Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Sentences

I have been focusing on super sentences with my 2nd graders. I feel that they only write "I" sentences still, plus they are terribly basic. So if you haven't looked into super sentences before, here is the criteria for making a super sentence:
describing word, noun, verb, where, when
I have had them practice with me and then write 4 more for homework using their spelling words.
Yesterday we came up with
The helpful football player is naming his pet bird at the pet shop. 
The when is hardest for them, since they don't use the prepositions correctly, but I am going to write a list for them to so they can see the different ways to write it. 

Here are some student examples:


Monday, January 30, 2012

Go Monday!

The day went by in a flash, but quite well if I do say so myself. I would have liked to practice math facts today, but I couldn't find my flashcards. Otherwise, a jam packed day that went smoothly with ice skating too!
Last week I started some ABC order and dictionary skills. I found my ideas at The Lesson Plan Diva, but this is how I made mine work. I did a group lesson first. We discussed what a dictionary is, that it goes in ABC order and that the words at the top are the guide words. I still have some very basic My First Dictionary books in my classroom. I think I will go up to 3rd grade and take a few regular ones for them to practice with too.
Here is my picture:

In small groups, the kids came over to the white board (there were 6 groups of guide words). They then choose which one they wanted to start with, and each had to write one word on a piece of paper (but couldn't pick the same word as anyone else). Then they put them under the correct guide words and then needed to decide together the ABC order of their 3 words they wrote. Worked very well. They seemed to enjoy using the dictionaries. Oh, they used blue tack to stick them to the board. I can't remember for the life of me what that reusable adhesive is called in America.
Then the other groups were working on a ABC freebie that I found and then a small group was with me reading. They enjoyed this one as well. I want to also increase the difficulty of ABC order by looking at the 2nd or 3rd letter in the words. I might make some cards, and they will then have to place them under the correct guide words and then in ABC again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Glorious Giveaway

Went over to The Bubbly Blonde and saw this great giveaway!
It is a February/Valentine's giveaway over at Miss Kindergarten's blog.
Go and check it out!

New Year's resolution

Okay, I told myself I would be more active on my blog (as well as stalk my favorite blogs more often). I seem to have gotten lost in the daily grind last autumn.
I have some art projects to share that we have done in the last few months.

Warm and Cool Colors: Autumn Apple Art
Here the objective was to draw a large apple, using up most of the page. Then drawing the grid lines with a ruler and finally using warm colors to color the apple and cool colors for the background. This wasn't the easiest for them. Many felt they needed to rush and get it done quickly.

Warm and Cool Colors: Mosaic Art
Again we worked with warm and cool colors. The object in the middle could be anything they wanted. I cut up stripes of paper for them, and then they decided if the object would be warm or cool. They then cut up the paper themselves. The background was colored with crayons in the opposite color scheme. Again some colored the background in such a hurry.

Vegetable Art using oil pastels and water colors
In the Finnish science curriculum we have to learn about root vegetables. This is a great art project. It turns out fantastic and it reinforces why they are called root vegetables. I make sure that the students have plenty of photos of real root vegetables to look at, and they decide which ones will go in their art. I do require there to be at least 4 root vegetables in the art. Here again, getting them to make the vegetables large is a challenge. Once the drawings are drawn, they then go back with the oil pastels to color their art. I also remind them to outline the vegetables and mark lines on some of them to make them more authentic looking. Last is mixing their own water colors to make brown for the ground and blue for the sky. Super fun!

Eric Carle inspired art
Not only are Eric Carle stories fun to read (and I have collect a whole bunch from Scholastic) but discussing how he made the pictures is great too! This idea just came to me one day, because some of my students are super clever. I had two girls come to me one day, and showed me that they had made some Eric Carle inspired art at home together. They had cut up paper and made some dolphins and other pages, then in addition had written sentences that were modeled from the story Does a kangaroo have a mother too?
I was so blown away that these children did this this (all from their own awesome minds) that I decided we too as a class would create some Eric Carle inspired art.
I first cut up white art paper into squares (maybe 6x6in) and gave each student 8. I then had already put the tables together in my classroom to make painting stations. I had the students write their name on each piece of paper before we began. At each set of tables, I had cups of paint and each set of tables had only one or two colors to be used. For example, one table was orange. I poured yellow and red into separate cups, and the left one empty cup. When students came to that station, they had to mix their own orange and then they painted one of their eight white papers. I had all primary and secondary colors, plus some wanted to make pink so I gave them white at the red station. Then I had them switch at the same time. I have some students who can't wait for anything and want to do everything their way, and this was super hard for them.  I actually had to have one student sit out for 5 minutes, because she was pushing and not waiting her turn at a color station.
This was just the first phase of this art project. The papers then dried over night, and then I put them under out literacy place books to straighten them out before the next week's art lesson.  The following week I then told them they could make anything on their large sheet of black paper. The rules were that they first had to make a design on a white sheet of paper, the art had to fill up the large sheet of black paper (there couldn't be a bunch of empty space left) and they were not allowed to draw on the art. Meaning any faces or small parts had to be cut out of the color paper. Some students still went ahead and drew on their art, because it was just to difficult for them not to. Ha ha!

This project was a bit challenging for some. For instance, the squares of paper were only so big, and one student was making a gingerbread house. She was so confused how to make it since she didn't have a big enough piece of paper to make the walls and roof using the same color. I then suggested that she needed to make her house multicolored so that she could make a larger gingerbread house.

Here are the end results, which I think are great.

Father's day gift (magnets)
We celebrate Father's Day in November in Finland. We made this project, which I found online at

Ice Skating drawings
Since it is cold enough here in Finland now in January (our winter started pretty late this year, it was still raining in December), all the outdoor ice rinks are up and running. I looked up some ice skating art on line (just did a search for ice skating art) and then I helped them get started. Once students are done drawing, they can use color pencils to color their art.  Here are the first few that are done.

Last but not least here is two of the hand craft projects we completed last autumn. In Finland we have to teach hand craft skills. Sewing and crocheting in 1st and 2nd grade. We are currently making hand puppets.
This first one, students had to design a picture and incorporate a finger crotchet. 

This second one, students had to design a picture using shapes only (I gave a model example of a house to those that could not create their own) . Once glued on the felt, they then had to stitch it onto another piece of felt using this cross stitch.

Let me know if you want to see more of these examples of hand craft.