Sunday, 2 April 2017

Spring Activities for Your Classroom

Trees and flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up, which can mean only one thing: spring is officially here.  With summer just around the corner, it is an exciting time of year in the classroom. Karen and I want to share some of our favorite ways to bring a little spring time fun into the classroom.

As we are approaching end of the year testing time in my classroom, we are reviewing all the skills we have learned this year.   One of those skills is addition and subtraction.   These plastic eggs (found at the Dollar Tree) used as dice holders put a fun spin on reviewing this skill.  Students roll the dice and record a 3 digit number.  They roll again and record the second number, then they add.  Here you can download an addition, subtraction, or number bond template to use in your classroom.  Not working on triple digit? That's ok, the templates can be used for larger or smaller number as well. 

Next up are these fun bunny light up sticks found at the Dollar Spot at Target.  My students love playing games with these.  To play, students get in groups of 3.  One student is the "teacher" and the other two players compete against each other.  The "teachers" roll is to give the players the prompt.  For example they may say, "Find the square that has parallel lines or lines that never cross". The other two players will race to bop the parallel line square with their light up bunny stick.  The first one to hit the correct square wins and keeps the prompt card.  The player to collect the most cards is the winner.  If you don't have these light up sticks, players can take turns flipping over a prompt card and covering the space with a game marker of some sort.  Geometry game can be found here.

Last up, is this fun activity to play with students learning to blend CVC words.  The head of the caterpillar can be made using half a pipe cleaner laced through half an Easter egg (the eggs already have two holes in them) and then use a sharpie or glue on some googly eyes. Last, add the letters you want to use to additional halved eggs.  Students can move the eggs around to make their own blends, or you can arrange the eggs for them. *I recommend using a single color such as purple for the vowel sounds.  This will make it easier when arranging the eggs to make words.

Click the picture to find additional CVC practice as shown below:

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Hands-On Activities for Teaching Measurement to the Nearest 1/4 Inch & Line Plots

 Teaching measurement is such a fun topic to teach because it naturally lends itself to hands-on learning.  In 3rd grade, we learn how to measure to the nearest quarter inch.  I like to teach this concept after we learn about fractions.  This gives students some background knowledge about fractions of a whole.

Rulers can be a bit overwhelming to students when they are trying to make sense of all the "little lines" found between each inch.  A little trick I have learned to help them make sense of this, is to use 4 different colored highlighters to highlight the first inch.  Before passing out the rulers, I highlight each quarter inch in a different color.   

We practice measuring a few examples together, and then its time for them to explore this concept on their own.  We did an "outdoor scoot" using this activity.  To complete the outdoor scoot, I taped the bugs in various places outside.  Students went around in partner groups measuring the bugs and recording their lengths on the recording sheet. The bugs were taped in a central location to give the students enough room to move around, but not too far apart that I could not keep my "teacher eye" on everyone.  If the weather is not cooperating with you, this scoot can also be completed indoors. 

Once everyone gathered their measurement data, we created a line plot. After creating the line plot, its a great time for students to create questions that can be answered by their line plot such as, "What length was most frequently measured?" or "How many bugs measured at least 5 inches?".

Pretty fun right?  If you are in need of additional resources to teach measurement to the nearest quarter inch and line plots, you can find more hand-on activities here:

You can also find printable vocabulary posters here ( color or black and white versions included):

Monday, 6 March 2017

Win a Pot of Gold!

Hi there! Karen here...

I have teamed up with an amazing group of teacher-authors to bring you a HUGE giveaway! We are giving away not one, but SEVEN, pots of gold (one $100 TpT gift card, four $50 TpT gift cards, and two $50 Amazon gift cards). #teacherpotofgold

No sneaky Leprechauns! Just a Rafflecopter... 
So entering is easy peasy!

Hop on over to the Facebook page Kelie and I co-run by clicking here and enter via our GIVEAWAY TAB. Don't delay... the Rafflecopter closes at midnight EST March 7th. Winners will be announced on March 8th. :)

You may also choose to enter directly via this blog post below.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!
Thanks for entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Classroom Library Organization Made Easy With 2 IPAD Apps

Devouring books when I was a child was a passion of mine, so of course, I LOVE watching my little learners share that same passion!   Let's face it, we spend hundreds of dollars (and thousands of Scholastic Book points) to ensure that our students have access to books they want to read.  How do I manage that investment, using the least amount of time? I have enlisted the help of these two apps, which have totally saved my sanity when it comes to keeping my classroom library organized and readily available for my students.

To help keep students accountable for the books they checkout from my classroom library, I use the FREE app: Booksource Classroom Organizer

Booksource Classroom Organizer is a free web-based program that helps you organize and inventory your classroom library. The most time consuming part of using this app is the set up.  To catalog your books in the system, you must scan each bar code found on the back of each book in your library (a great job for parent volunteers or older students who want to "help").   The next step is to create a classroom roster.  Once these two steps are complete it is super easy to check books in and out to students! Simply scan the bar code to check out the books, and when students are ready to return their books, students show you their book.  With a click of their name and a click of the book title, the book is checked back in. 

To quickly access a book's Accelerated Reader level and point value, I use the app: BookScanner.

Our school uses Accelerated Reader to monitor students' reading levels and independent practice. By using the BookScanner App, you can quickly and easily scan the bar code off the back a book to  find any books' AR quiz number, reading level, point value, word count, and interest level.  This app has been a total time saver when I get a large book order.  It's also super useful when I'm at a book store looking for books, because with a quick scan, I can easily tell if a certain book is appropriate for my students' reading levels.  This app is $1.99 and in my opinion, totally worth the small investment.

The last thing I do to help keep my books from disappearing is: I stick a label on each book, with my name on it.  No app required for this!  Countless books have been returned to me because of these labels. 

And there you have it: a few ways to help you keep your growing classroom library manageable and easily accessible to your students.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Valentine's Day Freebies & a Giveaway

Well hello February! And hello fellow bloggers and blog readers. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Kelie and I have teamed up with some amazing teacher bloggers to bring you a fun February themed blog hop and giveaway to celebrate Kelie's TpT store reaching 1,000 followers! Woot, woot! Congrats, partner! <3

The giveaway will run until February 10th. Enter to win by hopping to all 6 blog posts and then enter via any one of the Rafflecopter links. One winner, chosen randomly, will be announced sometime February 11th and will win a custom t-shirt and a $30 Target gift card. SCORE! :)  Hopefully you will find some great ideas on how to celebrate Valentine's Day in you classroom as you "hop" to each blog.

Put A Ring On It
Kelie here- I love to integrate games that align to what I'm teaching because, well, it just makes learning fun. Grab this freebie from my store and put your worksheets to rest this holiday.  Your students will have fun solving subtraction equations and reviewing the skill of regrouping.

This game is perfect for early finishers, small group extra support, or  morning review. I'm sure you will think of other ways you can use it with your students as well.

If you are looking for tons of fun addition and subtraction games to play with your students, you can find the whole unit here:

Valentine Party Planning
Last year, I (Karen) had a Valentine's party planning letter featured in the TpT newsletter. It brought me lots of new followers and a lot of wonderful feedback. Most often I hear how much time my resource saved busy teachers have a successful and fun card exchange and classroom party.

Sweet Math Game
Like Kelie, I love when I can make learning fun and super engaging by playing games! The game below is full of task cards that review measurement, number bonds, and data interpretation (graphs). It was developed to align with Engage New York / Eureka Math for First Grade, however it is Common Core aligned and works well regardless of the curriculum you use. :)

Writing is Sweet
I love teaching writing! I created this pack to use in my own classroom. I may no longer be in the classroom, but this pack is still being used by my team. :) It includes fun Valentine's or love themed writing paper along with pocket chart or word wall cards. Can you keep a secret? Kelie and I have teamed up with several other teacher-authors for a hashtag sale called #ShareTheLove and this resource will be available for just ONE DOLLAR on February 9th and 10th. Interested? Wish List it now and get those kiddos writing this month! :)

Thanks for reading! Be sure to enter our Rafflecopter for a chance to win a custom T-shirt and a $30 Target gift card! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click the robot below to head over to Cindy's blog: Teacher's Brain

Friday, 13 January 2017

Homework Help: A Parent's Guide to Common Core Math.

Communication between school and home is HUGE to a child's success in school.  Let's face it though, with only so much time to prepare for your day, creating a newsletter to send home to parents, may not be on the top of your "To Do" list.  That is where we have you covered.

Our parent newsletters, created to align with Engage New York/ Eureka Math, are a very useful source of information for parents.  The letters explain the key concepts and vocabulary terms their child is learning about in class with visuals in an easy-to-understand way.  Additionally, each letter has a game that families can play together to help reinforce key skills.

The letters for 2nd through 4th grade, in Kelie's store "Setting the Standard," include the letters and games in both Spanish and English! SCORE! See what Kelie's buyers have to say about her letters:

Karen's letters are a work in progress. Currently Kindergarten Modules 1-3 and First Grade Modules 1-3 are available in her store "Kinder Teamwork." Although the letters for K and 1st have not been translated in Spanish, her buyers have similar feedback to Kelie's:

We are happy to help you, your students, and  your parents as you work through Engage New York / Eureka Math modules. Thanks so much for reading! We appreciate your comments. :)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Elf-tacular Giveaway

We have teamed up with Nikki at Teaching Autism for this Elf-tacular blog hop and giveaway! Hidden in our blog post you will find one of the letters needed to enter for a chance to win a $70 gift card! Hop through to everyone's blog to collect and unscramble all the letters into a December/Holiday themed word. Then, enter the Rafflecopter for a chance at winning.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (cue in the music)... in my room.  We only have 14 instructional days between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break, which means we have been busier than Santa's Elves on Christmas Eve! 

Here is a peak at what we have been working on:
Christmas Centers

As you know, I teach 3 rotations a day of 3rd grade math.  I set up these centers to review skills that we have already learned about this year.  All of these centers are hands on and the kids absolutely love digging into them!
The centers will stay the same each day, I just tweek them a bit to include slightly different measurements etc. each day.  
Here is what you can find at each of the stations:

Station 1- Weight with Addition and Subtraction

At this station, students weigh 2 different objects using a digital scale.  Students then must find the difference and total weight of the two objects.

 Station 2- Liquid Measurement and Rounding

At this station students must measure the total amount of liquid in both containers.  Then, they must round the amount of liquid in the containers to the nearest 10 and nearest 100.

Station 3- Weight

At this station, students use a pan balance to measure the weight of an object.  They must show the units they used to calculate the weight.  This works well for multiples. For example if students weigh a 90 gram item, they may list that they used 2, 20 gram weights (2 x 20), and 5, 10 gram weights (5 x 10).

Station 4- Catch a Reindeer
In addition to these fun review centers, we are also learning about area.  At this center, students must "catch" one of Santa's reindeer that has gotten loose.   To do so, they must enclose it in a pen and calculate the area of that pen.

Station 5- Build a Figure

To go along with the area theme we are working on in class, students are given a specific area and must create as many rectangles or squares that they can with that given area.  Students use foam square inch tiles, in which I have glued magnetic pieces to them so they will stick to my magnetic whiteboard.  If you want to try this and don't have a magnetic board, cookie sheets would work as well for this center.
And there you have it.  Some easy to set up centers with little prep time.  In efforts to make sure students really understood what to do at each center, on Day 1, I only set up the first 3 stations, and then added a station each day after that. You can find the recording sheet that I use here: Christmas Stations Recording Sheet

While students are rotating around through the centers, that frees up a bit of time for me to work with small groups.  Right now, students are working on reviewing multiplication of whole numbers by multiples of 10 or single digit multiplication (depending upon each students ability) during small group time. 

I found these adorable Santa light up wands in the Dollar Spot at Target.  If you can't find the light up wands, you could use fly swatters or kids can simply slap their answer choice with their hands.  You can find this fun FREEBIE in my store here: Snatch a Santa

Paper Plate Santa Craft

Karen's kindergarten students had a lot of fun making these paper plate Santa's on our Polar Express / Pajama / Hot Cocoa Bar Day. **Disclaimer** Most of you know that I (Karen) taught for 16 years in Southern CA and then moved with my husband and kids to MO. I am no longer in the classroom.

December Themed Writing Topics

Students loved guided drawing lessons and writing holiday themed stories.

Elf on the Shelf

Every year Jingle, our Elf on the Shelf, would visit after Thanksgiving break. The students loved finding her and little notes and gifts she would leave.

Thanks for reading! Click the elf image below to hop to the next blog post... 
Be sure to collect all 7 letters and enter our Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $70 gift card. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Click Here to visit the next blog in the event the image isn't linked correctly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway