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## What is it about Valentine's Day that's so much fun for kids?

They're not involved in romance, so that couldn't be it!

We give them some class time to exchange some silly cards. Well, that's definitely fun. And there's all that candy... plus, it's something fun during the "longest" month of the year!

Yes, I know, February is really the shortest month of the year, and we have the last week off. But for those of us in New England who are totally sick of the winter cold by this point, February is the "longest" month of the year! Valentine's Day is a nice break from the mundane.

Well, as I was strolling through the Dollar Store yesterday, I saw packages of plastic heart containers. Immediately I started thinking about what I can do with them in the classroom. (Do "normal" people stroll through the Dollar Store and try to find stuff they can buy for their jobs?)

I found myself thinking of the activity I did last year with Easter Eggs, and I thought I'd adapt it to Valentine Hearts.

I made Valentine Synonym or Antonym Match Up.  I can't wait to show the kids!  I even found some shiny red bags to put the pieces in!

Speaking of Valentine's Day, be sure to check out this freebie:

There's a mini book with Valentine's Trivia, and a mini book for the children to list all the things they love!  Plus, it comes with directions on how to fold and cut the mini-books.

Here's my newest treasure! If you're a fan of Boom Learning like I am, you'll love this one: Valentine's Day Fun Facts Trivia

Do you have a day off or a meeting coming? These activities are one way to continue keep the children engaged and learning, without making extra work for you!

I have one more activity to show you:  it's a math facts board game:  Have a Heart Math Facts Game! It practices basic addition and subtraction facts. The kiddos can play just addition, just subtraction, or combine both!

I can't blog about Valentine's Day without mentioning my very favorite Valentine's Day book: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch!  This book will warm your heart, without a doubt.  It can actually be read any time of year, but it's a MUST READ for Valentine's Week!

I love children's books!  I can't resist once I start looking at books, but here are several more with a Valentine's Day or a LOVE theme.  Be sure to click on each book for a link to Amazon to learn more about that book.  (For the Love of Autumn is another one of my all time favorites - Patricia Polacco is an amazing author!)

Have a great Valentine's Day!  I hope your kiddos LOVE the day!

### Myers Briggs Personality Types

I got my master's degree in the late 80s in Creative Arts in Learning. It was a fabulous program with some incredible instructors, and fantastic content. We had classes in music, visual arts, acting, storytelling, and movement. We also had a great class called Arts in Society which helped us develop a deep understanding of what Art is and the importance of Art in our world.

We met one weekend a month for a couple of years. We were lucky to go through the whole program with the same group of teachers. It was a variety of educators, from classroom teachers, to art teachers, music teachers, and even a school nurse! We came from all over New England to a little seminar house in a small town in New Hampshire. When we were done, we not only had a masters degree, but we had a core of deeply trusted friends in education.

Although these courses were 25 years ago, they left a profound impact in my teaching as well as my personal life. I draw on these experiences daily in my teaching.

Probably the most valuable thing I got out of this masters program was learning about the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. It was one of the first things we learned in the program, and it kept coming back through the whole 2 year process. It helped me understand myself, and it helped me understand my students. It helped me accept differences in people and realize that all different kinds of people are valuable and important in our society.

It's based on 4 different scales, or preferences. It is important to remember that these are just preferences. It's not an IQ test or aptitude test in any way. Just like you might prefer to write with your right hand, because it's more comfortable for you. If you had to, you could use your left hand, but it's just not as comfortable. Using your right hand (or your left) is your preference.

The first scale is about how a person interacts with their world. Some think of this scale as how a person gets their energy. These preferences are Introversion (I) and Extroversion (E.)

The next preference is how a person prefers to process information. These preferences are Sensing (S) and Intuition (N.)

The third preference is about how a person makes decisions. These preferences are Thinking (T) and Feeling (F.)

The fourth preference is how a person organizes his life. These preferences are Judging (J) and Perceiving (P.)

Since each of the 4 scales has 2 preferences, there are a total of 16 possible personality types.

The word scale is appropriate here. Some people land all the way on the edge of a scale, and some people land close to the middle of a scale. My own scales have some extremes, and some scales where I land almost in the middle. (Almost like ambidextrous, with the dominant hand analogy.)

## Here are links to the other posts in this series:

### Number Sense with Cuisenaire Rods

Although I teach second grade, I still have some kids who really need some basic number sense! These are the kids who still don't automatically "count on" when adding two numbers together, or determining the sum of two dice. They still count the dots!

These kids need more "hands on" opportunity to get to know these numbers inside out!

I absolutely LOVE Cuisenaire Rods for helping children develop their number sense. I posted about them a while ago with THIS POST about using Cuisenaire Rods to practice math facts and fact families. I've got some kids who need to back up even further and really need to get to know the individual numbers by using these manipulatives.

It's a good idea to give the children a couple of sessions for free explorations with the Cuisenaire Rods. They'll catch on that the smallest cubes are always white, and that the longest  ones are orange. Sooner or later, they'll figure out the "staircase". From the staircase, they'll figure out the value of each color, so it's a good idea to start them off by building a staircase from this point on.

I've put together a few exercises with the Cuisenaire Rods to help build number sense. Click HERE or click the image to the right for a freebie on the number 5 (the yellow rod).

If you're interested in more activities for the other colored rods, see the image below or see here: Number Sense With Cuisenaire Rods

I have also developed a resource for Cuisenaire Rods to help the little ones learn Math Facts with fact families.

And yes... there's another set. This is the most popular with the kiddos: Once they develop number sense and know fact families, they can build with the rods and practice adding multiple addends!  See it here: Cuisenaire Rods Build it and Add!

You want them all! Yes, there's a bundle, and it's 30% off the individual prices!

## Holy cow, Day 100 is right around the corner!

There are loads of ideas on Pinterest and teaching blogs all over the internet. The hard part is choosing the best stuff without having to spend a month on Day 100!

In the Common Core State Standards, most of second grade focuses on Numbers and Operations in Base Ten. Day 100 is a great day to celebrate the concepts of Place Value and Base Ten. Luckily, most of these activities go right along with these standards for this level!

Last year I posted about my tradition: Day 100 Caroling!  We really do go from classroom to classroom and sing a song. I wish I could share all the songs I've collected, but they're not mine to share, but I'd be glad to share my own: 100 Days Smarter (freebie). I think it's a nice reminder of all the work we've done so far this year! Plus, music, movement, and fun are all ways to help the brain remember things! Day 100 Caroling is one thing that kids tell me they remember about being in my second grade classroom.

Here's an activity we've already been playing for a couple of weeks, since it's directly related to what we're working on in Math. (Adding and subtracting with 2 digits.) They really need to master the idea of adding and subtracting tens, and this freebie game is doing the trick!  Beanie Toss to 100

For some of my kids, I need to challenge them with more complex computations. This game is a popular one, and makes them think. With my second graders, I have them figure out the number they're waiting for ahead of time, but older kids probably wouldn't need to do that. I Have... Who Has...? gives the children practice figuring out compliments of 100.  (57 +  = 100)

Color Coded Number Grid Freebie There are tons of games that can be played on the Number Grid! My favorite is simply Race to 100 with dice or Race from 100 with dice. The children roll two dice, and proceed along the number line from 0 to 100. The subtraction version has them starting at 100 and counting backward to 0. The conversation that goes along with these games are as valuable as the number grid itself. For more of a challenge, or a quicker game, use 3 or 4 dice!

Again, with second graders, I want to celebrate 100 with more than just counting to 100. This game gives the children practice adding and subtracting 100 to 4 digit numbers.

Want to make your life easier? Grab this bundle! It's got a little bit of everything, for lots of math levels and interests!
And, of course, a few books for the occasion! Explore each image for an affiliate link to Amazon to learn more about the book! I never miss an opportunity to include literature in my math lessons.  My students love books!

### Writing Thank You Notes

When we left before vacation, we had just had our holiday party and lots of gifts were given to the class. (Instead of giving gifts to each other, everyone brought in a gift for the whole class! We got recess games, craft materials, gluesticks, white board markers, books, crayons, erasers, and more!)

My college aged daughter came in to help out at the party, and one of her tasks was to keep a list of who gave what present to the class.  (Just like a wedding shower!)

It's time for the thank you cards! (Explore the image to download Thank You Cards Freebie!)

I think Thank You Notes are becoming a lost art.  But they are worthwhile and valued.

The parts of a Thank You note:
The Heading:  since this is a note, not a letter, all that's needed is the date, not an entire return address.

The Greeting:  Dear ______,  that's it! (Don't forget the comma!)

The Body:  I was always taught that the body of a thank you note has two basic sentences.
The first sentence is very specific:  Thank you for the _______.  The only time you're not very specific is when it's money or a gift card.  Then you just say thank you for the money.
The second sentence tells what you are going to do with the item.
It's ok to add another sentence or two, just friendly stuff, but those two sentences are essential to a thank you note.

The Closing:  Your friend,  Your classmate, Sincerely, or if you're writing to family... Love, (Don't forget the comma!)

## That's it!

I made a few Thank You Note Cards for you to copy. Just fold the pages to make them into card form.  You can download this freebie HERE.

For a more comprehensive set of Thank You Note Cards, see HERE:

Thank you notes and any kind of letter will work to address this Common Core Standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.2b Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.

## Enjoy writing your Thank You notes!

### How NOT to Read Fluently

Today, my students spent some of our reading time practicing fluency. Especially at this time of year, I go out of my way to make it fun. (Brain research shows us that "fun" is a big motivator, but I think teachers knew that before the research was done!)

There are 4 important parts to fluency:

1. automaticity in word recognition
2. accurate word recognition
4. prosody, or expression
We started today with a demonstration of what NOT to do when reading. I demonstrated reading too fast, not stopping for punctuation, mispronouncing words without going back to fix it, and using a monotone- no expression at all.

There were lots of giggles.

Then I modeled the proper way to read. I read smoothly and accurately. I kept an appropriate pace, and I gave it meaning as I read it. This time, instead of giggles, I got applause! (I admit, I have my class well trained!)

I thought this activity would be perfect to put into my emergency sub plans. It's got limited materials (just books for kids, which I'm sure you have!) and is a skill that needs to be practiced frequently. This is the type of activity that can be repeated several times during the year. I've typed up the directions for you to download and put into your own emergency plans. Just see here or the image below. How NOT to Read Fluently

For more ideas for substitute activities, see THIS POST