Tag Archive: 2nd


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My 2nd graders just finished reading Hang On, Monkey and Hop, Bunny from National Geographic Kids.  Both of the stories are very similar but one talks about a journey through the woods/forest and one talks about a journey through the rain forest.  The kids loved the vibrant and silly pictures of the animals.  These books have a lot of rich vocabulary that was nice for us to get some practice on those blends and digraphs we really need.

After we read both of the books they were given graphic organizers to compare the two stories.  I normally use a Venn Diagram, but I found a new graphic organizer that I had that was more of a list format and branched off.  It’s designed specifically to compare two stories so I think it’s almost easier for the kids to compare on this graphic organizer versus a Venn Diagram.   They’ve been asked to be adding more details to their writing to make it more thorough and detailed along with quick decoding during reading.

IMG_0101IMG_0109I have noticed my 2nd graders have needed more support than just Guided Reading Plus.  I decided to layer interventions with this group, which was something new for me.

We started out by doing a study on snakes.  I read 2 mentor texts on snakes and then I had the students read a book about snakes a couple levels lower than their instructional level because I wanted the focus to be on writing and writing more complex sentences.  This happened to tie in perfectly because this is exactly what they have been doing in the classroom as well. (I get to go in during their writing block and help in the classroom with writing.)

After we read our snake books, I wrote a snake story in red. (To the left)  I did take input from the students as I wrote on interesting facts I could write about.  The following day I took my purple marker and I had them help me come up with ways we could add more details to make our sentences better, change word choice, and make our story more interesting.  They were very engaged and involved and loved telling me how I should make my story better.  They were actually quite good at this and I give big kudos to the 2nd grade classroom teachers for their awesome teaching on this.

IMG_0108The next day I had them write their own snake sentences. (Photo at the top of the page.)  I highlighted lines so they would write every other line and that way they could easily go back into their writing and add details, change the word choice, make edits.

Once they had had a writing conference with me, they were able to put their sentences on chart paper.  We then had to conference again about how once we make edits on our sentences and fix mistakes, we have to make those changes on our final copy, too.  We can’t put those same mistakes back on our final copy.  Thank goodness for post-it white out tape! 🙂

The next book we ended up reading was Hang On, Monkey and we did some work on monkeys.  I wanted them to then apply the skills they learned with snakes by writing monkey facts.  I did type up their stories and print them out for them so they could then go back through their writing and highlight capitals in IMG_6742the wrong place, forgotten punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

After they had gone through their writing on their own, I then was able to have individual writing conferences again.

This whole process took us about two weeks, but I feel like we got a lot of great work done.  I’m super proud of the 2nd graders for their hard work.

Writing Boo-Boo’s

IMG_0106My 2nd grade groups have been doing a lot of writing.  (A side note: I also get to go in at the end of the day and help 2nd grade within the classroom on their writing during their writing block.  This has opened my eyes to a lot more of their needs in writing since I get to spend 60 minutes a day with them.)

One thing I’ve noticed in the writing is there is still a lot of missing punctuation marks and many inappropriate capitals sprinkled throughout words.

Last week I did mini-lessons on capitalization and punctuation.  I read Punctuation Takes a Vacation and The Case of the Incapacitated Capitals both by Robin Pulver and Punctuation Celebration by Elsa Knight Bruno to go over some writing rules.

I then wrote a story with lots of writing boo-boo’s and had the students come in and correct them.  It’s funny how quickly they find MY mistakes, but when I ask them to go back in their writing they act like they wouldn’t ever have a possible mistake! 🙂 Hmmm…I wonder why that is?

After they corrected my story, they then went back into their writing journal and had to pick one writing piece they would go back over and look for punctuation and inappropriate capitals.  We will continue to work on being more precise in our writing!

IMG_5702My 2nd graders have been doing a unit of study on seeds, plants, and growing.  I read Leaves, Flowers, Roots, and Seeds by Vijaya Khisty Bodach (4 separate books) starting out our unit of study, which goes into more depth on each flowers, roots, IMG_5897seeds, and leaves.  From there my 2nd graders have been reading And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Both are fictional stories, but based around the premise of growing seeds.

After we read And Then It’s Spring I had the 2nd graders plant their own garden.  This was a lot of fun.  We have planted carrots and beans and been writing and tracking the process (impatiently, of course!)  We have a chart of growth and we are writing the date each time we see something change on the chart.

We also dissected flowers to find the different parts of the flowers and to find the seeds (which they insisted we plant as well–maybe we’ll have carnations at some point growing in there, too??)

The kiddos took a highlighter and had to trace/locate the veins in the leaves.  It was pretty incredible to hold the leaves up to the light and see all the tiny and intricate veins within the leaves.  “Oh my gosh!  There are way more veins than I thought IMG_5900there would be!” said one of the girls in group.

I’ve done these books before, but I’ve never grown the garden or dissected flowers with the kids before.  It has been a lot of fun for me.  It’s almost more fun, though, seeing how excited the kids get coming in each day to see how the plants have changed since we first started working on the garden.

I will post an update later on once the plants have reached maturity closer to Christmas time.

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What’s Up With 2nd Grade?

IMG_8341I haven’t posted about 2nd grade in a while!  I’m sorry!  We’ve been busy and I don’t always remember to take pictures.  In the IMG_8062last couple of weeks we have followed a similar path as my last semester 3rd graders.  My 2nd graders have made tremendous growth and have moved about a year’s growth in a semester.

We started out with fables!  I read them two fables, then read them a fable I created.  If you read my post about the 3rd grader’s fables, I used the same books.

IMG_8058From there we created our own list of fable ideas.  They came up with a lot of fun and new ideas that I hadn’t heard when 3rd grade created their fables.  We organized our ideas on a graphic organizer before writing and creating our own fable books.

They had a lot of fun creating and sharing their fables with everyone.

This past week we worked on different versions of the same story using Country IMG_8337Mouse and City Mouse.  I read them two different versions and then they read their own version.

We then compared all 3 of the stories using a 3 circle Venn diagram.  It ended up being a little trickier having them doing it on their own so they each had their own chart papers, but we did it together.  We brainstormed ideas together and students were able to put the information they found most important on their own chart.

From there students were asked to compare two things of their choice.  We had Minecraft vs. Lego Batman, zebras vs. horses, and whales vs. sharks.  I was impressed how they went to my library and found books to help support their ideas or if they were confused on something they double checked that they had the correct information.

Next week we’ll move onto some work with dolphins.

IMG_8064Happy Valentine’s Day from Penthouse B at Lowell Elementary!  Go read a book with someone you love!

IMG_5840IMG_5841My K, 1, and 2 groups are continuing to work on Interactive Writing.  We’ve been so busy!  Learning about concepts about print to help with foundational building is super important.  We’ve been doing a lot of labeling, word building, letter finding, letter sorting, letter forming, poetry reading, and group and individual writing.  Wow!  What a mouthful, right?

After several weeks of poetry interactive writing and foundational skill building, we are ready to get our hands on some books and transition away from poetry.

We will keep working on letter sounds, formation, concepts about print, and word building.  Check back in with us 🙂

2nd Grade Procedures

IMG_5181My other 2nd grade group just finished a set of books on procedural steps.  I had started out by reading Monster Sandwich which went over the procedures to which a girl makes a sandwich.  I then used the graphic organizer from Interventions that Work (and our district has blown them up IMG_0003and laminated them so we can use them whole group).  I was going to model, but the kids started shouting out ideas and kind of took over for me.  It was a guided experience, but I was impressed how they really took ownership for what was supposed to be me modeling.  I still had to talk them through the steps as they wanted to jump straight from get out your ingredients to “make taco” and then eat.  We talked about how there is much more to making a taco than just ingredients and eating.  We also noticed how everyone in the group makes their tacos in different ways, which was interesting and brought out the point that just because you think you “know how to do something” that someone else might be able to show you a different way to do it.

Afterwards we did some work on The Fun Club Goes To A Dairy Farm where we talked about how there is a specific process that happens at the dairy farm and then the kids made their own procedural graphic organizers on something they knew how to do or make.

IMG_0005After they completed their graphic organizer, I had writing conferences with each of the kiddos and then went on to model how to transfer the information from the graphic organizer into sentence form.  The kids have already been working on connecting words so they easily put those into their stories (nice job 2nd grade teachers!!)

We are still working on the writing process and how editing can make our writing better.  We are a work in progress, but the students did a fabulous job of procedural steps.

2nd grade Bug Comparison

IMG_0006One of my 2nd grade groups has been working on comparing and contrasting two animals.  We started out by me reading our mentor text, IMG_0007Animals with Wings, and together we compared and contrasted using a Venn Diagram, 2 animals from the books.

As I read the kids took notes on the 4 animals from the book on characteristics of each animal.  After we were finished the kids helped me transfer the notes we took into the diagram and deciding if it was unique to that animal or something in common with the other animal.

This prepared them for reading All About Bugs, taking notes on the bugs in the book, and then picking 2 bugs to compare and contrast on their own Venn Diagram.

I had initially planned on each child making their own Venn Diagram, but they were so convincing to be allowed to work in pairs and since Lowell is a PCL school and collaborative learning is vital how could I resist?  So they got together and took notes together on 2 bugs from the book.  I was really impressed with how well they worked together deciding which information was important and delegating who was going to add which parts to their charts.  Who knew?  They were better at deciding this part of their learning that  I could have tried to get out of them.  The partner work was a glowing success.

I was fascinated by what they chose was important and pulling out details from the pictures.  They were actively flipping back and forth between the 2 bugs in the book and really analyzing to make sure they had all the information they needed for both bugs.

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Combo Interactive Writing

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This year one of my groups include a 1st/2nd grade combo and it’s fun having kids from different grade levels.  So if you see me talking about my “combo kids” you’ll know it’s my group with both grade levels in it.

IMG_5182This group is working on Interventions That Work’s Interactive Writing.  We have been working on letter identification, letter sounds, word building, directionality, and word by word matching.  I JUST received another iPad from Donor’s Choose (Thank you!) so some of our word work is able to be done on the iPad since both boys have one to use.  You can see them above working on beginning sounds.  It’s just a nice way to differentiate what we are doing.

We started out with a group poem that helped us work on fluency, directionality, and word by word matching.  Kacie Rogan, one of our 2nd grade teachers, came in to observe us on day 1 since she will also be doing Interactive Writing with some of her groups in her classroom so it was nice to have another teacher in to watch.

After we worked on our poem we wrote a group message and worked on building up some more known words such as has, red, go, we, will, or.  We are wanting to see some rapid acceleration in letter ID and known writing vocabulary.IMG_5176

Once we created our group message we then extended our message by writing individual messages.  Once the kiddos were finished with their individual message then I was able to conference with each child and check the sounds they correctly produced in their words.  We are working hard on stretching the word out and writing all the sounds we hear.  Keep checking back on us and see how we work to be the best readers possible.