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Create Your Own Math Resource Folder

Math reference folders are the perfect way for your students to have all their math references at their fingertips.

"How do you spell September?"
"What shape has 5 sides?"
"How many days are in a week?"

Math reference folders help students to help themselves! These 3-sided math reference folders are simple to make and will hold up all school year.

 Looking for ready-made reference pages? Check these out!

"Learning to Read" to "Reading to Learn": Making the Transition

One of the biggest transitions that takes place in my second grade classroom is the move from learning to read to reading to learn. Throughout the school year, we continue to work on our reading and phonics skills. However, my goal for my students is that they leave the second grade with the ability to comprehend so that they can read informational text.

Upper elementary students are required to read to obtain information. Students have to be taught how to retrieve the information that they are looking for. One of the best ways to do this is to model this skill. This can be done as a whole class, small groups, or one on one.

Before you begin, make sure that your students have the supplies that they need. My students LOVE using highlighters. Yes, when they first start using them they tend to go a little overboard with the highlighters. However, once they get used to having them they use them more wisely.

Find a text that is meaningful! I would make the text relevant to something that you are covering outside of your Reading/LA block. I would use a text that relates to your current Social Studies or Science unit.

We start by reading the text together and discussing the text before we move onto the questions. If you are doing this as a whole group activity, I would definitely have the text enlarged on a projector. Once you start the questions, read the first question aloud. Allow for time before asking students where they found the answer in the text. I like to have students come and point to the sentence in which they found the answer. Then together, we all highlight the sentence that answers the question.

Then, we write down our answers. If students have more than one color highlighter I would allow them to change colors when answering different questions.

We work on this skill quite a bit in the spring as preparation for the third grade. These skills enable my second graders to be better prepared for third grade.

Looking for some FREE reading passages to use in your classroom? Check out these FREE Social Studies and Science reading passages!

Magnet Experiment FREEBIE

My kids absolutely LOVE this simple magnet experiment. I use it as a fun way to conclude my unit on force and magnets. You can find the recording sheet and instructions for the experiment here:

You will probably already have all the supplies that you need in your classroom.

Materials Needed:

·One pencil per group

·String or yarn

·Small magnets (Circle, ball, bar)

·Large and small paper clips (colored ones are more fun)

·One paper lunch bag per group

Teacher Prep

1.Construct “fishing poles” by attaching a magnet tied to a string to a pencil. The pencil serves as the pole. The string or yarn is the fishing line. The magnet is the hook.
2.Put an assortment of large and small paper clips into each paper bag (at least 20 large and 20 small in each).

Instructions for students

1.Without looking in the bag, drop the fishing line. Carefully pull up the line to see what you “Caught.”
2.Record your results and put your “Fish” back into the bag.
3.Pass the bag to the next person.
4.Continue until your charts are full. Compare results with your group members to see who is the better “Fisherman.”

Kids finish early? Copy the recording sheet double-sided and let them "fish" again!

Using Thanksgiving to Teach "Now and Then"

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving! I love the holiday and teaching everything about it. However, by the time that the kiddos hit second and third grade, they have done all the cutesy Thanksgiving things that us teachers love to do. The turkey hat is cute, but it loses its charm after first grade;)

I have found that Thanksgiving is a great way to incorporate some of my “Now and Then” standards. You can teach about the first Thanksgiving while comparing it to the Thanksgiving that we celebrate today.

Fantastic discussion starters for comparing the First Thanksgiving to the present Thanksgiving:

How long did the first Thanksgiving last? How about ours?

What did they eat at the first Thanksgiving? What do you like to eat at yours?

How did they talk back then? Now?

Always a favorite – What did they wear at the first Thanksgiving? What about you?

This Thanksgiving Now and Then Unit covers all these questions while teaching about the first Thanksgiving. It also contains several interactive components that allow to you use this in your interactive notebooks or to make lapbooks! You can buy the unit alone or as BUNDLE that includes a fun presentation to spark your students’ interest.

Alternative Seating Storage

I've been using camping chairs in my classroom way before the alternative seating trend started. My students really enjoy reading in the chairs and I've really never had a problem with them (and I'm in the second grade). My only struggle has been the storage.


The chairs fit, but the kids struggled putting them away each day.


They are much easier to store! This drawer is from an old dresser. Legs have been added to it and the chairs fit perfectly!

Teaching About the Presidential Election

I love election years! There is almost too much stuff for me to cover in my allotted time for Social Studies. I try to carry over some of the election material into our Language Arts and Reading block. How do we start our unit on the election? I usually try to make sure that I teach our unit on leaders before I start our election unit. Teaching about leaders is the perfect lead into the election unit. I have an Election 2016 Presentation that I use with the class. This presentation is a great review of when the elections are held and who is currently in the office.

We then move on to talk about the different major two parties and the two party nominees. It is extremely important to check your feelings about the candidates at the door. Your students should have no clue about your presidential preference. I always stress that the right to vote is confidential, while at the same time encouraging my students to talk about the election and the candidates at home. I only teach my students the facts ABOUT the candidates, never about the candidates’ stances on issues. Those are conversations that should be left at home. My job in the classroom is to give basic factual information (biographical) and to inform my students on the election process.

We also talk about the electoral college. This concept is sometimes a little tricky for grownups too. It makes for a great math lesson though!

The Election 2016 Unit has tons of activities that keep my students engaged while learning about the election process. My students love taking home their lapbooks full of information to share with parents!

Or, you can find both the unit and presentation together in a BUNDLE!

Goodbye Word Wall!

Goodbye Word Wall!
I have ALWAYS had a word wall in my second grade classroom. It was filled with vocabulary words and sight words. However, most of the words that were on the wall were in their writing notebooks, which they use for reference while writing. We weren’t really USING the word wall. In order to make the word wall more effective, I decided to make it a wall for all of the over used words. The words on the wall are the words that I notice they use way too often in their writing. I thought that I would change up the wall to encourage more colorful words. Instead of fun…
Instead of sad…
Instead of happy…
Instead of good…
Instead of bad…
They really enjoy using these words in their writing and even push themselves to think of other words that are not on the wall!