Spider Week

We spent the past week studying these fascinating creatures while integrating various nonfiction reading and writing skills.  I chose five spiders that I thought my kiddos would find interesting and assigned one to each of my table groups.  They used this graphic organizer to help them gather information from various trade books as well as online books from Myon.

My students were able to identify the body parts we had been studying with real-live spiders using these iPad microscopes.  Each table group had their own spider to look at and they took turns projecting them onto our Apple TV.

My kiddos also took turns coming up to our augmented reality spider bulletin board that I created thanks to a training I attended by Two Guys and Some iPads.  When a spider image is scanned using the Daqri app, a video of that spider in action comes up on the iPad.  In the picture below, my student is watching a video that shows how a trapdoor spider comes out of its burrow to trap its prey. 
Click on the video below to see my students watching a tarantula and black widow video.
Needless to say, my kiddos loved getting up close and personal with spiders.  We are so fortunate to have these authentic experiences that wouldn’t be possible without this amazing technology.    

My students summarized their spider findings with these mini research reports.  I got the adorable spider craft template here. 

Here are a couple close-ups. 

Spooky Arrays and Halloween Crafts for the Home

Our week’s been off to a spooktacular start!  We created our own spooky repeated addition arrays using the free app Doodle Buddy.  Doodle Buddy has a great collection of spooky backgrounds and stamps, and my second graders just ate this activity up.  We even turned off the lights to make the classroom feel “spookier.”  Here are a couple of examples they came up with:

My kiddos also had a blast hunting for spooky arrays around the room with this FREE QR code scavenger hunt.  
I made this freebie last year for my fourth graders and just updated it to include a repeated addition version in addition to the original multiplication version.  Click here to download it for free.

We’re still reviewing fact families, so one of our math centers this week is this Witch’s Hat Fact Family activity.  You can check it out here.

I’m linking this post up with Tara’s Monday Made-it linky to share a couple of fall crafts I made for our house.  Crafting is a major stress reliever for me, and I had a lot of fun making this burlap wreath with my friends.  We are planning on making more soon to give our friends/family as Christmas gifts.  There are tons of Youtube videos if you’re interested in learning how to make one. 

I happen to be a bit obsessed with candy corn, so when I saw this blog post via Pinterest, I knew I had to attempt this.  I spray painted wine/beer/olive oil bottles one color at a time, letting the paint dry for a few minutes in between.  I didn’t use tape or anything because I like the “ombre” look.  It was super easy and I love how the centerpiece turned out.   

Hope you’re having a spooktacular October!


Over the past few weeks, I’ve really fallen in love with the Popplet app (free version), and have found myself using it over and over again.  It’s such a versatile app and it really helps my second graders map out their thinking.  Here are a few of the ways I’ve used it so far this year…

My students took pictures and briefly described the main events in their independent reading books.  This helped them sequence and retell their stories.

They took pictures and described the character and setting in their independent reading books. 

My kiddos find a picture of their vocabulary words either from their book or from the internet.  Then they type the definition, part of speech, and use it in a sentence.  (I got this awesome idea from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.)

When we were studying adjectives, I had my students bring in a special object from home and describe it.  After brainstorming on Popplet, they wrote and shared about their special object. 

Have you used Popplet with your kiddos?  If so, please share in the comments.:)

My Favorite Free Addition Apps Plus a New Addition QR Code Freebie!

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite FREE iPad apps for practicing addition.  We are so fortunate to have 1:1 iPads in our second grade classroom this year and I’m really happy with our transition from laptops to iPads.  My list keeps growing, but here are some of my favorite addition apps we’ve been using so far this year…
Free Addition Apps
Find Sums is an amazing app for addition number sense.  In the picture you can see that my girls are choosing addends to make a particular sum.  There are two different modes—one with apples in a ten frame so the empty spaces can easily be counted, and another with a simple part-part-whole model.  I love that I can differentiate with this app! 

Butterfly Math Addition is another great app for fundamental addition concepts.  It has verifying levels for each of the concepts.  My students love catching and releasing the butterflies to model addition problems.   

For the Addition Under Sea Adventures app, students solve addition problems to reveal parts of a hidden secret picture.  Each level has a different secret picture to uncover and it gets progressively harder.  The ultimate goal is to unlock all of the pictures and reach the final level.

Sushi Monster is probably the most-requested app by my kiddos.  It’s an engaging and challenging app for practicing addition as well as multiplication.  The kids love feeding the monster numbered plates of sushi and think it’s hilarious when he throws plates for incorrect answers.

Finally, I could not live without QR code scanning apps like i-nigma because we do so many QR code centers in math.  QR codes are so engaging and helpful in providing students with immediate feedback while I’m busy meeting with guided groups.  For the past couple of weeks we’ve been using my camping-themed addition and subtraction QR code centers, and they’ve been a big hit! 

If you haven’t tried QR codes yet with your students, I would highly recommend it!  You can try them out with this FREE “Scan the Room” addition activity. 

I like to get my kids up and moving around during math, so I taped the cards around my classroom for them to solve.  After students complete an addition problem, they scan the QR code to see if they got the answer correct.  Here are two of my boys working hard on this freebie center. 

What are YOUR favorite addition apps?  I’m always looking for new ones!:)