Friday, July 11, 2014

Guest Blogger: Ms. Richards's Musings

Hello everyone! My name is Krystyn and I blog over at Ms. Richards's Musings.
I am so excited to get the chance to guest blog for Lana. I teach 2nd grade in Washington State. Like many of you, we are undergoing some huge changes next year. This has started my brain thinking of tons of possibilities for literacy and math. Have you started thinking of next year? I just posted this picture on Instagram a couple of days ago. I am so excited to be creating things for my students I can barely stand it.
Back to School Centers
In my district we currently use the Math Connects curriculum. However, as many districts are finding the math curriculum does not cover all of the Common Core standards. I can't count the amount of meetings I have gone to, to discuss what we are going to do to fill these holes next year. The result...my district is incorporating materials from Engage NY. Have you heard of this site? It has tons of samples, examples, and lessons that are supposed to help you develop a strong foundation in math while hitting the Common Core standards. Here are some examples from the 1st module for 2nd grade.


From just a brief glance, it looks like it will be a great resource to get an idea of how to teach the Common Core standards. One of the great things about it, is that it is free! Have you used EngageNY? Love it? Hate it? Never heard of it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

A....N....D.....place value. 

In 2nd grade, we really focus on place value. As I was looking over the Engage NY materials, I was thinking about some of the things I already do. One of those things is giving my students LOTs of practice with place value. 

Throughout the year I have students practice skip counting. Each student starts with a strip of of paper with boxes on it (like a grid). There are 3 columns: ones, tens, and hundreds column. They start by counting by 1's to 1,000.

This is a picture for later in the year.

When students finish one strip they put it in a basket. This helps me know that they need a new counting strip to be added to their counting. After the strips are in the basket, I check for any numbers than have been skipped or reversed. If there are skipped numbers, I cut the strip under the last correct number before adding a new strip. If there are reversals, I have them fix the reversals before I add a new strip to their counting.

I tried to add strips to each student's counting as they were finishing and I couldn't keep up. They were finishing faster than I was able to check them. (Also, I only check the last strip because I have already checked all of the other strips.) After adding a new strip to each student's counting, I put them in this chart for students to access the next day.


The majority of my students are able to count up to 1,000 by the end of the year. Once they finish counting by ones, I have them skip count by 2's, 5's, 10's, and count backwards by 1's from 1,000. 

While there is some prep work to adding new strips, I really like how I can quickly assess my student's understanding of number patterns. I have noticed 2nd graders have a hard time figuring out what comes after 199. This repetitive practice helps to support their number sense and notice number patterns. Also, the 3 columns on each strip reenforces place value concepts which is such a big part of 2nd grade math concepts. Click on the picture if you are interested in trying this in your class.

Counting Strips

How do you practice counting or place value concepts?

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