Back to School Weekend Writing

Writing is always the subject at the top of my list of things to improve on.  Teaching writing is tricky to little people.  Another area that I struggle with is remembering to keep track of writing samples through the year.  Honest to Pete! I think I have finally hit on a system that works for me and just might work for you too.  WEEKEND WRITING!!  The kiddos love to talk about their weekend activities so it is a high interest topic.   I have the students write about their weekends every Monday morning.  It is the perfect way to start a sleepy Monday.  The kids write down 3 things they did over the weekend on their graphic organizer.  At the beginning of second grade I have them choose 1 thing to write about.  This prevents them from making a list of everything they did over the weekend and develop details that support a topic sentence.   I usually print mine for the whole year and bind them with the combing machine.  I always have them on hand for mini-lessons, work samples, conferences and data.  Boom! 

 I have a years worth of Weekend Writing in my TpT shop {here}.  Or you can accomplish the same thing with materials in your classroom.  Happy Writing!!

Shark Stem!

A huge part of Shark Week was the Shark Stem activities.  I am so glad I implemented these this year.  One of the challenges was to make a shark cage with a specific set of materials provided that can hold the most weight without collapsing.  F.U.N!

Our next challenge was to build a shark with the provided materials.  This was so much fun.

If you are interested in implementing Shark Stem you can check out this resource from Smart Chick right {here}.

Shark Art

I just love a craftivity because it's hard to find time for "just art."  That is why I absolutely love doing glyphs with my kiddos.  My primary source of glyph stuff is from The Glyph Girls.  They have so many fun glyphs that are the perfect compliment to a variety of activities throughout the year.  This shark glyph was the perfect activity to wrap up shark week in my classroom.   The kiddos had to answer questions about sharks in order to know how many gills, teeth, buttons and patch color their shark would have.  The glyph girls always include an activity for the students to answer questions about each other's glyphs.   I LOVE that feature.  It is such a fun way for the kids to analyze data!!

Making Lemonade out of End of the Year Lemons!

The last week of school is so exciting but TOUGH!  This year I used Amy Lemon's End of the Year Engagement unit to attempt to hold the littles attention and still keep 'em learning.  They loved it.  One of the activities was making lemonade in a baggie.  There were several other lemon themed activites as well.  Fun, fun, fun!  

Digital Shark Research

 Once my kiddos had finished up their shark research it was time to put that research into presentation form.  I decided to do that via Google slides and Google Classroom.  I pushed the entire slide show out to all the students and allowed them to collaborate on their slide with their partner.  This was a wonderful opportunity to reinforce working on their slide and only their slide.  Which can still be a bit tricky for second graders.  Students then shared their research with the class.  It was AWESOME.  I think we all had fun and learned a ton about sharks.  You can get a copy of the slides to do with your class right {here}!

Shark Research

One of the kiddos' favorite part of Shark Week is becoming shark experts.  Well, better shark experts.  They already fancy themselves experts.  I decided to partner the kids up and assign a shark to each pair of students.  I was a little worried about assigning the sharks ahead of time, but honestly it went smooth because kids LOVE ALL SHARKS.  They began their research by watching a video specific to their shark type.  I included a QR code at the top of each research sheet.  The little researchers scanned their qr code and watched the video while filling out their research sheet.  This was great because they could stop the video to write things down or rewind if they needed.  Research that was individually paced.  Yay!
Some of the videos are shorter than others.  As students finished their video they went and checked out a shark book from our "shark library" to continue learning about their specific shark.  If you are interested in grabbing the shark research packet with qr codes for FREE?  Just click the photo below.

shark research

Shark Week Begins!

Shark Week is becoming a must do every year.  The kids LOVE it.  I looped with my current class from first grade to second.  I needed to bring in some new Shark Week ideas to keep the content fresh.  I really hate to hear, "I already did this last year!"  I especially hate to hear it from student that I had last year!  Ugh!  I started this year's Shark Week with a Can-Have-Are.  I used different colored stickies to keep the categories separated and easy to read.  Kids know A LOT about sharks and they really love to tell you about it.

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