Sunday, September 29, 2013

Finally Teaching, FALL, and Math

   Oh, my! I feel like there has been a huge void in my life not blogging every couple of days. The past couple of weeks have been CRAZY in my school life. There is so many ASSESSMENTS, changes, ASSESSMENTS, training, ASSESSMENTS, assemblies, oh and did I mention ASSESSMENTS?!?!? I have mentioned before that I teach in a small school district in northern Colorado. Being in a small district has its advantages and disadvantages. I have loved every minute of working here the last three years, but the past couple of weeks has been a struggle. A struggle to maintain my love of education. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE teaching and always will. I love my classroom kiddos to pieces.
   I have always thought long-term, not short-term. And some of the decisions and direction that education is taking is making the fun and excitement turn towards draining. But that does not mean I give any less to my kiddos. They deserve the best and not be "guinea pigs" of the system! My district is implementing two more assessments and literacy interventions. My teammates and I are going with the punches, taking out more, and putting in more time for these assessments. BOO! But, I finally think I can fully begin my Walk to Read rotation this week with our second grade intensive kiddos with all three teachers TEACHING!!! Only five weeks into the school year my precious kiddos can finally get the attention they need!
   The weather the last couple of days here in Colorado has made me so excited for fall. I love to be able to pull out the boots, leggings, and sweaters. I am so excited to be able to take Caden and Ashton to the pumpkin patch, play football outside, and bake anything pumpkin! My classroom kiddos are getting excited for fall too. I love how they mention every morning during math when we graph our weather the changes they see and feel outside. This week we will be using my Pumpkin Nonfiction Unit to write about the pumpkin lifecycle. I will be posting it in my TPT store this week once I get some pictures added from each of the activities and crafts we will be completing. Here is a little peak...

   I am so excited about the direction my math block is going. I know in earlier posts this summer I expressed my deep concern about teaching math as not teaching it last year. But, I am pleasantly surprised...actually pleasantly is an understatement! My kiddos are ROCKIN our math block! This past week our Georgia Unit was working with add addition and subtraction strategies. Here is a look at us using links and connecting cubes to solve equations...
I am so proud of my kiddos trying to get away from using their fingers to add and subtract!

   My teammates and I have 90 minutes in which we complete calendar, warm-ups (songs and videos), our whole group lesson, from the Georgia Units, cooperative learning, and Daily 5 Math. We have been spending the last three weeks building our Daily 5 Math stamina. My kiddos know that the countdown is on to fully implement all five rotations of Daily 5 Math on October 21st. Almost all of my kiddos have become experts at Math with Self and Math Writing. We have spent two solid weeks practicing what Math Writing looks like. My teammates and I are using my monthly math journals and then when our kiddos finish they get to go into the math center and pick two number cards, an operation card, and setting card to write their own story problem in their math notebook. We have really been pushing the three parts to a story problem; the story problem, pictorial representation, and equation with label. Here is an example of the three parts we have been practicing...

  And here are the two math journals we are using for the month of October. We differentiate the two journals using the word problems for the kiddos that need more math intervention and the other journal for our kiddos that can complete higher level thinking math activities. You can click on each image to be taken to my TPT store.
   Our plan in math this week is to introduce more in-depth activities with a 200s chart. We will also introduce our Math Work bins during our Daily 5 Math time. We have already used some of the place value activities in my Apples Centers during teacher time, but we will really explore all of the activities as well as incorporate my Halloween math activities during this time. You can get both at my TPT store by clicking on the images below...

   Enjoy your week and celebrate the fall season!






Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last Week in Pictures

   It has been a CRAZY week! Hence the reason from the blogging world for a week. I have been trying to get over my allergies, help heal a sick kiddo at home, and help the other kiddo with his physical map geography project. Anyways, here is a look at what we were up to last week...
   We spent our math block reviewing place value. We also worked with ordering numbers greatest to least, least to greatest, and comparing two sets of numbers with <, >, or =.  My kiddos loved our end of the week review games before we took our post assessment.
Here we are working in cooperative groups using plastic toys to make each side of the equal sign the same.
Does this equal?
Using place value mats and manipulative to build numbers. This kiddo needed a little support when it came to her tens!
Place value GO Fish! This was a rotation favorite.
Place value lacing shoes. These were a summer find at Lakeshore Learning. There are base-ten pieces on one side of the card and numerals or expanded notation on the opposite side. Kiddos take a shoestring and lace back-and-forth to match their answers.
My Building Numbers flipbook. You can read about how I made them here.
We also made little alligators to help us compare numbers with the greater than or less than sign.
   Our Daily 5 is underway during our Walk to Read rotations. My kiddos in the intensive room have done a fabulous job building their stamina for read to self, writing, and word work. Here are some of my kiddos using our reading tools while reading to self. They are allowed to use the whisper phones (Lakeshore Learning), pointers, big glasses, or reading buddies (beanie babies). These silly little tools have helped my kiddos stay on task longer because they know its a privilege to use them.
    Well its going to be another busy week! I am going to a training on a new reading intervention tomorrow so I am hoping my substitute can teach my kiddos how to make pancakes tomorrow!!! (We are learning how to incorporate transition words in how-to's)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Math Block and Place Value Overload

   I don't know if you have been watching the news at all, but my poor state of Colorado is overflowing with rain and flood waters. It is so hard to believe that the major cities around me, that are only a 30 minutes drive, is like a scene from a movie. Thank goodness we have a sump pump that has held-up and no flood in my city. Many of the teachers and staff from my district live in cities with road closures so we had an early release yesterday across the district. The rain is continuing tonight with many of the larger school districts already closed for classes Monday morning.
   Well we are in full swing in our math block. My teammates and I have blocked out 90 minutes for math each morning. 60 minutes is spent with calendar, graphing in our Leadership Data Notebooks, whole group lessons, cooperative learning, and individual work. The last 30 minutes is spent with Daily 5 Math. We have been building our stamina the last several weeks with Math with Self and Work on Writing. Math with Self we use my math recording sheet below with today's number of the day. Math Writing is spent working with my math journals. You can read about them and download them here.
  This week my kiddos will move onto hopefully get to begin working with Math Work. We will use my Apples Math Unit to practice how to get the bins from our math cart, play each activity, and write our answers on the recording sheets. You can read about this unit and download them here.
   The past week our focus has been on expanding our base ten understanding. As mentioned in prior posts, my teammates and I are using the Georgia Math Units with our kiddos this year. But while planning we discovered that all of our kiddos were missing skills and concepts for the rigor of these units. So we have been using items from my Extending Base Ten Understanding Unit. We began last week with number line activities. We gave each of our kiddos a number card and had them try to order themselves from 1-23 (we only have 23 kiddos so far!) with NO voices. This was pretty difficult with the 17, YES I said 17, boys that I have in my class. We tried it a second time using our voices and helping order each other. I then reviewed number lines with my anchor cart and a large number line. We hot glued frogs onto clothespins so my kiddos would "hop" them forward and backward on the number line. Once we had a good understanding of how to use number lines to solve addition and subtraction problems we played Number Line Sliders. Taking gallon baggies with drawn on number lines we worked in groups to solve addition or subtraction problems. We all began with a different number, spun a spinner, and added or subtracted 0, 1, 2, or 3 from our starting number. Use our number line slider baggies we solved the equation and wrote our answer. We then carried our answer down and spun the spinner again. We played twelve rounds!

   My kiddos then reviewed their odd and even numbers. We played Stand Up, Hand Up, and Pair Up with number cards and odd/even cards. Kiddos with a number card had to pair up with a kiddo that had an odd or even card depending on their number. We then made the cutest Odd and Even Frogs. My kiddos colored and cut frogs and glued flies onto their "tongue". Once they had their flies glued on their recording sheet they wrote the total number of flies, made fact families, and wrote if their flies were odd or even.


   We then moved onto place value. WOW. WOW. WOW. This was a struggle at first, but I think my kiddos are finally starting to understand what place value actually is...not just a number. We began by sorting base ten pieces onto mats by bits, rods, and flats. Once we learned what the pieces were we then sorted the base ten pieces by ones, tens, and hundreds.

    Then using my Mystery Number mats I had my kiddos work in their cooperative groups to make the number I asked with their base ten pieces. So I started by say, "My mystery number has three bits, four rods, and two flats. What's my mystery number?" My kiddos built the number on the mat and wrote the number under each of the place values. We played several times with me changing my vocabulary to, "My mystery number has six tens, one hundred, and eight ones. What is my mystery number?" My kiddos LOVED this game. I had one table that had trouble Synergizing together, but they finally got the hang of it. We spent the end of the week using Abby's Marshmallow Math to introduce expanded notation. I don't have any pictures of this activity because I had to use my first sick day of the school year for my eldest kiddo. Poor guy had a fever for two days and then we had to put his doggie down. SAD day! :( But, my sub said the kiddos LOVED this activity and did pretty well. Then on Friday we made place value houses with base ten pieces. My kiddos made skyscrapers and farms that we learned about in our community unit.
   We will review expanded notation on Monday and Tuesday with a dice game and more activities from my math units. We will finish up the week with less than/greater than/equal to with manipulative and alligator crafts. PLACE VALUE OVERLOAD!!! You can get my Extending Base Ten Understanding Unit in my TPT store by clicking on one of the links below.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Super Sentence Hero's and Working on Writing Stamina

   I cannot believe that we have already completed three weeks of school! Where has the time gone? I feel like my kiddos are finally getting into the swing of the classroom routines and expectations. With beginning of the year testing almost complete my teammates and I are ready to begin our official Walk to Read rotations on Monday.
   Our Leadership Data Notebooks are going so well and my kiddos are finally able to complete three activities each morning during our warm-up without my prompting. YEAH!  More to come on how I use my data notebooks daily.
   This week my writing kiddos became SUPER SENTENCE HERO'S! Using my punctuation unit, and the cutest little superhero masks I found at Michaels, we began by reviewing what types of sentences receive a period, question, or exclamation marks. We sorted super sentences onto an anchor chart...
   When we had a good idea of punctuation marks at the end of sentences we made our own asking and telling sentences to place on our classroom cape.
   Once all of our sticky notes were placed on the cape we read the sentences aloud and my kiddos superhero's held up the correct punctuation mark to match the sentence.
(I love how they are looking to see if they have the right punctuation mark.)
   We made a punctuation flipbook, a cut& paste practice page, and finished up our unit by making our own little superhero punctuation marks.

 In addition to our superhero unit my kiddos finally got the opportunity to begin to explore the writing center. My kiddos from my Walk to Read room also were introduced to the writing center to build their Work on Writing stamina.
    Here we are working with letter stamps, etch-a-sketches, and finger puppets.

 My Walk to Read kiddos are up to 12 minutes of writing stamina! I was so proud of all of them being real pretend words, scribbling, or sitting doing nothing. My writing kiddos also did well with the materials when they finished their work. This week they will have "fancy" paper and stickers.
   You can get my Super Sentence Hero's Unit in my TPT store by clicking on the link below.






Monday, September 2, 2013

Our First Half Day...Oh What a Busy Second Week

   Thank goodness we had a three day weekend to recoup from the craziness of last week. I felt as if the week lasted for a month. My kiddos are still amazing, but my teammates and I ran into so many roadblocks. Part of our town lost water so we had an early release early last week at 11:15. We had to call each kiddos parent to see how they would get home. Of course it would happen in the middle of our second grade rotations. But, we got all those kiddos home and were excited to have the whole afternoon to plan. (Yes my teammates and I would rather hold our "pee" for a couple hours to get in valuable plan time than go home.)
   As we began navigating through the math units my school adopted this year we were struggling. We love the ideas and rigor of the Georgia Math Units and alignment to the CCSS, but our kiddos need to be experts at skills they simply are not. We pushed up our sleeves and began bouncing ideas off one another...gotta love those two ladies. We began creating activities to fill-in our kiddos gaps so we can jump into the Georgia Units one lesson at a time. I will upload pictures and our lessons as we write, execute, and reflect upon them.
   We jumped into our Data Leadership Notebooks this week with several lessons in graphing. After making an anchor chart we graphed M&Ms and ways we get home from school.

    Our writing rotations are also underway. I LOVE switching classroom of kiddos so I can work with all of the second graders and not just my kiddos. This week we practiced our nouns, verbs, and adjectives. In groups we picked a place (farm, zoo, fairy tale, ocean) and then made a town of nouns.
   The kiddos then learned that authors and illustrators label their pictures to make sure the reader knows what they are. This helped build their knowledge of labeling for when we explore non-fiction texts and informational writing in the upcoming weeks. After labeling an anchor chart with sticky notes it was time to label ourselves!

   The kiddos loved this activity! Of course they had to label eyes, nose, and mouth. I think there might have even been a bellybutton labeled. We then went back and labeled our noun towns.
   We ended the week with introducing adjectives with popcorn. Each kiddo got three types of popcorn and we used all of our senses to come up with adjectives to describe the popcorn. We wrote the adjectives on the popcorn kernels on our anchor chart and then began making our own popcorn bag craft.
 Because of the early release we will finish up our popcorn crafts on Tuesday and use one of my favorite stories The Enormous Crocodile to review adjectives with a crocodile craft. Happy Labor Day everyone!