Sunday, March 30, 2014

2nd Grade Product Swap & Blog Hop

Welcome to the FINAL stop in second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at Second Grade Math Maniac to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop...which is HERE!  Be sure to scroll down below and enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

I have the pleasure of reviewing a product from my friend Vanessa over at The Educated Crown.  Since we work together, I have actually been using pieces of her Parts of Speech Task Cards Bundle all year long!
In 2nd grade in Texas, students learn about nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and prepositions.  Of course this is an ongoing process with constant, constant review.  In this bundle, you actually get 7 individual sets of task cards for the price of 6.  Here's what is included:

Mixed Practice
Task cards are such a quick, easy, and fun way to get in some practice.  I use them in several ways.  
  • My students love going on scavenger hunts. To do this, I just tape the cards all over the classroom.  They take a piece of paper, number it, and go around the room hunting for the cards and recording the answers.
  • We play scoot.  This involves putting one card on each desk.  Then the kids rotate through the desks.  Since these only take a few seconds to answer, it doesn't take too long to go through the whole set.
  • I leave them at my word work station.  The kids will take them out and practice independently.  I let them write on the cards with whiteboard markers as long as they are laminated.  I'll also use them in this way during small groups or tutorials if needed.
  • Quiz, quiz, trade...during this activity every child gets a card.  They quiz a partner and then they trade cards and repeat.  This is a new one for both me and my kiddos, but it's fun!
The best part is you can pull these exact same cards out every few weeks and just use them again for additional practice.  Make sure to check them out in Vanessa's store here!

That's it, you've reached the end!  Thank you so much for hopping through this product swap.  We hope you found some ideas for your own classroom!

Did you follow all the blogs on Bloglovin' as you went through?  Awesome!  Enter below to win one copy of each and every product in the hop.  The Rafflecopter will run through next Saturday night.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spark Student Motivation {Testing!}

Since this is a teaching blog, let me first have my students explain my month long absence...
I'm so glad they make wise use of their time as I make my trips back and forth to the bathroom!
My Spark Student Motivation post today is along the exact same line as Joanne's!  I actually teach 2nd grade and we do not take the state tests.  However since I am in a school with only 2nd-4th grades, we get completely pulled in...we have to do all the training, sometimes help with administration, and are often asked to help with the motivation/support piece.  

We had a candy themed bouquet contest at our STAAR (Texas state assessment) training and as a result I created these little candy motivational phrases to use with it.
Below is the bouquet my team made...and we WON...of course!
We just used one of each, but I also included full sheets of each tag should you want to give each of your students the same treat.  Click the smartie pants page below and you can download it free from Google docs!
Check back tomorrow because 18 second grade bloggers are hosting a product swap and blog hop.  This product will be part of the hop and you'll actually have a chance to win all 18 participating products!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nonfiction Text Features {Trading Spaces Tuesday}

Hi everyone!  I'm not home today...instead I am posting about making inferences over at Reading Toward the Stars.  But before you head over there, make sure to check out the post below!  Carla from Comprehension Connection has stopped by to post about nonfiction text structures.

trading spaces badge

Hello readers!  As you can see from the graphic at the top of this post, we are switching things up a bit.  Jessica has hopped over to Reading Toward the Stars to post about making inferences, and Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars has snagged my blog, Comprehension Connection, to talk about Reader's Theater, and  I am Carla from Comprehension Connection dropping by Literacy Spark to talk about a few teaching strategies I've used with nonfiction text structures.  This is a follow up post to a mentor text linky I participated in last week where I shared mentor texts for each nonfiction text structure.  If you're interested in grabbing the list of books as well as the handouts I shared, you can get that post {here}.

For today's post, I am going to share additional resources I've used to model and practice text structure with my students.  To introduce the text structures, I love using Youtube clips.  The first video clip is very thorough, and readers may prefer to pause the clip, make anchor charts, and/or use copies of articles to further explain the text structures, before continuing to the next segment.
Of the videos I looked at on Youtube, this video seemed the most comprehensive and included specific examples. I also liked these from LearningZillion.
Students may find it helpful to refer to this handout created by Laurie Thisius as examples are shown and take note of the signal words that are used within the articles.
To help solidify the information with more concrete examples, I loved using {this handout} from J Bernhard.  I cut apart the articles, and I had my students work in pairs to analyze them.  I also used this freebie from Melissa Gill.  Students need to explain their thinking which has been an emphasis in my classroom.  
This freebie from The Science Penguin was also quite useful recently since our fifth graders do a full study of oceans in science.  Giving students another exposure to those key concepts reinforces science learning and reading skills.  
Nonfiction Text Structures Ocean Activities
I hope you've found this information helpful and can utilize the ideas in teaching nonfiction text structures to your students.  Identifying them helps students hone in on the key ideas which is especially important with testing and general comprehension.  

Thanks so much for visiting Literacy Spark today, and thank you Jessica for allowing me to share these ideas with your readers.  If my blog is new to you, I'd love for you to drop by and check out the info I've posted.  To add me to your Bloglovin list, here's my blog link.
Have a great week literacy fans, and until next time, happy reading!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Determining Importance {Mentor Text Monday}

I'm linking up with Emily from The Reading Tutor today for her mentor text linky.  This week's topic is determining importance.
When I heard this week's topic, the first book that came to mind was "The Important Book" by Margaret Wise Brown.  I have never used this book with my second graders, but I should!  I actually used this book as a model lesson when I was interviewing for my very first teaching job with first graders.  
The book follows a repetitive pattern of "The important thing" at both the beginning and the end of each page.  The middle of the page contains more details about the topic of the page.  Each page is about a different item or idea.
If you don't have the book, here is a pretty good You Tube read aloud version of it.

The book is perfect for having younger students create their own versions by choosing their own item, determining the most important thing about it, and then adding additional details.  I was also thinking it could work for determining importance about characters.  Students could determine the most important thing about the character and then add details following the same format.
I made a quick template that you can download to use by clicking the image above.  Enjoy!

Tomorrow I'll be posting about making inferences over on Andrea's blog, Reading Toward the Stars.  Check it out for another freebie!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Procedural Text Resources

We've been working with procedural text over the past week or two so I thought I'd share some of the resources that I have come across, especially the picture books.  A year ago, I really didn't have any procedural texts in my library at all so I've been keeping my eye out for good ones.

I ordered a few on Amazon a while back, but  I wasn't sure the quality of what I would get because I couldn't see the inside.  I tried two different series since they were only $4-$6 a piece.
These Welcome Books weren't really what I was looking for because they are too simple for my second graders.  They really only have one line per page.  But, I could definitely see them as being perfect for a kinder classroom.
These Start to Finish books were perfect!  I actually want to order more.  They have headings, a table of contents, a glossary, etc.  They have just enough information per page to explain the concept with enough detail but not so much that it is confusing.  (Note:  The Amazon images are outdated.  The insides of the books have been updated just like the covers.  When you view the inside on Amazon, it shows an old library version.)
I also picked up Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomi DePaola.  I actually didn't realize that it was a wordless book until I received it, but it is perfect for having the kids describe the steps for making pancakes.
This is the sweetest book ever!  It is great for introducing procedural text because it gets the point across about following directions.  Hedgehog is baking a cake, but all of his friends come in and say they know how and offer to help him.  Since they don't follow the recipe, the cake is all messed up.  Hedgehog doesn't want his friends to feel badly, so after they leave to clean up he makes another with the recipe so that when they come back to eat, they believe the cake they made was wonderful.  It also has a recipe for cake at the end.  BUT...the book is out of print!  I have a copy of it from an old, old basal that I read it from.  There are options to get used copies from Amazon though.
We happen to have this story in our current basal, so we read it too and sequenced the steps for planting a garden.  However, it is loooooooong...

Yesterday, I posted about using origami for teaching about procedural text as well.  You can find that post here.
I also love using this graphic organizer from the FCRR for either sequencing events after reading or as a prewriting template.  My students chose something that they wanted to explain how to do, drew and labeled the steps on this organizer, and then used it as a guide to write the sentences.
I created this template for them to write the final draft of their procedural text on.  Click the image to download it from Google Docs.  Below are some examples.  There were some really interesting choices!  All kinds of writing about those rubber band bracelets...which of course is VERY hard to explain...Next time, I'll probably narrow the choices a bit.
I just love how this little girl put a moral with her writing...wrong genre, but right idea.
Do you have any favorite procedural text books or resources?  Please comment and share!