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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tracking Out and Cleaning Out.

Tomorrow is track out day. Woohooo!

It is also a not so happy day.  We will be saying good bye to our student teacher. I am hoping to blog about our day... if I can compose myself from crying.

Until then... spring cleaning and spring sales are going on. What are you doing (or have done) for spring break?
I will be...

I hope the sun comes back and sticks around.  My pale Mexican color is not highlighting my best features :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Money Jars

Counting money could be fun...or painful.  I rather say it is fun because it reviews so many math concepts our students have been practicing since kindergarten (counting by ones using a hundreds chart = counting pennies, or counting/skipping by tens= counting dimes). Once they realize it is not such a brand new concept, they begin to believe it is easy.
When we talk about quarters and combining all the coins...well, I always tell my kids that is the brand new thing they must learn as second graders and that step by step, they will certainly be able to do it.

Counting money is not always easy, and this time, we used 'jars' to learn how to count money.

Check it out HERE :)

We began by exploring coins and looking for ways to describe them.  

After finding out that a few kids did not know their coins, we used these jar to find them. 
I made a quick reference half sheet for them to use when needed. 

Then the counting began...

We used our jars to count one type of coin at a time (only pennies, only nickels, only dimes, only quarters), then two coins (pennies and nickels, pennies and dimes, pennies and quarters...), and lastly three coins (pennies, nickels and dimes...). You get the idea.  I was taking  notes of where they got lots, and then met with them in small groups. 
The kids were told to put their coins on the top of the jar and move each coin while they counted nice and slow (one-to-one correspondence). Touch, count, move...

Once we got to having the four different coins together, they were told to put each coin with their 'relatives'. I told them I like to be with my family so if I was a penny I would like to be with all my penny family members. Then we put them in order from highest value to lowest value. I remembered to emphasize it is not about the coins size, but their values.

I showed them two strategies. On day one, we worked on using the counting up strategy or what you may call number patters.  On day two we worked on counting each family of coins, then using an addition algorithm to get the total.  We practiced both, but they are able to use the one that makes the most sense when it comes down to take any assessments.

We got busy using our money jars. I mainly worked with my kiddos who struggle at this point.  72 jars later and they can count much better than they did before.  

Would you like to check it out?
Find it HERE.

I will send this to two friends who help me pin this (leave your link and e-mail).  Any other secrets you use to help your students count money?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

More Templates and Character Clouds

The day is gorgeous outside.  The kids are practicing their rock climbing skills with daddy, and the house is nice and silent.  I decided that while I think of what to do with my 'mommy-free' time, I'd like to share two quick things with you.

Last night I worked on adding 10 more desktop templates.  After I posted it, I received a few ideas, and I got around to adding them last night.  I added fruits, watermelon, owls, dogs, baseball and superheroes...keep sending me your ideas.

Find them HERE.

42 Templates as of right now :)

Let's move on to today... school... painful, but quick :)  

Beautiful morning. 73 degrees right now. I really need to get out!

Then came the clouds.... 

My student teacher finished teaching about character traits. First, she read this super cute book.  She created a trait anchor chart as a review.  The kids traced a cloud to make and describe the main character in the book.  

Then came the traits...

They added character traits about Cloudette.  She created a chart of inside traits and outside traits.  I wish I had taken a picture of her chart. The kids are coming up with amazing descriptions.

Check out the lightning! 

Lastly... the one thins I dislike to do right before track out. 

Wish me luck,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Winners and a Few Pictures

I have been meaning to blog all week. I had all sorts of ideas, then I got tired.   I am also guilty of watching too much TV.  I have a serious couch problems.  

Thank you to all of you who came to visit this week, those who entered the giveaway, and all my new friends and Facebook followers. Nice to meet you :)

The Winners of Share Your Opinion are: Marcy B. & Shannan N.  Check your e-mails ladies, we hope you love our products!
I'd like share a few pictures about my trip with you.  I enjoyed being surrounded by so many passionate educators.  Meeting new teachers and learning from each other was certainly the highlight of my 4 day trip.  
I drove 5 hours in company of Madonna. I do not remember the last time I just felt like singing and enjoying my loud music.  I am pretty sure drivers got a good laugh if they saw me singing the way I did.  I know I had a huge smile on my face.
I do like driving fast. I mean, I know I drive a mommy van, but this thing can drive fast!  I am pretty sure I encountered a few cop cars.  Lucky me, no speeding tickets. 

I arrived a little early so I went for a quick walk and took some pictures.  This is the front of the building were the seminars took place. 

Front part of the seminar building.  

Our luxury hotel :) located right across the seminar building. I did not get a nice view, maybe next time. 

My room was on the back of the building where a beautiful cardinal came to see me almost every day, but refused to pose for a picture. 
We talked about reading, writing, teaching, testing... you name it.  Nothing like venting with a bunch of educators who get how you feel (no offense to hubby). 

We even went on a field trip to a tiny cute town nearby. Our first stop was a cute little book store where we heard about the latest in children's literature. I resisted and did not buy anything. Boo!

Can't wait to go back...soon!  What was the last professional development you attended?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Swap 'til You Drop! and a Giveaway

Swapping time has come!

17 cool ladies teamed up to swap a product we needed for our classrooms.  May I present to you...
"The" Main Idea Mania! unit. This is a 129 page unit with everything you need to teach, practice, and review main idea. 

Angela loves hippos. Do not think this is a unit about hippos, I put it in there in honor of her blog title :) 
Let's begin...

Angela included a variety of circle maps for your kids to talk about the main idea, and then write about them. These circle maps pair up with a variety of writing paper too. I  am so sorry for the white and color copies :( We did a lot of talking about main idea first by only using the circle maps. Then we wrote. I mean, they wrote.  

Angela included passages, where the task is to find the main idea. We used a crayon to find and support our choices. Having the A,B,C options helped them out a lot. Did I hear text evidence?  Color and black and white copies are included. 

You can always pair up your students to discuss any of the circle maps, writing assignments, or passages. I know my girls loved talking to each other and checking to see if they were correct. They were even asking each other questions about their choices. I called that 'thinking aloud' with a buddy :) Score!

There are also passages that include the main idea, but this time, the kids supported the main idea with details. They really liked that!  For some reason, they think that was easier for them to complete. They, once again used their text to support their evidence. 

You really can find everything in this unit: circle maps, writing paper, graphic organizers, color and black and white documents to save you ink, and ideas on how to differentiate and implement in your classroom. 

This is Angela's top seller, and now I know why :)  

Angela is reviewing one of my products. You must visit her blog to find out which one. 

Now, here are the details for the giveaways!

1. Start anywhere on the map below.
2. Stop by each blog and read about the products swapped between each set of bloggers.
3. Enter to win the resources that are featured by each blog pair. Each pair of bloggers has the same raffle, so you only have to enter on one of the two blogs.While you are at each blog, if you are not already a follower, sign on to follow!
4. The raffles are open until midnight March 15th.


      A Burst of First
Lucky to Be in First        First Grade Smiles
Second Grade Perks         
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!     

The Tutu Teacher   Happy Teacher Heaven
Meet Miss Parker   

Good luck! 

Update: My apologies for being late to the party.  I just came back from my seminar and the scheduled post did not go live. I am not sure what I did wrong. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interactive Animal Research

It. is. done.  O.M.G.  I can't believe it.  It feels like the kids have been working on this forever.  Let's blame the snow days and the 'I need to change this a bit', 'I forgot my camera to take good pictures' or 'I watch too much TV instead of working' :)

The kids really liked it!  I tweaked it a billion times, I added a few things, and by now, I am happy to say it was a success.  We are saving them for conferences, because, well, they are that cool :)

Animals are always a big hit when it comes to research. Making it interactive added a nice touch to the entire process.

The kids began by choosing an animal they did not know much about. This way when they reflected on their learning, they realized how much one can learn from other sources.

Two file folders get transformed into an interactive animal project. Kids choose an animal, get books from the library and use all the templates to create a draft.   Then use the interactive templates to complete and glue to their file folders.  If you do not want to use file folders, you can always use construction paper or glue right onto any other interactive notebooks you may have.

Sticky notes, nonfiction text, folders, scissors, glue, crayons and color pencil are the magic ingredients. 

Draft templates and more nonfiction reading included :)

Final animal reports using strong beginnings, details, facts and a closing sentence.  Informational writing  at its best. 

How you do teach informational writing?  

I will pick two followers who pin my latest product and tell me what you like best about informational writing. I will e-mail you tonight after my creatures go to bed. Leave your comment and your e-mail. 
It is on sale until Friday HERE