Celebrating Literacy Giveaway


Creation Castle is currently hosting a literacy giveaway.  There are several prizes broken down into grade level spans.  I have even donated one of my book units as one of the prizes.  Here are the different giveaways you can enter:





 Head on over and enter as many of the giveaways as you like.  The giveaways will close on October 6th and winners will be announced on October 7th.  Good luck!

Keep on Rollin' : Dice Games

As I continue to plan out my math workstations to align with our learning targets for each math unit, I compiled a group of dice games that can be played independently.  These dice games work on number sense, fact fluency, ordering numbers, and one more/one less.  Here are some pics of the games:

 Order Up
The student will create three 2-digit numbers by rolling the dice multiple times.  Then the student will place the numbers in order.  One worksheet is largest to smallest and one is smallest to largest.

Double the Fun
The student will roll one die and double the number rolled.  The student will then cover that number on the game board (if it is still available).  The game is over when all of the numbers have been covered.

Fact Families
The student will roll two dice.  By adding the two numbers together, the student will identify the third member of the fact family.  The student will then complete the four math problems in the fact family.

Race to the Top
The student will roll one die and graph the results.  The game is over when one number's bar graph has reached the top.

More or Less
The student will roll the dice to create a 2-digit number.  The student will then write down the number that is one less and the number that is one more.

Since it is a new product, I would be thrilled to give away a copy to one of my followers.  Just leave me a comment below letting me know your thoughts on these dice games.  I will randomly draw a winner in a few days.  Be sure to leave a way I can contact you if you win (e-mail or blog address).

Guided Math: The Beginning Stages

I have now attempted guided math and math workshop on four different occasions.  I would say that is pretty good considering we started school on September 5th and my goal was to have things up and running by October.  I'm still making some tweaks here and there, but I think the kids are showing tremendous promise!

The first two days we attempted the math stations, I made sure that the teacher station was more of an independent work station so I could be free to monitor the students around the room.  I have been very thankful for my blogging friends and freebie finds from the past few months because my kiddos are LOVING the math workshop format.

Right now our math stations are pretty vanilla - there isn't a lot of WOW to them yet since I want them to learn the correct behaviors and expectations for the stations.  I have mixed ability groups for now.  By doing this, I can teach the same lesson to all groups and really focus all of my attention on the neediest student(s) in the group.  My plan is that once we move into the second unit and beyond I will be able to form some leveled groups for more focused small group instruction.

So, here is how it looked this week:

T - Teacher
Touch Money Lesson

I - Independent Practice
Math Fact Sort (from my Math Mania pack)

The worksheet below is placed in a sheet protector.  Students grab a pack of dominoes, a whiteboard marker, and an eraser.  The student draws a domino, copies the picture, and writes the addition fact.  Because it is in a sheet protector, I am saving copies and the students can continue to practice as time allows. 

M - Math Buddies

Take 10 Game (from my Math Mania pack)

E - Extend the Lesson
Math Journal Page
Clock Memory Match Game (from my Math Mania pack)

I hope to get more pictures of our math stations taken in the upcoming weeks.  One of those pictures will be my math rotations pocket chart.  How is Guided Math & Math Workshop working out for you so far? 

All About Me Bulletin Board

I purchased this craftivity from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  The kids worked very hard at the beginning of the year to complete all of the writing pages inside. 

I have had some kiddos out sick the past week so a few of our projects are missing.  Here is the bulletin board display that one of my parent volunteers put together for me.

  I had to take a closer look at the one in the green shirt near the top row. It looks like one of my second graders has a mustache in the picture, but really he drew a large frown and angry eyes. He was very proud of the way it turned out, though!

I also love the faces each child has created and I love the crooked hair :)

If you are interested in using this in your classroom, click on the picture below to get your own copy.

Happy Fall Y'All

When Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac invited me to join her in throwing a fall TpT sale, I couldn't resist. 

The sale will run on Saturday and Sunday.   So head on over to my TpT store (click here or on the picture above) and check out my products. Everything in my store will be 20% off!  Don't forget to leave feedback to earn your TpT credits, too.

Head on over to check out Casey's blog!
Second Grade Math Maniac

I'm not the only one joining in.  Here are the other stores participating in the sale:


Dear Mrs. B (Letters from Second Graders)

 We have started writing friendly letters in my second grade classroom.  Once a week (or so), my students will write me a letter.  They must have the five parts of a friendly letter, answer the questions they were asked, and ask anywhere from 2-5 new questions back.  They are also allowed to share anything else they would like to write in their letter.

When we started, I wrote a letter to the class.  It said something like:

Dear Class,
        How are you doing?  I am great.  I am excited to write letters back and forth with you this year.  Did you know that I play soccer one day a week?  What are some of your favorite things to do?  I hope you write back to me soon.
                                          Mrs. Belden

 Our school's literacy coach was in my classroom teaching while I started my reading assessments.  We had practiced an oral response for our letters the day before and she helped them put it into writing.  Here are a few of the letters I received from my students. 

For the first letter, many of them forgot to include some questions to ask back to me. Since that happened while I was out of the room, I wrote a second letter to the entire class.  When the students wrote their second letters, I was able to check each one to make sure that 2-5 questions were written down.  Now, I just need to carve out a few minutes each day to respond to my kiddos :)

Making Words in 2nd Grade

We have been  able to fit word study into our schedule for two consecutive days!  I recently picked up this book and the kids are enjoying the activities.
Right now, we are doing the lessons whole class with a pocket chart.  Eventually, I will have students doing the activities at their desk with their own set of letters.  If you have any tips or suggestions for the best way to do this, I am all ears :)
This is what the chart looks like before we begin.  The letters are in alphabetical order with the vowels (in a different color) listed first.  I'm not sure if you can tell, but each card has a staple at the top.  The capital letter is stapled to the backside of each letter.  Under each picture, I am giving a snippet of the conversation I am having with my class during this activity.

I need someone to make the word at.  I went to bed at 8:00.  Who can add one letter to make the word bat?

Student, can you use the word bat in a sentence?
(Student) "I hit the baseball with my bat."

Can anyone think of a different way to use the word bat in a sentence that doesn't have anything to do with playing baseball?
(Student) "I saw a bat flying in a cave."

Which letter could we add to bat to make it mean more than one bat?

Let's go back to the word bat.  Who can change one letter to make the word bet?

Student, can you use the word bet in a sentence?
(Student) "I bet I can run faster than you."

Let's clear the board.  Who can use three letters to make a number word that is one more than nine?

Who can add one letter to make the word tens
Who can rearrange the letters to make a word that tells something a bird might build?

Who can rearrange the letters to make the word sent?

Student, can you use the word sent in a sentence?
(Student) "I sent my grandma a letter."

 Finally, I write several of the words we built together on blue cards.  Then I hold up the yellow cards one by one.  The students must decide which blue word the yellow word would rhyme with.  It amazes me how much difficulty some second graders still have with rhyming words.  I guess it's a good thing we are still practicing and reviewing rhyming words!

Up above you can see the word plan.  I then added the e to the end.  I asked the students to think about whether the word changed or not.  I had the students turn to a partner and talk it out.  When they came back, all but 4 kids said the word changed.  I asked them how they knew the word changed.  One of my little darlings said, "When you have a word that has a vowel, not-a-vowel, and then an e, the first vowel says its name."  I love the way second graders describe things at the beginning of the year :)

I'll be sharing about my start with friendly letters in the next few days.

You Think I'm How Old? and Tell Me Something Good

Second graders still need a lot of practice with listening to and following directions.  In our first math unit, the students are working with the number grid.  They are learning the shortcuts for +1, -1, +10, and -10.  For some who do not have a strong foundation in number sense, this can be a challenging and difficult task.  After teaching the shortcuts for the second time, I decided to do a quick assessment on who was getting it and who needed more instructional time and practice.  Here are six results from my class.  You'll notice some similarities in the results and you can probably identify two students who really struggled with this task. 

However, I want you to pay attention to the numbers that are circled on each page:

 I asked my students to think about how old I am and circle that number on their page.  I got a lot of gasps and curious looks because so many wanted their paper to be 100% right and they just didn't know they answer.  Sad to say, but I had two students guess that I was in my sixties.  When I showed this to my husband, he wanted to know if I gave rewards to all the students who circled numbers in the lower twenties.  Nope, but it was flattering :)
Anyhow, I have been posting a lot about math lately.  I'm hoping to share a little bit about reading, writing, and word study soon.  In reading we have been building stamina for read to self and working on mapping out a story's characters, setting, problem, and solution.  In writing, we are working on friendly letters.  The students are reading a letter from me, identifying questions that need to be answered, and writing back to me using the 5 parts of a friendly letter.  Tomorrow we will start our first word study activity by doing a making words lesson.

Finally, since I am trying to keep myself more focused on the positive this year and not let stress have as much of an impact as it has in the past, I thought now would be a great time to link up with Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade. 

She is currently hosting a linky party called, "Tell Me Something Good".  Bloggers are sharing something positive from home and something positive from school. 
Something Good From School
I have really enjoyed using a clip chart for behavior management this year.  I have used the card chart in the past and it was so easy to focus in on the negative behaviors.  This year I am happy to say I am really looking for the positive.  I have had several students at the top of the chart and a few who climbed right off the chart and onto my sleeve.  The kids really do want to please and are trying their best to be the best and brightest stars in the classroom.
Something Good From Home
I spent the 2011-2012 school year at home with my daughter.  I was very blessed to be able to be home with her and watch each and every milestone along the way.  My only hesitation in returning to the classroom this fall was to feel comfortable with my decision on who would watch her each day.  I knew it was meant to be when the pieces fell into place.  Not only is she in capable hands, but she looks forward to going down the street each and every day.  When I pick her up, she greets me with a big hug and smile.  Knowing that my daughter is happy each day makes it easier on this momma to go to school each day.
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