Sunday, February 22, 2015

Math Monday - Lemonade in Winter



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How could I resist this book? Lemonade in Winter A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins is so perfect for any of us experiencing a cold and snowy winter.  We finally had a decent snowfall this past weekend and I happened to buy this book when the windchill was -21 keeping us home from school.  

Lemonade in Winter is a great book to jumpstart problem solving using money.  Pauline is observing the winter conditions through her winter and announces they should have a lemonade stand.  Her parents don't agree and support a few reasons why this idea will not work.  Her younger brother John-John is willing and excited to help.  Counting and finding out the total amount of quarters is the focus of this story.  They gather all the quarters they can find to go supply shopping.   The supply shopping trip summary is the reader's first experience with adding money for a total amount.  They hurry home, make their recipes, and set up their business.  As you can imagine the street is quite empty on this snowy day.  They brainstorm lots of ideas for business; they advertise, provide entertainment, have a sale, and make decorations.  


                    


This page right here is when I would stop showing the illustrations and read just half of the text.  Then I'd let small groups or math partners problem solve together, finding out how much money Pauline and John-John made from their lemonade sale.  After the students share solutions, I'd return to the book by rereading this page and share this illustration.  Pauline and John-John are a bit sad after they figure out how much money they made but find a solution to make them feel better.  I'm so excited about finding this at our local Half Price Bookstore, it was just $5.00!


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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nonfiction 10 for 10 is HERE!

Happy Nonfiction 10 for 10 Day!  Thank you for joining us.  Cathy and I are thrilled to have you stop by and read our favorite nonfiction books right now, today at this very moment.  

Please leave a comment on a few blogs to foster community and dialogue around nonfiction books and/or share your own list of books for others to enjoy and gather ideas from.  

Here's how to share your own list.


                                       


Here are the official details to participate and it's really easy, 
we hope to see you there.


Teaching second grade this year has been an exciting daily adventure in reading and selecting books to use with and for my students.  I've rediscovered my own childhood favorite genre - biographies!  I loved reading about people in history when I was in elementary school. They make history come alive and provide so much information about how our life today came to be.  The world of biographies has certainly changed since the late 70s and here are my top 10 favorites as of today at this very moment, in no particular order.



Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Combining snow, passion, and photography is a winning combination in my book.  Wilson Bentley was a pioneer in studying snowflakes and preserved when others didn't see value in his work.



I am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer is about one of my childhood idols.  I had never been on a plane until I was married and 24 years old but the idea of a girl taking adventures and flying far distances to set records was inspirational then and I find her still intriguing how.  I love the adventure stories Brad collected to tell within this biography and how following your dreams is possible.





A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A Adler was not available in the late 70s but David Adler is a classic in biography writing.  I enjoy this book and his other biographies for the traditional biography format and characteristics.  He starts with Abe's childhood, it's told chronologically, and his contribution is presented clearly for students.





Marvelous Mattie How Margaret E Knight Became an inventor by Emily Arnold McCully was an average girl who dreamed and sketched ideas.  Eventually her idea came true as she drafted and created a machine to make durable paper shopping bags.  Mattie lived during the Industrial Revolution when woman were supposed to take care of things around the house.  Inspiring how important sketches are.



Star Stuff Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson is a story embracing imagination and wonders.  His inquisitive nature led him to create mechanical explorers that were sent to space including Voyager spacecrafts that captured information to help us understand what is beyond Earth.


Wangari's Trees of Peace A True Story of Africa by Jeanette Winter tells the story of Wangari Maathai, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and her quest to rebuild forests near Mount Kenya.  Her project began by replanting 9 baby trees and sharing her idea with other woman who started planting baby seedlings too.





Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is about puppeteer Tony Sarg who was creative and willing to try new ideas.  I grew up watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade each year and now my girls and I watch it as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  I never thought to wonder about how it all started.  I never thought about there being a time when there wasn't enormous balloons that were walked by lots of people.  I am still in awe of the beginning of something I have taken for granted for so many years.  It's important to learn about how things came to be.



Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell is about Dr. Jane Goodall and really captures her young childhood in a simple direct story like format.  Jane follows her dreams and makes discoveries to share with others.  I find this a great book to peak interest in reading biographies for students who are not nonfiction fans.  For those students who are fact finding hounds they will enjoy the more indepth information in the back of the book.




Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis is the story about George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and how he created the ferris wheel for the World's Fair to out shine the year before when France built the Eiffel Tower.  George made observations of a water wheel and wanted to enhance the concept of a circle spinning and added the idea of creating a ride.  The project had some set backs and George kept persevering until the end.







Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra is one story I did not know and am happy I discovered this tidbit of knowledge related to Thanksgiving.  Sarah Josepha Hale was a writer who shared stories that focused on women since most writers at this time were men.  She went on to be the editor for a ladies magazine and found her opinion mattered to others.  Sarah started a movement to make Thanksgiving a national holiday and convinced President Abraham to agree.  



So there we have it.  Five biographies about women and five biographies about men to equal ten nonfiction picture books on February 19 ( aka 1 + 9 = 10).  Happy Reading and Sharing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New to Me - white fur flying

My second grade-reading journey is very exciting because I am continuously discovering "new to me" books.  white fur flying written by Patricia MacLachlan is a delightful story about helping, caring, and discovery.   Zoe's father is a vet and her mom rescues Great Pyrenees dogs.  Her sister Alice is a story teller who's vivid imagination stirs stories up.  Phillip moves in next door and doesn't speak.  His aunt and uncle are caring for him and they are new to "parenting".  

Relationships can be sweet, simple, and quiet.  Relationships take time and so does healing.  With time and healing new opportunities can happen and second chances are given.  The descriptive language in this book made me stop and pause a bit to think and reflect about the word choices selected by Patricia MacLachlan.  It's never quite clear why Phillip is living with his aunt and uncle, leaving this reader with more questions and discovering the answer didn't really matter to tell this delightful story.



Here are three lines I love from this story and hope you find, 
if you pick this book up.


"We watched white fur flying into the room, carried by the summer breezes coming off the porch."

"A little slice of sunlight marked the place she had been."

"But then, surprise, it is someone else who shows you what is really there, like the truth a photograph shows."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Math Monday - Bar Model Anchor Chart

                                      


Welcome and thank you for stopping by Math Monday, 
I hope you will consider joining the conversation.





I love conferring during math workshop.  As with literacy, it truly lets you get a snapshot up closer of a student's thinking.  While working with a student last week I realized he didn't know how to get started using a bar model.  Depending on the resource you use, you will find bar models, tape diagrams, and model drawing are all synonyms for the the same idea. All three of these help mathematicians make sense of a problem.  They help the students visually see what the words are all about.  During our conference, I realized my words were not enough to help this student.  He sat there with the same puzzled look on his face after he read the problem and before I started talking about the steps we take to create a bar model.  I asked him if pictures might be helpful with my words and referenced other charts in our classroom and he said, "Yes, I think that would be helpful."  Together we sketched a rough draft for this anchor chart and here are my final touches.

Having students use bar models/tape diagrams/model drawings is new to me this year.  If you have any tips or thoughts or experiences please join in the conversation by leaving a comment today.  I'd love to know more from you.



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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Time with Storyteller Kevin Cordi

                                                     
Our school was very fortunate to have storyteller Kevin Cordi come and visit our school for a morning presentation.  I've seen Kevin present at our school previously.  I've chatted with him while at NCTE and every time I visit with him or watch him do a presentation I am inspired and want to know more.  I went to his presentation this year with a piece of paper and a pencil with great hopes of writing down tips for fostering or becoming a storyteller.  However, I realized very soon he was there to be a storyteller for all of us to enjoy and he wasn't there to teach us.  He was there to be a storyteller and in subtle ways a teacher.  When I made this realization, I put on my detective hat and looked closely and made a list of discoveries.

Storytelling is...
fun
uses sounds
uses voice inflection
uses facial expressions
encourages movement
encourages audience participation

I loved this phrase he used - "storytellers need story listeners."

If you ever have the opportunity to see Kevin present I would highly encourage you to take advantage   of the opportunity.  If you can take a class with Kevin, I'm sure it would be enjoyable and filled with learning.  I'm also happy to know Kevin has published two books and is writing more for those of us who want to explore storytelling further.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Math Monday - Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction

Welcome and thank you for stopping by Math Monday, 
I hope you will consider joining the conversation.

Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction - Strategies, Activities & Interventions to Move Students Beyond Memorization by Susan O'Connell and John San Giovanni is my go to resource right now.  This book is written to help students understand math and be successful with math.  I love this sentence in the introduction, "Our goal in today's math classroom has shifted from memorizing fact and procedures to increased understanding of math skills and concepts."

Susan and John write about our students needing three things to master basic math facts; conceptual understanding, strategic thinking, and practice for fluency.  Each chapter focus' on a math fact strategy is filled with ideas to meet the needs of our students.  There are a couple of activities to introduce the strategy and promote thinking for understanding.  Great ideas for mini-lessons.  Next, you will find activities and/or games to promote automaticity which leads to practice for our students.

Susan and John expand what I have seen as traditional math fact strategies and we find it working and helping us in my classroom.  Something that was new to me was to use ten an addend within fact fluency.  Their reasoning is this, "This skill will be critical later as students use +10 facts as a way of simplifying facts that are near 10. (9 + 4 is simplified to 10 + 3).  Their strategy organization is; +1/+2, +0, +10, doubles, making ten then using ten and using doubles."  I love how they show students how to use something they know for new learning.  This also applies to using their addition facts to know their subtraction facts.

There is a CD- Rom filled with valuable resources for the activities and assessments in this resources.  I love how each strategy assessment is short and sweet, 16 or 20 problems to solve.  The assessment piece also includes a written component as a formative assessment to see if students can explain their understandings.  

The authors also have a book for multiplication and division which I think would be a great resource for older grades.  

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Math Monday - Math Fact Fluency has Literacy Connections

Welcome and thank you for stopping by Math Monday, 
I hope you will consider joining the conversation.

Today I'm sharing the beginning of a parent letter I just revised in regards to basic math fact fluency.  The more I've thought about it over the years the more I've seen connections between my literacy and math instruction.  I believe these connections have kept me balanced in my expectations and reasons for building math fact fluency.  




Dear Parents,

Brushing your teeth before going to bed each night and saying “please” and “thank you” are good habits.  Biting your fingernails is a bad habit. 

A habit comes from doing something over and over again until you do it without thinking.  Developing basic number fact fluency is developing a good habit for mathematic learning. 

Our math standards state –
Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.  By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

Our I can statesments are –
            I can fluently add within 20.
            I can fluently subtract within 20.

Math is so much easier when you are able to commit the basic facts to memory.  I recently heard this – fact fluency is to math what sight words are to reading.  I thought, Ah ha this makes sense!  We read our sight words orally quickly.  This helps us work on multisyllabic words and comprehension. We need to recall our basic facts so that we can solve multi-digit addition and subtraction problems correctly with confidence and without simple mistakes.  I’ve shared this with the students, counting on our fingers to solve basic math facts would be the same as still sounding out sight words.  For example; c-a-t.  They all giggle because decoding cat seems silly now in second grade.

We understand the concept of addition and the concept of subtraction.  Now is the time to mentally recall the answers to basic math facts with automaticity.  “Automaticity is achieved through brief, frequent, interactive activities that provide students with repeated exposure to math facts.” (O’Connell and San Govanni, 2011)

I follow this information with a list of strategies for working with math facts at home, a list of strategies the students will learn, standard flashcards and fact family flashcards with tips for using them.


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