Run, Run Rudolph

As you can tell, we have been busy, BUSY in second grade consumed by our reindeer activities. I have compiled all of the fun that we have been having into a holiday unit full of resources, crafts and projects. Run, Run Rudolph is a standards based  unit that encourages valuable learning experiences and brings in a whole lot of holiday cheer! As  many of us know, the holiday spirit in many of our students becomes a little…well…at times…crazy! (It is what it is…right?J) With this unit, you can bring out the best in that sweet spirit and keep students engaged and excited about learning. I hope that you and your students enjoy this little piece of Christmas spirit! And the best part??? It is on SALE until Friday. If you would like to check it out, you can swing by my TPT store.

That's all for tonight, friends! It's bedtime for this tired straight up EXHAUSTED teacher!

Long A Word Sort {2nd Grade Word Study}

Hi friends! It is short, sweet, and straight to the point tonight. My students needed a little review with long vowel letter combinations this week, so today we reviewed long a. I created this little word sort activity that correlates with my 2nd Grade Word Study Unit.If you would like a copy, you can click on any of the pictures below. Of course, it has to fall right in line with our reindeer theme this week. Hope you can put this to some use!

Don't forget, my TPT sale lasts through Friday at midnight. If you didn't have time to shop on Monday, all of my units are still 20% off. Keep your fingers crossed and I may even have a reindeer unit up before the end of the week! Hope you are having a fabulous week! Happy Teaching!

Reindeer Tracks...and a FREEBIE!

It is all things reindeer in our classroom this week. We are researching reindeer, writing fictional stories about reindeer, creating reindeer and even working to earn reindeer tracks (a.k.a. fake money) to buy our reindeer trail mix on Friday. Basically the more money they have, the better their selection of ingredients. At this point in the year, it is all about the incentive people! Am I right or am I right?!? ESPECIALLY since our MAP testing begins on Monday. Cross your fingers!!!!

I can't actually believe that we accomplished so much today, but I told my kids before the break to come back with their workout gear on when they returned because we were going to be WORKING. IT. OUT. for three weeks! Boy were they ready! Maybe it was the excitement about research, maybe the incentive, maybe the five days off...don't know and don't care....they were just pure awesome today!  

We began by adding a few finishing touches to our multiplication unit before our big test. Today, the students created an array journal. Check. Them. Out!

If you have any need for an array journal you can pick up a copy by clicking on the picture below.

During our shared reading time, we began our study of reindeer. We completed the first two steps of our RAN strategy. We also watched some pretty cool videos on National Geographic Kids.

After we were all excited about reindeer, we read about some of our favorite reindeer in a cute little story called Santa's New Jet. The students then created a "Wanted" Ad for the North Pole Weekly! In the story, all of Santa's reindeer are completely out of shape. A little too much Thanksgiving perhaps! Ahhh....I feel their pain! Ha!
And of course we had to do a little craftivity! Especially since it was pouring...and I MEAN pouring outside! Best time for crafts.
I am so loving this time of year! Well...there is still a few more hours left in this Cyber Monday for all of you crazy shoppers! I hope that you all had a fabulous Monday!

Just in Time for Cyber Monday!!!!!!

Hi, Hi, Hi Friends! feels like for-EVA ago that I was here! Basically, about 2,000 miles {in a car...Yes...I feel like an old lady with some SERIOUS back issues...did I hear a sigh?}, 4 hotels, 5 family dinners, and what feels like 10 pounds later, I am back and ready for action! Honestly y'all, I seriously thought that I would never make it BUT it was so great to see our family and celebrate the holidays together! Now...I have t-minus 12 hours to prepare for tomorrow, unpack, clean, sleep and post a few units! Ay...yi...YI!!!!

So, SO sad that I have not had the time or internet connection (HA!) to post all of our fun Thanksgiving activities. It was quite the week between turkey creations, tie-dye shirts, Indian craftivities and so much more! Next year I will have to be in the loop a little earlier!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed me by, I am in the mindset of Christmas 100% of the time. So, since holiday parties are just around the corner {My gym and I are about to become BFF's maybe even twice a day}, I thought I would throw a little party of my own over at my TPT store.

This sale is JUST IN TIME for two brand new units: 

This unit now includes an additional mini-unit to be used with Money Sticks.
For additional information on my math centers, you can look HERE!

This is a perfect unit if you are currently diving into a study of nonfiction.
For more information on this unit, you can check out a post HERE!

You can check out both of these units on my TPT store!

That's all for now friends! I will be back this week with all things reindeer! Can't wait! I hope that you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and are all ready for the crazy whirlwind before Christmas break! Happy Sunday!

Coming Soon....My Road Trip Through Nonfiction

I have had SO many sweet emails and comments about my nonfiction post from several days back. After this crazy week, it feels like I posted that WEEKS ago. Seriously, I keep week! One week! One week! These little cutie pies of mine are CAH-RAZY ready for Thanksgiving break. Thank goodness I have TONS of hands on learning already in the works for this week. Especially for Friday since I am MOST DEFINITELY staying up for the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn on Thursday Night into the wee hours of Friday morning. Come on...I know there are some die-hard Twilight fans out there in teacher world!!!!  However, I WILL NOT be one of "those people" dressing up in costume...just sayin'!

Back to nonfiction! Along with all of those oh too sweet comments, I received lots of emails asking about my little notebook that I created for my kiddos. You know...the "My Road Trip Through Nonfiction" notebook. If you are so lost...scroll down a few posts to see just what I mean. :0) 

Just for all of you, I have been hard at work putting together a little unit. It should be ready by mid-week. Who knows...I may just become super motivated and finish it ALL tonight! Either way, I wanted to let you know that it is in the works! So...stay tuned!

Happy Beautiful Sunday Dear Friends!!!!

Keeping It Light and Fluffy! {Marshmallow Multiplication}

Alright...has anyone else had one of "those" weeks! You know...the ones that haunt you and give you nightmares for weeks on end!  Well...maybe it hasn't been THAT bad but I honestly never believed in the theory of THE "full moon" until I became a teacher! The little darlings have been a tad on the crazy side this week. So during this "time of the month" {hey...we all have them right???} that they feel their hands always have to be moving and their lips just tend to follow, I find every way imaginable to put those hands and mouths to good use. Needless to say...just about everything on my lesson plans have been revised...and revised...and revised! Where is that little poster about pretending that it is on the lesson plan again??? {Riiiiggghhhtt! wink! wink!}

Thanks to the world of blogging, I did a little borrowing to create a fun activity to get my kids all into multiplication {as if they needed motivation...they have been begging and dreaming about this day...I SWEAR!} Abby over at "THE" Inspired Apple used this same concept to teach place value. It worked PER.FECT for multiplication as well! Thanks Abby for all of your awesomeness!

Here is how my little marshmallow multiplication lesson went down:

I introduced the concept of multiplication using a Brainpop Jr. video with the all too famous Annie and Moby. After the initial introduction, we used marshmallows and fruit loops to show how we can use repeated addition to solve multiplication problems. For each problem, the students used marshmallows to show the number of groups and fruit loops to show the number of objects in each group.

My little crazies sweeties at work! They truly are the most amazing students ever...even on weeks where they are a little off their rockers!

This is short and sweet tonight. Friday is so calling my name!!!

A BIG TGI {Almost....almost...almost...}F!!!!!!!!

P.S. If something doesn't make sense or you see a trillion spelling errors...I am so blaming it ON THE KIDS!!!!! Ha!

We're All JACKED UP on Nonfiction!!!!

Sorry for the is the best I could do! I must also apologize if all of the crazy "lines" from Talladega Nights are running through your mind right now. {Seriously...I am sorry!} I am SO NOT a Will Ferrell fan, HOWEVER and this is a BIG husband makes  asks politely for me to watch all of these crazy movies with him. For some reason that funny Ferrell just makes my skin crawl! Geezee...OK onto bigger and better things! I am convinced that I am going to make up for lost time all in one post! Hold on may be a little bumpy in some areas. AND I may or may not have 20 plus photos in this post. {Don't Judge!} :)  OK...before you begin praying to 8 pound 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus {Sorry...I had to...if you haven't seen the movie...Don't! Ha!} let's move along!

It has been all things nonfiction in my classroom for the past few weeks. Seriously we have been eating, drinking, breathing and sleeping nonfiction in the classroom but we have had a ball learning and researching. Here are a few activities that have kept us busy! 

We began with a little introduction anchor chart thanks to the GREAT Abby over at The Inspired Apple. The students came up with examples of nonfiction materials. I was really impressed when they offered up the suggestion of religion and discoveries! Wow!

We just recently finished up our study on narrative elements, so we moved on to a little higher level thinking activity where we compared and contrasted the two types of text using a Venn Diagram.

Throughout our study, we have really taken a deep look into what "good readers" do before, during and after reading nonfiction. This anchor chart was put together piece by piece throughout the unit and was completely created with the student's ideas. They are really becoming "nonfiction pros"! 

Next Up...Our Road Trip Through Nonfiction Text Features
Each day, I have introduced a new feature to the students. Some have been review and others have been completely new. By the end of our four week study, we will have visited 28 text features. When we learn about a new feature on our trip, we collect a license plate and display  it on our "Road Trip Collection Wall".  {I don't have a picture of this but here is what our little license plates look like...}

After introducing a new feature, the students dive straight into a text to locate and label the text feature discussed. We use sticky notes to identify and label. 
Once the students label the feature, I have some wonderful volunteers make copies of each child's feature that they have located in their book. This particular picture shows the student gluing in their picture in which they have identified and labeled the title of a nonfiction text.

We add a little definition for the feature and now the students have their very own little resource of nonfiction text features. I love using authentic resources to locate these parts so the students actually identify with their reading material. The students have completed this same routine for all parts of our nonfiction notebook. It requires a little extra work on the teachers part but the hard work has paid off. The students truly have their features discussed thus far down pat and use them to deepen their understanding and knowledge of the content in our books. We have just a few more to go! 

If you need to a new way to help you introduce all things nonfiction, you can check the unit out by clicking {HERE}. 

In addition to our study of nonfiction features, we have shared in deep conversation and learning about how we read nonfiction. One strategy that I L.O.V.E. is a little strategy I learned in my graduate program. I believe it is called the "Ran" strategy but I am not certain of the exact name. All I know is that it is the BOMB strategy for nonfiction. I will try to do a separate post about this strategy this week. This strategy allows students to activate prior knowledge but it doesn't just stop there. The students must then confirm their prior knowledge or identify it as a misconception. Talk about higher level thinking! While reading, they then identify new learning and inquire about future learning. KWL what??? I am telling you, for the upper grades this little strategy is where it is AT!!!

The students adore this strategy and can't wait to confirm their prior knowledge. Secretively...I think they like the misconceptions too! It becomes a little game! :) If you are interested in this strategy, you can click on the picture below for a few printables. 

After activating prior knowledge, the students began their research on spiders. They created a bubble map to identify their new learning and the main idea of their text.
Click on the picture below for the Spider Facts bubble map.

Once we had identified new learning, we learned about talking back to our book. The kids just thought this was too much! After identifying a fact, {a.k.a. new learning} the students "talked back" to their book with a response. Some students kept it simple with a " didn't know that." AND then you have those students who are all about connections with the "Spiders are just like vampires!"  The students then turned their new learning back into a question. For example, if a student learned that spiders have eight legs, they may respond with a questions such as "Is a spider an insect since it does not have six legs?" This little concept of "talking back" to your book was a H.I.T.!!! It has been hysterical in reading groups to hear students thinking about their learning and responding to the text! BLISS!
Click on the picture below for our response chart.

We used our Weekly Reader Magazine which just so happened to be about bones {perfect for Halloween} to research facts. The students turned their main idea and details into a paragraph written to inform. {We even threw in a little author's purpose review!} The students created a fun little art project to display with their writings.

Here are a few examples: 

Then...thanks to Pinterest...we had to make a human skeleton.

So some of our bones didn't quite connect and we had to understand that our model bones were made based on the "average size" student! The students still fully understood where bones were located, what they were called and their purpose for our body. We also added labels to fit right in with our nonfiction unit.
{Poor little guy!} :)

And finally, one of my favorite projects...our pumpkin globes. We are beginning to study geography in social studies so we created pumpkin globes! Oh.My.Word!!! So much FUN! We identified and LABELED {yes...yes..see it works with nonfiction elements} each continent, ocean and the equator. We also identified the northern and southern hemispheres. This was another activity that I will totally stash away for next year!

Alright friends! I told you that I had WAY too much to catch you up on! I hope that you all had a productive Monday!

Happy Teaching Friends!!!