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How I Eased My Distance Learning Anxiety

Hey there! 

If you are anything like me the upcoming school year has you a bit overwhelmed or frazzled. There are so many unknowns in many aspects of our life right now. Have you been  trying to figure out how you will be teaching this coming school year or how you will deliver the learning effectively? I was too, but Instead of spiraling and getting nowhere, I decided to take charge of what I can control. What I feel confident in is knowing what students need and my ability to meet those needs in a variety of ways. I suppose digital teaching will be added to our tool bags. 

I do know that no matter if students are learning from home or school , I want to deliver thorough, organized content to students so we can start building consistency the first week. The solution I found was creating a second grade daily lesson plans and activities unit  designed for use in Google or  for paper pencil. I created 5 individual sets of Google slides (80+ pages each) to make your way through instruction each day with ease and have been grouping them by week. 

The subjects covered in theses slides are Word Work, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Reading Comprehension (you choose which story you want to read, but I do make suggestions), and Math instruction. All lesson are based on the Common Core State Standards so you are meeting grade level expectations.

In addition, I have included all of the worksheets for your students. You can print them and send them home each week or use them in the classroomIf you are only digital, no worries, they are on Google as well.

Each week has summary of what's included as well as a standards based alignment guide, and detailed lesson delivery suggestions. 

In the morning, I would share and complete the slides with my students. Then, after the morning meeting, students can complete their classwork for the day. You can use screen share on Google Meets or whatever platform you are using. If there is something you don't want to teach, simply delete the slides pertaining to that instruction. You can of course supplement your own curriculum where you want, but won't need to with this standards based design.

Teaching in SEESAW?  I have included all of the files as a png image so you can easily upload them to Seesaw. Due to the size of these units, they DO NOT come pre loaded. It will be up to you to add them to your lessons.

Here is another glimpse of what is included in each week:

  • Daily Google Slides that can be used in person or over a video conference.
  • All of the worksheets to be printed if at home or in person.
  • YouTube links to other helpful videos for instruction
  • Each day comes with typed lesson plans on how I suggest to share with students.
  • Flexibility to go between in person and at home instruction.
  • Standards based mapped out.

From my 13 plus years of teaching I have found that consistency is huge in how my students perform.  If they are presented information the same way either in school or at home, it will be easier for all of us involved, students, parents and of course us as teachers. This is why I created each week to have very similar if not identical structure with different information. This predictability will be huge, especially in a year of uncertainty. 

If this sounds like something that would be helpful to you, WEEK 1 is DONEWEEK 2 is available here!

Here are some things to note...

  • I will have the first 4 weeks done each month before September. (Each week will be available weeks in advance moving forward. 
  • I will be bundling them every 4 weeks
  • If you want to buy them week by week and get the bundle price, make sure you are following me on TPT. I offer the bundle price the 1st 24 hours. You can follow me by clicking HERE
  • The curriculum map is subject to change. I will post updated changes to the file on TpT if there are any.


Want to know more? Try the first day for free by clicking HERE!


To check out the weeks already completed click below on the images.


I wish you the best of luck as we move into this uncharted territory. I hope that this helps you to ease the anxiety of distance learning this year. Remember we got this! 


Kacie 

An End of the Year Student Gift that is Sure to Make an Impact

Hey friends, 
Looking for the perfect end of the year gift for your students and families? Or simply want to celebrate the ending of a crazy school year in a memorable way that honors your time together with your kiddos? These slideshow templates are the perfect end of the year student gift that is sure to make an impact. 
Memory slideshows are something I have done for my past 14 years of teaching and it’s one of my favorite things to do. The kids and their families love it and it’s something they will always cherish because it’s so meaningful. After the abrupt end of the year I wanted to help classrooms end on a positive note by showcasing all the happy memories experienced throughout the school year. 
I decided to combine all my editable templates and get them into PowerPoint and Google Slides so other teachers could create these priceless slideshow keepsakes with their students too. 
  • There are now over 90 unique frames that are set and ready to go for you in both PowerPoint and Google Slides as well as 170 blank frames for you to customize!
  • I also included clipart & pre-made phrases for you to customize blank slides.
  • You can even add music in PowerPoint slideshows!

Click on any of the links below to see these digital end of year slideshow templates up close
Each Slide has a clean, eye-catching frame with transparent centers for easy insert of photos. No more cropping to perfect sizes, simply send photos to back and you have a beautiful slide ready to be presented or printed. Want to add more text, simply add a text box and type away! I have included instructional videos if you need them on how to edit .
You can even print with black and white templates to send a physical copy to your students. 
I know the ending of this school year isn't like we planned. I am hoping the option of an end of the year slideshow will help your kiddos and their families have a positive sense of closure and smile when they look book at all your fun memories! Click on the links above to check out an end of the year student gift that is sure to make an impact

Let me know if you have any questions. I am always happy to help! 





Free Distance Learning Resources to Make Your Teacher Life Easier

Hey friends! 
Are you looking for engaging digital resources to send to your students or to do with your own children? I was too, especially during these uncertain times. So, I collaborated with a fellow educator and friend, Megan Mitchell from First Grade Roars to create FREE digital author study resources for some of our favorite authors. We are hoping these free distance learning resources will help to make your teacher life easier. 
Each author study has a variety of guided reading comprehension activities and other unique extensions tailored to the book. Bonus, there is no need to own the book because each resource has a link to listen to  the story as well as a link to explore their website full of other engaging activities. 
We know that the stress level is high, and the expectations might be unclear, but we know one thing to be true, that we want to continue supporting our students. 
We hope that by providing these free digital author study units you will not only be able to continue supporting your students with engaging resources, but that we are also able to ease and avoid any unneeded stress. 
 Click on the image below to access all the digital author study resources we have created. 


If you are looking for additional digital resources to help you connect with and support students check out these other engaging resources available in Google format & Printable PDF. 
These are some of my favorite digital resources currently in my store. 

This packed learning bundle for May has morning meeting messages, math practice, writing prompts & templates, paired reading passages & motivational challenge journal.
Available in Google Slides, Forms, and printable PDF. 
These easy to use digital morning messages are a great way to start distance learning meetings, focus instruction and offer fun ways to interact with students.
Available in Google Slides and printable PDF. 
I love this resource! These digital penpal templates with and without prompts help writers of all abilities connect with friends and family that they are missing! Available in Google Slides and printable PDF.
  
These resources have nonfiction passages, writing templates, graphic organizers and other fun extensions to get your kiddos excited about  snakes!These resources have nonfiction passages, writing templates, graphic organizers and other fun extensions to get your kiddos excited about dinosaurs! There are 8 dinosaurs and a bonus file included in this engaging bundle.
Create a memorable keepsake for students and families with these end of the year  slideshow templates. These templates are bright, customizable and easy to use! Available in PowerPoint and Google Slides.
We hope these free distance learning resources help to make your teacher life easier. We got this! 


Take a Glimpse into My Favorite Arctic Activities and Bring Polar Animal Fun into Your Classroom with a Freebie

click to download your free resourceHey friends, 

Maybe it's all the snow or the dropping temperatures, but every year in January I love teaching my kids all about polar animals and their arctic habitats! I thought  I would give you a glimpse into my favorite Arctic activities and help you to bring polar animal fun into your classroom with exciting ideas and a freebie!

Each year I have a fun activity packed Polar animal unit that covers all areas of the curriculum. I love it because there is a lot of choice so I can differentiate from year to year depending on what my kids can handle and what they need. Having choice also keeps it exciting for me
In the Polar Animal Unit I have non-fiction passages about the different arctic habitats, a reader about a variety of animals and comprehension activities to go with each. We compare and contrast, label diagrams, graph our favorite animals, solve polar themed math problems and even complete a blubber barrier science project! My main goal with the unit is to help students gain confidence in their knowledge of polar animals so I can successfully guide them through writing an informative report on the polar animal of their choice. Guess what?! The kid's favorite part last year was creating our polar animal report folders. They worked so hard on them and begged to continue when it was time to put materials away... WIN!  
Report templates for polar animal unit Learning extensions for polar animal unit art, morning work, sciencenon fiction passages for Polar Animal Unit

The only problem, was I was having to run to the library each year, print numerous online articles and apply for grants to get polar animal nonfiction into their hands. So, this year I decided to take the polar animal theme one step further by adding a more in depth guided reading resource to round out our studies. I found one mentor text for each animal and wrote my own nonfiction text for 5 different polar animals. The Arctic fox, walrus, narwhal, reindeer or caribou and the polar bear all made the cut to be a part of my Guided Reading with a Purpose series. 
Since we were gearing up to write an informative report on the polar animals I needed to make sure my text  modeled all the expected nonfiction features and more.  With this in mind I knew nonfiction text features would also be a great choice for my guided reading theme. I don't know about your student's, but many of the nonfiction text features were always a hard grasp no matter how much we covered it. This is why I LOVE Guided Reading with a Purpose. 

Instead of covering the features a little here and a little there,  we go in depth each week to assure confidence and hopefully mastery in each area. The Polar Animal units focus on the nonfiction text features of diagrams and labels. I made sure that all the small readers had a diagram and multiple opportunities to see labels in use. Other text features I included were  bold faced words, table of contents, captions, index and glossary, for review or as an introduction point. 
I cannot tell you how excited I am to not make the haul to the library this year, knowing that my kids will have at least 2 solid nonfiction resources to support their polar animal reports! The best part is that after creating my Guided Reading with a Purpose Polar themed unit I can now truly spread the polar animal fun throughout the whole curriculum with more direction, depth and purpose
The Guided Reading with a Purpose units not only include the readers and comprehension activities to go along with them but also...
  • Mini-lesson ideas to introduce the focus 
  • Comprehension cards to accompany the book to review throughout the book or for discussion after you read
  • Parent communication: letter home going over the weekly focus with suggested conversation starters around literature
  • Book talk bookmarks for guided reading groups, at home support or independent student use
  • Posters supporting the target skills
  • Bulletin board headers and posters 
  • Skill cards: character, setting, problem & solution, etc. 
  • Morning work or fast finisher activities
  • Multiple worksheets covering current skill and precious weeks skills
  • Writing prompt(s)
  • Graphic organizers & writing paper
  • Craft  
5 nonfiction mini readers with nonfiction text featurescomprehension extension activities and worksheets for guided reading
Mentor poster and example cards for covered strands5 polar animal crafts reindeer, walrus, polar bear, narwhal and Arctic Fox with writing extensions
Writing materials and graphic organizers

I know the kids will love these new additions in combination with my original polar animal unit. It will be so much fun! 
FREEBIE ALERT! I wanted you to be able to take a glimpse into a small part of my latest Guided Reading with a Purpose unit on Polar animals so I included a FREEBIE! The orca/killer whale book in this freebie is exactly what the small readers are like in my Guided Reading with a Purpose Polar Unit... full of many text features. I also provided one of my mentor posters and one of the many focused worksheets included in the unit.   
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW to receive your orca whale reader, diagram and label activity and mentor poster
orca whale nonfiction reader with extension activities


I hope you enjoy this freebie and always feel free to contact me with questions you may have! 




Engaging Winter Activities for the Classroom

Hey there friends,
I wanted to share my favorite winter time activities that are sure to please you and your students! Let's keep your kiddos engaged and you sane this winter! 


Click on any of the images below to check them out in my store! 
Holidays Around the World: I always wanted to cover a variety of holidays but never had all the time. This is why I created this unit full of variety. You can pick and choose what activities you have time for and still feel satisfied with what you taught. This year I added print and go trifolds, perfect for centers, morning work, guided reading groups or parent volunteers to do with your students

Winter Themed STEM: This year I have two winter themed STEM resources. "How to Catch an Elf" and "How to Catch a Snowman" They are so much fun and the kids learn so much! I always thought STEM projects would be so much work. You simply have to lay the groundwork for expectations of behaviors and basic procedures, then sit back and observe the magic.  I was a changed teacher after my first time doing "How to Catch a Snowman" last year.  Each unit has all the directions and even literacy extensions you will need! You just supply the basic materials for construction (most can be found in your classroom or recycle bin ha!)

Need something to send home with students to keep them learning, parents asking for work or want to send an educational gift home for the holidays?
My Snow Day Pack is full of fun learning activities from baking, STEM, math with measurement, game design, journaling and more! 

My Winter Writing Journal is always a big hit with kids and parents. I love to offer rewards to kids that bring them back after break with stories to share. They can read them on the microphone, hang them up for others to see, some have gotten extra tech time to type them. I also offer classroom cash and a fun pencil as a fun prize! It has all the support materials you will need for your writers read to print, staple and send home! 



You will be on break so soon, relaxing in sweats....can't you see it now? I hope you have a great last week with your nuggets!

Kacie 

Gingerbread Activities That are Sure to Engage! Plus a FREE Resource

Hey friends, 
How is it already December?! I mean seriously, it's crazy how fast this year has gone by! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am guessing your students have been amped up this week. They are excited and anxious, all at the same time. Maybe they are having a hard time focusing. Sound familiar? 
This is an exact description of what my classroom was like in December.  I needed to direct that excitement into something... seasonal and fun...gingerbread. I LOVE gingerbread books and there are SO many variations to choose from. I love their repetition, but with a surprising twist. I love that they lend beautifully to text connections and compare and contrast. Also, isn't it the best when your students can chorally read along with you? They are engaged! 

So let the gingerbread games begin, I will tell how do I reel in my students this December through fun gingerbread themed reading and writing activities. 

I spread the gingerbread themed activities over two weeks. Now, you can do this however you want depending on your time. My kids are learning and mastering concepts so I am willing to table some things and give this time. You may have to pick and choose what you use dependent on the time you have. 

Gingerbread Themed Reading Comprehension

Read Different Versions of "The Gingerbread Man"
This is a quick break down of how I do this.
  • We read the story 
    • I always start with an older classic that most students are familiar with. From there, 
    • I will choose some favorites and have students vote on others they want to hear.
    • Keep all versions read out for kids to explore. 
    • There are also various stories read online too!  
  • I remind the students of the different elements involved in an fictional narrative. I use my mentor posters for visuals as we do this. (
    • I leave posters up for the remainder of the unit. 
  • We walk through the different story elements of the book we read.
  • I have done this in multiple ways, but we read another version so we can compare. 
    • Read back to back depending on length 
    • Read another later in the day where there is a natural break, after recess, during snack etc. 
  • We complete a Venn diagram whole group. (I record ideas on the board they copy)
    • I typically won't do this more then twice. Thats a lot of writing and after two Venn diagrams the kids can typically able to prove their understanding of the similarities and differences through discussion. 
  • Students may complete an additional comprehension extension dependent on what we need to review. 

Gingerbread Themed Narrative Writing

Create Our Own Versions of the Gingerbread Man
Click on the image BELOW to check it out in my store. 
This is a quick break down of how I do this.
  • I created a gingerbread narrative wiring unit with everything you would need to keep your students on track and excited while writing their own unique versions of the gingerbread man. 
  • First, we revisit the story elements from the different versions we read to inspire  unique features they may want to include in their own stories. 
  • Then we brainstorm a very rough version of our stories. 
  • My biggest recommendation is to break apart every section of the story. 
    • On one day we will plan our characters, their traits, and the problem. 
    • The next day we work on the beginning. We all know that the narrative genre can lead to classic never ending stories, and by breaking the elements apart we can avoid this. 
  • By the time you are working through the middle and into the end, your students will be showing so much independence, and no joke asking not to stop! 
  • After we are done doing some small edits (they are big stories)  I have published in many ways. 
    • I have had kids orally read and parent volunteers type. (this is a great at home volunteer project)
    • I have had kids partner with a 5th grader and collaborate during the typing process. 
    • I have also had kids dictate to me and I type
    • I have also made it an at home project to type the final draft (if parents have computer)

I also love to incorporate gingerbread into other areas of the curriculum, like science and math!

My gingerbread fun pack includes science , multiple math activities, and coloring choices! 

The kids love all the gingerbread things we do and I honestly enjoy it so much myself. I love that it offers something with a winter them that doesn't have to directly involve a holiday. The kids are engaged and excited to see what we will read next or what surprise activity I have in store. My favorite part is hearing the excitement in their voice as they read their versions to me and their peers. 
CLICK on the IMAGE BELOW to download your FREE gingerbread resource

I hope you have a fun couple of weeks leading up to break! I know these gingerbread activities will engage your students and restore some calm. We can do it friends! 



Keep Students Engaged this November and a FREE Download!

Hey there friends!
We're on the home stretch to Thanksgiving break and I know I'm looking forward to it! Fun with family, friends and time to relax and reset what could be better? The kids are also in need of a break, which means having to work a little harder to engage our students, and it's a little tricky when our brains are so worn out ha! I may be alone in the feeling, but if not, I would love to share a fun Thanksgiving themed activity sure to keep your students on task and having fun. 
I don't know if you have seen the "How to Catch a ..." series by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton but they are hilarious, brightly illustrated and naturally lend to a fun STEM challenge. When I saw "How to Catch a Turkey" on the shelves I knew I had to use it to create an exciting activity.
I read the book with my own boys and after seeing all of turkeys attempts to escape, we decided to make catapults! You can imagine how excited they were to make things that launch, and mom was cool with it! HA! 
Now, if you haven't done a STEM project with your kids before, prepare to be amazed with the engagement and pure excitement that comes with it. I kicked myself for not incorporating them sooner when I did my snowman traps last winter. I couldn't believe the different design ideas and the growth mindset the kids displayed throughout the designing and engineering process. 
Now with every unit I make I try to give myself multiple options to extend and support the learning. If you are anything like me, you love to keep it new and fresh each year. Having multiple choices on how to deliver the standards keeps it new and fresh for me and keeping me engaged is important too. Ha! 
Click on any of the images below to take a closer look in my store. 

Ok, so what does this involve?

Materials 

When I'm planning a STEM unit, I always brainstorm all the materials that kiddos might need to create their ideal design. The materials don't need to be fancy. Look around your house and try to think outside the box. (I include suggested materials inside all my units) I then make a list and ask parents to donate materials off the list if they can. I'm talking toilet paper rolls, toothpicks, tape, popsicle sticks, cardboard scraps, etc. I often get other things I hadn't thought of. Anything not sent in I can provide. As for leftovers, I keep them for future projects. 

Clear Expectations

Conversations about growth mindset are always important to have before starting a project like this. We talk about mistakes mean we are trying and pushing ourselves to think beyond what we may have experience in. When we make mistakes, it creates opportunity for different ideas to grow. We can't give up and be proud of your creations. We also talk about teamwork. Our expectations are that you let everyone have a chance to voice their opinions and share their ideas without negative criticism.  You may or may not have kids work in teams. I recommend at least a partner so that they can reflect on their design choices and practice compromising which are other great reasons to have activities like this in our classrooms. 

How long does this take?

This all depends on you. I have done the layout in multiple ways. I have broken the activities into separate days. We read the book and then I chose one of the comprehension activities that focused on a strategy we needed to review or used it to introduce a new standard. One another day we watched an engineering video (I provide links in the unit) then we talk about how we might design our catapults as well as start design process. Then the last day we partner up share our designs to make a joint design plan and start construction. Now, this can be done in one session as well. I have read the book to my students. I then would tell the kids we are going to help our turkey escape and will be constructing catapults to do so. Their eyes light up!  We would watch the video I have on catapult design and we get to designing and constructing. I do have two options as well for a determined design or free design engineering. If this doesn't keep your students engaged this November, I don't know what will! 
I just have to tell you how rewarding it was to get to stand back and observe their minds at work. Kids going beyond where they thought they could, kids celebrating and laughing.... ALL ON TASK! not being cheesy, but ok it's cheesy... I couldn't stop smiling. It is a whole new view of your kiddos and an experience I know they won't forget. Let's keep these students engaged this November. 
If you have 't taken advantage of downloading my FREE STEM POSTERS 
click on the image below. 

I hope you have a great week! We can do this, friends!