Monday, August 17, 2015

Math Routines for the Entire Year and a FREEBIE for you!

Awhile back, I wrote a blog post about daily math routines that I like to use to help my students focus in on our math lesson.  You can read that post HERE!  For a long time, I wanted to write these routines into a math unit that would have plans for every day of the school year and that would get progressively harder during the school year.  I finally did!  It begins simple and gets harder throughout the year.  I've attached a week of activities for free for you so you can give it a try!  The entire unit looks like this:
This unit is a monthly themed unit.  There is a student answer recording sheet and instructions for you for every day.  Each answer sheet has spaces for an entire week so you will copy front and back on two pages for the entire month!  The kinds of activities included are:  counting base 10 blocks, counting forwards and backwards within 1000, skip counting by 2's, 5's and 10's forwards and backwards, counting money and writing numbers in expanded form and word form, telling time and building numbers.  It's a quick review that is great to get kids thinking about math! The pages look like this:
 To get your first week of August free, click HERE!  When you are ready to get the unit for the entire year, click HERE! to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  
Only one more day for me until Meet the Teacher night.  I'm going to be busy all day tomorrow getting ready for that.  I'll post pics tomorrow!  I hope you all are having a productive and fun "getting ready for school" time!
If you download the freebie, please leave me some feedback!

Back to School Sale!

Ok.  If you didn't get in on the sale earlier in August, you get one more chance!  On Wednesday, August 19 Teachers Pay Teachers will be having another sale!  Make sure you get all of those things that you will need for August and September! 

Happy Shopping!
Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back To School # 3 and a FREEBIE!!!!

If you are like me, or if you are like hundreds and hundreds of other teachers this time of year, you are getting yourself ready for the new school year that is approaching very quickly.  I have only been away from my room for summer break for a few weeks but when I go back for the first time in August, it feels like I have been gone forever!  Once everything is clean, desks are arranged, (see my Back To School # 2 Post) different areas in the room are arranged, (book center, supplies, etc.) it's time for me to think about what I would like to accomplish with my students the very first day of school. Of course I know that plans and materials need to be ready.  I also know from experience that I need to over plan.  What I thought would take 30 minutes may end up being 10.....then what do we do..... So I plan ALOT of things to do the first day.   I also jump right into my "normal" routine, the routine and schedule that  I plan to follow the entire year. It is fun to do some "getting to know you" activities and I will do a few of these.  Since I teach 2nd grade, I know that these students have already been in school for 2 years and should be aware of basic rules.  Classroom routines will be somewhat different but for the most part, they know that there is no talking in the hallway or bathroom, how to "do" lunch and other things.  I like to focus on my classroom routines.  Last year, I made a book called "Let's Do School"  to complete with students about classroom and school routines.  I included an area for students to "draw" what these procedures look like.  For example, there is a page where students draw a picture of what a correct line looks like.  I like to do a funny drawing to show students what a correct line DOES NOT look like.  They always laugh at these "rule breakers" and then I draw a picture to show them the correct way.  I think that second grade students are still very visual and need to see what I'm talking about when I say....when we line up, we face the front, our mouths are quiet and our hands are by our side.  I stress that we have these rules and procedures to keep us safe and happy at school so I talk about what could happen if we do these procedures incorrectly.  For example, line up and walk in the hallway quietly so we won't disturb other classes.  We use our best manners at lunch, don't talk with food in our mouths and don't play at the table because we don't want anyone getting choked on their food.  I like to relate the rules back to real life situations that students can relate to so that they become meaningful to students.  So, I love using my "Let's Do School" rules and procedures book.  Instead of me just rambling off don't do this, don't do that....this is a whole group activity that we do together and students have the book to refer back to.  Here is a look at the book.

We do a few pages each day.  I've included the first two pages here in my blog for you for FREE! 
Click HERE to get the FREEBIE!   If you want the entire book you can click HERE to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you want to get the entire book.
Usually we do a few pages each day and then keep this book until September Open House.  I like to have these books out with some of their other work for parents to see.  If you download the free pages, I would love to hear what you think! 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back To School Sale 2015!!

It's here folks!  Time to stock up on everything you need for BTS 15!!  I know my cart is full!
My entire store is on sale with an  extra 20 percent off!
 You know you are going to need it!! Let's get shopping! Don't forget the code BTS15 at checkout !!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back To School- # 2

When I design my room layout, I think about traffic patterns into the room, a good place to line up to leave the room, students being able to work together for cooperative learning activities, having room to have reading and math centers and having floor space if we want to gather around to hear a story.  I like to put my desks in pods of 4.  At each group of tables, I group students by ability.  If you are looking down at the pod of desks, it looks like this: 
This idea of seating came from this book:  It's full of ideas on how to get kids up, moving and sharing! 

Now, the seating chart above is how I arrange my desks.  You have a medium high beside a low student because a medium high is usually more patient in helping a lower student than a high student is.  The medium low student is beside the high student.  The medium or medium low student doesn't need as much help as the low student so the high student usually does well helping the medium low or medium student.  The students beside each other are called shoulder buddies.  Sometimes when we are solving math problems, etc, I'll tell the class to work with their shoulder buddy.  If I want LIKE abilities, I'll tell the class to work with their face buddies.  If I need to form groups to work on something, I'll call A's to meet in one place and B's to work in another.  If I need to have kids of the SAME ability to work together, I would call 1's to meet together, 2's, 3's and 4's because these would be the same ability levels.  The students are NOT aware of the ability part.  I love this arrangement.  It pairs students to work based on what I need accomplished at the time.  The uses of this arrangement are endless!  If you don't have this book, it is worth the investment.  What I discovered is that when I kept students moving and kept students working, there were very few behavior or management issues to deal with.  
To put your students in order, choose some type of grade or test score.  I used each student's DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency score.  List these scores from highest to lowest.  Now, count down the first five students and draw a line.  Those are your top five students.  Count up the last five from the bottom.  Those are your lowest five.  Now count down the next five from the top.  These are your medium high kids.  The next five from the bottom are your medium low students.  This gets us to 20.  You can put the left over students either in the medium high or medium low category.  If you need to add a fifth desk to the pods, put it on the end between the high and medium high.   Check out the book for a more thorough explanation. 
There are a lot of other cooperative learning activities in book as well.  I'll highlight more in another post.  For now, consider arranging your students in this kind of pod.  You'll be glad you did!  Let me know your thoughts!
Monday, July 20, 2015

Back To School # 1

I can't believe it is already the middle of July!  Before we know it, we will be welcoming a bunch of smiling faces into our classrooms once again!  If you haven't already, it is time to begin preparing.  I think that the more we can do ahead of time, the better!  So, it's time to think about room layout, how our shelves will be arranged, where the reading books will go, what bulletin boards we need to put up....and if you are changing your classroom theme, you have ALOT to do!  I am using the Dr. Seuss theme again next year.  I love the colors and the whimsy of the Dr. Seuss decorations. Outside in the hallway where I display student work says, "Oh The Places We'll Go In Second Grade!"  I bought the large hats that were supposed to be student hats and cut the bands off.  I laminated them and I put a label with each student's name on them.  I put a 11X18 laminated piece of black construction paper with each hat and that is where I display each student's work ALL YEAR!!!  It's easy to maintain because the only thing that I have to change is the student work.

Here are snow boys and girls in January. 
 This is a writing that we did in February about the importance of a good breakfast!
 This was a writing and a math activity last fall.
 And, at Easter, I took the hat part down and put our bunnies up! How cute are they!
 A bigger look at fall....
So I like that this is easy to maintain and can look good all year long!  I would love to hear your ideas about how to use your outside wall!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Divergent Thinking Centers for May and Summer

We are on the final countdown until summer!  I can't believe how quickly this year has gone!  When I look back at things we were doing at the beginning of the year and the things that we are doing now, I am amazed at the growth of my students.  We practice  a lot of skills during the year in reading centers but the reading centers that I wrote for May/June are a little bit different.  I designed them to encourage students to use their divergent thinking skills.  I'll just tell you before hand, they don't like this as well.  They have to really think and they would just rather ask me what the answer would be....One student today had the question in her reading center that asked her to list three things you could do with a stick...the centers are camping themed...Seriously, as a kid, I probably thought of AND did hundreds of things with a stick!  The kids today are different though.  These center activities encourage them to think on their own, and I like that! We have spend a lot of time this year learning to answer questions in complete sentences and give evidence for our answers.  We have solved addition and subtraction problems using base 10 blocks, number lines and expanded form.  We have solved more word problems that I care to remember.  So, now is the time to be creative.  Let's brush the cob webs off of those creative abilities and encourage our kids to think!!!!  Here is a look at a few of the center ideas.

This activity is called "What Am I."  Students read the clue card, match it to the answer card and then write their answer onto their answer sheet. 

Another activity is called Summer Camp List It.  Students draw a card and then list the three things that the card is asking them.
There is a "Fishing for Fact and Opinion" center activity.  Students sort the cards onto the "Fact" or "Opinion" mat.  Later, students choose a topic and write their own facts and opinions. 
This unit has 5 literacy and 5 math centers that your students will love!  The entire unit looks like this:
You can see it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE! 
Just a few more days until Summer Vacation!!!!!  I would love to hear from you to see how you plan to relax this summer!
Take Care....and Hang On!