Like a word wall, the word family sundae board is a reference tool for students to use while they are writing. After we talk about a word family, I add a scoop to our cone. Click here for the document. Enjoy!
I first must say this was not my original idea; it was floating around Proteacher and I thought I'd give it a try. Prior to this assignment, I modeled "how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich" emphasizing "how to" words like first, next, then, finally. While I was modeling this, I was actually making the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so when the kids told me to put the bread together, I put it together facing the wrong way at first and they learned that they need to give specific directions :) The next day I gave all my kiddos a piece of Double Bubble bubble gum. Then I had them draft a "how to blow a bubble" step by step guide. After I checked it over, I gave them fancy final draft paper. The kids made their heads using small paper plates and construction paper for hair. I then let them choose a balloon and I blew them up a little bit (too hard for the kids to do and exhausting for me!) then taped them onto their paper plates (a lot of tape). I'm hoping when I go back to school on Monday the taped held up :D
P.S. I just realized that I have 2 white balloon near each other and I'm so OCD about things like that, so I'll have to move one of them on Monday. LOL
My students can earn homework passes when they receive an 85 or higher on a social studies or science test. I don't include math because they have a weekly math test and that would be WAY too many homework passes given out. They would never have to do homework!! But then again, I would never have to grade homework ;) This is my generic homework pass that I staple onto tests that earned it. I also like to give my kids homework passes as a holiday treat and it doesn't cost me any money!! Above is the one I created for Valentine's day (now I don't even have to buy Valentine's cards because I'm going to write on the back!) and if you missed my December blog I also included my Christmas homework pass. Enjoy!
This month my reading focus is text connections. I like to refer back to the same book when I teach about connections and Amazing Grace is perfect for the month of January to teach about Martin Luther King Jr. and acceptance. Oliver Button is a Sissy is also a great book about differences and is very similar to Amazing Grace so it makes an excellent text to text connection. I spend about a week on each type of connection and by the third week we have learned about Martin Luther King Jr. so we take a look at Amazing Grace again and the kids are able to make a text to world connection with what we've learned about MLK. Over the course of the month, while the kids are reading I encourage them to write their connection on a strip of paper and add to our "connection" chain. This motivates them since the students think it's fun to add to the chain! I hang the text connections posters above our CAFE menu as we learn about each connection.
Fancy Nancybooks are very popular among my second graders. To enhance their vocabulary and writing I created a "Fancy Nancy" wall this year. On Fridays we add a new "Fancy Nancy" word to our bulletin board (okay it's a door, but wall space is very limited this year!!). I ask the students to give me words to replace tired and boring words like "said" and "good" and I write their correct responses on the board. When we are out of ideas I grab the Thesaurus and help them out. Later in the year when they have been taught how to use a Thesaurus I have students help me with this. I then have the students who gave me responses write the new fancy word on an index card strip (I cut 4x6 index cards to make my strips). I give a strip to students, who didn't give a response, to write the words that we came up with as a class using the Thesaurus. We usually have about 10-11 fancy words to replace each boring word. The pockets that I use came from the Dollar Tree! Excellent bargain :) I then stick 4 mounting tabs on the back of the pocket and stick it to the bulletin board..or door.. I discovered those mounting tabs at a Lakeshore store over the summer and I'll never use tape again. It's the middle of the year and nothing has fallen off my walls yet ::knock on wood:: you can also peel them off at anytime and it doesn't ruin the walls or the items you are taking down. Here is the Fancy Nancy poster I created. These are theword labels I printed on Avery address labels. You can also add as many more as you would like. I chose to use the most overused words. Now during writing activities the students will get up and pull out a "Fancy Nancy" word from the pocket and use it in their writing. This takes up a lot less space than creating a word wall and I like that the kids are part of the process; they write the words and can carry the strip back to their seat during writing.
Well something good did happen to me in 2010! In November I submitted 5 of my ideas to Mailbox Magazine and I received a letter and gift certificates informing me that they are publishing all 5. This was one of the ideas. I just realized I've been bad about taking pictures this year. I did this activity with my kindergarten kiddos last year and again with my second graders this year. I love watching how their ideas develop. I did this in November when we were learning about Election Day and citizenship. I suppose you can use it anytime of the year and President's Day is coming up. If you have a tough class this year, you can even make him your "classroom citizen" and write all the different ways you can be a good friend and person within the classroom. I have one of these tracers that I got at Michaels. I always go to the Michaelswebsite and print a 40% off coupon to take with me. Because I can't draw anything by hand, I printed a small version of this person outline and stuck it under my tracer to enlarge it. The tracer isn't the best thing in the world, but it gets the job done when I can't. You can use banner or bulletin board paper, but I used the back of wrapping paper :D I then added a construction paper hat. We brainstormed characteristics of a "good citizen" then I gave each student a piece of white scrap paper (this year I used sticky notes) then they clothed our new friend. Next year I want to use blue sticky notes for pants and green sticky notes to make a shirt. My students gave me that idea this year and it's a good one!