Graphics by

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Habitat Research

We just finished our final habitat research project.  Second graders worked with middle school tech buddies to make a digital poster about their habitat using Glogster.  Here are a couple that were finished.  I think we are ready to start exploring this on our own now!

I am not sure what happened to our GLOGS!  Our 7th grade tech buddies helped us with this project and may have deleted them from their accounts.  BUMMER!  Good thing I just signed us up for GLOGSTER.EDU.  Can't wait to start exploring this with my kiddos.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Technology!

I have been waiting for snow here in Eastern Oregon and it is finally here! We have so much of it that our Superintendent declared a snow day!  I have been sledding down our street, cross county skiied with my oldest down to daycare and have had a few moments to think ahead about what I will be teaching the rest of this month.  I am currently collaborating with one of our middle school/tech teachers on a technology project.  His students (8th graders) are going to help my students (2nd graders) publish their habitat research using Glogster. While we were talking yesterday he mentioned a website/presentation tool that I had not heard of.  It is called Prezi and I am in love!  Prezi is a zooming presentation editor.  They have a great tutorial and if you are an educator you get upgraded to what they call their "Enjoy" license for FREE!  I am getting ready to begin a study of biographies and decided to give Prezi a try.  It was incredibly easy to navigate after watching the first tutorial.  I am also thinking that if I can do this my second graders can too.  They are so tech savvy!  I still have a lot to learn, but I thought this was pretty good for my first try.

If you are looking for a new and easy way to have students have a Promethean board you should give this site a go.  I would love to hear what you think after visiting the site.  One more thing...the cute biography templates for research are from Amanda Nickerson's Wax Museum Biographies Unit. I think after all this computer work I will head back out for some more fun in the snow!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blogging with Second Graders

Thursday I started a classroom blog with my students.  We are going to be documenting our learning experiences through this blog.  Students will take the photographs we post and we will all come up with the text during Shared Writing at the end of the day.  Our blog is called Mrs.Williams 2nd Grade Classroom Blog and you can find us here  We will try to post at the end of each school day.

We are also planning on creating videos as a way to share our learning and will post them on our blog as well.  I am just learning how to upload and post videos to youtube.  The following video is my practice upload and embedding into a blog...

It worked and it was so simple!  Get yourself a youtube account.  Upload your video. Copy the embed code and paste it into your blog.  Wa-lah!  Can't wait to do this with my kiddos at school.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Sight Word Phrases

Here is the next set of sight word phrases I have made to help my students with fluency and sight word spelling.

sight word phrases

More Research and Reading

Yesterday I posted about the awesome research strategy I had found in Ralph Fletcher's book, Non-Fiction Craft lessons: Teaching Information Writing K-8.  I am still really excited about that strategy, but noticed yesterday afternoon that most of my students were only focusing on one, maybe two, of the categories for their habitat research.  I started brainstorming and came up with a visual for them to use that would help them organize their notes and let them see if they had facts about each category.  I find that the more hands on and visual the better this class does.  I took a large piece of butcher paper and folded it into fourths.  Then I labeled each square with the categories the children are supposed to be finding information for.  One of our research groups volunteered to organize their facts on their chart for us this morning.  They discovered that they only had information for the animals that lived in their habitat.  "Uh-oh!" they said.  This afternoon they are more focused and more confident!

Rachel said, "This helped me and Tel a lot because we were only finding the animal facts."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Research Strategy That Doesn't Overwhelm Second Graders!

I am so excited about a research strategy that I came across in Ralph Fletcher's book Non-Fiction Craft Lessons:Teaching Information Writing K-8.  Research can be overwhelming and unmanageable for second graders but if you have them take an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of copy paper and fold it into fourths it suddenly becomes manageable and exciting for them!  Students write, sketch and/or label an interesting fact for each box while reading trade books, websites and listening/watching videos about their topic.  This strategy encourages students to write "just enough" of the information to help them remember the interesting fact later and put that information into their own words (something I have found very challenging for second graders of all levels to do) when the time comes to create their own teaching books.  This strategy also helps students develop a clear topic sentence and organize their writing.  After students have collected 8-12 facts you have them cut the four squares apart and group them into sections that go together.  They can move facts around until they sound just right.

Here are some photos of second graders using this strategy.

Do you have any strategies that have allowed second graders to do independent research?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Water Cycle

We live in Eastern Oregon.  Winters are typically freezing, windy and full of blizzards.  Today it was 49 degrees, sunny and calm! I  have to admit that I am enjoying the sunshine and warmth immensely.  However, at the same time I find the change in our weather pattern disconcerting and somewhat alarming!  What better time to dive into some scientific inquiry about the water cycle, world habitats and weather!

I launched our study of the water cycle with Barbara McKinney's book A Drop Around the World and the first Water Magic lesson: water transformation, from her companion lesson plan book.  The kids ate it up and it was a great way to find out what they already knew.  While I read the book we followed the drop on a world map that I had projected on the promethean board.  We payed special attention to evaporation, condensation and precipitation.  After our science experiment, read aloud and class discussion students made flip books with our three vocabulary words and drew illustrations to show their understanding of each process.

Students illustrated each process of the water cycle to demonstrate understanding.  The student illustration for condensation is showing the water molecules attracting to each other.  So, so smart!

I also found this great video/song on Youtube about the water cycle.  We listened to it a few times before the kids went home today. They were all  humming the tune on their way out the door.  LOVED IT!

For homework tonight students were asked to think about how they can use what they are learning about water and the water cycle in their life outside of school.  What do you think they might say?