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It's Time to Let Go of Summer, But Hooray for Autumn!

Summer is almost over. I hate to let go of summer, but...

Hooray for Autumn!

It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!

Don't you love this time of year? The kids are settled into their classroom routines and are really in "learning mode!"

The weather is perfect: cool nights for sleeping, warm days for playing outside. Perfect for football, apple picking, carving pumpkins, and jumping into those beautiful leaves!

I'll be focusing on the change of seasons in my classroom this week.

This will be our writing focus this week:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0KBPcFG6hwLdFdQNExwdjlHTGc/view?usp=sharing


Click the image or click here for this freebie: Summer or Fall Opinion Writing.

This freebie is part of my Fall Printables Collection, which I'll be using a lot these next couple of weeks!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-No-Prep-Math-and-Literacy-Activities-for-Second-Grade-1446400?utm_source=fall%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Fall%20No%20Prep


Click the image or click here for more information about this collection of fall printables: Fall No Prep Printables

I will be reading a couple of my favorite books for the season: (Click each image for an Amazon affiliate link... it cost you nothing, but could make a couple of cents for me!)


It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!     

Aren't books a great way to bring out science and social studies concepts? 
What are your favorite fall books for kids?
What will you be doing to celebrate autumn?


It's time to let go of summer, but hooray for Autumn: It's a great time of year! Here is a freebie, some book ideas, and resources to help your students enjoy the season!

A Quick Exit Slip Procedure

My students have Independent Reading time daily. I try to make it a special time for the kiddos by letting them choose a cozy spot and giving them a comfy pillow. I also make sure I have plenty of fun books. It is often their favorite time of the day!
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

But reading really is pretty important, and I have a fun, quick way for the children respond to their books. Are you ready for a bright idea? 

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Although I have several strategies for checking for understanding in response to Independent Reading time, this is a quick one I use often. It doesn't replace the need for deep book conversations or detailed Book Reviews. It's just a quick response.

It starts with a Post It.
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

My kiddos each have a Post it pad in their book boxes just for this purpose! Many kids struggle using Post its, so I make it as easy as possible for them.
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

I replace the backing with a red square as a reminder: don't use that side. (It also helps them find their own!)

I have them write on the Post it while it's still on the pad. (To avoid them writing on the sticky side!)

What they write depends on the prompt. I'll ask them a variety of questions, depending on what we're studying. 

  • They might draw the setting. 
  • They might write 3 adjectives to describe the main character. 
  • They might write a general statement about the story. 
  • They could be asked about the Author's purpose. 


I'm sure you can think of many more responses that would fit on a Post it!

Sometimes I tell them the topic before we read. 
Sometimes I don't tell them until after we read. 

Here comes the really easy part:
Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!
They just put the post it on their class number!

That's it! I've had these same charts for years, and I just keep using them for exit slips! It's easy to see who wrote what, and who hasn't responded yet!

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Sometimes I have the children share with the whole class what they wrote. Sometimes I have them share with a small group, and sometimes they don't share at all!

It's quick and easy, and there are plenty of possibilities.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, you can find me on social media HERE.

How do you assess Independent Reading?

Looking for a quick way to assess what the children are reading? This post suggests a very simple exit slip procedure using post its!

Five for Friday


It's time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching! Boy, am I glad it's Friday!  Here's a peek at my week:

The Good: I got to sing with my singing group! 
The Bad: it was a memorial service for one of our members who recently died in a plane crash. 

It was an amazing service, and I am even more in awe of this great man than I was before. The world has definitely lost someone very special. 

I did get to sing with some friends I hadn't seen in ages. I just wish it were under better circumstances.


I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that these are done!  I haven't actually done all the paperwork, but I've done taking up class time with Running Records. Now I'm REALLY ready to teach!

My baby was in the hospital! After a gazillion tests and long waits, it was determined that the pain in her abdomen wasn't appendicitis, it was a ruptured ovarian cyst. Oh yes, she has strept, too. Poor kid was really in a lot of pain. I went down to Boston to see her right after school on Tuesday, and ended up spending the night in the hospital, and bringing her back to her apartment on Wednesday. Her boyfriend was right by her side the whole time. 

She's still not feeling a whole lot better, which has me worried. Between the memorial service and the hospital, this was a tough week. I wish life would slow down.



During a writing share this week, I had the kids choose one sentence from their work to read to the class. It came to my conclusion that we needed to work on what a basic sentence is!

So we did some oral writing!  We talked about the subject and the predicate of a sentence, and the kiddos created complete sentences to share orally with the students. We had some fun!

Of course, at the end of every sentence is punctuation! We show the period orally by holding out a hand that says "stop", along with "screech" sound effects. The kids caught right on, and had some fun with oral writing sentences with punctuation!




Sometimes You Just Have to Cry

My typical style is to turn the title of my post into something funny, but I'm actually serious, sometimes you really just have to cry!

I guess it's been since my divorce, but sometimes I have a hard time crying. I suspect it comes from trying so hard to be strong all the time. I have a hard time letting go.

But crying can be good. It's cleansing. 
It helps to get the bad feelings out. 

It doesn't make things better, but sometimes it's part of healing.

A couple of weeks ago, I lost a friend, suddenly, in a plane crash. He was a member of my singing group. I've known him for close to 20 years.

I didn't cry.

I found myself thinking I was a horrible person. 
Why wouldn't I cry?

I think part of it was that I was still in shock. 

My singing group will be singing at his memorial service tomorrow. 

When I heard the music we'd be singing, then the floods started. 

You can listen to recordings of these songs HERE and HERE.

The second one is the killer... if you need a good cry, that should do it!

If that doesn't do it, this is a you tube video of our third song.


Throughout my life, whenever I needed that beautiful release that only a "good cry" will bring, this is the song I'd listen to: 


As I've mentioned here on my blog, I'm a huge theatre fan!

That's Lea Salonga in Miss Saigon. I saw this show in London (starring Lea Salonga) in 1990. before it came to the U.S. 

I admit, I did cry through a good portion of the show, but this song in particular had a strong connection for me.
 It's interesting. This was years before I had a child, but I knew even then how much I would love that child. 

Music is magical. What songs make you cry?

Five Fabulous Feats!


It's been quite a week in my second grade classroom! We're really settling in, and getting established as an important second grade class! Here are a few things we did this week:


We chose our class tree! We are lucky enough to have this beautiful maple tree right outside our classroom! The purpose of  having a class tree is to observe it and sketch it all year. Right now, it's green, but some very observant children noticed a few of the leaves were "yellowish". I think changes are coming soon!


As observant scientists, it's our job to keep records of any changes that happen to our class tree. This week we went out and recorded our first sketches of the class tree. (How lucky to have PERFECT New England weather for sketching!) I was totally amazed at how observant these children were, getting plenty of details about the tree, and putting those details into their sketchbooks! They were careful scientists, going up to the tree to get a closer look, looking at the tree from different angles, and discussing what they noticed. It was a fabulous experience!



Although we are really still in "teaching procedures" and "assessment" mode, I want them to be building their skill, so I've pulled out my Fry Word Phrase game.  They're doing a great job practicing their phrases! I'm introducing the game's Brain Breaks to the whole class, then they'll be ready to play the game with the brain breaks without my help! This was a huge hit with last year's class, and I suspect it's going to be with this one, too. Those built in Brain Breaks are a huge motivator!  See HERE to see the set I'm using with my second graders.

Today at lunch, we were chatting with the brand new third grade teacher. She's feeling a bit overwhelmed, as most new teachers do at this time of year. I mentioned I'd been teaching at that school for 30 years now, and still feel that way sometimes. She said, "It seems like you still love it."  

Why yes, I still love it, but I was really glad to see that it shows! I loved hearing that!
We always reflect on our day, and many children say their favorite time of day is independent reading! Nothing could make me happier than hearing that! 

Why do they like it? 

Well, good books is one reason! But I think another reason is that it is cozy! I have plenty of comfy pillows, and independent reading time is the only time I take them out. 

What could be better than getting cozy with a book?

Check out Doodle Bugs Teachingfor more Five for Friday!


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