Monday, January 20, 2014

rule breaker

I don't know about you but I have trouble following the reading series straight through. I mean sometimes there are stories in Journeys that I could use at different times because they go well with science and/or social studies. Of course I want to try and plan cross-curricularly as much as possible, so I am kind of skipping around in Journeys.

Not drastically... just skipping a story here or there. I can always go back to those stories, and we will for sure cover the skills, but we just swap the stories up. No harm done!

So, this week (after a little shifting) we are reading a realistic fiction and a biography. We started working on biographies the past week and a half with Helen Keller. It seems like perfect timing with MLK now, next we will jump right into Black History Month early.

The story we are reading this week is Luke Goes to Bat with a companion story about Jackie Robinson. I am trying include a close reading component at least once a week to practice finding information in the text. So, I used the companion story (Jackie Robinson) and made up a little directed close read for it. Copy it front and back and use it small group, whole group, or let students do it by themselves.

Click the picture above to download the freebie. 

We are learning about MLK this week, and we started our mini-unit with a little activity I like to call:

Drink and Draw

You may have been to something called Sips n' Strokes- which is basically like a painting class with wine (can't go wrong there!). Well, I changed the name and threw in a juice box and now we have Drink and Draw. We use a directed drawing (like this one) and have a good ol' time.

It is really fun!

Off to bed... ready for the 4 day week! :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Did you know? (with LOTS of FREEBIES)

Did you know that January is National Braille Literacy month?

I didn't either... until I started doing some research on Helen Keller. We are studying her in our reading series and shockingly the kids are super into it. We have done a lot of non-fiction this year, but we haven't focused on specific people for past research so I am excited to start reading biographies and autobiographies.

So, as we are learning more and more about Helen Keller it seems obvious to expose my second graders to Braille and give them a little taste of reading with Braille. I found a wonderful kid-friendly site about Braille called Braille Bug. This site includes info about Braille (Louis Braille, history and games) and also links to the Helen Keller Kids Museum Online (which has some awesome pics and descriptions of her life).

I am definitely about to print out some Braille names for all my kiddos. Here's mine:

Click the picture above to do your name!

You've more than likely seen a few other posts I've made on Pebble Go. Well, Pebble Go just happens to have a great biography section (that I will be all over during Black History Month!!) and there is a section on Helen Keller. So, I've made a guided Web Quest for my kids to do during some tech time. If you don't have time for tech (or access to it) I also made a Text Reference page on Helen Keller. My kids are tackling Text Referencing as much as possible.

You can click the pictures above to get your free copies of these activities. (If you are in Journeys, like me, I am hoping these will be helpful to you!)

During our research on Helen Keller we are building a timeline of her life and learning what makes an event in some one's life significant. Because of the significant interest in this topic we are extending our unit on biographies and autobiographies and we are going to write our own autobiographies. We are starting with a bio-poem. If you haven't heard of a bio-poem before, it is a great way to get the kids thinking about their life.

Above are the guidelines for a bio-poem. Click the picture and you can download this for your kiddos. So, we are going to start with this poem and then in our writing journals we are going to write about different things in our life. I made up some labels to help the kids organize their pre-writing in their journals. 
Each child will receive all these labels and we will work on filling out their writing journals in an organized way! You can download these by clicking the picture above (compatible with Avery 5160 label). 

I hope to post more this week about how much progress we make in this and other topics!

 Have a great week!