Sunday, December 9, 2012

Measurement and More

Who would've thought that I would be such a slacker when keeping up with my classroom blog... I guess this new common core is keeping me on my toes.  So here I am with so many pictures and things to talk about, but I am about 3 months behind.  My New Year's resolution will be to do better keeping this blog up...

Anyway, we have been working on our Measurement and Data standard 2.MD.1-2.MD.4.  There are so many great activities that deal with measurement, and truly it is only learned through hands on activities.  I love how well my class works in groups and with partners.  They are truly a caring and kind group of kids and I love being their teacher.

First we started with inches and we talked about how a ruler works and so on, but the only way we can learn is by doing... So I gave them each a ruler and told them they had to write down EVERYTHING they measured and put the measurement beside it.  They had to use the correct abbreviation as well.  They all got very creative and even started measuring ears and heads.  They did a great job.  We then shared our findings with the class.

The next day, we figured out we can measure using many different things, including our feet, hands, and even paperclips.  But we did figure out that the room is not the same size "feet," because we learned that Mrs. Harpley's feet are bigger than their feet.  We then decided to measure how tall we where using yarn.  They learned quickly that when you pull on yarn, it is stretchy, so they had to be careful when measuring it next to the measuring tape, that they couldn't pull on it.  We then graphed how tall our class was and then I hung out the yarn in the hallway to see the difference.

I promise I don't usually let them stand on chairs, but sometimes, you just have to bend the rules!  She was helped up and down!

I then introduced temperature, because we learned that temperature is another way to measure something.  I had three different waters that had different temperatures: Boiling, room temperature, and warm.  We all estimated what the degrees would be and then when we guessed, we put in the thermometers to measure the different amounts.  They enjoyed seeing how different their estimations were compared to the real temperature. 
There are endless ways to teach measurement, but I just had to share a few.  I am sorry for the bad quality of pictures... It was my iPhone and not my regular camera, but it works just the same!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Polar Express

I am in the process of planning something fun for the holidays that last week of school before they get out.  I found this great activity that goes along with Polar Express.  You need to check it out!   Polar Express Unit over at "Tonya's Treats for Teachers."
I cannot believe that next week is Thanksgiving!
I always do a fun art project with the kids each year.  It takes a long time to put together, but it turns out so pretty! 
Items you need:
9x6 card stock
tin foil
saran wrap
picture you want copied
You take the tin foil and wrinkle it a little and then flatten it back out.  You want them big enough to wrap the card stock.  Then you tape it on the back like a present.  Then you take the picture of your choice and tape just the corner on the foil.  (This will be removed when the coloring is finished.)
Then you take the saran wrap and and wrap it over the card stock and tape it on the back, but be sure to not over tape the opening where you will take out the paper.

Finally, with sharpie markers, have students color the cornucopia, but be sure to outline the the boarders in black last.
Then you will remove the paper when finished.  They turn out like stained glass.  They are so beautiful!  I will post the finished product.
The do take a long time to prepare, but if you mat them on black paper, they are a great present for the holidays!
Here is the cornucopia if you would like a copy.
Sorry... don't know how to make it a cute download.
Here's to a quick week hopefully!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Can't I Skip My Reading tonight?

"Why Can't I Skip My Twenty Minutes of Reading Tonight?" Let's figure it out -- mathematically!
  • Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week.
  • Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all!
Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 min./week.
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes.

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year.
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.
Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same
reading habits, Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school
days Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.
One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened
considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think
Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:

  • Which student would you expect to read better?
  • Which student would you expect to know more?
  • Which student would you expect to write better?
  • Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
  • Which student would you expect to be more successful in school....and in life?
I saw this at and thought... WOW... JUST WOW!  I guess it totally puts it into perspective if you look at it mathematically!  I LOVE IT and I love her site! 

Please keep reading each night!

Monday, September 24, 2012


We are working on animal life cycles in Science now.  We have been discovering all different kind of animals and how their life cycle work.  We even explored more and found that some animals have been preserved over time and they became a fossil.  We even acted out animal life cycles and they had a lot of fun acting out the pupa stages!

In our reading story, If You Find a Rock, there are all different types of rocks.  We all decided that fossils were our favorite.  We read stories about fossils and all kinds of rocks.  We learned that a paleontologist is a person who searches for fossils.  We all wanted to be a paleontologist, so we got to dig to find our own bones (chocolate chip cookies make great artifacts). We learned that we had to be so patient to dig out the bones.  They had a great time doing this activity and they liked it so much they didn't even ask to eat the cookie!  They wanted to break it apart to see how many bones they could find!  I love their determination!  These are pictures from the different types of rocks and fossils I had and ones of them breaking apart the rocks!  Now at recess, instead of playing, we are all searching for rocks and seeing the many different types we have around us!  Their love of learning is so awesome! 


I love the focus on his face!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Classroom Bronco Buck Party

Have I mentioned how much I love my sweet class?  They have been working so hard trying to save up our class Bronco Buck to have a classroom party.  We are a PBIS school and I also incorporate Whole Brain Teaching and that works so great with my class.  We get points every day for making the right choices and we are saving them to get a classroom party.  Well, guess what?  We earned our $50 Bronco Bucks to have our party! They decided that they wanted to have a donut and dance party.  They had a great time and enjoyed themselves.  It is so easy to do to take a few minutes to reward good behavior.  They work so hard the rest of the day, taking a few minutes out each day to reward their good behavior has such a positive outcome that they want to do well for our classroom!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching

Can I tell you how much I love Whole Brain Teaching?  It helps my day go so much smoother when I don't have to stop and redirect that negative behavior...  Well, I love to sing to get my kids to follow along or repeat what I sing.  What 7-8 year old doesn't love to sing?  Well, this class does a fantastic job of getting it together when they hear a few words of me singing.  I love singing too, so this works perfectly for me.   Let me say that WBT does not tell you to sing, that is something that I like to do to get my students to listen without having to raise my voice.  WBT is all about routine and incorporating in your daily schedule throughout the day, not just once.  We repeat our directions before each learning activity at the beginning of the year.  As the year goes on, you only do it in the morning and as needed.  I love the fact that they can be the teacher as well.  When they work in groups, they don't just play around, they really restate facts and teach each other.  It is an awesome "AH HA" moment when they are really teaching each other and they are learning from each other!  I LOVE IT!!!

Every morning I start out singing "Good Morning to You" and they sing back to me.  Then we do our daily rules.  A student comes up and leads the class.  They love to come up and be the teacher.  When they do a great job or are staying on task, I say, "Cha-Ching" and they repeat and they get a point towards their classroom party.  They already earned one party, because they are so awesome!

Here is a video of them doing our daily expectations.  It takes about a week for them to know it without looking, but when someone isn't following them, all I have to do is point to #2 and say, "Did you raise your hand?"  They automatically remember and raise their hands.  It is such a great tool!  If you haven't looked into it, you should! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Welcome Back!!!

Welcome back to second to second grade!  I have been away for awhile, but now I am back and looking forward to a wonderful new year!  We have been in school for 4 weeks now and this time has flown by!  First of all... let me just saw that my class is awesome!  I only have 19 kids this year and they are all Super Stars!  We have been doing so many things and learning new things everyday!  We started off the year with Common Core and it is going great!  We have been working on our first unit in math extending base tens and I do believe my rock stars can break down a number in any way I want them to.  We worked on expanded form and we make a neighborhood by breaking down the numbers by using hundreds, tens and ones.  Then we broke it down and wrote it in expanded form and then we put them on the wall by even and odd numbers.  They did a great job!

We did so many fun activities in math, but they really enjoyed playing our hundreds chart game.  I gave each group a hundreds chart and they got some money to cover over numbers around the board.  They had to then guess the covered number by guessing 10 less, 10 more, or 1 less and 1 more.  They really enjoyed it and they worked so well together.  No, they weren't sleeping, but they had to cover their eyes so they didn't see what their partner was covering up!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Multiplication Super Stars

We finally got around to starting multiplication.  We do Rocket Math in our class and I have one student on multiplication and the rest of the class is trying so hard to catch up and be there too.  I keep telling them that they have to master all their addition math facts before they can really understand multiplication.  They just looked at me and wondered why they need to know addition facts in order to do multiplication. 

Well, they finally understood once we did our activity.  We wrote everything we knew up on the board before starting.  Then I gave an example of how to solve a multiplication problem.  I showed them how to do repeated addition.  "OOOHHHH, AHHHH!"

They seemed to understand that when we multiply numbers we add "GROUPS" together.  So I got out my dry erase boards and somehow I am missing some, so the ones that didn't get the boards used their desks.  They love writing on either, so it didn't bother them too much! 

I found jelly beans on sale after Easter, so I bought those to use.  I usually use M&Ms, but I love a good deal!  So using the problem 5x3, they drew 5 circles on their desks for the groups.  Then they put 3 jelly beans in each circle.  They then had to write the addition problem under the circles to show me they really got it!  Well, guess what?  They seemed to get it!  I had a cute multiplication activity that I also did with them, but I can't figure out how to import my Google documents onto my blog.  Another thing I will have to learn!  Next, we will be working on our flashcards and studying multiplication!

Seeds, Seeds and More Seeds

These last couple of weeks have been a blur and as much as I love Spring Break, it is a pain preparing for the Master's coming to town.  I love it, but our town and my house revolves around The Masters!  It turns into a beautiful city during the spring and the azaleas are so beautiful everywhere!!!

Anyway, I only have 4 days before our Spring Break comes and it will be over just as soon as it began, but I will take it!  With Springtime in full bloom, our Science unit goes hand in hand with what we are teaching... PLANTS and SEEDS!  I know the curriculum is kind of boring when it comes to what we are supposed to teach, so of course I have to add to it by doing FUN stuff! 

First we started with a K-W-L chart of what we know about plants.  They seem to know a lot about plants so far, so teaching them will be easy... If I haven't mentioned, my class is super and smart!  :)

After that we compared two Lima beans, one that was hard and the other one was soaked overnight.  They all tried so hard to peel the seed coat off the one that wasn't soaked, and they couldn't believe the difference between the two.  Not only were they easier to peel, but they doubled in size because they soaked up the water like a sponge!  Then we took another soaked Lima bean and put it in a zip lock baggie with a wet paper towel.  I then hung them in the window (luckily my window gets great sunlight all day long) and now the observing begins.  They are going to keep a journal of what they see every day.  I wish I had more than 5 days to do the plants, but hopefully it will start to grow some before Friday.

I also purchased a kit from Wal-Mart that had those disc that you soak in water and they expand to fill the pots... well my kids LOVED that and thought it was cool!  I love the little things that seem to amaze them!  These worked out great because we planted different seeds in each pot and watched them grow.  I was surprised at how fast they did grow, but like I said, I wish I had another week so we could really watch them grow!  The coolest thing happened, when I was cutting them apart, there were no stems growing, but underneath the roots were coming out of the bottom.  What a cool learning time to see that just because the plant didn't grow on top, it was growing under the ground!  So cool! The kit came with tomato seeds and a neat watering system you set on top.  I labeled the sticks with their names on them and the kind of plant they planted.

Fast forward 2 weeks!!! I am now finally learning how update my blog from my phone and insert pictures!!! Yay me!! I think I might just get this whole blogging thing down after all!!

I also want to mention that we wrote in our daily journal and drew a picture of how our seed changed and on the last day, they wrote, "what do you think the seed will become?"  As you can see in the pictures, they did grow quite a bit for just 5 days!  They were so excited to see the different stages that the plants went through.

 They did awesome with them!!! Check out the pictures!

Dry seed and the soaked seed. 

Our Seeds

Our Window
We get full sunlight most of the day, so that helped a lot!

This is always one of my favorite Science activities to teach.  I don't have any fun activities that I do other than the hands on stuff you see here and the journal, which was a simple word document.  I hope they enjoyed as much I did!