Where the Magic Happens

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Cutest, Simplest, Mother's Day Craft

I hope the end of the school year is not kicking your hiney. Lort! This time of the year is so so hectic and busy.
For many years I have had a tendency to immerse myself in my teaching... and truly not take care of my self. Please don't do that! Learn from my mistakes! Try to find a happy medium.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking hard about what to make with my second graders for Mother's Day without breaking the bank.
How's this for a great idea??  This Mother's Day craft is PERFECT for elementary student and will not break the bank!


  • Tiles from Lowe's. I believe that each tile was 77 cents.
  • Bags of  peanut M&M's. $1.19 ea.
  • One small bottle of Modge Podge.
  • A painter's brush from Lowes.
  • Sharpie markers.
  • Cute crafting/sorting buttons
  • Twine
It took me (and my sweet DBo) a total of three days to complete the final product. Not full days though. Lol! I truly can make better use of my instructional time. It was more like an hour on each of the three days. 
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Until next time!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cause & Effect {Text relationships}

Hey hey!
So my sweet friend Carla from Comprehension Connection was too sweet to invite me to be a part of this fun spring linky. Since Earth Day is just around the corner, I figured I would tell you what I did this past week with my 2nd graders to keep things intentional while tackling relevant content area standards.

Whole Group

Earth Day offers the perfect content to teach text relationships, specially cause and effect. As we usually do with a reading strategy,  we begin by explaining what the strategy is, how it works, and why it is important. I opt for small, quick leveled, relevant  projectable texts that allow me to model and contextualize the strategy.

This was the informational text that we projected and learned from. I guess you can call it a mentor text. :)

Then we learned about the strategy.

Modeling and contextualizing the strategy using the text and of course... a Thinking Map!

ALWAYS, I connect our standards and reading strategies to a written response. #hellomclass

We follow these steps to answer our written responses.

These are  other mentor texts that I used this past week to celebrate Earth Day!

A Freebie!

And now let's get to the BEST part! If you would like to snatch this awesome Earth Day close reading. You may click HERE!
If you would like to take a look at my other content based close reads, you may click HERE!
And that is my secret word: recycling.

I hope you got some new ideas to take back to your own classroom! Come and read what my Reading Crew buddies wrote about  and do not forget to enter this awesome giveaway FULL of awesome mentor texts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

15 Great Spring Math Centers for 2nd Grade

Heeeey my teacher friends!
Long time no see. I know it. I have missed writing on my little blog SO much. But life has a funny way to show you what is really important. I truly have stuck with what I love most: My family.
We are all moved in into our new home and could not be happier and grateful. The boys are settled in as well, and we will be moving my sweet N. to the local middle school in the fall.

Have I told you how much I am loving 2nd grade? I love it for many reasons:

  • The new grade level colleagues are very nice. What you see is what you get and I value that in people. 
  • My students (many from last year) are my family away from my family. I love them so much.
  • My students' families are out of this world kind and generous. They are SO involved and always so willing to lend a hand when I need one.
  • The content. Oh boy the content! So much fun to teach.
  • Moving a to a new grade level has given me the opportunity to be better, to learn more, to dig deeper in areas that I never thought of. Specially math. More specifically word problems.

Speaking of math... I am almost done completing the whole BUILD math centers for 2nd grade bundle. As a matter of fact let me show you what's inside the April BUILD math centers for 2nd grade pack:

I have told you how BUILD is a great rotation system that targets different mathematical dimensions and provides a perfect structure for guided math. Haven't I? If not, let me just show you:

B: Buddy Games
U: Using manipulatives
I: Independent work
L: Learning about numbers
D: Doing math

This April BUILD math centers for 2nd grade contains 15 different math activities, they are divided into 3 rounds which will allow you to mix and match during the WHOLE month to target some important concepts. That's what I call responsive teaching: moving our students forward with intention and precision. 


1. Odd and Even eggs in a basket (three digit addition and subtraction) --> CCS 2.NBT.B.7, 2.OA.C.3

2.Easter eggs coin combinations --> CCS. 2.MD.C.8 (Contains answer sheet)

3. 4 printables --> CCS 2.NBT.5, 2.MD.C.7, 2.MD.C.8, 2.NBT.8

4. Comparing Number sentences using >, <, = --> CCS 2.OA.B.2, 2.NBT.A.3 2.NBT.A.4, 2.NBT.B.5 (contains answer sheet)

5. 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages --> 2.OA.A.1, 2.NBT.7, 2.MD.C.6, 2.NBT.B.6


6. Caterpillar Addition --> CCS 2.NBT.B.6 (Contains answer sheet)

7. Easter money riddles CCS--> 2.MD.C.8 (contains answer sheet)

8. Independent work printables. CCS --> 2.NBT.A.2, 2.NBT.B.8, 2.MD.C.8

9. Easter arrangements --> CCS 2.MD.C.4

10. 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages. CCS--> 2.OA.A.1, 2.NBT.7, 2.MD.C.6, 2.NBT.B.6


11. Part - Part - Whole task cards. CCS--> 2.NBT.B.7

12. caterpillar Inches ad Centimeteres. CCS--> 2.MD.2, 2.MD.9

13. Independent work printables. CCS--> 2.GA.1, 2.G.2, 2.G.3, 2.NBT.B.6

14. 2nd grade skills task cards CCS--> 2.NBT.A.1, 2.NBT.A.3, 2.NBT.A.5

15. 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages --> CCS 2.OA.A.1
2.NBT.B.7, 2.NBT.B.6


16. 5 choice boards for fast finishers/high achievers with challenge and extension activities.

I organize them like this:

My students always get too excited when there is a new round coming up. Sweeties!

And now are you ready for the FREEBIE?

You can snatch this cute BUT intentional math center from my TPT store. This caterpillar addition center will help your students adding up to 4 2-digit numbers, creating benchmark numbers, and practicing the associative property of addition.  You can grab it by clicking ---> HERE!

Oh and just to help you a bit with a super engaging and fun learning activity that we did in our little classroom a few weeks ago when I introduced adding up to 4 2-digit numbers. We used dry erase markers, sticky notes, and Popsicle sticks to make the <, >, = signs. The best part? That my kiddos got to write on their tables. Boy! They LOVE that!

OK teacher friends I have to get going... I need to paint a piece of furniture. I will be back to blogging later in the week with a "somewhat" political post. I'm scared!
And don't forget: We are SO blessed to work in education!!

Until next time,

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How To Use Math Menus in the Primary Classroom

Howdy teacher friends!

Is your classroom teacher centered? Standards centered? Student centered?
I am a firm believer in the power of choice. Ask anyone about  what they want to do over the weekend, and of course, they are going to say they would prefer to have a choice.
My choice?
Sleep in and wake up to the sound of two giggling boys.
I also believe the high expectations is the TRUE one size fits all.

Why is Choice Important?

Choice is the beginning to engagement. If you think about it, your students are going to choose what best fits their learning styles and needs.
Another benefit of choice is a greater sense of independence for the students. What a great feeling! Students work on and create products based on their beliefs, rather than what we, teachers, want them to do. So in other words, when our kiddos have choices in the activities they wish to complete, they are more focused on their learning that leads to their choice or product.

How to Use Menus in the Classroom

There are different ways to use instructional menus in the classroom. I always ask my self:
  • How much background knowledge do my students need?
  • Is this something that they can approach independently?
  • Do I have in my classroom, the materials needed for my students to accomplish their task?

I have been using menus for my students in three different ways:
  • For enrichment and supplementary activities for fast finishers and high achievers.
  • To replace certain activities. I pick and choose what I directly teach and what my students can learn and review through  product menus.
  • After mini-lessons, with the menus driving the accompanying classroom activities. This is a class favorite! My students get to review basic concepts or check for understanding in a very fun way.

Math Menus in My Classroom

I have used math menus in my classroom for a number of years.  More recently, however, I have a number of students who just need more. They need more in terms of challenge and choice. 
Once my students have completed a round of BUILD stations, I meet with them to help them decide on a choice challenge board. Every single choice board contains activities that will  challenge them in the ares of: number sense, word problems, computation, fractions, place value, geometry, measurement, and so may more math concepts.
Each math menu has 6 activities with  a different amount of points. The goal of each choice board is to make a total of  80 points. So they choose the activities to meet their goal.

Getting the Choice Boards

Each one of my monthly BUILD stations includes a total of 5 choice challenge boards. Your students can use them when they are done with their math center tasks. I make a big deal when my students meet their goals by sending home a positive note, or by making a happy pone call to mom or dad.  I usually make sure to mention hugs. snuggles, and some ice cream!
You can click HERE to visit my store and learn more about BUILD stations. You can find the choice boards in each set.

Math Menu Sample


Until next time!

Monday, January 2, 2017

January BUILD Centers for Awesome 2nd Graders

Hey, hey, hey!

Are you all ready and set to tackle your math centers during the month of January? Here in coastal NC we don't get a whole lot of cold and snow, but nonetheless, us weather wimps, always find ourselves quite bored during the cold months. I miss the beach quite a bit.
I personally aim to make every January a more fun than usual month in every area, and my match centers are no exception!

Our BUILD math center routines are a super-dooper important part of our math workshop. I wrote about the BUILD management system here.
 I ALWAYS  want my students to be involved in engaging and rigorous activities when they are not meeting with me during our guided math small groups.

Now let me show you what is inside!
Inside this resource, I have included 3 full rounds of math centers for the whole month of January.


1. B Station: Two-digit Arctic Subtraction --> CCS 2.OA.1

2. U Station: Snow Pals Coin Combination--> CCS 2.MD.8

3. I station: Independent work printables --> CCS 2.NBT.1, 2.NBT.3, 2.NBT.5, 2.MD.8, 2.G.2,      2.NBT.5.

4. L station: Number Sense and Place Value Scoot --> 2.NBT.1, 2.NBT.3

5. D Station: 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages --> 2.OA.1, 2.NBT.7, 2.MD.6

These are some pictures of the activities in the first round of BUILD centers for January:


6. B Station: Spin a Number String--> 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.9

7. U Station: Measuring Polar Animals--> 2.MD.3, 2.MD.6

8. I Station: Independent work printables--> 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.8, 2.NBT.7, 2.NBT.4

9. L Station: Chilly Skip counting --> 2.NBT.A.2

10.D Station: 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages --> 2.OA.1, 2.NBT.7

These are some pictures of the activities included in the second round of BUILD


11. B Station:  Penguin Number Strings --> 2.NBT.B.5, 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.9

12. U Station: Measurement Number Riddles --> 2.MD.A.6, 2.OA.1, 2.NBT.7

13. I Station: Independent work printables--> 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.9, 2.MD.9, 2.NBT.8

14. L Station: 2nd Grade Task Cards--> 2.NBT.A.1, 2.NBT.A.3, 2.NBT.A.5, 2.NBT.B.9

15. D Station: 4 CGI type word problems Interactive notebook pages --> 2.OA.1, 2.NBT.7

These are some of the pictures of the activities in round 3 of BUILD:

At the end of this resource, you will also find this set of choice boards for those kiddos who are fast finishers or high achievers!

Thanks for reading teacher friends! Until next time!