Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How I Teach Rearranging Sentences

Have you seen it? The Common Core standard that asks second grade students to produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences? I can handle the the producing and expanding, but then came the rearranging.

What does that mean? I mean, I get what that means. But I had absolutely no idea how to teach that. No idea! Until I figured it out. And let me tell you, when we (a teammate and I) figured it out, you would've thought we found the cure for some disease. We would call that disease adverbials.
adverb anchor chart

Now let's go back. The standard states that students must be able to write a simple sentence. Easy! For the most part, my 2nd graders can write simple sentences using a subject and a predicate. No big deal. I have my students work on this skill the first few weeks of school, and I put it in a station.
Next, the kiddos need to expand the sentences. This is the fun part! Like, I really love teaching kids to expand sentences. I love it because it's at this time I get to teach the word Details. I have a freebie that you can pick up here.
teaching kids to add details to writing
So now we get to it. . . drum roll please. . . rearranging sentences.

Like I said, once I discovered the adverbial disease, I couldn't stop smiling. It was kind of sad. But at the same time, really amazing. If you teach the primary grades, you get me. It's not that you don't know how to write a sentence using this or that. It's just that we don't teach it so we don't know how to explain it.

And now, how to teach Rearranging Sentences!

Once your kiddos know the parts of a sentence--subject, predicate, and adjectives--you can get into adverbs.  Above you saw my Adverb anchor chart. I use this to explain adverbs.

Using your simple sentence or expanded sentence, add an adverb to the end of the sentence.

Now show the kids that the adverb can be moved to the front of the sentence.

What?! Wait! That's it?! Yes, that's it.

What were we so worried about?

I am all about hands-on in my classroom. It just makes me happy.

I have an activity to let kids manipulate simple, expanded and rearranged sentences. With this activity, kids make sentences using ice cream.
simple, expanded, and rearranging sentences

There are different station activities to keep kids practicing independently. My favorite!
writing rearranging sentences
Now, we're on the Know It phase of Rearranging Sentences so I have kids practice their skills independently.
simple, expanded, and rearranging sentences
But if you know me, you know that I think applying grammar skills to writing is the true test.

I hope this helped! And check out my freebie! Your kids will love it!

And if you'd like some more help, check these out!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Research Reports for Beginning Writers

I love writing research reports with my kids! This past week, my students began writing their very first research report. When something is new, it's best to make it as simple as possible.

This is how I have my students write a research report (for starters). . .
penguin research report
For this report, the penguin report, the kids started off making a folder and pocket to hold their information. You may choose to wait for this part, but I like to get the kids excited.
research report for beginners
The kids colored, cut, and glued this super cute penguin to a sheet of construction paper. They made a little pocket on the penguin's tummy to use for storing facts, which I'll tell you about in a moment.
finding information in informational text
We took out the highlighters. Every teacher knows that highlighters make everything better. The students highlighted information about the penguin's habitat, young, features, diet, and predators.
note taking for primary students
Then they recorded notes onto the graphic organizer. I like to teach my kids how to write one or two word notes, and then transfer that into a sentence. We do this with narrative writing also. You do what works for you.
writing a research report
After the kids took notes, they wrote sentences using the notes they took. They cut out the cards, put them in a meaningful order, numbered the cards, and then put them in the penguin tummy pocket. I kept saying that in class because it sounds so cute :)
differentiated penguin passages
Now we know that each class has kids of all different reading levels. So, I had some students writing sentences, and some students cutting out pre-made fact cards. The students cutting out the pre-made cards, read them to me and worked on putting them in order.

Finally, the kids wrote the sentences from the cards onto a sheet of paper.

And voila! The kids have written a research report.

Now that the kids have written a research report with a lot of help, we'll do it again (with some help). But this time, the kids will use other resources along with the ones I'll provide.
We have several choices. . . Which will we make next?

So, I tried out something new. I made a YouTube video. Take a look at it :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Five for Friday (October 16th)

This was a great week! So many great things to share!

I marked a Teachers Pay Teachers milestone and had a product featured in honor of it. Celebrate!

If the week wasn't already good, it got better. . .

I received this email from Donor's Choose!

I asked for class sets of various chapter books. I am so excited!

I've mentioned my math stations before. I love this "new" way of teaching math.

I know it's not new, but it's definitely new to me. I love differentiating the math for my kids. And they love the stations, too :)
We're beginning my Day of the Dead unit. My kids just love it! They find it fascinating.

By the way Target has everything Day of the Dead. . .banners, pinatas, treat bags, door decorations. I want it all! 
This month I realized something. I'm not sure why it has taken so long. October is, by far, the busiest month of school.

Carnival, report cards, conferences. . . I'm so grateful for the good things that have happened, but I'm looking forward to November.

Thanks for stopping by! Visit Doodle Bugs Teaching for more!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five for Friday (September 25th)

This week flew by! I think that's the sign of a great class :)

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday and excited to share what I've been up to!

I'm going to start with the most important thing that happened this week. How to Get Away with Murder returned. Enough said.
I completed my latest product! I am so happy with it! My students think it's the most awesome thing in the world. I figured I'd share it with everybody! Since report writing is a new concept to my little 2nd graders, I like to make it fun. What's fun for them, is fun for me :)

I began using math stations this year. I must've been living under a rock. Why has it taken so long for me to get this started? The kids love them. I love them. Everybody is happy! You can read about how I got them started here.
I showed some activities in my last Five for Friday, but the truth is I didn't link it because it needed some help. It has good stuff. It just didn't look good. I have since made some revisions and it's looking better. It's free!
I'm loving Subway A LOT lately. I don't know why. One of my sweet students brought me these coupons along with some sour gummy worms the other day. This was one of the sweetest things a student has given me :) Who knew coupons would make me so happy?

Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching and link up!

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Peek at My Language Arts Stations

In a previous post, I showed you how to get stations (centers) started in the classroom. I believe letting students work independently is imperative for teaching children to be self reliant and problem solvers. In this post, I will show you my different stations. My stations are pretty simple. They don't require constant changes, which makes my life easier.

I post these posters with the station. They give several "I Can" statements for students to follow. This keeps students productive the entire time they are at any particular station. 

These smaller cards are used on the board to keep track of each group. 
Library Station
This is a favorite station of my students. I have a small library because I have a small classroom, but I do have a library with a lot of books. The kids love to just sit on the floor and read any book they want.
 Writing Station
I have an abundance of resources for this station. I just love writing! I like giving kids every tool I can imagine to just write. The "I Can" statement are ideas, if the kids can think of something else, fine with me! Here are a few of my favorites:
Fluency Station
These fluency passages are differentiated. I put them in a folder and let students read the passages at their levels. The students enjoy timing themselves. I change up the pointers to make the station more exciting.

These are the first three I've created. More to come!
Word Work Station

This station doesn't take much prep. The kids just use the supplies provided and work with words. We use some of the supplies during regular instructional time so it's just review.

Here are a couple word study units I made. I chose specific blends because I see so many students struggle with them.

Spelling Station

I'm not a huge fan of spelling lists and writing words over and over again, but this station gives students an opportunity to play around with markers and work quietly
Computer Station
Everybody loves this station! It's pretty self explanatory. 

Big Book Station
 This station is just plain fun! Why? Because kids get to read books that are really big!

Polka Dot Station
This station is located at the front of the classroom under the board. It includes a bunch of different activities. They're called the polka dot stations because the background is polka dot. It's much better than it's original name--Wall Station :(

I hope this helps! Stations don't have to be complicated. Stations don't have to take all of your prep time. Choose activities that can be done over and over. This will make your life so much easier! 

Get the editable posters here!
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