Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Drumroll please....

I am so excited to announce the winner of my 200 follower giveaway! The winner is.........

Kelly Beam Brown! Congratulations, Kelly! You will be receiving emails shortly with all of the products that you won =)

To thank all of you for entering my giveaway and becoming a follower of mine, I'm having a 20% sale at my TpT store for today only! Thanks so much for following my little blog =) Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Number Talks, Flash Cards, and My New Addition!

Have you heard about using Number Talks in your classroom? If not, you are missing out! Number Talks are any easy way to encourage your students to understand numerical relationships and think deeper about WHY a specific strategy works. Number Talks also encourage your students to solve math problems mentally without using a pencil and paper. Here is an example of a number talk for second grade:

All you do is write these three facts on the board. Give your students time to mentally find the answer of each one. Once they have their answer, they put their fist on their chest. If they can think of another strategy or way to get the answer, they put up a finger. If they can think of two ways to get the answer, they put up 2 fingers. This encourages the kids to think of multiple strategies for solving these facts.
Once you've give the students time to come up with their answers, have them share with the class. Focus on HOW they got their answer instead of just the answer itself. It's pretty amazing to hear what your students come up with! Some responses might include: "Well I know that 9+1 makes 10, so to solve 9+5, I just took 1 away from the 5 to make 10 and then had 4 left. I added the 4 left and got 14."
As the year progresses, the Number Talks become progressively more difficult. Students are able to solve problems with two 3-digit numbers being added together in their head. It's amazing! If you'd like to check out the Number Talks book, click on the picture above. I promise it will be worth it!
To go along with the Number Talks book, there is a sequence of facts that you teach your students. In the past, I've always done timed math fact tests starting at +0 and ending at +10. This book encourages you to teach these facts in a different order stating at +1, +2, +0, +10, and so on. It totally makes sense! One area that I've always had a difficult time managing with math facts is flash cards. These are such a pain to manage because all of my students are working on different levels. My awesome teammate, Kristin, came up with this great idea of using an envelope with a checklist on the front.
The envelope is where the students keep the addition and subtraction facts that they are working on for the week. This envelope stays in their take-home folder so that they have it at home and at school each day. They can practice their facts with their families and during times when they finish their work early at school. The checklist on the front is a visual reminder for the students and parents of which levels they've mastered and which levels they have yet to master. I explained the envelopes to my kids and passed them out- it was such a breeze! The parents are excited to have the flash cards at home to help their child practice also. It's a win-win!
Speaking of being excited, I'm so pumped to show you the new addition in my classroom! This Monday when I came into school, this is what I found...
Woo hoo! My SMART board has arrived and is installed in my room. I am in love =) My students couldn't contain themselves when they first saw it! I'm slowly trying to figure out how to use it, so it's going to take a little while but I'm starting to get the hang of basic things. I can't wait to see what all this bad boy can do!
Well I hope you all are having a fantastic start to your week. Tomorrow is the big day that I will be announcing the winner of my 200 follower giveaway. Be sure to check back and see who the lucky winner is! Also- remember that tomorrow I'm having a Halloween sale at my TpT store. All of my products are going to be 20% off for one day only. Happy Halloween!!!


Monday, October 29, 2012

It's a Spooktacular....

SALE! I am excited to be joining JD's Rockin' Readers (and many other fabulous bloggers) for a sale on Halloween! I absolutely love Halloween- the cool weather, trick-or-treaters, decorations- it's so fun. This year, my little guy will be trick-or-treating for the first time. He is going to be dressed up as a puppy dog... it is absolutely adorable. The only problem is, he HATES it! We did a practice run in the costume a few nights ago and it only lasted about 5 minutes. So Halloween this year should be interesting!

To celebrate Halloween, I'm offering 20% off everything in my store! I typically don't discount the customized Common Core posters that I sell (because of all the time involved in customizing each set), but I decided to include these as well. The sale will be for one day only- October 31st. Be sure to check out all of the other bloggers participating in the sale by visiting JD's Rockin' Readers blog {here}.

This weekend, I finished up a new Thanksgiving unit that I've been working on- Thanksgiving Math and ELA Activities! Check out the pic below- my favorite part is the turkey craftivity. This was the first time I've created a craftivity and I think he's just too cute! This unit will 20% off during the 'Spooktacular Sale' so be sure to check it out!

I hope you all have a great Monday! Stay safe with Hurricane Sandy!


Monday, October 22, 2012

My 200 Follower Giveaway! {It's a BIG one!}

I am thrilled to have reached 200 followers on my little 'ole blog! Never in a million years did I think that I would have so many people want to read my thoughts and ideas about teaching. Since I've started blogging, I'm happy to say that I'm a more reflective, creative, and collaborative teacher. Thanks to all of you for following me and reading my ramblings!

To celebrate reaching this milestone, I'm having a huge giveaway! There are over 50 bloggers/authors who have offered to donate their amazing products for this giveaway. Let me tell you- you are going to hit the JACKPOT if you win this one! Check out the giveaway below and be sure to follow all of the entry requirements. Good luck! I'll announce the winner on Halloween!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hamburger Writing Rubric FREEBIE!

Happy Saturday everyone! Today, I wanted to share a new writing rubric that I created with my students this week for their personal narratives/stories. I don't know about you, but my students always have a hard time assessing their own writing. Plus, I always have such a hard time grading it (I always procrastinate with grading writing for this very reason!) because it can be so subjective to grade. Over the years, I've learned the answer to these two issues- RUBRICS!

Rubrics are such a great way to help your students learn to assess and judge the quality of their own writing. The best part of using rubrics is that my students help to make them, so they take ownership of them which in turn makes them more meaningful to the kids. Each day this week, we looked at different 2nd grade writing samples (from other classes) and judged the writing in each area on the rubric. As we judged them, I helped the kids write the criteria for each section on the rubric. We found that using the words ALL of the time, MOST of the time, SOME of the time, and NONE of the time were easy to use for a 4, 3, 2, 1. Here is the completed rubric if you'd like to download it and use in your classroom!

Comparing it to a cheeseburger was a fun way to help my students understand the difference between a 4, 3, 2, and 1. We talked about how a 4 is like a deluxe cheeseburger with all of the toppings- it can't get any better! A 3 is a complete cheeseburger but is missing some of those yummy details. A 2 is a burger with just a bottom bun- there is a lot missing! A 1 is just a bottom bun- no one wants to eat this because it's no good at all!

What are some ways that you use rubrics in your classroom? I'm linking this up with Heather at Peacocks and Penguins- be sure to check out her linky for some great ideas!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Election Connection Linky Party!

Is it just me or are you tired of all the election campaign ads, phone calls, and mail? I guess it's that time of year, though, and the election is just around the corner. I'm so excited to be hosting my very first linky party and I hope you can join in! The Election Connection linky party helps hook you up with products and ideas for teaching about elections and our great country in your classroom.

If you would like to join in, link up a product or idea for teaching about elections/presidents/USA. If you write a blog post, be sure to use the image above. That's it! Have fun =)

The unit that I created and am using for teaching elections this year is called "Customize Your Own Classroom Election!" This unit allows you to create your own classroom election about a topic of your choosing. Editable documents included are ballots, tally charts, and graphs. Also included are voter registration cards, campaign posters, ballot box ideas, and much more. To check it out, just click on the image below!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Compound Word Day!

Yesterday, we had Compound Word Day in our classroom to celebrate compound words! I saw this idea online last year and tried it out with my class. It was such a hit and sooo much fun! For Compound Word Day, I encourage my students to try to wear as many compound words as they can think of. Last year I had a student who wore over 20 compound words and I thought that was unbelievable. This year, though, I had a student come in wearing over 30 compound words. Her parents even made a list of all of the compound words she was wearing! =) It was adorable. She had on a bathrobe, sweatshirt, earrings, necktie, butterfly keychain, and so much more. I also had one of my boys wear his swimsuit (trunks) to school- it was hysterical! At the end of the day, we also enjoyed snacks consisting of goldfish and popcorn... yum!

If you'd like to have a Compound Word Day in your classroom, below is a letter that you can send home to your students' families explaining what to do. It's a FREEBIE so snatch it up!

Happy Saturday everyone!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Light Investigations

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful fall weekend. I couldn't believe how chilly it was in Ohio- it makes me so excited for fall! This weekend was so busy that I didn't get a chance to write about the fun light investigations that my class did on Friday. My kiddos had an absolute blast and learned so much!

The light investigations are five different investigations that the kids rotate through. Almost all of them involve the use of flashlights and we turn out the lights in the classroom. I even blocked the windows by pulling my class curtains shut. It felt like we were in a cave!

At the first investigation, students learn how shadows are made by standing in front of our overhead projector (yes, my classroom is still old school and we have one of these!). I tell them that this is the one time they can stand in front of the overhead and make shadow puppets, etc. They love it and learn that shadows are made when light gets blocked by an object.

At the second investigation, students use flashlights to shine light onto many different objects. They have to sort them into three different groups- light gets absorbed (opaque), light goes through (translucent), and light bounces off (reflects). Some of the objects I put at this investigation include a block of wood, a clear cup, a spoon, a magnifying glass, a mirror, clear containers, and a tin container.

The third investigation has the students observing a pencil in a cup of water. The pencil looks broken or crooked because when light waves travel through water, they bend and cause objects to look different. The kids learn that this is called an optical illusion.

At the fourth investigation, students learn that dark colored objects get hotter than light colored objects. They investigate what happens when they hold a black and white piece of paper over a lamp. The black paper gets hotter because it absorbs more light.

At the last investigation, students explore what happens when you shine light through a magnifying glass. When they do this, they can see that the light waves bend. They can also see a rainbow so we talk about how light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow.

I give the students five minutes to explore at each center and then they have five minutes to write one fact that they learned about light from the investigation. I love teaching this unit about light because it allows the kids to explore and be "scientists"! If you'd like to learn more about these light investigations, you can check out my product by clicking on the image below.

Wishing you a wonderful week!