Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday: Field trips, Geometry, and a $1 deal

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs (2 weeks in a row!!) for FFF. This week was a doozy!

 On Monday, I had an observation by my principal, who I really adore, BTW. The first observation of the year didn't go so well. It was one of those days that they wrote Murphy's Laws about. Anything that can go wrong, will.

However, the 2nd observation was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! It went so well that I was even impressed with myself. It was just one of those perfect teaching moments that remind you why you became a teacher, and for once, there was a witness!!! I haven't received my scores back, but his verbal feedback was all I need. He said it was fun being in my classroom watching me teach!
 Tuesday we had our long awaited field trip to a children's museum called Explora. It really is the best museum in the state and so many of our kiddos have never been! It is jam packed with hands on science, exploration, and building activities. We had a docent lead us around for 2 hours and then we went across the street to a really great park for lunch and play. It was so much fun!

I've been chugging along, trying to pretend that the tickle in my throat is not a sign that I'm getting sick. Mind over matter, right? Not so much. I woke up Thursday to find that I had lost my voice. My hubs convinced me to stay home and NOT TALK. Ummm ok? That's like asking the sun not to shine. 

We're learning about 2D and 3D shapes in math, which is a nice break from drilling subtraction strategies nonstop! I found this awesome FREE Geoboard app that I used in the lesson I blogged about yesterday using technology in teaching about shapes (read about it here). Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of getting those geoboards out. Why? Well, rubber bands + little boys = teacher nightmare. The beauty of this app is that it has lots of colors to choose from, it is easy to use, and the rubber bands can't fly, shoot off the board "accidentally", or break. Check it out:

Even though we're working on geometry, students are still practicing subtraction. I made this cocoa themed Double Digit Subtraction Warm Up Task Cards set so students can continue to practice. It features problems with and without regrouping and QR codes so students can check their answers. I've marked it down to $1 until 2/2/15. Grab it before the price goes back up!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Using Technology to Teach Shapes

I'm always looking for ways to integrate technology into my lessons. These are my three goals: to enhance my lessons with the use of technology, get students more engaged (which leads to more learning), and for students to use technology to interact with others.

Often, technology is an afterthought to a lesson. We're busy. We have major demands placed on us that we must meet and often we just simply don't have the time to incorporate technology into our lessons in a meaningful way. It can be a daunting task. It is best to start simply.

I found a great FREE geoboard app last summer and I knew I wanted to use it, but couldn't think of any ideas at the time so I just filed it away in my brain for later. This month, as I planned my geometry unit, I lugged out my box of dusty geoboards, looked at the sad state of my rubber bands and then a light went on! The geoboard app! I downloaded the app and played with it for a little while. It is crucial to test out the apps you're going to use to see the potential pitfalls and benefits before you hand it over to the students.

Next, I thought about how to use it in a lesson I had planned, but also wanted to get more use out of it than one or two lessons. I decided to design a math station around it that focused on the skills I wanted students to master. In this case, my objectives were simple: define and describe 2D and 3D shapes using attributes such as edges, faces, and vertices. Check out my 2D and 3D Shape Task Cards with QR codes:

After a few introductory lessons about the attributes of 2D and 3D shapes, I was ready to put these task cards in my math stations. I know a thing or two about kids and technology. You need to let them play with a new app a little bit before you expect them to get to work. I did a demo using AppleTV and the AirPlay function on the iPad on how to use the app. I showed them how to make shapes and let them use it with a partner for a few minutes. Then, I showed them the tasks cards and explained how to show their work on their recording sheets. The task cards also feature QR codes that students can scan to check their answers or scan to see the shape.

The math station was a hit! Now it was time to use what they've learned to solve some shape riddles. I used these Geometry Interactive Notebook Pages from Lucky Little Learners. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love using Angie's interactive notebook products. I think I have almost all of them!

We cut and pasted the riddle flip flaps into our interactive notebooks and did the first two riddles together. Each pair of students had an iPad and worked together to make the shape on the geoboard app that was described, draw it under the flap and label it. I walked around the room and asked certain students to show what they did on the geoboard app by "jumping on" AppleTV with the AirPlay function on their iPads. This is a skill I had previously taught so they knew just what to do. I chose specific teams of students to show what they did and we had a great discussion about whether the shapes they made really fit the description. At one point, we had a great debate about whether the shape's sides were all the same length or not.

We had to get the meter stick out to measure what they were projecting on the board to settle the question. At one point, I looked around the room and realized that ALL my students were engaged in the lesson, they were consulting our math word wall and were having meaningful discussions with each other. It was a simple lesson that was so much better because students were able to visually share their work with their classmates on our interactive white board. They had a sense of pride when they got to share and used higher order thinking skills to defend their work. Beyond the fact that my students now have a stronger understanding of geometry, they were able to also increase their critical thinking skills.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Clip Monday Linky

I don't know about you, but I love reinforcing the concepts that I teach with video clips. I even have a Pinterest Board dedicated to collecting videos for my classroom called Educational Videos.

That's why I'm also excited to be linking up with the Techie Turtle Teacher for a fun new linky party called Movie Clip Monday!
Before I share my video with you, did you know that there is a way to show a video from YouTube to your class without worrying about ads, questionable popups or other "junk" you just don't want your kiddos to see? It's called and it couldn't be easier to use. Just copy the link of the video you want from YouTube and paste it into the safeshare box and it will make a new link to the video that you can use to safely share the video. 
I put this adorable penguin video on safeshare for my class since we're studying penguins this month.
Cool Cute Chicks! - Amazing Animal Babies: Emperor Penguin Chicks (Ep 5) - Earth Unplugged

I love this video for two reasons: it is highly engaging visually and gives great kid-friendly information. 
Do you have a great video that you want to share? Link up with the Techie Turtle Teacher by following the directions below!! 

1. Find a video that you'd like to share with your readers.2. Download the Movie Clip Monday graphic above by right clicking to save as. Save your picture in a convenient place for you.3. Write about your video and include the Movie Clip Monday graphic with a link to this post.4. Come back to this post to add your link to the linky. 5. Visit other blogs and leave comments for someone who linked up before you and come back to leave a comment for someone who linked up after you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Friday, a LOOONG weekend, a giveaway, and a sale

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for FFF.

I am so excited about my new blog's so PRETTY! I am in love with it and I couldn't thank Kristen from Chalk and Apples enough for being so patient with me and my crazy ideas (and color schemes). She is just awesome and is really affordable for teachers like me! I'm doing a giveaway, so head over to my post from Tuesday and enter.

I had a FANTASTIC time in Las Vegas last weekend! Of course, it wasn't all partying and shopping because I was there for my daughter's soccer tournament. The highlight (besides how well the team played) had to be going to the Eric Church concert on Friday night. He rocked that place and left my heart thumping!!!

I have to admit that I've been pretty bad about keeping track of the days of school this year. What kind of 2nd grade teacher am I? I feel like it's coming up soon so I'm prepping my 100th Day Activities pack, which I've marked down from $5 to $3! It is F-U-L-L of activities that your kiddos will love. In fact, there are more activities in there than you can cram into one day! Check it out and grab it while it's still on sale!

It's a Penguin Palooza around here! Yesterday, I linked up with Comprehension Connections for Thematic Thursday, which was all about Penguins. If you're studying penguins, you have to check this out this post.

Snow!?! Here in New Mexico, we actually got some snow!!! This isn't much by east coast standards, but we got pretty riled up about it. It also doesn't help that NOBODY really knows how to drive in the least I made it to school safely! By the time I got home, it was virtually gone. That's why New Mexicans take pictures of snow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thematic Thursday: Penguins

I'm linking up with Comprehension Connection for Thematic Thursday and this week's topic is Penguins!

We are knee deep in our penguin unit right now and the kids just can't get enough. There's something about January that makes it a perfect month to study these adorable creatures. Just do a TpT or Pinterest search for penguins and you'll find a treasure trove of resources to teach a great cross curricular unit. Here are some of my favorites:

I've collected both nonfiction and fiction books from my library and have many engaging and meaningful activities planned. I love Gail Gibbons' books for teaching science concepts because they are packed with great information. You could literally spend a week reading her one of her books in depth. I also love National Geographic and Scholastic Discover More because they feature fantastic photographs and easy to read information. For fiction, I love to read Antarctic Antics, which is a book of poems that are pretty fun. The kids also enjoy all the Tacky books, The Emperor's Egg and Where is Home, Little Pip?.

We have been using Amy Lemons' penguin unit called Waddle With Me, which is packed with fun craftivities, tons of vocabulary, research and writing activities.

I found so many things, I started a Penguins Pinterest board, which you can check out here.
We also are in the middle of doing a Penguin Web Quest, which the students love because they get to scan QR codes and answer specific questions at each station. I also made a FREEBIE page of QR codes that link to websites and a page that links to videos about penguins for further research. 

One of the most fun things to do when we have a few minutes to spare is to turn on the Sea World penguin cam. 
You can even change the camera view to shallow or deep water and see the penguins shoot through the water. I also love these other penguin videos:
I hope you find some great resources! Go back to Comprehension Connection for more fab penguin teaching ideas. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Blog Design Giveaway!!

Hey everyone, notice anything different about me? No, I didn't lose weight (I wish!!!), I got a new blog design! I worked with Kristen at Chalk and Apples and she did a great job, don't you think? She was so easy to work with and I wasn't stuck on some waiting list for a bazillion years. Best of all, her custom design was SUPER affordable. Seriously, if you've even been kinda thinking about changing your blog design, go over and check it out! Click the button to get more info!

I still have a little work to do in updating a few things, so be patient as I build up some of my pages. To thank you for looking at my ugly old blog for so long, I'm having a little giveaway! Enter the rafflecopter below to win $20 to spend in my TpT store!!! That can take you pretty far since many of my task card sets are only $2!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five for Friday and a $1 DEAL

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for FFF!

I love making New Year's resolutions. I always have high hopes for what I will accomplish during the year. Often I accomplish things I didn't even dream of in January, but more often than not, I don't accomplish the things on my list. This year I decided to come up with resolutions that I can't fail on. They are 5 simple words and can have various interpretations.

Looking at it, it makes an acronym for LEASH. I guess I'm going to be on a leash this year (in a good way)!

One of the ways I'm working towards these goals is to pick one word a day and write down one way that I will work on that word. For example, I picked Simplify on Wednesday and decided to clean off the top of my desk and declutter. Today, I picked Accomplish and decided to get all my grading done so I don't have to take it home this weekend.
 We're working on subtraction with regrouping and I'm using various resources to supplement the curriculum my district adopted this year. The curriculum places a huge amount of focus on using the number line to solve problems. My students really struggle with this so I've introduced other ways to teach this concept that bridge the gaps in their understanding. I love this interactive regrouping software:

In my small groups, we're working on subtraction strategies using the iPad and a simple chalkboard app that the kids love. The great thing about it (besides having many fun colors to choose from) is that I can take a screenshot of their work and add it to their digital portfolios.

It's a Penguin Palooza in my classroom this month! We are learning about penguins in science and my team teaching partner is incorporating them into ELA. The kids go crazy about penguins and have really enjoyed studying them. I also love to bribe encourage excellent behavior with my students by putting up the SeaWorld penguin cam.

I'm using Amy Lemons' Waddle With Me: A Penguin Unit and so far we've been working on learning the vocabulary. On Thursday, I gave teams of students a set of vocabulary and definitions cards and had them match them up. It was much harder than they expected! I think we'll do some review and try this activity again next week.

I am lucky to not be experiencing the crazy freezing weather most of the country has been this week. It is cold enough here to freeze the pond on the golf course behind my house, but not too cold to be outside. So, in honor of my friends that are freezing in that arctic blast, my Skating Subtraction task cards are $1....get them while they're on sale!