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## This is no easy task, but this game helps them master the 9s trick!

I find, once the kids catch onto the tens trick, the nines trick is easy! I first use a number grid, like THIS ONE to show them how easy it is to do "ten more". From there, it's pretty easy to figure out "nine more".

Once they have a good understanding of the 9 more trick, they're ready to play Turkey Nines!  It works like "Old Maid", so they pair off all the addends and sums with nines, and one of your little turkeys will end up being the "Thanksgiving Turkey".

This is one of those games where "even the losers are winners" because there's something about cooking a turkey that makes the little ones giggle. Plus, they're getting better at that mental math!

Here's a fun little move about how the game works!

Want to give it a try? There's a smaller, free version here!

Have fun practicing mental math, and don't be a turkey!  (At least, don't be a cooked turkey!)

Want more turkey learning fun?

Or try the whole bundle at a huge discount HERE!

## Somehow Halloween is over, we have Veterans Day in less than a week!

I've rounded up a couple of fun deals to share with you!

Here's a collection of paper for writing thank you letters to veterans!  After a lesson or two on what veterans are and how they help us, I find letter writing to be a nice way to culminate the activities.

I've noticed my little second graders often confuse the different patriotic holidays, so I made this resource to help them keep track of President's Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Constitution Day, and Veterans Day. It's really helped them keep track of which holiday is which!

Hope your students end up with a good understanding of Veterans Day!

## The brain is the most important organ in the body, isn't it?I've been fascinated by the brain.

I read all I can about how the brain learns, and how to take care of your brain.

Of course, I share information about the brain with my students!

Here are some ways I teach the kids to keep their brains fit:

1. Exercise!  Get the oxygen to the brain! We often do exercises and brain breaks in the classroom. (I'm sure you've heard of Go Noodle! If not, go straight to this link for FREE brain breaks that the kiddos LOVE!)

2. Eat Brain Food!  I bring in some healthy snacks for the kids. My school encourages healthy snacks, but once in a while I'll bring in my own! (Usually not fish or spinach, but often some carrots and berries!)

3. Ease stress!  These kids certainly understand what stress is! We sometimes do some Yoga moves and breathing exercises, and sometimes they just have quiet time where they think about nothing! Research proves we need to give them time to clear the brain in order for the brain to take in new information. Plus, the children absolutely love Yoga!

4. Listen to Music!  I've got a wide variety of music to play in the classroom, from "party" music, to mellow music for concentration. It doesn't have to be classical music! Find something appropriate for the occasion.

5. Laugh! I recently posted Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine, and listed some of the benefits of humor in the classroom. I have a whole box of joke books that I often bring out on April Fool's Day, although they are good any time of year. I'm a big believer in making sure people get their daily dose of "Vitamin L!"

6. Drink water!  Water is essential for brain function! I can't emphasize this enough. (It's important for the rest of the body, too!)

7. Keep challenging your brain!  I'll have a variety of puzzles and riddles for the children to choose from. I'm a big fan of Sudoku, so I often have a few of those for the kids. I also found a couple of cool websites: ABCya Tangram Puzzles has tangrams that can be done on the computer.  Puzzle Choice has tons of puzzles for kids and adults- go to Kid's Choice for lots of possibilities for printing as well as puzzles for the computer.

How do you keep your students exercising their brains?

## Kids have opinions, and they're actually pretty good at sharing these opinions, giving reasons for their opinions, and sometimes even getting their way!

They need help getting these opinions written down in an organized manner. I have this resource to help them out with this!

I made up this graphic organizer, along with a couple of samples.  There are a million topics they can use to share their opinions, such as "favorite color, brothers: good or bad, favorite after-school activity, to name a few. See this resource here: Opinion Writing Organization

I always believe that children need to talk before they write, so I'd share my samples, and enhance each time to make the story more interesting.

Quite often, before they even start to organize their story, I have them practice orally with each other what they'll be writing. It truly does help the writing flow more smoothly!

### Golfing for Tens

Thursday I had 3 doctor's appointments.  Not 1, not 2, but 3. (I'm fine, just happened to schedule them on the same day!) I also went to the dentist on Tuesday and had my flu shot on Wednesday, so I should be all set for a while!

Since 2 of the 3 doctors are a half hour away, I was looking to fill time between appointments, so I went into the local dollar store.

I'm always looking for cute ideas for school in the dollar store. I'm either looking for organizational ideas or game ideas.  As I was browsing through the toy section, I saw the perfect game for my sports themed classroom:  golf sets!
I was planning the math game I was going to make while standing in line to make my purchase. (Do all teachers do this sort of thing when they take a day for doctors appointments?)

We've been working with addition of single digit numbers in our new math pilot program:  enVisions. The math part was so easy, I wanted to bump it up to adding tens. I figured they could work in teams, working on adding tens. I set up 3 lines, each a foot apart, and decided they could and take a few shots from different level.

As you might have guessed, the kids loved it! They were even good about working quietly while the other groups did their "sitting down" work, which is not easy for adults, never mind second graders! However, they knew they'd lose the privilege, so they worked hard to golf quietly!

The only problem? Those plastic golf balls were so light, the kids had trouble aiming them. Therefore, hardly any balls went into the cup, so they didn't get much practicing adding up points. I'm going to bring in real golf balls tomorrow, and I'm sure the extra weight will help them have more real "adding tens" practice. In the meantime, it was a great lesson in adding zeroes, and the kids really enjoyed it!

See the picture or HERE for your "golfing for tens" resource. I'm sure they have the golf sets in the toy section of most dollar stores!

## My students have been learning the four kinds of sentences.

They're getting pretty good at naming the 4 kinds (Statement, Question, Command, Exclamation) and can easily identify that they all should begin with a capital and end with punctuation.

However, when I say a sentence (or when they read one) they're still working at figuring out what kind of sentence it is. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, in a fun way, with a Halloween Twist!

I made this activity with lots of sentences of each kind.  Of course, each of the sentences has something to do with Halloween!  I used mostly Dolch words, but I added some of their favorite Halloween words.  (They always remember those, don't they?)

I made some sorting cards, with reminders of each kind of sentence, along with 28 sentences.  I also added a few other activities to do with the same sentences, based on the Common Core for grades 2 and 3 including realistic or fantasy and complete sentence or sentence fragment. I think they're going to love it!  See HERE or any of the images for a link to this resource.

## Here's a little movie to give you an idea how it's used!

The children will be having so much fun, they won't even realize they're practicing important reading and sentence skills!

## Can it really be almost October already?

October just happens to be one of my favorite months! And it just so happens I have lots of dollar deals for you!

Brain Breaks are an important part of the day! Here are 12 with an October theme. October Brain Breaks!

October is Fire Safety Month! I've found these "Fire Safety What Ifs" can really get the children talking about some fire problem-solving! Click the image to download these!

And of course, it's football season! Be sure to click the image for a football-themed game that practices numbers through 1,000!

Isn't Halloween one of the biggest holidays of the year? Here are two more dollar deals to keep your students interested in classwork during the Halloween Days!

Even if you can't celebrate Halloween, you can certainly celebrate bats! Click the image to download this booklet:

If you love these dollar deals, you'll love this:

Isn't October fantastic?

## I find games to be a great way to learn and develop skills.

Brain research tells us that adding the element of fun helps to connect the memory. Isn't that a great reason to play learning games?

I like to teach a game during small group instruction time, so I can watch the children play and make sure they are focused on the learning goal. I'll have them play a couple of times with guidance before I let them play on their own.

After a game has been introduced and practiced, it will be available as a choice during math stations or centers.  There are times when certain children are assigned a particular game as well.

It's a good idea to allow the children to play games below their level, as these are important skills that should be mastered in order to perform the higher skills with ease. Just because the skills are easy for the child doesn't mean they don't have value! In fact, if the game isn't somewhat easy, it won't be fun for the children. Also, if the game isn't somewhat easy, the children will be more likely to make mistakes, which won't help them master the skills. I've learned "practice makes permanent," and we don't want to make incorrect skills permanent, do we? If you've ever had to unlearn a bad habit, you'll know just what I mean!

I have a series of BINGO games that I designed to go along with second-grade skills. They all have a sports theme, which is a big draw for the kids. I find once they learn the format of a particular game, it takes less time to teach a similar game, meaning more time practicing each skill!

You can find this resource here:

As mentioned above, once the students know the format and how the game works, they can play similar games to strengthen similar skills. It just so happens that I have several math games that follow this same format with different sports themes that can be found here:

Still looking for more math games to strengthen their skills?

Here are plenty more Math games, including several freebies! Math Games Category

Games are a great way to build skills AND have fun!  Enjoy!

## I always like to start the year with lots of learning tools for my students.

I've often bought those fancy name tags for the children's desks that have extra pictures and tools for the children to use. I keep looking for the perfect name tags, and I can't find them. Last year I made name tags with plenty of tools. It was kind of a pain, but I made all the parts and cut them all out and put them on the name tags.

I've always given the children a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 card with the Handwriting Without Tears alphabet on one side, and a number grid from 0 - 120 on the other side. Those cards were incredibly handy! I'll make those cards again, but I have also made the ultimate tool kit with just about everything I could think of!

I started with Math. I made a color-coded chart from 0 - 120, number lines, tens frames, a place value grid, references for money, clocks, and shapes, keywords, and tables for addition and subtraction facts. See the image or see here: Math Tools for Learning

There are 5 pages of Writing tools: An overview of the 6 Traits of Writing, a word bank, a writing poster, short and long vowel references, and a proofreading guide. See the image or see here: Writing Tools for Learning.

For Reading, there is a reference for long and short vowels, a list of reading genres, a list of questions to ask while reading a selection, a list of reading skills, a list of reading strategies, suggestions on choosing books and reading fluently. See the image or see here: Reading Tools for Learning

For Social Studies, there's a map of North America, directional symbols, lists for days of the week, months of the year, continents, and oceans. See the image or see here: Social Studies Tools for Learning

There are 7 pages of Science tools: 2 pages of Science Vocabulary, a list of science skills, the 5 senses, the planets, Science and Engineering Practices, the Engineering Design Process, Typical S.T.E.M. elements,and a list of healthy habits. See the image or see here: Science Tools for Learning

I've put together a sampling of these materials as a freebie.You can download this freebie (as shown above) through the image or here: The Learning Tool Kit Sampler

It took forever to complete all these parts, but it's going to be soooooo worth it! I'm going to have the children cut out the parts and paste them onto individual folders, one for each subject, then I'll laminate them so they can use these tools all year.

I want the children to put them together themselves so they'll be more familiar with the materials and will have some ownership on how they are designed.

I'm thinking I'll color code the folders, so it will be easy to find the tool they need. For example, when they're working on writing, they'll pull out the red folder.

These tools are available individually, but are also available as a bundle. (Save HUGE with the bundle!) The Learning Tool Kit Bundle

I hope you're as excited about these tools as I am.
I'll bet you can think of plenty of ways to use these learning tools!