Monday, September 19, 2011

Sum and Difference Game

My kids took their first math test and some of my friends need a bit more practice on finding the sum and difference! Here's a quick game I thought of on my way to work this morning. All you need for the game is a set of playing cards (minus the face cards) or a set of number cards.

Flip and Find

I hope you can find a way to use this!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Math Menu

Happy Monday!

Today was our first tutoring session and boy did I come home T.I.R.E.D! We tutor after school until 4:45, which makes for a long day! Although it's a hard day, I love only tutoring one day a week! Anyways, here's another menu I'm using this year. It works really well for differentiation with those really high kiddos! This menu works during my math time. Once these kiddos are finished with their necessary math work they take out this menu and start working. These kids are usually working on this while the rest of my class is finishing their independent practice and I'm at my teacher table working with a small group. It's a great way to give those kids something constructive to do rather than reading a book at their desks or talking to their friend who is still working! I know you all understand the kids I'm talking about! :)

Choice Café

The menu is set up almost like a restaurant menu. I call it "Choice Cafe" because the kids have choices in what they do. They must complete the main dish and two sides. The desserts are optional. I encourage the kids to do as many items a possible. They have until the end of the unit to complete their menu.

I'd like to say again (as I said in this post) that not all the ideas on the menu are mine. Many come from Differentiating Instruction with Menus by Laurie Westphal. It really is a great book with TONS of ideas on differentiating your classroom.

Our next unit is coming up in less than a week and I'd love for my kids to get a chance to "show off" their creations and share them with each other.  I'm hoping to have a special share time for these kids, calling it their "Menu Meeting". The kids will critique each other's work with post-it notes at the end of the week. It's a way for them to celebrate their hard extra work. Hopefully the kids will see this time as a special reward for working so hard and a time to see what other kids did with their menus.

I hope you had a wonderful Monday!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A New Way to do Homework

I wanted to share a new way second grade is doing homework. Our school district is really pushing student choices throughout their learning so we decided to tie that into homework. In the past we printed out packets of math and reading practice. It was a great way for the kids to practice skills learned in class, but there was really no student choice going on. This year our new idea is to have a weekly menu in which students choose from a few options as to what they wish to turn in. Here is the menu we are using this week. (This is the first time I'm using Scribd so I'm sorry if it's not working right.)

Homework Menu

The choices are not 100% mine. A few I came up with (with help from my team!) and a few came from this amazing book I recommend. Differentiating Instruction with Menus by Laurie Westphal is a great resource for menus! You can purchase the books by subject and within each subject are menu templates for different topics. The one I have above has addition and subtraction assignments, reading, grammar and spelling.

I can't wait to see what the kids come up with for their homework! Every week is going to be different for both the kids and myself. It's going to be a total surprise (hopefully good surprise...) when they turn in their work on Friday!! I love giving the kids the option on how far they want to take their homework and how creative they want to be!

Do you have any ideas for next week's homework menu?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Math Games!

Good morning!

Yesterday I was out of school for mouth surgery. I really hated taking off so close to the beginning of school, but my doctor seemed to think I need to have it done a.s.a.p. It was nothing major, just a little cyst in my gum line. I felt surprisingly good yesterday afternoon but still could not talk (which is super hard for me). So, I decided to use my time off of school working on things for school. Why do we teachers do that? Anyways, here are a few math games I worked on yesterday!

Our first unit is tons of addition and subtraction strategies. The district curriculum had us playing a game from AIMS on flipping over 2 number cards, adding them up to find the sum, and crossing that number out on a strip of numbers. Since I'm really trying to differentiate for a pilot program this year, I decided to make a similar game, but instead of adding 2 numbers, some of my students would add 3. Students will use dice instead of number cards. Click on the game picture to download.

The next game is something I made to help my students understand the equal sign and determine if the equations are true or false.  Students will look at the equation on a card and sort it into a piles, true or false. This game is also differentiated because I've provided multiple sets of cards at different difficulty levels. Once students sort the cards into the piles, they write the equations on a recording sheet. If the equation was false, they must correct it on their recording sheet, giving them practice with fact fluency.

I hope these games work for your kiddos! Math is so different for me this year so I'm having to create many extra things for my kids to use! Be on the lookout for more games!!

Classroom Pictures...Finally

It's another weekend and I'm finally having time to get on this ol' blog! I'm so glad I remembered to bring my camera home this weekend to upload my pictures. So...Here's where it all goes down!

This is what the kiddos see before they enter the room. I took pictures of the kids wearing cowboy hats to go with our theme. I'm going to put their pictures on the board and have them pop out in 3D. "Learning in 3D"  is the school's theme for the year and I had to find a way to tie my western theme with it!

This is the library and by far, my favorite part of the classroom! I've always wanted an organized library complete with themed book boxes, but never got around to it! The kids love this space too and the labeled book boxes make it really easy for the kids to find their "Good Fit" book for Daily 5 time.

This is my math area. When I took the picture we were just getting started. I've since added a few more posters/anchor charts for the kids to refer to. That is also my small group table for any subject I need it for. We've been spending tons of math time there trying to get my kids on track for the much harder second grade math!!

Here is the focus wall, word wall, Daily 5 activities and math games. I bought the 2 brown carts from Sams for a whopping $30 each! I am so in love with them and can't wait to have all the materials for each math subject we're learning this year! So far, only 2 tubs are full!

Here is the writing area. I found the "Write 'em cowboy" quote somewhere online and loved it!! Thanks to it's original owner for sharing! I love watching the kids finally get it. One day one of the sweet kiddos said, "OH! Like RIDE 'em a horse!" Underneath the quote is a small book shelf with stationary, fun paper, smelly markers, writing prompts and a class list with every one's name.

Here's a view of the front of my room. Don't you love the rug? My principal surprised second grade this year by buying us rugs! One of my big worries about teaching second grade was the lack of a rug for the kids to sit at. I love having my kids up close when I'm teaching and that floor is too dang hard for that! Here is our calendar area and large white board area. Most of the time I teach with my easel  which sits next to the most comfortable rocking chair ever! Thanks Aunt Kaye!

Here's the back of my room. I love the windows because it gives so much light! I originally wanted to keep the blinds up but around 1:00 it is too hot! I know my Texas friends understand that one. They will have to stay down so I'll probably use clothespins to hang more anchor charts! I also love that I have 6 student computer stations. They are used daily for math practice and will eventually be used for "Listen to Reading" during our Daily 5 time. 

And Here's the last thing the kids see each day! I hope you guys do what the words say and come back!!

Thanks for looking at my home away from home! I was really having a hard time "bonding" with the much smaller classroom, so I had to make it my own!