Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazing Technology!

I love technology! I am amazed daily as I see all that can be accomplished through it.
Today I found this amazing site, Readthewords.com.
You have to see the message I just put on my class blog using this amazing technology.
Here are some applications for this site that I found here.
1) Record audio of your shared reading text and post it to your classroom website for students to listen to at home or during center time to review the story.

2) Record audio of a chapter book a chapter at a time for struggling readers. Download to an .mp3 player for students to listen to while reading along.

3) Record fluency passages and save to your classroom computer. Have students read the passage aloud with the virtual reader to practice pacing.

4) For students reluctant to present in front of the class, have a student input the text of an original story or oral report and have the virtual presenter share the information with the whole class.

5) Record difficult vocabulary words and their definitions and save on your computer for students to review during center time.

I'm sure the possibilities are endless!
So I've said "amazing" like 76 times in this post-I hope you get the point and check this out!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thunderstorms

Today in our weather unit we studied thunderstorms.  We learned that during a thunderstorm electricity may build up inside clouds and cause lightning.  When the super-hot lightning bolts suddenly heat the air it makes an explosive sound called thunder. We read the book Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.
Here's the recipe for Thunder cake to try at home:

Ingredients

    • 1 cup shortening
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 eggs, separated
    • 1 cup cold water
    • 1/3 cup tomato puree
    • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 inch cake pans.
  3. Cream together the shortening and sugar.
  4. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolks.
  5. Mix in the cold water and pureed tomatoes.
  6. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold into egg/tomato mixture.
  7. Sift the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Mix dry mixture into wet.
  9. Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
  10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
We sang a "Thunder" song.
Here's the words so you can sing along: Thunderstorm song We also made thunder clappers. Here's how: 1. Fold a paper in half like a taco.
2. Open paper and fold each corner down to the center fold.
3. Refold the papr toward you along the same fold as in step #1. The flaps will be inside the paper.
4. Fold in half once again so that the opposite sides match.
5. Open the paper so that you can see the fold line.
6. Fold the top two corners toward you so the meet at the fold line.
7. Bend the paper backward along the fold line with the corner points facing you.
8. Hold the two corner points between your thumb and middle finger with your finger in the fold. Quickly move the clapper down with a click of your wrist to make a popping sound.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Clouds

Today we continued our study of weather.  We focused on clouds.  First, we watched this video clip. Then, we learned about 4 types of clouds.
Lastly, we went outside and looked at the clouds.  We also sketched and identified the clouds that we observed.
More fun cloud activities will follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stretch Books

Have you seen these "stretch books"? OOOO I can't wait to make these!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Butterfly Flap Book

My 2nd graders are going to Butterfly World at the end of April.  It's one of my favorite field trips.  But before we go we need to study these winged gems.  Here's a flap book that we make together to learn the stages of metamorphisis. 
I display these steps on an overhead for the students to refer to.

We start with a flap book that I have preassembled.

The students draw and color a caterpillar on the top of the flaps.  The bottom of each flap is labeled with the stages.

A butterfly lays an egg.  The students write the sentence and illustrate the stage inside each flap.


The egg hatches into a larva.

The larva makes a case around itself and becomes a pupa.  Be sure to label the Chrysalis.

The case turns clear and out comes an adult.

 
In time, the adult female is ready to lay her eggs.  And then...
It starts all over again!


I also posted a life cycle video on my classroom blog that shows the life cycle of a butterfly as well as other animals.

The Teachers Guide has tons of butterfly resources to tap into as well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look, Listen, Think

Tomorrow begins our SAT testing.  We've been working hard on testing strategies.
I'll be wearing a waitress type apron full of tissues, mints, and of course sharpened pencils so I have everything within reach. 
I saw this similar idea that I'm going to share with you on another blog and decided to adapt it for testing week. I'll have these 3 buckets ready for my students.  I'll have 3 lists labeled Listen, Look, and Think on the board.  When I see a student displaying one of these skills during our testing I will write their name on the board on the list.  After testing they will get to come and pick from the appropriate bucket.



I'm hoping this will be that extra little motivation for them to do their best!

Friday, April 8, 2011

WatchKnow

I stumbled upon a great website today, and I wanted to share it with you.  It's a free eductional video site called WatchKnow.  You can set the age range of your students.  Then, type in the topic that you are teaching.  I just scheduled a blog post on my classroom blog with a video on animal life cycles.  I typed a question for the kids to answer  in the comments after they watch the video. 
I just posted a fun goofy video about following directions to encourage my students in preparation for achievement tests next week.  You can see that post here
I am amazed by the volume of educational video clips on this site.  Check it out!

SoundBible.com is another recent find.  On this site are LOTS of sounds   These sounds would be great for smart board lessons.  But I thought using sounds would be a great way to introduce a new concept.  For instance, there are weather sounds.  At the beginning of my weather unit, I can play the sounds of a rainstorm, tornado, thunderstorm and wind and ask my students what these sounds have in common.  Another great way to differentiate learning for our students!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Last 26 Days of School

The last 26 days of school are bittersweet.  26 school days until summer-WAHOO!  But also only 26 days left with these precious students.  You know how your relationship with them changes when they leave your classroom.  You may still see them, but it's just not the same. 

I saw this fabulous idea here.  I just tweaked it to meet the needs of my classroom.  Notice most of the ideas do not require any teacher preparation or any major disruption to the classroom-love that!!  This is a great way to make our last 26 days together memorable!


last 26 days

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