April 30, 2018

Bringing Culture Into Your Classroom Through Picture Books

Are you trying to bring more culture into your classroom? Not sure where to start? Then you will love this brand new collection of picture books from Idunnu Studios.

When I was first introduced to Oladoyin and her books I was blown away!

In her collection A-Z And Things In Between she is releasing one book a month for each letter of the alphabet. That's right, 26 books celebrating cultures from all over the world!




I had no idea which book I should start with so, I began at the beginning with A! 

Not only would it be fun to teach my students the Azonto, I also feel that my selection of African literature is limited.

So my 2nd graders are traveling to Ghana and learning about the Azonto! Click here to see it in action!


Before I shared this story with my students I wanted to show them the Azonto so they could visualize  the dance as I was reading. Of course then we had to learn how to do the dance. I wish I had the ability to bring in someone to show us the Azonto in person, but our community is not that diverse. This is all the more reason to share other cultures with our students!

Why I Teach About Different Cultures


As an educator I never want to have one of my students to describe something new to them as weird. I fully believe in celebrating other cultures and love to bring them into our classroom.

Want to add one of these beautiful books to your classroom library? I am currently having a giveaway on my Instagram. Click here to enter to win! If you do not win, be sure to check out these books on Amazon.

Which would be the first you add to your classroom library?



April 4, 2018

2nd Grade Pirate Math Review

2nd Grade Math Review Task Cards

Ahoy!!

I am back at it again with another classroom transformation! As I was reflecting one day I realized I wanted to bring more fun into my classroom. Personally, it is easy for me to get caught up in day to day of my classroom routine. I have to make myself stop and think "am I giving my students the best year I can?" I only have 180 days with these students. 180 days to prepare them for the next grade. 180 days to also give them the best year I can.

So what do you do when you realize you could be better? You do exactly that and do better. So here we are becoming pirates and collecting our gold. This was a super simple and easy classroom transformation. I kept thinking I could do better or more, but at the end of the day my students loved it.


Click here to read about how I did a Pirate Decimal Review for 5th grade. You may also like this fun Kindergarten math activity that I used in September for Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Set The Stage


All of my decorations have been purchased from either Party City, Amazon or Oriental Trading. Keep reading for links to what I purchased.
The gold they earned from me is kept in the treasure chest.

Does have a bit of a Halloween feel, doesn't it?
I should have ordered this in a color so it stands out more.Purchased from Oriental Trading.
The only big purchase I made this year. Worth it!

He needs a name. Any suggestions?

Transforming your room does NOT need to cost a lot of money. All of the decorations I had set up were used 2 years in a row for 3 different activities. The only things I need to purchase each year are eye patches.

Cost - $81

Most of the items I purchased are used year after year. The only additional cost for each time I do this room transformation are the eye patches, plastic table clothes and anything else I may want to add.

Parrot - $5
Flag - $8
Curtain for Door - $9
Fish Net - I bought mine for $10 (not worth it). Get a colored one for $5.
Pirate Coins - $5
Eye Patches - $7
Pirate Ship - $21
Pirate Shirt - $16

Possible Future Purchases

Pirate Wheel $27
Back Drop - $12


Activities 

I only ever do classroom transformations as review. Think of it as a reward for all of their hard work. All of our activities were math review.

In 2nd grade a lot of the year is spent on addition and subtraction. I had my students complete this review before we went on our spring break. My plan was after break to get into adding and subtracting with triple digits. I included a center for this skill. Since it was a new topic I worked with this group first to show them the strategies. This also gave me an idea of their understanding of the skill.

I used one of my photo keepers to store my task cards. I decided to color coordinate my recording sheets to the task card bins. This was really a happy accident. We ordered our final paper of the school year and colored paper is plentiful, so there you have it. Saving the paper. :) 
Centers are color coded to help my students easily rotate.
My happy accident however was super useful! Since that was not my original plan I used matching images for each center. This way your students can confirm that they are using the correct recording sheet. Then when you go to correct them, you can easily sort them. 

The recording sheet image and image on the task cards match for ease as well.
If you are interested in purchasing this to review with your students, click here. All of the activities are picture above: counting money, place value, addition and subtraction (no regrouping), telling time to 5 minutes and triple digit addition and subtraction. 


Outcome

I have not really done any classroom transformations this year. So when I set this up I did not know how my students would react. To my surprise they were AMAZING. I have never witnessed them so engaged and focused. The first day we did centers I let them go for a lot longer than I anticipated because they were working so hard.

I fully believe if you set your expectations high your students will reach them. I was very honest with my class about how impressed I was with their hard work. I explained when they work hard like that it makes me want to happily do another fun activity!

While my students were working they had an incentive. Their goal was to earn my gold coins. For every 10 problems they got correct they earned one piece of gold. One piece of gold = 1 extra minute of recess. The first day they earned 40 pieces!!! Whoops haha happily my students agreed they should use a few minutes a day instead of all at once. ;)

Make learning fun! You want your students to love coming to school. You only have them for 180 days, make it a fantastic experience!