Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Thanksgiving Fun!

In honor of #ThrowBackThursday which has fully taken over all forms of social media, I'm throwing back to an old post from last year where I shared a fun Thanksgiving activity that was so awesome, we are repeating it again this year! Original post can be found below...

*** Original Post Starts Here ***

First, we begin by reading Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano.  You could also read A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting.  Both involve turkeys that don't want to be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.  There are several other picture books out there, but these are two of my favorites.  Click the links below to purchase them from

After reading one of these picture books, we discuss the plot, point of view, and problem/solution.  There are several graphic organizers in my Thanksgiving ELA Printables pack to use when reading either of these books.  
*** Edited to Add ***
This year we will be reading both books above and comparing/contrasting the story elements in each book using my printables below.

After completing one of the graphic organizers from my pack (there are several that will work), we begin to brainstorm how it would feel if we were a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.  We talk about how we would solve our problem.  The students are assigned the following writing prompt from my November Common Core Writing Unit.  They have to write a letter to try and persuade families to NOT eat turkey for Thanksgiving and provide reasons that support their opinion.

They will have to support their opinion using the following graphic organizers, also included in the unit.

And finally, they will publish their Opinion Piece on differentiated publishing paper, also included in the unit.

You can find all this and more in my November Common Core Writing Pack.  

I hope this fun, seasonal activity helps you tame down the teacher burnout too!  :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Round-Up

Several months ago, a group of bloggers decided to get together and start posting some simple, yet effective Bright Ideas. In these posts, there were no products, no links, no advertising. We just wanted to share nice and easy, simple to implement, Bright Ideas. For the month of November, we are rounding-up some of our old Bright Ideas posts so that you can take a peek at them again and hopefully browse the link-up below to find some more Bright Ideas that you can use NOW in your classroom! We hope you enjoy this round-up of Bright Ideas!

My most popular Bright Ideas post was my post about managing your turn-in tray using clothespins! It was a simple idea, yet one that so many people fell in love with! It's now my #3 most popular blog post on 2nd Grade Stuff. You can go back and read the original post {HERE} or click on the picture below.

My next Bright Idea that was a sure hit was my post about organizing all the never-ending amounts of PAPER in your classroom - How to Avoid Stacks of Paper. This post was one of the most pinned on Pinterest on my entire blog! You can go back and read the original post {HERE} or click the picture below.

I hope you've enjoyed this Round-Up of Bright Ideas and maybe you have found something that you can take back to your classroom and implement immediately! If not, check out MORE Bright Ideas by browsing the links below for thousands of our most popular posts. Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Take a Peek Inside "Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time"

I've had several requests for examples of my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time in action. The example I'm sharing below is a paragraph that we just finished up from my October Edition. As with any writing, the most important thing for a teacher to do is model, model, model. So this is the Perfect Paragraph that we created together as a class while I modeled the process for the students.

My Perfect Paragraph packs come with paragraph templates that are aligned to the Common Core, so the students will be writing Narrative, Opinion, and Informative/Explanatory paragraphs. In each monthly pack, I include 4 paragraph templates, 2 that are seasonal and 2 that are completely generic and can be used at any time of the year. You can check them out below and more will be coming each month throughout the year!

The Perfect Paragraph displayed below is a Narrative paragraph called "A Bad Dream". It was so fun to create this Perfect Paragraph with my students! See the details below.

Narrative: Step One
The first step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to brainstorm. This is the fun part where the students can come up with many different ideas or details before they actually begin writing. This is what we came up with as a class together while I modeled brainstorming and choosing ONE event for the narrative paragraph.
Narrative: Step Two
The next step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to write three details. While some may find this confusing to begin in the middle, I think it's super important to write this way as a beginner. The details are the most important part of the paragraph and they're the easiest to write for the students, because the details contain all the good stuff! :)
Narrative: Step Three
The third step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to write the introduction and the closing statement. I encourage teaching in this order so that your students can see the details first, then choose a good introduction to those details, as well as a good closing for those details. I personally think it's easier for the students to complete the introduction and closing AFTER writing the details. Take a look below.
Narrative: Step Four
The next step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to put it all together! This is where your students will combine their introduction, details, and closing statements in the correct order! Finally you have a cohesive paragraph! A crucial part of this step is modeling the order in which the sentences should be written. I also remind the students about indenting and spacing in between sentences although I still have the few that try to start each sentence on a new line. :)
Narrative: Step Five
The final step in my Perfect Paragraph packs is to share and discuss. This is where your students will peer-edit each others' paragraphs. This is an important part of the writing process and it also hits those Speaking and Listening Common Core Standards as well! I encourage my students to think together, discuss their thoughts, and develop a plan. You can see what the students decided were my strengths and weaknesses below. The next step is to revise and edit. And then you're done!
I hope this example helps some of you who were wondering exactly what my Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time were all about! I appreciate all the support and feedback you all have left on these packs. I plan to continue making the Perfect Paragraphs for each month following the same format. I chose not to switch up the formatting too much (aside from fonts, borders, and clipart) purposely so that your students become familiar with the format and have a good visual for when you begin to move away from the template. Leave me any questions in the comments and I would be happy to answer! Y'all have a great weekend! :)

P.S. I also have an AWESOME giveaway going on right now on my Facebook Page. THREE winners will get to choose ANY one of my November resources from my TPT store. Hop on over and enter to win!