...sharing strategies for teaching second graders...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award!

Mary at Pitner's Potpourri has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award!

Yes, I am thrilled, thrillled, thrilllled! Here's what happens when you receive this award: thank the person who gave you the award, tell seven things about yourself, and pass this award on to fifteen other blogs that you think deserve it. 

Thank you so much, Mary! I am so excited! I'm glad I could pass on the Goldfish Colors activity. A student teacher did something similar in a class next door to me a couple of years back. I just jazzed it up a little, then took some pictures.

Seven things about me: 
1. Jesus is my life!
2. I love my family! My husband, son, and I live next door to my parents and 1/2 mile (through the woods) from my brother and his family.
3. I love reading everyone's awsome ideas. Blogging has quickly become a mainstay in my "teaching" classroom has benefitted greatly from all my wonderful finds!
4. I "taught" school beginning at age 4! :) I love, love, love school and anything that has to do with school! (Well, except maybe the paperwork...)
5. I won a beauty contest at age 12. I was in seventh grade and my friends talked me into entering. They loved saying, "I told you so!" to me afterward.
6. I love, love, love to read. Reading is my way to relax and escape from everything! I also have a mind like an elephant (almost!)...I remember everything (loads and loads, anyway).
7. I play piano and organ. I've played in 35+ weddings and a few funerals as well.

...and now (drumroll) here are my Versatile Blogger Awards...

First, I love sunny days and Sunny Days in Second Grade always has something sunny going! :)

2. I know that second grade rocks!  

3. I just found Sturch's Second Grade Stars...check them out!

4. Swimming into Second is always on the move!

5. Here's another blog I just found...excellent!
                                                Mrs. McDaniel's Second Grade Super Stars

    6. I've been checking in with Mrs. Lemons since I started blogging back in July!

Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons!

7. I wish I could visit Down Under...this is as close as I 've gotten so far and I love it!                           
                                                               Down Under Teacher

8. I'm a farm girl, too! :)
                                                               Farmtastic in 2nd grade

9. Love this!

10. I've been checking out Simply 2nd lately...

11. All teachers have a little of this going on...

12. ...and we share what we've learned and created...
13. we'll all have fabulous second graders...

                                                                    Flamingo Fabulous

14. and always be true to our beliefs and dreams for our children...
                                                              Keepin' It True In K-1-2

                           15. and finally, keep on Learning in 2nd Grade!

             Thanks again for the award, Mary at Pitner's Potpourri!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sign Language Linky Party? Please respond and share...

Linky Party? I'd like to have one, does anyone use Sign Language in your class? Please respond and tell how! Thanks!

Arthur Teaches Sign Language is an interesting site. I use sign language in my classroom in the following ways: students sign RR for restroom (ASL, I think), I sign "Quiet!" and "Sit!" to students who are disturbing individual or small group instruction, students sign "L" to me if they are going to the library during small group instruction (there are other requirements, they know these, and there are consequences for disobedience), and they sign "Water" if they want water from the hallway. We have a water fountain, but sometimes students just need to step out into the hallway for a sip. Learning sign language is on my bucket list. I hope to do it soon! Maybe this will be the springboard for me. How do you use sign language?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

School Bag Linky Party...

Babbling Abby at the Inspired Apple is having a school bag linky party! Check it out.

Here are pictures of my Swirls market bag filled with the goodies it contained when I received it. Yum!

I carry my Swirls market basket on occasion (gift from a student with prepaid monogramming so I could choose what to put on it), but I'm keeping it pretty so it's for special treats and occasions. I  took my Welcome to Second Grade bags to school in it at the beginning of school.

I also carry a small 31 organizer bag a friend gave me for my birthday. It was sort of funny how I got it. We had a "teacher appreciation" give-away. Every certified staff member's name was called to receive a treat except mine! My friend got the 31 organizer bag I had my eye on and caught me as we left the meeting. She mentioned that my name was not called (I didn't think anyone noticed) and I shushed her. She was curious about why and I told her that the only thing they gave away that I was interested in was the 31 bag she won, so it was not a problem. I was afraid that our secretary had dropped the tiny sliver of paper with my name and because I've known her since I was about 8, I'd never, ever hurt her feelings by complaining. friend handed me the bag and said Happy Birthday late! She assured me she didn't like it and didn't want it. It has the apple print on it. A lady at our school can monogram it for me, I just haven't taken the time to get that done. I'll take a photo later...

It contains 3 books I'm reading plus my Bible, a hairbrush, lipstick, mascara, phone charger, a pack of gum, my sunglasses, my favorite fine line Sharpies, a pair of scissors and some neon index cards for printing which I haven't gotten done yet. I'll share that here when I finish it. On occasion I stuff it with other items to be worked on at home or taken to school. :)

Happy linking...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teaching Place Value with Goldfish Colors crackers

I introduced place value using Goldfish Colors. They were on sale at Publix supermarket ten for $10.00 which really means $1.00 per bag. You pay $1.00 per bag whether you buy 1 or 100. I bought 15 bags (various flavors) because my husband eats them, too. I only needed 2 1/2 bags of Colors for my lesson. I gave each student 18 goldfish. For the first time, the yellow represented ones, orange represented tens, green represented hundreds, and red represented thousands. Each child had a dry erase marker to use on his/her desk. We drew place value charts to match the one I drew on the white board. My huge fish are magnetic, so I stuck them up on the board with the words above. I held up a baggie with a few goldfish in it and we practiced figuring out the number together before the children started with their own fish.

A teamie told me that she had to explain to some of hers that the orange goldfish had ten yellow fish in his belly, the green one had 10 orange fish in his belly, and the red one had 10 green fish in his belly.  Above the orange and yellow fish you see 2664 and 4662. One student had written his places backwards. That was a teachable moment for my students. I explained that his number should be four thousand, six hundred, sixty-two but, with the way it was written I would think he only had two thousand six hundred, sixty-four because he wrote it backward. I said I'd much rather have four thousand dollars instead of two thousand. Everyone agreed, so we agreed that the thousands go first, then hundreds, then tens, then ones. :)
  After the children had made their first number, I told them they could eat six fish, keep 12, and make a new number. They did this and were instructed they could eat some more fish, keep at least six, and make another new number. Heaven realized that I was subtracting six every time.
   Some of the children also told me they were making a picture graph out of their fish to make the number. I found it interesting that they associated the arranging of the fish with graphing (which we just finished). What does that say about their number sense? How about their grasp of place value and/or graphing? Does place value tie in with graphing and use of a key? Comments, please...

This was an awesome lesson and I carried around my checklist, watching for students having trouble. I also made smaller fish (a little smaller in diameter than a tennis ball) for my students to use to practice place value in pairs. I think one of the requirements will be to gather all the yellow fish and trade each group of ten for orange fish, etc cetera with green and red fish. I also added purple to the fish so that students who exceed can practice place value to the 10,000s.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Place Value, Rounding and Estimating

We are working on place value for the next six weeks. One of our EQs (essential questions) is about rounding. Teaching rounding to second graders is not the easiest concept. Here are some of the ways I have taught rounding:

 A friend taught the children that the number to be rounded is like Cinderella. The number to the right is the fairy godmother. She decides whether Cinderella gets a new "gown" (number) or not. Then, she vanishes and leaves a zero. 

I made up a little poem several years ago...
Stay the same
For zero to four,
Go on up
For five or more!

A first grade teacher draws a "hill" and puts the five at the top, toward the right as if it's getting ready to go down the hill to the right. 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are going up the left side...never making it up the hill. 6, 7, 8, and 9 are going down the right side of the hill. She puts the numbers on each side of the "hill" at the bottom.

Leah, my teamie, draws her "hill" to look like a rollercoaster. She draws the cars with numbers on them and puts people in the rollercoaster cars. So today, my students drew their own rollercoasters to show rounding. It's amazing how quickly you can see who has rounding and who doesn't! So, now we're on to reteaching!

A way we teach place value is to run colored copies (or let the students color their own) of hundreds from our Math series templates. The students use these and cut them into tens and ones to create pictures. Then, they count the hundreds, the tens, and the ones to add them together for the total from their pictures. We've done this as another way to practice as well as assess student understanding. You can use the Activboard to make pictures to show some ideas for students and teach them how to count the hundreds, tens, and ones. 

A student teacher also used Goldfish Colors (four colors: yellow, orange, green, & red) to practice place value. She gave out colored goldfish to each student and a place value chart to thousands. Each color represented a different value: ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. She had a place value chart with construction paper goldfish hanging on yarn so she could turn it over and show the goldfish two ways. I did not put the fish on a place value chart. I just laminated the goldfish and put magnets on the back. I drew a place value chart on my white board and stuck the paper goldfish on it. That way I can use the fish four ways and have the students practice with each color being a different value. This may need to be modified to ones, tens, and/or hundreds for students struggling with place value.

We'll be doing this tomorrow so I'll add pictures soon! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Georgia's Regions & Rivers

Stephanie over at Keeping Up with Class was very gracious to share her Habitat templates with me so I could convert them over to Georgia Regions & Rivers which is part of our Georgia curriculum. It may be the last year we do this because we will implement the Core Curriculum next year, so it was especially marvelous of her to share. I am excited about sharing these Georgia activities, but haven't mastered exactly how to do so. Please leave a comment with your e-mail address if you're interested and I'll e-mail these to you. Otherwise, I'll try to figure everything out next weekend!

Please give a shout out to Stephanie because she saved me mucho time! :) Thanks again, Stephanie!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you September 11, 2001?

My third grade students and I were going about our daily routine. Each morning around 9:00 we'd turn on the T.V., insert a videotape into the tape player, and exercise to "Skip Counting" for multiplication practice. I turned on the T.V. and one of the students said, "Look at that!" to which I replied that was a horrible looking movie and we didn't want to watch that kind of stuff. As soon as those words were out of my mouth, the announcer said this was live from New York City! WOW! As we watched, trying to figure just what kind of freak accident had happened, the second plane hit the second tower and talk turned to terrorist attacks. I opened the door to the other half of my trailer and told the fifth grade teacher next door to turn on her T.V. Another fifth grade teacher whose T.V. wasn't working joined us in our trailer. We all watched, cried, and prayed as the twin towers fell. It was a scary time, and later someone asked wasn't I afraid I'd lose my position for letting third graders watch that. I only knew that history was being made and my students needed to see it. I put out a message to them on FB to hear their reaction now (they are Juniors in high school this year). That will be interesting...don't you think?

I remember the No-Fly zone instituted over the entire United States of America. Was it two weeks? We live in a rural area and my students commented on how quiet it was outside (we were in and out every day for exploratory classes and lunch). I remember telling them that the No-Fly zone over our country was the reason it was so quiet outside. My husband yelled for me to come see an AWAK (sp?) one afternoon. He explained that the plane had a "bubble" on top so the military could use radar to keep our country safe, so I explained that to my students. . . to help them feel safe.    

I applaud President George Bush's response in the classroom when he was apprised of the attack on the Twin Towers. Do you remember?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

American Pride linky party

Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade is having an American Pride Linky Party. We have a cute little Uncle Sam pin which we make for Veteran's Day to be passed out to the Veterans when we have our Veteran's Day parade up and down the halls. It's made from a wooden ice cream spoon (the kind that come with little cups of ice cream), cotton balls, and construction paper. Students make a little hat for Uncle Sam with construction paper or foam sheets, use the cotton balls for Uncle Sam's beards, and draw eyes and a nose on with a Sharpie. Pins are glued on the back. I usually glue those on with hot glue because it only takes a few minutes and it takes a while for school glue to dry. Plus, I'm always afraid the children will put so much glue it will cause the pin not to work. Here's a picture! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


WOW!  I am so humbled.  One of my students from last year put my name as someone who inspires him.  Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Check out this book...

Check out One on One with America's Most Inspiring Teachers written by one of my principals, Mike Roberts. He is the principal who made sure that all the teachers at our school visited RCA! I can't wait to read this. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Learning Genres?

One of my teamies sent us a genres "song" she and her class had made up based on our essential questions. It's like "Going on a Bear Hunt" and here's the chorus:
We are going on a journey,
We're going to read some good books,
To learn about genres,
And how they help us.

So I looked online at Really Good Stuff because I want that Genres poster for my class (it's out of stock right now) and got the genres off it. My students and I finished with:

We're going to read fiction
realistic and historical,
We'll read some mysteries
Fantasy and folk tales,
We'll add some science fiction
biographies and poetry.
Don't forget non-fiction
and autobiographies.

(Repeat chorus.)

I talked with one of my students tonight (I forgot the last stanza) and we agreed that we should finish with a repeat of the chorus. :)