Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Scoop

Hey everyone! I'm linking up with The Teaching Trio for their super easy linky party, The Sunday Scoop.

All you do is write 3 things (only 3?!?) that you HAVE to do, 2 things you HOPE to do, and 1 thing you're HAPPY to do.
Have to:
My students love math stations, but I'm always struggling to make them content appropriate and relatively easy to prep. Sometimes they're way too easy, while other times they're way too hard. I'm always on the lookout for good centers and usually end up making them myself.
I'm blessed to be sharing an awesome student teacher with my team teaching partner this year. She is so motivated and excited to be student teaching and will teach for me when I need a sub. It makes it so much easier to make sub plans! I'm totally spoiled, I know.
The other thing I'm dreading is deciding when to have my assistant principal observe me. We have a new math program, so I'm not 100% comfortable with it yet. I'm sure I'll do fine but several of the kiddos are struggling with this new program so it makes me a little nervous.

Hope to:
I hope to get so much accomplished for my TpT store each week and usually fall way short of my goals. Maybe this week will be different? I have a fun October freebie that is just about ready to upload to TpT so hop on over to my store and follow me so you'll be the first to grab it up!

Happy to:
I'm so excited that I get to help both my daughters get ready for Homecoming! For my oldest, it will be her last Homecoming, while it will be my youngest daughter's first! I'm sure after all the makeup and hairspray settle and they're off to the dance, I'll be a horrible mess. Maybe I'll make the hubs take me out to a movie if I'm not too exhausted!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five for Friday: Things that made me happy!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for FFF! This week, I'm trying to focus on the positive. I needed an "attitude adjustment" on Monday and I'm happy to say that I finally got one!

 Ok, technically this happened last Friday after school....but it is way too exciting not to share! Last spring I won a grant to get iPads for my classroom and they finally arrived! Wooohoooo! I was so excited that I didn't mind staying at school until 7:00 on a Friday evening to set them up! I got enough money to get 14 iPad minis and cases! My principal walked in and took this picture:

I was given an unused charging station by my school that holds 10 of them. I'm still working on a secure solution for the other four. Any suggestions?

 Every other Tuesday I don't have a prep period, so I decided to make it something fun. I found a few cool art projects on Pinterest, but knew this one would be perfect for the first day of fall. You can see my Pin here. They are fall trees inspired by Kandinsky. What I really loved is that there is a common element to bring them all together, but each one is so unique and different. I think they all turned out beautifully! It was also super easy to prep!

We're practicing double digit addition and to make my station more fun/cool I let the kids write directly on the tables with dry erase. I totally stole this idea from a blog I read a few weeks ago. I really can't remember which one! Shout out to you if it was you! Anyway, they all felt like they were doing something taboo, but I let them know it was ok because they had my permission. It was funny to see them so nervous about writing on the table. We're practicing the strategy of adding using a hundred chart and counting forward by 10s and 1s. They are really picking it up and have gradually started using mental math to solve these problems.

I found this quote that I love:

 Part of my attitude adjustment plan was this seasonal favorite of mine:
I am in love with the Salted Caramel Mocha and I even got my daughter hooked on the Frappuccino version. This was my "Congratulations! You made it to Friday" celebration!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday: Math Station Mania

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for FFF. Here's a peek at my crazy week:

 This week has been a little chaotic due to unplanned circumstances, but because I planned so thoroughly last week, it was less of a disaster than it could have been. I had exactly zero time to plan for a new student being added to my class on a day that I had an hour long meeting before school started. I also have less than 10 minutes to herd my darlings into the classroom, take attendance and lunch count and get them out the door to specials. Add in meeting a new student (and parents) and trying to get them situated while managing the rest of the kiddos was not quite the best first impression. I try really hard to not look stressed, even though my brain is screaming! This is the best visual for what is going on:

 Math station mania! My students are full swing into math stations and now that I've taught them most of the different types of activities, they are becoming much more independent. Some of the main types of stations we do are QR code task cards, cut and paste pages, fluency games, spinner pages, math sorts, skills pages, foldables or flip flap books, and interactive journal pages.
greater or less cut and paste page

greater or less practice page
These two activities are from my Greater or Less Geckos (2nd gr CCSS aligned) Activities pack. It also includes task cards and an interactive notebook page.

Here's a cut/paste sorting page from my Even and Odd Owls (2nd gr CCSS aligned) Activities:

 I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with glue. I spend so much time teaching 2nd graders how to use glue that it's kind of ridiculous. I've seen gluing anchor charts on Pinterest, which only tells me that this isn't just my struggle. I think it's time I tried glue sponges. I'm taking the glue sponge plunge this weekend. Wish me luck next week as we have yet another lesson on using glue. I will hunt down this book, because this is exactly what it feels like to bring out the glue in my classroom sometimes.

 My students have enjoyed using spinner pages so much that I decided to make a set of them called Print and Play Math Spinner Games. I took them out for a "spin" (yes, I'm that corny) this week to test them out and work out any bugs before I uploaded them to TpT. I really love testing my products out on my students before publishing them whenever I can. Sometimes I find little typos or that the directions aren't clear enough. After a few tweaks, I can say that these have been kid tested and teacher approved! They are ridiculously easy to prep, too! All you need to do is print and copy enough for your students and throw in some paper clips and you are done! You can also print a few, either laminate or put in sheet protectors and use dry erase markers. You can't find an easier math station to prep.

We also wrapped up a science unit on matter with some experiments. The funniest moment of the week was when we mixed a liquid (vinegar) and a solid (baking soda) to make a gas. It is a simple experiment that can be assembled with things you probably have around already. All you do is put about a teaspoon of baking soda in a balloon and about 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar in an empty water bottle. Carefully, and without tipping the contents of the balloon into the bottle, you put the opening of the balloon around the mouth of the bottle. When you tell the kids to go, they lift up the balloon so the baking soda falls into the bottle and watch as the gas fills up the balloon. My kids were convinced that it was going to explode. The screams that filled my classroom would have sent the principal running! One kid yelled, "It's gonna blow!" and all the kids hit the deck and some even went under their desks. My only regret is that I didn't have my video camera going. It was too funny!
Afterwards, we wrote a note in our agendas to parents saying:
"We made gas today. Ask me how."
(I made sure they knew it wasn't the bean burritos from the cafeteria.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday and it has been one heck of a week!

Ok,this actually happened LAST Friday night....but I'm one proud mama and I just couldn't resist! My oldest daughter's HS varsity soccer team won first place in our metro tournament. They are starting out the season undefeated and have a pretty decent shot of being state champions.

 My little darlings are working on place value and are learning strategies to solve addition problems. They just loved doing this place value spinner activity from Cara Taylor's Summer Slide Series~ Place Value. They couldn't get over how fun it was. There are so many easy prep activities in this pack that I've been using as math centers for the past 2 weeks. The kids love them and they cover a range of skills.
"This is so much fun!" said many of my 2nd graders.

 We're also adding to our Interactive Math Notebooks and are getting better with the fine motor skills along with the math concepts. We used the flip flap book from my Greater or Less Geckos Activity pack.

We're also working on even and odd numbers so I got out my Even and Odd Owls Activities pack. We started using our QR code task cards and the kids were pretty excited about being able to check their answers with the iPad.
 All I had was one iPad at the station and they took turns scanning the QR codes.
 One little smarty-pants had the idea to stack all the cards behind the iPad and just take the top one off when she was done and voila! the next one was already to go. These kids amaze me everyday!

I have a little sweetie in my class who is learning English and is just so eager to please! She gives me about a thousand hugs a day and has model behavior. Today she wrote me a note in her ELA block because they were practicing letter writing:
Translation for all you non primary teachers:
Dear Ms. Palmer,
Today you looked pretty.
I like your shirt.
I think that you are the best teacher ever. I really like you a lot.

I just love those sweet letters and it really made me smile. I went next door to show my sis (and my team teaching partner) and she said that she wrote her the same exact letter! 

Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apple Addition Freebie

I'm in the fall mood (even though it's still 90 degrees here) and couldn't wait to make a fun apple themed double digit addition task card set. My 2nd graders are just starting to add two digit numbers and learning strategies for addition so I made this with them in mind. Click any of the pics to download and don't forget to leave feedback, pretty please.
It includes 12 task cards and recording sheet. Just print, cut, and laminate (if you wish) the task cards and make copies of the recording sheet. 

I'll use this as a math station with one iPad set up to scan the QR codes. Kids really love scanning the codes to see if they got the right answer and I love that they are getting immediate feedback. There is also an answer key included if you don't want to use the QR codes. Here's how I set up my QR code math stations:

If you want to know more about using QR codes in the classroom, check out my free information pack:
Go check out other freebies today:

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday