Jake Drake - Teacher's Pet - Book Study

My next Jake Drake Book Study is now available in my TPT Store (Jordan Johnson). My students love these books written by Andrew Clements and I'm creating book studies to go with each!  The newest one available is Jake Drake Teacher's Pet.

Included in the product:

  • Cover page
  • 3 comprehension questions for each chapter
  • Reflection questions for the end of the book
  • Answer Key
Check it out here...

Five Fun Thanksgiving Books

Here are a few fun Thanksgiving books to throw in during read aloud time!  My students love holiday books and these are five kid-approved picture books!

Turkey Trouble - This one is funny because the turkey tries out many disguises to avoid being eaten!
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There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey - I love the There Was An Old Lady series and this one is a a great one too!!
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10 Fat Turkeys - This is a fun counting and rhyming book.
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Pete the Cat - The First Thanksgiving - Pete the Cat has many fun books and my students love that there is also a Thanksgiving version.
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A Plump and Perky Turkey - In this book, the townspeople try to trick the turkeys into making it easier to catch them for Thanksgiving dinner.
A Plump And Perky Turkey by [Bateman, Teresa]

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving books? Comment below...

Teaching with Math Misconceptions

I love using Number Talks and CGI strategies in my math class. We recently had our CGI trainer visit and she mentioned that you can also do Number Talks while clearing up math misconceptions. I loved the idea and decided to give it a try when we were learning subtraction.

With subtraction, one of the misconceptions I noticed, was that students seemed to think when you regrouped you just put the number there. For example, if you were regrouping 100 you just put 100 there and the tens that existed before just went away.  I noticed a few of my students doing this when regrouping with hundreds, tens, and ones so I decided to have a little math misconceptions talk.

I first wrote this problem below on the board. I told students this was the math work from a former student and I wanted them to look at it and see if they think they student got the answer correct or wrong. If they got the answer correct, then you need to figure out how you know that. If they did not get the answer correct, where did they make a mistake in their work. I posed this problem and gave students a few minutes of quiet think time.

After a few minutes of think time, I had the students turn and talk and discuss with their partner what they noticed. I had some students who thought the answer was correct and some who thought it was incorrect. I asked students who felt strongly about both to explain why they thought they were right.  The children who thought it was right were some of my students who were making that same mistake.  As they were explaining why it was right, I asked them - where did the 20 go that was already in the tens spot? I then had many aha's around the room. I had a child who thought the answer was incorrect walk us through the problem and corrected the original work. I showed this in a different color so we could see the misconception.  See the new work below...

This was an amazing class discussion and I plan on having many more Math Misconception Number Talks. I think it's important for students to always be thinking and observing their work and others when we are sharing out.  This is a great way to go over mistakes that you are seeing and it points it out in a way that doesn't make the child feel bad.  It empowers them to see the mistake in someone else's work (I always say a former student and make up a name) and then they are more likely to catch it themselves when they do it.

Do you use Number or Math Talks in your classroom? Comment below...

Teaching Repeating Patterns Ideas

We recently worked on patterns in math. In second grade, students work on repeating patterns and growing patterns.

Students have typically been doing repeating patterns for a long time and are able to identify the next shapes or letters so we add more to it in second grade. In addition to identifying the next part of the pattern, students also need to be able to identify the unit, create their own pattern, and identify what the 20th shape would be and so on.  This takes things up a notch and it's interesting to see the different strategies they use to figure out the 20th shape, 40th shape, 55th shape, etc.

Here is our anchor chart we created as a class.

In addition to small group work and patterns practice on IXL, students also worked on the Repeating Patterns Task Cards. These can be found in my TPT Store (Jordan Johnson).  This includes 20 task cards that ask different types of questions all revolving around repeating patterns.  A recording sheet and answer key are also included. This worked well as an activity during my math rotations, but could also be used in small groups, math stations, or as a review activity.  Check it out in my store...here...

Five Fun Halloween Books

I love doing read alouds with my students and love reading holiday books too!  Today I'm sharing with you 5 Fun Halloween books that I read with them every year!

How To Catch a Monster - This was a new addition this year to my Halloween read alouds, but super cute!!!

Crankenestein - The kids loved this one!! They enjoy helping make the "Crankenstein" noises.
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Goodnight Goon - Who doesn't love rhyming books?

Halloweiner - This has been on the Halloween read aloud list since I student taught. We used this book for one of my student teaching lessons and it's been in my rotation ever since.
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There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat - My students always love the "There Was an Old Lady..." series.  This is a great one too! I love how they have themed books for each holiday!
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What are your favorite Halloween books? Comment below...

Jake Drake Know-It-All - Book Study

My students love reading Jake Drake books and we just finished up reading Jake Drake Teacher's Pet as our first chapter book read aloud! We had a class set of Jake Drake Know-It-All with our reading series so I decided to make a book study to along with it!

I use book studies as an activity for my higher students during literacy small groups. Students work in groups of 2-3 on these projects. They read the text together, answer the questions together, and then discuss with me afterwards! Kids love doing book studies and I find it a great way for students to gain some independence and learn how to work with others.

Check out my Jake Drake Know-It-All Book Study - now available in my TPT Store.  I have other book studies available too...here..


So I don't know what I did before IXLIXL is an online practice program that has language arts, math skills, and more. My school just purchased it for our grade level and I love it already! The kids also love it too and ask to play it! That is a refreshing change from the groans I used to get when we'd work on some of our other math programs.  We've mainly been using IXL for  math so I'm going to share a few of my favorite things about it....

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  • Differentiation
    • With IXL you have access to multiple grade levels and skills, which allows you to have kids move at their own pace.  I teach second and I can use first grade practice for some of my struggling students and use third grade practice for students who have mastered the second grade skill and need a challenge.
  • Real Time Data
    • This is the best part of IXL.  They have real time data. I can have my students working on IXL in class and/or in study hall and see exactly how they are doing and what they are doing. It lets you know if a student has missed so many and is struggling and needs help.  This instant access to how they are doing is fantastic!
  • Multiple Skills
    • As I mentioned in my differentiation point, there are many skills for each topic. For example, we've been working on patterns. It has repeating patterns and growing patterns and different variations of each. I love that there are many options and that it covers so many math and language arts skills.
  • Instant Feedback for Students and Teacher
    • This is why I like using it especially for homework. Feedback is instant. Once the student submits their answer they know right away if they got it correct or if they got it wrong. If they got it wrong it coaches them through some tips to see what they did wrong.
  • Appropriate amounts of practice 
    • I'm not a fan of worksheets and I've been saying this for years. I do not think every child needs to be doing 50 problems on a worksheet to show they have mastered something. Some kids do need more problems to demonstrate mastery, but some can demonstrate it in 10 problems instead of 50.  As they get problems right on IXL, it moves them closer to 100 as they get them wrong the lose points. It gives them the practice they need. If a child understands the skill it gives them a few problems to show that and then they are done.  I like that it isn't drill and kill - a billion problems that many students do not need.
So there you have it - some of the reasons why I love IXL. I'm still learning so I'm sure there are more features, but I am a fan so far!

Ideas for Teaching Rounding

Every year, without fail, rounding has been one of the harder concepts to teach and one of the harder ones for kids to understand. Before starting our unit this year, I did a little research on Pinterest and came across this aha moment and wonderful idea from Mr. Elementary Math - vertical number lines! While yes a horizontal line will work, it's confusing when we tell kids to round up and down because on a horizontal line you're really moving left or right.  This is where vertical number lines come in.  You really are rounding up or down and visually it's much easier for kids to see. Check out Mr. Elementary Math's ideas for interactive number lines here...

Here's how I started my rounding introduction....
So, we started by creating a list of multiples.To make it easier to figure out the two numbers that it was between, we created a list of multiples of ten and multiples of 100. While yes most kids are quite capable of counting by 10, it's amazing how when you are talking about rounding some of those common skills go out the window.

Then, we created the anchor chart below and went through a few examples together...  Here you can see the vertical number line in action. The lower number goes on the bottom of the vertical number line and the higher number goes on the top. Then the kids place the number and see which it is closer to.  Then, they literally round down or up depending on where the number is. This made rounding so much easier for so many of my students!

To review - we played this rounding game called Roll It. This game is from Game for Gains and can be found....here....
Want a FREE rounding game to use in your math centers tomorrow? Learn how to play this differentiated Roll It! Rounding Game. You'll even get our free game boards to use!

Hope these tips are helpful for you!  Vertical number lines have changed how I teach rounding and I'm so glad I found it!

Quick Synonyms and Antonyms Activity

Last week when we read our Journey's story - What Do Illustrator's Do - our vocabulary skill was synonyms.  We had been talking about synonyms and antonyms during small groups in past weeks and I had isolated the skills using activities from Florida Center for Reading Research.  

I decided since synonyms came up again to create a quick sorting activity with both synonyms and antonyms.  This activity was perfect for my small groups and gave me a chance to see who understood the difference between the two skills.  This would also be great in a literacy station or as a partner activity during reading. Synonyms and Antonyms Sort can be found in my TPT store...here.

Class Dojo Videos

I absolutely love the Class Dojo videos.  I use Class Dojo as a way to grade/track our non-academic standards (conduct, effort, and personal habits).  But, my favorite part of Class Dojo is the videos tab under Big Ideas. You can find it....here...

Class Dojo started this a few years ago and started out with their videos on Growth Mindset. They also have videos on perseverance, empathy, gratitude, and mindfulness. All important life skills for students to learn!

My favorite one and the series we always start with is the series about Growth Mindset.  As we know Growth Mindset is a big talking point in education and so important for kids to learn about at a young age. However, it can be quite tricky to explain it in kid friendly terms! But, Class Dojo has done it! They use friendly characters - Katie and Mojo and have them encounter typical kid type issues - making mistakes, not knowing how to do something, wanting to give up, etc. Through these videos it teaches kids that your brain is a muscle that can get stronger, that just because you don't know how to do something means you don't know it yet, and more...

I've been showing these once a week for Growth Mindset Monday - Morning Meeting. Students greet each other and share growth mindset type questions. For example, what is something you're good at, what is something that is hard for you, and more.

Students also focus on the videos for their Morning Message. I like to have students respond explaining what they learned in past videos. It's a great way to jog their memory and lead in to the next video since they build on one another.

Then, for the activity we watch the episode and discuss.  The kids love these videos and I find them applying what we learned in class.  For example, we were working on rounding which was hard for some of my students. We focused on the fact that we just don't know it "yet," but the more we practice the better we'll get at it!

I'm excited to finish up the Growth Mindset series next week and then we'll be moving on to Empathy.  How do you use Class Dojo videos in your room?  Comment below and let me know!