Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vocabulary, Social Studies, and Catching up...

WOW! How long as it been since I posted on here? Like, weeks right?! It has been crazy over here on my side of the world.  I feel like I haven't been able to get anything done, just starting things here and there.  Ever feel that way?  Being a new teacher, I'm finding it hard to have the time to do anything that I enjoy.. *cough cough* Blogging!  I have SO much to do, it's insane (but who doesn't have so much to do, I mean we are teachers.. our to do list is growing at a rate twice as fast as we can cross things off). Between being on the district ELA committee, and School-based Common Core planning team, participating in a university study, Incredible years, and my Beginning teacher requirements (yes this include reading assignments where we actually have to respond on Moodle through a Moodle Course, as if Beginning teachers don't already have enough to do).. I'm feeling VERY behind.  

On to the classroom!  We have been having a lot of fun in second grade.  I didn't think I would like second grade so much, but I'm really enjoying it... Even my kids who drive me BONKERS!!  Last week, we were finishing up realistic fiction writing and a majority of my kids were finished.  I had a few students come up to me and ask if they could work in a group to write a story together.  I pondered for a minute, fearing the arguments I would have to break up and disagreements I would have to help solve, but decided to let them have the option of writing a story in a group, or by themselves.  Well- let me tell you.. they were doing a FABULOUS job working in their writing groups.  Groups were working collaboratively to decide on what the story would be about, and how to fill the details.  On Thursday, as I looked around the room while I was helping one of my kiddos finish his story, I saw one group of 3 quietly acting out their story so they didn't miss any details...and another using book they've read to search diligently for the best descriptive words to add to their stories.  It just made me smile from ear to ear!! 

In social studies, we just finished up learning about Government and U.S. Symbols.  For this project, I decided to put my kiddos into groups of 3 to "research" and put together a poster and presentation on 1 U.S. Symbol.  These came out so unbelievably wonderful, I was so happy with what they came up with.  Basically, what I did for this was decide on which U.S. symbols I wanted them to really learn about- I decided on the Statue of Liberty, The Bald Eagle, The Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Mount Rushmore, and the Liberty Bell.  I printed out kid friendly pages off of the internet that they could use for their project, and got books from the library on each symbol.. I also looked up some videos on BrainPopJr, discovery education, and you tube.  Then I made question sheets for things they needed to include in their presentation.  I was fearful of going this because a lot of my kids don't seem to get along very much and tend to argue, but they worked SO WELL together!  One of my groups created "Group Norms" that included "Don't be annoying, work together, share the work".  It was so cute and I was so proud that they have learned to create expectations amongst themselves and it doesn't have to be whole class.  After our project was done, they even asked if we could do something that like again!! I love it!

So I'll post again tomorrow to let you know all the cool things we're doing in Reading Workshop.  We just started Non-fiction and my kids are enjoying everything they are learning.  I love to see them excited about what we are doing.  But to end this post... I just finished typing the posters up for my Vocabulary Word a Day last night.  There are 144 Words, for 36 weeks of instruction (introducing 4 words a week with a review day on Friday).  These come from Evan-Moor's a Word a Day for grade 2.  The book includes a review sheet and quick assessment for each set of 4 words.  If you're interested in those, I would definitely suggest buying it.  You can buy a new one from amazon for around $12.00.  So each day, Monday-Thursday during morning meeting, I introduce one new Vocabulary Word.  As a class, we think about synonyms and antonyms of the word, act it out if we can and then I give them the word in a sentence.  Last, I ask them to think of their own sentence and then I ask them to tell their sentence to their neighbor.  I can tell just from 4 words of implementing this in our room that my kiddos vocabulary is building, and it is also building on their comprehension.  Click the link on the picture below to head over to my TPT store and purchase this vocabulary pack good for the whole school year!  If you would like a colored border, please just let me know and I'll do my best to get it to you asap. Since I can't print in color at school, I tend to make things black and white and print on colored paper.  For these, I have them printed on Green/Blue/Pink alternating colors and the words are displayed over my smartboard :)

Ok Here it is...

Alright- so since we have tomorrow of, I should be able to update you guys on all of our Non-Fiction Fun!!  My kids have loved what we are doing and I'm sure you're would love it to.  Hopefully I'll be posting a freebie tomorrow too, so make sure to stop by tomorrow night and check in!

Happy Birthday to Me on Tuesday!! Halfway to 50, ah that's scary.

TTFN Y'all! :)

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