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Five for Friday – November 18

Reading, Social Studies

At noon today we begin Thanskgiving Break! We have the whole week off and I could not be more ready for a whole week break.  For those of you that do not have a whole week off, I am sorry. I know how hard it is to try to teach the 2.5 days before Thanksgiving and keep the little ones on track. Since it was a full week, I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

On Monday, we had a treasure hunt to find out what our next PBL project would be about. We are going to start learning about maps.  After researching maps, students will be creating their own island and then burying their own pirate treasure on it (with directions). The kids had fun on our treasure hunt and got some little goodies at the end!

I love Kahoot. And my kids love Kahoot.  This was our first time trying Kahoot with partners. We’ve only done it as a whole class before. They did great! We worked on a geometry Kahoot that someone else had made.

Today is Grandparent’s Day at our school and my class will be doing a Charlotte’s Web Reader’s Theater.  We got the scripts yesterday and students highlighted their parts before practicing.  This will be quite a hoot.  I have some very fun, dramatic personalities in my room who have been waiting for their acting debut.

Speaking of Charlotte’s Web here are two funny things from it this week.  This first picture is from a student’s answer to our morning meeting question “What was your favorite part of Charlotte’s Web?” One – I really hope he didn’t lick the book. 2 – Apparently we still need to work on our silent e, long vowel type words.
My second student has made up a very interesting name for Henry Fussy.  Have no idea where he got Gribe Grumpson from but it made me laugh.

I have a new post up from this week about teaching elapsed time. Check it out for some ideas and elapsed time story problems.
Hope everyone has a nice weekend! This weekend I’ll be decorating for Christmas! Can’t wait!!!!

Five for Friday – November 11


So we might be the only school (probably not, but might be) that has school today on Veteran’s Day. We also had school on Election Day. But, that’s ok because we have all of Thanksgiving week off, which is quickly approaching.  I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

This is an activity in my vocabulary station. It’s called Vocab Flip Books.  Students pick four of our vocabulary words and write them, draw a picture to represent the word, write the definition, and use the word in a sentence. Quick way to review vocabulary and an easy task in Vocabulary Station.

Our school made cards for Veteran’s for today.  Here is one very sweet note from one of my kiddos! Definitely warms my heart to see how compassionate these kids are.  

Oh field trips..how I despise thee.  For some reason, I’ve never been a fan of field trips. I think it’s because I’m a Type A control freak and there are so many things that are out of your control on a field trip. Anyways, we had our first one on Tuesday.  After I hardly slept on Monday night. And, let’s just say a planetarium is not a good field trip for a tired teacher. That dark room would’ve been lovely for a nap…not that I took one :-).  But it would’ve been nice.

It’s Charlotte’s Web time! I love this time of year. We always do Charlotte’s Web right before Thanksgiving break.  It’s such a nice break from our typical story in our Journey’s book and the kids love it! Can’t wait to finish it with them next week.

One of my coworkers and I put up this bulletin for our Writing PLC. It shows the progression of writing from preschool all the way through 8th grade. Pretty amazing to see the changes that take place in their writing throughout the years. 

Have a great weekend!

Phonics- I Have, Who Has – aw, al, o

I love using games as a way to practice and review skills.  I created a quick way to review our words with the sound/spellings – aw, al, and o.  I love using I Have, Who Has.  Everyone gets to participate, it goes quick, and you can play a few different times if you have the kids switch cards so they’re working with different ones.
Here’s how to play:
  • Each student gets 1 or 2 cards (depends on your class size). There are 24 total cards.
  • The first person has a card that says, “I have the first card.” They come up to the front of the class and read their card.  It says, “I have the first card.  Who has salt?”
  • Then, the person who has salt, comes up to the front and lines up next saying, “I have salt.  Who has always?”
  • This continues until the person who has the last card finishes the game by saying, “And I have the last card.”
  • You can then mix the cards up and play again.

You can find this product in my TPT Store (Jordan Johnson) – it’s called Phonics – I Have, Who Has – aw, al, and o words.  Check it out below…

Five for Friday – October 21

Reading, Writing

What a week. This one felt like a very long one for some reason.  The full moon on Sunday/Monday night didn’t help things either. I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another round of Five for Friday. Here’s what we were up to this week…

This was a first! I’ve had many kids tie their shoes together – this was a first for socks! My little friend’s socks have capes on the back of them and she was experimenting.  She had quite a fun walk down to the lunchroom with her socks tied together.  
We are about to start our Vocabulary Station during Literacy Stations. I like to introduce the activities on the task cards whole group first, before they do it with a partner in the station. To help practice our weekly vocabulary words, students worked with a partner and had to use the words in a story they created together! Great way to incorporate writing and vocabulary!

This week we reviewed nouns. We first made a tree map of nouns and then went back to identify which nouns were common and which were proper.
Then, we played a little “game” called Common or Proper.  I showed the word on the projector and the students wrote a “p” for proper on their white board or a “c” for common. This was a quick way to practice and check for understanding. And, way better than a worksheet!


My newest product is now up in my TPT Store. It’s called Grammar Fix It. The first version covers capitals and end marks.  Great way to practice whole group, small group, with a partner, or independently!  Check it out here
We are loving the new Blazer Fresh channel on GoNoodle. My favorite is “Read with Expression.” That tune just gets stuck in your head! We tried out their new one about patterns this week and the kids loved it. What’s your classes favorite GoNoodle video??

Five for Friday – October 14

Reading, Social Studies, Writing

I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. October is moving along and it’ll be the holiday season before we know it. See what we were up to this week below…

This week we continued on with our Statue of Liberty PBL. Students used books as well as a teacher-created website to research more facts on the Statue of Liberty. They really got into it and I love how excited they were to tell me the new facts they found!

We worked on inferring this week in reading. I love using pictures and videos as a way to introduce inferring/drawing conclusions, which is quite a tricky concept. We used the pictures above that I found on Pinterest a few years ago and had to infer what was happening in the picture. Then, I showed them the Pixar video. This was a new video to most of them and they were dying laughing. But, they also made some good inferences too :-).  

We are finishing up our first Writing Workshop unit on Narratives. Students this week finished editing their pieces and writing their final drafts. We’ll have our first author’s celebration this Monday!

I love this quote! So important to remember! If kids can see and feel our passion for what we’re teaching them, they’ll love what they are learning even more! A little inspiration for my Five for Friday.

Last weekend I was back up in Cedar City, Utah. We went to another football game and also visited the C Overlook, which is about 2,200 feet above the town. Beautiful views from up there!!
Have a wonderful weekend!!

Johnson Elementary – Back to School PBL

Reading, Social Studies, Writing
This is one of my favorite school projects. Last year, I wanted to move into Project Based Learning as a way to teach our Social Studies standards while also incorporating Reading and Writing. My teacher friend, Katie helped me out with some great ideas for how to get started.  See how I teach my first PBL of the year….
Going over rules is an important part of any classroom. And, it’s something that has to be done in every class at the beginning of the year. The first few standards we typically tackle in Social Studies had to do with community, rules, etc.  So, instead of the same old boring here are the rules, here is why we follow them…Johnson Elementary was born.
The kids are introduced to this project by finding out that they will be teachers at Johnson Elementary.  I am the principal – Principal Johnson and they quickly become Miss ____, Mr. ____, etc.  The excitement that builds just from this announcement is amazing! Buy in happens instantly!
Next, we talk about the school we’re opening and what classes our school will have. The teachers (students) get to pick what class they are teaching. We’ve had math, kindergarten, roller blading, ballet, science, cooking, Legos, Minecraft, etc.  I’m pretty flexible on what they can teach. I want them to have fun and pick something they like.  
Here’s the cover page of our PBL Packet.  The Essential Question we focus on is – How do rules help people function in a community and school?
Teacher Info:
On the next page, “teachers” give more information on the class they teaching. They tell me what they picked and why. They also create a list of a few things they will be teaching in their class. 

Class Set-Up and Map:
Before starting this we look at a few pictures/maps of classroom online. We talk about making sure you have things you need to teach and things your students will need to learn.  “Teachers” start by brainstorming a list of things they will need to have in their classroom. Once they have finished brainstorming, they draw their classroom map on the next page.

Classroom Rules:
Before the “teachers” write their rules for their classroom, we research class rules. We read Officer Buckle and Gloria, read an article from ReadWorks on rules, and look at multiple examples online from many different types of classrooms. We even brainstormed a ton of rules on our circle map below. We talked too about a good number of rules. We thought 40 would be too many for kids to remember and 1 rule was not enough. So, we decided to keep the rules between 4-10.

Group Project – Expectations:
In addition to rules in the classroom, we talked about other places that needed rules and expectations. We decided to focus on the bathroom, hallway, playground, and lunch room. The students broke into groups of 4-5 and worked with their group on expectations for their area. They first brainstormed some ideas. Then, they came up with again 4-10 and explained why they picked them.  The last piece was presenting. Each group presented their expectations to the class. They did awesome! Great first presentation to the class.
Essential Question:
After completing the project, students then went back to the Essential Question and explained why rules are necessary in schools and communities.
PBL Rubric:
I created the rubric below as a way to score this project.  This is our first PBL so it includes less pieces than some of our later ones, but I wanted to be able to identify how they did on each area – especially the Essential Question. Most kiddos did great! They really understood why we had rules – safety, keep things fair, etc and really enjoyed this project.

Do you use PBL at your school? What’s the first project you do with your students?

Surprises According to Humphrey – Book Study


My newest book study is up in my TPT Store (Jordan Johnson) just in time for the big back-to-school sale.

My students loved Surprises According to Humphrey.  They thought he was so cute and enjoyed reading about him trying to figure out what was going on in the classroom and how to help people.  The AR level for this book is 4.4 so it was my higher second graders reading it in a book study.  To see how I use book studies in the classroom, check out this post on Ivy and Bean.

Here’s what’s included:

Title Page for Students:
4 Questions for Each Chapter:
Answer Key:
Be sure to check out Surprises According to Humphrey and the rest of my TPT products! Everything in my store is on sale for 28% off with the code BESTYEAR! Hurry the TPT Sale lasts Monday and Tuesday!
Thank you Glitter Meets Glue for the banner!

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Book Study


My newest book study is now ready and up on TPT for sale and it’s on sale today and tomorrow only.  Every year in second grade we do a whole class novel study with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This year, I created some check-ins and writing responses to go along with the book.  Check it out below.

Here is an example of a Charlie Check-In.  There are 9 check-ins. I divided up the chapters about every 20 pages or so.  I used the check-ins as quiz/formative assessment. These could be used a few different ways. They could be used as homework after reading the chapters, a quiz or check-in, or an independent or partner book study response.  See how I use partner book studies in my classroom, click here.  

Here is a sample of an answer key that goes along with the Charlie Check-Ins.

When we finished reading Charlie, I had the students work on some written responses.  In the book study packet, four different responses are included.  Each response has an option for writing paper with just lines or writing paper with a box for a picture and lines. There is also an additional sheet of lined paper included for students who need more room.

To celebrate Charlie being launched and the rest of my book studies being updated, I’m having a Book Study Sale in my TPT store – Jordan Johnson.  All book studies will be 20% off Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20.

Happy Shopping!
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Ivy + Bean Book Study

My latest book study is on the book Ivy + Bean. I know this is a popular series so I wanted to add this to my book study collection. 

A few people have asked how I use book studies – here’s how I use them.

How I Group for Book Studies:

For book studies, I pair students up based on level and behavior. I tend to have book study groups be between 2-4 students.  More than 4 students gets to be a little hard to manage the group.  I also want at least 2 kids so that they can discuss.  These projects though could be used for an independent activity – so one student is definitely an option.

How I Run Book Studies:
Once I have the students grouped I introduce them to the book we’ll be reading and try to get them excited about it.  This is something I used during literacy stations/small group time.  I let the kids know that this is like a book club and a special club to be a part of.  They will take a break from stations during this time and focus on their book and meeting with me.  Once the expectations are laid out we get started.

I often read the first chapter with the kids.  We take turns reading the pages if they feel comfortable reading out loud.  Then, we review the questions together. We talk about how to use complete sentences and also the importance of giving detailed answers.  I then send them on their own to answer the first questions so I get a sense of where they are at.

The next day I meet with them first thing during groups. We review the set of questions and go over things as needed. Then, I assign them to read the next chapter and do the next set of questions on their own. I tell them can take turns reading pages, read on their own, take turns with paragraphs, etc, but they have to decide together. After reading, they answer the questions together. This way they have a little mini discussion, before we meet. Then, once I know they have had time to work on it, I pull them back to my group and we review and discuss the chapter. 

I have found that my kids love being a part of these book studies. It’s a chance to have a break from stations and to do something that adults and big kids get to do (book clubs).  I really try to make sure when picking books and groups that I pick books that are in their level, but will challenge them. I also pick books that I know will interest them so they stay engaged.

Let me know if you have any other questions about how I run my book study groups. I would love to answer them!

So…without further ado…here is my book study for Ivy + Bean. It is now available in my TPT store.  It includes: book study cover page, questions for each of the 10 chapters, end of the book reflection questions, and answer key.

Sample of the cover page, first chapter questions, and one page of the answer key:

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Dr. Seuss Quotes

Morning Meeting, Reading
So I’m aware it’s been forever again. Between teaching, wedding planning, and my fiancĂ©e’s basketball coaching schedule, blogging has taken a back seat. I’ll try to be better, but I can’t promise anything lol.
For reading week, I decided to tie Dr. Seuss into morning message and morning meeting. I’m a huge fan of his quotes and think people of all ages can relate to them. So I decided to use a Dr. Seuss quote for morning message during reading week. Students read the quote and on the post-it notes explain what the quote means to them. I’ve been very impressed with their answers. 
Here’s Day #1
Here’s Day #2-

Thanks for stopping in!

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