Monday, April 30, 2018

Listening In and Number Lines

We were near the ending of our math workshop.  Last week we looked at using a number line to help us show different ways to make a total money amount.  We named our work, Ways to make 35 cents.  This wasn't my own idea.  I'm in love with the resource Math in Practice A Guide for Teachers and was using an activity and paper from this resource.  

We took time to notice the number line.  It started with 0 and ended at 100.  There are lines in-between but not 100 lines.  I heard students trying to count lines using skip counting by 10.  I then heard some students trying to count lines using skip counting by 5.  I modeled how to show one way to use the number line to show ways to make 35 cents.  Together we used the number line to model two different/more ways to make 35 cents.  

I wanted to show how to use number bonds to show different ways to make 35 cents and starting to shift our work.  I mentioned the number line is one tool we could use to show ways to make coin collections and a student who needs extra support sometimes asked, "Can we put this in the math area?"  I was confused at first.  I wondered why she would want to put the paper she worked on in the math area of our room.  Then I thought a bit deeper and asked her if she would like papers like she used today in the math area.  She said yes, blank ones.  I confirmed blank papers on the shelf with our graph paper and ended my thinking with some inflection indicating I was changing this phrase to a question.  

She was so excited to say, "YES!"  I stopped right there.  What a great idea and was puzzled why I hadn't thought about this before.  It's a great math tool - a graphic organizer that can be tricky to draw for some students.  I had previously taught them how to use open number lines as a tool to show skip counting, adding and subtracting and now I'm thinking the structure of the lines on this graphic organizer and having them show increments of five might really help support some mathematicians.  Maybe an open number line is overwhelming for some students.  I'm so excited this student spoke up.  It's made me stop and think about different math organizers I could put in our math area to support them for different units of study.  It's made me stop and think about scaffolding number lines.  It's made me stop and realize it's important to have these  graphic organizers accessible for when the students want and find a need to use them.

Our days can get very busy this time of year and filled with to do list and agendas.  These few minutes reminded me to stop both the to do list and the agenda and listen.  Listen to the sweet wisdom of a seven year old.  It could be a game changer.

Friday, April 27, 2018

With My Hands - Poems About Making Things {Poetry Friday}

I love preordering books and having them surprise me in my mailbox weeks or a few months later.  Before I click pre-order I often wonder if I should preview the book physically to guarantee I will love it and need to buy it.  I don't have to preview books written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.  I love her books and need them.

With My Hands - Poems About Making Things took me back in time.  Many of the things Amy writes about are things I did as a child and I might dabble now in as an adult.  Leaf Pictures took me back to my grandmother's kitchen; making leaf wax paper placemats.  Fort took me to a card table set up on a rainy day with a blanket draped over it.  Drawing reminded me I use to draw with pencil and often of my future house.  The curtains would be pulled in at the middle creating a swooping draping effect at the top of each window.  I have those swooping curtains in my very own house now.

I think each of these poems are worthy of being a mentor for my own students and myself as writers and makers.  As I kept reading, I started paying attention to poetry elements my students could grab on to and aspire to use; repetition, imagery, and the five senses to name a few.  I love how the focus of this book is poetry about concrete actions and experiences.  I sometimes think people are turned off from poetry because they think it has to be grand and abstract.  Amy's book makes poetry concrete and obtainable for readers and writers.

Thank you Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Bee Book {Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge}

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner is a book filled with 22 topics/questions about bees and each topic/question has a two page spread.  The illustrations are done in warm hues and the paper is flat; not glossy and shiny which I think adds to the mood of this earthy topic.  I love all the nonfiction text features that are being used; maps, bold print, labels, cut aways, diagrams, numbers, charts, and drawn illustrations.  There's a lot of math sharing data and comparing numbers.  

While learning all about bees in general this book is also urging the reader to understand why we need to help the bees and what makes them an important creature for our environment.  One of my favorite pages illustrates this in a progression; bees are needed for crops, which bring us food, pollination helps our flowers which in turn helps our mammals, insects, and birds.  Bees are much more than creatures that make honey and sting you.  My heart tugged a bit as I read about the decline in bee population due to humans.  I think this two page spread will tug at my readers hearts.  Overall, I hope this book brings comfort to some readers that fear bees and their stingers.

Shopping for second grade nonfiction readers can be a bit tricky.  You need more information than an emergent reader and not too much that the reader becomes overwhelmed.  At first I was a bit worried there was a lot of information and then decided the text is organized with enough white space and line breaks we could easily find what we needed.  I think The Bee Book is just right for my second grade readers; especially in spring.  

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for hosting this weekly sharing.

Monday, April 23, 2018

How Many? {Math Workshop}

It took me all of thirty minutes to settle in from being gone all day, read my newest math book, How Many? by Christopher Danielson and then open my laptop to write this blogpost.  I love to look for math in my world and this book is an invitation to do just that.  It encourages the reader to go beyond the obvious numbers you see at a glance and take time to observe with a new lens; multiple lens.  

I love how the introduction encourages the readers to make choices with what they want to count and how they want to count.  He also encourages readers to linger and says the more time you spend with a photograph/page the more you will see.  I just felt the need to slow right down there and enjoy this book.  The book begins with three pages and text guiding the reader for things they may see in a box with a pair of shoes.  Have you ever thought to count the eyelet holes for laces or the stitching lines?  The possibilities are more than two shoes.  After reading the introduction I instantly eager to see beyond the obvious on each page.  For example the egg carton has one egg but I started counting the empty egg spots first.

Counting is often thought of as a primary emerging mathematician skill.  This book reminded me counting expands across topics within mathematics.  Beyond counting objects, I found myself working with multiplication and fractions.  The images in this text are perfect examples for placing mathematics in every day context.  The end of the book lists some questions to encourage the reader to revisit the previous pages with a new focus or two.  The questions felt like an invitation to linger and then my mind started racing for images I might want to take around my house and share with the question, How Many?  I think this will make a great math workshop warm up activity.  This will also be a book I recommend to families.  It's easy for families to see how to have literacy conversations and to place literacy invitations in their homes.  We need more guidance for math invitations. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mighty Jackie - The Strike Out Queen {Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge}

How did I not know who Mighty Jackie The Strike-Out Queen was?  I have two girls who play softball.  We have a small collection about softball heroes.  We are huge fans of the movie, A League of Their Own.  I'm grateful for my teammate who brought this book to me and said, "you will love this book."  She was right!  I'm so happy Marissa Moss told the story of Jackie Mitchell.  

Jackie Mitchell was a girl who played major league baseball and in 1931 struck out Baby Ruth and Lou Gehrig; baseball legends.  Jackie loved baseball as a little girl and faced stereotypical challenges growing up; girls didn't play baseball yet alone pitch baseballs.  Jackie's story shows readers strength, going against the grain, stepping outside typical gender roles in our society, and perseverance, practice pays off, and courage.

The actual account of April 2, 1931 makes this the perfect read aloud to be a baseball sports announcer.  I could see my students inch closer with inflection and urgency to find out what Jackie would do.  Unfortunately, after this big game Jackie was banded from playing major and minor league baseball.  She continued playing with minor leagues that were so small the commissioner didn't pay attention to them.  The illustrations by C. F. Payne matched the text and created empathy for each of my students.  They were shocked an event like this could happen in history.  They felt passion for women's rights and wanted Mighty Jackie to continue playing major league baseball.  

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for hosting this weekly sharing.

Monday, April 16, 2018

which one doesn't belong? {Math Workshop}

One morning each week my students are greeted with an image for a math activity created by Christopher Danielson, which one doesn't belong?  I've been gathering my weekly post from a simple Google search.  I knew Christopher had published a book, which one doesn't belong? back in 2016 and didn't really know if I needed it.  I was preordering his next book, How Many? and decided I should probably have the first one too and I'm so glad I ordered it.

I love the opening page.  How many times are we told every answer can be correct?  This is also why I love this activity.  Each student's thinking is correct as long as they justify their reasoning.  I'm often caught off guard with reasoning I haven't thought of. 

This is a great book for introducing the activity, Which one doesn't belong?  The first six pages guides the reader through looking at the same picture and giving reasons why each shape may not belong.  There are 9 images that follow for further class discussion.  I wish I had used this book to introduce the activity earlier in the year.  We will definitely be looking at it this week for our weekly thinking and I think it could be a helpful tool for launching student's creating their own; Which one doesn't belong?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Escapades of Clint McCool - Octo-Man and the Headless Monster

Octo-Man and the Headless Monster
Author Jane Kelley
Illustrator Jessika von Innerbner
Penguin Random House, 2017

My last trip to the Book Loft was a successful trip for picking up new to me and first in a series books.  Last week I shared Super Turbo and this week I'm share The Escapades of Clint McCool - Octo-Man and the Headless Monster.  Clint McCool is a funny character.  He is active.  He has lots of ideas that are always bubbling out of his head and sometimes into action.  ML and Marco are coming home with Clint McCool for a play date after school.  On their way home from school there is a monster in the street.  Yes, it's a human dressed as a monster on a movie set.  Clint McCool is so excited he runs right to the monster on the movie set and touches him.  Oops, the monster's arm falls off.  He and his friends are banned from the set but Clint wants to fix what went wrong.  Fixing this escapade turns into a full time job for Clint and his friends try to be a bit more cautious.  They do return to the movie set.  Things do get fixed but I think all readers will be surprised how that happens.