Monday, March 19, 2012

Skyping with an Astronaut!

I didn't really plan anything exciting for our first day back after spring break, but I was pleasantly surprised when an "all call" came up on my Skype Instant Message Board looking for classrooms who were available to Skype with former astronaut Dr. Donald Thomas. I immediately responded but didn't hear back right away.  As were about to line up for recess, in came the call! He only had a short amount of time, but my students came through with some amazing questions. It was so wonderful to see how engaged and curious the students were. A big thank you to Steve Sherman at Living Maths and Dr. Donald Thomas. You made an ordinary Monday EXTRA-ordinary!
This student asked if he helped fix things in space. Dr. Thomas explained that like a car, the space shuttle is always in need of repair and upkeep.
This student asked what it was like on the moon. Dr. Thomas explained that he had never been to the moon., but he orbited earth many, many times doing experiments and research on microgravity.
This student asked what it was like to be in a 0 gravity environment. Dr. Thomas explained that  in  the space shuttle things just hang in the air where you leave them. He said you could never lose your homework in space:-)
This students asked if he went to astronaut school. Dr. Thomas explained that after graduating from college and graduate school, he was selected by NASA to become an astronaut to work on space shuttle missions.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Screencasts created on Screenr

I learned about making screencasts during a Classroom 2.0 Live webinar this morning. Screenr allows you to make up to 5 minute screencasts which you can share and embed. You record your computer screen and your voice. This is a great program for tutorials and mini-lessons. Everything is pre-recorded so you don't have to fumble around trying to find the webpage during a presentation. This is a really simple tool that students could use to create reports and projects. I can't wait to use it!
This is my first attempt at a screencast. It shows you how to log on to to participate in Twitter chats! I didn't record my voice on this one but you can hear my bracelet clanging on my computer!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Learn about Cinco de Mayo via Skype!

When we return from spring break, my 2nd graders will be learning about Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") and how it is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is actually celebrated on September 16. Students will share the history and traditions and how we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Texas. Sign up for your Skype session now! Sessions will begin the week of April 16th.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily 5 creates confident, independent learners!

I recently started having my students sign up to read for the class. Each day a student gets to pick a "good fit" book and read to the rest of the class.

This has been really wonderful for my reluctant readers. Because they are so comfortable with their classmates and confident in their ability, every student has willingly signed up. I truly believe that implementing the Daily 5 this year has allowed my students to take risks and push themselves further than a traditional guided reading program would have allowed. The Daily 5 gives students choices and creates independent learners. 

Our Daily 5 includes Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work. 

Using blogging for Work on Writing has also brought out the best in my students. They are no longer just writing for me with my red pen. They know that their friends, family, other teachers, principals, and classrooms around the world are reading their posts and commenting. They have raised their own bar and the results have been amazing.

At first I was reluctant to do Read to Someone because I was afraid the students would not stay focused and it would get too loud. But I discovered that because the students are so accustomed to the Daily 5 routine, that they were easily able to adapt these to the Read to Someone component. I usually allow up to 3 pairs at a time. They really enjoy this and I am glad I waited until the other components were in place before starting Read to Someone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Science Museum Field Trip funded by Target

Last week, we took the entire second grade to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Field trips were cut several years ago due to budgetary issues, but thanks to the Target Field Trip Grant I applied for back in August, our students were able to experience authentic, hands-on learning.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Some New Additions to our Global Classroom map!

We're adding new heart pins and stars every week to our global classroom map! We're hoping to make more international connections to end out the school year!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Skyping with Mrs. MacInnes' Third Grade in Maine

Today we met Mrs. MacInnes' 3rd grade class from Brewer, Maine. We read our readers theater excerpt from  Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and they sang a song about Martin Luther King. Can you say "authentic learning"?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top 10 Award!

Top 10 TBA

Wow! I just got nominated for a Teaching Blog Addict Top 10 Award by Claire over at First Grade Smarties! Thanks Claire!

This award was created to help encourage bloggers to keep doing what they are doing: Sharing the joys of teaching!  My first year "blogiversary" is coming up in April and this nomination is validation that what what I am doing is worth the time and effort it takes. I am truly honored to receive this award from one of my peers and gladly pay it forward by nominating 10 of my favorite blogs:

Please visit the top 10 Award instructions 
and get your award button!

Blogging: How to Write an Amazing Comment

My second graders are doing such a great job with their blog posts this year. I never dreamed at the beginning of the year that blogging with 7-8 year olds would go so smoothly and that they would enjoy it so much.  Recently, I came across a blog called Global Grade 3 and discovered these simple guidelines for writing amazing comments. This post made me realize that my class is now ready to move to the next level of blogging: Writing amazing comments!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guest Blogger Kendal: Skype!

The following is a blog post one of my 2nd grade students put on our class blog about Skype:

In class we are doing skype.Skype is when you go on the computer and you talk to people aound the wold.It is so fun.Yesdirday we skyped with Mr.S he is a math teacher.I will tall you one of the math qustin he did to us:Ok,the sone and the father whent on a hunting trip.They found a bear the sone got skrached and the father died.The sone went to the hspital.The docter said I can"t operat on this boy he is my sone.Who is the docter?The anserw is the mom was the docter. Kendal - 2nd grade

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Inspired by Eric Carle *UPDATE*

*UPDATE* The finished product....

We have been "voraciously" reading Eric Carle books this week. It all started with The Tiny Seed and then it just "blossomed" after that!

We have also read:  The Grouchy Lady Bug, A House for Hermit Crab, and The Very Lonely Firefly.
I was very pleased to see several students checking out Eric Carle books during our weekly library visit.

We were very inspired by the artistic style of Eric Carle so we decided to give it a try!

First, we colored 6 x 9 sheets of paper with crayons. We mixed the colors and the direction of our coloring to give the paper more depth and texture.

Next, we cut out the shapes and laid them out to create a picture.

Finally, we glued everything in place and signed it with our "artist" signatures.  Next week we will be creating poems to go along with our pictures.