5 For Friday: Randoms!

Now that I'm stuffed from Thanksgiving...and about to be even more stuffed from round 2 of Thanksgiving, it seems about right to SIT STILL and blog about a few random things from our classroom the last month....Five for Friday style!

O  N  E 
We have been researching about animals for over 6 weeks now as part of our Animals Unit {check it out HERE!}  The kids are loving it and even researching specific animals on their own at home.  Love. It.

About 2 weeks ago, our nurse's dad came for a visit with his vast collection of turtles.  He was just as precious as our sweet nurse, knew soooo much about turtles, and the kids were absolutely hooked from the get go!

Look at that tail!  This turtle he name Turnbow because he found it in our school parking lot...I mean...how cute is this sweet man?
 Since we live in HOG country {Woo Pig Sooie!}, he brought his razorback turtle...who actually has a razor-back!
 This is the only turtle he brought that isn't from Arkansas...it's a Maryland Terrapin Turtle.
 And this guy was the biggest turtle he brought.  Already huge at 15 years old and he still has another 40-50 years to grow to almost 150 pounds!  The kids were in awe of this drooling giant turtle!!

T  W  O
Since we are learning and researching about groups of animals, we have been focusing on informative writing using this graphic organizer from my graphic organizer packet.

Now that we are getting ready to prepare to write research papers on specific animals, we have been looking closely at our informative writing rubric.  Each week we are focusing one of the four areas of our rubric {content, sentence formation, language, and mechanics}.  We use the rubric during our share time to assess each other's work and then once a week, my firsties are self-assessing their own writing.  You can also see my pink highlighter checks where I went around to tell each kid whether or not I agreed with their scores, just for some extra accountability.

 ...and just so you realize that not all of my writers are where they need to be....here's a little reality check for you!  We all have these special babies that need extra care, don't we??
But ya know what?  When I double checked this sweetie's writing with him, he had already changed his score from a 3 to a 2 AND he could tell me what he needed to do to get a 3 {"I write more!"}  I don't know about ya'll, but I call that a BIG WIN in my book!

Grab my self-assessing writing rubrics for kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade HERE!

T  H  R  E  E 
During our animals unit, we have been talking a lot about "inferring" and how good readers infer while they read.  We made this anchor chart together...
Then, we practiced inferring with several of our poems.  We read a new poem each week {You can find my K-2 Poetry Pack HERE with all of my 40+ poems I use, literacy station materials for each, and focus lesson ideas}.

The two poems I choose for inferring over two weeks were Halloween and Who Am I?  Each of these are perfect for around Halloween time, which is when we read these.  In each poem they had to infer what they author was talking about and then give evidence from the text to support their inference...totally Common Core stuff right there!  And, these firsties were fantastic!  

You can see in this poem below where they highlighted the details from the text to support their inferences.  And then illustrated their inferences in the margins.

I even had a first grader argue that the "vampire" costume was a cat, and site compelling evidence from the text to support her inference.  In fact, she was so compelling, that she had quite a following of agree-ers after she finished her argument! :)

F  O  U  R
In phonics, we have been moving into reading vowel chunks....which I LOVE because that means I get to tell all of my secret stories about our phonics sounds.  Some of the sounds I use the official secret stories for and some of them, I have made up my own that I feel work better!  The kids love them, and most of all remember them!  Last week's story was about our smile sound letters... the happiest letters on the planet who are ALWAYS smiling!  So, when we see them in words, we just can't help but smile too!
Each week we introduce our new phonics sounds on Mondays, make words with that sound a couple of times each week {from the Systematic Phonics program} and then we do some kind of sort with them at the end of the week.  This week we did a build-write-draw activity.  Other weeks we do a vowel sound sort.

Check out my K-2 Phonics Sorts packet for  this build-write-draw activity and 50+ activities and sorts that correlate with the Making Words & Systematic Phonics program.

F  I  V  E
And now that we are *officially* in the Christmas season....the classroom Christmas tree is up!

I just love these darling paisley trees from Hobby Lobby!  And they match my classroom perfectly!

I had so much decorating this tree.  I always do, but especially this year, since this may be the only "real" tree we put up. #apartmentlife {no worries, we will figure out something to get us in the festive spirit, but it just won't be as much as it will be next year when we are finally in our new house!}

 Last year, one of my Marshallese families made this beautiful star from banana leaf and shells.  So I added it as the star to our tree on the backside!  Isn't it beautiful??  Those ladies are so talented!!
 A little burlap ribbon and gingham fabric ties that I left on the tree from last year so I wouldn't have to redo that part!  Plus, some rope garland to add to our western tree!
 Nothing fancy for ornaments.  Just left over red ornament balls from years ago and sheriff badges from Oriental Trading.  We do things cheap and repurposed in Room 210!

And just look who may be appearing come Monday.  Oh, I can hear the squeals now!! Grab your copy of my Elf on the Shelf companion pack HERE!

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