Monday, September 10, 2012

Science and Math Vocabulary

Alright, so I have to admit, vocabulary is not the most exciting thing to discuss or teach. However, it's crucial to children's understanding, particulary in math and science. I've worked hard through the years to make sure I teach vocabulary explicitly. I make sure to use the vocabulary throughout a unit and I expect children to use the vocabulary in their reading, writing and speaking. (Great for all students, especially ESL!)

Here are some ways I incorporate vocabulary in my teaching:

Math Vocabulary Wall

I didn't have a lot of wall space so I used my blue cabinets as a math vocabulary wall. I added green border to the edges to jazz it up a bit. Each vocab card is on a piece of 8 and a half by 11 card stock. The vocab words are in green ink and the rest of the print is black.

Here's a closeup of one of the cards. Our school color printer has been acting up so that's why the card has a little bit of black smudge on it, but you cannot tell from far away.

I slide the cards under one of those little white hooky things with the sticky tac on the idea what they are called! But it makes it super easy to change out the cards.

One thing I like to do in science is use those little library pockets to store vocabulary cards. Once we make the cards, we put them in the pocket and glue the pocket into our science notebooks.

I use the window pane format for vocabulary. In the top left box we write the word, in the top right box we write the definition, in the bottom left they draw a picture and the bottom right they draw or write about what it reminds them of.

And on just a fun note, I found these neon dry erase markers at Target! LOVE THEM! :)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Managing the Writing Process

Hi Friends!

This week was LONNNNNNG and HOOOOTTT. I'm so glad it's Saturday! I finally get to rest my super swollen feet and watch some Texas Longhorn football! :)

In my classroom this week we are working on revising our personal narratives. This is our sixth week of school so we've been at it for a while. I find that second graders have a really hard time revising at the beginning of the year. They are still in the mindset of, "Well I already wrote it, I'm done!" I'm trying to teach my tooshy off and show them what great writer's do to revise their stories.

We worked on "showing, not telling" this week. I used Kevin Henkes books like Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse to teach them ways to show the reader what you're trying to say. We also looked at sensory words and created lists of sensory words to use to help show our readers what we want them to see.

This year I began using my old behavior chart as a writing process chart. The children each have a pocket will colored coded cards for each step of the writing process. I am so glad I made it because it matches my writing binders. (See my binders here.) So far it's really helped the children grasp the concept of a "process". Next week we will work on editing and finally some publishing!

Here's a pic of my writing process pocket chart. (The fish bowls at the bottom are part of my Daily 5 management system.)

Click on the picture above to see my writing process cards. I have brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. The last slide has several different ones on a page because I have 22 kids and it helped me save paper when I printed them out.
I'm due September 17th, so I may not be there to publish with them. However, my long term sub will make sure it gets done. The kids look forward to that part so much! I'd love to see what the writing process looks like in your classroom! Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Daily Five and Grades?

Hi Friends!

Like many of you, I am a huge fan of the daily five. We are in our sixth week of school and my kids are getting it. They are working independently on engaging and purposeful tasks and I am able to assess students and work in small groups. Love it! :)

The only issue I ever have is taking grades. It can be challenging. I like to give mini reading assessments after we've worked on a skill for a while, but I am supposed to have 8-9 grades per 9 weeks. I feel it is very important to hold my students accountable for their work during daily five so last year, I graded them on how they did during daily five.

I use the Words Their Way phonics and spelling program, so I incorporated that into word work. I require my students to complete a closed sort and record the sort in their word work notebooks. They can do many other things during word work time but that is a mandatory activity that I take a grade on.

I also require them to complete reading response pages. Right now, it's just ONE a week. I'm starting easy because they are still young and getting into the routine. I will raise the bar as the year goes on and my students become more fluent readers and writers.

I also include work habits as part of their grade. It's obvious who is off task, book shopping too much or using a volume that is not appropriate. When the kids know they are being graded on this it really helps them refocus.

I'm attaching our daily five menu (which they must complete throughout the week and return to me on Friday) along with their grading rubric. I have them staple all their responses to the menu and I check their word work notebooks on Friday. It can be a lot of work but I feel it really makes our daily five time effective and it holds my students accountable.

Do you do daily five? If so, how do you take grades? Just curious! Happy teaching! :)