Opinion Writing + Fire Fighters {FREEBIE}

This week, we've been working on opinion writing. We've been learning about responsibility and the students recently read several stories about fire fighters. So, this week they have been working on an opinion piece about why fire fighters are important. The activity, like everything else, is from our reading program, but I thought I'd spruce it up so that it looks super fabulous in the hallway. A bunch of students are still working on theirs, but the ones that are done look fantastic!

One teacher saw what I was doing and, at first, was surprised that I was stupid brave enough to do something outside of the reading program. She is, much like I am, a little uninspired by the curriculum, I believe. Maybe she'll be able to help me come up with some cute and clever ways to bring some life to the activities we are required to do. The students are so much more engaged and motivated by activities like this one!

I love that this student built in some of our vocabulary from this week!

As you can see, they were asked to finish their writing with a second opinion about what people should do to thank fire fighters. I love that this boy is going to give them a prize!

We were going to put the writing behind the fire hydrants, but I realized then no one would be able to see what we wrote!
If only our reading program was aligned so that we did activities like this during more relevant weeks - like, oh, I don't know, Fire Prevention Week? If you're interested in using this now or tucking it away for a later date, download them free by clicking here for the fire hydrant or here for the writing paper!

I absolutely love how they turned out! What do you all think? Do any of you need to work within a reading program? What do you do to make the curriculum your own?


Hey there again! I'm linking up with Farley for April's Currently!

A bit more detail would be nice maybe, right?

Listening: I'm trying very hard to limit my TV watching time. It's really hard! I noticed, especially on the weekends, the hubs and I turn the TV on often and mostly don't even watch the shows. It's just enough to distract us from things we actually should be doing. So today, the TV is off until tonight when Once Upon A Time comes on. It's very peaceful and relaxing.

Thinking: As I mentioned in my previous/'welcome back me' post, our district is using a reading program this year that takes a lot of the planning out of planning. We're studying main idea again next week, and the two previous times we've covered it, my kiddos have been utterly lost. I think it's time to deviate a little bit, but I'm still trying to figure out how I can and when I would have time to while still covering what I need from the program. It's tough work, but I know it's worth it! Last week's detour away from the reading program produced some pretty stellar results!

Hours and Day: I'm super lazy in the morning, so 8:10 is pretty much when I stumble through the school doors with my eyes still part way asleep. I'm lucky if I get out by 4:00, though! I probably could leave on time if I wanted to, but I prefer to get things done at school rather than take things home generally.

Your turn! Click here to link up your April Currently with Farley!

Let's Try That Again! (and Feedback)

Let's just say that I'm cringing as I look at the date of my last blog post! Almost two whole school years have gone by. It's definitely somewhat embarrassing. Oh well, this time I'm promising myself that I will make time for this.

This year has been incredibly different than past years. Our district has moved to Pearson's Reading Street curriculum. Gone are the days that we have been able to pull things together to meet the needs of our students. Now, it's all laid out for us. It's been quite the transition getting used to it because I do love pulling things together. After spending a long time learning the curriculum, I'm now feeling more comfortable putting a little bit of myself back into my teaching.

During our last SIP day, we had a session on providing feedback. The presenter suggested having special stamps made as an outline for our feedback so that we don't need to hand-write every single element on each of our students' papers. I liked the idea, but I change things up way too much to commit to a stamp!

I compromised by printing my feedback on Post-It notes!

I love that the color adds a little bit of fun to it! All I had to do was find a Post-It printing template online, print it out, type out my comments, add the Post-Its to the template, and print again. It took a bit of time this first time, but I think it will end up taking less time and being less painful than hand-writing each comment. Click here to download the template that I used from Second Grade Shoppe.

I'm still working on the actual feedback, so if anyone has any tips, let me know! I added a comment about something each student did well. I need to focus those a little more, but I think they are sufficient for now. We also give the kids time to fix a mistake that they may have made, which is why I have the bottom portion of the comment. I like using the word 'challenge' because the students are so competitive - both with each other and with themselves!

How do you give your students written feedback? My verbal feedback is much more trained than my written feedback so any ideas are great!