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With most of teachers teaching remotely, I thought I'd share some advice, as to what things are must haves for teachings working remotely during this distance learning time!

Teaching from home, in some sense, has been a joy! I get to see my own children learn new things and interact with their teacher and classmates on Google Meetings. But something that I have found most beneficial for me is headphones, so I can hear meetings, co-workers, and students more clearly!

This mint/gray pair of Elecder i39 Headphones with Microphone sells on Amazon for $18.99. They are adjustable and have a built in microphone. I have not used this brand, but they have decent reviews. They also come in a wide range of colors!

These Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones are the ones I have been using this week. They sell on Amazon on about $18.49. I haven't found them to be the most comfortable headphones though. And to be honest, I've only been using them because my earbuds have been misplaced!!

Another item that I have found to be essential is the ability to communicate with my students through video. My computer, a Mac Book Air, has a built in camera, so I have been able to use that. But if you are in need of a relatively inexpensive webcam, here are some ideas:

 This KLJKUJ Webams HD Computer Camera with Absorption Microphone sells on Amazon for less than $8. It's ad claims that it can be used on both laptops and desktops.

This FENGTING HD Webcam is also made for laptops and desktops. It is more expensive, as it sells on Amazon for $26. The camera is also rotatable 360 degrees.

If you are wanting to show your kids how to do something, for example, highlight a text, or write an informational paragraph, a doc camera is what you would use in your classroom, but here are some inexpensive options for at home:

This cellphone/iPad holder isn't quite a document camera, however it holds your phone, and allows your to take videos/pictures as a doc camera would, and it's not as pricey, it costs $18 on Amazon.

This portable camera also sells on Amazon, for a bit heftier price of $50. It has a built-in microphone, and is versatile for taking pictures, video conferencing, creating time lapse videos.

What about some ideas to use with your student? My students loved Prodigy back before we were learning remotely. You can math standards for a certain date range, and they answer questions based off that standard, and you can look at their data how they are performing and what areas they are struggling in. My students also love Mystery Science. They have some great videos and the content is high interest! Another essential I have found while using Google Classroom platform is a daily slide agenda, as shown here:

These slides are editable, as well as there are different color options. My students see this on our daily stream and they know what they have to get done for the day.

I have been creating resources on Teachers Pay Teachers since 2013, and in 2017 I started creating Interactive, Paperless Resources  in order to use them in my classroom and in Google Slides and Google Classroom. I have created over 50 resources that you can send you students through Google Classroom, Microsoft OneDrive, or just through email or link. 

If you have any other suggestions what has worked for you during these #distancelearning days, please feel free to post below! 

During our most recent trip to the library, Alexa, my 6 year old kindergarten chose a handful a books, some she could attempt to read, and others she chose with the intent of me reading to her. But I thought I would share these books that peaked her interest. 

The first book she chose was one that she read at school, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. He is a wonderful author, and I know I own quite a few of his books in my classroom library at school. Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance, perfect for any time of year. Chrysanthemum thinks her name is perfect, until her classmates begin to make fun of her. This book is a favorite of both Alexa and I.

The next book Alexa chose was one that she skimmed through and felt confident she would be able to read most of it, it is titled, Bunny will not Smile by Jason Tharp. Bunny will not smile no matter what his friend Big tries, Alexa laughed her way through the silliness of this Level 1 Ready to Read book.

The next book Alexa chose because of the cover, she longs for snow living in Florida, so she wanted a book that had snow in it. This book is titled, The Winter Visitors by Karel Hayes. This story takes place at a summer cottage once the visitors have left for the winter. Much information is gained from the pictures as there are very few words throughout the story, but it lends itself to relying on the pictures to tell the story. 

Alexa chose this book, Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider, because she said it reminded her of her Uncle! This ridiculous tale, of the main character James, taught a valuable lesson that we should always try new things! This is a short chapter book, wonderful for newer readers.

Alexa also chose this book Biscuit's Big Friend by Alyssa Satin Capucilli with the intent of reading it without 'mommy's help'! This book is from the series of I can read, using basic language, word repetition, sight words, perfect for emerging readers!

Alexa chose this book, Step into Reading Disney Frozen 2 Spirits of Nature because she is probably the only 6 year old that hasn't gotten to see Frozen 2 yet, or at least that's what she tells me! Step 2 Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories.

The last book Alexa chose this week at the library was The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones. Again Alexa chose this book because it had the word snow in the title. This story is about making new friends and is encouraging to shy or lonely readers. 

I hope you enjoyed Alexa's selection of books she picked out this week! Have a wonderful day!
Y'all I ain't gonna lie. It has been a hot minute since I've been an ELA teacher, 3 school years in fact. I enjoyed my time teaching science and math, as I feel like that is my stronger content, but the past 60 few days teaching all subjects has been a pretty fun challenge. 

We had been working with cause and effect, and I really wanted to challenge my kids. I work at a PYP (Primary Years Programme), and we really encourage thinking globally, creating inquiry based lessons to challenge the students with real-world tasks and problems. When I first kicked off cause and effect, I showed 3 different images and had students turn and talk, as to what they thought the connection was with the items. I showed them a stove, a pumpkin, and an empty pie pan. I wanted them to make the connection of pumpkin pie. On day 2 I showed them 3 more images, candles, a cake, and balloons, and wanted them to make the connection of a birthday party. I created this interactive making connections you can use whole group, or send to your students through google classroom and have them complete it. Then I had them create their own clues, and within one of our centers, students used post-it notes to guess what the connection of their classmate was. 

Our overall unit has been about Energy, and our first line of inquiry has been the different forms of Energy, so one of the books I read aloud to the students was 

Then the next day, I placed 9 different brown paper bags around the room. I had the students work with partners (works out since I have 18 students currently), and set the timer for them to spend 2 minutes at each bag. They looked at the items in each bag (around 3-5 items) and they were to determine what the connection was. 

A few days later I placed different effects around the room, and had students worked with their partner to once again travel to the different bags and write on sticky notes what were the causes of the effects. 

Then we went back to the book we read aloud, Energy Makes things Happen, and I gave each group a page and they were to find a cause/effect relationship from the page they were given.

I gave them around 7-8 minutes to find this in their text and label the cause and the effect. They did really well! 

Finally, I had them think about all the different cause and effect relationships we had talked about over the course of the last few weeks. We shared out some we remembered, and then I had them write one down to add to our anchor chart shown below.

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Before you can jump right in and teach students multiplication, you have to make sure they have a strong basis of odd, even, and arrays. But where do you start? It can be quite overwhelming, but if your students don't have a strong grasp on these concepts, results to teach them to multiply will end miserably.

But don't worry, I have some tips that worked for me, and I thought I'd share so more students could benefit from these ideas!

 My first tip is to incorporate literacy into your math block. These books are perfect for teaching odd and even and the beginning of arrays.

Day 1 and 2 we are building conceptual understanding, so I do not have any literacy text those days.

Day 3 of my Odd and Even activities, we read Even Steven and Odd Todd. After reading the text, students work with a partner to sort items from the text on their recording sheet. We then meet back to discuss why different items are odd or even. I finish off by giving them an exit ticket.

Day 4 we read One Odd Day by Doris Fisher. Afterwards students used the 20 sided dice mentioned below to shade in 4 different towers, and then wrote about what makes a number even.

Day 5 we read My Even Day by Doris Fisher. Students then used the square tiles to scoop and complete the chart on the number of tiles they scooped. 

Other great titles are Two of Everything and A Remainder of One. Both great for introducing leftovers when in groups and groupings of 2.

 We used these square tiles the first day to create rectangles that were 2 squares wide with different amounts. We noticed that some numbers were not truly rectangles because there was always one square that didn't have a partner (resulting in being odd because there wasn't two equally divided groups).

We used the snap cubes, also known as unifix cubes, for a few different purposes. We created chains up to 20. We choose a number card (1-20), but you could also use the 20 sided dice to roll to get a number. The students built a chain with that many snap cubes, and they would attempt to break the chain in half, or as close to half as they could. If the number was even, the splits would be equally halved, but if the number was odd, one chain would always be one more cube than the other. We wrote our even numbers in the even circle, and our odd numbers in the odd circle. Then they answered what is always true about even numbers, and what is always true about odd numbers.

I love these 20 sided dice! The standard in 2nd grade is telling odd and even up to 20. So we rolled dice, and then colored in the towers on our sheet and determined if the numbers were odd or even!

We used these square tiles again to scoop and determine odd or even! We wrote the amount, circled Yes or No for can I get to this number by counting by 2s, and then we determined how many leftovers there were. (which they figure out that it's always going to be 0 leftovers for an even number, or just 1 leftover for an odd number).

All the activities I've referenced above, along with the lesson plans, are included in this Odd and Even Pack.


From here, we will be starting arrays, so stay tuned for what we do for that in my classroom!!

After two marking periods of place value, adding and subtracting three digit numbers, our third marking period starts with measuring. Measuring lends itself nicely to a variety of read alouds! I admit that every book I recommend for this unit, I own! 

Our first unit in our third marking period covering three standards. In Maryland, we follow the Common Core State Standards and those that we cover are 2.MD.1, 2.MD.2, 2.MD.3. 2.MD.1 is measuring the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, and measuring tapes. 2.MD.2 is measuring the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describing how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen. 2.MD. 3 is estimating lengths using units of inches, fee, centimeters, and meters. 

To 'kick-off' our unit on measurement, we read 'Inch by Inch' by Leo Lionni and then students made posters about items that were about 1 inch long. 

The next day we created inch rulers by using sentence strips (which I halved vertically and then cut into 12 inch strips) and we lined up 12 square array tiles, which just so happen to be 1 inch square! The following day we used our rulers to measure different items in the classroom, but estimated them first! 

The next two day we discussed how 12 inches equals 1 foot, and then 3 feet equals 1 yard. We also read the book Super Sandcastle Saturday (a Math Start book). We used yardsticks and rulers. 

We measured baskets of stuff, and they had items of things they had to decide which unit of measure they should measure with--inches, feet, or yards. 

We then read the story How Big is a Foot (Rise and Shine), and we talked about standard units of measure being the same everywhere. The reason we don't use actual feet is because our feet are different sizes. Then the students did an activity with making a bed for the apprentice. We didn't have enough room in the classroom for this, so we moved into the hall!

The next lesson we got out the measuring tapes and read a very fun story, Jim and the Beanstalk, which mentions beer on one page, so I to cover the word beer with my finger and change it on the fly when I was reading, because I had forgotten it said that! We then used the measuring tapes to measure different items in the room. 

The next lesson we switched gears and I introduced centimeters. We read the Math Start book Pollys Pen Pal and we discussed the English System of measuring versus the Standard System of measuring. We then used the ones units from our base ten blocks, to create centimeter rulers (because those ones units are the size of centimeters!). 

The next few lessons looked similar to the inch/feet/yards lessons. We measured different items with centimeters, talked about 100 centimeters equaling 1 meter, and used the reverse side of the measuring tapes to measure in centimeters. 

Here's some other great literacy connections to read to kick off, or hook, your mathematics at the start of your math lesson.  Math Counts LengthLet's Measure ItHow long or how wideIs a Blue Whale the biggest thing there is?If you Hopped like a frogBiggest strongest fastest

For our summative assessment, I created a project based activity. My students love dogs, so we started by reading Measuring Penny. They then were assessed on the three standards that we had devoted so much time on! 

The students got to pick two dogs to compare and then decide which size dog houses they would need based off the dogs measurements and the dog house measurements. They also had to measure some chew toys, think about reasonable measurements, and measure dog houses. 


 If you are interested in my project based learning activity with dogs and their measurements, make sure you check out:

Or if you are interested in the activities and recording sheets mentioned in this blog be sure to check out:

Graphing is so much fun! If you don't agree that teaching graphing is a lot of fun, my hopes are that this post helps you! We started graphing before Christmas break, and then we will finish up graphing the 3 days we return to school after break.

We kicked off our graphing unit by talking about ice cream. Automatically the kids were excited!! I used a giant sheet of butcher block paper (is that what other people call it too?!?!). We discussed different kinds of ice cream flavors, and then I just chose 4 for them to vote on. We did a notice and wonder and discussed our graph. I encouraged students to think about what kinds of questions could we ask that we could answer by looking at our graph, such as Which flavor got the most votes? Or how many more votes did vanilla get than strawberry? Or how many students voted for Mint chip and chocolate?

The next day I made a graphing template, so I wouldn't use as much butcher block paper over the course of our unit. 

We voted on our favorite Christmas song. I pulled up my Amazon Music account, and chose 4 traditional Christmas songs. I handed out music notes, which I had printed on green cardstock, and put a piece of tape on the back of each one. 

Rudolph ended up being our classes' overall favorite. Again, like with our ice cream vote, we analyzed and came up with questions based off our data. If you are teaching data not during the holidays, you could always go to different Kids Bop songs and have your students vote on their favorites. Or if you are a go-noodler, you could have your students vote on their favorite go-noodle brain break video.

Another day, as a warm-up, we voted on our favorite Christmas color. We had the choices green, red, silver, and red to choose from. Again if you are not teaching data during the holidays, you could have your students vote on their favorite neon color, or favorite pastel color. 

We then went from our picture graphs, and jumped into bar graphs. I introduced bar graphs with this fun graphing M&Ms activity. I gave each student a small paper cup filled with 15 M&Ms each. I then had them sort their M&Ms, and line them up. Then one by one, I had them color their amounts in their bar graph columns. 

After coloring in their columns, each student had to answer 4 questions that were on the bottom of their paper. You could do similar activities with colored counters, mini-erasers from the Target dollar spot, or even plastic coin monies. 

Another activity we will be doing is making a picture with our pattern blocks, and then we will be graphing which pattern blocks we used for our pictures.

If you had other ideas, please be sure to post in the comments below!!

Interested in the activities I mentioned above, but don't have the time to re-create the wheel? Check out the printables and SO MUCH MORE in Creating, Reading, Anaylzing Bar & Picture Graphs 2.MD.10

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**
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