Monday, September 5, 2016

Hands on Place Value Fun

Hi, there! We’re 10 days in and beginning to dive into our curriculum. We’ve been practicing and practicing and…..practicing routines some more as we get to know one another. In the midst of all of the “getting to know you”, we’ve also begun setting the foundation for lots of working with numbers!

In case you haven’t stopped by in a while (because I haven’t blogged in a while)…last year, I made the jump from 1st to 2nd! Haven taken some time to  become acquainted with all things 2nd…I’m READY to share again! Yay!!! Thanks for following the fun on Instagram and Facebook! It’s going to be our #bestyearyet on the blog too!


The number of assessments we have to give this year has been reduced, PTL!!! Because of this, our procedures for unpacking our standards have moved away from being focused on a single assessment, to being focused on the learning needed to understand the standards. Our unpacking (backwards design) posters will now contain illustrations of the models and representations that we’ll use throughout each unit. This page is hung low on the board because it will be Page 1 of a wall sized flipbook. The next one we make, will be hung right over it….they’ll be left on the wall for the duration of the year for students to lift and look at as a reference tool. The needed vocabulary cards will also move to our classroom word wall, once our unit focus changes.


As we began to show numbers in different forms, students were consistently expanding numbers using only the single digit rather than the number needed to represent its value…, enter our handy dandy place value demo cards!

Sometimes, you have to walk a mile in a number’s shoes to truly understand it’s value! Young students need kinesthetic, whole body learning as much as possible. This lesson was just the right fit! Students actually took turns sitting on a giant place value chart (our carpet) to represent numbers in expanded form, then stood to dance along with music before aligning the cards to represent the number in standard form.

I’m usually about all things literacy, but admittedly have been inspired to have a LOT more fun with math this year. Dare I say, I AM enjoying teaching math?! I said it! And meant it…math is fun! Now that I think about it…most of the training I attended this summer was over MATH!


After getting a better grasp on number forms, we also began to play with representing numbers in more than one way using our base-10 blocks. Realizing that you can model a number more than one way and it STILL be the same number was a huge eye opener and students enjoyed manipulating the blocks over and over again to represent BIG numbers!


Concrete models….&



Pictorial models…of BIG numbers! Hands on…music…movement…drawing…equals a firm foundation for comparing and ordering to come! Want to get moving too? Click HERE to grab a set of demo cards for your classroom!

See ya soon!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What TIME is it?

It’s that time of year again…time to practice telling time…right down to the minute! Making the jump from only telling time to the hour and to the half hour has been FUN! Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to lately…


…because our current math unit only covers one primary standard, our unpacking chart has doubled as an anchor chart to compile learning. We began by discussing the importance of telling time and reviewed telling time to the hour and to the half hour. After having just completed fractions, we also color coded the half hour and quarter hour to help us tell time a little later.


Distinguishing between AM and PM sounds like a pretty easy concept…right up until a 7 year old has to wrap their brain around morning starting in the middle of the night! Yikes!!! LOL! This day’s lesson was a laughter filled afternoon of sorting and game playing. We named activities that we usually do each day and had to determine if those activities took place during AM hours or PM hours. Some were tricky, but they got the hang of it through lots of grins and giggles.

In our classroom, independent work often starts with a blank sheet of paper. Creativity, after all, is intelligence having fun! In order to show what they’d learned, students traced the lines of a piece of paper I had pre-folded for them. They labeled their headers for AM and PM being sure to add the 12 hour span of time both covers and illustrated the sky to show their understanding of what it may appear to look like during those times. After completing their headers, students drew four events from their day that took place during AM hours and four events that took place during PM hours. Lots of fun discussion…


On the next day, we prepared to begin telling time by skip counting by ‘fives’. Using an analog clock to tell time is a skill that’s quickly becoming obsolete, if it hasn’t already. Most 7 year olds check the time on mom or dad’s cell phone screen, but now…these smart cookies are some of the best time keepers on the planet and are keeping our daily schedule on track by reading our classroom analog clock to the exact minute! In order to make the transition from whole and half hours as smooth as possible, we pulled out our unifix cubes to “touch” the minutes as we counted them. Second graders are awesome little people!

Beginning with the cubes helped to make the minutes tangible, concrete…something they could touch before trying to get them to grasp the concept of abstract, individual minutes. Being able to use our circle tables for learning is just one more reason why we love them! After getting my Ron Clark on during our whole group lesson, students used numbers to build a clock face on their table top in small groups and then placed blocks to represent 5 minute intervals for counting. I often perceive myself to be just a bit taller than I actually am. Having a little platform up there might not be such a bad idea! Hmmmmmm….


Now, students have an additional resource from Really Good Stuff to help them tell time successfully. Side note: Don’t show kids everything you’ve got at the beginning of the year. Save instructional d├ęcor until you need it to teach with…then you’ll have something new to share and kids will more likely ACTUALLY use it as a resource!


We’ve kept the clocks we made on the first day of our unit to use as tools for learning. Now, we’ve also created flaps to display the time to the ‘five’ under each number on the face of the clock. Being able to tell time to the fives will help us get to the exact minute by skip counting and then counting on
to the specific time.


The kiddos have enjoyed having their own clock, BUT I think the final look of their tables have been their favorite thing so far. After each group assembled their table clocks, I taped the numbers down and used a sharpie to add “minute” marks to the tables. Yep, I wrote on the table with a sharpie! GASP!!! It comes off, lol! With a little hand sanitizer and time, it’ll be completely removable…..BUT hopefully, not until AFTER we’ve finished learning how to tell time.

NOW, each table group can work together to display time and write the digital format to match it. Tables will also double as clocks for math station activities when we return from spring break! =)


AND…our anchor chart has changed a LOT with each additional lesson too! It’s almost complete! As part of our final review lesson, before the BIG test, we’ll label both the analog clock and the digital clock with a specific time.

NOW, it’s time for this teacher mama to go to bed! I hear a fun filled day of spring break calling…TTYL! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Freckle Juice & Freebies Too

Hi, friends! How are you? Starting in a new grade level this year AND having my son start football at the same time has to say the least…..been EXHAUSTING! While the blog has had a cobweb or two form, I want to take a quick sec to say THANK YOU for following on social media! You all rock! Hopefully, this little post will be the rekindling of a lovely relationship between myself and this little blog again!

I think I’m getting the hang of teaching second grade! It really has been fun! The kid part and the teaching part have been fun. We can talk about the testing part another day…that part is not so fun. Being able to leap forward from first with a few of my friends from last year’s crew has been ooper schmooper helpful! Here’s just a tiny peek into some of what we’ve been up to!


Teaching reading has taken on new meaning this year. The focus is no longer on teaching how to read so much as it is…teaching how to understand what we read. Because of that, our basals are collecting dust while we dive into authentic literature. At first, I was a little nervous about moving away from the structured focus of the basal….but NOW, I’m enjoying the freedom of teaching skills from real books….complete books, not just a part of a book that may be included in a textbook.

You know, I LOVE a great foldable! During the week we shared Freckle Juice, we completed a little blend of literacy and math to make some fun cross curricular connections!


Just computation…in second grade…not a chance. It’s all about the story problems now….all.the.time. Reading in reading and MORE reading in math….computation and application and thinking….lots and lots of thinking…and showing processes!  Here, we applied what we’d learned about identifying coins and counting collections of coins…


…and using number lines to subtract.


During our literacy block, we practiced writing and reading contractions with simple, index card mini-foldables. After working to create contractions, we housed them in the pocket of the foldable created using a mailing envelope.


The original two words were written on one side. Once folded, on the other were the remaining letters needed to create the contraction. Write, fold, flip…two words to one word. =)


Students also chose their favorite character from the story to analyze traits. After illustrating the character, students used sticky notes to record something the character said and something the character did. Lots of fun discussions were had as we took a closer look at each of the kiddo’s favorite characters.


Analyzing character traits was fun!


Sneaking in a little fine motor practice to cut and glue was fun too! Like it…want to use it? Click HERE to grab it!


We’ve also enjoyed WRITING class books. As our introduction to adjectives, we created this little book inspired by our cranky friend. This book easily became a class favorite because they each got to add their own "catch phrase"! 

It’s a little late to get cranky now, but if you’d like to add this little goodie to your files for your next year, click HERE to grab it! Did you know there are other Crankenstein books too? We’ll definitely be seeing more of him this year!


Our walls are no longer empty; there’s lots of learning splashed everywhere! Thanks for stopping by and catching up! Now that football season is winding down, I should be back in business and have time to share more of the journey into SECOND GRADE!

I’m excited about getting this transition year under my belt….about having the opportunity to get to know new friends…and of course, sharing with YOU! See ya again soon!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...