Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting Organsied

Well, I've started shopping for new things to make my classroom more colorful, cheerful and organised.

Here are some of my purchases over the past couple of days:
Boxes, Boxes, Boxes! These are smaller ones that I am using to hold my Grade 6 books and resources (the bigger boxes end up being way to heavy). Smaller food containers that I keep small games, dice, spinners etc in. All the books are from a clearance box at Target. I LOVE the poetry books. I've already got the older versions which had BW pictures throughout - these ones are in colour. They have cool names too:
  • Unreal, Banana Peel
  • Real Keen, Baked Bean
  • Far Out, Brussel Sprout
  • All Right, Vegemite
  • Roll Over, Pavlova
Didn't really want to pay $5 for each, but I just had to have them! I love using poetry for teaching blends, digraphs and word families, rhyming words etc etc so these will definitely come in handy.
 I got these at the local $2 shop (we don't have 'dollar stores' here!). The most expensive item I saw in this shop was $750!! Not so cheap! I've got some pencil holders, little trays to hold things and these stands that I thought would help give me some more room by being able to put stuff underneath.
I also bought a couple of bigger boxes to add the resources from my theme units.

Gotta go! There's more shopping to be had!

Giveaway - Blog Design at 1st Grade with Miss Snowden

WOW, I really want to win this one!

To celebrate 400 followers, Miss Snowden is giving away 4 personalized blog designs! She will work with you to design a blog header, background and button!

Head on over to her website to enter!


If you already LOVE your design, don't despair, she also giving away a freebie each night!


Contest ends Saturday, July 2nd at midnight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm Having a Sale!

Head on over to my TpT store to get 20% off all my items!

Monster Rounding board game center or math work station

I've finally added this game to TpT! The reason why it wouldn't load was because the file was over 50MB! I've split the file into 2 - buy the game here and download the rules and monster counters here.

The game focuses on rounding 3-digit numbers to the nearest ten and hundred. It is tabloid/A3 size so I get them printed off at school. Or you can print them to A4/letter size (over 2 pages) and make a file folder game. These are great for centers or math work stations.

It comes with a 2 versions of a 3-digit board for students to check answers if there are disputes. This one shows the 1 hundreds, students just replace the 1 hundred with the hundred they landed on and use it to work out whether they round to the 10 or hundred the number has, or the next one. The other version has a '_' where the 1 hundred is - students just insert with the hundred they landed on.
Like all my board games it comes with rules suitable for students to read and they can be glued on the front of the file folder if you go with that option.

Students have to collect 5 green and 5 yellow counters (or monster cards below) to win the game. They collect 1 yellow counter for rounding to the nearest 10, a  green one for rounding to the nearest hundred.
You can get it at my TpT store.

Theme Labels for Folders and Boxes Weather/Seasons

Well let me tell you what a day I've had! One, I couldn't get my Monster Rounding game to load onto TpT.

Two, once I gave up on that, I spent the WHOLE day doing last years tax ! I got a bit behind and suddenly realised that the 10/11 financial year is just about over and I still haven't done last year's tax! I wish I hadn't done it though because the amount of money I've spent on teaching materials is scary! But it's at the tax agent now and hopefully I'll get a good refund!

Three, my ex still hasn't been over to put up my new shelves since he worked all weekend, but I felt like doing something to get my stuff organised. So... now that I have this need to label everything with all the wonderful labels that have been coming out, I decided to start making some for my theme boxes. Next term it's Weather and the Seasons so that's what I've got for you tonight.
This is a small (half page) label to stick onto my Weather and the Seasons theme box. There is also a whole page version to go in the front of a folder that has activities and lesson plans for the unit inside.
This is the label for the folder (slips down the side of those ones that have the clear plastic to insert labels). Get them here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Classroom Organisation and Design

I've been blog hopping all over the place today looking at all the wonderful classrooms out there! I'm really feeling cluttered at the moment because I have accumulated so much 'stuff' over the past 6 months I've been teaching second grade.

I must say, the classrooms I've been looking at seem HUGE compared to mine (which is a demountable) and they have SO MUCH storage! I've got 1 bookshelf for teaching/art supplies (in a room behind a concertina door at the back of the class that is shared with the class next door - it has our shelves, a sink and art table) and 3 small bookcases- that's it. When I look at classrooms overseas I see a whole wall of benches and cupboards! I am literally green with envy!

Here's some pics from the start of the year where you can basically see the whole class to get an idea of the size. I'd just set up the desks and put up some stuff that I thought would be good for Grade 2 (I was coming down after teaching Year 6 for two years). The class has changed heaps now and I wish I took some photos before I took stuff down before I went on holidays - the class looked awesome after our insects theme.

Another note - I have not seen a class EVER in Australia that has a theme!  I see these beautiful ocean or pirate themed classrooms on the web but never at the school where I teach at or where I did my teaching practise. So you won't see that here! I do however, put up lots of stuff we make and other things depending on what we are learning about each term (for example, last term in science we learned about insects so there was heaps of stuff hanging around). We also HAVE to have desks - we don't get a choice.
 
Here's a view from the front door at the very back and right of the classroom looking to the front and left of the building. So using this pic and the ones of the teaching area, you basically see the whole width and length of the classroom.
 

Here's a view from the front computer towards the other side of the room. You can almost see the front door to the right of the photo (the long vertical window looks out to the stairs right near the front door). That is an old rug from home - the fancy alphabet rugs I've seen elsewhere cost over $500 here!


View from the front to the back. You can see the entrance and into our office (shared between me and another teacher). This takes up room that could be classroom space! It has our teacher desk and a two-shelf book case. Because there is a door and it is 'hidden' I basically just dump stuff there! It is very messy! You can also see where the door is that goes into the wet area for art on the right side of the Work Board. 
This is the book nook. I now keep themed books in the book stand. We recently had a Friendship Theme so there was a sign above that rack that said 'Read a Friendship Themed Book'.The small couch was my son's - he's too big now! The rack I got on ebay for about $20.


Above are the only 3 bookcases in my room. I've also got one small grey cabinet that I keep stuff in.
CAFE board (one of only two pin boards in the class) and teaching area. The rocking chair is a favourite.I bought 2 of those little grey tables (one is in the pic). They have a hutch that go on them. I originally bought them off ebay thinking they would be good for a writing station, but they were too short. The other one and hutch is in the office to hold teaching supplies.

I had to do guided reading in the area above too or at a group of desks because we don't have those cool guided reading tables that I have seen in other classrooms. I use 2  have a hexagonal table (2 trapezoid tables joined together) that I use. 
Area by the door. Students use magnets to spell their HF words or spelling words. They can also use the whiteboard markers in the holder (a bathroom holder of some sort I think is used to hold them).

Front of the room with book boxes on the ground, I hadn't found a place for them yet. I don't really sit on the stool but I had it from when I taught Year 6 - they loved sitting on it when they were Leader of the Week.
So... my classroom looks very different now but the problem is that I have too much stuff and not enough space to put it! Once I go back in I'll take some pics and perhaps I can get some feedback on how to store things better!

SUNsational Summer Giveaway Closing Soon!

Head on over to

 Teaching in High Heels

for your chance to win 10 amazing products!

It's your last chance to enter!

FREEBIE: Sprint to 100 Place Value game

So here is another game I play with my class once they are ready to move from using cubes and bundling sticks to getting used to base-10 materials. I never just give a new material and expect students to transfer what they know over unless they have had time to play with it first. This is one of the games we play to get used to handling base-10 and connect it with what we learned using the other materials like connecting cubes and bundling sticks.

 Get it here.

Remember to head over to Oceans of First Grade Fun to check out all the other amazing Place Value Freebies.

Monster Rounding - to hundreds and tens

Here's a sneak peek of a game I'm adding to TpT tomorrow called Monster Rounding. It has numbers to 999 to be rounded to the nearest 10 and hundred.


I've got heaps more of these games to come, I'm just jazzing up my games now that I've discovered Scrappin Doodles, Just So Scrappy Too and DigiScrapKits!

Time for bed now I think! It's 12.30am here!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Place Value: Number Invaders Board Game

My newest item on TpT.
Number Invaders is a game for 2 players or 2 teams of pairs.

Players spin both spinners (I use the plastic ones but you can also use a pencil and paper clip) on the board and say the number spun e.g. a 4 on the tens spinner and 3 on the wins would be "4 tens and 3 ones is 43). Players add a counter to the board if there is a space with that number.

Alternatives:

1. Player with 3 in a row on either color planet wins
2. Play until all planets are covered. The player with the most counters on each planet wins that planet (potential for both players to win).
3. Players also say the number 1 more/1 less (or 10 more/10 less) than the number spun and have the option of putting down a counter on either or all of the 3 numbers.

It is tabloid size so you can print to that size or print on 2 letter size pages and make a file folder game or laminate them together to make the larger size board.


You can get it here.

Tens and Ones Bingo Game

I've uploaded my Tens and Ones Bingo Game to TpT. This game uses minimal ink as I find I am always running out! I needed something that didn't use too much and this was it!

The 6 boards (for a small group)  have 2-digit numbers in base-10 in each box.
The game comes with three sets of calling cards so you can choose which set is best for your group of kids:
Set 1: numerals (46)
Set 2: words (forty-six)
Set 3: expanded form (4 tens 6 ones)

I print each of the cards on differnt coloured paper and laminate them (actually, I always print, cut, laminate and then cut AGAIN! I find a small boarder of laminate stops them from peeling and they last lots longer). I dab a bit of glue on the back of the cut out cards when placing them on the laminating sheet so that they don't move and go wonky.

Find the game here.

Math Work Stations Chapter 6: Place Value


Place Value Chart WITH Arrow

Here is a place value chart I made when I started Year 2 this year. 

This chart is a little different to other ones I see because I've added an arrow in the ones place. 
This helps students when we play games like The Bundling Game and the Trading Game and when it comes to two-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping and trading. 

This is how the arrow helps with addition and subtraction: 

  • The arrow reminds students to start with the ones, while also leaving room in the tens column to place the bundled ten above the existing tens - just like we do when we record addition with regrouping.
  • For example, you tell students an addition story.
  • e.g. The farmer's wife picked 37 apples from their trees while he picked 26. How many apples did they pick altogether? 
  • Lay out 37 sticks, then 26 underneath. You'll have to pretend the 3 lines with a cross through it is bundling sticks (a bundle of 10 icy-pole sticks with a rubber band)- if I was at school I would have taken a photo to show you what I mean!


  • I recommend icy-pole sticks or connecting cubes over Base 10 when introducing this concept as students can 'see' the regrouping - not taking away 10 ones and then adding a long base 10 block.
  • The arrow tells you where to start, so you start by adding ones. Bundle the ten and move it to the tens column. It is placed above the 3 tens since this is where we write the bundled 10 when we record it 
 
  • When students are ready to record, they will understand why they have to 'put the one up the top' and understand that the '1' is actually 1 ten. It works the same with subtractation (the ten ones go on top of the arrow).
 
  • I personally always say somethhing like 7 ones and 6 ones is 13 ones. One ten (record in the tens column) and 3 ones (record in ones)
Sorry about the terrible images, I just quickly did something up. 

Get the Chart here - This is the first time I'm trying Google Docs, so please let me know if it doesn't work. 

Keep your eye out for a Place Value pack that I'll be adding to TpT soon - it is about 55 pages so far, and there is still much to go. I've kept the pack very simple - not much colour or graphics (instead print on color paper) to cut down on ink. 


The document is two pages - laminate them together to make a large PV chart  to fit the bundling sticks or connecting cubes. Also see my Tens and Ones Dominoes. 





Take-Home Readers Linky Party

Time for Kindergarden is having a linky party asking for suggestions on how to organise take-home readers.

At our school, they provide specific readers for home reading, which a parent comes in and changes for me once per week. Students return their readers AND homework on a Friday only, we mark, I check and it goes home again so that students have the weekend and the week to get it done. I find this MUCH easier to manage than than checking homework and changing readers twice per week or more often. Each student gets to take home two readers - unfortunately the school doesn't provide 'real' books for taking home- students can borrow them during library time.

The neat part of the swystem is that the parent uses a scanner to log books out to each student so that we know exactly who has overdue books. Books are also 1-2 level below their instructional reading level for guided reading so that they can practise their fluency and comprehension at home, rather than struggle too much with it. Parents have really been great with this idea because they no longer have to struggle with children who complain that the book is too hard if they get stuck on a word and that they don't want to read - being able to show off to mum and dad that they can read the book has really built up their confidence.

Students keep their home readers in a school library bag (they have one for library and one for home readers) which has a handle and are waterproof. 

When I taught Year 6 however, I did allow students to take home my books. Those that were interested just booked them out on the Home Reading Log. I had wonderful classes those two years and not 1 book was lost. I also had to have a Waiting List for books - after I contacted books and did book introductions, there was always a HUGE interest in them and for those unlucky enough to not be given the book first, they would add their name to the Waiting List. When a student finished with the book, they would check the Waiting List and pass it on to the next person!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FREEBIE: Pet Subraction Concept Mats

Here are my subtraction concept mats with a pet theme. I've included both the small version with cards and the larger version (write on) in the one file.



20 pages all for FREE! Don't you just love a freebie! Visit my TpT store to get the Buggy Addition Concept Mats too.

Buggy Addition Concept Maps - Letter size version

I've had a request for my Buggy Addition Concept Maps to come in letter size version so here they are. 

No need for the cards, just laminate and use a dry erase marker.

I'm almost finished with subtraction, multiplication and division concept maps so they'll be up soon. Follow my TpT store or blog to be updated when they are uploaded.

Daily 5 - Read to Someone

13/07/12 - I've now changed this pack to be called Buddy Reading so that it is not specific to the Daily 5 program. 

I'm very excited because I've just added a new item to TpT . I've collated all my Buddy Reading/Read to Someone (part of The Daily 5) files which I've made over this year. All of this is included: 

It has 3 prompt cards or bookmarks for partners while doing Buddy Reading: 
 
1. Coaching bookmark for when a partner is stuck on a word


2. Check mark (double-sided) in color and black and white with a check on one side and prompts on the other to Check for Understanding


3. Two types of fluency checkers when readers reread passages and their partner rates them with smilely faces as to how they have improved (it can also be used for self-assessment)

The pack also has:
  • 32 Discussion Prompt task cards + 4 blank ones to make your own (or just email me and I'll add them).
  • Buddy Reading Discussion Starters
  • Buddy Reading Discussion Prompts to help readers give more information (as a poster and 2 to-a-page.
  • Buddy Reading Poster
  • Buddy Reading E.E.K.K. poster
  • How to Buddy Read poster
  • Buddy Reading Stamina Graph

 You can check it out here.

Holiday Project - Get my garage organised!

Yeah, I am now officially on Winter holidays - we have about two weeks here in Australia - and boy do I have a BIG project!

I recently moved house after my partner of eight years and I broke up. I had been living with him so I was the one who had to go through the gruelling process of moving. It is one of my pet hates! All the packing, cleaning and deciding whether or not I should keep or get rid of this or that.... it is so tiring!

On top of that, I've also been busy assessing and completing report cards. In year 2 in Australia, we also have the Year 2 Net where we collect evidence during the year and then 'validate' students we feel are at risk and require extra support in reading, writing and number. It is HUGE! We have to collect evidence on key indicators and sub-indicators (preferably evidence collected in 3 different modes). After we validate those students, we have to go to moderation with another school etc etc. Also, we have to sign the continuas for ALL students in those three areas - it takes many HOURS just to sign the things, let alone collect the evidence! So that at the same time as report cards and moving means some things have been put in the 'later' box.

So all of that is to try and justify what garage has become - I am so ashamed and hate walking in there. Most of my teaching resources appropriate for grade 2 are at school, but I've also taught Year 6 (where I had a very extensive classroom library) and I've also collected things over the past 3 years since I started teaching for other grade levels - I might teach grade 4 one day, you never know - that kind of thinking.....

So... brace yourself for this mess..

On top of the boxes here is some shelving I bought from Ikea to start this project. My ex is going to come and put it up for me in a few days - hopefully! I can't really start much until he comes in and does it (we are still great friends and get along well). 


Here are boxes of scholatic books, big books, boxes of folders etc.




Here's another look at the shelving. It has open sides and back so that I can slide big boxes of theme materials in and out easily. 
 The big vertical pile of boxes are all filled with books, there's another pile of books on the grouund. I seriously have too many books. Many have been contacted from teaching Grade 6, but I've also got boxes more that aren't appropriate for Grade 2 so they haven't been contacted yet but I buy them when they are cheep anyway.


A box of reource materials with boxes of books on top.

Just looking at it is making me want to close the door and forget about it! That's part of the reason I put it on here - now I have to give you updates on how it goes! I'll upload photos of the shelves when they are assembled and on my progress as I sort through all this stuff. I hate culling anything because I think I might use it one day... I can see a few hard decisions coming my way!

How do you organise all of your teaching materails that you are not currently using? I'd love some ideas!

Friday, June 24, 2011

SUNsational Summer Giveaway

Glady's over at Teaching in High Heels is having a 

SUNsational Summer Giveaway!

Seven, yes seven, A.MA.ZING bloggers are sponsoring the biggest giveaway she has EVER hosted! Isn't that FANtastic!? I mean who doesn't LOVE giveaways?! Really! 

The prizes look FANTASTIC! I really shouldn't be blogging about it, it'll only reduce my chances of winning! I would LOVE to get my hands on those goodies!
 
YOU'VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT
SO HEAD ON OVER TO TEACHING IN HIGH HEELS 
AND GET YOUR ENTRIES IN NOW!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quartering the Story

Today was the second last day of school before we go on our mid-year Winter break and things are easing off a bit after getting our reports done and handed out this week and parent/teacher interviews last night.

For reading today (because I didn't really do much planning when I got home freezing cold last night), I quickly did up this book report called Quartering the Story. Basically, there are 4 boxes on a page (over 2 pages for more advanced readers and writers who respond in more depth) that ask students to:
  1. draw their favourite scene from the story and label it.
  2. write any new words from the book and use context or a dictionary to write the meaning OR write words from the story and write an antonym and synonym for each.
  3. do a character sketch and label with adjectives. 
  4. summarise the story in a few sentences. 
The kids did really well and even my lower readers were able to complete the activity with buddy support on recent real-aloud books. 






Get it on my TpT site, since I still can't work out how to put word documents here... To save printing, you could just get the kids to fold a page in quarters!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blog Stalking Linky Party





I'm only new to blog stalking but since I discovered it in the past two or so weeks I can't get enough! I love using my blog here to see the latest posts of my favourite blogs like the Clutterfree Classroom, Step into 2nd Grade, the Scrhroeder Page, Finally in First, Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs Lemons and Mrs Jump's class - amoung others! I also use google reader to follow these sites when I'm not logged into my blog. It certainly does make it easy to miss anything!


BTW - parent teacher interviews were a blast! I've never had them go so well. I even had one parent bring me a snack since she knew I'd be there for 4 hours after school. Bless her!
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