Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Disaster Areas, all about books, moments to remember, and a freebie!

Yep! Lots to talk about today! See, my computer went NUTS over the weekend.  We have something called "Z Scaler" on the computers school gave us for protections and I have never had a problem with using it at home [and my personal computer died].  Of course, this weekend I went to look up some things to help me plan blog stalk, and it refused to let me get on the internet! Rawr! To make a long story short, it's working now and now it's time to catch up! :)

If you haven't already check out the Clutter Free Classroom challenge this year, Check it out by clicking on the picture below!  As a first year teacher, this is going to be perfect for me to get things all ready and organized for next year!  

I posted my not so bad pictures last week.. you can check them out {here}

Here are my more embarrassing, I'm in need of some organization pictures...

Well, there are my embarrassing pictures.  Hopefully by the end of the year, we will be able to see a transformation   Join the challenge too!

Getting tired? Hang in there, it'll be worth it... I hope!

All About Books

Last week, we started working on writing All About Books!  The kids are l.o.v.i.n.g it! So am I!  I especially love to see the ones who think out of the box and think of things that you wouldn't expect.  Or even to hear how much they know about something that you didn't even know they enjoyed!

These we're our lessons for the beginning of this unit (This one includes LOTS of planning!!)

Lesson 1: Writer's can think about something they know all about.  We brainstormed the things that we know a whole lot about.  Things that we could really talk about in a book.  We also talked about really making sure it's something you know all about and like!  For example: I really love giraffes, but I don't know a lot about them so I couldn't tell that much about them, but I do know a lot about my dog Kole, playing field hockey, and Teaching! so I could definitely write an All About book about any of those.

Lesson 2: Writer's plan their All About book by planning their chapters and thinking, "Do I know enough about this topic?"
For this lesson, we talked about what the main ideas that we wanted to include in our book were.  We decided as a class to write All About HES, our school!  We are going to make lots of copies to hand to all the families who will be going on Kindergarten tours! So we decided that we needed to include chapters about: Finding HES, School Mascot, Who can go to HES, Who are the principal and vice principal, The School Song, Why you should come to HES.  We knew lots more!! But decided that these were the most important things.  I think I'm actually missing one chapter too.  Then they went off on their own to see if they knew enough about the topic they chose.

Lesson 3: Writer's plan their chapters to think about what they need to include in each chapter.
For this lesson, we took of our chapters, "Finding HES" and thought about what we would need to include in the chapter. We decided we would want to make sure we included: our city & state, the street that it is on, and that there is a school over on the next block so to be careful.  We also decided it would be a good idea to tell them about our Red, Blue, and White sign out front, and the banners on the building to help them know when they are in the right spot.

Lesson 4: Writer's use their plans to write their chapters.
Here's where we get into the fun!  We talked about how great writer's always have their plan next to them when they are writing so they can be sure they don't forget anything.  This was our lesson today. We planned another chapter first, "Our Mascot." Then we used our plan to get writing!  We talked about how now, our information is going to be organized and in complete detailed sentences.  Lots of modeling helps, of course! :)  Then, we talked about what we've noticed when we are reading non fiction.  It looks a lot different than fiction with diagrams, labels, photos, etc.  I told them that if they had an idea for a way they wanted a page to look that they could draw it out for me, and I could print a page like that.  You could just have them cut/paste paper in there to make it a little easier.  I'm just nuts.  Next year, I'll probably have them do the cut & paste thing.

I am SO happy with the way these books are coming out.  I think this is probably the best writing we've done so far this year! We've had a few bumps and tiny bruises with a few students, but for the most part, their writing it turning out really well!

Moments to Remember

It's only Tuesday and already two things have happened this week that have just put the biggest most ginormous smile on my face.

1- I have a few students who I was really debating getting those "Classic Starter Books" for.  You know, the ones like Heidi, and Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, etc etc.  I finally decided to buy just 2 of them, to see if they'd be interested.  Well, I gave one of my little boys "Pinocchio" and one of my girls, "The Adventures of Dr. Dolittle."  I noticed that my little boy had already read 50 pages in it today.  I asked him if he was enjoying it and with a big smile on his face he said, "Yeah! I was telling mom that I really don't like the books we have in the library, I really like the books you read and I wanted more books like that.  I like this book a lot!  I want more like this!" Oh.My.Gosh. I just love him!  He's the one who has reread EVERY book we've read aloud because he loves them so much!  I can't wait to get more of these books for him.  If anybody has any suggestions for books for him or my other ones, please send them my way!

2- When we were planning our "School Mascot" section in our All About book today we were talking about how dolphins describe us and what we can say that are the same about dolphins in the sea, and dolphins at HES.  One of my little darlings said, "Well... A momma dolphin always takes care of her baby dolphin, just like you take care of us!" Talk about {Melt.My.Heart}!!

And now, for the best part of all.. A Freebie!  If you've stuck with me this long, you definitely deserve it :).  Hope you got some ideas from it too!  Here are the organizers we used to plan our All About Book!  Just click on one of the pictures.  They'll take you to my TPT to download because my google drive is being slow!  Hope you enjoy it :)


  1. Love your blog. I bought your Project Based US Symbols unit. I love it. So I stalked you here! I love checking out other second grade teachers, and it is so much fun to learn from a newbie! Great work!

  2. Cute graphic organizer Ashley! You're also getting me motivated to maybe get organized some more too! I also saw in one of your pics that you use the Math Expressions curriculum that I do.