Monday, October 14, 2013

Nocturnal Animal Fun!

For the past 2 weeks we did a study of nocturnal animals! Here are some of our pics:

 When the kids got to school on Monday this was the door they approached. Not only did they have a simple, but fun door, but the lights were out and the kids were only allowed to use flashlights to learn!

We started the unit out with a cute and quick, "Do you think bats are cute or creepy" graph. As you can see, my class said CREEPY!
After reading aloud a book about bats for a mini lesson, the kids were able to add index cards to our bat tree map during their independent reading workshop time. While the kids were reading and adding to the chart, I was pulling guided reading groups.
Throughout the week, we kept "bat words" on this chart. These were interesting bat vocabulary that we thought we needed to know. Examples are: echolocation, colony, mammal...
We created these cute bats and hung them around our graph. Each wing has a bat fact in a complete sentence.
We incorporated fiction and nonfiction into this unit as well by reading the book, "Stellaluna". The kids got in pairs and created a venn diagram comparing birds and bats. Then they created these cute bat puppets with beginning, middle and end cards on them.
In the second week of nocturnal animals, we shifted gears to owls! It was soooooo much fun! We created an owl tree map, an owl shaped vocabulary book (forgot to take picture), used ipads to research owls, made owl pic collages and owl nonfiction books. We had so much owl fun I completely forgot to take very many pictures! Boo!
This is a predator/prey word sort we worked on.
On Friday we invited parents into our room to help us dissect owl pellets. It was amazing!

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Currently and Mad Science Fun!

Loving: My favorite palomino Viv is back and ready to ride! It's been a long 5 months of rest, but I'm so happy she is sound!

Thinking: I have been so busy with life and work that I have ignored my blog... boo!
Wanting: My really fun team and I have plans for a prank... if you are at my school watch out!
Needing: a new computer! I love my macbook, but it might be time for a newer version.
Trick or Treat: Treat! Grab a Bats vs Owls Venn diagram here!
Don't forget to link up with Farley to check out the others!

Mad Science Fun!
One of my favorite themes in the school year is mad science!  It's a great way to teach the states of matter in a fun way. 

We will learn the 3 states of matter with a mad science flair! The kiddos will take part in many different science experiments to study the different matter. We will make oobleck, ice cream and explode a coke! This is a fan favorite from my kids every year!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Roller Coaster Unit is in the Books...

After 3 weeks of hard work, our roller coaster learning unit is complete! If you LOVE thematic teaching as much as I do, you have to try this out. We used the theme of roller coasters to teach the scientific concept of speed, direction and motion of an object. In Georgia, our second graders must learn about the changes of speed on an object. Since this was our first science unit this year, I decided to use this opportunity to teach the features of nonfiction text as well. These are the features we learned:

The nonfiction features were taught daily during our reader's workshop minilesson. The kids then went to independent reading time and guided reading groups. In guided reading groups we read nonfiction books to practice the skills of using our nonfiction text features. 

To integrate the knowledge of roller coasters into our vocabulary instruction, the kids used pic collage to create posters that explained the meaning of our roller coaster science words. If you are interested in how you can use pic collage to integrate vocab instruction, click to read another blog post here.

Here are the science words we learned in this unit:

Each day we would learn a new science word and complete a science/math experiment to make meaning of the words. The math skill of measurement was used greatly during this unit. 
After learning all about roller coasters and nonfiction text features the kids created a nonfiction book all about roller coasters. The books were published and binded for our roller coaster presentations to our parents. 
On the last day of the unit, our parents came in to see our "roller coasters". We used insulation piping, tape and marbles to create roller coasters in groups of 2 kids. The students were required to use what they have learned to make a coaster that had enough speed and momentum to make 1 loop without the marble falling off. The nonfiction books were sitting out for parents to see and our pic collage vocabulary creations were on a slide show on the smartboard. To top it all off, I borrowed a cotton candy maker to really give off the Amusement Park feel! The Coaster unit was a huge success!

If you are interested in using this thematic unit, you can check it out here!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Teaching Nonfiction Text Features

As many of us know, nonfiction reading has become a significant part of the primary classroom. Students must learn to navigate through the features of nonfiction text to learn to comprehend their reading as well as broaden vocabulary and background knowledge about our world.

Using anchor charts and text features posters, I will tackle a new feature of nonfiction each day in my classroom. Here are a few examples of those posters:

Students will be given opportunities to read nonfiction text during reading workshop, but to ensure their understanding of the features of nonfiction, I will meet with each of them in guided reading groups based on their instructional reading level daily. 

To end the unit on nonfiction text features the children will create their very own nonfiction books using the features that were taught in the nonfiction unit. Since I choose to teach thematically, the students will make a nonfiction book all about roller coasters. 

I will post about our roller coaster unit this week, but in the meantime, if you are interested in a thematic unit that teaches nonfiction text features as well as the science standards of push/pull, then check out this unit: Coasting Through Nonfiction Text Features!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's Giveaway Time!

Enter to Win a $25 Teacher's Pay Teachers Gift Certificate! All you have to do is like my FB page and follow my blog! Good Luck! I know there are so many things I could buy on TPT with 25 bucks!
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Deepening Vocabulary Understanding with PicCollage

According to Marzano's research, teaching vocabulary in context and using picture representations deepens understanding. Pair that with using a 21st Century Skill and you have a powerful learning tool! 

This week we will use the FREE app (yes... free!) called pic collage. 
With this app, you can download pictures from the Internet or use your own pictures to create a collage. Since my class is learning about push/pulls through the theme of roller coasters, their job will be to use a roller coaster picture to explain the meaning of one of our 6 vocabulary words. 
The most important part of this activity is that the kids generate their own meaning for the word. Simply copying from the teacher or dictionary does not show understanding, it shows great copying skills! The student's meaning should come from their own lives and experiences. That is why the pic collage will take place after all the activities for each word. 
For this particular activity, my students will make a gravity circle map, read a gravity book, and do a gravity experiment before creating their gravity pic collage.
If you are interested in an integrated learning unit that teaches nonfiction text features, writing informational and the physical science push/pulls standards, check it out here:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I was featured on "New Teacher Tuesday"!

I'm soooooo excited to announce that I was featured on new teacher Tuesday! Click the picture to check out the link!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September!

I'm linking up with Farley at "Oh Boy Fourth Grade" for this months CURRENTLY! 

I'm excited to have taken in part in my very first "Currently"! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Movie Premier Success!

Today was our class movie premier to end our Hollywood thematic unit. We had an absolute blast! 

Our "stars" walked down the star walk of fame before entering the "theatre"!
They were happy to see the popcorn popped by the machine!
After watching our class created movies, we presented the actors and actresses with "Oscars"!
You can really see how much fun we had by the aftermath! Haha!
Our Hollywood themed unit was so much fun... I can't wait until next year to try it again!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Using Haiku Deck to Take a Virtual Field Trip!

Tonight I was so excited to explore an amazing ipad app called Haiku Deck. I've been seeing it around for a few weeks, but I'm not going to lie, the name kinda threw me off. I had no idea how AMAZING it was going to be. Just this evening I quickly put together a little slide show to "explore" Hollywood through pictures. I loved the simplicity and ease of the app, but I really love the fact that I can quickly make a slideshow and not run into the chances of innapropriate pictures popping up on the internet/smartboard. If you would like to check out my Hollywood slide show, just click on the picture below:

Another really cool feature is that you can take your own pictures to add to the slideshow. I'm thinking my next Haiku Deck project will include student work! Have fun with your new app... It's really making our Hollywood Unit that much better!