Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finish the Year Right: A Guide to a Stress Free End of the School Year

The end is near! You can do it!

The only negative thing about the end of the year is the work load.

Blerg.

I always wanted to leave as soon as I could, but the files spread out all over my guided reading table made it hard to get out.

What if I told you spending just 15 to 20 minutes extra a day could help your end of the year experience be smoother and more efficient?



This is part one of a three week series.  Each week  I am going to pop in on my blog and give you a short list of tasks to help you get ahead (GASP!  Ahead?  That is like a mythical unicorn!) and stay on top of the paperwork. I will also try to share any freebies that can make the job faster and as efficient as possible!

You can make it!


  • Compare to do lists with a colleague.  Add anything you missed to your to do list.
  • Look at your calendar.  Make sure you have added all important end of year events and due dates to the calendar.  Compare calendars with a colleague and compare against the school's master calendar (if one is available).




  • File any of those random stacks of papers for 10 minutes.  Set a timer.  These can be papers to go home.
  • Grade any one stack of papers. 




  • Go through all Reading Assessment kit, like the DRA kit.  Copy any passages or running records so that you are prepared for end of the year assessments.  Be extra prepared for next year, and  go ahead and copy assessments for the beginning of NEXT school year. File the copied assessments away to stay organized.
  • Plan any Mother's Day presents.  I have a cute and FREE on in my store! Click here to see it!

  • Plan any end of year awards.  These awards are adorable and FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers! She has the same awards in color if you are looking for color awards!


Looking for a FREE printable copy of this list?  Click here!



Which of these tasks will you accomplish this week?  Anything else you need to do?  Make sure to check back next week for a NEW task list!  


 If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!!


PIN FOR Later:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rounding Up End of Year Fun and An Anniversary {FREEBIES!}

It is so hard to believe that the end of the year is near.

I know you guys must be so grateful.  I always felt like I crawled through May.  You can make it!

I think one of the most important things at the end of the year is to keep the kids engaged.  It can be a wild and woolly time of year, so I wanted the kids happy, busy, and learning! That can be a TALL order at this time of year!

This post may see like a bit of a hodge-podge because it is going to have all kinds of goodies!


I think cowboys are fascinating.  They lived such a rough life and so many traditions developed from their jobs. I love that it has universal appeal, as well- to both girls and boys.

I wrote an end of the year unit that is ALL about cowboys.


Aren't these cowboys adorable?  Kids LOVED making them and writing the stories.  I loved that they were busy and productive AND learning.  BONUS: Their stories were often a wonderful reflection of all the skills and strategies we learned for the year!


I also wanted to incorporate math into the unit.  I create the campfire math word problems. Kids can practice math skills at their own level since the problems are differentiated AND make a cute craft. Win-Win!


Glyphs are always fun.  Students can make this cute cowboy boot and practice graphing skills.

You can pick up the unit here.


I wanted to add more to the unit, so I found some readers theaters.  I LOVE doing reader's theater. You can read more about how I do reader's theater during holidays and special times here.

I found these FREE scripts that are perfect for a cowboy theme!!



You can click on the pictures to get both FREE!

I was looking for some nonfiction texts about cowboys. I did find a few, but was looking for more.  I was looking for more for some of my struggling readers as well.  I had a harder time finding this.  So, naturally, I wrote my own with all that extra, spare time I have.  What was I thinking!?!??


I wanted to share it with you!!!!


I wrote a nonfiction article about cowboys.  There are four versions of the SAME article. The articles are on these approximate levels: end 2nd, beginning 3rd, mid 3rd, and end 3rd.  Hopefully , this will allow you to differentiate more easily! 


I also included three different activities for practice finding main idea of the text.  The activities vary in difficulty from just finding the main idea of one section, to finding the main idea and supporting details of the entire article.

Just click on the pictures to get your freebies!

I am linking over at the Primary Peach  for our ONE year anniversary!  I can't believe we have been live for a year!!!


Each author has created an end of year FREEBIE! Make sure to hop through all their posts!!! 

We are ALSO giving away an Erin Condren gift card!  This is PERFECT for getting organized for next school year!  


Click on the picture below to hop on over to enter!  Good luck!

PIN FOR LATER:

 If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Best Spring Chapter Book Read Alouds

Spring is beautiful...and spring fever in the classroom isn't so beautiful!  Are you looking for some new read alouds to jazz up your reading time?  These books are some of my FAVORITE classics. They are perfect for the end of the year and are age appropriate for second graders.



*These links below are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission from each purchase.*


I love this story!  It is an older book and some of the language in the book is a bit old fashioned.  However, it is a wonderful, whimsical tale about a little boy on an adventure. There are some really descriptive passages which are perfect to practice visualization.


This is such a sweet tale of an unusual dog (Winn Dixie) that helps a little girl make friends and learn about her past. This book is a little bit of an emotional heart tugger, in my book.


Another oldie, but goodie.  This is the gross tale of a dare, that is well, really gross. Billy is dared to eat 15 worms in 15 days.  He is up for the challenge, just add in some peanut butter and horseradish!
When I taught fourth grade,some of my students read this book independently with a reading contract.  You might want to use some of the questions for whole group discussion.  You can get it free by scrolling down this page! There are also vocabulary words included.


I think this may be on my all time favorite children's book list of all time.  Poppy is just a shy and timid mouse, afraid of the huge Owl that rules the forest, like all the other mice.  Until Poppy witnesses the owl eat her friend.  This is one of the many factors that leads Poppy on an adventure to show how brave she really is, and how the Owl is nothing but a scam. The characters are charming and there is lots of adventure to keep kids at the edge of their seats!



This book is a MUST have- especially for spring!  Such a sweet tale of an unlikely friendship between a spider and a farm pig. This is great for the end of the year because you can watch the movie and compare and contrast it to the book!



This is another wonderful classic.   A fun tale of a mouse that "discovers" a toy red motorcycle that he must ride!  His red motorcycle adventures are something all kids can relate to, even if the book is older.  This is another great book for comparing to a movie at the end of the year!



This is a series of books.  It is a shorter chapter book, so it can be read relatively quickly.  It is the story of a little girl (Gooney Bird Greene) that tells only absolutely true stories...even if they sound far fetched. Somehow, with wild twists and turns, the stories ARE true and it is a fun ride to listen to all her tales!



One last classic!  This is a story of a little boy that will do anything for freckles- even drink the impossibly gross freckle juice! This is a fun read aloud that you can tie in a lost with visualization- they will make some fun pictures!!!


Do you have any other chapter book suggestions that are perfect for spring and the end of the year?


PIN FOR LATER:

 If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sharing Sunday for April

I feel like this whole year has just flown by me.  I mean, didn't we just take down our Christmas tree?  I mean, really, it feels like just a few days ago! And now it is spring!?!?  Eekk!

I would like to say that I love April and that I love all this gorgeous weather we have been having here in Georgia...


but that would be a lie.


.

I am the kid on the bottom.  From about March to May I am just a snotty, yucky mess.


The struggle is real around here...real gross! LOL

I DO have good news!  It is Sharing Sunday for April!


I have tons of goodies for you! Make sure to click on the image to get the pdf- then you can click on the images to get your freebies!


Kick off April with informational reading and integrate science!  Spring is the best time to teach life cycles!  I just finished a new product and have a HUGE freebie.  If you like my other informational articles, then you don't want to miss this freebie! It has an informational article about the butterfly life cycle plus lots of practice with main idea!



In April, we started studying Jimmy Carter, which is a part of our Georgia Social Studies standards. I wrote a blog post about informational writing about Jimmy Carter, however, you could apply it to any nonfiction topic.  Lots of freebies and ideas!!



Math time!  Time to teach TIME and GRAPHING!  Time was always so hard, and we practiced it all year.  The Spring Time pack has lots of differentiated activities to meet all levels of learners.  Want to try a "taste" of the graphing pack?  Click on the picture for a sample center!



In third grade we studied conservation and recycling.  This Earth Day informational article is a perfect way to tie in a seasonal celebration with science! It includes an article, main idea practice, text features practice, AND fluency practice!  I included a FREE center for students to practice sorting  recyclable materials.  Click on the picture to get your copy!


I hope this makes you planning for April a breeze! 




 If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Growing Readers and Writers with Mentor Texts

I am so excited to join in on the Growing Readers and Writers with Mentor Texts Spring Link Up!  So many fabulous idea were shared in the winter link up- I can't wait to go through all these spring ones!!


On each blog, we will be sharing a mentor text lesson using the book we've chosen. The lesson will be modeling a reading skill (comprehension or writing typically, but some at the primary level may target vocabulary, fluency, or word building).  The materials that are shared may be forever freebies or may be free for a limited time. Please take note of this as you visit the blogs. Also, affiliate links are included below.  I may receive a small commission upon purchase from any links below.

Are you ready to get started?


I actually choose a book that was new to me.


Butterfly House by Eve Bunting is a tale told in an interesting sentence structure.  In some ways, it resembles poetry.  It is the story of a young girl that finds a caterpillar.  She and her grandfather build it a butterfly house to live in while it changes into a butterfly.



I stumbled across a read aloud of this book on you tube.



There are so many things to do with this book.  I really loved the idea of using it as an introduction for the butterfly life cycle.  This book does a great job providing students simple and child friendly background information about life cycles. 

This is a great opportunity to brainstorm with students the differences between informational and literary text.





I wanted a nonfiction resource to pair up with this wonderful literary text.  I wrote an informational article about the life cycle of the butterfly. It is written at about an end of the second grade reading level.  I wanted to jam pack as many text features as I could. The two page article includes:


Simply copy the article front to back.  I included a color version and a black and white version. There are several activities to accompany the article.


The following activities are included:

Circle map for accessing prior knowledge about butterflies
Multiple choice questions about the text
Open response questions about the article.  The questions are the same as the multiple choice questions, only the format is different.
Main idea worksheet about two sections of the text
Main idea and supporting details worksheet about two sections of the text
Main idea and supporting details of the entire text




I wanted to make sure to tie the article back to the mentor text, Butterfly House. I also included a Venn diagram to compare the mentor text to the article.  I included a worksheet format and a format for interactive notebooks.


Want to snag your copy of the freebie?  Click on the picture below!


This is actually part of a larger pack.  The full version has tons of materials for Butterfly House.


and for teaching the butterfly life cycle.


You can snag it for only $4.00 my my Tpt store here!

PIN FOR LATER:


Before you move on to the next post, my mystery word is life cycle. [HERE] is the link to the form you can use to keep track of the mystery words at each stop. You'll need them for an entry on the Rafflecopter below.


Thanks so much for visiting today. If you have any questions related to this lesson, please let me now. Have a wonderful Spring, and be sure to come back soon.

Want to see all the other lessons in the link up? Check here!