Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Inference activities

This year has been such an exciting year! I love teaching 2nd grade and my kiddos are adorable! They are so wonderful to teach. Since this is my first year teaching 2nd, it is like my first year teaching all over. In my school district, we are still using Open Court. However, they want us to start implementing the new CCSS. So, I've been doing a lot of work trying to connect the CCSS to Open Court. By the end of the week--I am pooped!!

One way I have been implementing CCSS is by using various metacognition reading strategies with my little kiddos. One that we have been working on a lot are making inferences when reading. Since it is Thanksgiving, we looked at different recipe cards and tried to make an inference about what the recipe is. The did this in three steps:

  • what background knowledge they have on the recipe
  • what the recipe text says
  • what they think the recipe is
My kiddos had so much fun with it! I got this resource from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts. This was such a great resource and I think my students really are starting to understand inferences in a fun and engaging way!

I projected the the recipes onto the screen and we worked together to make inferences about the recipe.
Then they worked on using their background knowledge and the recipe instructions to make an inference. Some were even drawing illustrations to help them with their inference!

My kiddos did such an amazing job with these inferences! I was so proud of everything they worked on.

The next day, they worked on writing an inference story about Busy Betsy! I projected an story on the screen of Busy Betsy cleaning and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Then, all of a sudden she smelt something and say black spots on her pie! After my students saw that short story about Busy Betsy, they had to finish the story and infer how Betsy felt and what would have happened next. I wish I had more time to do this because my kiddos were so creative with their responses! They had so much fun and loved sharing their inference stories. 

With CCSS right on my door step, there are days when I ask myself, "Can I do this?" My district doesn't have any CCSS "curriculum"yet and we are receiving extensive training and collaboration on how to unpack the standards. We also discuss how it implement CCSS into our classroom. Some days, it can be a lot to understand and handle. But other days, like last week, I felt like and told myself, "Yes! I can do this!" because my kiddos did such an amazing job on this inference activity. In addition to these Thanksgiving recipe inferences, we learned about the pilgrims and the May Flower. The made a map of the May Flower Voyage.

We had so much fun last week learning about the first Thanksgiving and inferences with Thanksgiving recipes. Last week just went so smoothly and I feel my students had fun learning about different ways we celebrate Thanksgiving and why. I just kicked some serious CCSS butt!! 

In addition to these various units I'm working on, I've also been working on reading journals for Open Court. I got the idea from Amanda Nickerson at One Extra Degree. It's worked pretty good so far. I'll do a post about it next week. I'm headed off to go see the new Hunger Games! I've been so excited to see this. Before I go, I wanted to share this picture I took yesterday of one of my students during read-to-self. I just couldn't resist :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! From my yours.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

First few weeks and Bloglovin

Just like all teachers around the country, we are all pooped right now! I was thrown off a little last week because if was only a 4 day week. But, I am ready and planned for next week! I am still trying to get a hang of the new curriculum that I am using. My district still uses Open Court and we don't have any new curriculum for the new CCSS. The district wants us to use the curriculum that we have and adapt it to the new CCSS. So, it has definitely been a process.

This week, we have been focusing on various metacognition lessons. We learned about schema and visualizing this week. My kiddos are loving it!! I'll show a post next week about the lessons, I haven't had a chance to take any pictures yet! :(

But, since I am still new to blogging, please follow me on Bloglovin!

I'm going to try and take some more pictures of my classroom. I apologize for me being MIA. I am still trying to get my classroom organized. Plus, we had Back to School Night! It has been a crazy couple of weeks.

I hope everyone is doing well with their first couple weeks of school!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently--ALREADY!?!

Is it really August already? Where has the summer gone?! I have done so much. I have moved to a new city, moved my classroom, and experienced a lot of family issues. I need a vacation from my vacation! But, I am ready to get set up in my new classroom. I haven't seen it yet, but I am very excited :)

I am linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the August Currently.

Now for my Back-to-School must haves:
1. My Macbook- I have worked hard this summer to get a lot of my files organized and ready for the new school year. Before, I had everything organized by unit that connected with my old curriculum. I also had files that were just not organized at all! It was a mess. Now, I have all of my files organized by skill and ready for my new grade level!

2. New Classroom Decor- Now that I am not only in a new classroom, but also in a new school, I wanted to change my classroom decor. So, I connected with Amanda from One Extra Degree and gave her an idea of what I liked. She went above and beyond with my new classroom decor!

3. WBT Videos- Over the last two years I have learned bits and pieces of Whole Brain Teaching. After the conference I went to in May, I connected with one of the WBT mentors and asked for help in launching WBT in my classroom. They directed me to their livestream. I started watching Coach B's videos on how to do WBT the first hour, first day, and first week of school. If you are interested in the WBT videos, go to this website:
I am also using their book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Students to help with my classroom management next year. If you want a copy of the book, go here.

Okay everyone, good luck with setting up your classrooms and getting ready for the new school year! I will be posting pictures next week of my classroom set-up. I have a long process because I have to move everything out of storage, move it to my classroom, unpack, and set up! It's going to be a busy couple of weeks. I hope I can squeeze in a little mini vacation. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School Goals

I am linking up with I {heart} Recess and sharing with everyone my back to school goals.

This year will be full of change. New grade level, new school, new home. Part of me is very nervous. But, another park of me is so incredibly excited for this new change in my life.

So, now for my goals this year...

Personal- Last year was a tough one. Many times, I would stress about it when I got home. Honestly, it was starting to affect my relationships. Towards the end of the year, I started leaving work at work, and spending quality time with the people I love and not stressing about work. My goal for this year is to continue doing that. I also really would like to work more to stay in shape. It my old house, I didn't have the time due to my long commute or the space. Now that I live about a mile from my school and have an amazing trail that is right behind my condo, I have no excuse!

Organization- Last year, I feel that I did a great job using multiple forms of assessment. However, I had all this data, but I feel like I didn't use it as well as I should have. This year, I want to collect data from my students and use it to help guide my small group and whole group instruction.

Planning- I really want to use more Common Core strategies in my instruction. I did it a lot last year with essential questions in my reading strategy groups. I would like to continue working on learning new Common Core strategies and find ways to integrate subjects. I did some last year with my Charlotte's Web unit. I want to keep learning and doing research on ways to integrate Common Core into my classroom.

Professional- My first year of teaching I started learning about Whole Brain Teaching. Last year, I went to my first conference and met Coach B! It has seriously changed how I teach my students. My goal is to continue learning more about WBT and use it to help my challenging students.

Students- Last year I did a horrible job giving my students their work back. I gave them their work back at least once or twice a month! I am so ashamed! This year, I really want to give them their work back on a more consistent basis. That is my goal and I sticking to it!

Motto- My motto for this year is that it is never too late. It's never too late to fix things that may have been broken. It's never to late to make changes in your life. It's never too late to say that you are sorry or to say I love you. I have learned over these last couple of months that it is never too late...for anything.

I am so excited to be going into my classroom next week. If you are following me on Instagram, I will be posting pictures of my progress. I will try to do a post before school starts of my new classroom!

Happy new school year everyone :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Classroom Organization

I am so excited to link up with Michelle from Fabulous in First do my first Sunday Smorgasborb!

I have been living with my parents for the last week and a half because the lease in my old house was up on July 1st and my new condo isn't ready until July 19th. So, that means back to the parents for two weeks! Anyway, this week I started my back-to-school shopping and started to get organized for next year. Since I am going to be in second grade next year, I want to change how I organize my classroom materials. Last year my kiddos had binders; however, I know that will NOT work for my little second graders.

Instead, I will have baskets with their work folders in them. I am so excited because I found them at the Dollar Store and they had many different colors to choose from!
For my kiddos next year, they will have baskets for Daily 5, Writer's Workshop, and possibly Math. I'm still trying to decide what other subjects I may need their baskets for. In those baskets, will go their work folders. I really wish I did this last year, especially for Daily 5 because many times my students did not finish their work and had the papers all over their desk! So, for next year, they will have a Daily 5 folder and a section for unfinished work, and another section for their response sheets.

Stephanie from Third Grade Thoughts has amazing accountability worksheets that I used last year. It really helped my kiddos stay focused during Daily 5.

I will also be using my baskets for students Writer's Workshop notebooks. I have been doing a lot of research this summer on Writer's Workshop. I've been reading Amanda Nickerson's Launching Writer's Workshop pack for some more ideas for craft lessons and organization. One of my goals this year is to improve my Writer's Workshop block.

Once I get into my new condo, I will be doing more posts of how I organize my materials and some creative ideas that I will be working on to get me ready for the new school year. We don't start until August 19th, so I still have a lot of time to get ready!

On a side note, I'm not sure if there are any Giants fans out there, but Tim Lincecum pitched a NO HITTER last night at their game with the Padres! I was with some friends at an Irish Pub for a girls night out, and while I was there,I was watching the game. Toward the end, the pub was going CRAZY for Lincecum's no hitter game! Let's go GIANTS!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Open Court Focus Wall Headers

The curriculum that my school currently uses is Open Court. During my student teaching, both schools used Open Court; so I have some experience. I started getting ready for next year by getting my focus wall ready. I created some focus wall headers. I was so proud of myself because this was the first time I created anything like this!

Focus Wall Header

An example of one of the unit headers. I have one for each unit.

In Open Court, they have a questions and concept board. This will be new to me, but I like the idea. One this board, it allows students to make connections and ask questions about the concept. I have done a bit of this with my third graders last year, but I'm really excited to do more of it this year! Here is an example of the headers I made for my question and concept board

This is what I have done so far. I don't have the teacher editions yet and I have not met with my team. But, I am excited about what I've done so far and letting my creative juices flow more during the summer. I want to do some more about writer's workshop, common core techniques, and organizational ideas.

Charlotte's Web...and some news

Each year towards the end, I always do a unit on Charlotte's Web. This is my favorite part of the year not only because it is really close to summer vacation, but I am able to do more creative and critical thinking activities with my kiddos. This year it was a little crazy because I was interviewing at other districts and missed several days. But, I still tried to make the best of it.
We started by doing some background knowledge on farms. I split them into groups and had them look at various pictures of farm animals. I didn't tell them what they are learning about, I just wanted them to look at some pictures and obtain some clues about what we were going to learn. Then, I asked students to share what they already knew about farms and recorded it on the anchor chart. Then, during our lessons, I had my kiddos jot down any new learning they we added it to our anchor chart.

Then, I had them use Amanda Nickerson's Jot Spot Activity to compare Wilbur and Charlotte. They really enjoyed this activity! It helped them understand what were their actions, feelings, and motivations. My kiddos had a difficult time understanding what motivation meant. We discussed, why is Charlotte doing what she does? Why is Wilbur doing what he does? What is motivating their actions. They then continued to do character reports on Charlotte and Wilbur.

We did several more activities about sequencing, spiders, and describing the setting. We examined how E.B. White used descriptive words to paint a picture in our minds what is going on in the story. We would go back and get specific evidence and phrases that E.B. White used. After we discussed the setting, I had my students draw a picture of what they visualized the farm to look like.

I love doing Charlotte's Web because you can incorporate so many different activities and lessons into this unit.

Now that the school year is over, I have some news to share. For the last two years, I have been teaching in San Jose. I have left San Jose and will be moving to the sunny area of Livermore! I am very excited. It is a great school and I cannot wait to start this new chapter. I currently have my whole life in boxes and in storage; but, I should be moved into my new place in the next couple of weeks. I cannot wait to get settled into my new condo and school, and let me creative juices flow! Not only am I changing districts, but I am also changing grade levels. I will be teaching second grade next year. I have already started some planning and my goal is to incorporate more common core strategies into my teaching!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What a Year...and a currently

When I started this blog, I wanted to share all of the wonderful ideas and lessons I try out in my classroom. That was the plan; however, happens.

I started doing a lot with my dance company. I started dancing 3 days a week and started doing tap again.
I'm the tapper in the pink sweater! This is my Golden Girls tap routine. It was hilarious!!

Also, in November, my commute went from 10 minutes, to over 30 minutes each way. By the time I got home...I was exhausted. In addition to moving, we also got an adorable puppy, Trigger. He is just a bundle of joy!

In addition to everything else, I had a death in my family. Around September, my Nana started to become very ill. She passed this past November. Here is a picture of my Nana, Papa, and me when I was just born.

But, within everything that happened this year, I also had some beautiful additions. Such as my wonderful niece, Emma Fay who is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen!

So, here is my currently for June!

I am going to try and do some posts about the different units and strategies I have been doing this year that are amazing. I've been trying to use some Common Core strategies that were very successful with my class.