and see how they can incorporate it into reading. Grab the freebie recording sheet to go along with your lesson too!

I start with collecting a strategic bag of trash from around my house a few days before I plan to do the lesson.  Keep in mind that you have to have an idea of the "family" that this trash is going to belong too, so your trash, or evidence,  is going to have to match that family.  You can see from my chart that I collected trash that I knew would help my students to hopefully infer that this family consisted of a mom, dad, and baby.  So, I had things like store reciepts, old magazines, baby wipes containers, diapers, certain old food containers, etc.

Are you teaching inferencing in your reading classroom? The Great Garbage Mystery is an excellent anchor lesson for making inferences! Introduce your students to making inferences in real life and see how they can incorporate it into reading. Grab the freebie recording sheet to go along with your lesson too!

The day of my lesson, I bring in the bag of trash and tell my students that I have a new neighbor.  I explain to them that I know they moved in because I've seen their cars and saw the moving van, but I never really seem to see them out and about- I've even tried stopping by their house, but they're never home.  I tell them that I really wanted to find out more about them, so I stole their trash hoping it will give me some clues about who lives there.  At this point, the kids are usually looking at me like I'm crazy, but they (usually) completely go with it.  (I often wonder how many of them go home that afternoon and tell their parents that I was digging in my neighbor's garbage!) I tell them that I really need their help using my neighbors garbage as clues to figure out who more about the family.  Then, I take out one piece of trash (my evidence) at a time and my students tell me what they think that this can tell me about the family (their inference).  I chart this as we go and at the end of the lesson we sum it all up and figure out what all this evidence tells us about the family that lives next door.  They then go back to their seat and draw a picture of the family that lives there on their recording sheet and tell me about 2 inferences they made based on the evidence.  Let me tell you- this really sticks with my students! 

  I can't take credit for this cute heading or recording sheet- the idea comes from Simply Sweet Teaching.  Although I've done this lesson in the past, I've never used any kind of recording sheet and I really loved using it with my class this year.  It really helped me gauge who "got it" and who didn't get it so much right away and i was able to hone in on working with those students.  Beth & Karen no longer have the recording sheet up in their TpT store, but I remade it and you grab it here (for free) if you'd like to use it in your classroom.

How do you teach inferring in your class?


Non-Fiction File Folder Project

Today I'm linking up with Hope from Second Grade Shenanigans for Take Me Back Tuesday!  Now, you may be thinking, "She just started her blog what can she be taking me back too?"  Well, it's true that I just started my first blog dedicated entirely to teaching, but about a year ago while I was staying at home with my new baby boy, I started a blog where I post about all kinds of things including teaching, crafting, baking, cooking and reviews and giveaways.  So, this post goes along with my previous post all about non-fiction.


So, I been missing teaching lately and thought I'd get back to my teaching roots and share one of the ideas I liked to use in my 3rd grade classroom.

One of my favorite units to teach for Reading is all about non-fiction.  When I was in elementary school I never remember being explicitly taught how to read non-fiction.  I don’t know why.  Reading non-fiction text is sooo different than reading fiction and some kids can really benefit from learning how to do it. 

Part of the unit included teaching all of the text features of non-fiction.  I would teach one or two a day during my mini lesson.  During these mini lessons I always included showing 3-5 examples in different types of non-fiction texts (books, magazines, newspaper, online, etc.) and going over what the feature was and its purpose in the text.  We would talk about the purpose in general and then the purpose of the feature specific to the text.  Along with this, I would add the feature to our text features chart and my students would add it to a section in their Reading/Thinking Journal.  In the end, they ended up creating a kind of reference guide to all the non-fiction text features we discussed in class. 

I usually included these text features in the unit (in no particular order): photos & captions, glossary, index, titles, headings & subheadings, table of contents, bold print, maps, charts & graphs, diagrams, and text/fact box.

 At the end of our non-fiction study I had my students complete a File Folder Non-Fiction Text Features Project, which is what I’m sharing with you today.  I saw this idea here and tweaked it to fit my 3rd grade students.

First, I gave everyone a file folder that was divided into 8 sections, a instructions sheet, and a non-fiction book.  Everyone got a different book.  The Scholastic Vocabulary Readers are great for this since they all include several text features.  The Vocab Readers are usually level J/K, so for my more advanced readers I did choose more difficult books, although my focus wasn’t on the reading level for this project.  The great thing about this is that you can really differentiate it based on each student (different books, vary the amount of text features, etc.)  I modeled exactly what I expected from the kids first and then gave them all about a week to complete it at home.  Obviously, you could also make this an in school project or even a partners projects.

I had the students tell me the purpose of the text feature along with what it was and an example from their book.  You can download a copy of the directions I used here.

Hope you can use this in your classroom!


Getting Ready for the Holidays & Telling Time

I just put two new products in my TpT store that I wanted to share with you all :)

Next week in math we are going to be wrapping up our first addition and subtraction story problems unit and moving into telling time.  I created this Telling Time Unit to help us out with that. 


Before Thanksgiving we are just going to be discussing a.m. and p.m. and using a timeline.  This little unit has worksheets to for practicing telling time to the hour, half hour, and every five minutes.  It also has a couple practice sheets for matching the time to the words (Ex: quarter after 5 and 5:15)  There is a cut and paste a.m./p.m. activity, as well as a Time Match game or center.  I think this would be great for some 3rd grade practice as well.

If you're already gearing up for the holidays, then you might like my Christmas Math Worksheet Pack.

This is for 11 Christmas themed math worksheets that cover:
Working with Hundreds Models (Place Value)
Expanded Form (Place Value)
+/- 100
Addition & Subtraction Story Problems
Counting by 2's, 5’s
Addition & Subtraction Facts
2 digit Addition w/o regrouping
2 digit Subtraction w/o regrouping
Telling Time to the Half Hour


The following 2nd Grade Common Core Standards are addressed in this bundle:

Of course, these worksheets could also be used in 1st or 3rd grade depending on your students. :)

This week I'm going to be using The Applicious Teacher's No Turkey For Thanksgiving Persuasive Writing Craftivity while we work on persuasive writing.  I can't wait to see how it turn's out! 
No Turkey For Thanksgiving Persuasive Writing Craftivity

Hang in there!  Next week it's Thanksgiving Break!


Non-Fiction Text Features Study {plus a few freebies}!

The past 2 weeks or so we have studying non-fiction text features in our classroom.  I love doing this in my class!  I usually start with a review of non-fiction and fiction.  We talk about each genre and do a venn diagram as a class.  Then we learn 1 or 2 new text features a day.  I introduce the text feature and we take a look at many different examples in different kinds of non-fiction text (books, magazines, papers, etc.)  I try to focus on the purpose of the particular text feature and how it will help them better understand the text they are reading.  Then, I add it to our anchor chart and add my own example.

The beginning of my anchor chart.  (Not the best camera phone pictures-sorry!)
During independent reading, the kids read their non-fiction books and write down an example they found during their own reading in their Text Feature Chart.  We share about the text features and how they helped us while reading during share chair.

In the past, I've subscribed to Scholastic News or Time for Kids, which really helps a lot in ensuring that all of my students have access to finding the features that we have discussed that day.  This year, we didn't order them (no funding) and I really missed having that resource.  (I actually ended up ordering Scholastic News for half off that I'll start getting in December because I just think they are a great resources.)  After we've learned all the text features, the kids work with their partners and do a scavenger hunt using their Social Studies or Science books.  

This year we made these FREEBIE flip books from Amy's Smart Designs and that is what they used to help them during their scavenger hunt and recorded where they found the text feature.  They will keep these in their reading journals now to refer to for the remainder of the year.

When I taught third grade, I had my students do a Non-Fiction File Folder Project after we had finished all of study.  (Click HERE to go to the post where I wrote about it on my other blog.  There's also a freebie!) I loved doing these and I think the kids did too.  I usually did it as a homework project.  This could easily be tweaked to work in 2nd grade as well.  I haven't decided yet if we are going to do this project this year.  We just seem to have sooo much going on right now I'm just not sure we have the time.  It may be something we revisit later this year.

Well, that's about it. ;)  How do you all teach non-fiction text features?

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Thanksgiving Math Centers and Printables {& a Giveaway!}

Time to get ready for Thanksgiving!  And...

1.  I now have my teaching blog up and running!  Let me tell you, I wasn't sure I would have it going this early, but I felt really inspired this week and thought to myself, "What the heck!  I'm doing it this week!"  I forgot how hard it is to get your blog going in the beginning.  (I started another blog about a year ago when I was staying at home with my kiddo.  It's mostly product reviews, giveaways, crafts, and recipes.  You can check it out here.)  I know with time my little blog will grow and until then I hope I can just show all you awesome teachers out there some more fun ideas that I try to use in my classroom.  

2.  I just posted my new Thanksgiving Themed Math Centers in my TpT store! I started using these in my class this week.  My students love it when we do Math Rotations!  We don't get to do them everyday, but when we do they are always diligently working.  I love that these centers offer some great review of what we learned a little earlier this year.

Enter for your chance to win them below!

There are 6 Thanksgiving themed Math Centers included:
Corn Field Line Up (2.NBT.A.4) Ordering Numbers with 2 & 3 digit options  
Turkey Tens & Hundreds (2.NB.T.B.8) +/- 10 or 100  
Thanksgiving Place Value (2.NB.T.A.1 & 3) Showing numbers in word form, expanded form, and models  
Pilgrims Tens Go Fish (2.OA.B.2) Combinations of 10  
Double It Up Pumpkins (2.OA.B.2) Doubles facts  
Plentiful Addition (2.NBT.B.5) One, Two, or Three-Digit Addition

Also included in this Math Centers Pack are Thanksgiving Themed Number Cards that are used with 5 of the 6 centers. The great thing about using the number cards is that your students can visit these centers multiple times and each time they will work with different numbers!  Of course, these centers could also be used in 1st or 3rd grade depending on your students. :)

3.  I also have my Thanksgiving Math Worksheets  Pack available in my TpT store.  You can check them out here.

These 11 Thanksgiving themed math worksheets cover:
Working with Hundreds Models (Place Value)
Expanded Form (Place Value)
+/- 10
Addition & Subtraction Story Problems
Counting by 5’s & 10’s
Odd & Even
Addition & Subtraction Facts
2 digit Addition w/o regrouping
2 digit Subtraction w/o regrouping

These were made for 2nd grade, but could work with your 1st or 3rd graders depending on your kids. :)

4. My little kiddo is a full blown walker now!  I swear, everyone kept telling me I didn't really want him to start walking, but I seriously did.  My little guy is not tiny- he's almost 14 months and already weighs about 26 lbs.  Let me tell ya- that's heavy to be carrying around all the time!  

5.  Tomorrow I'm running (I say running, but I really mean slow jog/walking) a 5K tomorrow morning.  It's a Motion in Color run, so I thought it would be a fun way to get motivated into working out again more often.  I'm looking forward to being covered in color!  The hubster and little guy are going to come cheer me on.  
We'll see how it goes...

Hope you all had a great week! 
Don't forget to enter to win my Thanksgiving Themed Math Centers!
Giveaway ends 11/13 at 11:59 p.m. 
Good Luck!


Colorful Words- Using paint strips in writing!

I thought I'd share a project I did awhile ago with my former third grade students with you today. I teach 2nd grade now, but I'm planning on using this idea with them when we revisit narrative writing in a little while.  (We're about to start some persuasive writing soon.)

A fun activity to practice shades of meaning with different words.  Great lesson for narrative writing too!

I pinned this idea a while ago because I thought that it would be a great activity to do with my students during Writer's Workshop. This idea originally came from Hello Literacy. I went to a local store and "gathered" a lot of different colored paint chips. Since we were working on narrative writing, I did a lesson about using more descriptive language to spice up our writing. (We focus a lot on using descriptive words so our writing won't be boring.) So, we decided to brainstorm some more "colorful" words to replace some of the same old words that we use a lot in writing. Examples: sad, happy, pretty, ugly, said, fun, nice--- you get the point. I modeled using the word idea. As a class we brainstormed a list of words that are synonyms for idea, but are a bit more interesting. As we brainstormed I wrote them down on a sheet of paper. Then, we picked the six words that we thought were the best and I wrote them on the paint chips. The students got to work in pairs to brainstorm synonyms for their words and write them on the paint chips. They did a great job. (Hint: you might want a list of synonyms ready to help out the kids that can't think of new words.)

Here's a close up example of a few words the kids did:
A fun activity to practice shades of meaning with different words.  Great lesson for narrative writing too!


It's official- I have a teaching blog!

Well, I'm biting the bullet and starting my blog dedicated purely to teaching!  I'm excited and scared too.  Blogging is a serious commitment, but I really want to be able to share my ideas and all the other bloggers' awesome ideas that I use with my kiddos in the classroom.  I hope that you all get some new inspiration in the weeks, months, and maybe years to come!

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