Friday, December 19, 2014

The One With the Christmas Gifts

I found these glitter ornaments on Pinterest.  I thought they would make the perfect gifts for my students this year so I decided to give them a try.

They were so easy to make.

I started with clear ornaments that I bought at Hobby Lobby.

I also purchased some Glitter It glue.  This worked perfectly and a little bit goes a long ways.  I have seen several tutorials that say you can use floor wax instead of this glue.

I bought three different colors of extra fine glitter.  I wanted to do more colors, but glitter isn't exactly cheap. 

My other supplies were 4 plastic cups and two funnels.  I used the funnel to pour the glue into an ornaments.  Swish the glue around so that the entire inside is covered and then pour the excess into one of your plastic cups.

I then used another funnel to pour in the glitter.  Swish it around until the entire inside is covered.  Pour the excess into another plastic cup.  I had a plastic cup for each color of glitter so that I could reuse that glitter.

They dried quickly, as in almost instantly.  You can't let the glue sit around very long before adding the glitter.  You can't pour glue in all of them and then go back and add glitter.  It dries too quick.

I then cut out my students' names in vinyl with my inspiration, which is like a cricut.

I have to say I absolutely LOVE how these turned out.  I thought it was a sweet and personal gift for my students.  And it didn't cost me a lot of money.

They all seemed to really like them.

Who doesn't love something with their name on it?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The One in December

I'm linking up with Farley for this month's Currently.  I hope you won't mind that I'm a day late.  I was violently ill last night and it just didn't happen.  I'm taking advantage of being home sick to get it posted today. Being sick just isn't any fun.

Listening...I'm watching last night's episode of The Voice.  I love this show and I'm not ashamed to admit that Adam Levine has a lot to do that.  :)  I'm not sure who I want to win this season.  I really like several of the artist.  Do you have a favorite?

Loving...My brother and his wife are expecting their first baby.  I could not be more excited about being an aunt again.  I'm going to love on and spoil that baby so much!  June cannot get here fast enough.

Thinking...My husband is so hard to buy for.  This year I have the perfect gift in mind  I cannot wait to give it to him.  I just need to get it ordered so it will arrive in time.

Wanting...The husband and I are in the very early stages of adopting from foster care.  I'm praying this journey will go quickly and smoothly.  I'm ready to meet our children.

Needing...Christmas cards are so stinkin' expensive.  Can I get an amen?  That's why I design our every year and just print them at Wal-Mart.  I'm really struggling with a design this year.  I have no idea what I want but I need to get on top of it and get them done.

Giving...Project Zero is a non-profit organization that helps connect waiting families with waiting children.  I'm donating money and gifts to them this year for Christmas.  I feel like it is a small thing I can do for my children.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The One with Equivalent Fractions

We started by talking about the multiplicative identity and how we could use it to find equivalent fractions.

I placed 5 posters, each with a different fraction, around the room.  Students rotated through the posters writing an equivalent fraction on each poster.  

Students then rotated through the posters again, this time with a group. This time they were to write down any fractions that they didn't believe were equivalent.  

I absolutely love the conversations that happened during this time.  Students were pointing our errors and justifying their thinking to their peers.  

Students who aren't necessarily my strongest math students were leading conversations.  I was all giddy as I just sat back and listened.

 We then discussed their findings as a class and then it was time for students to test their knowledge individually.

They had five different fractions and were required to find three different equivalent fractions for each one.  This went on the right side of their notebook along with an "I can" statement.

Somehow I only managed to snap one picture of this part so I hope you get the idea.  Their equivalent fractions are on the inside of each triangle.

This student had finished finding the equivalent fractions and had started to decorate his triangles.

My students seem to really enjoy this lesson and I think it helped solidify the idea of the multiplicative identity and equivalent fractions for them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The One with Rewards

There are still a few things left on my to do list from this summer.  

Yes  I said summer.

I fall into this trap every year.  As the beginning of school approaches things get shoved to the bottom of my priority list and never seem to come to fruition before the first day of school.  

And then they never come to be.

One of those things this year was some sort of reward system for homework.  I wanted to change the way I do homework with my sixth graders.  I had them last year as 5th graders and their homework habits... well they weren't the best.

I did make an immediate change.

Instead of sporadic homework here and there, I decided to do weekly homework.  They have quickly learned the system and there have been very few occasions this year where someone doesn't have their homework.  Every Monday they receive their weekly homework.  

It looks something like this without the answers of course.  :)

It is due on Friday.  If they happen to finish before the end of the week they can turn it in early.

Every Wednesday I take the last 10-15 minutes of class and answer any questions they have about their homework.  This motivates the majority of them to at least look at it before they come to class on Wednesday.  This is some of my favorite time with them.  We have good conversation and I feel like understanding occurs during those few minutes.  

The students seem to appreciate this consistency.  There is no question about when they have math homework or when it is due.  Several parents commented during parent teacher conferences how much they like it for the same reason.

Last week's assignment was a little heavy.  

It was time to finally come up with some type of reward system.  I felt like students who completed this assignment deserved something for their effort and perseverance.  

I mentioned in my last post about my love for task cards.  A love that is almost as big is my love for QR codes.  My students love them almost as much as I do.

All that to say I created some reward cards using QR codes and they are a HIT with my students.

I have them all in a basket.  Students reach in and grab one, scan it, and then it goes back in the basket.

My students have asked every day since when they could scan again.  I actually rewarded a student today for raising her hand when the rest of the class was shouting out.  They were all very jealous and were suddenly all raising their hands.

Prizes include a new pencil, a fun eraser, a piece of candy, pick your seat for a day, free homework pass, and sit at the the teacher's desk for a day.

Simple things that don't cost me a lot of money.

I might add some other rewards as the year goes on.

If you would like to grab a copy of the QR Code Rewards, check out my TPT store.

Hope you are having a good week.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The One with Donors Choose & Math Centers

A couple of weeks ago we received our two ipods from my Donors Choose project.  My students could not have been more excited.

(Can you tell they are identical twins?)

I knew I wanted to use them as I planned stations for last week. 

 I created some task cards to review prime factorization with my students. Because the concept of prime factorization was still fairly new to my students, I tried to create a variety of task cards - some easy and some more challenging.  This allowed students extra practice but the students who caught on right away were not bored.

Students were able to use the ipods to self check with the QR codes.  

I seriously love QR codes - maybe even more than my students.

This set of 16 task cards is now available in my TPT store.

I have been making task cards like crazy lately.  I love task cards that are self check especially as a review for an upcoming assessment.

I also created some self check task cards to help my students practice GCF and LCM.

How fun are these?  My students seem to enjoy these almost as much as using the new ipods.

These are also available in my TPT store.

We do Centers every Wednesday because I have several students out for G/T.  This allows my students to get some extra practice and my G/T students aren't missing out on new content.  This means lots of creativity on my part to come up with new centers.  I'm sure it will get old eventually but right now I'm loving.

I just created these fall themed multiplication task cards.

As you can see I still need to cut them out.  We will be using these this week.  These are also available in my TPT store.

My students also LOVED our center with Factor Football.  

This game is a FREEBIE from Dots-N-Spots.  I am so glad I found this game.  It really is a great review for students.  I can't believe it is a FREEBIE because it is such a great resource.  Jump on over there are download it for yourself.  You won't regret it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The One With Data

My sixth grade classes are learning to collect data and to determine the best way to display that data.

We first looked at dot plots and bar graphs.  Students created their question to survey the sixth grade class.

They collected their data and then created a pop up bar graph.

Thank you Runde's Room for such a great product.  My students loved that their bar graphs were 3-D.

Today we we collected some more data.  We wanted to determine how accurately we could estimate 60 seconds without the use of a clock or watch.

It was the best sixty seconds of my day.  HA!

Tomorrow we will discuss stem and leaf plots as a way to organize that data.

In other news my morning math class has a hard time getting motivated to talk about math.  I often feel like I'm teaching myself because they are just staring at me.

Lumps on logs.

My math coach and I have been discussing strategies to get them awake and motivated to discuss their thinking.  One of the things we are implementing is appointment cards.

It is the same idea as clock partners, but my students like that they have this card.  It has a way of making them feel a little more grown up.

Instead of having them talk to their team (tablemates) about an idea I have them get up and go stand somewhere and talk to one of their appointments.

It seems to be working for right now.

I haven't tried gonoodle with them yet out of fear that it will give them the wrong kind of energy.

What do you do to get your students talking about the subject at hand?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The One in the Afternoon

Every afternoon my homeroom comes back to me for twenty minutes at the end of the day.  Last year I tried to get them to read or do homework.  It was a fight every day and we all ended up frustrated.  I was off to that same kind of afternoon this year.

And then it hit me.

Instead of trying to selfishly use that time to grade papers and tidy up my desk I could read a book to my students.

Have you ever had an idea like this?  You know when you think to yourself...Why have I never thought of this before?

It seemed like an especially good idea students could benefit from some extra reading time if you know what I mean.

What students couldn't benefit really?

So I text my best friend who is a former librarian and asked for a book recommendation.  She immediately text back .

I sped drove to the county library right after school and checked it out.  We started reading it this afternoon.

That last twenty minutes of my day was perfect.  Students sat quietly and listened to the story.  They laughed at the funny parts.  Some worked on homework while they listened.

And no one was frustrated.

The only problem?

What will we read when we finish this book?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The One With Wardrobe Wednesday: Causal Edition

 I seem to be in a pattern this year.  One day I'm very dressy and professional (meaning I wear heels) and the next day I'm as casual as I'm allowed to be.  Yesterday was a casual day.

This outfit looks even more casual in this picture, but in my defense I didn't take this picture until after teaching all day, an orthodontist appointment, and having been home for two hours.  It looked a little better when I left for work this morning.

Of course my hair was down then too.  That helps right?

My pocket tee is from Old Navy.  I bought it this summer and love it so much.  I actually own this shirt in almost every color that was available.  

My capris were purchased around three years ago at the gap outlet.

My shoes are from Payless.  I bought them this summer and love them.

So what are you wearing this week?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The One with the Questions Posters

Over the first two days of school I asked my students three questions.

A few of their answers were a bit surprising.

1.  Our class should be _____ every day.

I was honestly a little surprised at how many students said quiet.  I was pretty impressed with their self awareness.  Several students put fun which didn't surprise me at all.  Of course with 5th and 6th graders there were a few strange answer.  One student wrote fish.  That one totally baffled me until another student suggested that maybe that one meant decor.  Our classroom should have a fish theme every day?

2.  One of my overall goals for the school year...

Students seem to have two goals...better grade or no pink slips.  I think those are pretty good goals.  A few students said they wanted to be nicer to their classmates.  That's an even better goal.

3. What kind of teacher to do you want?

The answers to this one actually broke my heart.  While several students want a fun teacher, the majority want a kind and helpful teacher.  It broke my heart in that it was a reminder that my students are people and what they need most is love.  I think some times it is easy to forget that.  I felt like this was my yearly reminder that I can't teach my students until I love my students.  Of course I already knew this, but it was nice to have this reminder.

On a separate note...what did teachers do before Pinterest?  I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this idea came from there. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The One with Wardrobe Wednesday: First Day of School Edition

I don't know about you but I like seeing what other teachers where to work.  At a whopping 5'3" I often blend right in with my students.  It doesn't help that I look a lot younger than I am.  I like to get ideas on ways to dress professionally yet comfortably.

I decided this year I'm going to start doing something called Wardrobe Wednesday where I share some of my favorite teaching styles.  Some weeks I might share one outfit or I might share a week's worth.  

This week I'm sharing what I wore on the first day of school this year.  I know I shared this picture in my last post, but I already had this post written so you get it twice.  

My dress is Merona brand from Target.  I bought it a couple of years ago and haven't worn it in a long time.  It was almost like a new dress since it's been buried in the back of my closet for so long.

I bought the shoes at the Bass outlet last week while on vacation.  I primarily wear flats - as in my students are in shock when I wear the slightest heal.  But I fell in love with these wedges and they are actually really comfortable.  I knew I wanted to wear them on the first day of school so I actually planned my outfit around them.

My necklace is from Francesca's, which is one of my favorite stores.

I would love to see what you wore to work this week.  Link up and share your first day outfit or favorite look for teaching.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The One with the First Day: Monday Made It

Today I MADE IT through my first year of the school year.  And I'm exhausted!!

It was a great first day.  

I have 21 students in my homeroom with only 5 of those being girls.  It's going to be a challenging year but I am so excited.  I have pretty high expectations for this group of kiddos and the growth they are going to experience mathematically.  

I did manage to create one little thing... a cute football schedule. 

 Thank you Emily for the inspiration.  She made an adorable schedule - even if it was for Auburn.  :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The One With the Accelerated Math Club

We use a program called Accelerated Math at my school.  Are you familiar with it?  It is a computer based program that allows students to have extra practice at their own pace.  The teacher assigns objectives to each student.  You can assign objectives to students individually allowing them to practice skills they need extra help with or you can assign the same objectives to the whole class allowing them to practice the skills you are teaching in class.  The program creates a practice assignment for students.  It tracks what objectives the students have mastered and which ones they need a little more practice on.  From that information the program then creates test over the objectives students have mastered and exercises for the objectives that students need to practice again.  And the best part?  Students receive immediate feedback.  They not only receive their score but can go back and look at the problems they  missed and see the correct answer.

I love this program.  A few years ago when I taught 7th grade Math I used Accelerated Math as my homework.  Students were required to have two assignments (practice or test) with a 80% or higher each week.  They were allowed to complete as many assignments as they wanted and I took the highest two scores.  That sounds like a lot of grading for me, but the program does all the grading.  I don't do anything but look at the TOPS report, a print out of their score and objectives for that particular assignment.  Accelerated Math was paper and pencil when I was doing this.  Students had scan sheets that they scanned to receive their grade.

I saw what a huge difference this made for some of my students.  It really helped them with their over math skills.  The problems given are primarily word problems - real world application problems.

At QES Accelerated Math is all done on the computer.  This has required me to change the way I use this program.  It all has to be done in class now.  This past year I started using it as a center because it was a fight to get students to work on it more than 30 minutes at a time.  I wanted to create something to motivate my students to try their best when working on accelerated math instead of just clicking random answers.

That's where the Accelerated Math Club comes in.

I know it isn't level...gotta fix that this week. :)

My inspiration came from this pin.

I changed the goals around slightly and created a design that would match my classroom.  I changed the goals because I wanted it to be easy for students to move their pin in the beginning.  I wanted them to experience immediate gratification which will hopefully excite them and motivate them to keep working toward larger goals.

I'm pretty excited about this new club.  My principal LOVED it which only added to my assignment.  

We all know all competitive our students can get so hopefully this will work as well as I want it to this year.

If you would like a copy of my posters, jump over to my TPT store.  They are a FLASH FREEBIE today!!

Be sure to leave me some love.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The One with the Reveal

I did it.  I said goodbye to the owls and chose a new theme for my classroom this year.  I was a little nervous about it because it took me forever to make a decision on a theme.  But I love all my chalkboards and neons and am pleased with how it turned out.

Welcome to my 2014/2015 Classroom.

The view from the door...

Ready for Open House...even though I wont' be there.

I am in OBSESSED with this bulletin board.  I cannot wait to add their pictures from the first day of school and then change that hashtag out throughout the year.  I usually despise bulletin boards.  Last year my board was blank all year.  But I am super happy about this turned out.

This shelf holds supplies for students and is where they will turn in their work.

I bought these solid black panels but they were too short so I extended them with the green fabric.

My space...

Filled with work ready for the first week.

A few special owls got to stick around.  

The view from my desk...

Table Caddies

I think I'm going to add a cushion to my stool.

The front of the room...

My other whiteboard....

That's the full tour.  What do you think?  Think it will make math a little more fun for my students?