Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writing Strategy Songs and the Common Core

So I recently did a professional devolpment week with the Lucy Caukins summer institute. It really excited me and made me want to revamp some of the things I was doing during writer's workshop. I don't know about you but writing is often shoved around when time constraints arise. This really isn't good because we all know writing is crucial to reading ability.

 So as I was listening to these wonderful speakers and examining mentor texts I decided I had to find a way to help my kids remember writing strategies better. We need a common language during our day that they can reflect back on and say 'Oh yea, commas. I remember those!'

I set out to create this pack and I can't wait to use it. I use lots of little songs in my room anyway because I love music. These will go along well with my mini lessons. I wish I had some kids to practice them on but I don't. EEK! But you can help me with that.  I've posted this pack but I will share it with the first person that leaves me a comment with their email. Let me know what you think!

These songs cover a range of skills. There are sixteen in all and they are set up on a half sheet of paper. I may hang them around my writing wall after we learn them. I'm not sure. I consulted the common core, Lucy Caukins, and some Six Traits writing when I wrote these. I hope you like! :)


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Facts in a Snap: A writing activity

So far this summer I have pinned a ton of ideas for next year but am having a little bit of trouble getting started. I did create this freebie and am excited to share it with the blogging world. My mother in law is addicted to Snapple. I'm not much on tea so I've never payed attention to it. Then I randomly noticed there were odd facts written on the caps. How cool is that! I do an Odd Fact collaborative journal in my class and use an Odd Fact app on my kindle. It is a great way to turn on reluctant readers because it hooks them. Now I'm trying to take it a step farther with my reluctant writers!

So, introducing Facts in a Snap!

 I have saved probably about 20 caps so far. I'm even drinking a little bit of the Snapple myself, but mostly they have come from the mother in law. The container I have used is an empty applesauce container. Really any container would work, I just like the way it looks. You can download this for free at my Teachers pay Teachers store. Just click the picture!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


So to celebrate the summer I am having a sale! Please head on over to my store and load up on your favorite items. Click the image below!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Math Common Core

We recently did a lot of math common core training. I am no expert, but I feel so much better about what is coming. I'm excited for a chance to teach my kids without as much pressure to cover all of our state standards. I made two documents to help me for next year so I am sharing these freebies with you!
Click here to download an overview for getting math workshop up and going within your classroom. It is modeled after the First 20 days, but it is far more general. Hopefully you will see a lot of things you are already doing.

Click the picture below to download a set of posters for the Standards of Mathematical Practices. These are the broad overview that guides your math lessons. It's important for students to use these daily. I plan to hang them on my math wall as we discuss and learn them during those first weeks of school.

What are you doing to prepare for the common core? What changes have you made since adapting to the common core? 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pin It to Win It

Well friends, it has been a while since I last blogged! The summer has officially started for me, but not for long. With common core on the way I will be in training the next two weeks. As much as I love the summer I do appreciate the chance to grow professionally.

 I am busy planning and doing for next year and am sure you are as well. That being said I have decided to participate in the 'Pin it to Win It' contest through Teachers Pay Teachers.

You can click here to view my Pinterest boards. Pin away until Thursday! One Friday, June 15th I will choose some winners!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Hip, Hip Array!

I just love math crafts when they help the kiddos get a concept. We have been building arrays for the last two weeks and will finish with them this week. All of these patterns are available in my TpT store found here.

 Here are what we've done so far.

The birthday cupcakes have colored marshmallows glued to them! We used Bingo dotters to make spots on our butterflies. the cookies are glued onto a real plate! How neat is that?

We used division to draw on an alien's eyeballs. This was a hit! Then we made watermelons and their seeds. Last is the ladybug and her spots. 

Hope you see something you can use!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Character Traits using Literature

Whew, TGIF! I had a rough week with my kids and ironically we have started our Character Traits unit. I'm not sure why we save this in our district until the end of the year because so many kids would benefit from it sooner. I have enjoyed it a lot more this year because we have done more read and respond with it. Here's a look at what we've done so far.
Here is our 'Hall of Fame' and 'Wall of Shame' chart. Around the chart are 16 vocabulary cards with various traits we are studying.  The sentence strips have the trait written on it with a color picture of the book that exhibited that trait.
We read the book Kate Shelly and the Midnight Express. My class loved it! Kate really demonstrated the character trait of determination and bravery. There is a picture of the book cover on that sentence strip, too.
Here is our 'Wall of Shame' characters - so far. These are some of my most favorite books!

Here is a foldable we made comparing and contrasting what Elbert did in Elbert's bad word vs. what we would do. Notice the Angel and Devil in the picture.
This was a great place to write a brief summary of the story.

Funny, this was the common reaction of my students yet I don't believe they would all pretend like they didn't hear that bad word!

Here is our 'Most Wanted' posters. They are about Camilla Capybara. They include a description of her crime, whereabouts, and reward for her capture. She was obviously a shameful character!

 All of these items can be found in my Character Trait unit. Click below to head on over and get a copy for yourself. 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Animal Unit, continued.....

We are smack in the middle of our animal unit, yippee! Now that our testing is over for the year we can actually spend adequate time on all subjects. I always feel like science is shaved and trimmed - and it's the kids' favorite.

So, here is a look at how things have been going so far.

Guided response questions to review the animal classes. The kids loved our version of 'Fact or Fake?' using these handy Popsicle sticks. It worked so well because the ones that were fake we talked about how to turn the statements into facts.

A goldfish tank array integrating multiplication and our animal unit! The poster there is a poem explaining how the fish got caught.

Close up - notice the pirate ship!

Paper plate animal class wheel. The underneath flaps are illustrations of an animal from that class.

Bird and amphibian.


Outside of flaps have definitions on them. We created anchor charts as a class over the last week to help us finish our plate wheels. 

We have a lot left to do but I wanted to share what we had done so far! If you'd like to get a copy of this unit check it out below.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Math, math, math!

As a group we do a lot of collaborative planning. My job is primarily to come up with where we are going in math and which strategies we will be using. One thing that we decided on as a grade level two years ago was the need for isolating math vocabulary. It has made such a difference for our kids. Here are some resources I use to teach math vocabulary.

 Here is a website that is interactive and perfect for a smart board. It illustrates a TON of math words. It has options for practice with some words. The kids love it and we consult this resource a lot on Mondays when we are beginning a new unit. This is a great start, but it's not enough. We also have a math word wall in our classroom. On it we put math words that we are exposed to during Fantastic Five and our math series.

Here is a product I made to help teach math words. It would be appropriate for 2nd or 3rd grade students.

Now that we are approaching the end of the year we have some time in our math pacing guide to do some reviewing. I made this resource as a review of the topics we have covered in math this year. It is the ABC'S of math. Each letter is basically a heading for some practice problems. It's not anything too fancy but will be a good guide for me the last two weeks of school. It will also let me get back into my cabinet and get out the favored games for each topic. My plan is to use the binding machine and put them together like a book. I hope the kids will keep them and consult them some on rainy days this summer!

Leave me a comment and your email address and I'll give a copy of our book to the first person to respond.

Click the picture of the book to head on over to my TpT store to grab a copy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Multiplication using The Ants Go Marching

Whew - we are right in the middle of our multiplication unit. The kids are pumped about their ice cream sundaes they are working to earn. My chart is hung up right on the door so everyone passing by in the hall can see it.You can read more about that here.

I've been busy busy trying to help the kids understand arrays. They get the facts and are pretty good at skip counting but they still don't quite get the arrays. Well I love poetry and music so I fused together some ideas toh help fix this. So, here it is!

 Instead of ants this packet features flies buzzing and bears marching. This line repeats over and over in each stanza.
The bears go marching one by five, hurrah, hurrah
In search of snacks that are alive, hurrah, hurrah..
The first number changes in each stanza so the kids are building arrays. They are forced to analyze how many groups of five and how many in total.

Here is a picture of the recording sheet and the manipulative circles. We used Teddy Grams as our manipulative. At this point the poem had been read through the third stanza.  

Close up of the manipulative circles. 

 Here is the fourth stanza. I wrote this poem myself and the kids LOVED it! :) If you are interested in this match packet please click here.

The bears go marching four by five, hurrah, hurrah
In search of snacks that are alive, hurrah, hurrah.
And now there is a thunderous roar,
Coming from the forest floor.
Using attitude, being rude, hunting food.
 Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

I will give this one away as a freebie. Just be sure you follow my store and leave me a comment on my blog with your email address.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mother's Day Poems

I'm super excited about the upcoming holiday. This is my second mother's day as a mother and it's so much more meaningful for me now. I decided this year to incorporate the holiday with our poetry unit that we do in April. I created a packet of poems and have posted it at Teachers Pay Teachers. You can find it here.

Our plan is to create these poetry books. There are two thinking sheets and 7 poem templates. We will work on it during our writing block the next two weeks. In May we are going to celebrate the end of our poetry unit by inviting our moms into the room for a 'Mother's Day Tea.' We will have refreshments, share our work, and I'm going to make a slideshow for the mom's. I'm super excited!

Here is the beginnings of our project. We started with Haikus and a circle map. They are my favorite! 
Planning and counting syllables.

More planning. This is the 'sloppy copy.' We transposed the following day.

A Portrait of my Mom. Love how the hair curls!

Do I spot a future artist for Scrappin' Doodles?

Click the picture above to go and get a copy of this mother's day book! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Multiplication Freebie

Wow! Spring break is over, but not for me! Unfortunately my son was sick today so I got to stay home with him. I really didn't mind - he cuddled up with me and was not going ninety to nothing like he normally is.

When I return to school, tomorrow hopefully, we will begin our unit on multiplication. In 2nd grade our students have to learn the concept of arrays and repeated addition. They are normally pretty good at this. This year we are going to piggy back on some ideas I have seen here on Pinterest and ProTeacher and encourage multiplication mastery.

Our end of the year is really a time for review but everyone knows the motivation is gone after spring break so hopefully this spark will be the difference maker for our students. We have been working on multiplication a little here and there. For the most part my students know the 1's, 2's, and 10's really well. Most have also mastered the 11's, but when you mix all the facts together it gets jumbled for them. Basically we are going to build a Sundae based on the math facts they have mastered. Our grade level tweaked this idea for what we needed. No 7, 8, or 12. We'll save that for third grade teachers!

As we do assessments and the students pass we will stamp that fact beside their name. I'm fortunate at my school to have a poster machine so this will be a poster on my door for everyone to see. We will celebrate with the ice cream party some time in May. We are planning to take about 3 or 4 weeks to do this. 

Anyway to get our minds rolling with those 2's we will be playing Bump. All you need for this game is a deck of cards with the face cards removed and counters.

Be sure you click on the pictures to head on over to my TpT store to claim these freebies.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Behavior Management Freebie

I am enjoying my wonderful spring break - finally! I have been busy tweaking this and that and wanted to share something that I have been using. I'll have to post pictures later, but the document is here.

 I got a new student last week that comes with a lot of emotional baggage (like so many that we have nowadays!) Anyway, we put him onto a behavior plan so he could start his time off right at our school. I do think it's helping. We did two days with it before the break and he seemed to grasp the system and really respond to the rewards.

 Here is a little about it. I saw this idea on pinterest. My assistant principal who is lovely also saw it and we molded our minds together to make this one. Here is her original pin that she created. I'm not sure which blog she modeled it after, but here is her pin.

 Well what I found after using this card is that I didn't want to set a number for him because schedules vary from day to day and there are some days he won't have the opportunity to earn as many as others. I am totally for this system but there are so many different adults in and out during the school day that I felt like saying get 10 or get 15 was unfair. So I made this system for us and it seems to be helping.

I have it color coded in place of the numbers. My thinking is that every three punches he will get a reward of his choice. We have discussed what it is that he would like and there is an array of goodies. I have a few small little 'toys' that he can play with. I put a digital timer in there and he seems to have no problem giving them up when the time is over. ( I say toys but they are merely oil and water mixers that have food coloring in them!)

So basically every three punches he gets a prize. I made another card that will progress to every four punches. There is a final page that is every five punches. My hope is that when we get to five we can transition off of this system.

I have a hole puncher (crazy, I know!) on my lanyard that I wear around my neck. It's noisy sometimes but it makes it so convenient to use. I love this system better than the paper contract where you keep score or do smiley faces.

The student has this single card on a ring. I put the ring on his belt loop or jacket zipper. At the end of the day it goes home with him so his mom can sign the back.

I really think the color helps because he can see how many more squares he needs punched before he gets a prize. The numbers was good but he was disappointed if he did not get a target number. This is going to focus more on the instant classroom rewards we offer vs. the big prize at the end of the day.

Oh, and by the way. I had to explain this system to my other students so they would not feel that jealously. They have done well. I basically leveled with them and many have decided to help out during this transitional time in our classroom. They really do rise to the occasion! :)

Don't forget to click the picture to head over to my TpT to pick this up for free.