Reflect and Refresh Part 2

I’m joining with Mrs. D’s Corner for her Reflect and Refresh series.  Yes, I’m a little late as I didn’t participate in Part 1.  Life just gets too chaotic sometimes.  I decided to take some time to reflect and refresh AND rest!  Plus I have been super busy with summer school and other projects. So, that being said…

reflect and refresh part 2

Communication

This year I am making it my goal to beef up my communication with families.  I have been putting together binders, which I hope will hold up better than the paper folders we have used in the past.  I call them my HOT Binders (Home Organizational Too). I am including a calendar for behavior and homework, a tabbed section for newsletters, a spiral notebook, a pencil pouch, and a sheet protector for papers to sign and return.  The spiral notebook will be used for daily written communication on an as needed basis.  This is what my dining room table looks like tonight!  

Reflect and Refresh Homework Binder

 

Reflect and Refresh Homework Binder 2

 

Reflect and Refresh Homework Binder 3

If you could use this in your class, the editable binder covers are free in my TPT Store.   Just click {HERE}.

Organization

I brought home a huge tub of various task cards that I used and need to sort by season/standard.  I bought several of the lidded containers from Really Good Stuff, as well as the cart shown below. 

My goal for the next week is to get these things organized in time for back to school in August.  I am leaning toward a system such as this one by Third Grade Thinkers

Reflect and Refresh Third Grade Thinkers

 

Content

Not only do I collaborate with colleagues in my school/district, I love my online friends.  Periscope has opened up a whole new world of learning for teachers who wish to learn and collaborate.  If you haven’t taken time to check out this form of social media, I highly encourage you to do so before the mad school rush days begin!  Recently I have watched several by teachers at the Ron Clark Academy.  Hope King has had some fabulous scopes.  I hope to continue to have time to watch some of these once school starts.  Just remember, the scopes are only available for 24 hours, unless the person scoping saves their broadcast.

My Big Summer Project

I worked on my updating my blog, and had great plans for adding many new products in my store.  I did get to add a Back to School Paper Bag Book activity which you can find {HERE}.  So next to my binders are the beginnings of our first week Back to School Writing Journals.  I know my family wonders when they will be able to eat sitting down again!

reflect and refresh all about me book

Since some of my students will be looping with me, I needed a fresh back to school idea.  I really want to focus more on writing.  With this project I will have a formative assessment/baseline based on where they are after summer break.

I taught summer school in a center school that serves students with severe physical and mental handicaps.  I enjoyed working with these students.  They taught me as much as I taught them.  

Be sure to share your refresh and reflect ideas in the comments below.  Hop over and check out some other bloggers who have participated with us!

Signature

Turn Your Education Beliefs into Action

Turn Your Education Beliefs into Action

Summer is the perfect time to reflect on your education beliefs. This is the time we dream and plan for the coming year. Having a strong belief system in place ensures your plans don’t go astray.

Education Beliefs

 

Why don’t you take the challenge with me! 

Educational beliefs to action challenge

 

Taking time to identify your education beliefs pays off huge dividends at the end of the day. These beliefs are a starting point as you plan or reflect on past lessons. They are my “go to” when I need to step back and adjust or fine tune lessons. Beliefs guide the vision we share for our students.

I want to share my beliefs with you.  

My education beliefs

 

Believe in your students.

Being an advocate for your students is one of the most important roles teachers play.  An advocate goes beyond collaborating with professionals to ensure rights and safety.  As classroom teachers, we advocate for our students by ensuring they reach their full potential right in our classrooms.  We believe in students and find ways for them to be successful based on their individual needs. We don’t set limits on what our students can learn and do, but believe in their potential.  My education beliefs start with this key point:

quote education beliefs 2

This belief in action:

 

Be sure to check out the other education beliefs teachers like you and I share.  The next link in this series is from Lisa.  Just click on her button below! 

 

 

Believing in my students leads me into my other education beliefs.  What are your education beliefs?  Which one do you feel most strongly about?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Signature

The Wonders of Science

Two little girls with magnifying glass outdoors in the day time


For the past 8 years I was a reading intervention teacher, but now that I’m back in my own full time classroom, I’m loving all the core curriculum I missed out on! Let me tell you…my kids LOVE Science! Nothing excites them as much as seeing me set up with hands on materials for a science lesson. Well, maybe except for cupcakes and party favors!

Science quote


This is from a post I wrote on another blog when we were studying matter. I thought I would share it here today.  The kids loved this simple and CHEAP experiment we did that clearly illustrated the concept of water surface tension. We had been reading about the skin, or surface tension of water, in language arts. I could tell they didn’t grasp the concept. So a quick Google break netted this gem. Basically all you need is some water, a container, black pepper and some dish soap. All things we had access to that day. Since I always forget to take pictures, I recreated the experiment at home so you would have a visual. 


Water surface tension  Step 1. Materials needed. Step two Step 2. Add pepper to the water. Be sure the water is still.
Step 3 dip soapy toothpick into the center of the water filled container.

 

What you can’t tell by the pictures is how dramatic this experiment is, even though it is so simple. The pepper races to the edge of the bowl. One thing I did learn by doing this at home, is that the restaurant style pepper with the larger grains, is going to allow some of the pepper to sink. Using regular style pepper is best to demonstrate how the pepper floats on the surface.

Free Science Experiment

Click to download

 

I’m leaving you with your own downloadable copy of the experiment, as well as several response sheets your students can use as part of the scientific process or within your ELA block. You can click the experiment, or {HERE}, to download your copy. I hope your class enjoys this as much as mine did!

Until next time!

Signature

 

Reading and Role Playing

Reading and Role Playing


As part of my PD this summer I’m joining The Sunny Side of Second Grade and some other teacher bloggers in a book study.  I’ll be sharing Unit 7: Reading and Role Playing from Lucy Caulkins’ book,  A Curricular Plan For The Reading Workshop Grade 2

Lucy Caulkins Book Study

Click the image above to be taken to the beginning of our book study.

 

Unit 7 Lucy Caulkins

The author recommends spring {April/May} as the perfect time for engaging our young readers and writers through tales that so easily spark the imagination. This unit is perfect for beating the winter blues through engaging activities that invite readers and writers to delve deeply into the text.  It is the perfect time to bring witches, princesses and fairies into the classroom.

How does this help my students master the standards?

It is natural to seek answers to this question.  Through teacher modeling and practice, students will develop a love of role play.  To bring richness to their acting they will  delve deeper into the text to infer character motives and purpose. Students will learn to question, discuss, understand point of view, and develop retelling skills. 

Tim Rasinski, well known for his work on reading fluency, has opened our eyes to the need of developing fluency as an aid to comprehension.  We know students in second grade need to progress from reading 30 to 50 w.p.m. in short chunks, to more fluent readers who read in phrases of 70 to 100 w.p.m. by the end of second grade. Building fluency happens naturally through role playing, reader’s theater, and other forms of acting out text.  Speed, as well as expression and prosody will blossom with these activities.

 

 

Reading and Role Playing to build fluency

 As you will notice, there are plenty of opportunities throughout this unit to build fluency:

  • Teacher modeling
  • independent reading for a purpose
  • partner re-reading
  • expressive reading
  • readers theater

How do I find the time?

Caulkins suggests daily opportunities to allow students to think about and discuss text. By forming partner and reading club groups students can spend 5 to 10 minutes daily engaging in these activities.  This still allows plenty of time for independent reading.  Students will be more engaged during independent reading because they are looking to contribute to the group and they have group accountability.  This time supports the speaking and listening standards common in many states.

Readers Becoming Actors

Caulkins suggests starting this unit by comparing well known read alouds/stories with their cartoon/animated counterparts.  Share in the marvel with your students as they understand how characters come to life through expression and gestures. Model with a well known book by using expression, gestures, and voice changes.  Invite students to join you as they are sitting on the rug.  

Think, Pair, Share Activities

  • What is the character thinking in his head?
  • Say the character’s thoughts aloud to your partner.
  • Why did the characters act the way they did?
  • What can we learn from the author’s lesson?
  • What was the moral of the fable?

Invite students to step into a character’s shoes.  Model noticing and interpreting details that offer information about the character.  Use anchor charts to chart character traits and teach vocabulary that allows students to express character traits more accurately, i.e., frustrated instead of simply mad.  

Character Traits

Image from Scholastic.com. Click the image to view the site.

Using post its will help students mark text that helps them analyze characters.  Students can discuss and reread marked places with their partners.  The texts in this unit usually have exaggerated character types.  Children will often recognize these tales have similar characters with similar traits.  This aids in building understanding of plot structure, author’s purpose, theme and morals.  Caulkins recommends closing the unit by letting the students read and role play or perform a favorite tale. 

For more resources on readers theater, check out my pinterest board below!
Follow Sebrina Burke’s board Readers Theater on Pinterest.
Be sure to check back on July 17 for the final post in this series: Unit 8 & Conclusion by The Sunny Side of Second Grade!  Just click the image below!

Signature

 

Preparing for Parent Communication

I blogged over at Classroom Tested Resources this week, but thought I would share the post here also.  I feel parent communication is vital. This summer I have taken time to reflect on ways to establish a solid connection with my families. Research and experience have proven this an invaluable way to support our students emotionally and academically.

Parents often feel alienated from schools.  They may have had a bad experience while they were in school, or an unfortunate school based experience with their own child.  By opening our classroom doors and welcoming families, we gain valuable allies.  It is important to provide a method of two-way communication.  This communication is not the school informing the parent, rather is is an ongoing communication in which both parties share valuable information.

One way to build this relationship is through daily communication with families.  This summer I decided to ditch the ragged, torn, and dirty take home folders.  I am going to put together binders for each student.  Binders will be more durable, organized, and provide multiple ways for daily communication.

Below are the items I used, minus the page protectors and a one inch binder.

I am using a one inch binder that will be labeled for each individual student.  I found a pack of 8, one inch, white binders for $10.00 at my local Sams Club.  I chose these Avery page tabs because they were colorful, had a large space for labeling, and they are made of a heavy plastic.  I am only using two per child.  I found all of the materials, even the individual white binders, at Wal-Mart.

I decided to give it a cute acronym, H.O.T.  Which stands for Home Organizational Tool.  These binders should last the entire year and keep my students and families organized throughout the year.

Let’s look inside to see what is included!

 

I like to use Vertex Calendars for free calendars, the excel version is editable.  You can also find cute ones through Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can find this free one by The 2 Teaching Divas by clicking HERE.

You can grab a set of editable binder covers and spines in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. Currently they are free!  Simply click {HERE}.

I’d love to hear ways you provide parent communication!

Signature

July Pick 3 Tips for Summer


There’s nothing like summer break for relaxing and spending quality time with your family. So kick back, and take a look at some of the pins I found for this summer!

July Pinterest Slide

 

July Slide1

 

After a few days of relaxing I know I need to start organizing and cleaning.  I want to share with you a great cleaning tip that I KNOW works!

dawn and vinegar cleaning solution

This homemade cleaning solution is WONDERFUL!  No more toxic fumes or expensive cleaners.  You only need dawn, vinegar, and a spray bottle.  I have been using this solution to clean my showers and sinks for a year now and love it.  You can find the directions on Honey Bee Hive.   I enjoy finding healthy, natural ways to clean, even though I am NOT the queen of cleaning by any means!

Pinterest Pick 3 July

One of my favorite summer treats is the time to indulge in reading.  I like to continue reading educational blogs and research materials, but I relish the chance to get into some great fiction.  I happened upon a site chock full of shelving solutions for all those great books.

Pinterest Pick 3 July

What a cozy place to read on a rainy day!  Check out Interior Design 2014 for 40 ideas for book storage.

I am currently reading an amazing book written by Charles Martin called “When Crickets Cry.”  I am thoroughly enjoying this tale of the heart. This is the synopsis on Amazon:

A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. And a shared journey toward healing for both their hearts.

It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest.

Her latest customer, a bearded stranger, drains his cup and heads to his car, his mind on a boat he’s restoring at a nearby lake. The stranger understands more about the scar than he wants to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner with its radio blaring is about to change the trajectory of both their lives.

Before it’s over, they’ll both know there are painful reasons why crickets cry . . . and that miracles lurk around unexpected corners.

Find it on Amazon by clicking the book image.

Pinterest Pick 3 July 3

 

July 4th, a celebration of our Great Nation’s Independence is right around the corner.  Bring in some patriotic colors with nutritious snacks featured in these 2 pins.

Easy-Flag-Fruit-Dessert-Family-Fresh-Meals-

Click the image to visit Family Fresh Meals for the directions.

 

red white and blue snacks 2

Red white and blueberry yogurt Popsicles. Click the image for directions on The View from Great Island

I hope you found some summer inspiration.  Be sure to visit the participating blogs for more summer treats!

Sebrina

Technology Thursday: Engaging Students and Building Background

Technology Thursday with Teaching Trio

 

I’m linking up this week with the Teaching Trio to share one way I use technology in my classroom.  The use of technology allows me unique ways of reaching my students and increases their engagement and knowledge.   I use many technology tools, but Google Images and YouTube are a staple. 

Using Google Images and You Tube in the Classroom

 

 I realize this is not a revolutionary idea, but it made a world of difference for my students this past year!  I teach special education students in a Title 1 school, where every student is on free lunch. My students’ background knowledge is severely restricted, since they live and play only in their local neighborhood.  In other words, they know little of the outside world, other than what they are exposed to on television at home.  We all know that most of the current programming leaves much to be desired!

(more…)

June Pick 3 Pinterest Recipes

The June Pick 3 Pinterest Linky is an opportunity to share some summertime fun!  I’m going to share three easy recipes that I have tried, or want to try this summer!

June Pick 3 Linky

 

 

 

June Pick 3 Linky

 

 

Summer is a great time to try some new salads, and this one looks so interesting and delish!  I already love to add shredded cabbage to salads, or to make a cabbage salad with lots of garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.  I can’t wait to try this one this summer. You can find the recipe on Simply Real Health.  

(more…)

End of the Year Learning Can be Fun!


End of the year

 

I know you think I fell off the ends of the Earth. I’ve just been trying to survive the end of the year craziness like you!

Today I’m blogging  over at our new collaborative blog, Classroom Tested Resources!  Be sure to check out my post and read some of the other amazing posts you will find there.  You can read how I have kept my students engaged and learning up until the very end!

As a teaser I’m including this picture.

Opinion Writing for end of the year fun.

Post Its are a great solution for working on fluency.

 

 

You can grab my freebie by clicking the cover below.  Seeing the photos {here} will spark your own creativity!  Happy Memorial Day and thank you Veterans!

End of the year freebie

Click cover.

 

Sebrina

May Pick 3 Party: Celebrating Mothers!

Celebrating Mother's Day, Classroom crafts

May is an exciting time of the year!  We are finishing up the school year and celebrating the women in our life this month. Yes, Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Not all of our students have mothers in their life, but they each have a special someone, whether it is a grandmother, aunt, neighbor, etc. Encouraging our students to show their love and thanks during Mother’s Day brings everyone a little joy. 

I’m going to share several pins that I found perfect for this time of the year.  First a little music to get you and your students in the mood!

(more…)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

%d bloggers like this: