Second Grade Nest: February 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Teaching Water Cycle: Activities, Resources, and a FREEBIE


Just like my other science blog posts, I am going to split up this post into three sections (learning, experimenting, applying their new learning). This is how I like to teach science topics in the classroom. I like to introduce the new information to them through our ELA block or science block. I let the children explore new books and technology. Then, we would move on to seeing the science in action. Followed up with some independent practice and application.

Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.




1. Learning About Water Cycle: 
The water cycle has a lot of different topics to cover! There are many different brand new vocabulary that the students are going to learn throughout the unit. I always like to start out with learning simply about water, what it is, how it helps us, etc. Then, we dive into how water moves around the world. Check out these fun learning videos and books for the water cycle...

Water Cycle Video- Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: BrainPopJr.)
This video outlines the water cycle and how water moves throughout the earth. It covers all major vocabulary and even a little bit more than what I typically teach my kiddos. They loved it though! 


Water Cycle Video- Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: UNESCO You Tube)
Here's another cute video for the water cycle. 

These water cycle read alouds or nonfiction independent reads can be used in your centers, reading partner time, or used as a mentor text for a whole group lesson. Below are my affiliate links to Amazon for seven different water cycle books!
Water Cycle Nonfiction Texts- Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Link: Down Comes the Rain)
(Link: The Water Cycle At Work)
(Link: The Drop in my Drink)
(Link: The Water Cycle- Pebble Go)
(Link: Water)
(Link: Ethan the Raindrop)
(Link: The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over)



2. Testing Out New Knowledge: 
After several days of learning what the water cycle is and all the ways that water moves about the earth, it's time for the kiddos to put all of that information into action. Below, I link to two different experiments that can help solidify your students knowledge!

Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: Rookie Parenting)
The water in a bag on the window is always one of my favorites! It can really show the students over time how the water cycle can work. And just like with the bean plant experiment I blogged about a few years ago, they love to check on it every single day! 

Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: The Pinterested Parent)
This is a very neat project, too because it shows how the sponge acts as a cloud holding in the rain. Check out this simple and inexpensive science project, too.



3. Reviewing Knowledge: 
Throughout my unit, I love to have students work in groups or in partners to review what they've learned that day. Below are several resources that can help streamline your daily lesson plans for your water cycle unit.

Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.      Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: Water Cycle No-Prep Unit)
The no-prep unit for plants includes many different types of activities to incorporate into your lessons. Each day, the kids can read a different passage and answer comprehension questions. There are also cut and glue diagrams to help, along with writing pieces to match those cut and glue pieces. There are mini books and comprehension questions, writing pages, research pages, and more! 

 Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: Water Cycle Flip Book)
This flip book can be used as a culminating review activity or a final activity. Or it can be used towards the beginning of the unit to introduce. There are five pages. One has a reading passages about the water cycle. The Let's Answer page is questions about the passage. Let's List and Let's Sort let them get interactive with their knowledge on vocabulary and science terms. And the last page, Let's Write is a place for them to write what they've learned! 

FREE water cycle labels- Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
(Source: FREEBIE on Google Drive)
There are two options for this freebie. You can split your class into groups. Each group will get the three pieces of paper included in the freebie, plus they'll need chart paper. The group will create a water cycle chart to share with their other classmates.  Another option would be to use these vocab cards to create your own anchor chart to display throughout the unit for student reference.



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Resources for The Water Cycle

Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.     Water Cycle Activities and Lesson ideas with a FREEBIE- science activities for water cycle in the primary classroom- reading, writing, research, and science experiments.
 (Link: Water Cycle No Prep Unit)
(Link: Water Cycle Flip Book)



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Text Features (Exploring ELA)


Finally getting back to my Exploring ELA blog posts! It's been a little bit. 
I wanted to come to you today to discuss teaching text features. One of my favorite standards to teach simply because I LOVE nonfiction text and all the colorful/helpful text features!
Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features

So let's take a peak at what common core lays out for primary students. Here are the first, second, and third grade standards.

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
In a nut shell:
-KNOW text features
-USE text features
Not only can students recognize these text features but they can use them in their reading to further improve their understanding. 


1. Start by teaching vocabulary and text features.
Before diving into texts and passages, spend a few lessons and activities on simply teaching the text features themselves. Of course while teaching these text features, it will be necessary to pull in texts and passages as examples. But focus for a bit on learning each of the text features and becoming familiar with the terminology.

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: Second Grade Style)
I love this anchor chart from Second Grade Style. She has labeled several popular text features and given a real example from a magazine or text for each. Always giving the students a real example is a great practice to help solidify their knowledge on terminology. 

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
This is a mini lesson that is included in my RI packs for each grade level. The activity is to help the students identify pictures of each text feature that you teach. For example, the word diagram they will pull from a pile of text feature terms. Then, they will search through the pile of text features pictures to match up the diagram word card to the diagram picture card. If you follow the link, you'll pick your grade level 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. 


Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: BrainPopJr.)
This video talks about glossaries, table of contents, photographs, bold print, captions, and more! It's a basic 'teaching nonfiction' video, but covers a lot of important text features as well. Check out this video that puts nonfiction reading into easy steps for the students.



2. Bring many mentor texts into the lessons.
Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: Informational Mentor Text Blog Post)
I wrote a blog post in 2016 that suggested 5 or 6 read alouds or mentor texts for each informational and literature standard. Each of these suggested texts are affiliate links from Amazon. Specifically for text features, I grabbed 6 books that I have used in my classroom library before that I know how a few different text features in each.

3. Have a scavenger hunt with real texts. 
The importance of finding real examples of text features in magazines, passages, and texts is very important. Check out these activities that allow students to hunt on their own!

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: Scholastic)
This amazing blog post from Scholastic shows a classroom full of eager kiddos diving into kids magazines to find text features. They also make a (free!) two-page folder or presentation of what they've found. It asks the students to find specific text features within the Scholastic News!

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
 (Source: The Teaching Oasis)
This is a great free file folder activity that The Teaching Oasis has her students complete. They use a real text from their classroom library and illustrate or write about the text features they find in that text. This is a great way to hunt and search for text features within informational texts.



4. Allow them to practice in many ways.
It is very important to give your students many different hands-on ways to practice their new skills. Here are a few ways that can help your students during your ELA block. Students learn in all different ways, so giving many different ways to learn is great.

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: Scholastic)
This image is from the same blog post that I discussed earlier. Here, the students are making classroom posters for each of the different text features.  This is a great way to tie in speaking and listening skills as well as technology skills.

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text featuresText Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
  (Source: Text Features RI Pack for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd)
On the left you see a text features graphic organize for a nonfiction text. Each of my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade sets comes with 6-8 graphic organizers to use with any nonfiction text, whether it's a text or passage. In the picture you see an 'All About My Text' page with a wolves text. In the picture on the right, you see task cards. These task cards are included in any of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade sets, too! Task cards can be used independently or with a partner/group. They can be used with any text.
Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
(Source: 3rd Grade RI3.5)
3rd grade's standards get a little different from 1st and 2nd grade because it brings electronic menus and Internet lingo into their learning. If you teach 3rd or higher, make sure to give many opportunities to learn about webpages and their specific text features, too!



5. Apply it independently. 
And finally, I'm going to discuss about ways to practice independently. We've discussed ways to learn the text features, search for text features within a text, and how to use these text features to help their learning. Now, here are a few ideas on how to give your students continued practice in ELA centers where they can use their new text feature knowledge on their own.

Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text featuresText Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
  (Source: Text Features RI Pack for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd)
>>GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS: In the Brain Pop Jr. video, it discussed the importance of taking notes and using graphic organizers. These graphic organizers that are included in my text features packs can be used on a variety of different texts and passages. It helps the students use and understand text features and keeps their learning meaningful.
>>PASSAGES: Each of my text features packs has 6-7 passages in each for each specific grade level. This is for students to practice using text features and their comprehension all at once!
These can both be used in small group, independent reading, partner reading, for homework, for morning work, and more!



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Stock up on resources. 
Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features  Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features  Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features
 (Link: 1st Grade)
(Link: 2nd Grade)
(Link: 3rd Grade)
*Please keep in mind there are similarities between these three packs. A few activities and passages overlap, but passages are rewritten with different level. 3rd grade has a few different activities, but still some overlap. Please check out all 3 previews if you plan to buy more than 1 grade level.*


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Text Features Activities and Lesson Ideas- hands on learning, reading, videos, and more for learning text features


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Teaching Kids About Growth Mindset


There is a lot of talk about growth mindset in the last few years. It's a great practice to use as an adult, but also great to teach our students as well. This blog post will outline some general information about what growth mindset is and some detailed ideas on how to make it work in your classroom. 



Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
 1. What is Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is a theory or an idea that our brains are not fixed at a certain intelligence level. We can continue to expand our mind and intelligence by pushing ourselves to do new things, try hard things, and redoing something until it's successful. A fixed mindset is that either you can do it or you can't. For example, either you can paint well or you can't. There is no in between. A fixed mindset may be the idea that when something is difficult, we need to walk away from it because it is simply too hard. That's the thought that our intelligence and our mind cannot complete the difficult task at hand. But as studies show and most of us have realized throughout our lives, we can continue to grow our intelligence and our mind. Growth mindsets are used in the workplace, in schools, and in every day life.



Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
2. How Growth Mindset Relates to Teaching
We can use growth mindsets in our classroom every single day. Since growth mindset is simply the ability to accept that our intelligence can keep growing, this is perfect for the school setting. Teachers can teach students to adopt a growth mindset when learning new things. Many students may shut down when it comes to difficult material, but practicing that growth mindset will help with their confidence. Students may not immediately open up to this mindset, it will take time. If they have a fixed mindset, when they see an assigment, they will accept they can't do it. Or when it comes to the special area class, if they have accepted that they aren't good at art, they attend that class thinking they won't be successful. A growth midnset will help them adopt the thoughts that with effort, they can achieve beautiful artwork in art class.


Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
3. The Benefits of Growth Mindset 
The benefits of having a growth mindset is that you will be able to achieve more. Your successes will be easier to accomplish with a growth mindset. It will give you the willpower to continue pushing yourself. The benefit to teaching students a growth mindset early on in life is that it will help them as adults. It will teach them to see failure as an invitation to keep trying until successful.


Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
4. How Teachers Can Promote It
  • Teach the science behind it.
  • Practice constantly.
  • Give tons of scenarios.
  • Be a daily model.
  • LOTS of praise for specific actions.

Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
5. Ideas and Resources for Growth Mindset
I have collected online resources, mentor texts, free activities, and more to give you ideas on lessons and activities to start teaching growth mindset in your classroom tomorrow! Keep reading below to  see all my fun and free ideas!

VIDEO about growth mindset- Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
-TECHNOLOGY TIE-IN
(Source: Class Dojo YouTube Channel)
This adorable video is a great introduction to a growth mindset. If you use ClassDojo in your classroom already, then this video is even better! YouTube has many other kid friendly videos for growth mindset lessons!


Growth mindset anchor chart- Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
-WEEKLY GROWTH MINDSET REFLECTION ANCHOR CHART
Laminate an anchor chart and hang it near calendar or somewhere where you students can see it and have access to it. Ideally, this weekly growth mindset anchor chart will  trigger your students to always be thinking about how they can use their growth mindset. Once a week or throughout the week, students will reflect on how they used a growth mindset, grab a Post-it note, and stick it to the anchor chart.

Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
-FOLDABLE SCENARIOS OR WEEKLY REFLECTIONS
This free and easy foldable can be used in two different ways. One of the ways is to use it as a weekly tracker. The students will have to reflect on their past week and think of a time where they used a growth mindset. They'll write their situation in the first box, a fixed mindset thought for that situation, and their growth mindset. OR you can use it when teaching growth mindset and each student can come up with a different scenario and present their growth and fixed mindsets to the class.


growth mindset read alouds and mentor texts- Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
-GREAT MENTOR TEXTS
Mentor texts and read alouds are always an incredible tool when teaching any topic. These six books that I've read and checked out are fantastic for teaching your students about the growth mindset. Below you will find the six affiliate links to Amazon for these books to add to your library collection.
(Link: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain)
(Link: The Most Magnificent Thing)
(Link: What Do You Do with a Problem?)
(Link: Beautiful Oops)
(Link: Making a Splash)
(Link: Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bike)

A freebie flip book just for you! This special offer freebie will help your students learn exactly what growth mindset is and how they can achieve it.
FREE flip book for growth mindset- Growth Mindset lessons and activities- teaching kids about growth mindsets- blog post with free activities and ideas
-GROWTH MINDSET FLIP BOOK
My flip books are some of my favorite activities to kiddos. They include a reading text. The reading text under the 'Let's Read' tab includes kid-friendly information about fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. The 'Let's Think' tab has three scenarios where the students have to brainstorm how each student can change their mindset. The 'Let's Sort' tab has a cut and glue activity that distinguishes quotes said by students that are either fixed mindset or growth mindset thoughts. And finally, the 'Let's Write' page has a space for illustrating a school scenario, plus a writing block for them to write what they've learned about growth mindsets. Read below about how to grab this special offer freebie!

**This freebie is part of my email list. It is a freebie for signing up. If you're interested in this flip book, all you have to do is sign up for free. It will give you access to more emails with freebies and great content! I'd love to have you join in on the fun!**
https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/169386?v=6
As soon as you sign up, check your email and your freebies will be waiting there! You'll open up your email, confirm your subscription to the email list, and after you confirm, the freebie will automatically download!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comparing Texts Using Paired Passages


Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities
Comparing text is a FAVORITE activity of mine. It's not always the easiest to teach, but I always find it so fun. Now, this blog post is going to be a bit different from my Exploring ELA Comparing Texts. That is because common core's comparing text standards are within the domains, so fiction vs fiction and nonfiction vs nonfiction. That is where paired passages are different. That's where these add-ins are so fun to teach. If you're standards based, try plugging these in for a week or two, or even throughout the year in centers! Having students find details from fiction and nonfiction texts about a topic is a great skill.
If you're looking for the skill of comparing fiction to fiction and nonfiction to nonfiction, come back soon for that blog post! 
Today, we will discuss comparing fiction to nonfiction text.

Teach what paired passages are first. 
Introduce the topic with an anchor chart or a KWL chart that the students fill out together. Make sure the students know the reason why they are going to read paired passages.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities


Use mentor texts as examples.
Before you start expecting students to read paired passages on their own, you need to start with a few mentor texts to compare. Grab a fictional story that you really like and then find a nonfiction text to match it. This will help the students see the similarities between facts from fiction and nonfiction. Check out the links under the picture to grab my affiliate links to Amazon.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities
(Texts: Horses Up Close! and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa)
(Texts: Spiders and Diary of a Spider)
(Texts: Storms and Thundercake)


Let them practice a lot!
First, you will read both texts together. I always chose to do choral reading with me, as I tracked the stories under the document camera. So we will read our fictional story and our nonfiction story.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities

Then, you dive into your fiction story. This may be an entire day's work, or even two or three days worth of work. When reading fiction stories, students should be marking up their texts, underlining their important details, and answering questions with text dependent answers.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities

After you finish studying your fiction story, you move on to your nonfiction text. You can choose to simply read and answer questions in one day, or expand it over a couple days and include fact writing and research.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities

And finally, you wrap up your comparing text unit with your comparison pages. Before you ask students to compare these two texts on their own, allow them to work on groups of 3 or 4. They can make a Venn diagram together. This will help them vocalize their thoughts before being asked for the cumulative writing comparison.
Quick tip on students making their own Venn diagram. Tell them to fold in into thirds an draw the circles in only two of the rectangles. Helps with the sizes of the circles.


Resources to Use! 
There are many options in my TPT store that you can choose from for Paired Passages.
You can choose to teach paired texts with fairy tales.
You can choose to teach paired texts with seasonal topics.
Or you can choose to teach paired texts with general nonfiction topics.
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities      Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities

(Link: Fairy Tale Paired Passages)

Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities      Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities
(Link: Paired Passages Bundle)

Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities     Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities
(Link: Paired Passages)


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Here's a picture to pin to your Pinterest boards if you want to come back to this blog post one day soon! 
Teaching paired passages in primary classrooms- tips to help students engage in paired passages or paired texts- reading activities