Sunday, January 3, 2016

Math for Little Movers...

Winter is upon us... well.  I think it's coming anyway.  It's been unusually hot recently here--though I have recess duty on the first few days back, which are going to be unusually COLD!  Like in the 20's?!  Brrrrrrrr....  I want to share some fun things I do with math time in my classroom.

First, I used to do the math tub thing...  LOVED it.  Don't get me wrong.... it's the correcting of papers that I just can't keep up with this year with a large class.  If they were all doing the same paper, it would be much easier to manage.. (I like to grade 2-3 at a time, comparing the papers to speed up my process... with centers, I only have 1-3 papers per center, so it's a time killer right now)  I do love the differentiation of the tubs/centers and I have a lot of them for first grade.  I have a few for second grade that I was able to use last year with a smaller class and with the help of an aide to correct them.

My kids need to move.  I need to move.  Bodies are not made for sitting.  I like to hang things up around the room, give kids clipboards and let them loose.  Of course, what I created can be used anywhere... it could be a center, small group work, placed on desks and used as a little "Scoot" type activity...  It can be used as a teaching tool, reviewing lesson or even as an assessment.

Step 1:  Print and laminate.  I do this to have for YEARS so that I'm not always doing things last minute to prepare.

Step 2: Hang around the room.  TIP:  I always put mine in numerical order--and I always try to have it clock-wise... and if there are 12 cards, I try to pretend my room is a giant clock.... You know, just as an added teaching tool for the future when we get to telling time! ;)  TIP 2:  If you do these, or plan to do them often, put up stikki clips around the room so all you have to do is slide the cards into the clips instead of getting tape out each time.  {I haven't done that yet, but should... I just reuse tape each time.  I take the old card down when I put up the new one and put the tape on the new one}

Cards with skills like this are from my Rockin' Around the Clock.  I don't have pictures of this new pack in action yet.  (and these cards are not available yet.  As I created them, I switched my idea to Rock Around the Clock)

Step 3:  Students walk around the room and answer the cards.  Clipboards make it more fun!

THIS worksheet is still the same in my Rock Around The Clock set!

NOTE:  My recording sheets are always very similar.  I do NOT want to spend time teaching kids HOW to COMPLETE a recording sheet.  I'd rather them have the extra time to apply their knowledge to some new thinking.  Not all of my activities are ones that were actually "taught" from the book.  They have to take what they know and apply it.  They LOVE it!

I want to share one of the activities from my newest pack, that is snowman themed-with you because I just hit my second milestone on Teachers Pay Teachers!  TPT has changed my life.  I'm thankful for everything it has brought to me from meeting new friends to having a creative outlet again in a profession that is starting to grow uncreative thinking. ;)  It has brought me happiness in a career that has so many leaving and/or miserable.  That in itself is HUGE.  The extra money made is secondary to all that.  If you ever have that thought of "should I?"  YES!  You should!  You have nothing to lose.    And of course, I would have none of this without any of YOU.  I'm most thankful for teachers like you who email, comment and buy things from me.  It means the world to me and I will be forever grateful to you.

Click on any of the pictures below to see it in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

This activity makes students think.  They need to decide whether the second number tells how many hundreds, tens or ones is in the first number!  My kids LOVED this one!

These cards have students locate the numbers in each place.  They will write how many 100s, 10s and 1s each number has.

This is my favorite activity.  Students will walk around and rearrange the numbers to make the largest number possible and the smallest, using all of the numbers ;)  They will also write another number it makes too.

This activity can be used TWICE in this pack.  I have 2 recording sheets with 2 different skills to practice.  The first one has students just writing what number it makes.  Notice that the number of 100s, 10s and 1s are not in order.  The Second activity has students writing the numbers in expanded form.

This activity has 2 versions.  The first version is for practice comparing numbers less than 100.  The second has students practicing comparing numbers greater than 100.  The recording sheet is the same for both-the cards they look at are different.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back here soon for some exciting news!

Friday, January 1, 2016

'Snow Easy Snow Globes!

I cannot believe that it's the new year!  I have so many things that I'm thankful for in the past year and excited to see where the new year takes me!  I've recently hit my second milestone on TPT and am super excited and feverishly working on something to celebrate {though, with this short break of ours and the fact that THREE out of 5 of us had a stomach bug... including me... kinda had me on a standstill}

I wanted to share a quick and easy project for you to start when you head back to school... Of course, it hasn't been too cold yet or I would have taken the kids' pictures before school left out for our winter break... but Mother Nature had other plans... I mean-we were in shorts and short sleeves on CHRISTMAS EVE!  (in Pennsylvania!  And to give you an idea of our usual temperature... every year on my time hop app has shown snow on those days! lol)

Step One-gather your supplies.  You need construction paper, crayons (or oil pastels for fun!), hot glue, fake snow (I get mine on clearance at the craft stores after Christmas!  One or 2 bags will get you through a class)  and clear plates... WATCH OUT on the plates.  You don't want to get plates that have anything on the bottom.. you know that say "recycle" etc...  it needs to be clear.  I have always gotten my plates at Party City.. THIS year I'm getting the smaller plates since I have more students  than in the past and need to fit them all out on the wall.

Step Two:  Take student pictures wearing their winter gear...  Or have some for them to wear.  Have them strike a "winter" pose.  Print them out.  I printed a 5x7 for the large plates.  I'm thinking this year I'll print them in a 4x6 size.

Step Three:  Trace the plate onto construction paper.  Have students draw a winter scene.  If able, give them their picture so they will know what it will look like once they glue their pic on the paper.  They could glue it now too.  TIP: make sure to tell them to not draw IMPORTANT things at the edge.  The plate will cover it up. ;)

Step Four:  Laminate the paper-this will protect it from the hot glue you'll be using later!

Step Five:  Put a few handfuls of snow in the center of the picture.

Step Six:  Squirt a little hot glue on the edge where the plate will go and place the plate face down-QUICKLY before it gets hard!

Step Seven: Jam hot glue underneath the plate the rest of the way around.  Pay special attention to the bottom so that the snow will not fall out.

Step Eight:  Have students write about it!  Use the following papers to help guide their writing!

{Click on the pictures to download the file!}

Step Nine:  Staple the paper to their projects and hang in the hall!

You'll be walking in a winter wonderland in no time at all!  Make sure to check out the other fabulous ideas from my friends in the i Teach Second hop!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year... for classroom behavior?!

I want to share an oldie but goodie with you today and I'm linking up with my friends at i Teach Second.  One that I just absolutely love.  We do "bucket filling" at our school, but to do this, you don't NEED to be using it to be successful!

So, the biggest challenge going back after Turkey break--is the impending excitement of December.  I mean, what kid DOESN'T get excited about December, no matter what holiday they celebrate?  There's excitement all around, and in little bodies it's just harder to contain than in our bigger, adult bodies.  ;)

This is a quick, easy idea to get students thinking about others.  I created a little pack for filling STOCKINGS.  The pre-made recording sheet makes it simple for even the littlest-little to complete.  One extra step that I do is that I type up a class list of names for each student.  They circle their own name, so we know who's list it is when I find it on the floor it gets misplaced.

I realize that I do not have an example of the writing the kids did.  {I was out on maternity leave last year and didn't snap pics, obviously... and I'm unable to locate any from 2 years ago.  BUT-this pack is free, so feel free to download and decide for yourself if you think it's something you'd like!}  Click {HERE} or on the picture below to download your freebie!

Make sure to check out all my other friends' great ideas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I can't believe it's December already.  I also can't believe that I'm linking up with this month's currently from Oh Boy, 4th Grade!

I'm currently listening to the dishwasher working... and it's not me or the hubs.  I'm excited because I just got all new dishes (a black friday "steal" for me!)  We are now a family of 5.. and had 8 settings that were starting to chip, crack and break.  With only 8 plates... that meant doing dishes almost every day!  

Loving-that it's December.  While it's crazy, chaotic and just plain tiring sometimes... it's my favorite month.  It's full of excitement and wonder.  It's full of family and fun and LOTS of traditions.

Thinking--there's NO way I'm getting everything done.  THREE kids.  What was I thinking?!  ha!  So much to wrap and do... plus there's that thing called SCHOOL!?  And we go to the bitter end of December 23... and that's even a full day.  I know it'll be here in a blink though.

Wanting-a maid.  Who wouldn't?!  My littles just aren't keeping up and would never make a good maid.  For that fact-neither would I.  I have a mentality that they are only little once and I'd rather not miss out on family fun because I was cleaning the house....  though.  A clean house is a happy one!  Or, maybe we could say a relatively clean house?!  {How clean is it ever going to be with 3 boys and a husband???}

Needing-SLEEP!  My littlest is not sleeping... Now, I always blame everything on teething.  But, I think it's true this time.  Tonight I saw what looked to be an outline of a molar ready to come through!  Poor thing has had fevers off an on... and just crying in his sleep, if he's not crying awake.  Add in that thing called school and I'm just beat..

Tree---REAL!  I used to always have a fake one... then we found a tradition about 4-5 years ago.  There's a local tree farm near us that takes you out to their trees on a horse drawn wagon...  We always go on Black Friday after lunch with my parents.  This year the weather was beautiful.  Here's a few pics from our day:

We FINALLY found the perfect tree after walking around FOREVER! 

Chopping it down!  My biggest Little actually cut most of it down, after daddy and grandpa helping him get started.

Getting ready to decorate... the littlest little was a bit drool-y... he also had a fever that night, but was in good spirits.  He loved throwing the ornaments like they were balls...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rock Your Conferences!

Hi all!  Fall is such a busy time of year getting to know your littles, getting into a routine (both school and home) and lots of time spent planning and preparing for what feels like a never-ending to do lists.

How many of you cringe at the thought of parent conferences?  Years ago, my hand would be up.  I was always SO nervous to meet with parents and discuss their children.  I never knew what to talk about.  You don't have a class on that in college!  Mix that with all those comments others tell non-mommy teachers about how their teaching will change once you have kids of your own.  I NEVER believed that...  bam.  10 years later-oh my word.  They were right.

I have a few tips to have a successful parent conference-no matter how many hours you will be putting in...  (I put in over 14 hours in 1 1/2 days....  well, not even a half.  My first day is about 13-13.5 hours... and I will have about 2 hours the following morning)

Tip 1:
Don't just stick with "scores" or data.  Trust me.  Eyes will glaze over.  As a teacher, if my children's teachers went over data, I'd be fine.  My husband on the other hand---no clue.  In fact, stay clear of acronyms too!  Parents just want to know how their child is doing.  Are they on target?  How can they help at home to get them to the target.  Chances are, 99.9% of parents know how their child is doing.... telling them how poorly their child is doing doesn't help the home front.  This also includes going over standards...  With all the negative press around standards (especially that Common Core one! ;) ), you don't want to find yourself in a heated conversation over those!  

{Numbers are important---but shouldn't be a central focus of your conference.  Try having student goals and teacher goals to talk about too!}

Tip 2:
Make sure you have enough positives to tell parents!  This comes from a mama who has "difficult" children at home.  Honestly speaking, most nights/days I feel like I'm a failure of a parent.  I know my kids are good at school, with no discipline problems... but at home, they are quite opposite, as most kids are.  Sitting in a conference with my children's teachers and hearing about things they are doing well, such as being a good friend, or helping out in the classroom... makes my heart melt and reassures me that maybe I am doing a good job at being that thing called a "mom."  ;)  The last thing I want to hear is how my child talks a lot, which I totally know he does.  He's cursed, like his mama, being a verbal learner... We need to talk to process things!  Did you know there was such a thing?!  I didn't learn about it till I was in grad school.... and finally all of my life fell into place.

Tip 3:
Include parents in the conversation!  Ask THEM questions.  Don't always send things home beforehand.  I like to interview them.  I have a few questions I ask, which also keeps the conversation going and in the right direction.

Tip 4:
Know something personal about each student.  Looking for this not only gets you to know your students better, but it also lets parents know you care.  I know when I sit in conferences, I want to know that the teacher is looking out for the best in my child.  I want to know a name or 2 of kids he plays with.  I want to know that he is OK in the social realm of things!  Now, knowing every little detail about each student is quite an impossible task.... so I usually ask the students a little bit about school and friends beforehand too.

Tip 5:
Be organized.  Spend a little time putting together information.  I put all of the above together on a recording sheet that I allow parents to keep after the conference.

 take the parents interview and take important notes on a special recording sheet that I created as well.  Click on the picture to check it out in my store!  I have included a "semi" editable file for you to type in student names and notes.  I hope it can help you rock your conferences like it has mine (and quite a few of my coworkers--who are excited about conferences because they could use the forms!) and has your parents leaving your room feeling a sense of pride of their child, no matter where they are in abilities and behavior.

 If you like my organizational tools, please check it out {HERE}!!!

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