# Second Grade Math Warm-Ups: 8-18 to 8-21

When I first started using math warm-ups a couple of years ago, I had no idea how useful they would end up being in my classroom.  They are quick, easy and definitely give me a bank for the buck.  So of course I am using them again now that my mathematicians are second graders!  Here is how we got started this year:

Wednesday

I waited until the second day of second grade to start, and since we spent all last year doing this, most of my friends knew exactly what to do.  I just had to introduce my new friends (there are 4 of them) to this routine.  I started with a question everyone could answer (and if I remember correctly, it’s one of the first problems we did last year, too).

Friday

As I think about how we’re getting started in Math this year, our focus will be on making sure we have a firm foundation of basic skills and facts before we move on to other things.  That means we’re going to review combinations that make 10, doubles, doubles +/- 1 and basic addition/subtraction facts.  Hence the next question:

Note that I had to revise my question, since kiddos wrote 1 combination and thought they were finished.  I drew the visual of the 10s “rainbow” as we discussed the problem, and it was good to hear a couple of friends say, “Oh, now I get it!”  Like me (who is a visual learner), seeing how those numbers connect is important to their understanding.  This is definitely become an anchor chart in our classroom!

# Getting Started with Writing: Tiny Notebooks

Ok…do I need to start by explaining my love for the teaching of writing?  Or just my love of writing itself?  Probably not.  You’ve read those stories before, right? 🙂

We got started with writing in 2nd grade on our second day.  I started by reading two books:

I chose them partly to be funny (The Incredible teacher one was because their notebooks used to be full-sized and are now only half-sized notebooks like I used here.  By the way, they didn’t think this was funny. LOL), and also to give us an idea for somewhere to get started (an entry about something they had done over the summer).  Before they left we had a quick reminder of how to label each entry, as well as a reteach of how to use the date stamp (yes, there is a lesson for this!).

Ignore that big blue scribble…it was from another conversation we were having about how authors sometimes sign their books….

This whole “I don’t know what to write about” thing had me thinking about what to do the next day.  I needed to get them thinking again about how ANYTHING could be an idea for writing, not just great big events or monumental occurrences.  Ideas come from watching the world in a new way and expecting to see stories.  Those can happen on the way to school, while you’re eating breakfast or at recess.  And probably when you’re least expecting them.

This made me think about how to connect this idea to something they could understand.  I thought about we could explore the idea of a scrapbook and how your Writer’s Notebook is a place to collect things you don’t want to forget.  I pulled out my very first notebook (which I started in the summer of 2005, 10 years ago), and read a couple of entries (I wish now I’d brought that notebook home so I could show you those entries–boo. :().  I talked about how the moments I wrote about were not “BIG” deals, and I wouldn’t remember them now if I hadn’t written them down.  We connected this to how in Inside Out the memories turn gray in long-term memory and are sucked away forever (good thing I’m up on pop culture, huh? Never know where a connection will come from!).  We don’t want this to happen to our memories, and it doesn’t have to if we collect them!  For them, 10 years from now is when they go to college–how cool for them to be able to think about things they want to remember at that point in their lives.  Totally didn’t mean for that connection to happen, but was SUPER glad it did!

Then we read a book (as another way to help them visualize the possibilities) and made a chart of the small stories in there that we could write about:

This got many kids thinking and they shared new sparks they had: one friend said he could put in the necklace he wore this summer on the airplane when he flew by himself, and another friend wanted to bring pictures of his dogs–because they will probably be dead in 10 years and he doesn’t want to forget them.  Cute, right?  That same friend wanted a picture of me so he could remember me in college, too.  He wrote this entry with that picture:

While of course I love this entry because it’s about me (ha!), but also because it is the definition of how I want them to be thinking about their notebooks as a way to collect and curate their thoughts.  Plus I think it’s just cool how deep and wide 2nd graders can think when we give them an invitation and opportunity to do so. 🙂

# 2nd Day of 2nd Grade Selfies!

Last year we shared our super-sweet pics of ourselves on the 1st Day of 1st Grade.  So what could we do this year but share super-cool pics of ourselves on the 2nd Day of 2nd Grade??

While some of these are silly and some are serious, I think in many ways they show the personalities of the kiddos who took. And if I’m being honest, they weren’t all actually selfies, because I told them where to stand and probably micro-managed the whole thing a little too much.  Boo. 😦  Sorry!

But the whole idea of selfies came from this article posted by my principal in our school’s ShareTank (which is a Facebook group where teachers can share learning and ideas with each other).  It’s all about using selfies and other strategies to give kids more control and voice in the classroom.  It is, after all, OUR classroom not just mine.  And I know from the work I did on my Masters’ project last fall that choice and voice in the classroom increases engagement and perseverance, so why not?!  I feel like I tend toward this direction anyway, but I can always do better at making sure my students are helping to direct their learning, with me alongside helping to facilitate that journey.  I feel honored and humbled to have that opportunity. 🙂  Here’s to a great year of student-centered, student-directed, everyone’s-engaged learning!!

# Marshmallow Challenge: 2nd Grade Style

If you’ve been here for a while, then you are familiar with the Marshmallow Challenge that I’ve done a couple of times.  Both of the previous times it’s been attempted in Rm. 202, though, it’s been with 5th graders.  Well obviously I don’t have any of those anymore, so I wanted to see how my 2nd graders would rock this challenge.

Now, I must add that since most of us were here together last year, we had a little bit of an advantage, rather than doing with people who are relative strangers.  The activity, however, was new to everyone.

I gave them the same directions and supplies as have been given before:

25 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of string, one yard of masking tape and a marshmallow

I put everyone together in our new Room Teams, and their first job was to create a name for their team (which is new for us–last year we just went with numbers).  They were super creative, and came up with GREAT names like Cherry, The Blue Angels, The Legendary Black Dragons, The Golden Girls and the Lion Kings.  Cool, right?

Ok, so next step was to plan.  And that was fun to watch; each team had a different way of going about that:

Once I said “GO” the fun began and the teams tried to create the tallest free-standing tower they could.  I was SUPER impressed with how well each team worked together and also with how they built on each others’ ideas.

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When time was called and everyone stepped away, only one tower was still standing:

But we did go ahead and give a 2nd place nod to the Legendary Black Dragons for the height of their tower before it fell.  Check it out:

They admitted that they should have worked on making the bottom stronger. No worries! Next time. 🙂

Now…we could have walked away and left it there, but of course we could not.  We had a debrief on what worked and what didn’t, and talked about plusses and deltas for that activity.  Here’s our chart of what we said:

Our conversation after the challenge was perhaps the best part.  We could have said that most groups failed and that just the tower that stood was successful, but we were not ok with that.  We agreed that we had many points that proved that we were successful in spite of the fact that our towers fell over.  We had focused on the process and the product was not the biggest deal.  We have come back to this chart already a couple of times, too, and used some of the plusses for other activities together!

We’re excited to try again!

# Getting Started in Second Grade

Wahoo!  We’re finally getting started!  I spent some time getting ready, and it was fun to stop getting ready and finally get started!  And since we’re looping, it has definitely been fun doing just that.  I was looking back at the beginning of the year from last year to see what I had written about, and MAN–our kiddos were BABIES!!  You should take a look and see how much all those munchkins have grown since last fall.

As is usual fashion for me here on 20somethingkids, I have TONS of stories to tell you!  I am making a list of it all here, partly to help me make sure I get it all in, but also just in case you want a place to land to find it all.  Once I add the post, I’ll link to it on this page and you can easily find it again.  Ok, here we go!!

Over the last few weeks, we have done so many things!:

Tiny Notebooks: Sharing

Self-Portraits
Appleletters
Reflection with plusses and deltas
2nd Day of 2nd Grade Selfies
Getting Started with Math: How Much is Your Name Worth?
Weak side/Strong side
Anchors of Learning
Math Warm-ups 8-18 to 8-2

…yet

I Hope You Make Mistakes

I know there were many things crammed into those first days together, but when I see it all in a list, I’m still amazed.  Let’s get into it!

# Sneak Peek Take 2

I was working again today (be sure to see the Sneak Peek from Monday if you missed it!) and have a few more things to share.  If you can share this with a Rm. 202 2nd grader, please do so!  If not, enough it for yourself!  I have at least one place I need your help with (see the picture captions below), so please leave a comment!?  I think I’m almost there!

The calendar’s ready for Open House night, are you?? 🙂

I got the timeline all back up–whew! Because we wrapped it all around our room last year I had to take it all down and start on an upper row, so now it’s a double-decker timeline. That leaves some room under it now for our self-portaits–that we’ll redo during our first days together to show our 2nd grade selves! The black doors will hold anchor charts (right now I’m thinking one door for each subject to start out with), and the closet on the right will be labeled “Quote Worthy” and will collect smart words that inspire us.

Because I moved my kitchen table over from where it was last year, I decided to use this shelf space differently, too. The top shelves of books are still my stuff (the top is professional books, and the bottom one is books I teach with), but the bottom is now for kiddos. The bottom row is puzzles and games that kiddos would use for choice time or recess, and the upper shelf is reading and math games. We will work very hard in the beginning to make sure we put things back just this way every time. I might even post a picture nearby so they remember what it’s supposed to look like!

Ok, so this is the part I need some help thinking through. Because of the way I’m using this shelf space differently (and partly because of a different layout in the rest of the room), the whole left side of this wall of shelves is EMPTY!! Ok, well I threw some tubs and crates up there to see what would fit, but they’re all empty, too. I thought I could use the bottom shelf for tables tubs (they’ll hold pencils, iPads and Writer’s Notebooks for each team) instead of putting them on the windowsills. Not at all sure what to do with the rest of it. I know that having TOO much space is not really a problem, it’s a gift that not all teachers in all classrooms have (sorry, Mr. Bearden!), but i just want to make sure I’m not missing something. I like the idea of leaving it all free so kids can have it for whatever–display space, drying racks, places to house “stuff” they’re working on but are not finished with yet….what ideas do you have? And yes, I will ask Rm. 202 friends when they get back, too, because I’m sure they will have a great idea I hadn’t thought of!

One more…

Just doing a little bit of labeling tonight! Can’t wait to see it all tidied up and in place. Soon! 🙂

That’s all for now.  It’s coming together!!

(Just for fun…here’s a Sneak Peek post I wrote in 2012 when I taught 5th grade….)

# Ch-ch-changes…

Are you singing?  That’s part of a song, right?  Well either way, it’s part of what I’m thinking about right now as we begin this new school year.

Now, of course, there are many things that AREN’T changing (which is nice), like where our class is, and that most of the kids are the same, but many other things are going to be different–one of which is related to this picture.  Think you can figure out what it is?

(Hope that doesn’t gross you out….:))

Ok…so yes, things will be different (and SUPER) in second grade, but really the change I’m talking about here is this: I know, this was an incredibly indulgent post, but a new haircut makes you excited, you know?  I also wanted to make sure that those of you that just saw me the other day weren’t too shocked when you saw me again. 🙂  Thanks for reading a post just about the KOOKYTEACHER part of the blog.  Next time more about the 20somethingkids–I promise. 🙂

# Sneak Peek!

It’s officially August, which means that my husband and I become teachers again (instead of just cool people hanging out during the summer!), and begin to spend time in our classrooms.  It was my turn to spend a little bit of time in Rm. 202 today, and I thought I’d share a sneak peek of how it’s coming together.  I am still very far from being finished, but have the furniture in the right general area and the layout is pretty much set.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I’d love to hear what you think, though!  Share your thoughts, won’t you?  🙂  (And as I post these pictures, I realize I should have done this whole post as a video.  Duh.  Sorry!  Next time. 🙂 )

Ok, this tour starts as you come in the door and then works around to the left…

I’m super excited about this first meeting area. One of the last times I taught 5th grade I had two meeting areas (you’ll see the other one in a minute), and we loved the flexibility of being able to use different areas for different things. This year, in addition to thinking about meeting spaces, I am also thinking more about how kids will use those spaces. In this case it means that those 2 tables are lowered all the way down and kiddos can sit on the floor to work at them. Or hey, they could even be benches if kids wanted to sit on them when we meet by the ActivBoard. I haven’t fixed this part yet, but I’m gonna add tennis balls to the bottom of those so they can easily be moved around as we need to change our space. Thanks Ms. Appelbaum for reminding me of how flexibility is a really good thing. Such a simple idea, but one that I was NOT thinking about…

To the left of those blue tables is our main meeting area. We got a new rug from Mrs. Marks over the summer (after we did some super smart work to figure out it would fit and wrote a letter to our custodian , Mr. Maus, asking him to move it for us!) and it’s looks great! The black shelf in the middle houses most of our writing supplies, and the black shelves on the right are one set of our cubbies. There are two “personal offices” (a.k.a. desks) for kids who want to work alone. Another new addition this year is the rectangle table in the art area. I found it in my garage, and it’s the perfect size for the space. I’ve raised it all the way up, so kids can stand to work (and I’m thinking about adding stools, too). The counter is still a mess, but that’s where the creative stuff in our room lives. Kids can stand at the counter, too, once it’s cleaned off.

This is the view from my chair at the rug. 🙂 I moved my kitchen table this year to utilize (finally!) the only white board in our room. Last year I met with small groups on the rug at the easel, but might do more with this space for groups instead. Or not. Flexibility is the key, remember? The black doors will house anchor charts (I’m thinking each door will be a different subject).  The two doors on the right will be where I plan on putting our “junkpile” for making stuff, but I’m still working on it.  I had a hard time finding a permanent place for the block box, so finally decided to keep the wheels unlocked and now it will roll wherever we need it to go! That rug is one that kiddos use with the cars when they build. It’s moveable, too. Still haven’t decided where to put our trampoline

View from that tall table…these two tables are “regular” height and actually have chairs! The coffee table returns from last year, and I moved the library to this spot by the front door. There’s a great shelf under that black bulletin board that fits our big books, and the rug will be nice to sit and read on with friends! The plan for that bulletin board is to be “What do you Wonder About??” where we’ll collect our questions and wonderings this year.

Two years ago the library was here in our room, and then last year I moved it to the middle. Then I decided I really liked the way it worked this way, so I moved it back! You probably noticed, though, that many other horizontal surfaces in our class also have book boxes, so really the library is EVERYWHERE!

Whew!  That was fun!  What do you think?  What questions do you have?  Suggestions?  Please share your thoughts!  I’m excited to continue working.  And then, of course, it’ll be fun to see how it all works (or doesn’t!?) when there are kids in the space.  🙂

# Together Again!

Yep–it’s the same as the header on the blog now.  It’s the snack we shared at our Back-To-School Park Party today.  Looks yummy, right?  And weird, I know, that I only took this one picture.  And before I was even at the park!  Goodness, Mrs. Bearden, you call yourself a blogger? They were just so busy running all around everywhere getting all hot and sweaty and having fun that I couldn’t get them all in the same frame for a pic.  I know, I know, my sincerest apologies.  🙂

Today’s get-together was a little bittersweet, as we were not able to visit with everyone of our Rm. 202 friends.   What a great opportunity, though, for those that were able to attend, to reconnect and remember how amazing is our community of learners!  Oh, and to think about how LUCKY we are to be able to stay together for another year!  We’ll be missing a few good friends, but have a few new ones joining us, and for sure we’re set for a FABULOUS year.

One thing I love about family reunions like these is the ease everyone feels as they come and can just hang out with old friends!  It’s so different from how we all remember feeling last summer—how when I came to do home visits and our kiddos were waiting patiently (and nervously), looking out the window to meet their new teacher?  Even with the most confident kiddos there was still some uncertainty–will I like my teacher?; Will I have friends? What will 1st grade be like?  This year? SO DIFFERENT IN SO MANY GOOD WAYS!

Here’s what I love about looping (for those of you who were looking for a list. 🙂 ):

1) Like I mentioned before, the beginning of the year has a familiarity that is different than with a new class.   Looping brings a chance to reconnect with “old” friends and pick up where you left off.  All that “getting-to-know-you” that we did last year will come in so handy now as we look back on fond memories and look forward to making new ones.

2) We can jump right back in where we left off!  Instead of spending the first 6 weeks of school learning about new procedures, routines and friends, we can get started with learning about new curriculum, sharing new books and making new connections!  Think of all the extra time we will have!

3) Like the last one, we can jump right back in on class projects and activities we left in May.  Since I knew that we would be together again, there were several things we left “undone” on purpose, knowing that we’d be able to come right back to them in August.  What a gift–wish every year could be like that!

4) Everyone already knows and trusts each other!  Yes, we are different people than when we left for the summer (some of us are OLD and 8 now!), but we all have a base and strong foundation from which to continue building as we get to know our friends (and even me!) better.  We can build on what we know about each other from last year and add to it!  There will even be ways to get to know some friends in ways that weren’t possible last year for whatever reason; another year gives us more time and space to really “get” each other as learners and as people!

5) We get to build on common experiences.  I always love how many times in the 2nd year of a looping situation you hear me (or a friend) saying, “Remember when we….?”  I can’t promise that I will keep track of that tally, but it will happen, and I will probably find a way to document it.  I might have to say I’m most excited about breaking our own record for number of Read Alouds that we added to the timeline.  I think we added 20, which beat my class from 2012-2013, which read 17 together.  So here’s your challenge, Rm. 202–21 or more!

6) I know I already mentioned time in #2, but there is SO MUCH TIME that I can save as a teacher with trying to figure out where everybody is as a learner.  Again, some things will have changed and kiddos will have grown over the summer, but it’s so great to walk in on Day 1 and KNOW the readers in my class (I’m excited to fill book boxes and get readers ready for another great year!), to KNOW what they can do as writers (and then plan for how we’ll do even more AMAZING things), to KNOW the mathematicians in my room and be able to listen as I attend trainings with a little bit different angle than some others (I can already plan specifically for what I know my kiddos can do and what they might need more time on), to KNOW how adept they are with using technology and how willing they will be to continue to go with me and try new things.  I know what they know about science and social studies, as well as what we’re interested in knowing more about–I can use this as I plan our year!  It’s so simple, but is such a WEALTH of knowledge that most teachers (including me last year) don’t get for many more months down the road.  I can tweak things that didn’t quite work and continue those that did.  See?  The gift of time came up again!

7) I hope I don’t speak out of turn when I mention that another thing I love about looping is that trust that is already built with parents.  While I’m sure that not everyone agreed with everything I did or how we did it (thanks for being nice about it, though, friends!), I think I can confidently say that you know that I care about our kids and want just what you want–for your kiddo to feel loved, to belong and to learn something new every day.  I love working on a team with families, and am excited each day to see what new things are brought to the table.  I hope I do you proud as I continue to work to inspire our  learners to find their best selves and work to heights they hadn’t even realized they could reach.  I am so lucky to get to work with this AMAZING group of kiddos every day and SO APPRECIATE that you share your 2nd grader with me.  🙂

WOW.  I didn’t know that was going to come out of a picture-of-fruit-and-we-missed-you post, but it did and now I’m feeling even more excited and energized for our year together.  Here’s to making 2015-16 the best yet!

Will you help me out with something, please?  I would love to make this blog a more interactive place this year, and so would you please leave me a reply to this question–What are you most excited about for our year together?  What is your child thinking about getting back to work with their Rm. 202 friends?  What else are you thinking? 🙂

THANK YOU and HERE WE GO!!

# Home Visits!

I am sure by now you know that I am returning to first grade, where I began my teaching journey so many years ago (wow–I was just a kid then…), and am super excited about it.  I am excited to return to many things that are the same, but am also excited about some “firsts” that will happen in this move back to first.  There are several, but first up (hee, hee) it’s home visits.

When Riley was in kindergarten (which is somehow 2 YEARS ago now–how did this happen??), I was excited when we got an email from his teacher about coming for a home visit.  I hadn’t heard of our teachers doing them before, and in fact I think that was the first year they started.   I remember Ms. Dale showing up at our door (which was awesome in itself because we don’t actually live in the district and she had to drive extra far to see us) with a big smile and a game of Candyland.

Now, for me as a parent, the experience was probably different than most when initially meeting their child’s first teacher; I have worked with Ms. Dale for 14 years and so have a relationship and already knew she’d be an amazing match to my kiddo.  We were already comfortable with each other.  But for my kiddo, this visit was priceless.  HIS teacher was coming to HIS house to meet HIM!!  While he was at first really apprehensive (and actually ran away from the door to hide when she knocked!), once I left them alone and they started playing the game, he quickly warmed up to her and they had a great time.  The visit was short and sweet, but I know for sure that it set a very positive tone for the rest of their year together.  There was much less “worried” talk about school after this and more excited banter about when he’d get to see his teacher again and when he could go to kindergarten.  And we had a really cute picture of our little man with one of his new favorite people:

Ok, so that’s not the actual picture we took at our home visit, but I couldn’t NOT include that very special lady–Ms. Dale–in this post. 🙂

So…as a start to kindergarten, this seemed like a fabulous way to begin to connect our family with our new family at Robinson.  For both my kiddo and myself, it took away nerves and gave us an opportunity to see his teacher as a person, not just a teacher.  But on the other side, I know that it also gave her a chance to connect with Riley on “his turf”–to see where he plays, where he eats, where he sits and reads a book on the couch with his mom.  And if we had a dog, I know she’d have met our dog so that when he wrote story after story about that dog Ms. Dale would know who he meant.  Instead, she met his little sister. 🙂

As we started planning for our first grade year this fall, I remembered back to this special day with my kiddo and suggested that maybe we try this with our new friends.  There is research to show that there are benefits for teachers and families in every grade level and it was exciting to try it with another grade of little ones in our school.  The team and our principal thought it was a great idea!

So here we are and I’ve just begun my home visits for this year.  I have only gone to a few, but so far I have met 5 kiddos, 3 older brothers, 1 older sister, 2 little sisters, 1 little brother, 3 dogs, countless dolls and horses; played several games of War and Go Fish, read almost 10 books and of course become acquainted with the fabulous parents that are so kindly sharing these lovely children with me this year (hopefully I didn’t forget anyone in this list!).  It’s been great to see how comfortable they all have been, and how proud they seem to be that THEIR teacher is in THEIR house sitting on THEIR couch.  I love how I’m already able to picture these little learners in my classroom, too; I know this will add another important level to the way I put our classroom together this year since it will be for kids I actually know–not just faceless names on a classlist.  And as I was telling one of those kiddos as I sat on her green couch the other day, I am excited for how this will alleviate some of my first day jitters (yes, even teachers get those!) because instead of wondering who will walk in my door, I’ll be ready to welcome old friends to our new home.  I’m pretty jazzed about that part.

So I have to say a HUGE thank you to those of you who have already welcomed me into your homes, and to those of you I haven’t met yet—I’m coming!  And I’m excited!  See you soon! 🙂