Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fraction Fairy Tales and No Excuse Words!

So, two things on my mind lately:  Fractions (our next math unit) and these "No Excuse Words" our students have to master.  The words are a list that students have to spell correctly in their writing that is sectioned into 3 parts:  by the end of first, second, and third grades.  Looking at the list, it starts out easy enough:  a, I, the, etc.  It goes onto words like "were" and "their" as you progress.  

So, we pre tested students at the beginning of the year and, like you'd expect, it was a mixed result.  However, I haven't done much with it since then, honestly, because we've been focused on mastering other skills.  Now that we've gone beyond 100 days (110 to be exact), I'm starting to worry about my lower readers and writers who have not quite mastered all the words!  I wracked my brain, wondering what I could do to help them practice these without the old fashioned "write 3 times each".....and, as we all know, students can master spelling words on a test, but not apply them to everyday writing!

So, brainstorm!  A "write the room" activity!

Which then led me to fractions.  One of the hardest skills for our second graders is comparing fractions.  Right now, we're finishing up comparing numbers with our little monsters we made and number cards.  Here's the picture from Pinterest (because of course, did I think of taking a picture?  Of course not!  Too busy teaching - oh, and having my formal observation.  I'm sure it would've gone over well if I said, "Yeah, I need to take a pic for my blog! LOL).  
 Math Monster Munchers -- greater than less than equals
I'm wondering if on my evaluation (which I have not seen yet) it'll say I need to use the term "greater than/less than" more than "monsters," which my students like to use! We did not add teeth, but I added an eye on the corner like the picture and let my kids decorate their own.  They'll be able to take them home and practice this coming week! :)

It's something about fractions, though, and using these symbols.  I found a GREAT resource at this website and went a little crazy printing out worksheets.  However, I felt justified when my grade level went a little nutsy too and we duplo'ed all of them!  Hey, practice makes perfect, right?

color fractions

Well, I started thinking about kiddos have enjoyed our "battle" games so far with place value (base 10) and comparing numbers, so I figured I'd create another one for them with equivalent fractions!   They love a good vs. bad theme, and we've already done Star Wars, ninjas, and super I went with fairy tales this time!

I hope you'll be able to use one of these resources in your own class!  Click on the pictures for more information!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Word Study Fun!

It's been an interesting day.

First, we're buried under 10 or so inches with more that fell tonight, so not sure exactly how much more we got.  I'm sure "up north" you're thinking it's nothing.  However, maybe 2-3 inches at a time is usually what happens during our winter time.  So, this is definitely a "blizzard" to us in central Virginia!

So, even though school's out for tomorrow as well, I helped my daughter finish up her Valentine's box and special Valentine treats (with an Olaf theme - anyone want to build a snowman?).  Tomorrow, we hit the biggest two projects - her "Famous American" (she's going to go a different route and do Dr. Seuss!) and her bedroom.  Guess which one is the biggest job???

So, two down, two to go.  Tonight, for some reason, my mind's been on Word Study.  (That's our version of spelling).  My second grade level readers are working on short and long vowels and "bossy r" (r-controlled) vowels.  The way our reading block works, anyone below grade level in Reading has 30 minutes with the teacher, then either 30 minutes of Title I, 30 minutes of Reading Lab, or Read Well, which is an intervention program.  Those that are on grade level or above have their 30 minutes of direct instruction with the teacher and then 1 hour of independent time.  In my room, that consists of completing reading response and word study activities and literacy centers.

I'm always looking for something different and fun for my kiddos to do, especially the group that I have in my room for the entire hour and a half (my other 2 groups are below grade level).  Recently, I've discovered "Write the Room" and "Read the Room" which I originally thought were for Kindergarteners.  I thought, why not my kids?  They love games like SCOOT, where they can get up and move around!  

So, after creating some "different" word study activities than the usual sorts, I also created 2 "write the room" activities for those readers.  Please click on the pictures to check them out!

As for the Word Study games, I created a template for a word search (my kids love creating these, but they've only used graph paper, which takes awhile!), hangman, tic tac toe, and the money below (since we reeeeaaaallllly need to work on counting money!).  Click on the picture for this FREEBIE! :)

Freebie Fridays

Monday, February 10, 2014

Um....a little less Currently than usual....

I'm a little late to the party, but that's okay.  

Okay, so they're calling for a BIG STORM on Wednesday.  I have to admit, I love snow days like the kids.  However, I like mine spaced out.  We had a whole week out of school back in January!  It was insane!  Now they're calling anything from 4-10 inches of snow!  AUGH!

We're already on extended school day and any other missed days add on to the end of the year.  Also, my kids thrive on consistency.  Once they're in the routine, they do all right.  The day here, day there, delay here - it doesn't help our productivity!  January was the WORST month all year about turning work in!  We had a "put everything on top of your desk" day on Friday - it was not pretty.

So....the "wanting" - I am undecided.  I mean, I can't stop the weather, but I can hope it changes to rain?  Then again, that could be a flood day in my county!  *rolls eyes*

I am soooo loving the Olympics.  Can you tell which one is a fib?  If you looked at it and said "HOW can she NOT like the opening ceremonies?"  You're right - I didn't.  I LOVED IT!  Soooo cool!  I keep trying to find video to show my kiddos who missed it and I'm about at the point of recording it from my DVR using a video camera!

So, that's me in a nut shell right now.  Loving the Olympics, doing several themed activities in class (including a medal count by continent - geography and math together, gotta love it!).  Getting ready to start my Polar Unit (my fave!).

So, sitting in grade level meeting today and looking over our resources for abbreviations....threw out some nasty looking worksheets, you know the ones - you kept them because it's what you had, but they look so dry and boring!  Last year, I made 3 different activities for abbreviations.  Recently, I've been into the "write the room" activities (I had always thought they were too low for my 2nd graders - duh!).  Looked for one in abbreviations.  Couldn't find one.  So, I made one!

Thought it was cute and I'd tie in with the kids that abbreviations are like the Transformers - they can "change" they way they look.  Or, like a super hero, it's like a "secret identity."  You get the picture!

So, please check it out!  I hope you enjoy it!  I added some female super heroes in for my girls, although they'll just enjoy getting up and moving around like my boys!

Thanks for checking out my blog and following me - I have added another "freebie" if you'd like to check it out! :)  Click on the pic below! 

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grrrreater Than/Less Than (and other math ideas)

Am I the only teacher who has file folders stuffed with worksheets from previous math texts, Mailbox printables, and assorted worksheets?

Well, in preparing for my unit where we cover place value, comparing numbers, inequalities, money, and rounding (say all that in one breath!) in, oh, 21 days or less (thanks snow!), I pulled out my stuffed file and stared at the massive collection that's piled up after 5 years of teaching second grade.  

I personally don't want to be the death of an entire forest when I want a little from this worksheet, and a little from that one.  A light came on, and I realized - why not make my own?  I mean, I'd rather NOT copy about 12 sheets about comparing numbers (because honestly, how many times do we pull out the whiteboards and markers and practice?).  So, tah dah!  I put them together in a cute little polar bear (because I love cutesy clip art pages!) themed sheet that covered each of the concepts I wanted off those 12 sheets!  I did separate 2-digit and 3-digit pages because some of my kiddos need to move a little slower than others.

Check it out!  If you'd like a copy, just click on it to take you to Google Drive.

I also came across a goodie I created last year (sad you don't think about them till you open the folder!).  I am always so boy heavy that I remember looking for anything "boyish" for clip art to motivate some of my, er, less than motivated boys!

I also created this "Battle for the Empire" for Place Value that my group this year (even the girls) went nuts over!  We played this on Friday and it's already in their "B" center for next week by popular demand!  (Good thing my Olympic-themed centers I have are good for a couple weeks!).

For inequality, I went cheap but practical with an idea I found and tweaked on Pinterest last year.  My husband said they're going to lock up these cards one of these days when they see a teacher coming!  I also created a "bird brain" center - aren't they cute?
popsicle sticks, paint card...students match up to make the number sentence true (threw an inequality as well)

As for Rounding, I found this great support last year that soooo helped my struggling learners.  We also had a suggestion by our math specialist to bump ahead and teach temperature (our standards say the students need to read the thermometer to the nearest 10).  Makes sense, right?
Great visual for teaching rounding

I also pulled out some rounding games I'm sure my kiddos will really like I've made over the years!

I keep telling myself that one of these days, I'll be happy with the units I've created and not "tweak" (or redo) them each year!  Somehow, I just don't think that will happen! :)