31 January 2016

Sharing Sunday - February

Hey y'all! It's February, and I'm back with my friends at The Primary Peach doing the planning for you!

Here's a look at a few things I'm using this month!

First up - we're working on all sorts of folktales in the third quarter! We just wrapped up two weeks with Goldilocks! We read so many different versions and my students absolutely LOVED them!
 You can grab the Goldilocks mini-unit I used here.
 You can find the complete list of books here!
We focus on opinion writing in the third nine weeks, and it's my FAVORITE genre to teach! I spent a week launching this unit with lots of engaging lessons! 
You can read more about what we did each day HERE!
I love using mentor texts for writing, and these are a few of my favorites! 
You can read more about them HERE!
You can grab my opinion writing launch activities HERE!
Last but not least, we celebrated our 100th Day of School a couple of weeks ago, and had so much fun! You can grab my FREEBIES, and read about our day HERE!
Be sure to head over to The Primary Peach for more ideas to help you plan through February!

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on InstagramPinterestFacebookBloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.



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23 January 2016

20 Read-Alouds for the 100th Day of School

A few days ago, I shared how my sweets seconds and I celebrate the 100th Day of School. There were freebies involved...if you missed it, you can find it here.
Not only are there some really fun activities to do with the 100th day, but there's also some really great read-alouds. They're just too cute not to share!
With over 20 books, there's no way we have time to read them all!

I choose a few to read on the actual 100th Day, and then a few to read throughout the week of the 100th Day...although there's still not time to read them all!

Here are my absolutely favorites:

You can see the reviews, and buying options for all the 100th Day books here (Amazon Affiliate link), or by clicking the picture below. (Amazon Affiliate link)

In case you missed the 100th Day Freebies...you can find those here, or by clicking the picture below.

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on InstagramPinterestFacebookBloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.

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21 January 2016

100th Day Math {FREEBIES}

Yesterday was our 100th day of school, which I can hardly believe! Time really does fly when you're having fun (and when teachers report back to work in JULY).

Because my sweet babies are big second graders, we don't focus the WHOLE day on 100th day celebrations, but our math block definitely focuses on the number 100!

I thought I'd share a few of the activities we do!
Food Drive
This is actually something the whole school participates in! Usually 2-3 weeks before the 100th day, we start collection non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank. Each homeroom class has a goal of 100 cans (or other food item)!

Even though we do with school-wide, your class could easily choose a nearby food bank and do it just with your class.

Each morning, I have my kiddos bring their food items to morning meeting, and we keep a tally of how many items we need. It's real life math at it's finest!

Because I actually teach in a co-taught classroom (2 homerooms {one of which is a early intervention self-contained class}, 2 teachers, 1 BIG classroom), our goal was actually 200 cans!

As of the day before the 100th day, we only had about 130 cans, which is amazing, but quite a bit short of our class goal. But let me tell you...we brought our best game, and ended with 202 items!!!
Tootsie Pop Experiment
I don't know about your class, but anytime food is involved, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a hit-although, I think the same goes for adults too :)

Students take one lick at a time and then cross off each number as they lick. Depending on their strategy (and there certainly were some interesting ones), some students had to flip to the back of their paper, and continue to make tallies. Some of them even got into the 200s, and were super impressed at how many licks it really does take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop!
Coin Flip
For this activity, students simply flip a coin 100 times. Sounds simple, and mundane, but hello, excitement! After each flip of the coin, students record whether or not it landed on heads or tails, and then count the total for both heads and tails.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this in action because we had a code vomit occur.
100 Ways to Make 100
This activity really got my sweet seconds thinking.

I had them work independently at first, and then with a partner. As they progressed, students got more creative with their responses. They tried only addition at first, and then realized they could also use subtraction. A couple students wanted to use multiplication, and a few even used base ten blocks. #swoonforstrategies
How Many Make 100?
If you've already taught money, this is a great review. I just laid put out all of our money manipulatives, and they went to town.

As they worked through the various coins, light bulbs started going off like crazy! So exciting to see!!!
What Can You Do in 100 Seconds?
We did these activities as our brain brains throughout the day! Perfect way to incorporate lots of fun, movement, and warning...a lot of noise!! :)

I just had them tally, count in their heads, or use their fingers to keep track of how many of each activity they were able to do.
When I'm 100...
Perhaps the best part of our day was hearing what a second grader's perspective on what they'll be doing when they're 100.

Seriously, there were tears, we were laughing so hard! I mean make wine? Go to the club? Haha!
You can grab the activities mentioned about here (they're free!) or by clicking the picture below.
Looking for a 100th Day Read Aloud? Check out this post or click below!
For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on InstagramPinterestFacebookBloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.


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18 January 2016

How to Kick Off Your Opinion Writing Unit

Last week we started opinion writing! It's my FAVORITE genre to teach, and typically, the one my sweet seconds like best too!

I thought I'd share how I launch opinion writing! I spend an entire week launching this particular writing genre - I want my kids to feel comfortable sharing their opinion, as well as being as to give reasons why, and I think spending a week launching helps us do just that!
Day 1 - Introduce Opinion Writing Standard + What is a fact? What is an opinion?
  • Introduce the Standard
    • When launching a new unit or concept, I show students the standard. I've found that showing them what they're expected to know, and referring to it throughout the unit helps keep students focused. Plus, they realize I'm not just making up random things to "make them do." Haha!
    • The standards are certainly NOT written in kid-friendly language, so we talk about what the "fancy adult words" actually mean!
  • Next, we watch the BrainPop video "Fact and Opinion" - normally, we use BrainPop, Jr. but it doesn't have any videos for fact and opinion, so regular ol' BrainPop does just fine! 
  • Finally, we play Fact/Opinion Showdown...And SNAP - IT'S A GAME {bonus points if you can name the movie and/or character}
    • Each student receives 1 fact card, and 1 opinion card. I display statements on the SmartBoard, and students show me whether they think it's a fact or opinion. 
Day 2 - Fact or Opinion Sort + Would You Rather
  • Fact and Opinion Mini-Anchor Chart - we glue these into our writer's notebooks.
  • Fact and Opinion Sort - who doesn't love reading about PIZZA?!?!
  • Would You Rather? {this is a game too!}
    • I read random statements {super random}, and students move to one side of the room or the other depending on which statement students would prefer.
    • I'll call on students from both sides of the room to give a REASON for which statement they would prefer. 
Day 3 - Taste Test
  • What better way to end a Wednesday than with a candy taste test?
  • We take this super S L O W! Like one piece of candy at a time, and we use our senses to describe everything - how it looks, feels, tastes, smells...and few students even heard noises :) 
  • After we taste all 3 types of candy - I have students SECRETLY (you know, so they don't just choose what their BFF chooses) circle the candy they liked best. 
  • Then I group students based on their favorite candy and they share the reasons for liking that candy better than the others.
  • Then, I pair students up with someone who had a different opinion, and they share their reasons and try to convince their partner why their preference was better. 
Day 4 - Duck! Rabbit!
  • We read Duck! Rabbit! on Thursday! {Here are some other opinion writing mentor texts!}
  • After reading the book, I separate students into two groups based on whether or not they think the animal in the book is a duck or a rabbit.
  • The two groups then discuss the reasons for their opinion.
  • Then we create a class anchor chart detailing the reasons that support why it could be a duck, and why it could be a rabbit.
Day 5 - Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer
  • We use the reasons from the Duck! Rabbit! anchor chart to complete our first opinion graphic organizer. We do this together as a class, and students keep it in their writer's notebooks to refer to throughout the unit.
You can find the activities I used throughout this post here, or by clicking the image below.
You may also be interested in these writing posts:
Narrative Mentor Texts | What do writers do? | Writing from the heart | Opinion Mentor Texts


For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.


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17 January 2016

12 Opinion Mentor Texts

EEEK! We started opinion writing last week...only my favorite writing genre to teach!

I've got my favorite mentor texts ready to go, and even found a few new books I can't wait to use!
Traditionally, I use Duck! Rabbit!, I Wanna Iguana, and I Wanna New Room for my opinion writing unit. You can find all the books shown above here.

Over the summer, I stumbled upon the Stella Writes series, and used the one for narrative and informational writing already and I LOVED them (as did my sweet seconds)! I haven't used Stella Writes an Opinion before, but I'm sure it won't disappoint!

I also came across The Perfect Pet, and was in love. I have dogs, so naturally, I'm pro pet. Most of my students either have pets or want pets, so this is going to be puuurrr-fect { see what I did there :) }

I like a having a variety of books for my students to peruse as they are writing their own opinion pieces, and these books do just the job!

Need some ideas to introduce opinion writing? Check out this post here!
For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.


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03 January 2016

Sharing Sunday - January

Confession - I totally missed out on December's Sharing Sunday. I just couldn't. Honestly, I felt a bit like a train wreck, with a million different things going on, and I just couldn't make it happen. That's the part where teaching and life collide (see what I did there?) Anyway, I'm super excited to be back with my fellow Peaches for January's Sharing Sunday!

I teach in a suburb of Atlanta, and teachers go back on Monday (hooray for a planning day - raise your hand if you wouldn't mind having a few more of these!), and kiddos come back Tuesday, and I'm excited to get back into the swing of things! Stressed about what you'll do the first day back? No worries...here's what I'm doing:
We all just rang in the new year, and I like to be super reflective (as always) and think about some goals I have for the new year (read more about those here), and I like for my students to do the same!

Teaching kids to be reflective is important! Naturally, we start our day by talking about and sharing all the excitement that goes with our break.

Take a look a these FREE resources I've used in the past (still not sure which one I'll use this year).

Winter Break Snapshots Journal | Rachel Rosenblit
Snapshots from My Winter Break | Not So Wimpy Teacher
Snapshots of Winter Break | Aimee VanMiddlesworth

You can find them all here, on my January Pinterest board :)
But then we jump right in to being reflective, and thinking about goals!

I start by asking my kiddos what they think a resolution is! Talk about some HILARIOUS responses...and we record on this brainstorming sheet:
Then we read Squirrel's New Year's Resolution, which has THE most perfect definition of a resolution: "A resolution is a promise you make to yourself to be better or to help others."
Then, to help us get back in the groove, we retell the story using a beginning, middle, end graphic organizer, take a little reading comprehension quiz, and of course, write about our own goals and resolutions - students can either write in more of a personal narrative format, or they can use a graphic organizer to tell about a resolution for home, school, and helping others.

I use this book companion.

For most of January we put to use all the addition and subtraction strategies we've learned by continuing to practice WORD PROBLEMS! Yikes! Fortunately, a little fun, and daily practice make them totally manageable!
January also begins our 3rd nine weeks (umm, holy crap!) and we spend the ENTIRE quarter working on folktales (mostly fairy tales and fables), and we're starting with a gingerbread unit! I know lots of people do this in December, but I just can't seem to fit it in! So, it's the perfect way to bring lots of excitement to coming back from a long break, and kicking off folktales!
I'm going to have my sweet kiddos make some sort of gingerbread trinket (can't call it an ornament since Christmas is over, right?). Take a look at these recipes I found on Pinterest!

Not going to be doing gingerbread? No worries! Take a look at these winter-themed read-alouds!
Head over to The Primary Peach for more ideas to get you and your classroom ready for January! You can find them here!

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.



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