Friday, September 20, 2013

Standards Based Report Cards

A new trend in education is the transitioning from the traditional sliding scale of average based report cards(A/F) to a standards based format.  This is the isolation and assessment of individual skills. The idea isn't new, kindergarten teachers have been doing this from the beginning.  

While I must admit that assessing and documenting for this type of report card is not quick and simple, it is time well spent. I am feeling my way through the process of gathering and determining what sources will be used for assessment & documentation. 

Today's blog is going to give a brief preview...

The goal of a standards based report card is to provide parents & students with specific academic feedback that can be used to pinpoint areas of need and success. With that said, I am really trying to consider what authentic assessment looks like in my second grade classroom.  

I am using more Performance Based Assessments (PBA). These are open ended questions designed to specifically illicit demonstration of a given standard.  Often this type of assessment overlaps, covering more than one standard. 

What does reading comprehension look like when using a PBA task? 

Students explored the story "Poppleton in Winter"

Identifying & using information from text is one of the hardest and most vital skills that we cover in primary and intermediate grades.  Students need to understand the importance of actually answering questions with evidence. They need to dig deeper and explain their thoughts. This task was set up by first allowing students time to read & explore the story. Several different questions were posed & explored with shoulder partners. The PBA was given as an independent task:

"Why was Cherry Sue upset with Poppleton? How do you know she was upset?  Use details from the story to support your answers. "

Another example of authentic formative assessment for Reading/Language came from a classroom literacy center. Students were given this familiar center activity and asked to complete it independently using the Poppleton story. 

Story Text Features Brace Map

With all this great data, academic conversations and feedback going on,  I needed a way to organize and keep a running record for each standard. I had tried using "I Can..." charts for individual students, but this created unnecessary paper work.   A roster with standards, I can statements, and multiple opportunities for recording assessments was the next choice. I came up with the following check list.  

Power Point Roster 

(Available in power point & word)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Second Grade Super Heroes: Revised Literacy Centers

Here is a second installation of updated centers/stations for second grade. The following download covers literacy stations.  They are sprinkled with rigor and superheroes. You'll find elements of the Daily 5 and a couple of bonus classroom and hallway expectations anchor charts.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Revised Math Centers

It's hard to believe that we've been in school almost an entire month!  Second grade is still going strong with our super hero theme. I have slowly been introducing and updating many of the anchor charts and stations around our classroom. Some include superheroes (I just couldn't help myself ), while others simply got a face lift.

As I approach each area, skill and/or topic, I have been giving serious thought as to how each reinforces common core standards and adds rigor.  After careful scrutiny, several fell under the category of busy work. Those were scrapped.  While some of the tried and true made it through.

Also, you'll notice that many of the maps and guide pages have been reduced to half size. This was done in an effort to cut back on paper & ink. With out further a do... here are a few of my updated math centers.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Super Second Grade Heroes!

Wow! it was an incredibly busy summer with lots of Common Core Training here in TN and STEM classes at ETSU.  There were lots of opportunities to network and share among colleagues!

Then down side was I felt exhausted mentally and physically by the end of July.   It was official, I had the back to school blues.  I was more than a bit reluctant to take on the task of creating a new "theme" for this year.  As you all know, it's a big investment.  The argument I made (to myself) was that it wasn't curriculum. My monkey and jungle theme were still "okay," if a bit tired.  I had used the same theme for 3 years. But upon further thought (and a nudge from my co-teachers, thank you Kathy & Merri), I decided that a face lift was just what my classroom needed!  I am so glad that I went for it.  The results are engaging.

I took my inspiration from a lunch box. It has always been a personal goal of mine to be Wonder Woman when I grow up!  ;)

Second Grade Super Heros!

A quick google search lead me to some amazing resources.  I downloaded lots of accents, & literacy items from Teacher's Pet (displays site).  These were all free. 

My next stop of course was Pinterest.  Here I found inspiration for a city scape backdrop for Hero Headquarters and a cute super sucker for meet the teacher night. 

A special thank you to my daughter/sidekick. 

I rounded off the theme with a couple of capes and a shield.  The smaller cape is for one lucky student that gets to be the "Hero of the Day".  This student is in charge of leading our Morning Meeting.  I wear the larger cape as a signal to students during small group and partner time that the teacher is busy  and questions should be referred to the parking lot.  

This cute superhero border and a variety of posters  were purchased at a local discount store.

The theme is steadily being incorporating. This was our first week back and my second graders are fully engaged. They love the idea being Super Second Graders.  They are helping me rename many our classroom work stations.  Thus far we have: Wonderful Word Words & Anchor Text Headquarters.  I can't wait to share these stations.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Measuring Penny a Second Grade Lesson

Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy provides an amazing backdrop for teaching second grade common core math standards.  Below you'll find a lesson plan that does just that!  I had a great time creating this lesson. I created this on the tail wind of a STEM class.  The focus of this class was inquiry based learning and student ownership. This lesson  dives into those concepts by encouraging student ownership of story problems, aka learning tasks.  The powerpoint for this lesson can be accessed via Author Stream or my wiki page.

Measuring Penny

More PowerPoint presentations from Charity Dowell

Unit Lesson Plan
Measuring Penny
Second Grade, Common Core Learning Task
2.MD.A.1  Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
2.MD.A.2  Measure the length of an object twice using length units of different lengths for the two measurements: describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.
2.MD.A.4  Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, express the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.
2.MD.B.5 Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g. by using drawings (such as drawings of rulers) and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Student Objective Statement:
I can measure using standard units (inches/centimeters).
I can choose appropriate tools.
I can create story problems using addition and subtraction strategies.
I can solve story problems using words, pictures, and equations.
I can record data on a table.
Essential questions:
When is measurement used at school? At home? The larger world?
Related questions:
How do I use tools to measure and compare objects?
How do I use addition and subtraction when measuring?
Activities & Sequencing:
Hook/Engage (5 mins):
Whole group, small group, & Independent work:
1.Set the purpose by introducing the Book Measuring Penny & having students complete a quick review to access prior knowledge through the following sites using iPods, iPads or computers.
2.Whole group, read Measuring Penny (5-10 mins).
3.Whole group, complete chart on slide 3. Identify measuring tools and what was measured from the story (5 mins).
4.Measuring Activity #1, slides 5-6: Introduce step #1, Review expectations for cooperative learning time, partner assignments and mathematical practices.  Students break into groups to measure 5 different classroom items using a non standard unit, aka dog biscuits (10-15mins).
5.Whole group, introduce step 2 of Activity #1. Think, Pair, & Share with partners to complete step #2 (10-15 mins).
6.Measuring activity 2 (centimeters), slides 7-8.  This may be completed at a separate time or day (10-15 mins).
7.Measuring activity 3 (inches), slides 9-10.  This may be completed at a separate time or day (10-15 mins).
8.Reread Measuring Penny.  Using a stuffed animal brought from home, students will complete the learning task on slides 11-12. The actual student created problems can be treated as an exit slip or cumulative project depending on the assessment purpose, formative or summative (20-30 mins)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oh My! What's the Matter... a STEM Lesson

Last week, I embarked on a two week journey through STEM thanks to a wonderful grant through ETSU.

And... Oh My! I have a STEM unit plan on the states of matter to share.  This is a second grade unit plan using math & reading common core and TN state science standards.  

The format is NOT the TEAM model.  Instead it follows a more philosophical model designed by ETSU.  However, with just a little tweaking and shuffling it can be relabeled to match the TEAM model.  

This resource consists of one word document and two power points. All three can be accessed though my wiki. 

Oh My! What's the Matter? STEM Lesson

Moving Into Math Stations

I am officially committed to implementing Math Stations in a new way.  I have bought 10 clear tubs and cleaned a shelf.  In teacher terms that means I am in whole hog, because I spent $10.  There's no turning back.  Math Stations are going to have their own designated time and space in my classroom.

June 3rd and 6th, I worked with some fabulous SCDE teachers to completed a book study PD using Debbie Diller's "Moving Into Math Stations."  It was a fabulous opportunity to connect & collaborate with colleagues.  There were some enlightening discussions that really set a fire and desire to implement Math Stations. 

While the idea of Math Stations isn't new, I have generally just Incorporated a couple of stations during Daily 5 / Literacy Stations.  In the up coming year, each math station will have a specific skill focus with 3-5 activity choices. Check out the resources below for more details.

A second big idea that has affected my personal pedagogy is the use a workshop format lessons.  I am looking forward to expanding on this idea using common core this year. 

Resources used for Moving Into Math Stations PD, Summer 2013:
Prezi discussion guides
In addition to Debbie's DVD, we watched videos from The Teaching Channel website.
Classroom Management During Centers
We accessed several useful sites for templates and activities to actually make and take centers.
Tennessee Trending Teacher Wiki
Inside Mathematics, standards & tasks
Common Core Live Binder
K-5 Math Teaching Resources
Station Templates
We hit on the 8 all important mathematical practices as well.
8 Mathematical Practices Posters
Finally, we explored some amazing teacher blogs.
Station(center) lesson pans for first grade - Mrs. Schnuck's site
Launching stations overview - Mrs Parker's Learning Blog
Just a great resource - The Math Penguin

 SCDE Summer PD 2012

Monday, April 29, 2013

Common Core Excitement!

This school year is flying by at top speed. There are officially 18 school days left.  I am already thinking ahead to the up coming year & summer PD.  There are so many Good Changes heading our way!  Yes, I said it "Good Changes," a.k.a... Common Core. 

Where did this burning desire to explore common core come from?  Amazon of course.  It doesn't take much to make a nerdy teacher happy!  

I received a box of fan-tabulous math related picture books today.  Each book addresses a specific second grade math concept.  It's my summer goal to create common core lessons for each of the books.  Each lesson will address specific standards, provide cross curriculum resources, hands on options, and performance based assessments (formative & summative).   Wooohooo! Summertime here I come.

The first three choices for this common core adventure relate math to students' everyday world by using some realistic examples and some wild imaginary scenarios .

What would you do if you woke up on different days and faced a variety mathematical dilemmas?
The little boy in these stories wakes up each day to a new mathematical adventure.

On "One Odd Day," his shirt has three arms.  There are only odd numbers on his clock.

Everything on "My Even Day" turns out even.

When the little boy wakes up on "My Half Day," half of his hair is missing, along with 1/2 of many other things!  

Twelve Snails and One Lizard is a fantasy tale of "Mischief and Measurement." Two silly friends must discover different ways to measure inches, feet, and yards.  The essential question here is, "What is the most efficient way to measure?"  

Measuring Penny is a realistic fiction book that helps children apply measurement in a very relatable context.   A little girl measures her dog Penny in variety of creative ways.  

"How Big is a Foot?" is a short fairy tale about a king that wants to build a bed before beds and standard measurement were invented.   

Finally, I'd like to share one more great resource that I stumbled upon today.  It's a downloadable, printable common core resource book.  There is a free sample & the price is $39.99 for the complete download per grade level.  I am considering using this resource to create literacy work stations. As we have just adopted a new reading series, I am redoing everything.  This would give me a head start on the process. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Number Sense Routines Session 2

I participated in a wonderful PD this afternoon. Lot's of great discussions (math talk) among colleagues. We took an in-depth look at number sense.  My favorite quote from today's session was:
"In order to "get the point" students need lots of opportunities to bump into number sense ideas, use number sense, and discuss number sense ideas and strategies with peers,"  Jessica Shumway.

For this PD, we revisited Jessica's book  Number Sense Routines: Building Numerical Literacy Every Day in K-3 .  Last week I used a pre-made Prezi for the book study. This week I am happy to share my first Prezi.  I had a lot of fun playing with the three D features.  All of the quotes in the Prezi came from Jessica's book.

Today's PD provided an intense focus on what effective routines look and sound like in elementary classrooms.  The session included visits to some amazing classrooms via the Teaching Channel:
Third Grade Math Routines
Mingle and Count (Kindergarten)
Make Math Fun with Place Value Games

A large chunk of today's math talk centered on the topic of subitizing.   Opportunities for number sense development, subitizing are created by using quick images (shapes & tens frames).  Below are links to some online lesson plans that reinforce this strategy:

Dot Card and Ten Frame Activities
Multiplication and Ten Frames

Thank you to all of the amazing SCDE teachers that made it out today.  SCDE just completed the second day of TCAP testing.  Everyone, teachers and students are starting to feel exhausted. I truly appreciate the extra effort that was required to attend today's session.

I am looking forward to more professional development opportunities the first week of June.  The next book study will focus on Moving Into Math Stations by Debbie Diller.  I had the opportunity to hear Debbie speak at the 2012 ASCD conference.  Her ideas were insightful and motivating.  This should be a fabulous time of collaboration.  I am hoping to see lots of my SCDE colleagues there.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Number Sense Routines Session 1

Last Thursday, I had the previllege of leading a PD session utilizing ideas from, Number Sense Routines: Building Numerical Literacy Every Day in Grades K-3 by Jessica Shumway.

I began reading this selection over spring break and couldn't wait to share my experience with colleagues.   We scratched the surface on Thursday by covering the foundational ideas in chapter 1.  Using an already made Prezi by Julie Smith, we explored the characteristics and skills needed to develop numerical literacy.  I used the Prezi to create a "Magic Vocabulary"  activity for PD Participants to complete.   

We will meet again in the up coming week to work through chapter 2.  This is open to all SCDE teachers. 
I highly recommend this book for a K-5, Professional Learning Community (PLC) book study.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Telling Time Common Core Lesson

The following lesson focuses on Common Core math standard 2.MD.7, AKA telling time. For this lesson, students will explore time by reading and acting out an Eric Carle Classic, The Very Grouchy Ladybug. Rigor was added to the lesson by including Common Core learning tasks. This is such a popular story the ready made resources were enormous. I tried hard to use ideas that effectively reenforced the standard. The various resources I utilized for this presentation can be accessed on the last slide.

My second graders are chomping at the bit to jump into telling time. We have touched on the concept several times during our daily math routines. I can't wait to have fun with this concept and hear what my students have to say using their "Math Talk."

Below is an online version of the lesson or it may be download in powerpoint via the Tennessee Trending Teacher wiki.
Lesson Plan The Very Grouchy Lady Bug 
Second Grade, Common Core Learning Task 

Math – 2.MD.7 Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes.
Reading – RL.2.6 Acknowledge differences in points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
Student “I Can” Statements:

  • I can tell time to the nearest 5 minutes.
  • I can understand the difference between am & pm.
  • I can retell a story using complete sentences, expression, and character voices to make the story interesting. 

Essential question:
Why is it important to be able to tell time?

Assessing and Advancing Questions:
What do you know about time?
What have you learned about time?
How do you know your answer is correct?

Can students…

  • draw the hands on a clock to show a given time 
  • write the time using numbers and symbols
  • describe how they determined the time 

Sequence of whole group, small group, & Independent work: 

  • Brainstorm & create an anchor chart. What do you know about time? (5 mins) 
  • Set the purpose by asking questions to introduce The Very Grouchy Ladybug (5 mins). 
  • Read the story (5-10 mins). 
  • Transition Time - Personal think time – What do you know about time, after reading The Very Grouchy Ladybug ? Shoulder partner discussions time. Whole group.- Make changes to the anchor chart. Add permanent writing. (3-6 mins). 
  • Review slides 5-9, How are AM and PM different (3-7mins)? 
  • Explore an analog clock with a partner Using flash cards and manipulative clocks (5-8 mins). 
  • Links to printable flash cards on resources page. Time for Time Drill: Review power point and use manipulative clocks (10mins). 
  • Close/End of the Day review – Using performance based assessments. This can be treated as an exit slip if used for formative assessment. (5-10 mins). 
  • Cross Curriculum Connections: Readers’ Theater using illustrations and multimedia resources, slides 56-66 (10-30 mins).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Greedy Triangle: Common Core Lesson, Geometry

After a quick google search for lessons and resources related to polygons, I came up a plethora of resources.  Here's a common core lesson complete with performance based assessments. It incorporates the "The Greedy Triangle," my new favorite shape book.  The presentation can be downloaded through
I just added a page to the Tennessee Trending Teacher Wiki.  The Greedy Triangle, Alexander Who Use to Be Rich,  and other common core lessons will be accessible for downloaded ASAP on the Second Grade Common Core Lessons page.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Common Core Task Revisited: Alexander Who Used to Be Rich

Here's a final product for the "Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday," Common Core task.  After watching the video clips, my next pedagogical area to tackle is academic feedback.  I would like to hear more of that from myself and my students.  With that said... here it is. :)

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Second Grade Polygons

Burned an hour this evening exploring . Our school has a month long free trial.  I compared the results from this site to a regular Google search.  The results were very similar.  Lesson Planet has some original plans and many links to public plans. The four plans I liked best are available free online.  With that said...

This week, I am taking a really close look at the second grade common core standards for Geometry.  Envision, while wonderful, great, etc.,  lacks extended practice & rigor with polygons & their attributes that standard 2.G.1 requires. 

I have found some great lesson plans. Several of them center around a really cute book, "The Greedy Triangle." 

Here are links to lesson plans that I am 'beefing up" to fit the TEAM model and common core. 

The Greedy Triangle - Exploring Polygons with Geo-boards
The Greedy Triangle Lesson Plan (graph paper)
Polygon Scavenger Hunt

This plan includes a great foldable,  Exploring Polygons with the Greedy Triangle .

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Alexander Who Used to Be Rich...

Trying to kill two, three, four, birds with one stone! Here's a lesson that I developed this week to address a variety of elements: common core learning task, STEM across curriculum, TEAM lesson planning, LC mentoring, bench mark review to name a few. I snagged the "We Do" word problems directly from "Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday," . The money pictures I cut and pasted from Smart Notebook. I haven't actually implemented the lesson yet. I am hoping to video tape it for a STEM class that I am completing.

Alexander Who Used to Be Rich

More PowerPoint presentations from Charity Dowell

Lesson Plan
Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
Second Grade, Common Core Learning Task
2.MD.8 Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately.
Student Objective Statement:
I can solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ (dollars) and ¢ (cents) symbols appropriately.
Essential questions:  How will you find the total amount of given currency?  Why is important to know how to count money? 
Hook/Engage – Think, Pair, & Share: What can you do with money? How would you get money?
Activities & Sequencing:
Accessing Prior Knowledge (5 mins):
Money song, Quick Check coin recognition
Vocabulary: Dollar Sign $, Decimal, ¢ Cent Sign
Sequence of whole group, small group, & Independent work:
1.Set the purpose by asking essential questions. Read the story (5-10 mins).
2.Complete the “I Do” story problems by modeling, teacher & student. (10-15 mins)
3.Review expectations, small group/partner assignments and mathematical practices.  Students break into groups and complete the “We Do” tasks (10-15mins).
4.Transition Time/Money Fun Facts (2-3 mins)
5.Share time – choose sets of students to present their work. (5-10 mins)
6.Connecting across  curriculum- Author’s Assignment – writing about money (20-45 mins)
Discuss what students could purchase if they had $100
Create a story map reference the slide
Write personal narratives

7.Close/End of the Day review – “I Do” task
vThis can be treated as an exit slip, if being used for formative assessment. (5-10 mins).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fabulous Friday, Common Core Reading

Normally, we spend a chunk of Friday exploring common core formats as we prepare for PARCC assessment. So here's a run down of our Fab Friday... Our main selection this week was "Bad Dog Dodger." So we followed this up with three separate reading stories in small group stations. I nabbed these short reads & comprehension questions from Have Fun Teaching. To add rigor and make the tasks more engaging the following elements were required. 1. Students used a marker to highlight text that supported their answers. If partners disagreed about an answer, they had to use evidence and persuasive language to determine which answer was correct. 2. Students created a different Thinking Map for each story by drawing conclusions and siting evidence from each story: Alley Cat & House Cat - Double Bubble Map, Fish Tank - Circle Map, Carly the Carnary - Flow Map. Everyone did such a great job that we followed up with a snack of just for fun! kitty litter cake

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Accountability Station

Some classes require a bit more love and attention than others. A.K.A. there are some discipline issues.  At Christmas break, I took some time to evaluate what was working and what wasn't. 

I use a twist on the traveling behavior stick.  It's worked really well for my class over the past three years; however, I realized that this year there needed to be a little something more.  So I shook it up in January by adding an accountability station.  This is a place where students can reflect and have a quiet moment to calm  down. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vocabulary! Vocabulary! Vocabulary!

Vocabulary, Vocabulary, Vocabulary...

I recently had the opportunity to hear Joanne Billingsley present "Vocabulary Magic".  Inspired by her presentation. I created the following vocabulary activity to go along with the literature unit, " I Like Where I Am."

Students are paired and given a deck of cards. The deck contains 10 vocabulary cards, 10 definition cards, and 10 picture cards.  Students sort the cards into three stacks. With partners they read the vocabulary words and match the pictures to them. Students then follow up by reading the definitions and placing them with the coordinating vocabulary words. Using the new common core mind set... I do not give the students the correct answers. Instead the students are encouraged to discuss the pictures and definitions making changes as they go through the activity. 

To wrap it up, students view a "trailer" that provides the correct answers.  Joanne added music and slides of "Did you know?" statements.  I don't have those in this example, but will add those elements to later versions.

Monday, February 18, 2013

This week second grade kicked off a Math Mania incentive.  Over the past year, I have attended many common core math trainings. One of the biggest ideas expressed was that we have to own it.  With this in mind we decided that fluency was imperative. After a little brain storming, here's what we came up with.

Math Mania
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

December Stem Lesson

Instead of making Christmas crafts this year.  Second grade grew Crystals and studied the water cycle.  Planning began by creating a text set.  We selected the following books from scholastic. Included were below, on-lovel, and advanced texts.  

A Drop of Water
Growing Crystals
Down Comes the Rain
Water Cycle 
The Water Cycle

Next came the fun part. Identifying and refining the big project. We pulled the Crystal Tree idea from "Pinterest."   We also included a simple related experiment.  

This is result of dipping black construction paper into a salt water solution and then allowing time for the water to evaporate.

After just a couple of hours, this is what our crystal Christmas trees looked like.

We added a few drops of food coloring to  the tips before adding the liquid solution to give the crystals some color.

At the end of the school day our card board trees were almost completely covered.