Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Centers and 2 Freebies!

We have been so busy in our classroom learning "Christmas Style"!  Even though it is the Christmas season and the kids are beyond excited, we have to continue on with learning.  We are, after all, on a tight schedule.  So, I decided to make all of our "learning" Christmas Themed.  The kids have been practicing their math skills in centers.  Here is a look.
This game is called Elves Addition.  Students have to work each problem on their answer sheet, match the problem card to the answer card and then decide if they regrouped or not and put the problem card onto the "I had to regroup" or the "I didn't have to regroup" mats.  So the kids would come to me and say, I got 59 but there isn't an answer card with 59, so this was a good chance to teach them that they should check over their answers and rework the problem.

North Pole Number Sort is another game we played.  The kids had to sort the numbers by the picture.  Once they did this, they put the number cards into order by picture from least to greatest.  After they sorted the numbers, they wrote them onto their answer sheet.
A literacy game that we played this week in centers is called Fa La La La List It.  It was a good activity because it forced the students to think on their own and come up with answers.  Students would choose a card.  Each card would ask them to list 3 different things, like 3 fruits, 3 song titles, etc.  They enjoyed it and I hope it stretched their thinking just a little!
This center unit has 4 literacy and 4 math games in it.  You can see the entire unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here! Here is a look at all of the centers.
This week, we will continue with Christmas themed math and reading centers.  I've made some freebies for you to use.  In one literacy center, students will write their spelling words onto these flashcards.  They cut them apart and put the words into ABC order.  Finally, they will write their words onto their answer sheet.  Click HERE TO GET THE FREEBIE!
Last but not least are our Letters to Santa.  The kids loved doing this.  They were so serious as they worked and their handwriting was perfect!  I think we will write to Santa every day!  You can get a copy of the letter form that we used by clicking HERE! Here is a look at the letter.

Next week in math we will do a quick 5 day unit on Christmas Arrays.  It has lesson plans, homework, classwork, a project and a quiz.  Click here to see the unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Here is a look at the unit. 
The project is really cute.  I can't wait to make these with my students.
I guess most of us get out next week sometime?  We are finished on Friday the 20th.  I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing break!  If you like the freebies, please leave me some feedback! Next blog?  January, here we come!!!
Take Care,
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Freebies!

We are smack in the middle of Thanksgiving in our room.  If you haven't heard yet, there are awesome activities on the Scholastic web site.  Go to and you will lots activities and tons of pictures and information about the Pilgrims and Indians.  We started with Pilgrims.  We made a venn diagram of Pilgrim boys and girls and compared their clothing and chores.  Then the kids wrote a story as if they were a Pilgrim girl or boy.  We looked up names that would have been popular then so they got to choose their name.  After they wrote their story they made a Pilgrim boy or girl.  Here is a look at how they turned out.

You can find the patterns for these cuties and Indians as well in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE!  I made some decorative Thanksgiving paper for the kids to write their stories on.  You can get it FREE by clicking HERE!
We have also been working on some great November themed center activities as well. 
This is a number matching game that is part of my November Themed Literacy and Math center pack.  Students had to match the number form, word form and expanded form for each number. 
The picture above shows my November Word Sort game. The kids sort words into categories like food, clothes, animals, etc.  Then they write their answers onto their answer sheet.    You can see the entire unit by clicking HERE!  I'll show  you our Indians as soon as we get them finished! Meanwhile, check out the Thanksgiving activities on scholastic.  It is wonderful!
Leave me some feedback!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Free Math Games!

Wow!  I can't believe it is already November!!!  Time is passing quickly.  It will be Christmas before we know it.  I wanted to share a few things with you that we are doing in our room.  First, we finished our Addition Strategies unit last Friday.  The kids learned to solve addition problems using the 100's board, Place Value Strategy, Break Apart Strategy, Adding Ones and Tens and Using a Number Line.  So now that we have learned those strategies, we will continue practicing them forever! Seriously, forever!!  This is a two week unit.  Here is a look at it. 
It has everything you need to teach these addition strategies including class work, homework, tests, games AND lesson plans!  Easy as pie!!  Here is the link to this unit in my Teacher's Pay Teacher's Store. Click HERE!!
So we finished addition and yesterday we started the subtraction unit.  The lesson for today was a SCOOT game to practice subtracting using the 100's board.  Here is a look at the kids playing SCOOT.

This is how it works in case you don't know.  You put a subtraction problem on each desk.  They are numbered.  Then put a 100's board on each desk.  I have the kids use these transparent BINGO markers to slide it on the 100's board.  The way I teach them to subtract on the 100's board is to first: circle the number they start on, like with 52 - 24.  They circle 52. Then they put an up arrow beside the 2 to show that they go up two rows of 10 and an arrow to the left under the number in the 1's place.  In this case, the arrow tells them to move four places to the left.  Their problem looks like this:
So they put their clear chip on 52.  Next they slide it up 2 rows for 2 tens and to the left four spaces for 4 ones.  They land on 28.  So after they finish their problem they stand up behind their chair. When everyone is standing, I know they are all finished so I call "Scoot" and they go to the next desk.  For example, desk 2 goes to desk 3, 3 goes to 4, etc.  Put the problems on the desks in numerical order so the kids aren't running around everywhere looking for the next number. My class loves to play SCOOT.  We have played it by counting base 10 blocks, using word problems and addition with the 100's board.  Later we will use it with time, money, measurement, and on and on.  The kids love moving around and sitting in a different desk for a minute!  It's the little things I guess! 
Here is the subtraction unit if you are interested.
Click HERE to go to the unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Ok, after we played SCOOT, the kids went to math centers.  They go to one math center a day for about 30 minutes.  They go to four math centers a week.  One center was the game "Gobbling Up Numbers"  It is a simple but valuable activity where kids cut out the number cards and glue them in order from least to greatest.  The numbers are from 1-999.  Here is a finished one. 
You can get this one FREE!  Click HERE FOR YOUR COPY!!! 
In another center, I made a quick sheet to practice using the Break Apart Strategy to solve addition problems.  The kids rolled 2 dice to get their first number.  Then rolled again and got their second number.  Then they solved the problem using the Break Apart Strategy.  Here is a look at that game.

You can get a free copy of this by clicking HERE!!!
Well, I think that is all for now.  We are starting to work on writing our Pilgrim and Indian stories.  I'll show you how those turn out in a few days.  We are going to write and then make these cuties to go with them!
You can get the patterns by clicking this link to my TPT store.
Ok, if you download the freebies, please leave me some feedback and let me know how you like them!  Thanks!
Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween Math Ideas, A FREEBIE and Looking Ahead to Thanksgiving

We are right in the middle of Halloween in our room.  I can't believe that it is coming NEXT WEEK!!!  Today in one of my math centers, I had the kids make a ghost.  In our math journals we have been practicing ....the answer is....  This is when I give students an answer and they come up with what the equation could be.  Today they came up with their own answer and then listed 10 equations and wrote them on this cute ghost.

Another fun center that I think turned out super cute is this spider sorting activity.  Students put the spider webs in front of them and then sort the spider onto the correct web. 

The webs are numbered 1-100, 101-200, and so on up to 500.  Students have to decide where the spiders go.  Some students used their numbers to 1000 book if they needed help.   This game is included in my October Literacy and Math Centers.  You can find it in my TPT store by clicking
Another math activity that I pulled out this week is the Race to 1000 game.  Today in math we started a new unit on Addition Strategies. Click here to see the addition strategies unit.  Today we learned to use the 100's board to solve addition problems.  I wanted the kids to practice this in centers so I brought out the Race to 1000 game.  Students had 2 number cubes.  They rolled the cubes, made a 2 digit number and then moved down for the tens and across for the ones.  For example, 52 means I move down 5 rows and to the right 2 boxes.  Here is a look at the game.  You can make one by copying 100's boards to 1000 and tape them together.  Laminate for durability.  Give the kids a clear bingo marker and 2 dice or number cubes and you are ready to go.  The first one to 1000 is the winner.

I highlighted the 100's just to give kids a reference point.  I had to tape the ends down because I store these rolled up since they are so long so they won't stay flat!  The kids love seeing all of the numbers to 1000.  This is a great game for the entire year.  I don't think you can get enough practice using numbers to 1000.  After I teach subtraction using the 100's board, students will play again and start at 1000 and subtract to race to 1.  You could also use this with counting coins, word problems, base 10 blocks, and on and on.  It's an easy go to game.
Last week we wrote our Halloween stories.  We have been working on narratives.  I had students write a story about a time they went trick-or-treating.  They copied their story onto this cute Halloween paper and then made a Halloween craft to go with their writing.  This is how they turned out.

These are the patterns they had to choose from.  They are in my tpt store as well.  Click
If you want a free copy of the writing paper, click HERE FOR THE FREEBIE!!!
So my head is spinning now.  BUT I'm looking ahead to November...because it is coming next week. If you are going to all of the trouble to put something in the hall, you need to get it finished so it can stay up a couple of weeks!! :)  So I've already made the patterns for Pilgrims and Indians.  Here is how they turned out.
You can see them in my store as well.  Click here.
I hope you found some helpful ideas today!  Leave me some feedback and let me know what you think!
Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Crafts and a Freebie!

As I said earlier, I love Halloween time at school.  I made some craft templates for my students to use to make some Halloween creatures to go with their Halloween writing that we are working on.  I posted them to my Teachers Pay Teachers store this afternoon.  Here is a look at the crafts.
There is a witch, Frankenstein, a bat, a scarecrow and a jack-o-lantern. You can copy these on white and have students color them or you can copy them onto colored construction paper.  Students just cut and glue! That's it and I know that you are all about easy!  I know I am!  If you want to go to my store to see the crafts, click HERE! 
I also have Halloween paper for students to write their stories on. Here is a look at it.
You can see it in my store.   Click HERE!!!
I've attached a free sample for you.  Click HERE to get the FREEBIE!!!
Let me know what you think!
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Literacy and Math CentersThat Really Work and a Free Math Center Game

I love October.  It seems like it takes me until October to get settled with my new group of kids and get into a good routine.  I also love cute Halloween activities.  I love cute ghosts, witches and bats.  And I love purple and orange with a little green thrown in.  I don't know how many of you have Literacy and Math Centers but I love them and my kids love them too!  After tons of years of teaching and lots of ways of trying to make them work, I finally found a way to implement centers that seems to work well.  When I first began having centers, I would have students go to 4 literacy centers each day and then later 4 math centers.  The problem was that I felt like I rushed them through the centers so that we could be finished in time.  I felt like I was not getting quality work because of the rush and then after centers were over, we were all frazzled!  So the solution to my problem was this:  I still have centers every day except Friday. I ability group my students so that differentiation in centers is easier.  Groups may change as needs change. We have a 40-45 minute reading block of instruction every day.  After this, students go to ONE center.  They stay here 25-30 minutes.  They have PLENTY of time to finish ONE quality activity and there isn't a rush to get to the next center. Having one group also helps with behavior.  I found that behavior became an issue if students rotated through four centers in one day.   I have four groups and four centers.  By Thursday, each group has visited each center.  One center is my teacher center.  Another center is my assistant's center and the other two are independent centers.  It works very well so I'm sticking with it.  I still get small group instruction with every student every week.  If for some reason we miss centers, I DON'T SWEAT IT!  Most weeks, for the most part, centers go smoothly and I feel like students are able to experience four great literacy and math activities plus my assistant and I both get small group time with them.  Twenty-five minutes is an ideal time frame...just enough time to finish one activity and not enough time to be distracted and get off task.  So now that you know HOW I have centers, I'll show you what we had in centers last week.  I believe that center activities should reinforce what I have already taught in class and it is a great time to practice what we know.  Last week in Math Centers, I had these activities:  In center 1, students completed this Odd/Even Number sort. 

These are the even/odd charts that we glued into our journals last week.  We colored even numbers orange and odd numbers green.  Some kids used their journal to do their center activity and some did not need to.  So, they had their sorting mats and put the numbers on the correct mat.

Our school has colored copy paper so I copy each set in a different color so that they don't get mixed up.  After students sorted the cards, they completed the activity sheet.  Students would choose 5 even cards and put them in order from least to greatest, or greatest to least and the same with odd numbers.  So they got practice with even/odd as well as number sequencing.  This game is part of my September Literacy and Math Centers unit.  You can see the entire unit by clicking HERE!!! Even though it is called September Centers, they are fall themed so you can use them until Christmas if you want. 
Another center was a number sequencing center.  Since we have to go to 1000 in second grade common core math and first graders only go to 120, I think students need tons of practice working with numbers to 1000.....all year long!  So, students sorted their cards by picture and then put them in order from least to greatest.  I got this game from Holly Rachel's tpt store.  It's called Halloween Spooktacular Math and Literacy Centers.  The kids loved this activity.

Another center was called "Bubbling Number Fun" and is from my October Literacy and Math Centers unit.  Kids choose a card and then write the number in number form, expanded form and word form. 

You can download this game for FREE by clicking HERE!!!!  If you download, please leave me some feedback!  This entire unit turned out great.  Here is what you get:

There are four Literacy and four Math center activities.  Click HERE!! to go to this unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.    I'm having a 15% off sale until tomorrow at midnight so hurry! 

I hope you are all having a great year so far!  Enjoy the freebie! Leave some feedback!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Common Core Reading and Literacy and Math Centers and a few Freebies!

Whew!  What a whirlwind since school began!  We have been so busy so I wanted to share what we have been doing the past two weeks.  I'll start with reading.  Last week we read the story Frog and Toad Are Friends.  We started our reading notebooks with the Common Core Reading Standard RL 2.1- Asking and answering questions about a story.  I used Nicole Shelby's Interactive Reading Notebook. 

The kids enjoyed making their notebooks.  We talked about the kinds of questions we could ask about a story.  Then the kids each wrote a question on a sticky note about our Frog and Toad story and  played Ask then Switch.  They went to a classmate, asked their questions, their classmate answered and then the classmate asked their question.  The first student answered it and then the two switched questions and went to another classmate.  In one of their literacy centers, they did an activity called sentence sort.  Students sorted word cards into sentences from the story and then wrote their sentences onto their answer sheet.  Here is a look:
The sentences are color coded. The students sort the cards by color and then put them in order.  Students use their book to help them find the sentence from the story if they need to. I remind students to look for the word with the capital letter to begin the sentence and look for the word with a period or question mark to end the sentence.  I use this activity with different reading stories during the year. 
Next, we moved on to another Common Core Standard and skill.  We put Character Traits into our Reading Notebooks. 
We talked about character traits and how characters can change during the story.  We read the story Wilson Sat Alone and talked about how what character traits we noticed in Wilson at the beginning of the story, the middle of the story and the end of the story.  Along with Nicole Shelby's notebook activities, I am using Amber Polk's foldables.  So we did this foldable to describe what Wilson was like at the beginning, middle and end of the story.
In literacy centers, I put a variety of activities.  One center was an antonym matching activity.  This activity is in my September Literacy and Math Centers Unit that you can see in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Here is a look at the game.
The kids had to match antonyms and then write the answers onto their answer sheet.  I've attached this game for free if you want to take a look. Click HERE!
You can see the entire September Unit in my TPT store by clicking HERE! 
This pack also includes a game that helps students practice punctuation a and another game to practice correcting sentences. 
Here is a look at the entire unit:
Now on to math.  Last week I started my unit on the Common Core Math Standards 2.NBT 1 and 3.  Standard 1 about place value and helps students understand that the 3 digits in a 3 digit number stand for the number of hundreds, tens and ones.  On the first day, we used the counting mat and sorted beans into circles of 10. 
We counted by 10's to get a total.  We learned that 10 groups of 10 make 100.  Each bean is 1, each circle is 10 and the entire work mat is 100.  The next day, we counted craft sticks.  I put a big bunch of sticks on each table and the kids grouped them into groups of 10 with a rubber band. 

Once we got them all bundled, we came together and bundled the sticks into groups of 100 and rubber banded them together.  After we counted the sticks ( all 1,268 of them) I gave each student a base 10 work mat and base 10 blocks.  We talked about how the ones unit is like 1 stick, the ten stick is like one bundle of 10 and the hundred flat is like a bundle of 100.
You can get these class lessons in my math unit "Clowning Around With Math."  Click HERE!  This unit has almost everything you need to teach 2.NBT 1 and 3.  It has lesson plans, a student book homework, quizzes and projects.  This is a three week unit, all ready for you!
I math centers, I put a variety of games so the kids could kind of review and practice what they already know.  These were skills they were taught in 1st grade. 
This is a missing addend game from the September Literacy and Math Center Activity Unit. You can download this game for free by clicking
We also practiced making addition problems with different combinations of counting squares.  The kids had a group of 30 squares. They sorted them onto the counting mat.  They counted one group  then the other group to get an addition problem.  Their total or course was always 30.  Here is a look at this game. It came from some resources that we have from our State Department of Education.

Another game was 10's Go Fish.  You play it the same way that you play Go Fish except to have a match, you have to have 2 numbers that equal 10.  This is a great review for sums of 10.  I also have the sums to 20 Go Fish game that we will play next week.


Whew!  That was just a few things that we have been doing the past two weeks.  I hope you found some ideas to use in your room!  Leave me some feedback and let me know!  This week is busy as well!  Oh, and one more thing...I'm having a SALE to usher in the Fall Season.  Everything in my TPT store is 10% off until Monday at midnight!  Stock up on what you need and enjoy 10% off!  I hope your year is going well!