Thursday, January 30, 2014

Focus on Plot and Theme

Hi friends! Hope you are warm and safe where you are! This week has been pretty crazy. It started snowing on Tuesday morning and my school system dismissed early. The snow was falling pretty quickly and sticking because most of the roads weren't treated. The forecast called for a dusting to 2 inches and we ended up with close to 4 inches. To you Northerners, that seems like nothing but it's a lot of us in the South. The roads where I live are extremely curvy and hilly and they just aren't made for snow and ice. I've been off since Tuesday afternoon and I just found out school is cancelled for tomorrow too. I'm loving these snow days but I know I am going to pay for it next week.

I've been working on something to teach my kiddos plot and theme. Plot is pretty easy but theme is a doozy. I spent last Sunday looking for something to use to teach theme and they are pretty hard to come by, especially for second graders. One of my favorite ideas was from Megan at I Teach. What's your super power? Her idea is a great way to introduce theme to your kiddos.

I still needed something more though because theme is so hard for 2nd graders to understand. It's kinda like the main idea for fiction and we all know that main idea can be next to impossible for them to understand. So I found some picture books that have an overall theme and I created some pages and activities to go with them.

I tried to use books that I thought most teachers might have.  I also have activities and things that you can use with any book.
Here are the books that I used: 

I've included a sample of the set in the preview. The sample is for the book The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza. If you click on any of the images above or below, you can click on Download Preview to get the freebies. Here's part of what is included in the freebie:

I hope you enjoy this new resource! It is on sale until Sunday so be sure to check it out.

I also wanted to let you know about a great giveaway going on. Teacher Created Resources is having a Chevron Classroom Pinterest giveaway where you can win $150 worth of chevron products. Umm, amazing! I love chevron and I have a few of their new chevron goodies! So cute! Be sure to check it out by clicking on the picture below.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Visual Plans (Jan. 27-31)

I'm back this Sunday to share my visual plans for the week. Last week, I had them almost finished and got so busy cleaning my house that I didn't totally finish them.

Let's just say that last week was crazy. The only day that I had any planning time during school was Friday so I don't feel extremely prepared for this week. I'm going to have another crazy week this week with morning bus duty, math night, and lots of other things going on. I am praying for a snow day mostly just to get out of bus duty! 

In reading this week, I am teaching plot and theme. Plot is no trouble but theme has been throwing me for a loop when planning. I did find a great idea on Megan's blog I Teach. What's your SuperPower. She used the Values billboards that you have probably seen everywhere to introduce the concept. Genius, I tell you! She had her kiddos draw a billboard with a favorite character and a theme. Click here to check that out.

Amanda Nickerson also has a theme activity in her "Charlotte's Web" unit and I will probably use it later on as a review of theme.  Click here to view her unit.

 I am reading these books this week.

We are starting to learn about adverbs this week. I am also planning to do some research on penguins using Amy Lemon's penguin unit. Click here to see it.

Some great adverb books are:

In math, we are spending the week on fractions. I love teaching fractions and wish we could do it a little longer than 1 week. So I am packing in all my favorite activities.

I love these books for teaching fractions.

In unit, we will be learning about penguins and combining that study with our writing.  I love teaching about penguins. I have lots and lots of books about penguins and it's hard to read them all in a week but I'm going to try.

So that's my week in a nutshell. What are you teaching this week?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rapping Fun with Flocabulary

Hi friends! I wanted to share with you an amazing website that I have found this year, Flocabulary. You may have already heard of Flocabulary but I hadn't before this past summer at a training I attended.

If you are a fan of my visual plans, you will notice that I put many Flocabulary links in my plans. My kiddos love Flocabulary and beg to watch the videos everyday.  I even enjoy these videos because they are so clever and I love seeing my kids dancing to them and learning at the same time.

Many of the videos are geared toward the upper grades but there are many that I can use with my second graders too.  I started this year by using the free trial but after using the videos for a few lessons, I knew I had to get a subscription. It is definitely worth the $7 that I pay a month.

My students love the math videos that teach addition and subtraction facts. We do one of these almost every day to review those facts and get some practice in. My kids also love the ones on nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Click the above image to head to Flocabulary to see a free video.

I hope you love Flocabulary as much as I do!

(P.S. This is my own honest opinion of Flocabulary. I have not been compensated for this post in any way.)

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Visual Plans (Jan. 13)

Well, this past week was a little crazy because we only had school for 2 days so I squeezed as much of last week's plans as I could into the two days. This week, I do have some things that are repeated because I didn't get to them last week, mostly in math and writing.

Our reading series story this week is about a pumpkin life cycle. This really bugs me that we are doing this in January. Why couldn't this be a fall story? But I'm just gonna go with it.
Books that I am reading this week are:

Have you seen the book "Baloney (Henry P.)" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith? It's amazing for context clues. Henry uses lots of made up words and the kids will have such fun figuring out what the words are. Best of all, there is a decoder at the back of the book to help you out.
For adjectives this week, I am reading

Some great geometry books for math are:
Some great MLK books are:

If you are looking for some free MLK activities, I have a new one in my store.
I am using it next Tuesday because it hits our skill of fact and opinion.

Have a great week!
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