9.25.2014

Guest Post: Building a Classroom Community with GoNoodle

Hi.  It's me.  It's been awhile!

I have been treading water this school year, so blogging has hit the back burner.  I am hoping to be back this weekend to play catch up, but I may just spend the whole weekend sleeping! :)

I wanted to stop by quickly to tell you that I am guest posting over at GoNoodle today!  Stop by to see how I build a classroom community with GoNoodle.  I have a VERY active class this year, so GoNoodle brain breaks have been a life saver {for both me and my students!}  Click the photo below to read my post.


If you would like to help my very active kiddos, I also have a Donors Choose project posted right now.  I am asking for Hokki stools, wiggle seats, and fidgets to help my students improve their focus.

8.24.2014

Wandering through Wonders: McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Overview

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade

My school district recently adopted McGraw-Hill Wonders as our new K-6 reading series.  Previously, we were using a variety of series and resources to meet our students' needs.  In my 8 years of teaching, this will be the first year I've had a reading curriculum that addresses {most of} our standards!  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might know that using a basal to teach is not exactly my style, so this is a HUGE change for me.  In an ideal world, I would use a reading workshop model to teach whole group mini-lessons with trade books and then differentiate with leveled readers in small groups.  I am still planning on using a reading workshop model, but I will be integrating Wonders into the model.  I hope to blog about Wonders throughout the year to share about the integration process.

According to McGraw-Hill, Wonders is the first and only reading program designed specifically for the Common Core.  This is a definite improvement over our previous series; however, this does not mean the curriculum is without flaws.  My colleague, Amanda, and I spent A LOT of time this summer aligning Wonders to our 2nd grade CCSS and developing a scope and sequence for the year.  Throughout this process, we discovered many things we loved about Wonders, as well as a few things we were not impressed with!  I will start with the things we loved! :)

1) Literature: The stories in the literature anthology of Wonders are very good!  I've worked with a lot of basals that had really dull stories, so I am excited that Wonders includes stories that are engaging and high-interest for my students.

2) Instruction Model: The 2nd grade curriculum of Wonders includes 2 textbooks.  You use the Reading/Writing Workshop textbook to pre-teach the comprehension and vocabulary of the week, as well as model close reading.  Then, you have students apply these skills to the weekly selection in the Literature Anthology.  I really like the concept of being able to pre-teach skills and apply them to quality literature.

3) Multiple Selections: Both textbooks include multiple selections each week.  The selections are a variety of genres to allow for multiple ways for students to practice their skills.

Now, onto the main problem we are having with Wonders...  scope and sequence! {a large problem, I might add!}

Scope and Sequence: I emailed the folks at McGraw-Hill multiple times to see if they could provide a matrix that indicates which CCSS are being focused on each week.  (Because my district uses standards based grading, it is important for us to see the scope and sequence of the standards we are teaching and assessing).  The best McGraw-Hill could do was tell me to use the online Weekly Planner resource to pull up the weekly standards.  So, I tried it.  Unit 1, Week 1 lists 44 standards for the WEEK (12 of which don't pertain to 2nd grade).  Clearly, that's not going to work for us!  Like usual, I decided to create my own resource to meet my needs.

My friend and colleague, Mary, created a template to use to map out Wonders for 4th grade.  Using the template, I worked with my friend, Amanda, to create a scope and sequence that showed the CCSS that were truly being focused on each week.  You can download the FREE checklist by clicking on the image below.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade

{Full Disclosure: We worked on this at 2 AM on some nights, so I make no promises that it's 100% accurate, but it's a start!}



Throughout the year, I will be creating additional Wonders resources to meet our needs.  One of the first things I have already created is a spelling unit!  Second Grade Wonders includes weekly spelling words based on a pattern.  Although the words are provided by Wonders, I found that the curriculum was lacking some necessary components such as:

1) Organized lists to send home to parents

2) Word cards for sorting by pattern (Wonders does provide word cards in their online resources, but they do not include sorting headers and their cards are huge... which wastes too much paper in my opinion!)

3) Most importantly, a guide on how to assess students' spelling!

Because my team is going to be utilizing Wonders for spelling this year, I decided to create a comprehensive unit for us to use.  So far, I have Unit 1: Weeks 1-5 completed and posted on TPT.  I am currently working on Units 2-6 and will create a bundle if there is enough interest.  Here is what my unit includes:

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling

{Click on the image above to check out the unit}
  {Download the preview file for a FREE sample of Unit 1: Week 1}

Click on the images below to see a full size image.  These can also be downloaded in the preview file.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{How I plan on teaching spelling}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{The weekly spelling patterns and the words that are on each test}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Word list to send home with students... includes lines for handwriting practice!}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Word cards and headers for sorting}

I have my students cut, sort, and glue the word cards on notebook paper.
I've included a few blank cards to help students think of additional words that follow the pattern.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Description of the spelling test}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Example of a spelling test}


Phew!  This was a long post!  Hooray for you if you made it to the end!
Please comment below if you are using 2nd Grade Wonders this year.  I would love to connect and collaborate with you!

8.16.2014

Bright Idea: Washi Tape Trick!


Are you ready for the simplest Bright Idea ever?
It is SO simple, yet it will bring you forever happiness.

Raise your hand if you enjoy super sharp permanent markers...

{it's the little things in life, my friends}


See that piece of Washi Tape at the end of my marker?  That's the trick.

I have about 985972 Sharpies in my classroom, but not all of them are sharp!  Whenever I get out a new permanent marker from my hoarding collection supply, I wrap a piece of Washi Tape around the end.  When I have a job that requires a super sharp Sharpie, I simply grab the marker that has been Washi Taped!  When that marker is no longer super sharp, I pull off the tape and Washi Tape a new one.  Easy as that.  

Do you feel enlightened? :)

Do you have an amazing trick for Washi Tape?  Share in the comments below!
I am planning on a Washi Tape post soon!

PS: Here is an outtake from my Washi Tape photo shoot...


If you liked this Bright Idea, please consider joining me at FacebookTPT, or Pinterest.

Visit the link-up below for MANY more Bright Ideas!



 

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