How To: Class Discussions {Freebie included!}

Monday, December 14, 2015
Organizing whole class, and small group discussions are always fun for me! I love when my students do the heavy lifting and talk to EACH OTHER instead of just talking to me.

I had my students read the book, "Smoky Night" by Eve Bunting and after reading it whole group, I had them get together and discuss the book. I gave them questions prior to the discussion and the rubric so that they are fully aware of the expectations.

Big Idea: "How do characters change?"
(This was our main question)
Using the book, "Smoky Night" by Eve Bunting.


I always like having my students have a copy of the text to refer back to, because after all we want them to REFER back to the text during their discussions. For this particular lesson, I was very lucky to find just the text for this book and hand that out to my students. Click here to download the text for this book.

Not only does this save paper, but it also puts the whole book on only a few pages! Sometimes, I just type out the story, or google the book to see if I can find just the text.

After reading the story, I broke my students into groups. Each group member had a different question prompt, to get each students thinking about a different character and how they changed throughout the story. My students had about 15 minutes to answer their prompt in their reading journals.

After their silent jot, I had the small groups discuss with each other their answers using the discussion rubric. This was really a practice round for the whole class discussion. The next day (since I only have 45 minute periods) my students reread their answers and had a whole class discussion about the characters in "Smoky Night" and how they changed throughout the story.




Click Here to Download this Freebie!

After the students talked about the characters in the story, they returned to their seats (I had them on the rug for this discussion). Each student had two stickies in their reading journals.

1. What is the most interesting thing someone said or mentioned?
2. Using the rubric, rate yourself 1, 2, 3, 4

For a copy of the sticky labels (printed on address labels) click here!

I love when my students reflect on their conversational skills, because sometimes they are brutally honest and other times they are very generous with their self scoring. I had a good variety of self assessment, from 1 through 4 with many of my students marking themselves a 3. 

There are many things I want to improve for our next conversation, including some exemplar videos or responses, but in the end I was so proud of my students and their higher level thinking skills! 


December Pinterest Picks {Linky Party!}

Thursday, December 3, 2015
December is here! I love this month because not only is it the holidays BUT also our school is just so beautifully decorated and the kids and faculty alike are in great moods.  I am linking up again with Pawsitively Teaching and the Inspired Owl's Corner  for December's Pinterest Top Picks. 
Let's Do This! 

How cute is this! I am planning on doing an activity very similar to this, just including a short writing about what they are looking forward to this holiday. If you love this as much as I do, the template for this can be found over at Surfin' in Second Grade


Drumroll.........
 It wouldn't be fair to go the whole month without watching the Polar Express while drinking hot chocolate right? In this ADORABLE pack, I could make the movie a bit more educational and still enjoy the holiday spirit. Check this out {for FREE} by clicking here.

Next up......
Don't these look good enough to eat!?!? I'll have to pick up some play dough ASAP to make these cute decorations and ornaments in my classroom. My students are going to have so much fun making these! For the recipe and idea, check out 123homeschool4me

I am really starting to get into the spirit of Christmas and the holidays! I can't wait to post the photos of my Christmas/Hanukkah decor that my students picked out... Stay tuned! 

If you have ANY cute ideas for the holidays, please let me know down below I am scrabbling to bring in the holiday spirit. Thanks! 



December Currently!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
It's a new month already! Wow... how the time has flown by. I cannot believe December is here and the holiday season has begun. I am linking up again with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently.

Here we go...

I am totally in the holiday spirit, my tree is up and my christmas station on pandora is going strong. I'll get sick of the Christmas music in..... let's say two week. Until then, I'm 100% on board with the holidays this year.

I picked up scarves for my nieces on Black Friday, and let's say I'll have to buy them something else. I couldn't help myself and wore them to work. It's ok though, it was just a small gift and I'll buy them something nicer.

I am very fortunate that December 18th is my last day before winter break. I cannot wait to have a few days off prior to Christmas to do last minute shopping and wrapping. My current mantra is "three more weeks!"

I desperately want new boots. My beautiful black boots I bought years ago seem to have a pin hole in the sole. When I walk in rain, my socks immediately get soaked. It's time for new boots, Marshalls here I come.

I need a star to go on top of my Christmas tree! We put it up two days after Thanksgiving and it was the first year that my son helped me decorate the tree. He's three now and it was definitely an adorable moment and he only broke two ornaments in the process. I call that a win.

Speaking of trees, my tree is a faux! We bought it on Black Friday for a great price and it looks amazing. I love the smell of a real tree, but I just don't like cleaning up after one. Plus, now I have a tree for as many years as I want.

I hope everyone  has a wonderful holiday!


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