Second Grade Nest: September 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Community Helpers Shared Research & Writing Project

Our first grade classes just finished up our community helpers unit and we had a blast! 
We decided to take this social studies unit and make it our shared research project to start off first grade. The kiddos did great! 

In this three week unit, we...
*read informational books about community helpers
*used our research skills to find important details
*brainstormed helpers using our ABCs
*created an ABC book using our pictures and words

shared research project for community helpers
During Reading time in their centers throughout the weeks, the first grade teachers rotated books in our classrooms so we got a new set of 10 books each day. Students read to a buddy or by themselves and marked important pages with a post-it note where they either read about how they help our community or saw a picture of them helping our community.

shared research project for community helpers
After about a week of reading and fun activities of community helpers, we made an ABC list of community helpers. The students came up with 24/26 of these. 
(Q and Y were really hard for us to think of on our own, thanks Google!)

Then we began our shared writing! 
This took several days. I buddied the students up for one page, so we did about 7-8 pages a day.
Each member of the team had a job (writer, thinker, illustrator, etc.)

Here are a few examples...
[And yes, I did the A, B, and C page for modeling.]
shared research project for community helpers

shared research project for community helpers

shared research project for community helpers

Then, I created the title page.
shared research project for community helpers

Holepunched the book together...
And put them on binder rings for easy flipping. 
shared research project for community helpers

It is now a daily part of our reading library.
Students can read through it during the reading center. It is located in the informational book bin.
The students feel so proud that a book they wrote is in my library!  
shared research project for community helpers

If you're interested in the templates for this book, click here! 
shared research project for community helpers

shared research project for community helpers

Also, this Labor Day/Community Helper pack really helped in the introduction part of our project.
shared research project for community helpers  shared research project for community helpers

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reorganizing My Classroom Library

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library

Last year, when I taught 2nd grade, we had a big genre unit at the beginning of the year. It was only fitting that my book library would be sorted by genre and theme. However, in first grade, when the students are still learning how to read words, they are struggling to read the book bin theme/genre to figure out which category they want.

So... I decided to completely revamp my classroom library. I went with the A.R. (Accelerated Reader) points. If you aren't familiar with A.R., it is a computer program that the students can enter in their book title or book number and take a comprehension quiz on the book they just read. 

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library

Here was my week-long process:

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 1:
Borrow Ms. Davis's wheely book cart and bring about 100 books home a night.

 Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 2:
Find AR Book Finder

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 3:
Enter your title into the search bar and find your book.

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 4: 
Write the AR book number in the inside flap of the book.
This will help kids when they need to take the quiz.
Much easier for kiddos to type in 5-7 digits than the enter title or author! 

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 5:
Leveling the books using colored dots.
(Staples and Walgreens had a mixture of my book bins colored stickers.)
When you look up the AR quiz number, it'll have a spot that has the reading level for the book.

.5-1.5- Red sticker
1.6-2.0- Orange sticker
2.1-2.5 Yellow sticker
2.6-3.0 Green sticker
3.1-3.5 Blue sticker
3.6-4.0 Pink sticker
4.1-4.5 Double Red stickers
4.6-5.0 Double Orange stickers
5.1-5.5 Double Yellow stickers

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 6:
Stick the colored sticker on the bottom right side of the book and write the reading level on the sticker. 

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
(Another example)

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 7: 
Sort the books by red, orange, yellow, etc., so you can put them in specific book bins for children's easy access!  

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 8: 
Get fabulous new book tubs from Target!
Make book tub labels and put the sticker AND book level on the book bin.

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 9:
Sort your books!
(Or have your student helpers do it "as a learning experience". Kidding! But seriously- they love to help!!)

Making your classroom library into an A.R. Library
Step 10:
Do not forget to actually teach the students about the sorting system. Some kiddos will still struggle at first putting books back in their special home. But the colors are certainly easier to keep up with than the genres.

My kids are crazy about this! 
They get so excited when they read a red level book and get to move up to orange level. We talk about "Just Right" books for readers. They get so excited when they learn that one level is "too easy" for them, so they can move onto the next level. 

P.S.- I still have 2 book tubs filled with books. I had NO idea I had so many books. I'm about to head back to Target to get MORE book bins. So I will have 2 book bins for each color. You never know just how many books you have until you actually redo your library! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remind 101

Uh oh...
It's Thursday night and you forgot to remind parents about the field trip permission slip that is due tomorrow. What do you do? Before amazing technology, nothing.
Remind 101 is one phenomenal solution!!

At my faculty meeting, I was introduced to a fun new app called Remind 101. I have heard of this in the past, but never thought to use it. Now, I can't wait to get it set up and ready to use in my classroom! 

Best thing: You can do it from your phone app (FREE!!) or your desktop!

Here is a little tutorial on getting it set-up.
It's actually quite simple, but just in case you wanted a walk-through... here you go! 

Step 1: 

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 7:

Step 8:

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's Apple Season!

I am very excited that fall is coming. 
Apples and pumpkins will soon take over my life.

I wanted to show you guys an apple pack that I'm very excited to finish! 

This pack includes...
-Centers (3 ELA/3 Math)
-Writing sheets
-Printables (2 Math/2 ELA)


I love these little guys!

New ink!! YAY!! 
New lamination! YAY!! 

Lining up the capitals, then matching the lowercase, then comes the pictures.
This makes the organization and team work a little smoother throughout this station with so many cards. 

Nonsense Word game (without recording sheet)
I'm going to let them do their game a few days before starting to record.

Grab this apple pack here!

And for some other fun apple ideas that I found on Pinterest that I'd like to share...
Apple activity with sight words (doesn't go to link for activity.  Pin for visual idea)
(Broken link!! If you know the creator of this cute product, please let me know.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Morning Routine

Just wanted to give you guys a peek inside my morning routine for when the kids first get into the classroom! 

{Checking In}
Check-in chart before....

Check-in chart after...
The students come in and find their owl and put it in the tree. This way I can quickly glance over to see who isn't here today so I can enter in my attendance on I.C. really quickly! 
This check in chart is part of both owl decor packs at my store! 

{Lunch, Anyone?}
Lunch ribbons before...
Purple ribbon is for packers (P, Packers, Purple)
Yellow ribbon is for buyers (Y, Yellow, Buy)

Lunch ribbons after. 
Each clip has the student's name on it and their lunch number that they have to type in to buy their lunches. At the beginning of the year, the students may not know their numbers, so we take the clothespins off the ribbon, clip it to their shirts, and they can use it while they punch their lunch numbers in. 
15 days into school and ALL my students know their numbers! Woo hoo!! Smarties. 
-And yes, after my kids get their hands on the clips and ribbons, it gets a little crooked.)

{O.W.L. Binders and Folders} 
Students put their red folders in the black bin and make a stack of their O.W.L. binders. While they do their morning work, I check homework and their zipper pouches for any notes/money. 
O.W.L. Binder Documents available here. 

{Morning Work Review}

Students work on morning work when they get into my classroom. This is my chance to give them a cyclical review! Check them out in my store. Click the pictures above for the links. 

{What's Your Job?} 
Students must check our job chart to see if they have a job today! 
We rotate these daily through our ABC order. 
These job cards are available in my Owl/Chevron/Chalkboard Decor pack

{Not related!}
My room mom comes in to help me on Monday mornings to get all of my paperwork adjusted in my O.W.L. binders for the week. She was saying how she had run out of coffee and was really dragging that morning. And as an avid coffee lover myself, I couldn't just let her run out!