I {Heart} My Calendar Board!!

Let me just start off by saying this: You know you're a teacher when you're out for a walk and spontaneously decide to collect a bunch of fallen pine cones off the ground because you know you can use them to teach adjectives.  True story, by they way.  Moving on!

Today, I'm going to share with you my calendar board.  As I mentioned in my reveal, this board gets used every day.  I know that not all second grade teachers do calendar time.  I'm not judging them, and I hope they don't judge me, but I love calendar time and I will never give up the 10ish minutes we spend on it daily!  We use "calendar" every day to kick off our daily math block and to practice and reinforce a variety of math skills.

Here is a picture of the board.

This is the middle of the board.  We use these components first during our calendar time.

The Calendar: while Common Core does not identify actual calendar reading skills, I still cover it each day because it is a life skill that cannot be overlooked.  It takes less than 1 minute to read the date on the calendar.  I usually have a volunteer tell us what the current day's date.  For example, a student would say, "Today is Monday, August 20, 2012."  Then, I might ask volunteers to tell us what yesterday's date was, what tomorrow's date will be, or even what the date was 1 week ago.  Again, this takes less than a minute.

Clock: We look at the analog clock, determine the time, and then write the digital form of the time. I have a volunteer tell us the time and how to write the digital time. I also give scenarios and have the students tell me if it is a.m. or p.m. (once this skill has been taught).  For instance, I might say, "If it's 10:30 and we're in the middle of a math lesson, is it a.m. or p.m.?") and then we add that label to the digital time.

Straw Chart (yellow pocket chart): Each day we add a straw to this chart, starting in the ones place.  When we collect 10 straws, we bundle them and move them to the tens place.  This little chart is a great way to introduce and reinforce place value.  As part of this activity, I always lead a brief discussion about the value of each place ("How many tens do we have?"  "What is the value of five tens?").

Expanded Form Chart (below the yellow chart): This little chart sits below the straw chart, because each day we will write the number modeled in the chart in expanded form.  Rather than deal with dry erase markers (which never erase perfectly), I use numbers on rings.  I simply flip the numbers as told to by the students.

Tally Marks (below the expanded form chart): tally marks are one way of modeling numbers.  Yes, they learn about tally marks in first grade, but I can tell you that doesn't always mean they have mastered the skill of writing a number using tally marks and/or counting tally marks.  Each day we will add one tally mark to our chart.  After we add the current day's tally mark, we count all the marks.

This is the right side of the calendar board.  We use this component after the ones described above:

Fact Family Chart: This handy dandy chart from Lakeshore helps us regularly practice related math facts.  Students will learn early on what a fact family is and get repeated exposure to this skill.  This might seem a bit redundant, but when I hear from third grade teachers that their kids don't know what a fact family is I know this chart needs to be used every. single. day.  Once we set up the fact family together, we clap and chant it.  I usually leave the same family up for a few days at a time.

This is the left side of the calendar, we do this side last.

100 Chart: I use the 100 chart for lots of things including skip counting practice, identifying even and odd numbers, adding 10/subtracting 10, and adding 1/subtracting 1. You can download those even/odd posters for free. Just click here!

Money Chart (velcro chart): Prior to Common Core my students had a decent amount of experience with money.  As such, I used to post a specific amount of money and the kids would think of different ways to make that amount.  We would show each amount on the chart and practice counting the combination of coins.  However, things have changed with Common Core.  So, I am actually going to use this chart differently.  I am going to add a penny to the chart each day.  When we get five pennies, we'll trade them for a nickel.  When we get five more pennies, we'll trade it for a nickel.  Then, we'll trade the two nickels for a dime.  I think you get it.  This will be a quick and easy way to expose my students to money from the get go as it will familiarize them with the coins and their values.

The last thing we do are our cross crawls.  This isn't on the board, it's a movement activity.  I found out about this fun counting activity in a video on You Tube.  It comes from a whole brain classroom and I love it.  So do the kids! Last year when I first tried it out I wasn't sure that they were loving them because they kind of acted like it was silly.  So, I decided to skip it one day and they were complaining that we didn't do them! 

That's how I do calendar in my room.  It is full of good math and it can be done quickly.  I'm sure that reading this post you're thinking that I'm crazy, but seriously folks, I spend 10-12 minutes on it-tops!  Do you use a calendar board in your classroom?

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Classroom Reveal

My goal was to have my classroom completely set up as of Friday afternoon.  I was close.  Soooo close.  When I went in to school today I was a woman on a mission: finish the physical set up and start downloading those TpT purchases I made during the big sale.  I am happy to report that I accomplished both.  Yippee!!

I don't know about you, but I just love looking at other people's classrooms.  It's fun to see how they have set up their space, decorated it, stay organized, and so on.  With that said, I hope you enjoy looking at my own photos.  Warning: there are lots of pictures in this post!

This is the "good work" board inside my classroom.  I cover my boards with fabric, not butcher paper.  In case you're wondering, if your board is 4' x 8' you'll need 2 2/3 yards to cover it (you will actually end up trimming off a bit).

I made the border out of fabric as well.  I bought 2 1/2 yards of green polka dot fabric and cut it into 3 inch wide strips. Then, I scrunched and stapled .  It took a very long time (and about a half a box of staples) to do one board and I wanted to abandon ship halfway through the first one.  I persevered, and I'm glad I did because I love the border!  Next year, though, I plan to use my sewing machine to create a ruffle.  It should be WAY faster.

This is my Phonics/Writing Wall.  You don't see it pictured, but I have a few writing posters displayed to the left of the letter clusters posters.  We teach Saxon Phonics which uses coding.  These posters are a must because the students need to be able to refer to them on a daily basis.

Below the phonics wall is my classroom library.  The books are organized into different categories and are color coded.  I store classroom supplies on top of the bookshelves: pencils, crayons, paper, glue, etc.

On this next wall space I displayed some story element posters.  The space is so awkward because of the racks (that NEVER get used) and it's always tricky to decide on what I want to put there.  I really like this set up though!  I love my clock labels.  I made them last year when Amy Lemons shared them on her site.  You can get them in her TpT store as a free download.

Below the rack is my Fast Finisher Activity Corner.  The students will be able to choose from the items in this area whenever they have free time.  To the right of this is our recycle box.  These things are all sitting on top of the cubbies.  I don't call them mailboxes, I call them cubbies.  Don't know why, they're really just drawers!  Anyway, I found these drawer sets at Costco my first year of teaching and I am so glad I snatched them up because they have lasted forever!!

This will be my birthday display. I finally found a use for the front of my desk!  I will take pictures of the students in groups (i.e. all the January bdays together).  Each student will hold a number indicating their birthday.  I will glue the photos to the squares.  I made the squares out of scrapbook paper by cutting each piece down to 8 x 8 inches. I made the labels, printed them out, and glued them on.  If you are interested in receiving a set of the labels, you can grab them here.

This is my classroom jobs display board.  I use library pockets to label each job (which I still need to do).  As you can see, not all of my students have a job at once.  Those students who do not have a job are "on vacation."

This is the math wall. 

My behavior chart (aka: The Clip Chart).  I made this one to replace my dorky version from last year. By dorky, I mean it was boring because it didn't have polka dots, or a bow.  I made it more cutesy and I love it! I will add the clips on Friday when my class list is as finalized as it can get.

My calendar board.  This board is fully operational and is used on a daily basis.  More on that to come.  I really need a cuter chair!  The basket next to the boring chair holds a hefty stash of read alouds and the cube organizer holds all of the calendar materials.  I made the polka dot curtains last year when my kiddos were being blinded by warped blinds. They aren't perfect, but they add a homey touch.

This is our hallway bulletin board.  Each month we display a new set of work.  My space is a bit awkward.  One, it is small because I share the wall with the fourth grade teacher next door.  Two, there is a counter (you can kind of see it in the picture) in front of this space so I can't hang stuff too low (although, at times, this can't be avoided).  This is why my little forest critters are all hovering near the top of the board.  No one would see them down below!

Lastly, my objectives board:

Well, there you have it, my classroom.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Math Word Wall

I have been working on a math word wall resource for a while now, and it is finally done!  This set includes vocabulary words from the enVision Math series, as well as the Common Core Standards (second grade).  

We no longer use every single topic as a result of adopting Common Core, but I did include all of the words from all of the topics, just in case your school still uses all of the topics. It was strange, because as I went through each topic, there were a few that didn't have any vocab words at all!

I noted words taken from the Common Core Standards by including "Topic ___/CCSS" in the lower right corner.  For instance, Topic 15 in enVision covers time.  They do not include the terms a.m. or p.m. in their curriculum, however, it is language used in the Common Core Standards.  As such, I included those terms with the Topic 15 words, but also indicated that they were from CCSS.

I used a new color for each topic and there is really no rhyme or reason as to how I did this.  As mentioned previously, we do not use the program in order so it was impossible for me to commit to a definite color pattern.  I simply changed the color with each topic in the document as a visual cue that it was a new set of words.  I hope that makes sense!

I am not selling this set of words because they were taken directly from the enVision series and I really don't know if that would be a copyright thing.  Better to be safe than sorry!  So, I'm offering it as a freebie!  Who doesn't love a freebie?

Click {here} to get your FREE copy!

Google Docs Tip: click on "File." Then, click on "email as attachment."  Enter the email address you would like to send it to.  Access your email to open the document and then print and/or save it to your computer. 

If you use enVisionMATH, I hope you find these useful.  Enjoy!!

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Fun with Ten Frames

If you know me well, you know that my brain N.E.V.E.R. shuts off.  Thanks to my ever thinking brain, I have been working on my plans for the first few weeks of school.  Part of those plans involve some hands-on fun with ten frames. Keep reading for a few ideas!

I know that I don't have to convince you of this, but ten frames are a great tool for developing number sense within ten, or even twenty.  We want (and need) our students to be able to understand relationships, to think flexibly, and to be able to reason.  When students are able to do these things, they are equipped to more easily use mental math, conduct basic reasoning as it applies to numbers in the real world, and so on.

A ten frame workmat, like this one, is a great way to have some fun while building number sense. 

I plan to use these mats to build numbers and play games. Ten frame games?  Yes!  Ten frames can be useful AND fun!

Most likely you have used ten frame flashcards in your classroom during your whole group or small group instruction.  Why not hand those flashcards over to the students for a game of Ten Frame Flash Fun?

Ten Frame Flash Fun
How to Play:
  • Group your students (3-4 students per group)
  • One students shows his/her group a ten frame flashcard for 3 seconds
  • Group members have to build this number on their blank ten frame
**You could easily use this activity with double ten frames, which is what I will be doing.

You'll need:
  • ten frame workmats
  • ten frame flashcards (like the ones below)

Click here to download these free flash cards.

Another quick and easy game would be Roll to 10 (or 20).

Roll to 10 (or 20)
How to Play:
  • Pair students up
  • Give each pair of students a die
  • Students take turns rolling the die
  • Each time a student rolls a number, he/she adds that many counters to his/her workmat
  • The first to fill his/her ten frame(s) is the winner
 You'll need:
  • ten frame workmats
  • dice
Once your students know these games, you can revisit them often, or place them in your centers for students to use throughout the year.

I also use these mats when I introduce the "Making Ten to Add" strategy.  This concept always makes more sense to the students when they are able to practice it using the mats and counters.

Ready for some hands-on ten frame fun of your own?  Then, be sure to grab your ten frame freebie here!

And, if you're looking for more great ten frame activities, be sure to check out my Fun with Ten Frames pack on TPT.


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Help, I'm Addicted to Ribbon Signs!

In my scramble to make all things cute, I appear to have developed a full blown addiction to ribbon signs/banners (do they have a name?).  I'm no stranger to these, I used them in my room last year, but only for one or two things.  Well, in the past two days, that's right, two days I have made four of these adorable signs.  Don't worry, I have a space for each one, but I have to cut myself off here because I already have 2 in my storage cabinet at school to contend with as well.

I thought you might like to see each sign.  Who knows, you might get inspired to make one or two....or four.  Ha!

Classroom Rules:

These are my new Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) Classroom Rules.  I dabbled with WBT last year using some of the callbacks, or signals. I had a lot of success with them, so when I read more about WBT, I came across these rules and decided to give them a try.  Then, I found these amazing posters from Run!  Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. She has several colors available in her TpT shop, for free!!  The only thing I added are the brown numbers on each rule.

TIP: Becca from Simply 2nd Resources recently pointed out in a post that Chris Biffle, the guru of WBT, has stated you should never pay for WBT resources on TpT. 

My WBT callback/signal posters:

There are more signals, but I like these best and they're the ones I used last year.  I like to keep it simple.  These cute chevron signs were also free (remember, per Chris Biffle, you should never pay for WBT resources on TpT) from Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts. The file contains several color choices (a little something for everyone!).

Good Listener Sign:

I always seem to get groups of students who have a difficult time listening; can any of you relate?  So, when I stumbled upon this as I stalked TpT one day, I snatched a copy.  It's a freebie from Christie at First Grade Fever.

Welcome Sign:
I am going to hang this on my classroom door for Meet and Greet, Open House, and our annual Night of the Arts. I am in love in both polka dots and chevrons, so I combined the two here to create a colorful, cheery welcome sign.  Maybe "those who enter" will feel a bit more welcome by the sheer cheeriness of the sign!  Check it out by clicking here.

While I might be addicted to ribbon signs, you have to admit they are stinkin' cute, and purposeful, and print rich (yes, I am trying to justify my addiction).  Do you have any classroom decor addictions?

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