Thursday, July 26, 2012

Little Worried about Common Core??

This school year, my district is adopting Common Core Standards for Math in grades K-3 and 6th, and because I teach 2nd grade this includes me.  I have been using the few spare seconds I have this summer to familiarize myself with the standards so that I don't have shell shock when school starts.  There are tons of marvelous teachers' blogs out there that are extremely helpful, and it's nice to hear from those that have already some experience with Common Core.  But when reading the standards I find myself asking, "What do they want again?"  "What exactly are they looking for?"  Then I came across an amazing website which is from the public schools for North Carolina.  Folks there have given explanations and pictures to show what the standards are asking students to do.  Being the visual learner that I am, this website was awesome and puts CC into a much better perspective for me.  Now I can use those few extra spare seconds to do something laundry (Boooooo!)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

FREE! Place Value Game Celebration

In celebration of our new blog, please enjoy this FREE place value game, "Who's the greatest? Who's the least?"  The game comes with student directions, game mats, a spinner, and a deck of number cards.  Just print, laminate, trim, and it's ready to go.  Included are 2 and 3-digit place value game mats and directions for playing with two or three players.  Just follow this link to Teachers Pay Teachers!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Picture Book Discovery!

On a recent vacation to the upper peninsula of Michigan, I stumbled upon a wonderful picture book in a gift shop, Agate written by Joy Morgan Dey and illustrated by Nikki Johnson.  It is a story about being comfortable with who you are and letting yourself "shine".  It is an inspiring story for kids and adults alike.  Nikki Johnson's watercolor artwork is equally as inspiring.  I am thrilled to be starting this school year with this read aloud and just had to share it with you.  Agate has become one of my top ten favorite picture books of all time!

Download the above writing activity and bulletin board idea to accompany this book on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. It's a freebie! Enjoy!

For more great picture book recommendations, go to...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Math Tool Tip & Missing Addend Activity

Just wanted to share a great tip for organizing a math tool many of us use with students, Unifix cubes.  While taking a math workshop recently, the presenter suggested not only putting Unifix cubes in groups of ten (which many of us already do), but she also suggested using two different colors to show groups of five (see picture below).  The reason for this is quite simple, but one I had never thought of.  A second grader may choose Unifix cubes to represent a "situation", but when he/she has to count them individually he/she is reverting back to an earlier stage of development that is not necessary.  By organizing cubes in this way, a student can easily see five and add on. In this way, showing a value such as 12 becomes much more appropriate and efficient.
Here's a great missing addend activity that was shared in the same workshop! Students work in partners.  All that is needed is a group of ten Unifix cubes organized as shown above.  One partner holds the ten Unifix cubes behind his/her back.  Then he/she makes a break and shows his/her partner one group while keeping the other group behind his/her back.  The other partner must then tell how many cubes are hidden. He/she must also "prove" it by counting up or back or by stating what he/she knows.  See the photo and example below.
A student might respond, "You are showing me six cubes, and I know there are ten.  Six plus four equals ten, so four are hiding."
I hope you find these items useful!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grant Sources for Teachers

It's wonderful to be able to secure grant funds in support of your classroom projects/initiatives.  Here are a couple of grant sources that are available to teachers in most areas.  I have been fortunate enough to have received grants from both of these sources more than once.  If you haven't already, take some time to check out the following: an account is a snap! Then simply follow the step-by-step instructions for completing a project. Your project can also be saved, so it does not need to be completed in one sitting. Feel free to view my completed projects as a sample. 

Walmart Facility Giving Program--Complete a grant application online and submit it to your local Walmart and/or Sam's Club. Applications can be made to more than one facility.  The grants that I've received have funded the purchase of an LCD projector and a SmartBoard.  The application process is easy!  I also recommend following up with the local store manager within a couple of weeks of applying to see if your application has been received at the store level. 

I wish you luck in securing funds for your endeavors! All the best!

Monday, July 9, 2012

This is our first holler out!

Alright, here we go...

So we have blog stalked for a little while now and have decided to create one of our own.  It's not that we don't have enough to do or think that everything that we have to say is important--we just know how many seeds of inspiration we have found in our many travels on the Internet, and we thought we would give back.  We hope some of our hoots, hollers, and how-tos will make their way into your classroom.