Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-to-School Blogger Product Swap 2014

A group of us bloggers and sellers have gotten together to bring you a Back-to-School Blogger Product Swap.  It's being hosted by Cara at Creative Playground.

I had the awesome opportunity to review a product from Krista at Teaching MOMster.  I reviewed her Wild! Addition Equation Game for Answers 11-20.  We focus on addition and subtraction strategies for the first month or so of school and this will be the perfect thing for my early finishers and small groups of students to play!  I'm not sure whether I'm going to introduce it as a free choice activity or as a math station yet, but whatever I do, I know it will be a huge hit!


Here are some notes on how I put it together and one trick you can try when preparing game cards for students.  It does take a bit of elbow grease, but once you have the cards put together, they'll last for years!


First, print the cards.  Pretty simple.  There's quite a few pages to print, so make sure you have enough ink.  There are 8 cards per page.


Then, cut and trim the cards.  You can use a paper cutter.  Easy to cut and trim.  I tend to be a bit OCD with my cutting and my quilting skills come out.  I cut them with my quilting supplies because that's what I have at home.


Here's the coolest thing that I've started doing with my playing cards.  I add a small piece of colored copy paper to the back of the card.  This keeps the card from being see-through.  You can see that when you shine light up to them, the number can be seen, but for the most part, you can't see through the cards.  Also, adding a colored card allows you to quickly sort the cards, if any become mixed up with other games that may have a different colored backing.

I only do this with card games that students play with partners or in teams.  The kind of games where you have to hold a group of cards in your hand and there's a potential of seeing through the cards.

I cut the colored copy paper to be slightly smaller than the playing card and stick it in the middle of the card with a little bit of glue stick glue.  Because I laminate the cards, it doesn't need to be glued down well, just enough to stick through the lamination.


Then comes the laminating.  Having a laminator at home is so convenient!  I highly recommend getting one at least at school, if not at home.  Our school doesn't have a laminator, so this has been a lifesaver at school and home!

You do have to cut it out again after laminating, but it's much quicker!


The final thing is to package it all together and get it ready for you classroom!  I've gotten into the habit of printing out the cover of the product and taping it down to the front of a manilla envelope.  It's been convenient to just grab the envelope that I need.  All of them are the same size and I don't go searching for materials!

Since it's summertime, I didn't actually have my students play the game.  It's Uno-style, and if you grew up in the 80-90's, you all know how to play Uno.  If you didn't, well, the game does come with directions!  I'm sure it will take some modeling with students for them to get to know the game.  I tend to teach the game to a small group of higher students who then take the lead on teaching it to other groups of students.

The game itself has whole number cards and matching addition expressions, wild cards, and all the reverse, draw two, etc. cards that come with UNO.  There are several different ways to match the cards: color, equation to whole number, equation to equation with the same value.  It's a great way to build the a sense of equality, too!  I love games that not only provide an education experience, but provide an element of fun and practice cooperation skills.

Krista at Teaching MOMster is reviewing my Second Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities.  Go take a look at her blog for some additional information and page views of all the activities included in the product.

If you'd like to see other product reviews, take a look below for some awesome products that you might be able to use in your room this year!





Interested in winning a copy of Wild! Addition Equation Game for Answers 11-20?  Enter below for your chance to win a copy!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five For Friday

Here's my Five for Friday this week.  Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching.



I finished my Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities product.


It was a long time in the making.  Like months.  I don't even know when I started it.  I'm so happy to be done with it!  You can read more about it here.


I started seeing a chiropractor again for my back.  It's been bugging me all summer, since the last day of school.  Thankfully, I've seen an improvement, in just one week!  Yeah!  Here's to getting back to normal!  I totally should have done it sooner.  The particular chiropractor I'm going to does a lot of muscle work, which is different than I've had chiropractors do before.  It's been great!


I got the best feedback the other day.  It made my week!  It's so awesome to see what people think of  the work that I do!




We leave for this place in two days.  Can't wait to get away for some family time!


Donner Lake outside of Tahoe, CA.


I just discovered Bitly.  Do you know about it?  Do you blog or have products on TpT?  Go check it out.  It will create a short link for you that also tracks the amount of clicks on a link.  Pretty awesome!  Now off to go change all my links in my product descriptions to Bitly links!

How was your week?

Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities

Do you ever have one of those projects that seems like it takes forever to complete?  For me it was these Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities!  It took months, but it's finally done!


These are very similar to my Second Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities, but for third graders.  The third grade version has most CCSS math standards.  Some of the third grade CCSS standards were so similar to each other or were about such finite skills, that I couldn't make just one page for it.

Here's a list of all the standards and pages:


There are 66 pages of activities to chose from.  I used my second grade version last year and had students complete them during their math stations or during whole group math time.

What kind of activities are there?  Well, most standards are included.  There is usually a cut and paste component as well as a written component for each page.  For some activities, there is just one or the other.  Yes, some of the pages are not cut and paste.

These are meant to be used after the content has been taught.  The worksheets assume students have some understanding of the concepts.

Here's an example of one of the equivalent fraction pages.


Students cut out the fractions at the bottom and sort them based on equivalency.  At the bottom, they write in fractions that are equivalent to the given fraction.

The worksheets provide students with an opportunity to manipulate cut out cards in a quick an easy way.  They are very convenient and easy to copy when you need a quick activity to supplement your instruction.

You could even glue these in an interactive notebook!  The possibilities are endless!

Want to see a sample?  There's a few pages in this sample:


Want to win a copy of the entire packet?  I'll give away one copy to one lucky winner.  Enter the rafflecopter below.  Most entries are one-time only; however you can pin the product image once each day, so come back and pin for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: WBT Super Improvers Stars

I'm linking up again (I know another Linky) with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It.


My Monday Made It this week is very simple.  I cut out white stars with my Silhouette.


But, here's why.  I'm going to implement Whole Brain Teaching this year.  I started using parts of it last year, to experiment with it, but this year, I'm going all out, at least as much as I can using it for the first time.

One of the features I LOVE is the Super Improvers Team Wall.  I created these labels for each level.

They're a sort of conglomerate of different walls I have seen.  I liked some words from each wall, so I chose the ones I liked and put them in order.  These cards are available in my TpT store.  A buyer asked, so I did add cards for the Sports Theme of words with the same clipart images.  I just swapped out the words.

Back to my stars . . . each student will have a star with their  name on it.  I was able to cut most of the colored stars last Spring when my student teacher was soloing.  I cut them out of copy paper, but the white copy paper was too thin.  I didn't have card stock with me at the time, so I knew those had to wait until now.  I cut them yesterday.  A super easy Monday Made It, I know.

Here's how I cut them:


I created two stars in the Silhouette Studio program.  I did this back in the Spring, but I'm pretty sure that I drew lines and then connected them into a five point star.

Then, I cut out the stars with the Silhouette cutting machine.


Cutting all the stars did take a bit longer than I expected.  But it will be so cool to see them all displayed and the gold stars attached to each student's larger star.


So, what did you make this week?  Go link up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Homework {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I'm linking up again with Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas to share what I do with homework.

I am a minimalist when it comes to homework.  If I had it my way,  I wouldn't assign homework.  I think students need to be outside playing, or inside creating each evening, not doing more schoolwork.  But, since I'm not on our board of education and there is a district policy that I *should* follow, here's what I do.

Last year, I did STAR Homework and our cover sheets looked like this:



I decided it was boring, and didn't give enough information, so I changed it around a bit and this year, my homework will look like this:


I got the idea of Mon-STAR from Teaching Maddeness.  I used some of the same headings that she has on her pages.  I may change the Re-mostars . . . it's not as apparent that it's reminders.

What do we do for homework?  Each night, students have the *option* of doing a

  • 1/2 page of Reading and Math
  • Practice Math Facts
  • Practice Sight Words (for some students)
  • Read for 10 minutes
  • Read for 10 more minutes
I say optional, because I don't grade the homework and (as I said above), I don't care about homework.  It's for the parents mainly.  The 1/2 page of Reading and Math comes from Second Story Window.  They're so easy to copy and handout each day.  It, for the most part follows the order I teach the standards, but it's easy enough for parents and siblings to figure out.

I encourage students to practice math facts and work on their sight words each night.  I used this sight word packet this year, but next year, will use this one.  The difference?  The Irregular Words one is all non-decodable words.  The words don't have traditional spelling patterns and NEED to be memorized.

I also encourage students to read.  If they can read 20 minutes, they get two stars.

Speaking of stars, students give themselves a star for each part of the homework they complete.  We have a long discussion at the beginning of the year about honesty.  For the most part, I think students adhere to it.  There's no really way for me to know, unless, of course, they're not making progress on their math facts and sight words!

Each day, students return the lower portion of their homework sheet for the previous day's homework.  We add up the stars as a class and chart it on this sheet.  I haven't revised it yet this year.


Each column is 10 squares, to match a base-10 stick.  We add up each day and then add it to the previous day's total.  This is how we apply some of our two-digit addition skills during the beginning of the year.  The tens above make adding easy and we add each number by place value.  It's how I introduce two-digit addition and provides a motivational problem to solve.  

Our goal is to get more stars than the previous week.  I don't really keep track of it that well, especially later in the year. I may do some sort of incentive thing next year.  We'll see.

So, how do you do homework?  Is it the bane of your existence as a teacher?  What are your views on homework as a parent and as a teacher?

Favorite Pinterest Boards - Linky

Don't you just LOVE Pinterest?  I'm on there every day looking at all the wonderful teaching resources ideas, gathering ideas for my next unit and lesson.

A few of us sellers decided to get together to share with your our favorite Pinterest boards.  Below is a link to one of our favorite boards.


These boards do not have a ton of product photos on them.  They are boards with anchor charts, videos, activities, and classroom photos where you can see authentic teaching.

I hope you find some wonderful resources and ideas to enhance your teaching this next year!

Do you want to link up?  Add your link below and show us your FAVORITE board.  The rules:  Link up to a Pinterest board that does NOT have a majority of product covers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Professional Books: Free!

In the past 15 years, I have accumulated a ton of professional books.  I buy a couple each year.  When I was getting my masters 10 years ago, I'm sure it more than a couple each year!

At this point, they're just sitting in boxes, not getting used, and I'm pretty much done with them.  So, I'm offering them to you!  For free.

If you want any of these books, let me know.  I'll mail them to you.  I'm just asking you to pay for shipping (Media Mail) via Paypal, which usually ends up being $4 or so.

There is some highlighting, underlining, writing in some of the books.

Here's what I have right now:


The first three are math reference books. They're really good for upper elementary and middle school.  They explain math concepts in easy to understand ways.  The titles are Math to Know, Math on Call, and Algebra to Go.  They'd be great for homeschool families or for teachers who need to brush up on their math skills. GONE!


The second set are Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics and the Josey-Bass Educational Leadership (©2000).  The Ed. Leadership book is updated yearly, I think.  I have an older version.


The third set are pretty motivational and really set a purpose behind my teaching.  The Right to Learn and The Power of Their Ideas.  They set the idea that all students are capable of learning and that is our job as teachers to unlock their learning potential.  Wonderful books!

If you're interested in the books, leave a comment below and I'll email you details about the cost of shipping them to you.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-to-School Blogger Product Swap 2014

A group of us bloggers and sellers have gotten together to bring you a Back-to-School Blogger Product Swap.  It's being hosted by Cara at Creative Playground.

I had the awesome opportunity to review a product from Krista at Teaching MOMster.  I reviewed her Wild! Addition Equation Game for Answers 11-20.  We focus on addition and subtraction strategies for the first month or so of school and this will be the perfect thing for my early finishers and small groups of students to play!  I'm not sure whether I'm going to introduce it as a free choice activity or as a math station yet, but whatever I do, I know it will be a huge hit!


Here are some notes on how I put it together and one trick you can try when preparing game cards for students.  It does take a bit of elbow grease, but once you have the cards put together, they'll last for years!


First, print the cards.  Pretty simple.  There's quite a few pages to print, so make sure you have enough ink.  There are 8 cards per page.


Then, cut and trim the cards.  You can use a paper cutter.  Easy to cut and trim.  I tend to be a bit OCD with my cutting and my quilting skills come out.  I cut them with my quilting supplies because that's what I have at home.


Here's the coolest thing that I've started doing with my playing cards.  I add a small piece of colored copy paper to the back of the card.  This keeps the card from being see-through.  You can see that when you shine light up to them, the number can be seen, but for the most part, you can't see through the cards.  Also, adding a colored card allows you to quickly sort the cards, if any become mixed up with other games that may have a different colored backing.

I only do this with card games that students play with partners or in teams.  The kind of games where you have to hold a group of cards in your hand and there's a potential of seeing through the cards.

I cut the colored copy paper to be slightly smaller than the playing card and stick it in the middle of the card with a little bit of glue stick glue.  Because I laminate the cards, it doesn't need to be glued down well, just enough to stick through the lamination.


Then comes the laminating.  Having a laminator at home is so convenient!  I highly recommend getting one at least at school, if not at home.  Our school doesn't have a laminator, so this has been a lifesaver at school and home!

You do have to cut it out again after laminating, but it's much quicker!


The final thing is to package it all together and get it ready for you classroom!  I've gotten into the habit of printing out the cover of the product and taping it down to the front of a manilla envelope.  It's been convenient to just grab the envelope that I need.  All of them are the same size and I don't go searching for materials!

Since it's summertime, I didn't actually have my students play the game.  It's Uno-style, and if you grew up in the 80-90's, you all know how to play Uno.  If you didn't, well, the game does come with directions!  I'm sure it will take some modeling with students for them to get to know the game.  I tend to teach the game to a small group of higher students who then take the lead on teaching it to other groups of students.

The game itself has whole number cards and matching addition expressions, wild cards, and all the reverse, draw two, etc. cards that come with UNO.  There are several different ways to match the cards: color, equation to whole number, equation to equation with the same value.  It's a great way to build the a sense of equality, too!  I love games that not only provide an education experience, but provide an element of fun and practice cooperation skills.

Krista at Teaching MOMster is reviewing my Second Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities.  Go take a look at her blog for some additional information and page views of all the activities included in the product.

If you'd like to see other product reviews, take a look below for some awesome products that you might be able to use in your room this year!





Interested in winning a copy of Wild! Addition Equation Game for Answers 11-20?  Enter below for your chance to win a copy!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five For Friday

Here's my Five for Friday this week.  Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching.



I finished my Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities product.


It was a long time in the making.  Like months.  I don't even know when I started it.  I'm so happy to be done with it!  You can read more about it here.


I started seeing a chiropractor again for my back.  It's been bugging me all summer, since the last day of school.  Thankfully, I've seen an improvement, in just one week!  Yeah!  Here's to getting back to normal!  I totally should have done it sooner.  The particular chiropractor I'm going to does a lot of muscle work, which is different than I've had chiropractors do before.  It's been great!


I got the best feedback the other day.  It made my week!  It's so awesome to see what people think of  the work that I do!




We leave for this place in two days.  Can't wait to get away for some family time!


Donner Lake outside of Tahoe, CA.


I just discovered Bitly.  Do you know about it?  Do you blog or have products on TpT?  Go check it out.  It will create a short link for you that also tracks the amount of clicks on a link.  Pretty awesome!  Now off to go change all my links in my product descriptions to Bitly links!

How was your week?

Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities

Do you ever have one of those projects that seems like it takes forever to complete?  For me it was these Third Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities!  It took months, but it's finally done!


These are very similar to my Second Grade Cut & Paste Math Activities, but for third graders.  The third grade version has most CCSS math standards.  Some of the third grade CCSS standards were so similar to each other or were about such finite skills, that I couldn't make just one page for it.

Here's a list of all the standards and pages:


There are 66 pages of activities to chose from.  I used my second grade version last year and had students complete them during their math stations or during whole group math time.

What kind of activities are there?  Well, most standards are included.  There is usually a cut and paste component as well as a written component for each page.  For some activities, there is just one or the other.  Yes, some of the pages are not cut and paste.

These are meant to be used after the content has been taught.  The worksheets assume students have some understanding of the concepts.

Here's an example of one of the equivalent fraction pages.


Students cut out the fractions at the bottom and sort them based on equivalency.  At the bottom, they write in fractions that are equivalent to the given fraction.

The worksheets provide students with an opportunity to manipulate cut out cards in a quick an easy way.  They are very convenient and easy to copy when you need a quick activity to supplement your instruction.

You could even glue these in an interactive notebook!  The possibilities are endless!

Want to see a sample?  There's a few pages in this sample:


Want to win a copy of the entire packet?  I'll give away one copy to one lucky winner.  Enter the rafflecopter below.  Most entries are one-time only; however you can pin the product image once each day, so come back and pin for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: WBT Super Improvers Stars

I'm linking up again (I know another Linky) with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It.


My Monday Made It this week is very simple.  I cut out white stars with my Silhouette.


But, here's why.  I'm going to implement Whole Brain Teaching this year.  I started using parts of it last year, to experiment with it, but this year, I'm going all out, at least as much as I can using it for the first time.

One of the features I LOVE is the Super Improvers Team Wall.  I created these labels for each level.

They're a sort of conglomerate of different walls I have seen.  I liked some words from each wall, so I chose the ones I liked and put them in order.  These cards are available in my TpT store.  A buyer asked, so I did add cards for the Sports Theme of words with the same clipart images.  I just swapped out the words.

Back to my stars . . . each student will have a star with their  name on it.  I was able to cut most of the colored stars last Spring when my student teacher was soloing.  I cut them out of copy paper, but the white copy paper was too thin.  I didn't have card stock with me at the time, so I knew those had to wait until now.  I cut them yesterday.  A super easy Monday Made It, I know.

Here's how I cut them:


I created two stars in the Silhouette Studio program.  I did this back in the Spring, but I'm pretty sure that I drew lines and then connected them into a five point star.

Then, I cut out the stars with the Silhouette cutting machine.


Cutting all the stars did take a bit longer than I expected.  But it will be so cool to see them all displayed and the gold stars attached to each student's larger star.


So, what did you make this week?  Go link up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Homework {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I'm linking up again with Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas to share what I do with homework.

I am a minimalist when it comes to homework.  If I had it my way,  I wouldn't assign homework.  I think students need to be outside playing, or inside creating each evening, not doing more schoolwork.  But, since I'm not on our board of education and there is a district policy that I *should* follow, here's what I do.

Last year, I did STAR Homework and our cover sheets looked like this:



I decided it was boring, and didn't give enough information, so I changed it around a bit and this year, my homework will look like this:


I got the idea of Mon-STAR from Teaching Maddeness.  I used some of the same headings that she has on her pages.  I may change the Re-mostars . . . it's not as apparent that it's reminders.

What do we do for homework?  Each night, students have the *option* of doing a

  • 1/2 page of Reading and Math
  • Practice Math Facts
  • Practice Sight Words (for some students)
  • Read for 10 minutes
  • Read for 10 more minutes
I say optional, because I don't grade the homework and (as I said above), I don't care about homework.  It's for the parents mainly.  The 1/2 page of Reading and Math comes from Second Story Window.  They're so easy to copy and handout each day.  It, for the most part follows the order I teach the standards, but it's easy enough for parents and siblings to figure out.

I encourage students to practice math facts and work on their sight words each night.  I used this sight word packet this year, but next year, will use this one.  The difference?  The Irregular Words one is all non-decodable words.  The words don't have traditional spelling patterns and NEED to be memorized.

I also encourage students to read.  If they can read 20 minutes, they get two stars.

Speaking of stars, students give themselves a star for each part of the homework they complete.  We have a long discussion at the beginning of the year about honesty.  For the most part, I think students adhere to it.  There's no really way for me to know, unless, of course, they're not making progress on their math facts and sight words!

Each day, students return the lower portion of their homework sheet for the previous day's homework.  We add up the stars as a class and chart it on this sheet.  I haven't revised it yet this year.


Each column is 10 squares, to match a base-10 stick.  We add up each day and then add it to the previous day's total.  This is how we apply some of our two-digit addition skills during the beginning of the year.  The tens above make adding easy and we add each number by place value.  It's how I introduce two-digit addition and provides a motivational problem to solve.  

Our goal is to get more stars than the previous week.  I don't really keep track of it that well, especially later in the year. I may do some sort of incentive thing next year.  We'll see.

So, how do you do homework?  Is it the bane of your existence as a teacher?  What are your views on homework as a parent and as a teacher?

Favorite Pinterest Boards - Linky

Don't you just LOVE Pinterest?  I'm on there every day looking at all the wonderful teaching resources ideas, gathering ideas for my next unit and lesson.

A few of us sellers decided to get together to share with your our favorite Pinterest boards.  Below is a link to one of our favorite boards.


These boards do not have a ton of product photos on them.  They are boards with anchor charts, videos, activities, and classroom photos where you can see authentic teaching.

I hope you find some wonderful resources and ideas to enhance your teaching this next year!

Do you want to link up?  Add your link below and show us your FAVORITE board.  The rules:  Link up to a Pinterest board that does NOT have a majority of product covers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Professional Books: Free!

In the past 15 years, I have accumulated a ton of professional books.  I buy a couple each year.  When I was getting my masters 10 years ago, I'm sure it more than a couple each year!

At this point, they're just sitting in boxes, not getting used, and I'm pretty much done with them.  So, I'm offering them to you!  For free.

If you want any of these books, let me know.  I'll mail them to you.  I'm just asking you to pay for shipping (Media Mail) via Paypal, which usually ends up being $4 or so.

There is some highlighting, underlining, writing in some of the books.

Here's what I have right now:


The first three are math reference books. They're really good for upper elementary and middle school.  They explain math concepts in easy to understand ways.  The titles are Math to Know, Math on Call, and Algebra to Go.  They'd be great for homeschool families or for teachers who need to brush up on their math skills. GONE!


The second set are Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics and the Josey-Bass Educational Leadership (©2000).  The Ed. Leadership book is updated yearly, I think.  I have an older version.


The third set are pretty motivational and really set a purpose behind my teaching.  The Right to Learn and The Power of Their Ideas.  They set the idea that all students are capable of learning and that is our job as teachers to unlock their learning potential.  Wonderful books!

If you're interested in the books, leave a comment below and I'll email you details about the cost of shipping them to you.