# Twins

Ok, so not really, but when you take a great picture with another great teacher, you have to share it, right?  Well, yes. 🙂

And yes, I know it looks silly for me to be holding Diet Dr. Pepper, but it’s really life, so I left it there.  Just focus on how happy we are.  Robinson is a great place to be every day!!

# Another One?

This one just needs a picture to tell the story, really.

I don’t know what it is with little boys and those ring things on the playground, but everyone keeps falling off of them!  Evan’s such a trooper though, and a camo cast sure does look tough, doesn’t it? 🙂

# Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: Week of October 12-16, 2015

This week we began a new unit on adding and subtracting within 100 (which is actually a unit we had last year, as well, so should be something that we remember.  Should…time will tell if that’s true. LOL 🙂 ).

This time around we’re focusing more on making sure mathematicians are flexible and can show their thinking in more than one way.  As with last time, we’ll also make sure they can choose a strategy appropriately based on the numbers (rather than just which strategy the like best or is easiest for them), and we’ll also continue to work on being clear with our communicating our mathematical thinking.

Here we go!

The first strategy we worked on for this unit is called HTO, or hundreds/tens/ones.  Yeah, it’s kind of an obvious name for what they are doing, so I guess it works. 🙂

Each kiddo has a workbook where we’re showing our thinking, and I had to share what Emily’s looked like after I taught this strategy.  She kind of liked it. 🙂

Here’s more about how that strategy works:

First you mark the first number on the chart (98) and then add on tallies to show the second number (31). Then look to see if you can find any tens or ones you need to move over to the next column. Finally, add down the columns to find your answer.

Ok, so this post is a little misleading, because that was the only warm-up I have to share.  The rest is more from what we did in our conversations in math.  Hope that’s ok. 🙂

On Friday, we started another strategy that is Adding on the Numberline (and actually using another strategy called Circle/Split/Add):

We still have a strategy or two to teach, and then we’ll just practice them until they’re solid.  The thing I have to keep reminding kiddos (especially those that are focused on being RIGHT and being FAST) is that this unit is as much as communicating and being flexible as it is about finding the right answer (although, OF COURSE that’s also expected. 🙂 ).

# Global Read Aloud 2015

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out my love of all things online–collaborating with other classes through things like Mystery Skype, Edmodo, Twitter, World Read Aloud Day, Dot Day, blogs, etc.  I hope that you’ve also seen how I am willing to try new things, not necessarily knowing how they will work out in the end.  I consider myself to be a risk-taker with technology and with new learning ideas.  I guess I trust that worst that will happen is that whatever it is won’t work and then we’ll try somethign else. 🙂

So, when my friend Tam Scharf, from Yr5sK in Queensland, Australia, invited me to join the Global Read Aloud this year, I knew I had to do it!  I have read about it for a couple years (during my time on Twitter!), but wasn’t really sure what to do to get involved.  Well it’s really pretty simple and has already proven to be a great opportunity for Rm. 202 kiddos!

The basic idea is that our class is reading a chapter book along with many other classes and there have been activities planned by a small group of teachers on our team that each class is trying out and then posting to our blog, or to Padlet, or other online venues.  Some classes are tweeting, and there will be Skype sessions planned, as well.

Our class chose to read a great book by a familiar author, Kevin Henkes, called The Year of Billy Miller.  The best part is that I had heard about it and was interested in reading it anyway.  So then when I found out it was a text choice for this project, it seemed like a perfect match.  And it’s about a 2nd grader.  Win/win/win. 🙂

Each week we are reading a different part of the book (it’s broken up into 4 parts that focus on a different relationship), and we do the coordinating activity.

The first week we studied a word cloud about Billy Miller and brainstormed what we thought the book would be about.  We posted our predictions (along with other GRA friends) on a Padlet set up for that activity.

Here’s what we thought about the book:

It was great to read what other kids thought about the story, and we even revised some of our thinking based on what they shared.  Already a great start and we hadn’t even started reading!

Last week we read the first section (called Teacher) and met Billy and the other main characters in the book.  We are using this book as our study in Readers’ Workshop and it’s matching up perfectly with our work with story elements.  We learned how to use a story map, and recorded the characters, setting adn problem/setting so far in the story.  We’ll keep modifying this organizer as we go on, as well as completing the other planned activities.

We’re excited to join in for this week’s work: a Popplet about what we think about Billy as a character.  We’re not done yet but are excited to share our thinking once we get there.

This story is so fun and kids can easily relate to it; the project is a great motivator for us as readers and citizens of the world!  We found out the other day that there are over 500,000 kiddos signed up doing the same thing as us–WOW!!

I’ll update you with more as we get further into this great collaboration!

# 3 Writing Celebrations in 1 Day!!

We have been working through the writing process, using seeds we’ve put in our Writers’ Notebooks.

Once we got to the end (which took WAY longer than I remembered it would!), we were ready to CELEBRATE with our friends!  The best part about what we did was that we did it with more than one class!  Mrs. Appelbaum’s class was finished with their pieces, too, so we got together.

As with many things, the way Mrs. Appelbaum did her writing celebration was a little different from me, so she taught me something new and it was super!!  First, she shared with Rm. 202 kiddos the directions her class had come up with to share their work with a partner:

There was also a comment sheet she had come up with, where readers would give the writer feedback based on these starters: “Something I liked about your writing was…”; “Something I learned was…” and “Something I wonder now is….”  I’ve done compliment sheets before, but they’ve always been completely open-ended.  The structure of her sheet was helpful for those that needed ideas, but was also still open-ended enough for kids to make choices on how they’d respond.

From within minutes of when we started, the room was “a-buzz” with that fabulous sound of excitement, learning, and laughing as kiddos proudly shared the work they had done to create meaningful writing pieces.

This is a short video, but here’s what it sounded like:

While you can’t really get the same experience from seeing pictures of it as if you were there, I do think you can imagine the experience.  Sometimes just seeing the pride and happiness on their faces is story enough!

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Ok, these next few will look really similar, but they’re from the 2nd go-round, where Mrs. Appelbaum’s friends came to hear our writing.  We were excited to try out her “rules” and the compliment sheet on our work!

I don’t have pictures of the last share we did, but after we had practiced with the Appelbaum team, we invited our friends from Ms. Turken’s class (they’re first graders) to listen to our writing, too.  This was the first time they had been to a writing celebration and we were hoping to teach them well about how it was supposed to work.  You’d never have known they were newbies–they were writing rockstars and worked really hard to give us meaningful comments on our work!  Hopefully we can share with them again when they’re finished their own writing pieces.

Whew! What an exciting day of celebrating our hard work, our meaningful writing ideas and our using grit and perseverance to share great stories!  Way to go, Rm. 202 kids!

# The World According to Betty Birney

One thing our school does really well is support readers and writers.  One way that happens is by inviting “real” authors to come and share their journeys with us.  They share their love of words and we are inspired to do the same. 🙂 (Remember when Lisa Campbell Ernst came a couple of years ago,  or Mary Casanova last year?? Amazing, I tell you. 🙂 ).

Well, last Friday we were treated with a last-minute visit from Betty Birney, courtesy of a fabulous indie bookstore near us called The Novel Neighbor.  Once we found out that she was coming, I had to find out if I could make a connection.  So of course I checked her out on Twitter.  And yes, I found her!

I love that there is a way to “meet” people before you meet them, connect in meaningful ways and help kids see what “real” authors do.  And yes, I only say “real” like that because kids do.  All of my students are authors, but to them you’re not a “real” one unless you’ve actually published a book.  You know, it’s how you think when you’re a kid.  Well, ok, I’ll be honest….some adults think that way, too.  But nope, I’ll teach you–if you write, you’re a writer.  If you write things, you’re an author.  There.  Now you know. 🙂

Anyhow, Betty showed up and gave us a FABULOUS presentation of her journey as a writer, showed us some great pictures (like of her writing house where she works–I mean, what??  A little blue house in the backyard for your office?  I’m a little jealous.  That sounds like a dream. 🙂 ), and told us some incredible stories.  Like how her first writing job was for hot dog advertisements (or hot dog buns or something like that, but food….), and how she worked for Disney.  Um, yeah, you heard me–Disney (you’ve heard how I am kind of obsessed with it, right??) .  Like she wrote promotional posters for the opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and got to spend a whole day just riding the roller coaster over and over and over.  She wrote for a little TV show you may have heard of called Winnie the Pooh (wrote lots of books of Pooh, too!), and got has written loads of other things, too.

I don’t have a picture of it, but one of my favorite things of this author visit was that all of my writers brought their Writers’ Notebooks with them so they could capture anything inspiring and brilliant that Betty said.  And because “real” writers take their notebooks with them everywhere!

Oh, and did you see in those tweets that we planned for pictures?  Of course, because that’s what bloggers do!

First me. And yeah, I know–I look crazy excited. Guess because I was. Kind of like I was with a celebrity. I wouldn’t mind having her job. 🙂

And then it was everyone’s turn:

I know you can’t hear them, but when we were taking the picture, we were saying, “We love Betty Birney!”  What a great morning. 🙂

# Dot Day 2015

A  little while ago we celebrated a special day along with many thousands of other kids and teachers around the world: Dot Day. The idea is simple: read and enjoy the book The Dot with your class and then explore the story creatively–in any way you want.  Easy peasey, right?  Sign us up!!

So we read the story, and talked about what it meant to “make your mark.”  And since we’re Roadrunners, kiddos brought up the ideas of grit, growth mindset and making mistakes.  Who knew there was so much to learn in a story about a girl and a painting?  Ok, so I knew it was all in there. Hee hee.  I’m just super impressed that my students came up with it before I even told them.  Way to go, Rm. 202 friends!

After we were done reading and talking, I set them loose to work their magic.  With paint.  Or markers.  Or colored pencils, or crayons–whatever they wanted to use to show their creativity was fine by me.  And show us they did!

Check it out:

We weren’t done there, though.  Nope.  Had to do some writing about it, of course!  So kiddos were given a sheet to help them think through how they would explain their work.  Basically I wanted to give kiddos the support with sentence starters (if they needed it), as well as the structure of understanding what they could actually explain about the process (sometimes 2nd graders just want to tell you one sentence and be done).

Kiddos were instructed to complete a rough draft (which was made of four parts: When I read The Dot, it made me think of….; So I decided to make…; I used…; and I want to make my mark by…).  On the second day of work we had to have a conversation about what it meant to be “done,” because like I mentioned before, some kiddos thought just saying “I used paint” would be a thorough explanation of what they did.  I showed them my sheet–all filled out–and we discussed the thinking I did in order to decide what to say, as well as how to use the organizer correctly.  The lesson here was simple: if you are given 4 lines to write your ideas upon, then you should write 4 lines of words.  Well, it seemed simple at least, but was not so obvious as you might think.  Once they finally had a rough draft, they were then to work by themselves or with their elbow partner to revise and edit their work before creating their final draft on special “Dot” paper.  This was perfectly tied into the writing cycle we were working through and was a nice picture of how writing doesn’t just happen during one set time of day.

It took us a week to all finish our writing, and then we were ready to share.  I was happy to see how well it all fit in our hallway, using the windows and the one vertical part of the wall.  Perfect space-wise, and perfect because we (and everyone who walks through our hallway) get to be inspired by our dots every day!

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# The Writing Process–in Math??

Yep, you read correctly.  We’ve been learning the writing process–mainly in regards to our work in Writers’ Workshop–but also in math!

A few years ago, when our school started working with Cathy Fosnot and Mathematics in the City, I learned about how many parallels there are between communicating in mathematics and communicating in most any other setting.  At the time it was kind of mind-blowing to think about how mathematicians revise and edit their work just like authors.  After hearing more, and thinking it through, and then trying it with kids, it made sense.

So…as with many other things I learned about with older kids, and protocols that I know work well with any age, we’re talking about the writing process in mathematics again.  In 2nd grade. 🙂

The first unit we worked through this year was about place value, and was related in many ways to money; this made sense to kiddos and helped them think through how to “trade” 1s for 10s, 10s for 100s and just how to make groups in different ways to “make” a number.

One day they were challenged to consider this story:

With their elbow partner they were supposed to figure our the answer to that question: If Jerry has \$1000 to share, with how many people could he share a \$10 bill?

Kiddos worked for almost 2 math periods to figure out their answer (which was really the answer to the question of how many 10s are in 1000) and clearly share their thinking on a poster.  For many, the answer of how many people was easy, the way to share their ideas not so much.

As a means of helping them know when they were “finished,” we discussed these parameters for their work:

After we had our posters finished, we were ready for our gallery walk.  During a Gallery Walk, students put their posters out for other mathematicians to read and comment upon–with the goal of helping deepen mathematical thinking and help create more meaningful representations.  It works much like a writing celebration, which is a great connection because all of our kiddos know how to do that. 🙂

Before we were ready to start commenting on others’ work, we needed a review of how to make effective, meaningful notes on our friends’ work.  We sat for a quick refresher using this flipchart:

Then we practiced recognizing helpful comments that followed the guidelines.  I gave examples and non-examples, and then we modified the ones we have given a thumbs-down (which mean they were not specific, kind or math-related).

After that, we were off to work in our gallery walk.

We did pretty great with our first walk of the year, and I’m sure kiddos brought their kindergarten and first grade knowledge with them to help as they shared their thoughts with other groups.  I was impressed with how questions were used and kids were specific with what parts didn’t make sense or that they thought others could improve upon.

After adding comments, partners were given a few minutes to review what others had shared.  In order to debrief and think about how to use this to help us next time, partners had to share out with the larger group one thing they would do to revise their poster to make it better (and ideally we’d have taken time to actually revise them, but we ran out of time!).  Next time we are ready for a math congress and gallery walk, we’ll definitely come back to this moment and remember what we learned. 🙂