Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Little More Nonfiction Fun!!

My students and I have now wrapped up our nonfiction unit! They learned so much and have become such in depth thinkers! I LOVE to hear their connections to what they are reading and the conversations that are going on in my classroom. I love that my students have meet the challenge to a more rigorous curriculum and are having meaningful interactions with text. I AM ONE HAPPY TEACHER!!! 

A super fun activity that  my students adored was an interview. As a class, we reviewed how to write a question and modeled our questions around those that were found in the biographies that they had read and Internet resources that they had used to complete research on an American President. We created a flip chart with several questions that they had created. 

Once the questions were written, we talked about how to organize our paper. We reviewed many biographies to create an organizer where they could write questions to ask their friend. The kiddos decided that they would use these questions as subtitles in their writing to help their readers find and understand information about their classmates. I was so impressed with them and totally got the teacher goose bumps as they took over the conversation about their books...they truly applied their knowledge!!
Once the class made plans for organizing their writing, they had the choice to use this organizer or to create this in their writer's notebook.

Once the class had made plans for organizing their writing, they used the following form to write their final rough draft on the following form:

These turned out wonderful and the kids had the best time writing them and sharing their writing with their classmates. One of the best parts of this assignment were the "photographs" that they drew of their friends in the text box provided in the final draft form. They were so adorable!!!

Hope you enjoy this! 
We have started with poetry and all I can say is.....SO MUCH FUN!!!
I will post more about that very soon!! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nonfiction Note Taking and Writing

This past nine weeks, my little darlings had a WONDERFUL time exploring the world of nonfiction reading and writing. We have a great textbook adoption that has a variety of nonfiction selections. Has we moved our way through this super exciting genre, I thought it would be a great opportunity to for my students to begin note taking to help keep track of the important details. Here are a couple of graphic organizers that we used to jot down our thoughts:

Note Taking Form

Nonfiction Circle Map

 The kiddos read their stories and others that complimented the given topics (weather books, biographies on African American inventors and U.S. Presidents) and then took notes or added to the notes that they had already gathered. This made for an awesome prewriting activity as well!! Before the students used their notes to write their 5 page books, they worked with a partner and shared their notes verbally with them....retelling what they had read as they were planning their books!!

My little ones then used this stationary:

to write about their topics.My students also used this page to create their table of contents with the corresponding page number.

The next step to our fabulous 5 page books was to make a cover that included our title, cover illustration and author's name. On the inside cover, the kiddos wrote a dedication, publishing information and a copyright date.

Then, it was time to share our hard work with our classmates! They were so proud of their books and learned so much along the way!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Hi everyone!!! OH MY WORD!!!! It has been forever since I have posted and I am so sorry! Things have been CRAZY but I am back and ready to share what I have been up to with all my sweet (and extremely missed) bloggy friends!

As you all know, this is my first year in second grade. I adore it and am having such an amazing year with my kiddos. My teammates are the BEST and I am finally feeling like everything is running smoothly. I am putting all my energy into great instruction and I am so proud of my students! They have really stepped up to the challenge and are becoming wonderful thinkers! They are experiencing reading in a whole new way and I am so pleased to be a part of it!

Along with learning my new curriculum and finding fun and different ways to teach reading, I have been presenting a weekly series of professional development on the SIOP Model through my position as the ELPS trainer for the campus. We combined this with our weekly technology integration ideas and the presentations have been super informative and appreciated by my colleagues. It has been a lot of work but soooo worth every minute!

Then there was the cherry on the top of this MOST WONDERFUL school year......drum roll please.....

I was voted by my colleagues as TEACHER OF THE YEAR 2012 for my campus!!!!! I was in absolute shock and it seriously took a few days to finally sink in!  I am so incredibly humbled and appreciative of the amazing honor. My loving family, friends and colleagues have gotten me to where I am today.... and so have YOU. Yes, you. 

I started blogging about a year ago. It began as a devoted follower of some of the best bloggers around.





Primary Graffiti
and so many others.
 I read their blogs daily and with that came the slow transformation of the way I planned my instruction with the unbelievable resources that these teachers and many others shared with me through their blogs. They became my friends and some of my biggest supporters has I ventured into the world of blogging and starting up Curls and a Smile. This community of generous, brilliant and supportive teachers has allowed me to expand the number of people that I am able to share and collaborate with to develop strong,exciting, fun and immensely educational lessons. So, thank you. Thank you for the inspiration and for always challenging me to be the best educator that I can be for my students, school and community.

Thank you!!