My classroom library is by far my favorite part of my classroom! Reading is such an important part in what we do at school and having lots of books only adds to your students success. I have my books separated into different kinds of categories! One section of the library is split up into different genres, authors, and topics. I also include stickers on the binds of the books that indicate if the book is a fiction book, nonfiction book, chapter book, or a leveled book. All the baskets are numbered and I just write the number of the basket the book belongs in on the sticker! Speaking of leveled books, I also have a leveled section in my library. This was created to give my students a quick way to find a just right book. I let my students exchange books multiple times a week if they need to and they can get "choice" books as well as "leveled" books. This allows them to take ownership in their reading!
Here's a closer look at the genre, topic, and author section!
And here is a look at the leveled part of my library!
I also have some fun things in my library that aren't books! I have some cool headphones students can use to listen to themselves whisper read to work on fluency. I also have finger pointers if they feel that would help them. I have some soft pillows to make them comfy as well as reading buddies they can read to! I also have small flash lights that students can use and magnifying glasses. These last two tools are just to make reading a little extra fun!
"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings". -- Ann Landers
Classroom jobs are important. They teach responsibility which is something every young student should learn sooner rather than later. I teach 2nd grade and from experience 2nd graders can handle quite a bit of responsibility, which is one of the many reasons I love that age group!
In my classroom each student has their very own job. Every. Single. One. Some of the jobs are more involved than others but all of them carry importance! We have a ticket system in my classroom, although if you use classroom Dojo or don't use any type of reward system, you could still have a classroom job for each student. My ticket system is like a classroom currency. Students get paid for the jobs they do! We get paid for doing our jobs at work so I want to mimic that same aspect in my classroom.
Students save their tickets for rewards (I'll share those another day!). When I teach my economics unit they use their tickets for Market Day! -- Another thing I'll share at a later time. All in all, the classroom jobs serve a purpose. It isn't just fluff in my classroom, but a way of classroom management to promote independent students who take charge in their classroom!
You can check out the different classroom jobs and their descriptions for FREE at my Teacher Pay Teachers Store! (It was my very first upload!)
Have you ever heard of Stikbot? Have you every thought about using it in your classroom? We do a lot of research projects in my 2nd grade classroom and once students have researched and researched and researched they have to prepare to present their findings. One cool and engaging way for them to do that is to use the Stikbot App!
I learned about Stikbot from one of my tech classes at Winthrop while I was getting my Masters. It’s a free app that helps you create stop motion animation. There’s also these really cool, flexible figures that go with the app, but you can also use other things!
In my classroom I’ve used the Stikbot app to provide an option for students to visually present research findings from our animal project. My students used Play-doh to create their animals and created a stop motion animation of their animal based on some thing they learned.
Our research project was inquiry based. Students picked an animal based off of the animal books we had in our classroom. I had gathered all the books that went together and made “sets” of 3-4 books on animals. They explored and chose the topic they wanted to explore. I guided students through the research process by first exploring the books. Then we moved to books on Storia and then we used websites (Discus and National Geographic for Kids). Once they had all their research students wrote an informational book on their animal. Part of the project was also, to take it public! They each chose to do a Blabberize (I’ll tell more on that later) or a stop motion animation using Stikbot!
The students that chose Stikbot first sketched out what they wanted to do with their video in their research notebooks. Then they showed it to me to get approval! Next, they created their scene or background. I let students completely work independently on this. I gave them their materials and explained the reason for the background, along with showing them one example from a previous year. Then they got started! I was super impressed with their backgrounds and the detail they put in them on their own!
Once they had their backgrounds completed they created their animal and any other animals out of Play-doh. I also had one student that created paper animals instead of Play-doh. You could do that as well! You could even use toy animals if you had them! Once they created their animals they set them up in the scene they created and began taking pictures. I had students use iPads with the kickstand attached. This helped them keep the iPad in one place to help make their animations more fluid. One student also included a voice over, although I did not make that mandatory. Being in 2nd grade, I thought that would be a little harder for them to match up what they say with their animation. If you teach older grades you could totally include that as an extra component!
Here are some examples of what my students did! One includes a voice over, which is an option you could give your students if you wanted to!
If you’d like to learn more about Stikbot check out this website! http://howellpln.weebly.com/stickbots.html
It’s summertime and even though the school year is over, I’m already looking ahead at the new year! I’ve decided to make a top 5 summer to-do list of goals I’d like to accomplish during my summer vacay to help make the start of the school year go smoothly!
Here they are...
1. I want to dig into my Reading Strategies book and my Writing Strategies book by Jennifer Serravallo. I got these books with some fundraiser money at school this year. I’ve used them already, because they are really awesome, but this summer I’d like to dig deeper into looking through all the strategies!
2. Password cards! One of the biggest classroom management issues I had this year dealt with students losing or forgetting their passwords for the variety of techy things we use. I’d like to make some sort of password card that works best with my classroom setup and goals. My students have to keep up with a variety of passwords. They include; Google Classroom and GMail, Storia, Storybird, Math IXL, and Prodigy. Unfortunately none of their passwords are the same, which can cause some issues! Hopefully I can find a solution for this next group so we have less problems!
3. Attend professional development sessions! So far I already have a couple I’ve signed up to attend. I will be going to a two day session PD on STEAM that is lead by our Discovery Education team! I’m super excited to learn more about this awesome educational initiative! Another is called Oh the Places You’ll Go with Google Expeditions! I can’t wait to learn all I can at both of these learning opportunities!
4. I want to work on my blog! As you can tell, my last blog entry was last summer. I had so many high hopes to keep up with it and things got in the way! This summer I want to get a head start on my blog and try to make it a regular thing to keep up with! I follow so many really great teacher bloggers out there and I want to join them in inspiring anyone who comes across my blog!
5. And finally, I want to relax a little! Teachers work very hard during the school year and I know I'll be working some this summer but I have to find time to refuel! You can't poor from an empty cup! Days at the gym, days by the pool, and some good Netflix binging will do the trick!
As you can tell my summer goals are a wide range of tasks, but all of them will help improve me as a teacher and as a person! I love learning new things and I love to share the things I learn. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my summer “teacher” plans and I hope I’ve encouraged you to make some of your own!
I'm changing how I use this blog! Originally I used this blog as a place to post newsletters and information to stay connected to my students and their parents. This past year other ways of communication better suited my students and their parents and so I've decided to use this blog to share my ideas, teaching practices, lessons, and much more to those who might find it worthy of reading!
Some of the things I've already planned to share include specific lesson ideas that work for a 2nd grade classroom, classroom management ideas, classroom organization and set up, and technology tidbits.
Please stay tuned to learn more about what I do in my classroom! I hope you find it helpful!
About my Blog
This blog is a place for me to share my ideas and teaching style with anyone that is interested! I'm a 2nd grade teacher who loves what she does! I love sharing with others, which is why I've decided to use this blog to show different things I do in my classroom! You are free to comment or email me any questions.