Sunday, 16 November 2014

Monster Mail

Hello Friends,
I'm back with some news from the monster who lives under the bed! 
Yes, you read right! We received mail from a MONSTER! 

One of the components of our second grade program is letter writing. 
Well, in our class, we don't write just any old letter. We write MONTER MAIL!


We read a great message from a monster and decided that we could be monsters too! 
We wrote a class letter to our PRINCIPAL! Which the students insisted on "mailing" to her. 


I used the highlight feature on the Smartboard to highlight the important components of a letter. This helped my kiddies when writing their own monster mail. 

We decided to describe the monster, write about what he/she likes, 
and add a little silly sentence at the end. 

The students used these spelling helpers to help them with their writing. 


The letters turned out GREAT! We even MADE monsters!


They are "hanging" out with our friends Arnold and Toby!


It was such a great way to practice letter writing AND review descriptive writing. 
We had tons of fun!

You can check out my Monster Mail Craftivity pack right over HERE!



Until next time...

Friday, 14 November 2014

Five for Friday

Hey Everyone,
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for some Five for Friday Fun!


1. Usher

Seriously, the dude is such a hottie! I'm a sucker for boys with charm and absolutely love a great dancer! Usher is the full package!!!!!


2. Girls Getaway

I love my friends. They are the best. They are funny, smart, beautiful, kind and apparently can handle being friends with crazy ol' me. That's always a bonus! We were feeling a little tired and stressed and decided we needed some time away. We went up north for a weekend and loved every minute of it.


Now I'm a bonafide city girl, but I do love me some quiet time in the peaceful woods and that's what we got. I love that I live in the city, but the country is only a short drive away. 


3. Christmas Spirit

I know many of you cringe at the fact that Christmas music is already playing in stores and that Santa has made his way from the North Pole since early October, but I can't get enough of it! Yes, I'm one of those people who LOVES Christmas and who watches holiday movies in July. It's happened... 

I've already watched my first Christmas movie of the season and I'm NOT ashamed to say it! 


4. Primary Powers

I am so proud and honored to be a part of this amazing collaborative blog! It's chalk filled with awesome bloggers and great posts. We just launched the blog a few short weeks ago and it's sooooo much fun. I especially love the superhero theme. 
Us teachers are in fact superheroes and everyone should know it!!




5. Thanksgiving Craftivities

Thanksgiving is in October in Canada, but I'm thankful all year long! I'm thankful for my family and friends, for my health, for my amazing students and so much more. Last month, we wrote some great stories about Turkeys in Disguise and we also wrote about what we are thankful for. 


Click on the pictures to check out my Thanksgiving Craftivities! 





Thanks for stopping by and be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Until next time...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Gobble, Gobble

Hello Sweet Friends,
Well, here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Our Turkeys are now tucked away in our writing portfolios and we are in full Fairy Tale mode in our classroom, but I thought I'd share some of our Thanksgiving fun with all of you today. 

I am so thankful for my amazing cyber buddies! So thankful that I am sharing my Thanksgiving word wall with all of you!!!


I used it to help my students write some great TURKEY stories! 
We had lots of fun making our Belly Stuffed with Stories Crafts and wrote some great things about Thanksgiving.


I love, love, love that they are thankful for their school. I tell ya, these kiddies love to learn and everything is well appreciated and received by them. Such a great bunch! They also think very highly of our staff, as they are thankful for the cleanliness of our building AND the excellent educators! 
They crack me up everyday!


Our display was a big hit! Their stories are tucked inside the turkey bellies! So much fun!


The kiddies loooooooved the giant turkey. They kept saying that she was the mommy and their turkeys were the babies. It was precious. A little firstie from across the hall had me in stitches when he asked me HOW MUCH GLUE it took to make the giant turkey! It was pretty stinken cute! 


This was such a fun activity. I also completed my Turkeys in Disguise Craftivity with my other group. The kiddies came up with ways to disguise the turkeys so that they wouldn't be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner! They are such a creative bunch!


You can check out my Belly Stuffed with Stories Craftivity right HERE!



You can grab my Turkeys in Disguise Craftivity right over HERE!



You can grab a free copy of my Thanksgiving Word Wall right over HERE!

What are you all thankful for this year?
Until next time...

Monday, 10 November 2014

Writer's Workshop Tools

Happy Monday Everyone!
I have to say, November is a busy month in our school. Lots of meetings with parents, evaluations, assessments, reports, planning, correcting, preparing... The list goes on, and on, and on, and on...

Our cycle just met with the Literacy Consultants from our school board and discussed ways to improve reading and writing in our classrooms. I'm pumped because we have put a plan in place that is sure to help our kiddies improve and succeed! 

Increasing Guided Reading & Writer's Workshop periods is part of the plan of action. 

Sooooo, I thought I'd share some of my Writer's Workshop strategies with all of you! 


The most important component in Writer's Workshop is that we need to MODEL and TEACH writing in EVERY grade. ALL students need Writer's Workshop. The teacher must model the writing first and guide them throughout the writing process. 

Students also need visuals and tools to help perfect their writing.
 Class stories, spelling helpers, word walls, and anchor charts are a MUST! 
We need to provide them with the necessary tools to write great stories. 


A typical Writer's Workshop session takes about 3-4 hours in my second grade classroom. These are not consecutive hours and include the completion of a craft or art component, 
as well as the sharing process. 

Here is what a Writer's Workshop session looks like in my classroom. This is what works in MY classroom. You may wish to tweak or change certain aspects. 

The modelling and writing tools is an aspect that should be seen in all classrooms. 

READ ALOUD (15-20 minutes)

I always begin writer's workshop with a read aloud. I love to read stories to my students and they love to listen to stories. Works out well for us! During the reading, I ask questions about meaning, connections, structures and features. I also look at rhyming words, punctuation, and theme words. This is an important step because the story engages the students in the writing topic. It is also important because the teacher models good reading during this time. It is important for students to listen to GOOD reading. This helps them become better readers. 

Choose interesting books, ones that you love. It is always best that the books be shorter rather than longer and have great pictures and text. Make it a valuable lesson.

THEME WORDS (5 minutes)

My writer's workshop periods are in the morning so I usually send the kiddies back to their seat to have snack during this step. I ask the students to recall some of the theme words we pointed out during the read aloud. Usually, these words can also be found on our Theme Word Wall. I ask the students to come up and point these words out and then go over the other vocabulary on the word wall. 



CLASS STORY (15-20 minutes)

This is an integral part of Writer's Workshop. This is when you are going to teach students to become better writers. As a class, you will write a short story about the topic at hand. You will model appropriate spacing, printing, punctuation, sentence structure etc... It all happens during this stage. 
IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF WRITER'S WORKSHOP!


Teach students about hooking the reader, about a closing sentence. Add structures and features to your class story. I like to have them all sign it as we are all authors of this story. Most importantly display it in class while the students write their own story. They will refer back to it. It is a tool. 

STUDENT STORIES & EDITING (60 minutes)

This is the part where students need guiding. We usually do about 20 minutes and then continue Writer's Workshop the next day. I like to have them start their stories because they are filled with ideas from the read aloud and class story. 

This is where the writing tools come into play. The teacher serves as a guide to help students write. Even my struggling students write their own stories. I do not spell words or scribe for anyone. Struggling students write 2 or 3 sentences. They sound out the words and use the tools available to them. I sit with them and GUIDE them. 

Some TOOLS include:

CLASS WORD WALL
(this word wall is magnetic and includes frequently used words)


SPELLING HELPERS & THEME BOOKS
(students can find specific words in storybooks)


THE CLASS STORY & THEME WORD WALL


MY MUST HAVES INCLUDE THESE AMAZING FREEBIES 
from my bestie Leslie over at First Grade Frenzy
She is a literacy QUEEN and has taught me almost everything I know!!!

 



I use these for just about everything in my class. Writer's Workshop, Guided Reading, Volunteer Basket, and I even send them home! These are gems I tell ya!

Grab them for your classroom right over HERE!

These are all the tools I use to help students WRITE their stories as well as EDIT. At this point in second grade, I have students read their stories to me and I ask them to correct punctuation errors, and any spelling mistakes that can be found on the word walls, class story, or spelling helpers. Again, the struggling writers sit with me while I GUIDE them through the process. 

PUBLISHING & SHARING (60 minutes)

I ask my second graders to write a good copy of their story and create a craft. Students then share their stories with their peers (sometimes in small groups, other times to the entire class). I also display their work. This is important because the students feel proud and accomplished when they see their hard work displayed. It also motivates them to do their very best. 


Writer's Workshop is my FAVORITE thing to do! I try to fit it in twice in a six day cycle. I suggest doing it once a cycle at the beginning (as it will take much longer to complete at first) and then move on to two times. I also recommend that you complete the individual writing stage when you have assistance in your classroom, as students will be very needy at first. 

The first few times are difficult and stressful (I think I actually saw a few grays in my hair), but students get the hang of it and become far more independent. It is a wonderful practice and really helps students grow as readers and writers. 

Let me know how Writer's Workshop is going in your classrooms!
Until next time...

Friday, 24 October 2014

Five for Friday

Hey Everyone,
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for some Five for Friday Fun!


1. Gilmore Girls

Mmmm... Is there some kind of group I can join? It seems like every year around this time, I find myself re-watching the entire series of Gilmore Girls. Why, you ask? Beats me! I just love those two girls (mostly because I am just as nuts as they are AND I love to eat just as much as they do). 
I also love that small town and the fact that it seems like it's always Fall on that show! 

Did I mention the eating?! HeHe! And... The constant babbling...
The show was made with me in mind. That is all...



2. The Wand

Ok... My friends and I are obsessed with the curling wand. It is the first time in, well, EVER that I can create waves and curls myself. AND... It actually looks good!!!! It's incredible and get's incredibly hot but I love, love, love how pretty it makes me! Hehe! 

There was a little mishap, back in September, when one second grade teacher may or may not have burned her cheek! Oh, boy! Thankfully it healed and all is good!



3. Overworked and Overtired

So we all know we are super passionate about our jobs and devote hours, upon hours, for our kiddies. I love every minute spent creating and planning to make sure my kiddies have a fantastic day EVERYDAY. 

I also love sleep. 

And lately, there has been more of the working than the sleeping and it's catching up to me! 
Good thing I am off to a cottage this weekend to relax and spend time with some fabulous people (equally as Lorelei and Rory "like" as me)! 

That was a little side note for my Gilmore Girls loving friends ;)


4. BB Committee

I think I have mentioned a few times that I am a founding member and second half of our school's Bulletin Board Committee. We go by BB Committee because we're cool like that. 

We had made a beautiful, bright, green tree for our front entrance and now it has welcomed Fall.



5. Halloween Centers

We just wrapped this up this week and we had soooooo much fun!
Click HERE for a blog post about how I organized these centers in my classroom.

You can check out my Haunted Halloween Literacy Centers right over HERE!


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Until next time...