Ribbit, Ribbit, Round It!

Our second grade team has worked really hard all year on ballpark estimates (aka rounding).  Unfortunately, I have one student who just doesn't get it.  Sometimes she is able to get it right, but other times 84 rounds to 60 and sometimes 32 rounds to 50.  I'm not sure why, but she just doesn't seem to have the number sense to help her with this task. While I only have a few months left with her, I was thinking ahead to next year and how I can improve my teaching.  I looked in the second grade common core standards, but I didn't find rounding.  I did, however, find it in the 3rd grade standards:
NBT 3.1 - Students will use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.
Our district is not in a financial position to update our curriculum to align to the new standards.  So, I will still be teaching rounding in the form of ballpark estimates.  I started thinking about adding additional resources to my classroom and decided to make something.  I'm calling it Ribbit, Ribbit, Round It.  Thanks to Graphics From the Pond for the great frog clipart!
Right now the file is just under 50 pages and includes activities, games, and worksheets.  I would love another set of eyes on this new product.  Are you game?  Just leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you're interested.  As a thank you for helping me out you'll get the product for free :)  Thanks in advance!

Writing Opinions in 2nd Grade

Next year we will be fully implementing Common Core.  I decided that I would get my feet wet with opinion writing this spring.  I should mention that for almost a week, my kids were calling it "option" writing because they could not help but read opinion as option. 
Common Core Standard for 2nd Grade
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
I went to blogging sites, TpT, and Pinterest.  I found several resources.  We started with Let's Write an Opinion: A Common Core-aligned writing unit for grades K-2.  This was created by Susan Moran from T.G.I.F.
Let's Write an Opinion! by Susan Moran (T.G.I.F.)

One of the things I loved about this unit was that it started with learning about fact and opinion.  She added anchor charts and sorting activities, too.  My kids can access the sorting activity in the pocket chart during their Daily 5 choices.

 This week I added an anchor chart for opinion sentence starters to our wall.  The students were encouraged to make attempts at using these when writing their supporting reasons.  I told them that as we continue to write, adding these will become more natural and not seem as forced.  You can just imagine that my anchor chart was as bright and colorful as this one I found on Pinterest.  (My students decided that we could add I like or I love to the list).
As many of you do, I started with modeled writing.  Then we moved into doing a writing piece together.  This week we all wrote about one recess activity.  Since the writing prompt asked them to imagine telling a new student about the best recess activity, I had the students write it in a letter format to a new student.  Here was an example (sorry, no picture this time - the camera battery died):

Dear New Student,
     Welcome to (name of school here)!  In my opinion, playing on the monkey bars is the best recess activity.  I think playing on the monkey bars is great because you can get stronger arm muscles.  I believe that when you climb on the monkey bars you can get faster and faster.  I know you can have fun playing on the monkey bars because you can play with friends from other classes.  Everyone should play on the monkey bars during recess.
(student name)
Are you working on opinion writing?  Here are some of the other things I have found: 

Any other great resources out there I should know about? 

Magical Product Swap

It's time for the one, the only:

Andrea is a reading specialist from Virginia.  I was excited to be partnered with her since I am already a follower of her blog and TpT store.  When I first looked around her store, I had a very difficult time deciding between two products: Main Idea and Detail Concentration (her best seller) and her Poppin' Fact and Opinion Game.  When I gave Andrea these two products and told her to choose for me, she generously offered to let me review both.  My students were thrilled to have two new games to add to our rotation of games! 
Main Idea and Detail Concentration
TpT Description: A classic game of concentration with some learning involved. This simple game has main idea and detail cards to match. Simply print them on different colored paper and then cut them out. Students flip over a main idea and then try to find the matching detail.  Simple, yet fun!  Includes an answer key and a graphic organizer for main idea and details!
 After purchasing this game, all you need to do is print and cut out the materials. With this 10-page file you will get a cover page (which can be helpful for storing materials), 6 pages of playing cards (48 cards in all), an answer key, and a graphic organizer for main idea and details.
These pics should give you an idea of what comes inside this file:

To save on colored ink, I went ahead and printed everything in grayscale and it still looks great!  I love that this game is so easy to set up and play.  My kids have played a lot of Concentration/Memory games this school year, so they become second nature with the rules of how to play.
At first this game can seem a bit overwhelming.  There are 48 playing cards (24 main idea cards, 24 detail cards).  However, Andrea does write on the directions page that you can print the main idea cards on one color and the detail cards on another.  This would help kids make sure they were always picking up one of each.  You could also carefully separate the cards into two games so the kids are playing with half the cards.
I went ahead and put them all in so you could see everything at once:
We set up the game in a 6 x 8 array.
Player one turned over two cards.
No match - player one turned over two detail cards.

Next, player two went.  This player turned over two cards.  When she compared them, she thought she found a match.

Player one used the answer key to check when there was some confusion.  I love games that are self-checking :)

In the end, the students put their card pairs into a pile.  The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins.  This is a great way for students to reinforce the learning taking place during reading instruction.
Andrea also included a graphic organizer in the file.  She suggests that as an extension, your students can choose one of the main idea cards from the game.  Students then think of additional details that match.  Students not only complete the graphic organizer with the ideas, but can then extend that understanding by writing about the topic.

The next game I was so fortunate to receive was: 
Poppin' Fact and Opinion Game
TpT Description: A simple board game where students decide if the statement is a fact or an opinion to move around the board. It includes a game board, fact/opinion cards, "tokens", and sorting headers.
When you first open the file, you will notice it has one page of directions, followed by 4 pages of materials you will need for your students:

I love the game board because of the bright colors!  I printed the materials on cardstock and because all of the cards were lined up so well, I just used the paper cutter.  I was ready in no time at all :)  The only other thing I did was place the game board inside of a sheet protector.  The materials come with some characters you can use as your game pieces.  I just had students use some unifix cubes or buttons in different colors and grabbed one die.
Once students are ready, the first player rolls a die.  He draws one card from the pile.  If the card is a statement, the student reads it aloud and tells whether it is a fact or an opinion.  If he is correct, he moves forward the number of spaces rolled on the die.  If he is incorrect, he stays put. 

There is a little twist to the game.  In the deck of cards there are cards that say, POP!  When a student draws this type of card, he moves backwards the number of spaces rolled on the die.

One last thing I did was have my students place the cards into three piles: facts, opinions, and POP! cards when they finished their game.  That way, I could simply walk by, pick up a pile, and do a quick, informal assessment on their ability to identify facts and opinions.
If your students are working on fact and opinion, this game would be a great addition to your classroom.  Click here to pick up your own copy!
Please visit Andrea's blog.  She will be reviewing something I created - two products, actually. 
Visit Andrea's Blog
Visit Andrea's TpT Store


Head on over to Jessica Stanford's site to see all of the other amazing products getting reviewed.  Who knows what you'll find that you simply can't live (or teach) without! 

Investigating Weather

For the first part of our Air and Weather Unit, we skipped ahead to the FOSS investigation on weather.  I wanted to get the kids started on their weather calendars.  Each day around 1:30 p.m. we record the temperature and the weather we see outside.  Once we have this underway, we will go back and conduct the first investigation on air.

Here is what our weather calendars look like so far:

This calendar isn't anything fancy, but it works for us.  If you want to snag a FREE copy, I have put one on my freebies page.  You can also just click on the image above.  The kids also have one for May in their science notebooks.  I figure we'll be done with our unit by the end of May.

Next up...weather vocabulary.  We made a vocabulary flipbook for some important terminology:

After that, the students recorded information they knew about thermometers.  We also used a blackline master included with the FOSS kits to color in the temperature ranges on a Fahrenheit and Celsius thermometer.

The last thing I wanted to share with you was our cloud study.  First, I read this book to the class to build some background knowledge.

Then, we created this science notebook entry to record our findings about three types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus, and stratus.

 Finally, we started two cloud art projects.  The first is an entry for our science notebooks:

The second was more for fun.  After being inspired by the artwork in these two books, we created some clouds of our own. 

(a chick)

(a flower)

(a tree)

 (a snake)

Next week I hope to share part of our air investigation.  The students will conduct experiments with air inside a container of water and create small parachutes.  Have I mentioned how much I love teaching this unit?

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

The fabulous Latoya from Flying Into First is back with another weekly edition of the Let's Get Acquainted Party.  Click on the image above (or click here) to learn more about this linky party.
This week's theme is the Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Vanilla is good, but I am a sucker for Tillamook Mudslide or Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  Mmm....
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
I have scrapbooks galore of memories from college.  I would have to say that meeting my husband in college would have to top the list, though.  I can't believe 15 years have gone by since we first met...crazy!!  Here he is reading to our little girl :)
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
It's not my local team, but my hubby converted me to a Twins fan years ago and I haven't looked back since.
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
I don't stop for fast food very often, but when I do, I would rather go to Subway.  There used to be a local sandwich shop in town that had a better sub sandwich, but they have since gone out of business, so Subway will have to do.
Purple- Wild Card (tell anything about yourself)
(source: unknown)
If I had the time (and energy) to start a new hobby, I would love to learn to make quilts.  I love the variety of patterns and fabrics used to make them and I just wish I was talented enough to know how to make one myself.  Baby girl has one similar to the one in the picture above.
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