Friday, April 22, 2016

Theme Anchor Chart

Yesterday I was helping out with a second grade class. They were doing a writing activity on a story they read that week. One of the questions was "What is the theme of the legend" and a lot of them were answering with the main idea of the story. I ran that by the teacher and she said ok we'll need to go over theme a little more. So I made this cute anchor chart to help define what theme is and give some of the most common themes in kids' stories.

Disclaimer: I did copy this from pinterest so if you've seen one that looks like this... I copied it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Friendly Letter Writing

This week I worked subbed kindergarten and we began talking about writing friendly letters so I made this fancy dancy anchor chart to begin talking about the parts of a letter.

I know some of the parts are difficult to read but it includes and labels the Date, Greeting, Body, and Closing. I also points to the parts that need to have capital letters and commas. I also took this time to introduce them to the word indent. Throw in some writing vocab.

But I also taught second grade this week

When doing this one the first thing I changed is I realized I forgot to label the Signature as separate from the closing. I again labeled the parts that need capitalization and commas as well as indent. I also wrote out what each part means to help get into the vocab a bit more.

Date- the date the letter was written
Greeting- Usually starts with Dear followed by the recipient's name and a comma
Body - The main message of the letter
Closing- The place to tell who wrote the letter. You can use Sincerely, From, or Love followed by a comma
Signature- The place the writer signs their name

Since this was an example of a thank you note, the parts you see underlines are labeled "opening question" and "the reason you are thanking the person".

Check In, Chew Out

I'm really excited this week, I have been asked to be a Check In, Check Out person at the school I work at.
I know. I'll explain.

Check In, Check Out is a program in our building where students who are struggling with behavior meet in the morning with an adult in the building (who isn't their teacher), and discuss some personal behavior goals for the day. Their teachers and special teachers give them points for how well they did on that goal during different points in the day (math, science, special, etc.).

The reason I am excited is because I kind of feel honored that my coworker feel that I would be appropriate to work more closely with a student and work on their behavior.

One of the things her teacher and I have recently noticed is she has some oral sensory needs. She is a second grader and she often has her hands in her mouth, is blowing spit bubbles or chewing on things like pencils but really anything she can get her hands on. Her teacher has been giving her gum and straws to chew which has been helping her to focus more on getting work done but those are more temporary solutions. I was looking around pinterest

aka teacher heaven

and found this website. They sell oral sensory items such as chewers that go on the tops of pencils and "chewlery" which are necklaces and bracelets that are made to be chewed on. They even come in different toughness levels for mild, moderate to severe chewers. I'd like to purchase one for her and see how it works.

I hope that I can do a good job as her Check In, Check Out person. I have been informally working with other students in the building on their behavior so it feels good to be trusted to do it more formally.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dance, Dance!

Check out my symbaloo page for some fun dance brain breaks. I'll keep updating it with what my students like to dance to!

I love to let my kids get up and move after long stretches of work. Keep the juices flowing to the brain!

Brighter Days

There is a little girl in second grade who sometimes lashes out or just shuts down when she doesn't get her way. The kids at my school are given free breakfast everyday so while she was eating her breakfast the teacher noticed she was also eating other food that was intended for snack later in the day. She went over to her and asked her to put the extra food away for snack later and she flipped out. She clutched the food to her chest and said someone on the bus told her she could eat it for breakfast. (She said a name but I don't know if she was referring to an adult or a child or even an imaginary friend who knows??). Anyway the teacher had to move on to teaching the class. We ignored this student for a while, then she sat under a table nibbling the food and still clutching it. I tried to intervene to no avail. I later tried again. I've been working on the way that I address negative behavior and instead of getting angry and making threats to send them to the principal or the AP or lunch detention or whatever, I'm trying to turn a negative into a positive (I've been doing yoga). So I got down to her level and in a calm quiet voice I asked her to tell me what she was upset about. She repeated the story about someone on the bus telling her she could eat the food for breakfast. I reminded her that 'whoever' may have said that but at school her teacher is in charge and she had the choice to either throw her food away or put it away for snack. I reminded her that she could show me that she is ready for third grade and be a leader and make a better decision. She stayed stubborn for about another minute but then got up and let me help her clean up her snack and throw away her breakfast garbage. The main reason I'm telling this story is because later she held her hand out to me and I didn't know what she was doing. She said "It's a high five" I said ok and high fived her then she said "It's to thank you for helping me." My heart filled up with pride and joy in her and myself. For a child to let someone help them when they're upset and then acknowledge them for helping them overcome that challenge? That's a huge accomplishment for her as a person and me as a teacher.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Expository Writing: How-To activity

I gave a lesson this week while I was subbing second grad about expository writing. They had a bit of background knowledge about the topic and before we got to this activity we did an activity on the smartboard where each child moved a picture into the its sequential spot such as the steps to build a snowman or the steps to plant a flower or bake a pie. They also talked about the reason they put each picture in each spot to practice explaining their reasoning. I then showed the students and achor chart of a how to that I did on brushing teeth.

We also talked about using sequence words (first, then, next, last or finally), The next step was having all the student write on a post it note something they knew how to do and could explain in four steps.

Which I then transferred to another chart so they could see all of their ideas better,

They then wrote their steps to whatever their skill was on lined paper. After we edited and revised it together, they wrote a neater copy on a worksheet and drew colored pictures to accompany their steps.

I didn't get to the next step before it was time for the regular teacher to return but the intended next step was to turn their steps into a small book. I made a sample from my skill of brushing teeth.

There you have it!