Just popping in for a moment to give you a sneak peek of what's happening in my classroom this week -
I decided to do Kindness Elves this year instead of the traditional elf guy, mainly because I like the idea of focusing on GIVING and not receiving.  Check out my post tomorrow (Monday) over at Who's Who to see how I plan on sharing the kindness in my classroom.

And don't forget - Teachers Pay Teachers is joining in the fun of Cyber Monday with a fantastic sale!
(Graphic by Rachel Lamb)

My whole store - along with tons of other great sellers - will be 20% Dec. 1-2 - ANNNNND if you remember to use the promo code at check-out (which I have been known to forget!), you get an extra 10% off your purchase!  Start shopping!
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I couldn't decide on just one thing to blog about this weekend so I'm linking up with Kacy at Doodlebugs for Five for Friday.  Good stuff this week!

Not sure how I feel about this... It definitely was pretty and it didn't last long.  But let's just say I'm not ready for this to be happening too often right now.  Snow means boots and snowpants and the craziness of getting everything ON for recess, then coming back in and taking it OFF... not yet, ok?

We finished up our unit on repeated addition with some fun centers.  In the first one everyone is using square tiles to show arrays of a certain number of rows and columns.  This one got a few of my kiddos confused.  It was good to see some kids having no problems figuring it out and others who usually breeze through all things numbers having to really think.  In the end we all got it and it was great to see everyone help each other figure it out. The ipad center was hit.  They used a drawing app to create arrays based on repeated number sentences.  In the third center it was the opposite - write the number sentence to go with the array. (You can get the cards from TPT HERE.)

This is my second Stitch Fix and I LOVE IT!  I get to try on things I wouldn't normally even look at and I'm finding some great pieces to add to my wardrobe.  That cream sweater is perfect to keep at school for when it gets chilly and the jeans on the bottom are my new faves!

We took out the laptops for our first research project of the year!  Wow - the excitement was amazing and it's so great to see my kiddos really able to use technology so well.  Last week we visited three sites to learn more about nocturnal animals.  As soon as everyone got busy you could hear a pin drop as they all read everything they could.  Then the chatter started - "Did you know....?"  Wow!  Listen to this!"  It warmed my teacher heart!  This week we'll add information from a few books.  I created a research flip book for them to keep track of their facts.  After the research piece, each student will create a slide in Powerpoint with a fact about their animal, photo and caption and a title.  (Snuck a little nonfiction text feature practice in there!)  We are all so excited to see how the final presentation turns out!  (Click HERE for the flip book.)

Here are the sites we used:



As I was cleaning things up on Friday, I realized this little habit I have just might save some of you a little time.  You know all those resources you have that you use parts of all year, ... but sometimes not every week so you forget which one you used and which ones you didn't.... and you copy it and hand it out only to hear "we already did this!"... I started turning the page I used around the other way when I re-filed it after copying so I knew I had already used it.  Now when I go back to my folder I can see at a glance which pages I've used so far.

Be sure to check out Doodlebugs to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

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My students LOVE anything nonfiction.  Whether it is about space, the weather, trucks or animals (a particular favorite with second graders), learning more about a topic is where it's at. 

I came across this pin while I was looking for ideas on how to teach nonfiction text features.

It leads to a quick summary of how the author used text mapping to teach nonfiction text features.  I was hooked.  (Be sure to follow the link to The Text Mapping Project for more information.)

I knew this would be a great idea to use with my kiddos because: (1) It was VISUAL!  My kiddos could see how a nonfiction book was put together in one look, rather than flipping through pages; (2) It was INTERACTIVE!  From putting the copied pages together into a scroll, to highlighting and labeling text features, my kiddos would be actively involved every step of the way; and (3) It was DIFFERENT!  Just the idea of creating a scroll would be engaging for them.

So, step one.  I made copies of 3 of our nonfiction books.  I made sure they had a variety of text features and would work well when placed end to end.  I chose one on leaves, pumpkins and apples to go with our fall theme.  6 copies meant I could have 3 students in each group - very manageable.
Then we made the scrolls.  I actually did this with whichever kids were waiting for buses to be called in the afternoon.  They were so excited to find out what we were going to do and the fact that THEY create the scrolls added to them being more invested in the whole lesson.

I have to tell you - this was not the first lesson we had done on nonfiction text features.  We had already looked at different nonfiction books, worked with features such as the index, table of contents, captions, etc.  I wanted my students to have some familiarity with the features before we did this so everyone would be more successful.

Wow!  The response was amazing!  As soon as I took out the scrolls that had been created, you could hear and feel the excitement.  "I helped make that one!"  "Look!  I see the title!"  "Wait, the glossary will be at the end!"

We unrolled the scrolls and spent a few minutes just talking about the text features they noticed.  This was quick way for me to assess what they remembered and what I needed to make sure to focus on.  After having each person in the group share one example of a text feature - and its purpose - we started mapping!

I went through the features one by one, showing them on a Powerpoint as we found them in the text.  Students sat at the beginning, middle or end of the scroll and the person closest to the text feature we were talking abut got to circle it with the highlighter and label it. 

As we mapped the text, we also added to our nonfiction text features booklet.
 We spent two full days doing this, then each group walked around and looked at the other groups' text maps.  By the time we were done with this, my students could easily locate and identify various nonfiction text features, and had a better idea of how they worked to help support the reader in finding information.

I assessed the final time in two ways - first with flip flap books to match the feature and the definition.  Then when I was meeting with small groups, I gave each student a nonfiction text and asked them to identify certain features, show where they would go to find___, use the ____ to ____.  I had the same questions for each kiddo, but a different text.  This really gave me a good idea of who could just identify the features and who could actually apply them.

This definitely turned out to be a great way to show how nonfiction text features are organized and how they help the reader.  I plan on using text mapping again in a few weeks when we get deeper into understanding the narrative structure of a story.  I can see making a short chapter into a scroll and then highlighting the introduction of characters and setting, the rising action, falling action and the ending so students can really SEE how a story moves along.

Let me know if you decide to try this in your room.  I'd love to hear how it went!
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It's time for Wordless Wednesday!  Thanks to Christina at Sugar and Spice for hosting this linky.  Ready for a fun and visual way to teach nonfiction text features?  Blog post to come!

a new way to work on nonfiction text features

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Really?  November already!  I really do like November, even though it seems so short.  I feel like after Halloween the craziness of back to school, apples, pumpkins, fire safety, fall, bats and spiders and ghosts... phew!... all settles down and I can finally enjoy what is left of the fall season.

Time to link up with Farley for this month's Currently!

Here we go!

Oh the wind!  We are on the edge of two coastal storms/fronts this weekend.  Yesterday it rained, today we get wind.  And if I can hear it blowing across my backyard, which is pretty sheltered then I KNOW that wind is strong!  It's been a perfect weekend to stay inside in my comfy clothes, catch up on house stuff and catch my breath.

Turn the clocks back?  An extra hour of sleep.  Enough said - thank you!

I am just in LOVE with this month's Currently design.  Fall really is a favorite season of mine - I love the colors, the smells, the crisp air... I am lucky to live where we see a true fall season, complete with beautiful changing leaves, pinecones, acorns and more.  I really hate to see it go because that means winter is just around the corner!

So. Much. Stuff.  I have Halloween stuff decorating my house, stuff I brought home from my classroom... it's everywhere.   am one of those people who does not like to leave holiday decorations up past their prime (except maybe the Christmas tree,, which I did keep one year until the beginning of February - and yes, it was a real tree :-)  Time to put away all things spooky and pull out those Thanksgiving turkeys!

Read a book - what's that?  I read like a mad woman during summer and on school breaks, but at the beginning of the year I probably don't pick up a book until now.  I do read blogs, teaching articles, magazines... things that I can finish before falling asleep at 9:30.  I'm curious to see what others are reading though.  I love a good book!  And that makes me think - I love my Kindle.  I swore I would never stray from the feel of a real book in my hands but my Kindle is fantastic.  EXCEPT for professional reading - then I want the actual book.  Not sure why... I don't mark up my books (that would drive me crazy!), but I do like to be able to go back to them for ideas, which is much easier with a real book than with a Kindle... hmmm... your thoughts?

Don't forget to stop by Farley's blog and see what everyone else is up to!

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