Three Digit Addition and Subtraction is Fun!

This week in math we have been reviewing three-digit addition and subtraction.  Let's be honest, this isn't a very exciting topic in math.  Since we finished up the unit in our math series, we have continued to work on this skill.  Three-digit add/sub is kind of our big hurrah in second grade these days so I figure the students should have a firm grasp on it before leaving me. 

Each day we have done a different activity to practice this skill.  Each one has been engaging, interesting, and fun.  Today when I told them they would be practicing this skill once more, they actually got excited...over three-digit addition and subtraction, my friends.  Weird, but awesome!  Here are a few of the activities we've done.

Roll a Number Sentence: The students rolled three numbers and used them to make two different 3-digit numbers (largest number possible and smallest number possible).  Then, they added those numbers together.  They also completed a subtraction version.  Every time they rolled a number or got a large sum, they announced it to their peers.  Who would have thought they would enjoy it so much?

5 in a Row: This partner game is always a hit in my room.  For this version, they used the pink and purple cubes pictured above to build a number sentence.  They used scratch paper to solve each problem.  I bribed them to be extra careful with the cubes and it worked because I will be able to use them again next year. Woo hoo!

Spin a Number Sentence: I had the students complete an addition and subtraction version of this activity.  They used a paperclip and the spinners at the top of their page to build number sentences.  Once again, there was a lot of announcing going on, "Whoa, I got 638!"  I figured as long as they were excited about what they were doing, I'd let it go.  They loved this!

All of these activities came from my Three-Digit Addition and Subtraction Fun Pack.  Since we haven't used all of the activities in the pack yet, we will likely do some more review of this skill next week.  I think I'll keep it secret and surprise them (still can't get over how much they are liking this skill-yipee!).

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Oops, I Did it Again

I was going to get to those report cards today, really.  But it seems that my creative side got the better of me once again.  No worries though, I've made some progress on a few fun things for next year, and that's a good thing!

This is my recycle box for next year.  I have done this for a few years now, and it's just so much cuter than putting out an old paper box.  This is literally a 20 minute project.  I painted a paper box with white tempera paint.  It dries fast and I did a few coats (my little one even helped).  I don't mind that you still see some of the print, it adds to the "recycle" theme.  Then, I cut out the letters using my Cricut and some scraps of paper I had.  Finally, I hot glued a few buttons and bow to the letters.  So simple!

I also cutsied up my fair sticks for next year.  These are the sticks I frequently pull to partner students up, etc.  For the past 7 years, I have used plain sticks and put them in a black tin can.  It's highly functional and somewhat decent looking, but this is just ridiculously cute (I may be biased).  I realize that bows are a bit girly, but really these sticks are for me.  They sit on my desk and I'm the one who pulls them, so if I want bows, I'm going to use bows!  Tee hee.  I made 30 sticks because we still don't know what class sizes will be like next year.  I made 15 green and 15 blue bows and hot glued them to the wide craft sticks.  I'll write the students' names on the other end of the sticks once I have a class list.  I got everything at Michael's, on sale, with a gift card-woo hoo! 

In my last post I showed you the fast finisher sign I will be hanging up next year to remind the students what they can do when they complete an assignment early.  The feedback was great!  It's always exciting when you guys leave comments!  A few of you asked for the sign template.  Well, here you go.  Enjoy!


Hopefully, next time around, I can report that I got to those report cards.

Toodles!

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We Had a Bubble Fun Day!!

Today we had a Bubble Day!  Curious as to what that means or what that looks like?  Then, keep on reading.



I love planning different themed days as our school year comes to a close.  It's a great way to let the kids have fun while still maintaining a structured learning environment.  Bonus: the kids have fun with the theme and forget they are learning!

I like to keep my theme days a secret from the students.  They always know that I have something fun planned, but they never know exactly what that is until they get to school the day of.  So, to introduce Bubble Day to the students, I placed these fun notes and bubble wands on their desks.


These wands are from our FOSS kits and were perfect to use with the mega jug (100 oz.) of bubbles I bought from Walmart. I'm jumping ahead a smidge, but I simply poured a bit of bubble solution into small cups for the students when it was time to blow bubbles. 

In years past, I have also given students their own container of bubbles.  Having done it both ways, I can tell you that the kids love it either way.  I also made a note for those years when I give the students their own container. 


You can grab both of these notes HERE.


To get the students thinking about bubbles, I had them begin the day by completing this organizer. 



So, like I said, I poured some bubble solution into some small cups for the students (plastic bathroom sized cups). I filled them about half full.  Then, the students used their bubble solution to blow some bubbles!

Well, OK, there was more to it than that.  As always, I had an ulterior, educational, motive in mind.  As they blew their bubbles, the students completed a bubble observation.  I told them that they were going to be bubble scientists and their job was to record their observations of the bubbles they blew.


After the bubble observation, the students went back and added more information to their organizer from earlier in the day. 

Then, we learned about the science of bubbles.  I read the book Pop! and then the students made this mini book demonstrating their understanding of key details in the text that I read aloud. 





Then, we played Scoot.  I placed cards with bubble related words printed on them at the students' desks and they identified the word printed on each as a noun, verb, or adjective.  Some of the words included in the game were bottle, delicate, float, wand, and blow.  My apologies, but in the craziness that was this day, I didn't take a pic of the Scoot game exclusively, but you can see it in this image below.  


We also reviewed our expanded form skills with a quick game of I Have, Who Has (shown above).  Again, my apologies for not having photos of these in isolation.  Not only was it Bubble Day, but it was also our grade level yearbook signing and we had a water safety assembly.

Typically, I like to have my students write directions explaining how to blow a bubble when I host a Bubble Day, but because of the other events that took place on this day, I opted for a poem.  The students wrote a cinquain about bubbles.  I love cinquains because the students are challenged to think of certain types of words that relate to their topic.  Also, because they are limited as to how many adjectives, verbs, etc. they can use in this type of poem, they usually put a bit more thought into choosing their words.


Bubble Day was a hit!  And, even though we had a few other school events going on, we had a super fun day, filled with lots of laughs and learning. 

All of these activities/resources, plus many more, can be found in my Let's Have a Bubble Day! unit on TPT.

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A Bucket Full of Thanks

Every year I rack my brain for ways to thank my parent volunteers.  This year I have two dedicated women who graciously visit my classroom on a regular basis to help me prepare everything I need in order to do my job.  Week after week they show up and complete all the tasks in my "Parent Volunteer" bin.  I always tell them to do what they can and that I will do the rest, but even if it takes them 2 (or more) hours, they stay until they get it all done.  One of them even pops in throughout the week since she subs at our school on a regular basis.  With this level of dedication, I feel it is necessary to show my thanks.  So, here is what I came up with:


I kind of went with the summer bucket list idea and stuffed a sand bucket with lots of different items meant to help these ladies relax and stay cool in the desert heat this summer.  I used my Cricut to cut out the tag.  I debated on creating some clever poem to explain each item, but in the end I opted for a handwritten thank you simply because I feel it is more personalized that way.  I will place a card in each bucket.


The contents include:
  • InTouch magazine (because we all need a little mindless celebrity news now and then)
  • Yummy smelling lotion from Ulta (Dragonfruit)
  • Otter Pops
  • Insulated cup that can be frozen to keep drinks cool
  • A chocolate mask
  • Nail polish and nail files (don't judge the color shown, it has personal significance to the recipient and orange is just plain awesome-I got some for myself too!)
  • Cute small frame to match the color scheme of the bucket


The other bucket I made is a turquoise and lime green theme-the colors of each bucket were picked with the recipient in mind.  They are both adorable and I kind of wish I made one for myself-ha!  I truly hope that I am able to show these two women just how appreciative I am of everything they did for me this year.  Without them, it would have been extremely difficult to keep my head above water.

What do you plan to do for your parent volunteers this year?

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We Had a Watermelon Day! {An End of Year Theme}

Today was a special day in my class. It was Watermelon Day!!


Theme days are my favorite way to finish out the school year.  Each day is new, exciting, and different than the norm, yet still rooted in learning.  This is just what the kids need this time of year.  Some years, I host one theme day per week during the last month of school.  And, other years, I host a different theme on a daily basis during the last week of school.   

When I do my theme days, I like to tell the students that I have something fun planned, but I like to keep it a surprise until the day of.  So, when the kids entered the room today, they found this at their desk.  


How cute are those place mats, right?   I found them on clearance at Walmart last summer and quickly snatched up the last few sets they had.  I hope they sell them again!  But, it would be fun to let your students make their own watermelon place mat too!

We didn't waste any time.  We dived right into our watermelon theme.  The students colored the watermelon template on their desk, and we turned it into a hat (headband hat, that is).

     
As the students finished up their hats, they worked on this making words activity. They made new words from the letters in the words "watermelon seeds."  I always love how the students work with the letters to make some really great new words.  A few that I can recall from today include "needle," "Elsa," and "lemons."


After Art, it was time to eat some watermelon!



But, I didn't stop there.  We actually had a fruit tasting!  Each student got a slice of watermelon, a strawberry, some banana (not shown on the plate below), and two apple slices.



In years past, I have had the students sample a variety of watermelon flavored foods, but this year, I opted for a healthy alternative. 


Like any sneaky teacher, I had an ulterior motive in mind this whole time.  After tasting the fruit, the students polled their classmates to find out their favorite fruit and then used that data to create a bar graph.  That's right, the tasting was really just math in disguise.  Hehe. 




The watermelon was definitely the class favorite!



 It was seriously super yummmmmmy!



Then, the students completed this organizer with the help of their teaching buddy. Since they had just tasted the watermelon, they were able to come up with some really great ideas.


Later in the day, we brainstormed adjectives to describe watermelon.  My hope was that the students might use some of the words in the writing activity that followed our brainstorming.  I projected this organizer onto our whiteboard and we worked together to fill in the adjectives.   



Grab the adjective freebie HERE.

Then, it was time to write.


On to the BEST part of the day.....our seed spitting contest!  I dangled this "super secret" activity over their heads all day long and they were dying to know what I had up my sleeve.  When I finally told them, they thought it was pretty crazy cool that their teacher was going to let them spit stuff. Ha!

So, we headed outside to see how far we could spit our watermelon seeds.  Now, a quick word about that. I don't know about where you live, but where I live, it is darn near impossible to find watermelons with actual seeds in them.  So, instead of using seeds, we used black beans.  I rinsed them off first, of course.


I used a yardstick and some sidewalk chalk to make measuring a bit easier.  Or, so I thought.  In years past, I have never had a student spit more than 10 feet, so I measured up to 10 feet and stopped.  The first student to spit, spit his seed 18 feet!  Yikes!  While my markings didn't go quite high enough in some cases, they still proved to be helpful when trying to measure quickly.  Here is a (crummy) picture of my chalk numbers.


Before we began, I reminded the students that the beans were to be used for spitting only.  They got their bean once they were in position and were ready to take their turn.  We used the painted four square courts on our playground as our spitting line. The students stood behind the painted line, I handed them a bean, and they spit their hearts out. 

When it was all said and done, the farthest that any student was able to spit his/her seed, was 21 feet!  Whoa!  This student was awarded this super spiffy award. 


And, all of the students got this fun brag tag I made for them to remember the day that their teacher let them spit stuff at school.  Ha!






You can grab this brag tag freebie HERE. I typically use brag tags to recognize student effort, behavior, and attitude, but on occasion, I give my students special tags, like this one, to remember holidays and special events.  You can read more about brag tags HERE.


Now, you didn't think I stopped at the contest, did you?  Of course not!  After our contest, we used all that measurement data to create a line plot.  As I mentioned, I've never had any students spit more than 10 feet, so we had to modify the line plot on our activity page to meet our needs (and then, I went home and immediately added more line plot options to my Watermelon Day unit so that I could avoid this from happening again next year).


I usually have time for a few more activities, like this watermelon life cycle project, and I had it all prepped and ready to go, but we ran out of time!  Such is life in the classroom, right? 


Our Watermelon Day was a huge success.  The students were on task and engaged in meaningful learning all day long, but also had lots of fun at the same time.  This is why I love hosting theme days like this at the end of the year.  We still have structure in our school day, even though the end is in sight, and the kids are having fun while participating in meaningful activities. 


These activities can be found in my Let's Have a Watermelon Day unit on TPT. 

Do you have a favorite end of year theme?

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Celebrating America!

Yikes!  It's amazing how quickly the year is winding down.  While we have less than 20 days of school left, I feel like we still have about 40 days worth of learning to do! Can anyone else relate?
One thing that keeps me sane during the end of the year rush is my Celebrating America project. 


We always start this during the last full month of school and it carries us right up to the end.  This project is so much fun! The students  learn about various American symbols including the flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, the bald eagle, the White House, and Mount Rushmore. The project also includes The Pledge of Allegiance and an acrostic poem about America.  Let's just say, it keeps us busy, but it is a great way to incorporate research, writing, and social studies all in one!



I always read a book or two on each topic, and the students take notes as I read.  To do this, I stop periodically and task them with writing down something important from the reading.  Note taking in second grade is very guided, and the students write down notes in the form of complete sentences.  Shorthand doesn't really come that easily to them.  In this sense, note taking becomes a great way for them to practice their listening skills.  It is one of my favorite ways to keep students engaged during purposeful read alouds.



After we finish taking notes, we compile our important information onto a class anchor chart.  The students then use the charts to write an informative paragraph about each symbol.  Over the next few days, they edit and publish their writing. Now, some days/weeks we are more pressed for time than others, so sometimes we take notes and then complete a shared writing. This helps saves us time with editing and publishing since it can be done "on the spot."


We also create art to go with each paragraph.




We spend about one week on each symbol, and sometimes we research two symbols in a week since we can work on this project during writing and social studies.  The kids just love the project and they tend to put a lot of effort into their work knowing that they are working on an important project.  And, the finished project becomes an impressive keepsake! You can check out my Celebrating America pack on TPT by clicking here.

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Line Plot Mania

I am a huge fan of hands-on math.  HUGE.  This is probably why I love teaching measurement so much. It's naturally hands-on. This past week, we had lots of hands-on fun with measurement and line plots!



We started off our week of measuring and plotting with this class line plot. 


Each student measured a line (to the nearest inch) and was given a pink X to graph on the line plot. 


The class line plot was simply a sentence strip that I turned into a number line.   The students came up one by one and placed their X on the graph.  Then, we talked about the graph and how to read and interpret the data.  Then, we wrote statements about it. 


I loved that the class line plot then served as a starting point for each of our subsequent lessons during the rest of the week. I used it to review how we made it, how to read and interpret its data, and so forth. 


After we finished up the class line plot, I gave the students some independent practice with creating a line plot.  I gave each table group a set of animals to measure. But, first, they had to estimate the height of each animal. 


Tip: When making estimations, have your students write their answer with crayon. When they estimate in crayon, they can't go back and erase/change their answer.  It's a great way to encourage them to be more reasonable with their answers and reminds them that an estimation is merely a guess and it's OK if they aren't correct every single time.  


We also had some hands on fun measuring a random collection of classroom supplies. And, I do mean random.  Yes, I have a stash of bubble wands in my classroom. Doesn't everyone?  ;)



This activity was especially fun because all of those supplies were placed in a bag and the students got to reach in and grab the items one at a time.  Ah, the simple thrill of a paper bag. It's the little things, friends.

Each table group was given a bag of items to measure.  First, they estimated the length of each object (yep, using crayon).  Then, they measured each item to the nearest inch.  They used a table to record all of this information and then used their data to create a line plot.  Finally, they answered some questions about their line plot (oops, didn't get a pic of that page).


We also did a little math craft.  It was super fun!  And, it will spruce up our walls once I hang all of them up!  Each student created a topiary garden scene.


I gave them the templates for the topiaries, which they colored.  To create the rest of the scene, they pretty much had free rein. I put out some construction paper and let them get to work.  Once their garden scene was created, they measured the height of each topiary to the nearest inch.  They used this data to create a line plot and then answered some questions about the line plot. 

These activities were a huge hit with the students!  They were fully engaged in all of the activities and enjoyed the hands-on nature of each activity.

You can find these activities in my Measure and Plot unit on TPT.  It also includes options for measuring to the nearest centimeter.



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