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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Day Fourth and Second Grade

Hi all-  It's Damien!  Kelly and I will be joint blogging this post to share about our Valentine's activities.  Some background information before we begin. In order to battle childhood obesity and to "save the instructional integrity of the day" our Valentine's (non)celebrations had to be low key.  It's sad when we forget that we are working with children, but I'll get off my soapbox for now because this is a FUN post about what we were able to do.  


I started my Valentine boxes on Wednesday.  I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest and was going to have my class turn their Cheerios boxes into Hedwig, the snow-white owl from the Harry Potter series.  Perfect for my classroom theme, perfect since we just began The Sorcerer's Stone, and perfect because they wouldn't take forever.  Our first task was feathers!  We covered our boxes with white copy paper and used strips of tissue paper cut and folded to build our feathers.  Take a look!

So, day 1 was happily complete including some music from my Disney Pandora playlist and then it SNOWED....AGAIN!  On Thursday we had our 5th snowday of the school year and although I enjoyed sleeping in, all I kept thinking was "Doesn't Al Roker know I have Valentine Boxes to finish?". (I blame all bad wether on Al Roker).  

And then...Friday was  a delayed opening.  Again all the joys of sleeping in but we had some boxes to finish so cards could be distributed.  As soon as the kiddos arrived, we got to work. Although I had originally envisioned wings and fethers all around, I was rather pleased with the final result. 

After cards were distributed we celebrated friendship with some chocolate fondue.  We were only allowed to dip healthy items (apples, bananas, strawberries) but I was able to sneak in some graham crakers and pretzels.  It was a nice way to spend a delayed opening. Now I'm going to turn it over to Kelly for a Second Grade Valentine's Day. 

Take a peek at a February ELA activity I did with my fifth graders last year that had them analyzing the characters in their novels. Literature Love Letters

See ya later Buddies, 

SECOND GRADE: We were also supposed to keep it low key in 2nd grade.  So I saved our extra recess time we earned and incorporated it into celebration time.  I always do centers for my parties, I mean celebrations!  So we had four centers: delivering Valentine's (with no candy attached), eating yummy cupcakes, unscramble the Valentine words, and candy shop vowels.  Yes, I did sneak in some learning but this class loves to learn.  Here are some pictures:

  Love the ipod boxes.

                                            Unscramble the Valentine words

                                        Yummy cupcakes

                                   Long vowel learning!!

If my kiddos finished early at any of the centers they grabbed a clipboard which had a valentine word search.  15 minute rotations work perfect!  Another successful low key celebration.

Reading Buddies and Valentine's were both on Friday!  So we gathered our classes together and Damien read Roses are Red Violets are Pink Your Feet Really Stink by Deanna DeGroat.  The story has a perfect message and cute poems. Then our kids wrote their own poems about friendship.  Great Reading Buddy lesson.

What did you do on Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Eating and Reading! Two of My Favorite Things

It's been a busy time in my fourth grade classroom.  We have been working our behinds off (in between snow days-of course). One of the things we just began was a Lunch Time Book Club.

I read the first two books of the Keepers of the School sereis by Andrew Clements to my class.  They loved it and wanted to read more. So we decided to create a lunch time book club where we can gether once a week to chat about what we have been reading at home.  The problem- the reading level of the book is too high for most of my kiddos to read independently.  So I did what any teacher would do and recorded my own audio book.  Yup just me, some snow days, ITunes, and me reading aloud to my dog Copper.  

Once the audio recording was completed I downloaded the playlist to 10 IPods I have for use in my classroom.  (They were a Black Friday deal a few years ago and have been worth every cent.)  

The kids LOVED that all they had to do was pop in some ear buds and they could listen to me read to them during Readers Workshop.  Since I only had 10 IPods that means some of my studnets, the ones who could, would have to read the novel themselves.  Of course they wanted to listen to an IPod, but they were real troopers when I reminded them that this was differentiation and that meant everyone gets what they need to get better. This was a concept we have discussed since September and one they have really embraced.  
Here is one of my lovelies reading listening and reading along.
(Notice the IPod on his chest)

We started this past Thursday and were supposed to have our second meeting today, but Snowmagedon had other plans for us. I REALLY love the fact that instead of heading to the APR for lunch they would rather hang in the classroom eating...AND TALKING ABOUT BOOKS!

Stay Warm Buddies!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Remember Us?

Well hello friends-

Remember us?  It's Kelly and Damien-The Reading Buddies!  It seems like we have neglected this little blog of ours BIG TIME as our last entry was November, that's right November 28th!  

I am making it my goal to blog at least once a week from here on.  That way we can continue to connect with our digital teaching friends becasue, we've missed you.  Here's my first attempt at a more consistent, weekly, blogging! (Wish me luck!)

Here's a glimpse of the one Super Bowl activity that I was able to squeeze in this year.  My kids were all about the Super Bowl this year as it is being played in New Jersey (yes NJ despite what New Yorkers think- they must not know their geography) and a player from our school district is actually playing in the Super Bowl. 

We have been working our butts off on our multiplication facts.  Part of that unit has been the exploration of factors, multiples, fact families, and algebraic expressions.  So in Math on Super Bowl Friday we created our own Football jerseys with an number higher than 41 that is not prime.  After we created our jerseys we had to display the factors, factor pairs, multiples, fact families, and two algebraic expressions that include the number.   Here is our finished display and a few close-ups.  

This would be a great activity for Super Bowl Monday-regardless of how disappointing the game is (it's currently 43 to 8).

Happy to see you, and now on a more regular basis, buddies!

Damien and Kelly

P.S. If the snow forecast is true it looks like another shortned day in NJ so I might be back as soon as tomorrow.