Monday, January 16, 2012

Cinnamon...I Mean Synonym

I am lovin' my 3 day weekend! Yes, yes, YES! I know we've only been in school 8 days this year, but boy was I needing a day to sleep in again! I was so thankful for the long winter break, but it was really hard for me to get in gear again!

Anyways, here is something "sweet" we did last week... and please forgive my crooked pictures!!

Once of our lessons was on synonyms. I love teaching synonyms because it really helps build my class' vocabulary. I am so sick of them writing, "It was so fun. I am so happy..." I know they are capable of being amazing writers, so I was really delighted to sweeten up their language! Found on the amazing Pinterest, here are Synonym Rolls!

Pinned Image
Picture from Life is Better Messy Anyway!

After a mini-lesson on synonyms, the students were very excited to begin "baking" their rolls. Their first job was to use only their brain to think of one "boring" word. Some common words from my class included nice, good, pretty and easy. After they thought of their word, they needed to continue using only their brain to brainstorm synonyms on their own. After a few minutes, I let them find a partner to get help from a friend's brain. My little social butterflies loved this part and conversation immediately filled my classroom. I loved hearing the kiddos say, "That's a boring word. We can do better than that!" After working together to add more words to their list, the partners could use a thesaurus to finish off the list. There were many "aha" moments when the kids read some of the words in the thesaurus.

Now that they had a list to work off of, it was time to put together the rolls. The students cut a circle out of manila paper, wrote their first word in the middle of the circle, and then drew a spiral with their brown crayon. Then, they wrote their synonyms on the spiral lines. Once their synonym rolls were "done", we placed them on a piece of foil for the hallway bulletin board.

To spice this activity up, we ate some Cinnabon Cereal my teammate picked up.  They taste just like mini cinnamon rolls, with a little crunch! I seriously had to hide them from myself before the activity started because they would have been gone!  :)

If you want the sign I used for the bulletin it is!

Synonym Rolls

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Addition and Subtraction

We are almost finished with our super long addition and subtraction unit, but I wanted to share a few games before it gets too late! We started this unit at the beginning of November and are finishing up this week. I can honestly say I'm ready to move on! I am thankful for the much needed time on addition and subtraction (because most of our units go super fast), but this was way too long! Here are a few games that really helped my kiddos...

This game is great practice for adding and subtracting with a hundreds chart. The game is a matching game in which the students need to match a number sentence/word problem to a hundreds chart. There are also directions that the students need to match a hundreds chart to. For example, "Go down 2 tens and to the right 5 ones" is the same as adding 25. I love matching the hundreds chart to directions because that's what my little ones think inside their head.... well, at least that's what their taught to do!

Hundreds Chart Matching (3)

My district really pushes bar diagrams for solving word problems. If you know something about the Singapore Method, this is pretty much it! When they were first introduced, I wasn't a big fan. But, after a few years of teaching them, I really like how they organize the students' thinking. Basically, a bar diagram is a visual to help set up a word problem. We teach 2 different diagrams, the part-part-whole diagram and comparison diagram. This game is a great review of the diagrams and for solving word problems, something my students really needed help on!

Bar Diagram Matching

Hopefully these games are useful in your classroom!

Friday, December 30, 2011


Well, I'm at it again...

I started blogging about 2 years ago and absolutely fell in love! I had a little teaching blog, Burst of First, which I really kept up with. I joined the ranks of all the other first grade teachers with blogs and really enjoyed everything. Then, I was moved to teach second grade, and Burst of First, sadly, had to go.

The new school year started and I have to admit, I was super overwhelmed! Starting the year in a new grade level, with new teammates, a pilot program and the new common core curriculum was way too crazy for me. I tried my best to continue blogging and balance my personal life, but with a new blog. Here was my attempt to blog as a second grade teacher. Again, epic failure!!

With a new year starting in a day and a few hours (can you believe it?!?!?), I've decided to start a new blog, again! I've really missed blogging over the past few months and cannot wait to get back in! Although I still feel a little overwhelmed (and who doesn't?), I'm pretty sure I can do this again! It really turned in to a hobby for me, and with the NBA season finally starting up again, I'll have more time to do this since Mr. Husband will be glued to the TV!

So, here is my new year's resolution.....enjoy!