Five for Friday - January 20

It was a short week, but a long week all at the same time! I enjoyed having Monday off, but could've used one more day. I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. See what we've been up to below....


I love the book Martin's Big Words.  With MLK Jr Day on Monday, we studied him a bit (we'll study him more later in our historic people PBL project) and I showed them the video of the book. It has James Earl Jones reading the text and beautiful music in the background. One of my favorites to use every year! I highly recommend you check it out on YouTube.


We've been working on multiplication for three weeks now and this week students started spending more time working on story problems. See how I use differentiated multiplication story problems in my classroom... here....


We started our second whole class book study - The Chocolate Touch this week! I love this book and so do the kids! They find it hilarious and I love the break from our traditional Journey's reading series! Can't wait to finish it next week with them.  What book studies do you do with your whole class? Write them below in the comments! I'm always looking for new ideas!


Last week, a student asked if he could clean up my Morning Message board. I said sure. He asked if he could erase it. I said sure.  He asked if he could get rid of the "posty sticks."  I said...what??? Apparently he thought post its/sticky notes were called posty sticks.  We all got a good laugh out of that one!



I'm trying to become more active in the New Year. If you'd like to join me, check out my Instagram that I'm using to keep me accountable with my fitness journey - instagram.com/jjohnsongetsfit and also add me on FitBit! My email with the account is sunsfan328@gmail.com.  I love having new friends on there and participating in Work Week Challenges.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Differentiated Multiplication Story Problems

At the beginning of January, we started our multiplication unit in second grade. So far, we spent a lot of time working on the conceptual understanding of multiplication. We've learned various strategies (groups, arrays, repeated addition, skip counting), practiced lots on the white boards, and played some games. 

After all of that practice, it was time to focus on story problems.  Now that the kids have a grasp on multiplication they need to work on applying it to real-life problems. I created two sets of story problems for them to work on.  One set is for my students who are still working on the basic facts and focuses on factors to 12.  The second set is a challenge set for my students who are flying through the basic facts. The challenge set has two-digits by one-digit multiplication problems.  

Factors to 12 Story Problems

Great use of skip counting to solve the multiplication problem!

Challenge Problems - Dealing with multiplying two-digits and even a few three-digits by one-digit.

I love having differentiated story problems for my students to work on. I always want to challenge kids when they're ready and love having the option to do so. I also like to keep things looking the same, so it's not as obvious that the cards are different. This way everyone thinks they're working on the same thing, while really they're working on what they need.

Check out my Differentiated Multiplication Story Problems in my TPT store...here.





Five for Friday - January 13

Friday the 13th! We'll see how today goes!  And a full moon... And a rainy day... And it's been ridiculously windy! This will be interesting!
I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching to show what we've been up to this week for another Five for Friday...



Our school is celebrating our first International Week in about a week and half. Each class has a country to study and then present what they've learned to the other classes. I chose/my class chose Holland, which works out really well since my dad was born in Holland.  He was born there and immigrated to America when he was 8.  This week we got to interview him using Facetime. It was so cute. The kids were writing notes, asking questions, etc. And, my dad did a great job his first time using Facetime. I also created a kid friendly website for the kids to research on.  It is in the first picture above.

I love math stations. We finally got back into them this week and the kids are loving this particular one. They get to use the Dive Into Shapes Kit (from Scholastic Bonus Catalog) to make all kinds of cool 2D and 3D shapes.

We've continued our study of multiplication this week and learned our last two strategies (repeated addition and skip counting). To introduce skip counting (which I know the kids knew, but I wanted to make a strong connection between it and multiplication), I used the CGI strategy choral counting. The students helped me count by 4's. We went slow enough I could write, which also gave my kiddos needing more time, time to think.  

Then, I asked them to look at what we came up with and see what they noticed. Most kids noticed that it went up by 4's and down by 20's. Some kid's noticed that the pattern went 4, 8, 2, 6, 0 in the ones spot. Another student noticed that they were all even numbers. All great observations!

Next, I started writing the multiplication problems above. But, instead of just writing them I explained it like 1 group of 4 is 4, 2 groups of 4 is 8, etc and the kids joined in and helped me out. Then, one of my kiddos made the connection that skip counting is just like repeated addition, which is just like multiplication!!! HOORAY! Fireworks should've gone off...just kidding. But it was one of those teaching moments that you remember and I feel most have a strong understanding of the different strategies and concept of multiplication.

Here's a little student funny for you. Our phonics sounds last week were OR and ORE.  Students had to create words with those sound spellings.  I had a very interesting one! I'm hoping she was going for pouring???

Anyone else also in full-blown organization mode? Something about the new year and gift cards and buying new organization bins made me want to clean out our pantry. Here is the after picture. The containers and organization make my OCD heart happy!


Have a lovely 3 day weekend!

Introduction to Multiplication Ideas

Multiplication is one of my favorite math units to teach! I remember what a big deal it was to learn multiplication when I was in school and the kids still feel the same way. When I ask them at the beginning of 2nd grade, what they are most excited to learn - multiplications tends to be one of the most popular answers.

To begin multiplication, I want to make sure my students have a solid conceptual understanding of the process. When I was a kid we just memorized the facts. And, while fact fluency is important.  In my opinion, it's important that they first understand why and how to multiply, before they rattle off the facts from memorization.  I've also been trained in CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction), which focuses on conceptual understanding and moving kids through different stages of understanding which ultimately leads to fact fluency.  These ideas below definitely fit in with CGI.

So, on day 1, I started by giving them a story problem.  
There were four spiders crawling in the sand. Each spider has 8 legs. How many legs were there total?
I wanted to see what the kids would do. I didn't tell them this was a multiplication problem, I just read it to them, and told them to solve it the best they could.  Then, as I walked around, I picked students with different strategies who would share out with the class.  

Here are the 3 I picked to share:

Carter started by drawing the groups in the middle. He drew one group of 8, two groups of 8, so on and then added and added again.  Great visual strategy!

Odin used skip counting and also used empty number line to help him show how he was skip counting. 

Caitlin used repeated addition, which is another great multiplication strategy.

I picked all three kiddos because these are all strategies we are going to learn to help us solve multiplication problems. I love having the kids explain their thinking too because kids often learn better from each other - if they hear it in kid friendly language etc. I asked prompting questions, but the kids did the explaining.

Then, on day 1, I wanted our focus to be on grouping like Carter did in his story problem. I wanted to start with the most visual representation possible to help the kids see the equal groups.

We made an anchor chart - which I forgot to snap a picture of and then we practiced on our white boards.  

I love being able to project my iPad onto our screen. I use the app iPevo and can use it like a white board like the kids.  So, we started with visual problems. Sorry for the messy iPad demonstration - it is quite difficult to draw using your finger on there. :-)


After practicing multiple problems as a class, students learned the game Circle in Stars or Birds in a Nest.

For this game, students need 1 or 2 dice, white board and marker and/or paper and pencil. Students roll one dice and that is the number of circles (or nests) they draw (which is really the number of groups).  Then, students roll again or roll the second dice and that is the number of stars (or eggs) that go in each circle.  Which then leads to the multiplication problem ___ groups of ___ = ___ or ___ x___ = ____.  To differentiate for my higher students, I gave them a dice with 1-6 and one with 7-12.  This takes it up a notch for students who are ready.

With dice 1-6

With two dice - 1-6 and 7-12

How do you start teaching your multiplication unit?? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below...

Five for Friday - January 6

The new year is finally here! I think I've managed to write 2017 correctly all week....which is a big deal lol.  I'm back linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. See what I've been up to the past week below....




So how cute are these! Melonheadz made these adorable New Year's Resolutions sheets and my kiddos did a great job coming up with goals.  They were detailed and made goals that fit them, their interests, and needs. I was proud of how hard they worked on it and it'll make the perfect bulletin board for the New Year.  Check out Melonheadz freebie here....



We started multiplication this week. This is something the 2nd graders always look forward to and they are waiting and waiting for us to begin this unit.  This was Day 2 of Multiplication. We learned about arrays and the kids used Skittles to make arrays - and of course ate some :-).  
Stay tuned...Sunday I will have a post explaining how I introduce multiplication and a quick game idea.

This week we practiced finding and editing possessive nouns. The kiddos worked in groups on my Grammar Fix It - Apostrophes - Possessives cards.  Now, lazy teacher here - I really should've cut these out, but you can leave them together for time saving purposes.  The packet also includes larger cards (8.5x11) and this smaller option that can be cut. Check it out in my TPT store, here.


New Year's Resolution here. Not too specific - but I need balance and I need to find time to work on me. The gym is calling my name this weekend as is some meal prep! Looking forward to making healthier choices this year (after our staff happy hour today lol).


My parents are Ohio State alum and I got to join them for the Fiesta Bowl last weekend. Even though the game didn't go as they hoped, we still had a lot of fun and I always love a visit back to Phoenix even if it is a quick one.

Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017!



Five for Friday - Winter Break Edition

I know Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching is still on a break with Five for Friday, but I wanted to do a quick post to share what I've been up to over my winter break.  I have taken a bit of a blogging hiatus, but was able to do a lot of fun things with family and friends


So since I actually had time, I actually got to do some crafting over break! I made this wreath and it was actually super easy.  I was able to binge watch Gilmore Girls while I tied the tulle and tied the tulle and tied the tulle. Then, I eventually ended up with this cute wreath!


In addition to crafting, I also did some baking. I made my husband's favorite candy cane cookies (which are not the easiest cookies), ritz crackers with peanut butter and chocolate, and roll out sugar cookies! So yummy!!


On Christmas Eve, Andy and I went to the Magical Forest in Las Vegas. They have trees sponsored and decorated by a variety of companies. It's always fun to see the Christmas decorations and the new trees each year!






We also went to the Bellagio Gardens on Christmas Eve. And, boy was that place packed! I would've thought on Christmas Eve at 10;30 at night it would've been crowd free. I was wrong! We had fun looking at the beautiful decorations and that tree - they're tree is always amazing!!





I then went down to Tucson on Monday to visit my family and Andy's family.  Loving the Tucson weather. It was 71 degrees on the hot tub day! Warmer than Vegas and great to catch up with family.


Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's weekend! I'm off to the Fiesta Bowl tomorrow with my parents who are Ohio State Alum. GO BUCKS!