Thursday, July 31, 2014

IT'S HERE!!! Third Grade Mighty Math!

I am SO excited to announce my latest creations:

That's right; I've made a third grade version of my Mighty Math assessments!

Here's the low down:
Mighty Math is a set of weekly formative assessments that can be used to evaluate the progress towards the third grade math CCSS. In each assessment, I've included all eleven of the third grade CCSS clusters. Every week, I have a shortened math period (50 minutes) due to my specials schedule. This is my Mighty Math Day. First students complete their Mighty Math assessment. When students finish, they bring their paper to me to spot check. I'll glance it over to make sure they didn't miss anything, but I'm also looking for problems that might be wrong. I keep track of problems that might have stumped a large group of students, so that when the majority of my class is done, I go over the tricky problems right away. The sooner we can review our mistakes, the more of a lasting effect it will have. I will also pull small groups of kids for reteaching and practice, based on which problems they struggled with. While we're waiting for the class to finish, students who have completed their Mighty Math will work independently on unfinished Math Journal pages or on Compass Learning Odyssey (differentiated math website).

Mighty Math has made teaching math TONS easier for me! I have never felt more knowledgeable about my students' math strengths and weaknesses. I feel like I can better target those kiddos who struggle with certain concepts. I've also gotten lots of positive comments from parents about how they feel more informed as well. We use the EveryDay Math program at my school, where the kids work in workbooks that stay at school. The only feedback parents used to get about their child's math abilities was the unit tests, progress reports, and report cards. Now, they're basically getting a report every week, and they know how they can help at home!

Let's take a peek inside:
Click HERE for First Quarter
Click HERE for Second Quarter
Click HERE for Third Quarter
Click HERE for Fourth Quarter
Want to see a close up of Week 1?
I think one of my most favorite things about Mighty Math is the recordkeeping sheets. I'm kind of a nerd for data :) There are three options for keeping track of how your students do on Mighty Math. Here are two of them:
I have one of these sheets for each student. I put a star in the box if they got it right and a check in the box if it's wrong. Usually I'll write a quick note about what the problem was or what went wrong. This Little Love clearly will need extra help when we get to our measuring unit. In the meantime, I am meeting with him (and others who struggle with this strand) for reteaching and practice.

I also use this whole-class sheet so I can ]easily tell where we need extra practice: time, money and graphing, anyone?

Right now, I have all 4 sets set at 50% off! They will be at this price until tomorrow night!

I haven't released the bundle yet, but I'm giving away TWO sets for the WHOLE YEAR! Enter through the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Up next... FIRST GRADE! Stay tuned :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaching Kids about Responsibility -- WUYC Book Study, Chapter 8

I'm super excited to join in with some of my blogging friends to share our thoughts with you about an AMAZING book about character education: What's Under Your Cape? by Barbara Gruener. 
I didn't even have to think twice about buying this book and joining in on the book study. Teaching kids about character is critical in order to help them grow into well rounded, productive citizens in our community. Sometimes, I think we expect students (and even our own children) to know what it means to be respectful, kind, perseverant, etc. but that's not always the case. Barbara's book gives real life examples, classroom examples, book suggestions, and even catchy songs to teach your students about what it means to have good character.

Today I'm sharing my thoughts about Chapter 8, which is all about responsibility.
It drives me completely bonkers when, on the day a homework assignment is due, a student tells me, 
"My mom forgot to put it in my folder." 
Ummmm.... excuse me, but your mom isn't in second grade. WHO forgot his/her homework? YOU. YOU didn't put YOUR homework in YOUR folder. I can say that to my students and make them feel all sad and guilty, but what am I teaching them? That's right; a whole lotta nothing! 

To kick start the conversation about responsibility, Barbara says you should ask your students what chores they have at their house. Most children have chores in their house, even if it's as simple as picking up their toys or doing their homework. Chores should be taken seriously, as kids' chores help to make the household run smoothly. Barbara has two awesome activities and games you can use to help kids visualize the importance of chores and what happens if a chore isn't completed. 

Barbara mentions four things when teaching kids about responsibility: choices, consequences, chores, and stakeholders. I was totally with her, until the "stakeholders" part. My second graders are too young to understand what a stakeholder is. But the more I read, the more I became convinced that my students could understand and even give examples of stakeholders. Who is affected if the farmer doesn't milk the cows for a few days? Or a student puts glue in someone's hair?  Or a puppy who gets left outside overnight? Or the second grader who doesn't bring back his/her homework? I know that my students are smart enough to think of all the people (or in some cases, animals) that would be affected if any of those events took place. I will definitely be teaching my kids about stakeholders this upcoming year. Helping students to realize that their actions impact others (as well as themselves), will further illustrate the importance of being responsible.

How can you give your students the opportunity to be responsible at school? Barbara suggests classroom jobs. Do you have classroom jobs? I do. Each student in my class has a job. But how well do you "enforce" those jobs getting done? Me? Admittedly, not very well. I have a library helper whose job it is to take the returned library books down to the library every morning. Except on our scheduled library day, I glance over at the book crate and notice it's overflowing because it hasn't been taken to the library the entire week. Now I need to round up 3-4 kids to haul the books to the library before the library aide has to walk half-way across the school to come and pick the books up herself. Yes, it's the student's responsibility to take the books to the library, but what am I doing to help foster that responsibility?

Barbara says we need to hand over the reins to our students. We can't have that, "Fine. I'll just do it myself." attitude. What is that teaching them if we do it for them? You're teaching them to be dependent. Is it easier to do many tasks ourselves? Yes. I could very easily return those library books myself on my way to the copy room during a prep. But if our goal is for our students to be independent thinkers and learners, students must take responsibility!

Other highlights of the chapter include picture book suggestions and two songs for teaching kids about responsibility. Want to know what they are? Well, you'll have to pick up the book to find out! I also did a quick Google search of videos for teaching kids about responsibility, and there are SO many great finds on YouTube. If you conduct class meetings (such as a morning meeting), you could easily discuss, share, and practice the trait of responsibility for several weeks, if not a whole month.

I urge you to head over to Barbara's website and order this book. It's a quick read, and it really draws you in with all of Barbara's personal stories and real-life classroom examples. I know I couldn't put it down! You can order the book from Amazon as well, but the last I checked, the shipping time is 10-14 days. If you order directly from Barbara, you'll get it right away, and she even autographed my book! SWEET!

What do you do to teach your kids about responsibility? 

Chapter 9 is being hosted by the amazing Katie at Teacher to the Core. Don't miss it!



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Warriors: TPT Organizational Tip

Did you read all those TPT/Blogging/Teaching secrets from yesterday?! I am SO honored to be working with such amazing teacher-blogger-friends! They are overflowing with genius (and lots of "why didn't I think of that??") ideas!!

Yesterday I shared a blogging tip, and today I'm going to share a tip I use to help me stay organized with my TPT products. I have a bazillion clip art images, borders, frames, and papers. Can you ever have too many graphics? I think not! But it's important to keep them organized so you can find what you need, when you need it. I figured it would just be easier for me to make a quick video to show you how I keep my graphics organized. There are many ways to do it; this way works best for me!

As you can see, I need more of EVERYTHING! But mostly frames... who are some of your favorite frame artists? I'm starting to make my wish list for the (fingers crossed) TPT Back to School sale, whenever that might be...

Make sure you check out my fellow Weekend Warriors for more Blogging, TPT, and Teaching Tips!





Two Stars and a Wish Linky

I'm so excited to link up with some of my favorite second and third grade bloggers to bring you this fun linky to get you back into the groove of school!
 The rules for the link up are simple: share two *star* ideas that worked in your classroom last year, and  one wish for the upcoming school year.
I like to use my students' work and anchor charts we create together in my classroom as much as possible, rather than pre-made posters I can buy at the teacher store. My school's reading teacher said it best: the pre-made posters end up being more like wallpaper than teaching tools!

This is part of my calendar bulletin board:
That's right... What month are we in???

To personalize my calendar, I have my kids make the monthly name plates. Here's December:
To make the name plates, I take pieces of 12" x 18" construction paper and cut them into four strips that are 4.5" x 12". On the first day of the month, as students' morning work, they each make their own name plate. The rules are to write the name of the month really big and dark so we can see it. Then they decorate the name plate with symbols of that month. Every day, as part of our calendar routine, the Calendar Helper changes the name plate. After a student's name plate is displayed, s/he will take it home the following day. Towards the end of the month, sometimes I have to hang up two or three, just to make sure that everyone's name plate was on display. My kiddos really get a kick out of seeing their artwork on our calendar!

The next idea is a why-didn't-I-think-of-that idea I actually stole from my teammie. Do you hang up your  daily schedule? Yep, me too. I used to put magnets on the backs of the cards and hang them on the white board. But a lot of times, the magnets would fall off, or the schedule cards would be too heavy and they would fall down. It was definitely a balancing act to get the cards to stay up ALL day. 

Not anymore! Check this out!
Hippo Hooray for Second Grade: Hanging Up Schedule Cards with Velcro
Now, instead of magnets, I use Velcro! What I love about the Velcro is that I don't have to worry about the cards falling off, and I can overlap the cards a smidge if I need to. You know those days when you have 12 million things going on and you don't have enough room to hang up all the schedule cards? Those days are long gone!
I use Interactive Notebooks in my classroom for reading, writing, phonics, science, and social studies, and they are truly game-changers in the classroom! Last year I felt pretty confident with almost all of my notebooks... all except the writing notebook. It started out strong, but kind of fizzled towards the end of the year. I have grand plans for my writing notebook this year, and they include this AMAZING product from Christina Bainbridge:
This notebook product is set up EXACTLY in the way I was trained to use INs-- with a teaching component and a student practice component. It includes lessons on the parts of speech and the different genres of writing. I just know that my students' writing notebooks will be a great reference tool for them throughout the entire year! Click here to check it out on TPT.

If you've enjoyed reading my Two Stars and a Wish post and want to stay in the loop with more of my teaching tips, please consider following me on Facebook, Instagram, and TPT.

For more *STAR* ideas, please browse through the link-up below. Thanks for visiting!



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekend Warriors: Blogging Tip

My friends and I are back to share more tips and tricks! 
Today I'm going to share a blogging tip, and tomorrow is going to be a Back to School teaching tip.

Are you a newer blogger, or maybe you're thinking about starting a blog. This tip's for you! 
I really didn't figure this one out until I was blogging for almost a year. I will say that my personal blogging experience has become so much more rich and satisfying once I made strong connections with other bloggers. In fact, I consider some of my closest bloggy friends to be some of the best friends I have. Have I met them in "real life?" No, not yet... I would've met them in Vegas if I wasn't 33 weeks pregnant at the time, but there's always next year! Bloggy friends get you. They don't give you that whack-a-doodle look your husband gives you when you try to explain a linky party or sigh and roll their eyes when you're having a bloggy crisis.

So, how do you make bloggy friends?

1. COMMENT ON OTHERS' BLOGS!
And don't just say, " I love this post! I'm your newest follower! I'd love for you to follow me back!" Womp womp!! Take some time and READ the post. If there's something in the post that you find helpful and worthwhile, then tell the blogger! If you have a question, ask it! Make your comments meaningful and genuine. Just as much as bloggers don't care for canned comments like the one above, obnoxiously gushy comments don't help either: "OMG this is the best thing EEEVVVVEERRRRR!!!! Why didn't I think of this????? You are SO, SO, SO talented!!!! Thank you SOOOOOOO much for sharing your AMAZING idea!!!!!!" There's nothing wrong with showing your excitement, just be cool about it :)

There are a couple of things you'll want to make sure you have set in place. First, make sure you have html code to leave your blog link at the end of your comment. This code will leave a clickable link back to your blog. Here's what mine looks like:

<i><b><a href="http://hippohoorayforsecondgrade.blogspot.com">Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!</a></b></i>

The part in pink is your blog address, and the part in green is what text will show up once you hit publish. I keep this code in a Word document saved on my desk top. Then I just copy and paste it to the bottom of my comment. Feel free to snag the code above; just make sure you change it with your own blog info!

Also, you want to make sure you're not a No-Reply blogger. I'm sure you've seen those words before. When you comment on a blog, the blogger gets an email with your comment. I (along with many other bloggers) like to reply to comments via email... unless it's a response that other readers would benefit from. Then I'll reply via email AND post my response on my blog. But if you're a no-reply blogger, we can't email you back. I've made several strong bloggy connections through replying to a comment on my blog, or others replying to a comment I made. Here's a quick tutorial to set yourself up. But be warned... I've had to go back and redo my no-reply status on three separate occasions, so make sure you keep an eye on it. If you comment on your own blog, you'll get an email. Hit "reply," and your email address should pop up. If you're a no-reply blogger, it will say "noreply-comment@blogger.com."

2. JOIN INSTAGRAM!
In my opinion, Instagram is the easiest way to make a bloggy connection. What I like about Instagram is that you get a snapshot into the blogger's life: what's going on in their classroom, what products they're working on, and a peek into their personal life. Again, make sure your comments are sincere and genuine. It's easier for me to reply to others' comments on my photos, and easier for me comment on my favorites' pics. I would suggest using your blog name as your user name (mine's @hippohoorayforsecondgrade), as I tend to explore and follow those kinds of accounts over accounts with people's names or a nickname. Also, if you want people to follow you, you don't want to be private. If I'm checking out a user to see if I want to follow them and see that s/he is private, I just skip right past him/her.

3. SHOUT OUT OTHER BLOGGERS!
If you bought a product and it was really awesome, let your followers know! Again, be genuine. I think the word "genuine" is becoming a theme here... Facebook and Instagram are the easiest because you can tag them in your post. But if you shout out a blogger on your blog, send her an email with your link to let her know. I've even gotten emails from other bloggers saying, "Hey! I bought your _____ product, and I just wanted to let you know that it has made my life so much easier!" Those kinds of comments really make a person's day :)

4. MAINTAIN A QUALITY BLOG!
Make sure your blog is a mix of good ideas, teaching tips, and products. Nobody wants to read a blog that consists only of TPT sales pitches. When you comment on others' blogs and leave your link, many will pop over to your blog. They'll read around and see what you have to offer. They might even ask you if you want to be a part of a collaborative group... that's what happened to me for one of the groups I'm in!

ONE THING YOU DON'T WANT TO DO...
Don't ask to be a part of group (a closed linky or blog hop, collaborative blog, collaborative Pinterest board, etc.) I know that feeling of being left out, and it stinks, especially if I thought I was "in" with the group and they started something without me. However, never in a million years would I email a Blog Hoppin' author and ask if I can be a contributor.

"But I REEAALLLLLYYYY want to be a part of a closed monthly blog hop, linky, collaborative blog, or collaborative Pinterest board." If that's the case, then I encourage you to start your own. It really is a lot of fun (but a lot of work) to plan a collaborative group. That's what I did when I wanted to make a second grade Pinterest board. I got in touch with some of my second grade friends and asked them if they wanted to pin in with me. Round up a few of your bloggy friends, ask them to round up a few of their own, and before you know it, you have 15-20 bloggers ready to have some FUN! It's important for you to know, however, that it does take a ton of behind-the-scenes planning, organization, and making sure everyone is on the same page when you organize an event. This Weekend Warriors blog hop took about a month to plan and set up before even the first post went live.


I think the most important thing to remember in all of this is why you're here in the blogisphere. I'm here because I want to share my teaching ideas with the world (or whoever wants to read them). Stay true to yourself, BE GENUINE, don't try to compete, and make those bloggy connections--that will make your blogging experience so rewarding!

Check out some of the other blogging, TPT, or teaching tricks my fellow Weekend Warriors have in store for you today!

See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Lovin' Sale: Day 4

I'm kind of sad it's all coming to an end. But I saved the best for last! I've actually put 4 products on sale today. Check it out!
Yep, you're reading that right. All four of my 2nd Grade Mighty Math formative assessment packs are 50% off  FOR TODAY ONLY!! Here are the links to first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and fourth quarter.

Are you new to Mighty Math? Here's the low down:
Mighty Math is a set of weekly formative assessments that I use to evaluate progress towards the second grade Common Core State Standards. All ten of the 2nd grade math CCSS are included on the assessments, although I split three of them in two (addition & subtraction facts, larger addition & subtraction problems, and time & money), bringing it to a total of 13 problems each week.

Here's one of my students from two years ago, plugging away on his Mighty Math!
How I Use These Assessments in My Class:
Every week, I have a shortened math period (50 minutes, as opposed to 75) due to my specials schedule. This is my Mighty Math Day. Students first complete their Mighty Math assessment. It takes the average student about 15 minutes to complete. When they finish, they work independently on unfinished Math Journal pages from the previous week or Compass Learning Odyssey (a differentiated math website that aligns to their MAP scores). During this independent work time, I will pull groups of students who struggled with specific skills on the previous week's Mighty Math. So, for example, if I noticed that five students had trouble mixing up the hour and minute hand when telling time, I will pull them for more practice. We will review the problem, see if we can find the mistake, and practice telling time with Judy clocks or other supplies I have.

The record keeping sheets are amazing too! Check it out:
I have one of these sheets for each student. I put a star in the box if they got it right and a check in the box if it's wrong. Usually I'll write a quick note about what the problem was or what went wrong. This Little Love clearly will need extra help when we get to our measuring unit. In the meantime, I am meeting with him (and others who struggle with this strand) for reteaching and practice.

I also use this whole-class sheet so I can ]easily tell where we need extra practice: time, money and graphing, anyone?
I have never felt so knowledgeable about my individual students' math skills than this past year. I really feel like these assessments gave me the whole picture on each student, and it was a great tool for parents too!

Not a 2nd grade teacher? Don't worry. The 3rd grade version is scheduled to be released next week, and1st grade is up next!

FOR TODAY (and tomorrow until I wake up) ONLY, I've marked all four assessment packs down 50%! Shut. The. Front. Door!!! That means each pack is $3.00. If you buy all four, you'll be saving $8.00 from the year bundle. Check out first quartersecond quarterthird quarter, and fourth quarter Mighty Math on TPT and add it to your cart.

Take a look-see at what my bloggy pals are putting on sale today too!



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