Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back for round 9!

I can hardly believe that this is my ninth year teaching!  Welcome back to school teachers.  I saw somewhere on the internet, There's no tired like a teacher during the first week of school tired.  SO TRUE!!

Moving from first grade to second grade this year has been a nice transition.  I know what these students learned last year and it feels like a lot less gaps to fill than in other years.  I know what they know.  It's also been really interesting to see how the Common Core standards grow with the students.  I had been a part of vertical planning before but it is just so different to do it rather than hear about it.

We jumped right in to reading and writing workshop the first day of school and it has been wonderful!

Our first unit is rooted in literature and focuses on characters and story elements.  Here are anchor charts and resources that we used to start our year.

This is copied (seriously word for word) from my amazing coworker's chart (L. Gilman).  The story has really helped us to break down the steps to the writing process.  *It's still a work in progress*

If you haven't heard about admiration frames before it is the best thing that ever happened to my writing instruction!!!  You can read more about in this past post: Writing realistic fiction stories.  We started admiring the author Maribeth Boelts and her book Those Shoes.  It is AH-Maz-Ing!

Then we moved on to admiring the author's sitting in our very own classroom!

When writing stories my students wrote a little and said I'm done.  I knew Knuffle Bunny was a mentor text that they had read numerous times in first grade so I pulled it out to show students how to stretch a small moment.  I created a chart like this in the past but this is a new school so I thought I could re-use it...don't tell the kids ;)

As we've been revising, I found the need to expand their writing horizons with mentor texts that we have read over the first week of school.  This was our lesson today and their new powerful endings made my heart beam!

We began with reading workshop, what it is and what it looks like.  At the bottom you will seem my very quickly created Stop! Think! and Jot! chart.

Then we moved on to wise and effective readers.

Which led us straight into our post-it thinking beautifully.  *Side note:  It is amazing starting the year with students that already know how to share their thinking on a post-it!*

And now we have moved into character responses using language stems and a good ol' rubric.  At the bottom of the chart we did an additional lesson on supporting your thinking with key details.  When looking for these key details we decided it is helpful to look at actions, dialogue, illustrations and thoughts.

Here is this sheet for you: Character Response Stem and Rubric

Here is the half-sheet that supported the students with character responses: 

Our first unit focuses on adding and subtracting within 20.  This was a standard from first grade but now the push is to do it mentally.  Here are the resources I've created to align with the standards.

Busch Gardens pre-assessment:  Before the unit, I like to pre-assess the students.  This Busch Gardens problem is from a wise co-worker from the school I worked at last year (K. Rorem).  You'll note that this pre-assessment does not have a rubric.  It is not intended for a grade, rather a way for me to gain insight into what they are already doing as a mathematician.

Add to 20:  This is an assessment to show understanding of adding and subtracting within 20.  At the bottom is a rubric we use to guide our learning throughout the progression of the standard and eventually assess our understanding.  The students assess themselves first and then afterwards I discuss and circle in pen where there understanding lies.

Odd and Even Assessment:  Next we are moving into Odd and Even.  Again this is a real-life scenario because I want math to be something the students see as useful in their day to day life.  

We are starting our first lab next week and here it is for you!  The materials are easy ones, just plastic bags from stores like Publix or Target :)


This is how I display the charts we are currently working on.  Afterward they move onto a subject bulletin board.

I'm just going to end this post with a good night.  I'm too tired for more!


  1. Wow! Great ideas all around! thanks for sharing! I teach third grade, but I want to try out those math assessments - see how the kids are thinking. Thanks!

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  3. You are my new BBF (blogger best friend)!!!! I love how detailed this post is, and how you've shared all your anchor charts. I have gained so many helpful ideas just from this one post. Now I can hardly wait to go "back-read" your whole blog! Thanks so much for sharing!