Monday, October 28, 2013


We had a blast playing KABOOM with Texas facts today.   If you don't know about this game,  you should!  I did not invent this game,  in fact I learned about it in a differentiation  inservice.   It can be played with ANY subject, as a review,  as a preview,  as practice, etc.   I made this version of it to go with our unit on Texas.  

To play the game you will need to print and cut out the question strips (free here).  Put one set into each  can or envelope you would like to use.   I made four sets out of Pringles cans that I covered with scrapbook paper.  (In our inservice they covered them with aluminum foil and they were cute!) 

Students play in pairs or small groups.   Each student pulls out a strip and tries to answer the question.   If they are able to answer it they keep the strip and the next person goes.   If they are unable to answer it, the group helps or they find the information (on the internet, in a book, poster etc.) and the player puts the card back into the can.   Play goes on this way until someone pulls a KABOOM card.  The player that pulls the KABOOM must put all of their strips back into the can.   This means that students end up answering the same questions over and over and hear each other answering the questions over and over.   The player at the end who has the most cards when all three KABOOM cards are left in the can "wins".   But really everybody wins, because they are having a blast reviewing facts!   
You can do this in so many ways.   You could make cans that get more difficult as they are successful with the first can.   You could have a can for different regions or skills,  you can make questions that are easier to read or have picture cues for ELL's or struggling students.  
Here is the Texas version freebie - use the strips that work for you!



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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sometimes being a teacher means...

having your head checked 3 times a day for lice...   I hate lice, so much. 

That's all. 

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Any Texas Second Grade Teachers Out There?

We are getting ready to start our Texas study in social studies and within this unit is the TEK about Irma Rangel.   I honestly had NO IDEA who Irma Rangel was a couple of years ago.   In fact,  almost no one I know,  including my mother in law (a native Texan,  self proclaimed history buff), knew who she was.   There is also almost NO information written for kids about her.   But,  there she is,  right there in as a TEK - and not a "such as" either - a full on "including" TEK.   So I worked this summer on a packet about her,   which took me a very long time... because there is not an abundance of interesting information on her and I wanted to share it here,  in case, like me,  you are struggling with how to teacher about her.   The packet is not huge,  but contains several activities that can be graded,  both in social studies and language arts (love to double dip),   and includes some fun introduction to poetry ideas.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

I love teaching SECOND GRADE...

but if I ever decided to move up grade levels it would be because of AH-MAZING lessons like this~!  We don't get quite this awesomely creepy in second grade, but I would LOVE to.   This is the very first product listed  by my incredible friend Kim Smith.   She not only is an INCREDIBLE fourth grade writing teacher,  she is a super talented music teacher.  She combines both of her loves into this creepy,  spooky version of The Spider and the Fly.    She uses this poem during Red Ribbon Week as a way to explain how people will lure you into the world of drugs and alcohol.   It is a very kid appropriate way to express a very hard concept.   Please head on over to her TPT store and show her some newbie LOVE!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Do you know Brooke?

When I dove into the world of blogging (about a year ago),  I found a little group of bloggers that were right there with me,  dipping our toes into the water together.   It was kind of scary and it was nice to know that this little group was right there with me.   One of those bloggers was the precious Brooke Gravett.  She is one of the sweetest, kindest and most creative second grade teachers I "know" and she is celebrating her 150th blog follower by hosting an amazing giveaway!   I am so honored to be part of it.  Please check it out here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don't know Brooke - then you need to go meet her at her blog... right here!

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Project Based Learning Project 2

To say that PBL is not going as smoothly as I anticipated, is the understatement of the year.    The actual lessons and units we have planned are not the problem,  but finding TIME to do them in a schedule that leaves no room,  and the resources to do them is the real issue.   ALL of our projects rely heavily on technology and that has been a true issue with us this year.  We have a class set of iPads to check out in the library,  but we are experiencing about every issue we can with them.   We have not laid a hand on them yet this year.   They have no wifi connection,  we are unable to download apps... yada, yada, yada.   That was a real issue with this last launch.   Students used a set of clues (created by my teaching partner Mariel - they are adorable) to find a QR code, and answer questions about landmarks - Amazing Race style.   We struggled mightily to find enough devices for students to use with QR readers.   We both used our phones,  our personal iPad and tablet and students personal devices.   It all worked out,  the kids had a great day and they only answered my phone once LOL!

They learned what a landmark was and this week will work in dual language groups to create a bilingual presentation (book, pamplet, Power Point etc.) to explain what landmarks are important in our town.   (It is a small town, so it will not be a huge project). 

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

My kids are so much smarter than I am....

So today began test-apalooza in second grade.   We pretty much have a test in every subject in the next few days.   Today was math.  We are doing Investigations in math this year,  so very hands-on,  very manipulative based.   It is a new plan for us,  and has taken some adjustment.   I like it,   but the testing is very different.   Maybe good different,  but very time consuming different.    The kids are supposed to work problems and explain how they came up with their anwers.  Kids love to answer things like,  "it just popped into my brain",  or "I just know it",  "I used my brain", etc., so I have been working on trying to stretch out their answers.  One of my peeps was working and using fingers to count.   I asked if they could be a little more specific... and this is what I got...

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