Writing during Centers

Centers time - its one of my favorite times of the day. . (Read about it HERE).

One of the things on the rotation slide is Journal. 

Sometimes it's a reading response to a "listening" station...



and sometimes it's a journal response to something we've been learning about or something that goes along with our theme for the week. 

(You can see it on the wheel in the background)


One thing I have my kids do EVERY day is WRITE.

Yes, we have a guided writing time, but I also want them to have a free-writing time... a time where they just WRITE, without me grading it and without them worrying about spelling and conventions, although a lot of students still love to use their Spelling Journals during this time, which I encourage them to do so if they want.

Ok, so I DO grade it, but just in the sense of "Did you do enough or your best effort??" I mean, you have to give effort, right?

When I taught First grade, I made our journals out of the storybook paper for each month.




But in Second grade, they don't need to start off writing so big, so I can use regular composition notebooks.  So instead of making covers for the front of the big journals I used in 1st grade, I made these composition notebook tabs for each month. 

Same concept... they color the cover and cut it out (with the tab attached still) and glue it on the page that starts the month.


You can see how the tabs are spaced out so you can see each month. 



You can grab this freebie in my TPT store!


And you can grab the Storybook Paper Journal covers HERE 

What do I have my kids write about???

Well, a lot of activities come from my Monthly Writing Activities.


There's a set for each season and a Fun and Nonfiction theme.

Here's what each set contains:






There are thematic writing papers included, but I also have my students write in their journals - these writing papers I use when we are going to be hanging them up and showcasing their work. 


In addition to our Spelling Journals, they also use their Word Bank folders that give them some ideas on what they could include in their writing.




I also love to use the "Label It and Write About It" packs:







And SOMETIMES I have them write their class book pages - gosh, how I love these books!












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Amazon Lately

It's fall! I am pretty excited for the cooler weather to (slowly) make its way back... but I know it'll be short lived. I mean, Florida falls are ever changing!








BUT, I've gotten a few things from Amazon lately that I thought I'd share - some are great for school, but mostly I bought them for home. 


Ok - I'm constantly needing an eye glass repair kit for the screws in my glasses and sunglasses, so I bought THIS 3-pack... one for my bag, the house, and work! 


I'm trying out a new heat protectant for my hair - so far, I like it! 
 
 

These bats are fun to have around the house! Just a bit of advice, use 2 sticker strips for the larger bats. 
 

These fun little waffle/pancake makers are SO cute! My girls are loving them. 
 

And I got THESE and THESE pillow covers - I had to get one set for fall, and one set for Halloween

I bought THESE pillows and instead of having to store all the pillows, I just have to store the pillow covers - so much better! And after reading a bunch of reviews, I went with a size SMALLER in the covers than what I bought the pillows, that way it makes them stuffed better - otherwise reviewers said that there was a lot of extra room. 



 




  

So that's it for my Amazon finds lately - I'm sure I'll be back with more! 


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Planning for Bat Week

Next week, Bat week is on the menu!! 

I have a lot of posts from the past on our Bat weeks - There was some tons of fun to be had! Click {HERE} to check out 1st Grade's bat activities. You can check out what I did when I taught 2nd grade {HERE} and {HERE}.

But I'll give you some of my must dos in this post...


But FIRST... here are some of my favorite books to read during the week. Click on the pictures to find them on Amazon. 



Click the image to check out more bat books on Amazon. 




After we read one of the NF books, we started in on the  Bats Tree Map. The numbers and checkmarks are from when we used this as our planning sheet for our Facts About Bats Writing. We glued it into our reader's notebook and kept adding to our tree map throughout the week.

We also learned how to draw a bat. I found this OH SO CUTE directed drawing from Bren in Room 10. When I made the print up for it, I made sure to put where I got it... because I knew I'd forget - ha!


One of the best things I like about directed drawings is that I get to learn how to draw too - haahaa!  I had my kids add a few more details so we could label the actual parts of the bat.

Then I had them draw the habitat that they would be living in....some got so creative!  Here's a cave.


And then the treebranch...I just love the artistic abilities that these kids have!


Our end of the week writing project was to use our tree map to write at least 3 things about facts. Some wrote even more!  We glued the writing on top of our bat labeling picture.



And sometimes our copier jams and we just write it on regular writing paper. No harm in that! 


These writing and crafts below might be some of my favorite to hang up! I love the dusk paintings!


The writing page comes from my Label It and Write About it pack. You can find all of my October writing packs HERE

We also love listening to Stellaluna being read on Storyline Online. 


After we read Stellaluna, we did our SWBSF (found in my Bat pack) that they wrote in their reader's notebook. 


Then they wrote it out in paragraph form. They had to highlight the "cue" words to make sure they were writing the events in order and to make sure they included all their details. I will say that ALREADY my kids are getting how to turn their notes into writing!  I have a few that are still struggling, but that's ok - they're getting better! The OH SO CUTE bat is a FREEBIE craft that comes from one of my favorite ladies, A Cupcake for the Teacher.


Then, we watched the YouTube video, Echolocation Song...maybe like a hundred times - they love it!  So I turned it into a song for their poetry journal and they illustrated what echolocation means. Click on the picture below to download the poem.



The funniest part?? I typed up the poem in a rush one morning and didn't even have time to proofread it... and we found a few mistakes - woops!! Oh well. A good editing lesson, right? haa!


We always put our poems in our poetry journals - You can find my FREE poetry journal covers HERE





See some of the activities in this post in my Bats Unit!





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