Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Scoop (9.14.14)

As I sit here on a Sunday morning with my cup of coffee (a necessity since baby #2 arrived), I find a few minutes of peace & quiet to read through some teaching blogs.  Like most Sundays, my feed is filled with visual lesson plans & ideas for the week.  I could mock up some lesson plans, but let's face one wants to read what I would be teaching nor do they want to see a schedule of feedings, diaper changes, and bath times.  So, I found this little linky and I'm going to give it a go this week and see what happens.

3 things I have to do:
In our house we plan for dinners 4 nights a week.  Sundays is almost always one of those days.  Tonight we're having pizza at my daughter's request.  This one takes a while since I make my own crust.  I also need to throw in a new load of laundry since we might need some clean towels this week.  The last thing I need to do is run a few errands.  I already did the grocery store run for the week, but there are a few baby essentials we ran out of last night.  Oops!!

2 things I hope to do:
We are in the midst of building our forever house.  My husband is doing a lot of work which means long hours at work followed by even longer nights working on the house.  He usually sets aside one day a week for me to get some projects done.  I haven't completed a Horrible Harry book pack in several months so I'm hoping to finish up one today.  Also, since we're going to run some errands, we might stop by the new house.  When we do that, I can either hold the baby while my daughter climbs and digs through all of the dirt piles, or I can try to be productive and take a stroller walk up and down the road with both kiddos.  I'd like to take the walk, now I just have to convince a 3-year old....wish me luck!!

1 thing I'm happy to do:
I'm not a die-hard football fan, nor am I one of those who has jumped on the bandwagon of the reigning Super Bowl champs.  I'm somewhere in the middle.  I was born & raised in Washington and have watched the Hawks on and off since I was a little girl.  Watching the game is something to look forward to during the week.  I'm working on getting my daughter to cheer, "Gooooooo Hawks!"

Head on over to the Teaching Trio to check out The Sunday Scoop:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Editor Needed for a New Math Product

I have been slaving away on a new math bundle of games & activities.  It started out as a new pack of money games, but it has expanded into so much more.  It's just about finished, but I need someone else to take a peek.  The games are best for 1st or 2nd grade, so if you teach (or have taught) those grades, this one is for you.  Editors always receive the final product for free as a thank you.  The pack includes games for addition, subtraction, hundreds grids, and money.  Here's a sneak peek:


Overall the file is over 90 pages, but there are over 20 pages of playing cards & math tools that won't need as much of a watchful eye.  I'd like to have this ready by the end of the week.  If you have the interest and time, leave me a comment.  I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully) to pick an editor.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Counting Money

One of the things I have become confused about with the new Common Core standards is why there is only one reference to money: 

Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

This comes with a BIG assumption - that 2nd graders know how to identify coins and their values.  Hmmm.....does this mean 2nd grade teachers must take on those two key skills, or are first grade (and possibly K) teachers taking on this task, too?  Also, in the age of technology, is counting money becoming a skill that may be phased out altogether (along the same lines as handwriting vs. keyboarding)?

Needless to say I have always evaluated this skill with my 2nd graders within the first month of school.  First, I have a volunteer work with kids one-on-one to test them on coin identification, coin value, and coin combination skills.  Once I know this, I know where to start.  Often I find that the skill level is crazy different and I use a lot of guided math & math stations so I can work with the struggling students more often.

One of the first things we do is a coin sort (I have blogged about this before - click here to see the full post).  At this point I am also introducing my students to games.  While students are playing games, I can pull my struggling students to work on identification through directed games/activities.
Once I have established that (most) students can identify the coins, it's time to work on counting coins.  Most students can successfully count dimes, nickels, and pennies when reminded that they should start with the largest coins first and then work down to the pennies.  One strategy that my colleagues and I have found successful is introducing touch money (something I learned about several years ago).  I must warn you - this strategy works if students can successfully count by 5s and then add on 1s.  If a student cannot count by 5s, start there).  

**sometimes I will teach my students to draw a line horizontally under the penny so they can see the mark better while counting.

Once we've learned the touch points, it's time to practice:
As students see the coins, they tap the coin where you see the red dots and say the numbers you see written on the coins.

After practice, practice, and more practice, eventually the students get to a point where they are ready to count coins in any order: 
Since counting by 5s is something most 2nd graders can do, I teach mine to save the pennies until the end.  So in this case, we worked from left to right, top to bottom to count and skipped the penny until the end.  Again, students tap the coin where you see red dots and say the numbers you see written above.

After practice, my students feel much more successful with counting money.  By the end of the year, some second graders have transitioned away from needing the touch points, and others stick with them all year long.  Either way, the kids are counting money and able to apply these skills to the new standards.Eventually, we get to the point where we can use these skills to solve word problems.  For example, some of my students will tackle the following problem in this way:

If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

One student might draw this on his paper:

Then that student would tap the letters in the same way he did on the coins in the example above (2 taps per dime, 1 swipe per penny).  You would hear a student count: 5, 10, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23.

Another kid might say, "Two dimes is 20 cents.  Three more than 20 is 23."  The answer is 23 cents.

Is money an easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy skill?  No way, but it is less frustrating to teach them a strategy they can use, right?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently, Sept 2014

Listening  - I am well-known for changing the lyrics to songs.  Sometimes it's crazy different, and other times it's just to throw in my kids' names.  Don't worry, I won't subject any of you to my off-key singing voice.  One of the songs I've been singing around the house lately is "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley.  Apparently I've been singing that one a lot because today I heard my little girl singing, "Ryan, don't worry....about a thing....cause every little thing...gonna be all right..." to her baby brother when he was cooing.  My heart melts to see her shower him with love and attention (most of the time).

Loving - Anyone with a newborn remembers the moment your child started sleeping through the night.  Am I right?  My little guy has been a good sleeper for many weeks now and I thank my lucky stars each and every night.  I also feel it necessary to mention that I am a night owl.  When he first started sleeping in 6 hour chunks, it was 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.  I had a hard time falling asleep until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. no matter how exhausted I was.  I just couldn't shut down my brain at night.  So needless to say that even though he was getting good sleep, I was still functioning on anywhere from 2-4 hours of sleep at night.  Luckily, things have improved and I am falling asleep at a much more decent time (10 p.m.) and the little one is sleeping in until 4 or 5 a.m.  That means I'm getting at least 6 hours of sleep in a row which means I can finally function during the day with a toddler!

Thinking - I am taking a year off, but my friend and colleague E has agreed to be my guinea pig class this year.  She asked me to create a game for her classroom.  Somehow this has expanded into another mega math pack.  I spent most of the day yesterday getting it organized and ready.  Now I'm super motivated to get the content in and formatted the way I have it in mind.  I can't wait until it is finished!!

Wanting - After my first baby, I was back on the soccer field when she was 7 weeks old.  I was pathetic that first week, but I did it!  I had even loftier ambitions this time.  I was up and walking early on, but then I kept feeling pain in my stomach...I was overdoing it.  Yikes!  My little guy is about 11 weeks old and the soccer field is a distant goal still because my body is still not recovered fully.  I am trying to be patient, but I know that I will be happier once I can get moving again on a regular basis.

Needing - Organizing & purging old things brings me happiness...yep, I'm one of those people.  I have a few organization projects I want to tackle (closets, pantry, toy storage, etc).  Now, if I could just find the time...{sigh}

3 Trips - Australia and the Caribbean have been bucket list trips for years and years.  Farley's link asked for a third and that was hard. My hubby is a huge baseball fan and I know it would be a dream of his to visit many of the baseball stadiums on the east coast, so I will make that my third place.

Head on over & see what everyone else is up to this month.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Made-It (8.25.14)

It's almost the end of August.  Many of you are back to school and I feel like the least productive person on the planet.  I'm keeping two small humans happy every day which is enough work for me right now.  Fortunately, I was able to carve out a little time to put together this blog post and link up with 4th Grade Frolics for the Monday Made-It linky.

This one was made for my friend and #1 blog stalker.  Her birthday was coming up and she is getting ready to head back to school after having baby #2.  She says she's going to miss me this year, so I thought I would give her something to remember me by.  I got her a box of her favorite flavor of Spark and labeled each packet inside with either an inspirational teaching quote or teacher humor.  Here's how the gift turned out:
(here's the gift)

 ( the sign on the top of the box)

(each packet had it's own little quote on it)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Inspiration, New Products, and More!

I saw this today and it spoke to my heart.  Teaching is one of the hardest jobs, but one of the most rewarding at the same time.  I will certainly miss it this year!

I'm home with my two kiddos full time this year.  When I have a spare moment I have been busy creating some new products and updating others.  As you can imagine, spare time is hard to come by with a newborn, toddler, and husband who is busy helping to build our new house!  

A new product I created was for Gooney Bird Greene.  This book is perfect for 2nd graders.  I use it when we are building stamina for writing.  Gooney Bird Greene tells absolutely true stories and the kids can't help but want to write just like her. 

I just completed the remaining books in The Magic School Bus chapter book series.  This wasn't an easy task because there are 20 different books all on a wide-range of science topics.  I love the books because they really draw students in with a combination of fiction and nonfiction.  Since the series is finally complete, I was able to put all of the book packs into a bundle.  Here are some pictures to see what's included:

Finally, if you're following my Facebook page you already know that I recently updated my Chocolate Touch pack.

Up next I'll be updating my book tub labels, dice game packs, & working to finish the Horrible Harry series.  Whew!  Just reading that goal makes me tired!

Monday, August 4, 2014

3 Months

I just looked and noticed that almost three months has passed by since I last posted here. I could go on and on with excuses, but here's the real reason:
This little man joined our family in June.  We are so fortunate because his big sister loves him to pieces!  I have decided to take a year off to stay home with my babies.  I still plan to keep creating and sharing along the way.

One of the first things I'm going to do today is shop the big TpT sale.  I have a lot of clipart calling my name!  My store will be 20% off.  If you use the promo code BTS14, you can save an additional 10% (total savings of 28%).

The only product I'm going to highlight right now is my new Magic School Bus Bundle.  I managed to finish up the series this summer and have now bundled all of the books into one pack.  The books are written at a 3rd grade level, but the books work great for read alouds, too.  Look at the pictures below to find out more about this pack.