Calendar Update and Journal Examples!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving break!  I am having a wonderful vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC!  I wanted to check in really quick to give you some updated pictures of our calendars and journals.  I was a busy bee last week and am now up to June!  Check out the next couple months we completed. If you're interested in starting the calendars, they make a GREAT christmas gift for parents and you can download them for FREE from The Little Giraffes by clicking HERE!

We have also been practicing our written comprehension skills by using the mClass reading 3D comprehension journal questions.  Here are some examples of what my kiddos have come up with so far.  I am proud of their progress and hope to see it continue! Sorry for the dark pictures, I'm not sure why they came out so shadowy.

Christmas Chains and Calendars

How difficult is it to teach before a holiday?  We had 2 1/2 days this week which isn't really long enough to teach new objectives so, we did some fun things.  (shh...don't tell anyone) My kiddos had review Thanksgiving themed centers to work on because if I don't give them a center contract they get mad.  I tried this once, you know to shake things up and they were seriously upset.  I guess they just love the routine, so I gave them "fun" centers that focused on thanksgiving themed activities but still put them on their literacy contract so it looked like normal but really I snuck in some fun things.  Aren't I so sneaky : )

Well we also started some Christmas things just to get a head start.  The three weeks after Thanksgiving break just FLY by so, I wanted to make sure our christmas chains and calendars were done or at least started.  We started our handprint calendars that I mentioned before.  I am pretty excited that I am up to April already!!  (minus the kids that were absent and need to catch up when they return) Here are some pictures of what we have done so far, please keep in mind that this is times 20 and I have no assistant (to be fair I do have one but she is only with me once a week and has not been able to join in on the painting fun) or aid or volunteer parent.  Just me, painting ALOT.  They really are just so stinkin' cute which makes it worth it.  Plus they get so excited when we wrap them up and they get to take them home to put under the tree.  The easiest part of this project is that all of the pages are available for FREE download from The Little Giraffes.  You can download the calendar pages by clicking, here!

 We also cut and stapled our Christmas chains to start the countdown on December 1st.  The kiddos all cut their own strips. When I taught kinder and 1st I pre-cut the strips but my 2nd graders had no problem cutting strips.  Some were just a bit skinny or fat but they worked out in the end. I gave them each a piece of red and a piece of green paper.  They each cut 12 red strips and 12 green strips.  I did have to staple all of them which is a tad time consuming but I made some then took a break and then made some more.  You can see them hanging in the hallways ready for December 1st below!

 We stapled the bell to the last loop at the top.  This bell is from the oldest workbook ever.  I'm talking it had purple copy edges like from a rizzo machine when they copied in purple (anyone remember those or still have those at your school??) So, I made a new bell with the poem and you can download it for FREE by clicking on the link under the picture.  Thanksgiving break is so close,  I can't wait for 4 days of sleeping in!


Turkey Adjectives

You may remember the witches feet pictures that we created from step into 2nd grade. Well, we created some more with turkey feet this time!  I gave them each the brown semi-circle and they created the feathers on their own.  The first picture is my example and the bottom is what some of my kiddos came up with. I told them they could use adjectives or character traits to describe their turkey.  They are pretty good with adjectives but character traits are harder. I also told them they could use black crayon so we could see their words better but as you might notice some flat out refused.  They love pencils and more so, erasers : )  Hope you enjoy them!


Unforgivable Words

I have to say that I love teaching writing and my kiddos tend do very well with writing.  I usually teach from Lucy Calkin's Units of Writing which I LOVE but had to buy myself.  My school uses a few different programs but I was introduced to Lucy Calkins during student teaching and have had such great results. Since we don't have a program we HAVE to use, I just bought the set and I use it a lot.  It was definitely worth the money. If you are looking for a writing program I would highly recommend it.

Well, usually I use Lucy but occasionally I switch it up and today was one of those days.  We created a chart from Scholastic's 201 Teacher-Created Charts.  This book is like a primitive form of pinterest.  It's just full of pictures of charts that other teachers have created.  I think I bought this from Barnes and Noble for like $10.00 and it is full of great anchor charts.

We haven't been too worried about spelling during writing up until now but because Lucy starts out with just encouraging the students to write, write and write some more.  I want them to be comfortable to just get anything and everything down on paper before I start editing and changing it. I explained today that we needed to start checking our work for correct spelling.

Well I introduced this with the Unforgivable chart. We brainstormed words that were "unforgivable" to spell wrong in our writing. We started with very easy words and I tried to stay away from CVC words because that would be really long list. As soon as they came up with cat they tried to write EVERY word that rhymed with cat so I said no more CVC words.  I told my kids to stick with sight words that they use almost every time they write.  This is what they came up with first. We will keep adding to the chart over the next few days and then I will create a chart for them to keep in their student offices.  I will post some more pictures as we add more.  I am excited that it's already Wednesday and we have a field trip tomorrow, yeah!

Handprint Calendar

I can't believe it's already November, I may or may not have already been listening to the Glee Christmas CD....  Since Christmas is usually here VERY quickly I need to get started on our handprint calendars!  I have made these every year and while they do take a lot of card stock and paint, many parents have said how much they loved them.  My kiddos have also loved having a present to give.   The idea came from Little Giraffees and you can find all of the details there.   I have changed the pictures for certain months from time to time for example, I made christmas lights around Santa last year with fingerprints for the bulbs and then I used a black marker for the wire. It really is a fun (time consuming) project for the holidays!  Also, for 2nd graders I have them put holidays in each month and their birthday.  For 1st grade I left the calendar blank and just stuck with the paint. When we finish them I always bring in wrapping paper and the kids wrap them up to take them home.