Tag Archive: snakes

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.

Kdg Comparison Writing

IMG_6826My Kindergarten boys are blowing me away!!  They are working so hard and taking on so much learning every session we meet.  (Our Chicka Chicka tree is almost full–and boy do they let me know if we aren’t working on a new letter and adding letters to our tree!!  We might even need a new tree pretty soon!)

Lately we’ve been working on, yep, you guessed it–All About books!!  This time my boys read All About Snakes and All About Penguins.  I don’t know what it is, but EVERY time I read these books with my kiddos they get super excited about both snakes and penguins.  The All About Series is actually really incredible reading for our students.  They are high interest and have a lot of really great vocabulary choices.

My boys read about snakes and then wrote about snakes.  Then we read about penguins and they wrote about penguins.  After that we re-read both of the stories and made a chart of how they are similar and different.  It was like their minds were blown when they realized all the similarities between the two animals.  There was lots of clapping and high fiving and giggling while we were doing this.  It’s inspiring to see kids so excited about reading, writing, and discussing what we’ve read in books.

After we made our Venn Diagram, the boys had to write one fact about each of the animals to go with our diagram.  What a fun couple of weeks of learning!



Sometimes plans change when students bring up things you didn’t think about.  This happened while I was working with my bonus Kindergartners.

Last week I had my Kindergartners read All About Penguins (I posted their writing in a post below) and then they read All About Snakes.  It just happened that while we were talking about the different things we read snakes do they brought up how the penguin does some of the same things.

I thought this was a great opportunity to introduce them to a Venn Diagram and give us a jump start on writing about snakes.  The kids read both books and then we talked about the different things penguins and snakes do.  We decided if that was something they had in common or didn’t have in common.  I had them put their ideas on the chart and then we went over the correct sounds they produced and the way it would look in a book.

I was super impressed that they came up with these ideas.

One of the things every teacher strives to do, is instill a passion in students to want to read and write during their free time.  One of my 2nd graders has been very eager to soak up every ounce of knowledge he can at group.  When our 30 minutes was up he told me he didn’t want to stop writing.  I told him I’d leave some journal paper and if he wanted to write during his free time he could and I’d be happy to look at it the next time I came to group.  I had forgotten about it over the weekend and I was extremely surprised when Antavious came up to me when I walked into the room for group, grinning ear to ear, holding his 2 stories.  He had read about snakes and turtles and had written the information down in his own words.  I was very proud.  I have a “wall of fame” outside my door where I post some group work that I am proud of.  He was beaming when I told him this would definitely go on my wall.  I wanted to share this with everyone else.  I was happy to see that even though the spelling, punctuation, and grammar aren’t perfect, you can see some erasing that he attempted editing–a skill I am still teaching him how to process.  Please take a look at my Antavious’ writing!

This story says: Snakes can be 500 pounds and very small and big and fat and thing and sharp and poisonous and smart and they are 3-D.  They yellow.  They red.  They green.  They might eat us.  They jump.

This story says: Turtles can be 700 pounds and turtles fat and turtles wrinkly and turtles can fight and they scared of us and they is green.  They big.

UPDATE: I decided to send this work to the Principal’s Wall of Fame wall so Antavious could be recognized among his peers as someone who is making a reading-writing connection, taking the strategies he’s learning in group and putting them to use, and showing me the best writing he’s done so far this school year.  I think the work he’s doing outside of group is pretty darn awesome. (The Principal’s Wall of Fame is a show case outside of the Principal’s office where any teacher in the building can nominate a student’s work each trimester to be displayed and recognized for the entire school to see.  Students are announced on the intercom and typically there is a special lunch or treat at the end of the trimester for each student)