Thursday, April 17, 2014

On the Hunt for The Cash Caper!

Do y'all ever feel like you need a good hook {I mean a reeeeally good hook} to "sell" your kiddos on a lesson? When kids come to second grade they have been taught how to identify and count coins before.   As with most concepts that have been previously introduced in the younger grades, I have some kiddos who get it, some that don't get it, and some kids who fall into every nook and cranny in between when it comes to money. I needed a really good hook to get my kids excited about learning about money, AGAIN! That's how "The Cash Caper" idea came to be. I don't know about you, but my kids love a good mystery! One look at this guy and they.were.hooked.

Once I had sold him to them really good {dramatically, of course} the real fun began! Our second grade money standard doesn't have us learning about identifying and counting coins, but they are expected to solve money word problems. Before we began that, I wanted to know exactly where my kids were with money concepts. I had them complete a coin bubble map to show prior knowledge of each coin.

They wrote prior knowledge in green. After the lesson, they wrote new knowledge in blue and crossed out any misconceptions in red. {BTW… I think it's so cute how hung up they got on the color of each coin. They had to have the EXACT color written down. Ha!} Once I knew my kids could identify the coins, I had them show me what they remembered about counting coins, making a dollar, and showing coin combinations in different ways. Everyone needed a little refresher on these concepts! After a lot of modeling and practice, the kids that continued to struggle were given additional practice activities to work on with me during Guided Math. 

What I love about this pack is that I was able to incorporate adding up to four two-digit numbers {also a second grade standard} into our money unit too! Here is a little snapshot of one of my kiddos building her own pizza and adding up the toppings to find her total…

She even added her numbers using decimals! That makes my teacher heart flutter!

We also practiced a lot of different kinds of word problems involving money and wrote a lot about our mathematical thinking in our money reflection journal each day.

Here's a peek into this unit…

I also included coin manipulatives, both big and small. The small ones can be used by the kids and the large ones can be used as a giant whiteboard manipulative {Just add a magnet to the back!}.

If you're interested in this unit, you can find it here! It's on major sale for the next 24 hours! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Author's Purpose for Informational Texts

We've been hard at work in second grade learning about author's purpose. At the beginning of the year we learned that author's write to persuade, inform, or to entertain {P.I.E.}. We made this little flip book to help us remember...

If you'd like a copy you can grab that here. On each page we wrote what it means to persuade, inform, or entertain a reader. Next year, I will also write examples and features of texts that are written to persuade, inform, and entertain. 

After a quick review of author's purpose, we began to look closer at one piece of the P.I.E., writing to inform. We talked about how authors write to inform by writing to answer a question, explain a procedure, or describe a topic. 

My fabulous teammate came up with a quick foldable {large piece of construction paper folded into thirds} to use to help our students keep track of why authors write to inform. 

She made hers into a "Informational Text Toolbox". I just told my students it was their guide book. 

We looked at various examples of informational texts throughout the week. Here is what we used for writing to answer a question...

writing to explain a procedure... I also used driving directions from our school to a museum that we went to for our second grade field trip as an example. 

writing to describe a topic...

As I gave my kiddos a preview of the texts, I had them hold one finger in the air if they thought the author wrote the text to answer a question, two fingers if they thought the author wrote to explain a procedure/process, and three fingers if they thought the author wrote the text to describe a topic. We really had some great discussions about what in the text led them to think the author wrote to answer, explain, or describe. I had my kiddos write notes in their foldable. They wrote what it means to answer, explain, and describe, examples of texts, and a few features of the texts that will help us to figure out the author's purpose.

Please excuse the mistake in the top picture. My kiddos actually corrected me. They were all like "Mrs. G., it's not cat to kitten, it's kitten to cat." Ha! Teachers make mistakes too!!

Next week they will go on an "Informational Text Author's Purpose Hunt". Each table group will get a set of books. They will have to explain what the author's purpose was for writing each book and what features from the text helped them to determine the author's purpose. If you want a copy of this you can grab that here. I'm also including a "Authors Purpose Hunt" for P.I.E. if you're not quite to informational text purpose yet. The other thought I had with the hunt was to have my kiddos look around in the Media Center to search for texts, but I simply don't have the time this year to do that. I'm struggling to get everything all in before the end of the school year. Ya feel me?! Only five more weeks! AHH!

{Freebie graphics from Krista Wallden and fonts by Kimberly Geswein and Cara Carroll.}

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Look!

Oh my word! I'm so excited about my super cute new blog design! I first worked with Kassie when she designed our family blog The Story of Our Lives. I absolutely loved it and loved working with her! She is amazingly talented and really works with you to create just the right look! I knew I HAD to have her redesign my teaching blog too! So here it is… what do ya think? 

I figured since I'm so excited to share this new look, I would offer up one of my FAVORITE products for free for a limited time only. By limited, I mean until I go to bed tonight. Ha!

This is one of my favorite products because we seriously use it It's a great way for me to get a quick look at what my kiddos are grasping and what they need a little more help with. 

It's free y'all! Head on over to my little shop and grab it! While your there… please leave some sweet feedback and follow my store! I'd also love for you to leave a comment here to tell me what you think about my new blog design! Happy Friday friends!!