Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Days 3 & 4 with our elf

So we've had a lot of Christmas cheer and by Christmas cheer I mean very wild behavior.  Who can blame the kids?  It's an exciting time.

BUT our elf was ready for his ears to have a break!  So on day 3 he left a little (BIG) hint for some peace and quiet.

The hint worked so Twinkle was ready to get back to some fun stuff! On day 4, Twinkle gathered his friends to read a book, Mooseltoe.  In the story, the Moose forgets to get his family a tree so he lets them decorate his mustache instead.  So of course Twinkle and his friends were wearing mustaches! He also left a note for the students :)

Another precious child was reading to Twinkle B. Merry McBushyplums when I glanced over.  Their expressions are priceless and I am loving the merriment!

I hope you are getting your jingle on too!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Twinkle B.Merry McBushyplums

Our elf finally arrived!  Honestly, I felt a little guilty about not having one.  Letting kids down kills me.  Also, elves are just plain fun!

DAY 1:
Here is our dear, little elf!

This was waiting for the students....they couldn't wait to open it!

Inside was a special note from Santa.

I found this Elf name calculator which is the COOLEST THING EVER!  

Some students still wanted to make suggestions.  Afterwards they all got to vote and place it in the Elf box.

After voting we found out our elf's name is TWINKLE B.MERRY MCBUSHYPLUMS!!!

The second day was even better than the first.  The elf was hanging upside down with a sign saying "I LOVE my name!"  His name was taped up ALL over the room!  The very best part though was that he took the students elf pictures and put them on our quilt and gave them all elf names with the calculator!!  Check it out!
DAY 2:

The kids got another note from Santa!

That silly elf photo copied himself and gave the kids elf names!!

Later in the day, I let the kids free read for about 10 minutes.  I look over and this dear boy is reading to him....and he didn't stop with one book, he read several!  The kids' reactions have totally been worth the cost of the elf!  

Come back for more elf fun!


If you follow my blog you may know that I have been going through a major transition called Second Grade Math!  Regrouping has been on my mind.

Here are our recent anchor charts:

We started using tens and ones manipulatives....well Popsicle sticks and kidney beans to practice simple regrouping.  Then we moved on to regrouping with subtraction.  Finally the students are representing problems by drawing tens and ones.

I made a pack of materials to use in class that includes whole group activities, journal prompts, interactive journal activities and centers.  

Have a magical night!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Real Life Math

When creating lesson plans for our Math Workshop I like to make it as relevant as possible.  Current events, commercials, sports and short clips help stimulate the students into thinking mathematically.

Here are a couple of suggestions to consider:
Scores on ESPN

Toy Ads from favorite stores like Target

Short clips from YouTube

Tracking Santa at Norad Tracks Santa

Pricing on the back of books

Pictures of things that are important to you and/or them

Objects in your classroom

Pictures of cool objects

Letting students know that the things they are learning in school really do apply to their real world is so important.  Math is about thinking and there are opportunities everywhere!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Merry Math

I last posted about my struggle with two-digit addition with regrouping and have had some time to think about possible solutions.

My personal go-to is reading.  I read current and relevant texts when I'm unsure of what to do next.

One of my favorite books for meeting with mathematicians in small groups is Math Exchanges by Kassia Omohundro Wedekind.  On her blog Math Exchanges, she wrote,
In my book I talk a lot about how math exchanges must be both contextually meaningful and mathematically significant. Many times “contextually meaningful” means relevant or useful to the life of the mathematician solving the problem. 
This got me thinking about giving students situations that were relevant to them.  And after Thanksgiving what else is there but TOYS?!

In the text, Learning to Love Math by Judy Willis, she shared her theory about learning from video games.  She wrote,
Video games are an example of the lure of achievable challenge because they help students reach personally desirable goals...These goals can be translated into mathematics as long as we use the model of achievable challenge (through differentiation and individualization) and connect our teaching goals with students' personal goals and interest.
This challenges me as an educator.  I have to find the achievable challenge for each student knowing that they will all be different.  For my whole group lessons, I determined that I would use the Gradual Release of Responsibility by amping up the problems each time.

Maggie Siena wrote, in her book From Reading to Math,
There is no one best way to teach math.
Confidence is paramount.
Professional development is important for teaching all students.
Everyone has the potential to understand math.
What I really honed in on in my personal quest was the idea that the student had to have confidence. Again this leads me to the GRR and teaching with Concrete, Representational and Abstract sequence.  I need to give the students in my class every opportunity to feel successful and to do this I need to create building blocks that they can stack and depend on to support them.

Here leads to my freebie!  I wanted to create materials to use the first week back that incorporated all these great things I've learned about math instruction.

Click on the link or pictures to pick up yours :)

I hope you enjoy this week and give thanks for all that you have because life is precious!!