Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reading Centers, Changes and Open House

Good News:  After a lot of practice and preparation Reading Centers are going GREAT in my Reading Group.  I mean REALLY GREAT!  Last week my principal and 5 other teachers and administrators came in during centers with an award, flowers and cameras.  My kids looked up from their centers for a second then got right back to work!  Talk about actively engaged.  I was secretly hoping my principal could use that as a "walk through observation" for my evaluation.  We do two 25 minute rotations a day.  My centers are Listening, Skills, Technology, Independent Work, Word Work and Reading.  Here are a couple of pics from last week.  (Sorry they are not the best but you get the idea.)
At Technology students take a practice spelling test and email me their results.  It is a great App.  You can add your own words and sentences!  They also read a story and played a sound sorting game.

Write the Room.  Last week we worked on plural!

Skills...REALLY bad pic, sorry!  This was Messed Up Monkey Sentences.  It works on sentence order, capitalization and punctuation.  Grab it for $1 HERE at my TPT store.
Bad News:  How we do centers will be changing this week.  Due to numbers our school gained half a second grade unit but in return we lost half a first grade unit.  My super awesome colleague, Kathy, volunteered to teach the 1/2 combo class.  As I have talked about before, my team groups for reading.  Since I teach the enrichment group it made most since for the second graders to join me for reading.  I will now be teaching a 1/2 reading group.  Holy logistics!  My super organized personality and OCD are coming in quite handy:-).  I am actually excited for the challenge and I will have LOVELIES in my group.  I have how it is going to work all planned out.  I will let you know if it works after next week!  Fingers crossed!

Now some pics from Open House. 
We lined our hallway with our Pete the Cats from Deanna Jump!  The kids (and teachers) LOVED Pete!!!

This was at each seat.  It was an easy way for the parents to see what we are leaning in each subject.

Leaf Math Stories

Apple Math Stories.
The tree craftivity is from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  I just made the apple math story for the bottom.
Guessing Jar--the most popular event of the evening!  Families make a guess about how many tootsie rolls are in the jar.  The next day we find the winner during Calendar Math.  We put our guesses in order from least to greatest and count them by making groups of 10.

However, I saw this on Raegan's blog and will be getting one for next year!  SO cute!!!!

Our Family Glyphs.  Idea from Shari Sloane!

This year we put the names inside the door.  That way we did not have to untape them to see if the family guesses were correct!  

Whew....that was a long post!  If you are still with me, don't forget my TPT store is on sale through midnight tonight in honor of FALL!  Click the pic below to head on over!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween Unit and a SALE!

Tomorrow is the first day of FALL!  I LOVE fall, well I used to love fall.  Then 9 years ago I moved to Florida from Indiana.  We have no fall here in Florida.  It is still close to 90 and humid here every day.  Since I will still be wearing flip-flops in December I won't complain too much!  It's just hard to decorate for fall when it still feels like summer.
I have uploaded my new Halloween Math Unit to TPT.  It contains Roll and Colors, Addition to 10 sort, Addition to 20 sort, Even and Odd sort, Cut and Glue Skip Counting pages, and Graphing pages with question sheets.  Click the picture below to see it.  It is only $5.

But this weekend I am joining up with Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac for a Happy Fall Y'all sale!  All of my products will be 20% off through Sunday night at midnight!  Click the picture below to see all of the other bloggers who are having a sale too!

Or check out the blog hop below!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Math Stations and Science Investigations, Oh My!

My Math Group started Math Stations this week.  I have to say they are going GREAT!     I teach the intervention group and am SUPER lucky to have a para that pushes in for Math!  Since my group stays on task and actively engaged for only about the first 10 minutes of a whole group lesson, Math Stations give me the perfect opportunity to do small group lessons!  I have 2 students at each station.  (I conducted a Debbie Diller book study on her math stations book with 2 of my colleagues last year.  I am now in love with Math Stations!)  I have 8 stations, but there are duplicates so I only have to plan for 4.  (#1 and 5 are the same, #2 and 6, etc.)
Here were our stations this week:
1.  Ways to Make 5 Cookie Jar
The cookies are laminated.  The paper is in a page protector.  The students manipulate the cookies, write how many are in the jar, out of the jar, and how many there are all together with a dry erase marker.  I don't remember where this came from.  If it was you, let me know! 
2.  Apples to Ten Sort
Click HERE to get this for free at my TPT Store!
3.  Stories of 4, 5, and 6 Sort
Click HERE to get this for free at my TPT Store!  The Stories of 7-10 are also available.

4.  Roll and Color
My Roll and Colors can be found in my Apples Everywhere Math Unit.
 Click HERE for the unit or HERE for some freebie Roll and Colors.
We also complete 2 more Science Investigations.  We do an investigation for each of the five senses.  For Sight, we did an Oreo Investigation.

Let me tell you they were SUPER quiet, hard workers for this investigation.  I guess Oreo Cookie bribes can do that to the best of us!

We also did a Hearing Investigation.  They shook 5 containers (old film canisters) and made a prediction about what was inside.  There were bells, rice, cotton, pennies and paper clips.

Check our our super cute Science Folders!
The folders are regular pocket folders from a Back to School Sale.  The picture is from a science sticker scene from Oriental Trading.  Students keep all of their science papers in them.  At the end of a unit I will take them all out, staple and send home!
I hope you found some useful ideas!  Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Today I am sharing a few of the activities we have completed so far!

The first is our Tear Paper Names.  I think they turned out very cute and colorful this year!  I wrote the names in white crayon on black paper the day before.  The students got to choose the two colors they wanted to make their pattern.  (Each student only needs a half sheet of each color.)  It took us 2 days.  We tore the paper the first day and glued the second.  I saw this idea a few years ago on a blog or website or something....I just cannot remember where!  If it was yours, please let me know!

We also did our Taste Investigation.  After studying each sense, we do an investigation.  This helps us cover scientific inquiry and record keeping as well as the 5 senses.
This picture was half way through the investigation.  The students first made a prediction how each item would taste and glued down their predictions.  Then we tested our results and glued them on as well.  (Sour: Sour Patch Kids,  Salty: Pretzel,   Bitter: Unsweet Chocolate Chips,   Sweet: Icing)  The unsweet chocolate really got them!  They thought it was regular chocolate and had no idea it was going to be bitter!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Zero the Hero

We all know that 10 is an anchor number in our number system and we all understand how important it is.  Yesterday I shared our Calendar Math routine.  We have a sneaky way to get students to work with and "make 10" every day!

Every tenth day Zero the Hero visits our classroom! Since Zero the Hero brings treats when he visits the students eagerly anticipate his next visit.  Every day we are excited to figure out how many more days until he visits again!  For example, today was day 15,  I hold up the Ten Frame that we added the 5th dot to and the students quickly say, "Oh, Zero the Hero will be here in 5 more days." I reply, "That's right, 5 and 5 make 10!"  I might do this with the bundles of popsicle sticks or the hundreds board.  When I ask how many more days until Zero the Hero visits, the whole class quickly figures out the answer!  I always answer with, "That's right because 4 and 6 make ten." Or whatever it may be.

Here are a few pictures from our first Zero the Hero visit.  (Day 10)
The office delivered this special package to our classroom!  It said, "To Ms Gilbert's Monkeys" and was covered in Z's and 0's.
Inside was a letter, a balloon, a cape, Zero the Hero's special helper and Zero treats (donuts shaped like 0's!)  
Our Calendar Math area on Day 10.  (Since it was day 10, we used the number 10 instead of the date for all of our activities.)  When you make the bundle of straws or sticks, say you are not just going to use a rubber band, you are going to use a Zero Band!  Then hold up your rubber band and show them it looks like a 0!  The kids really think it is a zero band, not just a rubber band!
 Zero the Hero visits every 10th day.  He leaves a letter and a treat and his helper is always hidden somewhere in the room.  My awesome team member Kathy writes the cutest little poems/letters from him!  The treats are always shaped like a 0.  We use gummy lifesavers, fudge round cookies, donuts, peach rings, or honestly whatever is buy one get one free at the grocery store!  This only happens until the 100th day.  On that day Zero the Hero's letter tells us it is his last visit.  (Honestly, the teachers are broke and tired of finding 0 shaped treats by then!)

I also choose a special little friend to wear the cape and be calendar helper that day.  They get to wear the cape until it becomes a distraction or until recess.  It is a big honor!

My team got the original idea of Zero the Hero at the Singapore Math conference in Las Vegas a few years ago.  I know Catherine Kuhns talks about it in her Number Sense books.  My team has just added to those ideas and adapted them a bit each year.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Morning Math Meeting......a.k.a. Calendar Math

My students favorite time of day (other than recess, of course) is Calendar Math....I MEAN Morning Math Meeting.   Our district has taken "Calendar Math" out of our daily schedule.  Since my team thinks that the 20 minutes we spend on Calendar Math is extremely valuable, we decided to start each day with a Morning Math Meeting.  I just can't get used to calling it that!  I actually did call it Morning Math Meeting ONCE last week and my students responded with, "What?.....Huh?.....Are we going to a meeting?"

My team incorporates so many number sense activities into those 20 minutes that we have found when we get the number sense unit we barely have to teach it!  Which is great since I ALWAYS seem to be a bit behind schedule according to the curriculum map. Oops!

Here is a brief run down of our Morning Math Meeting.  It is NOT just days of the week.  (But we do talk about that!)  We do activities with the date (happens to be 7 in the pictures) and the day in school (14).
My Morning Math Meeting area takes up half of my white board in the front of the room.  There is also a hundreds board pocket chart in a movable chart stand just to the right of this.  All supplies are on the little table so they are easily accessible.

The date:  Friday, September 7.  I write the date (including the short way) and the number and the word.  I say, "Yesterday was Thursday, what is today?"  Same thing for the month and date.
The students do the rest!  They can make 7 by using money, tally marks, tens and ones blocks, marbles, or addition and subtraction facts.
I make them tell me their way before they pick up the marker!
The 7 green marbles should not have circles around them.  They should just be marbles.  There was a discussion later in the day about even and odd and one of my students happened to use the marbles to make their point before I took the picture!  They do make bags of 10 if it is the 10th or after.
All of this gets erased daily!
Day of School:  14
We use sticks for tens and ones.  (Two other members of my team use straws.) Make a bundle and move it over when it is a 10.
Tens Frames:  Add another dot.  Slide it over to the tens column when it is a 10 day.
Tally Marks:  These stay up and we add one each day.
Even or Odd:  This is erased daily.  We draw how ever many dots are in the ones place and circle groups of 2 to decide if it is even or odd.
Hundred Board:  Write the next number.  At this point I ask what is one more, one less, ten more, ten less, etc.
Paper Clip Chain:  Add another paper clip.  It is a green one on each 10 day.   On day 10 we made a prediction how long the chain will be if we hook them together on Day 100.  Most predict it will go out the door, down the hall, all the way to the office.  Then on Day 100 we test it out!  It won't go all the way to the office but it does go from our ceiling to our floor.
I hope this gives you some ideas to use at your Calendar Math....or Morning Math Meeting....or whatever you call it!  I would love for you to comment and share other things that you incorporate.

Every 10th day Zero the Hero visits to help us with the ever so important number TEN!  Stay tuned for tomorrow's post about that!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Math Stations Freebies

Here are two Math Stations I made to use next week.  Click the pictures below to get them for FREE at my TPT store!  While you are there check out my Apple Math and Literacy Units!  They are great for the month of September!

As always, feedback and suggestions are always appreciated!  I am currently working on Halloween Units and would love to hear what you would like to see included!

I'm too tired to post more.....just like all of you, I am sure;-).  I promise to share more from our first 3 weeks with you this weekend!