Monday, September 15, 2014

Math Facts & Stations!

Hey y'all!  Last week I posted a picture on Instagram about some Math Fact pockets that I came up with.  I'm here to give you a little more details and show you how to put them together!

First of all, let me say that this just came from some random idea I had when I was shopping online.  I've been wanting to incorporate fact fluency tests somehow, but don't want to keep up with a trillion pieces of paper.

That's when the Math Fact Pockets were birthed :)  I purchased library pockets from Mardel HERE and used the fact tests from the Teacher Wife.  I bought her Double Digit Addition and Subtraction unit YEARS ago, and these little guys are included.  They were just perfect for what I needed!
First things first... I had to print the tests.  I chose "multiple pages per sheet" and "TWO-sided."  This saved me a lot of time and paper!  They are already 3 to a page, so with one sheet of paper I was able to get 4 of the tests for 3 of the students!  Here's what my screen looked like:
After I printed everything, I cut it up and sorted by assessment type (+0, +2, etc).  Remember, I printed TWO-sided, so there are 20 assessments in all. 
 After I sorted everything out, I grabbed one of each test, trimmed the tops and bottoms, and stuck them into a pocket.  I quickly wrote names on the front and was done!  I had to do this with 40 students since I have two classes, and it really didn't take me a lot of time, I promise!  Think about all the time I will save just not having to pass one out each day!
 My students stuck the pockets inside of their math spiral so we have easy access to them.  Today, we worked on our first assessment.  Here's how that went down:
-Get out your +1 fact sheet
-Put your name on it in pencil
-You'll have 60 seconds to complete the 15 problems (they were much faster)
-Put your pencils AWAY!
-Get out a highlighter
-Highlight any incorrect answers.
-Write the total of correct answers at the top.
-Put back in your pocket!

No, I am not taking these for a grade.  AND, I don't have any fancy way of keeping up with who mastered which facts.  I just plan on doing these as motivation to learn our facts and practice to get better/faster at them!  I can easily see who is struggling or who is mastering with a quick glance of the room :)  Once we are finished, I will staple all of their tests together to send home :)  THEN, maybe we will fill our pocket with something else!
 Oh, and here's a little peek at my math stations for the next two weeks.  To find more out about my math station rotation/set-up you can look HERE and HERE.

And that's, that!  Now I'm going to pour a full thing of either cough drops or cough syrup into my mouth because I'm fairly certain I am swallowing needles at this point!  I can guarantee that this teacher will have NO voice come Friday :/

Have a happy evening and an even better night's rest :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week: Place Value and Mudge!

Well, hello there, friends!  I'm relieved to say that I've made it for another Peek at my Week!  I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up, but I'm trying my darndest :)

While I was typing up my visual plans, I realized that I have A LOT going on.  I mean, a lot.  My plans are jam-packed full with lots of activities.  I kept finding games, fun ideas, and more when I was searching for Place Value stuff, and I just wanted to include it all!  Now, I can tell you that I WILL NOT be able to get to every little thing.  That's why I love Math Stations.  Any games, scoots, or hands-on activities can be set aside for a math station activity.  It's really a win-win when you over-plan!  

For my ELA block I am trying TWO really new things for me.  Since I only have 60 minutes for ELA (that includes reading, writing, grammar, and spelling!!!!!) I had to make adjustments.  I just can't fit it all in every single day.  So here are the changes I've made:
1.  We will do the bulk of our reading activities and skills on MTW.  We will do grammar on Th/F.  We will continue to integrate writing wherever we can, but I hope to eventually do lots of writing on Th/F also!
2.  Instead of doing so many whole group activities, my Reading Block will be separated into 2 sections.  For the first 30 minutes, I will do a read aloud of some sort, and model our focus/skill for the week.  For the last 30 minutes, Reading Groups will break out all over my classroom!  Since, I just don't have the time needed for traditional guided reading groups, this is how I'm going to try things.  I will facilitate the reading groups by visiting each one/listening/questioning, but I will spend the most time with my struggling readers during this time.  Each group will read a book on their level and practice the skill that I modeled during whole group.  This week we are just starting out, so I'm giving each group a set of Henry and Mudge books (we have them in our leveled Literacy Library).  They will read the books and discuss together, then work on character analysis and the BME of a story.  Next week the groups will have books more specific to their level, but I wanted to start off easy/familiar so we can get the routine down first!  

Kids will be sitting all over my classroom, cozying up with a good book, and conferring with their group while reading and responding... surely it will be perfect like that, right??!!

**I do still have 2 different times in the day that I can pull small groups for about 15 minutes each.  I utilize those times to meet and conference with students about reading/writing also.**
I'll be back sometime this week to show you what's in my Math Tubs for the next couple of weeks.  We are sticking with Addition and Subtraction fluency for now!

Now, go and enjoy what's left of your weekend... the next one won't be here soon enough ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fluency Folders

Hey y'all!  First of all, let's talk about these folders.  Do you know how much it KILLS me to have folders that don't all match.  Ohmiword... I can hardly handle it.  I like for all math spirals to be one color, ELA spirals another, so on and so forth.  

Well, when an idea pops in your head at 2 am for reading folders, you don't have time to purchase 23 matching folders because you need to tackle that task ASAP!  And, that's exactly what happened to me.  Each week I send home a reading folder in my book bags for my students.  Normally it's just a place for students to record their reading, and keep sight words.  Well, I decided I wanted to make it more purposeful and a little house for our fluency practice.
 So, the very next day I got to work and started putting my reading folders together.  I'm going to label these, "Fluency Folders"... clever, right?! ;)  First and foremost, I made everything on my school computer where I don't have cute fonts :( and I don't have anything to "share" with you except for the idea.  Sorry!  And, I'm sure my grammar and whatnot is all kinds of messed up.  Hopefully I don't disappoint too badly ;)

When you open up our fluency folders you will see our reading chain challenge from the Teacher Wife.  This year I'm going to do the 50 book challenge because we will start something new in the second semester.
 Also, stapled to the front is a little sheet that I write our DRA levels on.  This helps parents know their child's progress!  My students will take out their 50 book challenge and keep those home until they are completed, so this will be the first thing that you see.
 Here's a little look at their 50 Book challenge packet.  I literally just made the copies straight from the Teacher Wife's cute freebie!!!
 Next up is our Study Log.  This year I am holding my students responsible for initialing what they do at home each night.  I will check these every Friday and give out stickers, or small treats for students who have done at least 3 things throughout the week!  I expect my kiddos to read, study spelling words, and practice their fluency.
 After that comes our Fluency Homework from Second Story Window.
 I will put their fluency homework in the page protector every Friday so that I don't have to open brads each week :)

Sight Words are next! 
 I put the three lists from my Sticking to the Sight Words unit in the folder so my students can move at their own pace.
 And, last but not least, is Poetry!
 I retyped these poems YEARS ago from a poetry booklet that I bought.  For some reason I thought each poem needed cute fonts and clipart.  Fast forward 7 years and they aren't so cute anymore, ha!  Oh, comic sans... how you live on through my laziness :)  I chose 16 poems to keep in our folders for the first semester.  I will change these out after Christmas Break so my students have new poems to read!
I will put these folders along with books on their specific reading level in their Book Buddies on Fridays.  That gives my kiddos 7 nights to read and practice before turning them in for the week!  You can read how I set up my Book Bags last year HERE.  The changes aren't HUGE, I just wanted to make them a little more user-friendly :)  So, in our folder we have:
1.  DRA reading level
2.  Study Log
3.  Fluency Homework
4.  Sight Words
5.  Poetry
and our Reading Challenge!

Hopefully this will be fun for the kiddos and help keep my sanity in tact for the year :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Horrible Harry in Room 2B

 It's Wednesday and I just awoke from my normal mid-week nap.  There's just something about Wednesday that just about does me in.  My body pretty much requires a nap to get me through the rest of the week.  Well, heck, I could really use a nap every other day as well, but Wednesday it is for now!

Side-note:  I get asked all the time "How do you do it all?"  Well, right now my daughter is taking a bath which will last for about 45 minutes.  She's listening to the Disney Princess station on iTunes radio and is as happy as a plum.  My sweet husband cooked dinner (for the 3rd night in a row I might add) and has refused to let me help.  I am not in the habit of staying after school anyways, but this year I take my 2 nieces home after school.  Having three little girls in my classroom after school is all kinds of fun, but ain't nobody getting work done with a 5, 6, and 8 year old running around :)  So, we leave promptly at 3:20 everyday!  I work like a crazy person while at school, and spend a lot of nights on the computer!  I definitely don't "do it all" but I do have the help of a wonderful husband and a daughter who is more precious to me than gold!  And, now that I'm in my 5th year of teaching 2nd grade, I definitely have my rhythm down and am tweaking and adding to what I already do/love at this point!

Back to what I came in here for... sharing our Horrible Harry week!  This week we are reading "Horrible Harry in Room 2B" as a class.  I have about 12 of these books, so my students share while I read aloud.  They come to the carpet each day, and we read a chapter.  We stop pretty often to chat and discuss what is going on.  They absolutely love it!  We don't always structure our reading block like that (in fact, I am about to make some drastic changes to the way I teach Reading... stay tuned!) but when we do, the kids always respond well.

After a few days, we have really been able to describe Harry!
Before I displayed my Harry and the adjectives that my students brainstormed, my students did this with their partners.  They drew a little Harry and came up with 5 words to describe him.  I pulled out quite a few of their words to make my chart above!  But, I didn't put anything up until they were done... because then they would have just copied mine, ha!
I have learned that they are really using the words all around my room this year.  They want to spell things right so badly, and I won't help them because I want their best effort, not my spelling skills when I get assignments turned in.  I love inventive kid spelling anyways!  But, I do like to display words that they may be able to use for the week or weeks to come.
 Today my students made Harry and wrote a little about him.  We are working on character analysis, so we are all about fun characters like Harry!  You can get this craft HERE.
"That Harry has to be equal with everybody!"  I just love it.  You're right girlfriend... Harry is horrible! 
I've been asked before if I edit things like this before hanging it up... no, I don't.  I check over it to make sure they followed instructions and completed the reflection correctly, but I leave their errors all in it!  My students are pretty decent when it comes to forming sentences, so I hardly have to say things like "go check for capitals and punctuation" this year... so nice!  But, I do make them include those things.

And that's that!  I'm off to eat the supper that Jared prepped and then off for a prayer time at church!  Hope everyone has a wonderful AND FAST rest of the week :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Subtraction Games!

Let's talk about playing games in class... math games that is!  Now, I'm not a HUGE game-player in real life.  I don't like to lose but I don't want my friends to lose either.  It's a struggle #ohtheproblems.  But, it doesn't matter who the student is, they all seem to love playing games in class.  Is it a calm and peaceful time in Room 43?  Absolutely not!  Do I tend to lose my mind during each and every game... you betcha!  But, I have found that my students are much more engaged while playing a game than they are during any other part of our day.

This week we have already learned lots of new subtraction games.  Pretty much any of these could also be turned into an addition game.  Here's what we've been up to... and, they don't require any printable, freebie, or unit!  You just need the things you already have laying around :)

 Playing games has been a lot of fun, but we've also been hard at work learning our Subtraction Strategies.  My students made their very first Pocket Book today.  One little girl said, "This is really cool!"  It's kinda fun making your own little folder :)
 And, since my students reacted so well to all the sharing we did last week, we have kept that going this week.  My students are using the "My Subtraction Booklet" to solve word problems.  I have 2 students share their strategies after everyone has had a chance to complete their work :)
We've also used the mini-signs from my Subtraction unit to help guide our reflections each day.  That's been a HUGE help!  Some days my students write an example of that strategy, other days they explain the strategy using sentences.

Do you have any fun games for subtraction?  I'd love to hear below!  I'm also looking for new ideas :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Math Finds!

Hey y'all!  I'm popping in real quick to show you a few items I ordered tonight that I'm super excited about!  As I was grading papers, reading Joelle bedtime stories, and doing anything other than think about math games... a few thoughts came to mind:

1.  I have a gift card to Mardel from my PTO that I need to spend.
2.  I wonder if they have any good pocket charts...
3.  Or maybe magnetic base ten blocks??
4.  Who cares what they have, let's do some online shopping!

Well, they didn't have the pocket charts or base ten blocks that I wanted, but I did find some things that I am so ready to get in the mail!  AND, I think they are better than my original plan :)  Here's what I ordered, along with some super cute punch-out letters!
Fun finds inspired by The Inspired Apple!

1.  Number Bean Bags- How awesome are those bean bags?  We are working really hard on fact fluency right now, so that is what they will initially be used for, but I can envision them working with so many math concepts... place value, number order, even/odd, multiplication, etc!  These will definitely be making an appearance in my math station rotation as soon as they come in!

2.  Library Pockets- I've used these little guys for so many things other than library pockets, ha!  We are going to start our fact fluency tests next week, so here's what I'm thinking:
When a students masters the test, they slide it in their pocket.  Once they have mastered all of the fact assessments, they turn them in for a little prize!  I use fact fluency assessments from The Teacher Wife, and they will slide perfectly in!  I'm going to have them store the pocket on the inside cover of their math spirals for easy access!  It has an adhesive label, so they will be perfect for that!

3.  Numbered Spinners- going along with fact fluency, these numbered spinners will be perfect as a math station!  My students have LOVED my spin and add/spin and subtract from my Add/Sub Stations, so I know these will be a hit also!  And, they can be used over and over again and never get boring!

And, that's that!  I promise Mardel isn't paying me to blog, ha!  Sometimes I just want someone to share my shopping excursions with :) and as much as Jared loves me... spinners and bean bags aren't in his vocabulary ;)

Here are some other things I'm loving/wanting:

Have you found anything fun lately?  Leave a link so we can all shop together ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Peek At My Week: Sept 8th

It's Sunday, and I'm linking up with Deedee to share a little Peek at My Week!  We are doing Subtraction Strategies, short e, and Horrible Harry!  Click on the pictures below or HERE to get my clickable plans!  The pictures in the plans will lead you to where I got my activities from :)

Also, this tired teacher completely forgot to plan grammar for the week... so we will be squeezing in types of sentences wherever we can!  I'll have to play catch-up next week for sure.  Thankfully, we write all the time, so it's easy to squeeze grammar skills into every subject!

If you missed my Year-at-a-Glance you can click below to grab those:

You'll notice that I've already switched things up a bit, but they are just a *plan* and always subject to change based on the needs of my kiddos :)  I can't promise to share my plans every week, but if I get the chance I will post as often as possible!  After-all, this layout is so much more user-friendly than the ones I have to submit to my admin each week!  Here's to a great week... wish you all the best :))))