Monday, December 31, 2018

Reading Assessment Strategies in the 2nd Grade Classroom

It's the last day of 2018 and I'm excited for 2019 and I'm looking forward to new beginnings and new adventures!

A year ago I was struggling with teaching my 3rd graders reading assessment strategies, see blog post, and now I find myself struggling to teach this to my 2nd graders as well. 
I have struggled to find rigorous 2nd grade material that mirrors our reading assessments and I've consistently come up short. Nothing like moving to a new grade level to realize your lack of resources. We have state standards (we are not a common core state) that we follow but my district does not have a language arts (or any subject for that matter) curriculum at the elementary level. 

I've heard people say that 2nd grade is the new 3rd grade and didn't quite understand it until I came back to 2nd grade myself. I feel like I'm teaching 3rd grade material to children who are not developmentally ready to learn and comprehend it. Students are still learning to read in 2nd grade and I have to wonder why we've made this level the new "testing grade." They leave 1st grade having never taking a formal reading assessment where you read a passage and answer questions to the third week in 2nd grade where they are reading two passages and answering ten multiple choice questions...and you want them to do well because the assessment is worth 65% of their grade. 

So while I continue to wrack my brain on how to balance teaching 7 year olds to read and teaching 7 year olds to pass reading assessments, I've created some resources that I hope will help. It is very similar to what I did in 3rd grade. The bookmark gives them step by step instructions on how to best tackle a reading assessment. I took out the highlighting key words and text evidence because our students get to start taking assessments on the computer when we return to school and I'm just not ready to teach those computer skills right now! The graphic organizer is completed for each passage in the assessment. 

I've purchased these reading passages from Teachers Pay Teachers...
I also have this bundle 2nd Grade Close Reading Bundle. I felt that these passages were too challenging for this point in the year, I hope to transition to them around March. 
And I choose an informational and literature passage and create questions similar to the ones found on our reading assessments in hopes that this will give them enough practice, I haven't seen much success yet but I'm hoping that's due to the fact that we had 4 snow days before our last reading assessment and face it... Santa Claus was also coming to town so it was hard to get them to focus on anything academic. I'm hoping the addition of the bookmark and graphic organizer do the trick!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Giant Place Value

Giant Place Value Manipulatives
Base 10 Pieces
 Many of you know that it's my first year back in 2nd grade after being in 3rd for the last seven years. In an effort to find fresh ideas I took to Pinterest when I found this! I couldn't wait to get started. I took some Astrobrights Cardstock (9.5x11) and trimmed the long edge to 10 inches. Then cut that in half so that I had two 4.25 inch pieces. Then cut that in half so that I had four 5 inch by 4.25 inch pieces. 
I ended up using 6 sheets of cardstock per color (pink, blue, green, yellow purple). That made ten Base 10 Rods and twenty Base 10 Units. 

I taped 5 together at a time. Then took two halves and taped them together to create the rod. I used a black marker to create the sections of the rod, added a smilie face and found some eyeballs in my clip art, but then found a sheet of them in this Frankenstein Craftivity I had purchased. I'm going to be honest, the eyeballs were a pain to cut out so you could just draw some or not put faces on them at all.  

I'm going to use them in my whole group lessons during my Guided Math Place Value Unit. The kids are going to work together to create numbers while the other kids identify them. I can also see using them when we start regrouping with addition and subtraction. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Guided Math

Me, Reagan Tunstall and my BFF Adrienne
On October 1st I had the opportunity to attend Reagan Tunstall's Guided Math Game Plan Conference with my best friend. It was simply amazing! I always considered myself a reading person, my strength, I felt, was teaching reading. Well after attending this conference I now feel like I'm a pretty good math teacher as well!

If you can't make it to one of her conferences she has a step by step guide on Teachers Pay Teachers on How To Launch Guided Math. I highly recommend downloading it and reading through it if you are at all interested in guided math. 

I wanted to share my plan on how I plan to implement guided math with my 2nd graders. 

Based on Reagan Tunstall's recommendations my 70 minute math block should be broken up like this:
Warm Up- 7 minutes
Whole Group- 18 minutes
Small Group- 38 minutes
Reflection- 7 minutes
I chose to break of my block like this:
Warm Up- 10 minutes
Spiral Review- 10 minutes
Whole Group Mini Lesson- 10 minutes
Small Group- Two 12 minute groups
Review Journal- 5 minutes
Reflection- 10 minutes
Here's what each component looks like in my classroom and links to the resources I'm using:

Warm Up- I decided to use Reagan Tunstall's Math Warm Ups for 2nd Grade. The students really enjoy them and it keeps them engaged. 

This was our Workout Wednesday Warm Up

Spiral Review- Back in May I blogged about implementing Daily Math Review in my 2nd grade classroom. I could have done away with it in lieu of the math warm ups but I have already created the booklets and my students love working in them daily. 

Whole Group Mini Lesson- I've been using lessons from The Moffatt Girls during my whole group lessons. Since it is a growing bundle every concept is available yet. I've been supplementing with resources from Amy Lemons and Reagan Tunstall

Journal Entry- After whole group and before math rotations begin, students have to complete a journal entry. I'm using handouts from The Moffatt Girls Math Made Fun bundle and shrinking them to 85% for students to glue and complete in their composition journals. Students can not begin their first rotation until their journal entry is completed. 

Rotations- I have 5 math groups that do 2 rotations a day, which means each group will visit each MATHS rotation twice a week. 

Math Facts- students practice their basic math facts at this rotation, it includes flash cards and centers on basic facts (the centers are from the Moffatt Girls Bundle)
Math Facts Activity
At Your Seat- students complete a math menu at this rotation, I use menus from Teacher's Clubhouse and Choose and Do Math Grids

Teacher Table- this is my small group rotation and where the bulk of my teaching happens, I use a variety of engaging activities to instruct students while they're in a small group with me, most of the lessons come from the Moffatt Girls Bundle
Odd/Even Small Group Activity
Hands On- students at this station work with math manipulatives and math mats, I also keep Flip and Solve Booklets at this station for students to work on as well 
Hands on Activity with Color Cubes and Math Mats
Stations- students at this station work with math puzzles and centers from the Moffatt Girls Bundle (as you can see I'm getting my money's worth with that bundle!)
Odd/Even Numbers Station
Review- After our two 12 minute rotations I briefly go over the journal entry while students check their work. 

Reflection- We do this to wrap up Math Workshop. I use the Reflection Cards from Reagan Tunstall, students share in partners or with their tables. These can be used in any subject area, not just math. 
Table Reflections
We've been going strong in guided math for about 3 weeks now and I love it! My students are really mastering the math concepts and it shows in their assessment scores. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

3 Weeks In...

Week 3 was definitely one for the books! We spent 3 hours on Monday sheltered in place, meaning, from 2:40pm-5:30pm my students and I were hunkered down in the hallway in tornado drill position. When it was all said and done I think there was about 10 confirmed tornadoes in Central Virginia that day. Many parents rushed to pick up their children as soon as they were able to. My last child left at 6:45pm and most of the buses started pulling in around 7pm. They had to run their middle school and high school routes before they could even head to the elementary schools. I'm thankful for the safety of our students and all our families. 

I took some updated pictures on Friday of my classroom I wanted to share. 

Math Board
Addition Strategies Anchor Chart
Our Super Improver Board- They're moving on up!
We read The Bad Seed and made a Growth Mindset Craftivity. I'm also happy to say that all of my students still have their original pencil from the first day of school!
Books with a Common Theme Board
Our Bucket Fillers/Dippers Chart
We Learned about Nonfiction Text Features last week
Our Reading Posters
More Anchor Charts
Even More Anchor Charts
We started talking about Growth Mindset this week
Our first Wonders were about Hurricane Florence
We read The Jelly Donut Kindness and discussed ways to be kind to others
Close Up of Craftivity
Inside of Craftivity
Back to School Night was Thursday- waiting for parents was their child's Learning Handbook (study guides for every subject), a copy of my Parent Handbook with all policies and procedures, Movie Permission Slip, Computer Log in Card and a note they could leave for their child

Friday, September 14, 2018

Classroom Tour 18-19

My signature Open House outfit paired with my fuchsia Tieks

I'm so sorry it took two weeks to get this done. I'm exhausted... my mind was ready for a new school year, my body wasn't! I'm able to complete this blog post due to my #hurrication. Hurricane Florence is making landfall, VA ended up being spared the brunt of it however they have canceled school in the area due to possible high winds. 
My #teamBFF and I. Different teams this year but still each other's biggest fans!
My best friend and I. She's rockin' her cool grey Tieks and LLR Tank and Madison Skirt. My advice, get you a friend to challenges you to be a better person. #shemakesmebetter
View from the Door
Super Improver Wall and SMART (Brag) Tags
Front Board
View of Corner
Math Bulletin Board
Guided Reading Table
View of Windows
Decided to Hang my Zazzle Decor underneath my Wreath
7 Habits of Happy Kids Posters
View of Cubbies
View of Cubbies
View of Back Wall
PBIS Posters
View of Corner
View of Carpet area
Books with a Common Theme Board
Pencil Challenge and Student Work Board
View of Library
Rocking Chair
Student Desks ready for Open House
I gave my students Cheryl's Cookies at Open House, if you haven't tried them you need to! From the Oatmeal Raisin, to the Frosted Buttercream to the Lemon Burst, I love them all!
Our Wonder Wall... I mean Door.
Welcome Bunting
I hope to share what we've been doing in class soon. Are you on Twitter? You can check us out at