Friday, February 8, 2013

Photos, a FREEBIE, "The Mitten," and Other Winter Activities!

Snow, snow, SNOW!  Our typical Wisconsin February weather has arrived!  I am not a fan of the cold or the snow, but... at least the weather correlates with the theme many of my kiddos have been working on - WINTER!

(Actually, I am still sitting at home right now because our school district is having a 2-hour late start, due to the weather conditions.  What a perfect time to finish up a blog post that I started...mmmm...last weekend, LOL!)
One of my 2nd grade groups read and compared two versions of "The Mitten" - one story told by Jan Brett and the other story told by Alvin Tresselt.

The kids cut out two huge mittens (one yellow, one white - like the stories) using butcher paper.
We used words as well as images to discuss the similarities and differences between the two stories.
I picked up the printables for FREE from the amazing Mrs. Bell at A Place Called Kindergarten.  She always has the most amazing stuff on her her!)
The cuties - showing off their hard work!
We practiced a Readers Theatre version of "The Mitten," and then performed in front of the two classes that these kiddos come from.
Performance #1
Performance #2
(Haha!  My little munchkin on the right must have known Mrs. Unger would use these photos on her blog, as he covered his face with the mask for me!)
My hardworking group of 2nd graders also completed the "If I Lived in a Snow Globe" writing project, made infamous by Pinterest.
We used styrofoam plates (with the center cut out) and laminated their photos so that it gave the project a "glass" look.  All dressed up in their winter gear, the kids posed for the camera, acting out their winter activity.
If you would like the FREE "If I Lived in a Snow Globe" writing printable, visit Ms. Watkin's blog, "Ginger Snaps," by clicking HERE!)
In order to correlate this fun writing activity with a learning target for my school district, I had to direct my students' writing a bit.  So I created a pre-writing activity that they had to complete before putting their final product on their snow globe template.  If you would like your own FREE copy of this pre-writing four-square grid, help yourself by visiting my TPT store!
Here are some close-up shots of their work:
I was too late for this year, but I ordered this book, "The Snow Globe Family" by Jane O'Connor, for next year.  I do not have it yet, but according to Amazon, it is en route.  :)
We also recently read a winter-themed emergent reader that these kiddos just LOVED!  We read it, read it, then read it again until the kids were able to read it fluently.  Here are the steps we took to get there:
1) picture walk
2) teacher reads, students follow with their "reading finger" (or we also have mini magnifying glasses in my room that the kids like to use)
3) teacher and students read
4) students choral read
5) students partner read
6) students silent read around the room
7) students read to the teacher

We have actually been doing SO much more with our winter theme in this group, but (silly me) I frequently forget to take pictures.
So...on to First Grade!
When working on writing with my First Grade buddies, I have noticed that they struggle because of a weak foundation of the basics.  So I went on an online hunt to find a winter-themed writing activity that matched their current ability level...and in walks Ms. Rosenberg and her AWESOME "Winter Rebus Story" activity on TPT!  Have you ever heard of rebus writing?  I had not.  The kiddos incorporate pictures into their writing.  I LOVE this idea because they are able to write creative stories without getting stuck on those "big" words and they are able to focus their attention on sight words and decodable words.
My friends in First Grade also completed their calendars for the month of January.  I forgot to take pictures of their completed work, but here are pictures of my example calendar:
As you can see, I never got around to do the writing piece, but - of course - my kiddos sure did!
Well, that is it for now!  I will continue to (try to remember) take pictures of the winter activities we do over the next weeks and then blog about them.  Until then, stay warm!  As always, thank you for stopping by!  :)