Welcome to the Blogosphere Day #2

It is time again for another installment of WELCOME TO THE BLOGOSPHERE.  Last week we learned about logging into our blogs, updating our profile, navigating through the dashboard, and writing a post.  This week we are focusing in on ORGANIZING our blogs by creating post categories and static pages.  Download the powerpoint to view from home to help you on your blogging journey!

Day #2

We will cover sorting our blogs into categories and writing static pages.

Powerpoint from Day #2: blog-day-2.ppt

This is going to be the second installment of 4 posts centered on the theme: Welcome to the Blogosphere.

Welcome to the Blogosphere Day #1

Do you want to blog, but a little unsure how? I have the wonderful opportunity to teach some of my faculty about blogging. (Wonderful because we are expanding the educational blogosphere and making teachers more tech savvy 🙂 ) I have to admit that I am personally excited because this is such a passion for me. Because this is going to be a basic foundation class, I will have to reign in my enthusiasm a bit so I don’t go off on RSS feeds or editing wordpress themes on the first day!

Day #1

We will cover logging into our blogs, editing our profile, becoming familiar with the dashboard, and writing a test post.

Powerpoint from Day #1: blog-day-1.ppt

This is going to be the first installment of 4 posts centered on the theme: Welcome to the Blogosphere.

20 Questions Gameshow Quizzes Our Comprehension

The remarkable readers in our classroom are using many fabulous strategies to help them comprehend their reading! One of these strategies is QUESTIONING. Good readers ask questions! Good readers ask DEEP questions before, during, and after reading text. “What will this book be about?” “Does that sentence make sense?” “Does this word sound right?” “What is the author’s purpose for writing this book?”

Good readers don’t just stop at ASKING the questions- they try and find the answers! “Can I infer this word’s meaning?” “Do I need to look in a dictionary?” “Is there another book that would have the answer to my question?” (Good readers don’t mind a little research to better their understanding)

The powerpoint for this week is a 20 questions gameshow- where YOU come up with the questions for each reading scenario! Remember- good readers ask many thin and thick questions!!


listen to our questioning song:



Good Dental Health Equals a Beautiful Smile!

This week our second grade class will be learning about dental health. It is important for us to keep our teeth clean and healthy! The U.S. Surgeon General has come up with this list of seven steps to a bright, healthy smile!

1. Brush Teeth and gums with Fluoride Toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after eating breakfast and before bedtime.
2. Visit the Dentist Regularly.
3. Floss Your Teeth Daily.
4. Use Fluoride Rinse for strong, healthy teeth and gums.
5. Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day… and remember to practice healthy eating and get plenty of calcium.
6. Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports.
7. Ask your Dental Professional about Dental Sealants.

Here are a couple of fun websites to help us learn more about healthy teeth:



Second grade- go to our class wiki page on dental health to learn more about keeping those teeth fabulous! There is a link to an online video, powerpoint, parent information, and activities to download.

The Results Are In! Our Class Graphs Favorite Genres

polls.gifYou might have noticed the online poll our class has had on our blog. We asked the question: What is your favorite genre? 29 people replied. According to our survey, the genre mystery had the most votes. With that information, we went to work creating different graphs to represent what we learned.

To start the activity, I divided the kids into 5 groups. I passed out all the materials needed to create the graphs as well as a printed copy of the poll results. Everybody was an important part of completing their group’s project. We made 5 different graphs and tables- bar graph, line graph, pie graph, pictograph, and a tally table. Not only was this a great cooperative learning activity, but it was tons of fun to use an online poll from our blog to help us understand the different types of graphs!

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Kids Get Widgets!

Our classroom has implemented MANY different widgets throughout our classroom blog and wiki. You might be wondering- what exactly is a widget? A web widget (there are desktop widgets) is a few lines of code that can be installed and executed within a web page, blog, or wiki. Its a mini-application within your webpage. Widgets can do anything from giving you an up to date local weather forecast to playing videos from YouTube. Anybody can use a widget- in fact, the kids in our classroom have been using them for awhile now! I have compiled a list of what widgets your kid gets in our classroom!

google-map.gifGoogle Maps have been an extremely beneficial widget when teaching the continents. We really loved the ability to see the satellite images of earth. We had just finished learning about satellites in space having the ability to see the Great Wall of China… so it was AMAZING to actually show the kids the satellite images. As a class, we could chose a continent and then zoom in! We even zoomed in on West Haven!

flickr.gifFlickr Slide Show is a widget that allows you to show slideshows easily on webpages. Our class has used this widget to showcase some of our continent writing, but the possibilities range from class books to photo galleries.

polls.gifPolls and Surveys can be done easily with widgets! Simply type in your question, type in your answer choices, and you are set! There is even the ability to select “other” as an answer choice, so the user can type in their response. You can put this widget on your blog’s sidebar or in the post directly. This form of data collection is not only informative, but fun! We have used PollDaddy, but there are other data widgets available.

clustr.gifClustr Maps are one of our new favorite widgets. We can see that people from all over the world are reading our blog, and it has been especially fun since we have learned about the continents. We almost have a red dot on every continent!!


Timelines can be fabulous when you want to show data in a chronological fashion. There are two different widgets that I have seen that can create a timeline. The first widget gives you the ability to create your own timeline by adding your own information. This would be perfect for creating a class timeline of someone’s life or current events. The second widget I have seen creates a timeline of syndicated data. We have used this type of timeline on our “news for kids” wiki page. This widget shows you feeds from Weekly Reader and Science News for Kids chronologically, in a calendar- like manner. Either timeline works beautifully in the classroom!


Teacher Tube widgets are great to embed streaming, educational video into your post or webpage. We have used this widget on our class wiki a couple times when I have found a great video that pertains to a specific topic- such as nutrition (this video is from the 50’s and is hilarious) and Australia.


RSS Feed Reader is a wonderful widget when you want to show syndicated information on your webpage. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Syndicated information includes podcasts, blogs, and news headlines. We have an RSS feed reader on our wiki that shows our classroom’s latest blog posts. You can subscribe to a feed by clicking on RSS on a webpage or copying and pasting the webpage’s link in your feed reader. There are also widgets specifically designed just for a blog’s RSS feed called “blidgets” that do the same thing with a little extra eye candy.

Genres Boost Reading Motivation

This quarter the second grade is working on reading from a variety of genres. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple- reading from a variety of genres increases students motivation to read. We all have our own reading identities– and because of that we enjoy different types of books. Sometimes second graders haven’t found the genre that captures their attention, and they just need a little guidance as to all the types of books that are avaible!

The goal consists of your child reading a book from a specific genre, and then writing a pie piece of information about the book. These pieces will come back to school and will be glued to your child’s “genre pie”. When all pieces are brought back, your child can attend the third quarter reading party. I will insert a link to the genre letter- they can go in any order- just read, write, and most importantly, have fun!

Happy Reading Second Grade!

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Missing Addends Add Up to a Challenge

Our powerpoint for this week is another gameshow spin-off reviewing Missing Addends. This topic can be tricky and we have learned a few strategies to help us in class.

1. Count up- Look at the other addend and COUNT UP while drawing tally marks or using counters until you reach the sum.

2. Count back- Start at the sum and then subtract the other addend in the addition sentence.

3. Memorize the fact family! If you know that 2,3, and 5 are all in the same fact family, then finding the missing addend for 2 + x = 5 will be a breeze! This is the best strategy and ultimately what second graders should be doing by the end of the year. It shows automaticity with math facts which will be a great benefit to them next year in third grade.

I hope these strategies help- good luck!


Family Night Puppet Packs

Recently our school held a Family Literacy Night- an evening where parents could attend classes on improving their child’s reading and writing. As a second grade teacher, I couldn’t help but get involved! I jumped on board along with many other qualified teachers and parents in the community.
Our focus was literacy- I chose to present on FLUENCY- what it is, why it is so important, and how we can improve it. I wanted the parents to have that foundation that fluency is not just reading quickly- that fluency encompasses reading accurately, reading at a proper speed, and reading with correct intonation or expression. Word automaticity leads to greater comprehension- the more time and mental processes you spend decoding, the less you have for comprehending. Readers Theater is a fun way to practice fluency. Students are building word automaticity and proper intonation through reading, practicing, and performing scripts.
For our literacy night, I really wanted something the whole family could do together. That is where the idea for implementing puppets with the Readers Theater scripts started. I had a vivid mental image of a family reading the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After hearing the story, they each made a puppet that went with the story. Then I could just visualize a family reading and rereading the script and performing it with their puppets. What a FUN way to build fluency, provide proper modeling of the sounds and expression,and most importantly spend time as a family.
I eagerly sought out materials for different fairy tales and other Readers Theaters. I ended up with a total of 6 puppet packs for the parents to put together- Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Tortoise and the Hare, 3 Little Pigs, 3 Billy Goats Gruff, and a favorite Readers Theater of mine titled Hippo’s Toothache. I collected and copied scripts and puppets (some finger puppets, the rest paper bag puppets; in which I provided paper bags for the parents).
During Literacy Night I provided the parents with large envelopes to store each of their puppet theaters. The puppet theaters could be reused- once their family night is over and they have had fun performing their scripts with their puppets- just stick all the materials back into the envelope for another day!

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Using a TV Station to teach Double Digit Subtraction

Their are challenges of teaching math to a multi-leveled group of students. Some students have that ability to process numbers with ease while others struggle. Double digit subtracting can be difficult for those that seem to get lost in the “steps” to solve that problem. I came up with a way that seems to work well by using the acronym for Channel 2- CBS.
The letters refer to our 3 step method to solve all double digit problems- Check, Borrow, and Subtract. We always check our problem before we attempt to solve it. Can I subtract? If yes, then do it! If not, then I need to go to my step 2 which is to borrow. After I have changed my 2 numbers, then I move to my final step- subtract.