Saturday, December 7, 2013

Landform Maps!

Before Thanksgiving break my class learned all about landforms. This is one of my favorite units to teach, because landforms are all around us! My amazing student teacher (shout out to Miss Nelson!) did a great job teaching this unit to the students. 

First, we assessed prior knowledge with a slideshow of different types of landforms: 

Then, after learning the characteristics of each type of landform, we made our own landform maps out of homemade clay. 

***Homemade clay recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.***

First, they planned out their maps and shaped the landforms: 

Next, they painted their maps according to the characteristics of each type of landform: 

Finally, students labeled each type of landform on their maps when they were dry: 

My students loved how fun and engaging it was to make the landform maps!

Homemade Clay Recipe
(Perfected by my wonderful teacher's aide who mixes 
it together for my class every year!)
  • Mix together one 5-pound bag of flour with 5 canisters of table salt. 
  • Add water until your dough reaches the desired consistency. It will be sticky! 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Favorite Thanksgiving Books & A Very Perky Turkey!

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Some of my favorite Thanksgiving books to read with my class are: 

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore

Magic Tree House Non-Fiction Research Guide: Pilgrims 
by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne 

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving books? 

We made this turkey last week. Each student cut out his/her own feather and could use any colors or patterns to design it. The students were a bit unsure of why we only had them decorate ONE feather. After putting up the bulletin board, they understood why each person only decorated one. Our turkey looked much better and had a lot more personality when we combined our creative efforts and worked together! 

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Time Savers with Blog Hoppin

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin this week! Monday's topic?


Number One Time Saver Tip:

I always prepare my resources for the next week before I leave school on Friday afternoon. Because everything is organized and in its place, I can walk out of school and not worry about getting everything together on Monday morning. I have a file folder for each day of the week. It saves me valuable time, because everything is where it needs to be when I walk into the classroom on Monday morning and every morning there after. You can read more about how I keep my classroom organized here

You can pick up my file folder labels in my TPT shop

Number Two:

Are your students always asking, "Miss so & so, what time do we go to Recess? PE? Lunch? Art? Music? Fill in the blank..." 

The display I created below saves me time by not having to answer these questions during instruction time. The students know better than to ask me what time we go somewhere. 

Number Three:

My students never question me about the daily schedule. I post our schedule every single morning so the students know what we'll be doing all day. They are definitely creatures of habit so I made a "Be Flexible" tag for our chart. I put this up when we do anything that deviates from the normal schedule - a school wide assembly, guest speaker, etc. Again, the students know better than to waste class time by asking me what subject comes next in our school day. A few seconds saved here and there really do add up!

Of course there are those days when I (GASP!) forget to change the daily schedule. They are always so quick to point out their teacher's mistakes! :) 

Number Four:

One way I save time before I even get to school in the morning is by having my lunch packed and ready to go the night before. I try to pack a few days worth of lunches and snacks on Sunday nights so I don't have to worry about it during the week: 

Of course some weekends are busier than others and this isn't always a reality. When I do have the time to prep everything in advance, it saves me so much time and energy on busy school nights!

How do you save time during the school day? Let me know! 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Five for Friday - November 1, 2013

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share some highlights from my week. 

1. I started out the school week with our school's annual Trunk or Treat event last Sunday evening. I dressed up as Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus! We had quite the crew with my amazing student teacher as The Magic School Bus, another friend as Liz, and two teachers at my school were D.A. and Keesha. We handed out candy and books to anxious and excited trick-or-treaters! 

2. We read some fun books this week: 

Click, Clack, Boo by Doreen Cronin

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin 

Notice a theme here? Doreen Cronin is one of my favorite children's book authors. Her books have my students laughing hysterically every.single.time!

Another fun one was Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer. 

3. The students worked together with partners to draft, revise, proofread and publish Halloween acrostic poems. I love it - they all have their mini dictionaries and thesauruses out on their desks and are putting them to good use! 

4. Halloween party fun!

We made popcorn and candy corn hands: 

And played Halloween BINGO: 

They all LOVED when I passed out the free homework pass: 

5. My students are currently obsessed with making homework for me, their friends and our student teacher: 

How was your week?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Martin Luther & The Reformation

We've been busy learning all about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation this week. 

We began our study by reading Paul Maier's book Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World. It's a great book that teaches about the life of Martin Luther. Reformation, recant, indulgences, translated, Wittenberg, Theses - these are big words for 2nd graders. The book does a great job describing what was happening during this time in history. 

They were excited to learn that A Mighty Fortress is Our God was written almost 500 years ago by Martin Luther and we still sing it today. After reading the book and learning the song, we moved on to learn about Luther's Seal. 

We found two Luther Seals in our school: 

And then learned the significance of each part: 

Each child picked five interesting facts to write about the life of Martin Luther: 

And they decorated a brown piece of construction paper to look like the Wittenberg church door, where Luther posted the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517: 

I love how different they all turned out. This student had fun writing all the way to 95: 

The church doors served as the book cover for our Martin Luther project. 

When the book was opened there were 5 facts (we're working on distinguishing between fact and opinion) about Martin Luther, Luther's Seal and an explanation for each part.  

Hopefully it won't be another 2 months until I blog about what's happening in my classroom. Lutheran school teachers: What are you doing to teach your students about Martin Luther and the Reformation? I would love to hear your ideas!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ed Surge Meet Up at Google!

Have you heard of Meet Up? I love this website because it gives you the opportunity to find various Meet Up groups in the city where you live. There are various groups for runners, educators, writers, hikers, etc. I've been to a few Ed Tech Meet Ups in San Francisco and all of them have been fantastic. I attended an event last night that put engineers, entrepreneurs and educators in the same room to discuss issues in education. 

Last night's Meet Up was sponsored by Ed Surge and the event was held at the Google campus in San Francisco. If you're not familiar with Ed Surge, head on over to their website to learn more. Weekly newsletters and a frequently updated website keep educators, developers and entrepreneurs up to date on the "latest innovations in education technology." 

San Francisco really is a small city! I was able to reconnect with a teacher I taught summer school with a few years ago. She just started a San Francisco group for the CUE (Computer Using Educators) corporation. Is anyone out there a member of CUE? 

I was also able to spend some time speaking with a representative from Motion Math. Motion Math apps are "fun math games that turn screen time into learning time." I'm always looking for apps to recommend to parents. Some of the games I saw demonstrated last night were perfect for my 2nd grade students. I can't wait to hear their reviews of the app! 

I loved the wall we could write on at last night's event. Ed Surge representatives posed the following question: What challenges in education do you want to solve? Anyone could grab a dry erase marker and start writing. Here are a few of my favorites and ones I would have written if they weren't already on the wall! 

What I admire most about Ed Surge is how hard they are working to bridge the gap between engineers, entrepreneurs and educators. Thank you Ed Surge! You have a happy educator who will keep coming back to your Meet Ups. What a great night of networking and discussing ways to solve problems in the educational system. We're all working together to close the achievement gap and I couldn't be more excited to be part of the conversation. 

The view from the Google office isn't too shabby. I just love this City by the Bay! For those of you who live far away, you can check out a live stream of the Bay Lights here. The lights are on from dusk - 2am Pacific Time. I must say, though, the view is much better in person.