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.

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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

October New Releases

Is it just me or did October seem to FLY by? Even here in Southern California, the fall season has found us!  I can't lie, day temperatures are still in the upper 80's (dreamy right?), but, I'm loving the cool crisp nights and watching the trees change colors.  
The month of October was a super busy month for Karen and I. We have added several new products to our stores that we hope you will find useful in your classroom.  Take a peak at what we have been working on and enter for a chance to win a product of your choice from our new releases this month by simply commenting on our post. Let us know which resource looks helpful or useful for you!

Engage New York 4th Grade
This month, one of my new additions is Module 3 Vocabulary Posters for the Engage New York/Eureka math curriculum. This poster set includes the newly introduced vocabulary terms in Module 3 as well as some review terms.  I have designed these posters to help reinforce the key vocabulary in "kid friendly terms".  I know how important vocabulary development is for our students, and I know your students will benefit from having these posters as reference as you teach the module. I like to hang the posters for the entire module on a math bulletin board and refer to them as we come across each term in a lesson. I often find students using them as a reference source when completing word problems.  Knowing key vocabulary is sooooo important in solving word problems, as students first need to know what the words mean in a word problem  in order to compute the problem. The posters come in black and white or AND color versions for your printing preference. 

Another new addition for 4th Grade Engage New York curriculum is  Module 3 Math Newsletters & Games.  When I first started using this curriculum 3 years ago, I found many of the concepts taught in class were different from the way students' parents were taught how to do math.  I knew these strategies being taught were good strategies to help students conceptualize math concepts and I knew how important it was for parents to understand how the strategies worked. So.... that is how the idea behind the Newsletters was formed.  Each module has several newsletters broken down by the concept being taught.  The letters explain the strategies and vocabulary introduced.  Also included with each letter is a game that reinforces the key skills being taught. These games are designed for students to play with their parents however, many teachers use the games in class as well for centers. Below you will find a peak at a letter and game included in this unit. 

Additionally, I have added  Module 3 Interactive Notebooks for 2nd and 4th grades.  These notebooks serve so many purposes!
  • They are a great way for students to organize their thoughts as new concept and vocabulary terms are introduced.
  • They allow you to quickly assess how well students understand each lesson though the skill portion included for each lesson.
  • They can be sent home with homework to help reinforce your student's learning.  Students can reference them to help out on homework and parents can see what their child is learning about at school.  Score!
  • They are also a good resource to have during parent teacher conferences to show student's progress.          
Check our a page from the 2nd and 4th grade modules below:

Let me start by saying this... quit rubbing in your sunny So Cal weather Kelie! Haha. I still love ya though. It is a crisp 55 degrees here today and raining outside. I am blogging while wrapped in a blanket in fact. But I love it! Also, let me add that Kelie was much more productive than I was in October. (Here's to hoping I can up my game in November).

Engage New York Kindergarten
In October, I was able to add Letters and Games for Kindergarten, Module 2. These letters are helpful in explaining to parents how Common Core Math is being taught in your child's classroom. Each module includes a parent letter and game for each of the Topics within the Module. The games or activities included are easy setup, just print-and-play. Students may need a paper clip to use the spinner, scissors and glue for cut-and-paste activities, and/or small game pieces (beans, buttons, or even cereal will work).

COMING SOON...Engage New York 1st Grade
I apologize for my delays in completing these letters for all of the ENY modules in both Kindergarten and First Grade. I don't know what I was thinking flip-flopping from ENY 1st to ENY Kinder to Kinder Homework. I'm not a fast worker, but I hope the quality and usefulness of my resources makes up for that. :) I plan to have the letters and games for 1st grade Module 3 posted by 11/8/2016 so be sure to check my store. As always, all newly listed resources are HALF OFF for the first 48 hours.

Note: There is no link the 1st grade module 3 letters and games because it is not yet posted. Watch my store 11/8 to snag it at 50% off!

Kindergarten Homework
I started this line of Kindergarten homework packs as a custom request by my friend and ex-colleague Linda Veik of Fontana, CA. Because homework is required by her district, and many others in our nation, and because teachers are facing deeper cuts to their copy and paper allowance, I wanted to offer homework packs that are short and sweet. The format is one page of homework per day with a reminder to read daily for a minimum of 10 minutes. A poem is also included for the first week of every month that include activities. Beginning in November I have started offering a Language Arts Only option. Some of my buyers are very thankful as they like to attach the designated homework pages from their district's Math curriculum to the back of the packet. One of my coworkers named Ena thought she was going to like the LA Only pages but says they like the Math on the homework pages better than what comes in their curriculum. The nice thing is... the choice is now yours! :) The homework includes editable calendars as well as editable sight word pages.

I have recently added homework for the month of November:

And homework for the month of December:

...and a Writing Freebie!
I have also recently added a Writer's Workshop poster freebie to my store. Enjoy!

This month I hope to get through my ENY letters and games for modules 3 and 4 in BOTH kindergarten and First Grade. I will also be posting the Kinder Homework for January no later than the first week of December. Whew.

I have enjoyed blogging about my latest and greatest resources...and reading about Kelie's as well. Thanks so much for the fun idea, partner (Kelie)! :)

Thank you for reading!
Enter to win one of the resources listed here by commented with your choice below. Good luck!


Friday, 9 September 2016

Making Sense of Rounding

Has anyone else witnessed this look after they have taught their students a lesson on  how to round?

Rounding can be a confusing concept!  There are some cute chants we can teach our students to sing, but is that really teaching them the number sense necessary to master this skill?  I'm not sure...

Here are some simple techniques you can use in your classroom to help teach your students the number sense necessary for rounding.  These ideas are concrete methods that will not only help build number fluency while also teach them how to round.

Using a Number Line to Round
This strategy builds on the the idea that when rounding, if a number is 5 or greater, you round the number to the next ten, hundred, thousand, etc. and if the number is less than 5, the place value stays the same.
For example, lets say we are rounding the number 67 to the nearest 10. Students would create the number line as shown below.

Since 67 is past our halfway point, students know that we round to the next 10 which is 70.

Here is another example for you- Let's say we want to round 543 to the nearest hundred.  Students would create the number line as shown below:

Since 543 comes before our halfway number, we would leave the hundreds place the same, which is 500.
I know, I know, this is a different approach, BUT, try it a few times with your students and you will see they will actually "get" it. 
 Download this  number line template by clicking HERE.  

I also really like to break out our graduated cylinders (also known to my 3rd graders as measuring cylinders).  I set up a few stations by filling the cylinders with different amounts of water.  Students list the amount of water in each cylinder and then round the amount to the nearest 10.  What is the benefit of this? 
1. Students are getting practice in reading liquid measurement.
2.  The visuals on the cylinders are perfect for rounding.  The units on the cylinders count by 10- reinforcing the concept of finding the nearest 10.  Also students can see the halfway point- reinforcing the concept that if the liquid measurement is past the halfway point, we will round to the next 10 and if it is less, we keep the current 10.

And last but not least, how do we keep learning fun? By games of course!  We play Alien Abduction, where students have to find the halfway number (abducted by aliens).  When checking for understanding, students use the "Round to the Next 10 or 100" and "Keep the 10 or 100" the same signs.  I give students a number to round and they show me how they would round the number by showing me the correct side of the sign.  And, to get students up and moving we also do a "'Round the Room" activity where students match numbers placed around the room to rounding clues.
And there you have it!  I hope these strategies help make teaching rounding more understandable and fun for your students.  

Download these FREEBIE activities by clicking HERE.

Clip art from Rebecca B Designs

Friday, 19 August 2016

Follow Us on BlogLovin' and Stay Connected

Hello there! We are proud to announce we finally hopped on board with BlogLovin'. If you have enjoyed our content and fabulous hops and giveaways so far, please give our new little blog a follow. We have many exciting hops and giveaways planned and wouldn't want you to miss out!

Thank you! :)

Monday, 15 August 2016

Classroom Management & Organization Ideas From Karen & Kelie

We are excited to join in with other awesome teacher-author-bloggers on this Back to School Blog Hop. Today we will be sharing some of our favorite management and organization ideas with you as you prepare to head back into the trenches.

Our first idea comes from Karen... Don't be afraid to try new things when it comes to classroom management! What works for one teacher may not work for you. When I started teaching at my last school, Beech, I had never heard of Whole Brain Teaching Techniques. My principal, Michele Mower, was a big supporter of it. I decided to read up about it online and watch videos online to educate myself. One year I had kind of a chatty class so, after Christmas break, I decided I was ready to dive in. And I did! Just like a diet... who says you have to start on a Monday or on the first day of the new school year!? Hog wash! :) I never put all my eggs in one basket though, so to speak, so I combined my new LOVE for WBT with my LOVE for Class Dojo, a clip chart, and GoNoodle Brain Breaks! In true WBT fashion, we had a scoreboard and after every activity, no matter how short and sweet or how long, we visited the scoreboard. The kids loved giving a "Mighty OH YEAH!" or a "Mighty GROAN!" My district was against using happy/sad faces so instead our scoreboard was "Teacher vs. Students." I hit it hard that they were a TEAM and that teams only work if EVERYONE is helping and engaged. I had my best and highest classroom engagement EVER. For every five points they earned I let them have a short, quick Brain Break via GoNoodle. I used my Class Dojo "randomizer" (said in my best iCarly voice, haha) to choose the student who would pick our Brain Break. The catch here was that their clip had to be on green or better. Now, here's the kicker... I kept points on Dojo, but started only documenting negative points if it was something severe that I needed parents to know about and discuss with their child. I found kindergarten students couldn't keep track of their points or how they were doing without visual clues... enter the clip chart. They knew at all times where they stood. Again, this management tip may not work for you, but it was MAGICAL in my classroom. :)

** The above Dr. Seuss Clip Chart was a custom request by my friend Ena Picon and is available in my TpT store along with a Bono the Monkey themed clip chart and a Cute Kids themed clip chart. Check out some great Classroom Management Resources, including the clip charts and some FREE Class Dojo award certificates by CLICKING HERE.

Check out Whole Brain Teaching by Clicking HERE.
Click HERE to check out GoNoodle Brain Breaks.
And finally, click HERE to visit Class Dojo.

Kelie here to share 2 quick tips for managing your first days back at school.  First of all ladies and gentlemen, set some realistic expectations.  Your classroom does not have to be "Pinterest"ready to have a successful school year.  Get organized in a way that works for YOU.  Your students will appreciate and respond to routine and order, whereas the perfectly decorated classroom will run it's course very quickly.  Now don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of cute bulletin board display's in my classroom, but I also have "stuff" shoved under a table because it simply wont fit in a cupboard.
Here is an example of what I'm taking about.  My guided reading books are organized by AR levels and are easy for me to use.  Could I have put a cute label on them instead of the sticky note? Yes.  Would it have made it anymore functional? No.  Don't sweat the small stuff guys!

My second tip I have to share with you today is the convenience of these "sticks". Each student gets their name written on a stick,  and the sticks get placed in a container.  Anytime I need to call on a student, I pull a stick instead of calling on a volunteer.  This solves the problem of the same students repeatedly getting the opportunity to answer questions or to volunteer.  Everyone is held accountable because you just never know whose stick will get pulled next. As an added bonus, these are also wonderful those first few days of school, when you are still learning your student's names.

** I teach 3 rotations of math throughout the day and thus need three different sets of sticks.

After entering the Rafflecopter giveaway, click the apple to hop to the next Back-to-School blog post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Week of "JAWSOME" Steals, Deals, and Giveaways

Kelie and I have teamed up with over 80 amazing teacher-authors for our last round of "Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways." We are excited to be a part of such a great network! We love teamwork. ;)

Here is a breakdown of the week:
* Monday = search #ManicMonday for DOLLAR DEALS
* Tuesday = search #Two4Tuesday for HALF PRICED DEALS
* Wednesday = search #WildWednesday for FLASH FREEBIES
*  Thursday = search #ThankfulThursday for DISCOUNTED BUNDLES

Here are the dollar deals  Kelie and I have in store for you on Monday, August 9th:

We hope you take a minute to CLICK TO ENTER the Rafflecopter BELOW for the $50 gift card give away, too! This time their will be SIXTEEN WINNERS!! Yes, 16! Enter by the evening of Friday, August 12th. Good luck!!