Second Grade Nest

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Top 10 Teacher Gifts for the Holidays



Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
Are you a teacher, buying for a teacher friend?
Are you a mom or dad looking for your child's teacher?
Need ideas? You're in luck. I've gathered up some wonderful teacher goodies that are not coffee mugs! Sure, there's a water cup in there, but it has a clever saying that teachers just love. So, browse through these 10 items teachers are loving right now. The 10 links in this blog post are all Amazon affiliate links.
The beauty of Amazon for last-minute gifts is Prime, so if you have Prime, you're in luck. I've picked all items that are Prime shipping, so you'll get them in 2 days!


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
1. Amazon Gift Card
(Link: Gift Card)
First is the easiest and most simple gift you can give a teacher if you're struggling for ideas. Amazon is a great place for teachers to grab materials for the classroom without having to head to Walmart to fight that crowd. The link above sends an Amazon gift card WITH an adorable card!


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
2. Ban.do Water Bottle
(Link: Ban.do Water Bottle)
I personally have this water bottle and it definitely makes me drink more water. Anything Ban.do for that matter is a great gift for teachers. This water bottle, though, has the most fitting saying for a teacher to use throughout his or her day in the classroom.


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
3. Cupcake and Kisses Weekly Desk Planner
(Link: Weekly Mini Planner)
This is such a neat and different planner. It's hard to tell in this picture, so you'll have to click to check it out, BUT it's half the size of a printer paper (hot dog size). There are weekly to-do blocks, daily to-do schedule blocks, goals, and more! I'm certainly getting this as well for myself. 


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
4. How Teachers Swear! Coloring Book
(Link: Coloring Book)
This is just hilarious and perfect for any teacher friend with a silly sense of humor. It's a coloring book filled with replacement swear words. Coloring is a great stress reliever while you're watching Netflix before bed, but coloring the words 'fiddlesticks' and 'geez louise' is even better.



Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
5. Teacher Socks
(Link: Teacher Socks)
I know 2 teacher friends who NEED these socks. They have quite the wonderful sock collection. Sure, it may be weird to give a teacher friend a pair of socks, but there are some teachers out there who just love zany socks. These apple and rulers socks are a perfect match for those teachers.


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
6. Teacher Infinity Bracelet
(Link: Teacher Bracelet)
This bracelet comes in all different colors, but the teal and white is my favorite for teachers. This bracelet would fit comfortably around most teachers wrists and it comes with a love, apple, and teacher charm. Meaningful and adorable!


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
(Link: Wonder)
No matter what grade level the teacher you're giving a gift to teaches, this book will be very much appreciated. While you're purchasing this for your teacher friend, make sure to grab one for yourself. It is one of those amazing books that all people in the world should read.


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
8. Flair Pens. Always.
(Link: 24 Pack Flair Pens)
Yes, Flair pens are great. But a MEGA pack of 24 Flair pens is even better. This mega pack comes with the traditional colors, plus a few new ones that have come out over the years. If you're a non-teacher purchasing for a teacher, just know that Flair pens are a necessity for most classrooms.


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon
9. Centers Dry Erase Pockets
(Link: Dry Erase Pockets)
In my classroom, these pockets were something I could NEVER get enough of. I was able to copy 6 copies of a printable sheet without making a class set. We had limited copies in my school, so I had to make sure my copies in the classroom weren't wasted. So I'd print 6 copies instead of 26 for center activities. They're great for small groups, too! 


Teacher Gifts- top 10 last minute gifts you can get on Amazon 
10. Hand Lettering 101
(Link: Hand Lettering Tutorials)
And finally, we have a hand lettering practice book. This gift would be something that teachers can take home and learn to write fancy letters. This isn't something they'd necessarily need for the classroom, but it is definitely something that would relax a teacher and give them a fun hobby. I'll be purchasing one of these for myself, too!


Thanks for shopping, guys.
Good luck! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Difficult Vocabulary in a Nonfiction Text (Exploring ELA)


Hey readers! Back with another blog post for Explore ELA, a blog series that takes you inside each elementary reading standard and studies it closely. Last week, we explored Making Connection in an informational text, one of the hardest standards I think there is to teach. Today is all about teaching tricky words and phrases in an informational text!

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4

Standards:
1st GradeAsk and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
2nd GradeDetermine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
3rd GradeDetermine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
4th GradeDetermine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

Key Words to Focus On: 
-determine
-words and phrases
-topic or subject area (CONTENT)
-meaning
-general academic
-domain specific

5 Key Tasks for Teachers: 
1. Model, model, model.
2. Teach context clues without texts.
3. Teach context clues with texts.
4. Teach dictionary and reference text skills. 
5. After unit, revisit skill (at least) once a week. 

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1. Model, model, model.
Give students a strong idea of what it's like to dive into text and tackle difficult vocabulary. The best way to do this is to have a daily nonfiction read aloud, which can be difficult if you're wanting one that isn't too reference-y and more read-aloud based! Here are a few strong read alouds I suggest to get your unit started.
Primary informational mentor text suggested book list for finding the meaning of unknown vocabulary within a text- using context clues- RI.1.4, RI.2.4, RI.3.4
Unknown Vocabulary (RI.1.4, RI.2.4, RI.3.4)
All the books that are linked in this blog post are linked to affiliate Amazon links.
-Key skills to hit- new vocabulary, words and phrases, context clues

Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons
So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George
Rocks and Minerals by Kathleen Zohfeld
Jump into Science: Dirt by Tomecek
Frog or Toad? How Do You Know by Melissa Stewart
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston






2. Teach context clues without texts.
It's a very strong practice to teach the skill of using context clues outside of difficult texts. For example, use a sentence and have them start there. Or maybe teach the process of determining a definition using the text around it.

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4    Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source on L:1st Grade RI.1.4) (Source on R: 4th Grade R.4.4)
In the picture on the left, there is a first grade mini lesson that includes a couple of non-passage type of activities where the students can look at pictures and read simple sentences to work on determining how to ask question and use context around the word or idea. 
In the picture on the right, there is a fourth grade mini lesson activity where the fourth graders are having a content lesson and learning the process of HOW to find meanings of unknown words. They're putting together puzzles about definitions, synonyms, and explanations so that they can really study and understand the ways that they'll learn new vocabulary.

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source: Brain Pop Video)
If you haev a subscription to Brain Pop, you should definitely check out the video that they have made for context clues. It's a great overview of what they are and how to use them when you come across vocabulary that you are unsure of. 



3. Teach context clues with texts.
After you teach the lessons about what context clues are and how you will be using them to determine difficult vocabulary in a text, you can start incorporating texts into the standard. The reason I like to start with simple sentences or paragraphs before diving into books and passages is because the strategy itself is quite difficult, so adding in harder content makes finding vocabulary meaning even harder! So let's dive into teaching context clues with passages.

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4  Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source on L: 4th Grade RI4.4) (Source on R: 2nd and 3rd RI2.4, RI3.4)
On the left you see a fourth grade reading mini lesson activity where the students read about a historical figure. Throughout their reading passage, they are going to be circling and underlining difficult text. At the bottom, they have an activity where they have to find the three words in their texts and determine the meaning.
On the right, you'll see a first, second, and third grade reading mini lesson. This mini lesson is included in each of the packs, so if you buy your grade level, you'll see this activity in there. It's a reading passage where the students have to color code their passage. The task cards give specific directions for each of the difficult words. For example, one task card says "use context clues to find what the word thermometer means", so they'll use their red crayon to underline where they found it in the text. 

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4  Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source: 2nd Grade RI2.4)
Post-it note activities are incredibly useful for this standard. This is because you can use the post-it note in many ways. One way to use post it notes is to use them for brainstorming, so while students come across difficult vocabulary, they can jot down the vocabulary to look up and study later. 
On the left, you see post-it notes being used for possible meanings to the first word that is covered up in the students' text. The second picture shows a repeat activity, so you could laminate the bottom page and use it constantly throughout centers or small group. And give students new post-it notes for each story or text. The page asks them to identify the word, the clue, and what they think it means.



4. Teach dictionary and reference text skills.
Some students may try their hardest to use their comprehension and context clue skills to determine the meaning of a word. However, some students may need a step further than this. This is where we can start teaching and tying in the Language skill of the Common Core domain and teach how to use dictionaries and other reference texts.

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4  Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source on L: 4th Grade RI4.4) (Source on R: RI2.4)
On the left, there is a fourth grade mini lesson activity that involves the students looking words up in a dictionary and writing their definitions. This can help widen their vocabulary skills, plus it can also teach the skills of dictionary referencing when they're reading independently. Another way to use dictionary skills is to give students post-it notes and have them write down any difficult vocabulary they can't determine using their context clues and letting them use a dictionary throughout their reading time to determine these words they jot down. It's even a great way to have them self-check their guesses, too. 




5. After unit, revisit skill (at least) once a week.
Now that you've taught your unit on context clues and difficult vocabulary, now it's time to bring in all the materials to practice. Work these into small group, independent reading time, partner reading time, center games, and more!

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4   Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source: All RI4 sets
Task cards and interactive notebooks are always a great way to keep the students standards-based focused while reading independently or with a partner. 

Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4  Unknown Words and Phrases- Determining the meaning of difficult vocabulary in a nonfiction text- activities and hands on reading lesson for elementary students RI.1.4 RI1.4 RI.2.4 RI2.4 RI.3.4 RI3.4 RI.4.4 RI4.4
(Source: Most RI4 sets)
These vocabulary printables will work for any informational text, too. So if you're wanting to have them practice and review the skills, let them choose any informational text that they want, but give them these standards-based worksheets to keep them intentional about their reading. 


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Need Unknown Vocabulary Resources? 
Check out these full units for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. Many of the activities in these packs overlap for each grade level, but have higher written text levels for any passages. When purchasing for your grade level, make sure to buy only the grade level you need.


   

   

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Making Connections in a Nonfiction Text: Exploring ELA


It's been about a year since I have written my Exploring ELA Blog Series. I took some time off of writing them to focus on creating my ELA units. Now that the reading units are finished, I can get back into the blog series. So excited to bring you another version of Exploring ELA

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)


So, before we begin, let's look at what Common Core asks teachers to do when they're teaching connections in an informational text. This is not the same as connections in literature where students are asked to find text to self and text to text connections. This is all about connections within an informational text. 

1st GradeDescribe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
2nd gradeDescribe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 
3rd GradeDescribe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
4th GradeExplain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Buzz Words: 
-describe, explain
-connection
-series of historical events
-scientific ideas or concepts
-steps in a technical procedures

5 Key Tasks for Teachers
1. Introduce the types of connections to look for.
2. Model with a daily read-aloud.
3. Focus on technical procedures.
4. Focus on scientific ideas.
5. Focus on series in a historical event.
6. Give them many opportunities to practice.

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1. Introduce the types of connections to look for. 
(Compare/contrast, cause/effect, sequential order)
There are many different types of connections within informational texts. Common Core asks students to find connections in three types of scenarios:  scientific texts, technical texts, and historical events. Now, within those texts, there are types of connections to be on the lookout for. Sequencing goes hand-in-hand with technical procedures and scientific ideas. Cause and effect texts help introduce scientific ideas and history events. Compare and contrast is also a great way to learn about scientific ideas.

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
Start with an anchor chart. This anchor chart is something you can do to introduce what you're going to be covering with this standard. Review it and revisit it as you introduce new types of texts. 


Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
Start by showing a cause and effect lesson. In this lesson, you will find photographs of real-life events (or use the ones offered in my 1st- 4th mini lesson sets) and have students discuss cause and effect. This is a great way to introduce the idea that when one event or action occurs, another event or action can happen because of it. 




2. Model with a Daily Read-Aloud.
This is a very difficult task for students to grasp. Not only because informational texts on their own are already hard enough for students to understand, but there is a lot of comprehension that is required. Students are asked to comprehend all aspects of the text, THEN find the connections between two events or ideas. This is hard for most elementary aged students who are still learning how to find text-evidence comprehension questions. 
This is why it is very important to model this standard to them often. You can even model the standard prior to your Connections unit!

Primary informational mentor text suggested book list for finding the connections within a nonfiction text- finding technical process, scientific ideas, or historical events connections- RI.1.3, RI.2.3, RI.3.3
Making Connections (RI.1.3, RI.2.3, RI.3.3, RI4.3)
-Key skills to hit- connections within historical events, scientific ideas, or technical processes

All the books that are linked in this blog post are linked to affiliate Amazon links.
Now and Ben by Gene Barretta
How People Learned to Fly by Fran Hodgkins
From Peanut to Peanut Butter by Robin Nelson
School: Then and Now by Robin Nelson
The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake by Joanna Cole 
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons



3. Focus on Technical Procedures
So, Common Core asks 2nd-4th grade to focus on three things. One of those is technical procedures. These are usually the easiest types of texts to understand because it's usually a step-by-step how-to piece. Or the text is written with a pretty laid out explanation of how the procedure works. This is why I think it's best to focus on technical procedures first.

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)  Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
Two examples are my mini lesson from my 1st-3rd grade units in my RI3 sets and my Making a PBJ passage, which is included in all my 1st-3rd sets (but rewritten at different levels). These are two ways to look at technical procedures and describe them. This is much easier than looking at scientific or historical ideas because there is much more background knowledge on cupcakes and peanut butter and jelly. Take something that they know a little about to relate to when teaching. 




4. Focus on Scientific Ideas
After you focus a bit on technical procedures, try moving into scientific ideas. These get a bit harder because if the scientific idea is a difficult concept to grasp, then adding that on top of the reading comprehension makes this standard even harder. Start your students out with fairly simply texts and scientific ideas. Once they get more comfortable with finding connections within their easier texts and topics, you can start working your way up to harder topics and harder texts.

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)  Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
Once you move onto scientific ideas, it's still smart to start easier rather than on a brand new scientific idea. So, take pumpkin and apple life cycles, which the students have most likely learned about in the past years of school or have background knowledge of what pumpkins and apples are. The lesson on the left is covered in my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade units. The mini lesson on the right is covered in my 1st grade unit. Once the students grasp the ideas of how to make connections between steps in a scientific process, then you can introduce harder topics.



5. Focus on Historical Events
I would focus on historical events last. Some of you may prefer science over history, but not me! Social Studies was never my strong subject, so I think it's easier to teach scientific ideas to elementary students than historical events. There is also a lot of background knowledge you must introduce when you're teaching this part of the standard, too.

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
(Source: 4th Grade RI4.3)



6. Give them many opportunities to practice. 
So, when teaching your ELA standards, it's very important to give the students many hands-on ways to practice it. They need to have different types of texts, such as online websites, videos, read-alouds, picture books, and passages. Finding passages and books that are directly aligned to the standards are tricky, which is why I love using my standards-based resources! 

Ideas for Practicing Making Connections
-Turn and Talk activities whole group
-Task Cards
-Interactive Notebooks
-Passages
-Printables to use w/ real texts 

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)  Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)



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Need connections resources?
Many of the activities in these packs overlap for each grade level, but have higher written text levels for any passages. When purchasing for your grade level, make sure to buy only the grade level you need.

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)  Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
1st Grade 

Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)  Making Connections in an informational text- activities and lessons to teach connections in technical texts, historical events, or scientific procedures- RI1.3, RI2.3, RI3.3, RI4.3 (RI.1.3, RI.2.3., RI.3.3, RI.4.3)
3rd Grade




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