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Anchor Charts

Learning about Settings

Anchor Charts, Common Core, Literary Elements, Reading, Thinking Maps

We’ve continued our study of Common Core Standard 2.RL.1 and have moved on to focusing on the where question – the setting.  For setting, I found some great picture books that have a very descriptive and easy to identify setting to start with.  I’m teaching mainly ELL students so I didn’t want to confuse them with too many settings.  Even though the setting was semi-easy to identify I still wanted my kids to use text evidence to back up their setting choice.  To show text evidence, I used a brace map (thinking maps) and then also had students write a sentence response. 

The first story – Library Mouse we read whole group and discussed the setting and evidence together.

The second story – Gingerbread Cowboy – we read whole group, discussed, and completed a class brace map together.

The third story we used was Owl Moon.  To scaffold, we read the story and discussed whole group. Then, the students helped me fill out the brace map.  After filling out the brace map together, students copied the brace map and then had to fill in parts of the sentence on their own.

For the last story, for now, I used The Tickly Octopus. Now, I thought this would be a good one to see what kids could do independently on their own, but they struggled a bit.  I’m not sure if it was because of being ELL or just not having a lot of background knowledge, but kids had a hard time saying the setting was the ocean or the sea and they had difficulty coming up with evidence – fish, water, sand, octopus, coral, etc.  But, we move forward and will come back to setting again to re-teach as necessary. Below are a few samples of student work and the chart we filled out after they completed their student work.

Stay tuned for some plot ideas coming up in the next few days!

Weather Books

Anchor Charts, Common Core, Informational Text, Report Writing, Thinking Maps

I’m a little/lot late in blogging about this, but I still had to share. In September, my 2nd graders and I did an informational text study on weather. We focused on clouds, sunlight, rain, and snow.  We read informational books (there are some great weather informational books written by Erin Edison), watched clips on Brainpop Jr., and shared background knowledge.  After learning about the type of weather, we created a circle map with facts we learned. Then, we turned the circle maps into an informational book about weather that we wrote together. Since we’ve been studying informational text and text features we also included a table of contents and headings into our books. Here’s a ton of pictures of our work.

Here are our circle maps that we created with the information we learned from the books and the Brainpop videos.

Here the students are working on their own circle maps of information using the information learned and the information we put on our class circle map.
Here are the finished products! They are turned out great and the kids loved how they were able to write their own book about weather that looked just like the ones we read in class.



Schema – Text to Text Connections

Anchor Charts, Debbie Miller, Reading with Meaning, Thinking Maps

So this post has taken me way too long to write.  Things got super busy at school with data week and open house so unfortunately posting for the last week or two has gone by the wayside.

Anyways…here is the schema post I mentioned about two weeks ago.  We’ve been focusing a lot on schema in my second grade classroom.  I use Debbie Miller’s, Reading with Meaning for ideas.  My last post/recent post was about Oliver Button is a Sissy and coming up with text to self connections.  The day following Oliver Button, we read the story Amazing Grace.  We then made text to text connections between the two stories.  To show our text to text connections we used a double bubble map. 

The kids did a great job with coming up with similarities and differences between the two books.  The double bubble map also showed it perfectly and I love being able to color coordinate things :-)!
Happy almost Friday!

More Schema…

Anchor Charts, Reading, Reading with Meaning

Here is another schema chart that we completed yesterday. This idea and chart set-up comes from Debbie Miller’s book, Reading with Meaning, which you hear me praise a lot on my blog. 

Yesterday, we read the story Oliver Button is a Sissy.


 This book touches on a bunch of issues, but is a great one to use because at some point in these kids lives they will either be teased or have already been teased and this book definitely touches on that subject.  As I read the book, I shared my connections to the story – text to self.  When I finished reading, I had students pair share to share out their connections sitting eye-to-eye and knee-to-knee. They had a lot of great connections to this book. Then, we completed the chart seen below.  To help kids get used to providing part of the text along with their connection we use the frame “When I heard the part about _____. (which is from the text)  It reminded me of _____.(their own personal connection)”  The kids are really starting to get the hang of sharing out their connections like this.

On Monday, you’ll see this story again, but paired with Amazing Grace.  Then, we’ll be working on text-to-text connections using a double bubble thinking map.

Anchor Charts Galore

Anchor Charts, Phonics, Reading, Reading with Meaning, Thinking Maps

Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to blog more – and yay – this is two days in a row. I also said I’d write a post about my introductory math stations.  That was the goal, but monthly benchmark testing got in the way today. So…instead of math stations – I have anchor charts galore for you to show you a few things we’ve been working on.

Anchor Chart #1 – All week we have been doing a review of short vowels in addition to working on words with consonant blends. Below you’ll see a tree map used to categorize different words depending on their short vowel.

Anchor Chart #2 – Schema Chart. Today we read the story, Super Completely and Totally the Messiest by Judith Viorst. First of all, super cute story! The kids really identify with the messy character, which is what makes this story perfect for teaching schema – text to self.  My schema set-up comes from Debbie Miller’s, Reading with Meaning.  I shared my schema during a think aloud while reading. The kids then pair shared and shared their connections. Then, they shared out and we charted it.  Soon they’ll be ready to start writing connections on their own.

Anchor Chart #3 – In writing today, we started to review nouns. I asked the class at the beginning who had heard of nouns back in first grade.  Well, that response was scary. I got a lot of 2nd graders shaking their heads no, some with confused looks, and a lot of kids with their thumb down.  So, we moved on and watched a little clip on Brainpop Jr to either introduce it or review it. We then came up with our own list of nouns (which all happened to be common) and used a tree map to organize our thinking.  By the end, we had a basic understanding of nouns and/or a quick review to get us back up to speed. 

Happy Wednesday! Only two more days til the weekend!

Voice Level Chart – Early Monday Made-It

Anchor Charts, Back to School, Behavior System, Classroom Voice Level, TPT

Since tomorrow is the first day I get to start working in my classroom, I decided to post my Monday Made-It a little early!  I’m linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for another round of Monday Made-It!

Today I made a Classroom Voice Level Chart. Normally I just do an anchor chart, but this year I decided to make it a little cuter and then I’ll put a clothespin on the Level that I want kiddos to be on.  I’ve put my chart signs on TPT as a freebie here.  It is pretty simple, but I like to back things with scrapbook paper which is why I don’t tend to do a ton of clipart. 

Here is the finished product:

Thanks for checking out my Monday Made-It! I’m excited to see all of the other awesome projects in the linky party!
 To get the freebie Classroom Voice Level Chart signs, click here.
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Making Inferences – Part 2

Anchor Charts, Comprehension Connections, Debbie Miller, Reading, Reading with Meaning

We spent a total of three weeks of making inferences so that the kids really had an opportunity to master the skill.  The first blog post part 1, shows some of the introduction ideas we used. As I mentioned in that post, we started by teaching concrete examples and later moved to making inferences about text.

Day #4 – From Tanny McGregor’s, Comprehension Connections – Shoe Inference Lesson
For this lesson, you bring in a shoe and the kids have to infer who’s shoe they think it is and why.  Now, I live by myself so I knew if I brought in one of my shoes they’d easily guess it, so I asked my dad if I could borrow one of his sandals.  The kids had so much fun trying to come up with ideas of the owner of the sandal and using the evidence from the sandal and their schema. See chart below…

Day #5 – The Mystery Box – idea from Inspired Apple’s Blog 

For this lesson, I pretty much followed Abby’s example on her blog and even used the valentine as my mystery item (the timing worked out well with Valentine’s Day a week or two away). We made guesses about what was in the box, then I gave the kids clues, and they filled out the mystery box sheet that Abby has in her TPT store. Great lesson and the kids had fun trying to guess the mystery item.

Day #6 – Making inferences with pictures
Today we used pictures as our evidence for our inferences. I found this great pinboard on Pinterest that has a ton of pictures that are perfect for making inferences. I put some of the photos into a Smart Board file and I was all ready to go for this lesson.  For the first few slides, we made group inferences.  We talked about what some of the different clues or evidence in the picture were that led to our inference.  Then, after multiple group inferences, I showed them two more pictures. The kiddos had to pick one picture to make an inference about. Then, I showed them their inference paper to fill out. They needed to write their inference using one of the inference phrases (see chart below) and then also explain how they go their inference.  Most students sentence frame looked like this…”I infer _______ because ______.  The kids did a great job with this activity!

Day #7 – Inferences with Short Pixar Videos
Our school literacy coach told me about this great idea – using Pixar short films for inferencing. I found a number of them on Youtube and chose the bird one that if I remember correctly was in one of the Toy Story movies.  The kids thought it was so funny and we watched the video a few times.  The last time we watched it (it’s only like 3 minutes long) I stopped it a few times and asked some questions to get the kids thinking about inferences they could make.  Then, I gave them the same inference form they used with the pictures and they had to write down one of the inferences they made from the video.
This student wrote “I infer the big bird wanted to be their friends because he waved at them.”
Day #8 – Mystery Box again
The kids had so much fun with the mystery box that I decided to do it again. This time I put green sprinkles in the box and used the following clues:
1. It is green.
2. It can be eaten.
3. It is small.
4. It goes on dessert.
See our chart below of our guesses before and after the clues.
Day # 9 – Making Inferences with a Poem
Day 9’s lesson came from Debbie Miller’s, Reading with Meaning chapter on making inferences.  I wanted the kids to start exploring inferences with text and thought a poem would be a great way to start.  I used the poem from her book, which is about an animal, but the kids don’t know what animal it is. They have to infer from the clues in the poem what possible animals it could be. The kids love animals and this was a great way for them to start inferring with text since poems are a little shorter.
Day #10 and 11 – Where Are You Going, Manyoni?
For day 10 and 11, I again used Debbie Miller’s, Reading with Meaning. We read the story, Where Are You Going, Manyoni? and inferred what some of the different words meant. See our chart below…
Days #12 and 13 – The Royal Bee
Day 12 and 13’s lessons are also from Debbie Miller’s, Reading with Meaning.  On the first day, we read a few pages of the story, The Royal Bee and inferred what a few of the vocabulary words meant – yangmin, Royal Bee, etc.  Then, we stopped at the part where the kids had to infer what would happen next for the main character Song-ho. I charted their inferences on the first day. Then, on day 2, they got to see if their inferences were correct.  Then, I read to the part where it came down to the winner of the Royal Bee and the kids had to predict/infer whether Song-ho or the yangmin student would win.  The kids had great answers and great evidence. See a few examples below…
I predict Song-ho will win the Royal Bee because Song-ho is smart and his whole class picked him to go to the Royal Bee.
I predict Song-ho will win the Royal Bee because he stand at the door and listened to the master’s lessons.
That about covers it for our 3 weeks of making inferences. This was probably one of my favorite units to teach this year.


End Marks

Anchor Charts, Writing

This is just a quick post, but I wanted to share our whole class anchor chart on end marks. We’ve really been working on how to write a sentence in first grade and teaching end marks is one part of it. While we are still working on mastery of this skill, we have the anchor chart below to refer to.

Making Inferences – Part 1

Anchor Charts, Comprehension Connections, Reading

This week we started teaching inferences in first grade.  We decided to start with concrete examples this week and then move into making inferences with text once they had the inferring skill down a little better.  For teaching inferences, I’ve gotten many ideas from Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor. She has wonderful ideas that are scaffolded to help support student learning.  I also got some great ideas from the blog, The Inspired Apple. Abby has some fun ideas for how to intitate inferring with students. 

On Day #1 – we started with The Inspired Apple’s – What is in my teacher’s bag?  The kids loved this! They thought it was so cool to be able to see things that were in my purse. I carefully selected my keys, wallet, iPod, cell phone, gum, and water bottle.  The first day we talked about each item and came up with reasons why it might be in my purse. We then charted those reasons. On Day #2, the kids filled out Abby’s cute page for What’s in my teacher’s bag? 

Our Chart
Thank you Abby for these great student sheets!
On Day #3 – I used the idea from Tanny’s book, Comprehension Connections called “Neighbor’s Trash.” You start off by explaining to your kiddos that you have a mystery that you need help figuring out. The mystery is that you have no idea who your next door neighbors are. You’ve never seen them, never met them, never heard them, etc, but you know someone lives there.  So, one morning you saw their trash outside and decided to take it to investigate. At this point, my kids thought I were crazy. Why would Miss V take her neighbor’s trash? Some of my kids suggested, why don’t you just knock on their day and be friendly lol.  Little do they realize this is all trash from my house. Like the teacher bag activity, you show them the items you found and they come up with inferences for who might live there based on the trash.  In my “neighbor’s” trash, we found a large pizza box, Ace bandage, empty Capri Sun pouch, Gap bag, receipt for a new TV, and a plane ticket.  See the chart we came up with below.
We also came up with an inference chart for ways to talk about inferences – my kids have gotten really good about starting their inference using the phrases below…
More inference ideas coming soon!


Classroom Voice Level Chart

Anchor Charts, Behavior System, Classroom Voice Level

Anchor charts are one of my favorite teaching things! At the beginning of the school year, we spend a lot of time making different charts to go over procedures and expectations. I was looking through my photos last year and found one of my favorites – The Classroom Voice Level Chart. Now, I’ve seen some cute ones made with VistaPrint and other companies, but there is just something about making it with your class.  It may not look as professional, but they kids take ownership when they help make it and tend to value it more.  Our school’s behavior expectations have taken on some very specific language to make it consistent class to class and grade level to grade level. One of the specific phrases we’ve taken on is “0 Voice.” We use “0 Voice” in the hallways, in the bathrooms, during fire drills, etc. This year, I decided to take it a step further and determine what different voice levels would like in the classroom.  Here’s what the chart looks like…simple, but effective

I loved having this chart in the classroom because we could easily say – ok, during math stations we need to use our “1 Level” voice – what does that sound like? And, the kids knew. We spent a lot of time setting up these expectations and practicing them, but I noticed the noise level in the classroom was more under control.