Teaching Addition and Subtraction in 2nd Grade

Hey y'all! We're gearing up for learning about addition and subtraction over here and it's a doozie. My kiddos in the past were so confused about the district's workbook program, and I just know I cannot put another class through that. Anyone else been there?

So this year, we're doing things differently. If you're not familiar with how we run math workshop in our classroom, you can check out the original post here.

This unit is 5 weeks long. We spend the first week learning about place value to the hundreds place. The kids play games and use task cards to develop a firm understanding of how numbers work.

The second week, we practice adding and subtraction without regrouping in all kinds of ways. The games and activities are so much fun and students beg to get to play them again and again. (Addition and subtraction with regrouping will be in the sequel of this unit, so hang tight.)  

The third week, we practice adding and subtracting by 10 and 100. The activities are similar enough to be easy to manage and understand, but unique enough to keep students' super-short attention.

Week 4 focuses on how to write these big numbers in expanded form. So many curriculum resources touch on this so briefly that the kiddos don't really understand it. By taking a full week on how to write them and what they mean, students develop a firm understanding of place value and how it all works together. This helps out immensely when we get to regrouping. 

And the last week, we put it all together in word problems. There are task card, puzzles, games, and a super silly scoot game to sum it all up at the end. And by silly I mean my middle schooler helped write some of the questions. They may cause extreme giggling. Just FYI. ;)

I hope your class enjoys these stations just as much as mine do. If you have any questions about to use math stations in your classroom, drop them in the comments and I'll answer them as quickly as possible. 

The addition and subtraction unit WITH regrouping will be coming soon, along with several other related units. Follow me either through the email list on the sidebar or through Teachers Pay Teachers so you can stay up to date with the latest information. 

Have a wonderful week and stay sweet, 

Classroom Reveal 2018-2019

Hey y'all! I know many of you are already back in school and/or done setting up your classroom, but I wanted to share a little about my home away from home this year.

It's really important to me to create a space that is both fun and exciting, and calm and comfortable at the same time. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it can be done.

I went back and forth about a lot of things. If you know me at all, you'll know I have a few different decor sets in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I love them all, but I needed something specific this year. (Yes, I am the teacher that changes things up every year. I end up changing rooms every year so why not...)

As a Creative Teaching Press Ambassador, I was able to choose decor that worked for me. When the order came in, I was ecstatic!

I call this look "Zen-garden," like the band Soundgarden, but zennier. See what I did there? Yes, I know I'm a nerd. That's why I teach. (It also kind of reminds me of the Peanuts gang. So happy!)

So anyway, it's a combination of the rustic fadeless Pacon paper, the watercolor decor set from my own store, and Creative Teaching Press borders and accents. (And a few thousand things I've picked up from the Target dollar spot.)

I absolutely love how our word wall came out. And the classroom library is darling. I'm sure I'll be adding a rug and more seating here over the course of the year. My one little chair from last year and pillow I found over the summer look lonely there. (I had two chairs, but one didn't make out alive last year.)

I have this huge bulletin board on one wall that is serving as a focus wall of sorts. Our math and science rotation charts and our classroom jobs are housed here, as well as the hundreds chart, calendar, and reading and writing prompts. There's also plenty of space to add more charts and prompts. 

I love the way the "because" came out. If you follow Jen Jones, she's all about the because. I display it to remind my students to elaborate on their answers, but it also helps to remind me about why I do what I do. 

I have some massive windows on one wall that overlooks the courtyard and some hot pink curtains that my own kids outgrew years ago. I hung them up with a cheap curtain rod from Target and some Command hooks, then wrapped the curtain rod with leaf garland from the dollar spot I picked up last year. I think it looks fun and welcoming. (Ignore my plies on the shelves. Classroom setup gets messy.)

Our brag tags are displayed on the cover of a storage cabinet in our room. I put up Command hooks and used the donut cutouts from Creative Teaching Press as labels. Once I know who all will be in our class, I'll add their names. 

The room I moved into already had a rain gutter mounted on the wall to display books. Score!

I picked up caddies from Wayfair and stocked them with community supplies. I've done both community and individual supplies over the years, but I very much prefer to use community supplies in the classroom. It's so much easier and I feel it helps add to the whole classroom family feel.

It isn't "Pinterest perfect" and that's okay. There are boxes of manipulatives on top of cabinets, there are weird metal supports for things that were taken down long before I moved into the room, sections of old chalkboards are peaking out from behind the whiteboards, and my tape lines are more than a little off on the whiteboard. (I'll fix it...eventually.)

The important thing is that it's OUR imperfect room. It's OUR home away from home. And it's where we'll work together to dream and lay the foundation for OUR goals. It's okay to not be Pinterest perfect. Not everything is. What is important is that your students feel the love and dedication you have for them and that they feel safe to take risks and learn with their class family.

So here's to a perfectly imperfect year. May you rise up through the chaos and enjoy every crazy minute of it! Cheers!

Teaching Geometry in 2nd Grade

Hey y'all! Have I told you how much I love math and science stations? They are by far my favorite way to teach. Why? Because the kids are doing the work, and we all know that the person doing the work is the person doing the learning.

In the geometry unit, several skills are covered: identifying 2D and 3D shapes, partitioning shapes into rows and columns, and fractions.

Week one, we introduce the vocabulary vertex/vertices, edge, and face. Then, students go to a series of stations learning about 2D and 3D shapes, including finding real life examples of each in the classroom. 

Week 2, we discuss and define the words row, column, array, and partition. My kiddos last year really struggled with that last word. This year, we will talk about it much more in depth.

Then, students have time to practice partitioning shapes and building their own arrays. With all the hands on activities and games, the students don't realize just how much they are actually learning.

The third and last week of this unit, we talk about fractions. On Monday, we discuss the different ways we can make fractions and the essential vocabulary.

Then, the kids play games, do write the rooms, and use task cards to practice naming fractions correctly.

While they are working, I am monitoring their progress, checking for understanding, correcting any misconceptions, and reteaching as necessary. It's very similar to what I'd do in a small group, except that I can work with several small groups much more quickly and get to really talk with my students during each rotation or lesson.

On the last day, the students each get a fun size bag of candy and determine what fraction of each color is in their bag. Both Skittles and M&M options are included so you can use your favorite. :)

I hope you got some great ideas for teaching math in your classroom. For similar units, seasonal centers, and FREE startup resources check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.  Stay tuned for more math and science units coming soon.

Have a great week and stay sweet,


Teaching Coins in 2nd Grade

Hey y'all! Do your 2nd graders struggle with money? Where we're at, the standards have changed often, and learning about money changes grade levels all the time. The result is that my 2nd graders end up missing out on the standard because one year it's taught the grade level after them and the next year it's taught the grade level before them.

So...we end up spending at least a couple of weeks learning about money. How to identify coins, what their values are, and how to add them up. This year, the kiddos are expected to be able to solve word problems involving money. But they have to know the coins' values first!

On Monday of the first week, we go over the value of each coin and how to identify them. Many have learned some of this skills at home (thank goodness!), but for others, it's all new.

Tuesday through Thursday, the kids go to a series of stations where they practice identifying coins and counting them. While they are at stations, I'm walking around the room scaffolding students, clearing up any misconceptions, and reteaching as needed. It's a great way to assess where each individual student is at in their learning.

And since they are playing games and working independently, they don'r realize just how much they are actually learning!

The following week, we relate adding coins to skip counting. Some students come to this realization on their own, but many don't. Once they make that connection, though, their understanding of adding coins takes on a whole new level.

The stations the second week focus on solving word problems involving money. Most are strictly coin related, but some involve dollars as well.

One of the things I love about this setup is that there are direction cards included for each station. Students don't have to keep asking what to do because the instructions are right there with pictures.

Skills spiraled into this unit are using a number line, skip counting, comparing numbers, and solving word problems. It's a win-win.

For more information on how I structure math time click here or here. (Freebies included!) To find out more about this unit, check it out on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. This is the second unit in a series of math units coming out soon so be sure to stop by for more math units like this. These are very similar to my science units as well, so if you like this setup, click here or here for more. 

Thanks for stopping by and stay sweet,