Friday Favorites - Reading Activities

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies
Tech Apps
Math Activities

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite reading activities and lessons with you. We use the Journey's program at my school, but I also supplement using some of the lessons below. These are all lessons I've used in my second grade class, but could be used in third too!

Strega Nona Character Bubble Maps - I love the story Strega Nona. It is just a great story and the characters are awesome because they are so different.  I also like using Thinking Maps. My current school is not a Thinking Maps school, but I use the maps anyway since it helps the kids organize their thinking.  After reading Strega Nona, the kids and I come up with a bubble map describing both Strega Nona and Big Anthony. Then, they use the bubble map to help them write sentences describing each character.


The Gingerbread Cowboy - Setting Brace Map - Here is another Thinking Maps example.  The story The Gingerbread Cowboy is another great story especially to discuss setting.  I read it to my class and then we came up with the setting on the left of the brace and then evidence from the story that supported that setting on the right side of the brace map.


What's In Miss V's Bag? (this picture is from before I was married) - This activity is from Abby at The Inspired Apple and focuses on making inferences.  This is a great beginning activity before diving into making inferences in text.  I empty out a few items in my purse (select items of course) and the kids have to infer why I have those items in my person. This helps them start to understand the concept of inferring and being able to use evidence and background knowledge to draw conclusions.


Making Inferences - Whose shoe? - I don't remember where I found this activity, but it's another great inferring starter.  You bring in a shoe and the students have to make inferences about who they think the shoe belongs to. While making inferences, the students have to back up their thoughts with why they think the shoe belongs to that person.  

Inference Pictures - I found this one on Pinterest and it's another great start to teaching inferences. If you can't tell, I enjoy teaching about making inferences.  There are a variety of pictures out there if you search on Pinterest for inference pictures. Students then have to use the text/evidence + their schema to infer what is happening in the picture.


Prefixes and Suffixes - This isn't a super involved activity, but a great way to learn about prefixes using a Thinking Map - a tree map.  To help students come up with words that have different prefixes and understand what they mean, we created this tree map as a class.  We discussed what each prefix meant and as students gave examples, we talked about how the prefix changes the meaning of the word. This could also be done with suffixes.

Vocabulary Flip Books - We have about 8-10 reading vocabulary words each week with our Journey's program. One activity I like to do to practice is a Vocabulary Flip book.  Each book has four flaps. Students choose four of their vocabulary words and write them on the front and draw a picture that matches the word. Then, on the inside they write the definition and use the vocab word in a sentence.


Whole Class Book Studies - At my school, in addition to our weekly Journey's stories, we read three chapter books as a class throughout the year. In the fall, we read Charlotte's Web. In the winter, we read The Chocolate Touch. In the spring, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These books are a nice break from the weekly story and the kids love them. They are entertaining and engaging. We focus on vocabulary and comprehension with these stories.


Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite social studies/project based learning lessons and activities!

How I use Code.org In My Classroom

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Do you use coding in your classroom? If not, you have to try Code.org.  Coding is such an important part of technology. And, as we know, jobs that our students will be doing in the future most of them will heavily rely on technology.  I always thought coding was just a bunch of numbers and gibberish and never quite understood it. However, after using Code.org myself (I made myself a student account) I've learned right along with my students.


Set-Up:
Set-up is super easy and free.  Go to Code.org, click sign-in, and click on create a free account. It is free which is amazing because the lessons are valuable and there are many levels.  Once you create a teacher account you are able to create a class account and then student accounts. It is simple to do and once it's done you are ready to go!  

How I Use It:
The first time my students worked on coding I modeled step by step how to log in.  Once they were logged in, they were good to go on their own.  Code.org starts students in Course 1 and moves them through at their own pace.  I teach second grade so Course 1 was a good starting point for my students and myself.  Code.org provides videos to explain what to do and has fun activities for practice. For example, some of the activities require them to set-up code to move the characters around from Angry Birds.  Each lesson builds and gets more complicated as it goes.  

Students loved it and wanted to code during free time, which I was fine with. Some even chose to work on coding during Fun Friday.  I did have a dedicated block of time each week for coding.  During Morning Meeting, on Tuesdays, I called it "Tech Tuesday" and kids would code for the activity.  Students can also work on it at home. There is a little slip you can print that has the log-in information for home use.


Certificates:
Once a student finishes a course level there is a certificate you can print out. The kids love being recognized for their hard work!

Do you use Code.org? If so, what is your favorite part? Write me in the comments below...

Friday Favorites - Math Activities

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies

I love teaching math so it was hard to pick just a few of my favorite math activities to share with you, but I was able to do it! The activities I'm sharing below are mostly geared towards second grade, but could apply to high first graders or low third graders. You'll also notice there are a few activities with food. I find that anytime you can add food to a lesson - the lesson becomes more engaging!  I also try to incorporate as many hands-on lessons and math games as I can to help keep students engaged.

Check out a few of my favorite math activities...

Counting to 1,000 Book - One of the second grade standards is that students are able to count and write their numbers to 1,000.  So for an activity (we started whole group and then students would work on it when they finished work early) I had students write their numbers from 1-1,000. They would do one paper at a time and then I would check it. This allowed for quick feedback and made sure students didn't get too carried away with incorrect numbers.  When they were finished, it was put together in a book that they could take home.  They loved the fact that they got to decorate the front cover.


Making 2D Shapes - As I mentioned, I like to incorporate food into lessons when I can. I saw this online and can't remember the exact source, but it worked perfectly. We had been studying 2D shapes and their attributes. As a way to practice, students created shapes using pretzels and marshmallows. This lesson was a hit and the kids loved trying to create the harder shapes with more sides.


Arrays with Skittles - Another great food lesson. I like to break out the Skittles when we start working on arrays.  Students like below can make the array that fits the equation. For example, 3 x 7 - they make 3 rows with 7 Skittles in each row and then count to find the product.   They also enjoy the Skittles when we are finished!



Race to Zero - This is a fun, competitive game that focuses on subtraction and strategy.  Students can play in teams, partners, individually, etc. The goal is to be the first person to zero. Each team gets 3 dice and starts at the number 999. They decide how many dice to roll and then once they've rolled, they decide what order to put the numbers in. Then, they subtract. This continues until one team reaches zero. The interesting thing about this game is that it focuses on being strategic and using the right number of dice at the right time and really thinking about the best order to put the numbers in to maximize your turn.  I love having the kids play this for an activity during Morning Meeting.


Lucky Charms Graphing - Back to the food again! I again do not know where I got the worksheets I used, but there are many different Lucky Charms graphing packets out there.  The kids have fun picking out the marshmallows and graphing the totals that they have.  It also gives you a chance to ask some data analysis questions which focuses on number sense, addition, and subtraction.

Create Your Own Graphing Project - This is a fun project that my students always enjoy working on. Once we've learned about the different types of graphs, students work with a group on a project where they create their own graph. The group comes up with their survey question, surveys students, creates the graph, analyzes the data, and presents their findings to the class. It's a great project to use to wrap up the graphing unit. You can find this in my TPT store... Create Your Own Graph Project.



Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite reading lessons and activities!

How I Use Kahoot in My Classroom

Today I'm excited to share one of my favorite apps with you that I mentioned in my Friday Favorites - Favorite Tech Apps - Kahoot! Kahoot is an app that is new to me this year and the kids and I both fell in love with it! They would request that we used it and they'd be disappointed on days when we didn't.

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I used Kahoot as a way to review content that I had already taught in the classroom.  It's a great way to do review without the kids having to do 20 problems on a worksheet.  Our school is 1-to-1 with iPads, which helps, but Kahoot can be done as a whole class, partnerships, teams, or independently.  I have used the multiple choice type questions, but I know they have other options too.

I like Kahoot because you can create your own quizzes.  They do have a bank where you can search for already made Kahoots, but I often prefer to create my own.  Creating your own is nice because you can tailor it to the specific way you've taught, specific vocabulary you've used, and your school's specific standards.

Below is an example of one of the Kahoots I created for my class.  I would create a new one each week that went along with our Journey's story.  We would do the Kahoot on Thursday to help review for the test on Friday. I would include vocabulary questions, grammar questions, and phonics questions.  


Below you'll see all of the Kahoots I've created. The wonderful thing is these are saved for next year.  So once you've created it, you'll have it to use year after year and won't have to recreate things.  


Here is an example of what the questions and answer options look like.  When you are creating the Kahoot, you have an option to have 2-4 answer choices.  You can also have more than one correct answer.


Below is an example of one of the searches I did on Kahoot. We do a unit on 3D shapes and I thought it would be fun to review the shape names and attributes using Kahoot.  It did work well, but I suggest you look closely at the Kahoot before the kids complete it.  Since these are created by other people, there are sometimes mistakes and often they don't teach the exact content you teach so you want to make sure it fits your class.


I know this was a quick post, but I want to leave you with a few of the reasons why I love using Kahoot in my classroom...
  • The kids love it and they are engaged.
  • It provides instant feedback. Once the answers are in or the time is up, the correct answer is shown.
  • All students can play and participate. Sometimes too it's fun to break it up into teams and partners. They get quite competitive with the points!
  • Great review of content and it's not a worksheet. I'm not a fan of worksheets. While I know paper is necessary for some tasks, I don't think kids need to be doing worksheets all day long. I love that Kahoot reviews the content, but in a different format then a worksheet.
  • Quick and easy to make!

New Place Value Products

I'm so excited to share some new Place Value products that I have been working on this summer. These are perfect for Fall as most of us start our math units teaching or reviewing place value.  Both of these are geared towards second grade.

In Read It, students are practicing reading numbers out loud. One of our standards (we use ERB) is for students to be able to correctly read up to 5-digit numbers.  Read It is differentiated and includes practice with 2-digit up to 6-digit numbers.  This is a partner or independent activity. Students can take turns reading the numbers to each other and then pick a new card.



In Write It, students are practicing reading and writing numbers. First, students read the number on the card, which is written in word form. Then, they write the number in standard form on their recording sheet.  Write It includes 3-digit and 4-digit numbers. This activity is best used as Around the Room.


Both activities offer a color version and a black and white version.  Check them out in my TPT store by clicking on the pictures below.  

                             

Friday Favorites - Tech Apps

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies


Today I'm sharing some of my favorite apps to use in the classroom. We are very lucky because each teacher has their own iPad to use in the classroom and we are 1 to 1 for students too.  A few of these apps are for students and a few are more for teachers. Stay tuned for some additional blog posts coming soon about these awesome tech apps!

Kahoot - My students and I both love Kahoot! I started using it this year and primarily used it to review content.  It's kind of like a quiz, but also like a game show. Students can play as a class, in teams, partnerships, and individually.  On Tuesday, I'm sharing a blog post where I go more in depth with how I used Kahoot in my classroom.
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Xtra Math - Xtra Math is another great student app.  This is a good way for kids to practice fact fluency. It starts them off with an assessment to see where they are at and then provides them practice on areas where they struggled.  It has little "games" like Race the Teacher and is constantly monitoring their progress.  On the teacher sign-in, it's very easy to keep up with the kids, see whose been practicing, and see where they are at. I really like how it's quick practice.  It has them do about 5 minutes and then they are done for the day. Quick, easy, and to the point!
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Code.Org - I love, love, love coding and so do the kids.  With the importance of technology, the number of jobs in technology that exist now, and the number of technology jobs that will exist when our students graduate - technology is a skill that they need! Coding is also a skill they need.  Code.org provides practice at their pace. I've even tried it out and it's quite fun. I wish they had this around when we were kids! Stay tuned...I have an additional blog post coming on this one too!
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MobyMax - MobyMax is a great all-around educational review. It provides options to practice math, reading, language, vocabulary, writing, and more.  I like that it starts with an assessment and then gives the students lessons based on their needs.  They also work through lessons at their own pace. This app/website is great for differentiation!
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Class Dojo - This is more of a teacher app, but still a good one.  We use Class Dojo to monitor and give grades for our non-academic standards - conduct, effort, and personal habits. I love that you can personalize Class Dojo for the behaviors that you are looking for. There is also a component where you can invite parents to see their progress (we don't use this part at my school).
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iPevo - iPevo is another teacher app. As I mentioned, we are lucky to have a teacher iPad that can connect to a projector through Apple TV. We do not have document cameras at my school, but the app, iPevo, allows your iPad to turn into a document camera. It can project writing samples, work, etc on the board and there is also an option to use it like a white board. Stay tuned for a blog post on this...
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Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite math lessons and activities!

Friday Favorites - Book Studies

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series


This week I'm wrapping up talking about books for the month of June and sharing with you some of my favorite books to use for book studies.... I teach second grade and have used all of the books below with my second graders. Some books are great for whole group and some books are better for a small challenge group.

Chocolate Touch by Patricia Skeane Catling - This book is funny and entertaining. We always read this book every year as a class and the kids love it.  Every kid can relate to wanting candy and the situations John finds himself in throughout the story are humorous!
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - A classic book to read with your class. I also use this book whole group.  We read this one towards the end of the school year and of course we watch the movie when we finish.  This is a book that really captures the classes' attention. We read a few chapters a day and every time I stop I always hear groans and please keep reading!
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Charlotte's Web by EB White - Another classic! We read this book towards the first part of the year and it's our first whole class book study. We also do a reader's theater version of the book for grandparents on Grandparent's Day.  This is such a sweet story and has many great life lessons in it!
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Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty Birney - My students have really started to get into the Humphrey series the last year or two. Since this is more of a fourth grade level book, I use it in small group for kids who are ready for a challenge.
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I Survived the Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis - I've also had students take a big interest in the I Survived Series. I've used the Great Chicago Fire book with a few small groups.  It is definitely a heavier content then say a Humphrey book, but for kids who enjoy history - they love it!
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Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows - Ivy and Bean are great characters that again students can relate to.  I've used Ivy and Bean a few times also with small groups.  The characters have real-life situations and have some interesting personalities which keep the kids entertained.
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Thank you for stopping by to check out some of my favorite book studies! I do have book study packets available in my TPT store (Jordan Johnson) for many of the books above and more. If you are interested, check it out here....

Next week I'll share some of my favorite technology apps and websites!

Friday Favorites - Kid's Favorite Series

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds

This week I'm sharing some of my students' favorite book series with you.  My group this year liked many different types of books so I wanted to share some of their favorites.  I definitely have stocked my library up with these series for next year...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinsey - My students for the last few years have all loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series.  They find them funny and I have many kids that once they start they then want to read the whole series.
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My Weird School by Dan Gutman - This series became a huge favorite this year! Again these are relatable because they are about school and they are also humorous. Some of my more reluctant readers have really enjoyed these and it's helped them catch the reading bug.
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy! (My Weird School series) by [Gutman, Dan]

Who Was, What Was Series by Various Authors - My only non-fiction series in this post - but these are amazing! These are definitely higher level books, but for some of my kiddos this was a great challenge. These books are awesome because they provide so much information. There are many written on different people, places, and events in history!
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Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene - I loved reading Nancy Drew as a kid, but that was many, many years ago (I won't tell how you how many).  Here is a newer Nancy Drew series with the same characters, but the stories are more relevant and modern.
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I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis - I love this series as do many of my students. If you have students who love non-fiction, this would be a great fiction series for them. It takes real events in history and provides information through a fictional story.
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Judy Moody and Stink by Megan McDonald - Students also find Judy Moody and Stink funny. Judy and Stink are brother and sister so often kids will read both series.  Great for kids to relate to because most having siblings and can relate to the squabbles and funny stories.

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Clementine by Sara Pennypacker - I mentioned Clementine last week.  It is great for a read aloud, but also a fun series for students to read independently.  Most kids love funny stories and Clementine definitely does some funny, crazy things.
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Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce - This is a newer series that my kids have enjoyed this year. The comic book/chapter book is definitely very popular right now. This series appealed to some of my reluctant readers because of it being comics.
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Next week I'll share some of my favorite books to use for class and small group book studies!