Sunday, April 29, 2012

Math Centers

Laura at Corkboard Connections is having a Link Up on math centers/stations. I feel I'm getting better in this area, but have a ways to go still.
Last year, I did math centers with 3 rotations. One with me, one at computers doing math activities and another was basically playing a math game - they picked. That got a bit chaotic, so I started picking partners off the top of my head. Still wasn't really pleased with that, but made it to the end of the year.

Last summer, I bought and read Debbie Diller's "Math Work Stations." It is a terrific resource and I found many ideas in it.
Product DetailsHowever, I really had trouble implementing them. I plan to spend some time this summer reviewing the book and trying again next year.

One thing I did get from the book, and that I have kept going is specific math centers. With my schedule, we usually have math centers 3 days a week. I have 3 different math centers - so the kids go to each one once during the week. (If it happens that my week works out to have math centers 4 days in a week, I just have them go back to one.) Anyway, each math center has specific skills to work on. One usually has math facts, or as we've progressed, double digit addition and subtraction.

Another tub has review activities of a skill we have recently learned. For example, right now it is money.

The last tub has Drops in the Bucket - these are worksheets that review 2nd grade skills - and then a math game for the students to play when they get done.

When I'm working with my small, guided math group, I usually see a lot of messing around that I don't seem to see during literacy centers. This is something I'm going to think about over the summer to see if I can think of a solution. (Or maybe someone who reads this has an idea for me!)

Anyway, Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade has made a lot of Bump games that my kids have enjoyed. I took her idea and made Bump Plus games. On one game, the students roll a die (10 sided die) and add it to 7. Another board, they roll the die and add it to 8 and on the last gameboard, they roll the die and add it to 9. Now that I'm thinking about this, I will have to get those back out again. :)

I'd love for you to try out my Bump Plus games - and if you do, could you leave a comment telling me how it works for you? Thanks, thanks!

Anyway, that's my contribution. For more ideas, go to Corkboard Connections.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

TpT and a few other things

I spent about an hour and a half this morning and another hour this afternoon printing out stuff I've bought from TpT. I'm so bad - I find something cute, I mean useful, and I buy it. Well, my plan now is to actually use it! I also did lots of feedback that I had neglected so I could see my TpT credits go up, up, up.

Some stuff I'd look at and say to myself, agh, why did I buy this? But then I'd look again and say to myself - oh, yeah, this is good; I'd use this; I could try this. I'm happy that our district has a central teacher place that has laminators and die cuts - and we can laminate as much as we want for free. It's just the getting there that's the problem. Anyway, I didn't realize that was quite a benefit until I read on a blog that that wasn't true for everyone. Anyway, I'll be there laminating my heart out some time next week.

I had a sub on Thursday so that I could DRA test - I don't know if anyone else does this. Anyway, my sped student moved up a couple levels - yeah for him. But he asked - did I pass? Well, yes, he passed several levels, but no, he's not reading at grade level. I didn't tell him the last part, of course. Some of my kids didn't do as well as I had expected - those I want to strangle - no, no, obviously I mean nurture just that extra bit more! 

Our story in our reading series last week was called "Working in Space." I supplemented that a little in the afternoon and we did some learning about space and planets. I found a great thing at Smart Exchange called "Blastoff." For each planet, it had links to a short video and also to pictures of the planet's surface. The kids enjoyed it - and I think they enjoyed telling me how much they already knew! (I think the link will take you somewhere in the vicinity
of the download.) 

Well, happy Saturday - I bought a ton a plants that are now asking to be planted!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Birthday Linky and Space

Oh, man, seems I didn't win Soaring Through Second's Furry Friends giveaway. Well, it seems my precious Blondie was an adorable hit with several bloggers. What more could I want???
Now for the real business :)
Sunny Days in Second Grade is having a Linky Party about how you celebrate birthdays in your classroom. This is one thing I really like about reading blogs that I have found - they get me to thinking. My birthday is in the summer - I never had to go to school on my birthday. And after seeing what Denise does in her room, I realized I don't think I've made a big enough deal out of my kiddos' birthdays. My big excitement for them is they get a balloon (not blown up), a new pencil, a sticker that says "It's my birthday," and maybe one other thing. Plus (and what more could a kid want??) they get to go first to lunch!! Whoo Hoo! Ok, I'm being a bit sarcastic here.

So I've decided a new goal for me for next year is to make classroom birthdays just a tad bit more special. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people do - I know I'll get lots of great ideas. If you are interested in lots of good birthday ideas, head over here:

This next week, our reading story is called "Working in Space." I always try to add a little extra to our reading stories, to make them just that more interesting to my kids. I'm especially trying to do that as we get close to the end. To go with our space story, I found a website that included some good space information for kids. It's called Kid's Astronomy - isn't that appropriate?? Anyway, my idea is to do some exploring at this site in the afternoon's. I also have a True or False Planets book. My kids really seem to enjoy these kinds of books. I read a statement from the book and they give a thumbs up or down as to whether they think it is true or false.

Product Details

Well, that's about it. Have a good week! Sara

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This and That and End of the Year Gifts

It's my anniversary weekend - long ago and far away, I married this crazy guy - why is he crazy? Because he listens to all my jabber-jawing about school and kids and co-workers and kids and kids and kids and kids. So I took a personal day Friday and we went to the big city (ha!) and had a wonderful time. But when I was telling my class on Thursday that I would be gone, one of my little stinkers - I mean, sweeties, said "I hate subs." And I thought, I've never looked at it from their point of view. I was just all excited to be out of the classroom for a day and get a break from them (plus spend the day with my hub-bub, of course!).

Saturday after we got back, I ran up to the school because (typical of me) I had forgotten to grab the Scholastic Book order I needed to place. And of course, I can't help myself, I look at the sub note and she says she can't get the VCR to work. So I try it, and the TV was on like channel 8 instead of 3. And I put it on 3 and It Works! Um, maybe you need to try to figure this out before you actually need it! Like I put in my plans! Hello! Aren't sub plans so much fun - and then if you find out they didn't follow them - well, fun, fun!

So, Courtney at Swimming into Second is having a Linky Party about End of the Year gifts. My gift is nothing fancy - I buy a bunch of books (or use my points) from Scholastic and I lay them out on the table. I draw sticks and the kids get to come pick a book. Then I write something like, "Have a great summer, from Mrs. Sanders."

I realized a couple years ago (when I did a reading log) that many of my students didn't have One Single Book at their house. A tragedy, in my opinion. So I give them a book at Christmas and a book at the end of the year. It isn't much, it isn't fancy, but I like it. So if you have a fun gift you give, share your idea at:

It is a beautiful Sunday here in western Kansas. Not too hot, not too much wind. Just wonderful. So I'm spending part of my day outside and NONE of it on school work :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Furry Friends

Well, I didn't want to be naughty yesterday and blog twice (: but my post seemed a little long and I wanted to add this linky party - so I'm wrestling the computer away from my teenager.

Soaring through Second Grade is doing - -

And she asks - What has your furry friend taught you? Ah - my furry friend - Blondie! We got her at the animal shelter. We were looking for a lap dog - ha! She's much bigger than that, but oh so gentle and sweet natured. And 1 thing she has taught me is that there is always somebody who loves me. She's always excited to see me come in the door. She can't wait for some loving in the morning.

I think the other thing she's taught me - is to try to look at things from another point of view. When we first got her, she chewed up a pair of my shoes, the garden hose, the sprinkler, some yard art. Oh, I was so frustrated with her. Didn't really realize that she was chewing because she was a puppy. Anyway, that's helped me try to see why my kiddos are doing things - and if there's something I can do to help. Not always able to see and not always able to help - but trying.

I'm glad I'm able to link up with Sandy (at Soaring through Second Grade) because I just won her Math Racers last week and I'm going to be using them this week with my students. Thanks, Sandy!

Happy Monday everyone! Sara

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Money and Gotta Have

The wind is howling outside at 35 mph, sort of like my last recess duty day! Fun times, fun times!

And our dear cafeteria ladies - yes, I really do like them; they do all sorts of nice things for us - have put a countdown for us. So nice to know - only 29 days. OK, nice for me to know - I'm not so sure I want 22 of my little sweeties to know! 

I often think I don't have any good ideas to contribute - but I did something on Thursday that I thought worked pretty good. The day before, we'd had a math page. Each problem had 5 coins. The kids were supposed to draw the coins in order of value and then count them. Argh! Not happening. So the next day, I got 15 little containers and put different coins in each of them - 5 total coins. And I put a little piece of paper with a number in each container. The kids folded their notebook paper into 8 sections and then numbered the sections. Then during guided math, they got a container, saw which number it was, then drew the coins in that section and added them up. Worked much better!

So happy for me! And now I'm sharing! (This is a fake picture from home because when I had my camera at school, someone stole the camera card. Yes, that's right - the camera card. Not the camera it was in (thank heavens!) but the card. Just too weird - but in a happy way because they didn't take the camera, too.)

Found a fun Linky Party at Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten.  She asks what are you gotta have's? Here's mine! I hope you can read it.

 Oh, my goodness - that took forever and a teenage daughter to do. :)
If you can't read it:
1. Elmo
2. Books
3. Smartboard
4. Brach's Peppermint Christmas Mints
5. My Sweeties

Well, the weekend's almost over - enjoy your Sunday night!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Super Spy

Like WOW! This seems super cool. Seusstastic Classroom Inspiration is blogging about HearALL Assessment Recorder. Mel D. gives lots of ideas on how to use it - but wouldn't this be a terrific thing to have in your classroom. It could be a secret spy in your room. Or, I guess you could use it for assessments. Whichever.

Mel write about using the recorder at a center with some talkative little friends, using it to assess sight words and Dibels, or as a "Read to Someone" at a center.

Well, the sad part is the device is $100 - but the terrific part is Mel is giving one away! I hope I'm a winner!

It's Thursday, my recess day is over and Friday is almost here! Happy Day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday after Easter

Happy day after Easter to all! Our district is nice enough to give us today (Monday after Easter) off also. Yeah! I'm still in my jammies and it's almost 11 o'clock! And, I haven't even THOUGHT about school since Friday evening! 

We had an in-service on Thursday about Common Core and Math. Do we ever get to the point where we just "get it"? I don't mean in a quit trying way - I just mean, leave some things the same so we can work at getting better at them. I am looking forward to the math common core. However, our math book will be almost useless, so that means lots of blog-hopping and TpT looking. 

Speaking of math, we've moved to our money unit. (This will be a big change for me next year - this year, we do something and move on. I know, not the best practice. Next year, we'll review and review. Better for the kiddos.) Anyway, I stumbled across this blog and she had mega-websites listed to practice money. Thank You! And what a cool name for a blog - technology rocks, seriously.  

(I guess I found her from Teaching Blog Addict's Bunny Hopping.) 

OK - this will have to be for next year, because I didn't see it in time. And it's probably an oldie, but a goodie. A Cupcake for the Teacher had this idea to use plastic eggs for a matching activity. She used it for antonyms, but you could do synonyms, math facts, etc. Like I said, next year! 

Don't have anything else. If you get today off, enjoy your day. And if you're at school, enjoy your kiddos :) 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Theme Ideas for the end of the year

You know how you get that idea that you've seen something somewhere, and now you want to find it? I knew I had seen a post about Inventors. I had looked at some blogs where I thought I had seen it, but no. Last night, I decided I was going to look at each blog I have bookmarked and see if, with some serious looking, I couldn't find what I was looking for. TaDa! Cara at The First Grade Parade has one blog post about inventors, but I'm thinking that's enough to get me going. I need to find some books at our library, but Yeah! 

And I purchased Deanna Jump's Dinosaur unit. I know that she is a (wonderful) kindergarten teacher, but after looking at this unit, I think there is a lot I can use with my 2nd graders.  She also has a post on her blog about some of the things she has done. 

These are two ideas that I'm hoping to incorporate into our last few weeks, but I'm afraid time will fly by fast. We still have to do science experiments for an assessment for our district, a presentation (also for a district assessment) a couple math assessments - and then a few fun things - a zoo field trip (for a town our size, we have a WONDERFUL zoo) and a fun day with our 2nd graders.

I'll be attending a common core math in-service tomorrow and then I have Friday and Monday off. Yeah!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Teaching Blog Addict

Don't you all know already? Teaching Blog Addict is having all kinds of birthday stuff going on this week. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Some Theme Talk

I spent some time last weekend thinking about the rest of the year. (Yes, we ARE moving toward that!)

I thought it might be fun to try some different "theme" type things as the weeks go by. For example, in our reading series Houghton Mifflin's Journeys), we have a story called "Working in Space." I thought it might be good to spend some extra time doing some space things - reading other books, looking at websites, maybe doing some experiments and crafts. 

We also have a story called "The Dog that Dug for Dinosaur Bones." Same thing. I was wondering what extra things I could bring in to make it more meaningful for the kiddos.

Another story is called "Now and Ben" about Ben Franklin and all his inventions. I know that this fall I had seen somebody blog about doing an inventions unit, but I can't find that. 

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions, thoughts, ideas, something they've used fromTpT or a blog. I would love some comments!