I threw down some cash this morning for the TpT sale!  I stocked up on some adorable clipart from Melonheadz, but I also got some awesome materials for my class. Want to see what I got?

I'm starting my Cinderella unit next week, so I picked this up for homework and small group work:

 After spring break, we will write Realistic Fiction stories.  This unit will be perfect!

I've been wanting some quick practice work for my lower reading groups.  These are perfect!

I need to supplement more nonfiction in my small groups.  This pack will be awesome!

These will be AMAZING resources for our math interactive journals.  I already had NBT.5, but I decided to get the entire bundle while it was on sale!

And now it's time to announce the winner of my giveaway!

Congrats Breanne! Look for an email from me and you will get to choose an item from my store! 

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin!
We all have our go-tos, right?  Go-to coffee mug, go-to comfy sweatshirt, go-to favorite teacher pens.  Well, today, I'm sharing my absolute favorite go-to Teachers Pay Teachers products that I use in my classroom!
First up, I am so thankful for Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher!
Not only are her seasonal sub plans amazing and her Reading Activities for Any Book, but she also has easy prep and super fun Mad for Math dice and domino activities! 
These are perfect for my math center bins!  You can see that I decided to do the 3 digit expanded form, greater or fewer with double digit numbers, and fraction activities.  I copied the direction pages on colored paper, slipped them in plastic page protectors, and made enough copies of the recording sheet.

I placed everything, along with some fun foam dice in my math center drawers.  I currently have 8 drawers that pairs of kids rotate through.  

These girls were pumped about those big dice! And look how engaged they are! Teacher heaven!

These girls were also excited about the colored foam dice.  The smiles on their faces say it all!

Here are two more math products that keep me afloat!

Since I'm not a fan of my school's math program, I would be struggling without Denise's Common Core math assessments!  They are straight forward, minimal reading, and really assess what each standard is asking.

The other one is Corinna's monthly word problems.  I have the whole year bundle! They spiral skills and really help the kids with critical thinking and problem solving skills.

You can see that these are great for using Singapore Math-style visuals.  And the written component is perfect practice for my kids who struggle with articulating how they solve problems.  

To partner with these word problems, I use my Math Problem Solving Strategy posters everyday! The kids have gotten really good at figuring out how to solve problems!

Here they are up in my room.  We refer to them every.single.day! I ran out of wall space, so I stuck them up on some window louvers that I never open anyway.  Perfect way to maximize the wall space! 

And my latest product upload is also a life saver that I've been using all year, but just finally got up on TpT - Math Vocabulary Dictionaries

We all know that math vocabulary can be hard and that's what trips kids up on tests and exams - especially state tests.  Since my kids are in 2nd, it's part of my job to help get them ready for the state test they'll take next year.  Keeping these math vocabulary books all year long help us build on previous knowledge and have a valuable resource to use in various lessons.  

There are three ways these can be organized - Common Core, quarterly, or alphabetically.  There are also 3 ways to bind them - copy back to back and staple in the middle with a long-armed stapler, cut in half and bind with a book binder, or cut in half, fold the cover over, and staple with a heavy-duty stapler.  

Now, hopefully I've given you some good ideas for the upcoming TpT sale

***** GIVEAWAY TIME!! *****
To help make a smaller dent in your pocket, I'm giving away one item in my store (under $10) to one lucky reader!  Leave me a comment below and let me know what your go-to classroom item is - maybe it's your Mr. Sketch markers, or your favorite Pandora station - it doesn't have to be a TpT product (but maybe it is!)  Make sure you leave your email in your comment and that you follow my blog some way (Bloglovin, email, or Google Friend Connect).  Good luck!

I'm over at Owl Ways Be Inspired today chatting about my new set of Presidents Day literacy centers.

 and even a freebie for Owl readers!

Head on over and check it out!
This quarter, my grade level has been working on opinion writing:
  • CCSS.2.W.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g.,because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
To start this out, we first looked at fact and opinion activities.  We used to have to teach fact and opinion in reading as part of our state standards.  In common core, it's not there.  But I really see it as an underlying skill for opinion writing.  Kids have to know what the difference between a fact and opinion is before they can be expected to write an opinion themselves.  

I then had the kids pick one story that we have read together in their anthology books from our basal adoption.  The story they picked had to be their favorite one.  

I then passed out a graphic organizer to help them write down reasons for why it was the best story. Their reasons had to have examples from the text.  If they thought it was funny, they had to say which part was funny or why it was funny.  Citing evidence has been hard for this group, so the more practice the better! 

After they had their reasons, they could start writing their essay.  We followed the opening statement, 3 reasons with details, then concluding sentence format.  I know these formulaic essays can be boring, but I feel that they need to learn this systematic format in order for them to be able to write more creative essays down the road.  This is the skeleton and they can add the meat to it later.  

After a written and edited rough draft, they re-wrote their essays and made a cell phone craft.  It's called IMHO (which is text-speak for In My Honest Opinion).

Here they are all hung up in the hallway.  

If you are interested in our Opinion Writing craft, you can pick it up at Teachers Pay Teachers.

I also have a Fact and Opinion center in my latest Literacy Center pack.  

How do you introduce and teach opinion writing? 

I'm joining up with some AMAZING bloggers for a Bright Ideas blog hop!

Singapore Math.  Perhaps you have heard about these new strategies for teaching math.  But perhaps you are like me and have heard of it, but wasn't too sure what it was.

This past Friday I flew to Honolulu with one of my grade level partners to attend a Singapore Math workshop from BER.  It was so great! It was officially called "How to Use the Best Strategies from Singapore Mathematics to Strengthen your Math Instruction". Here is the framework that was in our participant packet:

Our presenter, Cassy Turner, told us that just like we ask kids to read for 15 minutes a night to build fluency, we should be asking them to do math fact practice to build fact fluency, as well.  In order to do that, we learned some fun Mental Math strategies:

  • Magic Thumb - Say, "When I point up, count up.  When I point down, count down."  Start at zero and students can count in multiples of 2, 3, 4, whatever.  Kids will be good at first, but when you point down, they will have to think and it won't become just a regular skip counting activity.  It will keep them on their toes! To make it harder, start at a random number, like 24, and count up by 3's.  
  • Number Strings - This is a fun way for kids to practice math mentally and also explain their thinking and find out where their math went wrong.  Have kids solve and follow your verbal instructions in their heads, then write their ending solution on a whiteboard to hold up and show you.  This is such an easy formative assessment in the classroom and a great warm up for math class.  Can you figure out this number string in your head?
  • Math Sprints - This is a way to re-think the Mad Math Minute! Give all kids the same sheet of math facts.  They should get harder towards the end.  Tell kids that they won't finish, the point is to improve, not finish.  Time the kids for a minute, then go over the answers together and kids write the number they got on top.  Give them another one, and tell them the point is to beat their last score.  Do everything again, go over the answers, and celebrate the kids who made progress (it should be everyone!).  Then, instead of collecting these for a grade, have them crumple the papers up, walk around with a trash can, and each kids can throw their paper away.  It's not about a grade, finishing, or even doing better than your neighbor, it's about personal improvement.  Walk around and take note of how many problems the kids did - this is your formative assessment.  I LOVE this strategy, because I have several kids who get anxious during fact fluency tests.  This will make it fun, less stressful, and easy for ALL kids to be successful.  Here's a link to some official directions for Math Sprints
Via Amazon
Want to learn more? Here is a great article from the New York Times to check out and also this article from Newsweek.

***************** Good News!! *****************
Cassy Turner, my Singapore Math trainer, commented below and said if any of my awesome readers wanted samples of Math Sprints or Number Strings, to just email her and she'll send them on over!  Her email is Cassyt {at} gmail {dot} com.  Thank you Cassy!  

Hop on over to Sally's blog and read all about Ten Tips for Helping Learning Stick!

Are you ready for some football?  What about a sale on TpT?  In honor of the Super Bowl and reaching 5,000 fans on FB, I'm throwing a 20% sale in my TpT store this weekend!
Thanks to Corinna from Surfin' Through Second for this super cute button image! 

And head on over to my FB page because all the fabulous bloggers at Owl-Ways be Inspired are having a FB Hop in honor of Valentine's Day! I'm sure you'll find some super cute freebies! :)