Monday, October 9, 2017

Hip Hip EYE-rays and MORE

I love math.  It's my favorite time of day and my favorite to teach.  Mostly because it seems like every year, my kids come to me and hate math.  I'm not sure why, really.  But when they leave me, Math is all they ever talk about!

This was a fun activity we did in October when teaching arrays.  There are many variations you can do with it and it will still be just as cute.

After learning about arrays from our math program, students then decided what kind of monster they wanted to create.  {beforehand, I copied a variety of monster shapes-all are in my packet-on a variety of colored cardstock, along with a variety of color cardstock copies of the body parts for the monsters}

Then, each kid chose a card at random that told them their array line up (5 rows of 3, etc).  They needed to figure out how many eyes to get {I bought a container at Michael's with my coupon for them to use.  I could not find a big set of ones to peel and stick.... so we had a lot of practice using Elmers runny glue!  Totally set apart those who have great fine motor control, and those who still need a LOT of practice!

Before the gluing, however, they had to show me how their eyes will line up.  Once they got the "go ahead" from me, the glueing commenced.

After their monster was done, they had to write information about their Monster on their cards.  {I gave them a "scrap copy" that they got checked by me first to make sure things were spelled well enough, etc.... then they got their good, cardstock copy to write on afterwards}

The bulletin board was just AMAZING!

More practice we did with our arrays is that we painted with q-tips on paper (again, we copied onto cardstock to help keeping the paint from soaking through the paper).  Kids chose cards again and had to dot the array in their choice of colors.  After dotting their arrays, they had to write the addition sentence.

I made clean up a breeze by having bulletin board paper down at each group.  They left the q-tips and I just folded it all up and put it in the trash.

If you like these activities and would want to try it out in your classroom, check out my packet in my TPT store!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bouncy Bands for Bouncy Kids!

Do you have wiggly kids?  Who doesn't, amiright?!  I have a handful this year and coming up with ideas to use has been overwhelming.  I mean, there are SO.MANY.THINGS out there that I had no idea where to start.  Not to mention the million of "flexible seating" options out there.

So, when I got an email to try out Bouncy Bands in my classroom, I jumped on it.  {No pun intended-lol}  Well, actually, I hopped.  It was at the beginning of our school year and I forgot about that email, until we had a small talk about "learn-ature" in the classroom and bouncy bands came up.  Then I remembered and shot an email right back saying "I'm IN!"

Now, before I continue, I have to disclose that I am not allowed to take pictures of my students to share on social media.  I also received these bands to use in my classroom for an honest review.

My thoughts before trying: "I just don't see how these work.  I'd certainly want to play with them all day!"

After giving it a shot.  "AHHMAAAZING!"  I have one student in particular that has sensory issues.  I put the one on his chair and it was an almost INSTANT transformation.  He went from being a kid who constantly rocked his chair almost over all the time to one who sat still, or rather, didn't rock that chair!  He actually sat and concentrated on lessons-but instead of "bouncing" on the band, he sat his feet on top and was completely still!  When his OT came in to do her weekly evaluation of him, she was shocked at his improvement.

{This really was an accurate picture of my student!}

It's not really the only way my one particular student uses it.  When he's taking quizzes and tests, his feet are going strong-bouncing along, kicking it, instead of bouncing.  He finishes his tests and quizzes right in the mix of everyone else.  He's gone from not completing anything to completing about 90% of his work on time.  {Just keeping it real.  It may be a fantastic product, but it's not a miracle worker ;) }

I prefer the chair bands over the desk ones for the configuration of my classroom, and the kinds of kids I have this year.  The desk ones are great too, but I've found that in my group situations that kids are kicking each other or trying to put their feet on it at the same time, therefore defeating the purpose this year.  I can't say that it would be that way in all group desk situations because of the make up of my wiggly classroom.  The chair option is also great for moving around the room-whether it's to travel with a particular student or to have others use it too (if you need to share them).  I do plan on giving it another shot later in the year.

Before you run out and purchase-I want to warn you though.  There are many knock-offs on Amazon-and who wouldn't want to score a deal?!  But, those knock-offs are as good of quality as ordering directly from Bouncy Bands {or if ordering on Amazon, make sure the manufacturer is Bouncy Bands-they are prime eligible!}.  Their rubber will not hold up as well.  {and, well, after trying this out in the classroom and knowing how putting them on does take a little muscle work-I'd certainly hate for these things to break and shoot across the classroom!  Yikes!}  You are in luck though.  I have a deal for you!  If you purchase now through October 15 on Bouncy Band's website, you can get 10% off your order by entering in the code RULIN  

If you don't have cash but have a little time, many teachers are getting their bouncy bands through donor's choose!  Click HERE to get a few tips on getting funded!

These are truly a fantastic product.  I'm disappointed that I haven't tried these sooner.  Each year it seems that we have more and more students that have sensory issues as well as not being able to sit for very long without fidgeting.  Please check out Bouncy Bands site for more info and to get yourself one!  It is definitely one item to have in your classroom.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Back to School Teacher Letter-GAME CHANGER!

So, I KNOW you have all seen the adorable teacher letters out there.  Especially those that have the QR codes where you read to the kids (whether it's a story, or the letter itself).  I tried to do those in the past few years, but JUST couldn't get the technology to work for me (or find the time to figure it out).

Well.  That was BEFORE I started using Seesaw!  Now-it's easy peasy!

First, type up your letter.  Create your own, download someone's freebie.  I don't currently have my particular letter anywhere to use.  I'm sure you could make your own-maybe even cuter?!

Step 2-Save it as a PDF.  I make everything in PowerPoint.  Go to File>Print>Save as PDF.  Make sure you know where it is saved.

Step 3-go to Seesaw.  Now, if you don't have a new class set up yet, start your new class.  Add one student to it (and add the rest later).

Step 4-Click on the GREEN + sign and add your file.  Once it is there, click the checkmark.

Step 5-Then you have an opportunity to record yourself reading it.  Do it!  Listen to make sure it's okay!  I had to make a few edits to mine.

Step 6-Keep clicking the checkmarks until it is uploaded.  Don't tag anyone.  Just upload with no one marked.

Step 7-click on the 3 dots at the bottom right of the picture of your letter.  (...)  It will give you an option to GET QR CODE for item.  Do this!  {It will open a new tab in your browser}

Step 8-Save your QR as an image---or I just have my PowerPoint screen open and DRAG the QR over to the letter.  Click on the QR to adjust the size.  {If you saved it as an image-find it and add it to your Powerpoint letter, then click and resize.}

Step 9-Save the PowerPoint again as a PDF-OR you could just print from there.  If you save as a PDF, open the PDF and print!

Step 10-copy and send home!  Thanks Seesaw for a great app to use in our classrooms!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Problems Solving Practice for Primary Kids

If you got a problem, yo, I'll solve it........  Problem solving is tricky.  There's just too many correct ways to solve things, that it's just about impossible to REALLY teach it once and done.  It HAS to be done many times.  In fact, daily!

Last year, when I decided to take the "guided math" route, one of my rotations was Problem Solving.  At first, it was just me trying to find worksheets for kids to do while there.  Well, that was rough!  That could potentially be 180 worksheets.  180 times to copy papers... 180 things to correct....  You know.

I needed my life to be more of a "fix it and forget it" for some things to keep me sane.  I do it in the crockpot for dinner a few times a week.  And those nights where dinner is ready for me-those are my favorite.

I had an old booklet that I created when I was in first grade for many years that I pulled out one day and we used it for the week.  Kids completed a few pages a day.  (Number of problems were determined by the number pages and days for the week-could be a math problem to solve together before starting that week!) . I was in love with the small prep work involved and the high engagement.

A product was born.  From that day on, I created a themed pack (or 2) per month.  {The one above was the first one I created when we were starting the two-step process.}  In each pack were a variety of problems for second graders (or high first/low third-depending on the month).  I tried to make more than needed so I could pick and choose what I wanted them to do.  In my room, I chose 15 for each week.  That is 3 problems a day in 12-15 minutes.

As the year progressed, the skills were harder.  At the beginning of the year, it focuses more on one and two-step problems.  By the end of the year, there are still some one and two-step problems, but there is also elapsed time, money, number patterns and much more!

Of course, grading these can be a bit of a pain...  So, a system I had in place had me checking kids' work every 2 days.  I would mark the pages I looked at as I went, so by the end of the week it was much more manageable to go through and correct the rest.  Now, I have to say I have this AMAZING para who worked in my classroom for a small portion of the day and she would help me too.  She created an amazing spreadsheet for me each week to mark the mistakes that the kids had.  She really spoiled me.

My kids truly LOVED completing these EVERY DAY!  They would ask if they could do more.  By the end of the year, they were great Super Solvers!  {Of course, with the nature of the beast of second grade, we still had lots of errors due to the FAST nature of completing work at times..... BUT, looking at performance over time, they GOT the skills needed!  Fingers crossed they still remember next year in third...}

I have individual packs in my store-or a current growing bundle.  The bundle is almost finished and is not quite at full face value.  Here are some of the reviews it is getting!

Want to see more?  Check it out in my store by clicking any of the pictures above, or by clicking HERE!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Oriental Trading... for teachers!!

Okay.  Now, I have to admit.  I've really only shopped at Oriental Trading for party goodies for my home and for prizes at school.  When they asked me about wanting to try out their "Wish List" I was a little hesitant at first, because I wasn't so sure what I would be putting on it.

Well...  let me tell you.  Do you know that they have actual teacher resources now?!  School Girl Style inspiration decoration....  "Use it now" resources for classrooms?!  I am hooked!

As for the wish list....  I've started to create my list and will be adding things as the year goes by (since, well, I did just start... so I'm not quite in the routine of things yet)  What even better---I will share my wish list with my PARENTS at our Back to School night!  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten things for my own kids' birthday parties and didn't quite make that minimum requirement for free shipping....  If my kids' teachers would have a wish list, I could pop onto it and purchase something from it instead of just buying something extra that I REALLY did not need.

Here are some things that were on my wish list that Oriental Trading sent to me to try out!  Maybe it'll give you some inspiration for your year as well!

{Paint chip cards....  SOOOOO many uses for these!  From those "Shades of Meaning" standards, to even math facts....  This pack come with A LOT of cards!  That box was heavy!}

{Fun bookmarks for my students...  The noses pop out to hold the page!  What kid wouldn't love that?!}

{No Name magnetic clothes pins!!!!!!!!  Comes in a pack of 24.  While I hope that I don't need them all.......  I've already had to use 3 of them on the first 3 days of school}

{How cute are these shark counters....  These have endless possibilities as well!  I'll be using them to create a fun math center----details to come later!}

{Other Ways to Say.... cards.  They have these for different grades!  This will be PERFECT at our writing table!  And to also help with those "Shades of Meaning" standards too!}

{And, how perfect are these presidential posters?  Totally perfect for any time of the year, any grade... but I plan on doing some president teaching BEFORE the big election!  Make it relevant!}

{How SWEET are these cupcake duckies!  They are going to be perfect for my birthday cups this year!}

{This craft will be perfect for our "Fall" party!}

If you need more inspiration to go and start your Wish List on Oriental Trading...  Come check out my wish list!  I was given items to review, but I know I will be back to use the wish list feature.  (I already buy things from them all the time anyway!)  I highly recommend it!  What have you found that you need on Oriental Trading's site?!  Comment below!  I love finding new things/

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