Saturday, April 27, 2013

Full Moon

Wowzah!  What a week.  Did anyone else feel this way?  I feel like I woke up on each day this week (including Monday!) thinking this was the longest week ever!  My kids were a little off kilter this week.  I checked my moon phase app on my phone daily this week (yep you read that correctly, I have a moon phase app on my phone!) to see if there was a full moon.  Then finally on Thursday when I looked it up, it finally validated what I had been feeling all week long, the moon app said this:

As I was driving to school on Thursday, this is what I saw!  (I promise I was stopped at a light when I snapped the pic!)

Despite the craziness, we still managed to have a great week as we focused on Earth Day and the Lorax.  The weather was beautiful and we were able to get in some gardening!  Heather and I found ourselves in the gardens after school because we had SO much lettuce.  I am so thrilled that we planted when we did in January.  It was a gamble since this winter was pretty harsh for around here.  But now, our kids have had the joy watching our gardens mature and have been able to harvest their hard work.  We headed out this week with my little girl who is in Kindergarten.  She loves to help in the garden and does a great job picking lettuce for us.  She even places one piece of lettuce at a time on each of my kids' desks so it is fair.  Then the kids bag them all up.  It's a great little system.  So far in the last 2 weeks, my kids have taken 3 quart bags of lettuce home with them.  Remember I have 25 kids in my class, so if you do the math that is 75 quarts of lettuce that we have harvested so far!!!
Here is Heather harvesting for her kids.

We do let our kids go out and pick the lettuce themselves.  They've been also taking home parsley, dill, cilantro, and spinach.  But we have found that to keep up with the lettuce, we have to go out in between as well.  It is a good problem to have!  We are having a blast.  Have I mentioned how much I love gardening with kids!?!

We are officially on the countdown around here.  28 days.  What is your countdown?  We'd love to hear from you!  Got anything fun planned for the end of the year.  I know I am excited to start the balloon pop for the final 20 days!

Oh and one more fact before I go, the next full moon won't be until Saturday, May 25th!

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day

Last year, before Heather and I ventured into the realm of a teaching blog, I blogged about teacher stuff on my family's blog.  As Earth Day approaches on Monday, I thought I would repost the Earth Day post I did last year.  I loved this activity so much that I intend to redo it on Monday.

I loved this week's activity this week so much that it needed to be shared!  It all started when I found this Argus poster at Education Express.  Isn't it beautiful!?!

I absolutely fell in love with this poster and wanted to figure out how I could create an Earth Day craftivity for my second graders to do.  I came across two different ideas from very crafty teachers on Pinterest at Teacher Idea Factory here and The First Grade Parade here.  I liked their ideas so much, that I wanted to see how I could combine the two.  Here is what I got.

I took the kids outside and took their pictures with their hands in the air.  Then I printed the pictures as a full page.  I simply cut their bodies out.  Then we cut circles on blue construction paper and painted their hands to make the handprint.  Then we added the paper where they wrote what they would do to protect the earth since the future was in their hands.  They had a blast making these.  I was really proud of how they turned out.  And they made a super cute addition to the hallway!

Click on the picture below to pick up your own free copy!

The Future is in Our Hands!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Product Swap


This is our first time participating in Jessica's Product Swap.  We both lucked out and got take a look at some amazing products.  Juli's review is below mine.  I was linked up with Heidi Harrell from In That Room...Adventures In Second Grade.

If you are not a follower of her blog, you really should go follow her.  I love her blog. She shares great ideas and even blogs about her class pet guinea pig. As an animal lover, I look forward to updates on Patches. She suggested I take a look at her Freckle Juice Novel Study:

 and I am so glad she did! My class LOVED it! The book itself is perfect for second graders. Her unit includes pre reading activities, chapter quizzes, inference activities, a craftivity, a fact and opinion flip book, a graphing activity, and MORE! First I started off with the pre reading and prediction activities.  I loved some of the answers for the predictions!

She wrote that she predicts that Freckle Juice is probably a name of a juice of someone pops a freckle and juice comes out of it. GROSS!
One of the more dramatic predictions was that Freckle Juice will kill someone! Yikes!
The craftivity was really cute and the class enjoyed making their very own Freckle Juice folder to hold their work.  I thought they turned out really cute...
I was being cheap and printed the covers off in black and white. The product actually comes with red dots which would have looked really cute. Color printer ink is actually more valuable than gold in our school.  
The class really enjoyed the inference activity and it was a great way to encourage finding text evidence (you're welcome 3rd grade teachers).  I had them work in pairs to find the character actions that led to our inferences about the characters: 

If you are regular follower of our blog, then you know my class tends to be a tad dramatic.  This meant I wasn't surprised by some of my girls Text To Self responses:

At least they are honest right?!
There are SO many other activities that we did and that are included in this pack. I strongly encourage you to do this novel study (with this unit of course!) if you teach second grade. I think it would work well with third graders as well.  My class really enjoyed the book and the activities from Heidi's unit.  If you wish to visit her blog, you can find it HERE. If you want direct access to this awesome unit, you can find it at TPT HERE.  
She also has a really cute contraction activity:
You can find this fun activity at TPT HERE.

I was so excited about Jessica's Product Swap the last time she did it that I decided that if she hosted it again, I would sign up!  I was excited when I got the email letting me know that I had been linked up with Anita from i live 2 learn i love 2 grow.  If you don't already, head on over to her blog and begin following her.  She loves to use technology in her classroom and I have enjoyed all of her posts.  .


She gave me her All About the Sonoran Desert pack to try in my classroom.   

When she first told me about the pack I got really excited because my students are working on reading informational text.  Specifically, we are working with determining importance when reading text.  The first things I got really excited about were the QR codes.  If you have a device that can read a QR code, it will pull up articles, websites, and videos for the students to read.  

I decided that I was going to use this pack to accompany the work that my students have been doing in Guided Reading.  I only have one device to read a QR code so I decided to split my guided reading groups into three stations.  A computer station, a book station, and the desert fact card station.  Instead of using the QR codes, I pulled all of the websites and videos up on my computer for my kids to browse through.  While they looked through all of the information online they adding details to their books that they created about the Sonoran Desert.  

Then I had a basket of books all about deserts.  The students needed to browse through the books looking for specific details about the Sonoran Desert.  

Finally at the third station the students worked with the desert fact cards. 

The thing I enjoyed most about using this pack in my guided reading groups, was that I could tailor the books they were creating to different things so that all of them weren't creating the exact same book.  I also loved that the kids were wonderfully engaged in the research of the desert.  While they were so engaged, I could rotate through the group and work individually with my students on the skills and strategies they need work with.  The kids really had a great time completing this activity and it worked really well with the guided reading skills that I have been teaching.

I highly recommend heading over to Anita's shop and picking this packet up.  It is priced so well too!  Only $3.00 for all of these amazing activities for your students in your classroom.

I am so happy that I signed up for Jessica's product swap and I am excited to hear about all of the other products that were swapped!

Happy Swapping!    

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Word Problems...Oh My!

I am trying to make up for lost time by posting twice in one week.  We have officially made it to our fourth quarter and the official countdown has begun.  35 days and counting.  It is exciting and scary at the same time.  So much to teach in so little time.

Our state unrolled an unpacking document when the Common Core was introduced.  Our county then worked with teachers to create a "pacing guide" to match.  On this pacing guide it had second grade teaching 2.OA.1 in the fall.  We tried to teach this and felt like we had hit a brick wall!  It was SO hard for them and SO much over their heads.  We decided as a grade level that it wasn't fair to expect our students to complete this task that appeared to be not developmentally appropriate.  We have proceeded to push this skill off until the fourth quarter.  Well, we found ourselves here and ready to teach it...again.

We really wanted to reteach it in a completely different way so that we could make it relevant and concrete.  I did some research and found the Singapore Math teaches basic word problems and equations with a rectangular bar to visually represent an equation.  I really liked the idea of it.  But I wanted an even more concrete way to go along with the rectangles.

I came across this great idea from love2learn2day.  Isn't that awesome!?!

So I took the idea and put it together with the rectangular bars.  All week long, we have practiced with the plates and then drawn the rectangular bars to match.  Here is one of my students using the plate for a start unknown problem during our Guided Practice time.  I noticed on their math homework this week, that there were only a few students I needed to review with.  

 So today, I took the plates away as we practiced and had the students use their whiteboards.  I was so pleased with how well this worked.   
I am very happy to report that we have slotted another full week to teach this skill.  Now that we are getting the hang of it, I am excited to see what another week will do for our mastery of this skill.  

Preparing for this week, I dug deep into the Common Core and found that this skill is an Operations & Algebraic Thinking for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades.  I am pleased to know that we are helping to develop this foundational skill.

So I spent the better part of this week, creating a hands on activity to apply these word problems.  You can play it as a matching game in small groups and independent math time.  

It allows your students to practice and apply the skill of word problems.  It's perfectly suited for application of Common Core Operations & Algebraic Thinking in small groups or independent work and applies to these CCSS:
~ 2.OA.1
~ 3.OA.8
~ 4.OA.3

Includes word problems for all types of problems:
~ putting together
~ adding to
~ taking apart
~ taking from
~ comparing

The activity also uses unknown amounts in all positions using an unknown amount with a question mark (?).
Includes a recording sheet to check for accuracy!  So hop on over to my TPT store and get your copy today!  As always, our first comment will get it free!

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Word Problems!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Whoa!  Over a whole month since we last blogged!?!  Not cool!  So sorry, friends.  I guess after seeing that our last post was all about the changes that we were about to embark upon and our lack of blogging, you can see that we have been B-U-S-Y.  It's been quite a month.  I will be the first to admit that the changes have been a little fun- new faces, new friendships between kids.  But also very stressful!  So many report cards, so much work to grade each day/week.  Overall, the kids have all adjusted well and we are plugging along nicely.  It hasn't been hard, just an adjustment.  So, I am just popping in to say hey and offer up a little freebie for you.  A few weeks ago, I noticed that my kids did not know how to look up words up in the dictionary.  I don't know about you but I definitely don't have tons of time to teach dictionary skills!  So I made this little station activity for my kids to use as they look up the meanings of words on their word lists.  In an apology to you for our absence, hop on over and pick up your own copy for free!  Thanks for hanging in there!  Thanks also for your words of encouragement and advice on our new adventure.  You were so encouraging to us and we appreciated it so much!