Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rekenreks - A Cool Tool for Math

Do not faint, but this is an actuall blog post from moi!  LOL

Do you use Rekenreks in your classroom?  Do you know what Rekenreks are?  
Rekenreks are actually from the Netherlands and are based upon other forms of bead-based math manipulatives such as the abacus.

Rekenreks have two rows of beads with 10 beads (5 of one color and 5 of another color) on each of the rows.  (Ours happen to be blue and white, but most are red and white.  Ours are blue because it's our school color.)

Rekenreks are fabulous for helping students to subitize numbers.  Subitizing is when students can instantly see how many objects are used and what number is represented.

So this amazing young man, Ethan, made 450 Rekenreks for our school.  It took him a couple of months to collect the materials and assemble them.  It was actually his Eagle Scout project.  Here he is with his gorgeous and talented mama, who happens to be my wonderful friend, and presenting the Rekenreks to our school with our Math Strategist, Chrese Jones and our principal, Pauline Mills.


So this week we have been working on a review of making 10.  We use Investigations math at our school as well as Number Talks.

This is Cherese giving a number talk using a teacher Rekenrek.  


For this Number Talk, the students were asked to put 8 on the top and 4 on the bottom.  They were then asked to figure out how many beads there were altogether.  The white board shows some of their thinking on how they figured out the amount quickly.  There is also an example of a student's board.

Since we have been working on building 10, I of course had to scour Pinterest and I came across this amazing blog post by Mrs. Clancy of Joyful Learning in KC.  So I looked at her examples and decided to rev up our Rekenreks as well and implement what we had been working on in math.

Her lesson came from this book which I just ordered and you can order by clicking on the (affiliate) link

amazon.com/Bunk-Beds-Apple-Boxes-Investigating/dp/0325010064/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411228578&sr=8-1&keywords=bunk+beds+and+apple+boxeschaoneupforth-20

 So here is how our lesson turned out.  We read the story and then the students worked independently to create 10 on their Rekenreks.  Then they shared their ideas and strategies with their partner and finally we recorded them on our poster.  (Oh, how I love our poster maker at school!)


I do not have any Rekenrek resources, but there are quite a few on TPT.  I do not know Number Sense Guy, but he has quite a few resources in his store, if you want to check them out.

Also, Donna from Math Coach's Corner (love her!) has a fantastic post on how to create these inexpensive Rekenreks for your classroom AND she has a link to a fabulous FREEBIE from The Math Learning Center that I used last year when we first got our Rekenreks.

I am looking forward to getting as much use out of these amazing tools as possible this year...and maybe you'll be able to make some, too!

With that, Happy Rekenreking!



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Look, Up in the Sky! It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's My Classroom Reveal!!

I sure have been working hard on my title of World's Worst Blogger.  We are entering our third week of school tomorrow and I am finally getting around to showing our classroom.

This year I moved rooms and it was definitely like starting over from scratch.  However, we did get to move over with our grade level (who totally ROCKS) and we finally have a window in our classroom.  Yes, it's way up high, but it lets in a lot of natural light..oh, how I have missed natural light!

So, without rambling on any longer, welcome to our superhero classroom!

 This is the view as you enter our classroom.  The banner came from Vistaprint.  Love that you get a peek of the colors as you enter.

Had to take a close up of our telephone booth.  Perfect for turning second graders into superheroes!

We talked recently at our grade level meeting about doing assessment "temperature checks", as my principal calls them. Here is our Ticket Out the Door chart for doing just that.  
The paver was created by my sweet friend of many years.  Isn't she just an amazing talent?  She's made me a doorstop paver every year for the past 5 years.

Boy, the blue on my board really does look a lot better than this.  The sky and buildings stretch all the way down one wall.  There is a section for ELA, math, science and social studies, as well as a general focus wall.  
Did you read my tip?  The letters on each word (math, ELA, etc.) match the color of their interactive notebook for that subject.  (Clever, huh?  It was a total fluke!)

Two other teachers and myself are using Whole Brain Teaching this year (and LOVING it!) so of course, I had to whip up some matching posters.  Also in this pic is our clock (Has anyone seen the :25, by any chance?),  and our "welcome" sign.

My sweet friend Christina over at Miss DeCarbo made some darling posters for her classroom.  Had to make that idea my own and do them superhero style. 
I also included the pic of our team signs.  We also have Wonder Kids, Captain Kids and Bat Kids.

This is the view of the left side of our classroom where our writing table is located.  
(See the windows, too?)

If you ever come to my classroom, PLEASE do not look too closely at my chevron chair.  I have a sewing machine...I do not sew.  I am ashamed to say that the fabric is hot glued together.  No, it's not pretty...not pretty at all.

Years ago my sweet dad made this structure out of PVC pipe.  It has been a jungle hut, a space station, a bee hive, a pirate cove, a banana cabana and this year (after MUCH brainstorming and enlisting ideas from friends, family and other bloggers), this is the result.  Not quite as spectacular as I'd envisioned, but the kiddos love it and that's what counts.
P.S.  The Hall of Justice is where the Superfriends hang out.

 Finally, I have to give a shout out to this amazing kiddo!  Not many would give up a week (more or less) of their summer vacation to come in and help their mom set up her classroom.  Thankfully, he did (with just a wee bit of bribing).  You can also see that he had a chance to check out the crate seats.  He also got a nice reward of going around with my principal on a motorized cooler (yes, you read that correctly) and handing out ice cream cones.

So that's it!  Our classroom is up and running.  LOVING my second grade superhero kiddos.  We are pretty cozy in there with 23 kiddos, but they are amazing and I wouldn't trade any of them!

So stay tuned for more tales, teaching tips, and sharing from our Superhero Headquarters.

The graphics that I used in my classroom come from Jazzy Patterns on Etsy. 

Now check out these amazing classrooms. 

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekend Reflections

Well, we have just finished up our 3 teacher reporting days and the kiddos will be coming on Monday...ready or not!

It's time for

We were so lucky to only have just a few meetings and were able to spend a lot of time working in our classrooms, meeting with grade levels, etc.  I am sooooo thankful that my sweet son came up and helped me and the school a LOT...in fact, we went up yesterday and he spent about 2 hours helping in the office.  LOVE that boy!!

My classroom reveal will be coming soon, but I just have to say that I really don't care to move classrooms again.  WHAT.A.LOT.OF.WORK!

Soooooo....how was your week?  You can link up right here:



Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekend Reflections

Here is Las Vegas, the public schools are not in session yet, although I have been working on it (reveal coming soon).  We officially report back on the 20th with kiddos coming on the 25th.  I have actually given myself the week "off".  Which only means I'm not working in my classroom, but I am getting work done at home.

So, it's time for
 

I do have to share one thing that we did this week, which was attend the AMAZING school supply giveaway that the MGM Resorts and their employees put on every year.  I got enough goodies for my classroom to cover one of the tables in my classroom.  If you come to Vegas, I hope you'll consider staying at an MGM Resorts hotel. 

Here's my IG collage that I created from the event.


Now the for the linky.  Feel free to link up your blog post below with your reflections on YOUR week.  I can't wait to see what everyone has been up to this past week!  (Remember, you can use products in your blog post, but please don't link directly to your TPT store, if you have one...and don't forget to include the button, please.)



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Today I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for


 This is my sweet son helping me in my classroom.  The kiddos don't come for two more weeks.


Here's my question for you...Do you go in early to get your classroom ready?  If so, how early?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky


Hi there!  I'm linking up with Stephanie over at Falling into First for a really fun Meet The Teacher Blogger party.


So, this is me



It's time for a


Spending time with my sweet son,  hanging out with my fantastic friends,  pretty much any crime drama (Blue Bloods, NCIS, CSI),  being creative, anything dark chocolate, fountain Coke, apples with peanut butter, foot massages & pedis, stormy days, shopping, and the ocean.

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
First of all, I really can't imagine NOT being a teacher.  It encompasses so many things that I love.  BUT, if I had to, I would love to own a little store that totally caters to teachers...amazing school supplies, delicious and reasonable lunches, coffee bar...just a fabulous place for teachers to hang out.
THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
Giver.  Stressball.  Mom.

 
FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"
"I just LOVE it when the copy machine consistently jams wasting my entire prep time!"
 

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
Oooh!  Hmmmmm!  We were just talking about this the other day.  I would love to know my grandma as a grown up.  I would totally have to have her there.
As for a famous person, how about Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney for entertainment.

Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE? 
Keeping Your Head Above Water

 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
 
  The ability to make time stand still.  I always look around and am amazed at how quickly life flies by us.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING? 

Be Kind.
 
Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
  I think you would all be better off if I didn't sing!  YIKES!!

 
 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
YES!  I love staying up late, but I also love getting up early.  Not a good combo, huh?  I absolutely LOVE the early morning hours, but it's so great just to be able to stay up late!
 
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
I can't necessarily say it's my favorite, but I really enjoyed creating my most recent science units.
Science is so interesting to me.  I love having my students dig deeper with whatever unit we are studying. 

This is a bundled unit featuring plants, matter, and weather.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Science-Interactive-Notebook-with-Experiments-BUNDLE-Matter-Plants-Weather-1369448

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Science-Interactive-Notebook-with-Experiments-BUNDLE-Matter-Plants-Weather-1369448

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Science-Interactive-Notebook-with-Experiments-BUNDLE-Matter-Plants-Weather-1369448

I love that there are so many facets:  an interactive dictionary, interactive activities centered around the topic and 4 fun experiments with directions and interactive recording sheets for the students.  (Can you tell I am in love with interactive?)
Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU! 

Wow!  Something you don't know about me?  I'm pretty much an open book.  I guess if there's something you want to know about me, just ask!



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weekend Reflections - A Look Back at Your Teaching Week

Hi, friends!  If you're just stopping by for the first time, welcome!  If you've been here before, welcome back!  

Today I want to introduce a new weekly linky called Weekend Reflections - A Look Back at the Past Week.



If you're a blogger, this will be a great place to stop by and link up as you reflect upon the previous week...maybe an amazing lesson that you taught, maybe a hilarious, hard-to-believe-if-you-weren't-there story, or maybe something that touched your heart in such an incredible way that you just have to share.  (To participate, just plop this button on your page and link up.  I will also be pinning your posts throughout the week.  It's as easy as that!)

As a reader, this will be a great place to gather ideas and inspiration from other teachers around the world.  

While I, personally, have not started back to school yet, I know several friends have, so it's time to get this linky party started!

So everyone, welcome!  Come in, link up, sit a spell, and enjoy.  






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