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)