Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We have crickets!

As those of you who teach second grade know, a major science goal for second graders is the life cycle of insects. We study both the incomplete and complete life cycles.  The complete life cycle is a lot of fun as we raise ladybugs, butterflies, and mealworms. To study the incomplete life cycle, we raise crickets from the nymph stage.  Our county science kit includes a card to order the little guys along with instructions and containers to create their living quarters.  Their habitat is somewhat of an ordeal to put together. Juli and I did Google how to make cricket habitats and there are a lot of sites out their if your county doesn't provide a kit.  I will forewarn you that the crickets don't have the best smell about them.  It was all Juli could do not to gag as she got close up for pictures.  TpT has a ton of great things for butterflies and mealworms.  There was nothing out there that I could find for crickets, so I made a few of my own. I plan to place them on TpT or you can click on the picture below to download them.  We have just begun our study of crickets, but the students are already fascinated. They check on them everyday when they get in the classroom.  For some reason, they seem less disturbed by the smell than Juli and I do! They had a great time labeling the habitat and predicting what each part was for.  I didn't draw our habitat in the one activity as your habitat may look different from ours.   Feel free to use and let us know how it works out for you. We would love to hear! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Balloon Countdown

This weekend I was stalking browsing teacher blogs seeing all of the amazing things going on in classrooms across the nation.  This has come to be one of my most favorite past times and came across this wonderful idea from one of my favorite teacher bloggers The Teacher Wife!  What a wonderful and fun activity to do with the kiddos.  I raced to school this morning to get the balloons up before my kids got there.  We have 13 days today (technically 14 if you count the last day).  You should have seen their faces when they walked in.  PRICELESS!!  I was so excited to see how excited their faces were.  I chose fairly easy activities to do for the next 14 days and I am excited to try all of them.  I am so thankful for such great ideas of people out there!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Line Plots

This year, line plots (2.MD.9) are a new math subject for us to teach.  We found ourselves, not knowing exactly the best way to teach this skill and where to find adequate resources to teach it.  I created this line plot activity for the students to practice and I wanted to share it with you.  If you also teach second grade and have created some great line plot printables or have great ideas for teaching line plots, we would love to hear them!  Click on the image below for your free download, or you can always get it here at my TPT store.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Sorts of Arrays

This past week we embarked on rectangular arrays (2.OA4).  Each morning, we debrief with one another about the day prior and what we will be doing that day.  As we were talking late last week about teaching arrays, Heather mentioned how fun it would be to relate arrays to planting a garden.  *Insert Lightbulb moment!*

I (Juli) had 12 raised beds gardens built last year in conjunction with a lesson that I taught that went horribly wrong (there is a great story to that which will have to come at a later time) and an Eagle Scout who was a student of my husband's who desperately needed a project to complete.  The gardens were built for the entire school and haven't seen much use until this year.  The more I thought about it, I decided that not only were we going to relate arrays to gardening, but we were going to have all of our kids out there in the gardens planting seeds in rectangular arrays!

I checked to see what, if any, seeds needed to be planted this week and discovered that we needed to plant both melons and watermelons.  

We pulled butcher paper roughly the size of the raised beds.  We divided our classes into 4 total groups.  As a group, they had to determine what array would work best on the paper and in the garden.  Team A was planting watermelon seeds and needed 10 inches of space between the seeds.  Team B was planting melons and needed 12 inches of space between the seeds.  (2.MD.1)  

They used their rulers and began marking their big butcher paper into a huge 2x7 array.  Then we had them figure out their repeated addition sentences that went along with their arrays.  

Next, we all headed out into the gardens to begin planting.  We placed the butcher paper into the gardens and pushed Popsicle sticks through the holes.

When we moved the paper from the beds, we had an array of popsicle sticks that let us know exactly where to plant the seeds in the bed.  

Here is Heather with her kids, planting the seeds in the beds.  

The kids put the seeds in the beds and hopefully in 85-90 days we will have lots of watermelons and melons!  The funny thing was that after we got the seeds planted and we were back inside, we pulled up the calendar and together figured out when it would be time for our melons to be harvested.  After looking at the calendar, both classes were SO bummed when they realized that we wouldn't be in school when they're ready.  Hopefully, we can arrange for the kids to come and see them when they get picked!

It was a great day overall and we 're thrilled how we integrated so many math and science skills all while making arrays real to our kids!


Counting By 5's

The Common Core standard 2.NBT.2 takes skip counting to a whole new level.  I always used to think that my second graders had their skip counting down pat.  I also thought that if they could count by 2's, 5's, and 10's to 100 then they could count by those numbers as high as they needed.  1,000?  Sure!  Well, it only took a few individual assessments for me to realize that this was NOT the case.  I decided create a manipulation station activity in a station during Math Workshop in a pocket chart.  It is a fun, hands on activity for the students to practice with, but it also includes a recording sheet so I can check their understanding and intervene, if necessary.  As new bloggers, we are excited to be able to give you this freebie to practice in your classrooms too!  Hope you enjoy!


Arbor Day

This past Friday was Arbor Day.  We used Earth Day and Arbor Day to have 2 great weeks of Earth friendly learning.  The week prior to Earth Day, we did a unit with The Lorax.  The week following Earth Day (and the week of Arbor Day) we did a week long unit with The Great Kapok Tree and learned about Rain forests.  We are very pleased with how well both weeks turned out.  We love how we can use so many skills within the framework of one story or as in the case of this week 2 stories!).  As a culmination of both weeks, we took the entire 2nd grade to see The Lorax at the local movie theatre.  What a fun day!  Not to mention all of the comparing and contrasting we could do with the book, and both the old and new version of the movie.  Then later, a colleague's husband who works for a tree company in town, brought a tree to add to a tree that Heather donated.  He taught us how to plant and care for trees and the kids had so much fun, they cheered!  

First Post Ever!

So here we are!  For the better part of this school year we have done nothing but stalk teacher blogs.  We talked and talked all year about how wonderful it would be to join such a fabulous group of amazing teachers.  We have been SO inspired by all of the wonderful teachers out there, that we wanted to have a place to share our things too!

My name is Juli and I am a second grade teacher.  I have taught for 11 years and I absolutely LOVE what I do.  I am also a mom to three "small" children.  I put small in quotations because I have seriously just woken up from what I can only attribute to a walking coma and realized that my three kids are not so small anymore.  I had three babies in three years which has placed me into some sort of category of CUH-RAZY!  However, things seem to be getting easier now that I have a 6, 5, and 4 year old.

I teach in North Carolina with a team of great girls who inspire and encourage me to be a better teacher every day.  One of those team members is my partner in crime, best teacher I have seen in action, and seriously the funniest person I know, Heather.  I know you all know how it is, sometimes even though teaching is such a grand, noble, rewarding profession (just a teensy bit of sarcasm) there are days that you just don't know if you have it in you to come back the next day.  Am I the ONLY one out there who has these days?  But truthfully, when I do feel this way, I rely on Heather and her perspective that make me laugh, smile, and want to come back tomorrow and just keep going.  I've got her back and I know she's got mine.  I am so glad that you've stopped in and can't wait to show you all what we are up to in our little second grade world that is super, but SIMPLE!!


Now here's Heather to tell you a little about herself...

What a fabulous introduction!!  I have also taught for 11 years. All of the years, except one, in second grade.  I am also a mother.  I have 2 boys - ages 4 and 1 who are the loves of my life along with my husband of course!  Other than a mother and a teacher, I have no hobbies! I would love to do more but I can barely get myself dressed after fulfilling those first 2 obligations.

As Juli said we teach in North Carolina with a wonderful group.  I couldn't imagine working with a group of people that I don't have fun with.  When you work with children all day long, you have to have people you can laugh with or you would go crazy!  I am lucky enough to have one of those great people be Juli.  Before meeting Juli I was that teacher that opened up the plan book from the year before and taught the same ole lessons I had the year before.  Juli is a master of the curriculum and incredibly creative and innovative. She opened up a whole new world of teaching to me.  We have had the most fun thinking up and creating new things.  I hope you enjoy seeing the things we do as much as we enjoy doing them!