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Quick Comma Intro



Commas has been on our class schedule for multiple days and each day it got pushed because something ran long. While commas are important and do have their value, as we know we often run out of time in any given school day.  Anyways – the kids were excited because we finally, finally, finally got to talk about commas the other day.

Now, there are many different times we need commas and it can be a bit overwhelming. To start, we watched the Brainpop Jr. (maybe it was Brainpop) video about commas.  Moby is always entertaining and the kids enjoy learning along with him.

After watching the video, we started a class anchor chart about commas.  As I mentioned there are many times to use commas, but to make it a little less overwhelming on Day 1 we focused on three specific times.  On the anchor chart, we talked about using commas for the date, between city and state, and when listing items or events.  I put up each instance and we also came up with an example or two that matched that situation.

Then, since we were running out of time again and almost late for library, I gave a quick exit ticket type assignment. I had students go back to their seats and write down a sentence using commas as a list on their white board. I wanted something that would be quick, but also something that I could do a quick check that would be a formative assesment.

It went great! The kids wrote their sentences and headed to library. While they were at library I went around to see if they understood how to use commas correctly in a list and almost all of them did.  Then, they returned from library and their sentences out with their table group.


So super quick, easy way to introduce commas and a great way to do a quick check for understanding.

If you’re looking for more comma practice, check out my Grammar Fix-It Commas product.

Grammar Skills Included:
• Commas separating single words, capitals, and end marks
• Commas separating cities and dates, capitals, and end marks
• Commas used in introductory phrases, capitals, and end marks
• Commas used in compound sentences, capitals, and end marks
• All types of commas, capitals, end marks, and apostrophes (possessive nouns and contractions)

Verbs, Verbs, and More Verbs


Today I’m going to share some ideas with you for how I teach verbs in the classroom.  Verbs is a typical grammar skill that I know is taught in most primary classrooms – so most of this info will be applicable to K-3.

I love using Brainpop Jr video clips as a way to introduce content – especially grammar skills. Brainpop Jr has video on verbs and one on verb tenses.  When I introduced verbs we just watched the verbs video.  Afterwards, since I teach second grade and know most of my students had worked with verbs before, I had students create their own circle map of verbs.  I challenged them to come up with 20 or more verbs on their circle map.  Once they finished that, I gave each student two small post-it notes. I asked them to pick their two best verbs and write one on each note.  Then, they came up and put it on our whole class verbs circle map. I like having anchor charts be interactive and this was a way for everyone to participate.

Since they have a good understanding of verbs we next played Act It Out – Verbs. This is a FREEBIE in my TPT store. This is pretty much verb charades.  Students pick out a card and act out the verb. The rest of the class has to guess the verb they are acting out. They had a blast doing it and have been requesting to play it again. This is great because it gets kids up and moving – and kids can always use movement!

Next up and the large focus in second grade, we were going over verb tense agreement.  We again started by watching a Brainpop Jr video and discussing what the different tenses were – past tense, present tense, and future tense. I then created a tree map (no picture unfortunately) with three branches – one branch for each tense. Then, the kids and I came up with some verbs and modified them for each tense. We practiced regular verbs and irregular verbs.

Then, we worked on my Verbs Around the Room Activity. I normally do this as an Around the Room activity, but due to timing it was easier to do it on the white boards.  This is available in my TPT Store.

I also have two more verb activities to show you.  Grammar Fix It – Verb Tense Agreement provides students practice not only picking the correct verb tense, but also fixing capitals, end marks, and apostrophes.

And, I’m super excited to show you my newest TPT product.  Verb Tense Printables are super easy to use – just print and go! They work as formative assessments or independent practice. The printables could be used whole group, small group, in a literacy station, or for independent work.  I have two different printables.  One provides practice changing the verb tenses.  The second practice option has students choose the correct word/verb tense to complete the sentence.

Be sure to sign up for my Team J Newsletter! Tomorrow I will be sending out a freebie to my email subscribers from my new Verb Tense Printables pack!

Holiday Activities for the Classroom

Holidays, Math, Reading, Science, Writing

I know how crazy the last few days/week before winter break can be. We are entering crazy times teachers and we need to have as many fun, educational activities in our back pocket ready to go as we can.

So, here are a few things I will be using with my class this week….

Christmas Writing Prompts – This is a FREEBIE in my TPT Store.  It includes two writing prompts that are focused on personal narratives.  Great way to incorporate writing into the holiday excitement.

Candy Cane Science Lab – I did this activity with my class last year and will be starting it this week. We’ve been learning about lab reports during Writing Workshop and this is a fun science experiment to do this time of year. Check out my blog post on it….here

Olive, the Other Reindeer Book Study – This is a cute story and my students love hearing it every year.  This book study is now in my TPT Store. It includes comprehension questions and four different writing prompts. This could be used whole group or as a small group activity.

Christmas Story Problems – We will be starting these today.  I love using holiday story problems as one of my rotations during our daily math time.  The kids love that they are themed and fitting of the season.  The Christmas Story Problems include addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping.

Winter Story Problems – I will actually be using these when we return to school in January, but if your school focuses on winter instead of the specific holidays – these story problems would be great. These can be used whole group, small group, or at a math center.  These winter themed problems focus on ice skating, hot chocolate, snowmen, etc.  Includes addition and subtraction problems.

Hope these activities and ideas help with the last bit of school before break. I’m down to 7.5 days left with students. We can do it teachers!

New Product Alert and the BTS Sale Starts Tomorrow!

The TPT Back to School Sale has returned! So excited to stock up on some new items for the new school year! My whole store (Jordan Johnson) will be 25% off with the code BTS2017.  Check out one of my newest products below…
Would you rather create your own writing prompts or have a set of 60 already created for you? If you answered have them created for you, then you are in luck! My newest writing product is a set of 60 writing prompt cards. Each card has a different Would You Rather prompt on it that provides students with the chance to practice writing their opinions.  In addition to picking one of the choices, they also have to explain why they picked it.  This covers Common Core Standards W.1.1 and W.2.1.
Check them out…
Fill up those wishlists and carts today! The sale starts tomorrow, August 1! Happy Back to School Shopping!

Guess What?

Math, Reading, Writing

The TPT Big Teacher Appreciation Sale begins tomorrow! You heard me!! Tomorrow!  My entire store – Jordan Johnson – will be on sale May 9th and 10th for 28% off with the code THANKYOU17.  This is a great time to stock up on some goodies for the end of the year and for early planning for next year.

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Check out my Instagram to win a $10 gift card that you can use on the sale – Team J 2nd Grade Fun.

Check out some of my bundles below…

Grammar Fix It Bundle Provides practice with capitals, end marks, apostrophes, commas, verb tense agreement, quotation marks, and spelling high frequency words.  6 products make up this one mega-bundle!

Grammar Fix It -  BUNDLE

Nate the Great Bundle – Includes two Nate the Great Book Studies (Nate the Great Goes Undercover and Nate the Great and The Lost List). Perfect for small group book studies.

Nate the Great Book Study BUNDLE

Graphing Galore Bundle – Includes 3 of my popular graphing products – Graphing in 2nd Grade, Learning About Line Plots, and Create Your Own Graph Project. Perfect for covering the 2nd Grade Data Analysis standards!

Graphing Galore BUNDLE

These are just a few of my bundle products! Add them to your wishlist today and purchase tomorrow in the sale! Happy Shopping!

Comma Practice

We recently covered commas in my class. I’ve always found commas kind of a boring thing to teach so I tried to spice it up a bit this year. I’ve also always found that they confuse kids. When you use them? When you don’t? When you need more than one? And so on..
So here’s what I did this year…
We started out by watching a Brainpop Jr on Commas that went over the basics. Then, we created the anchor chart below together. I decided to focus on using commas in a list, to separate two adjectives, separate city and state, and using commas in a date. I feel like these four were age-appropriate for second grade and ones they’d be able to understand. When creating the chart, I had the kids help me. I wrote the topic and they came up with the sentences. This sparked great conversation because if someone didn’t use the commas correctly we could discuss why.
After creating our chart, we read the book below – When Comma Came to Town. This is a cute book and explores commas in a silly way. I highly recommend Grammar Tales – they have books on many different grammar topics.

Then, we practiced in small groups. We used my comma practice for separating words in a list from my Grammar Fix It – Commas product in my TPT store.  Students have to fix the errors in the sentence and re-write the sentence correctly on their recording sheet (included in the product). In this one, students had to fix the capitals, end marks, and comma errors.
Then, later in the week we worked on Grammar Fix It – Commas whole group.  This time I projected the sentence onto the board and students had to fix the errors and re-write the sentence correctly on their white board.  They were looking for comma, capital, and end mark errors.  After the students finished writing their sentence on their individual white board, we corrected the sentence together on the board.
My Grammar Fix-It Commas Practice includes:
  • Commas separating a list of words
  • Commas separating city and state
  • Commas separating information in a date
  • Commas used with introductory phrases
  • Commas used with compound sentences
The packet also includes practice with all of those types and capitals, end marks, and apostrophes.
Check it out…here… in my TPT Store!

Five for Friday – April 21

Math, Social Studies, Writing

The week after Spring Break is always tough. Hard to get back into the routine after an amazing week off! But, we did it and I’m back linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Here’s what we were up to this week….

My school does a large Earth Day celebration every year! It’s a lot of fun and the kids get to go to different rooms and learn about all kinds of things surrounding the topic of Earth Day!  I decided this year to also have my students do some writing about Earth Day and ways they can help make the Earth a better place.  Their answers were pretty cute! I especially like the above one – “if you ride in a car… you can pollute the air…and it’s your fault.” Too funny!  This writing prompt and five more can be found in my TPT Store – Earth Day Writing Prompts.

We learned all about coordinate grids in math this week. We started by watching a Brainpop video and then created the above anchor chart. To practice plotting points, the kids played this fun game called Gridlock from MathWire – it can be found here

We finally finished our Map PBL this week. The final part of the project had students creating their island using some of the landforms we discussed. They also buried treasure on it and had to write directions for how to find it. Their maps turned out amazing!!! 

Where have I been? I’ve seen many people posting and writing about Epic books, but I never looked into it. I remembered yesterday trying to find something for my Earth Day class and it is wonderful! It’s full of so much information and fun books – I can’t wait to dive into it more!
On Monday, I presented to some of the teachers at my school about Differentiation in Writing Workshop. It went well and we had some great discussions.  Stay tuned because I’ll be doing a blog post soon on some of the ideas for differentiation in writing!
Have a great weekend!

Earth Day Writing Prompts


Earth Day is a huge celebration at our school! We have the whole day dedicated to celebrating Earth Day. The students get to attend classes on different topics around helping the environment, nature, plants, etc, and they always have a wonderful time!

To help capture some of the things they learn and have learned about Earth Day, I’ve created these Earth Day Writing Prompts, which are now available in my TPT Store.

They include the following writing prompt questions:

  • Why do we celebrate Earth Day?
  • What is recycling?
  • What items can be recycled?
  • Why is it important to recycle?
  • How can you help the Earth?
  • List 3 ways you can keep the Earth Clean.
This product is perfect for students in grades kindergarten – third grade! The writing paper is differentiated.  
Paper Options:
3 lines and large picture
8 lines and a medium-sized picture
All lines and no picture
All paper options are printer friendly and you have the option to print them with no graphic or with a black and white graphic.
You can check it out in my TPT store…here
Earth Day Writing Prompts
Check back on my Instagram and Facebook page later this week to see my student’s examples!

Five for Friday – April 14

Math, Writing

I’m at the tail end of my Spring Break and I can’t believe how fast it has gone! Why do weeks off fly by and weeks working go slow sometimes?? I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. Check out our week below… not as many educational pictures today since it was break…

This has been one of my spring break projects.  On Monday, teachers head back to school for a PD day, but the kids are still on vacation.  We have our Differentiation and Ed Tech Fair on Monday and I’m presenting about Differentiation in Writing Workshop. So this week I’ve been putting together the presentation so I’ll have everything ready to go Monday morning!
This blog post has been in the making for awhile. And, with Spring Break finally here, I had time to write it.  In my Graphing Project blog post, I blogged about an awesome project I do at the end of my graphing unit. Check it out…here

I decided to use this week off to re-dedicate myself to my fitness goals. I really want to get into better shape and having the time off this week has provided me a chance to start some better habits. If you want to keep up with my fitness journey – check out my Instagram – jjohnsongetsfit.  I’m also on Fitbit! If you are interested in doing a Fitbit Challenge, write in the comments or add me on Fitbit –

We’ve also added a few things to our home this week. I’ve been eyeing these bar stools forever and we finally purchased them last weekend from Target. We also got some cool lights for our walkway! I love doing some home decor shopping!

And, what would spring break be – without some pool time! The weather in Vegas has been beautiful and I’ve been lucky enough to get out and read at the pool a few times this week!
Hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

Five for Friday – March 17

Math, Writing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! I’m linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another week of Five for Friday!

We recently finished Bend 2 in our Opinion Book for Units of Study. Students have been writing opinion letters about their favorite books, favorite characters, opinions of characters, etc. At the end of Bend 2, students edited their letters using a checklist and published their final letter. This week during Morning Meeting Share, students shared their letter under the iPad (then projected) with the class. After each student shared, two students from the audience gave a compliment. They did an awesome job! I love seeing how much progress they’ve made with their writing since August.

I love basketball. I’m a huge basketball fan and my husband is also a college basketball coach. I decided to bring a little March Madness fun to my classroom in the form of story problems.  This story problem set includes 16 problems. Most of the problems are addition and subtraction, but there are a few multiplication and division.  This can be found in my TPT store…here
Oh…editing…such a difficult concept for 2nd graders. While in my first entry post for Five for Friday I mentioned we edited their rough draft letters, we still struggle. So, I decided to have a Morning Meeting Activity and Message focused on editing. Students first answered the message writing down things to look for when editing. Then, students worked first individually and then with a group on editing a letter.  We’ll keep practicing until we get it!

This week in reading we worked on the prefixes – re, pre, and bi. In small groups, I had students do the quick activity above. I gave them a word. They then underlined the base word and circled the prefix. Then, they wrote the definition and used the word in a sentence. Finally, they drew a sketch to go with their sentence. This was a quick activity, but provided practice on prefixes, which was the goal.

Oh our planners! Check out my blog post from this week on my Planner Challenge! It has greatly improved the kids writing and spelling in their daily planner entries. Check it out…here