July 29, 2016

Back to School Team Gifts (with a free printable!)

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.**


My team is AWESOME, y'all.

I am so unbelievably lucky to work with them, honestly!

So like so many of us do, I wanted to give each of my teammates a small back-to-school gift.




Well, this idea stemmed from necessity. Our doors are HEAVY, the cheap plastic door stops don't work, and apparently decent door stops disappear in the night. We are all running out of wooden triangular prisms to steal from our geometry kits.

So I decided to give my sweet coworkers a gift that is cute AND practical.

I took to Amazon and chose these door stops because they are white and the sides are smooth - perfect for decorating! They come in packs of two and the price is reasonable, I think! But you can also buy door stops at the Dollar Tree and hardware stores.

 


Next I bought some Sharpie paint markers. I bought the pack with basic colors because I wanted to match our school's colors, but I love the neon pack, too!


I also saw at Target recently that they were selling Sharpie paint pens individually!

Here's the final product:


Want these printable gift tags for yourself? You can download them for free - in a variety of colors -  here!

Ta-da! I hope my teammates absolutely love them!

What do you think? Will you be buying or making gifts for your co-workers?


**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing an item from Amazon using these links, 

I will receive a small commission on your purchase.**

July 26, 2016

How Do I Teach ECONOMICS to 2nd Graders?

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing an item from Amazon using these links, 

I will receive a small commission on your purchase.**

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

Oh, econ. It was the bane of my existence in college.

Fun fact: Econ was my second lowest grade in college. 
(My lowest grade was the class that I met my husband in... I guess I was a little distracted.)

So how in the world am I supposed to teach ECONOMICS to 7-year-olds?!

Actually, the first time I taught economics, it was to kindergartners. It was during my student teaching, and I had to create my own unit and materials.

When I started teaching second grade and realized I had to teach "financial literacy," a prettier name for economics, I was much more confident. I took my kindergarten unit and expanded it to meet the academic needs of my second graders. 

I will admit that second grade economics is much easier than my college course. Elementary school econ focuses on needs vs. wants, goods vs. services, producers and consumers, and saving and spending. 


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How do I make these concepts fun? 
I use lots of songs, pictures, SCOOTs, great books, and many visual aids. 

Take a peek!

I think music is a great way to teach vocabulary, so each section of the unit has at least one song to go along with it, teaching vocabulary words and meanings.

I also use lots of real images and real life scenarios when teaching this unit. Students are more likely to comprehend when they can make a connection to real life. 

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

All second graders love to SCOOT! This pictured SCOOT is for needs and wants. Students "scoot" around the room and determine whether each card shows a need or a want. Students record the answers on their SCOOT chart. (Answer key included!)

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

Each important vocabulary word in the unit has it's own mini-poster to serve as a visual aid for your students. Sometimes I hang these words one at a time, and sometimes I put them all on an anchor chart. Each topic uses different colors so that students can easily see which words go together. 

This year, I plan to print these posters 4 to a page, laminate them, and put them on a binder ring for students to refer to during small groups, buddy time, or independent work. 

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

I love using sorts with younger students. You can use a sort as a pre- and post-assessment or as a comprehension check mid-way through the unit. I usually do picture sorts as a class (using my document camera) soon after introducing the new topic. It's the perfect opportunity for meaningful discussion. Then, I allow students to do the picture sort throughout the unit own their own or with partners. 

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

I just LOVE the look of the real images, which help little learners make connections to real life. 

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

The last topic is saving and spending. It's my favorite! (Spending, I mean.) The section allows the opportunity to reinforce students' knowledge of money and counting money. However, there are plenty of resources that do not require students to be able to count coins.

 It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

 The culminating craftivity for saving and spending is a cute piggy bank. Students set a goal to save money for an item that they would like to buy. The following picture is from my kindergarten unit - sorry! - but I do make it more rigorous for my second graders. They choose something under $5 that they want to buy, they write that amount on the piggy bank, and they must show that exact amount using the coins. Social studies AND math - ta da!

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

Last but not least, also included in the unit is 10 days of lesson plans, quizzes for each section and a final assessment, and lists of resources for both teachers and students. 

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

You can find my economics unit here.

It covers needs and wants, goods and services, & saving and spending. Includes 10 days of lesson plans, all assessments, and a variety of resources. Just add books! Best for grades K-2.

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MY FAVORITE ECONOMICS READ-ALOUDS:

The following books are my favorite read-alouds for teaching wants / needs, goods / services, and saving / spending:



Those Shoes is about a boy who really wants the shoes that all of the cool kids at his school have. It is a great way to introduce needs and wants. There's a read-aloud video of it on YouTube that I used to use before I bought a copy of the book for myself. Love it!

 

I like to use If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to practice identifying goods and services. We make a T-chart and categorize all of the things that the mouse asks for as either a good or a service. (This chart is part of the unit on TPT, or you can grab it for free here.)


Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday is my all-time favorite book to open discussion about saving and spending. It is hilarious to read about Alexander trying to keep up with his money! (I feel his pain!!)


Here is my complete list of books I've used to deepen my students' understanding of financial literacy:

·      A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
·      Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
·      Arthur’s TV Trouble by Marc Brown
·      Berenestein Bears and Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstein
·      Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
·      How Much Is that Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani
·      If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numberoff
·      Just Shopping with Mom by Mercer Mayer
·      Max’s Dragon Shirt by Rosemary Wells
·      The Bag I’m Taking to Grandma’s by Shirley Neitze
·      The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
·      Those Shoes by Maribet Boelts

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"Financial Literacy" (soooo fancy) is the first social studies unit that we teach in second grade, so I will be starting to use these materials, for the fourth time, very soon! 

Do you teach economics? If so, what are your favorite activities?

Have a question? Leave it in the comments!


**This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing an item from Amazon using these links, 
I will receive a small commission on your purchase.**

July 22, 2016

Sticky Notes Saved My Sanity


As we approach a new school year, I'm here to remind you that your sanity is important!


Last year, I had a particularly chatty class. I was able to manage them pretty well until spring break hit. At that point in the year, they were always excited and roaring with energy that they couldn't seem to contain. I do give my kids plenty of time to talk via brain breaks and think-pair-share, which helps eliminate inappropriate chatting, but I expect them to listen respectfully while I am teaching.

Eventually, I decided that enough was ENOUGH. I couldn't make it through a day block lesson sentence without getting rudely interrupted by a student blurting out.

So I did some research, during which I found the idea of blurt cards and figured out how to make a system that would work for my classroom.

On my first day of attempting blurt cards, I posted about it on my Instagram and Snapchat (@SchoolAndTheCty). Tons of you asked me to share, so here goes!

First, we read and discussed a book.

These are my absolutely favorite books for blurters:

   

I particularly love My Mouth is a Volcano, but Interrupting Chicken is always a fun read as well.

Afterwards, I introduced and explained my blurt card system.

Each time a student blurts out or otherwise interrupts a lesson with their voice (like an inappropriate laugh or sound), they have to mark off a box on his or her blurt card.



I started off with four boxes, but eventually moved to three then two, depending on the student. If a child can make it to dismissal with an empty card, they get a small reward. (PURRR tickets are school-wide PBIS "money" that students can spend at the school store.)



Right now, my fancy-schmancy blurt cards are just good ol' sticky notes. They are easy enough to make a few of each afternoon and stick on desks before I leave. You don't even have to draw the boxes if you don't want to - I just knew my kids needed the visual.

I decided that the best way to go about this is to give ALL of my students the opportunity to earn rewards, not just the kids with poor behavior. I hate when the kids who always do the right thing get left out of behavior incentives. Therefore, each day, 6 kids get blurt cards. Four kids are my special friends that will get blurt cards every day. I also give blurt cards to 2 more students. It's great to compare the results at the end of the day of the volcano kids and non-volcanic kids. And again, I wanted to make sure that my well-behaved students also have the opportunity to be rewarded. Last, I just made a quick schedule to keep in my binder so I can keep track of who hasn't had a turn yet.




The blurt cards worked really well for the last few weeks of the school year. Some of my volcanic littles worked really hard to restrain themselves, and I saw improvement almost immediately. Some of my friends were even weaned off of blurt cards completely before the school year ended.

Good luck with your little volcanoes, and let me know how it goes!


Questions? Ask in a comment below and I'll get back to you!

Pick your favorite place to follow along for more ideas to make your teaching life a little happier! 

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