Nonfiction Text Features

I haven't met a group of students who doesn't love to read animal books. National Geographic books are some of our favorites in the classroom library. And Fly Guy has a great selection, but the absolute best are from the Who Would Win? series. 

I believe that my students in particular love them so much because it gives them a chance to "see" even if they have never been to a zoo or aquarium. I've been trying as much as possible to link our reading to science and social studies units. This particular nonfiction reading was for us to work on text features. 

This little booklet is perfect to use with a variety of shark nonfiction reading, which you probably already have in your classroom. Use articles from World Book Online for Kids or your favorite Nat Geo book.
 A snap shot of the shark captions page - match up a caption to the correct photo.
 And a look at the diagram page - label the shark using the correct information.

What do you use to teach text features? I would love to hear about it!

Number Sense {comparing numbers}

Number sense ... something so very important for our younger students to understand smaller numbers or else they won't understand much larger numbers.


As we wrap up this week before Spring Break (and try to cram every last bit of Easter themed activity possible!), we are also finishing our money unit in math.
We have been using these coin boxes to practice counting collections of coins and to support our money lessons. Second graders in Virginia are to count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to $2.00. The second part of our standards states that the second graders will compare amounts to $2.00. This is something that my students struggle with, especially the children who have a hard time correctly counting the amounts as they in some circumstances have to count 2 sets of coins and then compare them using greater than, less than, and equal to.

When I came to second grade from first grade (I did 2 years of first/second combo classes), I had a hard time finding materials to use to cover this, so I created my comparing money mini unit.
There are 2 sets of task cards with recording pages. This image is from one of the sets, which only require the children to look at a given amount and decide which is greater than, etc. The second set has 2 amounts to count before comparing.

Well, we still needed more practice. So this happened:
(and who can't pass up these cute unicorns?!)
here's the compare two sets of coins in which the amounts need to be counted first
 and the recording page for the cards (and there's an answer key included)
And if you click on one of the images from the unicorn set, you can download it for free! I hope your students have success at comparing money!

Double Digit Subtraction

A couple of posts ago I shared that my second graders were working on double digit addition and subtraction. Well, we are 4 full days into subtraction with borrowing. We do a quick review each day before beginning the lesson. 

Last week when I introduced this, we started using unifix cubes - our best friend!

First we built the number on top of the problem - 37.
When we saw that we couldn't take 8 away from 7, we borrowed from the tens and broke it up into 10 cubes.
Then we changed the numbers on the top of our problem to show what we have using the unifix cubes.
And now time to start subtracting! 
17 - 8 = 9
And 2 - 1 = 1
We have tried writing the problems on our own, but some of my children have sloppy handwriting and writing the problems on their own is challenging and frustrating, so I quickly put this together to help alleviate some of that frustration.

Check out this low prep double digit subtraction unit. 3 pages of just printables and 20 half-page colored cards with recording pages, perfect for a math center or use as part of your math groups!

Tracking Student Data

Four years ago in a faculty meeting my principal challenged us to find a way to have our students monitor their own progress. Having taught fourth grade for eight years before moving down to the primary grades (5 years in first, 2 years as a first/second combination, and now just in second), I knew it would be easier for older children to do this, but my first graders? Several teachers sat down and talked how we could do this. We knew the importance and that it would both motivate and challenge our students to work harder and push themselves in ways that we couldn't. But what were we to do with all of that data? Math standards from unit tests ... reading levels ... iStation reports ...
We decided charts would be the easiest for us to create. Our report cards are standards based for kindergarten through second grade, so a 4-3-2-1 vertical chart made the most sense to us. The first year we made math charts for first and second grades and had them in chronological order according to our pacing guide.

During the summer after that first year I wondered how I could add in spelling. That year I was teaching the combination class and the number of words on the tests were different, so I created different charts using the percentages that they could color in after the weekly tests.

With all that said, here's what we came up with.

These are my folders this year. (In my combination classes I had different color folders to keep them easily sorted.)
This is what the math standards charts look like. The SOL (Standard of Learning in Virginia) is listed at the top, along with what part of the school year we covered it. But our pacing guide changed over the summer after we had already copied all of our folders, so we left them for this year.

The green section was from one test - identifying ordinal positions and writing the ordinal position. I sometimes take summative grades that I use for my data folders in a large unit, but other times, in smaller units, I take just one for several parts of the standard.

Depending on how well they do on the summative assessments correlates with what is colored in on the chart.
When students do not show mastery of a skill, we pull something that matches the content and place in the back of their folder. That work is used to drive our intervention time one to two times a week as needed.
This is what the spelling sheets look like. At times it has been a real struggle to get the charts colored in each week due to time constraints. This afternoon when I was having mini conferences with my students to color in their charts from our test, several were excited that they had improved this week's score from last week's. It made me smile!
Here's a link to get the spelling charts to use in your classroom. There are 3 completed ones - with 10 words, 12 words, and 16 words - as well as a blank one to edit as you need.
Do you use data folders or charts? Pros and cons of them? Do you include something different in yours?

I will be honest - it's a lot of work at the beginning, but once you have it finished, you shouldn't need to change it (unless your pacing guide changes!) and not only is it a motivator for your students, but a great piece of information to use in parent conferences.

Until next time,

Two Digit Addition and Subtraction

We are well into our two digit addition and subtraction unit! This is such an exciting time in second grade - harder math and cursive! 

We've been using the activities in my double digit task cards and printables unit.

It's divided into addition with and without regrouping.
 And also divided into subtraction with and without borrowing.
There are 6 sets of task cards and recording pages.
There's also 8 printables, all divided to use as you teach each part of this unit.

We will start estimation in the next week or so ... I will have an update for you with our activities.

But for now, a freebie only on the blog!
Included are 8 printables for two digit addition and subtraction!
What are your favorite go-to resources for teaching two digit addition and subtraction?

100th Day!

Last week was our 100th day of school!

It's just taking me until now to put it into a post! :)

Here's what my math board looked like on day 99. We build the number using straws for hundreds, tens, and ones, as well as with money.
And then on the morning of the 100th day ...
... it was fun to hear what my students knew that they could now do, as well as what they could and couldn't eat!

We built all different kinds of structures using 100 cups, 100 unifix cubes, and 100 building blocks. It was fun to see what they came up with! (No finished structures because all of my pictures had students in them.)

And we had a special 100 day snack of 100 things, building sets of 10s.

And at the end of the day with 100 built on my math board.

It was a fun day! What do you do to celebrate the 100th day?

Famous Americans: Benjamin Franklin

We are in the midst of our very long famous people unit in Social Studies. In Virginia, second graders have to know George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Helen Keller, and Christopher Columbus. So that I don't overwhelm them, I taught Columbus around Columbus Day in October and MLK last week and this week around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will save Washington and Lincoln for Presidents Day in February.
The first person we covered this month was Benjamin Franklin. Since he was part of the Social Studies curriculum for first graders and I taught first grade for 8 years, I just grabbed my notebook off the first grade shelf! (I taught a combination of first and second for 2 years and now, thankfully, this year I have just second grade.)

Some of the books that I used are:
Product Details

And here's the unit I created, which includes a reader, word search, vocabulary words with picture cards, and comprehension questions. 
Benjamin Franklin mini-unit

This year I made a pocket in our Social Studies notebook to keep our reader safe. {See the picture above.}
Back to Top