A Year of Awesome - Week 28

Today I introduced a new feature in our Daily 5 time. I needed a little change in routine to get the kids excited about writing creatively and thought it was time to introduce QR codes, so I have begun creating a "Writing Prompt of the Week"!
Students have to use an iPad to scan the code in order to get the fun prompt, and they've been sworn to secrecy... they may not show or tell anyone else in the class what the prompt says, thus building the suspense and the eagerness to write! Awesome!! Watch for this one to appear in my Teachers Pay Teachers store in the coming weeks - I'm working on an entire year's worth of fun writing prompts using QR codes! Head over and follow my store so you're sure to get the email notification when it is posted!
Today our Grade 3s were invited to participate in a Mathletes program with the rest of our Grades 3-8 students, so I got to have the Grade 2s all to myself! I decided that we'd spend some quality time working on a Growth and Changes in Animals unit in Science. We played some "Guess My Rule" with some animal pictures to introduce some of the physical characteristics that we can consider when observing animals. I thought this would be far more fun than just giving them a list, and I was right... they came up with some really cool sorts!
After we'd played a few rounds we settled with an observation sheet and one of the new National Geographic books that I mentioned last week. Boy, am I LOVING these! I wish I could grab another set with more animals!!
After the kids finished these we returned to the carpet to compare our findings. We were able to group the animals based on some of the similar characteristics we found, and voila.... we have our six animal groups - mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and insects. I made posters with the main characteristics of the animal groups, so we read these and chatted about how the animals we'd just investigated showed these characteristics.

Finally, we used the posters and some Venn diagrams to compare and contrast two animal groups. I've made several different pages so that the kiddos weren't doing the exact same thing. I am still amazed at how into this unit these kids are. It was awesome to watch them with the posters, talking about the things that were the same or different, and mentioning some of the animals they'd just been reading about! AWESOME!

Happy April Fool's Day! I am NOT one to get too into the silliness of this day, but I have a couple of little pranksters who have been talking about April Fool's Day for a while now and I just knew I had to get them. So... Tuesday night I prepared some brownies for them:
I brought the foil-covered pan into the classroom and at morning snack time told them that since it was a special day (we were supposed to have a new student joining us today) we were going to break our healthy eating rule today to have a treat. Of course the kids were very excited and when someone asked my what it was I told them brownies. I said I was going to wait for all the books to be put away and for everyone to be sitting quietly before I started handing them out. When everyone was settled I began distributing the brown Es. The room was absolutely silent. I made it to all 20 of them with nothing - no comments, no noises. Someone said, "I thought we were having brownies!" to which I replied, "Yes, brown Es is exactly what we're having!" Well, all of a sudden you could hear the light bulbs turning on across the classroom and the noise grew into a roar. I'd done it!! Got them! Awesome!
Today was a REALLY Awesome day!! I pulled out an activity that I last did with my fifth grade class two years ago (This idea was inspired by a blog post that seems to no longer exist. I originally posted about the idea HERE.) but thought my current class would love - and did they ever! I prepped eggs for everyone last night... full of candy of course, and labeled with their names!
During our first recess break today I hid all the eggs in various locations throughout the classroom. They were all in places that were visible without opening or moving anything, but hidden enough that it was a challenge for the students to find them. 

When the students returned from break I ushered them to the carpet insisting that nobody spoke (because I KNEW some of them would spot an egg, or the fact that the basket was now empty!) and we started to discuss prepositions. As soon as I explained what they were and gave a few examples the kids came up with tons quite easily!
After laying a few ground rules (like not telling anyone where they found an egg, particularly their egg) I distributed the worksheets and sent them off. I insisted on checking the first sentences written to be sure the kiddos were writing complete sentences using the prepositions and not making errors on any "right there" words. Motivation to write was not an issue...
Can you spot the eggs? Of course some of the students were determined to find absolutely every single hidden egg, while others moved along to Daily 5 activities after some time, but I'm thrilled with how much I got out of every single one of my kids. Awesome! 

Later in the afternoon, we created these fun Easter eggs/bunnies. 
They were inspired by a post I found on Facebook this week. If I could find it again I'd give it the credit that it is due. If you know where the original idea is from please let me know so that I might send others their way!

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