Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Didn't Learn This in 2nd Grade!


What did I learn in 2nd grade?
That's me. I honestly don't remember. I remember where I sat, and the girl next to me copied my work. I remember ordering some books from Scholastic, but my teacher never gave them to me. I think she lost the order forms. So, I guess you could say I learned to keep track of my students' Scholastic order forms. Thank you Miss Jansen!

One thing I know for sure, I didn't learn to determine the central message of a story.

I'll be honest, I don't remember explicitly learning this EVER!

But that doesn't mean it can't happen!

As a matter of fact, it can and it has become my favorite part of reading a story with my students.

I love asking my students about the central message of a story. It is so impressive to hear their responses. I have one student that somehow finds a way to make patience the central message of every story. It's like the central message of her life. She even writes about it. It's pretty cute. Is she trying to tell me something?

So how do I teach it? Let me show you :)

This isn't the full standard. This is just a piece, and I break this into even smaller pieces. At this point in the year, the kids can manage the standard, but when we began, we took it a little at a time. 
 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Story-Structure-and-Central-Message-2464962
Understanding the characters, setting, and plot is pretty easy for the kids. Thanks to their awesome kindergarten and first grade teachers, this is a breeze!

Now for the fun part! Yes, I said fun part. 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Central-Message-Posters-2470556
I have these posters posted in my classroom. I think they're the most referred to posters in the classroom. This makes me a happy teacher!

So after reading a story, we discuss the characters, setting, and plot. Then I ask, "What did the author want you to learn from this story? What is the central message?"

The kids look at the posters. They think. They come up with  a reason. They discuss it with a buddy. Then, I call on students to share.


Most of the time, they have the same answer. But there's always a couple that have a different answer. And usually, those answers make perfect sense.

I love asking this question after I read a story. I think this may be one of the most valuable questions to ask students.

If you ask what's the central message and use details to support your answer, wouldn't that require the child to have paid close attention and to have made meaning of a story?

This week, we used Farfallina and Marcel, a story about a caterpillar and a gosling that become friends. The central message is pretty clear, but not everybody chose friendship. One students chose kindness. One student chose perseverance. They had to show evidence, so it was all acceptable.

Practicing this skill can be used with so many great books.
Find the lessons here:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Story-Structure-and-Central-Message-2464962
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Five for Friday: March 18th

It's here! Spring Break! I'm needing this break to relax. I have some good stuff planned. Two massages, two facials, and a winery.

But first, Five for Friday! I love my kiddos. I have a great class. They pretty much don't need me anymore. They are so independent


 I had to keep the kids busy this week. They're a little restless. They're ready for break. We've been working on a performance task about rain forests. After reading several passages about the rain forest, my kids put together a rain forest and wrote a report. I love the passage at Read Works. They're free and they're good and they're free :)



Just makin' a little bunny art before leaving for vacation.
I'm a little obsessed with this text dependent question activity. I give the kids a passage, and I let the kids read it several times. After reading, the kids take out their crayons. I ask text dependent questions, and the kids underline the answers using the colors. Once they are finished underlining, they have a rainbow of colors!


This year I gave each student an Easter egg with a coupon inside. I wasn't sure how it would go over. Would they be upset because it wasn't filled with candy? Nope! They were the happiest I've ever seen them. I was like "What?!" But I had a smile on my face that said, "I know I'm the best teacher." You can get the coupons here.


Happy Spring everyone! We've been enjoying the blossoms outside of our classroom. I hope everybody has a relaxing break!

Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to link up :)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Five for Friday: March 4th

I love this time of year! The flowers are blooming on the trees. The bees are buzzing. But more importantly, the Easter candy is out. The peeps, the Reece's eggs, and chocolate covered marshmallows. And that's where Five for Friday number one comes in.
I'm sure most teachers were a little busy this week celebrating books, and reading, and Dr. Seuss. I like to just choose any book that I really, really like to read and use for activities. This year I chose Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. It's a sweet story about friendship and team work.
We, and by we I mean I, decorated our door with this adorable book cover.
We made some Stick and Stone Mix. The recipe is a little complicated, but you can try it if you'd like. You'll need a bag of pretzels stick, mini marshmallows, and some chocolate chips. Mix them together and you have Stick and Stone Mix!
Have you used Socratic Seminar with your students? I'm trying it out for the first time this year. My kids really enjoy it. After each seminar, we have been choosing an M.V.P.--Most Valuable Presenter. Just a little award to show off :)
Raise your hand if you've been afraid to try something in your class because you weren't sure how it would turn out? My hand is up. Which is weird because I love to try new things. This week this teacher taught the kids about primary colors and mixing colors. I know that's nothing to brag about, but I did it. . . finally! And it was FUN! And the kids didn't get paint everywhere!
Who loves the Pioneer Woman? I do! I do! I don't really buy cookbooks because you can find pretty much any recipe online. But, I needed this cookbook. Needed! Every Pioneer Woman recipe I have followed always turns out amazing! Amazing! So this week I made her Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup recipe. And it was a winner! If you haven't tried any of her recipes, I highly recommend it. Are they healthy? Probably not, but better than going through a drive-thru.


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a relaxing weekend after a long week of green eggs and ham. Stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching to read some more :)
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