Writing Rubrics

I love making rubrics for things! Here are a few rubrics I've used for writing assignments. They are pretty standard, but helpful none the less. :)

If you love rubrics and would like more (as in way more), click on the pictures below to read more about my writing rubrics mega pack and reading rubrics mega pack.

Polar Bear blubber experiment

Another day home with my toddler. His cold is coming to an end I hope, but in the meantime, I can get a lot done during nap time. It is nice to have an extra day with my boy. :)

To illustrate how polar bears stay warm in the icy waters of the Arctic, we do the classic blubber experiment. This year one of my goals for myself is to make my science curriculum more inquiry based. So, I came up with this "scientific recording sheet" for my students. I like it make it sound official. :) I used a similar one for a few experiments that I did earlier in the year and it worked well. I'm trying to get the kids used to using the scientific process, even if the end result of the experiment may seem obvious.

You can download it here.

Making connections

I'm home with my sick toddler today so during nap time, I had a little time to make a few graphic organizers. You can download them here.

Jan Brett activities

Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors! My students always love her books. Here are a few things we've done so far:

After reading The Hat, we made a word web of synonyms for the word ridiculous. We used all the words from the story and then thought of our own..

Then each student chose their favorite animal and favorite synonym to do these hats for our bulletin board.
The inside says, "The _________ looked __________ in the __________".

For The Mitten, we do a Venn diagram comparing Jan Brett's version to an older version by Alvin Tresselt. Each student was in charge of a pink strip. When it was their turn, they read their strip and glued it in the correct space. (If they needed help, they could ask the class for some assistance.) They had a great time with this one!
Unfortunately, the picture turned out blurry, but hopefully you get the idea. :)

We've been talking a lot about elements of a story, and Jan Brett books work so well for this. I get a little graphic-organizer-happy. Here are a few:

I made this story map with beginning, middle and end for Berlioz the Bear.

I had the best teacher moment yesterday when one of my students inspired this graphic organizer. We were reading Hedgie's Surprise and he said, "this story reminds me of Trouble with Trolls for two reasons..." The rest of the class joined in while I whipped up this poster. Other kids started to throw in other books too!


Bear Unit

I am so jealous of all of you first grade teachers who get to do a penguin unit! The 2nd grade teachers claimed that at my school long before I got there, so I miss out. Instead, we study bears. We have a fun time integrating the bear theme into our other subject areas too. Of course we read tons of fiction and nonfiction books. The class fills out a chart comparing pandas, polar bears, black bears and brown bears throughout the unit. 

We also identified where each bear lived on the world map. 

We had so much fun comparing the sizes of bears. First, we measured using a yard stick and yarn. We hung the string up in our class to see how tall each bear was when they are standing upright. The kids love to see which bear is closest to their height.

The next day, students link cubes to match the size of the string. 

Then they broke up the cubes into tens and ones. They recorded their results by coloring in the tens and ones on their worksheet.

We read the cutest book called Panda & Polar Bear. After reading, we talked about why each bear lives in a habitat that is just right for them. As a class, we completed this T-chart to illustrate that point. I read each strip with a special adaptation and students decided if it belonged to polar bear or panda bear.

After some great discussion, students completed a Venn diagram comparing the two bears. 

Earlier in the unit, we did a  whole-class sentence scrambler. Every student got a word so everyone participated!

You can download individual bear sentence scramblers here!