Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Snapshots of Our Year

Please enjoy this slideshow to get a little peek into a year in second grade. I have taken many photos this year (2015-2016) of our various classroom activities, celebrations, field trips and special days too! There are nearly 1,000 of them and far too many to post on this blog. You can take a look at some highlights of the current and previous school years at my Photobucket. Just move your cursor over the larger of the two pictures in this post. I have inserted a mini-slideshow. Read below the slideshow if you are interested in saving photos of your child.



If you want to see all of our great pictures, click on view album in the right hand corner of the slideshow screen. From there you can find a folder of the current school year and save any photos you like! If you have a Photobucket account, just hover over the settings wheel and click on copy. You can save the picture to an album.


If you do not want to sign up, you do not have to log in at all to simply click on an image and save it.

Once there. click on any of the small images to make it larger. Then right click on the large picture and select save image as...


Create a folder on your desktop and save your favorite pictures there. Feel free to email me at school if you run into any difficulties!

Can you see why I'm wild about second grade? :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Being a Scientist!

We had some good fizzy fun with our first science experiment and introduction to our Being a Scientist unit! We dropped some raisins in Sprite and the magic of science excitement filled the room!



We talked about each step of the scientific method along the way using these cards. 

The kids felt like REAL scientists as they created a hypothesis, made observations and recorded along the way with a Raisin Experiment lab sheet.

Thankfully, it doesn't say Dancing Raisins at the top of the worksheet because that would be a spoiler! 

I wanted the kids to be totally surprised and they were!



Some students thought the raisin might explode. 
Others thought the pop might turn brown. 
One student was sure the teacher was going to shake the whole bottle of Sprite first and let it erupt everywhere! 
He must have seen that Diet Coke and Mentos experiment on an episode of MythBusters!


The kids were bursting with excitement as they saw our raisins begin to dance! 

We talked about how the carbonation in the pop is air. The bubbles attach to the rough surface of the raisin. When enough bubbles form, it makes the raisins bouyant and they rise to the top. At the surface, the bubbles pop and the raisins sink again.


This was also a great experiment for tying in some review of solids, liquids and gases.

We decided NOT to dump out the cups afterward, but instead will leave them all weekend and return to make more observations of the changes we see on Monday! 

I just love seeing the kids get so excited about activities like these!
:)


Monday, April 28, 2014

Close Reading with Nonfiction

One of our goals this year is to be able to read and comprehend grade level text, both fiction and nonfiction. We have worked to be able to identify nonfiction text features like captions, headings and diagrams. The students are also learning how to do a close read and to be able to provide text evidence to answer comprehension questions.

We use our highlighters to locate key words and information. The students are also learning how to annotate a passage.





We also work to learn new vocabulary in a variety of ways.




Ask your child about any activities like these that come home and practice close reading as often as possible!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Math Activities and Number Talk

What can you do with a card set of numbers 0-10? Maybe more than you can possibly imagine for good, simple math fun! They can be used for addition, subtraction, comparing numbers, even/odd practice, place value and more! 

Often, there are learning activities that we do in school during the day that can't be sent home. I'm really glad that you have stopped by so I could share this one with you!

I made a set of number cards for each of the students to use for various math activities and partner games. I like them better than a deck of playing cards sometimes because we don't have as many face to cards to take out and sometimes you just need a ZERO! 

Cards in Action

 Each child has their own set of cards to manipulate and use for practice activities and partner games. They are stored in these library pockets. 




 Some activities start with a shuffled deck turned upside down in a draw pile. 


First, we lined them up all of the cards in order from greatest to least and then turned over some to show only odd numbers. This was skip counting by two backward practice as well and helped with instant recognition of odd numbers through 10. 

Next, the students had to show a two-digit number that was even.


The cards went back into a pile and then they were asked to flip up three cards. The task was to show the greatest number with those cards. It got tricky when those zeros turned up. Zero is not nothing! Zero is something!


Elbow partners had to work together and compare numbers to see who made the largest. 


 When a ten was turned up, it lead to some great discussion regarding place value to the thousands place.


 Hmmm...what to do with that zero?
 The rule was set that it can't be taken away. 


  Yes, that works!


Next, four cards had to be turned up. The students could create a double digit addition problem of their choice and record it and solve it in their math notebook. Next, they were asked to rearrange some or all of the cards to create a different problem in which the sum remained the same (most saw that it could be the turn-around), and again in a way that would result in a different sum



 The next challenge was just that, but it was such a great one for getting the kiddos really thinking. 

I called out a direction to create a two-digit subtraction problem where regrouping would be necessary. This is a new concept that was only recently introduced.

One student showed this problem. They were on the right track with the digits in the ones place but failed to look at the entire problem. This was a great opportunity for questioning.


 This student got it right away!


  Another student made a model using his pencils to help himself to better see tens and ones in columns as he had seen on many practice papers. Because he had trouble with the concept of regrouping, I was able to pull out another card from my teaching set of extras to use as an overlay to demonstrate what we had done days prior when we decomposed cubes stacked in towers of ten. 



I cannot wait to get the cards out again!
 The students love all card and dice activities
 and so do I! 

In just 15 minutes, we had a wonderful math review and I learned so much about the students and where they each were in their mathematical thinking and skill


Number Talks


We also started official number talks this month, although we have been doing them informally all year as part of our math block. 

First, the class set some important rules for math talk time.



In our very first practice number talk, the students were shown three cards. I asked the question, "What can we do with these three numbers?" 

The teacher records student responses as we come up with different approaches to problem-solving. These are just a few responses from the class. Adding student names encourages greater participation and allows us to refer back to an idea and have the child expand on it if necessary. 


There are many different strategies that can be applied to any problem as you know from completing the homework assignments when asked to explain math reasoning using words, numbers and pictures! The idea is to use mental math over other strategies as often as possible.

The goal of using number talks in our classroom is to improve upon computational fluency, explore new ways of thinking about math and develop sound mental math strategies. 

To learn more about number talks, visit Math Perspectives!

Parents, MAP testing in reading and math begins next week! Using Dreambox at home is a great way to review many math skills!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Look Who's Watching!

An icy cold package was delivered to our classroom the other day! 


Look what Santa sent to us!


Our very own classroom elf! Inside the box was a letter from Santa, our elf friend and a DVD of the movie!


 Yes, he's watching us closely with those big blue eyes and reporting back to Santa! The children all hope to be included on the nice list, of course. I'm sure they will be!

Before he can work his magic and escape from the box, he needs a name. The class brainstormed some ideas. Tomorrow we take a vote. Some of the children's favorites include:

Jingle
Jack
Gerald
Snowflake
Mike
Gizmo
Zip
Buddy

Which will it be? I can't wait to announce it!

Stay tuned for more elf adventures and some field trip photos!