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Friday Favorites – Reading Activities


Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids’ Favorite Series
Book Studies
Tech Apps

Math Activities

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite reading activities and lessons with you. We use the Journey’s program at my school, but I also supplement using some of the lessons below. These are all lessons I’ve used in my second grade class, but could be used in third too!

Strega Nona Character Bubble Maps – I love the story Strega Nona. It is just a great story and the characters are awesome because they are so different.  I also like using Thinking Maps. My current school is not a Thinking Maps school, but I use the maps anyway since it helps the kids organize their thinking.  After reading Strega Nona, the kids and I come up with a bubble map describing both Strega Nona and Big Anthony. Then, they use the bubble map to help them write sentences describing each character.

The Gingerbread Cowboy – Setting Brace Map – Here is another Thinking Maps example.  The story The Gingerbread Cowboy is another great story especially to discuss setting.  I read it to my class and then we came up with the setting on the left of the brace and then evidence from the story that supported that setting on the right side of the brace map.
What’s In Miss V’s Bag? (this picture is from before I was married) – This activity is from Abby at The Inspired Apple and focuses on making inferences.  This is a great beginning activity before diving into making inferences in text.  I empty out a few items in my purse (select items of course) and the kids have to infer why I have those items in my person. This helps them start to understand the concept of inferring and being able to use evidence and background knowledge to draw conclusions.
Making Inferences – Whose shoe? – I don’t remember where I found this activity, but it’s another great inferring starter.  You bring in a shoe and the students have to make inferences about who they think the shoe belongs to. While making inferences, the students have to back up their thoughts with why they think the shoe belongs to that person.  
Inference Pictures – I found this one on Pinterest and it’s another great start to teaching inferences. If you can’t tell, I enjoy teaching about making inferences.  There are a variety of pictures out there if you search on Pinterest for inference pictures. Students then have to use the text/evidence + their schema to infer what is happening in the picture.
Prefixes and Suffixes – This isn’t a super involved activity, but a great way to learn about prefixes using a Thinking Map – a tree map.  To help students come up with words that have different prefixes and understand what they mean, we created this tree map as a class.  We discussed what each prefix meant and as students gave examples, we talked about how the prefix changes the meaning of the word. This could also be done with suffixes.
Vocabulary Flip Books – We have about 8-10 reading vocabulary words each week with our Journey’s program. One activity I like to do to practice is a Vocabulary Flip book.  Each book has four flaps. Students choose four of their vocabulary words and write them on the front and draw a picture that matches the word. Then, on the inside they write the definition and use the vocab word in a sentence.
Whole Class Book Studies – At my school, in addition to our weekly Journey’s stories, we read three chapter books as a class throughout the year. In the fall, we read Charlotte’s Web. In the winter, we read The Chocolate Touch. In the spring, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These books are a nice break from the weekly story and the kids love them. They are entertaining and engaging. We focus on vocabulary and comprehension with these stories.
Thanks for stopping by! Next week I’ll share some of my favorite social studies/project based learning lessons and activities!

Friday Favorites – Book Studies


Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids’ Favorite Series

This week I’m wrapping up talking about books for the month of June and sharing with you some of my favorite books to use for book studies…. I teach second grade and have used all of the books below with my second graders. Some books are great for whole group and some books are better for a small challenge group.

Chocolate Touch by Patricia Skeane Catling – This book is funny and entertaining. We always read this book every year as a class and the kids love it.  Every kid can relate to wanting candy and the situations John finds himself in throughout the story are humorous!
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – A classic book to read with your class. I also use this book whole group.  We read this one towards the end of the school year and of course we watch the movie when we finish.  This is a book that really captures the classes’ attention. We read a few chapters a day and every time I stop I always hear groans and please keep reading!
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Charlotte’s Web by EB White – Another classic! We read this book towards the first part of the year and it’s our first whole class book study. We also do a reader’s theater version of the book for grandparents on Grandparent’s Day.  This is such a sweet story and has many great life lessons in it!
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Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty Birney – My students have really started to get into the Humphrey series the last year or two. Since this is more of a fourth grade level book, I use it in small group for kids who are ready for a challenge.
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I Survived the Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis – I’ve also had students take a big interest in the I Survived Series. I’ve used the Great Chicago Fire book with a few small groups.  It is definitely a heavier content then say a Humphrey book, but for kids who enjoy history – they love it!
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Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows – Ivy and Bean are great characters that again students can relate to.  I’ve used Ivy and Bean a few times also with small groups.  The characters have real-life situations and have some interesting personalities which keep the kids entertained.
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Thank you for stopping by to check out some of my favorite book studies! I do have book study packets available in my TPT store (Jordan Johnson) for many of the books above and more. If you are interested, check it out here….

Next week I’ll share some of my favorite technology apps and websites!

Friday Favorites – Kid’s Favorite Series


Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books
Read Alouds

This week I’m sharing some of my students’ favorite book series with you.  My group this year liked many different types of books so I wanted to share some of their favorites.  I definitely have stocked my library up with these series for next year…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinsey – My students for the last few years have all loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series.  They find them funny and I have many kids that once they start they then want to read the whole series.
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My Weird School by Dan Gutman – This series became a huge favorite this year! Again these are relatable because they are about school and they are also humorous. Some of my more reluctant readers have really enjoyed these and it’s helped them catch the reading bug.
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy! (My Weird School series) by [Gutman, Dan]

Who Was, What Was Series by Various Authors – My only non-fiction series in this post – but these are amazing! These are definitely higher level books, but for some of my kiddos this was a great challenge. These books are awesome because they provide so much information. There are many written on different people, places, and events in history!
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Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene – I loved reading Nancy Drew as a kid, but that was many, many years ago (I won’t tell how you how many).  Here is a newer Nancy Drew series with the same characters, but the stories are more relevant and modern.
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I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis – I love this series as do many of my students. If you have students who love non-fiction, this would be a great fiction series for them. It takes real events in history and provides information through a fictional story.
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Judy Moody and Stink by Megan McDonald – Students also find Judy Moody and Stink funny. Judy and Stink are brother and sister so often kids will read both series.  Great for kids to relate to because most having siblings and can relate to the squabbles and funny stories.

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Clementine by Sara Pennypacker – I mentioned Clementine last week.  It is great for a read aloud, but also a fun series for students to read independently.  Most kids love funny stories and Clementine definitely does some funny, crazy things.
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Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce – This is a newer series that my kids have enjoyed this year. The comic book/chapter book is definitely very popular right now. This series appealed to some of my reluctant readers because of it being comics.
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Next week I’ll share some of my favorite books to use for class and small group book studies!

Friday Favorites – Read Alouds


Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books

So, this week I’m focusing on read alouds! I love taking time each day to read to my kids. Over my ten years of teaching, we have found many great stories – picture books and chapter books that the kids and I both loved!

Here are some of our favorites…

The Day the Crayons Quit – This story and the sequel below are so funny! The pictures are amazing and the story is quite clever. The kids and I both enjoy reading this one every year.
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The Day the Crayons Came Home – The sequel to the book above is just as good as the first. I got this book at our Book Fair this past year and it is equally as funny as the first!
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Chester – This book is hilarious! It’s all about how Chester tries to take over this book that the author is writing about a mouse.  Very funny and the kids always love the ending!
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The Pout-Pout Fish – This is a great rhyming book and has a great rhythm to it!  Another cute story that the kids always love.
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Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying! – This book is Cinderella, but told from the stepmother’s point of view.  A great story to explain point of view, great voice, and creativity too.  There are many more out there – Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, etc.  Perfect if point of view is in your reading standards.
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Junie B. Jones– Now, I know many teachers are not a fan of Junie B because of her poor grammar and sometimes poor choices – but I find her funny. I would read most of the series to my class when I taught first grade. Now, I agree Junie B doesn’t always speak correctly, however, it does bring up a good teaching moment where you can discuss what the proper way would have been.  She’s funny and the kids relate to her. I even enjoy it! I’m a little sad that there isn’t a second grade part of the series…
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Jake Drake Series – This is a newer series for me. I tried out Jake Drake, Teacher’s Pet last year and my class and I both enjoyed it. There are a few books in the series and you can never go wrong with an Andrew Clement’s book.  He is another character who has many situations at school that kids are familiar with.  I actually just recently bought the whole set on Amazon so I can read all four books to my students next year.
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Clementine – So, as I mentioned, there is no 2nd grade version of Junie B, however Clementine comes close.  Clementine reminds me of Junie B, but is in 3rd or 4th grade.  She is a bit of a goofball, but again a crazy character that the kids find funny.  I’ve read a few in this series to my class and each year a few kids get interested and finish the series on their own.
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Frindle – As I mentioned above, who doesn’t love Andrew Clement’s books? Frindle is creative and funny. This is definitely a book I read out loud towards the end of the year as it is higher than 2nd grade level, but the kids love it. It’s all about how this class led a movement to start calling pens Frindles and started an all-out war of sorts with one of the teachers at the school.
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So, those are a few of my favorite read aloud books. What are some of your favorites?? Write me in the comments below…

Check back next Friday for another edition of Friday Favorites. Next Friday, I’ll be sharing some of my students’ favorite series.

Day #1 of TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale

Today is Day #1 of the TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale. My entire store – Jordan Johnson – is 28% off with the code THANKYOU17.  Check out some of my book studies that are on sale below…
Surprises According to Humphrey – great for advanced second and third grade students and fourth grade.  Each chapter includes three comprehension questions. Answer Key included.
Surprises According to Humphrey - Book Study
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – We’re working on this book study as a whole class right now. I use the Charlie Check-Ins as a formative assessment to see if students comprehended the chapters read the day before. Also includes writing prompts about the book.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Book Study
Ivy and Bean – I used this book study during literacy stations this year. I had partners working on it. They took turns reading and then would answer the questions together.  
Ivy + Bean - Book Study
Happy Shopping!

Guess What?

Math, Reading, Writing

The TPT Big Teacher Appreciation Sale begins tomorrow! You heard me!! Tomorrow!  My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale May 9th and 10th for 28% off with the code THANKYOU17.  This is a great time to stock up on some goodies for the end of the year and for early planning for next year.

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Check out my Instagram to win a $10 gift card that you can use on the sale – Team J 2nd Grade Fun.

Check out some of my bundles below…

Grammar Fix It Bundle Provides practice with capitals, end marks, apostrophes, commas, verb tense agreement, quotation marks, and spelling high frequency words.  6 products make up this one mega-bundle!

Grammar Fix It -  BUNDLE

Nate the Great Bundle – Includes two Nate the Great Book Studies (Nate the Great Goes Undercover and Nate the Great and The Lost List). Perfect for small group book studies.

Nate the Great Book Study BUNDLE

Graphing Galore Bundle – Includes 3 of my popular graphing products – Graphing in 2nd Grade, Learning About Line Plots, and Create Your Own Graph Project. Perfect for covering the 2nd Grade Data Analysis standards!

Graphing Galore BUNDLE

These are just a few of my bundle products! Add them to your wishlist today and purchase tomorrow in the sale! Happy Shopping!

Five for Friday – May 5

Morning Meeting, Reading

The countdown is on.  Only 18.5 days left after today! I’m linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Here’s what we were up to the first week of May…

I started a little, end of the year blog series. Every Wednesday for the month of May, I’ll be sharing a quick end-of-the-school-year tip.  This week’s tip was about planning and To Do lists. Check it out – here

Morning Message Tip – I like to have students respond to our Morning Message on sticky notes. I know they could just write on the board, but the sticky notes give them time to work on it at their seats, come up with their “own” answers, and lessens the chance of just copying an answer already up there. This also gives students room to show work if needed. 

We started our last book study of the year this week – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The kids always love this book! Every day we read about 20 pages and every day they groan at the end because they want to read more!  I love that this book is entertaining and captures their attention. To check their comprehension of the book, they do Charlie Check-Ins the next day. These are a part of my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Book Study in my TPT Store. It’s a great way to quickly check comprehension throughout the book.

I love my room parents! They have come up with cute, unique things for my classroom all year long. The last theme they picked fits with Dr. Seuss’s book – Oh, The Places You’ll Go. It turned out so cute! I love the hanging hot air balloons!

I’m a huge country fan and we were able to go to David Nail’s country concert last weekend. I had seen him in AZ a few years ago so it was fun to see him play again.  
Hope everyone has a good weekend! The countdown is on…we can make it!

Five for Friday – February 24

Math, Reading

It was a super short week, but a busy one! We had Monday off for President’s Day and on Tuesday we had no class, but Student-Led/Parent Teacher Conferences all day! So for a 3 day week it was a busy one! I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.

My latest Grammar Fix It is now ready!  I just completed Grammar Fix It – Verb Tense Agreements.  My class has been working on verbs a lot and it was time for a formative assessment.  You can use Grammar Fix It as an around the room activity, scoot activity, or throw it in a station.  I decided to use it as a formative assessment.  I put each sentence on the board one at a time and the kids had to re-write the sentences correctly on their recording sheet. Then, I graded it using the little page below.  We use Standards Based Grading for writing so I have a rubric for each area.  Check out my new Grammar Fix It…here
This week we started working on asking questions in reading. We talked about the importance of asking questions while you read and why good readers do it.  I got this lesson from Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller. Love that book!!!
All day Tuesday, I had Student-Led/Parent Teacher Conferences.  Check out  my blog post that I wrote all about it…here

I love incorporating math games into our Morning Meeting activity. Yesterday we played the game I learned from CGI training called Race to Zero.  The goal is to be the first team to get to zero.  I broke the class into two teams.  Each team starts at the number 999 and has three dice they can use. Then, the team decides to roll one, two, or all three.  Whatever number they roll, they can make any number from it. For example, if they roll 612, they could make 612, 621, 216, 126, etc…. Part of this game is strategy and rolling the right number of dice depending on the size of your number and making the right number that will help you get to zero the quickest.  After they roll and create their number, then they subtract from the number they had left.  This game keeps going until someone or some team gets to zero! Great way to practice subtraction, place value, problem solving, and strategic thinking!

This week in math we continued to work on measuring area.  Yesterday I had students create a specific area to show them that there is more than one way to model most areas.  For example, 16 square units – could be 8×2, 2×8, 1×16, 2×16, 4×4….  I loved pulling out the square tiles for them to play around with. I think the concrete item helped some of them understand the concept of area better and how it is measuring the surface space.

Five for Friday – February 17

Holidays, Reading, Writing

Yay for a 3 day weekend!! These weeks have been crazy and Spring Break is still far away, but a 3 day weekend will help for now! I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another week of Five for Friday

I’m loving how hard my kids are working on their book study for the book – I Survived The Great Chicago Fire.  The partnership working on this book are really into it and have had some great insightful answers.  This book study can be found in my TPT store…here
Oh…editing…such a tough skill for second graders. This week to help reinforce the editing skills we’ve been working on (spelling, complete sentences, end marks, capitals, etc) I had my small groups work on editing a story. It’s funny how it’s so much easier for them to edit someone else’s work than catch mistakes in their own…but I guess that’s how it is for everyone!  So…we’ll keep at it…keep practicing and hopefully it’ll start to stick and they’ll be able to apply it soon!
We had a great time at our Valentine’s Party on Tuesday. Check out what we did in my blog post – Valentine’s Day Recap.

Oh conferences…. This coming Tuesday we have our next round of student-led/ parent-teacher conferences! At this conference, we go over each student’s three goals on their Personal Learning Plan (PLP) that are tailored to that child’s specific needs.  I also decided to whip up this little Reading Update sheet as another way to give more info at the conferences.  Some of the kids goals are reading-focused, but some aren’t, so I thought this would be a great way to quickly update parents on all reading areas.

I had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Got some fun and yummy goodies from my students and beautiful flowers from my husband! Hope everyone else had a great Valentine’s Day too!
Enjoy the 3 day weekend!!

Five for Friday – February 3

Math, Reading, Writing Workshop

Crazy that it is already February! January flew by! After missing last week, I’m back to link up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. Check out our busy week below…

So I don’t have Amazon Prime, but I do now see what all the fuss is about.  We were low on class snacks and one of my parents graciously offered to order some from Amazon Pantry/Prime.  And much to my pleasant surprise – three huge boxes like the one pictured above, arrived with snacks.  Right to the school! We will probably be covered on snacks until the end of the year!

I posted my newest product to TPT this week. Check out the strategies we used for division and also my Division Story Problems on my blog post…here
We love coding! I even enjoy coding with the kids! We’ve been working on’s different lessons and it is amazing! I love how the kids can move along at their own speed and the lessons continue to get more challenging as the go! We’re going to have some code geniuses by the time the year is complete.

We had our second field trip of the year on Monday. We went to a theater at UNLV and watched the play Charlotte’s Web. It was so cute and the kids really enjoyed it since we read Charlotte’s Web as a class in November.

We’ve been working on our third Writing Workshop Unit – Opinions.  This book from Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study has us working on writing letters to share our opinions on books. Above I modeled an example using the book – Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying! If you haven’t read that book or checked the books out where the fairy tale is told from a different point of view, I highly recommend it!
Hope everyone has a great Super Bowl weekend!