Lego Math

Lego Math! How fun are Legos?? I found a cute activity on Pinterest and just knew that my 6 boys (yes, my WHOPPING 6 boys! lol) would love it. But of course the girls liked it too. We compared numbers with the Legos. They had to pick out 2 blocks for their side, and add up the "posts" on each block. Then they decided which was greater than and put the correct card in the middle. Click HERE to download the activity.

They haven't moved the card from their last turn...they are still counting their "posts" from these blocks.

Lego Math makes me smile!

Leaf Math

I'm trying to teach my intern how to integrate themes and science/social studies into our other subjects. She's doing a really great job at it! This week's theme was Johnny Appleseed and Fall. So she came up with a few cute lessons, one of which she did yesterday. She taught the kiddos to write their own word problems. They had to do a rough draft on their white board, then they were given a leaf to write them on. This may not sound difficult, but let me tell you. 2nd graders have a hard time knowing the "key" words to word problems, and to have to create not one, but TWO of their own, well...they turned out really cute! They had to have an addition and a subtraction that went with each other. 



A few weeks late, but still in September! Talk Like a Pirate Day! We did a few things to celebrate, although I held out on everything in my pirate unit; for two reasons. A) There was just not enough time - that week we had a short week (for like the 3rd week in a row! Argh! hehe), and testing that still had to be finished, and who knows what's all a blur really. And B) because we are going to be teaching the /ar/ phonics skills soon, so I want to revisit the pirate theme.  I will have to wear my pirate swag again that day for a picture. I didn't take one this time, because apparently when you are 6 months pregnant, you look like "Where's Waldo" instead of a pirate when you wear a white and red striped shirt! Lol

Anyway, I bought Babbling Abby's Pirate Unit from her TpT store. Can I just say....How Cute?!?! It's mostly fabulous for First grade, but I can use a lot of it in different ways. I altered some of her stuff, and we wrote these CUTE pirate stories "My Day as a Pirate."

First we read How I Became a Pirate. The boy in story spends his day as a pirate, but realizes he wants to go back home. Such a cute story.

Then we made a flow map (we're a Thinking Maps school) of the story onto "map paper" (aka - grocery bag that had been crumbled up).

Then, to tie in some social studies, we discussed compasses and directions, and landmarks (the book has a map which lent itself perfectly to the lesson). The students had to make a rough draft of where they were going to bury their treasure and had to have at least 3 landmarks, a trail, and X marks the spot, and a compass. Once we okay-ed their map, they were given the map paper (more grocery bags) to sketch out their maps.  

Then, FINALLY, onto our CUTE pirate stories. We did a 4-square, mapping out our beginning, middle, and end, we wrote one together (so they could see how I use my plan to go back to my writing), then they were allowed to add in their art part of it.  Loved them!! Thanks Babbling Abby! 


Classroom Setup

Here are some of my favorite spots in our classroom - some are ever changing until I figure out exactly how I want it! Just ask my intern, I'm constantly changing it until I get it where I want it.

These drawers are FABULOUS! I used to have each day's papers in a hanging file folder pocket chart. Loved that! Then, when I came back down to 2nd grade, I realized there were too many big, bulky, heavy things and they just wouldn't fit or the pocket chart kept falling. haha! So, I had to reinvent my wheel (again!). And I love it - one drawer for each day, a drawer for my small groups (A & B are the same books/materials as are C&D), one for "to copy/laminate" and one is just for me to keep my extras for down time (yeah right!) or great for sub plans!!!

This is my Reading Corner. On the left are my chapter books on top (alphabetical by author), on the bottom are my picture books (alphabetical by author). The top of the bookshelf on the right are my math picture books (grouped by subject/topic). The next three shelves are my monthly books that go with all the holidays for each month. The bottom shelf is my poetry and fairy tales, all my Cinderellas, etc...The little bookshelf in the middle is my display for my monthly books that I pull out for each holiday. The little basket on the floor goes along with my Read Aloud Book. Whoever the author is that I am reading, I pull more of their books so the students can read more of his/her books. The board in the middle is my Monthly A.R. board. It changes to match the theme or holiday each month. Every time a student takes and A.R. quiz (on a book in their level range - and they know this from using their Reading bookmark I made them all) and scores at least an 80%, they get to put their name on the object for that month - this month it was apples. :)

Oh, I have all the books labeled with the A.R. level and points, and their 100 Book Challenge Level.  

 This white book shelf is my non-fiction shelf and some of my "favorite" series. On top in the baskets I have Junie B. Jones, Mystery A-Z, Magic Tree House, and Magic School Bus. The bottom shelf are my science and social studies books, grouped by topic. 

This table is my Author of the Month table. This month it was Doreen Cronin. I have them out all month. I make a Passport (with the A.R. quizzes) and an author webquest to go with them each month. I want to add some pizzazz to it - any ideas????

This is my Reading Book Road. A few years ago, my friend Amanda and I (when we worked together in 3rd grade) concocted this idea. They decorate their little people each year and they move up the road. Each piece is 20 steps (each step is 15 minutes of reading. I can go into more detail of what the 100 Book Challenge program is on another post. But I LOVE it! I get in my silent reading time every day, I do a mini-lesson each day before they read, and I get to listen to each of my kiddos each week reading aloud to me.) 

These are my center tubs that house my centers each week. The front label can be changed to match whatever the center is for that week. But they take this tub wherever in the room to to work together. 

This is the chart that they choose their centers. Again, the labels can be changed, and they match the center tubs. The holes on the sides are so they know how many people can be at that center. If there is an empty hole, they can choose it that day. They pick 2 centers each day. The clips in the bucket on the floor are what they use to pick their centers. I can go into more detail in another post.  
 This just shows my Lots of labeled drawers!! And this isn't even all of them! ha!

Obseussed with Dr. Seuss

Ok, so I have an obsession with Dr. Seuss in my room. It used to be monkeys in my room, but is progressively evolving into Dr. Seuss (which is actually perfect, because the colors are red, white, and black - fabulous for my other faves - ladybugs and pirates - hehe!).
One of our new teachers at our school, who was an intern in our grade last year (yay for her getting a job!), knows that I <3 Dr. Seuss. She had ordered herself a Dr. Seuss lamp shade and accidently ordered TWO...she's SO sweet, she gave me the lamp shade AND told me her idea of what she was going to do with it. When I couldn't find the lamp at my "dollar store," she stopped by the one next to her house and even got me that. So I painted the white lamp with red stripes, and now it's on my reading table with my Build-A-Bear Cat in the Hat (which id not my only Dr. Seuss character in my room - thank you Kohls! lol).

9/11 Activities

Ok, so I have lost my pictures of the activities we did for 9/11 - very sad about that :(  BUT, I do have one picture - our story happened to be on Firefighters that week (love the coincidence!), SO, of course I asked darling hubby to come in and do a little presentation for our kids. They loved it! And it provided great background knowledge for the nonfiction stories they were reading and testing in that week. (yes, that is my barefooted daughter behind him - can't keep shoes on my little Florida girl! lol). Hopefully, next year I will be able to post our activities. 
Right after we timed how long it takes him to put on all his bunker gear.

What To Do with Bullies

One of my fellow 2nd grade teammates has some bullies in her class :( So she found these cute signs at a local teacher store for her room.
How do you handle the bullies in your classroom??



Freebie Giveaway

The Bubbly Blonde is giving away some of her math units! Head on over to see how to enter :)

Constitution Day

With how hectic our weeks have been, having 4 day weeks for many weeks in a row now, it was tough to fit in some Constitution activities. But, my class did manage to do a few things. For some reason, I don't  have pictures of them all, but I do have pictures of our pledge hearts. I found this cute idea on someone's blog (if it was you, please let me know and I will give you credit!). My students had to write out the Pledge of Allegiance, then they got to create their heart flag. They came out really cute! Yes, I know the stars are white, but there was a loss in translation when I explained it to my! Oh well, they still came out really cute!

Flip Flip Math

I found this cute math activity on Pinterest; Flip Fop Math- basically the associative property. We used it for addition, but we might revisit it later for subtraction, and it SURELY can be used for multiplication and division. I just made the outline templates out of cardstock (actually, I think I used old file folders that were lying around- hey, gotta reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible, right?!). Then, had the kids trace and cut out their flops (wow -was I surprised at the lack of some motor skills there - we will be doing LOTS of cutting activities to help improve that). Then, they chose 2 cards out of my deck of playing cards (I use decks of cards A LOT in math - and they are GREAT random number generators). They had to tell me both of the math facts that they were going to write on their flops. My intern and I put the ribbon to make the thong part of the flops, but you can use more construction paper.

Place Value Marshmallows

So, I found this idea on Pinterest (who DOESN'T love pinterest?!) and it took me to one of my favorite blogs, Babbling Abby where I found the Place Value Marshmallows. I tell you what, my kids LOVED it! Well, kids normally love activities with food in them anyway, right? ha! I used a deck of cards to be my "Random Number Generator." The first side of the sheet, I used 2-digit numbers and the back page, I did 3-digit numbers. If I came across a face card, I used that as a "0." For instance if I pulled 3, jack, 5; the number would be 305.

Click HERE to get the form :)  I copied and laminated the mats for the marshmallows to sit on so I could wipe those off and reuse them again.

Photo Permission

Need a website for permission to photograph your kiddos?? Here is one that you can use to change to fit you!

Dry Erase Sheets!

A fabulous idea for using the dry erase sheets. Click HERE to see the fabulous idea I found on Ladybug's Teacher Files.


What are we doing here?

I've been coming across A LOT of great teaching blogs, and have been inspired by a lot of their activities....either taking what I already do and tweaking or just trying new ideas out. I know the teachers I work with all have GREAT ideas too, I just can't make it into their classroom to check them all out!  So I was thinking of sharing them all. I started this blog which is a concoction of teaching ideas and lessons, from Prek-6, but this could and does include homeschoolers and all you CRAFTY people out there. My plan is to post each week - either from my own lessons, or lessons that my friends have sent me, or lessons that I have found on other FABULOUS blogs (which I will give FULL CREDIT to them).  We can get great ideas from grades younger and older than us, taking what they do and tweaking it for our own classroom.
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