Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mental Math Freebie

When I started doing math groups two years ago something kept filtering through in all the literature I would read. Kids didn't understand math concepts and could not calculate concepts quickly in their minds. I quickly made some mental math cards. I have beefed them up this year and am sharing some with you.

 These cards cover math vocabulary and multi-step problem solving. They have helped my students a lot. I pull them out and use them during transition times, for math warm up, or even math review. Mine are laminated and on a metal ring.

 In this version I have attached KABOOM cards in case you want to use them to play Kaboom.
 Are you familiar with Kaboom? There are lots of versions floating around out there but my class' favorite is to boys against girls. We sit in a circle on the carpet and I play music. While the music plays the students pass a small basket around the circle. In the basket are a mixture of math cards and a few Kaboom cards. If the music pauses then that student pulls out the card and answers the question. For each correct answer they earn a point for their team. (Boys vs. Girls) If they pull out a Kaboom card then they loose all the points for their team. I usually let the winning team line up for lunch first or something equally mundane exciting for an eight year old!

Hope you can use these in your classrooms.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Word Problem Give Away

Ahhhhh... we have had testing this week and I have been stressed to the max. Next week we are reviewing in math because the following week we are on Spring Break. Hallelujah! Well, I have been busy getting prepared for our word problem unit. We have discussed word problems before so this should be a relaxed refresher week. This time when we review I am going to have the kids write their own word problems to use during our problem of the day. If you want to read how I use a problem a day go here. (I'm still waiting to give away some math mats, so leave a comment, too!) We are also going to create flap books for the hallway and play scoot with some task cards I created. I'm putting my packet up on TpT so the first three people that leave a comment with their email can snag a free copy.

This packet includes: 
* Key word poster
* CUBS strategy poster for math wall
* CUBS tag for inside math journal 
* 66 adding and subtracting word problems from one digit all the way to regrouping
* Cut and Paste key word sort
* Hall display flip flap book
* 4 math mats for guided math (addition and subtraction with and without regrouping) 
* Word Problem author sheet
* Setting cards to create your own word problems
* Number cards to create your own word problems

Don't forget to comment!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fraction Bump Freebie

This will be short and sweet tonight. My kiddos played this game today to review fractions and it was a real hit. We have played bump before but this one seemed to be a bit more fast paced. Hope you can use it in your classroom!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Let your Caboose Become Obtuse!!!!

We are on the homestretch before Spring break and their is a lot going on! We just had to hand in report cards, we have NWEA MAP testing this week and next, and the kids have that terrible illness called spring fever. Can you tell I'm ready for a break? Well I was inspired to write this post after a conversation with a sweet little girl at the lunch table today. Our fifth grade is selling chocolate bars for a field trip and I just love chocolate. I was teasing one student and asking why they bought a chocolate bar but forgot to share any with us. Well, one of my little girls said "I'll buy you a candy bar, Mrs. O'Quinn." I chuckled and teased her back saying that if I ate a candy bar my pants might not fit right the next day. Well a third little student heard this and piped up with the saying from our math lesson a few weeks back. "Remember Mrs. O'Quinn, You don't want your caboose to be obtuse!" I was so tickled that she remembered what the word obtuse meant. I hope you can you use that phrase I coined with your kids. It seems to have helped mine.

Hope you find a place for this in your classroom! I love my math wall. What types of things do you have on your math wall?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fraction Freebie

We have started a new math unit this week. Even though fractions is not a second grade standard, our kids will see it on their end of the year NWEA test. We decided this year to take a week to explicitly teach basic fraction identification. We have used a variety of resources and have lots of activities planned, so I wanted to share a few with you!

A fraction anchor chart and poem. These graphics are courtesy of DJ Inkers. 

A fraction snack activity using Smarties! :) 

What do you do to teach fractions? We are playing bump and doing a fraction kite. This is our first year really delving into them in 2nd grade so I'd love some fresh ideas! 

Only two more weeks until spring break! :) 


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guided Math Giveaway

I love teaching small group. I'd teach small group all day if I could. I really feel like I'm able to get a better idea of what students are capable of doing when I work with them in a small group atmosphere. Let me back up and tell you a little bit about my evolution to this thinking. My first year teaching my students took the NWEA MAP assessment in September. When they took it again in December I didn't have the type of growth that I would have wanted. I recognized then that I really had to change something. I read a book that changed the way I thought about math instruction. I switched up a lot of things. I started with math stretches and then incorporated mental math. I added activities that really focused on problem solving and becoming independent with manipulatives.

 Then this past summer I read the Debbie Diller's book about Math Workstations. Even though there were many ideas I was already doing I did get a chance to reevaluate my organization.

 I've decided to upload a few pictures of how we do things in my room. I switched a bit this year and have kind of merged my own version with the suggestions in both of these books. I find it works best for my students and our math curriculum.

First off I have the students grouped by their NWEA RIT bands. According to MAP I have a wide range of abilities. My math groups are not usually flexible, but at times I may move a child into a group if a topic seems to easy or too challenging.

My students rotate through three areas; seat, center, and the math table. The child at the seat is the symbol for work at your desk. Students do a worksheet or activity at their seat that parallels the mini lesson. I begin each math block with a 15-20 minute mini lesson. The numbered card is the symbol for the math bucket that students will work with. The teacher icon signals students are to come to the table for math group. Each station lasts around 12 minutes. I end the math block by checking the classwork and reviewing anything I noticed needed addressing while working at the table.  You can see that Evan will begin at his desk, rotate to bucket 1, and then end my table. Students rotate when I ding a bell at my desk. The tempo is quick but students are good now at using their time wisely. Children with lower abilities will start EVERY DAY at my table. I can provide them the support they will need to then rotate to their seats. My highest math students often begin at their desk because they need the least amount of support with their classwork.

 My math buckets have matching numbers on the inside. They are stored on a rolling cart for easy access. They are large enough to fit most math manipulatives and easily fit games, too.

I've used a lot of games off of Pinterest for my math buckets. I also put investigation sheets and such for students to practice using manipulatives. This is a game that I posted earlier this week called Splish Splash Shapes.

One thing that I do that the kids enjoy is a 'Problem of the Day .' The students solve the problem on a note card and drop their answers into a basket. They have all day to solve the problem. At the end of the day during our dismissal time I will solve the problem whole group. I will pull one winner from the basket and that person gets to dig in the treasure box. It's a very competitive atmosphere! It's also a great way to constantly practice word problems.

My math manipulatives are stored in Gladware containers. I bought some off brand kinds at the Dollar Tree that were three for a dollar. They hold blocks, dice, gram weights, tangrams, etc. They are great for stacking and perfect for most small manipulatives.

My bigger manipulatives are stored in this shelving unit I found at a yard sale. I'm pretty sure you can buy them at K-Mart. The kids can access these things easily and will use them at their seat independently if they finish with their classwork before I ding the bell.

I love teaching guided math. It's not a requirement at my school so I have a lot of freedom. I don't have to do any fancy lesson plans * sigh of relief.* The last thing I will share with you is some of the math mats I use while working at my table. These are great for review, enrichment, or for math warm ups. I put them into page protects and pull them out for easy use. The students can sometimes use counters or beans with them and others mats require them to write with a dry erase marker. It's easier than using a white board because students thoughts are all organized the same way. We progress to a whiteboard after they become accustomed to a certain type of math format. Click the picture below to check out these math mats at TpT. There are 16 different mats and a few extra pages with explicit demonstrations showing how to best use the mat.

I will give three away for three new followers and comments! Make sure you become a follower. Then leave a comment. Don't forget your email address!

Would love to know how some you bloggers out their are doing small group math. With common core coming into full swing I could use some insight. What's working for you?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Reading Tracks and a Freebie

It seems like all I post about is literacy, but I promise we do other things in my classroom. I will post some more about math but I just love Daily 5 and teaching kids to read. I really do feel like reading and writing are at the heart of the other subjects and so essential for success! Some of the teachers in my grade level require daily reading response logs. For the struggling writer it detracts from their reading time. I find it hard to remediate for logs and I eventually got away from it. I do guided writing during my reading groups often so I am able to provide writing support. This independent writing time seemed to be just a busy work activity. I felt like I needed something more so I poked around in my literacy lab at school and came across ....

How fortunate I was to have this resource in my district. I have used it some for shared reading but never delved into very deeply. It really helped me boost my independent reading time. Each book takes a strategy you would teach. The author's keep their mini lessons interactive and have kids record ideas on post it notes. I have done this type of thing before but I had never added any sort of codes for organization. That has been the huge difference. The pictures below will explain it better.

Graphics courtesy of DJ Inkers.

Click here to get a copy of the anchor charts and code poster.

I started by making a class anchor chart with one strategy a week. We practiced that strategy whole group and used post it notes - a lot. Now that we are good at it I don't have the class made anchor chart I have replaced it with this smaller version as a simple reminder. I modeled certain reading tracks and we sorted them based on their quality. I saw this idea on Pinterest. My anchor chart is much more plain, but you get the idea. Level one is a poor response and needs a life preserver. Level two is a bit better and begins to dig deeper, thus the anchor. Level 3 is a great reading track and is considered treasure. The kids will often ask if something is a Level 3 reading track. Here is a copy of that anchor chart from Pinterest. It really puts mine to shame.

The students practice the codes during independent reading time. They are shortened, mini responses. They are not required but we do practice them during strategy groups quite often. It helps my readers be intentional about their thinking.
This year I began allowing my readers to lounge and get comfortable. I found these wonderful mats at the Dollar Tree. I'm pretty sure they are floor rugs. They look like mini horse blankets and the kids love them. They are a plus for independent reading.  Some kids take clipboards or just bear down on their book bins.

Here is a visualization.  If a student stops during their reading and says words that go along with visualizations I will say, "Sketch that!" We practiced sketching using a timer so that readers would not become artists. I usually try to limit them to a good minute or minute and a half. They are good now about self monitoring.

Sometimes their visualizations can help them understand tricky parts. This reader was unsure about how exactly a sea horse can be protected since it's so small. A quick sketch led to a conversation which led to understanding. Nothing the V on the bottom of this post it.

We have talked a lot about listening to our inside reader's voice. When I am doing a think aloud or a read aloud and I come across something weird or odd or confusing I will go 'Beep, beep, beep'  like an alarm. The kids will often sit up with looks on their faces like 'Oh yea, this is going to be good.' You can see that this reader started his post it with the words 'Awesome.' This shows he was listening to his reader's voice and the beep beep sound in his own head. I also stress using those emotions and reactions when we read because readers that react to their text are MUCH more likely to remember it. This was a learned fact but you can't see the L because he wrote a lot more on the back.

This one is a bit light but it is a main idea web.  He wrote the book title in the middle of the circle and looked for interesting words on one page. We have practiced deconstructing texts and orally reconstructing them. My students know to write one or two words to jog their memory. This has been a year long skill to practice. There is a W in the bottom of this post it note.

Reading codes work for chapter books, too! This is a connection to a Magic Tree House Research Guided about Husky Dogs. This particular student did a great job because he made a connection and used a support word (because). We work hard on using that support and having a level 3 response.

 This visualization is a funny one to me. He drew a picture of a snake and wrote the words weird. He should have included what made it weird, but he did verbalize it to me. His book was about green anacondas which are brown and black. He thought it strange that they are called the green anaconda when they are not green.

The kids are always very proud of their post it notes. I try to let them share them at least once a week or after a strategy group. I find it's hard to always get to them so we hang them on our Show it Off wall. You can read about that here.

Since I didn't like the traditional read and respond format this has been a good fit for me. I'd love to know what you do. How do you get kids writing but keep them reading?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Geometry and a Freebie

This month we have been studying about shapes in math. I love geometry - it's definitely my favorite thing to teach in math. I wanted to show you a few of the things we have done. I have found so many wonderful free resources and ideas on Pinterest some you have probably seen before, but just in case....

This is a hall display we made learning about slides, flips and turns. The kids love using their hand prints to understand this skill.

This week we did a 3D shape graph. I had found a website a long time ago that I used for recording sheets. Click here to go the website. It's about half way down. I used sour cubes instead of caramel because I knew they'd be more popular. I also used Gobstoppers instead of Whoppers because of a food allergy.

 We ended today with making shapes using gum drops and toothpicks. That's always exciting. Below is one I made. I had to use raisins for the sample because I was afraid I'd run out of gumdrops.

Here is a game I created to review naming basic 3D shapes. Graphics courtesy of DJ Inkers.

Ahh....almost Friday! :)  


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Work on Writing and a Freebie

 I've been posting a lot of things we do during our literacy block. Have I mentioned it's my favorite time of the day? I love to teach the kids new strategies and watch the light bulbs come on. What is even more important is that my students do not waste their independent time. That is why I love Daily 5! I decided to post a few things that my students can do for work on writing.

This is a homework pocket. In it there are class books that students can add to during their work on writing time.

Here is a close up. The labels help the kids to see all the book titles and they can quickly choose one to get started with.

The books are bound using a machine we have at school I created the covers using basic Microsoft Word clip art. The front and back sheets are printed on card stock for durability. 

Here is a notebook full of word lists by category. It came from the Carl's Corner. Click the picture to go to her website to download copies of your own topic lists.
When books are filled up we put them in the classroom library. This is by far a favorite bucket. 

My class loves this collaborative journal effort. There are enough journal topics to keep them interested and engaged.

Click below for a copy of some journals you may want to use for Daily 5 in your classroom. 

Graphics courtesy of DJ Inkers.

Check back soon! I have other Work on Writing activities to share and would love to know how you all do work on writing in your room.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Daily 5 Working with Words

One of my favorite times of the day is Daily 5. Before this year I dreaded this time of year because centers became boring and behaviors became problematic. The Daily 5 has changed this so much for me. I really was afraid that the items would seem mundane after a while but that has not been the case. So this post is going to show you a few of my favorites for Working with Words. I do a lot of the traditional word study activities and wanted to share my class' favorites.

Here is where we store the Working with Words Activities.  I scored this wonderful drawer set at a thrift shop for $7!! :)

I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it! I used tacky glue and scrap book letters to create an interesting way to spell spelling words. The kids do like this one quite a bit.

The play doh letters were not that great for my kids but I did find this worked as an alternative. I bought some stampers at Target back in the summer at the dollar spot. Don't you love Target? Anyway, they make great indentions into the play doh and the kids love to use them. 

Here is a close up of the stampers. These were only a buck! I bought several sets so we use them with ink pads and with play doh.

Bead spelling is always popular!

I found this little tiny storage container in the craft section. It's double sided so there are plenty of beads in it. The stickers on the sides help the kids not have to search and search for beads.

Boggle is the favorite in my class because I do offer rewards for a full sheet of words.

I found these round Scrabble tiles online. The kids love to do a little math with their spelling.

This is another favorite. It's just popsicle sticks poked into Play Doh so they will stand. On the sticks there are foam craft letters. They have held up all year with only one casualty.

You can barely see the container but it has stickers on it for easy organization. 

 Hope this gives you a few ideas of some things to do in your room. We love learning about words and these activities have helped keep my kids calm AND engaged. I love Daily 5, don't you?