In kindergarten and first grade, we have poetry folders that we use for fluency practice.  A while back, I blogged about my routine for poetry folders in first grade here.

So what does fluency practice look like in second grade?  Each day's routines are quick and easy and should take less that 5-10 minutes each day once you build the routine in your classroom!  Let's chat about fluency folder routines for 2nd graders!


The fluency folder routines start on Tuesdays with my 2nd grade phonics curriculum.  On Tuesday, students get the new fluency passage for the week.

Give them 2 quiet minutes to scan the passage for sight words to circle or highlight.  Then, they will spend the rest of the 2 minutes reading the passage quietly.

With the Digital Phonics Curriculum, the sight words are on the screen for the kids to find.  But you can definitely just write the sight words for them to look for or have them just look for ones they know!

When the 2 minute timer goes off (that's the black bar across the bottom), you model read the passage expressively as they follow along.

Then, just briefly talk about the passage by asking about 3 comprehension questions about the passage.  After you have discussed the passage, students will add the passage to their fluency folders.


On Wednesdays, kids get out their fluency passage and buddy read the passage.  Set a 4 minute timer and walk around and monitor as the buddies set elbow to elbow and knee to knee to take turns reading and listening or reading together.

The goal today is to let buddy 1 read, then buddy 2 read, and then both choral read together before the 4 minute timer is up.


On Thursdays, students get their fluency passages out and read independently.  Set a 1 minute timer.  Kids will try and finish reading the passage in the 1 minute.

The passages I have are written with an appropriate amount of words for second graders to read in one minute or less.  The passages start off with only 50 words and at the end of the year have 90 words.


There is no fluency folder routine for Fridays or Mondays built into the second grade phonics curriculum.  This is just to give you some flexibility.  For example, start the routine on Monday if you have more lower readers in your class and do Thursday's routine twice to give them practice and more time to build their fluency.

Fridays can be used for assessments.  During guided reading groups, take a few minutes to pull back some kids and do running records on their fluency passage for the week.  This will be a sure way to get data on grade level texts each week!  Want to learn more about running records?  Read this blog post.

Where Can I Find the Passages?

These fluency passages can be found here.  Or you can find them in my bundle of 2nd Grade Digital Phonics Curriculum!

In first grade, my favorite math games are the easiest!  And they all use only one material...

A pack of playing cards!

Today, let's talk about two of my favorite math card games that are great for building base 10 understanding!

Total of 10

In total of 10, students are trying to find cards that total 10.  The goal is to empty their total of 10 board so that they have no cards left.

I love this game because it's a solitaire style game...and it can be played independently or as a team.  Here's how to play!

Layout 20 cards in a 5x4 array.

Then, pick up cards that total 10.

When I model this game whole group, students quickly find pairs that make 10.  And then, we get stuck because there are no more card pairs to make 10.  So, I push them by saying, "I still see cards that can make 10.  Do you?"

And we discover that we can use 3 or more numbers to make 10!

The game is over when we cannot make any more totals of 10.  Again, the goal is to have as few cards left over as possible.  This is actually difficult to clear the board entirely.  Try it as an's kinda addicting! #ilovecardgames

This game can easily be differentiated by playing total of 20 with your higher kids.  And for my struggling learners, we use 10 frames to scaffold and help them play successfully.  You can see that intervention in action along with the recording sheets we use in this blog post.

Tens Go Fish

This game is basically like Go Fish except you are pairing cards that make ten.  For this game, I always post a sentence frame for students to use as they play.

"I have 2.  Do you have an 8 to make 10?"

This game is played with 2-4 players and is great to play before playing total of 10 to build fluency with pairs of 10.

You can also find ways to scaffold this game for your struggling learners in this blog post.

These games and lesson plans to go along with them can be found in my Guided Math Workshop Plans or Curriculum Bundle!

Food always make learning better!  And food is the perfect medium for learning about matter.

My kiddo and I had a blast learning about the states of matter and enjoying a root beer float!  Here's a look at this engaging, Next Gen Science aligned experiment.

What You'll Need

For this states of matter science lab, you'll need...
*clear plastic cups
*clear spoons
*root beer (these small mini-cans would be perfect for parters or individual kiddos to share!)
*vanilla ice-cream
*ice-cream scoop

Science Lab Steps

Before this experiment, we front loaded our knowledge of the states of matter ome pebblego articles, and through sorting and observing properties of matter.  We also sorted objects by their state of matter.

On science lab day, we set out all of our materials and talked about which were solids, liquids and gases.  We recorded our ideas on our lab sheet.  Then, we predicted whether the root beer and ice cream would change.  We wrote our predictions.

Then, it was time to cook up the float.  You will want to do these steps altogether so that partners don't work ahead and ruin the fun for someone else close by.  So, everyone makes the float together.

We added the ice-cream and observed any changes....and then licked the scoop! :)

No changes...yet.

Then, we added the root beer and observed any changes.

BAM! Changes!  We loved seeing the liquid fizz up into a gas!  We recorded our results in the root beer column.

Then, we let the float sit for about an hour.  While we were waiting, we drew and labeled the float.

Then we observed the changes in the ice-cream!

Oh yeah, and while we waited on the ice-cream to melt we made our own floats to eat!

If you are doing this in the classroom, just save your ice cream float for an hour and let the kids eat theirs!  You can all observe the extra float after an hour.

You can find this experiment and tons more activities in this Next Gen Science Matter unit.
Most people may not think of Thanksgiving as a holiday to teach at church, but I think it's perfect!   I love using November to talk about giving thanks to the Lord and our blessings!  Here's a look at some of the lessons in this unit!

I LOVE this turkey anchor chart that we use to keep track of all of the things we are thankful for!  The kids can put together the turkey during our exploration stations time.  And then, we add the feather we are learning about during our Bible Story Time each week!

Look how well this little guy put together our turkey this week! ;)

Week 1, we learned about the thankful leper and thanking God for healing us!  We used white felt dots to make ourselves lepers and practiced thanking God for healing us!

While the kiddos were coloring, I got their Bible verse notes ready to staple onto their coloring page and send home for parents.  I simply write in the date we will finish our unit so parents can help practice the verse at home!  You can read more about how we memorize our verses at church in this blog post.

What a great first week!  Here's a peek at what the rest of our unit will look like!

We will be using envelopes to make a church during week 3!

In week 5, we will be making turkey handprints and writing what we are thankful for.  Here is the printable (read: easier) version of that activity!

I'll be updating this post with more pictures as we go through the unit.  You can find all of the materials and plans in this unit.

On my journey to write a first grade math curriculum that reflected my own math routines in my classroom, I knew it was important to include simple and powerful math games that would build number sense and fluency.  And I've been blogging about a few of those along the way in this Primary Math Game Series.

Today, we are looking at Find the Ten.

What Is Find the Ten?

Find the Ten is a game where kids do just that--find the ten.  They take two numbers and add them by decomposing the second number to make a 10.

In this game, students cut up 18 "domino" dot cards and place them in a stack.  They draw two cards and add the dots by finding and circling the ten and counting the left overs.

This is an example of the "end goal" for notation for this game.  Will all kids be using parentheses?  Probably not.  But when I model this through number talks and share time, I am modeling notation with parentheses and I always have kids that pick this up easily in first grade!

Some kids might do the same strategy as above and just notate without the parentheses.  And that's okay for now too.  Keep modeling the parentheses and they will pick it up when they are ready.

Why parentheses?  They show how the ten was built.  So that when you just use equations to solve you can see the decomposition progression.  For example...
5 + 9 = ?
(5 + 5) + 4 = 14

Now I can see how I decomposed the nine and use the associative property to combine the 5 and 5 to make 10.

If your kids need to see that carrot notation to show how the nine was decomposed, this notation is a little "lower" than the one I just showed.  Kids may need a written visual to show how the numbers are decomposed.  Once they fluently understand that, they will drop the carrot notation and do what we looked at in the images above.

Here is a look at what an even "lower" notation might look like.  Notice, the 10 group is still circled and then they are counting from 10.  Just an equation to match the problem is okay for these babies.  And when they are ready, they can progress their notation even further!

Why Is Find the Ten a Game My Kids Need?

Find the ten is a powerful visual way for kids to practice decomposing numbers to make a ten.  It helps move kids from robotically counting on to thinking about landmark numbers when adding.  It also is a stepping stone for helping kids add incrementally using our base 10 system.

How Can I Differentiate Find the Ten?

This game is super easy to differentiate just through the notation examples that I gave earlier.  But the activity can be differentiated too!

In this version, students abstractly decompose the numbers without the dots.  Use this with your kids who are not direct modeling and are more flexible in the strategies that they use!

This game and many more can be found in my Guided Math Workshop Curriculum plans and bundle (includes all the resources needed for the curriculum!)

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