Flags of the World

My 2nd graders' favorite unit is my Flags of the World unit. My focus for 2nd grade is alphabetical order and I found a fun way for students to look up words alphabetically and not even realize it. I start the unit by reading a book called, I Know About Flags, which is getting to be an old book but gives a nice overview about flags. After I read the book, I ask students to raise their hand and tell us one fact they learned about flags. When we return to our seat, I ask students to think of keywords that will help remind them of the facts. For instance, the fact is "flags are flown in front of important buildings", the keyword could be "buildings". I type all of the keywords into a PowerPoint or write them on the whiteboard. I also have the bibliography citation information written on the PowerPoint for students to copy into their books. After we have several keywords, students will write their three facts using complete sentences or short phrases depending on their ability. When they are finished, they begin working on their flag book. For this book, students will need a resource like almanacs or atlases. The book is divided by continents and students will color four flags from each one. I made cards with every country, and students will randomly select one to determine which flag to color. Kids really like choosing cards, I guess because it is kind of like a game. They find the country in their almanac and color their flag. Then they return the card and get a new card. Every week, I read a new nonfiction book that has something to do with flags and students continue working on their two flag books. My unit has the two books and the cards for every country and can be found here. Students will listen to nonfiction books and recall facts, write facts and bibliography citations, use resources, look up words alphabetically, write geography words using capitalization. Common Core: RI.2.1, RI.2.3, RI.2.5, RI.2.8, L.2.2.A, L.2.2.E, L.2.4.E, W.2.8, … [Read more...]

Little Town on the Prairie

A few years ago, we were taking my son to college in New York which is a long drive from Nevada, so we decided to make a sight-seeing tour out of it. I called it "The Deliverance Tour", since we were delivering him to college. One of our stops was in De Smet, South Dakota, also known as The Little Town on the Prairie.  I was a big Laura Ingalls fan as a kid. I read all the books and used to daydream about living in a log cabin. I even named my first daughter Laura Elizabeth. So when the chance came to see the Ingalls homestead, I excitedly took it!   The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society has a building you can stop in first and get a map with a guide of all the places in town that are relevant to the Ingalls family, including the cemetery where Ma and Pa and family are buried. Laura's baby boy is buried there too. They have a tour, but we didn't have time to take it so we drove ourselves around. The Ingalls' Homestead is a mile outside of town and is a fun place to visit for an entry fee of $10.00. This is where four of the Little House books take place. You can see a sod house like they lived in before the house was built. You can go in the house and see the kitchen and living room, feel how hard the straw mattresses were, spin some yarn and wash some clothes out back. Fun! My son pumped some water from the well, it wasn't easy! In the background you can see some trees that Pa planted way back in the 1880's. They told us he planted a lot of them but only a couple have survived this long. The barn has real animals in it and quite a few cats. Not far from the house is the school that Pa built and Laura was the first teacher to teach there. The actual schoolhouse burned down a few years after it was built and the one that is still standing was built later. There are a bonnets for kids to try on and a rope to pull to make the bell ring. These rules were posted on the door to remind teachers of … [Read more...]