## Monday, March 26, 2012

### Math Word Problems

Happy Monday!  I am officially counting down the days to a much needed Spring Break.  Oh the joys of Spring Break! I can almost taste it ;)

Last Friday, we assessed our 2nd graders in math word problems.  Our California state standard reads...

Algebra and Functions 1.2 Relate problem situations to number sentences involving addition and subtraction.

In other words, our students get problems like, "I have 328 marbles.  I find some more.  Now I have 568 marbles.  What number sentence can be used to find how many marbles I found?"  Well let me tell you that year after year this has been a super hard standard to teach, up to now.  Right before Thanksgiving, we had a great math pd on CGI (Cognitive Guided Instruction) that pretty much changed my instruction for the best.  Last Thursday (a day before the test) I decided to teach word problems using the CGI method and WOW!  What a difference!!! A good 80% of my students were able to create the number sentence they were being asked for!  I was so happy and proud of my little ones because they really tried their best to create the number sentences.  This by far, has been the best way to teach problem solving.  It was fun, challenging, and motivating for us all. I thought I share the reference chart we used to explain the types of word problems.

 +/- Types of Word Problems
A few things..."Join" means to add and "Separate" means to subtract. I actually did a lot of hand movements for these two words so that my little friends could understand that "join"meant to add and "separate" to subtract.  Under the unknown column, I listed 3 different types of problems.

*Result unknown:  You don't know the answer and you are trying to figure this out. (ex.  I have 5 apples and I get 2 more, how many do I have? OR I have 8 apples, I eat 3, how many do I have?)
*Change unknown:  This means that you are searching for the number that will change what you
started with and will give you the result. (Eric has 72 golf balls. He finds some more in the basement. Now Eric has 183 golf balls. How many golf balls did Eric find in the basement? OR Kristin had 17 apples. How many more apples will she need to have 39 apples all together?)
*Start unknown: You don't know what number you start with (ex. Clifford has some bones. Emily gave him 23 more bones. Now Clifford has 46 bones. How many bones did Clifford have to start with?)

Let me know if you have any questions regarding this strategy or if you decide to try it out. Like I said, I loved teaching it last Thursday and my students really understood what they were doing. Okay, that's all for now. Live, love, and laugh in your classrooms! :)

## Saturday, March 24, 2012

### Pin It Button-Finally Figured it Out!

As a new blogger, I am constantly updating and editing my blog.  I really don't mind because I love anything having to do with technology and especially enjoying trying to figure out new technological obstacles.  Although I have been able to figure out many (like adding a signature and changing the favicon icon) two have been on my to do list since I first created this blog; how to add the Pinterest button and how to add targeted Adsense to my blog.  The Pinterest button has been more of a priority than Adsense only because I really do <3 Pinterest and really enjoy it when other bloggers have it as an option.  It's so much easier to just click on the Pin It button directly from a blog.

I've been researching for weeks and have tried the code that Pinterest has posted, but it did not work. Today I was finally able to figure out why my button wasn't working.  The reason was because I was trying to use the horizontal Pin It button.  The minute I tried the vertical button, voila! it worked.  I really don't know if all the codes that Pinterest has posted work, but in case they don't and you too are trying to figure this out, here's the code.  It should work on your blog too.

Here are the steps of what you have to do:

1. Go to Edit Html on your Blogger Dashboard under Design

2. Click "Expand Widget Templates"

3.  Placement of button
• To have the button at the top of your posts copy and paste the Pin It Button code directly above / before <data:post.body/>
• To have the button at the bottom of your posts copy and paste the Pin It Button code directly below / under <data:post.body/>
• If instead you want the button right under your signature copy and paste the Pin It Button code directly above <div class='post-footer'>  (this is what I did)
4.  Click "Preview" to make sure it appears, then click save.

5.  Go to your blog and pin something to make sure it works

After finally solving this problem, it got me thinking how there are probably a few newbies just like me trying to figure out blogs.  So to make life easier, I will be adding a new page to my blog entitled, "Blogging How To's".  I will different things that I do to my blog that will hopefully help someone.  My first post, "How to Add a Pin It Button" should be up shortly.

Hoping all of you have a wonderful weekend.  4 more days until my Spring Break!!!!  Spread the life, love, and laughter friends :)

## Wednesday, March 21, 2012

### Anchor Charts

Hola blogging amigos! So one of the main reasons why I'm loving this blogging business is because I am pushing my creativity to the limit.  One area that I've been struggling with in particular has been creating visually pleasing charts for my kids.  Early in my teaching career, I felt that this "creativity" came naturally. Somewhere along the line, I feel I lost it.  I don't know why or how, I just know that it's not the same as it was.

I'm always inspired when I walk into a teacher's classroom and I see charts that I know I can easily create as well and use them.  That's why Ms. M's Anchor Chart Linky Party is the ideal party for me!

I have literally spent the last hour looking at charts from teachers that have linked up to the party.  I love it!

My contribution....the following charts.  The charts you'll see below are not the normal sized charts.   Instead, I fold it into fourths and cut these up to make mini charts.  I tape these up to my closet doors and an activity that we work on right under.  As you can see, we need to work on a parts of speech activity.

 Here's a close up of my quotation marks chart.

 Students created sentences w/dialogue inside each flap.
Now the chart below was created early in the school year and have kept it up to help me remember whose bdays to celebrate each month.  It also came very handy when we learned all about graphs.  I added the guided questions at that point.
 Birthday Chart-Cupcakes came from edhelper. However, I think that I'm creating my own cupcakes next year.

I have one more that I'm currently working on (How to Make a Ham Sandwich).  I'll update this post as soon as we are done with it in class.

## Monday, March 19, 2012

### Anchor Chart Linky, Freebie, and Homework

Happy Monday all!  What a weekend!  It was raining, cold, and windy here in So. Cal, but I'm sure not as cold as other states across the country.  I was very proud of myself for having balanced work and my personal life this weekend.  But why does it feel like I've missed out in emails and blog news??? Oh the life of a teacher....to find balance.  I'm sure that one day I'll find it.

Anywho, as I am skimming down the blogs I follow, I came across Ms. M's Blog and was so happy to see that there is a new linking party I will very soon be part of.  The title says it all... "Anchor Chart Linky Party!"  I've been so motivated to create cute centers by all you wonderful teachers and I'm in serious need of anchor chart creativity.  So tomorrow, I will try my best to create an anchor chart that will go well with this FREEBIE...the Sentence Center!

 Center includes: Arranging words into sentences, identifying subjects & predicates,  sorting complete & incomplete sentences.
I am actually selling this center on TPT, but because blogging has been my inspiration, I decided that it should be free here.  SO, if you are new to my blog, I only ask that you follow me and say "hi" to (I promise to say "hi" back :) For my 18 friends, I would love to hear from you as well.  This week I will work on more centers I'm planning to post as FREEBIES and others I am not, so keep an eye out for those.

And now, for the last thought of the day.  I'm really struggling to motivate one of my students to turn in completed homework.  I've tried sticker charts and tons of incentives. Nothing's working!  So I guess my question is, how do you motivate your students to turn in complete homework? I would love new ideas and/or suggestions.

Alright friends,  have a great Tuesday.  Don't forget to spread the life, love, and laughter in your classrooms! :)

## Wednesday, March 14, 2012

### Note's From Ms. H.

Before I go to bed, I just wanted to give you all a shout out for following my blog.  From my first follower,  Ms. B.  all the way to follower 16, Vicky at Traditions, Laughter, and Happily Ever After. I was reaching a point where I needed something new, a challenge, a change, something, and blogging has been the answer.  You all are inspiring me on a daily basis to be the best teacher I can be.  So thank you.

Peace and happy early Thursday friends! :)

## Tuesday, March 13, 2012

### Awards, Plurals, and Party...Oh My!

Yesterday I woke up to a great comment....

Good morning! I just thought I would start your day off with a surprise! I have given you an award! Go to my blog to claim it!! Happy Teaching.

Brittany

I am so excited to have received my first blogging award!  Like many, I wonder if what I write is helping out or if anyone is actually reading it.   Blogging, my newest hobby, has become my obsession and so, I am very grateful to have received the "Rated Top 10" from Brittany @ Little Miss Teacher.  Thanks Brittany!

So to spread the LOVE, here are my top picks:

1.  Arlene-arlenesandberg.blogspot.com
3.  therealteachersoforangecounty.blogspot.com

These are beautiful blogs you MUST check out and follow :)

Naturally, I was extremely motivated yesterday and decided to work on a plural activity.  I made a foldable to review plurals with the kids and a cut and paste plural sheet to review.  I was very impressed with the results, especially because one of my Below Basic kids remembered the plural rules! Anyway, thought you might enjoy this FREEBIE!!

 Plural Foldable-Fold a paper in half and cut flaps. I would add one more here, -f/fe.
 This is what you see when you open the flap.

Finally,  Linking Party Fun!!!  Jeannie over at kindergartenlifestyle.blogspot.com is having a K-2nd Linky Party.  All you really have to do is save the image below and place it in your blog (providing a link back to her Linky Party post.) Once you've done that simply "Add you link" on her blog.

Hope you all had a great Tuesday!  Spread the life, love, and laughter in your classrooms friends :)

## Thursday, March 8, 2012

### Three Digit Subtraction with Regrouping, Common Mistakes

I've been teaching three digit subtraction with and without regrouping this week.  We began by taking baby steps, such as using manipulatives and drawing the problems out using flats, longs, and cm. cubes.  I was very confident that they would do just fine with yesterday's lesson (SWBAT subtract 3 digit numbers with and without regrouping using algorithm) and boy, was I wrong! About 7 students started to subtract without stopping to think if they had enough to subtract!!! What happened?!?

We went back to the manipulatives and pictures but they understood the concept.  "Okay, now what?" I thought.  I walked around the room as they continued to work and I started jotting down common mistakes.  This is what I noticed:

1. Students were not stopping to think about the problem.
2. Students were not asking themselves, "Do I have enough to take away from?" OR to repeat the "More on top, no need to stop.  More on the floor, go next door to get 10 more.  Numbers the same, zero's the game!" poem. (LOVE THIS POEM, thanks Pinterest!)
3. Students did not cross out numbers as they were regrouping.  For example, the 4 now becomes 3 tens because we are taking a ten over to the ones.  In the ones place, we no longer have a 3 but 13 because we brought over ten from the tens place.
4. Students were not checking their work after they got an answer.  We teach them, "Do the opposite to check!"
5. Students were not checking to see if the answer they got while checking matched the original problem (473-269=206  to check:  206+269=475  * 475 and 473 should match but don't.)
6. Students were not fixing their mistakes when they noticed that the numbers didn't match when checking.
Solution:  I thought of using a tool I've never used in math before, a checklist.  Guess what?!? It worked!!! You'll see it below (feel free to download) as well as an example of how we use the "magic box" to "do the opposite to check".  You will also notice that numbers are highlighted.  This is another strategy I introduced today so they could visually see that when the top number is highlighted, there's no need to regroup because you have "more on top".  However, if the bottom number is highlighted, you need to "go next door to get 10 more."

 "Do the opposite to check!" using the magic box

Question of the week:  What strategies do you use to teach children how to subtract with and without regrouping?

Finally, did you know that you need permission to pin? I didn't know until I saw some of my favorite bloggers post it and then read more on it on http://corkboardconnections.blogspot.com/.  With that said, I herby grant you permission to pin.  I love Pinterest and I think know Pinterest has made me a better teacher.  So pin away! I would actually feel honored if you pinned anything you though was worth pinning to your boards.

Happy almost Friday friends!

## Tuesday, March 6, 2012

### Reading Strategies for Unknown Words

I love Lucy Calkins and her Reader's Workshop curriculum.  I have been using her writing curriculum for three years and this is the first year I use it for Reader's Workshop.  These last two weeks have been, by far, my favorite.  We are currently teaching a non-fiction unit and our students have been so engaged and willing to try different non-fiction strategies.  They've learned how to use apposition to identify the meaning of unknown words, have learned that key words such as is/are has/have are used to describe, and discovered that prepositions tell us the location, purpose, or frequency of a given topic.

Today's lesson (Students will be able to, better known as SWBAT, read unknown words by using syllabication and chunking) proved to be extremely effective, especially for my students reading at an independent level K.  We even added a third strategy, searching for affixes.  I charted the strategies out and students practiced during Reader's Workshop.  I also typed it out to have it as a reference for my small group instruction.

This week we began spiraling all the 2nd grade standards to prepare for our California state test, the CST. One of the reasons why we added the affix strategy is because we have been reviewing our prefixes and suffixes for a few weeks.  One student was able to link reading affixes with reading unknown words.  Way to go! Below, you'll find some Affix flashcards and I Have, Who Has? game you can find in my TPT store.  Feel free to pin ;)

 Affix Flashcards *super useful for small group intervention

 Prefix/Suffix I Have Who Has Game *Great to review and/or for a center

And finally, to join in on all the linking party fun, here's my CURRENTLY from Farley @ www.ohboy3rdgrade.blogspot.com.  Students see me as Hilarious because I talk about farts and picking our noses.  My friends think I'm Happy because they always see me smiling and laughing.  Finally, my family knows I am Honest because integrity is a value I live by.

## Friday, March 2, 2012

### Writing strategies to get kids to write

I have a student this year that does not like to write.  Early in January, I presented my concerns to my colleagues.  We came up with a list of possible solutions to get him to write.  Guess what! I've only tried a few and they have worked!  It turns out that my student just needed to look at writing differently.  Anyway, I thought I post the list in case we you were in a similar situation.  The ones with an asterisk are the strategies that I've tried so far.

How to get students writing

1.    Make the writing center fun with different types of paper (glossy, print, construction), different type of scissors (think scrapbooking), stickers, glitter…
2.    Include visuals/pictures on graphic organizers.  For example, when retelling, put a face of a person for characters, a house for setting, and so on.
*3.    Use student’s work for your mini lessons to build confidence
*4.    Partner student with a “talker” to get ideas flowing and with a writer that starts and finishes a writing piece to get student writing.
*5.    Use stickers after each line that has been written for motivation
6.    Let student know he/she will only receive treats at publishing party if piece is complete.
*7.    Instead of having 8 lines in paper, show only 3 lines so that he/she will not feel overwhelmed
8.    Dictate his/her stories
10. Find ways to write about other subject areas he/she likes (like math)
11. Record student during recess/lunch, have student describe what happened as he/she is watching, have him/her use the video to write
*12.  On day 1 do guided writing, on day 2 independent writing.
13.  Camera for the weekend; have student take pictures, talk about it, and write about the pictures taken.
14. Use comic strips
15. Diary; back and forth communication with a person that’s important to him/her like a teacher, best friend, sibling.
16. Have student rewrite favorite books and/or series of books.  Mr. & Ms. Happy work well as well as Do It Yourself Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
*17. Checklist for writing (Step 1: Get ideas….)
18. Sticker stories