Monday, February 25, 2013

3D Landform Maps!

My students LOVE making these fun 3D candy landform maps each year. Now let me just tell you- I am always wiped out by the end of the day when we make these- but they really are a blast and so meaningful to make.

I first put the kids into groups of 3 or 4. Then, they used a landform map in their Social Studies book to sketch where the mountains and deserts are located. This just helps them get a start when they begin painting the plains on the map.

After they have an idea of where the mountains and deserts are, they paint all of the remaining area green. This shows where the plains are located. (The hills and rivers are placed over top of the green paint in the next few steps!)

Next, we used blue yarn for the rivers. We obviously didn't add ALL of the rivers but just some of the major ones- Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Columbia.

The mountains were the most tempting item to add to the map! The kids were just about drooling as they glued them down. Just a quick note- if you remove the wrapping before gluing the kisses down, they stick better!

Marshmallows were used for the hills, gold glitter for the desert (I've used brown rice in the past but the glitter stuck MUCH better!) and goldfish for the oceans.

Each time the kids added something new to the map, they also added it to the key on the right. Their maps also included a title, compass, labels for the oceans, and a box to sign their names. I am so proud of all of the hard work that my kiddos put into these maps! They were rewarded with some of the extra snacks which they were THRILLED about =) So fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) Freebie

I don't know about your students, but my students think that they have to guess at every answer after reading a text selection and answering questions about it! It's like they think they are going to get in trouble for going back in the text and finding the answer! To teach my students about the different types of questions, I use the QAR strategy. It teaches students about the 4 different types:

Right There- Questions whose answers can be found right in the text. Often, the words used in the question are the same words found in the text.

Think and Search- Answers are gathered from several parts of the text and put together.

Author and You- Answers to these questions aren't directly in the text. Students need to think about what the author has told them and what they already know about the topic.

On Your Own- Answers are not in the text- students need to think about their own personal experiences to answer.

After teaching my kiddos about the different types of questions (and doing LOTS and LOTS of practice!) they understand how to answer questions so much better. In a couple of weeks, we have a huge 2nd grade test- I'm hoping this strategy will help them feel more successful!

If you'd like to download the free QAR poster, just click on the picture below!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Addition Scoop!

I was so excited today to try out the math activity that I created for my students to practice adding three 2-digit numbers together. Over the weekend, I made "Addition Scoop" where kids build their own ice cream cones with 3 scoops of ice cream. They flip over the scoops, record the numbers, and add them together to find the total. The kids absolutely loved it- it was so fun!

If you'd like to grab a copy, just click on the image below. It's 20% off until tomorrow! Have a great night (I'm crossing my fingers and toes for a snow day tomorrow!!!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Celebrity Read Alouds

Today, my kiddos got to listen to a read-aloud by a celebrity. I'm serious. Melissa Gilbert (you know, from Little House on the Prairie) read the book My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco to my class today. The kids were so entranced and completely wrapped up in the story. It was so fun!

........Okay, so maybe Melissa Gilbert didn't really come into our classroom, but we did get to hear her read this book to us on a new website that I just discovered- Storyline Online. A first grade teacher at my school introduced me to this website and it is absolutely amazing! Storyline Online is an online video-streaming program featuring SAG members (Screen Actors Guild) reading childrens books aloud! You can choose from many different stories including the following:

Harry the Dirty Dog (Read by the one and only Betty White)

Me and My Cat (Read by Elijah Wood from Lord of the Rings)

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (Read by Melissa Gilbert)

The stories have music in the background and the illustrations are highlighted to help make the book come to life. Each story has links for questions, related activities, and a downloadable activity guide. I am so excited to have found this little gem! My kids were BEGGING for another story at the end of the day while waiting for dismissal. I played the story on the Smartboard while they waited for the bell to ring- it was perfect! No more chaos while everyone eagerly awaited the bell to leave.

Be sure to check the website out when you get a chance- it's pretty cool! You could use this on your Smartboard, at computer centers, or any other way that you can imagine. Enjoy! =)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Addition with All Types of Addends!

This weekend, I finished a new unit for teaching 1-digit, 2-digit, and 3-digit addition with up to 4 addends. These new Common Core standards were a BIG change for second grade! To be honest, when the standards first came out and I read the one about being able to add four 2-digit numbers, I was a little nervous. That seemed like a lot for my second graders. Now that we've been practicing over the past couple of weeks, I've realized that it's completely do-able. It's amazing what kids can do when you have high expectations and give them plenty of support!

In this unit, you will find 1-digit addition with up to 4 addends, 2-digit addition (with and without regrouping), and 3-digit addition (with and without regrouping). For each level, there are practice pages, number stories, and games/activities to reinforce each skill. I'm so excited about this unit! My favorite game is the "Addition Scoop" where students build their own ice cream cones with 3 scoops of ice cream (each scoop has a 2 digit number on it) and then they add them all up! I am in love with Little Red Schoolhouse's Clip Art- their ice cream cone clip art is just adorable =)

Here is a preview of {almost} everything that is included!

To grab your copy, just click on the picture above! I hope you all are having a wonderful President's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentines For Your Students!

I've been busy today getting my valentines ready for my kiddos this week. When looking for valentines, I wanted something quick, easy, and unique.... but I couldn't find it!! So I decided to make my own- Valentine S'Mores!

These valentines are so easy to make and are fun for kids! All you'll need are: graham crackers, marshmallows, mini Hershey bars, sandwich baggies and my Valentine S'Mores for Students toppers. On the front of each bag, it says "___________, I need s'more students like you!" On the back are directions for making a homemade s'more in the microwave.

I'm so excited to give these to my students this week! I hope they are going to love them. If you'd like to make these Valentine S'Mores for your students, just click on the picture below to purchase the bag toppers. Yum!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Sunday Sale... and a Challenge!

The big sale on TpT is almost here! It's time to discover new products, empty those wishlists, and save yourself boatloads of time with all of the amazing resources available. I'm excited to share that I will be offering 20% off all items in my store on Sunday. You can also use the coupon code SUPER to receive an additional 10% off!

   Here are a few of my seasonal resources for this time of year:


Here are a couple of my personal favorites:


Last, here are a couple of my best sellers:


Today, we started the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge in our classroom! It was so fun! We kicked it off by talking about what R.A.K.s are and how it makes you feel when someone does something unexpected for you. I then read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud. If you haven't read this book to your class yet, you NEED to!

I then gave them the first daily challenge (of 10). Their challenge for today was to smile at someone in the hallway and ask how they were doing. (We made sure to discuss making eye contact, talking clearly, etc.) Many of the kids tried this challenge during the day and were so excited to tell me about it! It was great to see them feeling so good about themselves for doing a random act of kindness. We are going to continue doing a daily challenge for 10 days, all the way up until Valentine's Day. Some of the different challenges include: holding the door open for someone, sitting with someone at lunch who you normally don't sit with, picking up trash that you see without anyone asking, leaving a little note thanking the custodian at the end of the day, and many more. If you'd like to check out more about this challenge, just click on the image below!