Happy Saturday!  Remember (THIS)?
Well, now it looks like this
and it feels like THIS
I'm ready for some of this
So I'm hoping for him!
Yes, it has been a long cold winter, so any hint of an appearance from this little guy will keep us all going through the next six weeks.  My kiddos have been fascinated this year by anything related to animals (it's part of being in second grade), so I'm capitalizing on their interests with some groundhog activities next week.  I don't usually do a whole lot with Groundhog Day, but this group is different from my usual years, so I have to change things up.
We'll be using my "Great Groundhogs!" nonfiction mini-unit to practice some main idea, both during reading and writing.

There are 6 full-color informational cards packed with information about the little furry fellow - plus an optional Q code activity. We'll be using the main idea activities, but there are also other ideas - answering 5 W questions, locating details, informational writing...

I found this cute video all about groundhogs that is perfect to start us out.  My plan is to create a set of questions that can be answered by watching and listening to the video.  I'm going to give students 2 or 3 of the questions, which they will be responsible for listening for the answers.  After the video, we'll share our answers so everyone has all the facts.  This will be a great way to work on some listening standards from the CCSS.
During our writing time, we'll continue with the focus on nonfiction (main idea and details) and write about groundhogs.  I have an old Scholastic News that is perfect for this.  We'll read the article, take notes and write a couple paragraphs about what we learned. 
(from my Great Groundhogs! unit)
I'm planning on using these guys as a writing "topper" for our finished work.  Easy-peasy - just cut out a heart shape for the head!

We'll also use this cute groundhog song to practice fluency and phrasing.  Our whole second grade morning meeting is this Friday so maybe we can divide the classes in half and each sing one part.
And, because my class is so obsessed with BUMP games for math, I just had to create one with a groundhog theme!
There are 3 different versions - making 10 with a ten-sided dice, making 20 with two 6-sided dice, and making 20 with two 10-sided dice.  You can grab them for your classroom by clicking on the image above.
I certainly hope Mr. Groundhog sees his shadow and I can start to pull out some of my spring activities soon!  I know we've still got a while no matter what, but a little promise of spring would be great right about now!

Woo-hoo!  I'm so happy to be meeting up with my pajamas once again for a full day together!  Three day weekends are always welcome.  Just a short post today before I get back to all the work I've avoided this weekend...

I'm linking up with Jess over at I (HEART) Recess for her Mathematical Monday linky party.
The Common Core has very little money practice in the younger grades - yet by second and third grade students are expected to know how to solve problems using money!  That's kind of hard to do when they haven't had experiences identifying coins, counting money and making change! 
I try to connect money to what we're doing any time I can - counting days of school, lunch money, etc.  And I sneak in some money centers and skills for our math time, too!  Here's a fun freebie from my TpT store to help your kiddos practice counting groups of coins.
It is part of my bigger set of money Read-the-Room cards, which you can find HERE.
And, because I like incorporating technology into my day, here's a great activity from ABCya.com
There's also a multi-level Money BINGO game that's great practice, too.  And if you're looking for the app for your ipads... here it is
Be sure to click on the link at the top of this post to visit the linky party and find more great math freebies!  

Hi folks - Happy Friday and welcome to a three day weekend!  I am telling you, Friday could not come fast enough this week.  My sweet kiddos were all kinds of chatty this week!  I'm hoping a few days off will get it all out of their systems and we'll be back on track on Tuesday.
I'm linking up with Doodlebugs again for a Five for Friday look at my week.  Let the fun begin!

 We started our week by getting right back into our Arctic animals theme.  This time we focused on whales.  We read Dear. Mr. Blueberry, a really cute story about a little girl who writes letters to her teacher because she is convinced there is a whale in her pond.  Mr. Blueberry thinks just the opposite and tries to prove it to her with facts about whales.
Although the book is not a hard read, we did lots of close reading with it, focusing on perspective, character traits and response to challenges.  At the end of the week, my kiddos added a foldable activity to their interactive reading notebooks.  The goal was for them to use character traits to explain how Emily and Mr. Blueberry responded to the challenge other possibly being a whale in Emily's pond.  Fun for them... and a great little formative assessment for me!

Now if you're going to read some whale fiction, you also need to "dive" into some nonfiction (haha.. that was funny!).  The story of Mr. Blueberry is in our anthology, which I admit, I do NOT use all that often, but not only is this story a good one, after the story is an informational chart showing the lengths of different whales.  We will go into more detail about whales next week, but we sparked some enthusiasm by asking questions that might be able to be answered using the chart.  Which whale is the biggest?  the smallest?  How big is a humpback whale?  Do bigger whales live in bigger oceans?  Can I go to the bathroom?  There's always one who has to add that in there....
The most exciting question became, "Is the humpback whale (the biggest one on the chart) bigger than our classroom?"  We predicted and then decided to measure.  Each of our floor tiles is a square foot, so after figuring that out my kiddos realized all we had to do was count the tiles and see if we got to 100!

They realized pretty quickly that it would be WAY bigger than our classroom, so we took our tile counting to the hallway.

We discovered that a humpback whale would fill about half our hallway!  Some of my students decided to take it a step further and measure out the rest of the whale son the chart and put up signs in the hall to how the lengths.  It's a work in progress and I can't wait to see the final results!

Winter in New England means snow and snow means sledding!  We are in the middle of a fun narrative writing piece about a crazy sledding time!  We started by reading
(I do not think this book is in print anymore, unfortunately.  I got multiple copies a few years back from Scholastic and was hoping to replace some.  Guess the tape-job will have to do!)  This is the perfect book to show how to elaborate a main event.  It is filled with action, description, dialogue and sound effects that make the story more interesting.  We spent the previous week analyzing the story and identifying the different types of details.  This week we started our own stories!
This is the plan sheet we used to brainstorm ideas.... we did some shared planning, then everyone selected their own words that fit with their story plan.
After writing an entertaining beginning, it was time to start down that hill and encounter our first obstacle!
Next week we'll write about avoiding each of the three obstacles we chose - adding LOTS of details!
We spent this week reviewing some much needed subtraction skills.  My kiddos are just having such a hard time understanding the problem-solving aspect of subtraction, mainly finding the missing addend.  They can do it in an equation, but give it to them in a word problem and they freeze.  Sooo, we went back and reviewed how to use our little friend "the part-part-whole" diagram.  A fourth grade teacher showed me this wonderful app called "Thinking Blocks."
I LOVE this app!  It moves from a guided approach to an independent level so students can solve problems on their own.  There is one for addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions and ratio and proportion.  I hooked out ipad up to the computer and projected the app onto the "big screen" and we worked through a few problems together.  Then it was time for some math journal work.
Although we are going to need LOTS more practice with this, at least we got a general understanding down pat.  Next week we'll use the app again and keep practicing!

 I shared in THIS POST about over at "Who's Who and Who's New" how our math centers time works.  This was day 5 of the week, so rather than do centers, we enjoyed more whale fun!
Can you tell what the picture is going to be?  Yep, it turned out to be a whale.  This activity comes from The Primary Techie's shop over at TpT.  It is part of her "Watch, Think, Color" series and my kiddos really like them.  (I have some f the "Move It!" activities, too.  They are a blast!)  This one focused one expanded notation, and with a whale for the final picture, it fit perfectly into our week.  (You can click on the picture to go right to the activity in her store.) 
Well, that's it folks!  I am so happy to be able to look ahead to three entire days off, although this will be a major "working" weekend for me.  Lots of planning to do, things for teacher eval, and a few projects to finish for my TpT store.  Enjoy your long weekend!
What a day! Where else but in New England can you have the temperature start the day at 55 degrees, have a thunderstorm (in January) and then end the day at 25 - all in one day?  It definitely made for an interesting first day back after a long break!
I'm not really here today... I'm blogging over at "Who's Who and Who's New," a new collaborative blog I'm excited to be part of.  You can check out my post by clicking on the button below.  Need some ideas for how to organize and run your math centers?  I may have just the thing for you!  Hop on over!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  I'm sitting here at my computer after having been sent home early from a PD day awaiting the big snowstorm.  And the big chill.  Or big freeze, as it is supposed to be.  MINUS TEN, people.... and that's without the windchill... coldest weather we've had in almost 30 years... don't you just love winter?

But time off from school means time for another blog post for you!  I'm linking up with Farley's Currently for January.
Snowplows and snow shovels... yes, that's what's going on around here.  We were only set to have two professional days this week - no kids - so I won't see my kiddos until Monday no matter what.  We've been off for 16 days!!  That's half a month... and I just know it's going to feel like the first day of school for my little ones when they return.  I'm not planning anything too major for the first day back next week... sharing what they did over break, math review, etc.  I have a great story I share every year in January
It's about a little girl who writes a note to Santa in January thanking him for her Christmas presents and asking about Mrs. Claus and the reindeer.  What follows is a year-long communication between Santa and the young girl.  It's a great story to share, and it is set in the Southern hemisphere, so Christmas is a warm time of year.  It's a great opportunity to talk about the difference in season in the hemispheres, etc.

I will admit, I started last night thinking about exactly what we're going to be doing next week (and of course, changed it when I went to school today and talked with my teammates!).  At some point I need to go through my school bag (wherever it is) and clean it out.  The paper fairy has not come by so I think I'm on my own....

A snow day tomorrow will give me some extra time and I might just attempt making Kruschiki (Polish bowties) again.
Every year on New Year's Day my grandmother would spend the morning making the bowties.  We weren't allowed to go over until the afternoon when she was done.  We LOVED to eat them dusted with powdered sugar... she made them so light and flaky - something I have yet to be able to duplicate.  Even though I have her recipe (just looking at her handwriting brings back so many memories), I've never been able to make them like she did.  But, just the process of kneading the dough, rolling it and frying the bowties keep me connected with her.
Alrighty... time to try to get some real work done.  Don't forget to check out the new collaborative blog out there - a new post every day!
Stay warm and enjoy the snow if it's coming to you!
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