Friday, September 25, 2015

Google in our Classroom

Remember when Google was just a search engine? Not anymore! Our district is a Google Apps for Education district, meaning that we use Google sites (Drive, Sheets, Classroom, Docs, etc.).  This year, I was so super excited when our district assigned Google accounts to our 2nd graders!  That meant I could take my teaching with Google to the next level.

This week, we worked on signing into our Google Classroom.  A Google Classroom is essentially an online classroom where I can assign students tasks, they complete them, and turn them in all through Google.  I am new at Google Classroom, but I am beyond ready to have this book delivered to my mailbox!  I can't wait to begin reading up on what all I can do with Classroom!

We have been studying character traits in the books we've been reading.  I created a Google Slides template and assigned each student their own Slides presentation to complete.  In their presentations, they analyzed the character traits, motivations, and changes of the main character in Kevin Henkes's Julius, The Baby of the World, one of my most favorite books!

My little 21st Century learners were so engaged with their presentations!  Those that chose to work with a partner collaborated so well together.  Check out a few examples of presentations below.

C.'s work turned out great!

And you have to love B's honesty!  "I hated my baby brother a lot of times."

On another note, I need to give a big shout out to my teammates!  I work with some of the best teachers and people I know!  My teacher teammate, Mrs. Hill, came up with these amazing higher order thinking questions to take math in her classroom deeper.  I totally stole them!!!  My learners had great number talks during our Think it Through today!

Have a restful weekend all!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pen Pals and Baby Faces!

You have never seen excitement like 2nd grade-today-we-mailed-our-Pen-Pal-letter excitement!  It's official...our first Pen Pal letter is on its way to Canoga Park, California, to meet Mrs. Dixon's class.  After much debate, we finally decided to type our letter because we had so much to ask!  We introduced ourselves and our classroom in a brochure found here.  We can not wait to hear back from Mrs. Dixon's class!

Signed, sealed, and waiting to be delivered!

I have found that most second graders still need help with gaining automaticity with their basic math facts.  To up the "engagement" piece, I created Baby Face Math today.  I found the most interesting picture of a baby's face online and added digit values to it's facial features.  Then, my learners work with a partner.  The first partner touches two facial features on their own face.  The other partner must connect the feature to the value and solve the equation.  For example, if your partner is touching their nose and left ear, your equation you must solve it 2 + 4.

Here we are in action!  They did great with it and decided it was much more interesting than pencil and paper practice.
Then, they began requesting variations on the game like, "Mrs. Thompson, can we do Grumpy Grandma Math one day?"  Ha!  Absolutely, kiddos!  Stay tuned!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Five for Friday!

Five thoughts about our past week together (and a little more about me!).

1.  Warm Fuzzy Jar
Our tribe spoke...and it wanted Warm Fuzzies!  I asked my learners to vote on the whole-class reward system and they chose the Warm Fuzzies.  Each time our class as a whole does something WOW-worthy, I grab a handful of fuzzies and transfer them to the small jar.  When the jar gets full, we get a prize!  The kids are loving it and filling that jar quickly!

2.  Read to Self
Our class's stamina is amazing!  We have set a new record...over 11 minutes!  As I was monitoring the kiddos reading, I got tickled at the "comfy" spots they had chosen.
Sprawled across one of our benches.

Perched high up on a stool.

Guarding my teacher desk!

3.  Pen Pal Pair Up!
I used the app called Nearpod to display a teacher-paced presentation of clues about our Pen Pal class's location.  With Nearpod, I control what the kids see on their screens, so that way I eliminated the peekers who might skip to see the answer. :)  We are so very excited to get to write Mrs. Dixon's Darling Dynamos all the way in Canoga Park, California!

4.  Math Differentiation
During our study of place value, I knew I had various needs throughout my class.  Instead of making them all work on one assignment, I split them into three groups according to their needs.  It worked really well for us and we got to have some amazing math talk conversations about number sense!
This group was able to brainstorm their own numbers, draw a base ten representation of it, and write it in expanded form.  Awesome!

This group was shown a numerical number and they converted it into base ten drawings.  So cool!

And this group was shown a base ten, hands on model.  They counted it up and recorded it numerically.

5.  Currently...
And for something extra, here's my first ever "Currently" list.
Have a great weekend!