May literacy COMBO pack

My COMBO pack for May is finally posted! 

Click on the picture to see a full preview of each.

1st Grade:

2nd Grade:

You can find these at my stores by clicking below:


2nd Grade May Literacy Centers

Looking for Common Core-aligned literacy centers for May? Here's my 2nd grade version!

You can see the first grade version here (It's not a full preview, but it's a good peak!) 

Here's the difference between first and second:

  • Reading:
    • Read and Comprehend is a one page fiction story with comprehension questions
    • 1st grade has Read and Sequence while 2nd has Author's Purpose
    • 1st grade has Rebuild a Poem while 2nd has Story Elements
  • Word work: All the centers are the same but harder words are used 
    • Sunshine Words: different word endings
    • Syllable Sort: 2, 3, and 4 syllable for 2nd; 1, 2, 3 syllable for 1st
    • Sounds of C and How many e's : slightly bigger words
  • writing: Same centers, slightly modified
    • Sequence and Write:  More space to write for students (different  format)
    • Be an Author: open ended for 2nd; pictures for 1st
    • Book Report: extra page for 2nd
  • Sentence Building:
    • Super sentence: 2nd grade has adverbs included
    • Sentence scrambler: second grade can make sentences in two different ways
    • Word Endings: 2nd has adding -ing to words (double consonant, drop e, just add); 1st is adding different words endings with no change (est, er, ed, ing)
    • 2nd: pronoun puzzler (reflexive pronoun); 1st: roll a sentence
If you are interested, you can find these centers here:

1st Grade 

2nd Grade:
1st Grade 

I'll be posting the 1st/ 2nd COMBO pack tonight!

Five for Friday with a Freebie!

I'm linking up again for Five for Friday with Doodlebugs Teaching. 

This week was all about the Earth.

1. We learned about landforms. I love their cute little pictures!

You can download this freebie by clicking the picture:
Adorable border by Surfing through Second

2. We did a version of Rainbow Namebows. We were low on time and paper so we didn't do it exactly as she does but they still turned out cute. I love Reagan's though! You can find those here

3. We did a ton of different rock activities. Here's a few:

4. I love their Earth day cinquain poems. We did these last year too. They paint the Earth on one side and glue their poems on the other side. They turned out so cute!

5. Very random: Our school auction is always a blast. It was a western theme this year. The free pictures are always a hit. I'm trying to look really intimidating in one of them like a tough cowgirl. Ha! 

Have a great weekend! I"ll be back tonight with May centers!

Five for Friday with a freebie

 I'm linking up again for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching. 

We had a busy week at school! 

1. We started poetry. I introduced it with a cute Fancy Nancy book about poetry. Then I read them a few different types of poems. We made this tree together. The flowers have the answer to the question, What is Poetry. They gave me some ideas and I gave some ideas. The trunk has some different types of poetry. For our first activity, we did  a very short poem using a subject, adjectives and action verb. We  brainstormed adjectives and verbs for each of the words that remind us of spring (butterfly, sun, leaves , etc.) Then we played around with it by moving stickies around. (For the actual poem we would only have one sticky on each side). Then each student used this butterfly anchor chart to help write their  first poems. I wrote about this last year. You can read about this in more detail here.

adorable frame by: Surfin-Through-Second

There was a beautiful day so we went outside to write more poetry. We had already written a poem together, so they were anxious to try one out on their own. We talked about how poets get inspired, so we were going to get inspired by nature. We also talked about how poetry is often a picture in words. We were trying to make this picture in words about what we saw, felt, heard around us outside. I made an anchor chart of spring words. Then I wrote the words, I see___, I hear_____, I smell_____, I feel______ on the chart as well. This was a way to get them started. They didn't have to use that but if they were  stuck, it was a way to get them going. For example, they could  say I hear chirping birds. I smell flowers growing... Some did this, others wanted to try to rhyme (like we did with our class sample) while others just went off on their own. It was fun to read these poems!

If you'd like the paper that we did our spring poems on, you can download it here or by clicking on the picture.

2. We did some activities from my Spring into Literacy Pack for morning work and reading groups. 

3. We are working on subtraction this week. Please ignore my attempt to draw a hand with fingers. Ha! You all know I can't draw! We are REALLY working hard on subtraction strategies, mainly using addition to help us subtract or counting up. We did a lot of story problems as well. I always love doing these with my class.

4. We began our rock unit. We add to our anchor chart as we learn. This little activity below is all about  making observations about rocks. It's an AIMS activity. 

5. Working on 2nd grade May centers so I can make a COMBO pack too. This is 1st grade's May centers. Hope to be done VERY soon! My husband's cousin is in town tonight so no work for me. Going out on the town! Maybe Sunday night though. :) 

Common Core Spring Reading, Writing and More

I've had so much success in my class with my other ready to go common core packs and I've had some requests for a spring version, so I went for it! I had so many things that I wanted to include. These last couple months of the year tend to be pretty long. I know we all have different schedules. Some of you are out in May for good. I go until mid-June, so I have quite a while until summer. I actually love this time because it's almost 12 weeks of uninterrupted time. No huge holidays, no random days off, just regular school days. Don't get me wrong, I love holidays and I appreciate those days off. But, it's nice to just have a regular schedule and be able to really focus for these last few months. I'll have plenty of time to mix in some (or all) of these activities! I'm pretty excited about this pack. Take a sneak peak below!

  • Read and Sequence: Frog, Plant, Butterfly life cycle and a Day in the life of a bee
  • Read, Visualize Draw: Around my garden
  • Read, Think, Match: baby animals, spring animals, plants, garden bear
  • 3 inference pages: short passages with questions that guide students to make inferences
  • 2 character analysis: short story with guided character analysis

16 reading passages with comprehension questions and graphic organizers (some, not all, have varying levels). These are my favorite! I try REALLY hard to make these higher order thinking-type reading passages. They cover a variety of skills. 

  • Word Endings
  • Sentence sort: complete or incomplete
  • 3 sentence writing pages (one with a verb focus): I encourage my students to write descriptive sentences with strong verbs. These are a great assessment too!
  • Glue a sentence
  • Match a sentence

5 picture prompts with spring scenes
2 short story prompts: students finish the story
3 writing prompts where students finish the story from a specific perspective

  • Spring syllables (picture help and without picture help)
  • real or nonsense words 
  • Find the nounds

  • Defining Words: students look at the picture and write their own definition of the word. Word bank is given, along with an example. I'll do this with the class. (This is a Common COre standard)
  • Spring writing prompt with rubric
  • Sequencing Writing (glue and write): hatching Chicks and Plant Cycle
  • Opinion Writing with graphic organizer
  • Narrative WRiting: Spring Break

You can get this at my TPT store

Research Writing First Grade Style

This week we focused on reading nonfiction texts and writing "research" papers. I'm not sure if I'm doing this right, but I do think it has been a good experience for my kiddos. At my school research writing is huge. Starting in 3rd grade, they are required to do these huge research reports that are presented at our school's State and Country Fair in the evening. 3rd-8th grade students all have their projects with a display and their papers available for parents and teachers to look through. They also have to answer questions on their topic. It sounds super stressful to me and I'm so glad I teach first when that's all going on. Glad I'm not a third grader now-a-days. I remember doing a big report in 5th grade. I think I still have anxiety dreams about it. Ha! 

Anyway... we want to get these kiddos prepared, right? Besides it is in our Common Core Standards to do some research with them. Every year I always think it's going to go so smoothly. This year I tried something sort of new and felt so excited about it. Some parts went really well and some parts of it I wish I would've done it differently. Do you ever have those moments where you feel like you're back in your first year of teaching. Why did I do it that way? Of course this isn't working. I should've done this first. Please tell me you are nodding your heads in agreement and I'm not the only one who has these moments!

I'm backing up now. Here's where I started. First of all, this is not the first time we've read or talked about nonfiction. We've been doing it all year, but this is the first time I've really focused in on the text features. I made this poster last year. I printed parts from a book from (LOVE) and looked for nonfiction text features. I highlighted them and put this little poster together. (Side Note: later in the year, the kids get their own little nonfiction text features booklets where they look for those features and write about them. I hope to make one using images I can share, but I can't share these ones.) As a class, we went through these text features. They were given nonfiction books to look through. As I introduced each feature, they would look for it in their books. This was really helpful because not all nonfiction books (at the first grade level) have every  text feature. 

Since my poster doesn't have a diagram, I referred to this one from Easter.  

In reading groups, each group was given a nonfiction book. First, we looked through the book and identified the text features that we saw in our poster (and maybe  extras that weren't on the poster, like a diagram or map). Then we read through the books, practicing pulling important information out. We practiced using the Table of Contents and glossary and they were asked why these things are helpful. 

On  to the writing. Here's where I had some moments where I wish I would've done things differently. This blog is a safe, nonjudgemental place right? I can trust you all with my shameful mistakes, right? 
First, I read this  book:

THere are TONS of these books and I own a lot of them. They are the perfect level for first graders. We read through the book first. Then I introduced this chart:

We went back and reread the book, adding sticky notes to each section. This part went SO well! Everyone was engaged and excited about it. There was great discussion about where each sticky note went and if it was an important  detail to add. I was feeling pretty good at this point. They totally get it and they are totally ready to do it on their own. Uhh... no. What was I thinking?! They were just SO excited to get started and wanted to do it so badly on their own. So I just let them. I gave them stickies and this organizational sheet:

Holy good gracious. Talk about stressful! I ended up stopping them because I realized my big mistake. Yes I modeled, but I didn't give them enough scaffolding for this assignment. They needed a lot more guidance and more step-by-step instruction. Learn from my mistakes people! So, I we just started over! This time, we went through each sticky background question one by one. They had their books (as partners this time) and looked for things that could work for that particular section. The What is It? refers to what kind of animal (amphibian, insect, mammal, etc.) They wrote one fact per sticky note, so they have 1-4 sticky notes for that first part. 

Continue this with all the sticky notes parts of the worksheet. This person did some complete sentences but I told them they could just do single words or phrases, as I had modeled on mine. This concept can be hard for them since all year we've drilled into their heads that they need to write in complete sentences. The idea of taking "notes" is a toughy!

Now onto transferring the notes to writing. First I modeled. We looked back at our sticky notes about frogs that we made together. We started with the first square and they told me what to write. I "held the pen" but they decided what to write (shared writing). They took my notes and made them into sentences. I circled the connecting words because I've been also teaching them about "glue words". We had 3 sticky notes in one section that said hop, swim, leap. First I wrote three different sentences: They can hop. They can swim. They can leap. Then we decided it would sound better to put those sentences together using a glue word. This is a white board  instead of chart paper because I wanted to be able to erase as needed. Down side is I was running out of room!

I modeled AGAIN, this time they did the writing (more like a guided writing). I took the paper of one of my students who would need some more support. We took off his stickies for the first one. Together, we wrote our first  two sentences. Next time, we'll do the second sticky section together.

Do not make the mistake of thinking they can take off on their own from there. I learned that going sticky by sticky is the best way. Model, practice, then have them do. Repeat with each section. I'm sure next time we do something like this I won't have to go so step by step, and maybe your kiddos are beyond this point. You all know your kids best. But I definitely learned a lesson here! With this particular assignment, I needed to slow my roll a bit! Next week will finish up, but I might try to finish up with small groups. 

So here's the time when you can leave a comment about how you've had a bad teacher moment recently too. Right? Make one up if you have to! OR you could leave a comment with some good tips or tricks. I know you have them! 

click here. You can download that sticky note freebie there too (without the extra words)

Five for Friday

Happy Friday everyone! It was a little tough to go back to work after such a wonderful week off with my boys. Luckily, it was a good week at school. It was one of those weeks that was uplifting because it all just seemed to click. There were some good "teachable moments" and some unplanned lessons that ended up being so engaging and valuable! I'm half watching Mad Men (on Netflix, I'm way behind) and half focusing on this post. :) Stay with me, folks! 

I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky. This week, it's all school stuff!

#1: Our impromptu Easter stories. I blogged about this earlier this week. We made these adorable bunny planning pages for our stories. Each student chose character, setting, problem, solution, main idea, and central message (if possible). You can read more about this process here. 
Here are some pictures taken today of students using their planning page to write their stories. I was so happy with how enthusiastic everyone was. My vice principal happened to come in for a quick informal evaluation (we have those from time to time). She was really happy with what she saw, so I was happy! Phew! Writing workshop can make my blood pressure rise. I love it but it can be stressful trying to reach everyone who needs you. When I see these stories, it makes it all worth it. 


#2: Math Stories: I drew a little Easter scene on the board and we made up some different story problems based on the picture. Then each student drew a similar scene in their math notebooks and made up a story problem. 


(Sorry for the blurry pictures, I really need a better school camera.)

Then, they read it to the class and the class solved them on the white boards. If the story problem didn't make sense, we worked as a class to make it work  then we solved it. :)

#3: Ramps and Pulleys: we had fun making ramps and pulleys! Pulleys weren't quite top notch but we did the best we could with what we had. Ha! :) 

#4: Easter reading: Since we were on Spring Break last week and we had Easter Monday off, we spent this week doing Easter activities from my Hoppy Easter pack. They are getting SO good with these activities. They are predicting, inferring, rereading to find answers, and are becoming so fluent!

You can't see his smile but he is very proud o f his work here. He asked for sticky notes so he could write facts down as he read. Love it! Then he filled out his double bubble map. 

#5: April Literacy Centers are in full swing! Here are just a few pictures I was able to snap up at the beginning of the center time today. 



I hope you all have a good weekend! How was your week?