Friday, April 18, 2014

Five for Friday {Linky Party - April 18th}

Hey everyone!  It has been a super-short school week (read: 2.5 days), but I have been super busy...  Read today's Five for Friday to find out why!

We came back from Spring Break, taught for two weeks and then had our spring conferences.  We only had a 2.5 day work week and then got five days off of school.  Not bad, right?  Silly me thought I had to squish a whole week of learning in those two and a half days though.

My kids were real troopers though and we got through it.  Worked until 7:30 on Wednesday night, but got off at 11:00 on Thursday and don't go back until Tuesday...after report cards and conferences I am happy for the days off. 

Conferences went really well though -- I have really great families and I am ready to stuff as much learning as I can in these last eight weeks!

If you follow me on Instagram (bittybilinguals) or Facebook ( you have probably already seen this pic, but it was how we started the week.   The kids studied different types of rocks and we came up with a list of adjectives that describe rocks.  This was a totally kid created list...  I love, love "cementosa."  The student totally used what he knew of adjectives and tried to turn a noun into an adjective.  Alas it didn't make the final poster.

We use University of Chicago's Everyday Math program and we were finishing up unit 7 this week.  We learned about median and mode by graphing the data of our long jumps.  We went to the hallway for this activity.  After we recorded their jumps, the kids wrote their longest jump on the back of their paper.  They then put themselves in order from shortest jump to longest jump.  To demonstrate median, the kids sat down, one from the beginning of the line and one from the end of the line, at a time.  By the time we took the end of the unit test on Wednesday, the kiddos were pros!

Each year the second grade team gets together and the kids make pointillism pictures.  We split all of the second graders into four groups (rainbows, flowers, suns, and kites) and they work with one of the teachers to create a painting using pointillism.  I was in charge of rainbows.  I am so proud of how these came out.  We just used Q-Tips and paint to fill in a shape (the kids traced from a template ahead of time).  I told my group that they picked the coolest of all the designs, but the hardest too.  After a couple of rows their hands are going to hurt and they are going to want to start 'brushing,' but it only looks cool if they keep on making dots...  haha, they just rocked them.

The kids then paired their paintings with an acrostic poem using 'spring.'  In a bilingual classroom we have all levels of English, so the poems ranged from single words to full sentences, but I think the whole class brainstorming really helped support all of the kiddos.

I have been trying to revamp my Teachers Pay Teachers Store (graciefacelearning) and a lot of my older products.  Last weekend I tackled all of my Gira y haga una gráfica (Spin and Make a Graph) packs.  They went from this to this...

I am so proud of these little packs.  I am planning to put them at our math stations this week to help with graphing skills.  I would think that a lot of my students would have how to make a graph down at this point of second grade, but there were a few that surprised me at this last test, so I think these are needed.

There are a variety of topics to choose from:

I am so excited!  I also decided to bundle all of these for 20% off!

My plan is to work on revamping the English versions this weekend, so stay tuned!

Phew that is it for my "short" week!  Go on over to Doodle Bugs to see others' Five for Friday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our week on the moon and Earth

We teach thematically in our K-2 bilingual classrooms at our school.  I used to think thematic units were for pre-kinder and kindergarten, but with the success of last year I am sold!  That being said we are smack dab in the middle of our solar system unit.  The week before spring break we studied the sun, stars, and constellations in Spanish (we are continuing our studies of those topics in English this week).  The following week in Spanish we studied the moon and Earth.

Last week we started off Monday with an anticipatory sort with las fases de la luna (the phases of the moon) to see where the students were at in their knowledge of the moon phases.
Listening to the students work with their learning buddies was quite interesting.  The students all had a reason behind what they thought the moon phases should look like (putting like shapes together; starting off with a full moon and then it 'melts' away to nothing...), but none of them quite got it.

The point of the days activity wasn't to actually teach the moon phases, but an introduction to the idea.  Also, I wanted them to problem solve and figure out the pattern.  We had a lot of good discussions and I think from that point forward, I had them hooked!

 We continued with many more activities throughout our different subjects. Our dictado for the week included a bunch of our vocabulary words (along with our phonics skill - suffixes).  In writing we watched a video on Brainpop Español about la luna and we started writing our textos informativos (informative texts) with the information they we learned.

We did our texto informativo about the moon whole group, but next week they will be writing about the Earth on their own. We started adding their background knowledge for the writing by reading this book from Reading A-Z during Reading Workshop:

 (if you have an account, you can download for free!)

It was a really good, "funny," factual book.  The kids were so amazed by what they had learned and were spouting off facts to me all day:  "Teacher did you know that..."  {Um, yes, I was there.  I read the book.} Haha, no...  I was very enthusiastic with every fact they brought me.  Their excitement was contagious!  

Like I mentioned before we have a set of vocabulary that we learn with each week.  My poster isn't pretty, but it gets the job done.  The kids have their own versions in their notebooks. Next week we will bridge the vocabulary into English on the same page (different color).

I really like seeing the kids use the new vocabulary in their writing, so I had them write about what they learned about the moon and the Earth at the end of the week.  I was so surprised at the writing I got!  I challenged them to use as many vocabulary words that they got.   Probably one of my best pieces of the day came from one of my struggling readers...  I was such a proud teacher mama!

I will be honest though, it wasn't all Pulitzer Prize writing -- I had a couple who showed me, La luna es un planeta (The moon is a planet).  And that is fine -- they were showing me what they 'knew.'  It was a great time to have some mini-discussions and redirect their thoughts.  I really like teaching moments like those!

So that was our week in a shell.  This week we are moving on to the planets and astronauts, but we had a field trip on Monday and a half day on Friday - so this is going to be a tight squeeze!

What are you learning about this week!?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five for Friday (Linky Party - April 4th)

I am happy to be linking back with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday this has been awhile!

Probably one of my biggest excitements...  I got a new phone!  It is an LG2 and I feel like I am finally in the 21st century.  I had a great phone before and I accidentally put it in the wash pretty much when I got it...  That meant I had to deal with a very old school phone (or pay lots of money for a new one) until my contract was up.  No more yellow pictures (think Instagram antiquing without actually wanting that filter) more 10 minutes to upload one picture to my email and then another 10 minutes for another picture.  Now, I plug my phone into my computer and bam!  100 pictures ready in less than 3 minutes...

Ay!  You all are probably thinking, um, yeah, so my phone does that already...  I know, I am catching up with the rest of the world!

The best thing about this is that it means more blogging!  It was such a hassle to upload pics before (and who wants to read a blog without pictures?  Visual learner, much?)  and I was so embarrassed to post my yellow-tinted pictures, but now...  Watch out world!

Tpt Logo

I am all signed up for the Teacher's Pay Teachers conference in Las Vegas!  I am so excited! I can't believe I am actually going!  I hope I don't get too star-struck with all the teacher celebrities!

I am excited because well, first off we (hubby is coming too -- well at least to Las Vegas) don't do stuff like this...we talk and talk, but never actually do it.  This will be our first time on airplane together in nine years -- and his first time in Vegas.

Then!  Think about all that I am going to learn!  I am obsessed with making things for my classroom and my friends' classrooms and I am just excited about learning how to do more.  

Are you going to the conference, too?

April Fools in Second Grade -- Some years I am creative and others...actually most...I am not.  The thing is, these kids just love anything different, so they think I went all out.  I turned all of their desks backwards and put their chairs back up.  They were so cute when they took their chairs down, "The teacher pranked us!  Look, she pranked us!"

I also gave out April Fool's Day mats that I got through Really Good Stuff on clearance one year...I have had small classes for the last couple of years, so these have lasted a while.  Thing is, a lot of the mat had things that native English speakers would take a second to, "Very Punny," the students don't understand what a pun is -- explain that, then they made pun into an adjective, that sounds like funny, but it's not...  And they just look at you like, huh?  

Oh well, they were thrilled to work on their mats and that their teacher 'pranked' them.  I had to remind them that students don't prank teachers though...  Haha, I am no fun, but no wonder what they would have come up with!

Today is School Librarian Day...  did you know that?  I didn't either until Mailbox magazine came up in my Facebook thread this morning, announcing it was School Librarian Day!  I had to Google it real quick to see if it was a real thing (or just something Mailbox magazine made up) and it was!  We love our school librarian...we really, really do...  So we had to whip something up for her to show our love this morning.  I thought it was would be a quick 20 minute activity...75 minutes later....

Ha, ha!  She was worth it -- the kids were really proud of their work!

Phew!  This has been a long Five For Friday -- maybe I should blog more often so I don't have so much to say in one post!  Okay, my last thing...  New Products!  My close friends know I am a product hoarder...  I make all of these products with the intent of sharing them on Teachers Pay Teachers and then I just leave them in my Dropbox.  I don't know the explanation behind it...

But!  I have been getting a lot of messages asking for more syllables packs for Kinder, so I made another set... and here she is!  (Hmm, "she"...  Don't know why I feel that my packet is a girl...).  In this pack there are activities for d, j, r, and v syllables: depending on your needs you can buy the mega pack or the individual packs (links below each picture).  

Thanks for sticking around until the end!  Now to get off the computer and do some family time with this cutie!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spanish Phonics

In our bilingual classroom we don't "do" spelling tests.  There has been a lot of studies done that say that Spanish phonics skills are best learned through authentic writing activities, so even though we do a lot of isolated phonics practice throughout the week, we end the week with a final dictado for assessment.

This week the kids are learning about suffixes in Spanish (sufijos).  We have learned about different suffixes before this week, so I consider my kiddos experts (proud teacher mama, anyone?).  After the introduction to -able and -ible the kids did an entry in their interactive word work notebooks.  We always start off with a "title" to explain what the topic is about.  This time I left blanks for the students to show their learning.  

They know p-p-prefijos are at the p-p-principio so that means sufijos must be at the end.  Then we talked about how these suffixes can go at the end of a noun or verb to make a new word (an adjective).

They then put their page together.  They really are so good at following directions with their interactive notebooks.  They cut in the right places and glue in the right places...and believe me, it wasn't always like that, but I love that I can hand out the pieces to their notebooks and they are off and learning!

This time I provided the kids with a list of words to sort on their own.  Sometimes we do it whole group and I orally give them the words and sometimes they work on their own.  When they were done, they had to go back and highlight the sufijos in every word.

At this point of the year I still have kids who are at all different speeds of cutting...Some kids are wham and done and others, I look at the clock, and really?  15 minutes of just cutting?  So I had to come up with an activity for my early finishers.  I pulled out my sufijos center for next week.

A quick note on that.  As a school we had been seeing that these kids rock the phonics skill the week it is being taught, but then the benchmark test five weeks later, they are forgetting the skill.  So I decided to extend the lessons and the phonics center the following week reviews the skill.  That way we have all had a week practicing the skill and an extra week reinforces the skill.  So even though this is a literacy center the students will be doing next week in their small groups, they loved playing it early.

Tuesday is when I reveal the week's dictado.  I want to get more into what our dictados consist of in another post, but all of the markings on our SmartBoard are the students' observations.  So we definitely reinforce our phonics skill by finding the words in our dictado and we practice writing it in different ways throughout the week.

So that is Spanish fonética in a nutshell in our second grade bilingual classroom.  What do you do in your classroom?  I would love to hear some new ideas to use with my kiddos!