Thursday, March 31, 2016

So Excited About Tomorrow!

Beekle. Dan Santat. Tomorrow. In person. That is all.

Thinking Map Thursday

As we review for our Mid-Year Phonics exam, the students are using a lot of Thinking Maps to organize their thinking about word work.  Students used their favorite maps - which are the fun ones to draw - Brace and Bridge! 

Students used the Bridge Map to demonstrate an understanding of contractions and used the Related Factor (RF): -is a contraction for-...

Students used the Brace Map to organize their thinking about compound words...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Thinking Map Tuesday

Back from Spring Break and hitting the ground running. This week we are focusing on comparing and contrasting so the students did a little work using their knowledge of rabbits and hares from our recent Weekly Reader magazine. They used these Double Bubbles to have conversations using vocabulary specific to compare and contrast.  "Rabbits have short back legs while hares have long ones."

We are also getting ready to take our mid-year phonics assessment so my students worked with partners to organize their thinking about short vowel words in a Tree Map.

They continued to organize their thinking about long vowel words using a divided Circle Map.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fairy Garden

So in Reader's and Writer's Workshop we are working on fairy tales - reading, comparing different versions, writing - the gamut. During the break this week I got to thinking about how to spark the imagination of my students as they write their own stories.  So often, my students struggle to come up with an original theme after being exposed to so many existing tales. I want to steer them from writing new versions of existing stories and really using their imaginations to come up with something unique and their own. I think this should do the trick - a fairy garden! I'll be adding this to our writing center rotation on Tuesday!

Thinking 'Bout Regurgitation

As our unit on owls continued, my little scientists were excited to learn about a feature of birds that are predators - creating a pellet! They used new vocabulary - like 'regurgitation' - as they learned that owls hunt, eat and then digest their prey in two stomachs - regurgitating the pellet containing that which can't be digested (bones and fur). After learning about the process, my students organized their thinking by making a Flow Map.
Then, my scientists worked with their partners and did a little TPR to reinforce an understanding of the process needed to make a pellet. Individually, they made some scientific predictions about what owls eat, and got to the business of discovery. 
My scientists were outfitted with goggles, lab coats, magnifying glasses, tweezers and were given a packet with several bone diagrams to choose from as they did the work. 
First, they unwrapped the pellet, and carefully dissected it.  Then, they sorted bones and then tallied up the different kinds of bones they identified. After they'd tallied the bones, they created a graph to illustrate their findings.

After, they reassembled the bones and then wrote about what they found and how that related to their prediction. Finally, they will prove their understanding by creating an iMovie to teach other students how to dissect owl pellets.
They just loved LOVED working with owl pellets! Better than recess, they said! That's the highest 2nd grade honor, by the way. I loved it too - what a great way to integrate science, math, writing...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thinking 'Bout Owl Features

My scientists were eager to continue their owl study by learning all about the physical and survival traits of owls.  

They used that knowledge as they organized their thinking into a Brace Map about survival traits and a Circle Map about owl behavior.  

Using their Thinking Maps, and their PK, they took it "Off the Map" and wrote about the features that help owls survive.

Finally, the scientists each referenced owl photographs and then created their own illustrations of owls and then labeled them.

I'm so proud of their learning and the ways they are proving what they know!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thinking 'Bout Food Webs

I don't know about y'all but with the range of levels I have in my 2nd grade classroom, I'm all about small group instruction across content!

We are all enjoying our small group science time so much! As we continued our study of owls, my little scientists focused on learning all about food webs and food chains. After some brilliant instruction, sparking prior knowledge and reading Who Eats What? the real fun began...
The scientists completed a fun food chain sort as a small group and then independently proved their learning with a food chain flow map. 
Finally, these little scientists compared and contrasted predators and prey using a Double Bubble Thinking Map.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thinking 'Bout Owls

My little scientists gathered together to discuss what they know and want to learn as we delve into our unit on owls.
My students came up with some great questions about owls and they are super excited to learn all about them. We read a lower level text and a higher level National Geographic magazine to learn more about these amazing birds.
The scientists worked together to create a Flow Thinking Map about the life cycle of an owl and a Double Bubble to organize their thinking about describing an owl.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Thinking Like a Business Community

My students learned that business community members come together to plan and hold celebrations. The Main Street Business Community collaborated on the elements of a good celebration and decided to work in groups on Food, Decorations, and Music. Totally student-led #PBL! 

The community members in charge of food decided to feature foods from the local businesses and made sure to have lots of trashcans ready - they really learned from that Loitering/Littering problem!

The community members in charge of music worked together on a song list that would appeal to all ages - thinking about how to get and keep customers by providing goods and services that people want.

The community members in charge of decorations planned and created decorations by hand! They decorated the space before the celebration...

My students spent about 3 Social Studies sessions planning, writing invitations and preparing for the big event. I know Main Street will stay in their hearts for a long time!