Our most recent National Geographic Kids focused on penguins lend itself nicely to a little penguin unit study. We researched penguins using a Brainpop clip, reading our awesome Nat Geo which provided a lot of great info for my 2nd graders, and using a few nonfiction easy readers. After reading/watching, we’d add facts to our penguin circle maps. Then, after our circle maps were full of wonderful penguin facts we then moved them into a tree map to organize our facts. For our penguin tree map, we had four branches – looks like, lives, eat, and predators. The kids organized their facts under the specific branches to make writing their penguin book easier. I decided to focus the kiddos instead of just letting them write. I’m finding on report writing at 2nd grade level in a highly ELL population, we’re really struggling at knowing what to write, how to sequence, and how to focus on important information, so I’m using this writing assignment as a way to scaffold their learning.
Here’s our tree map and planning…
Below are some pictures of their finished books…..
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.
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.
Again, I’m a few weeks behind, but I still figured why not share. A few weeks ago we spent time learning about doubles and fact families in math. I found and created some great activities that I wanted to share with you.
Double Math Station
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.
I have a new product in my TPT store that I am excited to share with you! We’ve been working on reviewing short and long vowels in 2nd grade and I love to use thinking maps, so I thought, why not combine the two! So, I created Short and Long Vowel Tree Maps, which is now active in my TPT store.
In this pack, you’ll find tree maps for each vowel – a, e, i, o, and u. You’ll find two pages for each with a word bank and one page without a word bank so students can come up with their own short and long vowel words. I’ve used it a few times for homework and also during literacy stations. This is a great way for kids to practice reading the words and also having a chance to sort them.
Here are a few preview pages and a sample for you to see.
Thanks for stopping by and please check it out in my TPT store, here.
I love, love, love teaching literary elements. We’ve continued to work on analyzing characters the last few weeks and below are a few lessons I’ve done with my 2nd graders.
Another great character book is No David. We read the story together in class and they created a bubble map describing David.
Next up on the reading list, we read Strega Nona. This is a great book for characters and for comparing and contrasting the two main characters, Strega Nona and Big Anthony. We read the story, completed a bubble map for each character, and then the students had to write down one of the traits and provide text evidence for the trait.
And, the most recent story we used was Chester’s Way. After reading, we created a circle map for all of the characters. We used stars or little clouds to show which characters were the main characters. Then, students picked the main character that they were most like and told why.
We are very lucky and have a Time for Kids subscription for each class at our school. Time for Kids is a great way to incorporate informational text, learn about text features, and write informational responses. On Friday, we read the recent Time for Kids issue about bats.
As we were reading, we talked about text features. We spent time looking at the headings, fact box, glossary, photographs, and captions, and the kids are starting to pick up the text features on their own. When we were done we started a circle map about bats and added the facts learned from Time for Kids. After adding those facts, we read an informational book about Bats. Then, we added more facts. The kiddos loved learning all of the cool things about bats and the pictures in both the article and book were awesome.
I posted the other day about my first analyzing character lesson using Lilly from Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse that I saw on ReadWorks.org. Now, this next lesson I did started with an idea from ReadWorks.org, but then took off on it’s own. To continue with the Lilly theme and see how a recurring character would be in two different stories, towards the end of last week we read Julius, The Baby of the World. Another great Kevin Henkes book – his books are fantastic for literary elements.
We’ve been coming up with lots of opinions in my second grade class. We’ve done a variety of opinions – some literature based, favorites, and taste-tested. Here’s what we’ve been working on…
We started off with this great opinion writing unit by writing about Oreos. We taste tested two different types – Halloween Oreos and Mint Crème Oreos. I got this fantasic idea and cute Oreo writing paper from First Grade Fanatic. The kids loved this! Who wouldn’t love eating Oreos in class. Most students picked the Halloween Oreo, but there were a few who liked the Mint Crème flavor. Below I have a picture of my circle map. In the middle, we put our favorite Oreo and then we put our reasons why in the bigger circle. I also have my teacher model of the Oreo paper. This was a great way to start opinion writing because the kids were engaged instantly!