So way back at the beginning of the year I swore I’d be better about posting things I’ve been doing with my students. I also swore to work out a lot. Sometimes I lie.
But I’m going to attempt to remedy this situation by posting once a month about my classroom. So, now that January is already gone I will summarize in pictures just some of what my busy little bees have been working on!
To relate addition to the real world I brought out my big ‘ol stash of grocery products my students brought in from home. These are items they see at the commissary here on base, so it was accessible and relatable to them. I put prices on the items (they were probably way off because there were quite a few I don’t buy on my own!) and spread them out around my kidney table (the “store”). Then I created an activity where students were given a certain amount of spending money and they had to predict, calculate and revise what items they could buy with that money without going over their budget. I had three levels of activities to meet my students’ needs:
1) My remedial students were given $5.00 and were only tasked to find two items that they could buy. They also had to add the items up using pencil paper and then check themselves with a calculator. They also had to tell whether their total was greater than or less than their budget.
2) My average students were given $15.00 and were first tasked to predict which items they could buy while getting as close to their budget without going over. Then they used a calculator to check their items. If they had gone over, they had to explain which item(s) they would put back. If they were under budget, they had to see if there were any other items they could add to their “cart”.
3) My enrichment students actually used catalogs I had to do their activity. They were given $50.00 and their task was similar to my average students, but they could also change quantities of items, which involved multiplication.
The kids LOVED this activity! Next time I may even bring shopping bags because they were having so much fun “shopping” through the items! I plan on creating a Teachers Pay Teachers/Teacher’s Notebook product for this because it was such a hit and the kids learned so much about shopping in the real world! So keep checking my Teachers Pay Teachers page for that!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The week of the 20th students only came to school 3 days because of Martin Luther King Day and a teacher work day, so I decided to focus on Dr. King’s life and explain (in 2nd grade terms) who he was and how he altered American history.
I started out by placing slips of paper on each student’s seat. Some were orange and some were blue. When they came in I told them that the rules were changing for the day, and that if they had orange slips of paper they had to sit off of the rug and onto the cold cement floor, had to walk at the back of the line all day, could not talk at their tables at all, and had to come in during recess to work. I told students with the blue slips that they could come sit next to me on the warm rug, stand at the the front of the line, go play outside at recess and talk at their tables (but could not talk to students with orange tickets). Now, I will admit I was somewhat strategic with my slips. I have this one cutie pie that is PASSIONATE about being first in line every…single…day. I knew that forcing her to be at the back would make her disappointed (I’m terrible!), and it worked like a charm. As soon as I said that she frowned so much her face muscles had to have hurt. I then asked the students who had orange tickets how they felt about the new rules. “I feel left out”, “I just don’t understand”, and “I feel sad” were just some of the responses I got. Then I asked the students with blue slips how they felt. “I feel bad for them, but good for me”, “I feel sad for them”. That is when I told them that thankfully I was not changing the rules, but that they just experienced something called segregation. They totally got it (as much as an 8 year old can, anyway) and it led into a beautiful conversation of acceptance and celebrating differences. Kids are deep. They do catch on to certain things. We read books about Dr. King, watched a few videos and had some good discussions. They still had trouble understanding why black and white kids could not be at school together. It made no sense to them….and that right there is proof of the effect Dr. King had on our country. We still have a lot of work to do, but there is hope yet.
I also went over how to write a friendly letter, and the culminating product for the week was their own letter to Dr. King (full product found HERE). We went through the steps of the writing process for this project, and I must say, my heart swelled up twice its size when I read their published letters. See for yourself:
These are 8 year olds! I just love how innocent their hearts are. Just beautiful.
This is one of my favorite units of the year! We learn about biomes, how to classify animals, attributes, food chains, expository nonfiction, how to research using online databases, books and articles, how to paraphrase, organize ideas, and write a research report (among others). And, they LOVE it! Here are some specifics:
I loved this sort by Amanda Bryant. The photos are detailed and include the animal names. I will only use products that have photographs because I believe it is important for students to connect the concepts to real life. This was a great group activity after introducing the different classifications of vertebrates. You can find it HERE.
Our in-class project will be a research report on an animal students choose, but we’re still in the process of that one.
So that’s about all I actually took pictures of that I can post here. I hope you found something inspiring!