Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Wordle


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I absolutely LOVE this project with my students.  They have so much fun while secretly still LEARNING (shhhh...don't tell them!)  We do a Christmas wordle to focus on good word choice and using adjectives and our senses in our writing.  This is a way for them to practice those skills!  They look absolutely AWESOME in the hallway as a display as well.  This is my second year doing this project and every one of my students were able to play with the more "advanced" settings in Wordle.  Here is our Writers Workshop lesson for this activity along with the Graphic Organizer they use to prepare for their Wordle!


 
NOTE:  We actually taught our students this year how to take a screen shot of their wordle and save it on their desktop.  They then dropped it into a Group Shared folder so I could print them in color at a later time!  ALL of my students can tell you the shortcut for Copy, Paste, Select All, and Save by now!  I can't believe how advanced they are for 2nd grade!  I was VERY proud of them!  It was a LOT of typing, but they persevered through it and felt proud when they were done.  
 Aren't they soooo cool!

In order to do more advanced actions with the student's wordles, follow these directions:

Custom Colors:  In your "Create" Screen, you need to go to the "Color" menu bar and click on "Edit Custom Palette."  While you are in there, you can click on one of the four boxes.  When you click on a new color, it will assign that to your Wordle!  You can choose any 4 colors that you wish!  Also, this is where you can assign your background color.  I do not let my students have a black background because we like to conserve ink!  They have to keep the very first box WHITE!

Custom Font-(CAUTION-There is a font with an inappropriate name)  Students can go in here and choose a font they wish to use if they just click on the "Font" menu bar.  NOTE:  By selecting a new font, it will change the layout and some of the words may have a different one of the 4 colors you previously selected.  In my wordle, I used the Grilled Cheese font!

Custom Layout:  I really like all my words going the same way (a little anal retentive, I know!)  My students had various different layouts.  I let them choose whichever layout they liked.

If your student isn't ready to work at the advanced level, just have them choose the "Randomize" button at the bottom of the wordle (make sure you change the background to white for them!)  Once a student clicks off of a layout choice, they CAN NOT get it back, so if they find one they like, then need to keep it!

After this Wordle, we did another one for our parent gift.  They were a PRO by now!  They entered their family name and all the members of their family.  It took far less time to create this wordle than the first one!  They are experts now.

Other fun uses for Wordles:
·       Guided Reading-you can enter the Title, Author, Illustrator, key vocabulary, characters, setting, important events, etc!
·       Vocabulary Review-All Subject areas
·       School Spirit
·       Soooo many possibilities!
Leave a Comment with your ideas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

November Goodies


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I apologize for posting out of order, but I just brought my camera home this weekend from school.  I absolutely HAVE to share my fun tradition that I brought to my new school from a school that my children go to.  Every year, the Kindergartners dress up as turkeys and the 2nd graders dress up as Native Americans.  I think the First Graders were the Pilgrims.  Well, at my new school, we eat with just 2nd grade and Kindergarten, so 2nd grade girls are the Pilgrims while boys are the Native Americans.  The Kinders dress up as the turkeys for our Thanksgiving Dinner Lunch!  They look absolutely adorable...don't you think!






We also sent home a family project for the students to decorate a feather with things that are special or things they are Thankful for.  We then do a speaking assessment with them as they share their feather.  It teaches them how to look at people while they are talking, keep things in order, have good details, and not fidget with presentation aids!  They are getting so much better with all of our practice.  This is our finished Turkey with ALL the feathers!

Last, but not least was a lesson that we did on triangles.  With our new curriculum, we are presenting some pretty advanced vocabulary (seriously, I don't remember even hearing about an isosceles triangle until I was in middle school or later...I am getting up there in age though, so maybe my memory is failing me ;o)  So, we talked about the angles of a triangle and also the three different kinds of triangles.  Instead of them just doing a worksheet, we had them build them with pretzels.  Next year I will probably have a cuter presentation, but this is what we have this year.  They LOVED it!






Rudolph Spelling


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With our final full-week before Christmas Break, our spelling curriculum wants us to do a review of what we have learned thus far.  I think this is a perfect opportunity to review some spelling patterns and high-frequency words in a FUN, holiday way!  So, my students will be doing a "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" cloze-method spelling review for their test this week.  It puts the words into context for them!


Click the pictures to download!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Elf on the Shelf Writers Workshop


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I was soooo excited to introduce my students to the "Elf on the Shelf" book and concept!  I have read about several teachers on proteacher that have done it, so of course, I HAD to do it!  My grade level partners and I decided to incorporate it into our writers workshop and talk about the 5 parts of a friendly letter.  The lesson previous to this lesson was introducing the 5 parts (you can find that lesson below as well) and having them practice writing a letter to whomever they chose.  It was SUPER cute to see who they selected.  Some picked family and friends, but I had some think outside of the box!!!  I had them writing to their mailman and to a loving pet that had passed away.

So, on day 2, we presented the Elf on the Shelf lesson.  I have included our Writers Workshop Lesson Plan for you to see!  Click on the picture and you can download it.  I also have the template for you to download to do with your students!  I hope you enjoy :o)





It is great to see our students think about what they have done that is NICE this year and reflect on that INSTEAD of the typical letter to Santa telling him what they want.  They have named our cute little Elf "Redster."  Boy, you should have seen some of the suggestions-they are VERY imaginative!  They are caught up in the magic of this little elf...I think it will help hold us over until the holiday break gets here...I HOPE anyways ;o)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jacqueline Davies

My students were absolutely ecstatic to meet author, Jacqueline Davies!!!  She gave a wonderful presentation as an author and how she is the type of author that tries out different genres.  We are reading her book, Lemonade Wars.  The kids were even more excited when she announced that they are almost ready to publish the sequel (shoot, why can't I remember what she said it was called...I will have to ask my kiddos on Monday-they will know for sure!)  Before she came, we read her book, "The House Takes a Vacation."  This is an absolutely wonderful, imaginative story about a family that goes on vacation, so their house decides it needs a vacation as well.  You can find it here:

Here are the kids with Jacqueline Davies:

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Ocean/Beach Classroom 2010-2011

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I have had an AMAZING time creating my classroom environment this year!  My co-teachers and I chose Ocean/Beach for a theme and I was apprehensive at first, but I had sooooo much fun that I don't know what I was so nervous about.  The students absolutely LOVE it!  Take a tour around my room and let me know what you think!



video



October Calendar Desktop Background

Well, we finally have a day off after a long, but gratifying, week of conferences about our kiddos.  So, I spent my morning doing what I love to do best (besides sleeping in)...I have been experimenting with my computer and teaching myself new things!  I am NOT very good at using Photoshop at all, so I have been forcing myself to practice with it.  So, I created a calendar to put on my desktop with some scrapbooking kits I purchased from Just So Scrappy!  If you like what you see, feel free to right-click and save it as a photo and you can apply it to your own computer!  Enjoy...I know I will be enjoying my break today!  :o)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apples!

Every year in my hometown, they have a local festival to celebrate the harvest season of apples from the orchards!  It is a tradition of my families to try to get back there to celebrate.  When we started having children and they entered school, the new tradition was to pick apples and bring them back to their classes.  Well, now that I am a teacher, I am continuing the tradition by bringing back fresh apples picked "special" by me for each of my students.  They get to taste the difference of these fresh apples compared to the apples that are processed and sold in the stores.  They absolutely LOVED them!  I even had one girl eat hers down to the core.  She picked out her seeds and everything!
My last year's class all came back to ask the kids what they thought.  It was a memory for them.  I hope to continue on with the tradition each year!


International Dot Day

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On September 15, 2010, my class and I celebrated "International Dot Day."  This day is based off of Peter Reynolds famous book, "The Dot."  This is a day to motivate students to celebrate their own creativity.  My students made Dot art:




They also went on a photography "dot" scavenger hunt around our school.  The goal of the Scavenger hunt was for them to look for "dots" that somehow symbolized how they were making their mark as an Engleman Wildcat!  WOW!!!  They went above and beyond my imagination.  They were so very creative in their quest.  Here are some of the things they took a picture of:
  • Clock-because in order to be a good Engleman Wildcat, you have to be responsible by being on time to school!
  • $500 check from Hy-Vee-because we raise money to help out our school
  • Cameras in the ceiling-because "we walk in the halls even when we are being watched."  LOL-this one made me chuckle!
  • Learning target-in order to learn we have to know what our target is and whether or not we hit the bullseye!
  • Golden Sower sticker on books-we make our mark by learning to love to read good books!
There are even more!  They did such a GOOD job on this project that I am definitely going to repeat it next year.  Not only are they celebrating their creativity, but they are also learning how to "make their mark" as a good citizen at our school!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Math Strategy Posters


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I know a lot of you have been asking me to post these strategy posters that I created...well, I FINALLY had the time to sit down and do it!  I created these posters to help my students not only remember the strategies that are presented to them, but also to VISUALIZE those strategies.  Enjoy!





Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Editing Eddy"

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My 2nd graders will be starting the editing portion of The Writer's Workshop this week.  To aide them in this process, we created a character known as "Editing Eddy."  Eddy helps my students remember that Editing involves:  punctuation, capitalization, and spelling checks.  The following character helps us remember all the things to look for: 
Add a period=Face and nose of Eddy
Quotation Marks=eyes of Eddy
Add ?=Ears of Eddy
Add !=Neck of Eddy
Capital letters needed=Hair of Eddy
Spelling check=mouth of Eddy

Last year, when my students had this visual to use for editing, they remembered the steps so much more and were FAR more successful in their endeavors as editors!  Try it out with your students!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Classroom and Bucket Filling!


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Take a look at my classroom this year.  My co-teachers and I have gone with an ocean/beach theme this year.  I must say that it was a TON of fun creating all the goodies that we have in our room.  2010-2011 Classroom


We are also doing "Bucket-Filling" this year.  This is such a GREAT way to incorporate being nice to one another.  If you haven't read the book, consider checking it out and possibly incorporating some form of it in your classroom (click on the picture below to order from Amazon.) 
 
Through the use of our bucket-filling, we have created a classroom family.  Each of my students really look out for one another and LOVE filling each others buckets on a daily basis.  It isn't only best friends filling each others buckets, either.  They are filling buckets of students that they normally wouldn't have connected with.  I have seen such positive and endearing moments between the children!


The beginning of my adventure in blogging!

I decided to start this new adventure called blogging to hopefully share with parents, other teachers, and family/friends. I have already taught a year, but my second year of teaching has proven to be easier in some ways and harder in others. I am glad that you are joining me in my adventure to share this passion of mine-teaching!