Second Grade Swap!

Welcome to the second grade product swap and blog hop!  EIGHTEEN wonderful second grade bloggers have joined together to swap and review each other's products.  Best of all, we are giving away all of the products to one lucky winner!  

If you are looking for the start of the hop, head over to see Casey at Second Grade Math Maniac to start hopping.  As you check out all the fabulous products, make sure to follow each blog on Bloglovin' as well.  There will be a Rafflecopter at the last stop.  This is where you can enter to win all of the products being reviewed!

I was so fortunate to be paired with the amazing Nicole at Teaching with Style. Did you know the girl lives in Hawaii?! SO JEALOUS!!!

I tried out and reviewed her Mighty Magnets unit!

First off, this unit comes in both color and black and white. I found that super helpful because I printed the black and white version for student copies but showed the color version on my SMARTBoard! 

Secondly, I really loved the versatility of this product! I use interactive notebooks in science, so I'm always cautious when I buy science units because many of them don't work for my teaching style. Nicole's unit has foldables and flapbooks included in addition to whole page worksheets, so you can customize and adapt it to fit your needs. This unit worked perfectly with my notebooks, but if you're not a notebooker (is that a word?), you can use it too!

Another aspect Nicole includes is a very detailed list of supplies you will need. I was lucky to have had most of what I needed already in my supply closet, but if you don't, she gives you a list of what you need and where you can find it. It will save you a ton of time!

OK, let's take a peek at what's inside!
We started with this magnets KWHL chart:
I was surprised to see how much vocab background the bunnies already had :)  And they had great ideas for how they could learn more about magnets! Thankfully, Nicole's unit had me covered!
Our first experiment we conducted was the Magnetic/Nonmagnetic experiment...
And I learned something too... apparently true brass isn't attracted to magnets! So that brass fastener is a FAKE! LOL!
We used this experiment to discover that...
So cute!!! Don't you love how she turned the horse shoe magnets into letters?
Next we learned about magnetic poles. We used Nicole's Scientific Method flap book to collect and analyze data, but if you don't use notebooks, she also includes lined paper for each step you can use to make a packet.
Writing our questions...
Testing whether poles attract or repel using bar magnets.
I ran out of bar magnets so we used these giant horse shoe magnets too!
After the experiment, we used this page to recap what we learned.
Here's an example of one student's notebook pages:
I had my students color the poles so they could visually see that opposite poles attract and same poles repel. 
There's another experiment in this pack where you test the strength of magnetic fields. Students try to see if magnets work through water, paper, glass, and more! I managed to sneak this video of a bunny testing whether the magnet can attract the paperclip through the top of his desk:

And here's where the pics end because I forgot to bring my phone to school on Friday! Have you ever done that??? I felt like I left one of my legs at home LOL! But this unit also includes super awesome vocabulary cards and a vocab journal. There are some more experiments that we haven't gotten to yet, including testing the strength of a magnet and the Earth's magnetic field. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it all because my magnet unit also has an electricity component, and while I could spend the next three weeks learning about magnets and conducting experiments, my curriculum won't have it!

Lastly, Nicole included several reading and writing activities to bring in all subject areas. My higher kids (third grade reading level and above) were able to complete them on their own, and my on-level kids could complete them with a partner. I thought the reading passages and comprehension questions were very rigorous and thought-provoking. I put them into one of my reading stations for the week.

Wowsers! That was a long post. So to wrap it all up.... should you buy this? YES!!! This unit has EVERYTHING you need for your students to discover and understand magnets! It is so comprehensive and thorough, but what I liked most was its versatility. You can check it out in Nicole's store HERE, or continue through the blog hop and cross your fingers and toes that you will win the giveaway at the end of the hop :) 

Next up... the sweet Ashley at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd. Click on the button to head over to her blog :)


Summarizing Literary Texts (with a Freebie!)

We've been up to our ears these past few weeks with traditional literature (and LOVING it!), and this week we have been working on summarizing and writing a summary of literary texts. I'm a huge fan of my anchor chart:
I think the triangle is what I like most. I love how my students can visually see the differences in size and sentences when telling the topic, main idea, summary, and retelling the story.

I'm sure most of you have seen the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" organizer for summarizing. I also included "Finally," which I can't claim as an original thought. I'm pretty sure I saw it on Pinterest last year. What I like about including "Finally" is that it gives you the option to add a final detail to wrap it all up. I snapped the above pic before I was done making the anchor chart. I added parentheses around the word "Finally" to show that it's an option, but you don't always need it.

Example: we practiced summarizing with Stone Soup and Town House Country Mouse. With Stone Soup, we needed the "Finally," but with Town Mouse Country Mouse, we didn't.

Here's the graphic organizer I used:
Click the pic to get a copy :)
What I like most about it is the lines at the bottom to write the summary. The first day, we read Stone Soup, filled in the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally)" together and orally "wrote" our summary. The second day, I read Town Mouse, Country Mouse to the bunnies and they filled in the top portion with a partner. I was going to have them write the summary with their partner, but they gave me that "Whaaaaaa?????" look, so we wrote it together and the bunnies copied it down.  At first I was a little discouraged that my students couldn't take the info in the graphic organizer and write a 2-3 sentence summary, but then I realized we've never done this before, and I need to give them a break! I like that we wrote it together, so my students could see what a quality summary looks like. (Sorry I didn't snap a pic, and I'm too brain fried this Friday to try to remember what it was!)

My plan for next week is to do the same thing we did today (I read aloud, students fill out the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally), and we write the summary together). Then on Tuesday I'll read again and the bunnies will complete the whole page with a partner. I have the book Snow Queen (the inspiration for the movie Frozen, which happens to be Traditional Lit!) on order at the public library, so hopefully it will be in by Tuesday! Then I will use this graphic organizer as homework for my guided reading groups.

These kiddos will be summarizing SUPER STARS by the end of the year, I'm sure of it!!


Organizing my Making Words Supplies

I'm going to be honest. Organization is NOT the name of my game... I will NOT be sharing pictures of my pristine teacher work space. Mostly because it doesn't exist. However, I do know where everything is, even though it looks like a tornado whipped across my classroom.

One of my tier 2 interventions is an extra Making Words session for six of my bunnies. Yes, SIX! I was using my magnet letters, but six bunnies diving into one box to get their letters was not a pretty sight. It was frustrating to see how long it was taking them to get their letters (totally not their fault). The last straw was when we ran out of letters. We made a "w" with two "v"s, an "h" with an "l" and "n." The bunnies were so sweet and flexible when they had to use the make-shift letters, but I couldn't let this keep happening.

I went to Walmart and bought seven coupon organizers for $1.97 each.
I did find some at the Dollar Store and some super cute ones in the Dollar Spot at Target, but they only had six pockets, and I wanted more pockets. These non-cute Walmart ones had 12 pockets.

I had parent helpers do all the rest. First they copied seven sets of 1-inch by 1-inch letters onto blue and red construction paper. I did two of each consonant (except there are three r's, s's, and t's) and three of each vowel. The letters were laminated and cut out. Then they labeled the organizers and sorted the letters.

Each letter has a number on the back so that if it gets separated from its home, we know which organizer to put it belongs to.

And here's the finished product!

We had a little chat about NOT turning the organizers upside down so all the letters fall out. I would estimate that getting out supplies took half the time. And they were SUPER excited about it! This set up took up so much less space than the magnets and the magnet boards. I'm so happy with how this turned out! 

Now where to store the letters when we're not using them? Luckily for me, I have an extra (or twelve) baskets that holds them perfectly!

I only have 5-7 minutes a day for my Making Words intervention, and I know this new organizational system will make this time go so much smoother!

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