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# Math

One of the skills we cover in second grade (which I know is often a third grade skill) is multiplying by multiples of 10. This can off scare kids as you are using larger numbers, but I knew my kids could handle it. To make it a little less scary, I introduced it using a story problem. I put the problem below up on the board and read over it with the kids.

Then, I told the kids to solve it on their white boards at their seats. I didn’t give any prompting or suggestions, I wanted to see what they would come up with on their own.  Boy was I pleasantly surprised! They had amazing strategies! As you’ll see below they came up with multiple different ways to come to the answer.  They all understood it was equal groups and they used strategies we had talked about with multiplication – drawing out equal groups, skip counting, repeated addition, breaking apart numbers, etc. I was so proud of them. After giving them time to solve I had students bring their white board up to explain their strategies to the class.

This honestly was the best way I have ever introduced it. Instead of me telling them how to figure it out or only showing them the trick (8 x 3 = 24 so 8 x 30 = 240), they really took them time to try to figure it out for themselves. And it helped because on future problems they knew multiple strategies they could use to solve it.

See their awesome strategies below…

It’s getting to be that time again….the dreading testing season is about to begin! I know April and May can be quite chaotic for teachers with all of the end of the year activities, but it is also chaotic with all of the testing!  We test in early May so April tends to be a lot of review. And, while reviewing can be boring, I’ve done a few things the last year or two to spice it up a bit.

Reviewing content is important throughout the year, but refreshers are always good as testing approaches. Last year I wanted to freshen things up a bit and try to make reviewing as fun as possible.  One way I did this was by changing up the way we reviewed each day.  For example, in math, we reviewed different skill areas each day. One day we worked on place value, one day operations, one day patterns, etc.  To keep it fresh, we reviewed these skills in different ways. This way no two days was the same. And – it helped! The students enjoyed reviewing more and were more engaged (which is the whole point of this :-)!)

Here are some ideas for how to review math skills…these can be applied to different grade levels and skills:

• Egg Hunt – Yes, I know Easter is over, but an egg hunt is fun for everyone. To practice our operations skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) I created an egg hunt for my kids.  They were able to go around the room hunting for eggs and then they had to solve the problems inside the egg on the recording sheet. They loved it!  I also differentiated by putting more difficult problems in certain colored eggs and more on-level problems in others. This way I was able to challenge the kids who were ready.

• Match-Up – Another activity I did was a match-up activity with partners. Students had the multiplication or division problem and had to match the problem with the answer card.

• Around the Room – Kids need to move and they especially need to move as we get closer and closer to the end of the year. Last year I created an Around the Room activity to review place value. It included expanded form, place value model, comparing numbers, and writing numbers in standard form.  Kids were up and moving and able to review the different place value skills we worked on. You can find Place Value Review – Around the Room in my TPT Store…here.  I also created an Around the Room activity to review the pattern skills that we did a different day to avoid repetitious review activitie

• White Board Review – Another skill we reviewed was understanding story problems. Our standards include being able to solve story problems, but also being able to identify the operation and the number sentence that matches. I put a PowerPoint together and the kids would respond to the question on their white boards and then we’d do a quick show and discussion.

• Kids Sharing Out – This was an idea I saw on Instagram last year and I wish I could remember where because it is genius!  I put different operation and story problems on larger poster paper around the room. Students then went around and solved the problems on their own recording sheet.  Once they finished that, I partnered the kids up and gave each partnership one of the hanging poster boards.  They had to solve that problem on the chart paper. Then, they had to get up and present to the class how they solved it.  Great way to practice math communication and review!

I know many of these ideas are focused around math, but you could still use the same review activities, but with reading or ELA skills. I will also be doing language arts and reading review with lots of task cards.  For reading – I also highly recommend looking at ReadWorks. They have tons of multiple choice passages like the students will see on many of these standardized test.

How do you review for standardized testing? Share your ideas in the comments…

Be sure to sign up for my email list below! This Tuesday (April 10) I will be sending out a FREEBIE to all of my email subscribers with some cute testing signs you can use during testing season!

So a little bit of background info about me.  I used to be a huge Phoenix Suns fan. I was such a big fan that my room back in AZ was decked out in basketball and Phoenix Suns decor.  This is also where the name Team J’s 2nd Grade Fun came from.  My husband is also a basketball coach. So – basketball is very important in our household and this is always a fun time of year with all of the March Madness excitement.  Today I want to show you a few ways you can bring some of this excitement into your classroom.

Classroom Decor:

My awesome room moms last year decorated my classroom with all kind of March Madness goodies. I know they found some of these items on Amazon and some at the party stores around town.

Math:

The room decor also carried on outside to my hallway bulletin board. I decided to have students solve a math word problem – basketball themed – on an actual basketball cut-out that would be attached to the bulletin board. To differentiate, I had different types of problems (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) with varying degrees of difficulty. I let the students pick which problem they wanted to solve.  It turned out amazing!

I also created a task card version of these story problems and they are in my TPT Store.  The product is called Basketball Bonanza Story Problems.

This year I am also doing a Tournament of Books March Madness Challenge with my students.  Last week was Reading Week, which fit in perfectly with this activity! I found the bracket board online and picked out the picture books myself. I tried to pick books that had similar features, characters, or storylines to go against each other in the first round. For example – Chicks and Salsa and The Big Chickens. I also tried to pick books that were unfamiliar to my kids.  This past week we finished up the Sweet 16 Round. I would read both books going against each other to my kids and then they would vote.  The winner moves on to the Elite 8 Round.

Do you celebrate March Madness in your class?  Comment below and let me know.

I recently taught multiplication to my 2nd graders. We spent time really understanding the foundation of multiplication and the why and how it works. We learned multiple strategies and were finally to the last strategy – skip counting. Now, I know most kids have been skip counting for a long time and are able to easily skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s. But, skip counting by 6s, 8s, 9s, etc. are more tricky. I wanted them to really understand why skip counting is a multiplication strategy as opposed to just memorizing the skip counting pattern.

So….CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) which you hear me mention a lot came to the rescue. I love using Number Talks as a way to get my kids thinking about strategies, but this time Choral Counting fit the goal better. In choral counting, students are counting by a certain number, fraction, decimal, etc. Since we were skip counting for multiplication I had them skip count by 8s. We slowly counted and I wrote down the numbers as they counted. We went slowly so even my kiddos that need to count up on their fingers were able to participate. We went quite far….see below….

Then, I gave them think time and asked them to make observations about what they noticed with what we skip counted. After independent think time, I had them share their observations with their partners. The room was buzzing with noise, but it was amazing because they were all excited to share their connections.  Then, I had students share out their observations with the class.  Engagement was high and I had lots of students wanting to share out.  Even one of my kiddos who has struggled in math was dying to share her answer – she was raising her hand and shaking it around to the point where I thought it would fall off.

As they shared their observations, I documented it using different color makers. (See picture below). First, students noticed how each time we moved horizontally we were adding by 8.  Another student noticed that vertically we were adding 40 each time.  Then we talked about how if you add 8 two times – that would be 16. If you add 8 three times that would be 24 and moved into how it was like multiplication.  This worked really well because they made the connection that skip counting isn’t just memorization it actually goes along with the multiplication fact.  One 8 would be 8, two 8’s would be 16 and they actually understood how it’s all connected.

I highly recommend choral counting for teaching and practicing many different math skills. I’ve also seen it used for counting fractions, decimals, money, and elapsed time.

Have you ever used choral counting before? Comment below….

I know how crazy the last few days/week before winter break can be. We are entering crazy times teachers and we need to have as many fun, educational activities in our back pocket ready to go as we can.

So, here are a few things I will be using with my class this week….

Christmas Writing Prompts – This is a FREEBIE in my TPT Store.  It includes two writing prompts that are focused on personal narratives.  Great way to incorporate writing into the holiday excitement.

Candy Cane Science Lab – I did this activity with my class last year and will be starting it this week. We’ve been learning about lab reports during Writing Workshop and this is a fun science experiment to do this time of year. Check out my blog post on it….here

Olive, the Other Reindeer Book Study – This is a cute story and my students love hearing it every year.  This book study is now in my TPT Store. It includes comprehension questions and four different writing prompts. This could be used whole group or as a small group activity.

Christmas Story Problems – We will be starting these today.  I love using holiday story problems as one of my rotations during our daily math time.  The kids love that they are themed and fitting of the season.  The Christmas Story Problems include addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping.

Winter Story Problems – I will actually be using these when we return to school in January, but if your school focuses on winter instead of the specific holidays – these story problems would be great. These can be used whole group, small group, or at a math center.  These winter themed problems focus on ice skating, hot chocolate, snowmen, etc.  Includes addition and subtraction problems.

Hope these activities and ideas help with the last bit of school before break. I’m down to 7.5 days left with students. We can do it teachers!

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…

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

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….

• 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!
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….
Hope these tips are helpful for you!  Vertical number lines have changed how I teach rounding and I’m so glad I found it!
We recently finished up our unit on Properties of Addition. This is always a tough unit for kids.  While they are able to add – being able to identify the properties and figure out missing numbers has always been challenging.
Below is the anchor chart we created together the first day after exploring each property using a balance scale…see below.
I saw the balanced scale idea online.  Using unifix cubes/snap cubes you can show each property and the balance scale is perfect because it shows how things are equal no matter what order they are done in.  The picture below shows the Associative Property.  We had (4+2) + 3 on one side and then (3+2) + 4 on the other. We discussed how both equals 9 and the scale is balanced because it’s the same sum. This then led to the chart discussion about how it doesn’t matter which way you group the numbers you’re adding – the sum will still be the same.
After learning the three properties, I had students practice whole group. I projected my Properties of Addition Practice (a freebie in my TPT store) on the board and students responded to the questions on their individual white boards.
Below’s slide is asking them to identify which property is shown in the equation…
This slide is asking them to find the missing number that goes in the blank.  We talk a lot about how you want to look and see which numbers are there and which one is missing. Since you see 2 on the other side and not 5 – 5 must be the missing number to make this equation equal.
If Properties of Addition is something you teach – check out my freebie! Great way for kids to practice this skill whole group.